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Forums > General Roleplay Forum > Trick-or-Treat: Are You Brave Enough?

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Maeror was loose in the Material Plane yet again, and she always took advantage when she managed to break through from the Shadow Plane. Her kind called it the Nether. She'd worked hard to put together something to trick and toy with mortals. Thought she drew her energy from the various forms of misery and anguish, she was always delighted when she got to invoke terror as well. With a mixture of persuasion, pressure and her own skills at possession she'd ensnared enough mortals to carry out her scheme. The dark fae was aware of a holiday coming up that would be a perfect opportunity to scare humans, and perhaps to work her influence over even more of them.

The house had been in the neighborhood for a long time, but it seemed like over the course of a few nights it had been turned into a roadside attraction. For years it had sat abandoned, falling into disrepair. A group of people in uniform and unlabeled work trucks had shown up to work on it, and they had made it into what looked like a haunted house. Since it was close to Halloween, people in the neighborhood assumed that someone must have bought the house, 'flipped' it into a haunted house, and they were trying to make money out of it.

It was two stories high, and made of brick. The windows were not broken, but there were cracks in them and the blinds hung haphazardly. The flowers had long since died and given way to weeds and brambles. The grass had been cut down so that it wasn't over a person's ankles, at least. The porch was rickety but sturdy, and the door was hanging open. Signs were in the yard, with garish words painted over them. "DO NOT ENTER." "CONDEMNED." "KEEP OUT." Flickering lights could be seen in all the windows outside.

Apparently the signs were only for decoration, because there was a clown at the door that was greeting people and gesturing them in. "Free of charge, free of charge," he said in a thin, high-pitched voice. He would bow several times and gesture toward the door with grand, sweeping motions. The man did not seem to be a very nice clown, the lines painted on his face had sharp points. His head was bald. He had the typical suspenders, over-sized shoes and patched clothes. The first room had once been a sitting room. An old box TV was against one wall, on an entertainment center with lopsided shelves. The chair and couch were full of holes. The ceiling fan was rattling, shaking back and forth seemingly of it's own volition. The ceiling fan was not spinning but the light was on, the shadows around the room tilted constantly. If one entered the room, they'd get the distinct feeling someone else was in there with them. The creak of a floorboard, an exhaled breath or a muttered word, would cement the feeling.

Yet beyond the creepy room, it seemed a party was being held inside. The tinkle of glasses, an upbeat melody and happy voices could be heard somewhere in the house. It seemed that one only had to get through so much of the scary parts and a reward might lay beyond. In place of decorations, there were signs on the walls that backed up such an idea. "Can you get through the tricks? In order to get to the treats?" The hand it was written in was very similar to what was on the signs outside. The decorations had not been entirely removed, but set on the floor against the wall. Faded paintings, rusted brackets and mirrors with pieces missing had been left around the room instead, creating a trip hazard. A door led yet further into the house, covered by a curtain that was gently flapping from side to side.

Avri ran with something of a limp, a desperate expression on her face as she rounded a corner house in the darkness hiding the town she had originally set out to trick or treat in. It had been sudden, as it normally had, but the attack this time had not gone in her favor. She couldn't recall exactly how many demons had fallen from the trees and engaged her, but the opening had gone as smoothly as it always had. Dodge and manipulate their weight and shove them onto each other swords, occasionally adding her own spinning slice to keep the battle moderated.

This time, however, they seemed to remain one step ahead of Avri from the very beginning. Still, she had managed well enough until she started taking blows, a kick here and a punch there until....the hot slice of cold metal pierced it's way across the back of her hand. A lucky shot perhaps, or a skilled maneuver, she couldn't be sure. All she knew for sure was it was that moment, with a shriek of pain and her blade flying with a silent thud somewhere in the field that she knew she was going to lose this fight.

It was just her luck too, that this would happen on Halloween of all night too. Avri had chosen to wear a

fairy costume
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for the impending trick or treating she bad been looking forward to, but the sad truth was the costume was now as trashed as she was. Torn, dirty, and with black and red blood splattered about it, the garment was ruined, which was just as well seeing as she doubted there was going to be any candy in her future anyway, certainly it wouldn't come tonight. Survival was the best she could hope for now.

And so here she was, running into town in the middle of the night, limping on one hurting leg and holding her injured bleeding hand to her chest with the other to keep her blood in. A fearful face of what was now more the frightened child than the bold warrior scanned the streets for somewhere to hide and lie low while her assailants gave up searching for her.

Glancing back as she hobbled on she verified she couldn't see the demons, nor could she feel their presence near to her, and so it was now the hiding spot had to be acquired.

'Free of charge, free of charge,' came the shrill sound of advertising from an approaching stoop, and it grabbed her attention immediately. She came to a halt staring at the source, a wicked looking clown called out inviting passerbys into a dreadful looking house that even itself contradicted the clowns claims. Through stinging tears in her eyes, she made out the warnings in posts out front, and would likely have questioned the sight in any other moment. Now, however, all she saw was an open door and another body. Even if that body didn't welcome a bleeding injured trick or treating fairy like Avri, it could still serve as a pin cushion to slow down an assailant should they return.

Avri ignored the signs on the lawn, and proceeded up the porch, ignoring the creaking wood beneath her as she did. She slowed her pace as she approached the clown, looking at him a moment with a desperate expression. Whether he noticed her or not, Avri chose to lower her head and quickly make an attempt to dash past the clown and into the house. After all, entry was free of charge right?

The clown stopped calling out invitations for passer-by, staring open-mouthed at the girl running up to the house. He made no move to stop her, simply watched her with a shocked expression. He did not enter the house with her. It took him several moments to collect himself afterward. He licked his lips nervously, his eyes darting about to see what might be chasing the girl. To anyone watching, it would be clear he was thinking of making a run for it.

The first room was dreadfully creepy, but the room just beyond was eerie in an entirely different way. After passing through the sitting room and the curtain, one would find themselves in a kitchen. The lighting was dim but enough to see by. The floor was made of tile with an intricate pattern one could hardly see through brown splotches. Was it dried blood? Cabinet doors hung from their hinges, swinging back and forth like they were waving a sad good-bye. The remains of a table and chairs were piled up in a corner. A dining room and a set of stairs branched off from the kitchen.

Maeror stood in the kitchen, waiting for visitors. The Shadowfiend was in her physical form at the moment. Her skin was a pale blue, she stood tall and proud in a black, floor-length gown. It had long sleeves and onyx gems glinted around the neckline. Black voids served as her eyes, her hair, horns and tail looked like they were made of thick shadow. A violet band with a pulsing violet light was on her left wrist. The area immediately around it was dark, as if it was sucking all the light from it's surroundings. When and if Avri entered the room, she put on a wide smile at first. Taking stock of the girl's appearance, her smile became more gentle than conniving.

"Is someone chasing you?" her voice was dignified and low in tone, and it had an echoing quality. "What kind of cowards would chase a child?" she asked, her nose wrinkling with an indignant disgust. "Do you need some help?" she took a step forward, the gown swirling around her bare feet. Strangely, as she walked one could hear the clop of hooves. "My name is Maeror," or that's what mortals called her anyway. The fiend's ears twitched, as if she were trying to listen for something. She gestured toward the exit that led to the stairs, and the door swung open on it's own. "You seem to be a brave girl. If you can get through the house, you will have a reward. And not just candy."

Avri hobbled past the clown, not paying them any mind and remaining glad he seemed to keep to himself as she ran past.

She continued inside, whimpering and whining to herself in pain as she limped along into the first room. She offered it only a passing glance as she moved through it, verifying through sight that no one was currently present in the strange and off putting design. It hardly mattered, she felt no demons here and saw nothing that could offer her further harm so far, and that was enough for her.

She sniffled as her head turned back towards the curtain, exhaling the drawn in air with a pained moan while deciding to move quickly into the next room. Certainly the front room wouldn't be the best place to stall out. No, she would out another doorway or two between her and the entrance in the Hope's of keeping her assailants not only that much further from her, but equally as confused as to her whereabouts should they decide to explore this particular building anyway.

Avri walked quickly into the curtain leading into the kitchen, slowing to a stop and twirling about as the fabric grabbed and entangled her into itself. She spun about a couple of times working it off of her head and costume's wings, so far refusing to let up the pressure she held onto one hand with the other.

As she finally worked it off of her, she turned into the kitchen and took a single step forward before completely halting. Her jaw dropped and the sound of air drawn in by Avri's gasp was clear. There before her stood possibly one of the darkest things she had ever seen. Avri stood frozen, staring at Maeror with fresh tears beginning to well in her eyes. While the creature which appeared to be almost constructed of shadows didn't feel demonic to her, the first impression suggested she meant to finish Avri here and now.

Maeror smiled gently, and her face manipulated with her words to not only suggest that she wasn't planning to attack the girl, but that she didn't approve of those who had assaulted her to begin with.

Avri stood silent, closing her gaping mouth and unsure of just how to respond to the first couple of questions. It was when Maeror asked if she needed help that her face broke. Tears welled earlier sprung forth from closing eyes, and Avri's entire face scrunched into a quick emotional outburst. She shook her head 'yes', then quickly attempted to reel herself in. She raised both arms up and wiped her face on her bare arms, sniffling again as she did and quickly working to compose herself.

"I'm Avri," she pouted out in response to Maeror's own introduction. Her voice sounded pitiful, as defeated and broken as she herself looked.

Her face met with the spectre womans again, hearing her call Avri brave and leaving the promise of rewards which seemed to include candy...the one thing she had set out to obtain tonight. While it really shouldn't have made a list with any kind of priority, candy certainly sounded like something that would make her feel better. Besides, she had planned on hiding deep in the bowels of this house anyway to avoid her assailants, and if in doing so she would get candy then she was definately onboard.

After a few moments of considering Maeror, Avri looked down at her hand wound again, reminding herself she needed to wrap it soon before walking over towards the gestured doorway. Her eyes remained on Maeror much of the time she walked. This might not be a great idea, but it so far seemed better than the alternative....besides, there was candy on the line now.

Maeror stepped closer to the side, and in doing so could feel that she had been interacting with demons. Her ears laid back against her thick locks, nearly disappearing within the darkness they provided. "Demons . . . " she said, her ears flicked several times and she looked around as if they might burst into the kitchen at any moment. Shadowfiends and demons did not get along, for the same reason that coyotes and wolves did not get along. They intruded on one another's territory. "They will not follow you here," she promised. The aura around the house would be one of warning, compelling them to stay outside if they didn't want to face extreme risk. "You are far more than you seem," her voice was solemn.

She waved toward a drawer, remembering a bit of cloth she'd seen in there. It was mostly clean. The drawer opened itself, and a dish rag floated out. When it drifted in front of Maeror, she gestured over the cloth and it ripped itself in half. The water turned on, one half of the dish rag wetted and wrung itself out. The damp cloth whisked over to wipe off Avri's hand, the one that had remained dry attempted to wrap itself around Avri's hand. Her costume started to fix itself as well. The fiend started to use some of her own influence on the girl, trying to invoke a sense of calm and trust within her, smoothing her fear away. It was an ability that depended on the constitution and vulnerability of her target, and on how powerful Maeror was at the time. Something was currently amplifying her power, one of the reasons she was hosting this 'haunted house.'

"A choice lies before all who enter this house. You can go through this door," she indicated the one that led into a dining room, "the room leads to an exit. You can choose to leave without subjecting yourself to the rest of the house, as it will test your mind and your fears. Or you can go through the other door," she indicated the door to the stairs, "and when you have gone through the rooms, you will have a big bag of candy and something to help you fight them next time." She snapped her fingers, and a patch of shadow appeared in midair next to her. It grew, and within it materialized a cape that was blood red. "Kha-Slevin de Leetha. This cape will allow you to attack multiple demons at once, escape into a pocket dimension where they cannot come to find you, and it will allow you to glide as well." A bag overflowing with candy appeared next to it. With another snap of her fingers, both items disappeared.

The door to the stairwell opened all the way, and beyond Avri would be able to hear whispers. Whispers that were tantalizing and intimidating all at once. A light turned on up at the top, though it flickered like almost every other light in the house. "The choice is yours. If you do choose not to go through the house, you may stay for a time until your feel your pursuers are gone." Maeror liked the idea of giving this child something to fight demonic entities with, and the thought of denying them their prey was also appealing to her. Out front, the clown was feeling a little shaky and decided to light a cigarette so he could calm himself. "She didn't mention nothin' 'bout this . . . " he said, taking a deep pull of the cigarette to try and calm himself. He kept thinking he could see dark shapes just out of his line of sight, but they never materialized. This combined with the injured, crying girl hurriedly running into the house was giving him a fright.

Avri was skeptical of Maeror....at least at first. The girl hadn't yet encountered an area she was 100% sure of that demons couldn't follow her, or access in some way. The idea that not only a perfect stranger, but also a wispy fiend of darkness, would suggest otherwise struck her as doubtful. This feeling was only further set into her mind given the recent defeat at the hands of the evil creatures which hunted her.

The child watched as the drawer opened, and as the wet and dry cloths approached her, she placed her hands forward as if to either recieve the cloths herself, or as though she knew their intentions. She released her hand and opened her mouth, portraying the expression of pain on her face with the inward hissed breathing and outward whimpering that accompanied the pain of manipulating the injured flesh. It was clear that the intention was wholesome, to clean and repair the injury, and so Avri watched and simply allowed the cloths to do as they pleased.

On any given ordinary day, the obstinate and headstrong Avri would likely be resistant to influential powers which helped to guide and manipulate her thoughts and feelings. Today, however, a perfect storm had enveloped the girl into Maerors ability. Not only was the fiend empowered on their own through the house in some way, but Avri was injured and defeated. Her loss at the hands of the demons left her very frightened, and she felt vulnerable due to both the injuries and the fear. This made her an easy target for the whims of Maerors influence.

Her breathing slowed and the tears stopped as well, she looked about herself and watched as her costume began to restore itself. A weak smile came to her face as she looked back to the dark fiend and she couldn't help but to feel lucky.....very lucky. Maeror had been just what she needed when she needed it, someone who would keep her enemies at bay and help to empower the girl with the ability to defeat them once again, and furthermore reward her for that training.

Her smile widened a little as the shadow explained what lie before the girl. She stepped forward and her smile faded into a relaxed and inquisitive expression as she stood outside of the door leading into the stairwell. She listened to the voices, and noises, trying to make out just what they were and what might be said by whoever it was creating them.

What neither of them likely knew for certain was the decision that lay before the child was made the moment Maeror's influence has worked on Avri. The girl trusted the shadow fiend now, and while it wasn't necessarily unconditional, it was enough that she didn't believe there was a trick involved in this offer, nor did she believe demons would be allowed or able to enter the premises as she had earlier doubted.

Avri turned back and looked at Maeror with a moments consideration. "Thank you," she said softly, then offering another light smile to the shadowy creature. She turned back to the stairway and her smile dropped. Staring down the stairs that led into the rooms which eventually led to cloak and candy a moment, Avri then carefully began making her way down the stairs and into the adventure.

Outside, the clown had gained his composure. He wasn't imagining shadows anymore, and was calling out to passerby to try and lure them into the house. Nothing untoward had happened in the house, he had assumed Maeror was taking care of the girl. He knew that Maeror was dangerous, though he didn't know if she would hurt a child. He waved and danced on the porch to try and get people's attention, working off some of the nervous energy that had built up.

Maeror remained in the kitchen, along with the cape and the bag of candy. Maeror had a warlock under her control for this little excursion, and she had noted the cape at his house before. He'd be very unhappy when he'd found she had used her amplified abilities to whisk it from his house. She didn't care, however. It was just collecting dust while in his possession, and she thought him a pompous fool. If Avri made it, the cape would be fulfilling it's purpose. Making life more difficult for demons. Both rewards were suspended in the air, revolving around the fiend as if they were in orbit around a sun. She had been happy with the choice the child made. That and the fact that her manipulation had worked. "You are welcome," she responded. "You must get through two rooms, and in the third I'll be waiting with your rewards," she called as Avri went on her way out of the kitchen. The stairs creaked every time weight was applied to them.

As Avri ascended them, they became less noisy. The wood was no longer dusty and warped beneath her feet. Instead, it was straight and clean. The railing no longer held danger of splinters, it had become smooth. Rather than whispers that were just out of earshot, laughter and the tinkling of glasses could be heard. The door at the top of the stairs was ornate, with a jeweled knob that caught the small amount of light in the stairwell and reflected it onto the surrounding wood. It sounded like there was a party going on just on the other side of the door. Music that carried an upbeat melody mixed in with the chuckling, voices and what sounded like glasses being rung together when people said 'cheers.'

When and if the visitor opened the door, the room beyond appeared far too large for the house it was in. It was a costume party, and a fancy one at that. No one's face was showing, everyone wore a mask. Wine flowed freely, and chandeliers hung from the ceilings. The glass that hung from the silver frames was clinking together, which had explained the noise. On the left side of the room a band played, and on the right there was a buffet. Directly ahead, there were a set of double doors that led to the next room. The only thing in the way was the crowd of people. Some stood together and mingled in groups. Others were in the center of the room, dancing. Many of the lights were stationary, but some were colorful and moved. They added to the atmosphere of the place. No one paid Avri any attention for now, all of them too caught up in conversation, drinking or their dance partner.

It was strange how as she ascended the stairs that everything seemed to change. She paid little mind to the alterations in the stairway at first, only stopping at the top of the stairway a moment to marvel at the lovely intricate door set before her. After the slight stall, she reached out and opened the door.

The room was huge, but Avri didnt openly consider the fact it might not really fit in the house. She did feel a little like she was somewhere else now, after the changes in the stairwell followed by the rooms completely different setting than downstairs.

It didnt exactly lack relevance, but Avri didn't much care either. The open party complete with costumed figures, food, and a band only cemented in her mind currently that the trust she showed Maeror was well placed. A smile crossed her face and she stepped into the party, glad now that her fairy costume had been repaired for thr party. Mind you she still bore the napkin tied to her hand, which still burned with incredible soreness, but she was able to now place that mostly behind her, or at least off to the side for now.

She stepped into the party looking around, not bothering to close the door behind her. She spied quite easily the doorway to the next room, but then there was also food here. Food was something that was always in short supply for the girl, largely because of her unwillingness to simply take food like she had seen others do combined with her lack of income and guardianship. She stared longingly at the buffet table for some time before returning a look at the doorway set far on the other side of crowd of people.

The decision was difficult, but Avri eventually caved into her needs. It was only the third room she needed to reach, and she was pretty sure there was time for a quick snack at least.

She turned and began marching towards the buffet table quick enough that her fairy wings flapped slightly as if she were trying to take off. Whatever it was on the buffet table she would likely eat, she certainly had a few preferences, but a history of being hungry made her less than a picky eater.

If left uninterrupted, she would stuff her face less than lady like with several snacks before making quickly for the door on the opposite side of the room.

For several minutes, it was like Avri was invisible. No on paid any attention to the girl. The band kept playing spirited music, some of the people on the dance floor were clearing their own spaces. Their movements were almost a blur, other people were gathering to spectate. Even though the drinks and dancing would have made many people warm, no one took their mask off. It seemed like no one wanted to show their face. The chandeliers and lights made for an otherworldly look with their red and purple glow. Shadows darted over the ground due to all the motion and lights.

The buffet was overloaded with a variety of food, even the pickiest of eaters would be happy with the selection here. Breads that included rolls, biscuits, toast and muffins were piled high on platters. Meats that included ham, bacon, little ham and turkey sandwiches, pigs in a blanket and steak were heaped onto plates. Trays bearing vegetables and fruits in aesthetic displays were on another table. Grapes, apples, cucumbers and carrots with dishes of ranch, broccoli served with cheese and spinach dip with crackers were available. The drinks included tea, lemonade, water, juice and punch. Ice sat in separate bowls. Then there were the desserts. Chocolate cake, brownies, cookies of all kinds, cheesecake, pies and even a chocolate fountain crowded the last table.

As the minutes stretched by, the people started to look different. Their hands became more claw-like, and they took on a skeletal look beneath their clothes. Bone and muscle bulged beneath their costumes. Eyes took on a sharp, glowing appearance. People began to look at Avri out of the corner of their eyes, with facial expressions ranging from distasteful to severe. The lights were gradually turning more red than purple, and they were also becoming dimmer. The laughter was starting to give way to an undercurrent of dissatisfied muttering. This muttering started to twist into growling and hissing. Shadows became detached from their owners, creeping across the floor.

People and shadows alike started to take on demonic characteristics. More and more of the masks had horns sprouting from them. Some of the party-goers, or they seemed to be party-goers, were starting to position themselves closer to Avri. The atmosphere had gone from carefree and cheerful to predatory and resentful over the stretch of several minutes. The slow transformation from people to demons was becoming faster as each moment passed now, a change that had been barely noticeable was now becoming more and more obvious. The door that Avri had used to get in here was no longer there. There was only a blank stretch of wall there now. Was it all a trick? Maeror had said no demons could get in here, and she had sounded confident and trustworthy. Then again, it all looked so real.

Avri thoroughly enjoyed the buffet table, standing on her tip toes to have to reach some of the items she wanted, while others were more easily reached from her position. She remained glancing around while she ate, not eating one thing in particular and moving about to sample different items. The meat products in particular were some of the best she had had, but everything seemed to be fresh and delicious, and the girl savored every bite she stuffed into her mouth.

She continued browsing the crowd as she ate, a developed habit she had thanks to the experience in getting jumped unexpectedly. Still, it wasn't until a crowd member seemed to look right at her that she noticed their eyes were glowing. The little ham sandwich she held up to her crumb covered mouth stalled there, and her chewing stopped as she locked eyes with the individual. Her eyes then began wandering about the crowd and it began to sink in...something was wrong, something was changing. The crowd was rapidly becoming something else, and Avri quickly began chewing again in an attempt to finish off her little ham sandwich, then reaching back behind her and placing the last of it back on the table.

Turning back and wiping her arm against her mouth, she noticed they all seemed to be looking at her. Worse was what they began turning into. Avri reached up without actually looking to pat her hands on her wrists, looking for her dual blades she normally kept there, but to no avail. One had been lost in the fight with the demons earlier and the other she didn't remember even losing, but the sheath wasn't even present for either one now. Panic began to set in and she began backing up down the long buffet table with her arms helping to guide her backwards, away from the crowd.

Had Maeror tricked her? She couldn't feel demons nearby but it was plainly clear that was what they were turning into. The fiend had promised no demons could get in here to harm her, promised].....and now here the crowd was exchanging a happy human existence for the evil demonic presence that glared into Avri as if they knew of her bounty. She was a target again, now trapped in a room alone, unarmed, and surrounded by her enemies. Fear quickly penetrated her mind and body at what seemed like betrayal of someone she trusted, which while was only for a short time, had felt real enough to leave her shaken at the thought.

While Avri was incredibly skilled with her swords, she had never fought without them. She knew she wasn't all that strong, certainly no stronger than any other 8 year old, and even an adult human could physically overpower her, not to say anything about a demon's strength. She had magic she could use to fight off the demonic crowd, but that was only going to work to a point. There were a lot of bodies here that she would have to fight, and blasting them with magic would only work until the first one reached her. Besides that, there was a panicked fear in her now that encouraged the primal instinct to flee for her life.

Avri ducked underneath the buffet table, coming up the other side of it with a few frightened whimpers, and obvious shots of her multicolored eyes at the crowd to monitor their progress. She proceeded to dart quickly down the side of it, running fast enough for her costumes fairy wings to flap in her wake. More frightened noises came as she attempted to dodge the shadows peeling themselves from the walls, materializing into more demonic figures that didn't appear on her own demonic radar.

It wasn't until she finally began nearing the wall which originally hosted the door into the next room that she realized it was no longer there.

"No, no, no, no, NO!" she hollered as she slammed into the wall where the door had been. She pounded on it with her uninjured hand, balled up in a fist in an attempt to punch her way desperately through the wall. With that not working, she would turn and press her back to the wall, holding her injured hand again with her free one and staring at the crowd of demons who presumably were now making their way towards her. Her now erratic breathing rate had increased exponentially, her eyes welled slightly with frightened tears, and she was visibly shaking. It was more than the impending demons that were likely about to end her life, the thought of Maeror's betrayal hurt her deeply, having believed she could trust her words.

With sweat beads on her forehead, Avri presumed fighting her way out of this was going to be the only way. As the crowd came closer, she prepared herself to utilize her own magic against them, holding her good hand in their direction. It was a fair assumption she wasn't going to be able to use the injured one for casting, even if she did she figured that was probably going to hurt....a lot. Her panicked eyes glanced about the room while they approached, scanning the area for a weapon, or some kind of object that could be used as a make shift weapon in place of her no longer having her sword with her.

((I realize I may have moved too far past any intended events, or perhaps presumed something incorrect [like the door not reappearing or the demons movements/intentions] but I wanted to try keeping the scene moving. If something is incorrect feel free to write what really would have been and parts of my post can be redacted to fit in with what really happened in the scene, I'll rewrite those in the next post if necessary. Hope you don't mind the way this was written))

The demons were making slow progress toward Avri. They had her surrounded, there was no need to hurry. They snickered among themselves, the noise was grating. The creatures were enjoying the game of drawing this out. Maeror watched from afar, seeing the look of confusion and hurt on the girl's face. The fiend felt no remorse or regret, she was too cold-hearted for that. But she did think it might be prudent to offer the girl a way through. Sitting in the kitchen and watching the on-goings through a conjured screen of shadows, she began to chant.

Just as she had summoned the cape from the warlock's house, she summoned a blade she could recall being there. In front of Avri a dagger appeared. The hilt was silver, and the blade was entirely black. It radiated a kind of energy that made the demons shrink away from it. All of them hissed or growled. Masks and costumes were askew because of the transformations, and the red light didn't make for great visibility. The dagger floated in front of Avri, an offering. When gripped, it would send a surge of power up it's holder's arm. All of the demons surged, as if wanting to attack. The appearance of the weapon had unsettled them, but they weren't going to back down.

The set of double doors on the other side of the room could be seen beyond the crowd. The demons were not guarding the door specifically, but their numbers were thickest in the center of the room. When struck with the blade, the demons stopped existing entirely. They shrieked and broke apart, breaking down into dust and ashes. Other demons that watched roared with rage, dashing forward even though they'd just seen their fellows killed. All of them stopped whenever a shrill, ominous sound permeated the air. The noise was high-pitched, like nails being drug down a chalkboard or a knife scraping along a plate. The drawn out scream made the demons scatter and shrink away, and the path to the door became more clear.

The source of their fear became apparent as a portal began to appear just above the ceiling. Something with gnarled, bony hands covered in rotting flesh was attempting to pull itself through. The demons began to disappear, as if they were teleporting themselves away. As the new monstrosity struggled to haul itself through the portal, the way to the double doors became even more clear. One of them was even ajar, proof that they were not locked. The noise from the monster was piercing and insistent, and the smell of it was starting to permeate the air as well. It's head and upper body had come through, it's hair hung in thin wisps, some of it's fangs were missing but those that remained were serrated. It smelled of dead flesh, some bit of it's gray and decaying flesh dropped into the room as it entered. The abomination had not yet taken stock of Avri, but from it's eagerness to get into the room and it's screams it seemed intent on rampaging through the room.

Avri's eyes pressed tightly together with her hand extended towards the demon crowd who clearly were enjoying her fear. She knew unarmed as she was the likely had little chance, but she wasn't about to go down like this. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes, focusing on the nearest approaching enemy when Maerors benevolence appeared.

Avri's sigh released quickly with an accompanying half smile seeing the blade in front of her. It was a chance, an opportunity for survival. It was all Avri needed in a time like this and she quickly identified the dagger as the work of Maeror. It was a stretch to believe such a thing at a time like this, but the reality was that the girl simply assumed it was Maeror. Maybe it was the fiend's influence, or maybe it was just the recent interaction.

Avri reached out and took the blade with her left hand. She wasn't honestly sure if she was a righty or a lefty, but she commonly dual wielded proportionately sized short swords for her little body, and so either hand would be capable of using a blade.

A surge of strength shot into her arm as she took it, causing her to gasp and stare with an open mouth at the nearest demon as it did. As if they could sense the power shooting into her, the demons recoiled, hissing in terrible protest at the idea of her now being weaponized. Their follow up response was something the girl had come to expect from those of demonic descent....they attacked.

The first one lunged forward swinging a wild arm at her, she ducked down, easily dodging the attempt and rose up quickly to jam the dagger between the creatures ribs. To her surprise, the creature nearly exploded, shrieking wildly and popping into a cloud of dust and ash. Avri stood there stunned by the reaction the weapon had had, with wide eyes and a dropped jaw. The impending crowd didn't seem swayed by the incredible effectiveness of the demon slaying dagger, hissing and calling out to her with clear intent on continuing their attacks.

The look of shock slowly faded as Avri glanced at the dust cloud left over from her one and only attack thus far. Now the confidence began returning to her, and she looked back up from the pile of ash with a devilish smirk on her face.

"Wan me too?" she asked the next in the crowd, pulling the dagger up to the ready position. The ignorant creature lunged at her as well, and with a quick deflection of his arm the dagger was stabbed into them leaving only a pile of dust and ash.

Avri thrust herself at the edge of the crowd, working her way around to her right towards the wall as she cut back more clouds of dust as the angry crowd worked to get to her. She refrained from magic use, and in fact any use of her right hand for fear of the pain it would cause. Her hand was still very sore, but untouched it was bearable.

Unfortunately it was far easier to imagine herself not using that arm than to actually do it. Not only was she greatly outnumbered, but as a dual wielder she was so used to having that second arm in play it often made the attempt almost mindlessly to help maneuver, deflect, or shift the weight of an impending assailant. This was only a greater risk once her back was to a wall.

With two coming towards her at once, at one point, Avri made the snap instinctual decision to cut towards the left one, reducing the creature to dust while she stepped towards him and reached around the right one with her bad arm. She realized the mistake as soon as she pushed on the demons backside, originally intending to guide his advance into the wall. While it almost mostly worked, punching her hand into the demonic creature cause the hot searing pain in her hand to return, shooting up her arm into her mind and conquering momentarily every sense she had.

She shrieked loudly and girlishly while quickly retracting that hand with the instinct to cradle it. A hand, or a foot, she couldn't be sure what, was felt impacting the same side as one of them apparently glanced her with a desperate attempt to collect her. She stumbled deeper into the crowd, managing to keep both the blade and her footing, though she knew she was in trouble. The first body she saw she stabbed at, reducing it to ash, then the second, but soon she felt claws on her, pulling her in one direction, pushing her in another. She reached down with desperate frightened shrieks to cut off the arms she felt on her....until they suddenly stopped.

A high pitched screeching noise penetrated the air and the crowd Avri had lost herself in released her. The sudden freedom from one arm in particular which had been pulling her right arm toward them caused her to drop to the ground with a pained moan.

Just as suddenly as the crowd of legs she was in had stopped their assault, they quickly began retreating. They ran and panicked as Avri pulled herself up off the ground using only the hand her dagger was in. She looked around at the fleeing crowd holding her injured hand to her chest and catching her breath. Why had they stopped?

It became painfully evident as some of the herd thinned, what it was. The decaying arms of a massive creature protruded in from the ceiling, working on pulling a hideously grotesque and clearly undead creature of great legend down into Avri's presence.

The girl stared, completely stunned about what was happening. She couldn't feel fear, nor did she feel the pain in her hand, nor the confusion about where everyone seemed to be disappearing to. All she felt was numb standing there, staring up at the creature with a gaping mouth, no longer responsive to what appeared to be real life. Her head seemed to float a moment and as if her mind rejected her current situation, everything seemed to go white and her consciousness was carried off elsewhere.



"Why don't you go out and play?" Madris asked Avri, who sat as she always did with tomes upon tomes of books in front of her. She sighed deeply, peeling herself away from the reading and looking up to the elderly woman who held the back of Avri's chair as gently as she looked at the child.

"I don have time....I have ta learn as mush as I can b'fore-"

"There is always time to play at your age, Avri," Madris interrupted with a loving smile. "Why don't you go see if some of the village kids want to play a game of Roula?"

Avri looked up to Madris a moment with a slightly concerned face, then back down at her reading material as if trying to make a decision.

"I....hear that boy Andrael was asking about you again," Madris suggested with a pleasant smile and raised eyebrows.

Avri's head snapped back up to Madris curiously. "R-really? Why is he askin bout me?" the girl responded with a hopeful smile on her face.

"I don't know....maybe you should go ask him?" The elder woman suggested warmly. Avri stared back several seconds investigating Madris' face as if she might find a clue there. Finally she turned back and stared at the tome in front of her.

Reaching out, she slowly and gently closed the tome. "Well....ma'be one game....but only if Andrael will play...."



Avri's head shook very slightly, snapping her back to the present with an accompanying screech from the massive problem that had descended into the room with her. Her faculties reactivated, and the pain in her hand was not the only thing that became present once more. Her quick paced breathing came with light high pitched noises reflecting the terror she now felt and her head darted around as if searching for the answer to defeating the creature.

As luck would have it, this was not the first gargantuan monster Avri had faced, and she recalled a single common theme present for each one she was met with....she was never able to defeat them alone. It always took the support of strong, skilled, and trusted friends of hers in order to bring something like this down, and currently Avri was alone. Sure there was Maeror, and Avri trusted her...but being this was a task she set Avri on, she kind of doubted her new friend was going to show up to help. Even if she did, would that be enough?

Avri's quick paced breathing began emitting high pitched noises reflecting her fear upon each exhale. Her head darted back and forth as if the answer to the problem which had descended into the room with her might be lying nearby. White knuckles appeared upon her dagger as she tightened her grip on it, and she came up with the only idea she thought might work.

She would need to slow it down, to reach the next room, even in the next room she presumed this thing could follow her there. She wondered if the dagger she held might have the same effect on this decaying creature as it had with the lesser demonic figures she had just fought. It seemed unlikely, but as it was clearly enchanted there was a fair chance it would have some additional effect. She could dash towards it, and stab the dagger hard into one of its limbs, at the very least it could serve as a distraction. Her follow up would be simply dashing towards the exit and hoping the creature didn't follow....or better yet, disappeared in a giant pile of ash.

The only problem with her plan.....was her body refused to do it. She told her legs to run towards the thing and nothing happened, she was too scared of it to go near. It was as if her body knew running anywhere near it would mean certain death, and much as she wanted to carry out her plan, she simply couldn't to it.

The terror took over then, and before fully realizing she was even doing it, Avri found herself dashing as fast as her adrenaline fueled legs would carry her towards the door, the dagger secured in tight white knuckles as she fled.

Maeror was channeling too much of her efforts into the illusions to try and have any influence on Avri's emotions anymore. She stopped pressing on the girl's feelings, it was no longer needed. The fiend had made the girl more trusting, wanting to give her a nudge in the right direction. Her attention had turned to other matters.

The abomination pulled itself through the portal with a final screech before it landed. The floor under it rumbled and cracked. Some of the demons tried to gather their numbers and attack it, but their attempts were futile. Most of them ran, vanishing into thin air. Others were scooped up by the bigger monster, and ripped or chomped in half. Muscle, guts and skin splattered across the floor and added to the putrid smell of decayed flesh. It did not take any notice of Avri until she began to run. The motion caught it's eye, and it acted like any predator would when it saw something running. It paid attention, and began to give chase.

The monster was so big the top of it's head scraped the ceiling, lights and chandeliers were knocked away and tumbled over the cracked floor. The floor groaned under the undead creature's weight, as if it might cave in at any minute. It tossed aside a demon that was nearly torn in half, like a dog that got tired of a chew toy and abandoned it in favor of a new one. It's tongue lolled out, as if Avri would be some savory treat. At first it had a difficult time building up momentum due to it's cramped surroundings and sheer weight, but once it started moving it began to gain speed. The floor shook with every step. None of the demons spared even a moment to look at Avri, too intent on getting away. None of them were going for the door. They were either disappearing, or being stomped on as the huge zombie crossed the room.

Just as the door was reached, it lunged forward in a final desperate attempt to get it's hands on Avri. However, the door swung open with such force that it hit the abomination's fingers and broke them. It recoiled with a keening scream. As soon as Avri was through the doors, it slammed shut again. A click indicated that it had locked. The monster flailed and beat at the door, but it started to turn into a wall. The sound the door made was a mix of a hiss and crinkling as the wood was replaced by plaster and then a layer of green moss appeared. The doorknob shrank until it was out of sight. The noise of the monster became more and more diminished, until it couldn't be heard. One would be able to see the wall vibrating from time to time, but this was a great improvement over the powerful thumps it had been making.

So far, the new room was empty. The ceiling was low, and the moss covered the walls. Mist covered the floor, or the ground. The floors were made of earth, as if a piece of the outside had been plucked up and then set down in this room. There were no windows. A single door was the only exit, yet again directly across the room. There was no identifiable source of light, just an eerie green glow that filled the room. Perhaps it came from the moss itself? The only furniture was made of vines and branches that had been bent into chairs and tables. Mearor decided not to make the sword disappear, she had enjoyed seeing Avri fight with it. The shadowfiend found herself being impressed against her will, watching this child overcome the obstacles in her path. It was fun, testing someone she had underestimated.

The silence of the room was imposing and creepy after the noise that the demons and undead monster had been making. The soft dirt the floor was composed of made for soft foot falls, and the moss muted noise rather than echoing it back. For a minute or two, there seemed to be nothing else that was alive in the room. The door across the room was locked, and the room was about twenty by twenty feet. It wasn't too long before a new sound could be heard, all the more easy to pick out because of the silence. It sounded like digging, and it was coming from the middle of the room. The earth there was being flung by something, a small depression had appeared and fluttering movements could be seen within the dirt. It looked like a hand, wriggling up out of the ground.

Avri darted with the speed of desperation, the act of last survival. She ran on pure adrenaline and instinct dashing for the double set of doors which held her continued existence on the other side of it. It was lucky for her that the lesser demons payed her no mind, because the reality was she didn't pay them any mind either. She ran as hard as she could, only dodging around them here and there as her little legs pounded the pavement in hard distress only hoping to reach the doorway in time.

The shudder of the room shook her to her core, and caused her to lose her footing only slightly at first as she adjusted to the shaking ground. The pounding of the room started slowly, but increased in rate, more quickly as time went on. The feared girlish moans in her voice were nearly lost in the chaotic noise of the room, but within her head she could hear them and it only encouraged her adrenal glands to secrete further.

'Don't look back....Don't look back.....Don't look back....' she thought to herself as she saw the impending doorway approaching. Larger and larger it became, and harder and harder she had to focus on it as she closed in on it, working to deny herself the glance back at her own demise which was likely quickly catching up with her if the now rapid pounding was anything to say about it.

The doorway was now nearly within reach, and Avri's chest and legs burned with the effort she had put in to simply live another day. She ducked her head down a little, raising her hands up as if to guard her head as a shadow was cast on her. She watched the severed top half of a demon fly like a rag doll over her head and splatter careless into the wall near the door. As a reaction to the incoming 'ranged attack', Avri made the horrendous mistake of glancing behind her.

There it was, right on top of her, dripping flesh only feet away as its bony hand reached out for her. It stared at her longingly and opened it's mouth, a disgusting looking tongue flopping off its jaw as it drooled over it's Avri morsel it probably intended to snack on. The creature lunged at her, and Avri turned forward pulling her head down and covering it with her hands, dagger included, as if that would somehow protect her from the serrated teeth of her hungry pursuer.

A loud high pitched and panicked scream came from the terrorized girl as she held her head running, expecting to be devoured in that moment. Passing into safety, the door swung wildly open as if to intentionally protect Avri from the beasts grasp. She swore she felt the giant finger of the creature hit her back, and as the beast recoiled and the door slammed behind her, Avri tripped and fell, then rolling into the room and crashing to a stop with the dagger now laying about a foot away from her. She quickly jumped to her feet, grabbing the dagger and pointing it at the door as if expecting the beast to blast through it at any moment....but it didn't. She jumped and even made slight audible shrieks when the creature pounded angrily into the door, clearly upset that it's meal had escaped.

The room began changing, and Avri worked to catch her breath, laying her arm back to her side and hanging her upper half slightly now that she no longer felt the immediate need to be battle ready. As she turned around to examine the room further, she realized she felt like she was outside, an odd change, but as long as that beast seemed to be disappearing it was a welcomed one. Spying the door across the room, Avri decided not to waste time, last time she stalled to eat and it resulted in a horrific breakdown of the entire party, followed by that gigantic creature showing up and chasing after her. She walked promptly, still trying to catch her breath and with a burning chest and pained hand, directly over to the door across the room and tried to pull it open. She let loose a defeated sigh finding it was locked, and leaned her head forward to rest it on the door itself.

It was then she heard the sound behind her, the sound of soil being pulled out of the earth by presumably a metal shovel, then cast aside into a pile. She turned slowly, reluctantly, and with an open mouth and stared at it. She couldn't make out just what it was in the darkness, but she saw movement which seemed to match with the sounds of digging. She turned to face whatever it was, readying the dagger in her hands and tightening her grip on it.

"Hullo?" Avri called out, slowly and reluctantly approaching what she hoped was a normal human person digging a hole for a completely sensible reason, "I need thru th' door....cen you help me, plees?"

Fingers that had fur and claws on them were pushing more dirt aside, soon an entire hand appeared and it wasn't something that belonged to any human. Another hand appeared, and the dirt began to cave in even more. Maeror's voice was suddenly in the young girl's ear, her voice whispering clues into her ear. "It's a skin walker, and it won't fall to your blade as the demons did. It's weakness is seeing anger in it's intended victim, and it's name. Make yourself angry, and it won't know what to do. Find out it's name and speak it aloud, and it will die." Maeror was nowhere to be seen, but her voice made it seem like she was close by.

The fiend did not try to make any influence on Avri's emotions at the moment, wanting to see how well the child did on twisting her own emotions. Maeror did create a ball of light that floated over to one of the walls. There was a patch of wall the moss had not taken over yet, and lettering could be seen underneath it. Could this be the skinwalker's name that needed to be discovered and spoken? The ball of light drifted back and forth along the place in the moss, so that Avri would not lose track of where it was. Every wall looked the same and Maeror thought it would be easy for her to lose sense of direction.

At Avri's feet, the middle of the floor began to collapse and a face that not even a mother could love sprouted up. It was some horrible mix of dog and human, with glowing yellow eyes. It spit out dirt and howled as soon as it's mouth was clear. Powerful jaws snapped toward Avri, and it wriggled up out of the dirt. For a time it would still be vulnerable to her blade before it pulled it's lower body out. Those precious moments didn't last for too long. It shook more dirt from itself, it's lower jaw hanging down in a malicious snarl. It's tail hung down, long but limp and lacking in the normal movements canines made. The fur it did have was thin and had human skin beneath, and it had paws for feet. Drool hung down in white, foamy strings from long fangs. The thing almost looked diseased, with how thin it's fur was. It surveyed Avri with a hungry expression. It spoke, it's voice was a crackling hiss. "I'll help you, sweet little girl. When I'm done, you'll have no more worries about doors or demons." It's tone was mocking, amused. The skinwalker thought this was going to be an easy victim. It lashed out. It's fangs snapped toward her, claws stretching to try and snag her.

Outside, not a sound or sign of anything happening within could be detected. Trick-or-treaters walked by and shied away from the strange house, there was no candy there. The clown had stopped calling out to get people in, and was sitting on a rocking chair. It looked like he was getting tired and dozing off. The night was winding down. Out it was outside, anyway. Maeror was still in the kitchen, watching through the portal. She began to walk through the house so she'd be able to meet Avri when she made it into the next room. The portal and rewards floated after her, still orbiting the Shadowfiend. This had turned out to be even better than Maeror could have imagined.

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