|Emma||It's a cold, cold night. Winter kisses the air, making the fall slip away into a dream of what is to come. Combined with that is the air, it's humid, but will it be rain, or snow.
At this hour, many would be sleeping. Resting safe and warm in their beds. But not all are doing that. A young lass is awake, wondering through the tunnels in the catacombs. It's not a good idea, Emma has no fighting skills, and being a pretty face in the dark with who knows what, likely isn't a good idea.
Held in her delicate hand is a flashlight, it bobs and weaves over skeletons, even some garbage left by Explorers. There is the odd drip-drip-drip of water, it echos like a drum.
Luckily the lass is not alone. At her side walks a massive beast of a dog, huge for his breed even. The animal looks like a good enough defence, considering he could take anything. The pair explore together, quietly, just taking their time.
|Poncho|| The quiet drip of water is interspersed by the faint echo of more distant sounds. Bangs and clatters. Voices? A soft, indistinct whisper that might just be the wind blowing through the caverns . The background noises are constant but indistinct. Directionless. It would be very easy to get lost down in these lowest of tunnels, where monsters have been known to wander.
As Emma continues forward, her light picking out spots of garbage and the odd flash of gleaming bone that must have tumbled down from the catacombs above, the patch of illumination passes over a broad splotch of something dark. The stain is wide and slick, splattered across the entirety of the tunnel floor and halfway up the wall. Spread throughout it are little slivers of white, as well as larger blobs of....something. Something organic...
The wind shifts, funneling through the tunnels in a sudden back draft that blows Emma's hair back and brings the overpowering stink of bloody viscera to her nose. That particular slaughterhouse stench that can only come from an opened body. Fresh.
And behind it, carried upon the breeze, is the quiet scuff, scrape of something dragging itself along the ground through the darkness ahead. Whatever it is , it is close. Damn the wind for pushing at her back. If it had reversed earlier she might have had a little more warning.
|Emma||Yes, Emma knows better. She knows not to come here alone, even with Shaemus. And can already hear the scolding voices of some in her head if they find out she is here. -If-. Pressing forward big grey-green eyes catch sight of that smear. Her stomach drops, worry floods through her veins, with some fear. Shaemus is on alert too, ears up teeth out. All the more unsettling! White knuckles grip that flashlight tight, her eyes move this way and that. What if someone is hurt? What if it's a zombie? That Umrella building just blew up. There is now, no option to go back, and only to go forward.|
|Poncho|| One large dog and one cute, if foolish, girl. What sort of chance would they have against an actual monster? Hell, what sort of chance might they have against a human one?
The quiet scuff, scrape comes to an abrupt halt as Emma steps forward, her light falling first upon a pair of black combat boots. Following the gore-smeared shoes up, her light illuminates first a pair of legs, their shape mostly obscured behind some sort of heavy black armor, and then the lower edge of a tattered grey garment. Up yet further, and the full form of Poncho comes into sight, gas mask leering at her from beneath his drooping grey hood. A heavy old shotgun is held across his body in Port Arms, its barrel directed up at the ceiling over his left shoulder.
"You best control that damn dog, kid." Poncho murmurs hoarsely, his rough voice coming through the filters of his mask in a distorted rasp. The lenses of his headwear seem to absorb and transform the light into odd, slithering shapes, with nothing of his eyes visible behind them. "Unless you wanna lose it."
Just how this man arrived in such a place, and why he is standing in a giant puddle of blood and mulched organic matter is anyone's guess. But it does lend a certain amount of additional weight to his already ominous presence.
|Emma||What new hell did Emma happen across now. She has seen plenty, creatures that the devil himself couldn't even think up. This is not a demon, this is a man. A familar man, that outfit rings a bell, but it doesn't ease her fear. Shaemus continues to guard his master, he is huge, one of those breeds you don't want to go up against. Like a bear.
"Yer - yer John Doe." Manages the readhead, voice trembling a little, betraying her own fear. The lass is wearing black leggings and a black hoodie. Still, she stands out. "Did - did ya kill someone?"
|Poncho|| Bears, zombie monsters, exploding buildings, teenage girls. It's all the same to the masked man. obstacles are removed. Dangers overcome. There is no room for compromise. You are with him, or you are dead.
"The dog." Poncho repeats implacably. His harsh rasp of a voice neither raises nor quiets, but there is the very real sense that he will not continue to repeat himself indefinitely. He was enough of a pain in the ass shirtless, in a crowded building, surrounded by people who might help her. But alone? In armor? With a giant gun?
|Emma||Emma stands there staring back at him. Sure, there is a sweetness to her, a kindness, but a fire has been sparked, and within those grey-green eyes, that can be seen.
"He - he won't attack ya." Replies the red head, softly in her thick Scottish accent. Still a hand goes to the top of her dogs head, and something is said in Gaelic. The dog settles, a little, as much as he can that is. Ears are up, aware and ready, but teeth are no longer barred.
"There, he's calm."
|Poncho|| The fire in Emma's normally gentle gaze washes over Poncho, but he doesn't seem to notice. In fact, without his eyes visible for her to look into, to see the pain and loss within him, he hardly seems like a man at all. The armored figure looming at the edge of her light is missing something. Something key to humanity.
The gun braced before his left shoulder has not shifted, but as the dog settles down,the tension hanging in the air seems to lessen. Perhaps he wont' have to shoot them both after all. That's fortunate. it would be an annoying waste of ammo, and rounds aren't so easy to get here.
Little waves splash out through the enormous pool of blood as Poncho shifts his stance, right boot coming down on a lump of flesh with a sickening squelch. The sensation of walking on another man's innards doesn't really seem to bother the man, but, what would?
"Not one man. Eight. A gang."
Breathing out noisily through his mask, he limps forward and waves the barrel of his shotgun vaguely back the way Emma came, indicating that she should turn around without actually pointing the gun at her. If she complies, he will step along behind her, the quiet scuff-scrape of his uneven stride echoing through the tunnels.
"Monster got em, not me." Poncho grunts as he walks, tone low and grim. "It finds us, going to do the same. So I'm gonna walk your dumb ass out."
|Emma||Emma leans to the side, looking past Poncho to the area he just came from. Then her eyes fix on him, briefly. Being used to such crankiness, the lass doesn't seem so phased. Yet the talk of monsters does worry her, some.
"Wh - what sorta monster?" Asks the red head first, and then smiles a little. "Kind'of ya ta help me out."
|Poncho|| Limping along behind Emma and her dog, Poncho makes it very clear that he is not with her. He might be willing to help for some reason, but he does not walk at her side as a companion might. Nor does he move ahead, to guide her. Instead, as Emma and her oversized dog step out into a branching path, his distorted voice rasps up from the back.
How he can know where he is going, especially seeing as he has no light on at the moment, is anyone's guess. Perhaps he has a flashlight somewhere under that poncho, but is choosing to use Emma's. Or, maybe he has some other way to deal with the darkness. Whatever his methods, the dragging scrape of his right foot remains steady at her back.
"Ain't sure." is the eventual reply to her question, the aging man having taken some time to mull it over. "Not standard. something nastier. Maybe the eyeless brain. Maybe something else. Been trying to figure that out. Tore those men up bad. Claws looks like."
|Emma||Emma has a grace about her, she moves lightly and easily, stepping over what she needs without hassel. No comment is made about where he decides to walk, instructions are followed as he announces them. That eyeless brain comment makes her shudder. "So - so ya know of those too, eh?" Her tone is soft, warm, such a contrast to the darkess here. "Gr - great, yet another thing'ta deal with. Umbrella is tha devil." A pause, she looks over her shoulder at him. "Ya - ya do this all 'lone hm? Ya don't need ta. There are others that'll help."|
|Poncho|| "Ain't seen one of them. Just good at payin' attention. Seen some other crazy shit in my day, though." Poncho grunts back, kicking a piece of rubble out of his path with his good foot. The edge of Emma's light reflects off of yellowish bone as the object bounces away and clatters against the rough stone wall, turning just enough to show the crushed eye socket and ruined teeth of an ancient skull. In fact, more and more of the rubble scattered about seems to be the shattered remains of yellow bones. They must be getting close to the upper layers of the catacombs.
The glance back over her shoulder reveals Poncho as a vague, blackish outline in the darkness. Reflected light gleams off of the lenses of his mask, accompanied by the faint, coarse sounds of filtered breathing.
"Right." Poncho fires back, no amount of filtered distortion able to mask the blatant contempt in his drawling voice. "I bet none of them groups is full of traitors. Bet they ain't observed at all times. Pulled 'round by the nose. They doin' god's own work. Honest and pure. Hell, I should scamper on over and sign right up. Or I damn well might, if I weren't legally dead and all. Turn right." The branching tunnel is indicated with a vague gesture of his gun.
|Emma||Many may find all these bones creepy, Emma isn't one of them. She has had her fair share of death and demons to see, what scares her here are the memories. Of the hanging skin, of floating bodies within this place. Quietly something is said to herself in Gaelic, as if it were a prayer. Shaemus walks along side his master, ever vigilant and on guard. Turning right her pace slows to a stop, becaus while listening to Poncho there was a growing frown. "Yer right, ta a degree. Ya never know who be - be watchin'." A pause, a hand runs through her long red hair. "Ya seem ta - ta like ta hide anyway, but I did see you." There she turns to face him. "Ya - ya can't carry it all on yer own shoulders, it'll soon get ta be to much." There is such genuine caring coming from her. "Yer strong no doubt, but, yer not alone either."|
|Poncho|| Their pace slowing to a halt, Poncho limps a final step to stand just inside the circle of Emma's light, shifting his shotgun so that it is aimed more or less, but not quite entirely in her direction. The walls around them are now crammed with bones, a sure indicator that they have exited the lower level.
"Alone?" the harsh word is followed by an even harsher snort, "That's exactly what I am, kid. But you don't know shit 'bout burdens. They already broke me, the fuckers. I'm just here long enough to break em back. Dead men, we don't feel no pain."
His tone low and intent, the shotgun-wielding killer gives Emma and her dog a final look, before turning with a swirl of his ragged poncho to begin limping back into the darkness. There is finality in the gesture, putting his back to her, but the words that follow make it clear the conversation is over.
"Keep turnin' right to get clear. Don't follow me, or I'm gonna shoot ya. And next time you feel like explorin', come armed."
|Emma||Emma tilts her head, listening, watching. Eyes refuse to leave the man as he goes, shaking her head a little with a sigh.
"Yer nat tha only one they broke." Comes the quiet confession, for she to had broke. There isn't much more to say, she considers following, given that she doesn't believe he wil shoot her.
" Let's- let's go Shaemus, I found my closer." And from there she would turn to leave herself.