A Sign From The Doves

Title: A Sign From the Doves
Time Period: June 21, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Is it destiny or a case of mistaken identity?

Days on the rocking boat are tedious, filled with boredom, and absolutely nothing to read. Constance could sew or help repair the hull down below, if she had any inclination to, but Duncan's women are doing their best to keep her as far from the sailors as possible. Dornie's princess has been locked in the captain's cabin since Jorn, Hossfeld, and Luna left and the man at the helm doesn't even have any fancy dresses to play act with. It's not long before the teenager figures out the routine of the guards and who the laziest of them is.

The drop from the cabin into the water was a shocking change. Even with the hot and humid days within her prison, the ocean outside is bitter cold. By the time she reaches the shore, she's nearly frozen to death but Constance is as smart as a whip. She didn't wear more than what was absolutely necessary, so the swim wasn't all that difficult. As a bonus, Luna's white nightgown dries rather quickly.

It doesn't really matter where she's going, it's more the idea that she is going that keeps Constance going. The swim isn't terrible, a little refreshing, and it's nice to get some exercise. Especially with all that sitting around. She's not entirely sure how long it'll be until she's discovered, and since she's freezing, she figures she'd better head inland. She made sure, before leaving, that she'd at least be headed in the right direction. So long as she doesn't get turned around, she figures she'll be fine. Especially if she makes good time. And she's cold. Walking is a great way to warm up.

The sun is only just waking up as she starts passing into Liverpool's ruins. It's a little jarring, no matter how well she prepared herself. A metal mound that was once an automobile is host to a skeleton bent over a rubberized steering wheel and two smaller ones in the back. Whatever killed them, it did it quickly and left their bodies intact. The skeletons show no signs of visible trauma, even someone with absolutely no forensic knowledge can glean that fact. Still, they were children when they died. Or terribly tiny adults. Either way, it's sad.

The area is eerily silent, so when a dove just ahead takes off, it jolts Constance back to the present. It flaps a slow circle around her and then land behind her feet. Joined by another and then another, until the girl has a small flock of the birds pattering along behind her. Gentle coos from the fowl welcome her to their neck of the woods, such a nice change from the screeching calls of gulls.

Constance is wary of the skeletons, rubbing her arms as she looks around. The birds are somewhat alarming, and she silently wishes that her brother and his familiar were here to see what they can figure out about things. That and adventures are more fun when you aren't by herself. Still, she's determined to make it somewhere with actual people. She pauses, though, at the birds, looking at them carefully before she continues. She watches, carefully, to see if they're following her. She's learned to be cautious when it comes to animals… they could very easily be more than they appear.

Each time Constance stops, so does her little flock. It's a rare occasion that one ventures forward to get a little closer to her, the majority of them staying a few feet away. They look up at her expectantly, as though waiting for her to throw a crust of bread their way, or perhaps even to yell and stomp at them. Whatever it is you do with birds.

As she delves deeper into the city, the ruins become much taller. Some buildings, though bent and stooped like old men, are much more gargantuan than the castle she resides in. Tall grass and weeds have covered most surfaces but there are still some places that even the most stubborn of greenery refuses to grow. Like those large metal skeletons that loom down over the teen, making her so small, and her birds even smaller.

Regardless of what the birds are expecting, Constance makes no move to scare them off or feed them. It's likely because she hasn't any food, or the fact that she doesn't see the need to startle innocent creatures. At least she hopes they're innocent. She looks at the ruins, shaking her head slightly at the massiveness of some of them. It's not something she ever thought she'd see and she studies them with some bit of awe. Occasionally, she looks back at the birds and offers them a small smile. Can't hurt.

Or can it?

As time passes and dawn stretches into late morning, the birds become more and more comfortable with the blonde girl. The flock grows with each street that she passes through until it seems that it has tripled in size. The ones brazen enough to get closer to her before, flank and then move around ahead of her, until Constance herself is one of them.

From a distance brown eyes peek through smashed windows and around ancient concrete blocks. None of them making a sound or a move toward the teen. Small hand motions allow them to signal speak to one another from a distance.

Just like Noah from the old book. The doves are bringing us a sign.

It's her, I know it.

It has to be.

Being surrounded by a flock of doves might be a little startling, but Constance tries to ward it off. She's seen enough weird magic to know that some things can't easily be explained. She is rather surprised at how many seem to gather, but she watches them occasionally as she moves along before watching her surroundings. In her head, she can be the pied piper of doves. A lot of things are easily explained in her head.

If it is her, then we can't let the witch see.

What about the other? Remember the other one, the one we didn't get.

The one the witch is going to feed to falsegod? She couldn’t be the one, she screamed so much Scab had to hit her over and over to make her quiet.

Well then it doesn't matter, as long the witch doesn’t find this one. The doves brought her for us, I’m sure of it.

Slowly, as timid as the birds, a dirty boy with dusty brown hair creeps from his hiding place. His clothing blends in with the scenery, dingy and grey with a smattering of green, just like the buildings. Even though Constance is keeping a wary eye on her surroundings, he seems to appear in front of her as if out of nowhere. Brown eyes squinted to slits, he stares at her. His posture is horrible, shoulders and back like a tiny little hunched man from an ancient horror.

He gives a timid wave.

Constance is indeed surprised to see a boy, her eyes looking about in the ruins for a moment. Given his presence, there are likely others, but she's unsure. She crouches down to be on more of his level, offering him a small wave in response. "Hello," she offers gently, not wanting to startle him any more than she wants to startle the doves flocked around her. "Do you live here?"

When Constance speaks, the boy raises a hand in an attempt to stop her, then quickly places a finger over his mouth. It's a universal sign. Be quiet can easily be gleaned as can the fact that the small thing is afraid of their surroundings, especially when he crouches a little lower and points upward. Something might be watching and or listening.

His feet shuffle him sideways, a little closer to the Dornie teen. He is also careful not to startle the birds, but they ignore him up to the point where he can reach out and touch the girl's hand with his fingertips. Up close, he could come up to Constance's shoulder, if he stood up straight. His age, though, is a little more difficult to discern. His stature would put him at least five years younger, more Celia's age, but his face makes him so much older.

Constance doesn't need to be told twice to hush, and she falls into silence as he scoots closer and she glances around to make sure that nothing's coming to get them. She glances up towards the sky before looking back down to the boy. It's hard to ask questions when you can't speak so instead she merely looks at him quizzically.

Without reaching for her again, he raises his hand chest height and motions her toward him, scuttling a foot away before repeating the motion. A few more children creep from their hiding places, surrounding Constance, her flock, and the boy. They make no moves toward her, simply watch as he makes the attempt to communicate with her. If she understands, it will help preserve her.

The young Rowntree read a story once about Peter Pan and his lost boys. While Constance isn't entirely sure what kind of lost children these are, they clearly seem to be indicating something to her. Given that really, she doesn't have anything else to do… she gives in to the sense of adventure and begins to follow the boy, glancing around at her flock of children and doves. Certainly things couldn't get much stranger.

They could, really, but not today.

At least not right now.

Constance is led to a heavy metal grate, which is lifted to the side by one of the other children. It's dark there, oddly there is no fouler odor escaping the tunnel as there is above ground. Giving a nod to one of the others to enter first, the hunched boy waits for Constance to get closer before motioning her inside. Nervous glances happen from the others toward the sky, the roadway behind them, the buildings, before the young Rowntree is urged a little more forcefully with a small nudge to her back.

They're scared of something.

Children wouldn't be scared if there wasn't a reason, and Constance sees no reason to argue. She nervously looks down into the dark tunnel, then back at the others, and the doves. While she likes the sunlight and being out in it, the tunnel may take her closer to the city faster, and safer from whatever it is they're scared of.

After all, Constance isn't entirely sure she knows what kind of predators lurk in those stones and ruins that tower over everything.

Once Constance is swallowed by the darkness a hand finds hers to guide her, likely the one belonging to the little hunched boy. Seconds turn to minutes and the light of the entrance winks out of existence as she's led around a corner. It takes a while for the young actress' eyes to adjust but when they do, she finds herself in a world described only in story books.

Mushrooms, growing along the side of the walls, light the way ahead of her. Their pale blue glow gives her skin and hair the look of a more fantastical creature, not just Constance Rowntree from Dornie. In its own way, it's quite beautiful. Here, she could be a fairie or a high born elf.

Her companions don't fare as well under the spell of the fungus. Spiky brown hair that could be pretty if treated as carefully as the teen's, is rendered murky. Olive toned skin that hasn't seen much of the sun turns a sickly shade.

They hide out in the dark. The thought of forever hiding in the tunnels down below, even magic ones, is depressing. Constance pushes the thought out of her head and instead takes in the story book. There's lost children, mysterious passages, mushrooms glowing blue… she very much feels like a creature from tales of her own and it gives her the slightest smile, visible in the pale blue.

She wants to ask where they're going, but the children's odd silence and shushing of her earlier keeps her from speaking even as she attempts to really get her bearings. At least she wants to try and figure out vaguely what direction they're heading while down in the tunnels so when they leave she'll know just how close she is to Liverpool.

The blue glow grows brighter, aided by the light of over a hundred twinkling candles. When Constance rounds the corner, her hand is let go and the children rush around her up to a tall piece of stained glass. Excited sighs from silent voices seem to cheer the blonde toward the carefully preserved work of art. It would dwarf the biggest of windows in Eilean Donan and is likely worth more than the fortune of Dornie combined. What a backdrop it would make for a stage.

A rainbow winged angel with blonde hair flowing back over its shoulders stands against a background of clouds over a creature that's draconian in appearance and surrounded by fire. A spear held tightly with both hands runs through the reptile's neck, a wound likely causing the monster’s death.

Oh no. Tribe of silent children showing her the most beautiful stained glass she's seen in the world but it's depicting a blonde killing something. For a moment, Constance is worried about the fact that they think she might slay some great beast, but she doesn't worry after a moment. Maybe she could. She looks back to the glass, her eyes taking in each and every little detail in pure awe. She can't blame the children for sounding happy from simply being in the presence of the art. In one part of her mind, Constance wishes she were a glass blower and could create this for the castle.

Her mind is brought back to the present and her gaze goes around at the children. Communicating is better if she's trying to communicate like them. So she uses her hands, pointing first to the angel before pointing to herself with a questioning look.

Dozens of wide brown eyes flit between each other before focusing toward the glass and then landing on the girl herself. Then, not unlike the flock of birds she left outside, their heads start bobbing affirmative.