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06 September 2011 @ 11:32 pm
Georgia has been trying to keep off the ankle she twisted her first night here. Today, she finally got claustrophobic and fed up with holing up in the cabin with Shaun - even if it is arguably the most secure building here, and that's just sad - and decided to explore the barracks.

There's not a lot to explore here. And she's decidedly unimpressed with what she's seen so far.

At the moment, she's walking up the stairs to the top of the wall, moving gingerly - her ankle's still wobbly, she's barefoot as she had no interest in walking around in heels, and she's trying not to trip over the bottoms of the too-large pants she borrowed from Shaun. Her brother is trailing her, just like he has been since they left the cabin, like a lost puppy. A really heavily armed lost puppy.

Emily is sitting on the front steps in front of her cabin, staring at her hands laced together in front of her. Hotch is gone. He doesn't show up on the comm when she looks for him, he's nowhere else in the barracks, he's just... gone. Reid and JJ's cabin was empty too, when she checked, and they're not the only people missing after the Carnival.

It's all she can do not to start arranging search parties, or just head out into the woods and try to find them herself... but it's a big forest, and she knows what's out there. She's one person, with no magic powers, no real experience with this sort of thing, just one small gun and not enough bullets. Emily swallows hard, and rests her forehead against her clasped hands, feeling sick and small and useless. God, she hates this place.
06 September 2011 @ 02:16 am
The carnival is gone, but the effects are still lingering, for Rose. While her hangover the morning after her ill-advised "fun" with Kitsune has faded, the vivid hickey-like mark on the back of her hand has not. She wishes she could remember what happened, where the mark came from, why it doesn't seem to be fading.

But aside from that, she's worried because... people are missing. Harry is nowhere to be found in the barracks, and Olivia hasn't answered any of the messages she's sent, and if Rose knew how to get to the castle, she's guessing Olivia wouldn't be there.

Still, she can't help but prowl through the barracks, like she is now, looking for Harry, or the big dog that she hopes is all right, rubbing the mark on her hand self-consciously and looking worried and a little lost.

It's not as if she has anything better to do.
Richard Castle trudged, exhausted, along with the rest of the group back to a place that they referred to as "the barracks". He was too tired to even question what exactly a "barracks" would entail. Knowledge of the definition of the word alone was enough for him to assume that it was a stark place.

Castle's tie hung limp around his neck and his shirt was ripped from days of walking through the close brush of the woods. His face was bruised. He'd never felt so defeated in his life. Not only was he now stuck in some twilight zone where there were legitimate monsters, it had prevented him from hearing from Kate in what seemed like weeks. Castle had no idea if she was alive or dead. Worst of all, he felt like he had brought all of this upon her. She never would have been shot if he hadn't pushed her to learn more about her mother's murder. He was the one who brought all this upon her.

He couldn't bear to look at the teenage girls in the group because every one of them reminded him of Alexis, even without her firey red hair. She must have been beside herself with Beckett shot and her father disappearing into thin air both on the same day. Castle had done the one thing he swore he'd never do - abandon her.

As he walked through the gate of the barracks, he gazed around with a sigh of frustration. Based on the descriptions from the others, he wasn't expecting the Waldorf Astoria, but he wasn't expecting shacks either. The very last thing he wanted to do after all of this was go camping. He prayed that there was at least running water inside.

[Forward-dated to after the group gets out of that mess that they're in right now.]
The light filtering into the cells dims to an orange glow, and the scent of smoke and burning meat starts to carry through the air. The doors to every cell simultaneously grind open, and the guards - those not part of the walls of the dungeons - wait to lead the prisoners down the hall and up a set of stairs worn practically ramp-smooth.

Their route is nondescript, all blank-faced halls of red stone lit now by torches instead of sourceless light. Smoke gathers at the peak of the ceiling where the light used to be and stains streaks up the walls. The guards don't speak for the duration of the walk, and they smack the prisoners who start to.

Eventually the hall opens up into a cavern with a ceiling so far overhead it's lost in the torchlight. Fairies - misshapen or somehow obviously damaged, for the most part, gather in whispering clumps throughout the room. A young woman sits cross-legged on a sandstone throne, carved from a piece of rock that lifts her slightly above the floor. When the guards and their captives shamble to a halt she stands, hopping down off the platform and to the edge of a circle cut into the cavern floor.

"Friends," she says to the hall. "Guests." She bows to the prisoners. "Today marks a change in the story of the Wood. Today, we begin to balance the scales."

She lifts her chin and her voice booms out with alto authority. "Today, we begin to wrest control of the green places and the magic and the hope, what little remains, from the hands of those that waste it."

One of her own hands comes up to point dramatically at the circle, which begins to glow. "Today, we are blessed not only with the fruit of our soldiers labor-" her gaze flicks to the prisoners and back to the circle "-but the fruit of Arch, the broken Way, at last caught and channeled to our benefit."

The circle blazes with a blinding light that somehow seems cold, though the temperature of the room doesn't change. When the light fades, four people stand inside the circle. The woman spreads her hands.

"Welcome to Quakeheart," she says, "City of the God's Lost Children."
Sunset, days after the vanishing of the first group, the Carnival goes oddly still. The rides don't stop, the crowd keeps moving, but in spite of all the noise and motion there's a frozen feeling in the air, like everything in motion is just a collection of confetti in a shaken snow globe.

They pour onto the midway without a sound and the fae in attendance melt out of their way - those that don't move fast enough lose limbs or heads to the invaders. They themselves are a mixed lot, going on a hundred in number, some of them snakelike with front claws and rear wings, some built like scorpions, some like other animals and some humanoid. A few have metal limbs or twisted faces. Their goal becomes clear after moments, as they seize every stranger to the wood they can lay claws on. Cloths dipped in something aromatic and intoxicating get shoved in the faces of the victims, dropping them in seconds. The clumsy kidnappers sweep their prizes up and flood out of the carnival as quickly as they came.

When they wake, the kidnapped will find themselves in small cells with outlines of doors cut into sandstone - only outlines, almost like cave drawings, with no way for the things to be opened. Each person has their belongings intact- including those initially kidnapped, who will wake to find themselves shifted to these smaller rooms with new company. They will also find themselves wearing bone collars without clasps, not secured to the walls this time, but impossible to break or remove. Holes in the ceiling let in a little light, and every so often someone overhead will pause and peer down and whisper to someone with them, variations on a single statement.

It's them. The ones she sent the raiders for. It's them. We're almost free.

[[To see cell arrangements, click here.]]
It's dark and quiet and everything the carnival is not. What light exists comes from above, tiny holes through which grains of sand fall periodically as people- or shapes, at least - pass by overhead. Even though the prison in which the first victims find themselves is cool, there's a papery texture to the air that says it's a nighttime chill, the kind of cool that comes after the day bakes down into evening.

The walls are red sandstone, twelve-by-twelve square, and each of the missing is chained to one with a bone collar and a metal chain long enough to reach the center of the room. They'll all have injuries, mild to middling in severity, from being grabbed, clawed, dropped or knocked against things. Their kidnappers weren't the smartest or the most delicate hands - they were smart enough, though, to take whatever looked like a threat. Wands, utility belts, and lock picks included. All of the taken will begin to stir around the same time; their first and most obvious concern?

The fact that there's no door into their cell.
01 August 2011 @ 10:44 pm
Spencer arrived at Beckett's cabin about 5 minutes before the time specified. He had been waiting all day for this, as strange as that was to admit to himself. The idea of getting to analyze a murder after so many months of being absent from it was tantalizing to him. He hoped that he could be of some help to her as well. Spencer could only imagine how desperate he'd feel if his mother had been murdered.

He knocked on the cabin door, then waited for her to answer.
Neal is genuinely excited.

It's something that hasn't happened since...

Well, the noir thing was fun. But this is different. He finished a project, something for Jo, and from start to finish it's his. He made the paint, carved the stems of the brushes, made the bristles from fur and hair he found around the walls of the barracks. He's never done something like this before, and in the end it worked.

When Neal tracks her down it's via her dot on the comm maps, and she's behind the library, next to the massive tree. He circles around the building, hands clasped behind his back, an origami flower held between two fingers.

24 July 2011 @ 11:29 pm
In the dusky predawn, the Carnival changes. The rides speed up. The music turns frantic, and the dancers match the pace. Fairies, earlier drifting and enjoying the sights, clear the rows between tents and stalls as a new crowd strides the carnival grounds.

The lords and ladies of the Wood, familiar faces and strange ones; they appear behind booths that weren’t there five minutes ago, step out of shadows too shallow to hide anyone. Laughter rings out frantically from the mouth of one of the tents. Opportunity has arrived on the midway, though for whom is anybody’s guess.
Summer in the Wood has always belonged to the Fox, and the weather has taken a distinct turn in that direction now.

All day, it's been hot enough that the smartest thing to do would be to take a dip in the nearest body of water, or simply find a shady spot and not move. By night, it's cooled off just enough to be pleasant and balmy, there's a bright full moon overhead, and carnival music and fairy lights float through the trees.

Following the lights will lead you to the Carnival, bigger and brighter than ever. The midway is packed with fae, brightly painted rides rattle loudly along wooden tracks, and the air's thick with the smell of smoke and cotton candy and roses. Everything is decorated with bright, sweet-smelling flowers, some of them never seen anywhere but the Wood, while thorny vines twine around wooden railings and tentpoles, quick to bloody the unwary. Somewhere in the crowd, there's a red-headed girl in a dress made of flowers, dancing, and laughing, and smiling with all her teeth.

Deep in the woods, a lone wolf sings a warning. The Carnival won't fade with the morning light this time - it's here to stay the week, day and night, but the wise wanderer would make it home by dawn anyway.