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Season 3 thread written on November 28-29, 2014.

Note: This is a stub plot arc. The RPers involved are currently inactive.

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Runa: I don’t…I can’t remember…

Fire. Smoke. Scorching irons and tearing claws. Burning lights. Burning flesh.

Pain lanced through her head. Where…?

Eyes. Burned-out eyes, leaf-green eyes, pitch black eyes.

She saw the forest canopy above her. The light filtering through the trees, though sparse, made her squint in pain.

She…she said…

Her limbs felt like metal weights, but they were nothing compared to the heaviness of her head.

She said I was beyond saving.

Her eyes widened, white light filling her sight, a piercing scream tearing from her long-unused throat.

Fire. Smoke. Eyes. Scorching irons and tearing claws. Leaf-green eyes. Burning lights. Pitch black eyes. Burning flesh.

Flames filled her vision, filling in the lines seared into her sight.

Charred bones, charred skin. Charred teeth and hair and fingers.

Her hands reached out, scrabbling frantically for a grip. She pulled herself to her feet. Her mouth filled with the taste of blood as she bit down hard against the pain.

Slowly, slowly, using the sun as her compass, she began to walk.

Jake: Bloody footprints in the snow told most of the tale. The scorch marks at intermittent intervals told the rest.

Jake stumbled forward, hands stuffed in his armpits to ward off the cold. Muffled swearing actually seemed to help a bit… better than his breath at the moment.

Stumbling and tripping over nothing, he gasped in pain and glanced at his calf. Yes, the wound was still bleeding. No, the bandage was not holding. Sighing, breath fogging instantly, he got back to his feet, a steady limp keeping him moving.

Closing his eyes against the insistent pain in his calf, he weaved slowly through the trees, trying to find civilization… somewhere.

Runa: Blood.

Seas of red, pouring from her veins, dripping from her torn fingertips. Rivers of—

No. She shook her head fiercely. A trickle of red against the white snow, that was all it was.

She knelt and pressed a finger to the snow. The color smeared. Her vision was blurring, and she didn’t know why. Her hands touched her eye and came away wet.

Focus.

Fresh blood and human footprints. She knew what that was supposed to mean, but she couldn’t…

Her eyes widened in realization.

She pulled herself to her feet and set off on the trail of blood.

Jake: Jake cried out as he stumbled and landed on a patch of broken tree branches. They sliced through his makeshift bandage, opening the cut to the air. Jake sucked in a breath, and, hand clamping down on the oozing flow, managed to get to his feet.

To say that he was dressed inadequately for this weather would be an understatement. Thin pants and a thin shirt were next-to-useless against the cold, and no hat to speak of probably meant his ears were going to freeze off. He needed to either find civilization, or make a fire, but he needed to do one of the two before it got dark.

Shivering, he kept stumbling forward, hand clamped to the tear in his pant leg and the gash in his calf.

Runa: She was moving faster, now, as her muscles adjusted to the strain. Her eyes were wrong, though—something was off about the images filtering through her mind. They were too…too bright, and not red enough.

How long would it take to catch up to…whoever she was following? There was something wrong with her head. She couldn’t think right.

"Not long," she murmured, her voice hoarse and rasping. "Not long. Can’t be long…"

Jake: Definitely bleeding out too fast. The red stain on his lower pant leg had spread ominously, blood now freely leaking onto the snow. His vison was growing darker, both from blood loss and cold. He needed heat. Now.

Sighing, he veered off course to go find some sort of shelter. A clump of trees all bundled together, or something similar. A large upturned tree would do best.

Runa: It felt like hours, trudging through the snow, but she knew it couldn’t have been that long. Or could it?

Either way, the blood was fresher now. She glanced back at the ground and started. The trail had diverged without her noticing.

Seeing as it was her only option, she turned and continued on.

Jake: He found what he was looking for: an upturned stump; the tree trunk was long gone. But the root system should make an adequate shelter for now…

Struggling for a bit, he managed to pile larger branches from around the area to build himself a bit of a windbreak. Then, clearing away the snow as best as he could, he sucked in a breath, felt his chest grow hot…

A napalm-like liquid flame spilled out, collecting in a pile on the forest floor, instantly igniting the dead twigs not cleared.

Sighing with relief, Jake crept close to the fire, holding his hands out to warm himself.

Runa: Smoke.

Grey smoke rising from a burned hand. Black smoke spewing from a woman’s eyes. Red smoke obscuring her sight, leaving her lost and directionless. Panic overcame her. The lights became brighter, blindingly white…

Focus!

Smoke was rising from a…a stump, she saw, a stump a little ways ahead.

With a small cry of relief, she stumbled toward the fire.

Jake: Jake, now somewhat warmer, really needed to fix his bandage. Taking the sticky, mostly red patch of cloth, he grimaced as he tried to reapply it to his leg. When it touched, he sucked in a breath.

"Ah gods that hurts….." And then he noticed he really really needed water.

Stuffing his face with a pile of snow, he then set about rinsing the bandage off. His plan consisted of piling snow on his bandage, then pushing the pile close to the napalm fire.

Gods above, he was cold. Shivering involuntarily, he breathed a bit more napalm onto the fire.

Runa: The man whose trail she was following—no, no, had been following, get it together—was right there, but more importantly, there was a fire, and—

Fire. Crimson fire, crimson blood. Crimson flesh beneath skin. The taste of muscle and sinew and bone.

A spike of pain shot through her skull and she fell forward into the clearing.

Jake: Jake was about to put the patch back on his leg when someone abruptly fell into the clearing.

"WHOA WHOA oww…" Clutching his calf, he backed away from the newcomer. "Who are you??!?!?!"

Runa: "I…I don’t…" She shook her head helplessly. "I c-can’t remember anything, except…my name is Runa."

Jake: Jake watched the newcomer warily. “Well… Hi, Runa… I’m Jake.” A flicker of concern gleamed in his eyes. “… you okay? ‘Cause walking in the woods in the middle of winter alone isn’t exactly the healthiest way to spend your time…”

Runa: "I d-don’t…I don’t know." Her eyes were wide and panicked.

Jake: Okay… okay… I can handle this. She’s just… not remembering… or something…. "Th… That’s okay. Uhhh…" He ran his other hand through his hair. "Um… you can sit… I won’t bite."

Runa: "Thanks." She took a seat near him, staying a little ways away from the fire.

Jake: Sitting back down again, Jake gingerly applied the now-mostly-clean bandage to his calf, hissing at the small pain. The wound was finally beginning to stop bleeding, but a small flow still leaked. Wrapping it tightly around his leg, he sat back, rubbing the feeling back into his arms.

Runa: Her gaze flicked around the area. “What are you doing in the woods?”

Jake: A small grin flickered over his face. “Touche. I’m trying to get back home. I was, ah, dumped here by my dad, mainly because he wanted me to actually get out of the house, and stop annoying my sisters… I just want to get home.”

And why did I just tell her that…. Shaking his head, he blamed it on the cold. It was making even thinking difficult to do.

Runa: "Wait, wait…" She gave him a vaguely incredulous look. "He what?"

Jake: "He dumped me in the woods. Why? I used to be dumped in the woods all the time as a kid. Though… usually from lower down." He poked the still-burning napalm with a stick he had retrieved earlier.

Runa: "You…what…" She shook her head, trying to clear out the red spots in her vision. "What did you do?"

Jake: "I broke something that was my sister’s… actually, I melted it… and that was sort of the last straw." He put his hands near the flame, trying to get warm.

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