Not withstanding there’s an army being massed in Vesper, Kaji, Elpida and Zyx still have another job to do for the Justicars. They’ve received a message from Professor Phillips at the Academy that the mage they saved up in the mountains a week or so ago appears has become unsettled.
Perhaps it’s time to go and have that … talk.
They’ve been told the survivor is held at the Restorium.
When they get there the ‘receptionist’, a tall, thin D-Bee with an almost horselike head, long arms and long legs (Kaji might think they look a little like ‘Aliens’ from some of the TV Shows of his time. Perhaps he’s right), peers down its nose at them, waiting to see what they want.
Pretty much anything to do with the Academy gives Elpida the heebyjeebies but there she goes. She always feels like there’s a whole host of prying eyes wanting to pull her apart to get her secrets. Or call her delicious. One of those things. In any case, shes’ staring at the D-Bee on arrival and offers a ‘hullo’.
“Um….” Kaji’s never quite fond of the visits he has here, especially since the last couple of times he’s been unconscious or something. He smiles at the receptionist. Seeing so many strange looking people around this world is something he’s taken in stride at the beginning. He’s always found them fascinating, figuring that just as many might find humans the same. And none have wanted to chew off his face or threatened him because they had a reputation in several cities. It might also be because he figures he’s one of the odd ones here.
“Good day…” Sir? Ma’am? He…isn’t quite sure, so he leaves off any honorifics. “We were told to come by at word from a Professor Phillips? About a mage who was brought in a few weeks ago.”
Zyx is following along quietly. She’s mostly here as moral support for Kaji, so all she can really do is stare back at the receptionist and maaaaaybe stand up just a little bit taller. Because … tall…
“Mmmm, yes…” Even the voice is androgynous as the D-Bee receptionist looks over the three unlikely candidates. “Follow me.” Perhaps they should be thankful it doesn’t say ‘walk this way’ because the gait is kind of awkward as it leads them down corridors to a room. “In there. We’ve put magical restraints on them, but do be careful.”
That probably doesn’t sound reassuring.
When they enter the room, the ‘patient’ is sitting in the bed with leather cuffs embedded with crystals on their wrists. Techno wizard devices. Probably the the restraints that were just mentioned.
When he sees the three enter, he hisses at them “You. It’s because of you I’m in here.”
Considering their initial encounter with the mage, Kaji’s not the least bit surprised to hear he’s been restrained. He nods at the receptionist, following along after a brief glance towards each of his companions.
The young necromancer pokes his head inside the room that they’re shown to before he eases himself inside. He scratches the back of his head as he tries not to frown too much at the less than warm reception they receive. That too, not really surprising.
“Yeah, pretty much,” he replies. “Somehow I don’t think you’re wanting to thank us, despite the fact that you probably would’ve been dead if we hadn’t found you.”
“Of course not. That would actually make sense and we know nothing in this land does that. I mean, if it made sense, we wouldn’t have total idiots trying to hollow people out to horrible extra-dimensional monsters or what have you,” says Elpida with a sigh to Kaji.
The man spits words at them. Oooh, scary. Zyx is more interested in the crystals on the cuffs, though she’s learned to not touch crystals without permission. Though, she might be different enough looking that she can be a distraction to the man and the others can ‘sneak’ answers out of him.
“Not dead…” the man shakes his head. He’s not restrained physically but even with Vespers healing techniques, he’s still fairly weak. Loss of blood and the wounds he experienced will do that. Or maybe it’s the crystals that are placed on the floor round the bed. To Zyx, those crystals are humming – nicely at the moment – though the others might not hear them.
“… I would have fulfilled my fate and ascended.” He’s getting agitated, even more than he was when they entered the room. As he does, the tenor of the humming changes slightly.
That’s an interesting statement to make though, given how they found him, the ashes that were found around the circle and what they think they were.
Kaji smiles wryly at Elpida. “Not that the world we know made much sense either, you know,” he points out. But then maybe even she’s from a different version of Earth than he is. …that kind of hurts his head to consider- okay, focusing on crazy dude.
He’s glad he doesn’t have to warn Kthzyx about messing around with anything in here, but she’s always been…fairly sharp about things like that. And they’ve both learned the hard way, back in the Appalachians. These probably wouldn’t do anything to her, but Kaji’s concerns would more be upon the mage being monitored by them.
“Lousy fate if you ask me,” he mutters, brow quirking at the mage. “There was nothing but ashes left of the others. It’s kind of amazing you got away in one piece.” He pauses. “Were you running away?”
Elpida can likely sort of sense the vibrations through the many snakes upon her head. She shakes her head.
“Kiddo,” she begins, “there was no ‘ascencion’ in the cards for you. Trust me. I’ve seen Divinity up close and personal. You were about to take a long trip into oblivion with nothing to show for it except being a useful idiot.” She leans closer, allowing her snakes to lift their heads and come towards him, tongues flicking inquisitively.
“We’re going to ask you some questions. You’re going to give us the answers we need.”
Zyx tilts her head slightly, listening to the humming of the crystals as they seem to react to the man’s increasing agitation. “Calmly,” she adds to the end of Elpida’s statement. She doesn’t do so in any forceful way, but she does look at the man in a manner that might be disconcerting to anyone that’s not accustomed to her or her appearance.
“What would you know …” the man sneers at the trio, skin flushing as his emotions escalate. “The others have achieved their fate …” He looks at Kaji and shakes his head. The youth is anything but terrifying, really. “No, I wasn’t running away.” For those that can read people, he’s hiding something.
As he looks at Zyx he looks rather discomfitted – she can be a bit fearsome when she wants to be but his eyes slide to Elpida looking rather condescending – he’s probably the same age as her “Kidd—- whoa, whatthehellarethey…” he actually scoots back on the bed and the crystals hum more discordantly to Zyx.
Maybe … she can calm them.
“El, be nice,” Kaji tempers. He looks back at the man, head tilting to the side. “It kind of seemed that way. I mean…you were a pretty good ways off from the circle we found. If you were wanting to join the others, wouldn’t you have stuck around?”
It’s not too difficult to recall what he’d seen when he’d ‘read’ the ashes. That sort of impression sticks with you even in your dreams- which…isn’t exactly the most pleasant. Demon dabbling on top of all this dumb necromancer business, it’s no wonder it’s hard for him to get some decent sleep these nights!
“You…were left behind,” he says as he thinks. “Rejected?”
“Kiddo,” says Elpida, firmly, to him. “And why do I have to be nice to him?” She lets out a sigh, allowing Kaji to speak to him instead for a moment, though she’s still close.
Zyx goes a bit spiky at the tone of the man’s voice, but her attention is focused on the crystals again. She starts humming back to them — likely audible to the others in the room — in an attempt to smooth out the discordant tones back toward where they were earlier.
The snakes waving in his direction has the mans attention and he leans back a bit trying to put more space between him and the Gorgon. His eyes slide to Kaji, but he gives the impression that he’s keeping an eye on Elpida.
He flushes more at Kaji’s words and shakes his head “No! I wasn’t rejected.” That sounds just a little to vehement. A very strong denial that doesn’t really ring true. Abruptly, his look becomes sly as his eyes narrow a little more at Kaji “I can sense it on you, you know. Even restrained as I am. The power over death.” The tone, whilst still sly sounds a bit wistful “It feels good, doesn’t it. Being able to wield that type of power?” As they talk, the trio should realise they’ve never really confirmed this mage was a necromancer.
The crystals still hum discordantly but slowly start to respond to Zyx. Well. They did until he got upset again and then started to peak again.
Well, it’s sort of confirmed now.
Zyx is eyed, though, and so are the crystals. Elpida leans in but she’s staying right there, not really getting any /actively/ closer.
“Oh, I should have known,” she groans at Kaji’s confirmation.
Kaji watches the guy as the mage keeps eyeing Elpida nervously. His attention may be torn there, but it’s pretty obvious that the guy has no desire to be near the Gorgon. “Zyx, everything okay?” the teenager asks, although he keeps his eyes on the mage. He’ll trust Zyx to let them know if anything should be brought to their attention concerning the crystals.
There’s a blink as the mage responds so quickly to his prodding. So possibly that’s the right direction… Kaji frowns as the man tries to shift the subject. “No, not really. Honestly, I still don’t know what I’m doing with it,” he says with a shrug as he folds his arms.
Kthzyx goes full-out spiky as she hums more intensely to make the discordant crystals settle down again and steps closer to the man. She doesn’t step into the perimeter of the crystals on the floor, though. “Calm yourself,” she directs to the man, her human-like voice overlaid by the chiming of her native language and resembling wind chimes.
As Kaji speaks to Zyx, the mans eyes dart to the Crystalline entity, then Elpida (still looking very discomfitted by the waving snakes) and then again to Kaji. “Would you like to…” the wheedling tone is there and the look he gives Kaji is … covetous and a little bit triumphant. He has just steered the conversation away from the initial intent – perhaps they need to watch that.
Why, would a mage be covetous of necromantic power? Perhaps he can’t wield that power and it’s just blood magic he uses. “… wield that sort of power fully?” he adds, almost conjolingly.
As the Gorgon leans in, he leans back and starts to sweat a little. He’s acting like someone who be phobic.
Zyx’s efforts are helping – the crystals seem to calm but they become discordant again quickly. Judging by the way they seem to be interacting with the crystals in the cuffs on his wrist, this is probably some form of power source. The crystals slowly start to change colour … darkening.
“Ah,” say Elpida, sadly.
Just that. “Ah.”
Still, Zyx is being eyeballed. The crystalline entity gives her the creeps. Then again, she’s always been a little leery of crystalline entities ever since she saw that one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation as a kid.
It would take more than that to distract him completely from th other subject. Kaji was baiting him for information one way or another, and since the guy happened to be offering this one like a freebie, the youth figures he’d play along. After all, he’s not sure where necromancers might fit in with all of this, especially considering that one of the people they were supposed to be tracking happened to be one.
His frown remains in place. “I’d like to figure it out before I get myself or someone killed,” he admits. “…but I don’t exactly know any teachers.” He gives the mage a suspicious look. “Why, you offering?”
So long as the man remembers where he is and that there’s a snakey lady there, hopefully he won’t get too full of himself, Kaji thinks. He glances briefly towards Zyx again before looking back at the restrained mage.
Noticing the crystals getting darker, Zyx keeps working to pull them back from complete discordance. One thing’s for sure, she is NOT touching those things. She’s concentrating enough on keeping the crystals stable that she doesn’t have anything to add to the conversation at this moment. Maybe that’ll change.
The man on the bed starts to smirk, but it’s wiped from his face as Elpida’s snakes move. “Not me, no. I’m not a necromancer.” There’s no mistaking it now, he sounds disappointed at that. “But I might know people who can. I could introduce you to them.” There’s a calculating tone to that.
“Llllady, will you get your snakes out of my face?” It’s almost abrupt the way he says that to Elpida. It seems he thinks he’s on the front foot here. “I know people who would like to meet you two as well…” that statement includes Zyx as well.
The crystals start to calm and Zyx’s cleansing brings them back to a normal colour. That might give the crystal creature time to enter the conversation.
“…mmn. Kaji, we’ve had a talk about this,” she says, pulling her snakes back to have a word with him. They haven’t actually talked about this, but she’s hoping he’ll play along and brush her off oh so dismissively.
The young necromancer, strokes his chin, making mental notes, his expression thoughtful, even with the frown. He’s pretty sure that none of them would really want to meet with whoever this guy claims to know. His eyes shift away from the mage briefly, a calculated glance. He wants to appear like he’s considering.
“Shh, shh,” he says, waving a hand at Elpida as he swings a look back at the mage. “…you’re not a necromancer?” Kaji sounds a little disappointed- you let him down, man! Well, not really. “Who? And how would you manage that when you’re here?”
The man in the bed shifts uncomfortable as Kaji insists on bringing it home that he’s not a necromancer but there’s a gleam in his eyes, even if he is still worried about Elpida’s snakes. “Someone who has a lot of skill and power.” he says, not giving any details “And I can’t from in here. You’ll have to get me out and I can take you there.”
“The way is only open to someone like me.” What does that mean? Someone like him?
Keeping those crystals from going discordant again is taking all of Zyx’s attention, so she doesn’t even try to split her concentration.
“Kaji,” warns Elpida again, more firmly. Still, he’s ‘obviously’ not going to listen to her so instead she stalks back several steps in faux-irritation.
Kaji turns around to glance back at Elpida in mock annoyance. “Gosh, I’m just talking with him! Can’t I talk?” With a huff, he faces the mage again, eyes rolling. Sighing, he pulls at his chin, his expression uncertain. “…I dunno….” he says. “I mean. How can I trust you? Even if you weren’t in here, you still kinda ran off back there.”
“Let him talk, Lady…” the man in the bed rallies his confidence a little as El stalks off. Kaji, however, gets a sour look “I didn’t run off, I told you.” he mutters, Kaji might miss it – but there’s a fleeting calculating look in the mages eye.
“What would it take to have you trust me? We could do a blood bond, to ensure that I can’t run off.” How much does Kaji know about blood magic and sympathetic bonds? “How much do you really want to learn about your talent? Of course, I could retract my offer and leave you to kill someone…” Maybe that’s taking it too far.
Elpida gets another look “You can bring her if you want…” That’s said somewhat grudgingly.
Eyeing Kaji, Elpida slooooowly turns back towards the would-be-necromancer before saying, “Issat right? I suppose I could go to keep an eye on Kaji here.” She glares at him. It’s not a truthful glare, of course, but making discontent seem to exist between them can only play to their advantage. She hopes.
“Well then, what were you doing?” Kaji’s face is all curiosity and no accusation. Given their latest line of conversation he may as well have forgotten why the’d originally been talking to this man in the first place. Sour look is matched with one equally so at the mention of a blood bond. Naturally all his understanding of it is purely based on mechanics that were both fictional or whatever odd book his boss had in his collection. Still, blood held power, and it’s nothing to be taken lightly. He’s already skirted around having to give someone his essence in exchange for info. He’s not about to agree to something so blindly.
The slight flinch in his expression isn’t something he has to force. He knows he has to be careful. Half truths aren’t necessarily lies, but you had to make sure you were getting more than you were giving. Chewing on his lower lip as though in difficult deliberation, he shoots Elpida a glare in turn, although he does take advantage of that angle to give her a quick wink.
“…I don’t need any one keeping an eye me. You can keep an eye on him and hold his hand,” he snorts, looking back at the mage.
“I was told to bear witness…” The mage certainly sounds sincere and he cuts a look to Elpida to see where those damn snakes are. His eyes widen as they land on her, he can’t seem to help that “… and that I would be taken at the end of it.” Bear witness to what? “But you all showed up and interfered.”
He looks between Kaji and Elpida, not offering anything else. Waiting.
She gives Kaji a glare again for this. “You’re treading into danger here, Kaji. I may not be able to protect you from yourself. Again.” She folds her arms across her chest and then turns her glare right back on the prisoner. Looking annoyed at him. VERY VERY ANNOYED. The snakes are all staring at the fellow, some of them open their mouths. Others flick their tongues. Ichor drips from their fangs. They so want to BITE HIM>
Uwah, El-san kowai yo…
Kaji inwardly cringes at the Gorgon’s words, probably because they too hold truth to them. Clearing his throat, he pointedly ignores her as he gives his attention to the mage.
“At the end of what?” he asks, frowning again as his brow furrows. “Does that mean you’re stuck, then?” Boy, this guy sure doesn’t like snakes.
The snakes do the trick, the mage blanches and nearly passes out. “When they came through. They were to take my brothers and sisters to get here. That’s what they promised” he shakes his head at Kaji “They didn’t come through though. They couldn’t.”
He glances at the snakes and then to Kaji, opening his mouth to say more but his eyes fill with blood and he’s having trouble breathing.
“…aw, no,” says Elpida as that happens.
“Kaaaaji! Help! We need some help in here!”
“Oh god, I sound like a Law and Order character.”
“They?” A flash of an image, a clawed hand, fangs and a great horned head. Why couldn’t it? There were more? “Why-” Kaji begins to prompt, but he gasps as he sees the mage begin to struggle. “Crap…”
His eyes go to the crystals around him, to Zyx and then to Elpida. “Never mind that! Just call someone in here!” he urges, glancing between her and the mage before he steps closer to the guy. What’s going on? Some kind of blood magic failsafe? How do you even counter that??
The door crashes open and a short, squat, rodent like D-Bee rushes in, pushing it’s way to the side of the bed. By the time it gets there, the mage is foaming at the mouth and his head is lolling to the side and his spirit has fled. “Gone…” the thing actually squeaks as it examines the body. “… an enchantment that triggered. The restraints weren’t designed for that.”
“Your questioning must have triggered it…” he looks back to Kaji, then Zyx, then Elpida.
Oh, it would HAVE to be a rodent. The taste of it drives the snakes atop Elpida’s head into frustrated, hungry snapping as she backs herself against a wall and hangs there, trying to wrangle them under control.
“Crapola. Super crapola,” she says with a sigh. “Fuck.”
Kaji looks like he’s going to be sick. He swallows, folding his arms tightly in front of himself as he glances away. Oh gosh, he killed someone by interrogation. The only thing that chills him more is the fleeting thought he’d had just before the mage had expired, wondering if it would have been possible to have gotten answers from him once dead.
“…….” He can’t bring himself to meet the D-Bee’s gaze just yet as he tries to get a handle on his own emotions. Even once he does, he’s really not sure what all he’s supposed to say about that although Elpida does sum it up pretty well.
“Come on now…” the D-Bee stares at Elpida’s ‘hair’ and backs away just a little. It’s a rather large rodent – Kaji might know them as ROUS’s. “… You didn’t kill him. Someone or something else did. That wasn’t your enchantment that triggered. Let’s go find you something to drink.”
The creatures ushers them out of the room, as other staff filter in. They got some answers at least, didn’t they? Though that’s probably faint comfort right now.
Elpida, Kaji and Zyx are called in to see what answers they can pry from the mage they'd hauled in a few weeks back.
April 26, 2410