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Seas Of Erin > Cecilia > Some pain will last
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 10:20 AM
The sun was going down. Of course Maalech could not see it from inside, but the shadows from the windows grew longer and longer, the light shifting faintly down the spectrum towards red.
The small weave he had been working on had been made and unraveled several times now, until he had reached a state where it reflected his thoughts enough to help him focus. He did not like the answers he was getting, and that was obvious.
The habitual frown on his brow had deepened from wrinkles to groves, the lengthening shadows not flattering his age.
He was pacing, the loose wreath-style shirt halfway open, feet bare. He looked as if he might have woken up recently, when the truth was he had not slept in quite a long time. He had been thinking. And pacing. He always tended to do that while thinking, circling the weave as if it would somehow make more sense from a different angle. Sometimes it did. But sense was not always a palatable thing, and the more he looked, the more he frowned.
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 10:22 AM
The man who was standing at the window when Maalech turned around didn't look very happy either.
And armed, no less.
And he didn't turn towards the man, his mouth a tight line as he stared at the window for a time.
Then he turned towards the man, his own gaze a tired mirror of Maalech's own, "Have a sec, Mal?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 10:25 AM
There was no sign on Maalech's face that the sudden entrance had unnerved him.
Though the truth was, it had. He disliked being at the mercy of causality and power like this.
So he stopped his pacing, crossing his arms as he watched the other man, taking note of the weapons there.
"You would not have appeared if you did not think you had something important to share. So yes, I do have time."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 10:30 AM
Morgan chuckled some, turning now towards the man, "Yeah. I don't know why we got in the habit of pretending we have a lot of social calls to make. Being the big powerful one must give us some kind of drive for drama."
He chuckled half-heartedly, licking his narrow lips a little and taking a step towards the man, "I have a question I need answered, Mal. I need to know if you'd ever betray me." The man's hands were dangling at his sides, easy for now but still close enough to the blade at his side.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 10:34 AM
Maalech scoffed loudly, watching the man with something akin to amusement though his eyes were focused and sharp. "What would be your definition of betrayal. I have acted against what you perceive to be your best interests before, you know that and have the scars to prove it."
At this it was hard to believe that Maalech no longer had his Art. Perhaps he had become so used to being potent he did not know how to act any other way.
Or, if one knew his past, it was far more likely this was just who he was, power or not. He'd just grown too powerful to be scarred for it.
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 10:36 AM
The man sighed, turning back to the window, scowling.
"You've got a lot of plans. A close weave. I'm holding your weird disc thing. Do you have other plans for me in it?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 10:40 AM
"And you would see that as betrayal? If you featured into my plans?" Maalech sighed, a small annoyed breath as he watched the man's back. "It is as you say. I have plans. I have plans should those plans fail. This is a weave, and we all are threads there. You as well as me. Surely this is not news to you?"
He did sound a bit incredulous, as if he was surprised that this was the first tome Morgan had thought of that.
"There are precious few people that do not feature in my web."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 10:43 AM
Morgan sent his fist into the wall, whirling on the man, doing his best to hold himself back, his voice a low growl, "Fucking HELL, Maalech!"
He turned away from the man, staring at the wall, "Mal. What do you have planned for me, then? And we'll see how that pans out."
Maybe it was the first time he'd thought about it.
But the thought didn't make him happy.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 10:49 AM
"It does not work like that." Maalech did not flinch from Morgan's violence, though he was as always quite aware of his own mortality at the moment. And Morgan was a weapon, dangerous to him even when he had his Art.
"Do you take yourself as a man that is easily manipulated? To an extent you are. But not when it goes against your nature. A good weaver does not attempt to force the threads into something they are not. They take what they have and work with it."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 10:52 AM
Morgan was quiet then, scowling and flexing his hands, letting out a slow breath.
Then he looked to Maalech, seeking something in the man's eyes, "That's my point, Mal. That's my fucking point." He began pacing slowly, his lips drawing tight, "There's a lot of things I can do. You know how to make me do 'em. So I want to know, Mal: do you have plans for me? Ones that are going to fuck me over worse?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 10:56 AM
"Do you mean if you have some purpose beyond retiring in quiet and raising those children?" Maalech's eyes were unreadable as always, he had been without his Art long enough to mask his feelings once more.
"Then yes. Yes you do. Several Though whether those purposes will ever be realized is another thing. That I do not know."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 11:01 AM
He didn't want to say it.
He didn't want to say it but Maalech was above lying--at least as far as the man could tell--and he had to know.
Morgan flexed his hand a little, "This. This thing you've been up to. This thing with the 'little Magus' and the Countess? I was thinking that... that maybe you had other plans. Backups in case that didn't work. And that maybe you wouldn't be above putting someone else under the cart if it came to it."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 11:07 AM
"Of course I do have other plans. I did not expect this to work as fully and as fast at it did. It seems I picked quite well when I choose her all those years ago." Smug? Yes. He was proud of his achievements there. "I did not foresee the Countess would have found someone suitable for the Magus role though, I see Her hand in that. She likes to stack the deck." There was the faint frown again, Alynealin was the one pawn in this he could not control. Dared not manipulate.
"And it has been brought ti my attention that the risks inherent in my weave are too great." Yes, there was bitterness there as he looked away. "It would seem that it would be safer to somehow break the weave that I have made."
Destroy his work. He loathed that. Change, modify, start over... those things he could do with little effort. End something? Call it a failure? That galled him.
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 11:10 AM
"Then, that in mind, you aren't planning to put me into that weave?" The man realized it must have sounded foolish. Narcissistic. But it was hard to care.
Maalech was a great mage. Powerless or not, the man had planned and planned. He'd put this together, he'd put Morgan in a place to hold the magic. Morgan had seen the Tzarg. The man didn't know half so much as he would like about how the Weaving was going to work, but.
Morgan was a mage. He had a different role, too, but roles could be changed by someone with the drive to change them.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 11:16 AM
Maalech paused there, perhaps just a breath longer than needed. "In that weave? You would not be suitable. You have never been suitable. What in all the seven mortal hells made you even consider that?"
Maalech shook his head and watched Morgan with something that was almost amusement.
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 11:19 AM
Now Maalech was laughing at him.
It was okay.
He seemed almost awash with relief.
And then he shook his head some, "You just seem to piss off a..."
Of course, now that he thought about it, that hadn't quite been the question he'd wanted to ask. Close, but one he needed to work up to.
"Paranoia mostly," said the man, frowning, "And knowing at least one more Fate-marked redhead. I'm not suitable for that weave. Good. But." He scowled some, "I worry after her. I worry that you might try someone else."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 11:26 AM
Maalech looked puzzled for a moment, then the realization dawned on him. "You thought that...? Ah, no, she is utterly unsuitable. She is so tightly caught in her own weave I would not hazard to manipulate her."
He shook his head, amused by the fact that in the end, this was all about what was in Morgan's pants. Once more.
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 11:27 AM
"So, then, you don't have some sort of big plan to screw her over? Or me?" He seemed relieved as he said it, "A big, likely one that you've got us already snared in or are preparing to spring?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 11:30 AM
Maalech hesitated again, signing as he walked over to the weave, running his fingers over it. "The work that has been done on her is intricate. I am curious to see where it will lead, I would not destroy a great work of Art to satisfy my own desires. What I asked of her, she has already given."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 11:31 AM
"And what was that?" He tried to keep calm.
It wasn't working half so well as he'd hoped it would.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 11:34 AM
"I asked her to keep safe a man that I would not wish killed. She seemed the correct choice for that task, the timing was crucial and it was quite uncertain whether he would take to life or not."
Maalech had turned to watch Morgan again, studying the man quite closely.
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 11:36 AM
That red-haired elf.
Morgan sighed a little, rubbing at his eyes a little.
"Right. Forgot all about him." He looked back to the man, frowning, "Sorry. Paranoid as fuck."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 11:40 AM
"Like it or not, I depend on you now Morgan. You are not just a pawn to be moved and sacrificed at whim. I would refrain from doing things to drive you from your path unless they are essential. She is not, and neither are the children."
Maalech relaxed visibly. arms sliding down from his chest. "You are no less paranoid than me. I fear that the stakes of this game are changing as I play it."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 11:42 AM
"That's what happens when you play in the big leagues." He smirked at the man then. "See why I never got involved in 'em too deeply?"
He leaned against the wall, closing his eyes for a moment, "I don't know about the things you do. I just. She's a really powerful redhead. And maybe that Scarlet girl doesn't want her but. But the whole thing got me to thinking."
He snorted some, frowning at the wall, "But I guess that explains why I spent all those years fighting and not being a diplomat."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 11:50 AM
"You are involved now. Whether you like it or now." Maalech shook his head, watching the man almost fondly.
"She is interesting. And I would suspect Scarlet would have no interest in her. Her fate is... quite tangled. And interesting. I would give quite a lot to be able to study those patterns more closely..." There was a look of hunger on his face briefly, the hunger for knowledge.
For something he did not understand deeply enough.
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 11:52 AM
"Typical. Beautiful woman and you want to study her weird tattoo." The man smirked then, running a hand over his head, "Fuck it, though. Big leagues or not, I'm still playing small. Anne and her cadre don't notice me, no one's trying to kill me that I know of..."
He shrugged a little, "Almost got everything going."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 11:57 AM
"Would you rather I had an interest in her as you perceived I had when I repaired what you had torn asunder?" The question could almost be called flippant.
Now that the immediate threat had passed he could relax once more.
"And I fear that despite your distaste for it, you are still quite an important man to my plans. We need to untangle the weave from the Countess. As I said, the risks are not quite worth it. And time, apparently, is running out."
He sounded deeply troubled there, eyes going to the weave once more.
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 11:58 AM
Morgan looked at the man then, arching an eyerbrow, "You mean it won't just fall apart?" The man realized then how stupid a question that was to ask Maalech. The man made things to last.
He covered his face with one hand for a moment before speaking again, "What I mean to ask is 'what can I do?'"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 12:02 PM
"No, it won't just 'fall apart' this is a passive weave, once I snagged her in it years ago she has been completing it on her own. If she had deviated from the path I predicted for her it would have fallen away and withered, but she has been heading where I thought she might, straight as an arrow. I do not predict that there will be any deviations large enough to break it apart. In fact, once one or two more major knots have been tied, she would be ready. And that would be unwise."
"There are a few ways to go about this, I am just not certain what would be the wisest... or easiest. They all come with their own risks, none of them minor."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 12:04 PM
The man frowned some, "So I guess just telling her about it and hoping it just breaks isn't an option, eh?" He smirked some at that, running a hand over his head.
"It's based on Aly for her, right? What kind of markers can we use to push her away from Aly's path?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 12:08 PM
"That would be the safest path to go, yes. However, since it has proceeded this far, I suspect that there is only a single thing powerful enough to break the weave, That would be if she regains her lands and rises to be queen. The 'happily ever after' there would be something that was never achieved before. One other thing that might be strong enough would be that her Queensman would leave her side and forget about her. But even that might not be enough. And all this would need to be accomplished before she becomes pregnant."
A faint sigh there. "I am not as well informed as I might be, but I do not see this war won easily or happily. It will take time. I am not certain how much patience they would have."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 12:10 PM
Morgan frowned some.
He hated how much that word felt like... like 'sex' or 'home'. Something famliiar and longed for. He wasn't a killer any more.
"Well, that I can help with if I can. If I can be sure the kids are safe."
Which was all that REALLY mattered.
He scowled down at the floor for a moment, "The rest... I'm sure we can do. Somehow."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 12:20 PM
A faint smiled played on Maalech's lips for a moment. "It might be the safest path to take. The alternative would be to seek the weave out and physically abort it. And that is quite unsafe now that do not have my Art. Even though you can travel there and find the location..." Maalech wondered whether it had been right to give Morgan access with the disc, but he had little choice if he wished to do this. "... I would advice you against doing that without me. My works are keyed to my threads, you would not know what to cut without me. If it becomes necessary I will ask for your help."
He nodded, satisfied "In the meantime, let us hope that the aspects can learn some patience..." Maalech frowned there, then admitted "There have been some new and disturbing revelations there"
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 12:22 PM
"Aren't there always?" The man smirked a little before leaning against the wall, sighing, "So what do they have to say?"
"And... and don't worry. I wouldn't dream of trying to carve up anything without knowing what I'm cutting." He rubbed at his wrist, licking his lips a little, "The world's just a little too fragile for that, I think."
Or at least that girl was.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 12:27 PM
"Apparently 'Anne' is on hiatus. Her temporary replacement was a bit more direct..." The scowl there was deep enough to show he had not cared for her. "She attempted to pressure me into making a decision whether or not I would accept their offers of joining their number eventually. She told me that time was running out and the window of opportunity would soon be gone. As you might imagine this made me ponder."
He had started pacing again, glancing at the weave as he did so.
"They are gilding the cage. I cannot decide the reasons for it. When I spoke to Anne there was always enough time, it seems that this might have been a personal view of hers. The woman that came now... she seeks to push me into something. I am unsure what her reasons would be."
His eyes grew distant. "Though I have heard her words before."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 12:32 PM
"Well, then I guess you should ask yourself--or them--what you get if you accept. I mean, sure, supernal-being-ness is great, but do you get your Art? Your wife? Your plans?"
"Or are you more afraid what they'll do if you reject them outright? What the person they ACTUALLY get will do to you just to make sure there's no competition?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 12:41 PM
"I am fairly certain I know what I would have to give up. And that would include all the things you named, including my humanity. They are sacrifices I do not care for, but if I felt that my path was reaching its end, I might still consider it... as it is, I have obligations I would not leave behind."
He ran a finger over the weave, following the threads there. "You do realize this is eerily similar to the offer the Tzarg gave us once our world was destroyed? Granted, we did not know they were the Tzarg at the time, nor that they were the ones that had caused the calamity at the start, but we were given the opportunity for our dreams to come true. A new home. A place to feel useful. A world to nurture. Power to find out what lay behind the veils of reality."
His mouth had become a thin line, remembering... "You name me callous for using people like pawns, in ways that might hurt them for a goal I say is a worthy one. I feel the pawn now, strung along, increasingly tempting offers dangled in front of me to make me proceed. By now I fear that I have been little but a fool. That the beings that play this game with me is what I would have named the Tzarg all along."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 12:43 PM
And for a long time that was all the man could say.
Then he looked down at the weave for a moment.
"So what is it you're trying to achieve, Mal?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 12:47 PM
"At this point in time I would settle for having her safe, sane and free of their influence."
The answer was simple, and quite honest. Maalech looked tired, defeated.
"I have been humbled, seeing what these creatures are capable of. It seems a futile path to seek revenge. Even if these ones are not the ones that raised their hands against us, they are similar enough that I am aware that their power dwarfs mine. What damage I could do would not be worth the sacrifices. I am not a suicidal man."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 12:49 PM
"Ask if they've got a place for her, maybe? Then she's free and you two are..."
He shrugged some.
"I guess it's out of the question to ask them--what with being supernal and all--to just undo all the weavings, make Aly sane and let you two live happily ever after, knowing you aren't going to bring war to their front door."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 12:55 PM
Maalech sighed. Deeply. Then he looked at Morgan "It does not work that way and you know it. These are not gods bearing gifts for their worshipers in exchange for their faith. These are as far as I can tell the overseers of the various aspects of this continuity."
He had become annoyed again, and he was grateful to Morgan for it. It was preferable to that feeling of subtle defeat. "Would you ask me then to change Joy's heart to beat for you? Or make your son proud that you are his father? "
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 12:56 PM
"Doesn't seem the same to me, but..." The man shrugged.
"Then I guess we should get him to finish with those cards--or undo 'em--before we un-Magus him, hm?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 01:03 PM
"It is the same. It is having something handed to you on a platter, something that you neither worked for nor deserved. I would not ask for anything like this. I do have some modicum of self-respect."
Maalech sighed, walking over to the window to look out at the rapidly darkening garden. "Have you ever asked yourself what will likely happen once she has her memory returned? Why I bound them away in the first place?"
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 01:05 PM
"Probably exactly what'll happen when she finally manages to track you down now." The man sighed, "You really pissed her off, Mal. But at least when she's whole she'll know why it happened. Better the whole story than half, right?"
Because she was ready to kill the man. And even with Morgan's (likely laughable) attempts to divert her from from finding him, it was only a matter of time.
"Then maybe she can make a decision, at least."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 01:09 PM
"She is tracking me down?" There was a surprise in that comment that he could not hide fast enough.
Seven mortal hells. There was no way that could be good.
"She will know why it happened. She will understand that part. However, she will also remember everything else. Her rage at me will pale in comparison with the rage at those that destroyed her home. Unlike me, she will not be stopped by reason. It was her people that died. Her family. Her home."
There was the faintest of shrugs as he turned around to watch Morgan once more.
"I might have left thoughts of futile revenge behind. She is not a woman that forgets."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 01:11 PM
"...no, she doesn't seem like the type."
Which, of course, made everything worse.
So Morgan sighed, shaking his head, "Don't suppose there's a way to make her think you already got revenge for her? Or someplace we could put her to give her new people to watch over? Hell, I know the kids could use a mother."
A real one.
Though he had ideas for someone who'd just be better than Aly on all fronts.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 01:17 PM
"She is no fool."
Maalech sighed, he would not have fallen in love with her if she was. Headstrong, passionate, and more than a little unhinged.
"To deal with her... ah, there is a way. It will neither be easy, nor tasteful. But it would solve our issues with the Countess as well."
He fell silent for a moment, watching the man.
"How far are you willing to go?"
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 01:19 PM
"I never know the answer to that, Mal." Morgan smiled some, "To get revenge on you, I once let a sword damn near eat me from the soul out. I hope nothing like that will be called for."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 01:31 PM
"No. Hopefully neither of us needs to go quite that far again." His finger brushed the scar underneath his eye.
"The simplest way would be to capture her, release her memories in a controlled environment, then ward her with similar sigils to the ones that entrap me. It would give her time to adjust to what has happened without attempting anything rash. However, this still leaves the issue of her departure being noticed by the Tzarg... because I dare not assume that the creatures we are dealing with here are them. I simply do not know."
There was a sigh of frustration as he looked out through the window again "Unless..." he trailed off, pondering for a moment. "I need you to find out one thing for me. How you do it is your business, but it is important."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 01:32 PM
"See, now you're saying things I can wrap my head around." Morgan chuckled and looked to the man, "What do you need?"
Of course, the rest alone was a daunting prospect. But the two of them? Mal and Aly? Together? It would be scary as fuck. But probably better than things as they stood now.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 01:40 PM
"I need to know whether the weave I wove to bring Neely O'Niall back to life still holds. Is the man functional? Sane? Is he suicidal? And above all, is he significant?" Maalech seemed revitalized, as if he had found whatever direction that had been missing before.
"I need to know whether he still fulfills the role the world has cast him. Is he a player in the war? Will be matter? Is there anything that separates him from any of the other players out there?"
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 01:42 PM
That was an abrupt shift in subject.
Or was it?
The man frowned a bit, "I'll find out. I have business on that boat anyway."
And Joy. If she'd even talk to him.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 01:45 PM
Maalech hesitated a moment, watching Morgan's confusion. For a moment he thought it best to leave the man in the dark, then he corrected himself.
It was not the time for that. He would have to trust the other man's understanding. He would be able to notice more if he knew why.
"It is theoretically possible for me to translate her... soul if you wish it to be called that, back to her original body and kill off the body she was reborn in, thus sending the shell back to complete the cycle. It would be similar to what I did to keep myself out of the loop. But resurrection is an imperfect science, and I need to know how my work with O'Niall has stood up to the test of time before I chance it with her."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 01:48 PM
"Ah. Want to see if something done to something without a soul works before trying it on something with one." Morgan nodded some, frowning and inclining his head, "Sounds like a good plan, I guess."
"But... wouldn't that run the risk of making two of her? Or messing with her mind even more?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 01:53 PM
"If it was without risks, you think I would not have attempted it years ago? It is risky, yes... but so are the alternatives. She might lose her mind completely. She might be be a shadow of her own self. The deception might not be deep enough and I bring down the very wrath that we have been fearing these years. But we have lost the option of doing nothing. Now all paths are wrought with danger."
Maalech did not seem to particularly mind. In fact he seemed to thrive on that.
"It is something we are quite used to, no?"
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 01:55 PM
"Yeah," Morgan sighed, wishing the whole thing didn't enervate him so.
"Yeah, it is."
He looked out the man's window for a moment, "After that, it's done, right? For good or bad, it's over?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 02:01 PM
"I am not sure it will ever be over. At least for her. But she will be in no position to disturb anything else. I am sure..." He sighed, shaking his head. "Her sisters will still be trapped, but there is no release for them. They have embraced their destinies and new lives. I could not free them if I would."
He shook his head, folding his arms over his chest again as he watched the garden "But for you it would be. As for me. This battle has gone on long enough, I will settle for an honorable retreat."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 02:04 PM
"Thanks." He rested his brow against the window then, closing his eyes for a moment, "'Cause I don't think I've got much more in me, Mal. I really don't."
He slumped some, "If I were a really good guy, I'd give some bullshit advice now about how you should stick to it and I'd fight 'till the bitter fucking end. But I'm not. I didn't."
He silenced himself then. He was through complaining.
"I'm sorry, Mal."
And, truthfully, Morgan did feel sorry.
He hated retreating. But sometimes you just couldn't help it.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 02:10 PM
"It is more foolish running oneself into the ground than realizing ones limitations. We all set out with imperfect knowledge, if we find ourselves on a different path than we first assumed it only means we have learned."
Maalech had left the foolish heroics behind. That was a game for young men.
But the tone of Morgan's voice made him look at the other man "She is still resting then?" The blade.
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 02:13 PM
"Learned? Me?" The man snorted some, "If you call getting tired of battering down doors with my head learning, I guess I have."
And at the mention of the blade?
"Thankfully. Though who knows how much longer."
He looked down at his hand, at the long, ugly scar on the palm, "She had a big meal. And I've got... I've got a lot to protect now. I hope that'll give me the Will enough to keep her down when sh--when it starts stirring."
"I won't let it take me again."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 02:20 PM
"Good. I never meant for that blade to be used except as a last resort. And that was as a tool, not as a fully empowered and named being in her own right." The smile grew grim, but he admitted "Though the fault there lies with me as much with you. I should have predicted what might happen."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 02:22 PM
"And I should have had a healthy fear that anything I stuck in her wouldn't be coming out." he shrugged some, shuddering to himself, remembering like another life the ravings, the knowledge that he was falling apart and a hate that coursed through him like white-hot blood.
He shuddered absently and shrugged, "Then that's what she'll be if she can manage to stay down."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 02:29 PM
Maalech was quiet for a little, then glanced at Morgan.
"The woman that approached me Anne's replacement... she used an interesting term to describe all this." he gestured with a hand, encompassing them and the world. "Continuity. Not Continuum. Whatever their boundaries are they are not wholly consistent with the boundaries of this plane. It seems that she, and by default us as well, are a part of this continuity. However I am not certain whether we have always been, or whether this is a recent thing. If it is recent, that might provide some protection from the Tzarg as well, if we go with the assumption that they are not the very beings that are watching over us at this moment."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 02:32 PM
Morgan shrugged a bit, "Well, whatever happens on that end, we can only go forward, eh?" He smiled some. "And after that? We let the rest of Continuity or Causality or whatever take care of itself."
The man sighed, "I swear, for a bunch of supernal overbeings, you'd think they'd be a little more helpful."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 02:41 PM
"Why? Why would they be helpful? There are a myriad individuals out there in the world, you cannot seriously suggest that they would see things the say ways as we do. As far as I am concerned, they are both more and less callous than gods."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 02:42 PM
"Yeah, but if they're going to make themselves known and give you tantalizing half-hints..." The man shook his head then, grimacing, "Well, I guess I shouldn't complain."
He was quiet for a second then, "Seriously, though, that Scarlet chick was scary."
Morgan had a quick chuckle at that, "Pity you can't much count on their support, hm?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 02:53 PM
"I am not certain I wish to count on their support, and that is an entirely different things. I wish for no gifts from them, apart from knowledge about how the world works. I will not be bribed."
He shook his head, looking annoyed.
"She is fickle and it is understandable. I did not understand the depths of her attachment to the Countess before." He ran a hand over his jaw, musing "You do realize that it is most likely best that you do not reveal any of your knowledge of them to the general world. They have mentioned they are quite happy to erase things like that."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 02:59 PM
Morgan had to admit a sudden urge to go shouting it to see if they would, indeed, erase what he said.
But, of course, the obvious solution was just to erase HIM.
So that was best left aside.
"Well, in matters of life, death and sex, I say take all the help you can get." He shrugged a little, "But none will likely come so I should just try not to think about it." He sighed, shaking his head.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 03:02 PM
"No. I suspect that most people would sleep better not knowing the truths behind the world. It fascinates few and troubles more. I suspect that is the reason for the popularity of religion."
Now that things had calmed down into some manner of peace he turned to face the man fully. "You came here with the intent of hurting me then? If you should deep it necessary?"
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 03:03 PM
"Threaten, anyway." He shrugged some, "I thought you'd give me a runaround and that it might take a sword to your throat before you answered me." he shrugged some, sighing.
"Sorry. I just. I was afraid you might try and pawn things off on me an' Joy if. If it went wrong there. And that'd mean I couldn't try and get her back."
And that last? That last held a very special kind of horror for him.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 03:08 PM
There was a faintly amused smile on his lips. "Had she been another woman, I might have done just that. But only might. It seems I am at last rediscovering friendship." He scratched his chin, not looking at Morgan.
"It is odd, this path I walk now. I feel more distant than I have in years, and yet more immersed in matters. I feel regret and I do not like it."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 03:11 PM
"Bullshit." He smirked then, "Like you said, I'm all wrong for it. And being with me would only fuck up the weave." Morgan chuckled a little at that before shrugging a little.
"Like I said before, Mal. You're human. Being human means you have to feel. Don't have the luxury of looking at a thousand other things to keep you distracted. And you'd be more immersed still if you'd just try and talk to people."
But one step at a time.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 03:19 PM
"Perhaps that is true. There is precious little to distract me from my thoughts." He sounded rather tired when he spoke.
"I feel old. I cannot remember if I ever have truly felt this old before. I assume part of it is that my body feels my age without my Art to blunt it. But it is more..." He was unusually introspective tonight, it was as if resigning himself to give up the battle he had prepared for the last centuries had left him in a void.
New doors opening. But those same doors also reminded him how many he had closed behind him.
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 03:28 PM
"You are old. So'm I. So's everyone." The man smiled tiredly at Maalech then.
"You're starting to see things out in front of you and starting to realize you don't know half the shit you thought you knew and that all your big plans and all your small plans are just..." morgan made a vague gesture, "Like dry leaves in a summer wind."
"Family, friends... all just the dust of history."
He shrugged then, running his hand over his head.
"Still, we carry on 'cause we're too stubborn to just lay down and let Death come for us."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 03:38 PM
"True." Maalech fell silent for a little, then cast Morgan an amused glance. "When did you find wisdom? It seems I must have missed that moment, how illuminating it might have been for all concerned."
But glib comments aside, the truth remained the same.
"It is bitter though. To have sacrificed everything for nothing."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 03:42 PM
"Don't know." The man half-smiled, looking down at the floor, "I think when the Plague hit. When Tien and Chara died."
Small bodies in the dirt.
Two more out of hundreds.
The man was quiet for a long time.
"... You sacrificed to get you to the point that would let you see that it was nothing. That's knowledge you can't buy. If you would've kept whatever you gave up, you'd still be in Kaldor, screaming empty threats at the sky right now."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 03:50 PM
"True. I know this. And I know it is folly to proceed in the face of failure." Still, the price had been steep.
And it was not paid in full yet.
"It is a paradox I think most people step away from. That pain and the things we dislike the most are the things that teaches us the most as well. A world free from pain would be a world free from growth."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 03:53 PM
"Yeah, but why grow if you're happy all the time?" The man shrugged some, "See, that's why I preferred to go out and fight people. Fucking, fighting, whatever. You don't have to worry about what any of it means. If you win? You're stronger. If she moans? You're skilled. If you die? Well, then you don't have to worry about fucking or fighting any more."
He chuckled a bit at that, "Growth might just be overrated. But it's too late to stop now."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 03:58 PM
The look Maalech gave the man was one of abject suffering. "I think I should rescind my words about wisdom after that tirade." It was half a joke really, but few things were more than half a joke with Maalech.
"I never wished for war. My battle is to find what is hidden from the eyes of men. But was have chased me since my birth, it seems I cannot be rid of it. I sicken at the smell of blood." The words were surprisingly vehement, he rarely spoke of these matters.
"Had I the chance I would have been happy retiring to my research. But the chance keeps eluding me... and I suspect that I would not have learned half as much as I have if I had got my wishes granted."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 04:03 PM
"If I was wise all the time, Mal, why would anyone need you?" He offered the man a half-joke in return, running his hand over his head, glad for a chuckle.
"Well, like you say, if it's easy it's no good." Even if it felt so much better to not have to fight for every scrap sometimes. "And now you've found a lot of things. You're not taking a fight to the Tzarg and maybe once Aly gets her head together she'll be happy to go with you. I've seen a couple really nice kingdoms in my day. The two of you could take over in no time if that's what you want."
Maalech probably wouldn't. But Aly needed her own people to love.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 04:06 PM
"I have no need for a kingdom." Maalech scoffed at the words, but he understood why Morgan said them. "And I doubt that she wishes to see me ever again if what we are about to do succeeds. She will need someone to hate, and i would be the suitable target. She will blame me for my failure and my crimes. i would not say that she is wrong."
She was not. This he knew.
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 04:08 PM
"Well, welcome to the doghouse, then." He smiled a little at that, looking over at the man for a moment.
"Besides, at least you have a good second choice if Aly decides she wants your guts on a platter somewhere." He just kept implying it.
If only because when he talked about Anne, Maalech seemed calm.
Maybe too much had gone on between him and Aly.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 04:39 PM
That made Maalech cast a glance at Morgan, a faint frown on his face. "It is not like that." But it totally was.
"As for her... you know her. She is the passionate type, not the forgiving type. I did the unforgivable thing of hurting her family... even it if was to further a cause she had demanded from me."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 04:44 PM
Morgan shrugged some, "If you say so, Mal." He smirked some.
He'd seen that same sort of look on too many faces to not know it. And tried arguing the fact too many times to pretend he could get it out of them.
"Her family? What'd you do?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 04:46 PM
The word was simple enough, his crime was not.
"She dismissed it as lies then, she would not do it now, capable of stringing two thoughts together."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 04:48 PM
Family. Her family, not his.
He was quiet then.
"Would you take it back now? If you could?"
And when Aly put her head together again? it'd be horrors upon horrors for Maalech.
Not, of course, that he didn't have it coming.
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 04:52 PM
"Hindsight is useless. And one act cannot be plucked from the acts that surrounds it. I will not rue what I felt was needed then. Going back, I would have made the same choice once more."
There was a brief but bitter pause.
"And regretted that same choice now."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 04:54 PM
Well, Morgan would just assume the man meant yes, yes, he would.
Because it sounded close enough to it and, fool that he was, he wanted to give the man the benefit of the doubt.
"Well, you regret it now. Which is something." The man half-smiled at Maalech then, "If you can remember all this once you're a demigod again, you'll be something really special, Mal."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 05:06 PM
"It is not a question of remembering." But perhaps it was. Maalech knew that he had pulled away from the world before, something which he tended to do when he had the option.
It was only now, when helpless, that he had been forced to open up and let people in. It was a hard lesson to learn. Once he had a choice... would he withdraw once more?
That was all in the future.
"And I never took any pleasure in it... even at the time." There had been bitterness that he was not the father, yes he would admit to that. But not enough to strike out that hard.
"Still, once again it is one experiment which headed in a direction I did not quite predict. Regardless of what people claim I am not infallible. It is all a matter of adjusting as time moves along."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 08:39 PM
"No one claims you're infallible, Mal. They just hate how often you're right in really sick ways. I know I was." He offered the man a weak smile then.
It was hard to reconcile, that. Of course he knew the man was capable of it. He was quite sure that Maalech was capable of anything if he put his mind to it. Which was why he was scary.
Morgan shrugged, "And... I tell ya, Maalech, knowing that is actually a really good thing." He sighed some, "I hoped you'd say something like that... I don't know if that makes it better or worse, but..."
He flexed his hands a bit. "And, yeah. It's all a question of adjusting."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 08:43 PM
"Oh I took great pains in making sure that people in general thought I was infallible. Of course lack of knowledge helped with that. To always adjust. There are precious few scenarios that will not yield any advantage to me."
Maalech admitted this freely, every archmage had their own ways at ensuring their reputation.
"You are adjusting then... to your new life?"
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 08:48 PM
"Oh, trust me, Maalech. I've noticed." The man chuckled at that before shrugging at the question.
After a little while he answered, "I like it, Mal." he was quiet for a time, "Fuck, I love it. It's quiet except for the screaming. They're getting personalities. I'm... I get to WATCH them develop personalities, Maalech. And. And no one's trying to kill me."
He sighed a little, "Hell, if I could get Joy in it, I think I'd... I think I'd be the happiest damn man on the planet."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 08:52 PM
"You do know that the chances are rather small at that I hope? You were there when I mended her path, she will step on from this world eventually, as well as from the next one and every one after that. For each step she will gain something and lose something, she is not a woman that is able to settle down with a family I think. regardless of her feelings of you."
perhaps he was blunt, but he wanted to make sure Morgan had no false hopes.
"Nevertheless I am happy for you. It is quite a tumultuous time."
The faintest of smiles there as he looked through the window. So sad.
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 08:55 PM
"Yeah." The man shrugged, looking away. "But I'd rather have. I'd rather have her for a little longer." he leaned forward then, resting his fingertips on his forehead for a time, eyes half-covered by his hand, "I know I can't keep her. I know it. I just."
He wanted to break something again.
Instead he just took a deep breath, "Tumultuous. Good word."
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 09:04 PM
Maalech looked sideways at Morgan for a moment, frowning faintly. He supposed there should be some supporting words to say, but he was not quite certain what those would be.
"Then do not put it off. Go talk to her. You would give me that very same advice."
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 09:10 PM
"No. I'm... I'm heading there. Right after this."
He looked down at the floor for a moment, running his hand over his head, "So. I guess I'm done here, eh?"
Posted by: Maalech Jul 9 2008, 09:11 PM
"Are you trying to put it off then?" The grey eyes might not be as cold anymore, but they were no less sharp.
Posted by: Morgan deCiel Jul 9 2008, 09:13 PM
Morgan chuckled some.
And offered the man a small wave.
"Thanks for keeping me honest."
And then he wasn't there.
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