Exham Cabin, LA [OPEN LOCATION]

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Exham Cabin, LA [OPEN LOCATION]

Post by Lovecraft » Tue May 26, 2020 9:28 pm


Exham Cabin, Louisiana Bayou


Image



Howard Philips didn't name his house, any more than he named himself. It is simply the fact that he goes by "Lovecraft" to strangers that the locals have started calling the cabin in the woods Exham, after the priory in "The Rats in the Walls". Howard minded it a bit, at first, before realizing that no harm was meant by it, and that the reference often went over patients' heads, much to his relief. Although, obviously, he doesn't show that relief too often.

The house itself, a brick-and-stone cabin that Howard started to renovate and then keep up in his early 20s, has a total of two stories, six rooms, two porches, and one permanent resident. The first floor has a small entry foyer for meeting visitors, a small kitchen, and a wide living room that doubles, on occasion, as either an examination room or a ritual chamber for more complex spells. While Howard officially inhabits one of the rooms upstairs, he tends to fall asleep on the couch in this room even when he doesn't have patients he considers to be more in need of a bed than himself. This way, he can hear the door or be alerted to intruders where he falls asleep, rather than being blissfully unaware of danger upstairs through the long hours of the night.

The two bedrooms are kept relatively simple, with a bed, a dresser, and a closet in each, drapes over the windows, and ceiling lights and fans - essentially all the comforts of home. The linens are changed once a week when he has no patients, and immediately after any patients who have to spend the night are gone. While the doors can be locked from the inside, Howard has keys to every room in the house, and is the first line of defense in the case of an intruder or other malevolent force.

The house is kept to a reasonable degree of cleanliness to the point where he can have guests without embarrassment. Aside from a small buildup of cat hair and dust, the house is sterile enough to prevent infection until Howard has the strength and concentration to tend to the worst injuries. In terms of meditation, Howard tends to keep physically calming items around the house for every sense - scented candles, light prisms and nice paintings, a CD player and windchimes, and, when it's not too hot out, a blazing flame in the fireplace.

Outside are two porches, one in the back, one in the front, and a small stone pathway from the latter leads to a set of stairs down to a tiny dock that Howie has never actually used. It's mostly for the scenic view of one of the bayou's few open spaces, where he can see the weather changing or the sunrise and sunset on a clear day. Usually a tan pickup truck can be seen out front, an indication that the house's sole inhabitant is home and not running errands. On the few occasions when he's gone, wards are arranged around the house as both alarms and protection of the home from burglars or his enemies. Most of them are simple barriers, but if these are bypassed, the intruders will quickly find the house's defenses to be mildly more aggressive than its owner.


Please don't destroy anything without my permission. It'd put Howie in a bad mood.

Visitors could come for any reason, but the kind he'd expect are either magic or the gravely injured/ill.

It's up to you whether you want him to be home when you drop in, just mention whether or not the truck's outside and sell the barriers if you try to enter and he isn't home.

Have fun. That's a demand. Fun is what this is here for. Enjoy yourselves.
.

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Re: Exham Cabin, LA [OPEN LOCATION]

Post by Reyn » Thu May 28, 2020 9:14 pm

Somewhere in the Louisiana Bayou...
The drive was surprisingly silent.

Alvis had grown accustomed to interference during his journeys. In a way, he brought it on himself- he didn't have to befriend such a talkative spectre, and he certainly didn't have to respond. It would probably only takes a few weeks of refusing to talk, he thought, to get the thing to stop, but... that didn't sit right with him. Not when it seemed that willing to change.

Still, in spite of the relief the absence brought, he couldn't help but feel a little unsettled. There had to be a reason why it wasn't talking, right? There had to be a reason why it would just let him drive uninterrupted for hours on end, right? Alvis grasped the wheel tighter. He didn't want to think about it- not when there was nobody around to hear those thoughts. Not yet, at least.

The man he was driving to see would hopefully be of help.

His grip relaxed as he headed away from civilisation, turning off the highway and onto a quiet dirt road. He raised his eyes from the tarmac up onto the horizon to see forest, endless forest stretched out in front of him. Monoliths of oak and hickory lined up besides the path, watching, like soldiers guarding a procession, as he weaved his way further and further in. The trees leaned closer as he passed, bending over themselves to get a better view in- or, perhaps, to more clearly listen to what he was thinking. He shut them out, futile as it was. He shut them out, and he shut everything else out as well. There were eyes everywhere nowadays. It was the least he could do to blind them.

This wasn't right. A tree was a tree was a tree- not an observer, not a spy, not a soldier of any kind. Was he not a gardener himself? Surely a man like that would know for certain that plants are not conscious beings! Alvis let out a laugh—of breath and nothing more—at his own irrationality. He was not only paranoid, but diagnosably paranoid. Perhaps if he could stomach the drive so soon, he would return to the clinic that very week. This wasn't good for him.

Nothing good ever happened in a forest.

He pulled up along the side of the road, stopping a few minutes away from his destination. If something went wrong, he thought, it would be much better to leave his car somewhere other than right outside the strange cabin. He had legs, didn't he? He could run, couldn't he? There weren't many points of travel in the middle of nowhere, were they? It didn't matter. It didn't matter at all. If he kept telling himself it didn't matter, then maybe he would believe it.

He knocked on the door.

"Alvis Holt."
He spoke through the stranger's mind, fully aware of how unsettling such a thing may be,
"I would like to speak to you about something... quite pressing."

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Re: Exham Cabin, LA [OPEN LOCATION]

Post by Lovecraft » Thu May 28, 2020 10:58 pm

Howard had mixed feelings about his latest visitor.

On the one hand, his life signature was extremely weak. He was in obvious need of the kind of medical attention a medical professional couldn't give him. The feeling Howie got from him was one of disease and nerves, but mixed in with that was the thing very obviously keeping him alive - which was what was on the other hand. The energies from that were beyond the usual mortal stuff of blood and breath. It was beyond the simple understanding and faith it took to get the backing of a so-called deity, or the quicksilver life of a Fey. It was beyond, unknown, eldritch, and it was on Howie's doorstep, residing deep within the man outside the door and inside the healer's mind. He thought over his options, then knocked on the wall beside the doorframe once, twice. Just in case.

The door would open, however, even though Howard was far from making his final decision about discussing the pressing matter the man claimed to be bringing. His hair was long on one side, cropped short on the other, but when it wasn't combed it could easily pass for a layered style of some kind. His coat wasn't draped over his shoulders, revealing a white shirt and a pair of pants that could've passed for old-fashioned trousers. He had none of the usual exhaustion hanging around his person, however; it'd been a few days since he'd had a visitor, and he'd spent most of the time since then doing the usual things human beings did to recover energy, and then some. Hooded blue eyes would meet Alvis' as Exham's resident went over the man's life force again, reviewing the options that for now still included letting him in - and alternatively, closing the door on him. Again, the decision wasn't made yet.

"I guess you've heard people calling me Lovecraft," he answered the stranger, after a brisk once-over, and consciously closing his mind to any effect beyond telepathy. If someone started with that, they had good reason, but Howie wasn't about to risk losing some of his most private memories to him or anyone else. "It'd only make sense for you to do the same, though judging by how your life feels right now you seem an awful lot more like him than me."

He could be rude. He knew that, Alvis Holt probably knew that, and probably expected that. But there was something...odd, beyond the Eldritchness of his personality. Something in his face revealed something Howie couldn't quite put his finger on. Maybe that's why he didn't simply tell his visitor to kindly fuck off, and instead opened the door wide enough that he could lean on the frame as Atlanta brushed herself out against the front of his legs.

"What can I help you with?"

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Re: Exham Cabin, LA [OPEN LOCATION]

Post by Reyn » Sun May 31, 2020 10:55 pm

Exham Cabin Entrance...
He seemed tired. Chronically so. Perhaps weary would be a better choice of words, but it didn't matter much at all. The way he looked at Alvis, the veil of pure exhaustion that clouded his eyes, despite all he did to fight it... it reminded him, almost, of himself.

He didn't like that very much at all.

Lovecraft's mind was closed, though that didn't mean much to him. Alvis wasn't in the business of prying without explicit consent, but he understood that not everyone was as considerate as he was. It came as no surprise that the man would want to shut him out. He would likely do the same, given the opportunity.

But... he wasn't given the opportunity at all. Though his own eyes were blinded in self-defence, the eyes of his acquaintance were settled oh-so intently on that which could not be seen. He shifted uncomfortably at the identifying remark, averting his eyes from Lovecraft's- though the forest around them was barely a more comfortable sight to behold. Alvis found himself, quite strangely, looking up at the sky, counting the birds that flew past in his head until he realised this was probably making him look a lot more unhinged than he actually was. He mouthed a silent apology as he returned his eyes to the sleepless gaze that lay before him- matching the tired deepness of the blue with his own lifeless grey.

What did he come here for, again?

"It would be fitting, wouldn't it?"
He said, his face dropping to a frown,
"I fear that the life you're feeling from me may not entirely be my own. I suppose I'll need to explain myself..."


He paused. Not out here, he wouldn't. It was too open, too exposed for him to be comfortable... forests were dangerous places, after all. Although Alvis took great pains to cover any reflection he came across, it was likely that this complete stranger would not share his paranoia. The truck in the driveway was evidence enough- he would have to request a few precautions be taken before he was ready to divulge.

"If you don't mind, could I ask a favour of you?"


Alvis raised his hand, pointing past Lovecraft and into his hallway.

"I would like you to cover every mirror in your house, please."
He stated plainly- no need to beat around the bush for this one,
"Let's just say I... I have quite a severe case of spectrophobia. Severe enough to affect our meeting, if my needs are not met. I apologise for the inconvenience."


It felt strange, asking for favours in such a formal tone. He briefly entertained the idea of implanting the vague desire to comply within Lovecraft's mind, but decided against that mere seconds after the thought emerged. He wasn't in the business of forcing people to do his bidding. That was immoral... no, it was disgusting- so much so that it made him angry to think of anyone who would follow that impulse in his place.

He was, after all, a doctor of sorts. 'Do no harm' was part of the package.

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Re: Exham Cabin, LA [OPEN LOCATION]

Post by Lovecraft » Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:26 am

It didn't take much looking to realize he was making Alvis uncomfortable with his stare, and he withdrew what magic he could from it once he was sure he'd gotten a good read on his visitor's situation, at least from a medical standpoint. Whatever deals Alvis had made in the past - assuming it was a deal, and not just a foreign entity that decided to settle in there - but whatever the case, it was none of Howard's business to ask outside of a distanced, magical-medical standpoint. And, while not a licensed doctor, he had his own reasons for following Hippocratic tenets.

"I guess that's not nearly the weirdest request I've gotten from a visitor," Howard conceded with a tired smile as he disabled the wards and then stepped out of the doorway. "Come on in. There's nothing really reflective here in the foyer, and I don't think you want to stand outside while I get everything else covered up."

Whether or not Alvis entered, Howard would disappear into the belly of the house, leaving his cat to keep an eye on their guest. She wouldn't do anything uncomfortable, he knew, unless either Alvis had a fear of animals or just basic allergies. She'd just sit there patiently, as if expecting him to scratch her behind the ears, and even if he didn't would just wait for Howie to return.

"Mirrors" was a very broad term in most cases, and Howard was used to expecting the slightest infringement from broad terms. It was probably just a mage thing, but he made a point of covering not just the mirrors, of which there were two, one in the bathroom and one in the master bedroom; but also took down and turned around any pictures with glass in their frames, drew the curtains over windows, and even threw hand towels over the sink faucets. There was a fine line between consideration and safety, but as of right now, that line was so blurred that Howie figured it'd just be better to err on the side of caution. With most of the natural light in the house dimmed, he decided it was worth lighting a fire to warm the living room, even if it was early summer outside on the bayou. Satisfied with his arrangements, he poked his head back into the foyer.

"Alright, Mr. Holt. All clear of mirrors."

He stepped first into the living room, and took a seat in the armchair with Atlanta on his lap, allowing his guest to sit on the couch. He didn't lose his air of weary caution at all while in Alvis's presence, but he was somewhat open to letting him be the one to start the conversation. He'd come to Exham, after all. Not all mages, or whatever he was, would go out of his way to stop in the middle of Louisiana without good reason. He just decided to leave the air clear for Alvis to present his problem before Howard started trying to solve it.

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Re: Exham Cabin, LA [OPEN LOCATION]

Post by Reyn » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:29 pm

Exham Cabin Interior...
Alvis paused, weighing up his options briefly, coming to the conclusion that Lovecraft had been correct in his assertion: he did not want to be standing around outside in the middle of a strange forest. He felt far too exposed out here in the open. He stepped inside.

The door closed behind him.

Despite the name, Lovecraft's house was quite welcoming. It was kept comfortably cool compared to prior company- a fact which Alvis, who kept his office at a constant 12°C, found to be quite the pleasant surprise. It meant he could keep his habitual jacket on.

At his host's recommendation, Alvis didn't dare stray from his position at the front of the hallway, regardless of how his eyes may have wandered. He was curious about the rest of the interior, of course. What sort of bizarre trinkets and decorations could such an accomplished mage possibly have, he wondered, and how would they best be arranged? His own house was bland and utilitarian- stark greys and whites with little in the way of interest, the only signs of colour coming from the garden out back and the occasional well-kept houseplant scattered throughout. It was... well, it probably wasn't great for his health, let's put it that way. Having a house that seemed actually lived in might help calm things down.

"...?"

Alvis let out a silent gasp as he felt something unfamiliar brush past his legs. It had startled him, whatever it was, and whatever it was just so happened to be... a housecat?

He let himself relax, somewhat relieved to find out what the creature was. Though he was hardly known for being a cat person, Alvis did have a soft spot for pets, as people often do. Actually, come to think of it, wasn't he able to communicate with animals? He vaguely recalled an incident with a guard dog a few years back, how he was able to calm it down and send it on its way back home... now, of course, having a friendly housecat walk up to him was a massively different situation than an all-out attack, but it still got him thinking.

Whilst direct conversation was definitely not something he could achieve, he reasoned he would at least be able to say something to the animal. An assumption was probably the best way of doing things, so that was what he went for. With a cautious smile, he looked down at the cat and just let it know that he was friendly- and it seemed to have worked...!

Ah, what a pointless exercise. It was friendly in the first place.

Still, it came as no loss.

"Thank you for that."


He smiled to his host as he re-entered the foyer, following him (and his cat) through the hallway and into a more spacious room. Though Lovecraft immediately took a seat, Alvis wasn't quite comfortable enough with his surroundings to do anything other than stand by the door. That comfort would arrive in due time, he thought. Eventually.

It was probably a good idea to start.

"I suppose I should tell you why I came here."


He glanced around the room instinctively, checking every surface he could find in search of his own eyes staring back. Nothing came up. He continued.

"It was brought to my attention by a close friend of mine that I... well, that I am sick. Now, I believe I know the source of the blight, if that might help you, but it is a name I'd rather not invoke. I was wondering if there was anything you could do to improve my prognosis. I'm not asking for any miracles here, though I have no doubt that you would be able to pull those things off quite well, but I just... I just want to have some peace of mind, at least for a little while."

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Re: Exham Cabin, LA [OPEN LOCATION]

Post by Lovecraft » Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:44 pm

Avlis's brief interaction with Atlanta didn't change her opinion of him; after all, he was a guest, and one who had done no harm to the house's resident as of yet. The reassurance that he would do no harm simply caused her to warm up to him more quickly, and to relate the message, in their own subtle ways, back to Howard.

"There's a reason I advertise healing of the body, and not peace of mind," Lovecraft noted, quietly, but not in such a way as to indicate any disturbance of his own mind. "I'll do what I can, though. If it's related to your ailment, I'll be more than happy to settle that."

He watched the discomfort in Alvis's face, the unfamiliarity of Howard's place. Most people were kind of surprised to find there weren't magic wands and runestones everywhere. Usually on the wall were some framed landscapes - which were now taken down and turned around, for his company's comfort. There was a stick of incense, lit and filling the room with the scent of rose wood, and a scented candle, unlit and labeled "fresh linen," on the mantle, and another photograph turned face-down. The room's color scheme was warm but gentle, a light, simple brown that could be mistaken for a dark cream. There were some bookshelves, lined with some mystery novels that didn't seem to have been touched in years and basic medical and magical texts, various trinkets on empty surfaces, and an empty but apparently well-used china set on the coffee table. The house was certainly lived in, and if no one knew better, they might think the man sitting before them was average, by some stretch of the imagination.

"I completely understand your problem with Names, and appreciate that you wouldn't invoke one like that in my house," he continued, already familiar with the various items scattered around, and letting Alvis take them in for himself. "I'm going to take a wild guess and say the alternate presence I'm sensing alongside your own life is the thing that's draining you, right? And I'm going to go out on a limb and say the mental strain of it is what's probably causing paranoia and phobias. I can't help with those. Like I said, health of body, not of mind."

He began to rub behind Atlanta's ears, and she purred under his hand.

"The reason I mention the paranoia is because of the way I do my examination, and it might effect your spectrophobia. Examining a person's life isn't an intrusive procedure, not like a lot of medical exams. Instead, from what other patients have told me, it'll feel like you're being watched intensely, even when I have my eyes closed. It could take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes to find a way around your current problem in order to fix it without disturbing the Nameless that's sharing your life with you. I'm going to assume that you do not want me disturbing that, is that correct?"

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Re: Exham Cabin, LA [OPEN LOCATION]

Post by Reyn » Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:21 pm

Lovecraft's Front Room...
"I see."


This was never going to be easy.

Still, it had to be done. Alvis shifted uncomfortably in place, failing to hide the nerves in his posture. Maybe sitting down would help things. He took a few steps towards one of the armchairs, his eyes darting around the room for something to distract himself with, before coming to a stop about halfway through his journey. Sitting wasn't a good idea. What if he needed to move? It was risky- there was nothing wrong with identifying risks, was there? Surely knowing he was safe would help things-

"Don't worry about my nerves, please."
He forced himself to say, as if speaking the request would force himself to comply,
"I'm a licensed therapist, you know. If I can handle the fears of others, then I'm sure I can handle my own."


Besides—and he wasn't going say this aloud—his fear wasn't one of being watched, but one of who was watching. Lovecraft hadn't quite reached that level yet, and it was very unlikely that he would... but the possibility was always there. Alvis decided that he didn't want to sit down at all.

He breathed out slowly, trying once again to find something of interest to focus his eyes on. Nothing stood out. For all his eccentricities, Lovecraft's front room had the design sensibilities of a very boring man. Kind of like himself, Alvis thought. At least he had a garden.

"That is correct, yes."
He nodded,
"The further we stand from it, the better, I think. Do what you must."


He paused.

"Just... make it quick, please."

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Re: Exham Cabin, LA [OPEN LOCATION]

Post by Lovecraft » Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:40 pm

"I'll do what I can," Howard said with a nod as he rose, "But like I said, there's no guarantees about brevity. Just be patient."

Nerves were not uncommon in the visitors to Exham, nor in the cabin's primary resident. There was a reason he had a licensed metahuman support animal, after all. Speaking of, Atlanta clambered to his shoulder, sitting in a perfect perch as Howard approached his latest patient. With the necessary words spoken, he was already directing his focus inward, turning outward senses into magical concentration. The weight of Atlanta on his shoulder. The smell of rosewood. The sounds of the fire. He had to draw from memory for taste, but when he did, it was tea, peach, specifically, this time. And his sight became focused on the energies being deployed by Alvis's body to exist, the processing of fuel and rest to keep the cells running, to in turn keep the organs functioning, blood flowing, mind thinking.

For a moment, an indefinite moment, Howard's nerves were nonexistent as he embraced his element.

From Howard's perspective, it was a bleeding, an intermingling of their two life forces as he focused on and explored Avlis's. His hand moved toward the patient's shoulder, resting on it, if he was allowed, and relaxing back at his side if he wasn't. It was simply a form of focus, a way for him to more easily navigate the tight border where the Nameless touched on the man called Holt.

He didn't know how long they'd stood there when he pulled away. It could have been ten minutes, it could have been an instant. Alvis's perception of time would be more reliable than Howard's right now. As his existence became his own again, just his own, he found his brow had furrowed, and he was frowning deeply. Atlanta dropped from his shoulder as he inhaled consciously, making sure he was in control of his own form again before attempting to speak.

"The damage is a lot deeper than I thought. If I'm not mistaken, it extends into mind and soul, beyond my usual reach." Places that he wouldn't touch, but he didn't want to have to tell Alvis why. "The Nameless in you is sapping energy the longer you don't interact with it, probably with the intent of getting you to go back to it. I don't pretend to know the way Eldritch think, though, so I can't say the why. I only knwo the what."

He sighed.

"I can attempt to replace damaged cells, fix some of the physical stuff, or at least stimulate your system to do that itself without wasting energy, but for the sickness itself I'm not going to be much help. I can replace some energy lost for an undefined amount of time, but you'd either need to come back at some point or find another, more permanent cure before it runs out."

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Re: Exham Cabin, LA [OPEN LOCATION]

Post by Reyn » Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:12 pm

Lovecraft's Front Room...?
It seemed as though his request was not fulfilled.

That was to be expected, right? These things took time, after all, and he did know it wasn't going to be easy. Diagnosis was never an instantaneous process, no matter where it came from, and having to look past... well, having to look in the same area as that disease probably wouldn't make things move along any faster.

Alvis remained silent throughout the process- both literally and regarding the use of his voice. It was likely for the better that he didn't try to invoke the powers he was granted whilst the thing which granted them was being held under such close scrutiny. He didn't want the man to get hurt. Still, standing silent and stationary was enough of a struggle, without the strain of something surfacing without his consent.

How long was he standing there for, anyway? At first, it went slowly, with every minute feeling like an hour, but that feeling went away as quickly as it came. He closed his eyes about halfway through, presumably because of nerves. He didn't remember why. He didn't know what he was doing anymore. There was a flower in his mind's eye- a white chrysanthemum in full bloom. He focused on that instead.

Half an hour passed before he came to.

"Thank you."


Alvis felt himself smile. Was it relief? Fear? He didn't know. Why would he? Alvis brought a hand up to his face, wiping something away from his mouth, before he- oh. He was bleeding- bleeding from his nose in a way that usually only happened to him when he was trying to see something he shouldn't. Was that something to bring up with his companion? Of course not. Nothing like that had even happened. It must be caused by stress.

"I'm... I'm sorry, could I get a tissue?"
He said, pressing the back of his hand against his nose to stem the flow,
"This does happen sometimes, I'm sorry I didn't warn you."


He laughed silently.

"A temporary patch sounds like a good idea, I think. As you can see, this is causing me quite a lot of trouble. I... really would like something quick, if that's at all possible. Anything quick."

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