Previous threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Devil%20Summoner%20London%20Quest
Character sheet: http://pastebin.com/4keHKgX4
Things have been strange lately. Even taking this world's usual degree of weirdness into account, that simple fact is not up for debate.
For one thing, trees have been explosively relocated – you've still not learned how Scathach did that, actually – and the dead have risen. Carnby, the Scholar-King of the fairy kingdom, lifted out of the gross matter of human existence into a new, divine form. Not only has he risen, in fact, but he came with you to the Hellfire Club. Right now, if Amelia is to be believed, he's currently doing something...
Actually, you don't know what they could be doing. Something Amelia found distasteful, but she seems to find a lot of things disagreeable when Titania is involved. Shrugging angrily to herself, the girl herself shuts the door behind her and joins you, sitting heavily on the floor beside you. You estimate that about a minute passes before Cassandra rises, murmuring an excuse as she leaves the room.
Bad blood there, you realise, and it's not difficult to guess why.
Things between them, you begin tentatively, aren't going so well then.
“Well, maybe it's for the best,” Amelia sighs, “We're working together until this is over, and then...” She makes a vague gesture, not quite a shrug but not really anything else either, “We'll go our separate ways. I wonder if this is what she's always wanted to do, this Law thing. She seemed pretty into it, back...”
What, you ask with a faint smile, back in the day?
“I guess you could say that. Ancient history, for me,” her face twists slightly as she considers the countless years separating her from everyone else. Years spent... what, watching over a world that she could never be a part of? “Anyway,” Amelia says, snapping you out of that bleak thought, “It's something I'd rather not talk about at the moment though.”
You can take a hint. You ask, instead, if she plans on going back to see Carnby. She can't have much longer in this world, can she?
“You sure know how to pick a difficult topic, don't you?” Amelia smiles bitterly, “He's... happy right now. I don't think prying my way into the conversation would help any of us. If everything goes to plan, I'll be able to see him again soon enough. Well, you're right about one thing – the moon grows low, and I don't have much time left. If you had any last questions, doubts or whatever, now would be the time to ask. Either way, what are you planning?”
It's a good question. All you've got left to do, now, is recover the final divine fragment. That could be the work of a full day though – there's no way of knowing exactly what to expect.
>I'm going to rest. We head South tomorrow
>I wanted to talk to you about the future
>I wanted to check on somebody else first (Who?)
>>I wanted to talk to you about the future
Also just talk in general. I don't think we've actually had the chance to just chat without it being 'work' related or something crazy was happening.
Adding onto this vote. After some one on one with Amelia we should
>>I wanted to check on somebody else (Who?)
Petra, we haven't really talked all that much after we dropped the God bomb on her and it'd be good to touch base. And since this concerns Amelia cause us three are all in this together she should come talk to her with us.
Well you did want to talk to her, you say carefully, about the future.
“I understand. You've probably not had time to think properly about it. Or, I guess, you've been thinking about it too much, getting yourself all worked up about it,” Amelia shrugs softly, “I was just sort of thrown into things – maybe that's why they ended up... as they are. Anyway, I hope we can avoid that kind of difficulty now. What I mean is, ask away.”
The first thing you want to know, in that case, is about Nyarlathotep. What is he, and what WAS he? A demon, you assume, but one that shares some kind of connection with her, right?
“He was the first demon I ever got,” Amelia begins, before scowling, “No, that's not quite right. I think the first demon I ever got – Ripper, Jack I called him sometimes – was kind of a vessel for Nyarlathotep. Not that Carnby knew about it, or at least I bloody hope he didn't know anything about it. Ugh, long story short, he was my demon – my most reliable, useful warrior. Well, that's what I thought, at least.”
But, you speculate, he was only ever working towards his own motivations – working to keep himself amused.
“More or less,” Amelia shrugs, “I mean, I don't really know how he thinks – I'm sane, after all. When I kept him around, it was because I thought I owed him something. I mean, yeah, it was a pretty shitty decision at the time. That's why I need someone like you – someone to slap me around the head when I start being stupid. That brings us back to the point at hand, the future.”
Right, you nod, it's a pretty big deal.
“Whatever happens,” Amelia confides, “Whatever anyone else says or thinks, whoever holds the fragments at the end of this gets to decide the future. I want that to be you – because I think you're the best person to decide.”
Perhaps, you reply demurely, but you're not doing it alone. If Petra is going to be a part of this...
“I think she went outside for some fresh air. A jog around the block or something,” Amelia shrugs with deliberate nonchalance, “I mean, I'm not keeping track of her or anything so she might have moved since then.”
Either way, you'd rather discuss it with both of them. Rising from your slumped posture, you stretch your aching muscles and begin to walk. You'll have to brave the endless corridors once more, but you're starting to get the hang of those. Just picture where you want to end up, and they tend to cooperate. Perhaps the proprietors have made things a little easier, now that they've got regular traffic moving through them. You appreciate the change, whatever the cause. Another thing that you appreciate – and Amelia shares this relief – is that Carnby and Titania have moved elsewhere by the time you return to the club. In fact, the main room is empty.
Slipping out through the newly repaired door, you take a lungful of the cool air and let it out slowly as Petra, jogging lightly, comes around the corner. Excellent timing, you think to yourself as she skids to a stop in front of you both.
“Mia, Amelia,” Petra pants, her breath forming clouds in the air, “It is a good thing, yes? Getting exercise, I mean. Gets the blood flowing, the heart pounding...” she stops, here, with a guilty look. “Ah,” she adds, “But it is not for everyone, yes?”
For someone so unconcerned with her own safety, you consider, she's very quick to worry about you.
“But, ah, are you outside for a reason?” she asks, “Far warmer inside, yes?”
You came to find her, actually. You were hoping to speak with her, in fact about...
>Wouldn't your parents miss you, if you chose to become a god?
>Are you ready for the final stretch?
>I just wanted to talk about normal stuff for once
"I never really asked your opinion on this God thing, even after I nominated you. Are you...okay with it? I know its not an easy decision, especially if you still have family..."
Once the hard stuff is out of the way.
>I just wanted to talk about normal stuff for once
Even when you nominated her for this whole... God thing, you realise, you never really asked for her opinion on it. Is she really okay with it? It's not an easy decision to make, by any means, and if she has family... Well, wouldn't they miss her?
“They wouldn't need to,” Amelia interrupts gently, “With three of us, I imagine it would be easy enough for one of us to wander the Earth for a while in a human form. We'd never need to be separate from the world... or from our family. You could see Marco whenever you like, you know.”
That... is good to know, you admit, but still...
“My family and I are not so, ah, close, yes?” Petra says suddenly, “We do not see eye to eye on certain issues. There is a business I was expected to inherit, but I wished to study – to learn here, in this city. And, ah, they wished for me to marry and give them many grandchildren, but... I am not, I suppose, mothering material.”
Oh, you reply awkwardly, you're not really sure what to say about that. It's a shame, of course, that she doesn't get along with them, but...
“It is not, I think, something I need to dwell on,” Petra tells you, her voice firm and yet soft, “Not now that we are close to the end, yes?”
Of course, you're quick to reply, it's the final stretch. Is she ready for what's coming?
“Fighting fit!” the redhead boasts, glad to be on safer ground once more, “Do not worry about me, yes? I just hope the others can keep up!”
That's alright then, you smile back to her. Now that that hard stuff is out of the way, anyway, you just wanted to talk normally. You so rarely get the chance, after all. How about doing it inside, you suggest, out of the cold?
The decision is unanimous, and you're all soon crowed around a small table in a cosy corner of the Hellfire Club. Soon, you could all be gods, gathered around the globe that you once called home – it's a thought that still feels slightly unreal, and will probably remain that way until the time comes to grasp your fate with both hands. But that's an issue for later – now, you want to enjoy the time you have left with Amelia.
“I have no idea what to say,” Amelia says suddenly, “All I've been able to think about, lately, is... this. Demon stuff, saving the world stuff. Normal, for me, doesn't really exist.”
...That's what you were worried about. In a way, you've almost forgotten what normal life was like. What would it be like, you try to imagine, going back to your old life after this? Sitting down to lessons and lectures, when you once spent your time fighting and struggling to survive? Abruptly, you recall the dismal peek into Petra's life you got when you first met her. Is that the fate that would have awaited you, languishing away because real life no longer seemed “real”?
“Stop frowning,” Amelia scolds you playfully, “We're supposed to be enjoying this time together, so don't be gloomy!”
Fine, you sigh back as you rearrange your features, you'll think only positive thoughts from now on. In fact, you begin, you've got something to talk about. Before you can begin, though, a strident voice rings out through the club.
“Hello everyone!” the girlish voice calls out, shortly followed by the arrival of a cheerful, energetic and utterly evil teenage girl. Lucy slaps her palms down into the table, causing it to rattle loudly, “Well, aren't you going to offer me a seat?”
>Please leave. Please
>You're here for a reason, right?
>Maybe it would be better to speak in private
What is it, you ask, was she missing already? It can't have been more than a few hours since she was last here, bothering you about job opportunities that you weren't interested in. So if she's just here to try again, she can just quit right now.
“So cold!” Lucy gasps, pulling out a chair and sitting down opposite you, “And I came to give you a friendly warning, too!”
“A warning, maybe,” Petra says bluntly, her eye glinting with an unkind light, “But there is nothing friendly about it, yes?”
Lucy sighs, leaning back until the front two feet of her chair are swaying in the air. If you weren't so sure that she'd try to kill you afterwards, you'd kick the chair out from under her. “You guys are mean. I could have had one of my boys there throw a bag over your head,” she nods back towards the bar, “and send you right to the lowest pit of Hell. I don't think you'd be nearly so quick to talk shit to my other face. But hey, I'm the one being polite here, right?”
What, you ask simply, does she want? She had a warning, so say it and leave.
“Ugh, fine!” Lucy rolls her eyes, “It's a dangerous world out there, yeah? And things can happen – so it would be pretty terrible if you had all five of those charming little fragments on you when something DID happen. Maybe you should keep them somewhere safe – like a bank, say, or with a trustworthy friend!”
You're not giving her one, you sigh, and this is the weakest attempt yet to claim one of the fragments.
“Then leave them here, jeez!” Lucy snaps, “I don't actually care that much. Just, you know, it would be a shame if something happened to you out there. That's all I'm saying. A shame. Keep it in mind.” The chair clatters back down to the ground as she stands, pointing a finger right at you. “Oh, and you should remember your friends, when the time comes. Friends like me, I mean.”
She has far too much fun, you remark as Lucy is swaggering towards the exit, as a schoolgirl. It isn't natural.
“But it IS fun!” Lucy insists, spinning on her heel, “Breezy, I guess, but pretty fun!”
Not natural, you repeat under your breath as she skips out.
“So, it's pretty obvious that she was threatening us,” Amelia says, just to get the obvious out into the open, “All that “it would be a shame if something were to happen” talk, honestly...”
“Leave the fragments somewhere for her to steal,” Petra murmurs, “Or carry them with us and risk... ambush, yes? Some attempt on our lives, certainly. I wonder how many devils are left in Hell, only the cowards and dregs, surely?”
“This is all just to save face,” Amelia suggests, “She can't just do nothing, or she'd look weak – but she IS weak, or her position is, at least. I don't know, I don't think you should be too worried about it but I wouldn't let my guard down either. Just approach the next day with the usual caution, and I don't think you'll have any trouble. That said, if you wanted to hide the fragments somewhere...”
It's your decision to make, you finish for her, you understand. It's not a particularly difficult decision, either.
>Hide the fragments within the Hellfire Club
>Hide them somewhere else (Where?)
>Continue carrying them on you
>Continue carrying them on you
"I'll take my chances with them on us. I don't plan on dying after all of this. We can also do the ceremony as soon as we get the last fragment as opposed to having to trek back here or somewhere else.
You'll continue carrying the fragments with you, you decide. Whatever last ditch, spiteful attack Hell can come up with, you'd much rather meet it head on than have it skulking about in the background. It's taking a chance, sure, but you have no intention of dying. Besides, if you keep them on you at all times, you can perform the ceremony as soon as you have all five. No need to wait, in that case.
“Exactly what I'd do, in your position,” Amelia says with an approving nod, “Do what you want, and let them do their worst. With devils, their bark is usually worse than their bite.”
Speaking of devils, you mention as a memory strikes you, you met one called Eligor a little while ago. Quite a good guy, in his own way, and he spoke pretty highly of Amelia. She must have made quite an impression on him.
“Oh man,” Amelia laughs, leaning back in her chair as some of the terse atmosphere that Lucy inflicted upon you begins to dissipate, “Eligor... where to start? I first met him, oh, it must have been pretty early. He was working for this awful demon – Forneus, his name was. How a decent guy like Eligor came to be working for that brute, I'll never know. Anyway, a lot of stuff happened, and I ended up making him a better offer. After taking out his old boss, we were a team for... well, until the very end.”
She's smiling, you point out as you notice the contented look on Amelia's face, were things really that good, back then?
“Good?” she shakes her head, “Hell no, I almost died fighting his boss. I only survived because of... because of Cassandra.” The smile slips from Amelia's face as she mentions the name, “Man, I guess we made a good team, back then.”
Well, this is awkward.
The darkening mood is interrupted by the arrival of Mister Black, who leans down to murmur something in Amelia's ear. It can't be good news, because the girl's face crumbles into a deep scowl as she processes the new information.
“Already?” she mutters to herself, “Shit. Bullshit. Guys, I think I'm running on fumes here. It's almost... uh, tomorrow, I guess. Point is, I've got to go soon. Remember, Mia – don't just hand over those fragments unless you're sure it's what you want to do. And... oh hell, I should have planned this moment better. Guess I lost track of time...”
Grimacing, you realise that you can actually see through Amelia – as if she was more ghost than human. There's no time to gather the others, and barely long enough to ask any last questions you have. Anything you need to say, you'll need to make it quick.
>Let Amelia get the last word
>Ask some final questions (Write in)
>Just wish her luck
It was good to see her, you say quickly, and you'll see her again tomorrow – no doubt about that. Then you force down anything else you had to say, letting the increasingly panicked girl get in the last word.
“Uh, Mia,” Amelia says hastily, “You'll do fine, I believe in you. Tell the others... hell, tell them to behave themselves. I guess they're all on the right track anyway. What else? Cassandra! Tell Cassandra not to do anything stupid, okay? I guess she'll take it better coming from you.” A nervous laugh escapes Amelia as she adds that, running a hand through her messy hair. “Uh, Petra. Right. I should have said this a long time ago...”
“Yes?” Petra asks, leaning forwards slightly and listening eagerly.
“What you said to me, earlier,” Amelia rushes out, the words jumbling together as she fades almost to total invisibility, “I just wanted to tell you that I...” But the end of that sentence fades into nothingness, inaudible and only dimly visible in the last traces of her lips moving silently. Then she is gone completely, leaving Petra staring dumbfounded at the empty seat.
Silence, then, before a single bark of harsh laughter escapes the redhead as she slumps back in her seat. “I'm fine,” she says, then, to nobody in particular, “It was exactly what I expected, yes?”
“South, tomorrow,” she adds quickly, “I must rest, yes? Sleep now, when we have the chance. I suggest you do the same.”
>Take her advice. Rest while you can
>You've got other plans (Write in)
I knew that was going to happen. So was Petra able to read her mouth or was she commenting that she expected her to disappear before she finished her sentence?
>Take her advice. Rest while you can
You're not exactly sure that Petra is as “fine” as she's suggesting, but her advice this time sounds about right. It's going to be a busy day tomorrow – later today, rather – so you should get as much rest as you can, while you can. The others, you imagine, are probably doing the same. That would explain where they've all vanished off to, at least.
So, you slink off to one of the generic bedrooms, barely noticing the decorations before allowing yourself to flop down into bed. Pulling a sheet over your head, you feel sleep quickly tugging you down into a dark abyss. Not the free floating darkness that Source chooses as their miserable waiting room, but a comforting gloom that drains your fatigue away.
Until, that is, you have a strange dream. It's a curious thing, seen through the eyes of what can only be another person. Without any control over their actions, you can only watch as they slip like a thief through the night, pausing only once to glance up at the blazing edifice of Sati's tower. With dread chilling your heart, you can only watch as the silent viewer, whose perspective you have borrowed, enters the tower and marches down the winding stairs. Below, shrouded in heat and light, sits the Inferno Idol.
No, you plead silently to yourself as the unseen stalker descends, don't do it. You know what terrible deeds this monster has planned, and you know you have no way to stop them from happening. A dream, you try to convince yourself, it's only a dream. What else could it be?
A rattling hiss of laughter follows that desperate though, practically handing the answer to you on a plate. This might be a situation ripped from a nightmare, but it's no simple dream to be forgotten upon waking. This is real.
As you stare, through borrowed eyes, at the Inferno Idol, you feel a sharp and shocking pain in your chest. Looking down, you see “your” hands – terrible things, black and oily – clutching a pair of long, iron spikes. Cruel instruments, forced into the role of weaponry by an even crueller master. Tightening your grip, you raise the blades and plunge them down into the inanimate surface of the Inferno Idol, cracking the stone and splitting it apart.
Again and again, the alien hands cut, thrust and tear at the precious artefact – the thing that you worked so hard to recover – until it has been reduced to scattered pebbles. What rises up in your chest, then – mingling with the dismay that you naturally feel – is a savage sense of disappointment. It's just no FUN, a harsh whisper in the back of your mind rattles, when it doesn't BLEED. Still, the voice continues, it's not all bad. When every demon is willing to gut his neighbour, just for a spurt of hot blood, there will be plenty of fun to go around.
Laughter, then, ringing long and loud in the furthest reaches of your mind as you jolt awake. It lingers for the briefest of seconds, leaving you feeling tainted by a filthy you can never wash off. Shuddering, wiping away the grime that had formed in your eyes – as if that corruption had tried to escape from your body through the only path available – you sit up. It's cold, you realise a moment later, even inside with a sheet around your clothed body.
If it's cold in here, like this, what must it be like outside? Before you can think too much about that, there is a desperate banging at your door. It ends a moment later, followed by the muffled sound of someone trying the next door along. Looking out into the corridor, you spot Cassandra pounding against another door.
“Mia!” she cries, turning at the sound of your door opening, “Did you feel... see... that?”
You saw it, you agree gravely, it's on now.
“We've got to hurry,” Cassandra insists, “The others are waiting in the main room. It's only going to get worse from here – unless we get all five of those damn fragments and finish this.” Pausing only a moment, she fumbles in her pocket for a moment before thrusting her fragment at you. “Take it, there's no point in being coy with these things now.”
Nodding sharply, you grab the fragment and pocket it. Then, together, you hurry back down the endless corridors – now an unusually straight line, as if sensing the urgency of the situation – until you return to the main room. Dressed in a variety of heavy coats, the others are all speaking, arguing perhaps, amongst themselves. Stress is etched onto every visible face, and every audible voice is tense. When they all hear you arriving with Cassandra, they turn to look your way.
It's a delicate moment, with the morale of the group wavering on the head of a pin.
>Don't worry everyone, I can fix this!
>We do this by the book, just like every other time we've done this
>Leave in silence. You don't have time to make a speech
>We do this by the book, just like every other time we've done this. We will fix this.
Is Titania still here? Her and Gabriel should probably talk now. This is a crisis that they could come together on.
Scathach still here? Ask her and Nebrios for Cold Resist gear for everyone. Payment is in that we will fix this, a world crisis in their world.
Also have Mister Black get a message out to Lucy. This effects him badly just as much as everyone else. we saw how fucked up Gehenna was without the Inferno Idol working outside. So if he wants this fixed DON'T fuck with us while we are getting the last fragment. Be pragmatic and work on keeping your house together.
Right. The timer is counting down, so if there is anything urgent to take care of then this is your last chance.
> Get Cold Resist gear
Payment is on behalf of a treaty with the Fae after we finish this.
Because I notice that everyone has missed an end-game option.
Nobody ever said that the Real Godhood had to reside in only one domain.
We could also use it as a bartering chip for Lucy.
Heaven, hell, humanity, and Nyarly (no getting rid of him, and better to have him where we can see him) all get a vote.
Except Humanity gets two votes in the case of a tie to prevent fuckery, and because we're the incumbent, and also because we're going to fucking win and stabbing them all giving NOBODY else a vote is a fucking option if they don't play ball. Also to make sure that the other person doesn't go insane or have retarded plans.
Second of all, we gotta come up with some way to pass the seats on. People just aren't meant to exist forever, and to miss out on life.
What don't die don't change, and what don't change don't live, and what don't live don't learn.
Oligarchies. Cass gets Law a vote, and has to deal with Chaos getting a vote, and Humanity is there to balance out the dickishness of Nyarly.
The Fae seem uninterested, and honestly I completely 100% do not trust them. They're alright, but this is Real Politek
Anyways, we can give Gabriel a vote, Us a vote, Mia as the tie-breaker since she is more than willing to call us on our shit, and nobody said that Lucy had to be Hell's representative, please note the current location of the Metatron in Deadsville.
So the trick will be to remind Lucy that he shouldn't let his pride keep him from accepting our reasonable compromise to share power and represent all points of view more or less equally, instead he should take pride in the fact that if it's equal except in the case of a tie then he should be able to manipulate things. Unless, he thinks that the only difference between us is his raw power and not his actual skills.
> Guess who just crushed the archives in 2 days? This motherfucker all hopped up on meds that keep him from sleeping.
Err. I see what you are getting at, but I'd rather not. Maybe after we let everybody stabilize after a cycle and we've let humanity stand on their own we'll try bringing everyone together under one system. Maybe.
Not sure if that works though, Nyarly and Lucifer could care less about 'votes'.
You're going to do this by the book, you announce simply, just like every other time you've done something like this. Perhaps it's the matter of fact tone that you say this in, but your words seem to settle the mood. A few smiles appear on a few faces, but it's only when Leon speaks up that the mood becomes genuinely warm.
“Aye, if they think this shite is cold, they've never had a summer up North,” he shouts, causing sporadic laughter to break out throughout the room.
Quite right, you agree, but first you need to make as many preparations as you can in a short space of time. Titania and Gabriel, you think aloud, you've been thinking about a treaty for some time now – what better time than this to get an agreement, even just a rough, informal one?
“I'm here,” Titania says, seemingly materialising from a pool of deep shadows, her thick cloak wrapped around the slender length of her body. Carnby is at her side, looking somewhat confused by the whole ordeal.
“It's very cold,” he mentions, “Has something broken down?”
Doesn't he know, you ask, didn't he get the same dream everyone else did?
“We weren't sleeping,” Titania remarks, a smile twitching at the corner of her mouth, “But enough about that. I can well understand the need for a treaty – a pact against mutual aggression, at the very least – at a time like this. As long as the angels are willing to remain within their lands and out of ours, we shall not raise arms against them.”
“Terms that I find agreeable,” Gabriel replies quickly, “They should be written down, formalised and recorded, but now is hardly the time for that. Now, we must content ourselves with a handshake.” She even follows through on the offer, extending her delicate hand to Titania. Looking at it, startled, the fairy queen slowly takes Gabriel's hand in her own.
Well, you think, that was easier than expected.
Next, you announce, you need to speak with Scathach. Is she here, hidden away somewhere?
“I'm here,” the witch announces, “You need something to protect against this weather, correct? An enchantment or spell to ward off the cold?”
Exactly, you nod, and if she starts to make noise about payment,, she needs to remember what you've done for her. Even if she's willing to ignore that pretty substantial favour, you're doing this for the sake of the whole world – a damn good cause, in other words.
“I can't make you all immune to the cold, not on such short notice!” Scathach insists, “I'd need materials, rituals... But I can protect you from the elements, from the passive chill you'd normally feel outside. A cloak of warmth, to banish the worst of the wind and snow – but not a shield, so don't expect too much from it.”
It'll have to do, you decide, since you don't have time to be choosy.
“Very well, gather into a tight group everyone,” Scathach orders, throwing out sweeping gestures until everyone has pressed themselves as tightly together as possible. Producing a white feather – it could have been plucked from Petra's cloak – out from under her cloak, Scathach waves it over your group and mutters a few powerful words. At first you don't notice any difference – it might just be body heat from the group getting to you – and then you feel a tingle of magic upon your skin. Whatever she's done, it's definitely had some effect on you.
“Remember,” Scathach warns you, “It's not a protection against offensive magic. At best, it'll buy you extra time out there – you won't need to worry about freezing to death, unlike most people.”
Noted. One last thing, you tell Mister Black, he needs to get a message out to Lucifer. The devil needs to stay out of your way – Hell can freeze over, just like the rest of the world, and you're the one working to fix it.
Yeah, that's been shown to be untenable.
Think of it as a loop-gain system Anon, any one viewpoint that persists long enough will eventually fall out of wack.
Besides, we've already somewhat corrupted Gabriel with Humanity so she's not so fucking . . . absolute, anymore, as it were.
We could probably do it to Lucy as well, eventually.
Pretty much Lucy is there to balance out the God side, and Nyarly is there as a fucking reminder that Humanity has more potential than either Law or Chaos, but that also includes the potential to fuck everything royally.
Also I want that shifty bastard where I can see him, and to keep him "amused" with politics and hopefully it pisses him off to no end.
And Lucy will take power whenever or wherever he can get it. He'd prefer all the power, but he'd be satisfied with being a provisional Equal I think.
Look, guys, nothing is finalized until we get the pieces. I'm just saying that this is fixing a Human's fuck-up this time, not getting revenge on Heaven and Hell and the Outsider for being massive assholes.
So if we can't permanently solve the problem, then we can at least act as a moderating influence to ensure that it doesn't spiral out of control to the point that ALMOST ALL OF HUMANITY DIES AND THERE'S A DESPERATE HOPE TO SAVE THE DAY.
I would like there to be times before that happens in the future that we or our inheritors can step in and nudge things back into place.
And as the saying goes, "Better to have them in here pissing out, than out there pissing in".
Even Nyarly is working within the system he created. We just need to make a system that doesn't break the fuck down because of human fallibility.
It would also fix things with Cass and her desire to give the leadership over to Heaven.
>The devil needs to stay out of your way – Hell can freeze over, just like the rest of the world, and you're the one working to fix it.
Huh. Getting flashbacks to when the Angels were talking to us.
You are forgetting a major thing anon. This world is based on a cycle of death and rebirth. The world WILL end and humanity WILL die again. There is no permanency here.
Also Nyarly has the power he does due to siphoning off Amelia's power. Once he loses that, he'll be a strong demon sure, but nothing that constitutes giving him a vote.
We let humanity grow on its own for the remainder of the cycle, however long that is. Then they'll have a choice just like we did.
Look I'm not trying to dismiss your arguement out of hand. I see the merit in it, but there is a lot of assumptions in there.
You also told me you came up with this in a medicated haze binge read over two days as opposed to thinking about it over months like most people here.
“I'll...” Mister Black swallows nervously, “I'll make sure the message gets out. Of course, I wouldn't rule out any “unrelated” attacks. Stray devils, I imagine, taking advantage of the uncertainty. I'm sure you understand what I mean.”
Sure, you think, you wouldn't trust Lucifer as far as you could throw him. But, on the off chance that they show a flash of common sense, it doesn't hurt to give them a warning. After all, you saw what happened to Gehenna when Sati was ailing – it nearly died, growing into a silent and deathly place. It could easily happen again.
Nodding gravely, Mister Black retreats into some unseen back room – presumably to call Lucy up on some kind of hellish telephone. When he's gone, you allow yourself to wilt onto a stool and take a heavy breath. It seems unbelievable to you that you just did that, issuing a flurry of rapid orders to the great and good of demon society. Desperate times have definitely called for desperate measures.
“You did good,” Petra murmurs to you, leaning against the bar beside you, “Very impressive, yes?”
Maybe so, you admit, but it tired you out as much as a bout of vigorous combat. If it wasn't for the lingering uncertainty of what you'd dream about, you'd rather crawl back into bed than lead an expedition South.
“Tough luck,” the redhead tells you cheerfully, “Duty calls, yes?”
>Right. Duty calls – we're heading out right away
>There's one last thing I need to take care of first (Write in)
Oligarchy. Heaven and Hell represent fairly inflexible extremes of Law and Chaos, while Humans are Flexible and can make decisions based on the situation as opposed to dogma.
Gabriel has gotten better, and Lucifer can be conned into acting counter to his nature since his nature is ultimately to do whatever is in his self-interests as opposed to holding a higher set of ideals.
So Hell would oppose Heaven on principle unless they stood to directly gain something from it.
And then we could have humans make the final call. Quite frankly we could just have Humans have two votes, so we can't do anything they're both opposed to without some negotiation.
But at the same time, they wouldn't be able to gang up and kick us out.
Then we could have the Fae act as some sort of arbitrator since they're pretty uninterested. The only issue is if they're bribeable, or spiteful and fickle beings with an alien morality. Oh wait.
I'm just tossing out ideas here, it just seems the "Humans are Superior to Heaven and Hell ALWAYS" is being carried over from the previous world and we might want to consider other options than making them constant enemies working against us. That way we can have factions within their own ranks who are invested in maintaining the status quo where they have some power.
Oh, I fully expect they'll try to grab all the power, but hey at least that will keep us from getting complacent and spacing out which is how Nyarly fucked us.
And for >>45233498
Like I said, I'm not saying we should try to stop the cycle of death and rebirth, just that we should try to make it so that most of humanity survives instead of some.
Think of it as controlling an economy. Runaway inflation is just as bad as runaway deflation, and the idea is to take advantage of the different opportunities created by the two states so that you keep the system from crashing completely. But yeah, I'm not sure about giving Nyarly a vote. Just brainstorming. I'm High, not stupid.
Who am I getting revenge on by creating a framework that the major powers have a vested interest in maintaining?
Telling Heaven and Hell to fuck right off and trying to kill them all just because is about revenge.
Lucy hasn't even done anything to us this time around, why so spiteful yourself?
But we DO plan on having the guns when we draw up the rules, so they'll be our version of fair (ideally) and we'll have to do our best to make it seem like it's fair to the others.
>>There's one last thing I need to take care of first (Write in)
We should probably say good-bye to our dad before we leave.
Or, you know, see if Carnby can upgrade our demon summoning since it's been a running theme that the ones we have are inferior to his originals.
Kind of a key thing there I feel.
There are a few things, small things, that you need to do first. It won't take long, you assure Petra, and it might help in the long run.
The first thing you do – which is, really, more personal than business – is to find Marco and give him a tight hug. Stay inside, you tell him with all the attempted authority of a young girl ordering her father about, and keep out of trouble. You'll be back really soon, you promise, and you'll fix everything. You'll make things right.
“I know,” Marco sighs, patting your hair, “I won't tell you to keep out of trouble – you're marching right into it – but stay safe, okay?”
Pulling away from him, you nod and turn to Carnby. Is there anything, you ask the other man, he can do with your summoning program? He was, as you've come to understand it, instrumental in designing it in the first place. Placing your phone into his waiting hand, you watch uncertainly as he turns it over and frowns.
“This code is terrible,” he complains, “Who wrote it?” An awkward silence follows his off-hand comment, shortly followed by Marco clearing his throat. Carnby turns, frowning in confusion as he stares at Marco. “You...” he mutters to himself, “Hang on a minute...”
“You!” Marco shoots back, his eyes widening slightly, “Carter? No, that wasn't it...”
“Carnby,” the immortal corrects Marco, his gaze soon returning to you as he hands back your phone, “Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do. Not quickly, at least. I'd need to completely rewrite the code from the ground up, and that could take... days, at least.”
“Now hold on,” Marco argues as you slip away, his voice rapidly fading, “Just what's wrong with my code?”
You'd better leave them to it. You're on your way out when Mister Red stops you, handing over a slip of paper. “Message for you,” he murmurs, “From, well, you know.”
Thanking him, you slip out with the group.
Outside, with Scathach's enchantment keeping the worst of the cold at bay, you unfold the slip of paper and shield it with your hand, keeping the snow from dampening the paper. Lucifer's reply is simple and to the point, just as you expected it.
>You make a good point, human, but order me about again and I'll kill you myself
What a charming young lady. Neatly folding the note in half, you return it to your pocket and begin to trudge through the thickening snow, watching with a certain fascination as it melts the minute it touches your skin. Useful stuff, magic. Even with the blanket of warmth surrounding you, the bleak sight of endless drifts of snow pouring down from the slate grey sky manages to dampen down the mood until you're all walking in silence. Distance becomes meaningless as you focus on putting one foot ahead of another.
The only point at which you look up is when you finally reach the vast and frozen river separating you from the uncharted Southern lands. Recalling the rock Petra threw onto that thick and near-unbreakable ice, you waste little time in taking the first of many steps onto it. It creaks, with a sound so low you can feel it in your bones, but it remains solid.
“Look,” Cassandra murmurs as she turns to look back. Glancing over your shoulder, you see what caught her attention – the city is dark, all but the largest of flames snuffed out completely. Even those once huge blazes that remain are mere sparks and embers, struggling defiantly against the inevitable. “I never thought...”
You'll fix it, you tell her as you turn back to marching across the ice. As you walk, you find yourself repeating those three words like a mantra, over and over again. You'll fix it. You'll fix it.
When the ice, underfoot, abruptly turns back into snow and solid ground, the contrast is so surprising that you almost pitch right forwards onto your face. You stumble a little, but there is a strong hand there to catch you.
“Careful,” Joseph tells you, his voice soft against the wind that howls around you, “You were practically dozing off there. We're lucky nothing attacked us – you might have just walked on and left us!”
You try to laugh, and then you realise Joseph was being serious. You were really that bad, huh?
“I think we should take a break,” he says reluctantly, “That spell is keeping the cold off, true, but we're still exhausted from walking so much. I'm worried that you... that we wouldn't have the energy to fight or flee, if it came to that.”
He's worried about you, you think bitterly to yourself, because of your stupid heart. You're fine – you don't need a rest!
“Fine,” Joseph says mildly, raising an eyebrow, “I just mentioned it because of those shacks up ahead. They're not exactly five star, but they'd be good enough places to rest for a little bit. If, of course, you want. We're all following your lead here, in case you hadn't noticed.”
>Take a break. You need to keep your strength up
>Keep going. This is no time to be sitting around
As much as you don't like to admit it, Joseph is right. You could all do with a break – a short one, mind – and it won't do you any good if you pass out now, in the middle of nowhere. Nodding, you point out what looks like the least dilapidated shack. That one, you murmur, that looks good enough to rest a while.
“Right,” Joseph nods, a note of grateful satisfaction entering his voice. Either he was far more worried about you than he was letting on, or he wanted a break pretty badly. Maybe both. “There should be plenty of wood around here to make a fire – assuming any of it is dry – so we might be able to get some light as well. I'll take a look around.”
Nodding again, you slip around the rotting fence and begin to look around the cluster of lonesome buildings. Could this be the village that you've heard about, the one that sprung up from nothing? It certainly has the air of rootless wandering about it, like some displaced chunk of some other world. Like you've stepped into someone else's dream, you realise as you enter the shack, Midnight held tight against your side. Empty, just as you'd hoped.
Two people on watch at all times, you remind the group as everyone files in with you, although you're not staying long either way.
“Fine with me,” Elliot says lightly as he looks around the squalid shack, “This place is worse than my old apartment.”
“A difficult thing, yes?” Petra agrees, tapping the metal of her prosthetic arm against one of the cracked support beams in the centre of the room.
Congratulations, you announce with a weary smile, they've just volunteered for first watch. There are a few groans, but generally they accept their fate without bitterness or resentment. Finding a reasonably clear part of ground, you ease yourself down and sit. Now, to wait.
The fire crackles softly in the dismal shack, bestowing some small degree of comfort to your bleak surroundings. There are enough holes in the walls and ceiling that the smoke never has a chance to build – a fact that you're very grateful for. Joseph was able to start a fire with remarkably little difficulty, citing some experience in outdoors stuff from his childhood. Camping, and other equally horrible things. Still, you appreciate his expertise.
You've got to admit, taking a rest was a good idea. You hadn't quite realised how tired you'd grown until you stopped to sit, and it seemed to take a very long time for your energy to seep back. Whenever you think someone isn't glancing your way, you sneak a hand over your heart, measuring the rhythm carefully. Steady and stable, just how you like it. The only time that it skips a beat is when the door squeals open, Elliot sticking his head inside.
“Mia dear,” he says sweetly, “Something you might want to see.”
Grumbling, you heave yourself to your feet and follow him out. The sky seems a little lighter than before, as if there was some small sun behind that wall of leaden cloud. In the new light, you can see something off in the distance. A listing tower, leaning slightly to the side?
“It's too thin to be a tower,” Elliot thinks aloud, “And do you see the top there, how it comes to a point? It looks like a monolith to me.”
“And listen,” Petra adds, holding up a hand for silence. There IS a noise here, a slow crashing sound. “Waves, yes?” the redhead suggests, “The tower is out at sea.”
“Not a tower,” Elliot sighs, “It's a-”
“That's it,” Petra declares, “We go there. I'm sure of it.”
>Alright, I trust you
>How can you be so sure?
>This is a decision for the whole group
>>How can you be so sure?
>>This is a decision for the whole group
"It is the only landmark we've seen so far so its probably worth checking out, but we should run it by everyone else first."
You frown out towards the horizon – towards what might be the ocean, if the sound of waves is any indication – and fix your gaze upon the monolith. How, you ask, can Petra be so sure?
“Ah,” Petra replies, her voice uncertain, “You're not looking for “a feeling” as an answer, are you? I don't have any evidence, but...”
Here, you reply, take this. Tugging the black mask from the side of your head – where you wear it outside of open combat or suspicious circumstances – you pass it over to Petra. Taking it, she holds it up to her face.
“No difference, yes?” she admits, “So it wasn't playing with my mind, at least. Just instinct, a theory, yes?”
Elliot, when you pass the mask over, gives the same reaction. A baffled shrug and an attempt at a smile. “Can't really say it's my style,” he jokes as he hands the mask back, “It's a bit... edgy, isn't it?”
Either way, you shrug, it was worth a shot. This village is giving you the creeps, and you wanted to be extra sure. Well, you add, that monolith is the only landmark around here but you want to put this decision to the rest of the group. This isn't a decision you should be making alone.
“Fair enough,” Elliot nods, “Can't say I'm too unhappy about putting this off a while longer. It's rather... cyclopean, don't you think? I half expect some awful thing to rise out of the sea and start blasting our sanity at any minute.”
Hah, you laugh bluntly as you're returning to the shack, what are the odds of that happening?
I think you just predicted the future Ellie.
? I haven't played it. But we got magical lightning and if we're dying anyways then we might as well risk it.
I imagine we've at least heard about CPR and AEDS. Also hey Joseph is studying to be a doctor! So he can make sure the Demons use an appropriate voltage if it's too low.
The vote, despite Elliot's increasingly worried attempts at stalling, turned out to be unanimous. Mainly, you have to admit, because there's nowhere else to go. What other option do you have, other than walking out into an endless wasteland and hoping to find something? And so, with the snow crunching underfoot – and, bizarrely, sand crunching beneath the layer of snow – you march out towards the looming edifice.
As you walk, you approach Joseph and ask him, in a hushed voice, about what to do in an emergency. If your heart was to... fail... is there something your demons could do?
“I don't...” Joseph pauses, “Well, I suppose a combination of lightning and healing magic might, theoretically...” Before he can say anything more, however, the sight of some terrible thing shocks him to silence.
As it turns out, the monolith isn't the only landmark in this desolate land – there is one other feature to draw the eye. The carcass of a beached whale, larger than any living thing you've ever seen, lies forlornly upon a dune, as if marooned by some vanished tide. Your group pauses for a moment to stare at it, examining the rotting hide and enduring the awful stench, before moving on. Nobody even suggests approaching it, even a little.
“A corpse,” Petra says, half to herself, “Should be left well alone, yes?”
With those words ringing in your ear, you draw close to the base of the monolith – and that's when IT happens. Elliot, unwittingly playing the role of a prophet, is the one to see it first. He points to the breaking waves on the horizon, letting out a shrill cry of fright. A pair of vast hands are the first things to break the surface, groping blindly for the surface. A second pair follows the first, with a hideous face bursting from the filthy, brackish water last of all.
As it winds, sinuously, out onto dry land, you are struck by a sound from behind you. Elliot is crying out a name, pulled out of some distant memory, over and over again.
“Dagon!” he shrieks madly, “Dagon has risen!” A slap from Petra, eagerly given, is enough to shock him into silence. You're glad - you've got bigger problems.
>Summon your demons and fight
>Summon your demons and fight
Mia - Parvati - Nadja
Petra - Dullahan - Berserker
Cass - Ose - Wingless
Joseph - Gabby - Archangel
Ellie - Fortuna - Kagutsuchi
Leon - Fuuki - Baphomet
Fortuna does her thing
Fuu-ki Fog Breaths.
Have Nadja and Parvati give testing strikes with Lightning, see if it has extra effect. If it does then enchant the weapons with Lightning.
Rolled 29, 45, 102, 139, 26, 132, 63, 96, 66, 17, 74 = 789 (11d140)
As loathe as you are to rely on Lucy's advice, you don't have any other information to go on. Lightning it is, then. The fact that Nadja is still riding high on her infusion of divine power is only a bonus. With Najda and Parvati appearing alongside you, you watch as Petra summons Dullahan and Berserker. Cassandra, not willing to be undone on the physical front, calls up Ose and Wingless. With Gabriel and Archangel fighting on Joseph's behalf and Fuu-Ki and Baphomet standing in for Leon, all that's left is Elliot.
You're wondering if he can be trusted – his sanity is looking pretty blasted right about now – when he finally snaps out of his fugue. Kagutsuchi and Fortuna obey his call, and he turns to spin the slender demon's wheel of fortune. Back to normal, you think to yourself with relief.
As Fuu-Ki blasts out a thick screen of concealing mist, the unearthly demon before you follows suit. The mist that it blows is thick and noxious – not poisonous, but blinding and stinging. Fine then, you find yourself snarling as you activate your magic items, you won't back down now!
>Please roll 11D120, for Parvati, Nadja, Dullahan, Berserker, Ose, Wingles, Gabriel, Archangel, Fuu-Ki, Baphomet and Kagutsuchi, in THAT order. I'll take the best of the first three, and Fortuna's modifier applies
>Also an 11D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat 7
You can tell right away that this isn't going to be a simple fight. The slavering beast bursts from the fog before you, a constant swishing of its tail propelling it at hideous speed. Dagon – if that is truly this creature's name – lashes out with one loathsome arm, grabbing Dullahan like a toy and sweeping the armoured demon up into the air. Holding her for a moment – studying her, almost – Dagon then crushes Petra's soldier like a tin can. Dropping the twisted body to the ground, Dagon slithers on.
The body remains – crushed, mangled and yet still alive. Not unlike Petra herself, you think madly.
Throwing out one hand, the fingers twisted in an occult gesture, Dagon calls up a rippling series of spikes that tear through Berserker's guard, punching past whatever fury renders them immune to physical attacks. Berserker is hurled aside, bleeding from countless wounds and unravelling as he dies. The third victim would have been Wingless, if it hadn't been for a desperate – yet somehow graceful – dive that took her to safety. The counter attack, then.
Parvati, testing out Lucy's theory, throws out a blinding bolt of lightning that hit hard, crackling across the layer of slime that covers Dagon's scaly hide. It's hard to estimate the damage it causes, but the shriek of pain the creature emits is hard to underestimate. Nadja follows up with another bolt of power, this one boiling away a patch of scales. The blood that oozes out – if such a word is appropriate – is white. Leading the charge is Ose, bounding up from a low crouch with his swords at the ready.
>Berserker is defeated
>Dullahan is critically wounded. Attacks will be at -20
>To be continued in the next post
Ose's leap takes him high, describing a graceful arc through the air. His twin blades flash out once – and only once – as he passes one of Dagon's flailing arms. A second passes, and then the monstrous hand falls free in a syrupy burst of white blood. Gabriel follows, sweeping around to Dagon's other side and drawing her sword across the monster's side. It barely bites into flesh, the scales turning away the worst of the blow. Still, it's damage – and the angel makes it away unscathed.
Following in her footsteps, Archangel lowers his sword and mimics Gabriel's attack. The heavier blade cuts deeper, gouging out a thin slice of flesh from Dagon's side and giving the angel time to fly back, out of reach. Fuu-Ki throws his glaive, the blade cutting through the thick mist to cut deeply into Dagon's barrel chest and return, quite neatly, to the Oni's hand. Baphomet and Kagutsuchi, combining their attacks, bring the pass to an explosive end. Seeding the sand with fire, the ground ripples with explosions and fills with cast off dirt. Dagon howls, blasted and burned by the pair of deadly attacks, but it forges ahead regardless.
It moves... past you. Even as Petra calls up Vivian – you'll need a medic for this – Dagon ignore you all and plunges their three remaining hands into the whale carcass. Grunting, it wrenches the body apart, showering the battlefield with reeking chunks.
Chunks that move, writhing into life with grotesque animation.
“I can handle them!” Joseph calls out, “I'll keep them off your back, you focus on the big guy!”
>Go with Joseph's plan
>Keep Joseph fighting Dagon
Rolled 134, 57, 60, 138, 98, 48, 72 = 607 (7d140)
Shouting a quick confirmation – you don't need those little monsters swarming over you while you're busy trying to kill their master – you urge Joseph to take the fight to them. Dullahan, rising unsteadily to her feet as Vivian's magic fills out the broken parts of her form, marches off to join Joseph. The more demons you have fighting off those awful, corpse eating beasts the better. Parvati, summoning long bands of lightning, places powerful enchantments upon the party and all their weapons.
It didn't like lightning much, so it's going to hate this. You'll cut the damn thing to pieces, if you need to.
>Please roll 7D120, for Parvati, Nadja, Ose, Wingless, Fuu-Ki, Baphomet and Kagutsuchi. I'll take the highest of the first three, and Fortuna's modifier will still apply.
>Also a 7D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat 7 again.
Turning faster than you could have imagined, Dagon turns from the shattered whale carcass and lunges, slamming one hand down on Parvati in a blind urge to snuff out that hated lightning. You finch as that blow crushes down with terrible strength, blasting a mingling cloud of sand and snow into the air. Yet Parvati is elsewhere, reforming from the ashen substance of her base existence a few feet away. Concentrating hard, she maintains her boon of lightning but cannot summon the energy to attack as well.
“Destroy the hated foe!” Nadja, channelling some deeper strength, hurls lightning at Dagon, the blow exploding against the demon's chest and blasting free a lump of flesh. You see organs, pulsing sluggishly beneath the surface, for a moment before thick white blood forms a protective spot. A weak spot, perhaps?
One that Ose seeks to capitalise on, launching himself at it with furious agility. His first blow, a swing from one sword, is turned aside by one of Dagon's hands, but the second blow, the second sword, takes the same hand. With fully half of his limbs now shorn, Dagon howls with open fury and lunges, trying to crush Wingless with his entire torso. Again, showing a kind of balletic grace, Wingless darts out from underneath, her bladed heel leaving a red, angry scratch behind as it clips Dagon.
Leon, berating his demons and urging them onto higher glories, points out that same weak spot. Fuu-Ki casts out his missile once more, but the attack cannot reach high enough. Cutting deeper into Dagon's guts, instead, it still leaves behind a filthy sheet of blood. Baphomet puts forwards a noble attempt, but his fireball also misses the mark. Still, the blackened scar it leaves behind is the mark of a dire wound..
>Another 7D120 roll please, best of the first three
>And a 7D10 dodge roll as well
Ducking under a rapid blow from one of Dagon's dwindling number of hands – it's a blow that comes so fast, you only notice it a moment later – Kagutsuchi forms a ball of fire in both his hands, holding it for a heartbeat before forcing it out, focussed into a tight and blinding beam. The laser – there's no other word you can use – scores a wavering line up the length of Dagon's body, leaving behind a trail of boiled and bubbling flesh.
Into that morass of putrid corruption, Baphomet's fireball lands like a hand grenade, blasting the already liquid flesh apart in a shower of vile fluids. Fuu-Ki lends his blade, cutting out a swath of flesh with each throw and return. Ose, finally knocked aside by one of Dagon's claws, can only leave a shallow wound – but his repelled attack leaves an opening that Wingless is able to exploit. Nimble, even in snow and sand, she steps beneath Dagon's guard and leaps, flying gracefully up into the air and plunging her sword into that corrupted, boiled flesh. Her descent slowed by that raking blade, she unzips the screaming monster in a wash of guts and gore. It's a truly visceral attack.
Yet still, animated by the remains of an unearthly life, Dagon stands tall. Until, that is, Nadja and Parvati join hands, a mighty arc of power linking them. Collected by their attuned senses, the beam of power they cast forth is truly mighty. You can't even look near it, let alone at it. When you can open your eyes once more, Dagon is tumbling backwards, the emptiness of his chest cavity yawning open like a second mouth. It even has teeth, you realise, formed by the shattered remains of a ribcage.
Truly disgusting, you think with unhealthy relish as the demon begins to collapse into a corrupt slime.
>I'll have to end things here for tonight. We'll pick up on Sunday, and I'll stick around in case of any questions. Thanks for sticking around!
>Nadja and Parvati join hands
Thanks for running Moloch.
Did the Azumi run off or are they still fighting Joseph?
Also if nothing crazy happens the quest might end in the next couple of threads huh?
Once Dagon was defeated, they broke and ran. The weak should fear the strong!
And yeah, I could hypothetically see this ending soon. Maybe even next thread, although I'd have to really make it a long one for that so it might be more.
Well, there's still mother Hydra!
I'm joking. The shard will drop at the start of next thread.
Also! I remembered that I have a bonus episode prepared, about what Amelia, Cass and Petra discussed in their private meeting. I forgot to mention it on twitter earlier, so I'll get to posting that in a little bit.
Your name is Eirin Petra Petrushka, and you know when to pick your battles. At least, you've learned when to pick your battles. Still learning, perhaps.
The point is, you know when to stay quiet and when to speak up. This is definitely the former. The atmosphere in the room, needless to say, is heavy. It's just the three of you now – Amelia, Cassandra and yourself – and conversation does not flow easily. The only sound at all, in fact, is the insistent rhythm of Amelia tapping one finger against the surface of the table, her gnawed fingernail clicking softly. Cassandra sits a short distance away with her hands folded before her, her face neutral save for the occasional, fleeting twitch of anxiety.
“What this comes down to is...” Amelia pauses for a moment, glancing between you and Cassandra to make sure you're both listening, “I don't think you trust me any more, Cassandra.” Neither admitting not denying the accusation, Cassandra merely tilts her head slightly to the side as Amelia continues. “And I don't know if I can trust you, either.”
That, you notice, gets more of a reaction. Cassandra's brow creases slightly, like someone flinching in anticipation of a blow. When she opens her eyes, though, they are as cool and sharp as ever. “That sounds like an appropriate summary,” she muses, “And, of course, you are free to trust me as much as you like. Believe me though when I saw that I have no intention to harm anyone here – any of our little... group.”
“Damn right,” Amelia grunts, Cassandra's face tightening slightly at the implicit insult, “Petra, you've been very quiet. What's your take on all this?”
Allowing your gaze to dart freely between the two girls, you take your time composing an answer. Unreliability, you begin slowly, is a risk that you're not willing to take. If Cassandra isn't sure where her loyalties lie...
Both. It's a clash of egos
“I know where my loyalties lie,” Cassandra corrects you stiffly, “But I also know what my interests are – resolving this incident as quickly as possible. That requires cooperation, and so I'm happy to work together. For now – and, assuming our situations don't change too much – for the foreseeable future.” She allows the suggestion to hang in the air for a moment before rising to her feet, smoothing out her clothes as she does so. “Excuse me, I have another task to attend to.”
“By all means,” Amelia replies, matching Cassandra's courteous tone with her own, coloured by insincerity. Ignoring the bait, Cassandra lets herself out of the room, her soft footsteps quickly vanishing as she leaves.
You... were kind of hoping to avoid this, sitting alone with Amelia. In the awkward silence that descends, all you can think about is your disastrous attempt at speaking your mind. At least there was one saving grace, Amelia couldn't understand what you-
“You know I can speak Czech, right?” Amelia says suddenly, “I mean, I speak every language – I won't claim perfect pronunciation, but...”
You don't know if there is a suitable word for the sound that escapes you then. The most appropriate comparison, perhaps, would be a cross between an exasperated groan and a whimper. She's not joking, is she?
“I'm entirely serious,” she tells you, with a faint apology in her voice, “Uh, so... do you want to talk about it?”
You'd really rather not, you mumble in reply, not now at least.
“Oh,” Amelia sighs with a certain amount of poorly hidden relief, “But you know... you should never give up hope. What I mean is-”
Mercy comes in the form of a knock at the door. Moments later, Cassandra lets herself in and takes a seat, Gabriel following in her footsteps. “I hope you weren't busy,” Cassandra says, “But I think we need to talk. There are some issues we need to move past.”
“Issues,” Amelia repeats, forcing herself to look Gabriel in the eye. The Archangel looks back calmly, her lips curved up in a compassionate smile. Looking between the two of them, you can't help but wonder at what shared history they have. It's all before your time, really, and Amelia has never been particularly talkative when that particular chapter of her life comes up.
“You feel guilty about what happened to me,” Gabriel says quietly, “What you both did to me.” She adds that second part without malice or judgement, merely stating it as a fact. “These lingering doubts could jeopardise any future cooperation between us – so, to borrow Cassandra's words, we need to talk.”
“We betrayed you, striking you down when we should have been sharing victory,” Amelia says bitterly, scourging herself with her own words, “And it was a slow, tortuous death – far worse than you deserved. So yes, I think there's an issue there. A pretty big damn issue.” Cassandra, you notice, stays silent as Amelia is talking, but her face twists in a pained grimace as she shares in the grim memories.
“Hmm,” Gabriel closes her eyes for a moment as she thinks, “I could offer you compassion or understanding now. I could forgive you – but that's not what you want to hear, is it? I need to say this in words you can accept.” She clears her throat softly, looking up and fixing her gaze upon Amelia. “Get over it,” she enunciates clearly, Cassandra's eyes widening in shock, “Feeling sorry for yourself won't help anyone. You can't change the past – so be a better person in the future.”
In the stunned silence that follows, the only sound is a sofft laugh. Your laugh, you realise. The startled look on Amelia's face is so comedic that the chuckle just... slips out of you. Cassandra joins in a moment later, with Amelia eventually seeing the funny side.
The tension, at last, eases.
>She clears her throat softly, looking up and fixing her gaze upon Amelia. “Get over it,” she enunciates clearly, Cassandra's eyes widening in shock, “Feeling sorry for yourself won't help anyone. You can't change the past – so be a better person in the future.”
Gabby's great. She might as well be human in her interactions nowadays.
Thanks for the write up Moloch.
I imagine Gabriel knows exactly the best way to get through to someone. In this case, giving it to Amelia in the most direct way possible!
It's a write up I'd been wanting to do for a while, actually, but inspiration only struck properly this morning. Glad you enjoyed it!
Not so good, unfortunately! Most of the wandering demons have retreated into underground tunnels or similar shelter with whatever fire they can create. The current mood is one of panic, rather than the bloodlust and slaughter that Nyarly wanted, so there is a good side!
Well, he can't always get his own way! Plus, I imagine most of the really cutthroat demons already killed each other once The Shackle collapsed. There was quite a struggle up north when that happened!
>I wonder how the Hellfire Club would stand up against a siege?
I mean wasn't that one of the first things that happened in London? AoE Die For Me! and 6 Devil Summoners are a force to be reckoned with.
Well then, there's no danger at all!
ALSO - bad news, I won't be able to run on Sunday after all. I've got some stuff coming up that I forgot about, and I won't be able to reschedule it. Tuesday, instead!
*gasp* Moloch missing a thread date? For shame.
I'm just kidding, s'all good. No one can really complain when you've run consistently triweekly over half a year. I don't think many QMs can make that claim.
Well, any and all contributions are still appreciated!
I like to think I'm changing the date, not missing it. Got to keep a positive outlook!
I've got to admit, I'm a little surprised I've been able to keep to schedule this well
>I've got to admit, I'm a little surprised I've been able to keep to schedule this well
I think most of us are honestly. Most QMs can barely run 1 thread a week consistently much less triweekly. Kudos mate.
Anyways I am surprised Lucifer was that annoyed at our message. Not really used to people talking to him like an equal huh?
No, I don't think Lucifer has had anyone give them an overt order before - certainly not the kind of curt instruction that Mia came out with! The fact that she's right, in this situation, probably makes it even worse.
At this point I could honestly see Mia verbally sparring and shooting the shit with Lucifer and Nyarly around a table without it phasing her much.
Sure they could easily kill her, but they'd 'lose' if they did that.
I sometimes think that Mia is far too flippant with the various gods and monsters. That said, she's too young to really feel the reality of her situation, so it still works in my view.
And it's pretty fun to write!
I dropped the ball on that one. Sorry!
I regret not talking about their reactions, actually. It was something I meant to mention when Carnby just strolled in, but it didn't quite make it onto the page. Assuming they bumped into Carnby at some point while Mia was busy elsewhere, they would have been very rattled. Joseph particularly - Leon is a little more accepting about these things!
"Just magic and shite, isn't it?"
Personally, I think that it's funny
if people think that Nyarly is going to play by the rules all the way to the end. I mean, yeah, if he can break the rules so can Amelia but if he's going to lose anyways what does he have to lose?
Also somewhat surprised we haven't been more curious about Elliots deal, since we share a last name and Carnby from the previous cycle recognized him as a son of Marco. Or was I misreading that and he was talking about Marco?
If you're referring to Carnby mentioning Elliot as having a strange name and then jumping to Vespucci, he was originally talking about Elliot being female - he noticed straight away - and then got distracted by Mia's name, a much more familiar one to him.
Nyarly still has some tricks up his sleeves, don't worry about that!
Gabriel is, surprisingly enough, dealing with things quite well. She's keeping busy and making a real difference to the world - an improvement, even. She's quite happy with her lot in life now.
She'd be cool and composed about it, and she'd want to take things slowly so that they unfold naturally. Privately though, she'd be excited - and secretly pleased that he was able to muster up the courage to confess. She's got a romantic streak!
You know if Joseph would talk to anybody about it, they'd probably all give him the same advice. Even Mia. 'Just do it!'
Then again Gabriel can hear the conversations from the app so I guess that it would be awkward.
I'd have to agree, I even think everyone would be rooting for him. Everybody likes a success story, after all!
Then again, if Gabriel could overhear, all Joseph would need to do is rehearse his speech in a mirror and she'd pick up on it. Technology can be pretty weird, after all!