Everything's In Solitude Except Character

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Joined: June 23rd, 2010, 1:18 am

March 7th, 2017, 8:23 pm #1

[Kiziah Saraki and Lili Williams continued from Death Is The Only Freedom..., GMing approved]

Oh God help her, it was all going wrong.

They had fled.

Of course they had. But it turned out to be for nothing, for the all-consuming inferno that their instincts had predicted seemed to, while still raging, be restricted to the immediate area. The cowardice installed by adrenaline had, it turned out, been for naught. But the area now had nothing for them, and to clear their eyes and their lungs, they kept a wide berth from the library. Lili seemed to be setting the direction, by virtue of some unspoken covenant. She had been to the area before, she had said. Knew the terrain. Strategic advantages were good, Kizi understood, but still, Kizi could not engage with particular focus. Their path had taken them to a steep array of slopes, difficult to navigate and untouched by most signs of prior habitation.

Where they were now was not friendly terrain. Kizi had, at first, neglected that. Every rustling in the leaves invoked not fear, but a spontaneous burst of activity, a sudden wave of delirious excitement, as her brain told her that it sounded like Bart’s breathing or Clarice’s gait. At one point, she thought she heard Bart’s voice. All deceptions, of course. Even her senses were exploiting her gullibility now. Clarice and Bart had probably, if they had escaped, ran to completely different parts of the island. For them to be in the same vicinity, would be a miracle, and those were in short supply. The only reward for her troubles was that she had fallen and stumbled several times, minor cuts and bruises adorning her skin.

Lili, though, kept her...on a relatively safe path, however. Prevented her getting too embroiled in treacherous terrain or hazardous flora. Not by sternly dragging her about, she didn’t really seem to have the countenance or constitution for that. But just by giving her a compass of certainty to follow. Someone to rely on who knew how to navigate the trickier parts of the slope. Lili seemed to have her wits about her, in a more coherent way. Not that Kizi could blame her. For Lili, it wasn’t like her whole post-abduction routine had been violently torn away from her. Lili had regained some lost property and secured an alliance. Lili was, of course, being decent and kind and generous and everything that was required by common morality and then some. She deserved that small victory. But still, Kizi allowed herself to accept that the fire at the library, if nothing else, had affected her far worse.

Probably. That may have been a selfish thought.

Lili had marked the area out an area as a good place to stop and get their bearings. When they reached a relatively level outcrop, separated from the rest of the slopes by what seemed to be the very faint remnants of a footpath, Kizi fell to her knees, assuming they had reached their destination. The shotgun, weighing on her joints, tumbled to the ground. Her legs, feet riddled with blisters, could not longer support the weight of her, her bag, and her weapon. She buried her head in her hands. “Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.” There was no consistent tone or timbre to her voice, jumping between pitches and emotions with erratic swerving, yet it never rose above a pained mumble.

“We’re all screwed. Clarice is probably dead. Bart is probably dead. We’re all going to die. Clarice is right. There’s no way out of here. We’re all going to die.” She blinked. A few tears. Not as many as she’d expected. “How can we get out of this when we can’t even meet at a library without some...accident or-arson or whatever?” Even after everything that had happened, Kizi found herself struggling with the thought of a malicious arson attack. However, the evidence, the consequences, were impossible to ignore.

Lili stepped in, not responding. Her movements emanated empathy and understanding, but she remained silent. She was in an awkward spot. Her actions were hesitant, uncertain. How selfish of Kizi to put Lili through this. How selfish of her to relegate Lili to being her caretaker. Kizi’s voice was too quiet to even clearly articulate her worries. How could Lili help when she couldn’t even hear the problem?

She found a way. Lili leaned in, giving her a hug.

By instinct, Kizi recoiled slightly at first, but not so far that Lili’s hug didn’t reach around her. She kept on blabbering, even more incoherent, a nonsensical spiel, any legibility lost when Lili came within earshot. An occasional apology, an occasional admission of uselessness, that was all that came out.

Lili carried on hugging. She wasn’t a natural hugger, KIzi could tell. Made the effort all the more appreciated. She attempted consoling Kizi. “I’m right there with you.” “I understand.” “I getcha.” “I’m sorry, I really am.” “There, there.” Nothing groundbreaking. Nothing eye-opening. But damn, Kizi appreciated the effort. To have such...compassion so close to her, it helped her calm down a little bit. Not much. But a bit.

The rambling became slightly more coherent. Still a mess, but the meaning was discernible. Clarice was right, Kizi was saying. Kizi had been stupid. They were all done for.

Lili sidestepped the concern, but addressed a more pressing one. “I think I saw the other girl by the door, so she's probably okay. They'll all be okay.”

Kizi nodded in gratitude. She was shuddering, but she had stopped the blubbering. Okay. Clarice was safe. Clarice escaped the fire, even though it came from her directio-

No.

No. Clarice couldn’t have done that. Kizi was being paranoid. Ludicrous. It was like when she tried compensating for her gullibility with overt scepticism. It was an extreme response. It was an insult on Clarice’s character to even ponder that suggestion. Why would Clarice have started a fire? She had no motive. None.

Kizi forced the thought out of her mind by speaking. “But...not for long. We're all done for. When...when I can't even rely on Clarice…”

Lili pulled out of the hug at this point, still sitting close to Kizi, the two looking out over the sea. An idyllic sight, really. Nature at its most beautiful, its most pristine. Kizi couldn’t find it in her to appreciate it. She was wracked with guilt at this point. She’d just insulted Clarice out loud. Oh dear.

Thankfully, Lili spoke again, preventing the silence from festering. “It's best not to think on these things. We either see 'em later or, well, we don't. Y'know how many people I know that I've run into while I'm here? Two or three. I'd be glad to spend time with any of my friends at this point, and a lot of 'em have died, but, hrm.” She paused. It was a familiar style of pause for Kizi. The sort of pause she did all the time, when she realised that her train of thought hadn’t gone anywhere worth going. Lili continued after a few seconds of rumination. “Either way, even if you don't see them again... I'd just be grateful, that's all I'm saying.”

Kizi sat up straight, hugging her knees close to her chest. Her cheeks were wet now. Somehow more tears had been going down her face than she’d noticed. She was conflicted. She decided to opt for honesty. “That...that doesn't help at all? I know everyone's going through it and maybe it's selfish of me, but...well, can't we just change it? Can't we break the cycle? Please tell me we can.”

Lili’s gaze joined hers in staring out across the ocean. The wait was long. It seemed long. Thankfully, a monotonous wait as one of the more pleasurable experiences during the island. Finally, Lili answered. “We can. They'll find us eventually. We'll find another group of people, we'll find more of our friends and we'll take a stand against this thing.”

Kizi turned to face her. “Really? You’re up for that?”

Lili attempted a reassuring smile. It worked. “Of course. Beats aimlessly wandering for the next some-odd days.”

Perhaps not the most ringing endorsement, but it worked. “Y-you don't think I'm being stupid?”

Lili shrugged. “I'm not the best barometer for what is and isn't 'stupid', but I do think it's noble enough a cause to follow, y'know?” Again, it was hardly unequivocal, and in most circumstances the doubt would have given Kizi pause, or a desire to enquire further, to try and refine the idea to the best of its potential. But for the circumstances of the island, compared to the dismissiveness of Clarice, she would take that.

Kizi climbed to her feet, gathering up her things. Her little emotional outburst had been exhausted. There were things that needed to be done. To stay alive and to break the system. “Okay then. Sorry about that. Right, so, I was thinking, first order of business, we get a kind of way of establishing a perimeter that's portable, y'know? Oh, and before I forget, did you say you were travelling with people? Tell me about them!”

And with that, they set off.

[Kiziah Saraki and Lili Williams continued in Drawn To The Blood.]
V7 peeps:
Nick Ogilvie
Ashlynn Martinek
Bill Winlock
Camille Bellegarde

V6 peeps:
Kiziah Saraki
Bradley Floyd
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