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Characters  •   The Creepshow  •  The Healer  •  The Hunter  •  The Penitent  •
Location  •  Parlor
Date  •  2018-08-05
Summary  •  Talk of what is, what was, and the Hunter and the Penitent approach what they could have been.

Making her way through the parlor, The Healer stops at the piano and touches the side of it with her fingers, her eyes lingering on the keys. She sits down after a moment, opening the lid and beginning to play a soft melody on the instrument, humming quietly as she has not yet noticed anyone in the room.

It's been a day -- or is it two? -- since the 'event.' The Hunter hasn't really surfaced from her room much since then. Since that night a blood-curdling screen could be heard from The Creepshow's room. Maybe for food. Or alcohol. But not to socialize, to be certain. She ventures out now, dressed in sweatpants and a hoodie; both black. The hood is down on the latter, but her hair is left down. She slouches her way through the parlor, heading for the Dining Room.

The Healer is still playing as she hears movement, but unless spoken too, the woman would not look up from the song she is playing. She hums quietly, and seems to be nearly childlike, though she sits up like a woman of good posture and well brought up manners. She turns to regard The Hunter for a moment, her eyes searching her for a moment, before she misses a note and has to go back and reply the intire thing, humming quietly as she goes. Her fingers move over the keys, and she hasn't been out of her room much either, save for the occasional wander into The Confidant's room or to get some wine and something to eat.

She hadn't heard the blood curtling scream, though perhaps it would have been better if she has. She taps out the song on the keyboard of the piano, her voice sounding classically trained when she dares to sing louder than she's supposed to, and she stops singing all together when she hears footsteps near her piano place, though her fingers still move over the keys.

Just sneakers today for the Hunter. No boots. No additional gear, either. It's like workout gear, if anything, though she seems freshly bathed. The woman continues through the room and onto the dining room. She's not gone long before she returns with a sandwich and a mug of coffee. Rather than eat in the dining room, she settles onto one of the sofas and settles back with a sigh. After a sip of coffee, she offers in an absent tone: "You don't have to stop playing."

She turns then as she's spoken to, her blue eyes holding intillegence even if she smiles a little. Where her other self... The one called Veronique, would have smiled warmly, The Healer only smiles a little, her lips curving up into a small smile. "I did not want to disturb you." she says, her voice quiet. "I know some like my music, but not all." She gives a faint smile, before carefully closing the piano and putting her hands in her lap. "Are you all right?" she asks, her head tilting a little as she stands from the piano binch, pushes it beneath the instrument, and moves to a sofa to sit, crossing her legs at the knee as she allows herself to lean back against the cushions. Her hair is down, but held back with a hair-band of cloth to keep it from her face.

"I'm fine," the Hunter says simply, leaning back and propping her feet up on a table. She balances her plate on her lap, picking up half her sandwich in one hand. The woman settles in to start eating; alternating a few bites here with a sip of coffee there. It seems easier for her, at the moment, to just take it easy.

The Healer smiles faintly and watches The Hunter eating, before closing her eyes briefly and nodding. "Good," she murmurs with a thoughtful look upon her face. She curls her hands back in her lap, before humming quietly to herself.

The Hunter is settled on a sofa in a pair of black sweats. She's got her feet -- in sneakers -- up on a table. She's slouched. Plate in lap, with half a sandwich on it. The other half (partially eaten) is in one hand. She's got a mug of coffee in the other. Since the night of the, ah, assisted suicide, she's largely kept to herself. Or been in the Capitalist's room. Mostly meals have been spirited away and eaten separately. This is a rare time out in the parlor since. Perhaps due to it being more quiet.

Nearby is the Healer, sitting at the piano. The other woman is not playing, but rather is humming quietly. Everyone must be off in their own rooms. A rare... sedate moment in the Facility, it'd seem.

The Healer is indeed humming quietly, but looking at The Hunter across the room, her fingers curled over the lid of the piano as she watches the woman eating. It is not a predatory watch, though her fingers twitch a little as she tries to not do the thing of rubbing her silk in attempt to eleviat anxiety. Head tilting slightly, she watches The Hunter and then turns, opening the piano lid and placing her fingers upon the keys again to begin playing. Again, she sits up straight and her posture is elegant, poised, and like a woman who has done this many times, though she hasn't... She blinks rapidly and notes stop as she shakes her head a little, squinting for a moment as she murmurs, "Stop that." touching the side of her cheek gently, before resuming playing.

Today the Creepshow is dressed in a beautiful, designer wedding dress that's stained with blood splatters all over and shredded and frayed to match. She wanders out of the hall and is headed for the dining room, and probably the dispensary beyond it. She seems entirely fine, outfit aside, and in decent spirits.

If The Healer notices the creepshow, which she most surely does at some point or another, she tries to not look at her. In fact, when her eyes do wander that way, she shakes her head so violently that her hair comes loose from its hairband and she says aloud, "No." Her piano playing stopps in mid-note, and she stands and pushes the bench back under the piano with a decidedly panicked look on her face. She moves past if she can as her eyes widen.

Another bite of sandwich. Another sip of coffee. It's almost mechanical. Rote. Just going through the motions. When the Healer stops playing, the Hunter twists to look over her shoulder at the other woman: "Stop what?" But any further query is halted by the appearance of the Creepshow. The woman freezes a bit, eyes tightening at the corners. She sets her sandwich down and reaches for her pocket, but hesitates and stops. She pats at the outer side of the pocket with that look of someone who has forgotten something. Confusion writes itself across her features before they smooth over and she just sort of... sinks further into the couch and picks her sandwich back up to resume eating. Nope. Not here. Not right now.

The Creepshow notices the anxiety and rising panic in the Healer out of the corner of her eye. She slows her pafe, then stops, turning to the woman and saying in a total deadpan tone, "Ooga booga."

The Healer stops when The Creep Show says something to her, and wide blue eyes turn to regard her as she doesn't scream as the woman might expect, but stands there, staring at her in her bloodstained dress. She takes a few needed breaths, before saying, "You are wearing a blood stained dress." She flicks her fingers slightly, her teeth biting down into her lower lip. "I don't think white and red is your color, spacifically rusty red." She breathes in then out after a few moments, before calming and going back to sit down on that bench.

There's a few long seconds where the Hunter's mouth opens to speak, but she hesitates. Instead, the woman in her sweats just fills the empty space with the last of that sandwich half. She forces herself to stare forward and chew. Nope. Just eat. Eat, drink, and then you can retreat. Right? That's a good plan for now.

The Creepshow looks down at herself, blinking a few times, then back up. "I was recently murdered," she says casually, casting a pointed glance to the Hunter, then back. "I'm feeling better, now."

Stepping out of her room and down the hallway comes the Penitent, a book tucked under her arm. Purple singlet top and black pants this time, bare foot as always, she wanders into the parlor set upon heading towards the bookcase. "Hello," she greets in her peaceful way almost automatically as she looks over the others present, but does stop in her path to see what is going on. Blood stained dresses? Fair enough. "Is it weird to wake up afterwards?" She suddenly wonders, glancing at the Creepshow.

The Healer shifts on the bench and looks at The Hunter, though doesn't look surprised, should she? She turns to The Penitant and smiles a little at her. "Is that book any good? I need to read more. It helps me ... not think. Not thinking is good..." She turns her head to The Hunter and says belatedly, "Oh, I was telling my memories of her to stop. She's not here anymore. I am. She is... I'm trying to separate me from Veronique... I ... I am me, not her."

Maybe she just feels that look down her spine because the Hunter gives one of those little shudders a person gets with the creeping shiver of nerves. She lifts her mug for another long sip. "It's all the memory I have," she answers the Healer. Perhaps tuning the rest out for the moment. "Maybe I'm Maata, maybe I'm not, but she's all I know for now." Other than this sandwich. She zeroes in on the sandwich... mostly. Until the Penitent appears. She looks up to the other woman, following the path to the bookshelf. "What were you reading?" Yes. Pretend the woman you helped kill isn't walking around. Even if you were meant to expect it. Maybe it is measures more surreal than she expected.

The Healer nods her head slowly, then says, in that odd American accent she's got going on, "It does make it easier if I am Veronique." She shakes her head a little and touches the piano. "But ..." She looses her train of thought for a moment, eyes turning back to The Creepshow before they move over to the Penitant next. Yes, talking helps, but she just wants to go back into her room and lie on her bed and stare at the paintings on her walls. That's calm. That's safe... She stands from the bench and moves toward the hallway, saying over a shoulder, "I am going to go into my room now..." A hand trails along the wall and the other rubs over the silk of her skirt, her teeth biting down into that lower lip. She opens her door, slipping through it before she closes it again.

"Good for you," The Penitent says with her small little smile for the Healer. "Madison is the only memory I have, too. But there's distance and besides ... when I realised that that distance was there, and the feeling that I might not be Madison Wellson came about, I was relieved, honestly." She glances over her shoulder, from the bookshelf, putting her book back. "It's a self help book about dealing with sudden change. It seemed relevant. I've been reading lots of books on being calm and finding ... I don't know, enlightenment." She reaches up to pull another book down, easily found despite how many of the things there are. A book of baby names!

The second half of the Hunter's sandwich is gone much faster as she watches the Healer retreat. She washes it down with a good, long drink of coffee. "I think you're running away," she says finally to the Penitent, after swallowing. "These are the only memories we have. Sure, only the island is clear, but what else is there? Nothing. Not even... snippets or photographs or ghosts of memories of being other. You have a brother here. Family. Someone who loves and cares about you." She withdraws her foot from the table, bringing it onto the edge of the sofa with knee upraised to wrap her arm around. "Running from the island won't change it and it's just going to make him feel lost and abandoned, too."

The new book in hand, the Penitent makes her way over towards the Hunter as she watches the Healer, inclining her head slightly. Staring after the woman in quiet silence before moving to stand near the other woman, looking at her. "Your only memories of Conrad are from the island yes? Never from before, where it's less clear? As Madison, I have a whole childhood with him that is vague and unremembered. But no, there is nothing else, no memories of anything else. Madison isn't a fun person to be. She was unhappy, uncertain, and didn't much like you." A pause as she considers a moment, nodding slowly. "She didn't dislike you. She didn't think much of any of Conrad's girlfriends, truth be told. Few them ever lasted more than a few weeks, anyway, so she never really got to know any of them. But the thing about Madison? She died. So maybe I am running away a little, but I think I'm more trying to move on." Her voice is thoughtful, and serious, losing that absent and almost 'innocent' quality she seems to put on much of the time.

Shifting a bit on the sofa, the Hunter casts a glance after the Creepshow. Maybe she's tracking the woman in her bloodstained dress. Making sure she doesn't get the drop on her, maybe? Or just to confirm, once again, that she is, in fact, alive. She shifts a bit on the sofa, turning to face the Penitent. Her other foot is drawn up now, crossing at the ankles. She still holds her coffee, but suspended between her knees; forearms resting upon them to hold it aloft. "That sounds like you were protective of him. I had seven brothers. All older. From what I can figure, they hated every boyfriend I ever had. I think -- though I'm not sure -- it was because they never thought any of them were good enough. But I think that's how it is in all families." She taps a finger against the mug, considering the other woman. "You aren't dead. And we've proven we cannot die. We have God knows how long before us." She takes a sip of her coffee. "So let's get to know each other."

Sinking down onto the couch, that book of names set aside as her feet curl up beside her, the Penitent nods slowly, as she faces the Hunter, following the gaze towards the Creepshow briefly before refocufsing. "I was protective of him. Especially from our father who would never give him a chance, a lot of the time. Every project or idea he had to prove himself, he always had to come to me to get the money for it, when we were older. I wouldn't say I hated the women he had though. I never really got to know them, and after a while the idea of seeing Conrad with a new woman in his life from one month to the next just became so normal. I stopped worrying if they were 'good enough' after a while. He was so much better at talking to people than I was." A thoughtful crease to her lips, her eyes go distant for a moment as she rubs her right shoulder with her left hand. "I'm not dead, no. But I remember dying, and people have said they saw my body on the island. Madison died, and I don't really know what's left, but ... I just really don't want to be her again. I wasn't kidding the other night when I said she died hating herself. And I'm sad sometimes for Conrad with that, but why would I want to go back to being that woman? Scared, feeling responsible for everything, alone."

"You know I -- Maata -- never had a meaningful relationship." The Hunter takes another long drink of coffee before setting the mug aside. "Couldn't tell you why, for sure, right now. I don't remember that. I could give you theories." She leans, pulling a pack of cigarettes out of her hoodie pocket. One is shaken out and the lighter along with it. There's that familiar, nigh-soothing click of the flame as she lights up. She takes a slow drag, exhaling the smoke a second later as she returns the pack to the pocket. "Maybe no one was good enough. Maybe I chased them off. Maybe I was looking for something impossible. But I remember seeing in Conrad someone that got me. That actually saw and understood me. I mean, sure-" she grins a bit behind her hand as she brings the cigarette to her lips again, "he's hot and that had something to do with it at first, but it was more than that. Maybe it's because he had to fight and prove himself so much. That's something I can identify with."

She exhales slowly, the smoke curling away from her. "You are that woman. We are all who we were, in some way. We don't know what that way is. Whether appearance, in truth, or... something else. We're still afraid." There's an arch of her brows there, just a bit. "And we're still alone. That leaves one thing. The sense of responsibility." She tilts her head a bit, propping one elbow on a knee, shifting cigarette to opposite hand so she can slide her fingers into her hair. "I think most people in here have tried to take the blame for what happened at least once. If you don't let go of it, that's your own fucking fault."

"Maybe," The Penitent replies with a shrug, leaning back, shifting a little to get more comfortable. "But Conrad was also very good at getting people to see what they wanted to see in him. You're not the first woman to say that he 'got you' or understood you like no one else did." She nods slowly. "He could make everyone like him for as long as he needed them to. Everyone except our father, who suspected -- correctly mind you -- that Conrad was not his son. I don't think he was ever certain, but he suspected enough to keep Conrad at quite the distance, and to hand everything of importance over to Madison, to me."

A shrug of her shoulders there, "I don't take responsibility for it. I am letting go of it, because I am not Madison. You've noticed how we have a thing from the island, that we had there? You've mentioned the knife. Conrad has his watch. Jonas had his sunglasses. I have a cell phone. Madison's cell phone. It doesn't work -- no signal, no apps, only one thing it can do. It can look at all of Madison's emails detailing her working with David Akala to secure the island for the festival. That's who she is. She was told so many times not to use that island, but instead kept digging until she found Akala, who for a sizable bribe allowed it all to happen. She blamed herself for everyone being there in the first place." A pause. "Madison is a part of me, the memories are there, but they are distant enough that I don't have to feel that way."

Back in comes Bride of Chucky, a bowl of colorful cereal in milk in her hands. She moves to one of the overstuffed armchairs and settles in, legs tucked up into the seat, and begins to spoon creal into her face like a kid. Her large, dark eyes move from person to person.

"But I am the first woman he went through something like what we did on that island with him." If the Hunter is upset by this; she doesn't show it. People have a way of these things. Certain behaviors, certain tics, certain things they claim and say. However, when the Penitent reveals that Conrad's father was not his actual father, something shifts a bit in her features. It doesn't linger long, but long enough that ah- she didn't know. He hadn't yet told her. Obscuring? Or maybe he just had not yet found a way to share it. 'Maata' looks down at her cigarette, processing. She inhales deeply, shoulders shifting. "You don't have to, no, but what then? Pretend to be someone else? While surrounded by all of..." there's a gesture, the cigarette tracing a trail of smoke in the wake of the movement. "this? People from the island. Mementos of it. Day in, day out. Running away from what? What you did? Someone who loves you? Other people in similar shoes?"

She looks to the cigarette for a moment. "Did you know Akala was setting us all up? Did you know it'd end the way it did? No? Then stop blaming yourself." She ashes the cigarette on her empty mug nearby, freezing briefly in place when she realizes that the Creepshow has joined them.

"Yes, you are," The Penitent agrees with a nod, calm and leaning there, her hands reaching out to curl about that book again. She opens it, glancing down, idly flicking through pages. "But you're not the first woman he lied to get on his side, and into his bed. Nor the first woman that took Madison's brother away from her when she kind of needed him. Maybe you are special. Maybe not. I can't say I stopped to figure that one out before we all died." She looks up, smiling her pleasant smile for the Creepshow, before shaking her head. "I'm not pretending to be anything. I'm just me, figuring out who I am. I'm very introspective, measuring up how I feel about things and react to things, the differences between what comes naturally to me, and what comes naturally to Madison are," she lifts a hand, counting off the differences on her fingers, "Behavour differences. Then the differences in others. Age, attitude. Little things, like your accent. Or that on the island I chain smoked pretty much non stop but here I haven't had a single craving. I promise you, I'm not running. And I don't feel responsible for what happened on the island, but trying to tell Madison to stop blaming herself just made her feel worse."

"Here's a question," says Creepshow around a mouthful of cereal, gaze directed at the Hunter. "Have you stopped pretending that when Madison - whom you seem very invested in her being - needed her brother most, he was off getting strange with you? That she died alone, but you two stuck together? I mean, you seem to reeally want her to be this person you kinda fucked over, but every time I've seen her bring it up neither you nor he addresses it. Maybe start there. Just a thought."

There's a frown for a long moment as the Hunter considers a few things. She rolls them over in her head, but opts to set a few aside. Maybe some just for the moment. Maybe others to discuss with time. Maybe she just needs time to process others. "Yes, we are different," she says finally, "but again... these memories are all we have. Without them, we would be just set adrift, with nothing to tether us. My brother died on that island, too. He was there, very specifically because of me. And I'll never have the opportunity to even tell him that I'm sorry. You, on the other hand, seem fine leaving your brother behind." But before she can delve into anything further, the Creepshow speaks up and her jaw tightens. She shifts, looking to the woman. There is an intensity in her eyes now. She had been opting to leave her be, but there is something of a fire there. The voice she speaks with, however, is the opposite. It's cold. "I suggest that you, for once, keep your fool mouth shut. You were not there. Just because you took some pictures later doesn't mean you have the answers. I grabbed them both to get out of that trailer. I did everything I could to save both of them. Don't you fucking even try to pull your bullshit and write some shitty little narrative that Conrad and I chose to live and let her die. I remember breaking through that door, all three of us, and the next thing I remember was waking up just seconds before I died on that helicopter. For all I could have known, I was alone on it. With both of them. Or even with her. We didn't just get up and walk away. Conrad didn't wake up at all. If anything, the two of them died together, just hours apart in different explosions." She pushes to her feet, throwing the cigarette in her mug.

"Are you happy now? Is that the story you've been so wanting and desperate to hear? Or are you just going to warp it into more bullshit lies? Fuck me, I almost wish you hadn't woken up." She tugs up the hood of her hoodie and starts off towards the hall.

Raising a hand, the Penitent shakes her head slightly at the Creepshow's words. "I ... no, there's no hard feelings. Everyone took whatever comfort they could find to deal with that situation, and I blame him more than I blame you, though I don't really blame anyone." She's quiet then, leaning back as the Hunter's cold voice comes out to address the Creepshow. A deep breath, calming and self-reassuring, slowy inhaled and then exhaled "You did try to save me. But I was alone for days before that, and my brother wouldn't even hug me or reassure me. But as I said. I don't blame you." There's a soft sigh as the Hunter gets up to begin to stalk away, a frown crossing her features. "I am not leaving my brother behind. I am leaving Madison behind. She died. I'm moving on. I feel he should do the same, but if he needs to be Conrad, then that's his way of dealing, but he'll need to mourn his sister and move on."

The Creeepshow rolls her eyes. "Fucking fuckity fuck. You're such a fucking hypocrite. I say anything that might remotely upset 'Madison', you tell me to shut up. I point out something 'Madison' has said to you twice in my presence that hurt her that you ignore, you tell me to shut up. But sure, use attacking me to yet again avoid the subject, because I'm terrible and you're never wrong. I haven't lied to you about jack fucking shit. I neber said you let her die. I never said you didn't try to help her get out. Pull your head out of your ass for five seconds and listen to what someone says, not what you think they're implying. But cool. Yeah, it's just me saying crazy shit. Much easier to blame someone else, deflect, or ignore things than own your shit, just like you've been avoiding me ever since I did what you fucking wanted. I'm alive, by the way. Sorry to inconvenience you by living." She sets her bowl of cereal, half-eaten, aside, gets up, and heads for her room.

"No." The Hunter stops, turns, and points at the Creepshow. "You said she died alone and we stuck together. That is not how it fucking happened. And even she-" there's a glance towards the Penitent. "Agrees with that. All three of us may as well have died that night. If I hadn't had the ill luck of waking up seconds before the helicopter went up, I never would have fucking had that memory to send me off." She takes a shaking breath. "Did he leave her alone other times? Maybe. I wouldn't fucking know. It's not like he ever came to me and said 'Oh hey, I just left Madison to come see you.' or 'I'm totally blowing off Madison right now.' You're the one trying to be omniscient here. If he abandoned her at times? Yeah," she spreads her hands a bit in a shrug, "he should probably fucking deal with that. But it wasn't something I had a say in and we definitely did not leave her to die alone."

There's a look back to the Penitent and the Hunter sighs before finally looking away. "Even not for his sake, I don't think it's good for you -- or anyone -- in here to just abandon the only things you know. Shutting it all away is just going to lead to it all breaking out later."

Another sigh at the words traded back and forth, the Penitent sits up slightly, legs crossed on the couch, book in her lap as she opens it up and starts to idly turn the pages. "You both need to stop arguing over these little things. You two just don't get along, apparently." She says quietly, another deep breath. Another paged turned, names scanned as she stares at entry after entry. There is a glance up though, to consider the Hunter again. "Maybe. But we all have our different ways of dealing with it. Have a look at the picture on my door. Really properly look at it. That's Madison. That's me. I'm trying very hard to come to terms with that."

"Fact," says Creepshow. "Madison was the first to arrive here. By herself. Not in dispute. Fact. You two showed up later, together. Also not in despute. I never said you chose that. I never said you meant to take him away from her when she needed him. I'm saying it happened anyway. I'm saying I can see how it fucking hurt her. She says she's over it, so awesome. Good for her. I'll never bring any of it up again. But holy fucking FUCK are you unable to take ANY fucking suggestion you might be wrong without blowing up. And we're not abandoning the only things we know. I know Professor Fuckable was twrnty fucking years older on the island. I know you had a fucking accent. I know I am NOT Esmerelda Cortez because I only actually remember about a week of her life. You don't think it's good. Advice noted, Doctor. Now let us fucking figure out who we are for our fucking selves."

To Penny, she offers, "I'm sorry. I'll stay out of your shit. I've owned what I did, apologized for pushing her buttons the first time we mett here, and even agreed to be her fucking test subject. She never checked on me after. Neverr apologized for any of her shit. It's all one way with her, so yeah. I guess we don't get along. I'm a crazy bitch, sure, but I'm also a fucking adult who says sorry and owns my mistakes."

And down the hall she goes.

"Is that where I give the sob story about how I was trying to process what happened and helping Conrad deal with what she put him through? Because that seems to be the 'deal' with her. Make it all about how terrible it is for someone else and oh, well, okay then." The Hunter shoves her hands in her pockets. "Not that her apology meant jack or shit. It was all part of the game. She'll do it again and again and again. You apologize when you know it won't happen anymore. When you know you can make it right. Not just when you can manipulate someone into your own fucking machinations and rip something away from them." A lot of this is more to herself than anything else; a steady burn of hurt that, more than anything, showcases why she's kept to her own room so much since it happened.

She finally looks over her shoulder to the doors. To the Penitent's door. "I see a woman who has lost her home. Maybe her family. A woman who mourns that loss. I don't know what you see, Maddy. But that's what I see on that door."

"I tried." The Penitent says softly, looking down at her book again. "I tried to be that person for his sake, and I couldn't stop crying. Not only did she ... did I, get a lot of people killed, but I couldn't save myself, or my brother. I'm not going to be any good to anybody as her. She's gone, and ... and I don't know how to ..." She closes the book, and stands up. "I'm sorry." She murmers, another sigh after those words, shaking her head. She moves over, to stand closer to the hallway. "I see all those things, yes. But I see that the fire is her fault. I feel like I deserve this," a hand gestures, encompasing the room, the whole place. The whole Facility. "And I know that's weird and stupid because I can't remember anything, but this prison is a punishment that I've earned. I've said before that I belong here. I'm just trying to be even a little bit happy, for once. And if that means pushing away the dark clouds and not being tethered to anything, well it's better than the alternative."

Drawing up her arms, the Hunter briefly scrubs the heels of her hands across her face. She lets out a sigh. "Yeah, well. You need things to be happy about. You won't if you keep running away from them." She takes a few strides and goes to pull the Penitent into a quick -- albeit likely awkward -- hug. "Call it selfish if you want, but I never had a sister. I was looking forward to being friends." She steps away then, hands back to her pockets as she heads to her room; the one with the archer on the door.

"I am happy about the little things," the Penitent replies with her small little smile, which falters at the strides towards her. The hug surprises her, and it takes a moment before it's returned. "I'm just so much more confident now. And we can still be friends." She lingers a moment longer, but then turns about to retake her spot on the couch, and stare at the book of names.