Thursday, December 27, 2012

Woods Random Legacy: Chapter 10 - Love and Monsters

Love day, the highlight of spring, was here!  Lovers young and old came together to celebrate the holiday, whether it was an intimate date, a day out at the spring festival, or an evening alone in the bedroom.  Greg had recently been getting a lot of attention from various female admirers, so Eliza practically dragged him out the door to the spring festival in an attempt to rekindle their romance.
They spent some time playing the various games scattered around the park, before settling in for some romantic dancing, showing off for the entire town to see.  Eliza had set her claim on Greg, and she wanted every woman out there to know it!

While his parents were busy at the festival, Lane decided to throw a birthday party for himself.  After all, it wasn't like either of them had time to plan it, with the twins and all.  He invited only one other person, his best friend Locke.  Despite the small size of the party, Lane thought that they'd find a way to have fun - they always did.  He was surprised by Locke's father Christopher accompanying him, and bringing cobbler!
After cake and some conversation, Locke and Christopher said goodbye and returned home, leaving Lane to take care of some of the new responsibilities that came with attending high school.  His parents had insisted that he pick at least one extracurricular activity, despite the fact that he really just wanted to spend time reading or working on his own studies.  After much agonizing over the limited offerings, he decided to join the newspaper club.  Maybe they'd let him write an investigation story.

However, nothing, not even the feelings of affection he'd begun to have towards his best friend, could dissuade Lane from his personal studies.  He'd read about a potion that could simulate the curse of lycanthropy in otherwise normal humans, and he made it his mission to learn how to brew it.  He'd saved his allowance through most of childhood to purchase the necessary books and equipment, secreted away in his room, and spent hours at a time poring over them.
Of course, tonight was the full moon, and that meant that it was time to make his trip to the graveyard.  Luckily, sneaking out wasn't a problem, since his parents had retired to their bedroom soon after returning from the spring festival.  He made sure to leave the light in his bedroom on, so they'd just think he was studying if they ever came out - which he thought they wouldn't, given the way Eliza had been looking at Greg - and slipped out of the house, catching a taxi to the graveyard.  When he got there, he hadn't taken two steps past the gates before being ambushed by an annoyingly familiar old man.

Gobias: "What are you doing here, boy?  I told you, the full moon's dangerous.  They don't teach respect for your elders like they used to, clearly."
Lane: "What am I doing here?  What are you doing here?  Are you stalking me?"
Gobias: "No.  I'm here on another matter."
Lane: "Oh?  What matter's that, then?"
Lane, of course, had already noticed the somewhat nervous and twitchy demeanor of the man.  He was either hiding something, nervous about something, or both.
Gobias: "It's none of your business.  You need to go back home where it's safe."
Lane had had about enough of this man and his ridiculous attempts to protect him.  Did he think that Lane was a stupid little kid who didn't know anything?
Lane: "Look, I know about werewolves and stuff.  I also know that you know, and that you were lying about there being something in the bushes that night.  I saw the glowing eyes, and I know what they mean."
Gobias: "Then you also know how dangerous they can be.  They're hardly more than animals."
Lane: "That's not true, I read all about them.  They only get that way if they give in entirely to their animal instincts.  If a werewolf like that was living around Sunset Valley, people would notice.  There'd be deaths, human ones.  But there's not, and I know because I read the paper every morning at breakfast.  So that werewolf couldn't have been out hunting, therefore it was spying on me, and I bet you know why.  So just tell me already."
Lane's outburst stunned Gobias for a moment.  The old man stood there, regarding the younger boy with an expression that was impossible to read.  After a moment, he nodded.
Gobias: "I'll tell you one thing, and one thing only.  Maybe it will satisfy you before you or someone you love gets hurt."
Lane: "Anything you can tell me would probably be less dangerous than me stumbling around and discovering it on my own, you know."
Gobias: "Yes.  That's the only reason why I'm telling you.  You do know the circumstances of your birth, right?"
Lane: "Sure.  I wasn't born in the hospital or at home, my mom went into labor with me when she was out on a walk.  I was born in the front yard, and she'd barely managed to make it that far.  She always brings it up when she's upset at me for something."
Gobias: "That's not the whole story.  I doubt your parents even understand the significance of your birth.  You were born outdoors, on the night of a full moon.  You are what's known among certain individuals as Moontouched.  You can feel it calling to you, I know."
Lane slowly nodded.  Things were making a bit more sense now.
Lane: "So that's why I'm always so restless on nights when the moon is full."
Gobias: "Precisely.  That's also why certain people have taken an interest in you.  Finish your business here quickly, and then return home.  Guard yourself, Lane Woods."
Lane nodded, slightly alarmed by Gobias's swift turn into sharp seriousness.  He backed away from the old man, and turned towards the reason he'd come here.

The old mausoleum dominated the graveyard.  Lane didn't know what you had to do to have your remains placed down there, but there weren't records of any having been in nearly a century.  The notes as to why were equally cryptic, mostly due to the fact that they were pictographs rather than words.  The one that had prompted his investigation was a simple circle.  He couldn't shake the thought that it might represent the full moon from his mind.  Could werewolves be down there?  He waited until Gobias turned his back, and then darted through the foreboding entrance of the mausoleum.
It was dark inside and Lane was glad that he'd remembered to bring a flashlight.  He crept through the narrow hallways, shining his light on the plaques adorning the walls.  There seemed to be no ordering to the remains, with years, family names and symbols alike being mixed together.  As he descended further into the catacombs, the chill became worse, and he begun to wish that he'd worn his winter coat.  Suddenly, a savage growl sounded from around a bend in the hallway.  He held his breath and crept forward, shining the light ahead of himself to illuminate his path as he turned the corner.  He only got a glimpse of the ghost wolf as it lept at him, closing its incoporeal jaws on his flashlight, before a sharp pain in his wrist caused him to drop his flashlight, the light winking out as it hit the stone floor.  He bent to retrieve it, but more growls sounded around him in the darkness, so he chose to run instead.

Running was hard when you couldn't see where you were going.  After a while, with the growls left far behind, he gave up.  Stumbling and feeling his way along, he lost all sense of how long he'd been in the darkness.  Only the occasional staircase up revealed that he was still following the correct path.  Eventually, his fingertips found the metal doors that were the entrance to the crypt, and he pushed them open, emerging into the moonlight.  He took the opportunity to examine his wrist.  While it still prickled with pins and needles the whole way around, there were no visible marks, so he hoped he would be alright.  He stepped forward, then froze, ducking behind a bush.  Gobias was still there, and he wasn't alone.
He spoke quietly with a man, a man whose form was familiar to Lane from all the books he'd read.  The broad shoulders, claw-like fingers, wide stance, and characteristic profile all pointed to one thing - werewolf.  That, and it was impossible to miss the eyes, glowing in the dark.  Why was Gobias secretly meeting a werewolf in the graveyard?  More importantly, why didn't the werewolf tell Gobias that Lane was here?  Even if he hadn't seen him, the sense of smell and hearing would have made it obvious that Lane was behind that bush.  Stepping backwards, Lane retreated towards the back entrance to the cemetery, reluctant to make any noise that would betray his presence to Gobias.  At least until he figured out whose side the old man was on.

~ * ~

For the record, this chapter is totally unrelated to the Doctor Who episode of the same name, so sorry for the disappointment if you were expecting a TARDIS or an alien invasion.  And sorry for the giant wall o' dialogue that I assaulted you all with in the middle there.  Also sorry for the lack of pictures illustrating mentioned events, I got very sloppy with the picture-taking this chapter.  I'm also well aware that the mysterious man isn't a werewolf in that picture, despite it being the full moon.  For some reason the npc bugged up and wouldn't transform that night.  Sorry.  There, now I've gotten all my apologies out of the way.

Like I said in the comments of the previous chapter, Lane's not the heir, so I'm not sure why his plot is the main driving force of this generation.  His sisters weren't even in this chapter at all!  You can picture them behind the dollhouse in the picture of Lane and Locke eating cake, because that's where they were for pretty much the entire day.  The graveyard scene in this chapter was pretty much the game itself shoving plot in my face.  Gobias just randomly showed up when Lane did, and then Lane said goodbye to him and went off to do his own thing(I was going to take the plot in a direction involving the mausoleum, but I liked the AI's idea better), and then an hour later what do I see but Gobias talking to a mysterious figure!

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