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Seas Of Erin > Cecilia > Out of the sun
Posted by: Maalech Apr 29 2008, 09:37 PM
Maalech had found himself growing rather fond of the garden.
It was a pleasant enough patch of land, especially to the side of the house where the street was not immediately visible. There he could pretend solitude, and even manage to meditate without interruption. He had a dire need to clear his thoughts, lately there had been too many things to ponder.
None of them simple.
Like every day lately he had come to regret his act of abandoning his Art, now when he was on the verge of answers he lacked the tools with which to glean the gold from the sand.
But regret was a useless emotion.
Instead he kept his eyes closed, accepting the heat of the sun where it beamed down on him. He had seated himself on one of the gravel paths, the sand surrounding him filled with carefully drawn lines. The pattern seemed a random one at the first glance, but doubtless it meant something to the grey mage, Since hew as not venturing outside, he was still in his comfortable Wreath outfit, feet bare and sandals placed on the grass not far from him.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 29 2008, 09:47 PM
The girl tried to appear casual about the fact that she was conveniently strolling down the road that went just by Maalech's current domicile.
Casual, until she caught his eye, and then stopped. "You look awfully comfortable here," she said, cautious.
Posted by: Maalech Apr 29 2008, 09:51 PM
The man slowly opened one grey eye, then another as he had ascertained who it was. "It has been some time since I enjoyed weather like this. It tended to be far more humid in the Wreath."
He resigned himself to the interruption, he had little ability to dictate the terms of life anymore, and besides, he had no issues with speaking to this girl.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 29 2008, 09:55 PM
Elaine eyed the man cautiously, then took a step into the garden. "You like to grow things, don't you?" she asked. "Flowers, vegetables, parasites..." She raised an eyebrow at him, half-challenging
Posted by: Maalech Apr 29 2008, 10:00 PM
Was that a hint of a smile? Almost. At the very least he looked amused. "It was a long time since I grew something in the physical sense. It seemed a rather futile pursuit when I was young, and later it lost something of its mystique." He slowly put his hands down on the grave, pushing himself to a standing position before brushing off his loose pants.
"I see. I must admit I have been rather curious of how your infection went. Your sister was less than informative."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 29 2008, 10:02 PM
Elaine smiled amiably, and stepped forward. "You were able to look at it yourself last time," she pointed out. "Why don't you do it again?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 29 2008, 10:07 PM
That did make his lips crease in a rather amused smile. "Your sister is quite like you when it comes to first impressions, and once I realized who I had approached it simply seemed more polite to ask. It was a random encounter, I had not yet felt the need to seek you out to confirm or deny that you had managed to deal with it." He eyed the girl closely, then gestured towards a bench flanked by two rather flamboyant bronze peacocks.
"There is shade should you wish for it. Would you wish to hear what I see when I look at you now?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 29 2008, 10:10 PM
The girl smiled, and then, hesitantly, dropped to the bench. "Of course I would," she answered. "If it's better, then I'm right. If it's worse, I need to do something to fix it."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 29 2008, 10:15 PM
"It is not that simple." Maalech watched her for a moment, grey eyes cold and analytical. The man seemed to have grown more relaxed than last time they met, but he could still be unnervingly intensive. "You believe yourself free of the parasite. Regardless of the truth, that relief armors you against it. Even if you are mistaken, your false belief might be a truth in time. On the other hand, should you start to doubt, your own fears might undo you as completely as any parasite."
He sad down on the bench, some distance from her, eying the pattern in the sand instead of her.
"Now what could you learn from that?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 29 2008, 10:21 PM
"If you tell me that it's there, that's not doubt," Elaine replied. "It's certainty. It's just not the certainty I want. Is this a trick question?" she asked, squinting at the man. "Is this one of those things, like, telling someone that the parasite is in them is what makes it grow there?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 29 2008, 10:28 PM
"I do not intend to tell you either yes or no this time. There is your doubt. There are no clear and distinct answers for you anymore." He rubbed his chin lightly, eyes narrow and sharp. "And you are touching upon a rather interesting subject there. Perhaps this is indeed a trick question. But not in the way that you might think."
He turned his gaze back to the patterns in the sand. "People create their own realities with their beliefs."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 29 2008, 10:31 PM
"So, what?" Elaine asked, rolling her eyes. "You really think the doubt thing is going to get to me like that? I'm just going to assume you're a bastard who's too pigheaded to admit he got beat at his own g-me, so you try to turn it into another g-me. The parasite's out. I saw it leave."
She gave him a rather pointed look when she said this. "Is that how you became a sick, sadistic child molester? Someone believed you were?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 29 2008, 10:40 PM
"Perhaps it would do you good to remember that you would never have suspected its presence if not for my warning" Maalech mused, adding "I will not refute your victory."
Still, in those words he had got the information that he had suspected. The parasite had been dealt with, and from the particular phrasing she choose, he could imagine less than half a dozen methods it would have been done in. She was a smart girl, that he would willingly admit, but like all others she suffered from believing this to be a g-me in one arena, while he played a completely different g-me.
But at her last words he sighed, just a faint, slightly annoyed breath. "You are deliberately misunderstanding, seeking to rile me I assume. I do not shy from what was done."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 29 2008, 10:48 PM
"I'm not seeking to rile you," Elaine answered, deliberately using his own stilted phrase. "I'm asking an honest question. Is that how things come to be? I mean, in your perception of the world. If I believed hard enough that you were a jolly old grandpa, would you stop being so snide and patronizing and perverted?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 29 2008, 10:52 PM
"Perhaps. It is an intriguing possibility. However, one person's beliefs is not all there is. There is conflict between ideas as well as goals." He looked rather thoughtful there for a moment, lost in thought.
After a few moments he shrugged it off, asking "Have you never changed the path of others by simply believing, for good, or ill?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 29 2008, 11:03 PM
"Actually, I'm not arguing with you on that point," Elaine replied. "I think I've done a lot just by believing in things. Or not believing in things. It's just the question of the...nature of what can be brought into reality by believing. A parasite? A cancer? Those...things we have no explanation for, or I have no explanation for...those might make sense. But what about a...say, a whole person? A baby in a womb? Or a fact? Can you make something so just by believing it?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 29 2008, 11:11 PM
"Is that not what magic is, in essence?"
But the answer was too glib, and he recognized that fact by admitting. "That being said, the world itself has what one might call a belief. The laws and rules that binds it. The sun sises and it sets. people are born, live their lives and then dies. The world is far older than we are, and knows itself quite well. Our wishes are fleeting and without foundation in comparison, and in most cases they fray and tear when confronted with resistance."
He held out his hands, watching the lines on his palms.
"Once I would have said that there are rules that might be broken in theory only, but lately doubt have come to me on that issue as well. The lines between death and life might be subverted, as can the rules of creating life. It is a disturbing fact, and yet..." He turned to look at her then, closing his hands as if to hide their secrets from her. "... should this happen, how would we know the difference?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 29 2008, 11:21 PM
"It depends on the instance, doesn't it?" Elaine asked. "We know how the laws are meant to work. If someone dead comes back to life, we know that a law's been bent or broken. We don't always know how, but we know it's been done. If a virgin gets with child, the same. Maybe we might not all believe she's a virgin, but she knows. She knows the law's been broken."
"And magic requires more than belief," she pointed out. "I mean, there's some action involved. I've seen Jochy do magic, and Judith, and there's-- there's a choice, and an action to follow that choice. It's not just believing something. You have to choose to make that belief become reality, and act in such a way as to make it so."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 29 2008, 11:29 PM
"Now consider this... if the woman is not a virgin, it would be harder to tell, would it not? Even if she is sleeping with a man when she supposedly has less of a chance to conceive, it might still happen. Or if she is supposedly infertile. However, this is is in most cases a moot point. Arguing whether belief creates reality, and if so how much of it, is akin to arguing which part of a mountain is decaying due to rain, and which part due to wind."
Not that he did not enjoy such quandaries. Especially with the revelations lately. "Like sneak-thieves in the night, if one is subtle when breaking a law, nobody will notice unless they pay attention."
But she had asked a valid question. "Yes, magic do require more than belief. It requires talent. We have had this discussion before after all, and things have not yet changed. You do have the mindset for the Art, yet you lack the proper means to express it. Such a waste."
He actually seemed to mean that..
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 29 2008, 11:34 PM
"We did have this discussion," Elaine agreed.
She looked curiously at him. "So, what discussion are we having now?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 29 2008, 11:39 PM
"Apparently whether your beliefs will make me stop being snide, patronizing and perverted. I do suspect that we do not know the answer to that quandary yet." Was it a joke?
"It is however quite intriguing to see in what manner you choose to approach the subject ow why you came here. Unless of course your whole need to see me came from ascertaining that the removal of the parasite was successful. That would explain the willingness to explore different subjects." He gave the girl a thoughtful look, as if to ponder what she would answer.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 29 2008, 11:41 PM
"Well, that was the sum of it, really," Elaine replied. "But it seems like you were...well, you sought me out first, didn't you? You just didn't find me. So you must have expected a conversation then, too. Are we having it now?"
She looked thoughtful for a moment. "And actually, I do have a sort of question for you."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 29 2008, 11:45 PM
"Yes, but those are my reasons, not yours. There are reasons I sought you out, the first time, as well as later. But those reasons are my own." Maalech looked thoughtfully at the girl, pondering what her question might be.
"I thought you might" was all that he said.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 29 2008, 11:47 PM
"So? You were still intending the conversation to go in a particular direction," Elaine pointed out. "Have we gotten there yet?"
She crossed her arms over her chest. "Let's talk about Jochy. And the parasite. Do you still really have need for him to be infected with that thing?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 29 2008, 11:50 PM
"Perhaps we have. I am not displeased at any rate." He did not seem to be, if anything he looked as if he was enjoying this talk with her.
Even if the patterns on the ground still held his attention most of the time.
At least until she brought up the subject of the parasite. That made him turn to look at her as he replied quite simply "Yes."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 29 2008, 11:55 PM
"It's not really getting anywhere, you know," Elaine answered reasonably. "Seriously, I was thinking you might want to call the whole thing an experiment that had run its course and maybe try something else instead. Like pumpkins," she said, nodding to the garden. "Pumpkins are just like the parasite. You stick one little seed in, and suddenly, you have pumpkins growing a mile away. You should try them. They'd be just your taste."
She sat back, watching him. "What for?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 29 2008, 11:57 PM
There was the faintest of laughs there, as he shook his head. "Ah, you make life sound so delightfully uncomplicated at times. Is this the task to which you have set yourself then? To be his savior?"
But he did not answer her question.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 07:17 PM
Elaine rolled her eyes. "I have no interest in being his savior. In fact, it's sort of the opposite. I'm sick of having to baby him every time the stupid parasite acts up. I'm sick of having to pet his hair when he has nightmares. I want him to grow the fuck up, and that'll be a lot easier if I don't have to put up with the stupid parasite anymore."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 07:22 PM
"An understandable motivation." The man fell silent for a moment, looking as if he was pondering something quite deeply.
"He has an essential imbalance in his spirit. It is not something that can be corrected by a simple act. I am quite surprised he is as functional as he is, it does indeed seem that he does not obey the laws of entropy. Which in retrospect should not be surprising..." He rubbed his chin for a moment, speaking mostly to himself.
"Is he getting worse then?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 07:29 PM
"An imbalance in his spirit is different from the parasite," Elaine pointed out, then gave the mage a very dry look. "No, he's getting better, actually. A lot better. Which means I think your experiment is probably some kind of spectacular failure."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 07:33 PM
"It might quite possibly be just that." Maalech admitted the fact, but did not seem altogether too displeased. "It is just the manner in which it failed that I had not foreseen. And as always, things I did not foresee are the interesting ones."
He loved the world when it was being unpredictable.
"And the imbalance in his spirit is a direct cause of the parasite's actions."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 07:45 PM
"So is it like when someone gets a black foot? The sickness can be cut out, but they're left without a foot?" Elaine asked. "And they need something else to fill it up to make them work properly again?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 07:50 PM
"It would be more akin to septicemia." Maalech pondered, then shook his head. "Though that is too crude a term for it. You are not equipped to understand exactly what this entails." It was not meant to belittle her, it was simply the truth.
He suspected that it was simply not just that she could not understand, it was that she would not. The implications were too disturbing for most people."
"He cannot be cleansed as simple as you, if that is what you are attempting to allude to."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 07:54 PM
"Of course I'm equipped," Elaine replied. "You're just assuming I'm not. But I don't know what septiwhatever is. I get that it wouldn't be simple, but...am I right? If he were, you'd need something else to put in to replace whatever got gummed up?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 07:59 PM
"Assuming that it was possible, yes you would." Maalech seemed slightly hesitant there, as if he perhaps had planned to say something else entirely at first. But in the end he had settled on this.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 08:10 PM
Elaine raised an eyebrow. "And supposing someone got the parasite out and didn't replace it? Have you got any idea what would happen then?"
She shrugged. "What I don't get is why you'd do this to your own kid and not just some stranger off the streets."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 08:16 PM
"There is much that you do not know. Or understand." Maalech's eyes had grown rather hard there, much of his earlier ease gone. "To put it quite frankly, it is none of your business what my reasons were."
That was unusual, even Maalech himself had to acknowledge that he had almost lost his temper there. It seemed that exploring being human was having some rather unforseen effects.
"And he was not my son." That was of vital importance.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 08:22 PM
"Of course I don't know or understand; that's why I'm asking you. And it is too my business. I'm asking in the name of science."
She scowled. "Or should I just ask Seth?" she asked, after a moment.
She gave the man a dark look. "He calls you his father."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 08:28 PM
"I know." The sigh was a small strangled sound, and right now Maalech wished quite dearly that he could find his earlier detachment. Or at least that he could filter his reactions through his Art, and nobody would notice.
But that particular avenue of escape was closed to him.
"You could ask deCiel of course. He might appreciate the gesture if not the subject." He looked down at his hands once more, the frown etched deeply on his face. "How much is you prepared to risk for the truth? Knowledge always comes with a price."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 08:29 PM
"It's not so much what I'm prepared to risk for the truth," Elaine said. "It's more what I'm not prepared to risk by not knowing."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 08:30 PM
"You risk far less by not knowing. Ignorance is bliss at times, you should consider that."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 08:33 PM
"Until your lover mauls you in the dead of night because you don't know what he really is," Elaine retorted. "Ignorance is only bliss if the thing you're ignorant of isn't that important."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 08:39 PM
"But knowledge comes with the burden of action. To know something changes you, it is not possible to forget what you have learned and go back to your former state of ignorance even should you wish to do so. For example..." Maalech paused for a moment, attempting to find a suitable analogy that she might understand.
"Consider your father. If you learned that he was not your true father, but you instead was the child of some slavers that had raped your mother, would that knowledge enrich your life?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 08:42 PM
Elaine gave Maalech an annoyed look. "How would that change anything?" she asked. "He's treated me as his own for sixteen years; I am his and he's mine. A little bit of blood wouldn't change anything about us."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 08:44 PM
"Either you are quite unique or quite naive. Blood is important, even when people choose to disregard it." But Maalech did look at her in a new way, as if he was deciding what he could tell her.
What he would tell her.
"Then ask. And do not let it be said that I told you nothing you did not ask for."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 08:48 PM
"Blood is only important because you believe it is important," Elaine replied. "My mother's blood was important because it made Sylvie what she is. Don't think I don't understand the importance of blood. But we can overcome blood; blood isn't the only thing that defines us. If it was, I wouldn't be the Sea Witch's apprentice, would I?"
She gave him a thoughtful look. "I want to know what the parasite is and why you put it there. I want to know how to get it out of him, and what needs to be done to heal him once I do."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 08:56 PM
Maalech was silent for a moment, then admitted. "To some of those questions I do not have clear answers..."
But it did not change the fact that she had asked. And he did consider himself properly chastised on the subject of blood. She was right, he had been raised to believe it was the one thing that mattered no matter how much he tried to deny it later.
"The parasite... I supposed that it would be best described as an egg. There are other planes of existence as you well know, and some are quite far removed from what we consider to be our reality. In some the beings that dwell there would be what we might call gods, at least in terms of power. In most cases they are also imbeciles by our standards, so far removed from conscious thought that interaction with them is futile. The parasite is... a part of such a being. A small tendril, or an egg if you wish, brought into our world."
Maalech paused, then added "My theory was that to allow that seed to hatch slowly, would produce a being that could tap into the power of its home, yet have learned enough of our ways so that it would be possible to communicate with it."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 09:04 PM
"So you were trying to create a being with godlike powers who could act and think and communicate as a man?" Elaine asked. "But in that sense, it's a failure. When the parasite is free, it acts and thinks and communicates like a beast. It's incapable of being rational, only of hunger and threat."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 09:09 PM
"Yes, I did admit to this experiment not being a resounding success. It was a hard balance to strike, between having it fail, and growing too fast." Maalech frowned again, nodding quietly to himself. "And yet, the process is not yet over. As you say, the parasite is not free, it is fettered."
He looked rather bemused at that, as if he had not expected that to happen.
"For your other two questions, the answer is simple. There is no way to 'get it out of him'."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 09:10 PM
"There must be," Elaine replied. "If there was a way to transfer it out of me, there must be a way to transfer it out of him."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 09:12 PM
He shook his head. "You were an entirely different case."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 09:15 PM
"How so?" Elaine asked. "I mean, maybe I had to cut off my toe and he'd have to cut off his whole foot, but still. It's the same thing. The parasite is. I watched it move. I watched how fear attracted it."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 09:18 PM
"Because there is nothing left inside that man you call Jochy that is not the parasite."
Cold grey eyes did not leave her face as he said the words.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 09:23 PM
Elaine frowned, then swallowed. "How is that possible?" she asked. "How-- but obviously the parasite, assuming you're correct, behaves differently when it's warded from when it's not. Why would the wards do that? Make him act like a normal man? I'm just trying to understand the...metaphysical part of all this."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 09:33 PM
"Now you are approaching the crux of the matter." Maalech did not look displeased with her composure as he continued. "It is rather fascinating but since I cannot study him in person, I can only theorize. When the parasite escaped the original host it had been imprinted with the memories in which it had taken root. As it stole another body, I can only assume that it slowly came to believe itself to be human. The wards limit its power, and they are stabilizing in nature. They are not just a prison carved in flesh, they are wards to reinforce and to make patterns. My theory is that they must have interacted with his psyche, strengthening the patterns there, reinforcing its sense of 'self' as it is."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 09:36 PM
"So what you're saying..." Elaine said thoughtfully, "if I follow...is that the parasite is no longer a parasite at all, save for in the simplest nature of what a parasite is, that it's using someone else's body as a host. But it's inhabiting that host now, not feeding off that host, which isn't...isn't really what a parasite does."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 09:43 PM
"Indeed. It was not that long ago that I was forced to accept that for all discernible purposes it would be better to deal with it as a man rather than as an entity. Fascinating." It was that look on his face that made it rather obvious that this was a man that did not balk from cutting things up to see how they worked.
Not at all.
"I can only surmise that the original spirit of the body that it stole has been co-opted and filled with whatever the parasite brought with itself, which would be the most traumatic of Jochiem's memories. I can't see any trace of a person there surviving that change." He could not be certain though, because he had not delved that deeply.
Another thing to consider when he regained his Art.
"Parasite might be the wrong turn now, it seems more to be a case of symbiosis."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 09:49 PM
"I don't know what that word means," Elaine said. "The symbi-one. But what you're saying is that Jochy is the parasite, so..." She bit her lip. "Your experiment worked better than you expected. The parasite is a man. The problem is that it's only a man when you take away its powers. The next thing to do, to see if your experiment works, is to try to restore his powers and see if he retains the faculties of a man. Um."
She bit her lip. "So. You know I'm going to keep working on him," she told the man. "On getting him better. More real. If I do that, we're not exactly working at cross-purposes, are we?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 09:56 PM
"Now do you understand why I share these things so willingly with you?" Maalech was more than pleased with her, it had been a risk that had been worth taking.
"And yes, I am saying that Jochy is indeed the name the parasite has taken for itself. Or rather, himself I suppose. From what I have gathered, he is quite unaware of what he is. Oh, I suspect on some subconscious level he must realize the jarring discrepancy between knowing that he is an only child, and knowing he has what he terms an older brother. But that is the advantage of crisis, many things are simply pushed back to the sidelines in order to deal with the issues at hand."
He rubbed his chin slightly, still thoughtful. "I must admit that I did not expect the creature to be able to mimic being a man so well with so few memories to draw on."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 10:00 PM
Elaine blinked. "But he got my memories, too," she said, frowning.
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 10:05 PM
"Yes, indeed he does." Maalech gave her a look, then added "I suspect they will either lead to him tearing himself apart with more inconsistencies, or they will be processed and added to his own, perhaps filling a few gaps. That is the way a healthy mind works, and I suppose the wards mimic that effect quite well."
He paused for a moment before he asked "You have dealt with his memories in that manner, have you not? In time it will be increasingly hard to separate what was he and what was you. It will simply be a new whole."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 10:09 PM
"That's what I'm saying," Elaine answered, rolling her eyes. "For a smart man, you sure are dumb sometimes. He did. He's using my memories. The more memories we...if he were capable of getting more memories, they'd all help him function more and more like a normal person, I think."
"So," she said, giving Maalech a thoughtful look. "Why does he call you his father? Was the body he kidnapped your child? Jochiem is the demon's son, not yours. I know that."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 10:15 PM
Maalech shook his head. "No, the body, as far as I can tell, was a former friend of Jochiem's. She had quite a talent for speaking to ghosts and spirits, and I can only assume it was through that talent that it gained entry. The answer is quite a bit simpler."
He did not mention that his son was dead. There was little to be gained from that.
"He calls me father because it is as you say, it is not all blood. Jochiem has memories of the demon, he knows that creature is the one that sired him, and he has bonded with it." Oh there was a look of distaste rarely seen on his face.
"None of those memories were infected by the parasite though, for all the pain and misery that must come from the demon, those memories were a source of strength, not weakness. Thus Jochy shares none of them. For him, I am the only father that he knows."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 10:20 PM
"She?" Elaine asked. "How did-- how did he become a man, if he started out in a woman's body? I thought that he had been a man and was turned into a woman, but..." She shrugged. "But you and Jochy's mother had a baby, didn't you?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 10:25 PM
"At the start, the parasite was free-roaming and ethereal. I assume that it transformed the host body into what it thought it should look like. The flesh was not important, more than as a template. It is well within its power after all. What would be important would be to see whether it would only father daughters... or whether it would simply be sterile.. but I digress." Maalech shook his head, going back to the issue at hand.
"It was transformed into a woman for some time. Simple fleshcrafting Arts, belonging to an undead creature of some power. That was no more than skin-deep I presume, those Arts usually are." He obviously held such hybrid arts in quite high disdain.
And he did not in particular like that last question, and he was afraid that it showed. "Yes, we had. A long time ago. He died." The words were clipped and harsh.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 10:29 PM
"I'm sorry," Elaine said softly. "What happened to him? I mean...I don't mean to bring up a sore subject, but...I think it could help."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 10:37 PM
"It is not important." Maalech gave her a dismissive wave with one hand. "It is not connected to the parasite."
Once more he was back to being in control of his feelings, even if his jaw had tensed up and refused to relax. Same with the wrinkles on his forehead.
"Now, what do you intend to do with this information? Tell it to the man it concerns?"
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 10:41 PM
"It could be connected to the parasite," Elaine retorted. "If you don't think it is, you're not looking at it right."
She gave the older man a very dry look. "Do I look stupid? If Jochy gets wind of the idea that he's just the parasite and not a man at all, it's just like you said. With the belief. He'll stop believing he can be a man. He'll go back to only parasite and he'll stop being functional. Which would be bad for me because he's my friend, and bad for you because it would be a huge setback in your experiment. What would benefit both of us would be to get him enough memories that he could act as a man without the wards to restrict his magic, and not be so unstable. Right now, he's still not ready for that. He needs more stability first. The question is, where do we get more memories for him?"
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 10:45 PM
"Is this some vain attempt at getting me to open up and share?" Maalech looked rather bemused at that, but left the subject alone.
"Looks can be deceiving, but I am glad I did not make a mistake telling you these things. As for giving him more memories..." He shook his head, then gave her an amused look. "Time. Though I do admit that I remember patience not being my biggest virtue when I was 16."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 10:48 PM
"No, it's some vain attempt at pointing out that Jochy considers you his father, and considers your child's mother his mother, and it would be very, very easy to get yourself your son back even a little bit if you wanted to try to help your experiment along."
Elaine raised both eyebrows at the man.
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 10:49 PM
"It would indeed be vain considering what I did to him" Maalech pointed out quite harshly.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 10:51 PM
"Whose fault is that, Mellypants?" Elaine asked sweetly.
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 10:57 PM
The look that Maalech gave her was one of utter disbelief. She had not just...? Oh. she had. The indignity of it all.
The sigh that followed was a heavy one.
"There were reasons I deemed worthwhile at the time. It was not done for simple curiosity, or pleasure." Still, every mention of it made him remember his promise to Morgan... That he should apologize.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 11:01 PM
"I know that," Elaine replied. "But you know, there are lots of real fathers, if you want to insist you weren't one, who do that to their own children. You want to make up for it? Give him some good memories to counter the bad ones."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 11:04 PM
"It does not work that way. Furthermore, I have no wish for it to work that way. End of discussion." No, Maalech didn't snap. Really.
He would not lose his temper over something like that.
"Now if there was not anything else..." His voice had grown downright cold.
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 11:11 PM
"Oh, it's not that it doesn't. It's all because you don't want it to," Elaine retorted coolly. "And there could be more, but you're trying to end the conversation because you're supposed to be the one making me uncomfortable, and I'm not supposed to be making you uncomfortable. I'm going to fix him. I've already started fixing him, and he's only going to get better. He's more mine than yours now."
Posted by: Maalech Apr 30 2008, 11:20 PM
Maalech remained still for a moment, then sighed. Quite deeply. "Yes. You are correct on both counts. But in case you think that I have some deeply sated need to make him mine, you are mistaken. It is not about that at all."
For a few moments he was silent, then he reached into the pocket of his robe and pulled out some paper. With a small stick of treated charcoal he drew a simple symbol.
"Draw this on stone. Then ask the man that appears what you will. If you are intent on continuing with this path, I think you need to." He rose from the bench, leaving the paper there.
"His name is Morgan. He will not harm you."
Posted by: Elaine Romain Apr 30 2008, 11:22 PM
Elaine took the paper. "I know Morgan," she answered, before remembering that no, she really didn't.
She watched as the man left. "Thank you!" she called after him, folding the paper up and slipping it into her pocket.
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