sunsetmondays: salad (Default)
[personal profile] sunsetmondays posting in [community profile] mindcracklove
It's been a couple of months, but guess what? I've actually continued to go through with this rather than completely forgetting about it and look at what we have here! I'm actually really getting hyped about this story and where I plan to take it and I hope you enjoy reading it just as much as I did writing it.

And again, thankyou to the lovely BlueTwilight for being my wonderful beta who makes me not quite as nervous about posting this. <3

Chapter 2 - After Dark
Etho wasn't kidding when he said it was going to be a long night. He had led Seth to a large central bonfire surrounded by a collection of wooden logs and smoothstone chairs, many of which contained various groups of guys filling the air with the sound of playful banter and the occasional bout of laughter. Despite their unfamiliarity, they all seemed friendly and relaxed under the evening sky, and besides a few raised eyebrows and curious glances, none made any attempt to intercept Seth and Etho as they skirted around the edges of the group.

The pair stopped at the far side of the bonfire, standing in front of the tall and slim man from the gate and a shorter, stockier man with a slightly unruly mop of blond hair and a sweeping red cape. In the warm glow of the bonfire, Seth could now see that the tall man was rather pale with short, dark hair, dressed in black slacks and a form-fitting black t-shirt. Though, what Seth found to be most significant about the man were his dark, chocolaty eyes - the richest, deepest shade of brown that Seth had ever seen. Noticing him watching, the man gave Seth a half-smile while fiddling with the string of the bow slung across his body.

"Hey, I'm BTC," said the man, stepping forward and shaking Seth's hand. Seth glanced down at the ground and mumbled a polite reply. "And more importantly," BTC said, gesturing to the man beside him, "this is Guude - our unanimously elected leader and the first of us to end up in this hellish nightmare of a place."

"Unanimously my arse. There wasn't even a vote - you all just started calling me your leader like the damn guys you all are." Guude stepped forward, with a delighted grin that reached all the way up to his light emerald eyes. "So tell me, who are you?"

"I'm Seth. I don't really know much else; I kind of just woke up here with no m-" Guude raised a hand, his expression more serious as he intently watched Seth shift in the firelight.

"Let me guess. You woke up in a field with no idea where you were or why you were there. No memories of any possible previous life, except your name and the occasional feeling of familiarity."

"Wh... How did you know?" Seth asked, glancing curiously at Etho before concluding that there's no way he could have told Guude what he'd told Etho earlier.
"Don't worry, guy. It's how all of us were when we ended up here." Seth looked at Guude, more perplexed than worried.

"If anything, we'd be more concerned if your story was anything but that," BTC interjected.
"Well, anyhow, I bet you're absolutely starving and Etho and BTC here don't want to have to stand around listening to me jabber on, so you two go get some rest while I get Seth fed and up to speed on things." BTC and Etho nodded before turning with friendly waves and disappearing into the lively hum of the surrounding night.

After they'd parted ways with BTC and Etho, Guude led Seth to an oaken table off to the side of the bonfire. It was covered in an array of roasted meats and sides, filling the air with the aroma of subtle spices and delectably flavoured meats. Seth's stomach growled at the sight of food, reminding him of just how hungry he was, considering that he hadn't eaten since he arrived here and who knows how long it had been since he had last eaten before that. Guude laughed a pleasantly, infectious laugh and dished up plates for both him and Seth.

"I hope you like chicken, guy," Guude said, handing a plate to Seth who eyed the food hungrily.
"He better," added a rough but cheery voice as he and a tall man in a long, tan trench coat stepped out from the shadows.

"Hey, Zisteau and Kurt!" Guude said. Zisteau grinned as Kurt moved to stand slightly behind the other man before giving a tentative wave. "This is Seth - he came in just earlier today." Guude gestured to Seth who voiced a polite greeting in between mouthfuls of roast chicken. "Zisteau here is one of the more recent members of this little community. The thirtieth one to arrive here, actually. He's also the wonderful cook of tonight's meal and it is delicious if I do say so myself. Then Kurt over there is the town astronomer and scientist. If there's anything you want to find out about this crazy world that we live in, he's your go to guy. He's even got his own special lab set up in one of the caves down the back!"

Kurt blushed from his position partially behind Zisteau, bowing his head and scooting even further into the shadows. "Well, good to meet you, Seth," Zisteau said, "but I do believe it's time me and Kurt head off now. It's gonna be a pain in the arse but it's Pause's turn to take care of dishes and heaven forbid he'd get them done without someone holding a sword to his back and dragging him up here to do it."

“Bye. I guess I’ll see ya around,” said Seth after swallowing his final bite of roast chicken. “And yes, I do like chicken. It was rather tasty if I do say so myself.” Zisteau chuckled before taking Kurt by the arm and walking off to go try and round up Pause.

Guude led Seth around the complex, explaining the various buildings and a little bit of the history of the place which Seth learnt was colloquially known as ‘Mindcrack’. “Because we’re all missing a little something up here,” Guude had explained, rapping his knuckles against his head, “all a little cracked in the mind.” He was also introduced to a countless number of people throughout the night and all too soon names and faces blurred into an incomprehensive mess lost between yawns and thick, foggy thoughts.

“Just one more to go, guy,” Guude said as Seth yawned again. They walked along a dimmer, less well-kept path now, weaving between soft shadows and the eerie whistle of a light breeze. Many of the faces Seth had met today had disappeared into buildings as things quietened up for the night. The bubbling, friendly atmosphere from before had faded as the moon rose high into the sky, making gently swaying branches turn to spindly clawed hands raking through the air and the soft call of wildlife into threatening growls and clunking rattles.

Seth kept close to Guude as they approached a more worn stone building in a far corner of the compound. The walls were thick and clunky, built more out of purpose than style, riddled with the occasional crack and patch of damp moss clinging to the stone bricks. The iron door creaked loudly when it was pushed open, aided by a hard shove after Guude unlocked it with a small key kept on a thin chain around his neck. It squeaked closed eerily behind them, accompanied by a heavy thud as it sealed shut.

The room was no bigger than eight by eight blocks wide, and the air was thick and musty. It too wasn't very brightly lit, with shadows pooling around the centre like a puddle of spilled ink. Seth blinked, letting his eyes adjust to the light as he further scanned the room, noticing a stack of old chests in the far left corner just below a small window - the only one in the room. He looked to the shadows in the centre again, now seeing the man sitting on the floor with his arms and head rested on his knees, hiding his face from view. Seth approached the figure partially hidden by the shadows, giving Guude an inquisitive glance.

"And this is Knee-bris," Guude said, gesturing to the man slumped before them.

The man chuckled, low and raspy with a pinch of amusement. "Actually, it's Nebris, and don't mind the eyes."

"Why would I mind the - Whoa!" Seth clutched at his chest and stumbled back a step as Nebris looked up, revealing his face. Staring up at him were two startlingly bright violet eyes caught in an ethereal glow framed by a face with soft features with a short and neat beard. "They're… violet." Seth took a tentative step towards Nebris, only to be blocked by a tall and shadowy figure that seemed to have materialised from nothing. Seth flinched at the sudden appearance and let out a startled yelp.

"Not too close," Etho growled, giving Seth a warning glare. "We're still not too sure if he's safe... ever since the incident." Seth stepped back again, perturbed by the sudden change from Etho's previously calm and friendly demeanour. Now, Etho seemed wary and guarded - protective almost. Seth wondered what could have put Etho so on edge, unsure of who exactly Etho was protecting from who. Whatever it was, Seth was certain that if it came to it, Etho would kill to keep those that he was protecting safe.

"What do you mean by 'safe'?" Seth questioned.

"It's a bit of a long story, but there are these things - these nightmen as we call them. They're usually harmless if you leave them alone. Sometimes you'll see them taking clumps of dirt or stealing hunks of stone from the land before disappearing into thin air. But sometimes, they take people," Guude explained.

"Take people?" Seth whispered, shifting uncomfortably as a shiver ran down his spine.
"Yes. And these people don't come back. With Nebris here, one of them tried to take him and he supposedly fought it off. Then this happened." Guude gestured to Nebris' eyes which seemed to contain a light of their own in their spectacular hue.

"He hasn't tried anything yet, but all this is just to be safe. We've already lost too many to these nightmen and we don't want one of our own taking down any more," Etho interjected. His eyes flickered to Nebris before meeting Seth's gaze with a hard stare. Seth got the message loud and clear: if you don't want to get hurt, stay away.

Seth yawned again, stretching his arms out and bending back a little. He wobbled slightly, remembering just how tired he was. Rather stunned and with a cold chill tracing icy fingers down the back of his neck, he exited the building with Guude, stumbling mindlessly to the bed that Guude pointed out in some homely building that he was sure he wouldn't remember in the morning. Guude said a farewell and left, leaving him to kick off his shoes and pull off his shirt before dumping himself face-first on the bed. He didn't remember falling asleep, nor would he remember the dreams of unnaturally lanky shadowy beings, glowing violet eyes, and the terrors that he could sense that were lingering in the dark.

~ ~ ~

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Date: Thursday, February 13th, 2014 05:57 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] redyellowgirl
Sunset, this is amazing! The first chapter of this was one of the first things I remember reading after I joined Salad, so I'm so happy to see you continuing it! I hope to see more, even if I have to wait a few months in between chapters.

To summarize: Yus. Good, good. Mhm. <3

Date: Thursday, February 13th, 2014 06:09 am (UTC)
silvercheers: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silvercheers
Ooooo. Our enderfriends are not so friendly... I'm liking this!

Date: Thursday, February 13th, 2014 06:45 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] theodoor_hughes
I've always teased the thought of "what if 'nightmen' could take players" and the fact that you played it off so well... I really REALLY like it.

Just FYI, I think you forgot to tag Seth as a mindcracker: seth. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Date: Thursday, February 13th, 2014 07:17 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] redyellowgirl
Setho? Is that foreshadowing? ;)

Date: Thursday, February 13th, 2014 06:57 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] justicetom
This is great! I want more of it.

Date: Thursday, February 13th, 2014 12:42 pm (UTC)
halcyonlioness: Two of my personal characters are in the avatar, and may be arguing. Left to interpretation. (Default)
From: [personal profile] halcyonlioness
Interested Lioness is interested.

... and poor Nebris. It does make one wonder what the extent of his 'infection' might be, and if the ender/nightmen might be attempting to proliferate via the kidnappings. *brushes aside some terrifying and negative connotations from the notion*

All in all, glad you're continuing this tale. <3 I'll keep an eye out.

~Lioness

Date: Thursday, February 13th, 2014 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] oliviathecf
this is amazing! you're great at world building, i could picture the place in my mind!

may i ask about shipping? is there going to be any and, if there is, may i offer a suggestion?

Date: Friday, February 14th, 2014 11:25 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] oliviathecf
that sounds good! so like oneshots that could happen in canon but don't need to for the story to progress?

if you cared to know, my suggestion was BTC/Seth

Date: Saturday, February 15th, 2014 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] oliviathecf
oh man, i ship it super hard now. even harder than i did before!

i also don't know how to do the spoiler thing.

Date: Saturday, February 15th, 2014 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] oliviathecf
huh! i'll make sure to use that next time lol.

Date: Thursday, February 13th, 2014 10:53 pm (UTC)
darknight307: vechs (Default)
From: [personal profile] darknight307
This was really well written! Very interesting as well. More soon? :3 Maybe? Possibly? Please? :3

Date: Friday, February 14th, 2014 01:12 pm (UTC)
theropod: (Default)
From: [personal profile] theropod
Forgot to actually comment and say that I loved it :D

Date: Thursday, January 21st, 2016 06:17 am (UTC)
yamina_chan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yamina_chan
That is a very interesting way to explain Nebris' eyes, I have to say. And it makes a good connection to the introduction of the Endermen in the first chapter. I like it =D
I'm surprised that Seth is not a little more carefull, even if he probably knows that his best bet is to trust these people for now.

There appears to be a lot to this universe indeed.

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