Previous threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Devil%20Summoner%20London%20Quest
Character sheet: http://pastebin.com/4keHKgX4
“Familiar” is the word that first springs to mind, the word you want to use before any other. Yet, you know it's not exactly the right word to use. Even so, you know that you've seen this macabre statue before, with its leering face and monstrous body. Actually, there is one bit of the statue that you've definitely seen before, in museum pieces and biology textbooks – the twisted human skull it wears as a face. The rest of it - the silhouette of a charging bull, the cloven hooves for feet and the crude metal jewellery draped across its muscular body – are all... less familiar.
Still, it is without fear that you reach out and touch the looming edifice, letting your small palm rest upon the rough surface of the skull. Not stone at all, you realise as a few flakes crack off and drift away, but a thick layer of ancient dust and grime. Barely listening to the voices murmuring in the background, you begin to wipe away the filth. The leathery flesh beneath, blending seamlessly into bone, is... warm.
Dust stirs as a breath – the first in a very long time – slowly rattles the air around you.
You wouldn't say you're afraid exactly, but there's no way to deny that you take a hesitant step backwards as the ancient creature before you stirs. There's no particular malice in its movements – this is no beast surging from slumber to rage in an instant – but even a glancing blow from those meaty fists would be enough to put you down for a long time. Even if it was just stretching, testing the limits of its body...
A heavy rush of air, thick with the scent of beasts and dark with greasy dust, escapes the beast as it snorts. Within the black reaches of the skull's hollow eye sockets, faint lights first flicker and then glow with a steady intelligence. That great head rolls back and forth as the waking demon scans the surroundings, before those burning lights return to you – and there they stay, narrowing into gleaming points.
“What cruel illusion is this?” the beast groans, its voice dragged from some deep and infinitely hollow pit, “Is this how you choose to torment me, appearing in the guise of my dearest treasure?”
Dearest treasure, you murmur as his hand reaches down to your face, you don't understand.
“No...” the demon murmurs, stopping just short of brushing his fingers against your face, “You're no illusion, but you're not HER either. You're not my daughter.”
Perhaps you're slow on the uptake, but the pieces are slowly falling into place. Buried here, on sanctified ground, is the child of spite – your other self. That, at least, is what the Archangels told you. But if that's true, then the beast looming over you is...
There is no easy way to describe the demon's reaction as you whisper the name. He seems to shudder and freeze in the same instant, before slowly turning his face back to you. “Mia,” he rumbles, your name echoing out.
>I'm Mia. I'm your daughter
>I'm not your daughter, and you're not my father
>How can you be... like this?
Well its kinda true. Amelia made it so that her chosen are basically the same people from Last Cycle due to dormant memories. Cass here is pretty much the same Cass as Last Cycle. Mia doesn't have much memories of Last Cycle so its not really a complete merge but the memories she does have are being held by Marco Minotaur as she passes on.
That's right, you murmur up to the looming demon, you're Mia. You're his daughter. You whisper these words as you wrap your fingers around the rough skin of his fingers, pressing his hand to your face as if trying to convince him – and perhaps convince yourself – of the reality of the situation. But, you falteringly ask, has he really been watching over your... her grave for all this time? For an entire cycle?
“I would not abandon you,” the demon... Marco... rumbles, “These angels would cast your bones out, they would crush them to powder and scatter them to the winds. I refused to allow it.” Breaking his inhuman gaze away from you, Marco turns his eyes upon the modest cairn he had been looming over. “But perhaps... the time has come to move on. The world – the universe – has moved on.”
But how can he be... like this, you stammer, like... a monster? Will it happen to your own father as well, in time?
“I was dragged into this world as a man,” Marco growls, the words coming out without any particular emotion. This is all ancient history to him, long devoid of any significance. “The first breach in the barrier between worlds, born of a disastrous mishap. I was pulled in, and I let the world change me. It fed on the cruelty and spite in my heart – and I became this... beast.”
So... he didn't become, you fumble for the right word here, something else because of what happened to you? It came... before?
“This was not your fault,” Marco assures you, a tender note slipping into his voice, “None of this was your fault. I came to accept this form long ago. I have just one question for you...”
You'll answer it, you tell him, as best as you can.
“My other self – the Marco you know as a father,” the demon asks slowly, “Is he... a better man than I was?”
>He was always a good man. You are too
>You could meet him yourself, if you want
>He's human. He has his flaws
>He's human. He has his flaws
I'm sure he's struggling with feelings of, well, uselessness. He's not exactly helpful when dealing with demons.
Although keeping a Death Goddess pacified is a worthy job in and of itself.
Comeon, get dat DSP research going!
You think hard about Marco – the Marco you've always known – and try to put aside your personal feelings. Although it's hard to say exactly what kind of man he is compared with the older, more demonic Marco – especially since you don't know how bad of a man he might have been, once – you can say one thing for sure. He was human, and that meant he had his flaws. Everyone does. He was often contemptuous of the blindly faithful, and poured open scorn upon the more ritualistic aspects of their beliefs. His parenting style could only be described as “distant”, although certainly not cold or disinterested. Then, of course, there was the secret he chose to keep from you all these years. Definitely a flawed man, but even so you can't help but see him as a good one.
Growing up, Marco was always there for you when you needed him. You felt safe around him, and he nurtured your developing mind as only a learned man can do. Your childhood was one of love, security and happiness – for that, you can only consider him a good man. If the other Mia had a similar upbringing, you can only say that her father was a good man as well.
“I see,” the demonic Marco seems to have a thoughtful frown in his voice although his skull face, of course, does not change, “I am... glad to hear of this.”
But he doesn't need to take it from you, you're quick to add, he could always meet Marco for himself and make up his own mind. How does that sound?
It is a long time before the demon can answer you, and when his reply comes it is a disappointing one. “No,” he says regretfully, “It would not be... proper. Let the man you grew up with be Marco Vespucci, the human. He deserves it far more than I.”
Then... what about him?
“I am Minotaur,” the beast decides, with a lingering trace of sadness, “I am a demon that dreamed of being a man – nothing more. Please, do not tell your father about me.”
No, you murmur to yourself, that's... that's not fair! He deserves to be happy, just the same as your Marco does!
“But I am happy,” Minotaur says, nodding his heavy head, “I saw you once more, and I could wish for no greater gift. I have lived a long time – too long, perhaps, for anyone to call themselves a human.”
“Mia,” Cassandra tells you softly, placing her hand upon your shoulder, “Maybe it's best to let go.”
Swallowing hard, you look up and meet Minotaur's eyes. What, you ask with a burst of resolve, will he do then? Is he going to let himself crumble to dust?
“Nothing so dramatic,” the demon wheezes out a grinding sound that you realise is a laugh, “I think I shall wander, and see the new world. It has been so long, I'm sure it has changed greatly. We will meet again, though – I'm certain of it.”
Words, as the Minotaur pats you clumsily on the shoulder, fail you. It's only when he turns away from you that you're able to spit out something.
>I don't want you to leave me
>Please... stay safe
>Mia... she loved you. Never forget that
Wouldn't he rather see the world with you, among friends? Why, you stress, does it have to be alone? You don't... you don't want him to leave you!
That last cry finally forces the Minotaur's retreating steps to end, leaving him standing at the top of the great staircase leading down. He stands, rigid, for a few moments before turning to look back at you. Silent for a moment, he snorts out a great breath. “You've changed,” he announces, “The Mia I knew was never so... strong. You've been raised well.”
So, you ask hopefully, is that a yes? Will he travel with you?
“If I said no,” Minotaur replies with another one of those rattling laughs, “You'd just follow ME. Very well, child – you win, but only on one condition. Remember, I am Minotaur. I've accepted this fate – it would be easier for everyone if you accept it as well.”
You accept his terms, you say with a quick nod, you'll keep his secret locked up in your heart.
“Then, let us leave this dismal place,” Minotaur growls, “I have grown weary of counting every flake of ash. Let me see the open sky once more!”
He's going to be disappointed, you think, when he sees the swirling clouds instead.
“Where first, then?” Petra asks as you're all heading back down the spiralling marble staircase towards the base of Elysium, “If we are sightseeing, we should make it quick, yes?”
That's a good question – the heavy weight of fatigue burdening you down suggests that it is past midnight already. A new day, in other words, and a day that you've been waiting a long time for. Amelia will finally be able to speak directly to you, offering advice on what awaits you.
>Where should you visit first?
>Currently, Minotaur is not a bound demon. He is a guest of the party
>Where should you visit first?
Does Macrotaur have any preference? If not we should probably just head to Hellfire to get some rest. It is some distance away so the trip can constitute as sightseeing.
Well, you suggest, you know a pretty good bar. You've always been able to pick up a good deal of information there, so you imagine Marco – Minotaur, you mean – will be able to learn something as well. The owners have always been nice to you, so you don't doubt they'd be happy to explain the present situation.
“A bar?” Minotaur can't quite stop a hint of fatherly concern creeping into his voice, “You're too young to be hanging around bars, surely?”
Oh, you pause, it's not really that kind of bar. It's more... neutral ground.
“Neutral ground,” Cassandra adds, “With a pretty good wine cellar.”
That really isn't helping. Wincing, half expecting Minotaur to react with mingled outrage and concern, you put a little extra speed into your pace as you descend the stairs. He just snorts in what could be amusement – or any number of other emotions, really – and follows you down. Once you've reached the ground level, you urge the others to stand back and poke your head out through the ajar door. It's hard to say exactly what could be waiting outside – the slums are as claustrophobic as ever – but the coast looks clear. No sign of any of Nyarlathotep's minions skulking about, at least – and you'd probably notice Nidhoggr if he was rampaging nearby.
Waving for the others to follow you, you step out into the streets and glance up to the sky, an awed gasp escaping you. Your earlier fears about the clouds were unfounded – the sky has cleared entirely, revealing a silver moon, full and glorious, that seems to fill the heavens. You can practically feel your skin tingling as the unearthly light falls upon you, shining through the gaps in the broken roofs above.
So, you say as Minotaur joins you, he looks pretty strong and you've got a fair amount of walking to do. Maybe he'd be willing to...
This is awesome. That's what you say at first, until you have to duck under the first low hanging beam that you pass. It becomes significantly less fun once you're spending much of the journey hunched as low as possible, pressing your body against Minotaur's leathery hide. Once you've left the slums, at least, you can resume your loft position atop his shoulders, pointing out various buildings like a general directing their troops.
Minotaur takes a special interest in the blazing towers that provide the wasteland with light and warmth, his gaze particularly drawn to the tallest and most radiant among them. Sati's tower, as you'll never quite stop calling it. “Amazing,” he growls, pointing at the raging fires consuming the top few floors.
It is, you agree, and you're partially responsible for it. When you first came, the fires were dying – along with the demon tending to them. Now there's a new system in place, one that doesn't need a demon to constantly sacrifice her energy to keep it burning.
“I'm...” Minotaur begins, before stopping and correcting himself, “Your father must be very proud of you.”
He is, you reply with a slight sadness. For all his claims to have accepted his fate, there is no hiding the wistful regret in Minotaur's words. But, you announce in an effort to change the subject, you've not even shown him the Hellfire Club yet – you're sure that he'll like it!
“Ah, Mia!” Petra calls out, hurrying to match Minotaur's long stride, “I, ah, have business to attend to. Elsewhere, yes? I must return to the kingdom, you go on ahead. I will meet you here later, I promise!”
Business, you ask as Minotaur kneels again to you can dismount, is she checking on Elliot and Leon?
“Yes!” the redhead announces brightly, nodding, “That is my business, yes. I'll... go, then, yes?”
She certainly seems eager to check on them, because Petra is running back towards the kingdom as soon as you've confirmed that you heard her. She's probably worried, especially after they were tangled up in fighting with some angels. Petra, of all people, knows how dangerous they can be. With just Cassandra and Joseph – the young man unusually taciturn as he walks – alongside you and Minotaur, you finish the journey to the Hellfire Club quickly.
“So,” Minotaur rumbles as you arrive, “This is it. It looks...”
Pretty shabby, you admit, but that's largely because an Archangel tore the door off. It looked much better before, when there wasn't just a large piece of wood leaning against the doorway. Leaning by the “door” is Mister Red, an open toolbox at his feet.
“Good morning,” he says carefully, eyeing up Minotaur, “New face around here, are you? Behave yourself, or I'll have to throw you out.”
“You can try,” Minotaur growls back, unconsciously flexing his muscles. The two bulky figures size each other up for a moment before sharing a chuckle. “I'll follow the rules,” Minotaur rumbles, “I'm told this place has been good to my... companion.”
“She's earned it,” Mister Red replies calmly, giving you a deep nod of respect, “Say, there's a guest with your father at the moment. I don't know what they're doing, but they seem very busy. I could show you to them, if you want. You look awfully tired though – we've got rooms, if you want a rest.”
>Can you show me to my father?
>Can you take me to these rooms?
>Any new gossip around here first?
Any new gossip, you ask, going around?
“Hmm,” Mister Red rummages in his toolbox for a moment, pulling out a screw and examining it closely, “Those earthquakes seem to have subsided for now, that's got everyone quite pleased. I'm not so sure though – it feels like we're building up to something big, if you ask me.”
Something big, you repeat as you picture Nidhoggr's hideously deformed shape in your mind, you can believe that. If and when it happens, though, you might be willing to lend a hand, so if any new information happens to come his way...
“Look at you, all ready to help,” Mister Red laughs, “World could use more people like you, folks willing to do a bit of hard work now and again. Like this thing,” he taps the improvised door, “Important work – we need a door, after all – but do I get any help with it? Oh no, not even a lifted finger.”
“Like an old married couple,” Cassandra mutters to herself, causing you to giggle a little.
“Well, anyway,” Mister Red sighs, “It'll get done eventually, I'm sure. So, where were we?”
Your father, you ask as you straighten out your smile, could he show you to your father first? You'd like to check in, at least, before you get a bit of a rest.
“I can do that,” Mister Red nods heavily, throwing the screw down in disgust and lifting the sheet of wood aside, “Follow me, then. Ah, but your large friend there... I wonder if I could ask a favour? I need a fellow like you to watch the door while I'm away, just to keep the rabble out. It won't be for long, I assure you.”
“I will remain here,” Minotaur is quick to answer, and his voice carries a certain relief. Glad, you realise sadly, that he won't need to see Marco.
“Then follow me,” your escort says, bowing to Minotaur as he turns to lead you away.
As Mister Red leads you down the labyrinthine den of corridors and closed doors, you slow your pace slightly and reach Joseph's side. He looked upset earlier, you murmur, was there something wrong?
“Just thinking about Mastema,” Joseph's answer is cool and composed, “It's a shame that he escaped. Still, I don't think he'll remain absent for long – it's just a matter of being ready for whatever his next trick is going to be. Considering who we're dealing with, it could be anything.”
And that's it, you ask cautiously, the only thing bothering him?
“Well,” he admits, “I suppose... I'm just a little rattled. That... awful machine we fought, I never expected it to be so dangerous. When she was...” he shakes his head and forces a smile, “No, there's no sense in pretending that this world isn't a violent place. I shouldn't have let it bother me as much as it did. Please, I'm fine now.”
You're no so sure about that, but you nod regardless. If he wants his privacy, you decide, he can have it. You're already keeping enough secrets, without knowing any of his – although you've already got a pretty good idea of what he was talking about. The sight of Gabriel's hand shattering under Metatron's iron grip was enough to turn your stomach as well.
“Your father is just here, on the left,” Mister Red says, breaking up your thoughtful silence, “On the right, these two rooms are vacant. A little bare bones, perhaps, but good enough for napping. Now, excuse me...” He bows again and then hurries off, rushing back to his work in progress door.
Lifting your fist, you swallow hard and knock on the left door. A moment passes, and then you enter.
It looks, you decide, like a dozen or so computers exploded in here. Marco is sitting at a table covered in haphazardly arranged computer components, occasionally picking a piece up and fiddling with it. Every so often, he'll take one of the bits and solder it into the empty case lying on an entirely separate table, nodding and muttering to himself. He's not alone, either. Alice is here, giggling and running around at will, occasionally grabbing one of the components for herself and holding it aloft like a trophy. By the opposite wall, copying arcane symbols from a thick book onto a blackboard, is the girl who would be god.
Amelia Bishop, now playing the part of a weary lab assistant. Not quite what you expected.
“Oh!” Marco says suddenly, looking up at you, “Yes, there was a knock at the door, wasn't there? I was in the middle of... Alice, I might need that!”
“Mine now!” the young goddess of death squeals, fleeing the scene with a length of copper wire flying out behind her like a streamer.
“Believe it or not,” Amelia says without turning around, “This is about as efficient as we get.”
>Anything I can do to help?
>What... are you trying to do?
>Things don't seem to be going well
What, you ask slowly, are they even trying to do here?
“Well, I'm trying to optimise your ability to reduce demons to raw data. Hopefully, you can store more of them and summon more than one at a time,” Amelia turns at last, and you're struck by how tired she looks, “It's not as easy as it sounds, believe me.”
But it sounds incredibly difficult, you argue.
“Exactly,” Amelia pinches the bridge of her nose, “Man, I was never much of a scholar and that was when I was trying to deal with English language stuff.”
“Meanwhile,” Marco says, raising his voice above Amelia's grumbling, “I'm trying to assemble a computer capable of installing these updates. It shouldn't be as difficult as the theoretical side of things, but... it is. Especially when half of my components seem to grow legs and scurry away.”
Ah, you murmur, you could try and chase up Alice if it would help.
“No, I should have a spare somewhere,” Marco frowns at his jumbled pile of components, “...I think. Best not risk it, either way – she can be very possessive with her things... and other people's things.”
Well, you remark as you survey the carnage, is there anything at all you can do to help?
“I don't think so,” Amelia says, flipping through the pages of her book before scowling and turning it upside down. “Wait,” she mutters to herself, “Was I supposed to be reading it this way up? Man...” A heavy sigh escapes her as she slams the book shut, “I don't suppose you could drag my dad over here? He was always better at this kind of thing.”
“We'll manage,” Marco assures you as his soldering gun hisses softly, “It might take some time, but we'll manage.”
>Tell Amelia about her father
>Get some rest and let them work
>Ask a few questions (Write in)
Right now, telling Amelia about her father could only be a bad thing. At best, it would distract her from what looks like some extremely difficult work. At worst, she'd drop everything and storm off to the fairy kingdom so she could kick Scathach's head off. You settle instead for announcing that you'll get some rest. After all, you could certainly use the nap.
On the way out, though, you can't resist teasing Amelia a little. Her step mother, you tell her lightly, wishes her the best of luck. The reaction is everything you could have hoped for. At first, Amelia freezes, and then she starts to tremble slightly. With a minute snapping sound, the piece of chalk she had been writing with cracks in half and falls her her unresponsive grip. Finally, her shoulders rise and fall in a silent groan of exasperation.
“How...” when Amelia finally speaks, her voice is thin and strained, “How charitable of her. I only wish I could return the favour. Personally.”
You chuckle slightly as you leave the room, but the laughter falters when you see Cassandra, the girl's body pressed against the wall. As soon as you had entered, she had retreated back and hidden from sight. Not quite ready, you assume, to see Amelia in person.
“Could you really blame me?” Cassandra asks with a weak smile, “Things are going to be awkward enough when we're all gathered around a table, let alone... You know what? I'm tired. I'm getting some sleep. We're in this room, Joseph is already in the other.”
Oh... you hadn't even noticed the fact that he wasn't here. That seems to happen a lot. Maybe you're more tired than you had thought. Certainly, you fall into a deep sleep the minute your head hits the pillow.
You wake a short while later – or, at least, the muddled feeling in your mind suggests that it was only a short time. Your body might feel a little more rested, but your head feels thick and your thoughts are sluggish. Just the usual waking up process, you tell yourself as you shake the worst of it off. It takes a moment for you to realise that Cassandra was the one to wake you, accidentally, with her restless pacing.
“The others are all here,” she says quickly once she notices you're awake, “I said I'd wait until you woke up. Come on, get up and look lively – I think she wants to speak with you in particular.”
You don't need to ask who Cassandra means with that vague “she”. You're a little disturbed, though, by the sheer panic lurking deep beneath her voice. Considering she was willing to fight an Archangel – and worse things aside – without much concern, it's a worrying sight. You start to ask if she's alright, but she cuts you off with a sharp shake of her head. No time for that, her gesture seems to say. Without another word, Cassandra marches out of the room and you're quick to follow.
At least the little meeting room – the same one that Amelia and Marco were using for their work earlier – has been tidied up. On the other hand, the room is incredibly crowded. Elliot and Leon have taken over one corner, muttering to each other, while Joseph examines the blackboard. Petra, dressed in clothes you've never seen before, sits nervously and speaks to no one. Marco and Amelia are nowhere to be seen.
>Speak with Petra
>Speak with Joseph
>Speak with Elliot and Leon
>Speak with Cassandra
So, you remark softly as you pull across a chair and sit next to Petra, new clothes. Did she get them from someone in the kingdom, or did she find a clothes store somewhere in the city? Truth be told, you add, you've been meaning to find some clean clothes as well. Wearing the same things for a week really starts to suck after a while.
“Ah, these?” Petra forces a nonchalant smile, her flesh and blood hand darting up to touch the collar of her slender fitting shirt, “Just something I borrowed, yes? Old things really, nothing special...”
They seem to fit very well for borrowed clothes, you think. Her trousers are slim, especially compared with the baggy denim she usually favours, and the shirt almost seems tailored. Sniffing the air, you notice that Petra smells of soap and a light, floral perfume. Even her hair has been tied back again, bound with a length of black silk that matches her eyepatch. She looks... quite charming actually. It must have taken her quite some time to assemble everything.
“Not at all!” she insists, “Like you said. Clean clothes, yes? It is nice, I think, to treat yourself every so often.”
Before you say can say anything, the door flies open and Amelia storms in. Flopping down at the head of the table, she lets out a long, slow groan. “Almost finished,” she says to the ceiling, “We just need to wait for... something. Something about code compiling or... I don't know, all this tech stuff is none of my business.”
Well, you remark in the suddenly silent room, that's good enough for you.
“Isn't it?” Amelia cracks a slight smile, “Someone else's problem now, at least, and it's not often I get to say that. So, first things first, does anyone have any questions before we begin? I've got a few things I want to mention, so let's not waste any time on bullshit.”
>You've got a question (Write in)
>Let her talk. Leave any questions for the end
Only Cassandra and Petra raise their hands here, indicating they have something to say. Elliot and Leon look bored, watching the unfolding situation with distant eyes, while Joseph is content to listen carefully. Amelia nods to Petra first.
“It's good to see you,” Petra says quickly, self-consciously touching the polished metal of her prosthetic arm as if trying to hide it from sight.
“Not a question,” Amelia tuts, before her expression softens into a warm smile, “But it's good to see you too. It's good to see everyone together and well. Now, Cassandra?”
“I just wanted to say that I'm not convinced yet,” Cassandra states, forcing a stiff note into her voice, “I'm remaining carefully neutral about this whole thing.”
“Not a question either, but your stance is noted,” Amelia nods, an unreadable smile on her face, “Carefully neutral is one of the best positions to take. Now that the questions are out of the way, I want to give everyone a warning. Our enemy wears many masks – always be very sure of who you're talking to. We should probably come up with a password or something so we all know who's who...”
Amelia lapses into silence as she thinks. Consider how long she had to prepare for this meeting, you think suddenly, she's pretty poorly prepared.
“Hell,” Amelia says, shaking her head, “This spy stuff is hard work. Look, if I ever ask you to hand over the divine fragments, I'll say “Are you here to offer tribute?”, if I say anything else you'll know it isn't me. Not fantastic, but it should work. Next issue is the fragments themselves. Once you've got all five, you need to bring them somewhere with open sky and put them in a pile. Just a rough pile, it doesn't have to be neat. They should merge... or something... and things will just go from there.”
“Now, about that,” Amelia adds after a moment's thought, her mouth breaking into a sly smile, “I might have cheated actually, just to tilt the odds in our favour a little. Originally, the one person with all the fragments – one, no more than that – would be granted access to the... shit, I don't know what you'd call it, the white void thing. Anyway, that's where you'd get the power to decide the fate of mankind and all that. Like I said, I've cheated a little – you might be able to sneak two people up there. I doubt you'd get any more than two though, I'm already pushing my luck as is.”
“Excuse me,” Elliot asks suddenly, “All this talk of cheating and what not made me wonder something. Are these rules set in stone, or is it more of a gentleman's agreement? Because if it's the latter, why can't you bend them a little more?”
“If I break the rules, so can Nyarlathotep,” Amelia shoots back, “And that means he'd be free to run about stabbing you at will – and if there's anything I've learned, it's that he's really good at stabbing people.”
“Hmm,” Elliot lifts his delicate eyebrow at that, “Well, I don't like getting stabbed any more than the average man in the street, so I'll go with that. Go on, what else was there?”
“Uh, actually...” Amelia tilts her head to the side, “That was pretty much it. You've all done very well so far – very little in-fighting, efficient progress, nothing really to complain about. Well, there was one minor issue...” she trails off her, shooting a pointed glance at Cassandra, “But that seems to have resolved itself without any bloodshed.”
“Hold on a minute!” Cassandra cries, standing up sharply, “That's not fair, you're making it sound like it's all my fault. At least admit that you were responsible as well!”
>Support Cassandra. Amelia has to take some of the blame
>Support Amelia. Cassandra risked everything with her actions
>Support Cassandra. Amelia has to take some of the blame
"While I don't condone immediately giving up on Human Guardianship, Cass is right about one thing. The current system we have in place is a tad flawed and needs to be revised."
This, and its not dethroning Amelia or anything. Honestly she is the best candidate. It's just that one human will eventually screw up, be it Amelia, Mia, Cass, etc. Nobody is perfect.
>Nobody is perfect.
As the two girls glare at each other, you clear your throat as loudly as you can. The noise manages to somehow fill the small room, drawing every eye upon you. A cold sweat forms on the back of your neck as you realise just how many people are in here, waiting cautiously for your words. Clearing your throat again – quieter this time, to buy a little time to think – you slowly speak up. While you're not suggesting that you should hand mankind's guardianship to some inhuman power, you begin, you will admit that Cassandra has something of a point. The current system, the one that Amelia wishes to restore, is deeply flawed. It needs adjustment.
Amelia opens her mouth here, ready to argue fervently against what you just said, but then she shuts it again. Grudgingly, she nods for you to continue. Cassandra does the same, watching you from across the table with cool, composed eyes.
You're not talking about dethroning Amelia or anything, you stress, because you honestly see her as the best candidate for the job. Your complaint lies with the fact that any one human would make a mistake eventually. You would, Cassandra would, and so would anyone else. Nobody, after all, is perfect.
“You're suggesting some kind of shared rule,” Amelia muses, “Well, it could be done. Considering the kind of power we're talking about, virtually anything “could” be done. It would certainly stop any one person becoming a tyrant, as well, if there is another – or possibly more than one “other” to keep an eye on things...”
“I suppose you're nominating yourself for this position, then,” Cassandra says calmly, “Tell me, do you have a resume? Why should I, hypothetically speaking, believe you'd make a good god?”
“Hold on,” Elliot interrupts again, “Are we making a competition out of this now? What if I would make a better god than any of you? Speaking, as you so delightfully put it, hypothetically?”
“God shouldn't play dice with the universe,” Joseph speaks up at last, delivering his point in a simple voice, “And that's not something I'd be willing to trust you with, Mr Cosgrove.” Even with his polite tone, Joseph can't stop a little spite from creeping into his voice as he says Elliot's surname – or perhaps the “Mister” attached to it.
“I was speaking hypothetically, old chap,” Elliot shoots back, cold humour in his voice, “And I seem to recall hearing things about what happened the last time YOU got any measure of power. Care to offer a comment on that?”
Joseph, in fact, doesn't care to offer a statement. He leans back in his seat and frowns hard, but otherwise keeps his silence. Everyone keeps their silence, as a bitter pall falls over the table.
“Actually,” Petra says suddenly, “I think Mia would do a good job. She has been a good leader, yes? Sensible enough to get us all round a table, at least.”
“Alright, you might have a point there,” Elliot admits, “Tell me, Mia dear, do you think you'd make a good god? Or, simply put, are you putting your name forwards?”
>I'll do it
>I'll do it, but I won't do it alone
>Count me out
>I had someone else in mind... (Write in)
>I had someone else in mind.
Cass, you dislike how Amelia did things on her own. You'd be a good influence on her, and her...admittedly cynical worldview would be very well tempered by your optimism.
>I'll do it, but I won't do it alone
"I suppose its better than living in fear of my body for the rest of my life."
"But look this is a very specific criteria, the few that are chosen have to explicitly trust each other and also be willing to call each other out when someone makes a mistake."
I think 3 people would be good. Small enough that they will get things done but unable to tie each other during votes.
My vote goes for Mia, Amelia, and Petra.
Actually, got a odd thought on this. Would it be possible to disperse the god hood in of itself? Fracture it to a point where a bit goes into each member of humanity? Small enough that no real control can be established by one person, but requires that people get together to make it work?
That way, there is no one god head that can mess everything up. If this is possible or not, Mia should likely go forward to see this through.
This has my vote as well. Mia and Amelia both trust Petra extremely and Petra them. Amelia already put a lot of faith in Mia too.
The reason I don't say Cass is how fast she jumped ship when the going got tough.
Also OOC Petra and Amelia get to be together.
Then get a bunch of teenagers together with a reporter. Should solve the problem.
But really, this whole thing stems from one person getting all the power and then a mistake happens. If we could somehow form a means to make power less of a issue, maybe get a sort of agreement with Chaos and Law to ONLY assist, not control, we could get something manageable.
At the very least, fate would be in humanity's hand. For weal or woe.
Also with more eyes keeping an eye on things, the Gods can enjoy the fruits of their labors for a set amount of time.
What I mean by that is going corporeal and living as a human for a little bit, while the other Gods hold down the fort. Go on 'leave' so to speak.
That's why we are suggesting power be split between a few people. They can't do world altering things on their own but together they can when they need to.
Better than Amelia sealing it away and not having it when she needed it.
>At the moment, it looks like sharing the power between Mia, Petra and Amelia has it. However, I will stress that this decision isn't final. I'm also working through a post expanding on some of the suggestions raised. Please hold for a moment as I finish it it off.
>The participation, and debate, is appreciated!
It would need to be an odd number of people, you say hesitantly as ideas whirl through your mind, and probably a small one. Three people, say. Not enough for the whole decision making process to slow down to a crawl, but enough people that there has to be a decisive outcome. Although, you're quick to stress, that's not a definite solution. It's a theory, one that you're coming up with on the spot. You've got other ideas – like, does there really have to be a “god” at all?
Amelia frowns at that, thinking the idea over slowly. “I suppose...” she murmurs, looking down at the table as she considers it, “Some kind of disembodied force, perhaps imbued with a roughly human morality... I mean, it might be possible. Or it could turn into an omnipotent dictator.” She laughs bitterly at that last part, “Hey Cassandra, that's your department, isn't it?”
“Cheap shot,” Cassandra replies, with a great deal of dignity, “And a low blow. A cheap, low blow.”
What about, you shout out before the two of them can devolve into another argument, spreading the divine power amongst all of humanity? No one person could make the decisions, and it would force mankind to cooperate. It's not perfect, but...
“It's a total unknown,” Amelia shrugs, “I mean, I can see the attraction. Uplift mankind to a new age of understanding and prosperity. That's a good thing. On the other hand, people can make some pretty terrible decisions once you put them in a group. Trust me – I've seen it happen enough times.”
You could be debating all day at this rate. Three people, you announce suddenly – Amelia, Petra and you. Power shared three ways, between people who can trust each other. It works, doesn't it?
Silence falls over the group as your suggestion sinks in.
“Well, I think we could do with a break!” Amelia announces, with forced levity, “We should all get out and stretch out legs a little. When we come back, we should all have clear minds and eager bodies!”
Petra, already stunned by your abrupt suggestion, splutters and coughs at that little comment. Shaking her head wildly, she glances round at you. “Mia!” she hisses, “I know nothing about being God!”
“Neither did I, you know,” Amelia, having practically crept up on you, says. Petra hurriedly stands, looking her divine friend in the eye for a moment before awkwardly offering her left hand to shake. The prosthetic, you notice, remains stiffly held at Petra's side. Amelia takes her hand, but doesn't shake it. They just hold hands for a brief moment, an exchange that is somehow more intimate than an embrace and yet retains a certain cautious distance between them. “It IS good to see you again,” Amelia stresses as she releases her grip, “Mia, I want to speak with you a moment. Outside, please?”
Nodding, you allow Amelia to lead you outside into the corridors. Alone, with your hushed voices swallowed up by the walls, you feel your nerves settling again.
“I'm proud of you,” Amelia tells you, seriously, “You've really pulled it off. I was right to put my faith in you. Listen – whatever happens in here, the final decision might very well be one you make alone. When that happens, I want you to go with your heart. I know you'll make a good decision – I can't say whether it'll be the right one or not, but maybe it isn't my place to decide that. So... that's it. Anything you want to say to me, while we're alone?”
>Do you think Petra would make a good partner?
>I met someone from the previous cycle. My... father
>Do you think Cassandra will go for this?
>Do you think Petra would make a good partner?
"I thought of the person I trusted the most and it was her."
>Do you think Cassandra will go for this?
>I met someone from the previous cycle. My... father
Well, there were a few things building in the back of your mind. First, does Amelia really think that Petra would make a good partner?
“I...” Amelia pauses, “So, I don't know what Petra told you, but... No, wait, can you reword that?”
You just thought of the person you trusted most of all, you explain, and that was her. So, would Petra make a good partner for this hypothetical... god thing?
“Oh, right!” Amelia laughs hastily, “You know, I think she might. She's straightforward enough to cut through the bullshit, but she isn't stupid. She could make an important decision when the time comes, and she's not afraid to deal with the consequences. Frankly, and this is purely a personal thought, she's earned it. She's sacrificed enough for me already, and it's about time I showed her how much I appreciate it.”
So, feeling somewhat vindicated, you press forwards with your next issue. Does she think that Cassandra can be persuaded to go along with this?
“She might feel left out,” Amelia admits, “That's a big issue. It won't be easy, but yes, I think she can be persuaded – especially if WE do something for HER. This Law business that she's been going on about lately, for example. That's something you're best off discussing with her though – you'll probably have better luck than I would.”
She might have a point there. Last question, you decide, you met someone earlier who claimed t be from the previous cycle. They were your... your father.
“Marco?” Amelia asks, glancing over to one of the other rooms. That must be where Marco is finishing up his computer stuff. “Oh, wait, do you mean...” Amelia sticks her fingers up at the side of her head, miming bull horns.
That's him, you confirm as you fight back a smile at her crude impression. It lightens the mood, at least.
“I remember Marco,” Amelia forces a smile, “He sort of got me killed once. Almost killed. Or... maybe killed for real. I never got an answer to that one – an answer I trusted, at least. Yeah, so, he was kind of a jerk back then. I like the new version much better, I must admit. Uh, no offence intended.”
“I'm a little surprised he's still around,” Amelia admits, “Up at Elysium, wasn't he? I remember that, he helped us fight against Metatron actually, so he wasn't that much of a bad guy. Big robot angel thing, you're lucky we killed the bastard.”
Actually, he came to life again. Gave one of Joseph's friends quite the bad time as well. Still, he was back to being dead when you left there. If she knew him back then, you ask, what was he like as a parent? A good one?
“He shielded you with his own body, and then carried you all the way to Heaven's doorstep. He picked a fight with Metatron because of you. He was a damn good father, and there's no way to deny it.” Amelia trails off there, allowing herself a whimsical smile – as she recalls her own father, perhaps.
“Anyway, we'd better get to work,” she decides a moment later, “Although really, there's not much left to do. I'm glad, to be honest. I've got a physical body for one day, and I don't want to spend that time in a bloody corporate meeting.”
You've got nothing else you needed to ask her, so you follow Amelia back into the meeting room and take your seat. Nobody has killed each other in your absence, but the atmosphere hasn't lightened much either. Amelia sits, but remains silent. Petra is the first one to speak, leaning over to whisper to you.
“What did she say?” Petra asks, “About me?”
>Ask her yourself
>She thinks you'd be good at the job
>Private conversation, sorry
Amelia thinks, you tell Petra, that she would do a good job of being God. Being one part of God, at least. That's all you're going to say, though.
“Really?” Petra frowns slightly, tapping one of her fingers on the table as she thinks, “Ah... nothing else?”
She could always ask Amelia herself, you suggest, if she was really looking for the details. Besides, she should be willing to just speak her mind around Amelia, what's the worst that could happen?
“Alright,” Petra murmurs to herself, in the tone of someone trying to hype themselves up, “You are right, yes? What could go wrong? I'll just... tell her. I'll tell her!” You watch, bemused, as Petra stands up and marches over to Amelia, her face set in a resolute mask – a resolute mask that melts more or less immediately into a mess of hesitation. In the end, she sort of follows your advice – she blurts out the first thing on her mind.
“Myslím, že tě miluju,” Petra says hastily, the unfamiliar words coming out in a jumble, “I když jste možná nikdy vrátit moje pocity... Ničeho nelituji.”
Having blurted out her illegible speech, Petra freezes for a moment before turning back to you, staggering back into her seat and slumping across the table. The entire group seems to follow her, watching in utter bemusement as her forehead bumps against the wood. “What a disaster!” she moans.
An awkward silence descends. Amelia is pale, frowning hard as her lips flutter rapidly, repeating the words underneath her breath. Nobody can say anything, and the moment just stretches out longer and longer. Then, mercifully, the door bangs open.
“Finished!” Marco announces, before looking around the dispirited room, “Uh, did I miss something?”
>I'll end things here for tonight. Next thread on Tuesday, and I'll be able to stick around for a while in case of any questions!
I have no idea how that would even work, but I'm absurdly tempted to think of something just based off the name "Ultimate Perfect Marco". I'm imagining a Minotaur furiously writing computer code!
Petra had something of a brain malfunction, unfortunately. >>44990520 has the translation, which I hope came out okay.
Leon is, admittedly, pretty unconcerned about the whole situation. As long as the world doesn't literally explode, I feel like he'll be fine with pretty much any outcome. As for the others, the current three god plan is quite well received. Joseph and Gabriel are in favour, although Gabby is a little more cautious about it. Elliot, despite trying to pick holes in it, is also in favour - mainly because he thinks it might benefit him most in the long run. Cass isn't totally opposed to the idea, but she remains unconvinced.
That could certainly happen soon. After all, now that most of the important business is out of the way, she can spend more time chatting normally.
If Marco was a teenager, I could see him unironically posting some of those atheism quotes on social media. He's a flawed human being!
I've got to admit though, I really like Minotaur's design. The skull face is pretty spooky.
She did. She's been preparing for this day for quite some time!
>She did. She's been preparing for this day for quite some time!
So other than Amelia since she could understand the language did only Ellie get the gist of what just happened?
I imagine Elliot was able to put two and two together, yeah. They've probably got enough knowledge of disastrous romances to know one when they see one, no matter what language barriers are in the way!
I think he might very well have an issue if she did it without at least telling him first. If she talked it through with him, though, I believe he could see the bright side of it. She'd never have to worry about her health troubles again, and she'd certainly be making something of her life!
Joking aside, I imagine Marco would be saddened but understanding, given the circumstances.
That is definitely true. So it's really not as permanent as it was when Amelia departed. I imagine going among humans every so often would keep the three of them grounded as well.
And it would get Mia out of the house for a while!
>And it would get Mia out of the house for a while!
There's going to come a point when Mia might be less ignorant of 'things'. Hard to imagine I know.
I wonder if she'll age up her physical/projected form as she the years go by. I imagine you want to look like a 14 year old forever.
They'd be able to influence what form they take. Petra, for example, could choose to return both eyes and arms back to normal when creating a form. Mia could choose to age normally until she decided to stop, as well. Mentally, I imagine she'd learn pretty quickly, exposed to all the knowledge of the world.
Divinity is pretty useful!
>As she looks up from her boots, you notice the deep frown etched onto Mia's face. It's exactly the same kind of scowl that Amelia wore whenever she was thinking hard about something. Seeing that look only drives the similarities between the two girls home. A few years of hardship is the only thing telling the two of them apart, aside from Amelia's... powers, of course. Hell, if you're both still around in a few years, maybe...
And that was before all the moments they've had in the demon world.
You know Lucifer has been awfully quiet during this entire ordeal. Is his house such a mess that he went 'Fuck it, we'll try again next cycle. I gotta clean up this mess in Hell first.'?
Those moments were entirely platonic.
And, yeah, that is a pretty accurate summary of Lucifer's situation. He might actually come out of this a little stronger, now that The Shackle have been taken out. A lot of his soldiers deserted and went there.
>London, 666, and Persona all running today.
Hey Moloch you caught up on TF666? Think we should hang onto Pixie forever? For both moral support or possible evolution? And the slim chance of getting a Super Pixie as well.
>Because Pixie a cute.
Could a reason as any.
>Ultimate Perfect Marco
>Not the True Dad Trifecta
>Marco, Marcotaur, ZomCarn
>ZomCarn is busy dictating instructions and writing things down because he's still getting used to having a body again
>Marcotaur is putting the hardware together
>Marco is the only one with small and dextrous enough hands to handle solder
Technically, he'll win. The chaos from having 3 holy trinities will be enough to generate conflict without him lifting a finger. It's just that we get to smack that smug face around before proposing it
That was actually Nyarly's main plan. He assumed that whatever happened, whoever "won" his game, the result would be unstable enough to amuse him for years to come. "Winning" and "losing" are all relative terms to him!
Mostly the demon world, yes. Of course, if someone happened to seize power and make a complete mess of the human world as well, he'd certainly watch and laugh!
And if the barrier between worlds was flawed, he might make his own "fun" every so often.
In the interpretation I've been running with, demons originally came from the human psyche but gained their own degree of independence once they reached a certain level of power. Once they achieve that, they can exist without humans. However, a suitably powerful divinity could just flat out erase Nyarly.
At least, until mankind's inherent desire for chaos and uncertainty caused him to eventually reform.