|A Necromundus Sleeping Pill|
|Summary:||Two Angels and an Elf interrogate a captured Sae'Kall Mage.|
|Cast:||Shafi Cephas Ravus|
- This ranch-style house is remarkably well-kept and in good condition.
Entering through an arched wooden door tall enough to accomodate the humanoid version of any denizen of the city without stooping, the space opens out at once to a high-ceilinged sitting area where comfortable chairs and couches upholstered in pale shades of auburn and brown ring a cozy stone fireplace. An archway at the back of the room leads to a kitchen laid out for a master chef; other portions of the house have elegant arched doors to allow for privacy.
- Of note is the apparent appearance of technology; opposite the fireplace
is a quite respectably sized television, with the full media treatment racked neatly beside it - DVD player, VCR, stereo receiver, game consoles. Also of note is a desk laid out in true Ikea minimalist fashion, which sports a laptop computer with a quite complex pentacle on the cover.
- Outside, the property is ringed by a meticulously maintained whitewashed
wooden fence, and the clay-dominant yard has been landscaped to function as a zen garden, strewn with a light layer of sand.
The home of the Archangel is...rather unusually neat and well-kept, if rather higher-tech than one might expect from an Ascendant. Most of the furniture appears to be not only designed for a felinoid rather than avian form, but to be liberally anointed with white cat fur. Aside from that feature, however, the house seems quite neat and orderly, if rather sparsely furnished.
Except for a rather nasty piece of work for a dagger, encased in a globe of magic on a stand on the desk.
And a bound Sae'kall mage, likewise englobed, in the middle of the living room floor. That would be hard to miss.
The Archangel is at the desk, poking with gold taloned fingers at the sphere containing the dagger.
The mage is seated, chittering to itself a bit, what about can't really be understood. The Sae'Kall's legs seem to be rather flexible, and it's sitting cross legged.
That dagger is well, just sitting there.
There is a soft rapping on the door, followed by said door opening and a red-haired head peeking in. Shafi inserts an arm next and waves. "Um. Hi." Very uncertain elf.
And right behind, clomping up behind Shafi and peeking inside over her head in similarly uncertain fashion? A fully armored warrior angel, wearing his dark-skinned and heavily muscled form from life. "Right, yeah, hello...?"
Cephas looks up from his studies of the dagger, and waves a hand at the furniture. "Have a seat," he says. "I've had this bookend chittering for days, and Whitefur is tired of dusting it. As sealing their portal was a group effort - oh, don't scuff the floors, Ravus, Whitefur will have a fit - I thought whatever it might have to say should be heard."
The 'Thing' is still quietly chittering, sitting crosslegged on the floor, those two knees per leg allow it to be rather flexible it seems.
The redheaded elf smirks up to Ravus. "Hey, watch how you're rubbing, big guy," she teases of their positioning, before she opens the door fully and makes to enter. That request not to scuff the floors - although aimed at Ravus - is answered with boots morphing into slippers as Shafi makes to pick from the furry seating. "It has something to say rather than just clicking madly at everything?"
"Sorry," Ravus sheepishly says, though just whom he's addressing is unclear. The warrior angel takes the time to hunker down and remove his plated boots, entering the room in full armor and sock-clad feet. "Thanks, Cephas. I'll admit I'm curious, though I'd say after touching that dagger I've got a fair idea they intend to keep on trying."
Cephas grins. "Yes, well. The clicking is translated by this..." the angel's talons move in a brief but complex pattern, and a staff flies into his grip. "Really quite an intriguing piece of work. As with the dagger, impressive in its intricacy. I could wish they had better taste in what use they put their skills to."
The Sae'Kall looks over as it's staff appears, chittering in perhaps a bit more...wild manner. The staff isn't translating as of yet, though.
"Some of the most creative people I've heard of since death were the most destructive," Shafi points out, having a seat and not seeming to mind the fur, "So we're interrogating it, then. this should be interesting."
Ravus winces a little at Shafi's words, but quietly finds himself a seat. "Hopefully he'll talk," he says softly. "Maybe we can offer to send him back if he does."
Cephas shakes his head. "I don't think I can," he says quietly. "Their leader made it quite clear they will come again, and again, and again. That they hold no agreement binding and cannot be trusted to honor a contract. I am set to guard the portals of this plane. The threat is not something I am allowed to ignore." He closes his eyes, talons tightening on the staff. "Now. Let's hear this in non-chitter terms, shall we? Introductions are in order."
The chittering continues, until Cephas' grip tightens, and then the staff speaks for the Mage, "...bring them death, we will be-" it's at that point that the Mage appears to realize that Cephas can indeed use his staff, and promptly shuts up.
"Oh, someone's been talking about lovely things," Shafi remarks, raising her eyebrows at the Sae'Kall in mild interest. She smirks a little and adds, "Keep going. I insist."
Ravus sighs heavily at Cephas, and nods slow agreement. He turns his gaze to the Sae'Kall, and adds softly, "We just want to know what you're planning. It's possible your goals can be accomplished in some manner other than conquest, beneficial to everyone involved."
Cephas nods to Ravus - acknowledgement of the resignation as much as anything else. "Your best hope of survival is to make clear your intentions," he says to the Sae'kall. "I really...*really* do not like killing. On the other hand, your leader ordered the *slaughter* of enslaved captives." The archangel's left eye, the eye of Horus, takes on a shine of its own. "I have some personal ...issues... with slavery, and the mistreatment of captives."
"The ArchMage told you our intentions, I was there," the voice says, which it should be noted that the voice is harsh and metallic sounding, and conveys no real emotion.
"I can always kill it for you if you'd rather not," Shafi remarks over to Cephas sweetly looking back to the bug and continuing to talk over to the archangel, "I've got a major thing against cruelty in general, myself..."And then to the bug, "So there's no harm in repeating said intentions. Humor us."
Ravus nods agreement to Shafi, his jaw tightening as Cephas mentions slavery and captives. Any trace of good humor has dissipated, the warrior angel looking somewhat grim as his silver-on-silver eyes focus on the bug. "And your people have not fared well in their assaults upon us thus far, so it might be worth your time to start considering workable alternatives to the battlefield as well."
"Your archmage said that you would all willingly die for your gods," says Cephas mildly. "Is that true for you, too? Do you know that if I should kill you, here, in this place, you'll come back? Over, and over again. I believe that what would be just at that point would be to give you to the people of Southfield. Until your people return with another knife like that one," and he indicates the englobed dagger on his desk, "and you get your wish." He frowns. "Tell me about the daggers."
"Each dagger is unique," The Mage replies, glancing over at the dagger, "It's designed to steal the souls of beings in order to construct a portal between realms, the more powerful the souls the larger and more stable the portal is," he replies.
The redhead leans back and crosses her legs, sttely grey eyes just staring at the bug. Shafi remains silent, letting the others do the talking as she merely listens and wears her best poker face.
Ravus's eyes narrow at the mention of soul-stealing, but for the time being he also remains silent, leaving the questioning to Cephas. He does stare, almost unblinkingly, at the bug.
Cephas is, somehow, both gentle and implacable. "Why is each dagger unique?" he asks. "If all of them do the same thing?" He points a talon at the globe on his desk, and it floats up, over...into his hand. "Tell me about *this* dagger too."
"Each dagger must be created individually by a mage wishing to become an Archmage, the process is varied and each dagger uses the souls in a slightly different manner, some more effective than others," the metallic voice says, "It's dangerous for anyone not well trained in the arts of magic, and even then it is still difficult,"
"Can the souls be salvaged at all?" Shafi asks softly, tone caught somewhere between a soft hopefulness and cold contempt. The Elf straightens in her seat.
"It's unlikely," Ravus softly says to Shafi, closing his eyes.
"Not by the powers given to a mage, I think," says Cephas quietly, watching the prisoner. "Your archmage said the souls were gone. Lost to the rips in spacetime you call gates. But mages are given only a very limited power over souls." He lifts the globe containing the dagger up to be level with the Sae'kall's head, two spheres of magic barely separated. "Do your people have healers?"
"Yes, but they do not journey with the armies," the Sae'Kall replies, watching the dagger intently.
"It was worth asking," Shafi remarks, her shrug suggesting that she didn't really expect a positive answer to the question. She leans back and falls silent once more, returning to her blank stare.
"Hey, Cephas. Think you could send anyone to their world?" Ravus asks idly, opening his eyes again- his gaze hardening as he stares at the Sae'Kall. "And don't even -think- about it."
"I can look into his soul," says Cephas quietly, the eye of Horus flashing. "I could send this fellow home, if I wished. By the normal protocols, I would." He taps the sphere holding the dagger against the sphere holding the prisoner. A little 'clink' is heard. "No getting out for you," he says quietly. "And be glad, because if you do, I will use your dagger on you. Or kill you and let your own people use another such dagger on you." He tosses the dagger-sphere toward Shafi. "It can't hurt for you to study it, in the casing. The aura off it is rather unpleasant without the shell."
The Sae'Kall watches the dagger for a moment, but shuts up, not saying anything further.
The Elf doesn't expect anything to get tossed at her, so she's a little jumpy in catching the dagger sphere. Shafi almost drops it, but it's safe! "All right," she remarks, looking the dagger over curiously, "Don't have the slightest clue where to start, but it can't hurt to try."
"I don't think you'd want to kill him with the dagger, because that'd open a portal, wouldn't it," Ravus murmurs. "But..." He turns his attention to the Sae'Kall. "What -exactly- do your people need that explains why they keep coming here?"
"The plane itself, Ravus," says Cephas quietly. "Their 'gods' feed on souls. On the energy a soul has. The stronger the better. They would give this city, this entire plane, to feed their gods. Who will reward them for their loyalty, as they punish them for their failures." He shrugs. "Evidently rather harshly, too. Tell the nice warrior what your gods do to people," he says to the Sae'kall.
"The Gods wish to come to the place of the dead, legend speaks of it. The power that they possess now is only a fraction of what it is here," The Sae'Kall replies to Ravus, "They have long used us to search for it or any trace of it," he adds, before looking to Cephas, "They kill all unbelievers in the most horrific ways possible,"
"I wonder...," Shafi starts thoughtfully as she looks at the dagger, before glancing over to Cephas, "If they get more powerful here, d'ya think we'd get less powerful if we tried to face them in their own plane?"
"So, your gods sound like pretty terrible beings. Do you -want- to worship them, or are you just afraid of what will happen to you if you don't?" Ravus asks the Sae'Kall directly, steepling his hands in his lap and leaning forward slightly. "I mean, if it was possible they could be overthrown, you could live in peace, and so could we."
Cephas shakes his head at Shafi. "You have died," he says. "The places you can go are rather limited."
"I'd rather die than not worship them," the Sae'Kall informs Ravus, "You can not kill them, they are more powerful than anything you have ever seen, they are gods."
"Mm," Shafi rolls her eyes, "You'd think that if the living could get into the plane of the dead without dying, that the dead could at least go the other way for a short time. Of course, I guess if that were the case, there'd be a /lot/ of dead trying to get back into their original worlds." She peers at the Sae'Kall, then, smirking, "You haven't even seen a /fraction/ of what the people here are capable of. Don't discount our power so quickly."
"But if these gods' power can increase, then they aren't omnipotent. Why do you want to worship beings that don't care about you?" Ravus asks softly, brow furrowing. "...And Cephas, if they can open a portal here with those daggers, can't it be reversed? Though fueled off some other source of energy..."
Cephas growls. "Yes, they can. And I *closed* it. And will close any others they open. The dead here are *part* of this plane. The glue that binds it. Their choices, their numbers and their natures define the city around us. The city, the plane in turn provides them power and recreates them when they fall. If they *leave* by such a means it's no different to the fate of this city than if they'd been stabbed with one of those knives. The drops become the ocean. I send living beings home when they wander here inadvertently. I bar those who would come by force and *these*," he indicates the prisoner, "have taken too many. Taking *one* is too many."
The Sae'Kall stays out of this discussion for the moment, not choosing to speak.
"'Leaving is bad'," Shafi replies, "Got it." She regards that dagger for a while longer and then nods to herself, "I've got an idea of where my study of this thing is going to go, but I'd need another dagger to be certain of any results I come up with. Until then it's just speculation."
"Sorry. Sorry," Ravus says quickly, shaking his head and holding up his hands in a gesture meant to be placating. "I more meant... sending some of us to their world willingly, just for a little. A few drops out of the ocean, to return later. If that's not possible, or a bad idea entirely, you'd know better than me on that. I just thought it might be a good solution... so the Sae'Kall don't need to fight us any longer."
Cephas sighs. "The dead killing the living in the living world. Been there, done that, it really is not at all ...no." He shakes a finger at Ravus. "And don't set Nait off. Or Arturius. No, we need to keep them from making the rips at all, or find a more effective way to stop them when they come through."
"You wont stop them," the Mage says, "They wont stop until all of you are gone, and they can reside here."
"So we're in agreement, then," Shafi says to Cephas with a small smirk, "I was going to try and rig this thing to work off of healing magics, and then experiment with ways of disabling the daggers' power. Prevention, resistance, that sort of thing. I'd need someone to keep an eye on my experiments, though... really dangerous, between the possibility of accidentally opening a portal or causing a huge backlash of Bad Things."
"I don't like this idea of an eternal war," Ravus confesses with a deepening frown. "So I suppose keeping them out really -is- our only bet. I'm sorry, I don't think anything I can do can help... I've got a little bit of power beyond swinging a sword, but not much."
"War is what every soul in this realm learns to deal with every day," says Cephas quietly. "To learn about the power they're given, to choose how they will use it. And time is something they have more of than the Sae'kall." He turns back to his prisoner. "You wish to reside here, then?"
"They wish to reside here. We shall do whatever they ask of us," the Sae'Kall replies through the staff, "It is not our place to decide where we shall go, for we may wander,"
"They could always kill themselves," the redhead remarks flatly, "That'd let them reside here." Shafi seems to be displaying a morbid sense of humor as she goes back to looking over the englobed dagger of soul-eating doom.
"I've had my fill of war, Cephas." Ravus smiles a bit sadly, rising. "Still, I'll fight if I have to. I don't think I can be much use here, though. So unless you want me to kill him, I'll go home."
Cephas shakes his head. "We've learned all we can, I think. Will you protect Shafi when she studies the knife? I don't want any tears in the universe caused by accident, and you might sense something different." He turns his attention back to the prisoner. "I can't let you return," he says quietly. "I can't in good conscience send you home. I have a duty. But I'm not like your masters. Neither oblivion nor life is yours. Just change. At least I can spare you the pain that usually goes with it." The talons move, and the air within the prisoner's sphere changes. "Welcome to Necromundus. Our fate is yours."
And the Sae'Kall looks as if he's falling asleep, drifting back lazily, before falling back fully.