Joined: 11 Jun 2008
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Jobs: Artist, City Guard
Can Be Found: She isn't hard to find if one knows where to look.
9411.86 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:32 pm Post subject:
|.: Chapter Twenty-Four: The death of One :.
The door to the Teas rang as the cloaked one entered. With the hood low, she nodded to the old man and his daughter on the way in, heading right for a particular table that was occupied by a certain someone. The cloak hung heavily on her and, her posture? Defeated. She looked haunched and walked in an odd sort of... manner. As if there was nothing to her thoughts. Nothing to her stance. Her walk slow and randomly interlaced with speeds.
Katt was slumped in her seat, somewhat asleep with her eyes opened...Or she was in heavy thought. Exhausted even. She had heard the bell - announcing someone's arrival, but she didn't look over quite yet. She didn't really have to. Despite being in a place full of aromas she practically could feel who it was. Eventually her position did straightened and she turned her sharp gaze upon the cloaked one.
Without invitation she sat into the chair opposite her, drawing a wicked gauntleted claw onto a nearby table. Of course, she would feel who it was. They were practically the same at one point. Well. At least her DNA was put to some good use improving her own entity; her arsenal. Her world. She spoke though, as if ill. Her voice was croaked and odd. Mechanical almost in some areas. "Look like ***."
"You sound how I look..." Was sent right back without a moments thought. Slowly Katt's fingers combed through her hair. Did she really look that bad? Oh well..."Why are you hiding under a cloak? It isn't cold enough for one yet..." As if that was the whole reason she was wearing one.
She slammed her claw onto the table and leaned forward. "None of your **** business, Batten." She hissed. "I came to see how you were. Is this how you greet me?"
She blinked slowly. One never called her that before. Always her brother... Briefly her lips pursed before relaxing. "I ask because normally when I wear a hood up I am hiding something. I am asking because I care enough to ask what you are hiding. So yes...that is how I greet you." Her head craned slightly to the side, sharp greens looking at the hood as if trying to peer past the folds of fabric.
There is a face there. Shadowed, wide-tired eyes. Bloodshot. "This One apologizes... I am being... emotional. Unagreeable. Annoyed." She curls her gauntlet into a fist of metal, the strain evident as she clenches. "I am sorry." She whispers. "There is no need to care, Katt. I am fine."
"I am hiding everything you assume." She responds quickly.
"You aren't one for lying..." It wasn't a scold...but rather a soft acknowledgement. "You do not need to apologize. If I might ask...what has you emotional and the aboves?" Granted she had a fair idea of what it was but sometimes just speaking helped. To talk sometimes aided in the weight and that is what she offered.
"The Betrayer? Not one for lying? Tell me another one." She scoffed.
She said nothing but rather just stared at One, expectantly, with that heavy gaze of hers. She was patient. Some things...never change.
"I miss him." She hissed.
"Be more specific, please." Him could be a few men that she knew associated with One. Including her ..ex-husband? She wasn't sure what he was now. Ugh okay that hurt her head. Next question please!
"Do you know, what is like to feel love to someone you never met before?"
There was a touch of confusion on her face at the question. "How..can you love someone if you've never met them?"
One stared. "You see a face you know you love. You feel a strong... feeling. Attraction. No reason. No rhyme. As if you are forced to feel emotions not of your own." One chuckled. "Brian Ravenlock. I love him. Hawk. I love him too. Darkmere. I love him too. Kruger. I love him too. Why? I don't know. The same is for Edward." She smirked then. "But... He was my first. My real first. When I came to be it was the only thing that mattered." She indicated a hand to the room. "But Brian, too, was strong with me. Both of them meant the world to me." She felt her lips curl into a sneer. "First, Edward. I told you, didn't I? I told you. Now Brian." She flexed her wicked fingers. Blades scorched the wood. "Renna met with Edward. I was the tail end of that creation." She placed her hands to her face. "Both of them. Gone. Going..." She snapped her eyes to Katt. "Desolation. Devastation. What a mess we made..." She slammed her head onto the table.
Her expression dimmed. So Brian had told her. Of course he had... She watched One's head move and she tried to slide her hand under One's head before it met the table. "You don't think I am not devastated? Brian has been like a father to me and my brother..." She drew in her lips. She had no words to what that was doing to her emotionally and mentally. "Yes..you told me..." She started quietly, "And we both know if we could do anything to help them we would..."
She turned her head up, her chin scratching on the table as she glared up abyssal orbs at her from below the hood. Bloodshot and wide. Every inch of her wanted the world to burn--it did. She attacked the docks not long ago and... she looked upon Katt as a simple example. She wanted to kill her. The item of Edward's love. Brotherly--it didn't matter. Every must die with him. This city. This life. EVERYTHING. Shaking, she felt tears streak down her cheeks. "Kill this clone, please."
That request drew her back and caused surprised. She couldn't even hide it. In fact it wore on her face loud and clear. "You...don't mean that." It was the pain that caused her to say it. She knew it was. The hopeless feeling. The feeling of loss.
"I am safe. Killing this shell is nothing. I have been terminating all of my presence here since... that day." She looked to Katt, grinning. "Don't think for a second you won't think it best that this is done. This, is, my main clone in this realm. The anchor. The main server. Just cut it off." She glanced then, aside. "Don't worry. My daughter is strong enough to last on her own."
She was silent, her eyes narrowing slightly. "If I thought it was for the best don't you think I would've killed you long ago with the shard piece you gave me?" Her expression relaxed. "Why are you asking me to do it?" There had to be some reason.
"Because he won't." She indicated to her. "You have the tool to do it."
"He would hate me if I did do it."
"He would never hate you. He loves you Katt. I remember you before you became a Batten. I used you... do you remember?"
She smiled faintly. "I wouldn't be too sure about that." Her smile faded somewhat. "Kind of hard to forget. I swear at times I still feel you..."
One stared. "My Virus remains in you. That is why. He would never hate you." She affirmed.
She tried not to twitch. "I thought it had been removed?" She would not deny she didn't like One near her brother. There was a venomous feeling over what she did to her brother. Thinking back to those days...that look on his face...Her arms tensed briefly only for her to force them to relax.
"Hard to remove my influence when the technology is all so similar..." She muttered. "Besides, all former hosts are outfitted with an immunity function to my Viral strains." She lifted a hand. "Antibodies to my commands are inside of you. I am sure Batten discovered them... well, then again... he didn't know everything."
"Most likely not. He has been offworld for almost two years..." She felt slightly itchy at the thought of One's influence still in her. "Is that..what you planned on to use in order to fix my...insides...if I had taken up your offer?"
"No. As I said, I have no influence over them." She stared. "I understand your distrust."
"More like curious." she corrected calmly. At least it was a detour from One's request. Did she consider it? She would be lying if she said no...
Her head lowered. The hood covering her face. "I love him." She muttered. "I am sure you will find that hard to believe."
"If you did love him you would not of hurt him the way you did." She was trying to keep herself collected but those mental images just kept coming back. "I love him, too, and I don't want to lose him. I want to smack him for thinking it was okay to hide it from me too. And I want to double smack him every time he says all things must die. Like that is suppose to make it easier." She pushed up out of her chair and used a foot to nudge the chair back in place.
"I've hurt him as much as I have aided him. Does it balance it all out? No." She laughed. "I enjoyed hurting him. But never once did I ever consider him... dead. To die. Our dances... our long waltz in the fights we had... there was pain. There was deaths. I knew I crossed the line when I took DIANA from him. I took away something he loved. I don't expect forgiveness. I don't deserve it. I never expect it. But he hurt me, too. It was our roles. And I will never hate him for that. I am sure to this day he will battle me forever more. But that is fine." She chuckled. "He's not going to do that, is he?" She looked at Katt with a sad smile. "I loved Brian. I got over it. He moved on... Heh, I'm speaking like I lived that life. As if I am Renna. But... I am. I am her." She chuckled. "And Edward moved on from me. He had his purpose in life. He was a hero. He was a good man. There is, or was, no life with me. That is the way of things. "Am I saying he loved me? I don't know." She shrugged. "I am, and always will be, alone. I am a monster. I need death. I need flesh. I need blood and guts. It is what I am."
"So why do you want me to kill you? You can move on too, you know." There was something stirred but it was held under a mask. Held tight. "Give me a damn good reason why I should kill you and I will. Give me one that will strike so deep that I cannot deny you."
She leant back into her chair. "Kill me? Come now, Katt. You are merely ending my most powerful clone in this realm. Do you not understand what it is I am saying? I want nothing in this life--this realm, if he is not here." She tossed a hand to the city. "*** the rest. I care little for them all. If I need a reason to return, you can summon me. Otherwise? I want nothing to do with this place. What is the point?"
"You find a point. You find a reason. You don't just..give up. But if that is what you want..." There was a long silence. "I just..don't understand why you are requesting it of me. Besides having the means." She was a little surprised Edward did not.
"Katt." She leaned over the table and grasped her hands. "Look me in the eyes."
She blinked when her hands were grasped and she met One's eyes. A rare thing she met someone in the eye. "Mrmm?"
One smirked darkly as tears formed in the corners of her eyes. "Don't make me **** ruin this city to get what I want."
"You..." She was about to say 'wouldn't...but she knew better. Exhaling low she stared at One. "Not here."
A genuine grin passed her lips. "Wherever you want."
She didn't like this. It almost felt like a trap... But on one hand ...One on a rampage and destroying the city just so Katt would go through with things...Didn't leave her with great choices. "Mrph....I will let you pick where. Quiet..Nobody around. Hell if I want witnesses." There was a pause. "If...I do this..you promise me that you can be summoned if I need to..."
"Agreed." She glanced aside. "The Glen."
"No..I want to hear that word." Promises were not something she took lightly...by any means.
"You know I always keep my promises." She growled. "Fine. I promise."
"Even so that is still like a bonding. You know that." A slow shake of her head was given. "Your...original ...Is going to be irked at me for doing this isn't she?"
She stared. "You people are dumb. I AM the original." She waved a hand over her attire. "I wear this thing like a cloth."
One then pressed her hand to her forehead. "It's like commanding a puppet."
Her lips curved a frown. "Yeah I know. I am not smart like my brother." she snapped. Hands shoved into her pockets she started to the door. "If you are the original and I kill you then how are you suppose to be able to come back if I call?"
One snapped her spare claw up from the folds of her cloak to grasp Katt's forehead tightly, but briefly. She withdrew her grip not a second later.
The look on Katt's face? Priceless. The vision she saw caused her pause..she managed to clear her throat. "Alrighty then..."
"This clone is the anchor here. Killing this one will... well, end them all. In this realm, that is."
That was an imagine she can not shake. Lifting a hand she smothered her face. "I...I see..." Oh lordy she was going to be dealing with that for years to come. Thanks!
"Uh.." Right. She pointed to the door. "We...walking? Or..Um.." Yeah..she was going to need a moment.
"I'll see you there." She mused, standing up and simply walking straight out.
Good gravy! She shadow stepped out!
Approaching the lake, One smirks to herself. "This will be fun." She mused. Pulling back her hood, she glances around the area, content with the world as it was. "Quiet. Out of sight. Good for you, no?"
She grunted quietly from the shadows that spilled her. "I..guess..." Disgruntled to say the least and she was still shaking her head.
"I don't see the difference." She waded into the lake a little. "But then again, I kind of appreciate the venue. I do love the water. A lake. I used to hide from Von Gart when I was child in the lake. Stupid Vampires and their hatred for running water..." She laughed. "I met Shion at a lake And I met Lysander, as well... and the fountain at the Marketplace..." She smirked wider still, eyes wild. "God I **** and kissed so many in that damn fountain."
She flailed her arms. "Oh my gawd!" She did not need to hear that!! One just may of ruined her favorite spot to sit!!
Her smile faded. "Let's get this over with."
"You are making sure you leave me with all sorts of things to remember you by aren't you?" She gruffed quietly. One arm lowered and she turned it just enough to make sure that One didn't see what she was doing to the arm. Was better she didn't know where the shard had been kept all this time. Namely under flesh.
"Might as well scar you more." She monotoned. "There's nothing more than I love, than your brother." She mused. "The first time we kissed it was... well, to be honest, it was normal. Like kissing Brian. Actually. Different. More tongue." She kept her back to Katt, though she did turn her head aside to reveal her smile. "Lots more tongue... but he saw me, you know. Laid bare. He saw my past. All of it. I think; or like to, think, it was all sympathy. It makes this easier. Sympathy." She knelt down into the waters of the lake and moves her fingertips to the water's surface. "Beyond this veil I have torn apart ten worlds seeking for perfection and yet, here, in this one; a place I can never touch, I cannot even attain something as simple as... him. I lost Brian to time and hatred. And I lost Edward... I lost him. I am a fickle creature. I steal hearts and use them to my advantage but he managed to dash mine to the pavement and stamp upon it without so little effort."
As long as she kept it to kissing she was fine, really! She watched One, her head swaying faintly. She couldn't say how Edward felt. He never talked to her in that way. There was always..walls. "You can still learn from it and move on. Find someone. I mean you have a child you can live for..."
"And you would recommend me as a Mother?" She spat. "Like my Mother before me. I care little for their existence. They are but a byproduct of my desires."
"Really? Honestly I thought you were kind of ..motherly when you were preganant. You seemed concerned even before the child was born."
"The twins are better off without me. I might be able to produce children but I am not capable of looking after them."
She snorted quietly. "And I am?" Wait..she can't even produce them so..eh..that didn't work out the way she had planned.
"You would make a wonderful mother."
"I have absolutely no idea why you would think that." Clayton said the same thing and she..just didn't see it.
"You're kind." She started. "You care so much for your family... Katt. I know you. Inside and out." She stared. "If there is a better woman here, as a mother, it would be you." She turned her head away and stared out across the lake. "Now. Stop stalling. Get this over with. You have things to do."
"That is because until Edward..I never knew what family was. Heck I didn't learn what a mother and father was until I was -" And she was caught. "Are you sure you will not change your mind?"
"There is no life worth living if they are not here for it. Not in this realm. Otherwise this world will not be worth existing."
Edward was going to hate her for this. Using the Reevi she formed a thin dagger with the shard being the point. With the way One was, it would be an execution style. Stepping close to One she lowered her free hand onto her shoulder. "I don't quite agree with that statement. Losing someone does...leave a great hole in ones heart, however. It is how you decide to deal with that.."
"For **** sakes Katt, I am giving you an opportunity to end my existence here! This should be everything you wanted and more. Besides... I never had a chance."
"Mrm..How many times in the past have I had a chance to kill you and hadn't? I took you in, instead. Or ..something else. I don't.. I don't kill as often as I use to." In fact she could count on a single hand how many she had since the Shadow Virus.
"You cannot kill what is already dead."
She thought about that mental image. Ugh! Nooo don't think about that mental image. "Then how can you be killed if you are dead?" Oh dear laawdddd did she just make a joke? She truly did suck at them.
One merely looked back at her. "Stop stalling."
"Can I ask one last question before I do this?"
"If you must."
"I know..I am not smart. I can't ever..really fill my brother's shoes." Whatever questioni she had was lost in that thought, and she frowned a bit.
"That isn't a question."
"Forget it." She mumbled. "Any last words? Requests?" Etc etc etc.
Last words..." She muttered. "What's the point. I am not dead beyond this death. You are merely killing the thing that Batten created. Tied, to this realm. Everything..." Tears crashed onto her folded legs. "It's funny. I took DIANA from him, but I felt nothing. I suppose it is only fitting I find emotion when I take away the one thing he and Renna had made." She tilted back her head, and stared to the sky. "This is going to hurt, Katt. I am just warning you now. You hold in your hands something that many have had. Batten had it, but he never took my life. I wonder about that. It won't be pretty. Strike and walk away."
She craned her head faintly. "What do you mean...going to hurt?" Yep now she wasn't stalling. That sounded like she needed to know and why was she only saying this now?
"You're holding something that can kill me." She mused. "This might be a clone but I can assure you, given this is the main link to this realm, I will feel it."
Aw crap. The real thing was going to get pissseedddd. "Oh. I thought you meant...me.." She sighed and squeezed One's shoulder. "You may not care about this but...I will bury your body in a nice place...You may be a clone but you are still your own person..."
"You haven't seen one of us die yet, have you?"
Her eyes rose up as she thought about that. "No...I can't say I have..."
"Oh geez. You are going to explode aren't you?" She tilted her head and squinted down at her.
"Failsafe. You understand, right?"
"I do.." She nodded slowly. "Then..I will mark a grave instead." She softly drew One's hair over one shoulder.
"For *** sakes, Katt, just do it. We're not friends. Heck, if I was in your position I would hack my own head off."
"You aren't me. You know how I feel ...about.." She frowned and drew her hand back before driving the blade forward, jabbing the shard through a space of the spine at the back of her neck. It was a quick jab but enough to where it almost went clean through the neck. Withdrawing the blade quickly she stepped back but eased the shoulder so that One's body just didn't drop.
Death was quite the instant happening for this circumstance. With the type of weapon that she had, there was no blood. The wound crystalized almost immediately and yet, with a rather minor spasm as her body went limp, dark veins quickly spread across the surface of her flesh--fat, tree-branching lines that twitched and pulsed. Rather suddenly, though, her skin rippled as if something beneath the surface was trying to get out and, with one more minor shudder and sudden stiffening of her limbs, she had become a perfect crystalline statue, wearing a cloak. Transparent, yet tinted a purpleish pink hue. She did say she would explode, right? Well, in the center of her chest, an odd glow began to grow and the air was definitely getting hotter.
The crystallization reminded her of Chaos' castle in the shadow realm. Stepping back she watched in an almost awe but mindful to withdraw the reevi dagger into herself along with the shard piece. "I'm sorry..." was all she could find herself to say in that moment before taking a few steps back. Was what she did right? It didn't feel like it... Even if it was requested of her. The sudden thickness of the air drew her from the sorrow and she scowled. "Goodbye.." was mumbled just as the shadows stole her from her spot. A quick get away before she got caught up in the blast. An afterthought was the concern of how big the explosion would be. Crap!
An explosion that left behind no scorch marks. No presence. The crystalline statue erupted as the energy rushed to get out from its shell, scattering deadly projectiles throughout the area, for miles around. Shards so small also created by the blast, were mere flakes of glittering light that fell across the scenery in an eerie yet beautiful event.
Joined: 11 Jun 2008
See this user's pet
Jobs: Artist, City Guard
Can Be Found: She isn't hard to find if one knows where to look.
9411.86 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:25 pm Post subject:
|.: Chapter Twenty-Five: Closure (sort of) :.
The Playboy sat at a table near the fire, tablet in hand, a large mug of coffee near his elbow, scrolling through streams of data that flowed across the transparent surface. A smirk of amusement sat on his features, perfectly familiar to anyone that knew him.
A smirk that was normally up to no good? Naww that couldn't be it, could it? Ahem.. The weather was quickly showing signs of incoming winter and while she may of been spending most of her hours doing other things, she was getting out. Unlike someone who hid in his lab all the time. After all if she stayed inside all the time she may very well miss the first snow. A little bump to the door sounded her entrance, dressed in jeans and a hoodie, you'd think she would step up her wardrobe, no?
He hadn't been hiding in his lab...in fact he hasn't even been on the planet, for the most part, over the past few months. Not that there was much in the way of a difference, right? As the door chime sounded, he looked up, his smirk spreading into a more affectionate smile as his sister shouldered her way into the shop. "Well, well, as Ah live'n'breat'. Gov'nor Batten."
Hot chocolate. That was what she wanted...what she got was a surprise. Sharp greens blinked and shot in the direction of her brother. For a long moment she stood there and..stared. There wasn't any gawking but definitely staring. By the time the shock of seeing him eased she was on the move towards him. "Don't call me that. Not you."
He laughed softly as he stood from his chair, setting the tablet down and moving towards his sister to give her a hug. "Well, it's true, ain't it? And congrats, by de way, sis."
"Yeah maybe but I don't want my brother to call me that. Specially after being gone so long!" Her arms went around him in a hug, squeezing something fierce. How long had it been? "Thanks..I guess. I wasn't expecting it to say the least."
Months, at least. He'd been busy, though. "Yer welcome. Ah ain't worried 'bout how yer gonna do. S'de person dat don't want de job dat us'lly d'serves t'have it." He hugged her tight for a long moment, finally letting her go to resume his seat. "Dat'll keep ya busy for at least de next year, Ah bet."
He maybe released but she did not! At least not for a few more seconds. Okay now she allowed him to sit. Nudging one of the chair from the table she'd follow suit but not without scowling at him. "I suppose. Not exactly the reason why I did it. I mean keeping care of your business for you does keep me rather busy. I am...really glad to see you." She really, really was! "Unexpected.."
He didn;t move until she let go, chuckling when she scowled at him. "Ah figgered ya would be. Ah meant t'be back fer de Day of T'anks t'ing, but Ah was a li'l delayed. Been busy m'self." He smirked at her. "Ain't exactly been loungin' on de beach...Ah'd go crazy bein' dat lazy."
"I don't think you know how to relax like that." There was a little admitting there on her part. "Wish you had been here. I would of thrown you into work with helping with all the kids." A threat? Possibly... "Are you..done with whatever it is that you have been up to? Clayton has been semi-sealed lipped about it."
"Dat so?" He looked a little perpexed as he took his seat, reaching for the steaming mug and taking a sip of the contents. It smelled like caramel macchiatto. "Ah told 'im and de rest o'de crew t'keep it quiet, but Ah figgered he woulda told you. Guess Ah shoulda clar'fied dat bit for 'im." He chuckled. "We've been raidin' human trafficking rings on de ot'er side o'de Eart' portal in de Tower basement. An' we're act'ally gettin' close to bein' done wit' shuttin' down de big ones."
She blinked a few times. "There is a portal in the basement?" Color her surprised. "Clayton is ..a good man. Probably didn't want to give you any reason to distrust him." Folding her arms she leaned back and watched him. Like she was attempting to figure him out a little but after a moment she tilted her head. "How did you find out about it? I mean...why did you get involved?"
Edward Batten: He nodded to her first question. How did she not know about that...? Unless it was just something she had never asked about. The portal was a closely guarded secret, known only to a few of his employees. Specifically, the ones from his Earth, which were not very many. "Vault E. Wasn't easy t'rig up, eit'er." Her statement about Clayton got a nod. She was probably right about that, even if Clayton did sometimes take things perhaps a bit too literally. But then, that seemed to be a trait of his species as a whole, from what he'd seen. Her questions distracted him from saying so, however, at least for the time being. "S'like any'tin' else, sis. Ain't hard t'find if ya know where t'look. An' you know how Ah feel 'bout slavery. Not a fan."
"Yeah.." she mumbled quietly. After a moment she shook her head. She was trying to wrap her head around the fact that there was a portal in the basement! "I..see. I am..glad you are almost done but then what after that? Are you ..coming home?" Because lets face it. She missed him! Him gone so much, so long, she wondered if he was doing it to avoid her before the ..end.
He shrugged and nodded to her. "Ah t'ink we got one more t'go, an' we're movin' on dat in a coupla days. Gonna be a big op, too." He paused a moment, not sure how she was going to take this next part. She hadn't met all the players, but he was more or less sure she knew who they were regardless. "After dat, Ah'm comin' back here. Dere'll be some mop-up an' monitorin' action t'do after dat, but Ah'm assignin' Myles an' Artemis Heracleides t'keep an eye on dat. Dey're runnin' de Order dat used t'be spyin' on me, 'mongst ot'er t'ings. Dey got a whole intel network dat dey can use t'keep an eye on de smaller outfits an' take 'em down as dey pop up."
He held up a hand to forestall whatever question she was trying to formulate. "Yeah, Ah do. Ah know what yer gonna say. Ah shouldn't. Dat dey used t'work for an organization dat was tryin' t'steal my secrets an' take me down at de same time. An' if it weren't fer one t'ing, Ah promise ya, Ah wouldn't." He paused a moment, not sure just how she would take the next bit of news, and everything that went along with it. But he'd already tipped his hand a little. In for a penny... "Dey approached me, Katt. Not offerin' help, or any kind of bribery, or...anyt'in' like dat. Dey didn' even have a clue of what Ah was up to when Myles came t'me. De Order's been pretty much defunct since...well, a while back." The exact circumstances of that he'd long kept a secret, and likely would take it to the grave with him. It was one of the few painful memories he had. "He wouldn' say how, but Myles was able t'tell me what happened t'Leo. Where he is, what he's been doin'...ever'tin'."
She watched him with that blank expression. She was listening and taking the words as they came. Oh yes, that mind was going. Oh sure, nothing wrong with people looking to take you down coming and knocking at the door. It was a tad strange that he took it so..easily. That would of drawn up so many questions to her. She would of said something of it but then he dropped that on her and she stared. "Th-" She stalled. "They ..know where ..where Leo is? What happened? Is he okay?" She sat up a bit in order to lean forward in her seat. "How..much do you trust these people, Edward? You are being cautious still, right?" Wait... "You ...know where Leo is. All this time?"
He sighed softly. He knew these questions were coming, particularly the last one. "Ah've only known fer sure for a li'l bit, sis. Took me a while t'confirm it. But Ah trusted 'em 'cause de story he gave me jived wit' de little bit o'information Ah'd been able t'get m'self. An' yeah, he's okay. Better'n okay. De man apparently rules over de whole realm he ended up in followin' de incident wit' Raven up nort'." He paused, his eyes fixed upon his sister, clearly hesitant to say more, but he pressed on anyway. "Has somet'in' t'do wit' his heritage, but he apparently got married in de bargain. De previous chieftan's daughter, as Ah understand it. Ah ain't talked to him m'self, but de whole t'ing is wrapped up in de politics of de region, which are kinda primitive, from de report Ah got. Di has de details...Ah uploaded de file to her dis evenin' when Ah got back."
"He..is married..?" She blinked. She understood the politics marriage as she had nearly been forced into one but it was still surprising to hear. Raising a hand she rubbed her temple as if her head hurt a bit. It wasn't what he was saying, however. It was thinking on stuff that she vaguely remembered for some reason. She was in shock but quietly so. That was one hell of a bomb to drop on her. At least he was okay but..wow.. "I guess ruling over the realm is the reason he couldn't come back or ..let us know he was okay..." it was mumbled behind her palm, her hand angled to hide her face.
He watched Katt in silence for a long moment. He hadn't wanted to tell her this, in fact had put it off as long as possible, until he could confirm it for himself. That task had been a challenge in itself. "Yeah. Ah understand de transition when he took de t'rone was not an easy one, an' t'ings are still kinda volatile dere. But he's alive, an' managin' t'ings pretty well, accordin' to de info Ah got." He faltered a moment, then reached out to touch her shoulder lightly. He knew how complicated an issue this was for her. "Ah know how ya felt 'bout him, Katt. Ah'm sorry. His fat'er an' sister have some kinda way dey keep in contact wit' him, somet'in' to do wit' his sister bein' his twin or somesuch. An' dat's kinda spotty, at best. Some kinda interference from de area he's in."
There was mixed emotions on her face as she lowered her hand that showed rather easily on her normally blank expresion. "No..it is fine. I am just relieved that he is alright." There was an ache in her chest but she could deal with that behind closed doors at a later time. "Just knowing he is well and things are going good for him... I mean...if he didn't want to be there he wouldn't be...right? So maybe he is happy with how things panned out." Her hand tilted to pat his hand. "How I ..feel means very little in that light." Not to mention it wasn't like Leo had remembered how she felt either. It was due time she just..sucked it up. Right? "His sister...his father..they do anything against you...hurt you..I will break them." Simple as that...
There was a note of caution in his expression for a moment as he watched her. He knew his sister well, well enough to know there was a lot under the surface she wasn't letting him see. Apparently this was a Batten trait, whether they were related by blood or not. Her last statement got a smile out of him, and he nodded agreement. "You'll find yerself in good comp'ny. Clayton said somet'in sim'lar a week ago when Ah fin'ly broke down an' let him in on who they are, b'sides relatives of Leo's."
"He'd be lucky if he beat me to it." Her hand squeezed at her brother's hand to let him know she was alright. She was, for the most part. "I've missed having you around." got mumbled out as her hand released his and settled to her lap. "Is there anything else you want to drop on me? This is likely the best time.."
He took his hand from her shoulder, reaching for his mug as he shook his head. "T'ree days from now we go to wrap dis business up, an' den Ah'll be back home. We've done dis a few times now, so should be smoot' sailin', jus' takin' de last head off de monster." He let out a soft chuckle. "If it makes ya feel any better, de Order dat Myles is runnin' has a long hist'ry of hatin' slav'ry too. Prob'ly more'n Ah do. De founder of deir organization was bound in chains fer a long time, an' by a god, no less."
"So it is..sort of .. a source pulling you two together." Her head tilted faintly as she looked to him. "Did..something happen to you too?" She knew he hated slavery but she wasn't sure for why, if any reason at all. The fact he will be home soon though, that was comforting. Spending Christmas together was a possibility!
His features took on a closed caste, but he nodded, his voice softer. Almost sad, in fact, something that was a rarity from the Playboy. "Ah...knew someone, once. She's dead now." He fell silent, letting those words hang in the air a moment. He had no desire to bring up the tale of Ane, the closest thing he'd had to an actual relationship with a woman not related to him. "She sacrificed herself to destroy her masters, and to protect me. Sorta been a sore spot for me ever since."
She was partly tempted to ask if it was who he designed D.I.A.N.A after but the look on his face stopped her. A slow nod bobbed her head as she reached out, this time to comfort him. "That does explain a bit." His hand was given a squeeze if he would allow it. "Have you talked to Clayton since your time back?"
He squeezed her hand back with a smile, nodding as she asked about Clayton. "Yeah, caught him just as Ah got back. Almost like he was waitin' for me." He chuckled at the thought. He'd been many places with the enigmatic shapeshifting fiancee of his sister, and the man remained something of an enigma to him. Despite that, though, there were very few indeed that he trusted as much. "Which r'minds me, Ah'm gonna need t'borrow him from ya fer dis last raid."
She gave him a throaty sound. "Oh you are warning me this time?" Mhm he kinda deserved that one. She knew no matter what she said Clayton would be going so she just accepted it. "Has he told you about things going on?" She may of been trying to distract him from sad thoughts now. Maybe just a little but also him being updated didn't hurt.
Her gambit worked, bringing a smile to his face and drawing a laugh out of him. "Are ya kiddin'? 'Tween him an' Big Mike, Ah sometimes t'ink Ah'd like t'know less."
She raised a brow at him. "Well lets head to the tower for something to eat and you can tell me what you know and I'll fill in the rest. Wait..did he tell you about mini-me?" She was up out of her seat and practically pulling at his hand. He wasn't getting out of it, it seemed.
He knew that look, but at the moment nothing sounded like a better idea, and he got up out of his seat with little effort on her part. "Mini you? Ya mean Sylva, right? Yeah, dat's...jus' weird. Kinda wonder what she'd make o'me." He chuckled as he led her to the door. "Not all de details, t'ough. Yer gonna hafta fill me in on all dat."
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|Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:08 am Post subject:
|.: Chapter Twenty-Six: That feeling of Faliure :.
02.15.17 - Asile-aux-Falaises
The shooting had oddly enough of taken its toll on her. One shot to the skull barely missed putting her down for good. Two more from behind barely missed major arteries. It was damn lucky for her that they were such lousy shots. Still it put her down and out, making it increasingly hard to do anything more for the city.
How many times, before V-Day, did Mike and Kyle have to return her to her bed? And on V-day itself, among the mass chaos, did she go out in her suit to help out things in certain areas. It felt pointless at some point. Like it was never ending. And in the end Kyle found her in her suit, the hunk of technology keeping the woman on her feet while she bled out inside of it.
Condemned to bed after that was an understatement.
Miss Batten there is a message for you.
She groaned at the air when D.I.A.N.A’s voice rattled her brain. Soft and seductive as it was, it sounded like an air horn at that moment. Sitting up in the bed she tilted her gaze, spotting Mike pacing around outside on the patio. The man looked as if he had taken on more stress than he needed.
It probably would help if she stopped sneaking out while being hurt, now wouldn’t it? Didn’t help that she spent the night, right after being shot, helping the city the best she could. It ..still didn’t feel like it was enough.
So many hurt…
“Who is it from?”
She blinked a few times. A text? From..Jo? A frown thinned her lips as she moved to sit at the edge of her bed, snagging up her PCUI that was on the bed stand.
Text from Jo: Hey, let me know you're okay.
Text from Jo: I know you think like you've failed
Text from Jo: but the city needs you more than ever
She stared at the set of texts for a long..long moment. It was almost frightening how Jochin, who hadn’t even spoken to her in a week or so, knew exactly how she felt at that moment. It was a little..surprising.
Idly she rubbed at her aching head while staring at the light of the screen. It made her eyeballs hurt. Eventually she managed to get thoughts together enough to respond.
Text from Katt: if you have time set up a place and time we can talk
Text from Katt: not suppose to leave but I have been sneaking out
Text from Jo: I'm just glad to know you're alive. I got you a present for the holiday. But I need to deliver it in person. Give me a time and place to meet and I'll drop it off.
Text from Katt: Do you like to climb?
Text from Jo: Its not a hobby of mine, but I think I catch your drift.
Text from Katt: Meet me on top of the clock tower. When you get there just text me. Whenever is fine
Text from Katt: Not at 4am in the morning jochin
Text from Jo: What makes you think I'd ever be up that late?
She gave the screen a funny look. As if she didn’t know better...
Text from Katt: the flock of women that follow you?
Text from Katt: i know when my brother brings a woman home he is up until dawn sometimes.
Text from Katt: don't ask how I know
Text from Katt: it disturbs me that I do know
Text from Jo: I also work only at night. It makes hunting what I hunt easier. But not at 4 am. How about tomorrow right at sundown? I wake up an hour before usually.
Text from Katt: sure sure. Yeah that is fine. You should arrive there before me
Text from Katt: safer that way
Text from Jo: You got it. Stay safe. The city needs you now more than you think it does.
Text from Katt: please..be safe Jo
The tablet was slowly placed down and set to the side. Sneaking out was going to be difficult considering the detail surrounding the house but she would worry about that later. For now she curled back in bed for some much needed sleep.
02.15.17 - Clock Tower
The clocktower. Jo had kept his promise. When wouldn't he, after all? He couldn't use the work out but he climbed it earlier, kept watch from where he stood, and smoked. The city looked different from here. Every aspect of it small. But not insignificant. The fires were all put out by now and the smoldering stopped. He stood, cast his keen sharp gaze out into the city below, and waited.
There was no sound that herald her arrival and no scent save the unusual smell of working oil and metal. That is because when she arrived she arrived in a rather abnormal state. From the shadows bled not the woman but a suit of armor - one of her brother's creations. The metal was of several different shades made to blend in with the shadows. "Jochin." The single word came from the helmet, distorted for good reason but one she isn't likely to get into just yet. The fact she was there, like this spoke volumes of the man.
It was odd when Jo hadn't sensed someone first. But the suit was a bit of technology he hadn't encountered just yet. Jo stepped forward and gave that suit of armor a hug that probably would have made the metal creak in protest.
Well if he thought about it..it was Katt. She didn't exactly carry a scent herself and she was always, unintentionally, sneaking up on people. The visor rose up and the panels of the hood folded back to slide down into the back shoulders of the suit just before she was hugged. "Nhhh. Gentle..Gentle.." She looked..well..horrible. Pale and exhausted beyond all measures of the sense. "The suit is kinda the only thing keeping me on my feet." And a big ol' bear hug now.
"Hey.." The cigarette was balanced between his lips for a drag. "I'm just glad yer okay darlin'." To Jo everyone had a scent. Distinct and determinable. Every race he could discern by just testing the air. Jo's nose was as sensitive as the rest of his enhanced senses. "How much longer you gotta stay in hidin'?"
Well her scent was there. Subtle at best and even Clayton's feline nose had trouble at time finding it. Her brows furrowed. "Hiding? I'm..not hiding." Raising a hand she stopped when she realized she was in the suit. Yeah she may of forgotten a little.
He set her down. "Well, yer doin' yer super hero thing." It was something Jo wished he could do. But only sometimes. Back on his earth Jo was a superhero that no one could ever know about. In Rhy'din he had taken the task of getting the job done and going home. And that was 8 years later.
"I..am not doing anything. I am not a super hero." she mumble. "I wasn't even able to do much to help this city. Nothing..really at all." Once she was put down she actually considered recalling the armor but was afraid she wouldn't be able to stand if she did. "Jochin...how..did you know how I was feeling?" A brow arched up as she looked at him.
"Because I know you darlin'." Back to the outer wall of the clocktower. Jo found the ledge and sat down on it, letting his legs dangle. From here he could have leapt rooftop to rooftop, but a fall to the ground would have hurt. "And I know you're yer own worst enemy and critic. Even if ya couldn't stop it, it doesn't mean tha city doesn't need ya now. Doesn't need ya ta say something ta reassure people. That they aren't alone. That you and the Watch are here ta help them. Because I know that's what you want to say." He poked her right in her stomach, a semi-hard jab of his finger. "Yer just afraid of tha critics. And I say **** them."
Thank you armor for protecting her belly! She blinked down to him and she tilted her head to the side. "What makes you think this city needs me? I've been doing stuff for years." She didn't need recognition for it but to say that the city needed her? It was a little hard to swallow really. "The seat of Gov really doesn't do anything." Moving to sit next to him she groaned out in pain. "I mean I've seen some Gov's help out and some do absolutely nothing."
"But I don't think you took it to do nothing darlin'." Long drag from his cigarette. Up here the wind blew harder and it was colder. "I think you did it ta help. But tha thing about tha city is, people here are powerful. And they may not want ya ta fight their battles. But tha people who can't fight? They're always going ta need you and tha Watch help them pick up tha pieces."
"Mrmm.." The sound echoed in her throat. "During the past..I dunno..four? Five years...I've worked in the shadows of those who sat in the position. It is a good way to stay in the information circle. I don't...trust..any of those who were going up this year." It was silly. "But yes.. I want..to do something good for this city. I really do. But I think I am better doing stuff in the shadows then in the limelight. I don't..want..or need..acknowledgement. I just want to help people. To make up..for what I did in my past.."
"I get ya darlin'." Jo had spent most of his life in the shadows. Fighting for what he thought was right. Doing what was necessary and never getting an ounce of acknowledgement. All that sacrifice for people to stay safe and all Jo got for it was having to be as secret as possible. "But at tha very least I think you should make an announcement. About where tha scared or lost or people who lost their homes can stay."
"I don't know what to say to them, Jochin." Nevermind she felt like she failed them. She did chuckle a bit though when she realized something. "You know it kind of surprised me when I saw your text. The fact that..you know me so well. I..Thank you, Jochin. For checking up on me. It really means a lot. And I appreciate the words. The encouragement."
"Tell them you're here. You're willing to help. You've been a good friend ta me fer so long. I think that's all people want ta hear when they're lost and alone. And afraid." Eyes over to her. "Now that I see that fancy armor ya got I almost wanna hang onta what I got ya fer Valentine's Day and keep it fer myself."
She barked out a laugh and instantly regretted it. "It was a birthday present from my brother two years ago. I just wore it when I came here so I could sneak out. Plus..Plus my body isn't really able to stand on its own right now." Yep! That is how badly she wanted to be there. She was using the suit just to talk to him. "I..didn't get you anything so you probably should keep it." Only seemed fair. "Maybe give it to a pretty blonde girl you are all flirty with." She managed the tease. Katt..teasing. Be afraid.
"I didn't expect ya too. But ya see, I got this habit a gettin' Valentine's fer all my friends kinda like I'm still in kindergarten." He grinned and reached into the inside pocket of his black coat. An odd bit of wood, bound in unprocessed leather. At the bottom were a trio of feathers. The item definitely looked Native American in nature. Except one of those feathers was a fiery orange and red, the color of flames. The other was a sky azure, and the last a black almost imperceptible to the
human eye. "I figured you might need it." He held it out to her, top side of odd carved wood first. "Its a shield. Hold it in the middle. Then say..." Jo exhaled the rest of that drag he had inhaled. "Karahkwa." An eery glow stared. Bright, almost like fire, that broiled just beneath the contained surface, a disc shape that was around a meter in circumference. "Nothin' I ever heard of, magic or physical, can penetrate that shield." Jo held it closer to her.
Her head craned a bit as she peered at him curiously. "What is kindergarten?" Curiously she looked at the item he withdrew and it was the feathers that seemed to gain more of her attention than anything. When he spoke of it being a shield she stared at it like she was about to call his fib. The way her head shot up when the disc became a display was probably amusing at best. Like she was startled yet definitely interested in what she saw. "W-Wow.." At first she didn't move a hand towards it but eventually her hand stretched out. Yes..she poked at it.
There was no pain, but that glowing bit of fire, disc shaped, and raging, was as solid as any physical, or metaphysical shield that she had ever felt. It made no noise. "And ta get it ta stop working you just say...Ehnita." The glow of disc shaped fire faded in a blink. Jo pressed it into her palm
She blinked several times as the glow dissipated and the end product was pressed her her hand. Her eyes shot up to him, a measure of awe on her face. "Are you sure? This..is for me?"
"I had no idea you had access ta fancy armor before I got it." With a small chuckle and another drag. Even if the winds raged this high up Jo barely felt them. "But I figured you would need it."
"My brother is all smart. Way smarter than I am." She looked at the item in hand fondly. "I can really use this. Thank you Jochin. Thank you for looking out for me." Her brows furrowed a moment and after a moment the armor began to leave her person, folding back and in the end of it clanked to the ground behind her ..in a backpack with the Batten logo on it. The woman herself looked bad. She was still kinda in the nightgown that the ward had her wearing but don't worry she wasn't flashing any hinny.
Jo whistled. Not because of what he saw. But because of how she looked. "You..need to get some rest." He knew that wasn't the nicest thing to say. "Thanks fer meetin' me here darlin'."
"Nice way of saying I look like ***." She smirked and leaned over to give him a hug. No armor to hinder that! She kinda..needed a hug. "There is..something I want to discuss with you before you leave. Something I said we would talk about but I didn't want to at the inn. Something I can't really make public knowledge."
Sidelong glance. He nodded. "Okay...."
"Do you remember when I said that something was going to happen and I wasn't sure how I was going to handle it?" Her hands settled in her lap. "My..brother is dying, Jochin. Nothing can be done about it." Lowering her eyes to her fingers she started to twist them, lacing them and unlacing them.
"I'm so sorry darlin'." He put one of his huge arms over her shoulders and pulled her in for another hug.
She leaned into the hug. "I am afraid that when it happens, Jochin, I am going to snap. He has..for a while now..been a sort of glue that has kept me grounded."
Jo stood from that seat on the ledge, hovering over her for a few seconds. "Don't darlin'." He took a long drag on his cigarette. "You always have more family than that." He nodded once, heavily, to affirm his point. "Don't you ever forget that."
Her eyes tilted up to him. "It isn't quite that simple but I understand what you are saying." Reaching out she pulled at the ledge in order to get herself up to her feet. "I've used enough of your time. Sure there are things you need to do but..but thank you for this. Really. It means a lot to me."
"I always have time fer my best friend darlin'. Don't think anythin' else but that. If you ever need me I'm just a text away." And without much of a head start, just three long, quick strides, Jo leapt from the clocktower to the nearest rooftop.
Joined: 11 Jun 2008
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|Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:01 pm Post subject:
|.: Chapter Twenty-Seven: What is a little liquor between siblings? :.
“What are you doing, Katt?”
She heard ‘Big Mike’ before he even spoke. The lumbering man tended to announce himself with his steps before even arriving at his destination -
which in this particular case was in CEO office of Batten Tower. Littering the table were numbers bottles of various sizes and colors, some rather fancy while others were plain clear bottles with slap on white labels. Without spilling a drop she continued to empty out one of the Dalmore bottles into a clear bottle. “Nothing.”
“Well that is a whole lot of nothing,” Mike chuckled as he leaned on the table. “So we can talk about what it is you are doing with your brother’s booze or we can talk about me seeing you browsing wedding dresses yesterday.”
That caused her to stop and her sharp greens tilted towards the big man. Well he just confirmed the idea that she had seen him sometime in the day. “What were you doing? Following me?”
Big Mike grinned and shook his head, “You really aren’t going to tell me?”
“If you go get me a few different types of juices...I’ll tell you,” was her reply as she capped the bottle and wrote something on the label.
“How many cups?”
“All of it,” she answered as she started on the next bottle, “Oh and a gallon of water.” Which probably wasn’t going to be enough.
Well that raised a brow and some questions but he didn’t hesitate to leave her to her task while he retrieved the needed liquid for this most peculiar project of hers. Once he returned he settled an assortment of jugs down just within her reach. “So?”
His inquiry didn’t go unanswered this time as she started to explain what she was doing. Very simply she was ...playing a prank on her brother. Yeah...that is what she called it. She didn’t slip into the reason but it seemed like he didn’t need one, which suited her just fine.
“Why didn’t you tell me from the start?” he asked as he opened a bottle and started to empty it out, “I would have started helping right away!”
She stare at him, “Because you shouldn’t get fired over something I do?”
“You really think he would fire me for something like this?” he snorted at her. Two bottles were quickly done by his hands, "What do you plan on doing with the re-bottled liquor?
“Maybe.” she replied as she leaned back. "I am going to properly reseal them once done that way they keep their freshness. Maybe I'll donate them to some charity." The look on Mike's face was priceless when she said that. "I jest. I'll likely just give them back to him. In quantities..." Not that he really needed them. Not like the man couldn't go buy more, right? Probably what he would do. Brush off her prank and just buy more. “Do you think you can finish up the ones here? I am going to go get the ones in his room,” there was an instant laugh from Mike though she kept on talking, “And the stash at the inn.”
Mike about lost it when she said that. She was going all out. “Sure thing!”
She watched as Mike continued the job with a goofy grin on his face. If it came down to her brother wanting to fire Mike she would just claim that she ordered him to do it. A single nod was given as she grabbed a few bottles of juice and the water before starting to the door.
She stopped and glanced over her shoulder, “Yeah?”
“Nothing wrong with browsing dresses but you should try them on too.”
The nonchalant way he spoke caused a brow to rise and she looked away. “I know my size.”
“That isn’t the point,” was a quick-shot reply back.
She didn’t understand but took the suggestion to consider at a later time. “Contact me once you are done. I have something else I have for you to do.” She raised a hand to wave over her shoulder as she parted the office and headed for her brother’s room.
Luckily for her, he wasn’t in at the time which meant: A) she wasn’t going to walk in on him during any ..activities...and B) she didn’t need to answer any questions on what she was doing.
Careful with her task, she went about sniffing the booze out without disturbing much of anything and what she did move around she was rather careful in placing it back exactly as she found it. By the time she was done there was no evidence that she had even been there. Hell, she even went the extra mile to have D.I.A.N.A turn off any security surveillance in the room during her period in his living quarters.
It was like she was never there…
...his lack of liquor would say otherwise...
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|Posted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:50 pm Post subject:
|.: Chapter Twenty-Eight: What We Are :.
06.5.17 - Late evening
It had been a few months and with everything that had been going on, it could've been easily for her to forget things. However, the more Katt tried to ignore it, the more it seemed to nag at the back of her head. That little tug that would always be at the edge of her mind, persistent..demanding…
The youth that was her..in another life..in another time..Dubbed “Sylva” by Desdenova. Befriended by him and some of the other young people she knew. Ebon’s children and maggie seemed to be an influence. It wasn’t hard for Katt to tell, even from a distance, that the girl was growing up..different than she had. She was thankful for that, even if the young woman gave her the creeps. Friends, at that age, she barely remembered having. Faceless beings with no name to account for. Which was weird as she had such a good memory. But it meant that Sylva had someone she could trust, people who would help and guide her.
However, with this friendship came things that made Katt increasingly uncomfortable, especially with her knowledge of what the youth was going through at the time. Observation told many things for someone who knew what signs to look for. Often times she didn’t even have to search for the youth, spotting her ever so often in the marketplace while sitting at the fountain. Or at Ebon’s orphanage, helping out with the children. Or at the theater where she watched and waited for Doran and Maggie to give words of praise for a good show. There were other things, little jokes and comments, catching her ear that left her pondering on which actions to take.
Action she did take or at least it started the start of what was a plan. The hardest part would come later but finding her wasn’t that hard. As late as it was in the evening, it meant that the youth was most likely heading to the treehouse that seemed to belong to Doran. At least this is what she gathered with one of her many of followings of the young woman. So Katt waited, patiently, just within the city to see if the youth passed.
She did this..for nights..until eventually Sylva did show up, carrying what looked to be a brown bag of various goodies she was bringing with her. It wasn’t hard to tell that Sylva had spotted her as well, even though she made no attempt to hide herself. The young woman slowed, keeping the distance between them.
“We ...need to talk, Sylva..” Katt started, unsure if that was even a start. She wasn’t sure what to say to the younger counterpart and the feeling of unease came over her.
“What do you want?” Sylva asked with a big of venium to her tone. She was not pleased to see Katt and she wore it on her face clear as day.
“I know what you are going through, Sylva. The pain. It isn’t going away with feeding as it use to, is it?”
Sylva grew still while eyeballing Katt, her arms tightening around the bag almost protectively. “How..,” she started but realized she already knew the answer.
“Because we are one in the same.” Katt started, quietly, “Please..sit with me and hear me out.”
Sylva glanced past Katt before looking back to her and slowly nodded.
“Sylva...You are dying.” Katt really had no gentle way of putting it. “When I...we...were born we were born of two bloods that..aren’t suppose to be in one person. They are killing you. Destroying you from the inside out.”
Sylva’s doll like eyes turned up to Katt, the news crushed her under its weight. “H-How are you..How are you still alive and so old then?! Why are you lying to me?!”
Old? She blinked a few times at Sylva. Despite the young woman’s composure crippling, she still had a way of getting words out that surprised Katt. Sylva was the first to ever call her ...old. Most saw her young face and thought her younger than she really was. She looked like she was hanging around her late teens to early twenties and Sylva was calling her old! Granted she was in her thirties now but still! “I…made a pact with someone who sealed and burned away one of the bloods.”
“Can’t I just do that too?!”
The blurted words from Sylva had Katt refocusing on the reason she wanted to talk to the youth. “That is ..why I am here. It is a choice that is on the table, yes. Or at least it could be. I would have to see if the one who did the pact would do it for you. But there are some things you have to understand, Sylva…no matter which one you choose, it will be painful.”
“It can’t be any worse than what I am feeling now…”
“That pain you feel now? Will only grow as the days pass. If I am correct..if something is not done by winter’s time…” She watched Sylva’s face as she spoke.
“So go talk to that person!” Sylva insisted, nearly dropping the bag of goodies she had planned on presenting to Doran once she got to the treehouse.
“It..isn’t that easy. And even if he agrees to do it you will have to choose which one you want to keep and which one you will be without. The Altian blood is celestial, of the cosmos. It gives you your strength and presence of self. I am sure you have felt it when you are mad. When the ground bows to a sudden weight that you don’t seem to have. It is also why your eyes have no pupils. A full blooded Altian doesn’t have eyes like ours but are full of color. Their hair is normally white too and they have a very demanding presence.” Her hands clasped as she spoke. There was so much to fill this mind with in such a short amount of time.
“And the other?” Sylva’s meek voice spoke out across the distances, tears brimming her eyes.
“Reevi. A shadow caught between light and dark, either and yet both. We are the first female breed of the race, even though in your state you are half. Which makes us the First, aside from our father. That is why the creator of the Reevi race has such..interest in me.” She paused for a moment, her lips pursed as she thought over her own words. Words that she had not even spoken to her brother or Clayton. “Reevi are agile and flexible with a metal-like substance that lives within our blood that can be used to not only protect ourselves and others, but can be used to create weapons.” These were just highlights, of course. Short explanations to serve as a way to give the young woman something to think about.
Sylva listened but kept looking past Katt, tempted to just flee past her and head to the treehouse, placing all of this behind her and just a bad memory. But fear kept her rooted in place. “Can’t...Can’t I just be like Doran?”
That question alone set up a few alarms, giving flesh to a concern that she had but yet to address. “You can never be like Doran...or anyone else for that matter… You are you, Sylva.” She shifted on her heels as the young woman looked at her as if she were going to swallow her soul. “There are..things you must consider as well, Sylva. If you choose Reevi you will still need blood.” Katt paused there.
“And if I choose the other?” Sylva questioned like a curious kitten.
“You will lose yourself,” Katt stated quietly, “You will lose all memories, emotions, everything. The Altian will come and take you away, and you will go with them willingly. You will leave behind everything and everyone you have here. You will not remember their faces...their names… Nothing of it.” Testing the waters she watched the young girl’s face. “Not even Doran.”
Sylva’s eyes went wide as she listened to Katt explain the consequences.
If Sylva was anything like her, the idea of losing your memories was appalling. Sylva had a lot more to lose than she did at that age. “You would not remember Jonigan, Des, Maggie, or any of Ebon’s children and I am well aware of how close you’ve become with them. ‘Specially Doran.”
Sylva shifted almost instantly and was once again eyeballing the path out to the treehouse.
“You like Doran, don’t you?”
The question gained Katt an odd look from Sylva. “Uh huh. He is a good friend.”
Katt grunted quietly, “I want you to stay away from him. In your condition you are likely to hurt him and quite frankly if you were to hurt him...any of Ebon’s children or Maggie, I would kill you.” It wasn’t a threat but a promise and one she didn’t make lightly.
“I wouldn’t…” Sylva’s words left her lips though they sounded as unsure as she felt.
“The pain will get to where you will do it and not even remember until the damage is done. Then you will have to live with the guilt of it.” Katt assured the young woman.
“How would YOU know?!” Sylva snapped, “I’m not like you! I would never attack the ones I care about!”
“I know because it happened and I was just a little older than you are now.” Katt understood the girl’s frustration..the fear.. It was weird being on the opposite side of the field of her own emotions. “There are things that are different between us, now...yes...But that pain...That pain is not something one can forget. There is very little that compares to being destroyed from the inside out by your own body.” A small sigh echoed from her lips. “Sylva. You need to stay away from them. For their good.. and your own.”
“No. I..I won’t. I can’t. I am going to continue to guard Doran’s t-”
She eyed Sylva as she presented the question, “How would you feel if you attacked him and fed from him without his okay? He could grow to hate you. Fear you. What if you accidently kill him because you are unable to control yourself?” Even though she knew she warned Doran, she was pretty sure he didn’t understand how serious she was. How strong Sylva was or how dangerous she could be in a frenzied state.
“I wouldn’t!” Sylva venomously insisted.
“You cannot say that and know for certain.. Just like you can’t say you wouldn’t attack Maggie, Azure , Olivia..Even Des. Who is to say you won’t even attack others?” Just with Sylva practically living with Doran made him a bigger target. Easy access and the lad had a good heart. She knew he would try to help Sylva and only place himself directly in harms way. He was a good kid. “I am not saying you need to keep away forever but you need to start separating yourself from these people. At least until we have a plan on what we are going to do.”
“I don’t want to lose my memories. I don’t want to lose my memories of Jonigan or all the friends I’ve made.” Sylva whined as she looked down to the bag. She hadn’t even considered that dying was a real possibility and when that finally kicked in her eyes started to water. She had already came close to dying thanks to someone shooting at her but this? This was different. Cruel, even.
“I know, Sylva. and isn’t the only choice to you.”
“I don’t want to be like you either!” Sylva snapped. “You are the farthest thing I want to be when I grow up!”
Ouch! Did Sylva see her as such a bad person that she would say such a thing? The comment left her silent and staring at the youth. Hell if she even knew what to say to that.
“I don’t want to be you,” Sylva clarified when she saw Katt staring at her in a way that made her skin crawl, “I want to be me.”
Ah.. Okay now that was different. “You already are, Sylva. You have strayed from any path that would have lead you to being like me. You’ve got family and friends. You have a ..home. Even though I honestly don’t like you having affections for Doran, there is also that. You have bonds, connections...I didn’t have those. I even heard you are going to school now. I never did that.” As funny as it was, she did teach in one. Go figure, right?
The relief in Sylva’s voice wasn’t hard to miss. It almost sounded as if some weight was lifted. “Yeah…” Katt nodded slowly as she glanced up for a moment, a sound catching her attention. “Listen. I know you don’t want to but distance yourself from people. I am not saying it has to be completely but limited would be ideal. Just until we can get everything panned out. If it comes to the decision that you’d rather just pass away...that would also make it easier for the people who know you.” While she knew Sylva didn’t want to die she also knew that the pain was going to get bad. Bad enough that Sylva may very well wish, and accept, death as a way out.
Sylva didn’t argue this time. Spending less time with people when she didn’t want to wasn’t what she wanted but she also did want to keep them safe. Katt was right. If she hurt Doran she would never be able to forgive herself. “Okay.”
It didn’t take much to tell that her words had stressed out the young woman. “Honestly..I should of came to you sooner but…” Shaking her head she sighed. “I will look into a few more possible ways but for now decide on which path you want to take, Sylva.”
Sylva nodded meekly. “Okay.”
Pursing her lips she watched the young woman for a moment or two worth of silence before sidestepping and gesturing her along. To which Sylva seemed to gladly accept and quickly scurried past and into the night. Katt stood there silently, lips pursed, as she watched the shadows in which Sylva had disappeared into. The night was still young and she had plenty she could do to fill it with.
Asking her brother if he had any ideas would be a start. Maybe Ebon since he was close to the girl.
Time was running out and swiftly so…
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9411.86 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:30 pm Post subject:
|.: Chapter Twenty-Nine: Of Metal and Heart :.
06.25.17 - Late Night somewhere in the depths of the Glen
He led the way heading south of the city, outside the city limits. "Bet you're just dyin' t'see what dis is all about, huh?"
Behind her brother she followed but was oddly quiet, her hands clasped at the small of her back. There was no read as if she were thinking or brooding, just simply quiet. When he spoke it seemed to cause her gaze, which was already on him, to refocus. "Mrmm? Well ..yeah. You sure do like teasing though." Did that mean she had grown use to it? No, not exactly, but she could..attempt to tease about it.
He grinned, looking around for a moment, assessing their surroundings. "Well, Ah s'pose dat here's as good a place as any." He came to a halt, gesturing to the backpack. "You can toss dat or set it down somewhere for de moment. Ya ain't wearin' dat bracelet Ah gave ya yet, right?"
She wasn't keen on the idea of tossing it around despite the fact that it probably could take it. So the pack was tucked under a tree before she turned to retrace her steps to him, her fingers digging out the bracelet from her pocket. "Not yet." Mostly because she wasn't sure which wrist she was going to assign it to.
He nodded. "Good. Pick a wrist...it don't matter which one. Should work on eit'er or, just pick whichever one is de most comfortable. Once ya got it situated, take a second t'clear yer mind a bit." He grinned, arching an eyebrow. "Looks like ya got a lot on it at de moment, so take a minute if ya need it."
She blinked at him slowly. "I do...?" She asked quietly as she slid on the bracelet on her left wrist. She eyed it, sitting there against her sunbaked skin. It was hard to clear her mind but she tried. Really she did. "Now what?"
He was skeptical, but it would do, he supposed. Hopefully it wouldn't make that much of a difference. "All right, de next part you can do any way ya want, but ya need to be t'inkin' 'bout wearin' de armor. Ya can make it a mental command, or t'ink 'bout puttin' it on, even what it feels like havin' it on. Your choice. De first time not'in's gonna happen...dis is just to establish a baseline readin' for de armor to use as an activation trigger." He watched her to see if she was getting this.
That part wasn't hard but amusingly, at least to her, that came with thinking of the first time she had worn the armor. There was a fondness in that memory. With a faint cant of her head she glanced to the backpack to see and he was right, nothing happened. "So this link will be activated from anywhere? What about if I am offworld?" Of course she had to ask the tough questions.
He chuckled as he tilted his head slightly, listening to his AI as she murmured in his ear that the readout was complete. "De connection between yer armor an' de bracelet is carried on a quantum communication protocol dat..." He stopped himself from getting too technical. "It's got a long range, but if yer offworld an' leave de armor behind, no, dat ain't gonna work."
"So no taking it with me to the shadow planes. Got it." She snickered and glanced to her brother, noting how his head was tilted. Was he..mimicking her? Nahhh. Not him. "Still..will make having to tote around the backpack obsolete. Not..that I didn't mind it." For reasons that she did not dare say why. "How long have you been working on this little..tidbit?"
He shrugged slightly, looking nonchalant. "Coupla months. Hard part was makin' de bracelet, really. It ain't easy to make a biomonitor like dat look like it could be some kinda jewelry, ya know." He chuckled. "Ya ready to give it a shot?"
"And we all know how much jewelry I own." Ring. Check. Necklace, check. She needed to get Ed to talk to Ducii about her endless closet and see if he could make one. Wait. Ducii and Edward in the same room together. Alone. Scratch that. Trying to erase that from her head she shook it a few times. "Is the bracelet a better way of you to try to keep tabs on me too?" Yes, that question happened. After all she had been half a month without her PCUI on her person as well as ..well usually everything she normally carried with her. Nothing happened from the backpack yet simply because she hadn't tried. Apparently the answer was more important at the moment.
He rolled his eyes at the question, shaking his head. "Ya know Ah don' do dat. Oh sure, yer location info gets sent to Di, but she don' share dat wit' me. Ain't my business. Ya get in some kinda trouble you need yer big brot'er for, however, an' it'll be a diff'rent story."
How good were those readings on her? Because hearing him call himself 'big brother' had a big ol' sway on her even if she didn't show it. "Why I got to be in trouble to need you?" There was a hint of a smile right before she grunted. The back panel of her suit snugged its way against her back and started to branch out why more of the suit started to fit itself to her on what seemed of its own accord. Was she trying to hide in the suit? Yes! She did seem to make an odd little sound when the suit's arm began fitting to her right arm but that could easily be missed. The helmet was the last fit and she glanced down to herself as the whole suit did a quick re-calibrating test. "Okay that was cool as hell."
He grinned as he watched the armor flit from where she had tucked it to start wrapping itself around her, his eyes following every movement, watching her reactions. He caught that odd sound but let it pass, enjoying himself as he watched it work. Once it was finished he looked the assembled suit over with an approving nod. "Looks like it works." The grin turned into a smirk, mischief making his eyes twinkle. "Wanna take it for a test drive?"
The visor of the hood slid up into the helmet part while she was busy gripping and releasing the grip of her hands. After a moment she looked up to him. "Sure." Did she ask what he meant? Nope! Whatever it was, she was on board.
The grin on his face widened, and at the same time a wavelike rippling motion passed through the fabric of his coat, the garment rearranging itself around him, appearing to move in pixelated flowing wavelets around his body until he stood there clad in his own armor, his voice taking on the slightly flattened computer-filtered tones that eliminated all traces of accent and subtly altered its pitch and timbre to give it a harmonic quality. "All right then, sis. Bring it on." He lifted a gauntleted hand and beckoned to her as he said it.
What the what? Now the appearance of his armor did bring about a few..questions. Okay, maybe a lot of them. He had been planning this all along and she could tell when he grinned like a cat who got into the cream. Shaking her head she raised a hand to slide her fingers along the visor as it lowered. "Rules? Besides you not using D.I.A.N.A to track my moves." Was she calling him out on cheating? Nooo. Just getting that out of the way of course. As her hand lowered he would find she had already dismounted one of the blades which was, for the moment, disengaged.
His grin could likely be heard even through the filtering as he watched her. Not settling into a defensive stance, the pulse generators in his hands not even powering up. He looked like he was waiting for her to make a move. "No other rules. But don't count on that cloak system to save you, I have other ways of seeing you than using Di."
She was fine with that as her hand shot up as he spoke. Right after him saying there were no other rules. The energy pulse gen in her left arm sent off two shots in rapid session - one aimed for his chest and the other a wee bit..well..lower. Was it meant that way or was it just the height difference? Who knows! Either way she was already working on placing a bit of space between them with the blade yet to be activated.
He wasn't surprised by her sudden attack, though her aim was noted. That was just plain dirty, he thought, as he threw himself into a quick leap, turning his body horizontally and sideways, the pair of quick shots passing over and under him as he spun in the air, missing him by millimeters on both sides. The spin brought him around as he came down, landing in a low crouch much more nimbly than his bulk suggested, one palm raised, He fired off a quick shot of his own, this one aimed at the ground just in front of her feet. The repulsor blast blew up a small crater and threw dirt and rocks up into her face. Right on the heels of the blast he pounced forward, the armor's musculature propelling him at her midsection.
If there was one thing she had, it was quick reflexes. Another thing she had? A few tricks up her sleeve that he may of missed in his..days away. On a dime she managed to stop, toe of the suit bare inch from where the crater he created. And while she was, for the moment, unaware of his approach, he would find that when he got too close that something was 'not right'. Something that would seem familiar, in a way, wrapped itself around the elbows and lower arms of the armor and jutted outward like from her body. The Reevi skin bled through, creating near feather like blades that she released to fire like bullets in the incoming direction of her brother while the rest of her body turned to face him at the ready. If he tried to tackle for the midsection as it appeared, he was going to get a fight!
His armor's sensors screamed a warning at him as the incoming fusillade blasted out at him. While it certainly wouldn't cause any lasting harm, of course, he didn't want her getting a hit in on him so soon in the game. Instinctively he rolled to the right, the thrusters in his suit kicking off as he did so, twisting him out of the path of the blades, but also causing him to shoot past her. His palms opened in her direction as he went sailing by, aiming for where her back should be if she remained in his path.
Ohhh she was looking for one to hit. Just one. And even when it did hit there would be no damage but it would seem that it was stuck to his armor. But lucky for him, instead, they missed and disappeared somewhere into the grass. For now. Her head tilted, faintly, as he roared past but he would find that blade that she had been holding? Was now activated and if he was close enough it was going to nip but not with enough force as it seemed his shot to the back got her. She staggered forward but planted her foot so she didn't move too far. Instead she used the force to hunker down low before springing after him, twisting her body with the force of pushing off. Much like her namesake, a cat, she twisted in the air and was thrusting the blade right for the left shoulder as if looking for a place between metal - as she would any armor. Even if she knew there was none to be had.
Her blade nicked him going past, the touch just enough to throw off his attempt to pull up and come down on his feet, instead nudging him towards the ground and turning him so he plowed onto his back into the dirt. He had just enough time to start pushing up from the ground before the tip of her blade caught him on the shoulder, slamming him back down into the dirt again but failing to penetrate. Grabbing at the point of the blade with one hand, he directed his palm up at her face with the other, loosing a blast.
Ohh he was not going to like this! The blade was released once she saw he had it but at the same time her other hand shot out, apparently having the same idea as him but for his lower section. Instead she deflected and sent his shot off elsewhere instead of her face. Face shot! Not cool! So she left him a little present on his palm. At first it looked like just some glop on the palm but it soon enough found the thinnest cracks and ..well..Edward had a little friend in his suit right now. What was it up to? He would find out eventually. For now she tried to push off and away unless he ended up grabbing her. "Before I forget. I have a favor to ask.."
He kicked off as the shots bounced off of each other, one blowing a chunk of ground out a few feet away, the other flying off to make a medium-sized rock explode spectacularly. He pushed off once her blade was let go, letting it fall as the thrusters blasted him back a yard, then flipped him up and over in a backwards somersault to land easily on his feet. His suit reported the foreign substance, but was still analyzing it for the moment, "Oh? What might that be?"
It wasn't anything super harmful as long as she didn't will it to be but darn if when it touched Edward did he feel that creepy feeling of a shadowling's touch. A touch that would leave just about anyone's skin crawling and uncomfortable while at the same time feel like something slimy is crawling on you..without actually leaving a trail. It was just an overall discomfort. Just a friend that wanted to say Hi, Edward! In the most creepiest way possible. While she had his attention she had thought about asking him to make her as scythe to go with her suit...however there was something more pressing. Didn't mean she left herself open but she did seem to almost idly pick up the blade. "I know, to a degree, you have tested my blood. However, this was after half of it was nulled away." She just now realized, she wasn't sure if Edward was aware of her..past..of her actual two sets of blood she had been born with. "If given the time do you think you would be able to isolate a person's blood or blood traits? Not a whole lot of time though." In fact now that she thought about it, he may of been a poor choice to turn to. He had his own things to worry about...
He shivered a little at the sensation, but it was a small distraction. A mental command activated a few little countermeasures in his suit to expel the substance as he considered it. And his next line of attack. "Well, to be honest, I'm no expert on that sort of thing. D.I.A.N.A. probably knows more about it than I do. But still, I tink it's possible." He watched, he waited, prowling to the left as he spoke, his body in a slight defensive, waiting posture as he watched for her next move.
He really should've been paying attention to the ground and where those daggers had landed. She watched him prowl and just as he stepped to the side her hand rose up and her fingers clenched. On command the liquid Reevi became like spikes, jolting up from the ground until they stood proud in two feet of barbed salute. If they didn't hit they did serve to halt him from going that direction which aided her as she suddenly jetted forward to him, her body angled low and her hands holding the blades at ready. "Don't worry about it then." She would figure something out. Just..not sure what.
That was certainly a surprise, and completely unexpected, startling him enough that he jumped back the other way away from the spikes. His attention on the conversation and then by the sudden surprise of the incongruous emergence of spikes from the ground, he missed his sister coming his way until the last moment...enough time to start a leap upwards, not enough time for the thrusters to kick him completely out of the way.
The blades in her hands dropped and she reached out to grab one of his feet and you better believe she tried to ground him with all of her might. Even if it might of seemed like she was trying to hammer him down into the ground. Pent up frustrations? Naw, not here!
One thing he'd learned in long training hours, first with Kyle, then a rather unexpected partner later, was the importance of rolling with the punches, as it were. While he didn't know what exactly she intended until the last moment, he'd already relaxed himself in preparation, and when she swung him down, he let himself lay limp a moment, so she was almost swinging him like a flail at the ground. At the moment he felt himself getting close to being parallel with the ground, he acted, kicking out with his free foot towards her face as he pulled with the one in her grip, and as he did so the pulse generators in the heels of both boots fired off at her.
He was SO lucky she was wearing a helmet otherwise she'd be irked at the fact he kept aiming for her face! She made a sound as she pitched back from the shock and made sure to place a little more space between them while she shook her head. Recalling the blades back she caught them as they shot her way but instead of using them she simply placed them back where she went. There was no move to make her way toward him again. No..she stayed right there.
The blast from the boots was meant more for the shock value than anything else, naturally. It was another lesson he'd learned that always worked - everyone instinctively protects the face. As she let go he thumped down to the ground, her swing still managing to hammer him into the dirt hard enough to drive the breath from his lungs and make him see stars. The grunt that escaped him could be heard through the voice pickup, and for a moment he just laid there, wondering if there was now an imprint of his body that was going to be left behind as he started to push himself up. "Ow," he grunted as he felt a sharp twinge in his chest, pausing a moment on one knee. "I think you cracked a rib." There was a slight chuckle in his voice as he said it.
Ow. From anyone that wouldn't of phased her. This was a spar and she wasn't one for pulling punches just because and she didn't expect him to pull any either. However...it was him ..her brother. So for a moment the concern weighed more on her than the spar. "Are you alright? We can stop..."
He sighed under his helmet, pushing himself up to his feet. It was almost fine already, his body's unique physiology already repairing the fracture in the bone. He could feel it - it was a weird, itching discomfort that he'd never had an easy time ignoring. "I'm fine. Damn, and I was just about to thank you for not treating me like I'm...like I'm fragile or something." And this time it was his turn to bound at her, arms extended, hands curled into fists, long, sleek twin blades extending from the back of his wrists.
Okay now that rubbed her the wrong way and it came in the form of both her hands coming forward. Both hands released a charged fire his way so that the shots combined into a large one, aimed for..well..his chest. They were barely released as she followed in the aftermath of their firing, one blade unsheathed, clenched and in swing for one of the wrists. The growl that followed? Might of been a sign that he had struck a nerve without even realizing it.
He was already in motion, and his momentum made it hard to dodge that blast. He just managed to move enough to take it more towards his shoulder than the middle of his chest, knocking him twisting backwards. He came down, twisting around, mostly on his front, hands splayed outward to catch himself from doing a faceplant, pushing himself up to his feet with the agility born of years of parkour training. The blades at his wrists, crystalline in appearance, suddenly glowed white-hot as he moved to intersect her swing at him. He managed to stop it, the ringing sound lost on him as the shock of her blow shook his arm from wrist to elbow.
"You are anything but fragile! How dare you even think I would treat you such a way! Even if you are...Even if you are-" The words, despite being distorted by the helm, were filled with open annoyance mingled with something else that was likely missed in the transition. She made no attempt to block his attempt, counter it, or even stop his blade from finding a land. Now close up he would notice gleams of black metal along the shoulders of the armor and suddenly they came to life, long spines formed of Reevi bowing forward and striking down at the armor so close to her now as if attempting to skewer even though she knew she couldn't dent it let alone land through it. Didn't mean she wasn't going to try to open it like a damn tin can!
He saw all right, the spines making contact before he could push away. Automatically the armor hermetically sealed itself, at the same time a thought-activated electric current arced across his armor's skin, just as he pushed her away. He wasn't sure how that had pissed her off, but he could see the result. He took a couple steps back, hands out in a pacifying gesture, the blades sliding back out of sight. "All right, sis, I think that's enough. You got something to say, just say it already."
She hissed when the electric current hit the Reevi. She felt that and quickly retreated but not as far as one would expect. In fact she seemed to be pacing from one side to the other much like a caged animal. "I just did." She grunted at him. "Issy seems to think that every time I see you that I am always pissed at you and that I should back off and just make sure the rest of your days are cushiony and filled with love. I am not always pissed at you but you do some really dumb stuff and you deserve a swift kick in the ass for it. But I am NOT and I CAN'T just treat you like you are fragile! You are better than that and to do so, even now would be disrespectful. So I may be a crappy sister and all," She pointed a finger at him, "But don't you ever say I treat you like you are fragile!" The respect she had for him was deeply rooted and she felt like him saying that was an insult, not to her, but to him and she would not have it!
He was taken aback, though it might be hard to tell behind the armored visage. It took him a moment to recover and process all that, and when he finally did he shook his head slowly. "Okay, so, some minor corrections. First of all," and he started holding up fingers as he spoke, "not a crappy sister. Second of all, we may have our little spats or whatnot, but I don't think I've ever seen you actually pissed at me until now. I like that you don't have a problem telling me what you think, not enough people have in my life. They mostly seem interested in telling me what I want to hear." He let out a chuckle as he paused. "And I just said you weren't treating me like I'm fragile. Maybe I should have said 'dying', but I don't think of myself as a dying man. This thing that's happening to me is just like what happens to anyone else. It could - probably will - take years at its present rate of progress, and maybe by then I'll have found a way to fix it. It's not like I gave up trying, you know." He made a grumbling noise. "I meant I was glad you don't let me off easy, whether we're slugging it out, or...well...I guess we're slugging it out any way you look at it, in a way."
"Of course you aren't giving up trying. You don't know how to give up trying, right? That is a family trait." Her voice sounded off, like she was struggling. So was being stubborn, right? "I am not going to treat you any different. I want to be open and honest with you." Even though she felt he didn't return it which was okay to her. "Of course I wouldn't take it easy on you. How else are you to learn and grow? A spar is suppose to test your limits and besides to go easy on you would be an insult to you and your skills." She stopped pacing but by no means did she drop her guard. "So..you really don't...think I am a crappy sister?"
He continued watching her, subtly taking a step back. Not planning anything, really. But...just in case. He shook his head and chuckled as she asked that. "Seriously, you ask some of the silliest questions, sis. You're the best sister I've ever had."
"That has to be one of the dorkiest comments I have ever heard you say. I am the only sister you've ever had." There was a pause there. "R-right?" It wasn't that she was so unsure but something else. She'd shake it off, whatever it was, and readied herself to attack. The cloaking shimmered her out of sight but even afterward she shifted through the planes just long enough to have her dropping down on him le-pounce mode.
He laughed as she asked that, nodding. "Of course, that's ri-" His response was cut off as she disappeared from sight. Quickly he sent a mental command to his armor, producing a series of ultrasonic vibrations, designed to pick up invisible solid masses...only to find she had disappeared. At the same time that registered, he found out where she went, as she came dropping down on him from above, catching him off-guard and knocking him down on his back.
Thump! She landed on his back like..well..a cat proud of the mouse it just pounced. Right up until she just kind of collapsed on top of him, panting though it sounded more like hissing sounds coming from the suit. The suit retracted after a moment or two, returning to the backpack state but the moment the parts started to separate is the moment that Ranger's armor was painted crimson. A pool of blood splashed him as she just sort of laid there on the metallic back, hair matted against her brow, cheeks, and neck. She mumbled against the metal. "You...are not..fragile..don't..ever..forget that..."
Whatever he was expecting, it certainly wasn't that, and seeing the claret that drenched him, he almost froze, some memory flitting across his mind, there and gone, before he moved to catch hold of her by her shoulders, propelling himself to his feet. "What the hell...Katt? Katt!" He didn't bother waiting for a response, shaking his head. He should have known. Somehow. Carefully he wrapped her up in his arms and the thrusters lit off, rocketing him back towards the Tower, trailing blood as he went.
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9411.86 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:33 pm Post subject:
|.: Chapter Thirty: Confliction of Self :.
The invitation was intriguing, to say the least. No reason given, but from Katt and with a reference to possibly bringing Doran... he decided to go alone. The lad was in the middle of preparing for a show, after all, and there would be time to talk soon enough. Better sooner than later, if it was about Sylva as he suspected. Why else would Doran even be potentially involved? So he arrived as Asile aux Falaises and rang for admittance.
"Hey Ebon." Katt's voice came from above and when Ebon looked up he would find Katt leaning over the balcony as if she had been expecting him. Enough that she was already crawling on the ledge of the railing and jumping down to join him in the front yard. "It has been a while. How are you?"
"I mean, it's a nice day, but from your mysterious invitation I got the impression that it was somewhat serious, so perhaps a bit more privacy?"
Ebon...drinking. She had only witnessed this a few times but drinking with Renna. At first she didn't say anything. Instead she shook her head and made a gesture with her hand. "This way..." She started to move, guiding him around the building and to the sitting area that gave a great view of the infinity pool and the bay. "I am sure many thank you for..taking one for the team." Just as long as she wasn't on the rage end of his wife she was good! She was pretty sure there were times when he was drinking her concoctions that she was sure his wife would show up. Outback he would find a table was already prepared with a teapot and a couple of cups set out all nice and neat. There were a few beignets, too. She seemed to pull out all the stops. "I am sorry about the mystery that was my invitation. I wasn't..even sure if I should involve you let alone..how to."
"I'm always here to help if you need it, even if it's just to lend an ear." Sitting down, he picked up a beignet and took a bit. "Mmmmm." Eyes closed in what could almost be described as culinary rapture. "I have missed these on a regular basis." Setting down the pastry, he leaned back in the chair and steepled his fingers in front of him. "So, What's on your mind? Is it your brother, or...?" He was leaving his suspicions unspoken.
Right to business. Ebon knew her very well but for him, there were pleasantries. She wanted to ask how his family was doing and so forth but maybe he was right. Sinking down into a chair she raised a hand and smothered it along her face. Where to begin? How to begin? "Sylva." His suspicions were correct and she made no efforts to hide it. "I know you have been ..in a way ..taking care of her. I don't know why or the likes. Is she a ward of your orphanage now?" That idea only made her stomach turn with the possibilities.
"No, she has taken up residence at a treehouse on the estate, one that Doran originally built for himself. He... invited her to stay there. It's close enough to the manor house that he can visit her, and it's quite comfortable, with power and facilities." He paused and took a sip of tea. "Although I'm not sure if she has ever started sleeping inside, or if she just lies out on the balcony landing." Another bite of beignet. "You know she joined us on our vacation right after Winterfest?"
She blinked at him. "I was..not aware of that." Apparently the connect Sylva had with the Ilnaren family was stronger than she thought. Tilting her head she looked at the table thoughtfully. "I do not remember if I have told you about my bloodline, Ebon." Part of her felt like they had already talked about it at one point. "But Sylva is coming upon something she is going to need to make a choice about or she is going to die. She is ..going to become a threat and I have asked her to remain away from everyone as much as possible until this...situation is handled."
"I know bits and pieces, mostly about your Reevi blood, but I don't recall if you've ever told me the full tale. Does this have to do with what Chaos did to you, with those mental blocks that I tried helping you with?"
She shook her head slowly. "No." So then he didn't know. "I guess I should explain my origin then." This wasn't something that she exactly shared with anyone. "I am born of two bloods. Two bloods that are not able to co-exist in a single form. My father, Caius, knew this. He fashioned a plan to create a weapon of sorts and found him a woman to fool. She was unaware of who or what he truly was or his plans. Months before I was born he left for war and when I was born my mother didn't name me. She wanted to wait for him to return so that they could name me together. When he did return he had my mother killed and me sent off on a ship to Mandrake." She decided to skip a bit of stuff now. "He is the First Male Reevi. And my mother was Altian. Technically I should be dead now as by around the age of 18 my blood would of killed me. Killing me from the inside out. But I made a pact with Chaos and he sealed away and nulled the Altian blood." She would pause there, letting it soak in.
For a moment that lasted eons, Ebon was silent as he sipped his tea and finished his beignet. His expression was stoic, but his eyes narrowed in thought before he spoke. "And Sylva is facing that same fate." It wasn't a question. "So she has to seal the Altian blood away. Do you think Chaos would be willing to help her? If he lives up to his name... well, I know from experience that entities who embody chaos are capricious at best." Then another thought struck him. "You say she has two bloods. What happens if she chooses to remove the Reevi?"
"That is exactly it, Ebon. I had to make a choice and made one in the midst of pain that ...was unimaginable. Yes, she is facing that same fate and going through Chaos is the only way I really know will work. I have asked Ed about being able to help with it but working with bloods is not his thing." So her choices were coming down thin. "I am sure if I request it he will help her..but it is her choice what to do. She can choose one or the other or..just die.." She scratched at her hair and sighed. "I have no idea what else to do." Her hand paused when he asked the last question and her hand slowly lowered. "If she chooses Altian then she will...forget everything. She will be as if a clean slate and the Guardians will come to take her from here. And ...she would willingly go with them."
That notion, quite frankly, staggered Ebon; if he hadn't been sitting, he would likely have collapsed. "Forget... everything?" He knew what she meant to Doran and he suspected that his son meant more to the girl than she may have realized. To be honest with himself, he had begun thinking of Sylva as practically family in his own mind. "Does she know of the choice that she's facing?"
"She does. I spoke to her about a month ago and have been seeking other paths to take. As I said to her, she needs to distance herself from people. If only because as it grows worse..as the pain grows..it will become blinding and she is likely to attack someone." She tilted her eyes to him. "I will be honest with you, Ebon. Compared to her, enraged, she could crush one of Ed's suits...if not crush it she could dent it with no problem. Altian blood is strong and coupled with the need for blood if only to quell the pain for a short time..." She shook her head slowly. "I fear she could hurt if not kill someone."
"To be fair, Katt, I could crush--or at least dent--one of Edward's suits... but it's not me that you're worried about, is it? It's Doran, and the other children, isn't it?" He drew a heavy sigh. "I've taught Doran to fight since he was seven years old, did you know that? He's very skilled, but still." His dark eyes looked up to meet her gaze. "Do you remember when that bounty hunter maniac came after Race? We both went in to help him... and I ended up with several cracked ribs, a punctured lung, and every bone in my right forearm splintered. So I do understand where you're coming from, Katt. Sometimes all the skill in the world is meaningless when faced with an overwhelming force fueled by rage... or hunger."
"I am not foolish enough to think that any of your children cannot protect themselves, Ebon. And you are correct. You are not exactly the one I am worried of. Would Doran be able to kill her if he had to? Would any of the children? Not only that but if she were to hurt them...she would condemn herself and avoid them. As I told her I know first hand. I did it..and the boy I did it to called me an abomination. He feared me. I ..still carry that guilt with me to this day. I cannot say she would be the same but chances are...she would." When asked if she remembered of Lobo she slowly nodded. It was hard to forget something like that. "Then there is the fact that it is someone you care about. And...she does care for your children, Ebon. As she does for Maggie and Des. I know she doesn't want to see any harm to any of them."
"So that's why she's been staying away from the house lately... why she's even been avoiding the treehouse some nights." He paused for a moment, and one eyebrow arched elegantly. "Would that also explain why some of the livestock has gone missing? If so, she owes me a few head of cattle." There was no malice in his statement, but rather an attempt to ease the mood a little. "I do understand, Katt, and I thank you for explaining it to me as you have. Although... now I wish I had brought Doran today. Eventually he's going to run into Sylva somewhere, and if he learns of this from her before he hears it from you, well, I wouldn't want to be in your shoes when he finds you in that case."
Her head tilted thoughtfully. "I do not know, to be honest. That may be something you would have to take up with her. I don't think she would mess with cattle. The blood tastets odd." Okay so that was maybe a little open, wasn't it. "But I cannot say who or what she feeds on if she is 'lost'." The situation was a little close to home. No..it was right there at her doorstep. He earned a blink when he spoke of Doran. "I..don't..understand."
"Just trust me that he could find a way to make you hurt if you got him angry enough not to care about the consequences. Fortunately, he tends to be fairly level-headed and focused... he has to be." Reaching out, he gently tapped Katt on the forehead. "You know that madness that you have inside your head? In some respects, that's what he lives with every day, floating on the surface of a sea of roiling emotions from just about everyone in this insane asylum of a city. I originally taught him to focus on a wall, to keep out the emotions around him. He was the one who came up with the idea of a boat."
She nodded slowly, understanding what he was saying to a degree. "I do not see why he would be so upset with me if she would tell him what I told her, though." Her brows furrowed a bit. "Ebon? What...is Sylva to Doran?"
"Honestly? I think he's at least a little bit in love with her. Maybe it's the resemblance to you..." He paused and gave Katt a curious look. "You know he had a crush on you for years, right?"
Doran was such a sweet lad and the idea that he had a crush on her was still..rather flattering. "From my understanding though I never seemed to realize it until the later years. But Sylva is not me..So it is likely a passing fancy, yes? When he realizes she is not me. And quite frankly I am glad for this, Ebon. She has taken a path that is all hers. She has..much I did not have at that age. Including the kindness of you and your kin."
"Oh, he realizes that she's not you... but by the time he really came to understand that, he had already come to care for her in her own right." Ebon smiled warmly at the comment from Katt. "She has brought joy into our house, and we are glad to have her. Still... I do think you should tell Doran what you've told me, before he learns of it from anyone else. If you kept that from him, well, he would likely see it as something of a betrayal."
The look on her face when he smiled at her like that was as if she was totally gobsmacked. His words surprised her, no doubt. "R...really.." Apparently Sylva had grown more close to people than she realized. "Do you think I should tell him or are you okay with relaying the message? I actually had suspected you would bring the lad with you but I did leave the choice up to you."
"I think you should tell him. This is something that should come from you, and... even you, he could probably 'read' at least a little, despite what's in your head. It would make it easier for him to understand."
She wasn't sure why she was so uncomfortable telling Doran herself. Maybe it was due to the fact he did kind of see Sylva as her. Pursing her lips she nodded slowly. "Alright. I will try to do that when he is free." She was silent for a moment and during this time she reached over to grab the pot and refresh Ebon's tea. "Thank you, Ebon. For taking her under wing. She wants nothing to do with me and while she makes me..severely uncomfortable I have tried to help her. She has, up until this time, refused my help. I am not even sure she will accept my help if I do get Chaos to assist me." Which may be a good reason to speak to Doran. Maybe he could sway that choice.
"I can't believe that she'd want to forget everyone she's come to know, not when the alternative is, quite frankly, having some abilities that the kids would say are... I believe the word is 'cool'. Would she be able to do what you do?"
"Yes but they are skills she would have to hone, like anyone learning. Hell she might even be able to awaken skills I do not know exist in me. That is something I can't say. Amazing how much our paths have varied, hasn' it?" Her abilities? Cool? She nibbled her inner cheek. "She may not want to forget but she also doesn't want to be like me. She could...also very well just accept death."
"Well, that may be an option, but... I certainly wouldn't recommend it." He finished his tea, and poured a second cup, adding sugar and a touch of milk. "If this Chaos won't--or, for some reason, can't--help her, what other alternatives have you considered. I know you mentioned Edward... but remember, you have far more resources here in Rhydin than you had on your own when faced with the same choice." Another sip, and a bite of his second beignet. "If you want, I could ask Eregor to consult. He may not be a scientist by nature, but he does have the advantage of coming from a society that's a few million years more advanced that even your brother's technology. He might know of something that might help. That is assuming that I can convince him to give DIANA access to his Tower's systems. He doesn't entirely trust Edward with new tech after his dealings with Renna, you know."
"To be honest after speaking with Edward, he has no real knowledge in how to do it. Diana has more knowledge than he does and I am not going to leave it to her to figure out something. As it stands Chaos is the only path I have to look at." While he spoke of Gory she didn't exactly know what Gory could do so she just felt..stumped there. "Ebon? Will...Doran be able to handle seeing Sylva in that much pain? It is going to get..pretty bad..."
"He'll handle it. He's a tough kid." A chuckle escaped from his lips. "Do you remember when Brian--well, not really Brian, but Raven--blew up the Bon-Bon and everyone thought you were dead? Doran went a little unhinged after that, and wound up wandering the streets of Rhydin for a while, carrying the spirits of dozens of Raven's victims around in his head. All that pain, all that yearning for vengeance... but when he finally found Brian, he let it all go and recovered himself again. He could even take some of her pain, to a degree... that might at least give her some time to feed safely, if necessary. I don't know."
Her head tilted as she listened to him, her lips parting faintly. Doran went..unhinged? Because of..her. She could not mask her surprise of this. "He is a strong lad, yes. I do not doubt that." She exhaled slowly and closed her eyes. "Please let him know that I wish to speak to him at his earliest convenience. He can contact me through DIANA at any time." Her lips thinned a bit more as she shook her head.
"I will, and I'll give him the contact codes. He'll probably seek you out tomorrow before the evening performance at the Shanachie. Have you seen it yet, by the way?"
She mused and opened her eyes to look at him. For a moment it could be seen in her eyes. She was..exhausted. "The Cats performance? I have. It is quite..amusing."
Ebon could see the exhaustion in her eyes, indeed, and felt it was time to move the conversation on to lighter topics. For now, the business seemed to be sorted, at least for the next few courses of action. "Doran and Maggie have been visiting gathering places all over Rhydin before or after many of the shows, in character with full costume and makeup. It's been a sight, let me tell you!" His laughter rang out, and then he asked about how her brother was doing, and did she want to see the latest pictures of the girls, and so on through the afternoon.
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9411.86 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:45 pm Post subject:
Time was becoming a thing in her life she did not like. It was threatening to stealing away some of the most precious things in her life. Time was also not on her side, even in the alternate time. Her alternate self. This could've been avoided if she had reached out earlier to Sylva but there was just a want to stay out of the girl’s life that kept her away. That and the fact that the young version of herself creeped her out! As she stood there with Sylva, who was doubled over a few feet away, she could not help but take note of the changes that now truly separated them. Sylva was no longer destined to follow in her path, that much was certain. Still, she could not help but feel something was wrong with the child existing in the same place and time as she. Like time would implode if they touched, which was ridiculous.
Taking her through the veil had been difficult even with the shadow stepping as Sylva apparently did not have the protection that was required to be within the shadow plane. She knew that feeling. Like something was trying to tear you from the inside out but then the youth was in constant pain as it was, so likely the pain just lost in the sea of it all. “We aren’t that far away. Once we are at the palace you should be protected by the walls. I will see about getting you some protection.” Katt murmured to Sylva as she waited for the youth to collect herself.
Pushing up slowly Sylva nodded to signal she was ready. The pain in her core was treated like most pain in her life - placed to the back of her mind so she could function, if only for a few minutes longer.
This was something Katt understood. Pushing forward despite being in pain. It was something she...they..were trained to do. To ignore the pain even if it brought about their death. Somewhere in the back of her mind she was reminded of her sparring with her brother. How she was practically bleeding herself to death in her suit without him knowing - just because she wanted to spar with him. Just to spend a little more time with him… How selfish she felt at that moment.
Sylva slowly stood and looked to Katt before looking over her shoulder. She could see the world beyond the veil where time itself seemed to crawl to a near stop.
“Here time moves different. It makes using shadow stepping quite useful when it comes to moving long distances,” Katt explained as she watched Sylva.
“Shadow stepping? Can I do that?” Sylva looked to Katt and the strange trees past her. The trees looked as if they were alive, leaves swaying with no wind to breath through them.
“That is a good question. I could at your age but it was..difficult.” Katt turned and started to walk her way to their destination. “If you decide, I am sure it would be one of the skills you could follow on.”
Sylva caught on that. “Decide to be Reevi, you mean?”
“You would entertain the idea of being Altian?” Katt inquired without looking back. Instead she focused on the palace that they were coming up on. The grandiose of the place was not lost on her but it was what it was made of her that always seemed to make it seem...imposing. A black crystal substance that wasn’t crystal. She still, to this day, had no idea what it was made of.
Sylva was silent as she took in the monstrous building before them, easily seen even over its own outer walls. “I...don’t know.”
As they passed through the main gate, Katt made no attempt to greet any of the guards, not even bothering to announce herself. She entered with a guest as if she owned the place and this was done on purpose. “You want to forget all the people you have met? What about the people you have made friends and family with? The lives you have touched..”
Sylva was silent at the question.
“You think they would be better off without you…” Katt didn’t ask but rather implied that was what the youth was thinking. Pushing one of the grand doors open she glanced to Sylva.
Sylva’s doll-like eyes rose up to Katt as she slowed as she got close. Her eyes lowered as she suddenly took to quickening her step and passing Katt in order to step into the main hall of the lavishly decorated palace.
Grunting at Sylva, Katt followed her in, releasing the door once she was inside. “Just because Des is mad at you doesn’t mean he wants you to go away. And I am sure Ebon’s family would be sad to lose you, too. And Maggie. And Jonigan.” Katt was making sure that each name was spoken so that they hit home. What it was that Sylva would lose.
“Stop,” Sylva whined, “I -”
“KAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT” Joshua's voice vibrated and bounced through the walls as the young man came sprinting down the winding stairs centered at the opposite way.
At first she nearly didn’t recognize him but he was the only one who addressed her so familiar here. The boy had grown, marking somewhere in his late teens to early twenties, his flax hair had grown well past his shoulders and seemed to be groomed just enough to keep out of his amber eyes. He was a fetching lad and a sidelong glance was made to Sylva. “He is very friendly, so be prepared.” she mumbled to the young woman.
Before Katt could even answer, Joshua tackled into her person, scooping her up in a hug. “It has been forever!” He had barely squeezed on her for two seconds when he had noticed there was someone else. Still hugging on Katt he looked to the young woman at her side.
“Joshua. Release me.” Katt mumbled as she gave him a quick embrace but then tried to peel herself out of his arms. “I am here to speak with Chaos.”
Sylva watched the two with a bit of surprise. Katt never seemed the touching type and here this man was hugging on her like Katt was his personal doll. When he seemed to notice her she blinked at him then turned her eyes down sheepishly when she realized he was staring at her.
“Isn’t a clone.” Katt caught his question, or what she thought it was, before he finished.
“But..” Joshua was obviously confused as he released Katt and turned full attention on Sylva. “She’s so cute!”
“Bwahhh?” The sound came from Sylva as she looked back up to Joshua.
That was disturbing, Joshua. While she didn’t say it aloud it was surely written on Katt’s face. “She is from a different timeline as I, Joshua. Her name is Sylva. Now go get Chaos for me.”
“Sylva. Nice to meet you Sylva!” Joshua was quick to scoop her up in a squeezing hug as well.
“H-Hi!” Sylva squeaked out, remaining perfectly still during the whole ordeal..
“Heehee!” Joshua released Sylva and saluted Katt, “I’ll go find his lordship! Please wait in the waiting room!” Before she could answer Joshua took off, speeding his way back up the stairs that lead to the second floor and beyond.
“Well I see time has not slowed him down any.” Katt mumbled as she looked over to Sylva who looked a little stunned at what just happened. Lowering a hand to the young woman’s back she started to guide her to the waiting room where they would...well...wait.
“What did you mean, I am not a clone?” Sylva asked Katt after roughly fifteen minutes of waiting.
“Mrmm…” It was not a memory Katt wanted to relive let alone talk about. “A few years ago someone was trying to recreate ...me…”
“Oh…” Well that was uncomfortable to hear.
“Yeah…” As if she thought Sylva would understand. “You aren’t a clone but the situation is eerily uncomfortable for me.”
“Is that why you hate me?”
Katt was silent for a long moment. “I don’t hate you, Sylva. You make me uncomfortable, yes, but I don’t hate you. If I did, we wouldn’t be here right now. It is kind of like how you don’t like being referred to as being me.” She glanced to the youth. “You reminded me of what I was...But you don’t anymore. You are too different…”
Sylva blinked at Katt. “I am?”
“Severely,” Katt agreed, “There is no way you can end up like me, either. You have take a path so different from the one I had when I was your age that you are your own person. You are, in terms, a me that could've been…”
“So you don’t hate me?”
“Do you hate me?” Katt countered.
Sylva blinked at Katt, “N-no! I just..I just don’t like it when people think I am you. I don’t want to be you. I want to be me!”
Katt chuckled quietly. “Seems we agree then. We don’t hate each other, we just want to be ourselves.”
Sylva quickly nodded in agreement.
“Well this is curious. Who is your friend, my precious Dark Lily.” Chaos’ voice rose to join the conversation as he entered the room. Once again he had changed his looks - dusty skin with black as night hair and bright gold colored eyes that could shamed a freshly pressed coin. An imposing figure standing slightly under seven feet, the man was draped in rich, deep robes that gave the impression that he floated when he walked. His eyes burned a stare on Sylva as he moved close to the pair.
Katt never could tell why Chaos was forever changing his appearance but she had a suspicious idea that he was attempting to find a figure pleasing to her. This one, to a degree, kind of made her think of Clayton. “Chaos.”
Sylva turned eyes to the towering man. This was Chaos? His presence alone was a heavy feeling, as if he was crushing her with simply being there. How frightening and yet Katt was speaking to him as if she were on level with him.
“Who is this child and why does the air around her taste like you?” His eyes tore from Sylva to find Katt.
Thanks for not being creepy, Chaos. “There was a time lapse, or something, that brought a past me to my present.” Katt informed Chaos. “She’s long since started on her own path and now lives a separate life than mine.”
Chaos took in the information as he looked at the silent Sylva. “I see.” He drew closer to the young woman, a long finger reaching out to touch her chin and raise her head just slightly so he could get a better look at her. He could, of course, see the differences. “And why have you brought her here? Unprotected at that.”
Sylva quaked under the touch, the sensation of his fingertip touching her skin was unnerving but she didn’t say a word nor did she draw away as he examined her.
“She is at that crossroad, Chaos. That one I had to come to you about.” Katt explained as she watched Chaos with the girl.
Understanding shined in his eyes as Chaos moved his hand from Sylva. “I see.” His attention turned to the door of the waiting room. “Joshua. Stop lurking in the hallway.”
Joshua showed himself from the shadows of the hall, grinning sheepishly, “Sorry, my lord.”
“Since you are so fascinated with our young guest, why not take her to the vault and give her the Iltherian. From there you can escort her to the Valley.” Chaos’ turned his eyes to Sylva. “I am sure you will enjoy the sights it has to offer and you may take of the valley as you wish.”
Katt stared at Chaos before looked over to Joshua who wore a surprised expression. Her attention slowly turned on Sylva, “This will give me and Chaos time to talk about things. Please go with Joshua and enjoy yourself.”
“But…” Sylva started to decline.
“The Iltherian will stop the pain. It will give you protection to come and go from the shadow planar.” Joshua explained to Sylva. “If you are unprotected like Lord Chaos has stated then you should come with me! And you will like the Valley! I promise!” Joshua held a hand out to Sylva while offering her a wide, welcoming smile.
“Joshua?” Katt spoke over to him and he looked over to her, “Something happens to her and I will take it out of your hide.”
“Stop hitting on her.” Katt stated flatly.
“I! What?” Joshua stammered. “ I am not!”
“Enough you two,” Chaos interrupted and softly pressed his large hand to the center of Sylva’s back, usher her to Joshua, “Go now before I lose my patience.”
Joshua quickly scooped up Sylva’s hand. “Yes, sir! This way, Miss Sylva!”
Sylva looked over at Katt, unsure of what was going on as Joshua practically dragged her out of the room.
Katt nodded to the young woman and watched the pair until they were out of sight. Even after they left the room she remained silent, listening to their steps.
It seemed Chaos was doing the same because as soon as they were out of range he turned his gaze on Katt. “What makes you think I will assist this girl? She is not my Dark Lily and I have no reason to stop the process of her death.”
Katt gave a grunt and her gaze slid side-long to Chaos. “You owe me.”
A brow arched high as Chaos moved, pondering over what exactly she was saying. Finally he shook his head, “I do not see how I owe you anything, my dark one.”
“When you had that clone of me causing you problems,” Katt reminded him in her not-so-subtle way.
“Ah, yes, that. But you did not kill the thing. Aren did.” Chaos counted easily.
“Do you honestly think Aren would have showed up if it had not been for me?” Katt questioned as she settled down into one of the tall chairs that were positioned within the room for optimal conversation. She knew it wasn’t a trump card but she played the game with the cards she held and one hell of a poker face. Not that it was any different from the emotionless mask she tended to wear.
Chaos watched her as he mulled that over. She did have a point, to an extent. “He was here for revenge.”
She tilted her head and gave Chaos a stare. Did he seriously believe that? Even though Aren had said it, she didn’t even believe it herself. He had been there because of her. He knew what the situation would do to her. If anything his actions after the death of the abomination proved this to her.
Chaos’ arms folded as he looked back at her. “What do I gain from helping her?”
“I’m serious. I have nothing to gain from assisting this youth. Why not take her to the council and let them -”
“You know why, Chaos,” she snapped at him, “If she becomes Altian she would lose what self she has gained. She would lose the memories of those she cares about.”
“She has people she cares about?” Chaos’ brows began to lower.
“Yes. Those she would look to as family and those who are dear friends.” She noticed the look Chaos wore but for the moment didn’t ask.
“Tell me about these friends.”
A brow crawled up at that but she shrugged and began to speak of the friends she knew. “There is a older man who I am starting to believe is more family than friend. There is a young lad who I’ve known for quite some time. He and his family are very eccentric but in a pleasant way.” Most of the time. Des’ mother could be motherly to even Katt at times. Quite frankly Katt didn’t know how to make of it when someone was motherly toward her. “There are a pair of best friends who are very welcoming to her. I believe he’s gained a bit of a crush on Sylva but I am not sure how that is ...going.” And it concerned her a bit. Not that she was going to go into that. “The lad-”
“These two best friends. What are their names?” Chaos questioned suddenly disrupted Katt. While there was a touch of concern to his tone he kept his eyes on her face with a bout of curiosity.
“Mrm?” The curious sound left Katt as she regarded Chaos, mirroring his curiosity but for different reasons. “Doran and Maggie? They come from good stock and I know their parents.” She paused there while regarding Chaos further.
Her answer seemed to rest whatever it was that had rose the concern, “I see. You may continue.”
“Mrph. You aren’t going to tell me what that was about?”
“Of course not.” She grunted quietly. “Doran has siblings but I am unsure how they and Sylva get along but from what Ebon has said, she is very welcomed in their household. Maggie is Doran’s best friend and for someone so young she is very enriched in knowledge. Sylva is very fond of her and I think in a bit in awe of Maggie.” Her arms folded as she leaned back.
“That is enough.” Chaos urged her to stop. He found out what he needed to know. “Why do you want to help her?”
The question caused her to pause. Why indeed. She had no real ties with the youth other than the obvious. They pretty much avoided each other best they could. “She has people who I know who care about her. It would make them sad if she died.” She started but her eyes slowly lowered as she considered that. It wasn’t her only reason. “She deserves a chance to live, Chaos.”
Chaos eyed her silently before nodding. “So be it. I will do it but it will take me roughly a month to prepare for the ritual.”
A brow slowly started moving up. “It didn’t take you that long for me. In fact you were pretty spot on the moment with it.”
“That is because I knew you would come to me in time so I was always prepared. This is quite unexpected and she is not you, as you said. I will have to prepare some measures to make sure there is no recoil from what I will do.”
Katt considered it for a long moment before looking to the door. It wasn’t like they had a choice in the matter. “Alright. But Chaos?”
“You will not do anything else to that young woman. No tricks. Just get it done and over. She will owe you nothing and you will not dabble in her life.” Her eyes shifted slowly over to him. “I will not let you hover over her life.”
A hand rose up to his chest and he looked offended by her words. “I would do no such thing. After all, she is not the one I want.” His hand lowered, elongated fingers stroking at Katt’s hair. “She is not my Dark Lily.” His touch left her hair,a few dark strains trickling from his fingertips. “I will do this favor for you with no strings attached but I ask you do not forget my kindness in doing so.”
Katt grunted quietly. “Sometimes I wonder if you are trying to woo me to your side or into your bed.”
Chaos bellowed out an amused laugh. “I would never bed you. Unless you begged me to. Then I might consider it.”
“Keep dreaming. There is only one man I wish to lay in bed with and you are not him.”
Chaos waved a hand dismissively as he moved to settle in a chair across from her. “You will talk to the youth and start to prepare her. I will do this in stages so it isn’t as..rushed as you were. Since I will need to dig in a bit before I can start anything and make sure there aren’t any engravings or protections to keep me from moving forward.” He addressed her with an even look as he spoke. “Make sure, also, she is fully aware that she can very well die during the ritual. This moreso if she tries to fight me.”
Katt listened, nodding slowly, as she took in the information. “Chaos. I want your word that you won’t try anything funny. You will do this for me…”
“Why does it sound like it matters to you more than you are letting on?” Chaos asked as she was starting to pique his interest with how she was acting.
Sighing she raised a hand, rubbing it across her face. “I’m losing my brother, Chaos. I am not handling it too well..” She felt like she was coming apart at the seams and she was afraid to even Clayton had noticed. It..frightened her.
“I see.” Chaos didn’t need more information, he knew where she was going. He also knew how much her brother meant to her. Enough that she struggled and fought against death, against him, and even herself. “I vow, Kathryn, I will do nothing more than what contracted to..” He spoke low as he pushed up from his seat. “I will leave you to rest while you wait for those two to return. When they do I will take some time with her to evaluate her then you two may leave.”
Katt nodded as she watched him. She had questions she wanted to ask as it seemed that this was far too easy. She watched as he bowed his head to her and slipped from the room, leaving her to her thoughts. There was no want to roam or anything of the place she wanted so she sat and waited patiently.
She had actually lost track of time but she wagered she sat there waiting for two if not close to three hours before Joshua showed face. What bothered Katt was that he was alone and looking a little distraught. “Joshua? Where is Syl-” Before she could even answer there was a scream that flooded the halls. A scream that had her bolting outright from her seat.
“She is with Lord Chaos right now. He is- ” Joshua started to explain but another agonizing scream silenced him. He looked over his shoulder then back to Katt. “She will be okay. It won’t take long so Lord Chaos asked that you just wait here.”
Katt glared at the young man before her but steeled herself against what sounded like Chaos torturing Sylva.
Joshua cringed and turned his eyes down. “She liked the valley and has brought with her a few things she said she wanted to plant for her friends.”
Her expression softened and she felt a little guilty for giving the lad such a look. “Thank you for taking her, Joshua. How did it go with the Iltherian?”
“Surprisingly well. It bonded with her almost instantly.”
“She is young so it is no surprise to me.” Katt nodded as she raised her eyes to the ceiling. When her eyes lowered to regard Joshua again she found him nervously watching her. “What?”
“Um…” he started but was unable to finish the train of thought. Instead he redirected as he fiddled with his sash, “I think they are done.”
She had noticed that the screaming had stopped also but was really hoping that it wasn’t because Chaos did something she was going to have to challenge him on. Still that concern was put to the side as she watched Joshua nervously fidgeting with the sash around his waist. “Out with it, Joshua. What is on your mind.”
He stopped almost instantly. “She passed out on her walk back,” he informed Katt quietly.
“What?” Well that certainly did gain her attention. “Why?”
“I don’t know!” Joshua quickly, as if to escape her ire. “I guess that the travel through the veil was too great for her?” It was just a guess after all. “Lord Chaos saw me carrying her into the palace on my back. He took her and excused me, telling me to inform you that they would be along shortly.”
Raising a hand she pinched the bridge of her nose. Who knows what problems that may of caused or what Chaos was doing to the girl to make her scream in such a way. “Thanks for letting me know, Joshua.” It sounded like she may very well have to carry Sylva back. She found it a very tempting idea to bring Sylva to the tower and have D.I.A.N.A do a full checkup but that would be something she would have to think on. Before Joshua could rely Chaos came into the room with a rather zombie looking Sylva in his wake. Hugging some sort of item wrapped in parchment, the youth looked pale and wobbly. As if walking took all the efforts she could afford. Katt’s eyes went from Sylva to Chaos with an unspoken question in her gaze.
“She will be fine but for now I think it is best you take her and go. The first set of markings have been left on her bones and she apparently needs rest.” Chaos looked at Katt as if there was more to be said but instead he gestured Sylva to her older self. “I will need you to return in a week,” he spoke down to Sylva, “Consider this your time to spend with family and friend. If need be consider it the time made to say your farewells, just in case.”
His eyes remained trained on Katt. “There is a high possibility. She has already been told this. We spoke on length about a few things that she needs to take into consideration.”
“Like?” Katt didn’t like that Chaos wasn’t being forthcoming with information.
“That is for her to decide to share with you if she likes.” Chaos simply stated and turned to leave the chamber. On his way to the door he glanced over shoulder, “It was nice to see you again, my precious dark one. You should come visit me more often.”
Katt grunted and glanced to Sylva, “Are you okay enough to travel back?”
Sylva nodded silently to Katt as she hugged on the bundle a bit tighter.
Chaos chuckled as Katt dismissed him. “I’ll see you in a month, Sylva.” With that he turned sharply, his robes billowing out across the glossy flooring. “Come, Joshua. We have things to do.”
“Yes, sir!” Joshua quickly responded and looked to Katt, Sylva, back to Katt. “Bye.”
He seemed a bit deflated to Katt but she bowed her head to him all the same. Sylva had mumbled something to Joshua as Katt stepped closer to her, arms curling about the young woman. Without a word given, the shadows around them began to quiver, coming to life and crawling towards them. They drew up along the pair like living ink until it swallowed them whole. Then simply collapse, leaving nothing in their wake as the shadows returned to their original places.
Their destination was the tower and it was there that Katt took the time to leave Sylva in the medical wing. Not for a check up but simply for the youth to rest. The staff was given instructions to leave the girl alone and when she was ready to go, she had permission to do so. When Sylva woke she would find the package she had been clinging onto placed with care on a chair nearby.
With Sylva resting Katt restlessly set off on a few tasks.
A month was not a lot of time…
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|Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:45 pm Post subject:
Less than a month later…
Katt sat on the fence of the small patch of earth that she had given to Sylva to plant the flowers she had brought back from the Valley. The youth seemed less energetic than usual but had found some peace in this little garden she had made. She had, surprisingly, asked Katt if she knew a place she could grow the flowers and Katt suspected it was because she knew how to take care of said flowers. So a little plot of land was set aside for Sylva on the estate grounds where she could grow them at her leisure. It seemed that it was her little hideaway from everything, including those close to her. Else why wouldn’t she just ask Doran if she could grow them near his treehouse or ask Ebon if she could somewhere on his lands? Or the Gardens?
There were plenty of questions she wanted to ask but none she spoke on. Most of them had to deal with what Chaos may or may not of told the youth. Also that he summoned for Sylva much sooner than the initial timeframe he had given them. Instead she watched Sylva when she came about, sometimes leaving muddy, sometimes leaving looking more soothed in spirit. Today the young woman looked defeated in a way. Probably nervous. “We should leave soon…” she said to Sylva who was softly patting the ground near some of the growing moonflowers and twilight roses.
Sylva said nothing and kept tending the flowers.
Katt sighed quietly as she slid off of the fence. “Sylva. The sooner it is done and over the sooner you can return to your family and friends. I am sure you don’t like being away from them and being stuck with me instead.”
Sylva’s hands stilled.
“You miss Doran don’t you? Maggie? Des? What about Azure and Oliva? Ebon and Phen, Cratos...Jonigan...”
Sylva’s shoulders slumped. “Des hates me.”
A brow shot up as Katt regarded Sylva as she slumped. “I doubt that…”
“He does! Every time he sees me he seems mad at me. I don’t know why. And..and last time I left to go take a bath he shouted something very mean at me as I left.” Sylva stared at her dirty hands.
“Hmm. Well regardless if you don’t get this done then you can never find out why. Or talk to anyone you care about anymore… This is important.”
“I know.” Sylva mumbled as she stood and wiped her hands on her shorts.
“I’ll speak with him and see what is up for you. It may just be a misunderstanding.” Katt watched Sylva for a moment before gesturing a hand out for Sylva to take and once she did they were off.
Shadowstepping was the quickest way and instead of taking the pathway they would be able to step straight into the palace. Now that Sylva was protected from the onslaught that was the planar’s defenses. Sliding out of the shadows just within the main hall, Katt turned her eyes to Sylva to see if she was alright this time around.
Sylva remained quiet, focused forward. She had too much on her mind to really paying Katt’s concerns much mind.
With a quiet sigh Katt lead Sylva through the palace until they came across Chaos who was drifting from his studies.
“You are early but that is fine. I have made my preparations and we can begin immediately.” Chaos addressed Sylva rather than Katt, his hand offered out to the youth for her to join him. “She will find her way back home after I am done, Dark Lily.”
Why did Katt feel like she was being dismissed. “That is all? No small talk for me tonight?” Katt inquired as Sylva moved forward to join Chaos.
“None for you. My words are for this young lady this evening.”
“How long will it take?” Sylva asked quietly to Chaos.
His attention turned down to Sylva and he granted her a charming smile. “I cannot say. A couple of minutes? Day? A year. We will have to see as it progresses.”
Katt frowned as she listened. “If things start to get complicated I want to be contacted.”
“Of course.” Chaos agreed. “I will send Xavier if I must.” He spoke as he started to guide Sylva down the hallway.
Katt didn’t like this. Chaos had never before dismissed her so readily unless he had something up his sleeve. “Chaos. Remember your promise.”
“I will keep her safe, dear, do not worry. But we have much to do and things are already prepared. If we wait too long then I will have to start all over in my preparations.”
When he said don’t worry that is when she worried. She watched as the two of them disappeared down the hall. Instead of leaving right away she stuck around the palace for half a day or so, just to get sense of what was going on but when she couldn’t she ended up taking her leave. Sylva would return when she was ready. Or that is what Chaos had said.
Seems only time would tell that tale but something just felt...off.
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|Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:51 pm Post subject:
|.: Chapter Thirty-One: Broken :.
She didn't know how long she had ran but ran it was long enough that breathing felt like fire in her lungs.
When she entered the inn she wasn't expecting to see Renna there let alone ...him...
It had been years now since she had laid eyes on him and the moment his voice reached her ears memories, thoughts, and emotions flooded her already struggling mind.
She couldn't even look at him let alone speak to him.
Was it the guilt?
Was it the pain in her heart?
She was happy to see him, of course, but there was just so much going on that she couldn't handle it.
So she ran.
It was the first time she could remember running from a situation where a person was in danger. And while she did speed away from the scene of Renna mind-controlling some woman to hurt herself, it didn't mean she left without doing something! She made sure the Batten medical team was on their way to assist.
She had left the inn at a slow pace but once out of sight? She took into a full sprint down the street, running until her lungs were on fire and her legs refused to go any further. She found herself on the arch of a small bridge that crossed over the streets and river, her body sinking until she was sitting at the very edge but not enough to actually look in the water.
That was where he found her, though he approached at a walk, his bare feet silent upon the street as he approached. He'd followed her scent once he'd made certain the girl was all right and the EMTs had spirited her away. ow, though, he came on silently, coming to a halt and finally settling into a lean against the railing of the bridge, silently appraising her.
She didn't need to look up to know he was there. She smelled him. Much like he knew her scent, she could taste his on the night air. It was near impossible to steel herself at that point so she didn't even bother to try. Instead she just looked at the water with a pained expression her face - a mixture of grief and relief. While there was no tears, the pain in her chest was crippling. She didn't say anything to him but rather kept her silence for a long span of time. Eventually she mumbled, "The girl will be alright?" When had she ever stepped down or ran from the likes of Renna? When someone's life was in danger?
He nodded, his green-gold eyes fixed on her, concern on his features. For her, not the girl he'd saved. "I am not at all certain she will be all right...such a thing will likely leave her traumatized. But she will survive." He reached out, one hand touching her arm, her shoulder, gentle, but not insistent. "What about you?"
"Renna obviously had her under control but I knew between you and -" her words stopped when she felt his touch and she started to shy away but managed, instead, to brace herself. "I knew she was in capable hands," she mumbled. "I am shamed I left in such a way but I couldn't stay. I..." Her shoulders visibly slumped. "Sorry.
He saw the brief hesitation, but didn't withdraw his touch, though he could feel the tension in her muscles. He was tempted to pull her into his embrace, but with her mind still recovering, he didn't want to push her. As for those capable hands, he kept his counsel to himself. Part of him was still outraged by the callousness of the man, to brush aside such a thing so lightly. He could guess the cause of her distress, however. "Seeing him was a shock."
Calling someones bluff could be dangerous - she knew this best. After all Race did it and shot her because of it just to get to the baddie. Her actions and words had been more risky, in her view. Still... Raising a hand she gently pressed her fingertips to her forehead, a small nod given. "Y-Yeah. I .." She didn't know what to feel and that is what scared her most. For all she knew Leo had still been lost out in the great unknown. Yet there he was... And she couldn't get the image of him out of head or his voice out of her ears.
This was a new situation for him, and he was admittedly unsure of what to say or do about it. He knew only that it distressed him to see her in such turmoil. It was all he could do to resist drawing her into the circle of his arms, as he would be wont to do if circumstances were otherwise. If she still had her memory, whole and intact. He leaned sloser, though, brushing her shoulder with his own. "If you need time, love..." He would give it to her, if she asked.
If he left her alone she knew she'd probably drink herself under a table, which was hard enough to do without hurting the bank. Still, she couldn't help but feel guilty even with him. She wasn't suppose to feel this way, right? Her hand flattened against her face even as he brushed his shoudler to her own. Instincitively she started to lean but stopped, her hand lowering suddenly. "He..knew you."
He nodded, not moving away, nor closer, sighing softly. "Yes. We've spoken a few times, at your brother's request. Edward is incapable of going to the part of the planet in which Leo's...kingdom is." He wasn't sure if that was the right word, kingdom, but it was the only one he could think of. "It has been some time, however."
Her face twisted and she looked to him sourly. "You knew where he was. You both knew! Why..Why didn't you tell me?" It didn't occur to her that these could be memories she forgot. In the moment, she felt a bit of anger through the ache and pain. Kingdom? She shook her head and looked away, scowling at the water. She wanted her brother back. Stupid Renna. Then again he was probably over there having himself a grand old time and she was just worrying for no reason.
As though he were reading her mind, he spoke, his voice soft, gentle. "You knew, before the amnesia wiped it from your memory. Your brother told you about it, in fact. It was after I asked you to marry me." His voice softened a touch more, though it was hard to determine what the emotional tone of it was, though there was no recrimination in it. "You seemed to be content with the knowledge that he was alive and well, at the time."
Oh how quickly her eyes returned to him but he was given a look as if he had grown a second head that was shooting cat calls her way. "You...asked me to marry you?" The way it was asked was as if she were expecting him to saying he had been joking, in which case it was a joke she didn't quite grasp. Slowly she shook her head. Okay...so part of her knew.. But even still..knowing and seeing him was different. "Sorry. I..I shouldn't of..jumped down your throat like that. Maybe I should be left be for a while." If only for his safety.
He smiled, a brief, purring chuckle emanating from his throat for a moment. "Indeed I did, Kathryn. In front of many witnesses, in fact. I'll have to tell you the story, sometime." He turned to regard her a moment, the shift in position taking him out of contact with her, his expression understanding but otherwise unreadable. When he spoke, his voice was soft, that same gentle purr. No one would ever know how hard it was to keep the sadness out of his voice. "If...that is what you wish."
In front of many witnesses. Why? Why would he ask her, of all people, to marry him? A swirl of questions joined in the mess that was already her head and she closed her eyes. "I'm sorry." She knew it was an unfair request. She was being unfair and cruel. "I just need a little time. I..probably should eventually meet and talk with him. But I just..need time to get my head on straight. I need...to find my brother..." Her eyes slowly opened. "Even though...he probably doesn't need me to find him."
Even with nearly three centuries of experience, he was hard-pressed to keep his own turmoil from showing on his face or in his voice. He managed it, though, just. The last thing he wanted, ever was to cause her any unnecessary hurt. She had enough to deal with. "I understand, Kathryn." He paused, then reached out, his fingers tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ear before he turned away, towards hme, speaking over his shoulder. "If you need me, I will be at home." Bare feet made no sound as he started along the path towards home.
The touch to her hair startled her enough that she felt as if he had touched her very nerves and as he walked away she looked after him. He didn't need to tell her or do anything to make her feel hurt. She already felt it though it was more out of guilt than anything. Clasping her hands between her knees she mumbled, "Sorry." She had said that word a lot lately.
His voice floated back to her from the shadows he was even now fading into, just a hint of teasing warmth in it. "You have never needed that word with me, my dearest. Nor shall you ever."
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|Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:03 pm Post subject:
He'd left his guard outside in the cold, a single tall figure wrapped in a steel-grey furred cloak trimmed in scarlet and gold, the hood pulled up to leave the features obscured from view, standing sentinel just outside the door, still and silent as a statue. He sat at the bar, perched on a stool, a bottle of Jack Daniel's close at hand, a glass half-full of the smoky amber liquid even closer. In his hands he held a clear tablet with glowing streams of data flowing across it, and it was on this that his attention was focused.
The sounds of the dragon shifting caught his ear, even as focused as he was, and he tilted his head a touch to regard the dragon from his seat with a warm smile and a nod. "Icer. It's been a while."
Hoodies and jeans. She didn't really venture out of her normal range of wear. Something that was missing was those old tattered shoes, however. It seemed they had finally met their doom and since she had yet to return home...well..she was roaming barefoot. Even still those steps were silent as she was carried across the porch and she shouldered her way into the inn.
That was something of an understatement, he knew. The last time he'd seen her, he'd been pulling her out of a hole in the earth. He was just about to say something about this when the door opened and he glanced that way. His eyes lingered on her for a moment, then went towards the door behind her, as though waiting to see something else. His eyebrows ticked upwards a moment when nothing happened. A finger tapped the edge of the tablet in his hand and it blanked. Setting it aside, he reached for his drink to take a swallow, glancing up as something makes an impact on the roof.
She wasn't expecting to see Leo there and she, unnaturally, staggered a step but at least managed to heel the door closed in a fluid motion. The sound on the roof caused her eyes to drift up as she made her way to the bar, her hands sliding in her hood. A distraction, yes, but she also lowered her head with a sigh. Once at the bar she forced herself to look up and over to Leo.
He kept his eyes up there a moment longer. Some stray memory, maybe, or some other instinct has him alert. Finally, though, he lowers his gaze and looks over at Katt, turning to face her. "Well, you certainly have changed."
A polite nod was offered to Icer and the woman who came in through the alley door. She was on the fence between sitting and standing so she took middle ground by leaning a hip against one of the seats. Granted, most of her attention was on the dark-eyed man as she tried to figure out what it was she wanted to say. Years - that is how long it had been that she had last seen him. Years, that left her heart in disarray. Hell the last time she saw her still haunted her. So what does one say after so long? Nevermind the eerie deja vu that was looming in the back of her head. "As have you." The words finally found voice.
He nodded. It was true, after all. Some things were inevitable, over the span of years. "Yeah, that can happen, I'm geven to understand." He glanced up again, just for an instant, then back down at Katt. "And how have you been? I heard you've had some...interesting times since I've been away."
The way he slipped into conversation felt like years had been shorter than they were but she had to remind herself... Before he disappeared his memories of her were limited to being his boss' sister. A small sound echoed in her throat as she glanced to the bottles in the Batten stash. "I honestly don't know. I am still recovering from something apparently and quite honestly I," her voice lowered, obviously meant only for Leo's ears, "I do not have any memories of the past four years. A side-effect of some sort."
Raising a hand she tapped her left temple before sighing. "I will admit though...Seeing you...well...is a great relief. Welcome back...Leo."
Her eyes tilted to the pair entering and for a brief moment her eyes softened. "Hey..Leo? Mind if we go for a walk? Or go sit on the porch?" There wasn't many people but gods she felt like she was suffocating. "Or another time. That is fine too." She clenched her hands in the hoodie's pocket and after a brief, polite bow of her head to the couple, she started her way to the door. Fresh air was needed.
He looked after Katt as she started for the door, considering. He'd known about what she just said already - he was surprised to find he still had all of his access into Batten's network - and he was uncertain what was on her mind. She certainly didn't seem like the same Katt he'd known when he left. After a moment, he lifted his glass to drain it before setting it aside, tucking his tablet into a pocket, and starting after her.
Hell, she wasn't sure what she had on her mind and it was her mind! Sidestepping, she nodded a greeting to Miyu before catching the door and slipping out onto the porch. She didn't even look back to see if she was being followed. All she wanted was that cool night air and once outside, she made her way to the railing and slipped her hands from her hoodie's pockets to scratch at her scalp. How utterly frustrating it was being so jumbled.
He stepped out on the porch behind her, letting the door close behind him. The statue in the grey fur cloak stirred as he stepped into view, stilling again as he lifted a hand and spoke a single word - "Aspertre" - without so much as a glance given.
The movement was noted from between her hands but it was the voice that caused her fingers to stop their clawing and instead groom down the dark hair before both hands lowered to her sides. "You know..my last memory of you was when you left with Janie. You were so angry and I swore for the longest I thought it was at me." She chuckled quietly, her hands resting at her sides. "For years I worried about you, hoping against all odds you were okay and you would come home. Even if..even though you didn't really remember me." Did he remember? Did he ever get his own memories back? She never did ask. "I will admit...I have never lived down the guilt but I am truly glad you are well.." As she spoke she kept herself posed in away that she wasn't looking directly at the man. She may or may not of been studying the cloaked being at the steps.
He let out a rueful little chuckle, taking up his own lean against the porch railing. "You know, I barely remember that at all." Of course, he had another four years worth of memories to separate him from then. And what memories they were, too. He'd been consumed with a lot of other things in the meantime. He followed her gaze, glancing over at the cloaked figure, and looked back at Katt again. "My personal guard. It comes with the job."
"I have a better memory than most," she mumbled and normally that was true. If you did not count the four years missing currently. Slowly she nodded, showing her understanding to his statement and while she had a ton of questions, she did what she did best. She stuffed them, along with the rainbow of emotions, down deep to dealt with later - when she was alone. Forcing her posture into norm, she tipped her head a bit though still didn't look to Leo. "You could of taken the time to tell us you were okay, you know." Her eyes dipped before she turned a little more and finally looked at the dark-eyed man full on. It was still hard but she was working on it. "Are you going to stay in Rhydin or you just visiting? Or here to speak to my brother?"
Another person and another bob of her head in greeting even as the man breezed his way inside to the warmth of the inn. Her hands found her pockets and she turned her eyes to Leo again, awaiting his answer. The air was barely helping and at the same time not helping at all. His scent was much easier to pick out now without the smells within clouding it.
He sighed, shaking his head. "Yeah, well...things weren't quite that easy." He paused, wondering just where he could begin. It was a lot of ground to cover. "It's a long story, Katt. I'm sure you heard some of it, at some point...you just don't remember it now." He didn't turn away from her gaze, seeming much more at ease than she was. "Honestly, I came to talk to Ed about something. I can't stay here...I have...responsibilities." He waved over his shoulder at the guard. "Like I said...comes with the job."
She made a face, even if briefly, over Ben's..flamboyant entrance but once Leo's voice found her ears, her eyes returned fully to him. Right. Responsibilities. She was going to have to see if she started some diary or if Diana had things to fill in the blanks for her. This four year memory lack was annoying. She didn't dare ask what he wanted to talk to her brother about, pretty sure it was none of her business anyways. "Well until we get him back, you may have to stick around or help assist us on getting him back." She didn't need to say much on that end, did she? Reaching up she began to tug on her hood, drawing it over her hair and shadowing it over her face.
He smirked and nodded again. "Yeah, kinda figured that. Not gonna be easy, seeing who has him." He shook his head, looking out into the night again, dark eyes searching this way and that. "So where's Clayton? I rather thought he would be accompanying you, with you recovering and all. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy that would let you go unescorted."
A brow arched up a little. Would let her go unescorted. "That is an odd statement," Her expression evened out and she looked forward into the night. "I told him I needed to ...be alone for a little while. I am trying to sort out my head and I found myself snapping at him for things I do not remember. I felt ...bad...and conflicted. I don't want to...hurt him."
A polite bow of her head followed Penny though if any expression was with it, that was concealed in the shadows of her hood. It was his turn to arch his eyebrows. "Conflicted? About what?"
"Everything. I mean..I did have pretty much all my memories shoved by in my head, you know?" Her shoulders turned inward as she lowered her eyes. "And you. I mean after all these years you just popped up out of the blue. As Clayton said...it was quite a shock and I am dealing with ...that."
He frowned at that, and this time he did turn away, shaking his head. "So you sent away the guy that loves you, that is probably the one that knows you best, away?" He smirked as he pushed off from his lean. "From what I understand, he gave up everything of his past and turned away from his very nature for you. That's not the kind of person I'd be pushing off to the side."
"I didn't send him away, Leo. I need time to sort my head out. I am not dumping him nor am I throwing myself at you for old times sake. I won't deny that I still care for you," her head tilted and her eyes tipped up to look at Leo, "But I love him." She turned fully to the dark-eyed man. "It is the guilt I have held onto for so many years. I am the reason you lost your memory. You did it to protect me and I lost you for it. So the last memory of you, before you up and disappeared, was of you glaring at me as you left with Janie." Granted that part had been cleared up by her brother. At least to a degree. "All these memories come attached with strong feelings and they come crashing down. I just needed a little me time to deal with it. A lot of walking and trying to deal." she grunted quietly. She didn't like how he made it sound like she dismissed Clayton.
He held up his hands in a peacemaking gesture, smiling. "I wasn't saying any of that...just that if I were you, I wouldn't want to be left alone. I know how rough that can be, in your position. But just so you know, my losing my memory wasn't your fault in any way. I was younger, dumber, and made the mistake of underestimating my opponent. Maybe I was protecting you, but it was my own fault that happened. It wouldn't have, if I knew then what I do now."
"I don't plan on it for a long time. Just enough to where my head doesn't feel like it is exploding and it gives him time to take care of himself. I know he has been watching over me for a few weeks now. He needs to hunt and replenish his energy. He knows I know where to find him." She tilted her head a bit. "I am unsure I agree with that statement. I don't find it a question of being dumb or young. If that were the case...well...think of my brother. He is neither of those." Eerrrrrr! Did she just all her brother old?! Maybe. A small gesture was made to the steps. "How...about you join me for something to eat and we can catch up. You can tell me why the great Spartan needs a ..guard.." Like he really needed one. Pff...
He laughed at that, shaking his head. "Please. Your brother is the dumbest smart person I've ever met." He stepped back from the railing, gesturing to the steps himself. "Lead on, Miss Batten."
Her mouth opened then slowly closed. Considering what she thought her brother was currently doing? She really couldn't argue with Leo's statement. Slowly she started down the steps though gave the guard..person..cloak..a glance over. "I'm curious why you think he is the dumbest." This back to Leo as she started to walk.
He arched an eyebrow as he followed her down the steps. It wasn't until they were several paces beyond them that the cloaked figure moved from its place to follow, keeping a respectable - and respectful, it seemed - distance. "We can start with Renna, of course. Not to mention all the crazy experiments he tried out on himself..."
Anddddd Leo managed to hit the points that were right up there. "Yeah. I really hope that what I am thinking ...he is not doing over there. I really, really hope." She seemed to wait, the figure stared at for some reason before she turned and started to walk across the yard.
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|Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:19 pm Post subject:
Her pace was slow to the inn. She had already checked three places for the cat in manflesh. She figured him hunting which was really part of the reason she said she needed time. Huddled down in the oversized hoodie she made her way up the porch steps, pausing briefly to look through the window. The pause turned into her slumping down onto the porch swing with a sigh and her attention tore to the streets.
Pulling her pcui out from her pocket she checked the time before slowly pushing up off the swing. She probably could check a few more places before she headed home. Why did she feel like she was on nerves edge? Sighing he shoved the pcui back into her pocket and made her way down the stairs.
Back to the streets.
But really where to go that she hadn't already checked?
The open land that was the glen? It was a walk but she seemed to have plenty of time on her hands so why not?
In the shade of a tree near where the path entered the Glen, there was a pile of clothing. Just a pair of jeans and a hoodie, really. But they had the scent of a certain felinesque man on them. Of the owner of that clothing there was no sign, for the moment.
By the time she made it near the glen she felt tired. Way more tired than she had felt in the last few days. Whatever it was, for now, was pushed to the side. The night air was tinged with a scent that was fondly familiar and it was enough to set her steps in a hurry. It was when she found the pile of clothes that she slowed. A small tick of a smile curled her lips. He was hunting. Collecting the clothes she bound them up and if she knew she could get away with it? She would of hid and waited for his return, just to see his reaction of his clothes missing! But she knew better.
She probably could have gotten away with it, if she thre the clothes into the lake with a stone tied to them. Of course, that wouldn't stop him, he could always walk home without them. ONe of the advantages to having alternate forms. No one balked at a cat not wearing clothes. However, she didn't have very long, it looked like, for who should come prowling out of the shadows of the wood than one very large, tawny mountain lion, head up and alert as he caught a whiff of a familiar scent.
Oh more like her hiding for a sneak attack while hording his clothes. Huddling the clothes close she settled a cheek to the hoodie before slumping down under a tree. Even when she saw the feline prowling close. "Well there you are. The cold hasn't hindered your hunting too much has it?" Her expression softened for a moment though had a hint of an expression he had seen when they first met. Purdy kittah.
That was an expression of supreme smugness on his features, no doubt, that settled on his features at her question. Only a feline could look that pleased with himself. Without hesitation the big tawny cat walked right up to her and lowered his head to bump it against hers gently, a loud, rumbling purr emanating from deep in his throat.
She chuckled, the sound low and throaty. "Yeah. Come snow or shine, nothing is safe from that nose of yours, huh?" His clothes was lowered to her lap and when he came in for the head bump her arms went around his neck to hug him, her face buried against his fur. "I'm sorry, Clayton. Sorry if I made you feel as if I was sending you away."
The thick tail lashed from side to side behind him as he leaned into that hug, the rumbling purr unceasing, his head moving to rub against hers, taking a deep inhalation of her scent from her hair as he did so. He might've even licked her, if he didn't have rabbit breath, just to show he understood.
"I'll...be honest. I needed the time for more than just that though." She remained leaning against him and she may of dipped her head a little. Him sniffing at her hair tickled. Not..that she would admit that. Give him the upper hand? Never! "I am worried for my brother, Clayton. Worried I won't get him back or that he won't be..him anymore. Or...just..stuff. It all is making me frustrated and I realized it when I snapped at you. I didn't want to do that to you." She exhaled and leaned back, her hands moving to rub along his cheeks and forehead. "But on a good note I have some news for you about that woman you saved."
He leaned into her caresses a moment, then dipped his head to snag his clothes in his teeth, and in a tawny flash he was out of sight behind a nearby tree. Not for long, though, and when he emerged he was pulling the hoodie over his head witha purring chuckle. "One of these days, you'll get used to the idea of not having to explain to me, love." He walked over on bare feet and moved to settle beside her. "The one with the butter knife?"
She waited patiently but the return of the cat in manflesh was looked upon fondly. It didn't last long and was replaced by a somewhat confused expression. "It seems only fair as I am ...wait..can you read my mind?" She waited until he was settled before leaning slowly until they were resting shoulder to shoulder. "Yeah, her. She didn't seem really interested in speaking with me but after we parted ways the other day I decided to go to the inn." For reasons she wouldn't admit to. "The woman was there, looking fine, drinking and carrying on conversation with people. She doesn't even really remember anything that had happened. Like barely anything at all."
He let out a throaty chuckle as he leaned back against her, one arm moving to wrap around her shoulders. "No, not as such...I can share your memories, but that is not quite the same thing." He blinked as she told him about the woman, looking at her with a rather incredulous expression. "Is that so? Hm. Personally, I think I would count that as among the experiences I would never forget."
"What disturbs me more is the fact she was back at the inn after such a short period. She should of been at least kept for a few hours after what she did but we can't hold a person against their will. Well I mean we could but..." She shrugged and tilted her eyes up to him. "So..you asked me to marry you? Why...? And what did I say?" Sure she coud wait for her memories to return to her but it was more for just listening to his voice. She had missed him over the past few days more than she was willing to admit. It felt almost like it had been far longer but oddly as if she were use to him being gone long periods.
He smiled and nodded. "I did. At your brother's birthday party, no less. In front of all his guests. You turned an especially bright shade of red, as I recall, but you also said yes." He let out a purring chuckle. "I'd had it in mind to do it more privately, but your brother convinced me otherwise." He looked over at her with a smile, that one he wore only for her. "And I asked you because there is no other I want to spend the rest of my life with, of course. Granted, we don't have to be married to achieve that, but I happen to be something of a romantic that way. And I'll admit to a certain curiosity as to how lovely you would look in a wedding dress."
Her brother had been in on it huh. It was enough to cause a chuckle but it never bubbled forth, mostly due to his tease about her blushing. Or maybe it was that smile he was directing her way. She felt her cheeks go warm but she didn't look away. Instead she watched the way his lips curved. "Huh." Really she never thought someone like her to be engaged let alone married. She was seconds from making a teasing comment about him being a romantic but his quip about her in a wedding dress caused her face to go redder. "Did we ever set a date?"
It was his turn to flush in embarassment, no small amount of sheepishness creeping into his tone. "We hadn't gotten around to that yet...things have been rather busy since then." He looked at her, rather closely this time. "How is your head, by the way? I know the experience can be...disorienting. I've been through it myself."
"The pain has subsided for the most part. I can actually sleep at night now without it feeling like my head is swimming. Bits and pieces of those four years have surfaced as well but they seem to be a little slower." Her head tipped and she smiled up to him. "Thank you for being patient with me." There was a small pause and she lowered her eyes, "You were worried I was going to return to Leo, weren't you?"
He was actually taken aback, shock in his features for a moment at the question before he let out a sudden low chuckle and shook his head. "Kathryn, you surprise me." He reached up under her chin to nudge it upwards just a touch, bringing her eyes back to his. "You seem to forget, my love, that I've had a part of you living in my head since the day I helped them remove that parasitic worm that was inhabiting you." He reached up to her neck, fingers finding the chain there and sliding under it to gently guide it to his palm, the crimson jewel and the ring with resting there beneath both of their gazes. "I know you gave your heart to me, Kathryn. That's why I gave mine to you." As he says the last sentence, the heartstone glimmers, a throbbing red light like a heartbeat for a moment, and then gone again.
Her chin rose and her eyes found him. Surprised him? Still his words caused her expression to soften again and she tilted her gaze to the stone he rose to her attention. Was the ring with it also something he gave to her? She didn't ask for now. Instead she raised her hand to gently touch his, that was holding the heartstone. "I was worried. The look on your face when I told you I needed time, specially after just seeing Leo." She gently squeezed at the side of his hand. "I met him the other day at the inn. I told him that I still care about him. And I do. But I love you, Clayton. You do have my heart and tonight, when you are ready, we will head home. Together."
He remembered. And thought he had kept it hidden better than that, though it had far less to do with Leo than with other matters. His being away so much, for one. There was a lot of ground to cover with a four year gap in her memory that hadn't quite caught up to the rest of her brain that he'd more or less jump-started. The last word to pass her lips drew a catlike grin from him, his tone taking on a playful note. "Together? You mean you won't go slip through the shadows to beat me home?"
That grin! A single noted chuckle sprung from her lips almost instantly. "I was thinking more like riding you." Wait..that didn't ...sound right. "On your back." she added. Still not right. "You know? Like a piggy back ride?" The hand against his moved to swat him even before he started to laugh cause she knew it was coming. "But if you rather me disappear in the shadows and end up who knows where and leaving you with your lonesome at home."
The grin had widened on the first suggestion. On the second, even more so. He was enjoying her discomfiture, all right, evidenced by the purring chuckle in his throat that became a full on burst of laughter as she swatted at him. He didn't give her a chance to make good on that threat, however, simply moved with sudden, fluid feline grace to scoop her up in his arms and stand, all in a single, easy, lithe motion. "Not on your life, Katt-nip."
She made a small sound when he scooped her up and both arms went shooting around his neck, mostly to steady herself. "Easy now." She didn't want to admit to him that she was feeling...well..off. Drained even. "I think the lack of food and sleep is getting to me." She chuckled and she leaned to softly kiss his jawline. Katt-nip. Anyone else and she'd give a dirty look. That was his and his alone. "Clayton? I do love you."
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|Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:33 pm Post subject:
Renna sighed. She looked aside and then across the commons.
Gabriel still lingered there, silent and watchful, shadow among shadows. After all, Renna was a Ravenlock too.
Renna lifted her eyes to that lurking bastard. "What, do you want now? Or are you here to just observe me?"
You would think with as many days had passed by now she'd be up to full speed but damn if she didn't feel more sluggish. Enough so that Katt traveling through the streets was a slow crawl. Hands tucked into the pockets of her hoodie, she just now seemed to make it to the center of the market. From the tower it shouldn't of taken that long.
A slow smile creeps across Renna's face. She remains silent for now. She could smell her. She settled onto the fountain edge and merely kept her eyes on the other Ravenlock.
The sapphire eyes gazed back at her dispassionately. "I was not aware that I was required to explain myself to you."
Renna's eyes glared. "I was not aware I gave a ***?"
The eyes betrayed amusement, as did Gabriel's voice as he spoke. "I was not aware of that either."
Katt heard the voices before anything else. A brow slowly went up when she heard a voice she hadn't heard in some time. Close enough to the fountain she'd stop, hands clenched up in the pockets as she simply watched Renna from the short distance. She didn't even seem to attempt to find where Lup...or Gabriel as he calls himself now...was.
Renna looked to Katt. She fell silent.
You would think Katt to be staring daggers at Renna but instead she was just giving this overall blank stare.
"Find him yet?"
"You have him...so why asking me such a dumb question?" the reply had no sort of tone behind it.
"Just wanted to see your face." She mused. "Your pain. I do like it." She grinned darker still.
Katt was silent a moment but a question finally spilled from her lips, "Just me or people in general?"
"Mostly you, Katt." Renna whispered. "I do enjoy our meetings. I am just suprised you haven't attempted to murder this clone yet. Somewhat disappointed."
"The only time I have ever killed a clone was by your request. Or have you forgotten?" Katt grunted quietly. "I want my brother back."
"Not until he serves his purpose."
"And what possible purpose could you have that details my brother being in your grasp?" Katt's hands kneaded inside of the pocket, fists clenching and unclenching.
"I love him." Renna remarked.
"No. You don't. You are fascinated by him but love? No..you are not. If you did you would not put him through the crap you do." She glanced to where she had heard Gabriel's voice before looking to Renna. "I want to see my brother."
Gabriel remained where he was, of course, watching and listening. The sapphire eyes glimmered a moment with their own inner light as he looked Katt over, rather curiously.
The clone smiled. "You right. I don't. I am nothing but a simulation of those feelings. But, she does. By proxy? I love him. I love him more than life itself."
She rolled her eyes. Yes, Katt rolled her eyes. It does happen on occasion. "I call **** but whatever. I stand firm on my comment. I want to see him."
"Demand." She corrected.
"I am very much so demanding." There was no denying it.
Moving to Katt, Renna's smile fell into a sour smile. "All clones were cut off as promise. But trust me when I say this. He is alive. He is Edward." She threw a hand to the left, allowing a shimmer moment of the warp to shimmer beside her.
"And yet you are here. Which makes me question why you had me dispose of One." Her eyes tilted to the portal. Was that for her? It was a little amusing that Renna asked her to trust her. As many times as the woman had betrayed her trust.
And suddenly there he was, dressed pretty much like normal. And looking unharmed, although he had a rather unkempt appearance. He took a moment to look around, looking more amused than anything else. "Huh. Weird." He turned finally to look at Katt with a smile. "Hey, sis."
Where she didn't give Renna a sour look, Edward got one. Actually he got an expression like she was ready to deck him in that smile of his. That was how he was going to great her? Seriously? Ugh, then the idea of what she figured he was doing over there came back to her mind and her expression darkened. She grunted at her brother and seemed to be..waiting.
Renna remains silent.
Really? A grunt? He looked at her closer, then at Renna, frowning as he looked back at Katt. "Funny. I t'ought you'd look more...Ah don' know...energized." He winced, one hand coming up to press the heel of his hand against his temple for a second, blinking as the pain passed. "How...how ya feeling?"
Her eye twitched. "Really? You are going to ask that? Please tell me you haven't been over there having relations." She was not going to use the word in her head. "How am I feeling? How am I feeling? I cannot believe you are asking that, Edward!" Despite the anger in her voice, her shoulders slumped slowly.
He look taken aback for a moment. But jsut a moment. That turned into anger in a heartbeat, the Cajun accent thickening a touch with the emotion. "Ser'sly? Dat's what ya t'ink Ah been doin' over here? If Ah was just wan'in' t'get laid, Ah'm sure dere's eas'er ways t'do it. An' let's not ferget, sister dear, dat se las' time Ah had eyes on ya, you were wrapped in some kinda cocoon, wit' no way o'knowin' when ya were gonna come outta it. So yes, dammit, dat's de firs' t'ing Ah'm interested in!" This last came out at a yell, and as the final word was bitten off he winced again, shaking his head back and forth as though clearing it. He looked over at Renna, looking as though he were about to say something, only to see she wasn't there. "Merde."
"You sure the hell are looking well for someone who was kidnapped by the woman who put me in that state. Smiles and all." His yelling didn't seem to throw her off at all. She was pissed and it bled off of her. Her hands left the pockets of her hoodie, fists balled up at her sides. "I woke up to my big brother gone, kidnapped by a woman who tried to **** kill me. How the hell do you think I have been? I've been worried and scared for you but seeing you come out like that?" Her body tensed when she saw him looking for Renna but she had no energy to keep the tension and she closed her eyes.
He glared at her, still rubbing at his left temple with the fingers of that hand. "Gee, and here Ah was t'inkin' you'd be r'lieved t'see Ah'm all right. 'Cept fer de damn headaches an' dis ringin' in my ears, Ah'm doin' great. What're ya, pissed she din' beat de holy hell outta me?" His voice came out agitated as he turned away, looking around at something she couldn't see. "And dis foutu room she's keepin' me in, gives me de creeps."
He totally seemed to miss the point she just pointed out. "You look more like you are a house guest then her captive, Edward. Am I pissed she didn't beat you? No..I am glad you look well. But the fact you seem quite at easy while there are people over here worried about you pisses me off. Even Leo is looking for you." Err..okay that was a word she wasn't familiar with. "Fou..tu...?" It probably tones out like 'wtf'? Lowering her hand she scratched the back of her head. "I'm sorry I have just been so worried and you just smile at me like 'Hey how is it going' like nothing is wrong. Yeah. That did rub me the wrong way. Pretty sure you'd react the same way if our roles were reversed."
He blinked at her, honest confusion on his face. "Ah don't get it. How should Ah look? Ahmean, ot'er dan dis..." He looked around himself again, at the room he was in that she couldn't see. His expression as well as his voice were filled with an outraged disgust. "...dis abomination, Ah haven't been treated bad at all." He grumbled, turning and sitting on something invisible. "Nex' time Ah'll have her tie me to a chair or somet'in', act like Ah've been tortured..."
"Right. Sorry. Sorry for being worried." She reeled in all her emotions like a pro. Of course she was wrong for being upset at him for being all cheerful greeting like he had been. She emptied out to the point it hurt. "It is good to see you are well. I will make sure everyone knows you are being taken care of. Come home when you can so we can catch up." She flipped a wrist as if shaking off a feeling in her hand. "I have questions about what happened to me but those can wait for another time. Tell Renna I appreciate her letting me see you though I am not sure why she did." Though she had a general idea as to why.
He took his gaze away from whatever he had been looking at to stare at Katt incredulously. "Are...you **** serious?" Oh he was pissed. His voice went up to a yell. "Ya t'ink Ah wanna be here!? Are ya outta yer damn-!" He had nearly gotten to his feet as he spoke, and at this point he dropped to his knees, both hands going to his head. The yell caught in his throat, not anger but pain. For a moment, it looked as if his skin took on a luminous glow, light rippling through his body...and then he simply vanished.
Her brows furrowed when he started yelling. Did he really not see that he was coming off as less of a prisoner and more of a house guest? Still as he began to yell at her she already to counter. That is until she saw..what was that? Confusion shot across her face. "Edward?" She had never seen his skin do that before. "Brother?" Then he was gone. "Edward!" Panic mode activated.
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|Posted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:04 pm Post subject:
|.: Chapter Thirty-Two: Fading :.
She spent a better of the afternoon staring at her PCUI when she received a reply from Mesteno. Just stared. Seriously... The way he had acted before she figured he had lost his phone and any connection with her whatsoever so at first it was simply trying to figure out if it was him that sent it. By the time she actually replied it was closing in on the evening and the weather outside was starting to dip a bit to the cooler side.
The message was simple: an offering for the sadist to visit in a place he had never been. Rather...she invited him to her home. Asile-aux-Falaises, as her brother deemed it, was built on a mountain side overseeing the ocean and just on the borders of town so he would not only receive the text offering to visit but also directions.
Mesteno had never been good with directions, and was too stubbornly proud to resort to the modern convenience of GPS. Likely, it existed somewhere on his battered phone, but if that were the case, he hadn't explored its unappreciated functions to find out. So of course he wound up lost en route as he entered unknown territory, finally arriving at the cliff-top residence a half an hour later than he'd planned.
Despite the wall, he'd view enough of the property beyond it to realise that Katt wasn't slumming it (as if the address hadn't hinted it already) but it amused him to recall her visiting Sanctuary, the cabin so run down and shabbily maintained that most likened it to a warzone. He wound down his window (literally, manually winding it down - he hadn't entered the 21st century) at the gate to speak over the intercom for admittance, and so long as Diana didn't see fit to deny him entry, drove on until he found suitable parking, before sliding out and leaving his eyesore of a van on the avant garde property.
He amused himself imagining Katt arriving to welcome him at the door in pastels with a rich woman's manicure and some feather-trimmed, flouncy loungewear, which might have been why there was a renegade glint in his eyes if she came to answer his knock, rather than someone in her employ.
Mesteno would find that he'd barely have to speak a word into the intercom before the gate was opening. Why was that? Simply enough, really. Out of the handful of people Katt trusted Mesteno was pretty damn high on that list and that list had him on Diana's watch list, so to speak. So once the A.I. knew who he was it gave him full access without even need of verification. The guy could come and go at all hours if he deemed it, not that he knew it!
No guards to greet him, though there was a mighty big cat lounging out in the sun in the middle of the yard. The beast was about the size of a lion but black as night with lighter stripes. It gave Mesteno absolutely no care, as cats tended to do in that oh so indifference way. It seemed to be the only thing, other than Katt, to be around.
There was no waiting Katt at the door but she was around somewhere close enough that she heard the vehicle coming. No fancy outfit, not even shoes. She was in, instead, a pair of tattered jeans and a t-shirt that looked like it had seen better days. Oddly enough her hair was tied up in a ponytail. This is what greeted him as she came circling the side of the building, arms folding as she casually strolled to the edge of the driveway. Once he was out (and yes she would wait until he was completely out) she unfolded her arms to raise a hand in greeting.
His feet detoured him towards her once she was spotted, his study unrepentant. Brief though their last encounter had been at the inn, he hadn't forgotten things overheard, and now he searched for any indication of lasting physical damage. Katt had survived much. Anything that had hit her hard enough to compromise her mind must have been considerable. He approached without more than a glance toward the equally indiferent feline, which was either extremely foolhardy of him, or merely a sign of his own trust, upon entering someone else's territory.
"Ah, the Lady of the House," he drawled as he neared, and here the evidence of a smile did slip past the grim norm of his expression. "Come to escort me to the servant's entrance?" he asked. "Can't have the rabble entering through the front?" It was good natured teasing, rather than any real hostility. If there were even any neighbours close enough to spy (and he doubted it), a place of this size, and with Batten technology installed, was likely going to have good defenses about peeping toms. Katt could probably have thrown an orgy and have no one be the wiser. No one would care about one disreputable man showing up.
And really, that was precisely what he looked like. Something playing at dress up, trying to pass for civilised.
The Moor Cat would only react if needed to and since the one it was bound to was calm, so was it. Though really it was lazy and spoiled. While she waited for Mesteno a look was given towards the great beast before her sharp greens found the man again. What notes he would find in his observation was actually a very noticeable one - she looked exhausted. Her movements less fluid and sluggish though she did her best to conceal this. It took effort to simply shift from one foot to another, which she did as she regarded the man thoughtfully.
"Mrm?" She blinked slowly at him before tilting her head and scoffing. There came a low, throaty chuckle at his tease. "If we were going inside, maybe." She gestured to the side in the direction she had arrived from, looking to take him around the building to the back porch. Past the infinity pool and to the sitting area. She was curious to see his reaction to the warming stones the porch was made of and the low flow of warm air that kept the winter chill at bay. "I know you aren't a big fan of sweets ...or food in general..but I do have something to offer you in the ways of drink." And she never knew him to pass up on a good drink.
His eyes narrowed, scrutiny all the sharper. What had been a burgeoning smile waned as if it'd never been. Whatever had happened, plainly she hadn't yet recovered fully. While he theorised, given his own recollections of her usually rapid recovery, he stepped into motion alongside her, strides unhurried. For now he was content to move at her pace, the better to study her, and keep track of where she led. The place was big enough that he was just as likely to lose his way as he would on the roads.
"You don't need t'play hostess f'me, Katt," he reminded her, content to dispense with any formalities. "And you have a lot of faith in my ability to drive safely under the influence. I won't pass up a water though, if it's not putting you out." Mesteno's scruples might be somewhat lacking, but he was a fiend for driving responsibly.
His gaze skirted out temporarily, to the view beyond the infinity pool as they moved alongside it. He could understand the appeal, the exorbitant luxury of it, but it still didn't fit with his perception of the artlessly dressed, barefoot woman he walked beside. Knowing of her associations, it didn't take much effort to conclude who was responsible for the opulence of the place. He barely managed to keep from asking her whether he was going to end up on surveillance footage somewhere.
He would find her pace slow and unhurried even if he had sped on ahead. Likely to get lost. "You took your time getting here." A little jab in return as she guided him along. A brow rose up as she tilted her gaze up to him. "Host? Why would I do that. Aren't you a friend coming over for a visit. I am hosting any party." In a roundabout way it was her saying her home was his. Though she probably should start placing up arrows so he knows where to go if he got lost! If you are going to be here for a while I am sure one glass isn't going to send you spiraling off the road but if it is water you wish..." That was clearly no problem.
A single table was set aside for what was company, it seemed. Four chairs despite only two people, a bottle of some amber liquid and a few glasses, and a pitcher of water. Not that she knew he was going to ask for it but rather it was for herself. The condition she was in made it hard to deal with too much and that included liquor.
Scratching back her bangs she'd would wait, letting him pick which seat he wanted if he were to sit at all. "You know...I was surprised to get your text. Last time we talked you seemed rather...busy. I guess that is what has been keeping you for the past few weeks?" Month. Something like that...
"I don't recall having ever driven out this way, to be honest." The confession came as he selected a seat, dropping into it with an inelegant bonelessness and a grunt jostled from his throat. Briefly, he considered the ground instead, because floors had always been his preferences, but instead he watched Katt, to see if she handled herself with any particular delicacy as she sat herself in one of the other chairs. "I could get lost in a wet paper bag, where cities are concerned. Unless it's alleys. I'm good with those."
Alleys and wilderness. He was equally at home in either. Plainly he didn't intend to dwell on excuses for his lateness though. Instead he addressed her latter comment, unsurprised by it.
"Things're pretty unsettled right now," he admitted with a grimace. "Nothings been right for over a year. I'm sleeping in the van as often as I am with a real roof over my head and I'm never sure when things are just gonna show up and cause a *** storm. It's less busy and more... unsure how safe it is to stop in the city for more than a little at a time." He snatched a glance at the sky then, as if he half expected storm clouds to start gathering, though from what he could say it was merely a uniform, wintry grey. "Sorry if it seemed rude," he had the good grace to say. "Y'probably not the only one pissed."
If it were not for him she likely would of sat on the ground herself. Warming stones made for good heated seating after all. Pulling two glasses to the side she poured water in both to the rim before sliding one over within his reach. Only when this was done did she actually settle into a seat, choosing across from him. She was more like slumping down into her seat rather than the usual straight back sitting she usually did but it may have been because she was flattening her feet to those stones. Ahh! Warmth.
As he started to speak she leaned in her seat, attention turning to him as if giving full attention. It sounded like he had his own brand of trouble. Slowly her brows furrowed and her lips parted to say something only to draw closed. She was still trying to figure how to tell him about her memory loss... but by the sounds of it they hadn't talked about this before so it was easy to conclude that it wasn't something she had forgotten. "Things? What sort of things?" She found she had to stop to ask herself if she could help. One, she was in no condition to and she was well aware of her limits, and two, if he wanted her help he would have asked so by now, correct? Instead she turned her eyes up to the sky as, trying to see what it was he was searching for. His apology, however, caused her to blink and look back down to him. "Pissed?" She shook her head slowly to him. "I am not pissed, Mesteno. Concerned would be better to describe. After all you asked me to call you and I get no reply...Several times in fact."
"I got so used to being talked to in my head that phones..." he grimaced. This was Rhy'Din, where anyone suggesting they heard voices upstairs likely didn't need to explain or worry about being considered lunatic, so he spared Katt the temple-tap to indicate what he meant. "You're not the only one I found a few messages from, let's just put it that way. It was pretty well buried when I dug it out of the sand."
Another mystery, though he didn't offer to explain why it might have been lost in sand. Instead he addressed her other question, reaching forward to collect the glass of water with murmured thanks.
"A long time ago, I did something stupid for fun. Now it's having repercussions. My presence has been brought to the attention of a bunch of beings that can't decide whether they want to use me like a game piece, or just wipe me off the board entirely. And you know, I hate chess references, because everyone uses that ***." Rough spoken as always, words half snarl."Same lot I was having trouble with this time last year when we spoke though..." And now he eyed her, attention wicked-bright and unblinking, "You might not remember much of that."
He might have left it at that, a prompt, but he wasn't taking chances. "What happened to you? You're all sorts of wrong."
Use to being talked to in his head - now that was new to her. She had not been aware he had such abilities but maybe that was for the best. As long as he didn't attempt such on her if only for his own health. "I am not surprised, really. While you don't seem to think so...you are pretty popular..."
Folding her arms over the tabletop she continued to listen, not interrupting or at least attempting not to. His words gave her much food for thought and many questions sprang up due to it. She may have started into those questions if it wasn't the fact that he was already on the ball with his own. It was then she turned her eyes. "All sorts of wrong, huh?" She knew the question was coming but not like that. The statement of being all wrong had her silent. Eventually she sighed out and turned her eyes to him. "I can honestly say that I don't know everything. Clayton has informed me best that he could. I was infected, in a sense, by something that was attempting to take over my body. Not like use it for a period but rather take it over and kill off what made me..me..." Her brows furrowed a bit. "My brother did something to me and I don't know what because..he is missing. What I do know, as limited as it is..is that I was in a state of uncertainty for a few months, locked in a sort of crystal chrysalis." She paused for a moment, regarding her own water, but she knew if she stopped now she may not continue. "I woke up without a lick of memory. Clayton was able to assist to a degree with that but I am still missing four years or so and there is a bunch of holes in my memories as is."
Leaning back in her seat she looked back up to him again, scratching at the side of her neck. "Along with that I ...My condition is questionable and the doctors have no idea what is wrong with me. Best to describe I am like a battery that is losing its energy..." For a moment, brief as it was, her expression dropped into something of helplessness before fading away into that emotionless mask she was so good at keeping up. "So I guess saying I am all sorts of wrong is very ...fitting."
Perhaps predictably, he didn't address her remark on his popularity, but he did make a face as if to suggest he was either extremely dubious it was legitimate, or he thought the whole idea of popularity was a goddamn awful thing to begin with.
Better that she let him lead the conversation to more Katt-centric topics. He immediately looked more comfortable, albeit at her expense. Attentive, as she had been, he listened with ever increasing levels of malaise flattening his mouth, until there was really little more than a bloodless line before he spoke again, all grim-eyed and low growl of a voice.
"I've come across something like that before, a draining like this. I doubt yours is going to be the same root cause," that particular threat had been dealt with, but the methodology... "You're not short on advanced tech, so I'm going to go ahead and assume here that you've gone through about every kind of medical examination the city has to offer, looking for a scientific explanation for the draining you mention. If you haven't already looked into arcane reasons, that'd be next on the agenda, but if that chrysalis you were in before was keeping you stabilized and preventing the drain, you'd be better off back in there until a long-term fix has been sorted. Otherwise you're gonna end up wiping out somewhere you're vulnerable."
As if expecting protest, he lifted a finger. Wagged warning.
"I know you don't wanna be back in there and you got your pride 'n ***, but that's not important if you wind up dead."
His expression pretty much mirrored her own when someone made the comment she was so say...popular. So she likely found his expression to be very amusing. That was for another time.
She watched his waggling finger for a moment. Okay so she was considering biting it. What? He was waggling the digit with clear indication that it should be bit! "Not short on tech, no. But we are short on the man who has done something to me that we have no idea about." Her eyes left his finger. "That includes the chrysalis state... We have no answers to what was done to me and what caused the state to begin with." As she spoke her hands clenched against her arms to the point her fingers grew white. There was something else, something that was upsetting her greatly.
"I know my state leaves me vulnerable..." she murmured as she turned her eyes to the table's surface. "I do. But damn if I cannot sit still. I am so frustrated and ...I can't do anything to help my brother. I have spent nights just roaming the streets because I feel so damn restless." Being drained and restless at the same time made for one hell of a combination. One she did not appreciate!
Important she didn't wind up dead. Important? She looked up to him and raised a brow.
Likely he would not respond well to a bitten finger. It was wagged her way, but at least with a table's distance between them! If he noticed any predatory observation of it though, he didn't respond. Just went right on with his lecture. He was a damn pro at telling other people what they shouldn't be doing, and then being a hypocrite about it.
"I doubt he'd want you out there putting yourself at risk on his behalf, Katt. I don't know a lot about your brother, beyond what you've told me, and last I recall, you said--..." His words seemed to hit a brick wall. Katt had claimed she'd lost four whole years, and that, he was fairly certain, was going to include the period in which she'd confided that her brother was going to die. How much did Clayton fill her in on, he had to wonder. Perhaps she'd catch the implications of that pause. Perhaps she'd fill in the blanks and reassure him that she knew, but until that happened, he wasn't keen on blurting tactlessly, 'he's dying'.
One corner of his mouth pinched tight as he reformulated what he'd meant to say.
"You're not gonna remember the conversation we had in the Dragon's Great Hall a few years back, I figure. But it doesn't change the fact he wouldn't want you at risk on his behalf. Before he left, there was no data stored, no letters written, nothing you had access to that might indicate what the chrysalis was protecting you from, or what might have caused it in the first place?"
This had to be the weirdest feeling she had in a long time. Mesteno, of all people, lecturing her. Why did she feel like this should have been the other way around. "I am not doing it on his behalf, Mesteno. I can't help it. Seriously...I stand around here too long and I get frustrated and start breaking things. I am pretty sure my brother doesn't want me to break his place." Her arms released and she raised her hands to comb her back only to remember it was in a ponytail. His pause caused her hands to rest at the back of her head, sharp greens staring at him. "What was our conversation about?" He should have known that was coming. After all he knew she had no memories so of course she would want to get them back.
At his question of the information her hands slowly lowered, palms flat against her thighs. "If there was it isn't anything I can access. My brother keeps his private stuff...well...private. So Diana requires a certain passcode in order to access that stuff." She slowly shrugged to him. "I can ask Clayton though. I never really thought of the chrysalis protecting me from something." While it may not of seemed it, Mesteno's lecture was helping. Helped add a few questions that might fill blanks.
"Seems strange he'd keep something relevant to your health behind security you're not privileged to get past," he remarked, though his tone suggested he was musing over it, speaking aloud rather than really expecting any reply. "Unless he was trying to protect you from information he thought would do more harm than good." He didn't pretend to know the way Batten's mind worked. Playboy millionaire's likely had a logic entirely different to that of sadistic necromancers with the bad habit of forgetting where their cellphones might have been left.
He didn't want to touch on that conversation. Was avoiding it, unrepentantly, so he outright didn't answer. She was probably going to have to get pushy about that!
Again he fired questions instead, checking that bases had been covered, that beyond the future-tech, the talents of Rhy'Din's preternatural populace hadn't gone unsuspected. "This draining. Have you been able to follow where the energy is being drained to? And if so, what did you find at the other end? Is it only happening when you're in certain locations, with certain people, or at odd times of the day? Have you approached someone you trust with mental talents who could try and unlock the amnesia patches in your head?"
She gave him a look that clearly stated that he was not being helpful! "He keeps much from me and I seem to find out in the most unorthodox ways. That being said I don't know if he even kept records. I mean I know for a long time now he's been experimenting with my blood. Since things like aspirin have no effect on me he made me my own brand of aspirin to help me." She grinned, seeming rather proud of her brother for such a small feat. He really had the brains that she had no chance of shoeing when the time came.
His dodging of the question did not go unnoticed. She noticed this rather quickly, in fact. Her brother did the same thing when he was avoiding answering! "Drained...to?" Her head tilted. "I don't think there is anything draining the energy from me. At least I do not feel such a pull. Instead it seems like... Like I can't keep energy and I am quickly feeling like I have none to keep to begin with." Her arms moved again, this time to rest atop the table with palms flat. "Last time I approached someone to touch my mind, my own nearly drove them insane so no...not looking to go in that direction. I have been told that either the memories will likely return on their own..." As she spoke this bit her eyes tilted up to him. "What are you hiding, Mesteno? What is it that we talked about that you won't answer to?"
It required a lot of trust, to hand over ones blood and give another free rein over what they did with it. Mesteno didn't question that trust, but he did make another remark. "Seems weird that you'd let him do whatever he wanted and he wouldn't return the favour. But then, I suppose he trusted you with other ***..."
He groaned, set his untouched water back on the table and rubbed both palms over his face as she went tugging at the thread of conversation he'd been so eager to leave behind. There was some R-rated cursing in his native tongue going on behind those hands, and Katt ought to be glad she didn't understand it.
"Fine," he muttered darkly, "I'm only telling you this though because he already told you once, so he obviously wanted you to know. Not my business, really, to keep it from you. And if you already know, there's no harm done anyway." Did he sounds like he was reasoning with himself? "You told me he was dying. That he didn't have long. At the time I thought you meant he had maybe weeks or months, but here we are a couple of years down the line, and I guess he's still busy, so maybe he found a cure after all and fixed it. Is any of this ringing bells?"
It was weird and something she didn't have an answer to which is why she lowered her eyes. She wanted her brother to trust her and even though she knew he did but to what extent? After all he didn't tell her a number of things and kept her in the dark until it was too late. She started to fidget before forcing her hands flat. His sudden cursing helped with that.
Her eyes turned up to him and he was given such a dumbfounded look. While she didn't know what he was saying it didn't exactly sound like he was singing joyful tunes. That and his body language spoke volumes. "Am I supposed to pretend I understood all of that? I could ask Diana to translate for me." She may of very well of meant it too! His dark tone kept a teasing tone from rising, though. Seriously how could she tease him when he looked like he was being tortured!
His words gave her pause but it was soon enough she realized where he was going. Part of her wanted to laugh but instead a softness took hold of her sharp gaze. "Oh, that. Yes, Mesteno. I ...I know. Clayton told me after...after I had a run in with the person holding him captive. She decided to allow me to see my brother through a portal mirror to which I ...may of jumped down his throat." She scratched at her hands sheepishly. "He greeted me in such a nonchalant manner that it seemed like he was more of a house guest than a prisoner. We barked at each other and before the portal closed I could see him in some great pain. That...is the last I saw of him." Which has lead to her restlessness. "I don't want those words to be my last time him, Mesteno." Her hands clenched tight as she said those words.
He didn't bother to remark on a possible translation. Better she forget all about the obscenities and focus on what he'd just confessed. Which, as it turned out, was nothing she hadn't known already. The only obvious sign of his relief was a slow, quiet exhalation, and the slight easing of his posture through the shoulders and spine, as if he'd been subconsciously been holding himself ready for action of some sort. Neither fight or flight would have been entirely appropriate for the situation had she been shocked, but that didn't stop the instinct priming his wiry muscles!
"Sounds like you're not quite as in the dark as I thought you were," he remarked, "especially if you actually know who has him. So what's she demanding? She's taken him for a reason, obviously. Blackmail? Revenge? And is it personal, or is she trying to get at you through him?" Important questions. Ones he was far more comfortable talking about than he had been the issue of Batten's looming expiration date.
He reached for his glass again, and this time drained half the contents before he set it back down, knuckling a stray drop from his lower lip and clearing his throat quietly before he addressed the other issue they'd been discussing. "Your energy... if it's not being drained from you to be utilised by someone else - which is really damn wasteful by whoever's done this to you," his tone suggested he thought they were an idiot for it! "then can we consider it a tactic from this woman who has him captive to keep you from just going on the warpath effectively to try and get 'im back? Like they've managed to target you with some virus that's keyed to you. Personal biological warfare."
Oh it was quite clear he expected her to react not as she had. Probably expecting tears and freaking out, both she was all but sure the man didn't know how to handle so why did that amuse her? It was a tiny bit, mind you, but endearing at the same time. At the same time it was a reminder of sorts, at least to her. One that she would not be bringing up lest make the man uncomfortable. Well more....
"Mrmm..." The sound rattled her throat at his question and her lips slowly pursed. Her reasons... "I can say I honestly do not know. She is forcing him to work on something but what it is, I have no idea. Part of me thinks...No....I know she is also keeping him as a sort of torture for me. She thought I knew about his condition, which I didn't up until recently, but knowing she has him has been driving me up the wall." Adjusting in her seat she turned her eyes out to the long scape of water that reached out to the horizon. "The woman is a nutcase and one I should of killed..." The words were low and she did not try to hide the venom they held.
It was in that moment she flinched and turned her eyes on him. He sure did know how to choose his words and in this case he hit the nail quite squarely. "You are a very smart man, Mesteno." It was followed by a single-noted chuckle. "What you speak of, the biological warfare...? The virus..." Raising a hand she tapped at her temple where the dark veins had at least eased up some. "That is what she had done to me and my brother countered. Reversed?" They both knew by now she had no clue what her brother did so she didn't clarify it past that. "The woman set a virus in me that was, from my understanding, suppose to wipe me out and replace what makes me...me...with something that is her. Kind of like..mmm.." Her head tilted one way then the other as she considered the word she was looking for, "replicate? Yes...we can say that. Replicate herself into .." she gestured to her body. "If this lack of energy is that virus or her doing, I couldn't say, but if it was I would think she would take better advantage of my condition than she has been. Up until now she has just been removing people from helping me...She enjoys watching me feel...helpless to the situation."
"Rhy'Din's full of nutjobs that need wiping out. You're not the only person to have regretted past mercy when it comes back to bite 'em in the ass. Or... just not having been thorough." In case mercy had nothing to do with it. He wasn't about to ask, and made a dismissive gesture with one hand as if it didn't matter either way.
For a moment he turned to peer out over the bay view, and frowned. It should have been cold as Hel's breath up there, and yet here they were, sat outside without a single shiver assailing him. He didn't question it though. Put that 'very smart' brain of his (he'd refrained from laughing when she said it by only a small margin) to use and deduced that it was likely some kind of climate control. Thankfully he was too focused on the conversation at hand to bother investigating why, his concentration deepening to the point his eyes had a glassy, far-seeing aspect.
He still sounded somewhat distant when he spoke again, as if really, he was musing aloud, rather than discussing it with her. "What she was trying to achieve suggests she's capable of some fairly advanced biological tampering. Perhaps in his rush to prevent the take-over, your brother didn't eradicate every... process? It's starting so sound as much computer science as genetics." His mouth twisted in undisguised malaise before he went on. "Perhaps to fuel the changes she intended, the virus had to use your body's own energy to achieve it, and that part didn't get shut off properly. So it's still burning through your system and not actually achieving anything? *** if I know, I never did science in school. What I know now is only because Lexius has been teaching me." He'd a habit of getting involved with men smarter than he. Not that it was hard to find them! "What're your plans?"
Her reasons were probably foolish to anyone she spoke it to so she never said anything about it. Most just chalked it up to mercy and she was fine with that though there were times she wondered if she was simply so weak for falling prey to her own fears. "I think when it comes to her, in particular, there is a lot of biting of both my brother's ass and mine. She claims to love him but...the things she's done to him makes me think more of an obsession than love."
Shifting in her seat she tucked a leg under herself, using it as a sort of prop up so she didn't seem like she was slouching so much. He had points, more than he realized, with his words. Still, she was putting him in danger with just telling him this much. "I don't know..." she found the words were muttered much lower than she had meant them to be. His musings did give her some routes to check and suggest to the team. "At least you went to school..." The words came with a light teasing tone. "Sir Lexington. Shame on you for telling me that. I hope he..." She paused, deciding that her choice of words were not the best in this situation. The mention of the other man did bring questions that she had to tame down.
At his own question she blinked and turned her eyes to him. "What are mine plans. That...is a good question. I suppose I should just stay home and let Clayton and Leo deal with the situation of my brother. I don't think I will be much help and as you said, it would be bad for me to be caught somewhere in my condition." She obviously didn't care for the idea of leaving it to other people. "Help out were I can here without putting myself out there..." she gestured in the direction of the city proper as her hand lowered she uttered a single word. "Meh."
"Until I was seven. Then there was some... serious class cutting." It didn't take a stretch of the imagination to reach the conclusion. He just hadn't gone! "And sorry about Lexius. Nothin' meant by it." That he felt comfortable letting his rare moments of humour glare through the cracks when he was around her, suggested he'd known she wouldn't be offended. Merely a pity she had no recollection of anything. "I'll introduce you properly, one day. He's not much of a talker, and he's kind of difficult to get to know, but don't take it personally. He's just bad at socialising. Like me, but a whole lot worse."
Following the gesture she made with his eyes, he offered a grunt of acknowledgement to her discontent word (sound?) and offered her a look of commiseration. "It's a *** situation, Katt. Really. And I know it's gotta be driving you mad. I also don't think you're gonna be able to stick out the whole sittin' back and letting everyone else take care of things for very long. Sometimes it's hard to trust other people to do what you feel you could be doin' yourself, even if they are people you're close to. Especially when it's putting them in the line of fire, too." Especially, he did not add, but very much thought, when it was a lover." I hope that your brother is makin' the most of the time with her to try and find a way to get to the bottom of your health problem. It's a good opportunity for enemy insight. Maybe this time around, you an' yours can put an end to Ms. Nutjob."
"Oh...I am not offended or anything but your friend didn't seem enjoy being called that very much. Pretty sure I saw him looking at you like he was about to take it out on your hide." Better her saying than something else, right? Yeah, even she caught that one! "I would like that. To properly meet him, that is." Her lips twitched then ticked into a sort of crooked smile, "If I didn't know better you just described me in a nutshell." After all, who was it that usually sat and watched people? Good grief, how long had she been doing that now if she couldn't remember the last four years?
The roguish touch of her smile faded though not fully. "Yeah. See I think you know me too well." She chuckled when his assessment of her and the situation. He was right. Chances are she wouldn't be able to sit on her hands and do nothing. It would drive her even more mad. "I don't know, Mesteno. I honestly don't think my brother could kill her, even if given the chance." A hand lifted up, briefly, before lowering - apparently she was about to do something but decided against it.
"If I die..I go out fighting. You know that right? But I don't plan on dying if I can't help it. I do.." No. Appreciate didn't cover how his concern made her feel. "I am honored to have a friend like you, Mesteno. Thank you." Yeah, probably a bit squishy talk for the sadist but heart-given regardless. "I will admit I am sort of surprised you aren't trying to use my condition against me to earn some payback."
"No challenge in it when you're like this," he pointed out reasonably, "and besides, this kind thing isn't a subject that's exactly ticklin' the old funny bone." His expression matched his words. Even the rogue smile she'd offered him wasn't something he could offer in kind. There was a tenacious frown, and a certain tension to the corners of his mouth just as reluctant to budge. Thoughtfully, he rubbed at the nape of his neck, and looked out over the water again, rather than at her.
"You're usually hard to kill." He stated bluntly. He'd seen her pock-marked with bullet holes at the Red Dragon, and he knew of the damage Ravenlock had done her, years ago. "Right now it's soundin' like you might just burn out before you ever get chance to face this bitch. That's not somethin' to laugh over. The hell's so special about this bitch that you don't think he could kill her, anyway?" The way Katt had worded it left him with an inkling that she meant she was resilient in unnatural ways, rather than just thinking Batten had some kind of soft side making things awkward.
Before she could answer, he hummed a low note of discontent, and added, "If I were a real good friend I'd be offerin' to help you out with this." There was no excuse he offered as to why he wasn't. Hopefully, Katt knew him well enough to guess at the truth of the matter. He was barely keeping his head above water with things himself. Didn't want his trouble finding her, when she was weak.. and it just might. Even sat there in her home, there was a chance something might come prowling after him to see what he was up to.
Again, he had a point and despite his frown...she smiled - granted it was a ghostly variety of it. Even that faded as he spoke and her eyes slowly drew closed. "I am not laughing over that, Mesteno. But if I don't laugh, even a little, at something..anything...I may very well drown more than I already am." She took a moment of silence, her head tipping one way. She felt the tears threatening at her lashes but for his sake she managed to will them down.
A slow exhale passed her lips and her eyes opened, half-mast and focused on him. "Because at one time he loved her. I think he may even still...to a degree..or just can't let go of that feeling enough that he would kill her. I don't know. Maybe he even feels responsible for her state of being though I can't seem to think the woman has always been mad and she just talks a good game at pretending not to be *** crazy."
Her eyes opened fully and she chuckled softly. "That right there makes you more than a good friend, Mesteno. But we both know you have your plate full enough as is and besides...It is nice to have someone I can confide in and trust like this so trust me when I say you have been helping. You are one of two people who have actually taken the time out to check on me when they saw how I was looking." She wasn't going to insult him by saying she also wasn't going to ask for help because the woman was attacking anyone who even so much as hinted at helping her.
He was oblivious to the carefully stalled tears, too busy glaring at the ocean as if he could blame it for the current state of affairs. He did tilt his head her way when she spoke again though, and tilted a look sidelong at her, as if the prospect of Batten having been romantically involved with his kidnapper made him want to start ranting about how *** crazy her brother must be for feeling anything even remotely for her, after what she'd done to Katt. In the end he let it go though. It was no less than what had happened to Evander with Niamh. "Like some weird ***' stockholm syndrome." It was finally, sullenly offered, and he reached for his water again, though this time only to sip at it absently.
Unsure what to say about the lack of visits, he considered a moment, then turned back to her, legs stretched long under the table. "You'n me, life gives us a good battering. Isn't often we're not sportin' some new scrapes. I dare say that's the way it is for most folks in the city who have some fight in 'em, and those kind of people... well they're survivors. Folks expect them to pull through. They usually expect whatever's causing them problems to be more'n they themselves can handle when push comes to shove, that they'll just get in the way, hinder rather'n help, you know?" He seemed to expect that she did, because he went right on. "I don't have people knockin' at my door either when *** happens. If you're not out in the open, they probably figure it's with good cause, so try not to take it personally."
How reassuring she'd find that, he didn't know. Maybe he was just making excuses for the way people behaved around them, or maybe he'd thought it all to death. One thing he knew for sure, usually people were struggling up their own *** creeks, and usually, minus a paddle.
She was actually waiting for him to ask how it was her brother loved this woman and she wasn't exactly sure how to answer even if it had came up because hell if she knew!! She felt somewhat relieved when it didn't happen. "I don't know. I really don't. Maybe he is fascinated in her mind or something. He does tend to let his thirst for knowledge run away with him. Or his curiosity. Whatever you wish to call it."
Her hand lifted again and this time went through the motion of combing back her bangs and scratching them to meet with the rest of the black on her crown. She didn't want to do it earlier simply because she had been trying to hide the raised, dark veins. "Hey, I tried to check on you but..." Her brows furrowed as she looked to him. "Your place is no longer there. I guess you moved and I don't...remember.." Her hand lowered along her forehead then along her lower face as she huffed. "I do make it a point to check on those I care about."
Her hand paused, fingers barely resting against her chin as if something just...popped into her head. With a tip of her head she turned her eyes to him, looking him over for some reason. After a moment she hummed thoughtfully. "I cannot say I agree or not. Some people are just..too busy with their own lives to really go out of the way to check on others. You know..smoochy face and popping out babies."
"Maybe he got to know her in her lucid moments," he suggested quietly, and not altogether easily. "Maybe he harbours some fool hope that he can fix her one day. Maybe even while he's with her now. Talk her out of whatever crazy she's planning." Could he blame him, were that the case? Calling time on something like that, making the choice to cut out the infection the person had become, was not going to be an easy choice, whatever the case.
He left the subject alone after those brief suggestions, finishing off the water and leaving the glass back on the table. "The place is still mine. It's just not safe to be there anymore. So right now, I don't have a place. I have plans, but it's going to take some work to get it all finalised, so until then, I'm either in the van, in a room at the dragon, in the desert with Lexius, or borrowing a room at my friend Vadriel's. S'not ideal, but stopping in any one place too long is asking for trouble, and I've never really needed much anyway." His home hadn't exactly advertised any particular domestication on his part.
As for the mention of popping out babies, he didn't bother to hide the distaste. "Yeah well, I suppose most folks do that at some point." In a '*** knows why' tone of voice, too!
"Lucid. I honestly doubt she ever was. When she was 'with him' she had infected me back then too. I...killed a lot of innocent people on the streets under her command. He may still harbor feelings and hopes for her but I think she has been nothing but using that. She doesn't love him. She just wants him like some obsession." The more she spoke the more her voice seemed to grow dark, almost edging on blood thirsty. "Quite frankly I have stopped caring how he feels about her. I know in the past he has questioned me for not forgiving her for some of the things she has done but this...I will never forgive her..." And if her brother died? There will be no hell that the woman can hide in that Katt would not find her.
Her lips flattened as she listened to him. "Do you want a place to stay? Both you and Lexius may and it is safe. I know a place that has wards and barriers." Even as she asked, she was pushing up out of her seat. She knew he said it wasn't safe to stay in one place too long but if the wards and barriers could provide a sense of peace, she was happy to offer it.
His tone had her pausing and it took her a moment or two but man was it hard not to laugh. "You know ...if I could have kids I would have them call you uncle Mesteno and have them visit you. Every ...day..." Like it was some sort of torture.
Mesteno wouldn't have forgiven either, after hearing what Katt described. He had to hold his tongue after hearing that her brother had questioned the lack of forgiveness. Really, for a genius, he seemed to be lacking some wisdom there! "I hope you get chance to kill her, Katt. Get some *** closure on the whole mess. Watching her do this to him, now, is salt in the damn wound."
As for needing a place to stay, he offered her a wry smile. "S'kind of you, but I've stayed at places with all sorts of wards and barriers. My own place had 'em extensively, and these things're just..." he struggled to find a term without plain stating he was dealing with Powers. Admitting it was likely to call them right down on their heads. "...I'm safer on the move." He rose as she did, with a faint sigh.
"People 'round here got a habit of makin' me godfather or whatever," he grumbled at her threat. "It's like they want the kid to grow up with mental problems and bits missing." Was he kidding? His face was so difficult to read in that moment that he just might have been serious.
Her brows furrowed then raised. "No. I don't want closure. I couldn't give a rats ass about it. What I want...I..." She swallowed down the lump that suddenly rose in her throat. Every time she thought about it she started to feel sick. "It is him dying with our last words to each other being an argument. I can't stand the thought of it. I don't want him to die thinking he is..less important to me than he really is." The last few words managed from her lips before she sealed them with a frown.
Standing as she was allowed for her to be able to turn to the waterfront, her hands clasping behind her back. Deep breaths, girl. Deep breaths! "That is fine but if you change your mind let me know. I had to use this place when I was being chased. It hides your presence and sound but you need to leave it for at least a few hours every day in order for its barriers to recharge. It is like slipping out of existence." And with her nightmares, sometimes it was best to be where people couldn't hear you scream.
She peered over at him. Him a godfather? The way he sounded was much like how she felt when people said she was a godmother! "Oh who are you kidding. As screwed up as I am? If I could have kids I think they would end up mentally broken or would run away once they could learn to walk. But I am not able to. At least that is what I am told. Being skewered in the gut too many times with swords and pipes will do that." Her head tipped and she peered over to him. "Mesteno? I do have a question... Have I ever given you a bloodjewel?" She knew it was out of the blue of a question but there was a reason.
Briefly, his hand found it's way to her shoulder. The kind of unobtrusive touch barely worthy of notice until it offered a transient, but warmly meant squeeze. Katt had never been keen on physical contact (unless they were hitting each other) and Mesteno was generally awkward with such things anyway. Still, it was an offer of a sort, compassion. He was just careful not to let it come with words, because the damned things could so often be the catalyst to tears, and he knew she'd hate to cry in front of him.
"Is it bad of me to say congratulations on being sterile?" he asked, and sounded genuine in his curiosity. There seemed to be no trauma in her admission of it, but he knew that some would deem him outright callous for thinking it. Whatever she might have answered though, she'd already gone and redirected his interest. There was only the briefest of hesitations as he rifled through his swiss cheese memory, and finally shook his head. "No. What is that? Food?"
The touch didn't startle her as most contacts did but it was him and he was the only one there. Granted if she had turned around and it was someone else with her mind playing tricks on her? That would have blown her mind! The squeeze did have her watching him a bit closer than normal but her eyes held a softness that barely held back the heavy stare that came so natural. She looked how she felt, no doubt. Tired...
A soft chuckle was given. "I don't know. I kinda wish I wasn't. I don't think I would be a good moment but at the same time..never know until you try right?" Okay that felt weird confessing that, of all things, to him! She wasn't sure if he even knew of her fear of kids...and pregnant women. Some things leave scars that nobody can see.
If his hand was still on her shoulder he would likely feel her lax a bit under the touch but not so much as to collapse. As light as the touch was, it felt like it weighed far more. "Mrm? F...food?" She snorted before she could catch herself. "No. I know better than to ask you about food." Her head tilted a bit as she eyed him, making sure he wasn't joking. Why...hadn't she given him one. Of all people she thought he would have one. "Hmm. How..odd.."
To his credit, he did nothing to try and persuade her she was better off as she was. She'd been brave enough to open up to him, so he kept his own natural revulsion of children unmentioned. Offered her a mild shrug. "There are places here in Rhy'Din who can fix anything. And I mean anything. If it's something you really want, you set your heart on it, you'll make it happen somehow. You're right though, I guess most people would want the option."
And like the subject of her brother and his strangely obsessive once-lover, he let the matter of her infertility rest. That she'd chosen to tell him was significant enough a thing that he didn't overlook it though. In fact he felt rather humbled to be so trusted with such a personal detail, even if she had made it plain before now that she had a good deal of faith in him.
When it turned out that what she was offering him wasn't edible, he arched an enquiring brow. "What's odd? Why would you give me jewellery?" Because that was what it had to be, right?
There were very few she trusted and even fewer that she trusted that was on the same level as he. She was guarded, for a reason, but Mesteno had proven himself time and again that he wasn't just worthy of trust but would be someone who was around for her to leave such trust in. She trusted him enough that she was able to reach out and lightly tap her fingers to his elbow without concern of touching him. He never reacted oddly to the way her skin touched.
The touch lasted two seconds before her hand fell almost lifeless to her side and her eyes closed. A soft sigh escaped her. "That can be explained another time, Mesteno. You should go now." She didn't want to admit it but her body felt close to collapse and that was one thing she didn't want to do in front of him. The guy would probably freak the hell out! "Not that I am trying to rid you of my company or vice versa but it is getting late and I am sure you have things to do..."
When her eyes opened to look back at him, she knew how drained she looked and she almost apologized to him for such. "Pardon me for not escorting you back to your truck but I think I should go rest for a bit. I will do my best to stay out of the public for a while until things are safer and will let you know when I am better. Do me a favor though? Do not be afraid to call me or contact me. I like hearing from you. I like conversing. I like sparring with you....just not when I am about ready to faint on you." The last words were spoken as in a way to probably add fire to his heels.
With Katt as plainly as exhausted as she was, he didn't linger about and keep her from collapsing somewhere more comfortable indoors. "Next time then," he agreed simply. "Look after yourself, Katt. I'll keep my phone on me."
Because after seeing how drained she'd become in such a short space of time, it felt like tempting fate to not have it around should she need him. He made his way back to the front of the property unescorted, and in short order, the eyesore of a van was headed back along the clifftop road to town.
(Thank you Mesteno for taking the time to play this scene out with me!)
Last edited by Katt Batten on Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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|Posted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:36 am Post subject:
She wasn't sure why she agreed to a training session with the newer employee, Calypso, other than the fact the woman braved up and asked her point blank for a little bout. She was sure the request came as to be used to get information out of her since she had been so seal-lipped about her brother. Calypso was far too interested in her brother for her liking...
As she watched the other woman prowling around the enclosed training room of the facility, she felt heavy - like her limbs were weighed down and they had only been going at it for less than thirty minutes. Maybe that was another reason she agreed...in her state she wasn't as afraid of hurting the woman as she normally would be. Not that she hadn't landed a few blows on the woman already. She held herself surprisingly well and even managed a few well placed punches. Punches were returned but did not hold their normal impact nor had any real sort of strength behind the blows...not that she would punch someone like this with full force. Didn't need her brother returning to find she had hospitalized one of his employees. Again.
"So ya not gunna share about the happenings with Eddie, huh?"
Calypso's voice rattled her mind back to the present and the fight. Her stance had fell off-guard without her even realizing it. "Mrm.." the sound echoed in Katt's throat, "Why are you so interested...?"
"Ya kiddin', right?" Cal chuckled as her hand rose up along the wall and away and she kept moving along. "He is my boss and he just poofed off the face of the world."
Katt kept a wary eye on her, wondering exactly what she was doing. Keeping distance? Sure, she had returned a few punches but nothing damage worthy. "Listen...if you are thinking of hitting on my brother..don't. He has enough crazy women chasing him around."
Cal stopped, almost gawking. After collecting herself she laughed out, "He gave word that I would get to check out some of his tech then he disappears before giving me that chance."
"So it is for his tech that you are interested in him?" Katt grunted quietly.
"Maybe. Don't get me wrong, he is quite a looker and hell of a charmer," Cal flashed a grin as she turned to face Katt fully, "But he has no interest in a gearhead like me other than maybe to share or bounce ideas off of."
"Good. If you steal his stuff or hurt him I am not afraid to hurt you, just so we are clear." The mumble came quiet as Katt lowered into a ready stance..
"Little lady, I don't think you are in any condition to be making such threats." Cal chuckled and crooked a finger at Katt. "I have been told how you are by a couple of the fellas. Gotta admit, you disappoint."
That mockery caused a frown to course along Katt's lips. "I.."
"I know. You are under an unknown condition. Kyle told me."
"Kyle has a big mouth." Katt grunted but it didn't change her mind that Kyle was a good man and one of her brother's most trusted.
"Well then how about we wrap this up?" Cal asked casually.
"You forfeiting?" Katt raised a brow at the woman calling quits. While it was true she wasn't in the best of conditions she thought she was doing pretty well.
"You've already lost." Cal assured Katt with a growing grin.
Katt eyed the woman suspiciously, "What do you mean?"
Cal's hand rose up and flicked her fingers against the air but in doing so, it would cause the thin wire to shimmer. Several thin wires had been set up around the room while Cal had been moving, designated in a certain way and held in place by some of her discs. When the shivering wire stopped, the disc reacted by suddenly drawing in, like a fishnet pulled upon with Katt in the dead center of it.
The disc whipped the net, enclosing quickly around Katt in a tight wrap that soon had her falling to her side on the ground. A clear startled look was set on her face. She had missed seeing the wires and was baffled to how she was so caught off guard. Was she that weakened?! Even if she was, it didn't mean she remained still. Within seconds she wormed, attempting to tug herself free of the wire cocoon.
"That..was sneaky." she hissed up to Cal.
"I prefer crafty. I have read up on you. You are pretty crafty, too." Cal squatted down in front of Katt and plucked one of the wires. "I wouldn't squirm too much if I were you. The net will automatically tighten the more you struggle. Normally I have it pressurized to kill but we don't want that."
Cal's words didn't stop Katt from struggling, even as she felt the bindings tighten around her. "Because my brother would have your ass!"
"True and as much as he is into crazy, I don't think he would like his employee killing his sister. Not that I want to. I want him to trust me. Want you to trust me." Cal smiled to Katt as she started to pull on one of the disc and it instantly started drawing in its wire. "So why not share with me where he is? I would so like to spend some time with him."
Something Calypso said triggered Katt and the moment she was able to reach from the net, she went grabbing straight for Calypso's throat. Growling she wormed her way out of the wiring best she could, Reevi struggling to form along her arms in hard coating.
"Whoa! WHOA!" Cal pulled back, barely slipping out from Katt's grasp. Springing up to her feet she stumbled back a few steps. "Why do you seem pissed off suddenly? And what is it with that black gunk?"
Pushing up, Katt brushed off the rest of the wires now that they were slacked. "He's been kidnapped by a crazy bitch who needs to die!" Even as she said it, she was jumping at Calypso, claws stretched out to swipe at the woman.
That was surprising and Cal jumped back, feeling the air that swipe caused. "***. Really? Let me help if I can then!" It did explain why Katt didn't want to speak of the subject. It was a sore one. The worry of her boss began to swell more but at the moment she actually felt that her life might be in a bit of danger. Katt looked pissed.
Another swipe was made but this time it came with an uneven step, causing Katt to tilt but she caught herself. "Then stop asking me about him! It is none of your business!"
"That is enough, Katt."
Kyle's voice had Cal looking over as the tall, dark-skinned man made his way across the room. He was already reaching for Katt or maybe just guarding himself. Cal remained on guard, stepping back more from the enraged woman.
Katt turned when she heard Kyle's voice and her hands lowered, "Why are you in here? You are disturbing our session."
"You need to stop, Katt. You are worn out and taking your frustrations out on Calypso is no way to make a good impression." He eased his hands up. It was just in time, too, because Katt's body tipped as she collapsed. Kyle caught her by the shoulders and was about to ask her if she was alright only to find her eyes closed. "She passed out." He informed Cal quietly. His dark gaze turned up to Cal who was watching them with concern in her bright gaze. "Don't worry. She just pushed herself too hard. I'll take her to rest."
"M'sorry, Kyle. Didn't mean to push her so hard." Cal rubbed at the back of her neck. "Didn't know she was so bad off. You sure she'll be okay?"
"Yeah, don't worry." Kyle smiled.
"Not making the best impression on the boss' sister am I?" Cal sighed and brushed ou her ponytail before lowering her hand to her side.
"Don't worry about it. She is just under a lot of stress and really worried about her brother."
"Yeah, I get that. If there is anything I can do to help out, you'll make sure I know? I may be a lowbee here but I have grown rather fond of Eddie."
"Sure thing, Cally. As for Katt, it takes time to earn her trust. Be patient with her." As he spoke, Kyle collected Katt and started for the door.
"Of course." Cal could understand, to a degree, Katt's position. The pain of a loved one being held prisoner. She watched the pair until the doors closed then turned to collect the discs that had recoiled their wires.
Making his way through the tower, Kyle a curious look from other employees - after all he was carrying the one who filled Edward Batten's shoes when he was gone. He was nearly to the medical wing when Clayton came strolling around the corner. It was no surprise to Kyle that Clayton was there. He seemed to show up when one least expected. The passed out Katt was handed over without a word, knowing that Clayton would ask if he felt it necessary.
Clayton handled her with care and in his arms was the first time she had moved since passing out. Her face and body tilted just enough to tuck herself against he cat in manflesh. Seeing this caused a chuckle from Kyle and in turn got a questionable look from Clayton.
"Even unconscious, she knows it is you." Kyle chuckled as he started on his way. "Make sure she gets some rest. She is going to burn herself out before she has a chance to save her brother."
Clayton didn't say a word, instead looked to the woman in his arms. He knew she had been pushing herself, unable to do anything with the restlessness that her brother's absences seemed to have created. Lowering his head he nuzzled her lightly before making way for home.
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