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Red Tide: Gasoline

 
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Eddie Blake
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 13 Feb 2016
Posts: 52
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:43 pm    Post subject: Red Tide: Gasoline Reply with quote

Red Tide: Gasoline

House is haunted
I just want to go for a ride
Out and on
Before I set this room alight
Left alone forever and for crimes unclear
With my patience gone
Someone take me far from here. Yeah
~ Audioslave



Another shadow moved through the water, the sight no longer holding the attention of the few left on the beach as the sun descended into the horizon. They'd have paid it little mind if it were keeping the same circuitous patrol along the beach. If it hadn't been speeding straight towards the sand at impossible speed. They'd have gone about their work had they not noticed that the form was not alone in its headlong approach, or that those which followed bore the triangular fin they'd grown accustomed to seeing. The surf surged forwards reaching for the dead and dying behemoths which lined the gritty beach. It receded just the same, never coming close to those that once dwelt within it. If it had been any moment previous there would have been nothing to distinguish it from the one before or after. This particular moment would be unlike any that had come before in their vigil. The speeding form leapt from the next incoming wave, fifteen feet of something massive going airborne to hit the sand with a dull thud and roll. It began to move up the beach, once it righted itself, in jumps and lunges the mottled grey of its coat catching in the retreating sunlight.

"Leopard Seal." Robert Pullman observed, finally finding a renewed interest in his choice to remain at Seaside Beach.

"Not possible, it's way too far North." Bill Harris countered, his tone still heavy with the days tragedy.

"Look around you, Bill. Would you have said any of this was possible before?" Rosemary Deter's voice was no less heavy than Bill's. She'd hated this day for the loss of so many magnificent beasts, but also because it had shown her exactly how little she really knew.

The sound of a spring being tightened, and the audible snict of something locking into place drew all of their attention. "What are you doing?"

"I'm going to kill it." Private Tuberaat held his weapon aimed squarely at the seal moving up the beach. "Keep you all safe."

"Hasn't there been enough killing on the beach today, Private?" Robert's hand closed over the pistol, not to take it way, simply to push it down and away from yet another intriguing anomaly. He had nearly accomplished that when Tuberaat brought the weapon up once more, a fierce resolve in his face.

"What's it doin'?" He'd seen what they hadn't, of course they'd all been looking at him when it began. His words had the others jerking their attention back to the lumbering seal, except it wasn't a seal anymore. Portions of it still were, but the front flippers had become hands attached to arms. The entire thing was metamorphing in front of their eyes. The transformation was relatively brief, though the seconds seemed to have slowed to a crawl. Head and torso emerged, legs formed and for a brief instant bare skin and dark hair were all that could be seen. He, for it was definitely a male, pulled his knees up under his body and somehow between the time it took him to push the sand and stand up his torso was enveloped into a leather jacket which fortunately managed to cover all the important parts.

The turn of his head revealed irises the color of burnt sienna, and a stoic expression as the once seal seemed to look right through them. He said nothing as he began to take strides away from the quartet, though he didn't go far before kneeling once again. The dark hair, still damp from his recent immersion pressed against the form of the albino killer whale (one of the few barely alive) just beneath its eye.

"Yu gonplei ste odon...Oso gonplei nou ste odon nowe. Jus drein jus daun." He spoke against the the lower jaw of the Orca, perhaps knowing that was where sound was transmitted to the creature's ear. It responded with a weak whistling through its blowhole and several audible clicks. "You did all that could be done."

Eddie wouldn't say there was honor in his death. This was as far removed from honorable as anything could be. More sounds escaped the albino. "Tallulah is safe." He had no idea how he was going to tell her about this. The sounds grew weaker, Eddie put his hand on the Orca's side pressing as tightly as he could since the other had no hands for him to hold to. "I'll tell her that it's okay for stone faces like her to laugh sometimes too."

The mammoth mouth opened and spewed forth something small as a pebble, which Eddie was quick to scoop up and thrust into his pocket despite the blood that coated it. The great mouth worked again forming audible words deeper than an earthquakes rumble. "I don't understand why this happened to us..." Unfortunately for the speaker, he would never get to hear the answer.

"Cuz we were born, kid." Curiosity had pulled at the quartet bringing them, hesitantly, closer to Eddie. They stopped with a visible flinch when he turned his eyes towards them.

"Please, we need to know what's happening here, and out there." The woman's voice was soft, a breathy hint tinged with fear and... interest. Under different circumstances he might have admired the courage it took to overcome her trepidation. Eddie lowered his hand to the sand to lever himself up. He wouldn't use the body for that, it had been through enough.

"It is said that when the first of our kind, the first of the Selkie emerged from the water to walk upright, she too was surrounded by enemies with razor teeth and ravenous appetites. Looking back...not on the past, just on where I've come from I begin to believe it might be true." He turned to face them, not caring that the front of his jacket was open. Had it not been for the gasp from the woman he'd not even have remembered.

"In the stories, she's always helped by the mother..." As he talked the coat shifted, disappearing in a faint shimmer of air leaving him bare chested, but wearing a pair of leather trousers of the same color. "A few skills, the encouragement she needed when she was afraid. It's said she had companions, but we never get to know who they were. Names lost to time...if any of it was ever real." He moved toward them, more an attempt to get a clearer view of the devastation along the beach.

"I wonder how long they'll remember the details of this? Will they know about Oralea, who'd been initiated into the sisterhood on her fifth birthday merely a month back? That she was so terrified when the attack hit her pod that she ran as fast as she could swim? Will any of us remember Owain..." His hand stroked the dry flesh of the albino. "How he charged after her as fast as he could, only to catch up too late and be surrounded? He managed to fight his way free... he was strong despite his youth. By then more than two dozen had been separated from their parents. Owain swam at their head, desperately trying to cut a path through. He was the only fighter among them, his enemies too many... what more could you expect from a twelve year old kid?"

Eddie held onto his resolve, the woman had asked and he would finish his tale. "You want to know what happened, but refuse to look around you and see it. Children died because they were too wounded and too weak to change, and disappear into the city."

"Why?" The question came, perhaps surprisingly so, from the Watchman.

Eddie bit the inside of his cheek hard enough to draw blood, it hurt but he managed to keep his control. Even if it did require him to squeeze his eyelids together to hold on. "You wouldn't understand, can't begin to comprehend this." He turned away from them, walking further up the shore towards the city.

"Try me!" It was the Watchman again, daring Eddie to give up his secrets.

"They believed too hard." He stopped, his hand clutching the railing of a set of stairs up to the street.

"What did they believe in?" It was the bearded one who asked that question. Eddie remembered the sound of his voice from when he'd come ashore. Something about the question set him into motion again.

He was all the way up the steps before he said anything, and there was no way the four of them would have heard his soft reply. "In me." He wanted to be away from that place, away from the scent of blood and death. He wanted to be behind the wheel of the purple Roadrunner with his foot pressed to the floor and the sound of base drowning out everything. There were people he could have called to come get him, one in particular would probably drop everything and run even if she accidentally burnt the carpet with a candle in doing so. The penthouse wasn't that far, a ten minute walk... even without shoes.
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Tahlia Faras
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 155
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Can Be Found: Here and there, depends on her mood
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zombie

Another head hangs lowly
Child is slowly taken
And the violence caused such silence
Who are we mistaking?
But, you see it's not me
It's not my family
In your head, in your head
They are fighting
~ Bad Wolves

There was no-one in Seaside who was unaware of the sudden change in the shore, and more than a few who could look down on the carnage from their windows. The Watch could close access from land, and sea, but the air was clear, even if the setting sun could trick the eye into forgetting why the water was that shade of red. Of those, only one, perhaps, had reason to remain glued to the sight. Up on the deck of her penthouse, Tahlia had been watching since she'd first caught sight of the fins in the water, since the first pieces had hit the shore, and the water had started to change. So much blood could hardly fail to escape her notice. But that wasn't why she'd sat for hours, leaving only briefly for bourbon and a stuffed seal before taking up position in a chair that had perhaps been placed there just to let the little blonde watch the beach.

Tahlia wasn't sure why she kept vigil - there didn't seem to be any schedule to Lula's delivery runs, and Eddie would be stuck on the island for ages still - confined for training. But something held her there, the bourbon disappearing as the water went from tinged to saturated, crimson waves staining the sand and leaving body after body in their wake. From here, she couldn't see details, but she knew, at least, none of them were a leopard seal larger than any had a right to be. They weren't her seal. Somehow, she knew that she would know if he was there among the dead. She could just hear the news, left on inside the open doorway, but she didn't look back. Blood had no horror for her, but she didn't need to see any closer, and she wouldn't recognize anyone but Eddie in their changed form anyway. She just sat, plush toy held to her chest, the glass of bourbon rising periodically to her lips.

She stayed that way as the sky darkened, and the glass made fewer trips. Stayed as the seal slid to her lap, one hand resting on it's fake fur, and not nearly as soft or warm as what it stood in for. Without her realizing it, her eyes closed, and her body shifted, until she was curled on the cushions, one arm curled around her safety plush, and the other tucked under her head.

Maybe it was a little further than he remembered, or perhaps he had lost a step somewhere along the way. It took him longer to make that walk than he thought it should have. Horns sounded as they passed him by, not that Eddie blamed them. He looked like some homeless vagabond and this was not a place such things were tolerated lightly. He barely paid attention to them, it would have gone badly had someone actually stopped rather than honk and drive. He entered through the parking garage, the place had a pretty strict no shoes no shirt policy and he wasn't wearing either. The length of cord around his neck held a disk shaped medallion, the slap of it against his chest offered strange comfort. The elevator didn't stop on its journey up to the highest reaches of the building to let any other passengers into the car. Small favors, Eddie didn't really want to see just anyone.

He slid the key into the lock, wondering for a moment if he'd find himself interrupting anything. A moment's hesitation revealed nothing to his ears. Had there been anything, he was sure he'd have pulled the key back out and gone...somewhere. A deep breath was taken and held as he turned the key and then the knob. Things hadn't changed much, most of the smells were familiar, even comfortable. He could already tell where she was, Tahlia had left the door open to the balcony. A lot of scents came from that direction, hers was clear and close. Eddie moved with a lightness that someone his size shouldn't be able to achieve, across the room and back outside. There was in him an urge to wake her, that kind of thing never really went away. Instead, he pulled a chair around to face hers and settled into it, content for now to simply watch her slumber.

Anyone who didn't know her might comment on how angelic she looked, blonde hair coiled between hair and arm, and those wide green eyes hidden by lid and lash. Delicate features were bathed in the last fading rays of the sun, although most of her was hidden beneath an oversized t-shirt that might still smell vaguely like the man watching over her, and a pair of yoga pants. She hadn't expected to fall asleep, and the tight curl of her form relaxed as the breeze stopped bringing goosebumps to her arms.

For a few minutes, it seemed she would just keep sleeping, although a smile touched her lips, and she snuggled the stuffed seal closer. Those stunning eyes stayed closed, but her head turned, just a touch, and the smile widened, her free hand smoothing over the cushions and toward him, reaching, as a single words purred from her lips. "...Puddin..."

Eddie knew what was expected of him, he'd already formed words around something cocky to say. Should I be jealous? It was foreseen perhaps, but that wasn't why he didn't say the words or put on the knowing half smile. Too many other words flowed through his head, the interim between his arrival and her awakening had been miniscule, but how much time did thought really take? Not much if you're the kind of person who always has a response.This time he didn't. He had no words, none which belonged to him at least. He heard Owain's last jest at his friend. It's okay for a stone face like her to laugh sometimes too. The kid wasn't wrong, the girl fooled fewer people than she realized hiding behind petulance and stoicism. They were the same in that way except that Eddie had learned to rely on quick wit and a big mouth. It amounted to the same thing though, didn't it? The voice of his brother was in there too, something said months ago when the weather was still cold. You don't know what sacrifice is. Yet. Had he known, or simply guessed that everyone would come to such a realization? That question would wait long for an answer, if it ever received one at all.

Would you still say that I wonder? Veiling things was easier than trusting, it certainly hurt less...except when it didn't of course. It kept the bad at bay, a man could be happy that way. He just could never be close, never be understood, and any comforting would have to come from within. That worked just fine, so long as there was some inside to draw from.When there wasn't, you just...

Eddie slid out of his chair, sank to his knees burying his head into Tahlia's middle and began to sob uncontrollably.

That woke her with a start. The scent of him had merely infiltrated her dreams, the solid weight of his head against her ribs was an entirely different matter. Before she was fully conscious, she shifted enough to wrap her arms around his head, her joy at having him back buried for the moment. "Eddie...?" Her hands slid against bare skin, and her surprise turned to concern. "Eddie...where's your jacket? Are you ok?" Sneaky little thing that she was, she brought her legs down, and squirmed to sit up without losing her grip on him, or dislodging his head from her middle.

Bending her head to his, she breathed him in, closing her eyes and letting her hands roam, those indefinable senses of hers holding their breath for any hint of blood.

"They're dead, baby... they're all dead." Eddie's voice was muted by his current position, not that it would have been easy to understand him in this state anyway. She was worried, about him physically and otherwise. That much was obvious by the questions she asked. He wanted to reassure her, but he wasn't really okay. He was in one piece to be sure, having proven once again that the moniker Fast Eddie meant more than what people believed when he said it. He did the one thing he knew would help, transforming the pants he'd worn back into the trademark jacket right beneath her probing hands.

"It isn't right... one thing to kill a man or a woman. All you do is break the past, but to kill children, they've stolen the future." That had been the intention all along, and he hated them for it. There were just too many of them for him to take by himself. Two at a time, maybe three though that would be pushing it even for him. He did only have two eyes after all. It had happened too quickly, he'd been too far away. They'd all been too far away, expecting things to go differently, believing that the size of the Whalekin to be its own deterrent. They'd misjudged the malice, the alliance with the Rokea, and the ferocity of the attack when it had come. They'd believed differently...he had, and now that it was done the real ache was taking hold of him. He looked up his vision blurring the form of Tahlia, but he knew where her eyes were even if he couldn't see if they were judging him.

The pale green eyes that met his held no judgment, just a slight shimmer of relieved tears. He was, at least physically, unharmed, and for a moment, that was the only thing that held her focus. One hand left his shoulders, and cupped his jaw, her thumb smoothing away his tears, or at least the ones that already soaked his cheeks. "Lula?" She'd grown almost grudgingly fond of the young selkie, and suspected she wasn't the only one. "You did all you could. I couldn't see everything, but I could count fins. There were so many... you couldn't take them all by yourself, baby... how could you?"

Just one of the Rokea had been enough to nearly cow her, only her faith in Eddie had allowed her to hold her ground. Right now, he needed her to hold him, and remind him who he was. Bending over him, she touched her forehead to his, just at the spot where Nim had placed the mark, and closed her eyes. "But you're not alone. I promised, remember? I'm right here..."

"She was fine when we separated, I wouldn't let her follow through that. Sent her in dockside." She might be making her way there, but somehow Eddie suspected she had a stop of her own to make first. "A lot more aren't...at least one is going to break her heart I think, despite how much she said he annoyed her." Eddie closed his eyes and took a deep breath. It would be a simple thing to give in again, not that he was opposed to simple of course it was better not to this time. "Maybe I couldn't, I did nothing. I didn't have time to try, not with so many stranded." It was bravado, not entirely false, he knew his limits he just refused to accept them most times.

He reached for her pack of smokes and stole one, lighting it with the lighter sitting next to the pack. "I know you're here for me. But this'll get worse before it gets better. Assuming that voices of reason don't manage to sway opinions." He drew down on the cigarette, exhaling a cloud of bluish smoke into the air. "They managed to drive a wedge between us out there. I can't...couldn't... " Eddie shook his head trying to dislodge the memory of what went on beneath the waves. "The fastest of us went to warn the others... except me, I came here." He said it like it meant something important.

"They were focused on the beach...our beach. I didn't see any peel off, and the news would have mentioned...anything in Dockside." The little blonde took a deep breath, sliding a cigarette from the same place, and lighting it. "She'll make it. She has to." Tahlia couldn't say where the certainty came from, just that she knew it, bone deep, the same way she knew Eddie would always come for her. Letting the smoke twist from her lungs, she stared out over the water for a moment, the hand on his cheek not leaving, keeping contact as if to reassure herself that he was really here.

"Do you know how many deaths I've seen, Eddie? How many I've caused, one way or the other? I don't...I lost count. Or never bothered to. But I've never killed children. No one protected us, after my mother died. At least...at least you tried. As for them..." She could guess who they were, even with the separation. "We beat them at the temple. We'll beat them again. I don't...I don't know why they think I'm the stuff of nightmares, and I know Nim thinks I'm just some...land bound jezebel who caught your eye." This time, she leaned in, and kissed him lightly before letting out a deep breath. "You know what I can do, baby...so now...now we show them. If they want Misery Woe...they'll get her."

"She'll make it, hard to get close to the little banshee." He might have been referring to the sounds she made when he held things out of reach. Eddie shook his head, though he knew her question was rhetorical. It didn't really matter how many, or how long she'd been doing it. "I don't care what everyone thinks. I care about you." He held his smoke aside and drew her in for a long hard kiss.

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But now and then, a woman walks up, full blossom, a woman just bursting out of her dress - a sex creature, a curse, the end of it all.
― Charles Bukowski, Post Office
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Tahlia Faras
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 155
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Can Be Found: Here and there, depends on her mood
5365.06 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The chirpnbuzz in Eddie's pocket had him pulling out the culprit, he looked at the text message then to Tahlia as he put it away. "They're on the way up." It had been some time since he'd seen Reggie though that wasn't his aim tonight. He did want to see him, but there were things that demanded his attention first, and not the kind that he was going to enjoy partaking in.

Tahlia gave a little nod, moving smoothly to kiss his cheek, and wrap herself around him for a moment, a little bit of comfort before he had to do things neither one of them managed well. She wasn't about to leave him all on his own, although they'd both realized that at least the heart of the matter was better left between the two selkies. "I'll bring him over to the security office, he should be able to access everything from there. Just let me know when we can come back - otherwise you know he'll be there all night and we'll have cellophane wrappers everywhere." It was a pale attempt at levity, but it was there.

He managed to let out a small laugh, if only because it was true about the wrappers. The grip of her shirt in the middle of her back was the only indicator that Eddie was feeling anything beyond normal. "Something tells me it won't be long before I'm calling. I'm honestly not sure what to expect out of her." He'd envisioned it more than once and knew there were some things that were easier to deal with than others. Violence, that wouldn't be so bad considering the alternative, a sobbing mess of a teenage girl with noone around but him to try to figure out the right thing to say. That was kind of the opposite of his ability to say things. He was good for bringing those things out, violence and tears... but stopping them? He already felt lost. The moment's reflection was interrupted by the sound of the elevator, and a pair of loud teens verbally sparring. At least that was what it sounded like by volume.

"We're in here!" Eddie called out to them to help direct the duo onto the correct path, Mother knew what kind of trouble they'd get themselves into without a little adult guidance. He sighed and leaned over to speak softly into Tahlia's ear. "When exactly did we become the grown ups?" It didn't seem possible, not with all the antics that he and his little blonde got into.

She wasn't letting go until he did, and she rubbed her cheek against his as he whispered. "Dunno, baby. Clearly, we need to get out more. Raise a little hell." Which, given the last few weeks, hell, the last few months, ought to cause screaming terrors in the Mer that had seen what they were capable of. It had been some time since there had been a sighting of the psychotic sister of everyone's favorite hit man - good thing they had a trip already in the works. Not that there was much sign of Harley in the casually dressed Tahlia tonight. Just a little sparkle in those big green eyes as she tilted her head back to look up at Eddie, and grin.

The teenagers got louder, arguing about flavors - from the sounds of it, the ongoing, disturbingly thorough debate on Pop-tart cuisine that had only intensified as Reg had introduced the younger cosain to all toaster pastries could offer. "Ok...not going to lie...I am kind of looking forward to getting those things out of the kitchen." Hopefully neither aficionado heard her.

"Hey! That's cheating!" Reg's outburst came a moment after the sound of someone stumbling in the corridor and the appearance of Tallulah in the doorway with a look of smug superiority on her face. He of course was only a half step behind her, but glowering slightly at the girl in front of him. Maybe he was just mad that he didn't think of it first? He looked towards Tahlia and Eddie and managed an embarrassed grin. "Looks like we're not interrupting anything." His shoulder bumped into Lula's playfully, though it couldn't quite hide the fact that he'd put his arm around her...and pushed her aside. "This is a nice place...kind of Spartan... You should get some pictures or something... maybe paint the walls black?" He took a couple of quick steps away from Lula, totally expecting some kind of reprisal for the way he pushed past her.

With a quick assessment of their faces he sobered up. "I didn't do it... I mean unless I did, and I'm sure I had a good reason for it." It sure seemed like one of those expressions he was being given. "If it's too bad, I'm sure I can put it back the way it was." He could, if he only knew which little thing had escalated far enough to have his favorite people looking at him like the world was collapsing.

Lula might have retaliated, one hand shifting to return his shove, even if it was retaliation for hers - if those same looks hadn't pulled her up short. She'd gotten used to these faces, even if they weren't as dear to her yet as they were to Reg. But she'd never seen those looks, and immediately, whatever cracks her stone-face might have developed in the weeks of traveling back and forth sealed up in response. Whatever it was, it was probably bigger than Reg could manage.

Tahlia stepped forward, finally letting go of Eddie with a slow sweep of her hand along his arm, and a tight squeeze of fingers. "C'mon, Reg...wait til you see the security center here. It's like the center of a spiderweb. And you can even give me decorating tips along the way." She tried to crack a smile, something to reassure the tech savant, but it was a small, brittle thing.

"Uhm...Okay. C'mon Lula..." Reg started to reach out for her only to be stopped by one hard word.

"No." Eddie shook his head at Reggie. "Tallulah and I have something to talk about, she'll need to stay here." He'd said it more sternly than he wanted to, giving in to feelings that he hadn't known were associated with this. That wasn't really true, he knew he was angry, it just boiled out accidentally at Reggie. He dropped his eyes from the hurt look on the kids face, not ready to apologize quite yet. Not until this conversation had taken its course. He chewed on his tongue, listening to Reg and Tahlia leaving since he couldn't really bring himself to watch. Once they were well out of earshot, he turned his gaze to Lula.

"Do you want to sit?" Eddie's voice had gone much softer, which was likely better than what he'd nearly done, which would have been to command her to sit down like she was about to be punished. Then again, maybe she was at that. He walked to the bar and poured out a couple glasses of bourbon while he waited for her to comply or not. "Is he treating you...nicely?" He knew the question was an attempt to avoid what was coming as long as possible.

"Reg? I...yes. He's taught me a lot of things. About land-dwellers. Have you had - nevermind." She sensed, intuitively, that this was not the time to compare notes on land-bound delicacies. Sitting was still an odd concept for one who spent her time swimming or fighting, and she shook her head. "He says you and the landcow are his friends. That he trusts you both, and I should too. You - we are cosain, and roane, and there is a bond there, even if you do...resist submitting yourself completely to the will of the Clan, and the Mother." Privately, she was beginning to admire that, not that she would ever admit it. "I'm still not sure about her."

Lula's hands twisted slightly in front of her - Eddie being...nice to her was enough to make her even more nervous than the looks had. Without thinking, she looked back over her shoulder for Reg, and quickly snapped her attention back to Eddie, hoping he would mistake the flush of her cheeks for anger rather than embarrassment. "What's happened?"

"It's not nice to be disrespectful to people who've been kind to you." Eddie considered the pair of glasses in his hand as if trying to decide what the lesser of two evils was. He poured half of one into the other before closing the distance and putting the smaller of the two in her hand. He didn't yell the words at her, he couldn't quite manage that yet. "Reggi's a good kid, smart but there's things he doesn't know how to do. That's probably a good thing considering what they are. He's a bit... gentle and there's people who take advantage of that." This wasn't the direction the conversation was supposed to be going. Luckily, or unluckily she'd asked that last question.

"Give me your hand..." He could see the hesitation in her eyes and waited for her to resolve herself to comply. When she did he covered her palm with his own, and took hold with his fingers. "I have a message that I promised I'd deliver from Owain..." Eddie took a deep breath and looked directly into Lula's face. "He wanted me to tell you..." He tried to hold it together, but there was no hiding the welling up in his eyes. "That you need to learn how to laugh sometimes." That wasn't word for word, but it was what the boy had meant. "That he's sorry he didn't have the chance to give this back to you himself." Eddie released his grip on her hand leaving behind a tiny die with ten sides made from mother of pearl. The release pushed tears out of Eddie's eyes that he tried to hide behind a judicious partaking from his bourbon glass.

The roll of her eyes at the mild rebuke was pure teenager, and would likely have been followed by some level of smartassery. Would have, if Eddie hadn't asked for her hand. It took several moments before she complied, watching him dwarf hand and wrist in his grip. Confusion was clear, her eyes narrowing as he began to deliver the message. Lula had known Owain nearly her whole life, the two of them of an age, and only the fact that another cosain of his tribe had been caught by whalers off the coast of another shore had catapulted him to the full responsibilities before her.

"Why isn't he..." But she knew, couldn't help but know as Eddie's eyes welled up. It was the risk they took, and even traveling back and forth, she had heard about the culling. "No. No. He can't...he's so strong...he's supposed to..." Her hand clenched tight around the die, not something from their world, but this one, and collapsed onto a chair, the bourbon shaking violently in her other hand. "He can't be gone. He...we're..." Sniffling, she ran out of words, and held the die to her chest.

"He's dead, Tallulah..." Eddie took another steadying drink before continuing. "Him, Oralea, Jadin, Blaire, Scarlet..." The names fell from him like the breaking of waves on the sand, people they knew, all of them young. He thought he'd come to terms with it, that he could say their names to her at least without being overcome. He knew better as he rushed through the last of them, his grip tightening on his glass. It took a force of will not to throw it against the wall. "We made it out, You, me, Bo...others." Certainly more than had been slain, but Eddie knew this was only the beginning of what the Mer had in mind.

He moved closer to the young Selkie, laying a steadying hand over hers and peeling the glass from her fingers at the cost of wearing the contents across the back of his hand. "I want you to stay here, with us, for now. At least until the harbor is clear again." Eddie hadn't thought that far ahead, not in any way that would be called sane, even for him. It was his responsibility, and now so was the well being of the stranded little girl who was no longer able to hold onto her stone face.

Tears streamed down her face, no sign now of the mask she'd kept up for so long. The news that her mentor had made it out barely registered...others might fall, but Bo..Nim...they might as well be immortal as far as she was concerned. "They're just kids." Like her, even if she never wanted to admit that. "Were." Because now...now they'd never get old. Never grow up, find mates, have young of their own. They'd be young forever. "The Mother can't want this - I know they said she's angry with us, but she can't..." Another sob broke, and for a few minutes, the only sounds were sharp gasps, and sniffles.

Lula hadn't really noticed when Eddie took the glass away - she wasn't a big drinker to begin with, and his hand at least had the benefit of being warm, and not breaking when she squeezed tightly, trying to regain her composure. "Stay...no. I can't. I have to go help..." Help who? Most of the other cosain's-in-training she knew were among those lost, and she doubted Bo needed her help. "I have to go. I can't just...hide here on shore with the land witch and Reggie. You're going...aren't you?" She'd seen him in the water, of course, during training, and while she would die before she said so, she knew Bo was often awed by the giant selkie. They all were. An entire island of warriors, but there was something more to Eddie.

"This isn't the Mother, it's fear, and no... you aren't going to help. Hate me if you have to, but I won't lose another...not like that." Eddie's words had a note of finality to them, they had moved from request to command as though he had the right to assume it. He could feel the heat in the look that she gave him, but it was better for her to be angry with him than to leap into something that she really couldn't understand. Perhaps if she'd seen it she would, but had that happened he was sure that she'd have been lost too. There hadn't been any love from the teen for him, but he would be obeyed!

"I doubt anyone's coming. The harbor is mine, it always has been... and I will not share it! Especially not with a child!" He was always a good liar, the trick was to stay close to the truth. He didn't believe there would be a rescue from the others, or even a plan. Part of him believed that they'd simply accept the tragedy as being ordained by the goddess. That was the way it was all too often in his opinion, but he wouldn't let that kind of mania seep its way into another...not if he could save her. "Besides, Reg needs you. Unless you believe that the others haven't taken notice of him? That they can't smell you on him? Who will save him when they come?" It might be true, Eddie was sure there had been incursions from the sea, and that their targets were the two people in the room and anyone they could use to hurt them.

"Why would they want Reggie?" The idea bothered her more than it should have, and sometime when she was alone, and not reeling from the loss, she'd examine that. "He's just...he's landbound. Like her. What does this have to do with them?" Surely, the rumors were just that. And she could leave when she wanted. She just...didn't. The fact that she'd been staying longer was because it was a long trip, and she was learning how the humans thought so she could defend against them. It had nothing to do with ice cream and pop tarts, and a certain person. It didn't.

Lula shrank back into the seat, Eddie in a temper, even a feigned temper, wasn't something to be trifled with. But she wasn't trained for nothing, and anger was so much easier to deal with than fear and grief. "So, you're going to stay here, and hide in your harbor, with your
fionnadh talún
and let the Mer destroy our people? And you want me to stay here? I'm a child like you said, like all the rest - you won't let them hide here, why do I matter?"

"They'll take him to get to you, they'll make you watch while they hurt him and they'll enjoy it all the more because he's landbound. Tell me you can't already see that, because if you don't then you really have no business going out there now." Eddie poured himself another drink, sipping off of it before turning his attention back to Lula. "What is it that you think truly frightens the Mer? Our expansion? They're just as equipped as we are for that. It's the threat of a possibility that we may mix with the landbound. Look around you the next time you're out and actually see things for what they are. These people advance at such an accelerated rate while the seaborn are left behind." He'd said as much to Bo, to anyone who would listen and constantly met with skepticism. They were too set in their ways, and maybe that was the problem. Maybe he could only reach one mind with his arguments.

"I'm not hiding." Eddie reached out and took Lula's arm, pulling her off of the seat and towards the window. He pressed her to it a little harder than was absolutely necessary. "But I'm not a fool either. There's hundreds of Rokea out there... looking for you!" They were looking for him too, but still he wasn't hiding. He was simply picking his battleground, it just happened to be on land for now. The beach had been cleared of the bodies, the tide taking care of the smaller pieces, but it was still abandoned. "Because you're proof, little girl that we can evolve further!" He held her there for a moment longer before letting her go. His fist flexed so hard that the tendons were creaking. "Besides, there's still Bo, and Nim and a hundred other Màthair Naoimh out there. Here and now, it's just you, me and anyone else who happened to make it ashore."

Eddie ground his teeth and gave Lula a look stern enough to have been weighted chains. "And if they approach you... you send them to me. You are not to go off and put your ass at risk, I don't care if Jenny Haniver herself asks you to! Do you understand me?" He could have been a parent reprimanding their child. "You matter to me."

She didn't hit the glass because her training had her throwing up the flat of an arm to stop herself from cracking into it face first. It was easier to focus on the beach than it was to look at her own tear-stained face, the red-rimmed eyes and puffiness of what might be her first good cry since she'd arrived at the island. That he hadn't once mentioned the blonde, off somewhere with Reggie, didn't escape her notice. Not directly. And where before she would have greeted it with confusion, given the miles she'd swam with letters, she was beginning to realize it was a sign of something else. "But all our cosain are..." Her voice died away, realization dawning. All cosain - all the ones the roane had, at least - were half-breeds at least. There were rumors some were more, especially where both parents had worn the ring. She could see the fins, circling. The beach hadn't been open since, and she was still coming and going the longer route. Only this time...she wasn't going back. There was nothing to go back to perhaps. And she wasn't fast enough, no-one was fast enough, to make it through all of that.

"I understand." Here and now, even if he hadn't had the training she'd spent her young life acquiring...well, Eddie had a ring, and she didn't. As much as cosain were not generally much for rank, that mattered. Besides, he knew the land better, this place better, these people better than she did. Than she could. For now, she had to listen, and learn.

As if realizing exactly how he was sounding, and acting for that matter, Eddie did something he probably should have started with. It wouldn't be the first time he'd waited for that kind of thing. He gave Lula a sympathetic look, taking in the tears and the melting pot of emotions on her face he slipped his arms around her shoulders and pulled her in and held on as prepared for enraged poundings as he was for anything gentler. He didn't tell her that everything was going to be all right, it was already too wrong. "I know it's hard, that it feels like someone just gutted you..." It still felt that way to him when he dwelt on it. "But I'm here, we're here for you."

Eddie could have said that there would be a reckoning, because there would, but that would come another time. This was, in his opinion, too soon to make promises of retaliation that would do nothing to bring back the dead. He caught a glimpse of blonde and waved to her to indicate that the worst was over. At least he hoped it was, Lula could be unpredictable sometimes... at least when she wasn't imitating a banshee.

If he'd done it any earlier, she would have wailed against his chest and swung wildly, as if it were he, and not the Rokea, who had killed off her friends. Now she was too exhausted, too overwhelmed, to do much more than cling to him and sob out the last bits of ineffective anguish. It wouldn't stop hurting, it might never stop hurting - but she would do her best to channel that into action, and planning and...something. She would do something.

The blonde had come up alone, detouring Reg for snacks and sodas, as much because she thought they would be needed as to keep him from becoming the target of a grief-stricken selkie. If she was going to turn on one of them, Tahlia was certain she could take it. Reg - Reg would take it personally. Peridot met burnt sienna across the room, with just the slightest hint of bewilderment. Nevermind grown-ups, when had they become guardians?

Eddie made the universal gesture for Kleenex, mostly because he could feel the wet spot on his shirt and knew that they'd be necessary. He stroked Lula's hair soothingly a few more times, taking the box from Tahlia and putting it into the teen's hands. "Here... you wouldn't want Reggie to see you with snot all over your face." It was a poor attempt at a joke, but something told him that it was true regardless. He even turned to give her a place to hide when Reg finally made his sweets laden way into the room.

Reggie knew he'd missed something, because Lula never looked like that with him. His brows furrowed accusingly at Eddie while he set the tasty treasure hoard onto a table and promptly forgot them so that he could insinuate himself between the two selkies. Instinct had him brushing at a stray tear on Lula's face, and then turning to the two adults for answers. "What did you say to her?" His tone was demanding and protective at the same time, he'd never taken it with either of them before. Of course he'd never seen Lula break down like that before, especially when they'd had such a good time getting there, tripping and pushing aside. Those were still things that made them both laugh. Well he laughed, Lula usually just looked triumphant, which he had figured out meant the same thing.
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