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Scene Title Burnt
Synopsis The Resistance is handed a gift.
Date July 15, 2017

A Little Ruined Church

I have seen what man can do

When the evil lives inside of you

Many are the weak, and the strong are few

But with the water, we’ll start anew

The bombed out shell of a church sits not far from this backroad that was chosen for the meet. Faded and chipped white paint coats the building and bullet holes and burn marks scorch the outside walls. The bus always with Eve, Nancy isn't anywhere in sight but a lone dune buggy is parked outback. A pair of crows sit on the cross that's blackened from a fire put out long ago, nobody had fixed it up though. What was the point? In the distance over a hill a faint shadow can be seen, another south of the church. Who or what exactly is out there is anyone's guess..

There are sounds of commotion coming from the inside of the place of worship and a blaring off key organ can be heard.

Won’t you take me down to the levy?

Take me down to the stream

Take my down to the water

We’re gonna wash our souls clean

Inside the church the mad woman known as Eve Mas hammers away at the organ for a moment longer before stopping and looking up to the ceiling, a large hole in the corner the debris scattered on the floor around the church. “I say to you..” turning her back to the organ and striding forward to the pulpit, dried blood dripping over the her boots thud on the ruined wooden floor she turns to grip the old wooden stand with her bone white hands, “Today is a good day. For I have received a message from the Angels on high!” Stomping her foot on the floor her tone grows and climbs to a fever pitch.

“We shall crush our enemies and blood traitors as swiftly as the Holy Spirit swept through Egypt to take the Firstborn of every family. We shall overcome! We will have homes!” The seer slams her hand on the podium, “Lots of snacks, water, AC,” staring out to the pews intently, “And all the sweet Mary Jane that we won't be paying for!!”

Take me down to the river

Take me down to the lake

Yes, we’ll all go together

We’re gonna do it for the good Lord’s sake

“Can I get an AMEN?!”

Standing in the aisle, Eve's companion is silent, save for the crunch of debris under boots as they shift their stance. Dressed head to toe in black – combat boots, cargo pants, flak jacket, hooded sweatshirt, balaclava, fingerless gloves – only a pair of dark eyes are visible on Eve's guard. Those eyes roll at the call for an affirmation of faith, but there's amusement there.

It’s not been easy to track down Eve Mas. All the same, the teenager has managed it. Over his normal clothing, he wears dusty armor that he managed to fashion for himself — a chest piece consisting of a front and a back, shoulder pads, forearm and shin guards. Enough to keep him protected. The armor didn’t stop what happened to him recently, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have protection out here.

Quietly, Owain Mihangle makes his way into the church, pausing silently in the entrance and leaning against the frame to watch the madwoman preach about her ideal world. It does sound pleasant — the seventeen-year-old has memories from before, of sitting in front of the AC and eating popsicles with his mother on a hot day, of sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner with his family, and all of the delicious food that came with it. He complained about the mashed potatoes — but he would give his right arm for a taste of those again.

The last time he saw Eve, Gillian was still alive. Life wasn’t good, but it was still okay because she was in the world. But now…well, his grief has led him to this particular crossroad. There is an easy path, one that could result in a life that is at least somewhat comfortable for him and those he cares for, but would most certainly bring with it a great deal of guilt. Or there is the difficult path, the path that could end up with him very dead, and possibly worse.

The Mihangles have never been known to take the easy path, and he’s not about to be the first.

At her request for an Amen, Owain lifts his hands, covered as they are in threadbare fingerless gloves, and allows a muffled clap to echo through the chapel. “Amen!” He steps from the shadows, hands raised to indicate that he means no harm — but that doesn’t change the fact that his eyes seem to be made of mirrors, and there are two rather large fist-sized balls of copper orbiting above and around his head like a pair of lazy moons. Just to be cautious.

“I come bearing gifts,” he begins, watching Eve and her companion quietly.

The boy making his way down the aisle is registered by the raving woman lapses into silence so quickly, her words stil echo in the shell of the building. Eve’s companion gets a look and then Eve’s gaze flicks past the balls of copper and centering once again on Owain, “Come forward boy.” The pale woman leans over the podium studying him. Gifts can come in many forms in the Wasteland. Supplies, heads on a stick, supplies. Eve still enjoys getting a nice gift and it’s a been while so she looks intrigued behind that mask of a pale face and wild red hair.

“What gift is this?” Peering down at Owain with intense brown eyes, the Resistance leader prepares herself.

Eve's guard hold their position, watching Owain's approach with their eyes. An arm drapes over the arm of the pew next to them where a canvas bag rests. In the dim lighting of what sunshine can struggle to find its way through the holes in the roof, it's impossible to see the contents. Could be weapons, could be medical supplies. It could be preemptive – a vessel to carry the possible tribute to this leader of the resistance. For now, there's no move against the boy, only a keen eye watching.

The teenage boy draws closer, the copper orbs still orbiting around him. Hands remain up as he does so — it’s hard to tell where he’s looking with his eyes looking like mirrors, but he’s watching Eve’s guard, doing his best to look as unthreatening as someone with mirror eyes and heavy-looking metal balls floating around their head can.

When he closes the distance between himself and the guard to around five feet, he slowly lowers his arms. “A good one,” he replies, turning to look at Eve. He takes a moment and a deep breath, steeling herself — just telling her what he’s about to tell her could get him killed, but he’s hoping his honesty will work in everyone’s favor.

“You were friends with Gillian. She was…the closest thing I had to a mom, since I was ten.” Hopefully this common ground will ingratiate him enough for this next part to not cause them to kill him. “I was recently caught by a Harvester,” he starts, still keeping his hands fully visible. “I was brought to Colonel Leon Heller.” His face darkens slightly, hands twitching as he speaks that name.

“He gave me a deal. Sell out the resistance, and me and my loved ones would not be hurt.” He lets that one linger for a moment, adam’s apple rising and falling. “I agreed.”

His hands go up again, just in case. “I know that sounds bad, but…I want to help. I want to stop them.” He lets the two copper orbs drift to the ground on either side of him, before his eyes fade to their normal brown. “Use me to get to them.”

Invoking Gillian’s name has Eve’s eyes flashing and her back stiffens. It is a noted fact of Owain’s connection to the pale woman’s deceased best friend. She doesn’t speak as the boy and his orbs walk forward.When that other name is called out Eve digs into her pocket and procures a radio pressing the talk button, «Move the bus, might have been tracked. Radio in ten minutes or you unleash hell.»

That done, possibly calling to Eli. The seer cants her head and places the radio down on the podium softly. Listening to Owain’s words of saving family, of stopping the government. “One tribe.” her voice booms across the church though Owain is much closer than before. “They could have put a tracker on you. Would you…” eyes going to her guard Eve raises a hand, “Check the boy.” Before looking once again at the metal manipulator. “Playing both sides is a dangerous game,” she would know she’s done it a fair few times in her life. Teeth pressed together Eve shows them but it isn’t a smile and her eyes are dark as she regards the boy bringing this new, a bounty. A gift, laid before her feet. “Why would he let you go?” The question is asked plainly, “And not expect you to come running right here. Where is your family?”

Rounding the podium with slow, measured steps Eve’s boot nudges the corner of the wooden thing and her fingers twitch. Eyes go to the windows and then to the large hole in the roof and her eyes narrow, “Explain.”

The guard goes from wary to distrusting at Owain's admission. There's a challenging look leveled at Eve that says they'd much rather just leave than do any checking or further listening to what the boy has to offer, but Eve is in charge here. That look is shifted back to Owain, a glance given to the copper spheres in his orbit. If he means no harm, he shouldn't object to a search.

The copper orbs remain on their spot on the floor, and Owain’s hands remain up — the guard is offered a nod of acknowledgement, that he’s fine with being patted down if necessary — all they’ll find is his armor, pocket change, and his backpack, which is filled with a variety of copper objects, from smaller ball bearings to a pair of copper pens that he managed to scrounge up. His eyes flash silver for a moment, just long enough for his armor to unclasp and float off of him, setting itself down on the ground.

“He threatened the other Lighthouse Kids…told me that our cause was hopeless and that he knew exactly where to find them.” Owain’s gaze darkens. “I cried for him like a good little dog, begged him not to hurt them.” He shakes his head. “Honestly? I convinced myself to do it, but then they actually let me out.” He stares quietly up at Eve, hands still up while he waits to be searched.

“Got to thinking about things, and I remembered Gillian.” He offers a self-deprecating laugh. “She would never forgive me if I did something so horrible as betray all of you.” He keeps his brown-eyed gaze on Eve, level and steady.

“I know it’s dangerous to play both sides. That’s a risk I’m willing to take.” He dips his head toward Eve. “Much better to die a hero than live as a coward.”

The mad woman looks at Owain as he recounts his story, head still tilted but her eyes flash at certain parts. The rest of the Lighthouse Kids, young charges that she would rather not be thrown in the middle of this but war and death knew not the limits of age. Eve takes the walkie and slips it back inside of her pocket, playing with the end of her coat idly as her guard checks Owain, “What. A. Predicament.” Gillian’s name invoked again makes Eve pause and she looks out of a ruined window, it hurts even when she thinks about her best friend and so she hurts every day. All day. “A change of heart.” Eve licks her lips and smiles softly, “Lucky us.”

“She wouldn’, no.” Gillian would indeed not figure such a betrayal, “But she also, isn’t here.” That strange but true statement hangs in the air as Eve makes for the organ and lays a finger on the lowest note that can still be played. The ominous note fills the air around them and Eve isn’t certain if it’s just her or if that’s really a tingle of dread creeping up from the base of her spine, with her back turned to the other two, her eyes grow wide and then narrow and then wide again before she closes them and bows her head. “You need to go, now.”

Eve whips around and smiles gently, “Thank you for being trustworthy and coming to me with this. What a blow to the goddamn bastards we can strike now, with you. Our herald, come to warn us of defeat. Come to save your brothers and sisters of One Tribe.” Taking a moment to look at her guard she motions towards the door of the church with her head, “My boy you may have been followed, we have stayed here long enough. Run along, we will be in touch as soon as we know what we’re doing with this.. Gift.” White teeth stained with tobacco show to the teen and her guard.

“Hurry on, it’ll be a waste if they descend upon us now.” A moment before Eve is looking Owain in the eyes from her vantage point, “Thank you Owain.”

Dark eyes behind dark cover lock on Eve's. There's a small shake of the guard's head behind Owain that could just as easily indicate that they've seen something or that there's nothing to be seen.

With the notion that they've tarried too long as it is, Eve's guard leans over the side of the pew and tugs hard on the zipper of the bag resting there before lifting the bag and pulling the strap over their shoulder. A cant of their head gestures toward a hole blasted in one wall as their exit route.

Satisfied that Eve isn’t going to have him killed — and that she might actually let him help — Owain nods quietly. His eyes go silver once more, and the armor floats back up, fastening itself over his most vital parts. The large copper orbs float back up, resuming their orbit around his head.

Then, he bows his head toward Eve. “Anything that I can do to help,” he replies. Hopefully, he can do this — and if he gets caught or killed? It’s miles above the alternative, living with the guilt of choosing the few over the many. He loves his family in the Lighthouse…but he doesn’t get to decide if they’re more important than the others who don’t have the privilege of having grown up with him.

He hoists his own bag over his shoulder, and raises his hand in a parting wave to Eve. “I look forward to helping.” Then, he turns on his heel, making his way out of the chapel with a determined stride, leaving Eve and her companion to make their own exits.

Watching in silence, Eve chews on the inside of her cheek and sighs as Owain leaves the church, holding a finger up in her “Guard’s” direction she sits a moment listening for the teen before she shakes her head and makes for the backdoor, “Not here.” Coming out to the back the seer hops in the driver seat of the buggy and starts it up. “Fucking.” She stops herself and turns the engine over looking at her companion with raised eyebrows before she starts the engine and pulls off.

Some distance later, Nancy looms in the background a few figures milling about outside. Eve swerves the buggy to a stop before the pair get too close to the bus, “Thank you for coming my friend.”

Pulling her radio out as she looks at the way they came back from she radios to the bus, «The kid’s burnt.»

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