Thomas sits in his truck, hands resting on the wheel. The engine is idling. He has the vaguest reollection of, just a few moments ago, his hand pushing the column shift into Park. Slowly, as if gathering his bearings, he looks left and then right through the cab windows.**Oh. I'm back at school. All right, then.**He sits there, absorbing this fact, for quite some time. Finally, Thomas turns off the engine, opens the door and slides out from behind the wheel.**Ok, I left... Friday. Something about a party. And today is... today is.... You know, that's a very good question.**There's obviously something different about him at the moment. He's totally clean shaven and it looks as if his hair has been trimmed as well. At the same time, his clothes are somewhat wrinkled and askew; his sneakers are on the wrong feet. His patchwork coat is nowhere to be seen. Thomas stands there in button down shirt and jeans, not quite aware of how cold it is. His bookish features are paler than normal, and there are bags underneath his eyes.**I should ask someone what today is. That could be very important. Or not.** He considers asking one of the nearby maple saplings that surround the parking lot. **Nope. No good asking them.**In a rather distracted manner, eyes unfocused and head bouncing loosely, Thomas looks about the area. **What... what was I doing again?**
Collin is in the parking lot, peering under the hood of his car and wiping his hands with an oily rag. He is wearing an old, mottled grey, mock turtleneck which does not show the stains unless you are looking carefully, and a pair of faded blue jeans that are a little threadbare at the knees.
((OOC: See below))
Cutting across the parking lot on her way to the Intro Psych class she shares with Thomas, Maggie catches sight of Thomas in the truck. "Hey, Thomas, you coming to class?"And then, as she notices his disorientation and dishevelled appearance: "Thomas? Are you OK?"She heads over towards the truck to check on him, trying to shrug off a sick feeling of familiarity and apprehension. ** Stop it. This is probably nothing. Those posters are probably just some fuckwit's idea of political activism, and Thomas probably just has the flu or a hangover or something. There doesn't have to be any connection between them. It's not going to be like what happened to Tina. PLEASE don't let it be like what happened to Tina... **
It seems to take Thomas a few moments to actuallly focus on not only who is talking to him, but where that person is."Oh! Hey. Maggie. How's it going?" Pause. "What's today?"He looks about the parking lot. "Boy, it's cold. Is that Collin? Hi, Collin!"Thomas's voice seems a little thinner than usual, more distracted. Which given his usual mild nature is quite a difference. Turning back to Maggie, his eyes somewhat glazed and tired, he asks, "Did I... miss anything?"
"It's Tuesday," Maggie says, somewhat carefully. "The 21st. Of March, that is. About 10 minutes before Intro Psych." Looking over his condition as she approaches, she looks even more worried. "Are you OK? You seem kind of... out of it. And where's your coat?"(( OOC: to the GM - would I have a chance of telling if he'd been ravaged or otherwise magically messed with? Maybe with a perception + kenning roll? ))
"Yeah, I'm... Tuesday?" **I remember leaving Friday...** "Tuesday?"Thomas rubs at his face. "I think... I think I'd better go lie down."
Collin looks up when he hears his name. Seeing Thomas looking weary and out of sorts with a redcap right beside him, he walks over. As he walks, he twists the oily rag between his hands as if he was wringing it out. Nodding at the unknown redcap, he looks the obviously emotionally worn-out Thomas up and down. "Problem?"
"What day was it last you checked?" asks Morag, worry growing in her voice. "Look, you are definitely not OK! I don't know what the hell happened to you, but you're in no shape to go to class. Let's get you inside somewhere warm before you freeze out here, and then maybe you can tell me what you remember. You're in Willow, right?"Glancing up at Janko's approach and question, she answers "Something weird's happened here, but I don't know what yet. Want to help me get him inside?"
Collin glances back at his car with the hod still up, then shakes his head dismissively. "Yeah, sure. We taking him into Rowan, or over to Willow?"He places one hand under Thomas' left armpit, to help brace him up.** I'm not sure that it's smart to tell her where he lives... but I do know where she lives, so if she tries anything... and it sounds like she already knew. Whatever that implies.**
"Thomas? Do you want us to take you back to your own room, or just wherever's closest that's safe and indoors? Rowan's just over there."She glances into the truck to see if Thomas's coat is there, and if not, puts her own coat around his shoulders to keep him warm, after fishing out the slip of paper he gave her with his contact info "I think I have his room number -- oh wait, it's just the phone number." (( OOC: unless the phone extension is the same as the room number? Never having lived in residence when I was in university, I have no idea how these things work. ))** PLEASE don't let this have happened to him because we were starting to be friends -- or as close to friends as I've gotten to be with anyone here, anyway. I couldn't handle something like that happening again. **((OOC: Janko might notice that, although she's trying hard to keep her emotions under wraps, Morag seems a little more upset and panicky than the situation would seem to warrant.Also, WRT my kenning question above - I just realized the GM is away at a convention. Is there a way we could handle that in her absence? ))
Making a decision, Collin looks at the dazed and confused, "Thomas, we're taking you to Willow, okay?"Looking at the redcap, he continues. "Don't worry about room numbers. His R.A. is Adrian Tremayne; he'll have a master key and a room list."** Of course, getting that Eiluned in on this could make things even MORE interesting. **((I think you'll have to wait until Monday or Tuesday, at which time we may just have to find out that Morag has been keeping her reaction to what her kenning tells her bottled up until Thomas was safe.))
"I... remember leaving here... Friday? After classes?"Thomas' coat doesn't look to be in the truck, and he doesn't seem to notice when Maggie drapes her about his shoulders."Willow. Yeah... sure. My keys are... around here... somewhere." The mortal starts to glance about for his key ring, which is actually still dangling from his hand. "Um... you said Tuesday, right?"He lets them lead him towards Willow Hall. He seems to have his feet under him, no problems with balance. But he keeps looking about rather strangely, as if trying to spy something that he recognizes. Or perhaps it's to make sure that which he sees is what he remembered seeing before."I just feel like... lying down for awhile, you know?"
"Your keys are right in your hand," says Morag, fairly gently, "I'm giving them to Collin so you don't drop them. And yes, it's Tuesday. Do you remember where you went on Friday?"
Collin takes the keys and guides the three of them towards Willow, letting the redcap take the lead in gently questioning the mortal, while trying not to show any surprise to the fact that it is a redcap who is doing it.
"Friday. I was taking a trip to Dubois, up on I-80. There's a bookshop, they have a sale every month. I left after classes and..."Pausing, Thomas tries to recollect what happened."I stopped to pick someone up... a hitchhiker, a girl. She was headed for Ridgeway and needed a lift... We got to talking and... I agreed to take her the whole way there. Everyone was glad to see her when we got there, but some were upset, I think about thehitchhiking because they kept giving me dirty looks. But we ended up going to a party... or they held a party then and there. But I remember helping..."He looks up at the looming structure of Willow as they near his dorm. "Oh, good."
** Like, say, a bunch of fae might if she'd brought along a mortal unexpectedly? Come on, don't jump to conclusions. There isn't necessarily anything supernatural about this. Best to rule out normal stuff first. **"OK, nearly there. Do you remember your room number, or do we need to check with the RA here?"Once en route to Thomas's room (one way or the other), she asks "Now, don't take this wrong if you don'd do this stuff, but did you do any kind of drugs there? Or maybe leave a drink unattended that someone might have slipped something in?"
"114." **I wonder if Carver is in.**"I don't do drugs or drink alcohol, Maggie." He turns his head to look directly into her face. "Isn't that strange? You'd think the kid of two bikers who own a bar would down the stuff like water. Funny thing is, I can't stand the taste of it."Thomas tries to think back. "And... I don't remember eating or drinking while there. But... it was... was it a costume party? There was something... something about masks?"Once inside, he points in the direction of his room. "Home sweet home, I guess." As he points, a bracelet of made of braided silver wire can be seen dangling from his wrist; it's an attractive piece of work, although it's plainly homemade.
Collin takes the keys he's holding and unlocks the door to Thomas' room. "You want one of us to look in on you in a while?" Collin asks while pushing the door open.
** Kid of two bikers who run a bar? Well damn, no wonder we got along. I'd kinda wondered what a bookworm like him saw in me to spend any time talking to me... Hmmm, I wonder if becoming an academic nerd was the only to rebel against a family like that? **"Sorry, didn't mean to imply anything - it's just then when someone loses three days it's least worth asking."As he mentions the bit about costume party and masks, though, her gut feeling that the experience wasn't induced by drugs or any other mundane cause intensifies, and she catches Janko's eye, trying to give him a we-need-to-talk look.Then, seeing Thomas's bracelet: "Hey - is that new? You didn't get that this weekend by any chance, did you?"
"Hey - is that new? You didn't get that this weekend by any chance, did you?"He almost looks crosseyed at the bracelet. "Um... yeah... She gave it to me when we got to Ridgeway. Kind of a 'thank you', I suppose.""You want one of us to look in on you in a while?Thomas shakes his head. "No. S'okay. Just need to lie down for a bit. Feels like I haven't slept in a month." Pushing the door open, Thomas' side of the room becomes visible. Books piled high everywhere obscure any sign of his bed or desk... and anything else for that matter; Carver's side of the room might seem somewhat stark in comparison. Not even bothering to remove his glasses or sneakers, Thomas steps over a smaller mound of texts and then seems to fall; the squeal of a dormroom matress announces he manages to hit his bed upon landing. "Thanks again, Maggie. Collin. Just a little... dooze..."It's literally a matter of seconds before a the light and shallow breathing of a person asleep can be heard.
Carver is sitting at his desk working with a laptop. He looks up just in time to see Thomas flop onto the bed."Thomas, you look like shit on toast."Then he notices Thomas's escorts. "So does anyone want to tell me why my roommate looks dead and if he enjoyed it?"**Maybe Morag is really rough in the saddle. That wouldn't explain why Story Time is here.**
**Sweet-fried kidneys, it's a...**Glancing back at Maggie, Collin rethinks his assumption.**All right, it's not a set-up. Not likely. It's just the only two redcaps on campus together as a jackanape coincedence.**"When he comes to, maybe you can find out and tell the rest of us. It's got my curiosity up; that's for certain."Janko chews his lower lip in thought.
Morag looks up, startled, upon hearing Garm's voice. "You're Thomas's roommate? Damn, this thing with everyone having two names gets really confusing sometimes." She lowers her voice hastily on that last comment, with a wary glance toward the sleeping Thomas, though probably nothing short of a bomb going off would wake him up at this point. ** I wonder if... No, he sounded as surprised about his as we were. And you can't keep assuming every redcap in the world other than you is evil. *sigh* Even if they usually are. **"Anyway, your guess is almost as good as ours at this point. He picked up a mysterious hitchhiker on Friday, and turned up in the parking lot today, not knowing what day it is or remembering anything of the weekend. And says he didn't drink or do any drugs. Anything more than that is mostly speculation right now. But if you want to talk about it, maybe the three of us should go somewhere else, so we don't accidentally wake him up." ** And have him overhear anything that a mortal shouldn't... **
"Yes, Maggie I am Thomas's roommate and I do think we need to go somewhere and talk about this." Garm looks at the clock on his laptop. "Do either of you have class in the next couple of hours?"Garm saves the paper he was working on and reaches for his coat.
"I've gotta be on the other side of campus by 1:30, but that gives me a good hour, hour and a half."
"Well, theoretically I'm supposed to be in class now, but helping Thomas get home safe seemed more important."Once the three are out of the room, she adds "And yeah, I know I'm just as guilty of the two-names thing as anyone -- probably the only reason I remembered which name to introduce myself as to people here was that I had several days of really boring cross-country driving on the way here to try and drill it into my head. Not like I ever had much use for that name before..."
Garm gives a shrug and pats his pockets to check for cigarettes and lighter. Content that they're in place he turns to the other two."So where are we headed for this conversation?"
"Well, we're getting close to lunch. Either of you know a place we can eat and chat undisturbed?"**Like I want to see a redcap eat, but if they're both fed this might not be as painful as it could be. Maybe.**
"The coffee shop over in the social sciences building usually isn't too busy before the lunch rush hits, and if it does turn out there are a few people in there already, it's got a patio outside, which no one's going to be using while it's still this cold out."(( OOC: I'll start the coffee-shop part as a new comment to the post, since it's a scene break, and this thread is getting kind of squished. ))
Fortunately, the coffee shop is still pretty much empty for now, so the three can find a table inside without risk of being overheard. If it starts to fill up, though, they may need to move out to the patio eventually. Once they're seated, Morag briefly recaps what Thomas said about what happened to him, since Garm wasn't there for it and Janko may have missed the very beginning."So I'm guessing we can all agree that this probably wasn't just a case of someone doping his drink..."
Garm looks thoughtful for a minute. "Seems to be two questions. How did he get home? That boy looked in no state to drive without at least getting pulled over and if something brought him back it might still be here. Followed by what kind of fucking assholes have they got out there Ridgeway? If someone gives you a ride then you give them some gas money or a STD not magic the stupid fucker and do shit that went out of style with flintlocks."**Hold it didn't Thomas say his Grandma was making him come here. Here being changling central. Maybe they want him for more then snack food.**
"I think we've all heard the rumours that we're not the only monsters under the bed. I didn't see any tooth marks on his neck, but who knows?"
** OK, now that's creepy. Yeah, I've heard a few rumours, but it seemed kind of far-fetched... Then again, look what's talking. Would anyone else believe WE exist? **"Is there any way of finding out exactly what happened, or at least getting some clue? I mean, given that he doesn't seem to remember much... Would someone who knew a certain amount about this stuff be able to get some idea of whether it was changeling magic or some other kind that he'd been hit with? Maybe by checking out that bracelet the girl gave him?"
Janko shrugs, his eyebrows furrowed with rapid thought, "There are a few things I can try. I can't guarantee success, though."
"Anything you could manage would be great. I'd really like to find out who's responsible for this."
"Yeah, he was barely up to walking, let alone driving. I can't see him having gone any distance in that truck unless someone else was behind the wheel. I didn't see anyone else around when I found him there, but I don't know how long he might have been there."And yeah, assholes is right. I don't know what the hell they did to him, but even if it wasn't anything like as bad as it could have been --" there's an edge to Morag's voice as she says this, that makes you think she's seen some worse examples -- "you can't just fuck with people like that -- grab them for a weekend like they're just a toy or something and then toss them back in a freezing parking lot with no coat on, not knowing which way's up or how to get home. Not without seriously pissing off their friends, anyway. Anyone else feel like taking a road trip and seeing if we can find whoever's responsible?"