chaos theory

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»  welcome to the doghouse, yue
PLAYED BY asiotus
years old 25 posts
glamoured so as an innocent boy and an even more innocent puppy, the phyto and reaper were an especially strange sight so deep inside silverspoons, amongst boarded up windows and potholes beyond repair. a heavily tattooed thug and scarred rottweiler would have perhaps been a more appropriate disguise for the location in question but the mutt unfortunately didn’t have much say in the matter. after some deliberation, he decided their innocuous appearance could prove advantageous, were someone so inclined to attempt mugging them. they wouldn’t be expecting a seven foot reaper to take his scythe down on them until it was too late. unless of course they had some manner of seeing through the magic acting on them.

peering through the phyto’s glamour, the mutt could help but take note of its regrowing limb. while he couldn’t be bothered to actually ask, he wondered to himself what sort of dilemma this kindred of the earth had gotten itself into to cause such a morbid injury. whatever it was must not have been the most vexing, though he supposed a creature capable of perfectly regenerating limbs would hardly bother batting an eye at the matter.

he turned the corner. blue collar was just a building down. the sign hanging above the door was visible from here, not that yue had any reason to recognize it aside from potentially passing it before in their meanderings. the mutt pointed towards it, though the best his glamour could do was stretch its snout in the sign’s direction as its limbs flopped along the pavement. “i own this restaurant at the front of my office as well,” he said, turning into the narrow alley along the side of the building. “i can give a short tour after close if you wish, but you’ll most often enter through the rear.”

he stopped at a blank spot of brick wall and waved away the don’t-notice-me! spell cloaked over an unassuming metal door, dented and scratched slightly from use (who knew if the damage came before or after the house took up residence here?). pulling out a set of keys, he unlocked the door. the glamour simply hopped helplessly towards the handle until it turned, somehow hanging on until the door closed.

“some of my employees prefer unlocking this with magic. i suppose you can be taught its code since you don’t appear to be wearing any garments with which you could carry a key in your natural form. either way it must be kept locked at all times.”

the door opened into a small lounge room where several heads turned in unison and a few bodies hopped to their feet in alarm. to be expected, with the sight of a strange child and a surprisingly adept canine.

“one of you, send esther to my office.”

“b-boss?? why did you—how did you—”

”that’s no matter. i’ll be expecting her shortly.” the mutt hardly slowed as he headed towards a hallway with phyto in tow. another key found the handle to his office.

years old 48 posts
yue remembers this place. how could they not? it is grey and cold and an shiver runs up their spine at the memories they made here. they stay quiet about their distress, swallowing down the whimper that wants to creep past their lips. they seek comfort from the reaper in other ways, edging closer to the glamour, reaching out for where they know the reaper's towering body is hidden.

but the reaper is cold and yue would look strange clinging to air anyway. with a frown, they cross their arms in front of their chest, huddling in on themself to shield against the cold wind. they walk for what feels like forever, yue considers reneging on their agreement just so they'd never have to come to this part of the city again, but now that they're in the maze, yue is lost and has little desire to be left alone here.

the reaper likes to talk, yue notes. so do they, usually. but at the moment, they long more than anything for the park's bright, sunny atmosphere; the happy voices all around them; the delicious soil under their roots. there is no happiness here, no warmth or welcome. yue thinks about the owl-child's words. there are dangerous men out there. the little plant glances at the reaper's cute glamour. this is not a man, but a reaper; perhaps they were traditionally thought of as terrifying, but all they are are couriers. there is nothing to fear.

much of the reaper's words fly over yue's head as they come to the front of a restaurant. the little plant cranes his head back, looking past the big picture windows of the restaurant front to stare blankly at the sign denoting its name. the storefront is innocent and unimposing, yue wonders what kind of company the reaper runs out of a human food place.

they would find out soon. scrambling after the reaper, relief fills the little plant as they are ushered into a warm building. it is still neither welcoming or happy. a few people lounging around jump to their feet in shock at their arrival and yue just tilts their head in confusion. they wrack their brains, but the little plant can't think of any reason a reaper might need a ring of people working for him or who this esther might be. following the reaper into his office, yue thinks, they want to go home.

the mutt
what is dialogue

PLAYED BY asiotus
years old 25 posts
"knock and wait for permission to enter," the reaper added as he stepped through the door, holding it open for yue and closing it once the doorway is clear. he lightly guided the plant towards one of the plush seats facing the desk, realizing a moment too late they'd feel it as a phantom hand at their back.

"make yourself comfortable. and you may remove this glamour now. it seems i startled some of my associates with it." he circled around to the seat waiting at the other side of the desk. settling down in it, he crossed a leg over his knee, folded his hands in his lap.

it did not take an idiot and several minutes to catch the look of discomfort in the plant's face. the mutt quietly watched it for several moments before taking in a breath. "you seem apprehensive. tell me, what has you so distressed?"

whether yue answered or not, it only took a few minutes longer for a light knock to sound at the door. the mutt answered the request and the handle turned a moment later. a small face poked out from behind the door, followed by an equally small body. "you wanted me?" esther's eyes quickly flashed to the unfamiliar face with a curious look.

"this is esther," the mutt said towards yue. "she essentially is our extra pair of eyes. esther, yue will be working with us. come introduce yourself."

the young witch's eyes brightened, a small smile coming to her face as she approached, holding out a hand for yue to shake. "it's nice to meet you. i hope we can be friends—there isn't really anyone my age here." the outstretched hand was hardly necessary for anything but getting a better read on the phyto's aura. esther knew the routine well. she met every new member, and each meeting meant one thing: keep an especially close eye on this one. but the girl's interest was still genuine. someone who appeared and acted like something around her age was welcome.

years old 48 posts
the carpet in the mutt's office is plush. yue wiggles their roots against it hopefully. it feels much more pleasant than the hard concrete, but not at all like dirt. they expected that, but they find themself disappointed anyway as they take a seat closest to the window.

their leaves strain towards the gray light as yue closes their eyes again. releasing their magic is much easier than forming it, teasing apart the strands of their illusion. the reaper's true form reappears slowly, starting from the bottom of his black cloak, revealing more as the glamour unravels.

under the sickly glow, the mutt's true form seems to suck in the light around it, darkening the room even more. the strain of their leaves creates a faint but audible rustle. "this place is strange... the earth is cut off." they stare longingly out the window, "the sun doesn't reach in here..." everything that is natural to them is denied.

in the silence that ensues, yue wonders if their basic needs seem strange to the reaper. they know that most creatures have vastly different requirements to live. some needed meat, or blood, or magic. the little plant needed sun in their leaves and dirt in their roots. yue noticed that tended to take most people at least a little bit off guard.

they don't know what the reaper is waiting for, but yue is content to sit in not-quite-amicable silence with him. they're not really sure what this is — it's definitely not hostible, but not exactly friendly either. when their silence is finally interrupted by a soft knock, yue looks up at first with question, then curiosity, at the child that appears.

despite their age, yue loved children. they were fun, full of life, easy to understand. adults were too caught up in being adult-ly, yue thought. children were more often on the same wavelength as them. closing their tender, still growing hand around the child's, yue manages bright smile, not bothering to correct her assuption of their age.

"hi!" the offer of friendship heartens them enough to fill their voice with a small amount of happiness, warming their tone. "i'm yue! nice to meet you too!"

dropping the girl's hand, they turn to the reaper expectantly. the promise of friendship brings some animation back into their limbs, but they are here to learn — to work, they suppose. to try their best.

the mutt

PLAYED BY asiotus
years old 25 posts
a gravelly hum echoes from behind the reapers teeth. “i can understand why you aren’t fond of this place, then.” he straightens the papers he had left on his desk—some frivolous paperwork for the restaurant it looked like. somehow he never realized how much of it came with owning a business until he had one himself. it was tedious work he dreaded doing.

he picks up a pen and continues where he left off, only half paying attention to the work. he could review it for mistakes later. “man is not as well-suited to care for the earth as other creatures. they are skilled inventors but rarely do they create with negative ramifications in mind.”

he turns in his chair and pulls the half-drawn curtains completely open, showing off the hollow buildings and providing a little more light for the phyto. “so you’ve seen, coming through this part of town.” there was only a bit left to do in this stack of papers. he finishes it up when the young witch enters, glad to set it aside.

the mutt watches in silent approval as the two exchange pleasantries. it does not take long for them to get acquainted. he realizes with a suddenness when yue turns back to him that he’d yet to put much thought into what their next step was. some guidance, yes, but the mutt had a strong suspicion the little plant wouldn’t be so fond of the truth behind the whole operation. placing himself in his own shoes a millennia ago, the mutt would feel the same. but that was a different reaper. the picture he had painted for the phyto was in truth a beautiful lie. he needs to put much thought into how to handle this new employee.

folding his hands in his lap, the mutt turns to esther. “would you like show our new employee around, esther? i need to put some things in order before we continue with this. if you show them the restaurant, do so before the dinner rush comes in. it should be fairly quiet at the moment.”

the witch brightens. “sure!” she turns to yue, offering her hand for them to take as she starts back for the door. “do you like dogs?”

/tags esther into the ring
years old 48 posts
there is something about the atmosphere that makes yue eager to make their exit. leaving the office with their new friend, it feels like a weight eases off their shoulders. lighter now, even the pale artificial light feels brighter; the manufactured landscape is less bleak.

the pair of them easily make their way through the entire restaurant; there isn't much to see, after all (at least, not for a pair of youngsters who are more interested in other things). ultimately uninterested in the reaper's culinary operation, yue spends most of the tour with a wandering mind, getting underfoot more by virtue of being inattentive than anything else.

their interest is not piqued until esther utters one single sentence: "do you like dogs?"

do they?

of course they do!

brightening up, yue nods eagerly, then hesitates. "dogs don't like me, though." they admit sheepishly, with a note of sadness.

esther read ???
five billion years later i'm sorry this took so long orz

PLAYED BY asiotus
years old 20 posts
giving tours is strange, esther decides. and a little dull. going around telling someone what every room is? that could be pretty easily guessed. luckily the restaurant’s all pretty straightforward. all of the rooms towards the back of the building is where it got a little complicated. she’s not even allowed in most of those anyway.

the main floor is more or less barren, save for a few familiar, lingering faces. not customers—just more of the crew. the kitchen is bustling by comparison. staff give half-curious glances as the two children slip through. the girl is familiar enough; her new friend less so.

“why not?” esther asks innocently. “you do something to offend the entire dog race or something?” she giggles then gestures with a come-on motion as she leads the way more or less towards where they both had originated from.

through a doorway and up a set of stairs they go. “lemme introduce you to my familiar. his name is camera, but i just call him cam. you seem nice so he should probably like you. and if not, i can put in a good word.” reaching her bedroom door, the weimaraner is seemingly already waiting for them, sitting in the center of the floor and watching expectantly.

“wanna meet my new friend, cam?”

the dog wags his tail in cautious greeting. before he could even approach for a proper introduction, he sends her an impression of a thought: plant. he was a goofy thing sometimes.

esther squats down beside him as he’s already sniffing with avid curiosity. she gestures for yue to come closer. “my parents got him for me when i was real little.”

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