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Forums » General Roleplay » Trick or Treat: The Mysterious Maze (Closed)

Alder (played anonymously)

The Story So Far: A group of strangers each received a black bag with their first initial on it from a woman named Madam Malzene.

They traveled left down a long hall towards a red room.

Inside, a hypnotic fire dancer performed with the most volatile element, then warned the group by reciting a reminder about restraint, exemplifying it with a dance about controlling one's passions lest they be "consumed". She also gifted chocolate covered peppers, and for Dmitri, a pair of calligraphy stones. When the next pair of paths opened, a doll strangely similar to him in appearance was displayed hanging by its feet, stuffing spilled from its mouth.

They wandered right through a series of winding halls, roundabouts, and dead-ends lit by emerald lanterns.

They entered the domain of a heavily tattooed "serpentine" contortionist, who performed with trees, ropes, and actual snakes. In the end, he reminded them of loyalty's importance, speaking of being true to one's self and one's kind. He gifted the group with scorpions in hard honey candy, while Dorothy specifically was granted a rattlesnake charm with an actual piece of tail, said to scare off snakes (or at least, the rattler sort).
1LdW5gh.gifThis thread is just for fun, not to be taken too seriously! You may play a character from 1837AD and onward so long as they don't bring along any future technology. If coming from 1920's+ or sci-fi settings, write as though they're attending a themed event. Players can treat this as canon or non-canon for their character. As we progress, there's a chance our party could come away with gifts, which characters can of course keep for future RPs! The spookiness will stay on the light side: think Diet Twilight Zone. In-character, however, attendees are required to be 16+ due to the "Potential for Disturbance".

IC costumes are mandatory!
Happy New Year everyone! We're bringing this back. Every day is Halloween in my house ;)


The Victorian people were enamored by the macabre. With their glorification of the supernatural and superstitions, Penny Dreadfuls thrilled and delighted them. It was a time of mesmerisms and seances, where the "gutter press" eagerly exploited the fear inspired by grisly murders. Poor persons turned to terror to distract them from their difficult lives, while the rich indulged to ward off the boredom of propriety. An autumn carnival seemed like just the distraction the city desired. Yet in spite of all the rides and games abound, most whispered of these peculiar posters:

DEAR CITIZENS: a dynamic duo in showmanship, brothers Alcock and Hitchfred have humbly prepared for you a cornucopia of curiosities. What THRILLS await around any given corner? What MYSTERIES lurk in these twisted halls? Come! Enter, if you dare:



A woman waited at the fair's heart. She sat in a small cage bedecked with ribbons and curtains, poised upon a plush chair, an aged wooden chest resting in her lap. She watched the group gathering with odd eyes: icy blue, oval of pupil, and scarcely ever blinking. Covered from head to toe in fine silks, only that strange leer- set in ghastly grey skin- could be seen through the gap in her veil. Madam Malzene spoke with with an accent of indiscernible origin, voice rough with a smoky lazy drawl, like the purring of cat. "The House has three rules: stay together. Respect the hosts. Never try to break the maze. Are you prepared...?" Behind her containment waited a massive circus tent, its yawning entrance revealing nothing more than a hallway walled with patchwork planks of wood that ended in a fork.

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Dorothy Parsons (played by Juls)

Dorothy couldn't help a bit of a grin that came to her face as Madam Malzene outlined the rules... as if there were any real danger here. It was all just a bit of fun, right?

The blonde woman was dressed in a black robe with a black witch's hat on her head, a black lacy veil partially covering her face along with some green face paint ... just in case. She didn't think her face had made it onto any 'wanted' posters here, but it never hurt to be careful.

Bobby wanted them to scope out the carnival, see where the cash boxes were kept and where there might be security measures in place. But she didn't see no harm in taking the tour of this 'mysterious maze' in the meantime. Flinch... spoilsport that he was, didn't want to come along, even after she'd teased him that he was just yellow. Fine... she'd go in alone.

She didn't have her pistol belt with the matching set of Schofields tonight, which felt... odd. But at least she'd stowed a small derringer in her belt beneath the witch's robe just so she didn't feel so ding ... naked!

"...Are you prepared...?"

"We're shakin' in our boots, Ms.. er ... Madam Malzene!" she said, feigning an overly exaggerated mock fright.
Priscilla (played by Bookworm)

“Mother is going to be furious, Cilla…”

“Tit for tat, Ren, tit for tat. A little flour for a little merriment.”
A low chuckle left the maiden, waving her hand in dismissal as the other handed off a leather strap. The black hound that was connected to the other end seemed more or less annoyed, shaking his head at times in attempt to be rid of the goat horns that had been strapped over its ears, only to be fixed by one of the two youths.

One, the shortest of the duo, was a boy dressed in black trousers and a stitched-up coat with grey and black patches, his own set of horns pressed into his forehead. The other, a maiden that was fresh in her womanhood, was easily seen in the evening light. From head to toe, was she dressed in white. With white gold hair that was pinned into a disheveled bun, face powdered to a ghostly complexion with sockets blacked with ash. The thin frame was dressed in a near tattered white gown, one far out of style in the sake of fashion, that seemed to drag behind her on the ground like a trial.

“Now, Spring Heeled Jack, have fun and do not wait up. I promise I will be back before the festivities come to a close.” Thin fingers lightly tapped the child’s nose before the little dove fluttered away towards the ‘infamous’ maze before he had time to speak another word. Priscilla had a grin that spread from ear to ear, hands tightly held in front of her as she walked with a skip.

The black dog gave a warning bark in her direction, but it went unheard naturally. When something captured her curiosity, it was hard to deter the maiden from the crooked path. What was at the center of the maze, she wondered? A horror to beheld that would inspire nightmares? Or perhaps a prize that the group would greatly appreciate? What type of prize? A lesson? Sweets? Such questions raced through her mind with such speed, there was no logic behind such musings! The excitement could not be contained! Priscilla felt as if she was vibrating with emotion.

As silently as her spectral guise, the newest brave soul crept behind the woman that dared to answer the ominous question. Her head tilted slightly as eyes dark as night ran over the attire, stifling a chuckle at the hat and green face. What a cute costume!

“I seem to have lost mine out of such terror, Madame!” She joined in the fun, lifting the aged curtain of moth-eaten fabric to show that her feet had solely fabric that bound them for protection from the elements before quickly allowing them to become covered again. “I warn you, though I am not easily frightened, I do have a scream that would rival the banshee!” Another chuckle came from the small thing, shifting side to side a little as she found herself unable to keep still. “What fun this will be! I can hardly wait!”
Dimitri Smoak (played anonymously)

Dimitri approached the group soon after Priscilla. The lean Russian was dressed in all black, wearing a swallow tail coat, trousers, and worn out leather boots. Dark, abyssal eyes were framed by a black masquerade mask. He didn't say a word at first, but nodded warmly to the ladies already there. Then, a grin of his own was flashed towards the woman with the rules. "Am always prepared," he said smoothly in that rich, heavily accented, baritone voice, "Looking forward to eet." Now? As they waited, he'd take a moment to actually look over those beside him, smiling a little at the costumes. "Ah weetch?" he asked Dorothy. He had noticed the hat and robe but wanted to verify due to the veil. He stole a glance at the doggo before returning his attention back to his current company. Mr. Smoak checked a pocket watch he'd had hidden in his front pocket before tucking it safely back into place.
Alder (played anonymously) Topic Starter

Madam Malzene studied each face carefully, attention only straying to regard the black dog down the way. The gentle banter between her first two arrivals brought about a smile, or, one may assume as much given the way those odd eyes creased at the corners. When the third guest chimed in, she nodded her approval. "Very well," the woman hummed contentedly. "Please: your hands."

She coaxed them to reach between her bars, opening the wooden chest with a crisp click of the metal latch. When presented their palms, she fixed her wide eyes upon each recipient, holding their stare while reaching blindly into the box. A small velvet satchel was produced and placed into Dorothy's hand. Her gaze slid to Priscilla, where the process was repeated, and again with Dimitri. The fabric was soft to the touch and black as night. "Keep them close," the Madam cautioned, theatrically ominous. "Your hosts wait with gifts, but there are those in the maze who will try to take these for themselves." One gloved hand reached high, languidly curling its fingers around one of many ribbons dangling down. "Welcome, dear friends, to the Maze. I wish for all of you a safe journey." She pulled, the unraveling of a knot causing a curtain to close in around her, hiding Madam Malzene from sight. Should they inspect their black bags, they would find individual white letters embroidered upon each.
D upon Dorothy's.
P woven into Priscilla's.
For Dimitri: a small circle with a dot in the center. An eye?
Should they attempt to inquire, no answer would come from beyond the curtain.

Once the group passed inside, the churning carnival became muted, sounds muffled before slipping away as though they had stepped into another world altogether. Above them were makeshift ceilings of black cloth, while all around were those blank patchwork wood walls. Both branching paths ended in turns which would lead them further inward. The leftmost wall was illuminated by a red light, wobbling from what could presumably be fire. To the right, a steadier glow, shining gold like a desert sun.

The direction was theirs to decide, so long as they continued on together.
Priscilla (played by Bookworm)

The subtle attention directed to the dark hound that lingered was caught by the owner, who turned to wave her hand in its direction in a shooing motion. With great reluctance, it complied and gave into the tugging of the boy who was doing his best to move the darn beast. Now that her family and friend were out of sight of the maze, she put them in the back of her mind as her eyes moved back to Madam Malzene.

Priscilla would present her hand through the bars with no ounce of hesitation when bid to do so. Her head canted at the sight of the velvet bags that were given in return, blinking twice in confusion was she brought it closer for inspection. The thought of opening it never crossed her mind, for that would merely spoil the surprise. “Thank you, Madam.” She spoke softly in the polite manner that she was raised, holding the satchel tightly in her left hand. Eyes narrowed as she did this, holding it close to herself. ‘Someone would have to pry it out of her cold, dead fingers to take it from her’, she vowed in her mind.

“It is a lovely evening to become lost.” She mused aloud whilst remaining where she was as they were aloud entrance. It would be foolish of her to walk in first. No, no; she would wait until one of them entered before following dutifully behind. "Especially on a night like this.” Her smile grew as she said this, looking around curiously as the group entered the tent.

Her steps were silent upon the ground, each careful as if expecting an illusion to appear before them. When pausing at the fork, however, her smile fell. “My cousin told me to always stay left on a maze. If my assumptions are to be correct, that may be true, and the most inviting path may be misleading. Or, perhaps they wish for us to believe this.” A soft hum left her as she looked back and forth. “As much as I miss the warm sun of the countryside that was stolen away by this monochrome city, the forbidding route may be the best option. But we must come to a unison decision. We were told to stay together.”
Dorothy Parsons (played by Juls)

Dorothy flashed a grin at the other gal, not keeping any kind witch persona despite her costume.

"Don't get trod on then, else yer li-ble ta be screamin' that banshee scream cause yer little toe got squashed," she said, her own accent, for those that are good at that sort of thing, might be attributed to western Pennsylvania, but it was definitely tinged by a little bit of a Texas drawl that she'd picked up after nearly 6 years there.

She was actually very impressed at the length Priscilla had gone to for her costume. Dorothy had made no effort at footwear that matched her costume and still worn her brown leather boots that could be plainly seen beneath the bottom edge of her black robe.

"Ah weetch?" the blonde's attention slid over to Dimitri and she gave him an appraising look. Even partially hidden behind the black masquerade mask, he seemed the handsome sort. Tall and dark. But there was something about the man that hinted at danger, which only made him more attractive to the wanted outlaw. Maybe it was just his heavy accent.

She wiggled the fingers of her left hand at him as if performing some kind of magic... "That's right, dearie..." she said, making a small effort at the witch's character.

But their silliness was ended, at least for the moment, when Madam Malzene put the velvet satchels in their hands. She gave hers a quick inspection. The 'D' was slightly disconcerting. She hadn't given her name. Did everyone's have a 'D'? She looked over at the banshee's bag, noting the 'P'. And for the first time she felt some unease. Not for any fear of the maze yet. But to the thought that if her identity was known that there might be a marshal waiting at the end for her. But that was ridiculous, right?

She tucked the bag underneath the robe and into her shirt's breast pocket. The girl dressed as the banshee seemed to hesitate so Dorothy went first.

"Looks like it's lightin' the way to the cat house," she said of the red lights. "But probably don't make a difference..."

Unless Dimitri objected, she'd continue toward the left.
Dimitri Smoak (played anonymously)

The Russian cackled when Dorothy mentioned the banshee scream and a squashed toe. The cackle turned into a rich laugh when she wiggled her fingers as if using magic. "Will keep eye on you zen," he teased, "Last zing I need eez hexed."

He took the bag as well without hesitation but blinked in confusion as he looked at the 'eye' on his own bag rather than having a letter like the others. Did that.. mean something? He had started to ask, but felt it unwise, letting the question fall flat in the back of his throat; never making it to his lips. Similar thoughts had gone through is own skull regarding the taking of the bag, he dared something in the maze to try. The soot demon's attention shifted to Priscilla when she spoke of becoming lost and a smile flickered over pale lips, "Lovely night, indeed." What was the uneasy feeling bubbling in his gut? His own bag was tucked inside that coat of his, ironically also into a hidden little pocket against his chest.

Dimitri followed Dorothy's lead since she headed in first, those abyssal eyes ever watchful for anything that may pop out of nowhere. "Left, et eez," he agreed with a subtle shrug, having no objection. "Am fine with whichever way," he assured them, narrowed gaze darting along the ground as well on occasion as he searched for hidden traps. "I've faith zat even eef find trouble, we can take zem," he cackled softly, crossing strong arms over his chest as if to shield that pouch further.
Alder (played anonymously) Topic Starter

A bowed head had answered Priscilla's kindly manners, but not another word passed between the Madam and her guests before her curtain closed. Another waited to open for them within the maze, one of crimson cloth in the red room. As the company progressed down the path to the left, a soft crackle drifted down the hall, fading in just as the carnival ambiance had faded out. It grew along with the smell of smoke. There were no twists nor turns to the maze just yet, for the moment they reached the source of that heated light, they would come to find a spacious room lain out before them. It lacked the hodgepodge panels. Instead, the circular space was walled with more luxurious silks, all of slightly mismatched reds, oranges, and sooty grays. Tall torches were planted into the dirt floor, just enough of them spaced out to provide feeble illumination. Ahead, jutting from the wall, rose a crescent platform. That curtain of sanguine fabric would not remain closed for long. Once the first step crossed the threshold, it rippled open to expose a woman. She stood on the stage in a bed of ashes thick enough to bury her feet.

Blackish eyes, hooded in serenity yet reflecting the burning torchlight, accosted them with a slow lift of head. Her features were cutting, narrow, all angles and jutting bone structure, skin warm of tone that gleamed with an oily substance. A black bedlah, bedecked with hems of coinlike metal, fitted the lithe figure snugly. Most magnificent was her headdress: a manner of cap bearing a pair of long, thin, bull-like horns that protruded from either side of her skull. When the woman was revealed, music began to ooze into the room from all directions. The players were perhaps located beyond those fiery drapes surrounding them. It started with the exotic twang of an oud, followed by the steady strumming of a guitar. Their outlandish Host remained inhumanly motionless until there came the thud of drums. To these she stepped, as if controlled by their rhythm, or perhaps it was controlled by her. So flawless was the synchronization that one could hardly say the thrumming and the steps were separate occurrences, but rather a singular phenomena taking place across space. Her hypnotic dance blended with the mounting music to suppress the senses from all sides. Light, sound, fragrance, an ashen taste on the tongue, the reverberation of volume rattling one's core. They filled the room, just as they endeavored to fill one's mind.

The performer turned from her audience towards a torch, only to pluck it from its sconce to reveal it was some manner of baton. Her dance resumed, twirling the flaming rod overhead, side to side, behind her back. With a dramatic toss of head and arch of spine, she rose the flame high only to sink it slow into her open mouth. When removed, it appeared extinguished, then her lips parted to reveal a burning ball atop her tongue. The opposite end of the torch touched her teeth and reignited with the audible rush. In another feat of fire, the dancer deftly plucked a flask from the folds of her skirt, drawing from it only to spew a blazing arch with a turn of head. The heat of it rolled over the onlookers. Yet her goal was not just to drown them in sensation, nor to dazzle, but to give some gift. Wasn't it?

She danced with each of the Passions. From the sensuous sway of her hips to the vicious jab of fingers flattened like a knife, her movements embodied the rolls of allure and jerks of jealousy, the inward beckons of desire and charged strikes of wrath. Her movements were marked with complete control: while the emotions roiled through her in a raw primal expression, they did so at her will. The fire did not burn her skin, nor the curtains, nor anything save what she wished the flame to take. As the music heightened, one such touch involved the tips of those horns. Their ends lit and burned on either side of her head, the Host remaining focused of expression, without fear. Rubies which stuck to her skin, dangled from her headdress and earrings, flashed on her fingers, all reflected the fire with a mad crimson light. Bangles flickered and chimed with every forceful stomp or graceful wave of arms. The ash underfoot swayed with her, clouding up with the more aggressive moves, rolling in waves after each kick of her bare feet.
When the music came to a sudden stop, so too did the performance. Her stance was wide when her arm shot upwards, holding the baton in a triumphant fist. Its flames extinguished immediately, along with those still burning on the tips of her costume horns, and the only light which remained came from the torch posts placed around the room. The Host dropped down into a deep bow before standing tall and proclaiming: "With my dance, I offer you the gift of restraint." The abrupt absence of music left the air buzzing, its silence a vulnerable thing. Her voice filled it as the song had. "Know that there is great power burning within you. Should you choose to abuse it, rather than respect your strength with moderation, you will be consumed." Some may be glad to discover she had more to give than cryptic advice. Upon nearing the edge of her stage, the prophetic performer reached once again into the folds of her skirt, rummaging before holing out two fists. She looked between them expectantly while awaiting their satchels. Her attention fixed purposefully upon Dimitri, wordlessly implying there was something more to be said for him specifically once all gathered their gifts.
Alder (played anonymously) Topic Starter

((Hey all, quick OOC note! I threw a lot at you in that last post because I want to try and do a round per day, so we hopefully get through the shows before Halloween. If cramming the whole performance into one post was too much though, please don't hesitate to PM me, I'd rather break up and stretch things out than to make anyone feel overwhelmed. Cheers!))
Dorothy Parsons (played by Juls)

"Does kinda look like a fancy cat house", Dorothy whispered as the small group entered the silk-walled room bathed in torchlight. Or maybe an opium den. Probably not the effect the carnival was hoping to evoke, but Dorothy's worldview had been tainted and soured by her own time spent in a house of ill-repute.

Still, it was an entertaining performance, the woman's skill with the fire impressive and she found herself drawn into the enchanting experience, feeling the music vibrate through her own chest.

It was at the end, with the fire dancer's fortune cookie-like statement, that the spell was broken for her.

Dorothy almost rolled her eyes. Great power... riiiiight. She could appreciate the woman's schtick, but that was laying it on a little thick, she thought.

It took her a moment to realize what the fire dancer was waiting for. "Oh, hold on, I got it here..." she reached beneath the robe to fetch the satchel from the pocket of her shirt. She pulled it open with two fingers and held the bag beneath one of the closed fists.

"That was a bang-up job. Real ace-high," she complimented the dancer.
Priscilla (played by Bookworm)

The once giddy woman had now turned meek as the trio neared the red room. While it was an extravagant chamber, the heat and smell of smoke sparked mistrust within Priscilla. Fingers curled and twisted in their intertwined hold in front of her. Eyes sought out the source of fire, noting the placement of each tall torch in the room before falling upon the platform. Her head tilted slightly at the sight of the woman, drinking in her appearance as one did when enjoying a glass of wine. The capabilities of the woman’s physique could astonish even the purest of souls. Sparking raw emotion and inspiration. A spell cast without the aid of components.

When the act was finished with a fiery flourish, Priscilla clapped to show her appreciation and praise towards the woman, a gentle smile returning on pale lips. “Bravo! Bravo!” She spoke with excitement renewed, yet eyes dark as she suspected misgivings. The satchel that laid rested in her palm muffled the volume of her applause, remaining secure in her grasp. Once more did her eyes wander over the room, pausing only briefly as the Host spoke in riddle. A soft hum left her, narrowing her gaze as it secured the voluptuous figure on the stage.

“How familiar to hear those words…” She mused under her breath, a thin brow twitching as the image of a man in black formed in her mind. “One that I tend to ignore.” A soft chuckle came from her next, hands covering her lips. “Perhaps it would be wise to listen to these words of advice.”

The maiden moved closer behind Dorothy when the prophetic performer stepped forward with gifts. However, she did not venture closer to take whatever was in the opposite hand. But the way she stared at the only male of the trio; it was for him to take. Priscilla was forever patient; if there was a third gift, she would take it, but if not, then it would be wise to leave it at the hands of the other two. It would not breed hard feelings in her.

((Hi, sorry for the silence and ruining the routine. My internet has failed me, and so my posts will be a little less frequent. However, I am still going to post once a day. I would hate to ruin a good story and I would like to see where this will go!))
Dimitri Smoak (played anonymously)

While the heat and smoke sparked mistrust in Priscilla, it had the opposite on the soot demon. He loved fire and all things associated, for.. obvious reasons. The man was nearly entranced at all the playing with fire, tricks surely meant to dazzle and awe. He had a few of his own, but not nearly this enchanting. The look of wonder in that abyssal gaze was almost like a kid in a candy store, said gaze flicking to the others briefly to see their take on such a spectacle. He could feel his heart thudding with each pound of the drums, all too familiar with the raw and primal feel to her performance.

When the performance stopped, he blinked a few times, as if he'd been entranced up until now. As the others moved closer to claim the rewards, so did he, nimble fingers tugging that hidden bag from his coat. He too, noticed the way the dancer's gaze sort of lingered on him, speaking a thousands words without making a sound. He spread the opening of his satchel, his grip on it firm before he held it out towards the woman. There was no fear in that abyssal gaze, and the words she'd said to them prior, though ominous, had fluttered through his thoughts merely briefly; only to be stored delicately away as a fleeting memory to call upon later, if needed. Nothing consumed him, he cackled inwardly, unless it liked the taste of cigarettes. Okay, so maybe the Russian had missed the point? Or maybe he was just taking it way lighter than she'd meant it to come across. He made jokes of everything, it was how he was.

"Somezing to say?" he finally spoke up to the dancer with a grin, that rich baritone voice dripping with all kinds of amusement, "Am all ears." If that second gift had been meant for Priscilla, and not him, that satchel would have been tucked away again to await whatever words she had instead. He also would have no hard feelings in the matter.

((I work full time, nightshift, so I'm a little slow also. I'll try for once a day, and am also very much interested in where this is going.))
Alder (played anonymously) Topic Starter

Priscilla wrote:
((Hi, sorry for the silence and ruining the routine. My internet has failed me, and so my posts will be a little less frequent. However, I am still going to post once a day. I would hate to ruin a good story and I would like to see where this will go!))
Dimitri Smoak wrote:
((I work full time, nightshift, so I'm a little slow also. I'll try for once a day, and am also very much interested in where this is going.))
((You guys are totally good, don't worry about a thing 😌 Once a day is all I'm hoping for!))
Ben (played anonymously)

(I'll add more context to this. Just wanted to put something out before I fell asleep.)

One thing wild horses and outlaws have in common, there's a wrangler never far behind. Along comes one such man who speaks in capitals punctuates, reduced to a hushed cursive, heart humming like a faint whisper by the performance: fire, as brazen and roaring as that stretch of scorching desert out West in all her shades of cinnamon peel, autumn in all her beauty and power, vivid and shuddering, corralled by a deft hand -- a metaphor whose absence douses Ben's senses for a moment, leaving his movements languid and slow, as though in slumber, dulcet and dripping in soft silence, save for the clink of spurs.

'I must say, I haven't seen a performance like that in years,' he preludes, followed by the stir of a glove beneath his lapel, the philistine bows low beneath his hat to imbibe in his vice, his lip flirts with a crooked, charming smile around his bite, laying one pointed gold canine bare in the expression. The lingering smoke burning like caution to the gravitas of his tone as he addresses the enigmatic performer that took to his spine like a match and lit up his eyes with real interest. ‘Got a light?’
Alder (played anonymously) Topic Starter

A second, deeper bow answered the generous praise. Compliments caused the dancer's smile to broaden, black painted lips pulling back from yellowed teeth, oozing satisfaction. She presented herself with that same sly, performative air as the Madam- the sort which theatrically seemed to imply that she knew more than was spoken aloud. Had she heard her domain compared to a cat house, she showed no inclination to argue. Much like those dens of carnal appetite, carnivals had their own way of enticing the masses with sordid lures, and after all: her space specifically addressed the Passions. Any "strength" could come in excess. Confidence could become cockiness, righteousness led to wrath, even good intentions could be warped when spoken without restraint. Fortuitously, the second gift she gave was far less abstract, more mundane.

Seated on her haunches, ash-grayed toes curled over the edge of her platform, she was lowered so as to be near eye level with the visitors. Her hands turned upwards before fingers unfurled. The left bore a fistful of treats, one for each of them, wrapped snugly in cheesecloth and tied with twine. Should any investigate the parcels, they would discover their reward to be what looked like lumps of rich chocolate. These were, in fact, chocolate covered peppers of eye-watering intensity. Priscilla's quiet musings were given an encouraging hum, and Dorothy was answered with a wink, whereas that specific stare was reserved for Dmitri. Somezing to say? he had asked. "Something to give," she returned through a slanted smirk, breath bearing the smell of paraffin. In her right hand rested a pair of smooth oblong stones. Brickish brown with countless patterns, spots, and streaks of yellow-gold, they were a surreal item indeed. Should one examine them for long enough, their mind may trick them into discerning obscure shapes in the chaos of color. The dancer rolled them once in her hands to demonstrate how one worked with worry stones, then reached to set them down in the demon's palm. "The Cobra Stone," she explained, previously powerful voice now reduced to a murmur. "It is known, too, as the Calligraphy stone. This is an alchemist's rock, keeping one calm to transform hopeless moments into creative solutions. Let their weight always soothe you, to remind you of my gift in times of trouble."

A purposeful steadiness was established and held between their dark eyes, but the all too cryptic moment ended when Ben's request brought about a light bark of laughter. Drawing away a fold from her skirt piece exposed a series of small leather pouches strapped to a buried belt. Through these she rifled until a match was produced, lit, and offered outwards. "My final flame of the night," the Host insisted bittersweetly, tone lilting with... sentiment? Reluctance? "I can offer you no more light, only my blessings as you continue on."
Performance concluded and gifts given, she rose with a wordless farewell wave, arm arching in a slow outlandish gesture before three steps brought her behind a closing curtain. Her absence and the accompanying stillness cast a stifling silence over the scene. It was broken by the falling of fabric as a pair of curtains- one on each side of the stage- dropped down and opened up another pair of paths.

To the left: a black winding hall, with the weak shine of a single candle flickering feebly down the way.
To the right: a corridor which was brightly lit, but by a sickly green glow, each twist and turn illuminated by lanterns wrapped with dead emerald paper.

Before a decision could be made, a third fabric belatedly fell from the makeshift wall near the doorway through which they arrived. It revealed not a path, but a lone display stand. Atop the wooden pedestal was a glass box. Inside, illuminated by an overhead lantern, was a small doll- or perhaps a puppet- woven from black yarn. It was shaped like a little man, dressed in the tiniest trousers, leather boots, and a swallowtail coat. Fishing hooks pierced its round feet, suspending it upside down. Someone had cut a crude mouth into its dark face: all of the cotton stuffing hung from it in a motionless torrent. No amount of waiting, hollering, nor tampering would provide them with an explanation for this bizarre puppet Dmitri. It only stared back at the group with soulless black button eyes, cotton guts spilled. There was little to be done save select the next path.
Dorothy Parsons (played by Juls)

Getting a doll that resembled the Russian put together between the time they'd gathered at Madam Malzene's cage and now was a rich trick all by itself. Dorothy was suitably impressed by the organization of the show. But it was a macabre event, so she didn't take it to be anything other than theater meant to give them the creeps.

She gave Dimitri the same silly, slightly flirtatious grin she'd given him back at the entrance to the maze and picked back up the game that had started then. "A hex indeed, dearie!" she cackled a crude imitation of a witch's laugh as she wiggled her fingers at him again. Hopefully, he didn't take it as anything other than the fun she intended.

"Yinz wanna go left again?" she asked to Ben and Priscilla, dropping the fake witch voice and looking to the two pathways ahead. Technically, there was probably the option of going back the way they'd come and exploring the well lit path, but until they hit a dead end, she saw no reason to deviate from Priscilla's 'always go left' suggestion.

As she waited confirmation or further debate from the group, she fished the cheesecloth wrapped gift from her satchel to investigate. "It's chocolate!" she said excitedly. She sure didn't get sweets like that very often and eagerly took a bite into the candy. If she tried to save it for later, chances were high that Smitty or Bones would steal it off her.

Almost immediately, the look on her face changed from excitement to surprise and then a grimace as the bite of the pepper took hold. "That's ... cough ... like a brandin'... cough ... iron," she said. Her eyes were watering, but she forced herself not to spit it out on the floor "Need some ... cough ... Tarantula Juice ta go wit it."

Belatedly, eyes still watering badly and still coughing, she thought that the dancer's advise about restraint might have been given with the chocolate in mind. She'd let someone else take the lead this time, afraid she might trip over something on account of the ding tears.
Priscilla (played by Bookworm)

Allowing her suspicion to fall away, the fair maid stepped forward at last to take the prize. It was tossed side to side in the bag as she inspected the treat, catching the faintest hint of something bitter yet sweet. The idea of candy made her smile, the childish nature returning. “Thank you, Miss.” She spoke her gratitude once more, closing the bag for now to save the treat for a later time.

Eyes lingered briefly on the opposite offering made to Dmitri, marveling at the sight of the curious stones, before looking back around the room. How happy she was for him. No doubt it would not be the last.

A wave was given when they departed from the dancer’s chambers, now walking alongside Dorothy to the two new paths that laid before them. Priscilla hummed softly to herself as she looked left and right, only to have her concentration broken by the sudden display for the doll.

“How unusual…” Priscilla mused as she looked to the poor little doll. “As there are treats, there be tricks on the night of Samhain.” Fingers curled under her chin as she inspected the poppet closely. “Unless you are feeling ill or pain at the moment, sir, it is unlikely that it has been cursed. This is a mere harmless prank.” She offered her advice to Dmitri. Yet, while her words were kind and reassuring, a watchful gleam in her eye showed that something that was unspoken.

Clearing her throat, a finger was pointed to the right this time. “Ah… Until your eyes clear up, miss, I say we keep to the light for now. So, right. If it is a dead end, then we will turn back.” She voiced her opinion, now knowing not to enjoy her treat in the moment. “As well, for being so kind as for saving me from falling for the trick that was so cunningly hidden in the treat – I volunteer to take the lead whatever way we pick.
Ben (played anonymously)

'Very kind of you,' he replies and for some time, minutes, moments, some millennia or so it felt, the Dancer held Ben rapt--as though her hands were pushing the officer’s head beneath the bitter glug of the ocean--and the other’s voices reached him with floating, otherworldly dissonance. With the sudden eruption and clarity of a man nearly drowned, he barks in agreement with Parsons, ‘Left then,’ mundane words spit-crackling and burning with caution, his eyes the colour of mulled wine in the pipe’s rose halo, ‘Left into the devil’s lair,' or the road paved to a Pyrrhic victory, with all the breakneck abandon of a man who flirted too often with death.

(Granted, it isn't his guts spilling out of a doll like a bad omen).
Ben (played anonymously)

(( Do u think it would be worthwhile setting up a discord group for ooc? ))

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