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Prince of Nothing; Open
Topic Started: Sep 16 2016, 02:43 PM (1,228 Views)
Rorick Skyve
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[ *  *  * ]
((Maxim Kehlenbrink continued from Good Omens))

It seemed like he was in luck. When he had decided to enter this particular building, he had no idea whether or not it was already occupied by others. The map he had hadn't been that helpful either, but judging from what he had seen around him, this was most likely the 'Staff Housing Block A.' he was in. Whatever that meant for him.

But so far, it all had worked out for him, he didn't regret entering the place, not one bit. It was nothing but an empty hallway with bleak walls and even duller looking doors, yes, but at least it seemed like there was nothing for him to fear in there. Of course, this was taking for granted that there was no maniac waiting for him in one of the many rooms, some sort of Scissorman - darn, he immediately regretting the mere thought. Some distant memories of playing Clock Tower back when he was barely a teen resurfaced, making his flesh crawl a bit.

Though at the same time, it almost made him laugh, in how delightfully absurd it was. A life and death situation like this was unnerving, sure, but still not enough to make him loose it, but remembering a video game was where he became truly terrified. Then again, said game and all of this weren't even that different in some regards, but this was not time to indulge in such peculiar thoughts.

The obvious thing to do was to search through the rooms one by one. At least he assumed there to be rooms behind all of those doors, it seemed logical to assume. Maybe, just maybe something of use could be found in there, some rations, water, tools - probably no weapons, but who knew, maybe his luck really had taken a turn for the better.

Maxim walked along the hallway, pondering which door to open first. Almost sounded like he was talking about an Advent calendar. If he was going with that, then opening the very first door was the correct thing to do. But he certainly didn't expect to find chocolate behind any of these doors and as such, it didn't really matter which one he opened first. He eventually settled for the third one on the right. There was a small scratch on the door handle, almost looked like someone had tried to carve something into it. This was as good a sign as any other for him.

He took a small breath and turned his head left and right to check if somebody was there once more. Satisfied, he finally put his hand on the handle and pushed it down.
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Rorick Skyve
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The door opened with a slight creak, though he had almost expected that. This place was anything but in good condition, he couldn't help but wonder how long it had been since it had last been in use by the actual staff. Then again, he had no idea what had happened to any of those people either, chances were, they had been slaughtered by the terrorists, executed just like Mr. Graham.

Slowly, the room behind said door was revealed and Maxim's initial impression was that it was just as barren and devoid of life and fantasy like the rest of what he'd seen so far. Walls that were grayish enough for him to wonder whether this was by design or if grime and dust had painted it that way over time.

His eyes kept scanning as he took a step forward into the room, discovering nothing much of interest; there was a single bed sans sheets with a nightstand next to it and a door in the back corner, which he suspected lead to a bathroom of some sort. Either way, it was clear and as such-

Somebody was shouting. Maxim heard a distant coughing, then the voice again, louder this time.

He had to think quickly, make a decision on the spot. He could not immediately identify the voice; it was male, without doubt, but that knowledge didn't really help him much. It would have been easy to turn around and spot the person in question; judging from the direction of where it came from, the guy had just come through the main entrance.

But he was already within the bedroom, hidden from immediate sight. And he'd prefer it to stay that, as long as he didn't know who the boy in question was. But the door. The door, it was still open, plain as day for the new arrival to see, goddammit. Closing it now was a huge risk, it would probably creak again and give him away immediately.

It was only a matter of time before the new arrival came in and discovered him, he had potentially lured himself into a dead end. He had to improvise.

He turned himself around by 180 degrees, now facing the open door from within the bedroom. There was no suitable hiding spot in there. The bathroom maybe? But he didn't even know if it really was a bathroom, maybe it was a storage closet, maybe it didn't even open at all or - either way, he had to try.

Taking heavy breaths, Maxim slowly moved towards the door in the far right corner of the room, keeping his eyes fixed on the opened one the entire time.
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Maxim halted, mere feet away from the other door. Even going so far as to hold his own breath, which was proving to be not quite easy, given he was more than a little on edge, he tried to listen for any further noise coming from outside the room. Maybe he could tell whether or not the other person was approaching.

The voice had stopped shouting. Probably an indicator that whoever was there was now assuming to be alone. No footsteps either, just a muffled noise that was over too quickly for Maxim to determine what it was. Could it be, had the other boy left the building again? No, no, the last bit of noise he had heard clearly came from within the hallway. Maybe they had gone into one of the other rooms?

He couldn't be sure and if he was perfectly honest with himself, that was starting to annoy him. It was the same as with that idiot Ben earlier, the same as with those two girls back in the asylum: Maxim perching and cowering in his corner, trying to hide, like he was a rodent trying to get away from a snake. He had no idea what was truly going on, always remained passive.

It had kept him safe so far, kept him sure. But as he had understood while talking to Ben earlier, staying by himself was not an option in the long run. He had to try and find someone useful, someone both trustworthy and armed, in the best of cases. Though maybe one would have to do.

Maxim looked back at the door he was moving towards. It promised safety at least. But nothing else.

His glance wandered back to the door he came through. The more risky choice. But the outcome was potentially far more rewarding. As for the risk? He had to consider that the boy in question had announced his presence when entering. If he really harbored murderous intent, then why do that? It didn't add up, another thing that made him lean more towards trying to come into contact with said person. Then again, what if that was his plan though, lure people out like that, make them believe he was harmless?

Maxim lowered his head a bit, exhaling audibly. He knew he had made his choice already. The odds were in his favor or so he felt. Unless he was unlucky again. Like he always was. But doubts wouldn't get him anywhere.

Taking an insecure step at first, it took him another five seconds until he managed to convince himself to follow through with his plan. He strolled towards the open door, rubbing his neck for a moment. He had to stay calm, this would be fine. He wouldn't be the one running this time, he had control of this.

He stepped out of the doorframe, bit his lip, the turned his head towards where the exit was.
Edited by Rorick Skyve, Sep 20 2016, 07:57 PM.
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Maxim's father often told him that taking risks was not something one had to necessarily avoid. One of his former friends had told him the same, years or so ago, namely that he 'should stop being such a pussy and grow a pair.' Maxim certainly didn't miss him.

Still, he had to agree with both in this case: Whoever was sitting against the wall there, being busy with his bag, did seem familiar to him. He couldn't quite make out his facial features yet, what with him not looking at him and the hallway being poorly lit., but something about him seemed -

There was another noise, some other noise coming from up ahead. Maxim jumped a little and lifted his head, breaking his gaze away from the familiar looking boy and towards where the noise came from. He immediately spotted them, spotted her, some girl coming straight through the entrance. He didn't recognize her, but he didn't need to since the first thing that caught his attention was a longish object in her hands, some sort of stick or bludgeon; he couldn't exactly make out what it was, but it didn't look harmless.

He instinctively took a step back, pondering about what to do. The girl herself didn't look particularly intimidating. Rather small, compared to his own size, skinny too. In theory, there was no way she was going to overpower both him and that other boy with only that stick thing she had. Unless of course, it was a trap and that other boy was with her and -

The other boy reacted now. It seemed like he was just as surprised as Maxim was. His movements were hasty, clumsy, supporting himself against the wall, stumbling around and - hold on, was that Benjamin?

He had only gotten a brief look at his face, but yes, it did look like it. No wonder he had seemed familiar, it was Ben. Seemed he was lucky. He could put that guy under the category 'friendly acquaintances' at least. If that girl had any bad intentions, he and Ben could easily work together to stop her from-

Well, never mind. Didn't seem to be necessary. Apparently, Benjamin knew that other girl as well, judging from his reaction. Jeez, the guy certainly was happy.

Maxim made no effort to show his own relief, instead just taking a few steps forward, until he was only a few feet away from his friend. He limply raised a hand as a greeting. "Hey."

He glanced over Ben's shoulder, giving the other arrival a skeptical look. "She a friend of yours?"
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Maxim simply nodded in Lili's direction. That would have to do for courtesies. She and Ben were friends, good enough for him. The ally of an ally is an ally, something along those lines. Though he had slight doubts about how much use she'd actually bring to the table. Didn't look like much, from a physical standpoint. Maybe she had brains to make up for it.

He listened and watched the other two in silence, waiting until they had said their piece. Kimiko. Right, the mute, even he knew about her. They didn't say that still waters run deep for no reason. He'd keep Benjamin's warning in mind, that was for sure.

Maxim looked at Lili. "To answer your question, our friend Ben here is not the first of his kind I've come across so far." Was he trying to make a joke? Maybe, didn't seem like one the other two would be able to pick up on it though. Probably better to simply get to the point.

"Ben Fields, met him not too long ago. Maybe ten minutes. Seemed a little sketchy to me, to be perfectly honest." He brought a finger to his throat, idly stroking it with his thumb. He was really starting to feel thirsty. Maybe, if he got lucky, he could ask for a swig or two from Ben's water supply, keep his own untouched for as long as possible.

"I'd avoid him. Same with the asylum, the big building across the bridge." The thought of it alone made him feel a little uneasy once more, as much as he hated to admit it. He quickly continued speaking.

"Got nothing other than that. Didn't find anything useful so far either. Though who knows, maybe this place here holds some useful stuff." Some rare loot. Just as long as there'd be no bossfight.

Jesus, he had to snap out of that jokey mood.
Edited by Rorick Skyve, Sep 26 2016, 01:25 AM.
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Maxim let out a sigh. He was beginning to feel weary and all this incessant talking was doing nothing to keep him focused. This Lili, she seemed to have a habit of babbling. Either that or it was her somewhat bubbly attitude that threw him off. The casualness in her tone, that overall sense of optimism and carelessness she exuded. He didn't like it. Neither did he like the enthusiasm with which she presented that - thing. A toy lightsaber, apparently. Hell, the world was coming to an end out there and she got all excited over a toy. It was enough to make him grimace slightly in disgust.

Or maybe he was reading too much into things, misjudging her because of his current state of mind. Being thirsty didn't help much either. Whatever was the case, he decided it was time to try and hatch out and actual plan of some sort, they couldn't just stand around and have a hen party like this forever.

Benjamin spoke up before he could though and turned his head towards him again. Now this was more like it. He seemed to at least try to steer the group a little. Maxim could appreciate the effort at least.

"You might be right, it is getting late." He glanced towards the entrance, crossing his arms. Sunlight was slowly dying out. Yeah, no time to be going out again, too easy to get ambushed out there in the soon-to-be-dark. Still, he had to disagree on waiting to search the place until morning.

"I don't know about you, but I am sure I recall having a flashlight in here." He patted the bag in question. "We could still give this place a search, the sooner we get things done, the better." He cleared his throat, pausing for a moment to recollect his thoughts, then continued. "Right, your question. See the room back there with the open door? Seems decent enough, has a bed in it and maybe a bathroom as well, haven't checked yet. Might be more rooms like it in here, so I think we shouldn't have to worry about that."

It seemed almost strange, really. The prospect of just going to sleep at night, despite knowing what their situation was like. He recounted all the times he had read stories with people being stabbed in their sleep. Or shot or strangled, suffocated, enough ways to do it. Point was, it wasn't safe, so something had to be done about it.

"Searching aside, I say we should have someone keep watch during the night, yes? Maybe sleep in shifts, something like that. Seems like the smart thing to do."
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Just about as he had expected. Lili volunteering to take first watch; she had that strange enthusiasm written all over her. Maxim would have admired her optimism, if not for the fact the he knew it wasn't going to help her in any way. Maybe it was her kind of coping mechanism, didn't seem too farfetched. A bit foolish, yeah, but each to their own.

Still though, in this case, it didn't seem wise to let her have her way. She clearly was the most physically exhausted of the group, he could tell just from looking at her. It actually kind of surprised him that it wasn't him, granted he had marched across half the island earlier, judging from the map he was given. Well, he hadn't walked particularly fast.

Either way it was unreasonable to have Lili take the first shift. In her state, she was likely to fall asleep before she did any of them any good. Her optimism putting herself at risk was her thing, bad enough and all, but now she was bound to endanger him as well, couldn't let that happen. But once again, Maxim was unable to say something since Ben started speaking before him.

Well, not only him, his stomach apparently wanted to have a say as well. He certainly could relate there, long day et cetera. Maxim rubbed one eye for a moment, before glancing at Ben's stomach. "No need to spell that out, your body does a fine job speaking for you. You know, before we do or decide anything else, we should all probably put our food rations to good use. No reason to do all the searching on an empty stomach."

He pointed into the direction of the room he hid in earlier. "Can have ourselves a little picnic in there. Like I said, the room is as good as empty, plenty of space for everyone, should work out fine. Unless you're one of those people who have troubles eating in front of others." Never had met one himself, quite frankly, but he knew they existed.

"Any objections?"
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Maxim's suspicion was only confirmed once he actually saw Lili move. Or rather, stumble around. Pitiful display really, this girl wouldn't make it through ten minutes of her shift before keeling over. Someone else would have to take first watch, that much was for sure. But for the moment, that was not their main concern.

He watched her rummage through her bag and winced a little bit when she turned on her flashlight, instinctively turning away a little. He felt like telling her to mind where she was pointing that thing, but she had probably figured that out on her own already. Recovering from the split-second dazzle, he rubbed his eyes, then looked down the hallway, towards where the beam of white light was pointing.

"Yes, that one. Seriously though, get in there, sit down and get something between your teeth. In this state, you'll hardly be able to watch over yourself, let alone us."

He rubbed one side of his face, pondering if he had been a little harsh in his choice of words. No, no, it had been necessary. This was about their survival, about his survival. Offending someone had to be the least of his worries now.

Deciding to follow her example, he put his own bag on the ground, quickly rifling through it - avoiding to even touch that damn useless bow - before his fingers found something that felt very much like a flashlight. He looked over to Ben, who had just finished getting a hold of his own one, it seemed. Things were finally moving along, it seemed. About time, really.

Maxim carefully closed his bag, then got to his feet, coughing into his paw while doing so. "Before I forget, Ben, what do you have in terms of a weapon? All I can say is, mine is no use to me. Probably not to you either, unless you've somehow learned how to handle a hunting bow."
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Maxim watched as Lili scampered away and disappeared into the room he had occupied for all of two minutes earlier. Didn't seem likely for her to miraculously recover all of her strength after she'd be done with her meal, so she was probably out of the picture for now. Fine by him.

He turned back to Ben and let out a short hum of amusement. "An etch-a-sketch? Didn't see one of those ever since I was...nine or so, I don't recall. In any case, you seem to have gotten it even worse than me."

To be fair, he'd have preferred it if Ben actually had a somewhat decent weapon on him, but knowing that he wasn't the only one who had gotten...well, garbage, that was a bit satisfying at least. Still, it meant that Lili was the only of them with an actual means of defense, her nightstick. Though he couldn't see her benefitting much from it, any somewhat burly person would probably still be able to overpower her. He'd have to convince her to give it to either him or Ben sooner or later, get the most use out of it. He'd worry about that later, best to work out things with Ben first.

"How big? Well, as you can tell, not bigger than this bag it's in. Honestly, I was surprised it fit inside in the first place." He'd avoid mentioning the writings that were all over the bow for now. Doing so would only make Ben want to see it for himself all the more and Maxim really wanted to avoid having to take another glance at that stupid thing at all costs.

"Let's leave that for later though, I'm almost literally starving here. Can't think straight like that."

He looked down the hallway again, trying to count how many doors there were. One was all they needed really or two, if Ben insisted him and Maxim have separate rooms. "I'd say we let your friend have her privacy and go occupy a different room, yeah?"
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Maxim watched as his friend made to go and join Lili in her room. He was pretty sure he didn't approve. Not that he would have admitted it to Ben, but he was rather glad she was out of the picture for now. He knew Ben, he didn't mind his presence. Lili, he wasn't sure he wanted to stick around yet. First impressions could be deceiving, but still. He'd have to make a choice in that regard, sooner or later.

For now, he was content with her staying by herself. As such, he was just about to raise his voice to object to Ben's efforts, but it immediately turned out to be unnecessary. Asleep already, was she?

"Well, that was fast. I'm almost impressed, have to admit." He didn't bother to speak quietly, like Ben did. No way that little talking was going to disturb her rest.

He followed Ben into the next room, satisfied with how this had turned out. They wouldn't necessarily have to share this room for sleeping purposes as well, but for now, he was all too happy with sharing his company.

Watching his friend chomp on a dry piece of bread that enthusiastically reminded Maxim of his own hunger. Choosing the promising comfort of the mattress over the ground, he sat down on the bed as well, though minding to keep some space between himself and Ben. Seconds later, he had retrieved his own rations from his bag. He elected to take a good deep swig of his water to commence the 'feast'.

"At least it's non-carbonated", he remarked without looking at Ben. It almost made him chuckle, really. Here he was, trapped on an island full of his peers, forced to commit murder to survive and his biggest worry up until a few seconds ago had been whether or not his water was still.
Edited by Rorick Skyve, Oct 12 2016, 09:07 PM.
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"Hm?"
Maxim didn't say more, since his mouth was occupied with the first bite of his loaf. He turned his head to Ben, careful not to make too much noise while chewing.

He had expected his friend to bring up the issue of first watch again, of their means of defense or really just anything else that had some merit to it. Something that helped them plan ahead. He got none of that, however, not even close. Instead, he was hit by a wall of words that he initially completely failed to make sense of.

He was confused, no other way to put it. Something had gotten into Benjamin all of a sudden and he was very certain that he did not like it. He had made out something about Benjamin being scared of being weak, at least he thought that was what his friend had been trying to say. The rest, he wasn't even sure. Sounded like a bunch of overly anxious ramblings, none of which he really felt like trying to follow.

Maxim kept his gaze fixed on Ben for a few seconds, having stopped chewing and with unblinking eyes. He felt a really strong urge to shake his head. 'Et tu, Ben?' Yes, that seemed like an appropriate quote here. He really couldn't help it, with that display just now, he simply felt disappointed. He swallowed, then cleared his throat.

"Look, I'll be honest; I'm not really sure what you expect me to say."

That approach was probably better than outright telling him to snap out of it. Tempting, yes, but very unlikely to accomplish anything. From what he gathered, this was a minor mental breakdown that Ben was experiencing, so he had to be delicate about it. Even so, he felt annoyed at having to deal with it in the first place.

"What I'm getting is that you're letting all of this get to you, yes? Or that you're afraid that it'll get to you even more, maybe that. But see, I want to ask you, what did you expect?" Maybe a little too aggressive there. Then again, he had to be at least somewhat forceful to get the point across. Delicate but forceful, now there was a tightrope act.

"This is a situation no one could or should ever even have to consider being in. It's simply fucked up." He coughed into his fist, slightly embarrassed to have to resort to cursing. That alone was reason enough for him to dislike the entire situation.

"I mean, of course this is going to mess with your brain, one way or another. Really all I can say is: It'll happen now and then, you have to accept that. As long as it doesn't distract you from being smart about all this." That would have to do. Maxim really, really hoped it would.
Edited by Rorick Skyve, Oct 16 2016, 06:03 AM.
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Maxim nodded. Ben's words didn't warrant further response, so that was the best he could do. At least the guy seemed to have calmed down. It had only been a few seconds, a shameful display of insecurity, but just a few seconds nonetheless. If it was going to stay at just that, then all the better. But somehow, he doubted it.

He sighed and took another bite of his bread. They were wasting time and energy with this drivel, all they really needed to do was eat, search, sleep. In that order. And set up someone to take watch, of course, but that would take a minute at best, so no concern there. In fact, they could determine it right now, no need to procrastinate.

Maxim took a quick glance at his friend. It wasn't by much, but his confidence in him had still been shaken nonetheless. What if he'd have another sudden bout of useless self-doubts? Maybe he was making mountains out of molehills, but there was room for reasonable doubt here. And as much as he'd have liked to just go and lie down and rest, logic was dictating a different path.

Of course, Ben could still have a similar freak-out on second watch or any time after that. But if he got to sleep a little before having to do his duty, then maybe the chances of that happening were lowered significantly. Maxim would just have to trust that that would be the case. As much as he hated leaving things up to chance.

He sighed, though without actually making a sound. "I'll take first watch."

((Maxim Kehlenbrink continued elsewhere))
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