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A Voice from the Past


A Voice from the Past

Post by The Raven Basilards on

The cold, smooth stone walls of the basement seemed to lean inwards in the darkness, covered in grime and dust. Basilard rested on the floor of its tomb, its faint mauve radiance occasionally pulsing as if responding to the beating of a heart. The rippling glow was the sole source of light in the room. The basilard’s position, gracelessly flat upon the floor in the room’s center, contorted the shadows of the meager surroundings. Even the silhouettes of the tables and desks, long abandoned and covered in dull, decrepit tools, became monstrous, inhuman things which danced about the wall in time with the weapon’s flares.

Even though the faint glow distorted the color, the light could not hide the trail of blood leading from the Basilard’s blade. It drew across the floor opposite the basement’s sole door, until it touched the bony fingers of an ancient corpse.

The skeleton lay slumped against the walls. A pair of dead rats lay beside it, having eaten their fill before the blade bade them kill each other in a primal battle. What little remained of the dead man’s flesh had mummified by the stale air, grotesquely dangling from his limp form like frail, dry paper.

The Basilard reminisced. There was not much else it could do, sealed away in this prison. It knew its kin were alive and well. It had found their marks on the flesh of the living, the blackened, feathered hide of a raven. But decades had passed since it had last seen the surface; decades had passed since this cadaver had dragged himself into the cellar in a vain attempt to avoid death, only to refuse the Basilard’s gift. Mortals were rather peculiar in that regard; they clung to life with such passion but were prone to refuse it, if it proved to be on any terms but their own.

The blade did not know of life. It lacked pain and flesh. It was pure of hedonistic desires. It did not long for a purpose. Its purpose had been ordained long ago, from the day they were forged. The blades sought their kin.

A sudden change came to the Basilard’s senses. Next to nothing had changed in the last decade. Its interest was immediately caught. It focused its mind and reached out to touch this new creature at the edge of its perception. A human. A human child.

It did not betray its presence. Not immediately. A being which had lived for over two thousand years was not about to become desperate from a mere twenty years of solitude. The Basilard knew caution was the wisest procedure in the current culture, for if it or any of its kin fell into the wrong hands it could spell their end.

But a sense of the minds of mortals was not the only resource the Basilard possessed. Its other abilities told it many things about the child. Chief among them, the Basilard could feel in its core the power of magic emanating from his person. Familiar magic. Old magic, though not so old as the blade itself.

The pulsing light of the blade dimmed until the shadows claimed the skeleton for their own. No reason to frighten the boy with the lonely corpse. Only the smallest trace of blood was visible at the edge of the weapon.

Below. Come to me. You have been guided. Come to me below the stone of this factory. It whispered into the child’s mind. The old magic had rendered his mind more... complaint. More open to suggestion than other mortals. The statue has led you here. Come.

I will guide you.

Re: A Voice from the Past

Post by Iarei on

Poltek was far away, but even so its shadow fell over every other city between there and Marn. That was the truth of it. No city, no matter how noble, was free of the stain of poverty and despair. That was why the old district in Marn, the place where all the poor people gathered -- that was why he found his way there. They called it historic. It was. You could sense the age of the buildings, see it in the way they were shaped, in the way they fell. Weeds choked the streets, and though they were not the same weeds as the ones further east and north, you knew what they were because they were spindly and could live almost anywhere.

He didn't have a name. He'd had one once. It didn't matter. He had thought that maybe he didn't need one any more, because back when he'd a name he wasn't safe. He was hungry, and was often hurt, and barely survived. Then Iarei had come along, and even though she could've seen him gone by any number of means, she'd taken him with her instead. It had been alright for awhile. He'd learned some new tricks. He'd been full, and clothed, and most of the time she didn't hit him.

There was something in his hand. It didn't belong to him. Once, maybe, that'd been a common thing for him to do, but it wasn't now and when he'd taken it from Iarei he'd done it to prove something to be something he wasn't any more but the further away he got the more he realized that he just didn't get it that he couldn't get it that it just didn't feel right and -- his face still hurt.

The buildings pressed in around him, and he didn't know where he was. He had lost track when he had started thinking about everything and how cut up he was inside, and though he'd run for the old district, the one with the people like he remembered from back there, he realized that that wasn't where he'd gone. No. It was dark. It had gotten dark and he hadn't noticed, and he must have run the whole city, because he was hungry too. Hungry, and tired, and he wanted to go home, go back to her, but he couldn't and she wouldn't understand. All he'd wanted was for her to tell him

to me

that he had done good. That she wanted him around. That

guided. Come to me

she was proud of him and trusted him to do a good job. But she hadn't, had she? She

the stone of this factory

was so selfish. She didn't want him. Maybe she'd never wanted him. Maybe -- he froze.

The statue has led you here. Come.

That happened. That had just happened. Had that happened? Was he imagining things? He thought he must be, because that wasn't possible. Unless someone was -- he looked around. Rocks crunched underfoot, and yes, he was actually inside one of the abandoned factories, in a place he didn't remember entering. It didn't matter what he wanted right then, because he couldn't move. He wanted to move. He wanted very badly to move, but he couldn't seem to force himself. It was as if, maybe, he stood completely and totally still, things would be okay. He wouldn't be afraid any more, and it would just be fine. Fine.

He bit his lip, and his hand fisted tighter around the statue without him noticing what he was doing.

Re: A Voice from the Past

Post by The Raven Basilards on

I will guide you. The basilard repeated, its whispering voice cooing and gentle. In a way, it seemed almost motherly. The obsessive undertones it carried were hardly perceptible. The minor weight of the empathy thrown into the child’s mind was perhaps enough to make them negligible. There is nothing to be afraid of. I can help you, if you should first deign to help me. The Basilard recalled the way into its dusty cell. Its memory was not porous to the degree which organic minds were. It had been built to last the millennia.

It recalled the man’s staggering gasping breaths as he fled the rioters. They had been so close, the Basilard had been sure of it; chaos enabled magic to walk safely. Its kin had almost certainly been involved, somewhere out there amidst the torches and crude spears.

It had begged and pleaded with its master to return to the outside, where it might be found once again. The man would have none of it. He staggered forwards through abandoned boxes and stumbled across forgotten devices, desperately seeking some sanctuary. He had found it in the basement, to the Basilard’s sorrow. It was time for the child to follow his footsteps.

Walk forwards. The cellar lies ahead, beyond an old wooden trapdoor. Undo the latch and come.

The man had collapsed and fallen down the stairs, his injuries rapidly proceeding beyond the point of the Basilard’s capacity to heal. It had not wished for this fate, trapped immobile beneath the cobblestone. But the man had refused his gifts. His will had been great, far beyond the reach of the Basilard’s influence. It could only wait in his grasp as his lifeblood had drained, helpless even as he drew his last breaths.

Descend the steps and you will find me.

For his hubris, the man's only legacy was in the bellies of dead rats. He had refused to live. He had given up. The Basilard was not about to follow him in eternal slumber here in the depths. As the first light it had seen in an age poured down the rotted stairway, the ancient dust plainly visible in the air, the Basilard extended congratulatory feelings to the child. The empathy crossed the distance to the weakened soul falteringly, but with greater ease than it ever could have without the wooden figure’s influence.

Step forward, young one, It cried into his mind, and take up your fate.

Re: A Voice from the Past

Post by Iarei on

Move forward? Follow the voice? Why? It was a good question. Maybe even it was the right question, the right answer to something he hadn't experienced yet. Maybe this was something he was supposed to be doing. His limbs were shaking: right arm, left leg, right leg. Everything except the left arm, the one that held the little figurine that had gotten him in and out of so much trouble. It was as if all of his senses were focused on that arm, that hand, as if the building he stood within didn't even exist. He barely noticed the darkness, the heavy sense of dead air -- not even when he opened the door and was nearly blinded by the thick, deep black within. His eyes strained to work, adjusting as he paused on the threshold so he could see the edges and shapes of things.

The air was so thick. It was heavy, and too warm for him so he gasped with every breath, every staggering step. Why? Why? The silence pressed in on him, scattering and warping with every voiced intent from the stranger, the thing in the dark. Reassuring? It was trying to make him feel better, him who had learned to spit in every had that had ever been held out to him. All of them but hers, and in the end it was just another way to slap him around. So why now?

"W-why?" The word was pushed out past his convulsing throat, past the barrier his teeth made, past the strange desire to accept things just as they were.

His foot crept forward and stopped a bare half-inch from something. No, everything. He felt good. He hadn't done anything to feel good. So why? Why was he bending down, mouth open and panting as if he'd just climbed the tallest building in the city, fingers jittering like he had the shakes? He was so close to something wonderful, something enormous and full of glory, but he didn't know what and couldn't decide if it was something that was the right thing, the right answer. Did it matter? Would it? He wanted it, this voice, this certainty, this --

his fingers closed around a hilt

everything

changed.

Re: A Voice from the Past

Post by The Raven Basilards on

The boy’s fingers had reached around its hilt. That was all it needed.

Like a striking serpent, the Basilard’s mind assaulted the boy’s own. A soul which had endured two millennia crashed through the child’s thoughts, confusing them with its own and stifling those it did not prefer. The boy’s form fell backwards onto the ground. It was just as well; the Basilard’s use of strength had caused it to glow brightly, lighting up the corpse’s ghastly grin with its pale light. The boy was spared the sight, flat upon his back as he was.

The Basilard took control of the boy’s limb, lifting itself before the child’s eyes. It inspected itself using them, ensuring that its age had not gotten the best of it. Satisfied, it began using its one free arm to crawl towards the stairway. As it moved it resembled nothing so much as a worm, an emerging length drawing itself back together for movement. It held above its new form the glowing knife, swaying back and forth so that the light could play with the shadows one last time. When the writhing form carried itself to the base of the rotting wood, it came to the conclusion it could not reasonably achieve the obstacle before it.

A spasm of the muscles nearly dropped the blade, confirming the notion, causing the Basilard alarm. It had not held a body for a great many centuries, and the child’s mind was not yet wholly consumed by the statue. Afraid of dropping itself, it rolled the child onto his back and made him clutch its hilt tightly in both hands. The blade relinquished its imprecise control. It would wait. It could wait yet longer.

Its presence gone from the child, the blade hung ominously over him. It doubted one such as this specimen had the fortitude or knowledge to comprehend what had just occurred.

What is your will, child? It asked, its voice pleasant, deep, and rich now that its telepathy was uninhibited by distance. It muted its glow as much as possible, as if to imply humility. I am yours to command.

Re: A Voice from the Past

Post by Iarei on

Confusion. Panic. Fear.

It was unlike anything the boy had ever experienced before. One moment he was on his feet, and then his mind swam and bucked away from him and he was flat on his back, staring up at the thing he had picked up. A blade. Shock swept through him, and had he the capacity to objectively evaluate himself at that moment, he would have hooted and bade himself plunge the dagger down. Right stupid to lay like that, open and in the middle of who knew where, some place he didn't know and hadn't scouted. Stupid, except he couldn't even think that word. It was like he'd the air kicked out of him, but rather than pain there was a strange numbness, a blankness to his mind that he just couldn't push around.

It was a new experience. A surprising and confusing experience. On the streets, to a boy who'd grown up in them, that meant a series of reactions ingrained so deep they might as well have been instincts bred and born. He threw the knife away. Rather, he tried to throw the knife away, but he couldn't seem to let go. That did not help matters.

"Whu -- whuh?!" His voice pinwheeled up into a register that could have been called girlish, and would've made him wince if he had any presence of mind to listen to himself. As it was, he started slapping at the hand that held the hilt with his other hand, and when that didn't work he wheeled about and slammed his fist into the wall.

Now, boy hadn't any particular religious instruction when he was growing up alone in Poltek, aside from a healthy paranoia around any individual that displayed finesse with physical or magical weapon. That had changed when Iarei had picked him up. Though she didn't profess to any of the major religions that frowned upon magic and its use, she surely had her own healthy fears of magic, and enough wariness to fill up a church with sermon. Boy, being that he was young and full of energy, had never really listened all that well to her, but she'd prattled on long enough and often enough that some of it had sunk claws down into his hindbrain and grown roots there. So when he found himself unable to control his hand, and with a voice inside his head, he could only come to the erratic and wild conclusion that he had been possessed by some fey daimon from the Astral Planes, and that something terrible was about to befall him (Iarei's lectures, not unlike some religious rants, were generally unspecific about what happened to someone who bit too deeply into the metaphorical magic apple, though they implied only the most horrific of fates).

He panicked.

All in all he held it together enough to stop battering his hand against the wall, but he lost points in turning and scrambling haphazardly about the room. Still, it wasn't until he found himself tangled up with the dead man that he unleashed a truly unholy scream that would be heard all throughout the building.

Re: A Voice from the Past

Post by The Raven Basilards on

This basilard wished not for the first time that it could dull its glow completely. It could at least take small joy in the fact that it could not become nauseated, for the pitiful creature’s flailing would surely induce such in any biological beings. But no, its efforts in concealing the body had come to naught. There was little to be done but light the room as much as possible. Mortals, especially humans, felt most secure when fully aware of their surroundings.

He cannot harm you. The basilard said, its voice infiltrating the boy’s mind as the glow brightened dramatically. The violet light flooded the room and flowed up the stairs, yet there was a certain viscous sloth to its expansion which clearly pointed to its magical nature. He has been dead for many a year.

Mortals feared the dead as much as the dark. The basilard supposed it could understand; corpses must serve as painful reminders that the mortal’s own demise was but a short few decades away. All the same, the lonely dead fellow was not about to harming anyone, especially now that the boy had crushed a gaping hole in the skeleton’s chest. The basilard watched as the skeleton’s skull rolled off to the side. It only tentatively retained a connection with its lower jaw, getting caught on the ridges of the bone just before it separated from its body completely.

The basilard was about to further attempt to calm the panicked child when another being entered its perception. The child’s scream had set off enough emotion that several minds suddenly fell under the basilard’s awareness. What little the basilard could read implied a certain level of confusion and hostility. The blips of consciousness faded quickly, but the basilard was certain it had not made a mistake.

The child was not coherent. He would be difficult to get a straight answer from, but the Basilard supposed it had little choice.

Child, calm your failing nerves and listen. Many men are above us. It recalled the hostility it sensed as it estimated their probable numbers. If you wish to survive, fear must become your weapon, not your crutch.

Re: A Voice from the Past

Post by Iarei on

It was not as if the boy had never seen a dead body before. It wasn't as if he hadn't walked past any number of them in Poltek, or done his share of riffling through the pockets of the dead. Still, the overload of stimulation he had experienced, and the swelling and uncontrollable fear had moved him past any rational or reasonable thought. He was a bundle of emotional reaction, primed to give a fear-response to anything even slightly out of the ordinary. He was a child, in every way that counted, and if there could be said to be a worst case scenario for him, this might have come closest; it was the possibility of the improbable, the impossible, and every shade of potential for his worst nightmares to come true in that dark room that shifted him beyond his hard-won street instincts.

But in that context, with him struggling to get away from all the bits of a long-dead man (the thud of the skull hitting the ground made him flinch, hard, his whole body shuddering with it), the sudden light and the disembodied voice calling to him gave him something of a boost; he got his feet under him and pulled back. Though some flakes of something came with him like the strands of a spiderweb, by the time the meaning of what the words had said penetrated through the cloud of his anxiety, he was free of the main concern. And, staring at it (how pitiful, that body) he came to understand the new danger, the true danger to his body and soul.

With the figurine in mind (somehow along the way he had tucked it into his clothing, which he did not remember doing) he thought of the pale faces of the adults as they had talked plans and this and that, and he could only think of running away. He started turning, but he only saw the one exit in the room: that which he had come in through.

"I need to run," he said, breathless and shaky, "where do I go?"

That the voice had been the cause of his panic, an unknown enemy, was now lost in the face of the known threat, the one that would kill him should it find its way to him.

Re: A Voice from the Past

Post by The Raven Basilards on

The basilard examined the boy. He had apparently calmed at least enough for rational discourse.

There is no way out but up. The basilard calmly asserted. The men upstairs could not harm it, if they were after the boy. From what information it possessed, it expected them to be a superstitious, thuggish lot, not the kind who could turn it in to the guards. However, their minds had not been rendered pliable like the child’s had, and it could not force them to carry it. In addition, the child was beneath notice. He would make a more suitable wielder. For now they have been paralyzed by fear and confusion. They have heard your scream and seen my light. They will take time to reenter the building.

The basilard softened its glow to a more manageable, stealthy amount. I trust you have the basics of stealth. The warehouse above us, assuming it has not been cleared since my arrival, is cluttered with old boxes and shelves. Cover will be plentiful.

Above them, a shrill grinding noise began and concluded. The metallic sound echoed down the stairs to their awareness. The basilard supposed they must have dragged the long gates on at least one side of the building closed. Perhaps they had left their members inside, and did not want to let the boy escape. Perhaps they had decided there was a monster within, and would rather not take chances. From a certain view, the assessment was correct.

Begin walking up the stairs. It instructed. The indentations on the hilt which formed the blade’s eyes caught the light as the boy moved. It seemed to form violet pupils in the smooth gaps in the raven skull, though they vanished just as quickly as they appeared. Our time is limited, and I would not see it wasted as I explain my utility.

Your goal will be to get me near enough that they can hear my voice. I long ago discovered the value to your puradyne superstitions; they may flee, particularly if two or more can hear me. If discovered... you must wield me as my form suggests. I can augment their suffering enough to incapacitate them momentarily. It paused. Perhaps it was expecting too much of the boy. Do you understand what I am saying, child? You life may hang upon your comprehension.

Re: A Voice from the Past

Post by Iarei on

"O-okay."

Boy very suddenly and very urgently had to piss, but with the dagger in hand he just didn't think he could do it. He shifted his weight instead, bouncing a little as the urge pressed at him and his energy level spiked. The fear had not gone, but instead his own need to flee had superseded it. He'd never been the type to freeze, as evidenced by his crazed rampage; his personal anchor was maintaining common sense over blind panic. Luckily for him, he had the voice in his ear. Be it a lifeline or the first step down the road to insanity, it soothed him to have someone telling him what to do. Iarei's influence, that. He'd gotten used to it, and now he could only cling to it with a whimper and a prayer.

It was hard to take control of his limbs as he crossed to the stairs and climbed them, pausing on each step as if the barest whisper of sound would get him gutted. He stumbled twice, clipping his toes once and banging his knee; he didn't make a noise in pain and nor did it slow him. If anything, the pain helped him, drew him out of the realm of what-ifs and into the reality that if he stepped in it he'd be in a whole lot more pain. Probably. It'd be bad, whatever happened.

The door was not closed, and out he went into the warehouse more timid than any mouse that'd ever crossed the floor. Over to some crates, barely visible to his recovering night vision, he paused behind them while sinking to his haunches. He sat there breathing, heart beating so hard he could feel it pulsing in his fingertips and toes. The urge to run screaming was present, as real as the presence of his aching bladder, but he held it down with no small amount of effort.

"Where do I go? What do I do?" The words barely passed his lips, so quiet was his whisper.

Re: A Voice from the Past

Post by The Raven Basilards on

The boy was plainly afraid. That was acceptable. The basilard had long ago learned the role of fear. It sharpened senses, sped reaction times and encouraged survival. The blade was impressed by the child’s aptitude and understanding of that concept, even if it was merely instinctive. He was letting the fear rule his senses but not his mind.

It was dark. Very dark. The only light in the entire warehouse came from the moonlight shining through small, rectangular windows near the roof, with one exception. Near the gate that the gang had rolled shut, a man stood with a lantern. He had wavy brown hair and a face untouched by the violent life he and his fellows led. The orange glow formed a bubble of security, which the man seemed unwilling to leave even though could carry the lantern with him.

The second gate at the opposite end of the building remained open, but it was possible to detect two figures standing outside it, shivering in the night air. Both had weapons drawn, but it was otherwise impossible to distinguish their features. The light of the lantern did not traverse the length of the whole building.

At least two more were wandering around the floor. The basilard could tell their approximate location by gauging the strength of its telepathic senses, and by extension tell that the two were travelling separately, but beyond that it knew nothing of them. The size of the building worked to their advantage, as these last two were currently distant enough to pose no threat, but the building’s limited exits did not.

The glowing of the basilard unhelpfully lit the boxes. Most of its light was shed upon the side which faced the child, but it worried the basilard all the same. Even modest amounts light stood out in this environment. Try to find something to cover me with, or my glow will give us away. Use your shirt, if you must.

It wished the child was darker skinned. His complexion would not aid them along, especially that fair hair of his. Otherwise, the basilard could not complain. The child was so naturally submissive that the blade idly wondered if the statue was even necessary; yet between the blade’s inexperience with a mobile form and the mild threat the thugs posed it, the blade was nevertheless grateful that things had ended up as they had.

It continued to think about its surroundings. It began to form a plan. The man with the lantern is stationary and wields fire. His eyes will not penetrate the darkness, but his light aids his ally’s vision. We are less reliant on sight, thanks to my senses. We must get him to drop the lantern. Approach him quietly. Look for opporitunities on the way.

Re: A Voice from the Past

Post by Iarei on

One man's bubble of security is another's bubble of doom. The boy couldn't help but notice that glow, as his eyes adjusted to the surrounding colors in the dimness, as he did what the basilard suggested. He took off his shirt, some random ping of worry wondering what he'd do if the blade cut the material -- why'd he forgotten the thing's sheath? he only had one shirt, and without Iarei it was now precious to him -- as his own awareness pressed out around him. He was still calming down, would not be completely calm in such a situation, but his own will and drive to survive meant that he wouldn't go down into a blubbering mess. Kids on the street who did either wound up sold, beaten or dead. Boy'd survived enough beatings to have adjusted early on. Did that mean he was lucky? Still not so lucky as the fat kids up in the good parts of town, but now he was losing focus and he shouldn't do that.

He almost told the voice no out of some crazed desire to blame the thing, to deny it as a source of instruction even as he yearned for the familiarity of that instruction. He almost didn't move to show how independent and brave he was, no matter that he'd just asked for directions. But he wanted to move. He wanted something to do, anything better than staying frozen behind crates, waiting for doom to happen upon him.

Several shaky breaths later he was creeping towards the light, sticking to the outskirts of the warehouse. The light of the lantern 'aids his allies vision' according to the voice, but the boy could use it too. He had the voice, and he also knew that they were there, where they didn't know where he was. So long as he listened hard and watched his step he could figure out where they were compared to him, and stay out of their path. That was the problem with the warehouse -- there were things to hide behind, but they were scattered. He would have to decide ahead of time where he was going in relation to where the two men were, and not mess up along the way.

He had as good of night vision as anyone, but that didn't make him impervious to mistakes. He wasn't a fighter. He was out of practice when it came to sneaking. Iarei'd hit him when he'd made the suggestion that she get him lessons, and she'd been mad for a whole day about it. He didn't get it. Seemed to him the ones who were stronget always got what they wanted, no matter what she said about there being "different kinds of strength, could you be any more stupid?"

There was a scraping noise, followed by a spate of muttered words and a distant noise of wood hitting stone. It was behind him and to the side. He paused at the edge of his current cover, shifting to make sure it stayed between him and the other man. They weren't exactly trying to be quiet, but they still made noise: the other one was on the other side of the warehouse and -- after a few daring and excruciating peeks around his cover -- not looking his way at all. That left the one behind him. The man was getting closer, and boy's skin was suddenly wet while his mouth went dry. If he moved forward, he'd be caught. Breathing through his mouth slowly despite his lungs' sudden need for air, now, he listened as hard as he could so that he could crabwalk accordingly. He wanted to hide. He wanted a hole to curl up in, where he could squeeze his eyes shut and wait for all of them to go away.

"Door here!" It was the other one, the one from the other side of the warehouse. The boy caught his breath.
The man near him paused. Boy heard the scrape of his boot as he turned, and without thinking he darted forward for the next cluster of crates as the man answered with, "What about it?"
"I ain't goin' down there alone, c'mere."

The banter went on until the two men went into the room below, and the boy hopped forward by two new clusters. There was a new problem, though -- whether by the call of "Body! Been messed with" or some other reason, the man with the light had started walking into the warehouse. Boy had not yet picked up anything with which to use, and there was no handy debris with which to use to throw at the man. Not that he noticed. There was nothing he could see but the boxes he hid behind. "What do I do?" His voice was small, and angry, and pitiful all at once.

The two men emerged from the room, approaching the man with the lantern. They were discussing the body, and the disturbed dust in that long-sealed tomb.

Re: A Voice from the Past

Post by The Raven Basilards on

The basilard flickered its perception outwards as it took a moment to consider the situation. It had every intention of relying on bluff tactics, but the question was in how. The men hadn’t been as rattled by the dead body as it had hoped, marring a half formed plan it had been entertaining. The sparse cover likewise worked to its disadvantage: it would be difficult to lead them through telepathy without the boy being discovered.

The boy still clutched the statue. Perhaps they could use that to their advantage by leaving the statue atop a box and moving it periodically when he was not looking. It might prove frightening enough, though the chances of him actually dropping the light seemed remarkably slim.

While its senses were turned outward, it was unprepared for the sudden wave of rebellious emotion which washed over it. While nowhere near strong enough to rattle it, the blade was forced to rethink its earlier assumptions as to the child’s mental state. The effect also rendered the basilard further unwilling to part with the statue: if the child released it, perhaps his state would proceed to the point where it could not control him.

No, it would have to do this the hard way. It could not afford to take chances. Child, it warned him, The lantern has moved within range. I am about to begin speaking with him. The man with the light will not be able to tell which direction I am, but be prepared to move.

It waited until the lantern bearer was nearer to another set of boxes than he was to the boy’s. It decided misdirection might be a better tactic. The light will show the way to the crypt, it whispered into the man’s mind. He stiffened immediately and ceased walking. The lantern was raised into the air as his head swerved back and forth. The swaying light drew his companion’s attention.

“Who said that?” The man with the lantern cried out into the darkness.

“Did you hear somethin’? It the kid?”

“Fuck no! It was some fucked up whisper-”

Below. You must lead them. The light will show the way. The basilard interrupted, silencing the man immediately. The only way he could have become more rigid is if he stood upon his toes. The child has entered. You must follow.

“Fucking magic!” The man whispered to himself, his eyes darting uselessly through the shadows. He raised his voice and hustled towards his fellows, “I think somethin’ got the kid! I got a voice in m’ head whisperin’ shit about light. There’s somethin’ down there!”

The other two turned to look at each other, plainly worried. “We were just there.” One of them protested as the man with the lantern reached them. The two at the doorway had moved in slightly to more easily hear the proceedings while the man with the lantern hastily explained what he had heard. The basilard threw the emotion of fear across the distance, but even then, frightened as the man was, the basilard was unable to forge a sufficient bond to directly instill the emotion. It privately seethed as it settled for artificially reinforcing the man’s fear by continuing to send the noise of shallow, gasping breathing across the telepathic link.

While they are distracted, quickly. If my memory serves there are chains in the opposite corner near the entrance. Make your way there; the simpleton’s ramblings will cover your noise. Rattle them and flee to distract the door guards. I will attempt to manipulate any who dare approach.

Re: A Voice from the Past

Post by Iarei on

God? No, it couldn't be a god. But maybe it was something else, something like a god. That awed boy, and frightened him: he'd never been near anything with those sorts of powers before. It made him shrink down even further, considering and reconsidering his choices. What could it do? Well, it obviously couldn't kill the men, or else it would have. Maybe. It couldn't directly manipulate, or else it would have. Maybe. It didn't seem to be able to cause pain or -- he squirmed. He didn't know shit. Whatever it was, he didn't know a single thing about it besides what it had let him see, and it didn't matter because right then he needed to get out of the place and away from the men who chased him. Maybe he could figure out what it was and did and wanted later, but that was later and not in the now. Wouldn't mean nothing if he got caught and cut up for his theft.

He moved when the voice told him to move. He did what the voice told him to do. His hand fair shook the chains on its own when he reached them; he was shaking with adrenaline.

He dropped them, and they hit the hard ground with a thunk. He looked right, nothing, left, nothing, right again as he started to creep out and -- froze as he caught movement from the corner of his eye. He flinched between steps, and turned his head, catching sight of a woman. An oddly familiar woman. She was staring at him, her eyes glassy and expression vacant, and what's more was that she was standing right in the middle of the doorway. Right in front -- he heard someone shouting. Couldn't tell what they were saying, but that didn't matter because they knew.

"Jester!" he half-hissed, exasperated. The need to move intensified, and without a thought he darted to her, grabbed her arm, and yanked her out into the darkness, head down and legs pumping for all they were worth.

Re: A Voice from the Past

Post by The Raven Basilards on

Wait boy! The basilard cried as the boy suddenly vaulted towards the doorway. Its wielder was too panicked to respond, and its voice simply rattled around in the boy’s mind without comprehension. What is-Who is that? Stop!

It was simply no use. The child had his mind set on charging the woman. At any moment they might discover him, so the basilard did the only thing it could: the warehouse was basked in violet waves as its light flooded every corner of the building, penetrating the thin shirt which had been wrapped around it. The effect was enough to keep the thugs from attacking the jester outright. They blinked, their dark-adjusted eyes stunned by the glow, but recovered quickly enough that one hollered out, in a voice curiously high in pitch, “The boy’s here too! Makin’ a break for it!”

As the boy frantically rushed through the gate one of the men took a swipe at him, his weapon of choice a small dirk. He was a scrawny thing, malnourished and hardly fit to fight, but it would be more than enough to overcome the boy. The basilard frantically took over the boy’s arm and swerved itself in the path of the incoming point. The weapon was deflected neatly by the basilard’s wide guard, but the boy’s small arm buckled all the same. The basilard’s edge came dangerously close to the boy’s skin, but avoided hitting the child all the same. It did not seem the boy even noticed in his rush, despite the detrimental stumble the nervous interruption had caused.

It was all they could do to escape into the night. The basilard abruptly dulled its glow once again, leaving the thugs in darkness. It did not expect it to do much good for long— the jester’s bright colors were sure to betray them if its lingering light did not. But for now perhaps they could slip around a corner and lose them for a moment. A precious moment might be all it needed to get answers from the boy.

It saw an alleyway ahead, to the boy’s right. Leave the center of the street, child! The blade demanded harshly, its deep voice holding a hiss. They will follow if we do not break sight!

How it hoped that the streets would be labyrinthine. If it were merely straight, the men’s superior strides might allow them to catch up. The sole advantage that the blade’s own side possessed was in trickery and concealment, an advantage destroyed by this new, vibrantly colored arrival. It needed answers quickly so that it could respond effectively to the situation. Explain the presence of this one as soon as you are able.

Only then did it realize that the familiar magic of the carvings had multiplied: this jester held the other. It remained silent, still desiring answers, but at least felt relieved that it knew the location of the second. How curious that they should both be found together. How strange that, if such was the case, they had not sapped the will of whomever gathered them.




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