Put The Candle Back
Eiryk was quite excited about this little outing, he'd never done anything like this; not deliberately planned out with clues and for fun anyway. The opportunity had just sprung up.
He'd gotten the brewing co-op up and running and even had a few classes, his mead classes had been sparsely attended but we're growing a little as word or mouth spread. Eiryk didn't mind too much, it let him give the folks who did come more attention. Besides the beer classes and just the kitchen rentals had been very popular, as Rue had predicted, they were practically overrun with hipsters so he wasn't disappointed.
At any rate it turned out, a very nice woman who'd been part of his first mead class also ran some escape rooms down on the strip. She'd given him some passes by way of a thank you for helping her cross something off her bucket list. Eiryk had put the passes on the table for their group just to see who would/could come. It wasn't exactly the group he'd been expecting but had no doubt it would be fun, they were all clever, practical and creative he had high hopes they'd be able to solve this.
Granted he'd also not expected the first step to be for them to be handcuffed together in pairs, and even made a riballed comment to Alex, but he wasn't too worried. Not for himself anyway, he did rather worry about anyone tethered to him, terribly dangerous really, at least his husband had some experience. Ah well, they'd just have to find the keys quickly.
The door locked behind them and the sand in a giant hourglass started to fall. The room looked like an English Lord's library, something out of Downton Abbey or close enough. To those that had seen the real thing it was a reasonable replica, to those that had seen good period damas it wasn't bad. There was a wall of bookshelves full of books and curios, a gallery wall full of 'oil paintings' (inexpensive but capably done acrylics to his eye but they were only set dressing) in elaborate frames and an ornate desk littered with the trappings of a scholarly explorer (according to the movies any way, Eiryk knew he had a different opinion and suspected Rue would have a different take on it as well, but there was a sextant and a few maps among other things including what looked like a lock box or possibly a small treasure chest). There were also two high backed sofas facing each other, elegant and refined but hard to stretch out on and take a nap, some tastefully scattered faux Turkish rugs, an impressive model ship, a tea set and what looked like the dishes from a light dinner, a bar apparently well stocked with both beverages and glassware, a number of potted plants, the obligatory taxidermied animals and birds, including a fox which rather made Eiryk sad, but mostly game animals some exotic, and oddly enough an aquarium.
The door locked and Eiryk moved a bit to make sure everyone was in and comfortable. He meant to open the envelope with the first clue and the story and read it. What he did was trip over the corner of one of the reproduction carpets, stumble violently threatening to fall over and take Alex with him as his handcuffed arm trailed behind him and spun him at an odd angle.
Tonight's entertainment had been provided by Eiryk, but driven largely by Alex and Aishe. Two of the younger members of the group, they weren't so far removed from humanity as to have become jaded or bored, and they had both been looking forward to trying an escape room.
Alex hadn't expected it to be so - literal. He'd grimaced as the hostess had cuffed him to Eiryk, knowing that every step was potentially lethal when hitched to his walking catastrophe of a partner. Out of all of them, though, Alex was likely the most capable of anticipating, countering, and even possibly avoiding some of Eiryk's worse missteps. At least the handcuffs were soft leather ones, more like bondage cuffs, clasped and padlocked.
Just how soft was immediately tested as Eiryk walked into the room and immediately tripped, spinning and almost toppling. Alex had years of experience now, though, and with a quick step and an arm around Eiryk's waist he righted his husband before too much damage could occur.
Dropping a soft kiss on Eiryk's lips, Alex plucked the envelope from his hand and passed it over his shoulder to whoever was right behind them.
"Maybe we'll just keep you focused on where you're going for now," he said with an affectionate smirk.
Blaise reached up to take the envelope from Alex, jerking her hand up. Swearing under her breath she mentally tugged the envelope away from him and opened it.
"Oi love watch it that's a paper cut."
Blaise protested as she pulled his hand this way and that. Pak stopped to look at him, her expression clearly giving the young vampire grief.
He muttered sheepishly.
"So we just read this and find the clues right?"
That's how she'd understood things anyway. Pak read the contents through once and then read it aloud. For the group.
"It's a letter...
The 7th day of the 8th month the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and 44
My dearest V
It is commonly known her that De Villefort has upped the stakes of your dues. He claims you have a Vendetta against him and I believe he is inclined to ask rashly. As such I would strongly advise you to accept the commission offered you.
I realize the captain is relatively inexperienced as he has only commanded 2 expeditions but you must consider he has made the crossing at least 20 times in the past 5 years. And sailing now will keep you safe. Although, I will only be able to Count the days until you are able to return.
I'm certain that by the time you complete this commission your name will have been cleared and the matter no longer of any consequence.
The cargo you will bring back for me will be at least 115 bales of tobacco, 6 stallions and 52 bolts of cloth. I have no doubt the other cargo will be as easy and agreeable to transport.
Please write to me before you depart. Best wishes and safe travels
Pak looked at it again and scowled. She read it again and it made even less sense and she sighed.
"What a weird awkward letter..."
A little light bulb went off in her head as a few of the quirks gave her an idea. She'd been a librarian and was a voracious reader, this one she'd even read in the original French as it was published.
"Oh! Count of Monte Cristo! Right? Count, clear your name... Dumas?"
She looked to the group to agree or disagree for a second before just heading right to the bookcase, totally oblivious to the incongruous nature of her pulling Blaise, big sturdy Blaise who had a few inches and more than a few pounds in her, along behind her.
The books were in no particular order which she found frustrating but people must think it was a decent idea as she wasn't the only one looking. Suddenly she gave a little shout.
"Oh! There it is."
It was too high, well out of Pak's reach. She gave it a little mental tug just as Blaise reached up jerking her in an odd direction
She protested even as she tightened her mental grip on the book.
He'd only grinned back shamelessly, shrugging at her when they were leashed together.
They had both quickly realized that this might be a difficult prospect. Rowan was almost a foot taller than Aishe. Awkward didn't even begin to describe it. Fortunately, they weren't Alex, who clearly had it the roughest. This was made immediately obvious when Eiryk practically fell face first into their escape room.
The clue was saved by Pak. Aishe 'tsk'ed at her friend. "Pak, we said no cheating."
They had agreed not to use their abilities before entering the room, and Aishe saw the envelope fly into Pak's hand. She had no qualms about calling Pakpao out.
The letter inside made very little sense to her, although Pak quickly figured out the literary reference. They all headed to the wall of bookshelves. It was impossible for Aishe and Rowan to do what came naturally - him looking up, her looking down, so Aishe simply tugged Rowan down with her and pushed him to his knees. He went along willingly, eyebrows raised, then laughed when she hiked a leg up and readily helped out.
Standing slowly, Aishe and Rowan became one big AisheRowan monster as she sat on his shoulders. She could almost reach the ceiling, which fortunately was fairly high, but she still wasn't in danger of hitting anything. She kept her left hand down toward her thigh and Rowan held onto her leg with his right. Her dominant right hand was free, and Rowan could use either hand with equal dexterity.
Together they searched the shelves, until Aishe heard Pak's exclamation and Rowan turned them to see a short tug of war.
Unthinking, Aishe kicked Rowan's sides gently, as if he were a horse, and with a laugh, he intercepted the arguing two.
"Excuse us pardon us," Aishe said, grabbing the book with her right hand. The element of surprise was with them and there was no resistance, but as Aishe passed the book down to Rowan she held up two fingers to her eyes, pointing them back to Pak. She silently mouthed 'no cheating' at their friend.
He was, however, still afraid of being banged up so both the cuffs and hearing that door lock behind them rattled Blaise a little. The idea that they couldn't escape bothered him a little more, but that wouldn't happen. Not with this lot, right?
He tried to concentrate on the fact that he was here and set his mind to having fun. Besides someone had to brave being handcuffed to Pakpao.
He was about to say something when Eiryk tried to take them all out single handedly. Nope, no complaining about Pakpao, and Alex just made his list of all time bravest people. Possibly nicest too as he didn't even seem ruffled by his husband's tumble.
Five was a lot for his empathy to handle and he was getting a lot of odd "stations" and was a little distracted sorting out which one went with who. Funny thing was, he was dead certain one was Pakpao. She almost always hid from him. It really was interesting watching her with people she liked and was comfortable with.
Well up until she headed to the bookshelves like a man, or Mac truck, on a mission and he could only stumble along in her wake. He was about to protest being drug along like a ball and chain when he saw Aishe and Rowan's solution to an even more dramatic difference in height. Thank God Pakpao hadn't thought of that!
Count of what? Apparently, whatever this book was it wasn't covered in English 101. All of a sudden he wasn't sure he'd have anything to offer to this little project. But he looked along with everyone else.
It was found soon enough and, seeing where Pakpao was looking and the wobbling book, he just reached for it not thinking about the consequences. Whoops!
Aishe and Rowan had it now and he was forced to hide a snicker behind his hand and 'cough' as Pakpao bickered at Aishe about reaching not being cheating. There was no way in hell he was taking a side on that one.
"I don't suppose there is a key or something in there?'
He asked hopefully.
In the movies some of the pages would be carved out making a hollow spot to hide something. Without thinking he drug Pakpao back with him as he moved to pick up the letter, it had been discarded and was just laying on the ground. He wasn't naturally tidy but the room just seemed to posh to leave litter about, besides it might make a good souvenir if they got out.
Carrying Aishe around was hilarious; he'd been curious about what she was doing when she tugged on him but her intent had been immediately clear and now they were shambling around the room, Rowan trying his best to not knock her into anything dangling from the ceiling.
When Blaise asked about the book, if there was a key somewhere, the lightbulb went off over Rowan's head.
"Ah, yes. The key. You're holding it," he said. He'd noted the letter at the same time as Blaise, but Blaise had reached it first. Rowan held out his hand.
When the letter was handed over to him, Rowan scanned it quickly. He had it sorted in seconds, but he took his time, wondering if this counted as cheating. Rowan had spent centuries doing things like this. He was a skilled forger, yes, but he'd also written and received ciphers, which this clearly was. He'd seen far more complex ones.
Aishe booted him in the side gently. "Hey," she said, probably picking up on his concern, "does it make sense to you?"
He looked up at her, then around the room in general. "Ah, yes? But does life experience count as cheating? I mean, a lot of my life experience was cheating. Wow, this is not sounding any better."
He cleared his throat. "It's a cipher. A book cipher. They've been used throughout the centuries to pass notes back and forth. See how in the letter, some of the numbers are written out, but some aren't? The ones that aren't, are a sequence. Probably this book here is the key, but there are a couple others the letter referred to that could also be."
He caught himself before he went to into 'excessive lecture' mode, smiling sheepishly and shrugging. "Anyway. Long story short - each sequence of three numbers is most commonly a reference to something like chapter, paragraph, word. There are some variations, but that's the most common one. We can try it with this book first and if it doesn't make any sense, maybe we can look for 'V for Vendetta' or one of the others."
He read the numbers to Aishe, who amused him by resting the Count of Monte Cristo on his head for extra stability while she leafed through the pages he directed her to.
"Check the dishes," she finally said. "It's 'check the dishes.'" She pointed over to the table. Then she looked at Pak. "That was definitely not cheating."
Eiryk extemporized, it seemed like a good story and sort of true (but not really), as Alex helped him regain his equilibrium and quickly kissing his husband back. Nope that was -so- not getting old in anyway shape or form and he loved it.
"I think we should focus on the clue."
He quipped lightly as Pak took the helm. He listened carefully to the letter and did agree with Pakpao. That was strange and awkward. And yet there were things about it that were raising little flags with him. Pak got there first and he agreed with the solution and looking to Alex to make sure they moved together, and now toward the floor, joined everyone at the bookcase.
Soon enough the book was found but rather than a key apparently they found the message. He knew what a book cypher was and gave Rue a bit if a 'get on with it' look even waving his hand, or he would have waived his hand but it was attached to Alex so he waived their hands. Given the grin on his face though it was clear he wasn't in a real hurry or irritated, in fact he was much closer to laughing or teasing. Of -course- Rue would see that right off the bat. It made him smile.
"Love, if life experience is cheating you and I should just sit out now."
Eiryk had actually -just- noticed tonight's demographic skewed quite young. Huh, how and that happened? He'd have to give some of the missing folks grief about being old and stodgy, all in good fun of course.
"Of course I've never known a pirate to play fair so I can understand the confusion..."
Dishes? Eiryk followed where Aishe, still on Rue's shoulders, indicated and quickly spotted a very nice, but very modern, china setting on a tray.
"Shall we try again Ã¤lskling?"
Eiryk didn't dare move again without making it clear to Alex. They made it to the tray, there was a large plate and a smaller one, silverware a napkin, a small covered basket that still had some bread in it and a glass. He didn't see anything that could be a clue unless you count the small silver dish of lemon wedges and a few crumbs.
"Must have had seafood."
He observed half to himself as he carefully moved the dishes about not wanting to accidentally break a clue.
He walked with Eiryk over to the tea set on the table. They inspected the china, with Alex picking each piece up as Eiryk set it down. When he took the napkin, his hand brushed across something that didn't feel like the slender handle of any silverware wrapped inside. He gave a little hum, removed the ring from the napkin, and exclaimed as a small key fell out.
It was tiny, and it certainly seemed like it would fit the small locks on the cuffs. When he tried to fit it into the one on his wrist, it went in most of the way and stopped. The same result on Eiryk's lock. Alex turned, and held it up. Rowan was closest to him, so Rowan and Aishe both held up their wrists and Alex tried it on them. The key met no resistance, and in just a few moments Rowan and Aishe were free.
"Here, maybe it's worth a shot," Alex tossed the key to Blaise and Pak, hoping that maybe it would fit their locks too although it didn't seem likely.
Once the key was out of his hands, Alex checked under the one remaining piece of the tea set - the tray itself. Again, eh was rewarded - sort of. Beneath the tray was a mostly blank piece of thick note paper, without lines, torn on one side as if pulled from a book. On the torn side in the corner was a tiny little triangle.
He held it out to Rowan. "Got any more paper cheats?"
She'd come to quite like Alex as well, and he seemed to be the hero of this particular obstacle finding the key. Unfortunately for him, the key didn't unlock Alex and Eiryk but did set Rowan and Aishe free. Figured, they were getting along the best of course they'd find that key first. But Pak actually giggled at their success even as Alex tossed she and Blaise the key.
Out of reflex she mentally reached out to catch the key it slowed and held in the air for a second before she huffed a bit and let it drop while making a face at Aishe. The key dropped again and Blaise lurched forward, catching her unaware and causing her to stumble forward, as he reached out to catch the key. She rolled her eyes at Blaise, this was getting ridiculous.
"I will take a page out of Aishe's book yet if you keep this up."
Pak threatened even as Blaise tried and failed to unlock their cuffs. Pak just shrugged and handed the key back to the couple it had worked for. Might as well keep everything together.
"Just be glad I'm not taking a page out of Eiryk's."
The smart ass retort actually got Pak to almost grin.
"When did you start getting mean?"
Blaise just half smiled and shrugged and Pak let it go.
The paper had been handed to Rowan and Pak just siddled over so she could get a good look at the blank sheet.
She might prefer awkward letters or flat out riddles but it had to mean something. If it had been an email she would have thought white font, white background but that didn't apply here. As she didn't want to interrupt anyone else's train of thought she kept that to herself as she continued to think.
She couldn't help smiling widely when Pak let the key 'drop.' grinning at her friend, she wiped a fake tear from her eye. "I'm so proud."
Eiryk and Alex found the next clue, a blank paper under the tray. Aishe had no idea what a blank paper meant aside from the obvious invisible ink trick, so she searched through her head and recalled every mystery she'd read over the years.
Pak was standing next to Rowan now, and since Aishe had the freedom to do so, she decided to poke around the rest of the room. Nothing said they had to do this in any particular order, after all. She kept an eye and an ear on whatever was happening with the paper, but she also couldn't help but snoop a bit.
Absently he rubbed a bit at his right wrist. He and Pak couldn't seem to coordinate their movements terribly well and each had jerked the other around a few times. Vampire or not his wrist was sore and he still had some nagging memories of juvie lurking about.
To distract himself he looked at the blank paper. Bloody rotten clue if you ask him. It had to be invisible ink, that was the only that made sense.
"In the movies you always need a candle or hairdryer or something."
He ventured hesitantly. Blaise was painfully aware he was way out classed in the smarts and education and even the life experience categories, but he wanted to help or at least try and help.
There was a little mark on the paper, a triangle. Blaise didn't have a clue what it was there for but he took a good look at it and leaned down to Pakpao and said quietly
"Scalene triangle. Why do they call them scalene? They aren't weighing anything."
He was trying to impress his math tutor and be funny at the same time. It was probably a disaster but Blaise was a little proud of himself. That was probably the smartest joke he'd ever made.
Aishe had wndered off to another side of the room, unconcerned with the current puzzle. Clearly her curiosity had overridden her desire to know about the paper. That, or she just had that much confidence in the rest of them to sort it out. He had to admit, if they were going to get out of here in less than 90 minutes they had better speed it up.
He shrugged at Blaise when he asked about the triangle. "No idea, but heat is right."
He peered at the nearest lamp, removing the shade and holding his hand over it. "Good enough."
Rowan held the paper over the lamp for a few seconds, careful not to get it so close it actually burned, because this desk lamp bulb wasn't an LED and was definitely warm to the touch. Finally, the letters on it began to show up.
"Weigh your options," he said. He looked around. Conveniently, there was a scale on the desk, currently hanging lopsided. There were some weights on each side; he began to fiddle with the scale, wondering what exactly eh was supposed to weigh.
"Is there a number or something?" he muttered, looking at the little triangle on the paper. For lack of a better idea, he balanced out the scale for whenever he figured out what weight he was aiming for.
Right about when that happened, there was a click. The side drawer on the desk, beneath the scale, sprang open - slowly enough for him to move away. Inside was another small key, and a magnet. Rowan pulled them both out and tossed the key to Blaise.
"Give that a shot, eh?"
Right about when he said that, Aishe gave a little exclamation from where she was standing by the wall.
Eiryk couldn't help but tease Rowan. His eyes lighted on the lemon wedges and he carefully tossed on to the former pirate knowing usually one needed heat and an agent to get the ink to reveal itself. He also gave Blaise an encouraging grin for being on the right track.
This was probably not exactly the kind of puzzle the young man would be terribly well equipped to handle. He had just gotten his GED and was only starting college. Still he was pleased their new clanmate was at least attempting to help, participate if nothing else.
Rue started to fidget over at the desk and seemed to find a key. Aishe had wandered off to look around the room more as well. That struck Eiryk as a good idea and he, after checking with Alex, went over to one of the things in the room that interested him most, other than the books, the model ship. He studied it a great deal and finally said.
"It's the Bounty, but she's missing the center mast. That probably means something."
Or the had to find the mast or maybe it was a red herring or an oversight, but he was going with it meant something.
And suddenly the clue were coming fast and furious as apparently Aishe called out.
"Well don't keep it to yourself! What did you find?"
For half a second Eiryk felt very protective of Aishe (as he would of anyone in the room) and had been ready to jump to her defense. But he'd quickly remember where they were and what they were doing and had immediately relaxed back into his more usual demeanor.
"Please tell me we aren't going to have to try to find the mast and put it back on," Alex said, unable to hide his expression of mild horror at the idea of attempting the no-doubt tedious task.
Both Aishe and Rowan seemed to find something just then. Alex looked up to see Rowan toss another key to Blaise, and a glance at Aishe showed that she, too, had found a key somehow. She examined it and then came over and held her hand out. Alex lifted his and Eiryk's bound wrists.
"I don't think it's the right size for your cuffs," she said, "but it's worth a shot."
She was correct, and the key did not fit their cuffs. Aishe shrugged and held onto the key she'd found.
"Don't lose track of it," Alex warned jokingly. "It's probably our key out of here."
They both laughed, and Alex turned to Rowan. "So what else did you find?"
Rue held up a small, square metal thing. "A magnet," he said. "Not sure what for yet, but since it looks like they've been giving us the clues to unlock ourselves first, maybe this is what will set you and Eiryk free. Metaphorically speaking, of course."
Alex grinned. "Of course. Maybe just hold it up and walk around, and see what comes flying at it."
It was a tiny bit awkward as they had both lost the use of their dominant hand but they did manage to get the tiny key in the tiny lock and it did work and she was pleased. Not as pleased as Blaise apparently was, he heaved a huge sigh of relief and rubbed at his wrist.
"Gee thanks. I like you too.â€
She snarked at him, but it didn't last long. They suddenly had three puzzles going at once, at least Pak assumed they were three different puzzles, and she was more interested in that than needling Blaise for now. The random key was interesting. How vital could that be, after all it was possible they'd never find it if it were just hidden. The magnet -probably- opened a latch or a catch or something but where? And then there was the mast.
Pak just looked at Alex,
"OK we won't tell you. But the ship itself is probably a clue? Something about Captain Hook or mutinies or Tahiti or something.â€
Her knowledge of the Bounty was sketchy, but Pak figured there would be a book about it on the shelf and wandered back that way to start with.
"Unless someone in this room has life experience with boats and nautical history.â€
She taunted both Eiryk and Rowan at the same time, having no doubt both of them would know notably more about the ship and its history off the top of their heads than she did. But before she got to the bookshelves she caught something on the desk just out of the corner of her eye. There was a lock box. If they just randomly hid the key would they put what it was for out in plain sight?
"Aishe, you don't suppose that key might fit the box on the desk?"
It seemed worth a shot and it wasn't like she was worried about looking stupid, well not in this group of people. If they wanted to tease her about something, they had other better moments than this.
There was nothing remarkable about the key, except that it seemed to have a little bit of pink paint on the spine. She shrugged and showed it to everyone who asked about it.
Just like that, though, Blaise and Pak were free, leaving Eiryk and Alex as the sole handcuffed couple. "That's fitting," she said to them with a grin. "You are the only truly shackled couple in the room."
Pak directed her attention to a little lockbox and Aishe went over willingly, attempting to slid her key into the lock. No luck, though; it was too big even for the small box Pak had found.
"Maybe we have to find something pink," Aishe said, indicating the pink color on the key's spine. She looked around, but the room was just full of things. Nothing in particular stood out to her.
He looked at the key Aishe had found and agreed that it would probably go to something pink. Sure the itself wasn't pink, but he did know typically locks and keys did match. It seemed like a goal he could focus on.
Trying not to feel like he was casing the place Blaise started activity looking around. He was surprised that there were actual fish in the aquarium but he was really most interested in the bookcase. It had some neat nick knacks.
Not sure if it would be hidden in plain sight or really hidden he looked very thoroughly both high and low. Nothing pink though, nothing that even looked lockable. There was a box though he kept coming back to the box. Picking it up he couldn't open it nor could he see an obvious latch.
It had to be something.
"It's not pink but it is locked. Actually..." He looked again there -wasn't- a lock, no place for a key at all. "Maybe it goes with the magnet?"
If it did he was totally counting this as being helpful and contributing.
He gave a little wave of his hand. "That would almost definitely be cheating," he said, indicating himself. "Pirate. You know?"
Granted, piracy had very little to do with the famous mutiny, but still. Rowan knew quite a lot about the ship and its history. He would let Eiryk play.
He turned to Blaise instead when it appeared he had found something magnet-compatible. He crossed the room to the younger vampire and handed the magnet to him. "Oh, you might be on to something there. Here, give it a go."
He was content to sit back for a few minutes, having done plenty to solve things so far. He idly poked around in a potted plant, doing a double take when his searching fingers actually found something dangling from a broad leaf. He turned the leaf over and discovered a little key, with a line of green along the spine. It was similar to Aishe's pink key, just green instead. He deftly undid the twist tie holding it on and held it up so everyone else could see.
"Sensing a theme here. Perhaps we need to look for more colored keys?"
"Please that was the furthest thing from piracy ever. Besides if you'd been along I suspect Bligh and Christian would have gotten along significantly better."
Between Rue's suggestion and glamour Eiryk doubted there would have been a mutiny. He might have occasionally made the occasional suggestion to keep the peace and possibly prevented one mutiny back in the day but undoubtedly Rowan could have stopped the historic event from ever even being an idea, might have gotten Bligh to lighten up a bit. Ah well.
"I do hate to say, but it but Pak is probably right. We undoubtedly need that mast."
It was probably a latch or something, it might open the model for a clue or another key or something.
"It can't be that hard." Eiryk said cheerfully "The ship is probably a clue. Something to do with the Navy or England or Tahiti or harsh discipline."
He mused aloud as he casually looked around the room for something along the lines. There was the sextant and a spy glass on the desk so it seemed logical to start looking there, but then Rue found another key and Eiryk got distracted. His decorator brain and his sailing brain started competing. He managed to say,
"Seven colors in the rainbow so probably seven keys at this rate."
But working on two ideas and moving at the same time proved too much for him and he fell... backwards for a change. He flailed a bit and although Alex couldn't save him this time, his husband did manage to direct him so he fell on one of the red sofas. However, when he landed all the lights in the room went out.
"Please tell me it is dark for everyone and I don't have a concussion."
Rowan seemed content to let Eiryk puzzle this one out, and the two of them heckled each other playfully in the way that Alex had gotten used to over the years, a lighthearted banter that might have once made him a little insecure if he hadn't had ample time to realize the two of them really did seem more like brothers than lovers.
He trailed along behind Eiryk as his husband turned toward the desk, muttered something about rainbows, and then tripped on probably air, falling backward and tugging Alex along with him. Alex couldnt' stop the inevitable crash, but he did manage to shove Eiryk toward an armchair, falling along with him and landing mostly on the arm of the chair but also somewhat in Eiryk's lap as all the lights flickered out.
Eiryk's puzzled question was right next to Alex's ear, and he laughed, trying to figure out what limbs were where and whose were whose.
"If you're concussed then I am too. How did your arm get over there?" It was like the strangest game of Twister ever. He hauled Eiryk up for a second, and the lights came on.
"Oh interesting." Alex let Eiryk go, dropping him back into the armchair, and the lights went back out.
"Man, this is a lot more fun than advertised." Once more he picked Eiryk up, lighting the room, then dropped him back into the chair, plunging them back into the dark. It wasn't completely pitch black, or Alex's anxiety would have spiked.He looked around for the illumination and discovered one of the paintings was glowing. Probably not enough for human eyes to find any comfort in it, but for Alex's vampire eyes, it was fine.
Just as she was debating looking for a net or if she should just reach in, just as something else in the aquarium caught her eye... the lights went out.
"What the hell ?!"
If there had been a crash, if it had just been one light she would have immediately attributed to Eiryk, but all the lights? Of course Eiryk's comment did seem to indicate he had somehow caused it. Poor Alex.
Oh look the lights were back on and Alex was mostly standing and Eiryk was getting that way. Something about the untangling and trying to get themselves upright seemed to give their youngest vampire an idea as he then dropped his husband, just a little, the short distance back on to the cushions and the lights went out again. Alex repeated the tiny drop with the same results and seemed to be having a little fun with it. Pak couldn't help it, she giggled. Alex usually tried to help Eiryk avoid disaster or picked him up watching him do the opposite, even in the smallest degree, was funny.
Even Eiryk must be somewhat amused as he said, with his usual good humor,
"I'm fairly certain this is not what is typically meant when one is a "switch".
Pak snickered harder.
"Have we found the clue yet? Can I get up?"
Had they found the clue? Pak had been so busy giggling she'd forgotten to look. Quickly peering around the room, she (and probably everyone else) noticed one of the paintings was glowing.
"Oh! Look at that!"
As she seemed to be the closest, Pak crossed quickly to the painting in question.
"It's a Gauguin...a faux-guin... still Tahiti."
Pak didn't know much about art but this one she knew. It was hung high enough that Pak couldn't reach the top of the frame, but she could reach well enough to take the whole thing off the wall and what had to be the mast was taped to the back.
"Good find Alex."
Since it was Alex's (and Eiryk's) find she handed them the mast to play with.