Joanna has accepted the encounter. Your target has been hexed and transformed into an animal against their will. Unable to turn back they need to try to find allies who can understand their problem and find a way to undo the curse.
l In Salte Cinema - Theater One This area seems well populated. The lights are on. It has cheap decor.
This darkened theater offers an elegant air of those mid-century cinemas.
Plush velvet seats line each row of this small space and face towards a silver screen. Rich crimson curtains tasseled in gold frame the screen and a small stage rests beneath.
Now Showing: The Princess Bride
It is afternoon, and about 60F(15C) degrees. It's raining outside. You can hear the sound of waves behind you.
Dynamic Places: the middle row of cinema seats
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Joanna is watching the previews from her place in a neutral middle row
The lights are already low as current and aged previews dance across the screen. A smart-alec popcorn is currently trying to explain about the trash cans by tossing himself in. His bright yellow and red striped body suddenly begins to shift to a dull hue of black and white before your eyes. Have you never seen this promotion before, you might think this is normal, but the next screen is another preview and instead of the stark green showing approved for all audiences, this is also a dull hue of gray.
Joanna either doesn't seem to notice anything strange or she thinks very little of the difference of what's happening on-screen, her cheek resting in the heel of her palm as she crosses her feet comfortably at the ankles. A surreptitious glance is cast down to the low-lit screen of her flip phone, the time noted before the device is silenced and tucked into her front pocket.
Joanna thinks; "When was it supposed to start again? It's about one thirty..."
A sudden twitch runs along the underside of your foot, like your muscles were suddenly connected to an electric current. While not painful, it's uncomfortable and bordering on unpleasant. Your fingers begin to buzz as well, like they were coming out of a deep dull sleep and now they're alerting that they're alive and awake again. The preview appears to be for some big budget drama and everything is suddenly much louder to you. The rain as the man on the screen makes his way through a muddy field. The voice-over baritone booms in your ears. That -is- nearly painful.
"Oh," Joanna me murmurs, silent even as the strange sensations start in case there are any other moviegoers in the general vicinity. Somewhat alarmed, she wrings her fingers together and squeezes them tightly, her toes curling in her shoes as though she's trying to expel the pins and needles. A very bewildered Joanna looks around, one hand raising towards her ear, likely expecting to see someone else responding less than favorably to the louder-than-normal volume.
Joanna thinks; "I haven't been sitting for that long. The movie hasn't even started! They need to turn it down. But, wait... it's raining outside. Is this a test? Athena likes the rain."
Joanna thinks; "No. They don't care enough to see to my daily doings. This isn't at all right. At my theatre, they have the decency to keep it at a fine volume. I'll speak to the manager. This isn't acceptable."
No one else seems to be noticing anything amiss. The theatre is mostly dead anyway and the few people in it are fully lip-locked rather than focused on the screen. It's one of -those- afternoon showings. All of the sudden, however, Joanna may realize that her hands appear to be getting considerably -furrier-. Whatever light knuckle hair she had, and most people have a little, has grown to inappropriate proportions, covering the back of her hands in dull brown fur. Her fingertips are shrinking into the palms, fingers shortening, and the soft human underside of skin is becoming thick and callous and black, like an animal's pads.
Joanna pales considerably, a strangled noise barely sounded before she places her hands -- paws? -- on her mouth to stifle it. Disgust quickly has her tearing them away again, her hands wrung further as though to reverse the change. Her frantic efforts cause her to flush, but true to the etiquette of any self-respecting moviegoer, she remains quiet.
Joanna thinks; "What? What? Is this an illusion? Illusion. An illusion. It is a trick. My hands are covered in fur. Am I dreaming? I don't like the way it feels. What can I say to reverse it? I do not know this spell. I don't know its incantation. Who is responsible?"
Her respectful honoring of the movie-going spirit doesn't seem to be helping Joanna's predicament. The hands become true paws and whatever she may have been holding, phone or otherwise, is dropped as she feels her whole body start to twist and shrink in her clothes. Her shoes drop off, as the sheer design of a dog's paws don't really employ the same amount of space being taken up, and after a moment, she has to lift her snout to see past her own cavernous collar. She's a rather ugly looking mutt. Everything is in black and white.
You can smell yourself from within your clothes. As disgusting as it sounds, in practice and with your current state of being, it's not altogether unpleasant. Human body odor, shampoo, which you currently don't like, mingle together in an interesting potpourri. If you allow yourself to become distract, you could easily get lost in the sniffing.
Joanna was quite taken in her last bipedal moments, muttering in an Eastern European language as though to reverse the effects of what she thought was a spell -- it was all quite complicated, but she's not so talented as to come up with such a thing on the spot even if it were the result of another witch's efforts. She's much more placid as a dog, in any case. Once her human worries have been entirely cast off, the woman finds pleasure in a half-formed whuff and a cursory sniff-over of both the shirt and pants that no longer fit as they should. Unfortunately, she's less than gentle with them, likely causing a tear or two in the thin button-up.
Though now in dog form, you might have a general idea that spell reversal is a good idea but vocalizing it would be impossible. Trying to convince someone you are you would be difficult and, oh my, the overwhelming smells of this place range in a complexity you never knew existed! It's quite distracting though your human psyche hasn't been truly wiped away, simply subverted. In a similar Lassie-esque fashion, you're aware there's a well and Timmy, being you, is down it. Now you just have to find someone to explain this to in three barks or less. Thankfully, the snog-factory other patrons haven't yet noticed your transformation in the darkness of the room.
A low whine brings Joanna back to the present, and likely the issue at hand. The woman made mutt
seems to find solace in her own clothing, burying her head and ears withing the garments. Claws rip antsily into the carpet of the floor, an unconscious motion to ease the anxiety of the situation; it'd be about the human equivalent of wringing one's hands or cracking one's knuckles or some such thing.
Joanna thinks; "Too loud. It's too loud! What happened? Why am I so near the ground? Everything is monotone. Too loud. I need to find my way back. Loud. Ohh, that smells okay. It's not too much. I'm used to this smell. It's loud. "
A man bearing a flashlight and wearing a cheap polyester vest is walking down the aisle at near the same time and catching the dark shadowed form of the mutt, he starts screaming and chasing Joanna, waving his flashlight like a baton, "How did you get in here! Get out of here! Shit, you're going to get me fired!" Those snogging patrons take a break from close inspection of each other's throats to peer at you curiously and you find a flashlight glow right in your eyes. It's either run or get caught!
The yip Joanna sounds succeeds only in causing the shirt to fall from her maw before she's turning tail and sprinting in the direction of the exit. Like a particularly nerve-wracked puppy or an unsteady colt, she falls over at least once before finding her paws again to continue high-tailing it like a proper dog would.
Joanna thinks; "The LIGHT! Ow. Ow. -- He doesn't know. No one knows. I'm a dog. Or a large cat. I can't speak. Ohhh. It's so loud. Run, run, run..."
Skidding out of the door, Joanna manages the freedom that is the sidewalk. The door is slammed shut behind her and now she's permitted to continue a course to wherever she'll seek help. New smells are everywhere. The smell of other dogs. People. Oh god, the smell of people. Food. There's food. Some of it's on the street. A puddle of vanilla ice cream is resting by her paws invitingly, threatening to distract her from her goals.
Joanna seems just as inclined to stop and smell the roses (so to speak) as she is to just continue running and never stop. However, she chooses both. She careens in random directions, aimless and twitchy and terrified, eyes and ears and nose taking in everything at once. Where any other dog might yelp and cry at feeling so off, this one seems stunned silent by the onslaught of All. In the spirit of nonproductivity, she starts lapping at the (likely rain-diluted from the downpour that had been happening, at least when she first went into the theatre). vanilla puddle.
To a dog, the diluted vanilla puddle tastes like heaven. It's not long before there's just pavement scratching at her tongue and Joanna has finished all of the delicious leavings of some tantrum child. The drizzle is keeping people away, at least, and very few people walk past, if any. The car traffic, however, is bustling and it's jarring every time a set of headlights careens nearby, lighting up droplets like they were little beams of light themselves and making a harsh swishing noise as they run in gathered puddling.
With her impromptu meal complete, Joanna suddenly has a purpose. She starts sprinting down the sidewalk before she careens into the road, mindless of cars in the mid-afternoon drizzle and focused on reaching Main Street. She has no care for propriety in this moment, taking shortened paths through backyards and other such places, though other dogs might very well (and rightly) protest her too-brief intrusion.
Joanna thinks; "Athena. Athena. She'll be able to help. Aria or Athena. Athena or Aria."
There's some barking as Joanna rushes through the streets and sidewalks and backyards. Should she come across her destination, she'd find the door open and...
In The Blackthorn Tea Garden This area seems well populated. The lights are on. It has cheap decor.
This is the main area of the Blacktorn Tea Garden and Tea House. There
are books, tea, and other things.
It is afternoon, and about 60F(15C) degrees. It's raining outside. You can hear the sound of waves behind you.
Dynamic Places: the middle row of cinema seats
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Joanna is currently a rather unattractive mutt
Kelly tramps, barefoot, sullenly down Main Street, Blackthorn Tea Garden just one of the many storefronts she passes.
When Kelly wanders past, she'd note Joanna there. Of course, she's not a strawberry-haired woman. Not at all. No, indeed, she's currently a frantic mutt.
Kelly pauses, beneath an overhang that keeps her marginally sheltered from the rain, and she shoots a curious glance over in the direction of the store, of the dog.
Kelly thinks; "Man, that's one fucking ugly dog."
Kelly thinks; "I wonder where the owner is? Is it a stray...?"
Joanna skids to a stop on the sidewalk and accosts passersby with plentiful barking, the sounds abrupt and pitched with a whine. Brown eyes meet Kelly's and the dog's paws click against the asphalt in her haste to reach the even marginally curious woman.
You'd see a tell-tale haze around the other woman, although it's not clear if it's red. It's probably red, though. Dog logic.
There's a trace moment of hesitation and anxiety in Kelly's eye as the dog scrambles towards in her approach. But it's only a moment. "Hey pup," she coos quietly, crouching down and reaching out with a hand - no doubt intending vigorous chin and ear scratchies.
Kelly says (to Joanna), in a lightly Bostonian-accented mezzo-soprano, 'What's up? Who's a pretty boy? Well, not you I guess, you're a good boy, aren't you?'
Kelly recalls like dogs.
Kelly recalls you like dogs. Dogs are loyal and happy. Not like cats. Man, cats are dicks.
Joanna whines plaintively as though to accost Kelly as she had the other pedestrians, but her scandalous melt at the attention offered by the waifish woman is immediate. The dog's soaked paws scramble at the woman's jeans and knees, tongue lolling out of its own accord.
Well, the proprietors don't seem to be around the Blackthorn today but it's a book store with a ton of magic books. You might be in luck.
"Aww, you're a friendly one, aren't you?" Kelly croons. A little smile cuts through her sullen disposition, and she reaches out with both hands to scratch and rub vigorously at the dog's coat. "Hey, you don't have a collar. Who's your owner, huh? You a stray?"
The store seems empty, though not closed. There's a really distracted girl in the back near the register, and the rest is just all herbal tea smells and quiet new age music. Books, of course, are everywhere. Some of them seem occulty. Some seem just history books. Totems and cheap tourist-to-the-occult knick-knacks line the shelves. The wet dog smells incredibly wet, and she doesn't have balls or a collar.
Joanna thinks; "No, no... focus... I like men. I enjoy men. Too many liberals. This isn't okay. Focus. Focus. "
Joanna thinks; "Athena and Aria. I don't see either of them. Focus. What do I do? They probably don't keep their secrets up here. The other libary, though... Maybe, maybe, maybe..."
With a snorted whuff, Joanna draws back from Kelly and trundles over to the shelves, the sound of claws clicking and scrambling against wood clear and almost desperate in its tempo. In the process, she gives a very purposeful shake, freeing her coat from the weight of the water she'd collected in her short journey.
"Gah," Kelly mutters, her arms thrown up reflexively to shield herself from the spray. "No. Bad. That's a bad dog," she complains half-heartedly. Rising out of her crouch, she tramps, barefoot, after the dog. There's a hesitant glance shot inside, towards the girl manning the counter.
One of the books that Joanna scrambles free is surprisingly legit. It's all about channeling your inner spirit to undo 'hexes', which really just bad energy put on you by someone else. Of course, Kelly might have a better time reading the cover. The mutt might have to be able to identify the book by the picture on the front.
The girl manning the counter, in her own right, is listening to something decidedly not new age on a pair of expensive headphones and she's totally not paying attention to the dog and the girl for the moment seeing as she's wedged herself quite tightly back against the register, almost like she's hiding.
"Hey. Bad dog. You're gonna get like, someone calling animal control on your ass if you keep fucking shit up," Kelly tells Joanna. She shoots another nervous glance towards the counter (she's still not paying attention, thankfully) before bending down to gather up all of the books. Half-heartedly, she tries reshelving them.
Joanna seems very adverse to the idea of reshelving the books, paws and claws batting at Kelly's hands so the mutt can properly nose at the volumes and peer at their covers. It might almost be endearing, like the dog can read, but such an idea is probably easy to cast aside as 'ridiculous', however Instagram-worthy. One book in particular is taken into the dog's moist mouth before she starts for the couches.
"Hey!" Anxiously, Kelly drops the rest of the books and chases after Joanna. "Fuck," she mutters under her breath. "You're not a good dog. Not a good dog!" Her feet slap against the hardwood flooring, chasing after the clicking of Joanna's claws against the same.
Joanna thinks; "Stupid woman. You aren't mundane! Think. Think think. Please be capable of the spell a child could succeed with..."
Kelly thinks; "This is so dumb. Fuck this dog, man."
Southward towards the couches the pair goes, Kelly chasing Joanna, the book of good intentions in the mutt's mouth and probably getting sloppy. Thankfully, the woman at the register only slinks down further and begins to sip on some 'special' tea sold her.
Kosuke leaves his place.
Joanna hops up onto the couch, to add insult to injury -- her coat is still wet, and the couch suffers all the more for it as the book is cast down onto the cushion and paws come blundering atop the cover as though in an attempt to shield it from prying hands or eyes. The dog noses at the cover and emits another low, desperate whine.
Kelly chases sullenly after a particularly /ugly/ dog with a book in its mouth, over towards the couches to the south. The wet slaps of her bare feet compete with the clicking of the dog's claws against the hardwood floor. "Geeze, what's with you, pup?" she complains as she finally catches up. Her gaze is drawn, inevitably, towards the book, the object of Joanna's attentions. "Do you want to like, play fetch or something?"
Kelly slips a black plastic flip phone into her pink Hollister hoodie pocket.
Kosuke enters the area with a glass teapot, a kettle full of hot water and some loose leaf teas. He pours the tea leaves into the infuser and drops some hot water in. "Ahh.... rain and tea. Perfect to rela---." The dog catches Kosuke's attention and just sighs.
Kosuke thinks; "lower wolves..."
The couch area of the Blackthorn Tea Garden is where Joanna and Kelly currently are. The book that the mutt is trying to paw-handle is about undoing hexes with good intentions. It appears to be both legit and somewhat of a beginner's manual for magic and probably relies on the basic rule that most people aren't hexed, they're just having bad days for it's success. When Kosuke enters, that's what's happening. Lassie can't speak, though, and Timmy is definitely down a well.
Kelly starts rummaging in her pockets, but only turns up a little plastic bag (which goes right back into her pocket), a pack of cigarettes (also back into the pocket), and a battered old black flip phone (which she weighs in her hand for a moment before it to goes back into a pocket).
Kosuke sits himself down by a window where he can catch a glimpse of the outside.
Joanna starts to chew on the cover of the book, which is probably the last thing that'll help her situation. In dog terms, though, it's entirely normal to deface property. Frustration has taken hold of her for the moment.
If you were to look at the book, you'd briefly notice a stamp on it of a pentagram. With any layman's education of bad movies, this is where the breasty co-ed reads something and something happens.
"Hey! Stop that! Bad dog! Geeze." Kelly reaches for the book, slender, nimble fingers trying to get the poor tome out of Joanna's mouth. Unfortunately, her lack of breasts prevents her from falling into movie cliches and stereotypes - her focus remains on getting the book away from the dog, instead of reading.
Joanna finally allows the book to be freed from her maw, but paws press against the woman's side as she shamelessly flops onto her lap. Checkmate.
Joanna thinks; "Don't get up. Don't get up. Look at the book. Look at it."
Kelly half-heartedly pets Joanna - despite the trouble the dog's put her through - and sinks back against the couch. Idly, she scans the cover of the book in her hand. "Why do you hate books so much, geeze. Book aren't chewtoys," she mutters.
While not exactly winded by her efforts, Joanna remains a pile of dog in Kelly's lap with no more trouble up her sleeve... or coat, really. In a fit of distraction, she noses at where the back cushion meets the seat and sniffs in the crevice.
The first chapter of the book is the most basic of all hex releasers. The second chapter, however, goes on to chi clensing, which probably isn't useful for anyone. A notation on the inside of the book reads, 'To undo what has been done and reach a state of equilibrium.' The shameless rhyming is painful.
Kosuke thinks; "perverted dog, I'm outtah ere."
Kelly sighs and closes the book, though she keeps it in hand as it comes plopping down across Joanna's back. "Okay, like, we need to find your owner or something," she mumbles, other hand still stroking through the dog's fur. Occasionally, she even scratches Joanna behind the ears. "And like, get you dry 'cause you fucking smell."
Joanna picks her seemingly heavy (and smelly) head up and whuffs at Kelly, shaking the book off her back to start pawing at it plaintively again. Her fervent behavior is tired, though she keeps at it and eyes Kelly as meaningfully as a dog can
Out of nowhere, the woman behind the counter from before appears in the archway and calls to the pair, her hands settling on her hips, "Hey! You! Why do you have a dog in here? Why is... hey! How did they get this book! This book isn't a toy. It's a real thing. Sometimes these things are real things."
Kelly startles - actually, she practically jumps to her feet, spilling dog off her lap in the process. "It's uh... it's not mine!" she's says in a momentary panicked rush. "It'sastrayandlikeitwasoutsideandthenrushedinandlikejackedthebookfromashelf..."
"Just hand it over. Aria and Athena are going to kill me," the young woman moans and snaps her gum, as she reaches for the book from Kelly. She glances over to the dog and squints her eyes, tilting her head. "Hey, is that your dog?"
Kelly promptly hands the book over, plainly intimidated by the woman's presence. She gives the dog a nervous, sidelong glance. There's a bit of cheek chewing pensiveness. "I think it's a stray," she eventually mumbles. "It like, doesn't have a collar or anything."
Joanna is in no way equipped to handle being abruptly tossed from laps, and is not at all quick enough to get her pause beneath her before she's rolling on the ground with a low 'woof'. She rolls over onto her stomach before standing with a small hop, mouth open wide and tongue lolling at the associate.
Joanna thinks; "Yes. Yes. Finally. Help me. /Help me/."
"That dog is... it looks familiar. Like, an unnatural breed or something," the girl says with a pop of her gum, before she settles it on her fingertip as she starts to sift through the pages. She begins to wander to one of the back rooms, calling back over her shoulder to Joanna, "If you're what I think you are, come with me and we'll figure this out." Back to Kelly, she suggests, "And if you think that's a normal dog, you should probably go and maybe wash your hands when you get home."
Kelly stares after the girl, befuddled and bemused. The dog earns a passing scratch on the end - then she flops onto the couch, and lies there, drained and confused.
There is barely a moment of hesitation before Joanna is racing after the associate with purpose, frustration and desperation gone from her stride.
"That's what I thought," the girl says airily as she passes through the ranch style swinging doors. There's some flash and dazzle and bam-bing-boom and then, well, from that point on Joanna is probably a very naked and normal human, who is given a pat on the head by the associate and a blanket, and then sent on her way to go back through the bookstore in an ultimate walk of shame. Ultimate.