Day 018: In A Gadda Da Vida
Summary: These berries taste like…
Date: 31 May 2016
Related: None
Cole Jael Layla 

Forgotten RV

This vehicle is tucked within the asphalt and cedar grove, protected by a high outcropping of rocks has survived the years that have passed mostly in tact. A pickup truck with an RV camper set in it's bed stands as a lonely survivor where most of it's compatriots have since deteriorated away. The cropping of rocks that has shielded it has done a good job at preserving the RV and truck, only the majority of the paint having been worn off and it's tires have rotted away, but it still stands.

Inside the RV has been preserved well enough, and its doors and windows have kept animals from making a den out of the vehicle. Almost a hundred years of dust has collected on the small, cramped living area. There's an old mattress tucked above the cab of the truck, and its plastic wrapping has protected it from bugs and other vermin. The lack of rain or exposed moisture inside of the compartment has slowed the rate of rot and decomposition. Any food has since turned to dust. But the seats, walls are mostly been kept together.

Day 018

Cole and Jael left at first light once the former returned to camp after talking with Layla and Kai the previous night. Infact returning back to camp is where Jael happened to come across him. It was decided that he planned on staying away from the camp for at least two days, in the hope that things would die down. The mechanic didn't expect either of them to stay out there with him, really. This is his own self-imposed isolation because the camp had decided it wanted to lose it's damn mind. However, the man has already been planning a personal expedition out to the crash site. Because that /is/ something he would do personally, if only to try and gleam what the hell happened to the ship to begin with. But for now, he's taking a day perhaps to collect his thoughts. There's fire burning outside of the RV, using wood he hide under the truck to keep dry. And yes it's a smokeless fire, it's old deadfall that isn't going to smoke.

Oh, smokeless, how proud Layla will be. She has elected to remain in the camp, but that didn't mean she wouldn't visit. It was purely out of a sense of duty that she did so, however, for those sick or injured that would potentially suffer if she was MIA. Funny, how her heart could just bleed and bleed sometimes, while at other times the thing felt as if it was just one solid mass of scar tissue. It wasn't something that kept her awake at night, though, that was for sure.

The day is winding down now, though, and that was usually when Layla retreated to do whatever it is her solitary self got up to. So before it became too dark to make it to the RV, she slipped away, and, quite pleased with herself, even gathered some foodstuffs along the way. It wasn't going to be enough to curb the hunger pangs by a long shot, but it was something. Nuts and berries and some of those mushrooms she had been told were okay to consume.

"Cole," she calls out once she's close enough. "You there?"

She was quiet for the hike, mostly because she has to work harder to keep a decent pace (stupid short legs) but also because she has a really hard time watching where she's going with so much -stuff- around. She only tripped a few times, only almost walked into a tree once. But she's stubborn about it and she kept up, and there was a nap had once they got there. Because yeah, he might not have expected her to stay with him, but she's going to. Jael is currently in the RV, though when she hears the voice she drifts to the door to look, placing Cole with her gaze before her eyes start searching for the source of the calling out. Curious, rather than hostile and wary.

"I'm here." Cole replies, standing up from the fireplace. He's cooking something it looks like he hunted down while Jael was off napping, wholly confident that the RV metal walls would keep her protected. Also helps that the door locks. Looks like a pair of rabbits that have been gutted, skinned and sitting on a makeshift spit. "Layla, dropping by I guess?" The RV sits at the end of a far field, giving anyone at the vehicle plenty of time to see someone coming if they have to make a break for it. And it's placed at the side of a high rock face of a hill, giving some shelter from the wind and blocking off one side. So it's better than sitting out in the open. "Things calmed down yet there?"

"No, I've come to murder you and wear your skin," said with a consummate dead pan of both expression and tone. Dark eyes flicker towards Jael, and her mouth pulls into the semblance of a smile before she gives something of a upnod of her chin in greeting. (Her hands are full!) "Hey," you girl who's face I but barely recognize and name that I surely don't know. Striding close still to the RV, Layla answers Cole's question with an amused snort. The sort that said he shouldn't have had to ask, but she'd tell him anyway. "They're still as apeshit as ever, but I kept to my corner and wasn't too bothered." She carefully lays down her own spoils of the hunt, gesturing expansively. "I come bearing gifts." Though now she felt, well, pretty lame. Because rabbits trump berries.

"Hey," Jael answers with her own up-nod, climbing down from the RV and padding over to the fire straight-away, moving close enough to it that she can feel the warmth on her hands for a moment. Then she turns and takes a step away, back to it so she can look between the other two, staying pretty quiet for the time being. Attentive, curious, but quiet.

"I don't think Jael would be too happy about that. She seems to like my skin." Cole remarks casually, perhaps just hassling the blonde. Because he's known for his innuendo. "Yeah I figured. Shit in one hand, wish in the other an see which one fills up first. But thanks for coming by. I figure hearing news from you is a good way to keep abridged of shit. There's actually something I want you to keep an eye out for while I'm gone. But I'll get to that in the minute." Then a look between the two women. "You two know each other. Jael, this is Layla, probably my best friend in camp. Layla, this is Jael. She's a friend of mine. Dunno if you two met. But she's sorta on the same page as us with the whole camp being batshit."

"I suppose I could share," Layla says, reverting to the flat line. Then Cole saves her by being all gentlemanly and making introductions. "Nice to meet you, Jael," she says. "Formally, that is." Layla then points at the food she brought. "I brought some things to eat. I mean, it's not a lot," and Layla hadn't thought Cole would have a guest. She's clearly trying to salvage that. "But sharing is caring."

Her attention swings back to Cole, and a brow quirks up. "Oh yeah? Shouldn't be too much of a problem." She casts about for an optimal place to sit, then finally does so, Indian-Style.

"Yeah, you too," Jael answers Layla, glancing over Cole's way and rolling her eyes. "Yeah, I like your skin," she comments dryly, and then there's another smile for Layla. "I don't eat much." One hand lifts, reaching up and back to ruffle through the tangled mess that is currently her hair. It seems to capture the bulk of her attention, and the little blonde slips away from the fire and back towards the RV as she tugs at it, giving the pair of them a bit of space.

"You are the apex of generosity." Cole remarks to Layal, turning the spit that the rabbits are on. "But thanks. Hey, Jael…c'mon over. Be friendly." he says patting the spot of grass next to him. "So…Laylee…the hydrazine. I told Kai about them last night but it's something I want to bring up to both of you. Nobody needs to go fuckin' near them. Because you want to figure out a great way to kill every Ark Loyalist in the camp? You rig the tanks to blow. And it wouldn't take much. An electric spark will do it. Put that shit on a timer, take your buddies, walk out of the camp, get far enough away to watch the fireworks. You want to get rid of your opposition? That's a great way of doing it. Rebels have already shown they're willing to kill, what better way to win the conflict than by simply killing everyone against you? So I need to keep an eye on the hatch in the floor of the main floor of the dropship. Don't need anyone lingering about there." A couple berries are taken up, eaten.

Layla herself begins to pick through some of the berries and nuts, then experimentally bites into one of the mushrooms before sighing despondently and muttering, "It's like Ark food." But in a weird way, it made her stupidly nostalgic, so she ate the rest of the one in her hand. Also, waste not, want not. Next comes a nut, which she cracks open with a nearby rock. "Anyway, yeah, don't let me…" She sought the right turn of phrase, and decided she didn't like 'kill the mood.' "Make you feel like you can't join in on the stellar conversations or whatever." That sounded better. Much less awkward. Back to Cole, "I understand. I'll pass it onto Faolan when I see him next. I trust him to do well with that kind of information, and, really, the I'd just feel better about it with him and Kai in the know."

"They're not going to blow up the camp," Jael says, padding over to Cole and dropping down to flop onto the ground he patted, stretching her legs out and leaning back on her hands. "I mean, it's a good idea to keep an eye on it in case a single person gets stupid and suicidal, figure they'll just put everyone out of their misery, but it's not going to be something a group of them are going to decide on and execute. It's completely *stupid* for their survival, beyond the fact that being /right/ is important to them, and if they kill everybody there's nobody for them to lord over, bully, or otherwise convince of their rightness. They don't want to just win, they want to be right, too." Pause. "Oh. Yeah." Another, briefer pause. "See, it's just that they wouldn't want to kill their audience."
You paged Cole with 'This thought has occurred to me as well.'

"They're extremists, I wouldn't put it past them. Even if they don't, one among their group might consider the idea as something smart to do. They were given orders, I don't know if being right is that big a deal to them. Or maybe it is…I don't fuckin know. Either way, it's something that needs to be looked out for. Even if it's not done as a fuckin' group, there's still chance we could with one single radical that could do some serious damage." Reaching forwad, he pulls the cooked rabbits off the fire, letting them cool off." He shakes his head at Layla. "It's cool Layla. You two are all I got right now." he smiles at that. Which might his first real one since before Evie was killed and the madness began.

"They'd have an audience in the Grounders," Layla counters. "But yeah, I'll still cede you that point. It all depends on what sort of evil we're dealing with here." She rubbed at her eyes. They were gritty with exhaustion and stress; last night wasn't the best sleep she'd had in a while, and let's be real - sleep down here wasn't that fucking great to begin with. "In any event, watching is better than not. It'll be easier to do, too, what with groups wanting to go check out the crash site."

"They're not evil," Jael frowns, shaking her head as she glances between the two of them. "They're — fanatics. We start thinking of them as anything but people with good sides and bad sides, we start down a road that leads us right to where they are." Wrinkling up her nose, she shakes her head. "It's worth watching, but I wouldn't worry about it. I mean, don't devote any mental energy to thinking about it once it's been attended to." Then she's leaning over, attempting to bump her shoulder into his. "You've got more than just us," she says.

"I plan on going. I don't know when, but I'm going to start putting away supplies for a trip like that." Cole says to Layal on the matter of the dropship coming down. "I'll understand if neither of you really want to go on a hunting trip for something like that. I don't even know why I'd even go, and frankly, I'm not even fuckin' committed to it yet. I know what an explosion like that can do. There probably isn't shit left to figure out what happened. If the hydrazine exploded on impact, there isn't going to be a lot of shit left to look at beyond a fuckin' crater." To Jael, he nods. "Not saying they're evil, but I get your point. Fanatics…extremists…whatever they are, still people. And I'm not going reduce to them to objects even if they do that to us." Taking the bump, there's a faint smile on him. "Maybe, but you're the only two I give a damn about."

"If you countenance the murder of dozens, if not more, people as something that isn't evil, then you're either too soft, or you're insane." Layla's hand cuts sharply through the air. "And I don't want to hear about any greater good bullshit. Human life matters," this from a person who watched another bleed out slowly with all the emotional affect of a starfish. "And when you start thinking about taking it away, your first victim is your own humanity, your own self, and it is evil." Oddly, her tone isn't heated. Layla isn't even speaking above what would be considered conversational. "And when you don't draw a line, when you just try to reason, you're complicit. It's not reducing someone to an object," she should know, she's actually done it before. "It's having the courage to stand up against what is wrong." Then, ever so casually, Layla pops a few berries into her mouth. "Seriously, those rabbits cool enough to eat yet?"

"I'll go with you," Jael says, shaking her head. "I was originally going to go with a group this morning, anyway. I want…well, I want to see it." Layla's sharp gesture catches her full attention, her eyes going over that way. There's little reaction to the other girl's words; eventually she shrugs her shoulders. There's no verbal reply.

"Ladies you're talking more about nasty things and clearly not enough about me? Because really, I'm what you should be talking about." Cole says, trying to diffuse the situation that he likely created with humor(as is his way when he's not stressed), nodding at the cooked meat. "In the end, it doesn't matter, philosophical leanings or other wise, I just don't want it to happen." He sounds like he wasn't intending on starting an argument. Picking up one of the cooked rabbits, he uses one of his makeshift knives to start cutting it apart. "We're stressed and frustrated and tempers are running really fuckin' hot right now. An' I want this to be a place where me an' my friends can just…chill. Which is a word that I feel like hasn't been used in over two weeks." Parts of rabbit meat are cut up and passed between the two of them.

The intensity of her gaze softened, then. In fact, Layla almost looks as if she is chastised when Cole talks about the camper being a place to chill out. When he begins to pass out slivers of rabbit, she does her part to share out the sides. They very nearly have a complete meal here tonight! Afterwards, she laces her fingers together and held them up to her chin, elbows out as she kind of rocks her head side to side. "Oh, Cole, don't you know dinner must come before dessert." The best way to ruin any tense situation is to diffuse it with crude jokes. Even if the crudest Layla could actually get was with innocent, indirect references.

She can't say the word for peepee, yo.

"Thank you," says Jael for the rabbit, starting in on it. She picks the thing into tiny pieces before she eats it, tearing off strands of muscle and generally taking it slow. There's another, "Thank you" for Layla and the food she adds to the pot, adding the nuts and berries and mushrooms to the pile of food-that-is-being-picked apart. Except mostly that's not really possible with the sides, and so she just eats the pieces she can't pull apart first.

"Har har." Cole grins at Layla, apparently this form of banter has been around since they first met. Clearly the medic is the person he flirts with but has no intention of actually following through on it. Really, he just enjoys banter like that. "I know things have been rough, hard even. I dunno if being out here makes it any better, but I'm glad you're here, Jael." he says to the, hand reaching over when she's not eating to grab it and squeeze it lightly. "And we'll go to the crash site if you want to see it. It's just gonna be a helluva of long walk out there." Then back over to Layla. "But while you're two are here, I have other things that we could or should be fuckin' doing. I was gonna explore south, see what was out there. Looking into who stole the parts to the escape pod. Maybe just doing shit not in the camp would be…useful. Because I don't know about either of you, but I can't just sit around forever."

"You guys will need to be really, really careful when you go," she says, her hands grasping at the hem of her shirt for want of anything else to do. It did concern her, for they could leave and simply never return, and she'd never know what might have happened to them. That little plea thrown out there, Layla looked to her food, and pretended to give it her fullest attention. "I'd be up for some less intense exploring, though."

There's a smile for Cole when he speaks to her, and Jael gives his hand a squeeze in return. "Well, I want to see it /too/," she points out, shrugging her shoulders a bit. "Not so much that I'd insist we go. If you're going, I'll go. If you think it's too far, I'm fine skipping it," she says quietly. She nods for the exploration thoughts, then nods a little solidly for Layla's little plea. "We'll be careful," she promises. "Don't worry." Settling forward, she pulls her legs up until they're crossed, shoulders tipping inwards a bit as she continues picking apart her food.

"It'll be at least a day walk. Maybe too from what I saw from the crash and gauging the smoke in the distance." Cole remarks, giving one last squeeze before returning ot his food himself. "I'd like to go, but I don't know if it'd be of any help to us in the long run. Still…something may of survived. Scrap metal from the ship would be nice. Might be able to do something with it. But if we do go, we'll be careful. Promise. I don't intend to die out here before the Ark comes down. Now when we've come this far. That shit would suck."

Their assurances seem to be enough for Layla, because she doesn't pursue it further. "Some things don't need to reward one tangibly," says Zen Master Layla. "If you feel compelled to go, then go. I'll hold down the proverbial fort until you guys return." Although she was now thinking about if they went and got hurt, how her being there would be of use. Curses. But no, she couldn't go. Something about seeing all that twisted, ruined metal really put her off.

"I think it'd be useful, but I don't think it'd be useful enough to justify going by ourselves," Jael finally does speak up, staring down at a little rabbit bone as she picks the last of the meat off of it. "Not with the risks involved. If we wanted to go, we probably should've gone with the others that went, but I'm pretty sure they already left." There's a glance to Layla for confirmation on that. "It could be useful and should be done, but I don't think the timing is right for us to be the ones to do it." Those little shoulders are shrugged.

"That's…that's true." Cole considers. "I didn't know they had already fuckin' left, but I don't know how I'd feel about going with people that I'm not on the best of fuckin' terms with right now. And…fuck, I don't want either of you catching hell just because you're associated with me, y'know?" That may sound like a real worry, especially with the look he gives Jael. There's something on his mind that he wants to say to her, but maybe not this moment. "And I appreciate the gesture, Laylee." he remarks back to the other woman. "But hrm…just going off, the two of us. Maybe not such a hot idea. Still, there's other shit we can that's closer nearby. I mean, we're only an hour away from the camp as it is. That's not…too horrible."

Layla shrugs, and, having finished her meal, pushes herself to her feet. Something in the look Cole sent Jael's way made her decide that the hour's walk back wasn't so awful, even if it would be dark. Being considerate is tough work. "If someone wants to give me shit because I hang out with you, then I'll grin and bear it, and wait for the moment they need my help. Which I will withhold." Not…not really. Okay, well, maybe. It would seriously depend. She gives him a thumbs up and a smile. "I could have worse friends, you know. Anyway, I'll be off, since I see you're still alive and have apprised you of the situation at camp. I trust you'll be in good hands here with Jael." Good hands. Ha. Ha ha.

Without waiting too long for any kind of sappy goodbyes, Layla begins to turn and depart.

Cole notices, then, beyond Layla, in the gloom of the treeline, a figure. More than a figure - his sharp gaze picks out details that otherwise would be obscured. It is a bizarre-looking old man, bent backed, with a scraggly mane of white hair that grew into an equally untamed beard. He's leaning upon a staff. Looking right back at the young man.

"You worry about you," Jael glances sidelong over at Cole, wrinkling her nose at him. "We're capable of choosing who we are willing to catch hell over; not your job to worry about that." The grouchy tone is perhaps softened (she makes the attempt, at least) by her leaning over to nudge him with her shoulder again, offer up a little smile. But Layla pushes up to her feet and she turns, lifting her chin and frowning up at the other girl. "I don't think it's safe for you to walk back alone in the dark," she points out, uncertain. "I can, uh, watch the fire if you guys want to go talk in the RV or something."

"What? C'mon Laylee. You just /got/ here. There's no reason you should leave. I promise, if me an Jael start banging, you won't hear it." Is that joke? It's probably a joke, he does joke about that stuff a lot. "Besides, it's just…I just like making sure you're alright, beyond just seeing you." She's always so guarded, so private. One day, she'll let him in. And maybe he was about to say more, when something catches his eye. And color drains from his face. When Layla moves to go, a hand snaps out, pulling her back down. "There's something out there." he says through grit teeth, staring in a particular direction. "He's watching us. Look." He doesn't move a damn muscle, staring at exactly what he's looking at.

Yoink. And down Layla went, amidst a fumbling protest, though once his words got through to her, Layla stilled, and she, too stared wide-eyed (well, as wide-eyed as she could), to the spot Cole indicated. Their silent stalker didn't stay hidden amongst the trees for long. Within heartbeats of Cole having pointed him out, the old man shuffled forward, revealing himself. One eye was nearly squinted shut, while the other bugged out in something of a crazed stare. There was, quite literally, a snake encircling his neck and some sort of rodent nesting within his hair.

The snake stares at this particular creature most ardently, black eyes unblinking. "I had forgotten," he begins in a gruff, broken voice. "How noisy children could be." He hobbled closer, one foot dragging, and, pointing with his staff, indicates the RV. "And how rude. Did you even think to ask before you started…started ROOSTING in it? And you cleaned the dust from the windows. Maybe I liked that dust. I spent years collecting it. Years!" Then, with a rather disturbingly owlish movement of his head, he regards the three of them sidelong. "I suppose you can stay, though. I have a soft spot for pretty girls. Always did. Though you could do with a haircut. You look like a vagrant."

There's another sidelong glance to Cole for the comment about banging, though Jael doesn't say anything. When his face drains of color and he goes for grabbing the other girl, she bolts to her feet and steps to interpose herself between the other two and the direction Cole's pointing, puffing up and squaring her shoulders. And then, well, she's staring in that direction, because no, she doesn't see him. At least until he shuffles forward; when she sees him clearly the girl's hip cocks to the side and her hands go to her waist, her head tilting to the side just so. "You need a haircut, too," she declares, in the tone of one who expects they've won the argument with -that- bit of completely true and undeniably factual information. "Please don't come any closer. It'd make me nervous, and then my feet sweat. If my feet sweat, they stink, and I have to take my boots off later and -nobody- wants my feet to be stinky when I pull them off." It's all rattled off conversationally, as if what she were saying were not only logical, but actually made sense, too.

"Damnit…Jael." Cole hisses between his teeth when she gets up. Welp, cover blow, might as well get up with the rest of them. "Hey hey hey…whoa. Whooooa, sir. I didn't know this was your…" a glance back at the RV. "Home? Yeah, so far as I knew this place had been abandoned just like everything else that's been rusted over. And…the windows were dirty?" he shrugs at that point, not considering that someone liked the grime over them. "Jael…" he lowers his hand. "Think it's okay." Then back at the old man. "Erm…thank you. Ah, so this is your home?" Great, and he took the tool bag full of tools from it. And the old fourth of whiskey too. That's been drank.

"Girl, I've been stinking for so long, I don't even notice it any more," declares the old cripple. Layla's expression was proof enough of that, too, considering her wrinkled nose and sudden need to breath through her mouth. "Stink is a completely natural thing. Now soap? That's not natural, or else why would we get to smelling this way in the first place? And not," he reached up to pet the mouse. "Like roses." The snake was glaring at the three of them rather balefully.

"I resided here, a long time ago." His shoulder shrugged unevenly. "But I gave it up. I gave everything up." He smiled cheerfully, revealing blackened, albeit sharpened, teeth. "I was just giving you Hell. Do you brats even know what that is any more? Huh. I wonder, if you fall from the heavens, doesn't this, then, become Hell?" A liver-spotted hand was waved negligently at them. "Aii, never mind that. You can't talk philosophy with those who can't think beyond their pants yet. Did you-" He gasped with such power one might fear he was about to have a stroke. "You ate Rufus and Jolene!"

Cue the: this dude has lost his marbles look from Layla. However, it must be noted he hasn't really come any closer to them since Jael requested that he not do so.

"You would notice this stink. It is the stink to end all stinks. I bet you remember being my age, how bad your feet smelled. It's like that," Jael doesn't relax at all, shoulders wound tight with tension. "Not the normal stink. I'd prove it to you, but I don't want to start a fight, and it'd start a fight. That horrifying. Seriously." Cole steps up and while she flicks her gaze to him, she doesn't say anything — and she doesn't relax any, either. "Anyway, we don't have any soap, so there's no reason to be waving your stick at us." He gasps and she tilts her head, a little further, then shakes it. Shake shake. "No, we didn't. You gave this place up along time ago. Those things don't live that long." She does shift on her feet, turning enough that she can glance towards Layla without actually letting the crazy old man out of her sight. Not that she has much room to talk on 'crazy'. But she does check on the other girl, and she even takes one hand off of her hip to give a quick gesture towards the perimeter that's not in the direction she's staring. "Did you bring any friends with you besides the ones we see?" She says it to the guy, but there's a little bit of extra emphasis on the 'see'. "Do you want to talk? Did you have questions for us? Do you want to trade?"

Jael seems awfully aggressive. Clearly not a side of the woman he's seen before. "No need for hostility." he offers quietly. Cole replies softly before looking back at the old man. "Jael, calm down, it's alright." he steps forward personally. "You apart of the Grounders?" he asks, then as if he perhaps needs to clarify, "The…ah, Treekru?" he hasn't heard the word enough to be able to pronounce it properly. "But yeah, you here on your own or did you just come out here yourself?" He's trying to be nice, and not as defensive. The tire iron, he uses as a weapon stays hooked to his belt, not reaching for it. Yet.

"You're crazy," he declares with a finality that would, in another world, brook no argument. "Rufus and Jolene never lived in the RV, they lived in the forest. They had a family, a future. He had just landed a new job with the government." He drew himself up then, hands going to his waist, where a frayed rope 'belt' was the only thing giving definition to the dirty, frayed robe he wore. "I have friends aplenty, but I didn't invite any of them along, and I have to say that I won't unless you take it into your minds to skin and eat them." The snake had slithered somewhat up and over his face, and he was completely unperturbed by this.

"Silence, a faint mocking smile suggesting I know more than I do, an air of mystery, yes, and fell knowledge. None of them can guess my confusion, my host of deluded illusions and elusive delusions. See how they stare at me, wondering - all wondering - at my secret wellspring of wisdom…"

And then, to what should be a surprise to all three delinquents, the snake answered, "You're talking out loud again."


There's no hostility there — she's got to be joking about the feet, especially considering they don't really smell particularly bad, after all — but she's ready. Alert. Attentive. Defensive, yes. Aggressive, not so much. And. Er. Did the snake just talk? She shifts as if she's going to take a step back, but the uncertainty in her face is brief and she shakes her head to chase it away. So not possible. When Cole moves towards the man she holds her breath a moment, but she lets it out slowly and just moves forward after him.

Cole blinks, staring at the snake. "Wait…what?" The snake moving on the man's face was strange enough, but now he's just kinda staring wordlessly. "Am I drunk? Am I fuckin' high?" he stammers out, unable to tear his eyes away from what he just. Job? Government? Just how old was this old man? Was he here before the war? Or is he just hallucinating some really weird shit in the middle of nowhere. He doesn't step any further. "No…sorry. Didn't know those were your friends. Sorry. Didn't mean to eat them. Ah…is your snake talking?" he finally asks aloud. "Because I feel like that shouldn't be a thing. Y'know…snakes fuckin' talking."

"It's because I'm a wizard," said so very simply that it would be hard not to believe him. Which could be one of two things: he had enchanted them, or they were tripping balls in a shared hallucination. "Enoch is my familiar."

"And repository of wisdom," comes the sibilant hiss, though its tone is quite dry.

"Expand your horizons, broaden your minds. You haven't hardly lived, and during your pitifully short existence, you've been caged in a floating tin can. Did you think you could just come here and find an earth out of whatever meagre history books you possess?" He crouched down, level with Layla who was still seated firmly upon her rump. He casts a wink, then extends his hands towards the fire, hooking his staff across his skinny legs. "You shall find that gods and demons aplenty roam these lands, if you've the eyes to see and the ears to hear. Now…" The yellowed, protruding eye swivels to Cole and Jael then. "I can give you a sliver of that wisdom, if you think you're ready for it, boy. Sorry, Stink-Feet and Squint-Eye, but I don't have anything for you. This is Man Talk." He lifted a hand to the side of his mouth, faux-whispered to Cole. "They won't understand it anyway."

Stare. Jael is saying nothing for the time being, feet planted firmly where they are. When the man indicates that he has wisdom to share with Cole, she does dart a hand out to try and grab hold of his arm, fingers making the attempt at curling around it just above the elbow. Not that it would be difficult to shake her off even if she did get a grip on him. "You're not making sense," she does eventually point out for the man. "You're not making sense at all. There's no such thing as wizards. And sir, please, can you back up? You're too close to my friend." The request is made quite politely.

"A fuckin' wizard?" Cole blinks, partially curious and terrified all the same time. The young man has read fantasy books in the Ark's library, he knows what a wizard is. "I think there's plenty of people back at our camp that could use a bit of wisdom. Losing their goddamn minds. So…what? What do you want me to go? Go some epic fuckin' quest? Save the princess?" Saying the last, a hand is placed on the one of Jael's that grips his arm. "I'm not beyond expanding my knowledge in…just about anything. But a man who comes to me with a talking snake is like…I dunno. I can't think of think of an analogy good enough for it. Because this shit is messed up." There's a look over to Jael. "It's okay, I'm not afraid." And that might be a lie. In fact, it probably is, but this far too interesting to deny the chance to explore more. "Though…gotta say. Fuckin' sweet name for a snake." He's stealing that name. He doesn't know for what, but for something. "So…yeah. Lay your wisdom on me."

"Oh, that's just so passe, my boy. But not without a certain romanticism. Princesses, locked in towers. All bound up, preferably in torn and tattered dresses, with the bindings placed just so…" The snake hisses, and the old man refocuses. Well, sort of. That eye does tend to wander. By this time, he's pretty much set on ignoring both Jael and Layla. Yes, it's rude, but what more can you expect from a crazy old wizard?

"Besides, you're not ready for any epic quests, the dragon down the lane would eat you whole, and who wants a story that ends: And the hero was shat out most powerfully? Fin." Enoch has, by this time, slithered up and around the crown of his master's head, where crouch-eth the mouse. It looks utterly terrified. Thankfully, the snake's attention is only for Cole. Its neck extends, and when it does so, the old man leans forward, and again comes his hoarse whisper - which is completely loud enough to be heard by all. "Here it is, listen well, take it in, make it your mantra and before you know it, you'll be on the road to Glory." Ye gods, the build-up is intense isn't it? "If you diddle a girl, and nobody hears it, you're doing it completely wrong."

"I am," Jael informs Cole simply when he tells her he's not afraid, the admittance easily spoken. Her eyes aren't leaving the guy and his talking damn snake, now. When the snake starts to extend she shifts, ready to interpose herself between it and Cole if it gets Too Close. The hand on his arm tightens a little, an attempt made to tug him backwards. Then, well, the old man speaks, and his wisdom is dropped, and she stares. There's a long moment of silence before she states so very seriously, "He's not. Doing it wrong. He's really not."

Cole sputters a look at Jael, turning a bit red. Of all the things that could come out of her mouth, it had to be /that/. Between that wisdom and her response, he just stares between the two. When she pulls, he takes a small step back, perhaps taken unaware of the movement towards him. He doesn't know what to say to that. "If Jael has a say in anything she'll probably make sure I'm not doing it wrong later tonight." Might as well roll with it, what else can he do. And then, a bit braver. "She's my girlfriend. She would know." Did that really just come out of his mouth? Or is he just trying to prove that he can take whatever wisdom offered to him and be thankful for it. "But…I'll plan on doing better. If you hear it, let me know."

Because telling a creepy old man to listen to you bang is TOTALLY NOT WEIRD, COLE. He grinned, revealing those sharp teeth again, then twinkle-finger waves at the pair of them as he says, "Ta," pushing up and back on his feet, he simply…disappears on the breeze.

Layla, too, is nowhere to be found.

Cole's response manages to catch Jael's attention. Entirely. Wait, what? She blinks at him a few times, but he's talking still, and so she's looking over at the old man and wait where did he go. Blink. Blink. She turns her head to sweep the clearing with her gaze, then the treeline, and she's looking back up to Cole. After a moment her expression just washes over with confusion and she lets go of him, moving to drop down to sit by what's left of the fire. The spot where Layla was is stared at to a result of yet more befuddlement. "I know that I act crazy a lot, but things usually at least make sense in my head," she says. "Everything just stopped making sense in my head."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License