Once she was greeted but whom she thought was the hostess Nova removed her helmet, since it was nearly impossible to see inside and tucked it under her arm and rested it on her hip. Running her free hand through her hair trying to adjust any helmet hair she might have she shifted her wait to her left. “Something to eat and drink sounds wonderful. I was also wondering if you'd have a room available for a night or two. I have been travelling for quite sometime.” Nova paused for a moment and looked at the hostess sympathetically. “I'm sorry, I did not mean to talk so fast.”
Saria nodded in response to the newcomer. "Of course, we have plenty of rooms available." She gestured towards the hallway where the grand staircase was. "Just head up the staircase and take a left. You'll see rooms on both sides of the hall. Take your pick." She downed the rest of her coffee and walked out from behind the counter. "I apologize that I can't help you further, I have some business I must attend to. My name is Saria - feel free to make yourself at home. The kitchen is right through that door, you may take whatever you need."
With that, she slipped out of the bar room and made her way upstairs, vanishing into her room.
“Ahhh....” Nova's hand moved to the back of her head as she watched the hostess disappear up the stairs. She than looked over and saw two other guest. This was the first time she had noticed anyone else here. Sure her helmet was good at keeping the rocks and bugs away but inside she couldn't see anything. For a moment she just stood there scratching the back of her head just blankly looking at the two women. “Ahh.... Hello?” she said to the two women before giving them a wave and an embarrassed smile. Her eyes darted towards the stairs. “I'm just... going... to...” Her fingers pointed towards the stairs before she quickly ran up the stairs to find a room. Just like the hostess said there where rooms on both sides. Nova randomly picked a room, gave it a little knock and then peaked her head inside. It was completely dark and completely empty.
Stepping inside the room Nova carefully set her helmet onto a desk and tossed her bag onto the bed, which give a light squeak. It was very dark in the room. Walking over to the curtain Nova pulled them open and her jaw almost fell to the floor. The room she had chosen had a view over looking the beach and it was the most scenic view she had ever seen. Nova stood looking out the window almost awestruck before she decided it was time for a shower. Quickly Nova showered and changed into fresh clothing she hadn't been wearing for two days.
“Grrrrrr” The pain coming from her stomach was unbelievable, Nova touched her stomach before making her way back down stairs. This time she looked much more presentable. Down stairs the two women were still there. “Hello.” she said again this time addressing the two. “Sorry about earlier. I just haven’t showered in days and well...” Nova shrugged at the women and left it at that. “I'm about to make something to eat, would either of you like something?” Nova didn't know what she was doing, offering to make others food. But she also didn't want to only make herself something to eat.
The small details, Vee would have to keep that in mind. Though, there was only so much she could cover up. She was more than willing to come clean and continue the conversation though wouldn’t get the chance as a new person entered the manor and Saria announced that she had to take her leave. Vee gave the woman a nod of her head before turning her attention to the new person. Before she could get a word out she too was gone. “Well…” was all she said as she smiled and laughed on the inside. If there was a memo about needing to be in a room she had missed it. In fact, she wasn’t looking forward to the stairs at all.
When the newest patron returned Vee turned to her and spoke. “No need to apologize or explain. We’re just a bunch of strangers,” she stated with a friendly smile; though that last was assumed. She had no clue if anyone knew anyone else though from the talk she could only gather that no one knew one another. “Thank you for the offer, but I think I’m going to pass. I’m rather tired. Finding a room sounds nice. Guess I’ll just help myself and pay Saria for the nights stay tomorrow. Have a good one.” With that, she stood and made her way over to the staircase; taking her time to climb the stairs at an average pace as she didn’t want to have a repeat of earlier.
((Didn't mean to be gone for so long but now I must call it a night. Sorry sweatdrop ))
Nova flushed a little with embarrassment again as she rubbed the back of her head. “Thanks...” she whispered the woman tried to reassure her. “No problem didn't want to make a meal for one.” With that Nova gave the woman a smile and a quick wave as the woman made the way to her room “Umm.. and as for you?” she questioned to the last remaining person her stomach let out a growl again and Nova touched her hand to her stomach. “Sorry I also haven't eaten in two or three days.”
Saria made her way down the steps after a good nights rest. She felt like she hadn't slept in years, and considering last night as the first night on her new mattress in her restored bedroom, it was a particularly wonderful feeling.
She made her way into the bar area and pulled out a coffee mug, pouring herself a steaming cup and pressing the hot liquid to her lips for a sip. She inhaled deeply, breathing in the aromas, a smile slowly forming on her lips.
It was quiet tonight, that's for sure. After her quick departure last night, she wasn't sure what happened to the other guests that were at the bar. Perhaps they helped themselves to a room, or maybe they continued on their individual journeys. Either way, it was nice to see the Heartless Manor somewhat alive again, even for a night.
She placed down her now half-full cup of coffee and turned around in her chair, opening up a few cabinets and shuffling through them. She hadn't had the chance to thoroughly clean every single nook and cranny in the manor yet, so she figured while business was slow she'd do what she can.
She continued to wipe out the dust of one cabinet after another, replacing the dust with new shelf liners to project the wood and re-filling the cabinets with whatever contents were previously in them. She then moved on to the drawers.
Saria opened up a drawer and paused, looking at a bundle of old papers, fashioned with a rubber band. She slowly took out the stack of papers and removed the rubber band, placing the stack on the counter and pulling out one paper at a time, looking at what it was.
An electric bill from 2006. Throw out. Previous bank statements, throw out. Old employment records from 2007, throw out.
After removing the employment records, the next item made her stop in her tracks. It was a photo. A photo of the old gang - Cat, Fray, Dragon, Stykes, Mohan, Jen, even Vincent was there, flicking off the camera. But what made her heart stop was Ralic.
She frowned at the photo before stuffing it back into the pile of papers and back into the drawer as fast as she could. That's something she'll have to deal with later.
Days. Months. Years. Perhaps decades. There was no recollection of how much time had passed since Ralic had been in the manor. He wasn't even truly there now. The shadows swirled, hitting the silhouette of his figure like mist sticks to glass. He always followed Saria. For however long they left, since Melissa found her own path. It was probably her memories and love that even kept him in whatever state he was. He couldn't remember what happened to him. Only that he could only watch like a guardian angel watches their charge. Sometimes, he felt as if she could feel him there, but after a while, he realized it was only coincidence. He cringed as she watched her spiral but now that she was back in the Manor, she seemed like she was blossoming again.
The shadows and heartless seemed to allow him to take some sort of shape, though he doubted that he could be seen. If he was, it'd look just like a spectre roaming the halls, only one of its residence even knowing that he looked like if he were seen.
His tail twitched. The smokey, shadowy mist that gave it form shifted with the movement, causing it to be lost in the air as he walked closely behind Saria. He frowned as she pulled out a picture of the group. He could tell by the change in her body that she was immediately saddened. He tried to reach for her, but while he had shape, he still couldn't feel. He still couldn't talk. If she turned, the shift in the air would make him disappear. He barely existed, but at least he still did. Perhaps, one day, he'd be corporeal again.
Saria felt a chill crawl up her spine as she sighed heavily and picked up her coffee mug once more. It had gotten cold now, and she needed a new cup. She stood up and returned to the coffee machine, pouring a fresh mug of the steaming liquid. She tried to shake off the chill she felt, but she couldn't seem to.
"There must be a draft somewhere..." she said absent mindedly, looking around to see if she could locate the source of her chill. Not immediately seeing it, she figured she'd let it go for another time.
After several hours of the manor being quite dead in activity, Saria walked out of the bar area and made her way out back, heading towards the storage shed. She had walked in once or twice since her return to see if there was anything salvageable but it was only in a quick glance. She figured she'd use this time to actually take note of the inventory.
She opened up the storage shed and was nearly bombarded with dust. The shed had, as predicted, fallen into disarray. Vines and weeds had sprouted through the cracked floorboards and wooden walls. Saria placed a hand on the frame of the door, which emitted a very faint pulse, and the vines and weeds shriveled up out of the shed. Being rid of the foliage, she stepped inside.
She began scanning the items in the storage shed. A lot of typical items were around; tools, a rake, shovels, ladders, a push-mower, motor oil, gasoline... the usual. There were a few boxes laying around as well that were labeled in Elvish. One read "Christmas Decorations", another "Spring Decor". There was a large box for the Christmas tree that they used to put up in the ballroom.
She then found a box labeled "Memories". Again confronted with images of her past, she stared at the box expressionless for a few moments. Her feelings again became conflicted. Part of her wanted to look back and smile at the memories, but part of her wanted to ignore it, afraid of the wounds it dredges up.
Still unsure about what she was going to do, Saria lifted up the lid to the box ever-so-slightly, peering in. She saw piles and piles of photographs and little treasures. Notes, music, preserved black roses, a now inanimate fluffy bear. She smiled, and cringed, almost at the same time. It was hard. too hard.
She let the lid fall back onto the box and she exhaled loudly. She now felt like she was standing awkwardly inside the storage shed, not really wanting to leave the box, but not wanting to do anything with it either.
Half begrudgingly, Saria picked up the box. It was dusty and made her cough while she carried it, but she figured at least she should have it in the manor for when she eventually gets the courage to go through it.
Placing it down inside the back door, she bee-lined her way into the kitchen, pulling out a flask and filling it with whatever hard liquor happened to be within reach. She pressed the flask to her lips, taking a deep drink. Her face distorted into a cringe, the alcohol burning down her throat, but she immediately began to feel the relief. After so many years of spiraling, nothing quite comforted her the way her drink did anymore.