An unceremonious pile of weathered, thick wrappings and a purple hide cloak shift into a recognizably humanoid silhouette. Plum-dyed leather gloves finger the frigid, dusty stone ground beneath her as a similarly-wrapped devilish tail flicks at her heels. As she recollects having a corporeal form she pushes her body up from the floor. For a moment, she considers how consciousness doesn't agree with her, thinking on how well she could have fared in the nightmarish subreality versus this empty place.
"Ik feln'ger nora ren. Nivirra ren giv lokka ik." Mumbling and leaning on her side now, the lined hood drifting down her four horns to their fitted place and a mask coalescing to reveal only the covered jaw, presumably for eating and speaking. Her eyes from beneath the mask scan the area, taking in the various figures around her and their belongings. The thought of looting them crossed her mind, but it turns out each of them have survived the same ordeal she just went through. She may be a bit of an opportunist, but a thief she isn't. As if reminded once again she has a physical body, her right hand instinctively reaches to her hip, expecting something to be there but it's empty. She laments the mysteriously vacant spot.
Rather than whatever she subconsciously expected, she is pleasantly surprised to feel the weight of something foreign hanging from her neck. Her face drops downward, nearly pressing her chin to her chest as she attempts to look at the object before finally reaching up and taking the thing into her fingers. A whistle, one that is such a dark blue it reminds her of... a different place. A place uncontained and endless. The very thought relaxes her as she fondles the whistle, simple in its design except for a talon shape etched into its left side. Holding the whistle to her neck is what looks to be a chain of tarnished silver, each link so intricately small yet masterfully crafted it could easily send her into a rabbit hole of wonder.
Instead, she turns her attention to a nearby cane that is unnaturally and crookedly standing on its end as if held by some invisible person. It has no lateral handle but a platinum cap and a rounded platinum tip, with the shaft some type of varnished black wood. She reaches out and grabs it by the handle, the grasp both familiar and comfortable to her, and at this point stands with no strained effort. The way she moves now is clear that she doesn't need the cane to walk, and in fact tosses it gently so she could grab it by its center. She again inspects the space around her, waiting for another to meet her.
"Faer wik lirikk aer'ganan! Nivirra ren giv lokka ren nirak?" A hand falls to her hip and the cane is raised over her shoulder, a stance that is more curious rather than impatient with the tilting of her head.
Sputtering and coughing the dashing young man came, as he rolled away from the pool of blood with fear in his eyes although he soon wore a completely different expression all together that was one of bewilderment as he stared down at himself fully expecting to be lying on the cold stone in the nude and covered in blood. However there was no trace of the crimson substance on his skin and he was wearing a set of comfortable clothes that felt oddly familiar to him while it hugged his lean frame, suspicion arose however as he felt his pockets and his fingers felt something in the folds of his cloak.
The man wrapped his fingers around the vellum of the object, gingerly procuring a scroll of some sort that was rolled up with a little string. 'How odd...' the man thought to himself as he carefully untied the string 'I wasn't wearing clothing before? Was I dreaming?' the man unrolling the scroll instantly had his eyes widen at what he saw on the vellum scroll that was in fact a map of some kind.
It was slowly filling with what seemed to be the chamber in which he had awoken within, the map was drawing the exact layout of the room in black ink from nowhere and all the dashing young man could manage was a choked squeak at the sheer insanity of what he was looking at, only he felt his unmentionables climb up into his body at the moment he noticed a few others were lying in the chamber alongside him.
Blue robes, hemmed with gold and a face guarded by a beaked mask hauled themselves forth onto the stone. Great steel talons, weapons and instruments both, that covered the figure’s hands scraped at the floor in a slow flex and then a flurry of motion as it pushed itself up. The figure remembered the hunters. Had only it escaped from the darkness, then perhaps it might have taken this moment as one of respite, but it was not. There where others, and if they had escaped, then so too could the hunters. It had to move, it had to run, had to flee before they caught it.
They rose, and as they did so a pendant around their neck caught the light and shone back with a pale cold distant light brighter than a mere reflection. The figure stumbled to it's knees once more as visions and sensations assailed it's mind, too numerous and dense to comprehend (but always the birds, oh the birds, they hounded it still!) until after an age that lasted a heartbeat it saw the end: the sight of the pendant, shining bright the light of moon and endless stars high, high above and the rush of elation and power that came with that moment.
It gasped, awakening for a second time in the same room. A clawed hand grasped for the pendant that it had not seen but now knew all to well was there, pulling it up before her. The pale light still shone, weaker now, from a sapphire held within a crescent moon of purest sliver. The front of the arch was studded with the anchors of a framework that threatened to build over the gem, while the reverse held runes, letters and words in minute script. Some seemed to be nonsense, letters arranged in meaningless unpronounceable words. Somewhere worn and gone. A rare few were wholly alien, and yet they stimulated the mind in fascinating and maddening ways. The only thing that stood out among the words that it could understand was the word:
A voice came from behind the beaked mask as it read the word. A woman's voice, wizened with experience and wisdom now long since lost. The figure grasped the pendant tight in it’s hand, squeezing it in its grasp, causing sparks and currents of lighting to pulse and sputter across the steel gauntlet, before suddenly letting go.
She had what she needed.
Luna stood and turned to face the pool and the strangers that had emerged from it as well of blood, her posture slightly hunched, her claws held at her side, fidgeting in restless agitation. She could see their faces. All but one, who seemed to have risen first, who was clad in purple and black, with bandages around her limbs and a white mask protecting her face. She held a cane over her shoulder, taken most likely from the armaments that littered the room, and had an almost casual air about her. A strange thing to have, when the hunters could so soon be upon them.
Then she spoke, in words as strange and foreign.
”I am afraid I do not speak your tongue, child” Luna replied to the stranger, and then asked ”Pray tell, do you speak mine?”
Choking, almost coughing on blood, a woman emerged from the liquid. Still in shock, she tried to stand up. Losing balance very quickly, she dropped to one knee. Regaining her consciousness, she looked around. She noticed other people. The closest to her were a man with a scroll and another wearing armor. Putting that on hold for a minute, she examined her clothes and body. She was drenched in blood, but other that that, she was okay. Feeling like something was missing, she looked at the ground. A necklace. At the end was a anchor. Reaching out her hand to take it, one thing caught her attention. A scar on her hand. Luckily, it wasn't bleeding. Picking up the necklace, she put it around her neck. As soon as she touched it, she felt an odd sensation. A bird, close to her foot, flew up on her shoulder. Raising her hand to swat it, she felt she shouldn't touch it at all.
Vittore remained on their hands and knees for a time, panting hard as they tried to regain some sense of composure. What in the world was all of that? Was it even real? They sat up a bit, leaning back on their heels, and put a hand to their chest. There, undeniably, was the feeling of leather and metal of simple armor, and when they slid their hand down toward their arm where their clothing was torn, they felt the softness of their flesh. Definitely real, then. They peeked through the hole in their sleeve and wanted to retch at the dark red signs burned into their skin. An intense feeling of panic and <i>wrongness</i> ripped through them, so powerful it was an almost physical sensation. They shouldn’t look. They should leave it alone. They should be afraid. They clapped a hand over the tear and tried to breathe steadily. Slowly, they gained the presence of mind to look around at their surroundings. There were others around them, also gasping, also disoriented. There were two, a woman with a bird and a man with a scroll not otherwise engaged in conversation. “You,” they said, hating how raw their voice sounded. “Where…Who are you?”
How strange it felt to hear someone speak, it was almost grating to his ears as someone spoke up to voice their apparent confusion at who he was or where they were.
Turning to the one who spoke the dashing young man rolled up the vellum scroll while he slipped it into the folds of his cloak, giving him a moment to silently ponder the question himself 'Who...Am I?' strangely it wasn't his own pondering that dislodged the information, however it was something else entirely '...Percival...' yes that must be his name, what else could it have been?
Thus 'Percival' cleared his throat while he turned to the one who voiced their question. "Percival, sir...?" he looked them up and down making sure who or what he was talking to "I'm not quite sure where we are, however this map I have may help us!" he patted his pocket where the map was tucked.
"Child? Why, I oughta--" Cane swinging from her shoulder to point at the other masked one, she stops. Her stance and stature certainly suggest younger life, and she pauses as she realizes that she may, in fact, be younger than everyone present. The men, once they stand, are taller than she and her voice even reflects that to a degree. She freezes in place as if she is a fencer is caught in the middle of a still life paint commission. The cogs of her mindscape feel jammed until there is a click and she is caught up to the present.
"Yeah, yeah, I speak your language too simple not to. But enough about me!" She waltzes up to the beaked one and hunches over slightly, looking around at the others in the room with a suspicious tone. For many, she would definitely be invading personal space as she scoots closer to the robed person. "So! Who are you? Who are they? Where are we? And what is that aroma coming from you? It's intoxicating." Holding the cane to her chest now, she takes a deep breath.
"Can I help you with something? Can I help them with something?" She raises her voice toward the end and shoots an arm up, waving her cane around above the two of their heads. "Hey! Everybody doing okay?!"
Percival quickly leaned away from the short masked girl who spoke with an inflection that made her sound young while also her up-front and in your face demeanour suggested she was also not very well-acquainted with the her personal boundaries.
He ducked slightly before stepping back and out of reach of the girls cane, with a fleeting glance at both her and the robed individual with the beaked mask covering their face. 'Interesting maybe they know something...Then again I feel like they know as much as I do.' he faced the shorter masked girl with a sigh while tentatively trying to be out of her range as the cane-swinging made him nervous "Fine, my dear but could you perhaps not swing your cane around?" he said flashing her a charming if not slightly nervous smile before looking between herself and the robed individual with a curious glance "I am Percival and who might I ask are you?" he asked them both as he crossed his arms, eyeing the cane with furtive glances.
Vittore eyed Percival warily, tracking the movement of his hands. A map. He had a map. Seemed terribly prepared for clawing his way out of a bloody pit, or however it was they all got there. Their mouth settled into a hard line, and before they could decide how to respond, if at all, the girl began swinging her cane. They flinched back hard like they’d been shocked, their heart kicking into high gear. She was loud. Energetic. Far too much, all together. Everything about her demeanor put them on edge, though they couldn’t say that the others put them more at ease. Just a group of disquieting people, as far as they could tell. But that girl was demanding, and the man was curious, and keeping their mouth shut forever didn’t seem feasible. Besides, how much could that little bit of information hurt him? “Vittore,” they answered after a few long seconds, trying not to audibly grind their teeth.
”Ah, you do speak it. Good. Good. Also do not take offense. To me, you all are young, or so I think. I do sound old don't I? I’d check, but that seems wrong somehow doesn't it?” Luna replied to the girl before adding ”Also what was that you said there, you’ll have to speak up”, as she had missed what other masked women had said under her breath and not realized that was likely her intention.
She probably wouldn't get an answer to that, but what she did get was an invasion of her personal space. The long mask she was wearing turned out to be a useful gear for this as even as she was too startled to actively ward her off the long beak placed a minimum distance between the two.
”Did no one teach you manners girl,” she said, rather offended at this intrusion but not quite twitchy enough to do anything more than try and step back and regain some distance.
”But you did ask, so I shall answer. I am Luna... Yes. Luna. I do not know any of you are, it seems that we are all in that situation. We are at the bottom of... something. A dangerous place,” the vision had been so vague, all she really knew was there was a top and a way up there, ”and I do not know what you are talking about smell but thank you? What do I smell like?”
She sniffed, but didn't smell anything unusual. Then again, she had had a nose for only a few moments, maybe she did smell of something strange, but how would she know if she’d never not smelled it? Luna did not know.
”As for what you can do, you can help me climb out of this place. The beaked ones might still be after us and I would not like to be here if they are able to climb out of the depths as we did.” She replied, when asked what she could do, glancing back at the place they had exited and edging away both from it and from the energetic woman.