The Toymaker's Menagerie

Title: The Toymaker's Menagerie
Time Period: May 19, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Beisdean and his pair of odd companions rush off to the rescue of more than just a lost friend.

It was early morning when Beisdean assisted in a ritual to find Cas and ended up with a little, wounded hob for his trouble. But the sun is setting below the trees when the hob points the way through the woods and brings Beisdean within sight of an old theatre. Built and abandoned long ago, but there's activity there now, new sections of the building here and there, two giant troll statues standing on either side of the building's entrance, wooden clubs raised over their heads for the rest of time, ever vigil.

Of course, the bigger problem comes from the living, moving troll that they can just make out over the shorter parts of the estate. That and the lights that can be seen through windows here and there. The auditorium itself, of course, is without windows, but light can be seen from under side doors and actors' entrances around the building. The front doors are closed, but light is on there, too, and the movement of a single figure through the glass panes.

And if what Aislinn saw was correct, somewhere inside this building is a certain stablehand.

The horse is abandoned to the woods, tied to a branch as Beisdean creeps closer to the building. A gun is held in his hand, though he knows it'll be little use against the troll if the troll should come his way. The man is wishing that he'd gone for help after all, but time seemed to be of the essence — now he knows where Cas is held, however…

Should I go back and get help? he asks Darklight, who is flying around to peer in windows, to see if he can see through to find where Cas might be, and what might be keeping him on the other side.

Let me see. You have me, after all, the familiar, currently a raven, suggests, not without a touch of cockiness that he's enough.

Speaking of certain stablehands…

Cas Blackburn has discovered very quickly that it's not all that exciting being a puppet. After the shock faded, he could only watch as things happened around him, with occassional moments of defiance that mostly consisted of smacking puppet fist against the floor or wall or glass in a tantrum.

Most the time he's just tried to figure out his puppet-y body. How to stand, how to walk… it will help him sell better later, in theory. Right now he sits at the edge of his allusive shelf, his feet swinging back and forth in boredom as casts his sights on the other toys. At least he can wave. And make basic gestures of greeting. But after a while he stopped doing even that.

What they gain from watching is the simple fact that trolls are terribly slow creatures, and this one goes on endless steady circles around the building, primitive security system that he is. He doesn't waver, he doesn't look beyond the clearing the building sits in, he doesn't stop. Just goes and goes, as if he were some sort of clockwork toy himself.

He isn't, though.

Darklight's path gives him an understanding of where the doors and windows are, and which of them aren't covered by planks of wood nailed into the walls. There are only two aside from the front doors. One, a side door into what appears to be a bedroom on the ground floor, built against the front end of the theatre and one at the end of a long hallway that seems to lead into the main theatre room.

The familiar also sees a sort of barn-like building with an open side where a pair of wagons are parked and one horse is stabled in the far end. That creature, at least, is well taken care of.

But Darklight isn't all Beisdean has, as a familiar ghost appears in the trees as well, making her way over to crouch near him, looking toward thetheatre as well. And for once, she doesn't seem driven to annoy him. "Right. What do I do?"

Inside, Cas can hear some gentle music from a few shelves down, where a harp with the figure of a woman carved into the straight side has been recently placed during the reorganizing that's been going on since Turner's right hand woman returned from her trip to Dornie and back.

After Darklight reiterates his findings, Beisdean waits for the troll's back before hurrying to the door that leads into the hallway toward the theatre. "I don't…" A ghost sidekick is not something he'd bargained for, nor one he knows how to use, but three sets of eyes are better than his one pair of blues. "Help find Cas — you know, the other one the trolls attacked that one day? If you see anything dangerous… let me know."

Darklight alights upon his shoulder to enter the building, turning into marten once he touches down, and then down his mage's body he runs to flit down the hallway, willing to lead the way and put himself between whatever's inside and Beisdean.

Leaning over the edge of the shelf, Cas notices his dangling 'tag' for a moment and bats it out of the way so he can look down and see the newer addition to the gang. The harp can't wave, and he's not sure something without eyes can see. The puppety mouth would be opening as he tries to speak, but instead no sounds come out.

It's hard for him to even express his perplexion at his inability to speak. So instead he smacks his wooden hand against the shelf as he leans over more…

And falls off. Not the first time, but certainly this time it was by accident. While he doesn't hurt the tumbling dazed his senses, so it takes a few moments for him to sit back up. And check himself, make sure his arms and legs still work.

The ghost nods to that, and she runs for the theatre, disappearing through a wall to start her own investigation toward the front while Beisdean and familiar head for the back. It's the little hob that makes to follow Beisdean, his steps still stumbling, but he's tense now and being careful not to make noise that would draw troll attention their way.

Inside the hallway, there's a few noticeable details. Broken glass litters the floor, some of it shoved toward the walls, but most of it sitting where is fell. Bloody footprints mark a path up and down the hall, with little stops here and there in front of little alcoves in the walls. In each is a little glass box, or what's left if it, some with toys sitting inside, some without. It's all very haphazard. But there's only one other door, sitting at the far end of this mess. The handle on the door doesn't even seem to be fitted with a lock. Like many of the doors around the theatre.

When Cas falls off the shelf, he lands right in front of the harp on a lower shelf. The figure carved into the front doesn't seem to be able to move, since her arms were never carved away from the rest of her and her legs fade right into the base of the harp, but she does end up having eyes. He knows because they're staring at him when he lands.

The fall may not have hurt, but the clatter does draw Nonie's attention back toward their aisle, and footsteps echo over tile floors as she makes her way over. The harp's eyes look in that direction, her song turning from sad to unsettling in the space of a couple notes.

Careful, D, Beisdean warns the little marten who sniffs at the blood and looks for any less obvious openings that he might be able to fit into when his master can't.

The room is glanced about with a touch of wonder and curiosity, and Beisdean's boots then crunch across the broken glass toward the door. His hand rests on the handle for a moment, and he puts his ear against it to listen for a moment, then turns the handle to push himself through cautiously, gun in hand — too bad he hasn't seen any cop dramas to know how to clear a room, but it's raised and held in front of him, ready to be used for defense, or hopefully, leverage should he find anyone on the other side that isn't Cas.

Following the eyes of the harp, as well as her "voice", Cas looks over at the approach and struggles to get to his puppety feet and scramble up onto the shelf next to the delicate looking harp. From the way he waves, he's trying to say hi, sticking his tag back behind him as if the color coding might get unnoticed.

Unfortunately, there are no little holes to snake through, at least not in this particular hall. The familiar and the hob both have to use the door just like the mage.

On the other side, he finds plenty of people who aren't Cas. In fact, the rows of red upholstered chairs are nearly full, but the audience hardly seems riveted. In fact, not one of them is conscious. Some of them are dead, like the man in the seat just across from the door they come through. Some of them seem close enough to to.

The little hob takes off at an unsteady run down the short, wide steps along the side of the theatre, heading toward the front row. But that is the least of Beisdean's worry. Up on the stage, where there's a work bench of sorts, tools and half made toys, an older man stands up from his stool as they enter, a fist slamming against the table.

"What is the meaning of this?" He demands, clearly angered at the trespassing, but apparently fine with all those bodies sitting out in front of him.

Nonie steps into their aisle just as Cas settles into his new spot on the lower shelf. The woman looks about, but doesn't seem to notice his change in position, as she merely lets out an annoyed sigh and turns back to return to whatever she's working on now. The harp's eyes slide as far to the side as she can manage, but she can't seem to turn her head, either, so her greeting is limited to a spritely strumming along her strings before she falls back into her sad song once more. But on Cas' other side sits a tin soldier, who reaches out to clap him on the shoulder. Brothers in arms.

The hand on his shoulder takes a moment to sense, but when Cas does he no doubt is trying to smile. His painted expression doesn't change, though, unless one counts the way his head tilts to the side. In the end, his arm raises in a small salute. He saw that in a movie once.

Turner doesn't seem to have been expecting that answer, as Beisdean's words get a confused expression and a lengthy stare. "No no no," he ends up saying, waving a hand dismissively as he sits back down. "Impossible. We rest on free land, no militia here. This is all very irregular." The name, too, doesn't seem to strike the man as familiar, since he just shakes his head as he shuffles through a box of tools at the edge of this table.

But the little hob lets out a bit of a troubled warble from the front row, where he's climbed up to stand in someone's lap. He reaches up to take a top hat off Cas' unconscious head, which he throws on the ground in a fit of disgust. The stablehand isn't dead like some of the others, but definitely comatose. But there's a bandage around one of his legs. Clean, even. Some of the others are similarly cared for.

But shortly after the cry from the hob, the ghost pops through the wall at the back of the theatre, up those stairs. "I've found something you need to see," she informs, although it must not be danger, because she looks more disturbed than scared. No, scared comes when she takes a moment to glance over the rest of the room. "…what is this place?" Beisdean can see her taking hesitating steps toward the audience, wanting to look and not wanting to look.

The soldier returns the salute, and then pulls the little rifle off his shoulder before he leans out of the shelf to look down their aisle and starts to climb carefully out of it. Being metal, it's difficult not to make noise, but he's trying.

"You're a bit outta touch, mate," Beisdean says. "There's no free land these days. Everything in this area's considered under Dornie's jurisdiction." He's read a few old crime books in his past, and figures it's all about the right jargon. "You'll have to come with me. Hands away from the box," he warns.

He glances to the hob and tips his head briefly to look at the man's profile revealed to him.

"What else did you find?" he asks in a low voice to the ghost, as he begins to move closer to the stage, hand shaking a bit on the gun as he waits for the man to stop whatever he's doing. Darklight.

The marten changes form again, once more turning into the black glossy flurry of feathers that flies straight at the man, wings flapping into his face, to distract him and get him away from any possible weapon.

The way that Cas sits up in his new puppet body, he might be expressing surprise at the movement. It's hard to communicate when neither of them can use words. At least not words anyone can hear. Turning toward the harp, he makes a few motions with his arms, exaggerating the basic hand gestures he learned from Colm and Aislinn, even if he can't hope the harp knows those.

She should at least be able to guess, from the way he points down the hall, at himself, and back at the shelf, that he's saying he'll be back.

A second gesture is made at the tin solder as he ambles along in slightly quieter, but less… steady legs. A few trips pass by and he ends up resting his hand on the more solid figures shoulder.

"Dornie? It's a long way from Dornie, my boy. Now, really." Turner huffs and attempts to make Beisdean disappear by the simple method of just not paying him any mind any longer. Unfortunately, it means he's not paying enough attention to notice the familiar flying in. He jumps in surprise and ends up tipping his stool back and sending both of them to the stage floor as he tries to shoo Darklight away.

"Now see here!" Turner pounds a fist against the stage before he starts to pull himself up again, "I am far too busy for this nonsense. As you can see, plenty of work to do. Always work to do, my boy. You can take up legal matters with a girl out front."

"It's just the toys," the ghost says, as Turner stops prattling, "One of them's mad as a box of frogs. On about being a vicar from London. I— it looks like a monkey with a drum to me." She's puzzled, the ghost. Could be Turner Buchanan's magic toys weren't as famous before she died. As she talks, though, she walks the rows of seats, actively looking from face to face.

The harp watches the puppet, and she deliberately closes her eyes before looking at him again, lips just able to make a smile. She got the message. When he catches up with the soldier, the tin man looks over his shoulder, putting finger to lips before he continues on. He doesn't mind helping the puppet stay on his feet. When they get to the end of the aisle, he looks both ways there, too, before he points out a line of open wooden boxes to Cas. Some full of toys, some not. But there seem to be whines and moaning and some low muttering from those boxes. Noise that draws the soldier's lips into a scowl.

Rescue mission, perhaps.

"The toys," Beisdean repeats, peering at the ghost, then back at Turner. "Out here in these woods, you just aren't aware of politics, perhaps," Beisdean says more loudly to Turner, gesturing to the man with his gun, and striding forward once more. He stops near Cas, and puts a hand on the man's shoulder. Not dead, at least, he knows that much before even touching him. "What's wrong with this man? What's wrong with all of these people? What have you done to them?"

Darklight, go find the girl he's talking about. Make sure she doesn't ambush us.

Cas's shoulder is shaken, and Beisdean spares a glance to the rest of the audience before aiming the gun at Turner. "I think you better start talking."

The way Cas makes gestures with his hands, he's asking if he's supposed to open the very boxes he points at between gestures. Open? is easy to recognize. And do with his puppety arms.

Despite his question, though, he doesn't seem to be waiting for any kind of answer, gestured or otherwise, as he stumbles to one of the slightly moving ones and pushes against the lid til it raises up can be shifted to the side. He's careful not to let it fall.

But he may not be so lucky when whatever is inside tumbles out. Or the next one he starts to open. At least his puppet body is tall enough to do most of this.

"They're sleeping. They've come a long way to help, you know. Only right I give them a place to sit while they're here." Turner reaches over to right his stool, but before he can stand to sit in it, he notices Beisdean standing there between the front row and the stage. So he opts to sit instead, turning enough to let his legs dangle off the stage.

"Oh, certainly. What would you like to talk about? The weather? The state of the roads?" Turner smiles, as if this were legitimate socializing. But the hob on Cas' lap turns from looking at Cas to looking toward Beisdean, but jumps when he sees Turner so close. Not within reach, but close. The hob tugs on Beisdean's jacket like he means to pull the man into Cas' lap as well, as he clings desperately.

Darklight finds it much easier to slip between rooms here inside the theatre, where things are less well cared for. Holes and broken windows link room to room as he makes his way toward the front.

And the familiar finds rows and rows of shelving. Some empty, but so many of them full of Buchanan's odd little toys. And in the very first row is a woman who could hardly be called a girl, but perhaps she is from the much older man's perspective. Nonie seems to be sorting through the toys, gathering up those that have gone sour and tossing them into wooden bins at the front of the little store. Malfunctioning, they'd call it in the old days.

In another part of the store, Darklight can spy an odd pair of toys are messing those those bins. The puppet opening them up, and a little tin soldier climbing up the side to start helping the broken toys to climb out. They're all trying to stay quiet, even when the soldier has to pass the toys to the puppet when they're unable to make it out themselves.

The toys are alive, Darklight informs Beisdean who frowns at the hob's pull, managing to keep his feet.

"What is wrong with these people, and why do you have them here?" he demands, shaking Cas again, and looking to the hob as if searching for an answer.

He shakes his head and looks back to Turner, the hammer of the revolver being pulled back. "Answer me, or you'll find yourself with only one kneecap, asshole."

So much for good cop.

Each toy they liberate, Cas gives gestures meant to calm or soothe, handwaves that try to imitate the smiles he can't quite make. If his hands were any less detailed this would be even more difficult. But it seems the toymaker gave him most his digits. Even if they're difficult to move. He has enough control to make a 'shhhhh' gesture. Everyone knows 'shhhh'.

Even broken toys, he hopes.

The toys know shhh, and they shhhh as best they can as the two work at getting them out. The way some of them jibber on about nonsense, it's clear to see why they're getting put aside. They seem to be doing okay until a little ballerina figure tumbles out of the soldier's hands and hit the ground in a clatter. The soldier freezes, listening for the sound of footsteps heading their way again.

At first, it seems like they're in the clear, but after a brief delay, Nonie's feet start to carry her back out toward the bins.

In the theatre, Turner finally puts his hands up as if just noticing the gun. "I don't know what you mean. They're fine. Taken care of. I'm just an old man, making toys. What sort of man threatens the elderly this way?" The hob, though, is keeping a firm hold on Beisdean, even if it's just with a hob's strength, but he chitters angrily at the toymaker from his safe place behind the mage.

"My sister," comes the ghost's voice from a much further distance behind them. She stands in front of a girl that looks remarkably similar to the ghost, reaching out as if to touch her. Even though she can't. "What's he done to her?" Her voice is unusually quiet and deeply heartbroken as she looks on that young face.

"What kind of man has a theatre full of dead and comatose people?" Beisdean shouts back. He doesn't reach for the man, glancing back at the hob. "Am I okay as long as he doesn't touch me?" he says quietly, hoping for maybe a nod or a shake of his head. "Is he doing this?" is asked next.

"She's alive. I don't know. We'll figure it out, lass," he tells the sidekick ghost.

Some of them are escaping Darklight's voice comes again, and he goes to investigate more closely, canting his head at the puppet and soldier evacuating the other toys. Tch?

Beisdean's attention goes back to the toymaker. "What are you doing to them? Answer, or I will shoot." The gun is levied at the man's knee, finger crooking around the trigger.

Pushing against the fallen ballerine figure, Cas tries to get her behind the bin rather than anywhere else, making gestures to the others in an attempt to tell them to hide— It doesn't quite work so well cause while he's doing it he sees the arrival of an animal. Who looks quite big now that he's much smaller than normal.

With a startled stumble, he falls back on his puppet-behind and hits the floor solidly. If he could, he'd likely say 'ow' right now. But as it is, he just waves his arms around. And points in the direction of the woman.

"Oh, they're not dead," Turner says, all evidence to the contrary. He, too, looks to the hob when Beisdean questions him. The little creature looks at Turner, swallowing hard before he nods to Beisdean. Two clear, firm nods. While it may clear up some things, it also angers the toymaker up on the stage. He jumps off, which sets the hob to tugging frantically at Beisdean in warning.

The toymaker points a finger at the hob, though, his face twisting. "Traitorous little beast! I never should have let you all stay. NONIE!" He shouts the last, instead of worrying about Beisdean's gun. He throws the supposed militia man a scowl in place of an answer. But at least he tries to run, making for the stairs that lead upward along the seats.

The toys do their best to get out of sight, the ballerina needing the most help. Within the crowd, there's a few frightened murmurs about monsters and wanting to go home and little sobs that come without tears. And perhaps more frantic for it. But. The shout of the woman's name carries to the store, and it stops the footsteps coming toward the toys and sends them in the other direction. The little group of toys relax as the danger turns from them, even if it's only for a moment.

Beisdean can hear when Nonie reaches the theatre doors, tugging on a rare locked door between her part of the operation and Turner's. "Mister Buchanan, what it is?" Apparently, she doesn't have a key and she's not as slippery as Darklight, to be able to slink in and out.

"They are dead. Trust me, I fucking know," Beisdean shouts back, a quick nod of understanding and an arm pushing the hob behind him protectively. When the old man moves to run, Beisdean shoots at the man's leg, aiming not to kill but to maim and wound. At least with a leg wound, the man touching him.

He follows the shot, to shoot again, if he misses at closer range, and at the same time, he focuses on drawing forth the spirits of the dead in the room.

If this puppet could say 'whew', he probably would. Cas makes a motion of wiping his brow visibly as he pushes himself back up to his puppety feet and hurries after the woman. He knows that voice yelling her name, even if he doesn't really recognize the animal tilting a head at him.

This means he's leaving the soldier alone to continue liberating toys— but hopefully some of the ones who are capable can assist him.

Cas wants to know what's happening.

Turner falls to the rough carpet at their feet when bullet tears through skin and muscle, and he cries out a less clear noise this time, but shot and shout get Nonie tugging on the door more insistently, a fist banging against the surface.

And adding to the cacophony, Beisdean does get a few spirits answering his call. Cas isn't among them, and neither are many of the dead bodies in the room. Some even seem to match with those still technically alive, even if not in any useful way. And many of the ghosts seem to only be able to cry or stare blankly, but one woman up near the top step puts her hands on her hips and scowls at the older man.

"Kill him. He doesn't deserve to take another breath, what he's done." She has Opinions.

Cas has the luck of being quite small now. And he can find and use those same holes and cracks to slip into the theatre that Darklight used to get out. And he comes onto the scene of Beisdean protecting both his normal body and the little hob standing on its lap, and Turner bleeding from a leg wound onto the carpet. At least its red, too.

Striding closer, Beisdean stays out of the other mage's reach, aiming the gun at the man's chest this time. "Tell me what the hell is going on. What did you do to those people, and even better? Undo it. Now. Or you die." Blunt and cold.

Darklight, see if you can find his familiar, see if it's any more sane than this mad bugger, aye?

Darklight leaves the toys' escape route, once more taking wing to get a bird's eye view as it searches. Toy man's companion, are you near? he calls, voice soothing, friendly, the good cop to Beisdean's bad.

Scurring and shuffling along, the puppet sized Cas makes his way through the holes seeing Beisdean, standing like he belongs in one of those tragedies he talked about. Not one he wants to be part of— he'll take a romantic story or an adventure over a tragedy.

There's a shuffle of sound as he hurries along down the aisles, looking back at the door that the woman can't get into and — well he's smiling on the inside. That's all that matters. When he turns back he makes his way toward the downed man, and the man standing guard of his body and the tiny hob. And he no longer tries to stay quiet.

Outside, Darklight can see when a little mole comes into view up on the roof, limping a bit itself, although not from injury like its mage. It looks upward, looking for the source of the call. Near. And also far.

Inside, though, Turner looks up at Beisdean, laughing roughly for a moment, "They came. They came when I needed them. Providence. You see? They came to help, and I let them help. We're all famous. They're special and loved. And will be, forever."

He and the hob seem to notice the little puppet at the same time, and while the toymaker growls at the sight, the little hob claps and hops about a little. Good news, apparently. But, when he gets nearer, Turner reaches out to snatch the toy up, one hand around the body while the other grips the puppet's head threateningly. "It's been a nice visit. But you've overstayed your welcome."

The puppet is stared at — it's not every day you see a doll move of its own volition, after all, and Beisdean glances at the hob. "How do we fix it?" That's probably too hard of a question, and there's more pressing matters.

Literally, as the toy maker makes to crush the doll's head.

"Let go of him. Show me how to put him back." He doesn't realize it's Cas, but whoever it is, Beisdean's caught on, he has a body in this room. "Now." The hammer is pulled again, the gun aimed this time at the man's other knee.

Darklight flies to the eaves and peers down at the mole. Can you help us? Will you? the raven asks, head tipping in curious cant.

Beloved and special— wanting to be there.

Couldn't be further from the truth the way the puppet flails around in the grasp of the hand, hitting at the wrists holding him. Cas has no idea what would happen to him if this body is lost, but it seems like he's going to fight. A lot.

His arms slap, his legs kick, and he wiggles around trying to get himself free.

But he can't on his own. But luckily he has Beisdean to help out. With a pistol.

I would help you, but he doesn't hear me. I don't hear him. Too many voices. They madden us. The mole shudders, shifting away to huddle back under the lip of the roof as if there were something to hide from. But it's something within, rather than out.

"You don't fix it. No one fixes it. They came when I needed them!" Turner shouts, as if Beisdean just isn't getting what's obvious to him. The banging on the door ends, with Nonie apparently giving up on that door. Although a few moment's later, they can follow her progress around the outside of the theatre, pounding on doors and trying to find a way in.

With the puppet making a fuss, Turner fumbles a little, he is just an old toymaker after all. And a wounded one. But in the end he just tightens his grip on the toy as if it would make him an effective shield.

It doesn't.

I'm sorry, brother. I understand. Darklight might, if anyone could. Can you tell me how his magic works? How does he make the toys? Can it be undone?

The hammer is pulled the rest of the way, the grind of metal frighteningly loud. "They won't do you any good if I kill you, mate. Tell you what. We put them back in the right bodies and if they truly want to stay here with you, they will choose to do so. Not because you magicked them into dolls and clapping monkeys, aye?" Beisdean's words sound almost pleasant — but the gun is pointed and his finger is curled around the trigger. "Tell me."

Darklight, watch for whoever else is here.

Times like this Cas really wishes he had teeth. Or a sword. Or even had brough the soldier with him. Tin would certainly make a harder target. The wooden joints seem to be coming loosening as he kicks more and the paint job is chipping in places, but the puppet doesn't stop flailing around. Though he does begin to push against the fingers clasping him. As if he thinks he could squeeze out.

The mole looks up at Darklight, eyes peeking open. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. He thinks it's… a noble thing, giving people joy. He's forgotten so much.

Down below, Darklight can see Nonie going from door to door as well, which isn't too much trouble expect that she's just pulling open the door to the long hallway. She doesn't step in at first, seeming troubled by what she sees inside. But step in she does. At least she isn't armed.

Turner looks up at Beisdean, looking him in the eye as he makes his demands. But this time, he takes the struggling puppet and swings it, cracking it against the metal of the chairs and sending loosened parts scattering and splintering.

The good news is, there's no new ghost popping up for Beisdean, the better news is that Cas feels tug on his self, his soul slipping back through Turner's mad mind and dumping back into his own.

She's coming. I do not see a weapon. His companion is estranged but says the man thinks he is giving them joy, Darklight intones. Peace, brother he tells the mole solemnly, then scampers off after Nonie, overtaking her and then turning around to face her — suddenly growing, limbs elongating until he is the size and shape of a wolf. He doesn't growl but blocks her path at the far end of the hallway before the theatre.

"No!" Beisdean cries as the man swings the puppet, cringing as the wooden thing is brought down on the chair. He doesn't shoot, despite his threats; he doesn't know how to fix this yet. He needs more time.

"Tell me now," he growls, lunging forward, the gun this time aimed not at leg but at Turner's forehead. "These people… you've killed some of them, you've hurt them, their families. That man," he gestures to Cas, not realizing what's happening in the man's body as he speaks, "he is a friend. He's a lass that loves him back home. A little boy who looks up to him. A woman who risked her life to save him. That is not bringing joy to people. You can't play god like that."

Perhaps how is answered, because all of a sudden the body that Beisdean gestures toward seems to start awake, coughing and surprised to have lungs to fill again. The brain is faster to awaken, because it's been awake, even if he seems disoriented, unaware of his surroundings.

And no longer tied up as he finds out trying to move and nearly falls right out of the chair. Catching himself against the arms, it seems he decides he should stay seated for a while.

Instead, his eyes dart around, looking at the puppet figure, noting it's condition, and then over at Beisdean, and then the hob. "He— hey there, mate," he manages in a dry hoarse voice, that seems unused. If it wasn't for the fact he's been unable to speak for… what seems like weeks he probably wouldn't have tried.

Nonie stops as the familiar shifts in front of her, taking a few steps back. "Oh, no you don't," she whispers just before Darklight feels his own free will slipping away and replaced with the undeniable urge to get out of the way. She doesn't hurt him, but steps around him to run through the hallway.

So as Cas is speaking up and Turner is pointing in the stablehand's direction, the side door opens and a blonde woman charges through. But she quickly comes to a halt when she takes in the state of the theatre. Not just her wounded boss or the man with a gun, but the bodies sitting there. She ends up slackjawed and staring. Shocked, perhaps. She can't seem to form words to react with, and ends up with a series of false starts before giving up all together.

But in the front row, it's a more joyful reunion. When Cas moves, the hob hops up, chittering away happily as it's little arms go around Cas' neck.

The wolf blinks and lets the woman past him, then follows to trot after; Beisdean's head swivels from where he is gaping at Cas's sudden return to health to the woman's interruption. Darklight. Find the toys and smash them. They're… It's too hard (insane) to explain and he's not sure he understands anyway, so he shakes his head. "The toys. Break the toys," he manages to tell Cas and the hob, too, if the hob is a willing assistant.

"Explain," he tells Turner but he keeps the woman in his peripheral vision, jerking his head her way. "I'll shoot him if you do anything to harm us," he says to her, then nods back to Turner. "You can come staunch his wound. Keep your hands where I can see them."

The joyful reunion with his little hobfriend makes Cas laugh hoarsely as he lifts an arm to hug the little guy against his chest. The stablehand's arm is week, but it offers some support to the small frame. "Hey to you too, little mate," he says outloud.

"Well now I feel less bad about seeing that clown get smashed," he says quietly as Beisdean realizes what the breaking of toys might have meant. Of course he's not entirely sure how much he can assist, even as he pushes himself up onto his legs— and has to hold himself up for a minute.

"Wait— what will happen to the ones who are already dead?"

Nonie lifts her hands at Beisdean's words, and she keeps them up as she makes her way down the stairs and along the front row. She can't seem to stop staring at the bodies, though, rows and rows of them. "What's happened in here?" Her voice is just a whisper as she sinks down next to Turner.

"Nonie?" The old man starts, looking at her confused and for the first time, showing actual fright. The woman looks down at him, her brow furrowing. And while she does start to work on his wound, she doesn't answer at the sound of her name. "Nonie?"

The little hob pats Cas on the back, face split into a grin before he climbs down off his lap. There's some chittering in Beisdean's direction, but the little thing starts for the store room, apparently still of a mind to help.

When Turner looks away from Nonie, he looks up at Beisdean, eyes wet although he tries to blink it away. "I need them, for the magic. They're the fuel. They came when I needed them," he says, rambling.

"They didn't come here," Beisdean growls, glancing at Cas. "Careful mate, maybe just rest," he says gently, noting the hob is off to do the work with Darklight at his heels, also on his way to start breaking things.

He turns back to Turner. "This man was taken. It wasn't free will that brought him here. That girl," his finger points to the younger version of his ghost. "That girl was taken. The rest of them, I'm guessing were, too."

His brow creases, and he turns his head toward the ghost, and then toward the hallway to the doors to the outdoors where the troll plays guard. "How do you command the creatures? The trolls, the dragons?"

With a grunt of effort, Cas ends up choosing to take Beisdean's advice and collapse in the chair again, even as he looks around at the people who are laying there— and the ones who are already dead. As he looks towards the ones he remembers passing on his trip out, he worries with his teeth against his lower lip.

After a few moments he nods at Beisdean's words. "I was forced to come here. You know that, I tried to escape right before you stuffed me into an unfinished puppet," he says quietly, hands running over his clothes to make sure that the important things are still there. The necklaces, the piece of cloth tucked into his gloves…

"The creatures?" Nonie's hands stop, and she looks at Turner with her brow furrowed before she stands up to move away from him. "You said that troll owed you a favor."

Turner looks between Cas and Nonie who seem to be taking turns making him look terrible at the moment, stuttering out sounds instead of an actual answer. But at that same moment, there's a loud bang against the roof, the sound of wood cracking and debris falling over them and the audience. It only takes a couple hits before a hole breaks open big enough for them to catch sight of the troll outside.

And Beisdean can see his ghost companion turn to look, and then look back at her sister before she follows the hob and familiar to the toys.

And they must be at work, as sudden gulps of breath are taken in here and there around the room. For Beisdean, there are also blips of new ghostly figures, and while some are clearly not all there, most look… relieved.

"You do it," Beisdean says with a cringe at the cracking of the roof, and then a look at Nonie, eyes narrowing in censure. "You control the creatures? They've killed people. Injured dozens of our people…"

The gun moves to point at her, to include her in the judgment and threat. "Tell it to stop," he adds, a jerk of his chin up to the hole in the roof. "Tell it to let everyone out of here safely."

Let me know when they're all destroyed he murmurs to Darklight, the telepathic voice as weary as the mage himself looks and feels suddenly. Beisdean then glances at Cas, a tacit question on his face as he tips his head to the toymaker and his apparently unwitting accomplice. What do we do?

Between the banging of the troll on the ceiling and the unspoken question on the other man's face, Cas looks torn. "If we try to run with that thing some of us are going to get squished— mostly the me-types." A weak movement of his leg shows he's not really cut out for running, much less standing at this point.

"And you're not really enough to get us all out've here," he admits. No matter how much he wants to run and flee, there's not much he can do against a troll at this point. It just makes him cower in his seat a little.

With the gun turning her way, Nonie lifts her hands again, shaking her head at the accusations. Or maybe at the demands. With the crashes and shatters from the other room and the people in this room waking up, the woman takes a few steps back, into a more open spot on the carpet.

"I'm not telling it anything of the sort. But so long as you don't shoot me, you'll all be fine. Mostly fine." The mostly part comes when a great big troll fist slams through that hole, sending broken rafters and roofing speeding down toward the floor below. And while those who are awake move to cover faces and bodies, that hand grabs Nonie, and she waves in Beisdean's direction as she takes her ride up through the roof. Bad news is that it's a pretty good getaway, but the good news is that it stops the troll from attacking the building.

And where most of those under the hole suffered no more than bumps and bruises, the wounded Turner wasn't as lucky. Blood rolls down his skin and over white hair from where the beam struck against his head, and Beisdean can see not just the man's own ghost, but two others as well shimmering into view before they blink out again.

Darklight, the ghost and the hob, in the midst of their mass destruction, play witness to the magic toys slumping and falling silent. Just normal toys, now.

There's that wagon and horses outside, brother Darklight reminds Beisdean, who, let's admit, is a bit distracted by all of the newly conscious — ghostly and living — in the theatre. He stares at Turner, though there is no empathy or sorrow in his eyes for the mad toymaker, only disdain. And relief for not having to make the decision of what to do with him.

"Right," he says, glancing at the newly awakened in the room. "Let me find you something to eat and drink, and we'll get you out of here and back to civilization." His eyes fall on the young sister of "his" ghost. "You're all right now."