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[center The creature roared, snarling as it swung angry claws for the new Logan. They were almost like mirror images of one another. What might’ve been in the event he reached the afterlife. And then what he could have become had he been subjected to otherwise.
“You won’t beat me this time,” the new Logan hissed, furiously slicing at the creature.
It howled, swatting the blade away at every chance and swiping at his legs. It caught his ankle, but he quickly recovered, using the momentum to twist and sweet dirt up into the creature’s face. It sputtered, angrily lashing out.
“He’ll never believe such trickery!” It cried, bounding after this second Logan as he sprinted for the wilderness. Branches caught at his clothes and scored his flesh, but he had made a promise, hadn’t he? He and Silveus would meet ahead and finish this.
He smiled at the thought, spurred to move even faster as he cut toward a clearing. The beast lunged for him, topping him into the grasses and twigs, tearing up earth as they tumbled. The smaller Logan coughed, using his legs to keep the beast at bay, sword’s edge his only saving grace from those razor sharp teeth.
Where had Silveus gone?? If he could just reach the dagger, he could destroy it. It was a long, ancient affair, the sheath decorated with stones that faintly glowed. The creature dug outstretched talons into the Logan beneath it until he cried out, the coolness of the earth soaked with the warmth of his blood.
“You [i won’t] best me!”]
Silveus closed his eyes and turned his head away. [ i No. This isn't happening.] But it was. It was so horribly real. He could feel the weight of Logan, the bite where the man's new claws pinned him to the ground.
He shook his head. "I never asked--I never would have asked you to--" To give up his immortality. He loved Logan. Wanted the best for him, even if it meant they could never be together.
Silveus tensed. He didn't want to. To run. To be hunted. If he had to face Logan like this, then it was better to die by his hand. He hadn't felt alive since his love had died. What was this, now, but a chance to join him?
A second voice. This one clear, bright, so much closer to the original. An ache pinged through Silveus' heart, the loss of Logan hitting him all over again. And then his heart leaped. He opened his eyes. Logan was standing right there, real as could be. "Logan?" he asked, barely able to whisper it. He wanted, no, needed to touch the man, feel his warmth, his heartbeat, the way he breathed. Logan was alive? It couldn't be. But it was. There he stood, before him, as if he'd never left.
Logan rushed at them. He felt the weight of the blow through the beast's body, the snag as the claws brushed through his skin. Silveus jumped up and ran. He couldn't die now. Not until he'd confirmed that this was the true Logan.
"I'll meet you ahead!" he shouted, then turned away again and sprinted off. He didn't want this Logan to die for him. Not for the second time.
Darkness. A crash. Screeching metal. Fire, hot over his skin. A pale hand, limp and cold.
Silveus shuddered and pressed the images back. No. Not now. Later. They could talk it out later.
[center The second rite. At times, it could be brutal. They far outranked petty mind games of minor magick in favour of the absolute real deal. Which meant A) this situation was about to turn very, very ugly. And B) unfortunately for Silveus... that [i was] Logan. They had turned him into something else - a much darker, decayed version of himself.
There was no love reflected in his eyes or the cadences of his voice, as there had once been for the blond. Now, as he smiled, revealing teeth riddled with rotting flesh, there was nothing but malice. "To think, I traded immortality for... [i this]. My brother was right. Not all prices are weighted fairly. Seems it was hardly worth it if this is where I find you."
In fact, it must have been some seriously twisted take on poetic justice. "Imagine." He growled, teeth less than two centimetres from Silveus' flesh. "A life [i wasted] for a simple quarry of the hunt." A rough, taloned hand snatched at Silveus' throat, their razor sharp tips biting into the skin with the subtle tightening of his grip. "You [i will] run. It is the [i least] you owe me."
And he was coming for his pound of flesh. Logan's deformed likeness drew away, then, determined to have his game. "What will you choose, my dear? Will you cower, or [i face me]?" His voice warped darkly, breaths coming more rapidly.
"[i Stop!]" Came a commanding tone. Another figure burst from the thick of trees not far from them, boots planted firmly in the melange of dead leaves and torn earth. "Silveus, do not fall for his game!"
[i Two] Logans. The deformed one growled, heckles raised. "Such pitiful games-"
"Sil, don't listen to him - he's nothing but a deformed reflection of me." And he was standing so remarkably close to Silveus, too. How to put himself between them? "He's nothing but a hellish ghoul, sent to destroy your faith."
"And what are you? His knight in shining armour? Please. This is the real world. Heroes fall just as well, if not harder. So by all means, join my game."
The recently arrived Logan drew a sword from what appeared to be a manipulation of shadow. "As soon as you get the chance, I want you to [i run]. Is that understood?" Though his tone was even, there was little room for argument.
The beast snorted, claws tearing at the earth underfoot. "Sowing these false dreams of future. How cruel of you-"
"[i Enough.]" He hissed, rushing at the beast with a brandish of his blade. At the very least, it surprised the creature with its force, knocking him back a step or two. It was enough, he would take it. He just had to get Silveus away from there so that he could put this [i thing]-
A heavy blow connected with the back of his head, talons digging into his arm to pin him to the ground. He fought back with a burst of magick. It was subdued - weak, really, but the fire did its job when well-aimed at his adversary's eyes.
Logan rolled through the bracken, popping back up onto his feel almost as quickly as he'd gone down. "[i RUN]."
He couldn't see. It was dark. Brambles caught at his clothes. He stumbled over roots and tripped, caught himself against a tree. Bark roughed his palms. Silveus pushed off and ran again. It was behind him. So close he could almost feel it.
The creature groaned. Branches snapped behind him as it gave chase. Whatever it was, it was huge, a mess of a monster. In the glimpses Silveus had caught, he couldn't make heads nor tails of the thing chasing him. Wild hair flowed in the wind. Sharp claws flashed. Feet pounded after him, then fell silent, only to sound again, so much closer than before.
Silveus grabbed at a tree and pulled a sharp turn. Maybe three creature would--
Something crashed down ahead of him. His heart raced. Silveus scrabbled back and whipped around. Before he took a single step, something crashed ahead of him again. Footsteps surged all around him, from all directions. Silveus crouched, afraid to move. It was toying with him. This thing could catch him whenever it wanted. He was a mouse in the paws of a tiger.
It pounced and bowled him over. His head slammed into the earth. Leaves flew. Silveus'heart beat so fast, it felt like it would beat right out of his chest. It bent over him. Putrid breath made it hard to breathe; he turned his face away.
"Hello, Silveus," the creature growled.
How did it--he looked up at it. Big grey eyes. Stringy dark hair. Silveus blinked, and it became familiar, suddenly.
"Logan?" he whispered disbelievingly. But he'd buried him. But Logan had never looked so... So hideous.
The creature laughed and flared dark, torn wings. Black, rotten feathers rained down on Silveus. "Finally, I get to tear you apart, my burden. My mistake. I waited for so long, but now I can finally devour you."
[center When the right began, a sweeping rustle from various directions rose, melding with the sounds of the wind as it brushed through boughs and swirled along the underbed. Silveus may have been deemed a sacrifice, but there was tradition to be observed. And what was tradition without a hunt?
Except, something was gaining on him with remarkable speed - tearing through branches, an ominous quietness in the way that it moved until it tore through the nearest boughs, teeth bares and talons extended.
[i Logan] of all things. His features were contorted, murderous--[i inhuman]. Wild hair whipped about his visage as he matched pace, cutting across with determination for Silveus.
[i "A life for a life."] That was the price, after all.
There was little pause between the point at which he'd appeared and the chiding began. Faustus stepped in, wings folding close to his body as she handed over the crystal. Of course, Rossa was already well prepared by the look of things. As ever, never a detail missed with him.
Angeleau's nostrils flared at the scent of blood, Bastion grimacing similarly. Wounds had such a sharp scent to them. Judging by the way Faustus encapsulated the majority of his form in his wings, he was fully aware.
It was Faustus who flinched this time when the spell began. So much magick. It was honestly rather stifling. Plus, whenever Rossa's did that glow of ultimate power thing, he was very sorely reminded of whom it was they were dealing it. It was... humbling, to say the absolute least.
What was he [i seeing]? Had he found him? Impatience bubbled up in his being, his hands curling tightly into fists. Surely Silveus was still alive? He cast a worried look toward Bastion who seemed to be extremely focused on some unseen task. It wasn't until the quiet set in that he really proceed it.
A shield. He was masking Rossa, and channeling poor Angeleau to do it. He [i was] a far steadier hand, though, in Bastion's defense.
Yes, this was for the best. They didn't need any unsavoury characters taking note of their presence - especially not with such an outpour of magick to be concealed.]
Rossa flinched when Faustus first came into his field of vision. They'd broken up, but he wasn't heartless. It painted him to see the man hurt like that. By the time Faustus appeared in the door, he'd steeled himself, and didn't react. "Hurry in, before you frighten the mortals," he said, urging Faustus inside.
He took the crystal ball and set it on the plinth. As though it had been waiting for this, the formulae began to glow faintly. It was hard to tell if it glowed pink or red in the low light and the inundation of pink all around them. Rossa put his hands on the crystal. It vibrated faintly, full of energy that surged for the outlet of his body. Rossa only just clamped down before the spell started against his will.
"Once the spell starts, no one is to touch me, nor the circle." Rossa took a deep breath. He closed his eyes. [i Silveus.] Dirty blonde. An aura of loss and sadness. Pinched brows. Delicate artist's hands.
Light shone from his eyes as he opened them, bright gold light. It reached out to the minds of everyone in the room, and they saw--
Silveus laid on the couch, lost and confused. He felt hollow. Like he'd been burned from the inside out, and all that was left was a shell. A shiver crawled up his body. [i Why am I here? What do they want with me?] A sacrifice? But what did that mean? Surely it didn't... But didn't it? These people were ancient, weren't they? Warlocks. Live sacrifice was probably nothing back when they were young.
[i Fucking warlocks,] he thought, angrily. Why did Logan have to be involved in something so crazy? Why couldn't they have just been normal?
The door creaked open. Silveus sat up, then backed away. A faceless creatures offered him a hand.
Silveus looked at the hand in disgust, then picked himself up. The creature said nothing, but retracted its arm and led the way. Down a long hallway. It looked identical to where they'd just been. Silveus shook his head. This was messing him up, all these identical hallways.
And then he was outside.
There was no signal, no stutter. One moment he was in a hallway, the next, he was in a forest. Silveus almost didn't notice the change for a second, until there was no way he could ignore it. "What?" he blurted aloud.
The faceless creature was nowhere to be seen.
For a second, Silveus froze. Then he sprinted off as fast as he could. Time to get the hell out of here!
"Let the second Rite begin," the voice intoned, and from the distance came a clatter.
[center Angeleau lowered his poised knuckles, and in his wake, Bastion had also appeared, worry knitting his brow. Their mother was nowhere to be found, but she was truthfully busy moving through the realms. Their sisters were attending her in her travel of course. No doubt, she had contemplated similarly to Angeleau that this might be worthwhile.
Out of the brothers, Faustus was the next to arrive. The door drifted lazily open, but it was kind of misleading, considering what was on the other side.
He lifted a hand to silence Bastion, not in the mood for lengthy explanations. He extended the large crystal orb, staying beyond the threshold. No use making a mess in the shoppe.
Angeleau stood motionlessly at the far end of this circle of Rossa's, his features mostly cast in shadow. Of course he would have nothing to say. After all, there was a price for everything. What happened next was beyond anything he could say or do, anyway.
One of Faustus' wings shivered, depositing feathers just outside the door. So patient. It was a little unnerving to see him with hands extended and so particularly docile, too.
Faint whispering crept into the chamber where Silveus was being held prisoner, followed by the soft shuffling of feet. Stone slid away from stone to reveal the white halls had darkened. Time passed so quickly here for it to be night already? Most had trouble orienting, but then, when you were immortal, it made no difference. Unlike for a mortal, they did not age, so the passing day was of little consequence.
"Rise." Came a commanding tone. A faceless, hooded figure was the source, hand extended toward Silveus. They had come bearing flames to light the way for their journey. "It is time for the second rite."]
Eolande grinned ferociously. Blood and feathers rained from the sky. Next time, he wouldn't let Faustus off so easily. If the warlock came back, it would be a hunt. There would be no talking between them. Only the raw emotion of the chase.
Rossa was ready. The circle was drawn, the formulae written. Herbs and flowers adorned the circle, some meant to reinforce the spell, others just because he thought they looked cute. The entire room was a perfect shade of pink. A pink cloth laid atop a plinth, awaiting his crystal ball.
He hoped Faustus had found a good one. The faeries' crystal ball was perfect, but he'd take the harpies' orb of vision as well. Then again, he knew Faustus had... relations with the fae folk. Maybe he'd be able to wiggle his way back into their beds again and grab their balls... Ball.
Faustus really needed to learn to keep it in his pants. Consorting with the fae was a terrible idea in general. But then... Rossa sighed. He shouldn't care. Faustus had nothing to do with him anymore.
The first of the siblings had arrived. Rossa moved to the door and opened it before the man could knock. The spell formulae were already charging his clairvoyance. He could see everything around his house, seconds before it came to pass, while it was happening, after it happened, all at the same time. His eyes glowed a faint gold, the only hint to his true form. "Come in," he invited the man. He could feel it. If they didn't act soon, something terrible would happen. Something irreversible.
It was so attractive to be selfish. He could say screw the half-breed and move on. Go back to his life - to his games - to...what? His mind went blank suddenly, heaviness forming in his chest. Ah, so that was it. He'd grown a conscience? Odd, given his history, but he knew better than ignore the feeling.
Still, though... His eyes brightened at the prospect of the hunt, of the games they once played. It always ended in blood but was so worth the thrill. His lips parted on a smile, teeth sharp as they caught the light. That hellish side of him rearing its pretty little head.
Eolande always was good at reading others. His dismissive remarks were never to be mistaken for ignorance. Faustus had always known that much.
"Not today, my lord." Playfully, Faustus drew a long white talon about the curve of Eolande's jaw and across his lower lip. "Today, I get to play the part of a dog of heaven." With every backward step he took, he was well aware of his choice. He would pay for it later, he was sure, but the look in his eyes said he looked forward to the occasion. Farther and farther, he stepped backwards into the waters. His heels touched his form shuddered, feathers bristling up from flesh.
The resistance was to be expected, and he hardly winced at the many bites that drew blood from his ankles. They swarmed the moment his form sank beneath the surface - angry, outraged, livid at his invasion.
Still, he had work to do. Sharp teeth bit at his jaw, scored his cheek. Red clouded every inch of water he drifted through, swimming almost lazily as he went, flesh torn or punctured by a flurry of tiny fae. They were all smooth, glittering skin, sharp teeth, and needle point claws. The ones with tails lashed at his eyes, which he shielded with his forearms until they settled for his limbs.
Funny that most thought these creatures were gentle and kind. That was a weighty misconception about the true face of magick.
He dove deeper, through the haze of the depths toward his shimmering goal. It was far larger than he anticipated, and the closer he drew, the more his form rebelled, shuddering and shifting in those depths as he struggled to catch hold of the large crystal orb. His talons extended, the reversion crawling along his legs. He heaved, legs working against the weight that insisted on sinking him.
He summoned air, lightheaded from submersion, the last of his breath bubbling from his lips. It seemed ages before the water freed him, broad white winds breaking the surface and fluttering wildly, almost defiantly. And there was Faustus, bloodied but smiling, clutching the crystal in his talons, long hair matted.
"I'll pay you back, Eolande!" It was a promise that edged a threat. Brilliant white wings carried him higher, until he was over land again, but now when he stood, it was opposite the fortress, chest heaving with this... ridiculous crystal in his arms.
With a last look at Eolande, he nodded respectfully and took flight, the gust of his wings tumbling small fae, among other things into the surrounding wilderness.
Even as he flew away, soaring comfortably beneath the clouds, he couldn't help but grimace. He was going to kick Rossa's ass, but he'd save it for later.]
Eolande snorted. Give it time, and Faustus would come to see the truth of what he had said. The warlock was still young. He knew nothing about anything. But in time, he would figure it out.
Crystal. He paced back and forth, bored. "What do I care about a crystal?" If there was was nothing to chase, then why would he have a stake in it? He waved the back of his hand toward the pool. Clear, glittering water shone as bright as daylight. "The ball should be somewhere in there. Take it up with the water fae."
They might have something to say about a warlock marching into their domain and demanding their greatest treasure, but for Eolande, that was free entertainment. He'd enjoy watching the weak little fish squirm and bleed.
His eyes flashed toward Faustus. "And what about you? For how long will you restrain yourself to that puny form? You're fooling no one, raven." He had seen it. Those beautiful wings, the clever eyes. The lovely white flesh that bled under his claws. There was nothing like the Hunt, and warlock was prime game. He licked his lips at the prospect. If only he could strip Faustus bare and set him to the chase again...
Eolande's eyes burned with intensity. A slow grin passed over his face. He toyed with the horn at his waist. He grew bored of this conversation. If Faustus hesitated any more, he'd call his dogs to the Hunt. Blood made such a nice contrast to those snowy white feathers.
"Well, little warlock?" He paced forward again. He would tear the rot from Faustus' heart and watch him heal again, and again, and again. Hunt the warlock until there was nothing left to hunt. Around him, the animals perked up. Their eyes reflected light, became blazing circles like the moon. "Fetch the crystal, like the dog you are. Or shall you run for me again?"
[center So cruel, it was. He could see Eolande was still prisoner to his queen's whims. A just punishment, he had to admit, if he were in her position. He tried to imagine how that would've gone over with Rossa and snorted. Any sort of restraint probably would've taken on a different context with him.
The blond didn't even so much as flinch at the sudden invasion of his space. Boundaries were not really Eolande's thing unless he set them. He'd learned that early on. So funny now, though, that the tables had turned. Now it was the queen who decided most for him.
"Don't be so crass, Eolande," The name rolled off Faustus' tongue with such affection, despite his ever unchanging affect. "You know as well as I that no heart lives herein." He very gently laid a hand to his chest, as if touched by some humour.
Running long, taloned fingers through his hair, Faustus cast his gaze over all of the animals, the wilderness, the calm. Well, what calm remained beyond Eolande's disgust. If Faustus knew any better, he might think his ex-lover felt betrayal.
"If by him you mean my brother's widow, then yes, unfortunately, I have. He's the very same reason I offend your presence now. Feel free to write him a strongly worded letter upon his return. For now, I need your help. Rossa has sent me to fetch a crystal ball, large enough for his purposes. I know the crystal here is infused with magick, so I thought - who best to consult than Eolande?"
Making his rounds, Faustus realised he was circling the man, taking him in. The sight of his lower half incited both humour and... regret. How long this game of hers would go on, he hadn't a clue, but Eolande seemed to wear his confinement well.
"What is your sentence, anyway? How long does it span?" He moved so easily, so carefree, blond locks shifting easily as he moved. His tall frame was oddly graceful for someone of his size, but it would hardly be characteristic of the white raven to be anything but.
Faustus felt a prickling at his skin and rubbed uncomfortably at his shoulder, pinpricks already rising betwixt his shoulder blades. Here, it was so difficult to keep human form. He resisted the caress of the magick that floated all around them, eyes flashing at the prospect of taking winged form here.
Then, there was Eolande. He didn't exactly hate him, but he was unsure if he was to be trusted. After all, he clearly had a bone to pick, and explaining at length the circumstances that had brought him here was sure to bite him in the ass. And not even in a nice way... shame, that.]
Eolande stirred. Soft moss tickled his feet and hands. Long, wild hair shifted around him, nearly thick enough to hide the two tall horns that bent from his forehead. A hollowed out horn hung from his waist, thicker than the two in his head by a handswidth. Muscles rippled under his skin, taut and lithe, warning of the strength this seemingly slender fae held. All around his feet, wild deer stirred, blinking open a lazy eye to gaze at him, velvety antlers swinging overhead. Mixed among them, a pack of wolves stirred and stretched, long white fangs exposed as they yawned. Eolande stretched as well, fangs bared to the sky above.
Chains clanked. He glanced down with distaste. A pair of heavy manacles bound his arms together. They didn't restrict his range of motion, but they could with a mere thought from his Queen. That they hadn't with the approach of this man meant she was playing one of her games again. He snorted. Let her amuse herself. He was busy.
Deer and wolves, squirrels and wildcats, and a dozen other forest dwellers bounded about as he wandered toward the entrance. He stood there and watched Faustus approached, framed from behind by a light like sunlight, bare as the day he was born save that his legs were now those of a deer. Another punishment. His Queen had a sense of humor about her, turning the Lord of the Hunt half-deer.
"Faustus. Come to join the rest of my lovers?" He gestured around him at the animals. They had once been fae, or mortals, or warlocks, or a dozen other things. His Queen had caught them all, one by one, and turned them into animals. He didn't mind it too horribly. By the time she caught them, he was usually bored anyways. The only problem was that she hadn't caught Faustus, and so he'd borne the punishment instead.
For a while, there'd been whispers. She was bored of him at last. A new Lord of the Hunt was due. But Eolande wasn't helpless. He'd crushed the pathetic weakling she'd taken a fancy to under his hooves, and that was the end of that.
Oh? What was this? He sniffed, paced a few steps forward, then grabbed Faustus by the collar and sniffed again, deeper, nose almost pressed to the man's neck. He stepped back as if burned, startled. Square pupiled eyes narrowed, and the air grew tense. "You have met him."
He backed away. "You reek of decay. Has your heart softened? Rotted away like fruit?" He hated it. That stench. True love, whether Faustus or anyone else realized it yet. So sickly sweet, so disgusting. He gagged. He wanted to turn the man to a deer where he stood. Just a whiff was enough to set him off for days.
The warlock was lucky the Queen wasn't around. Oh, the ways she would toy with a fool like him... It would be a mercy to turn him into one of Eolande's denizens of the wild.
[center To call this a mess would've been an understatement. This went so far beyond a simple tangle of unfortunate circumstances. This was the deliberate sort of chaos that usually culminated in something horribly unpleasant. Faustus couldn't help but question for the Nth time why the hell this was the way things had turned out.
As he drew the phone from his ear, he took a long look at the darkened screen of his phone. A slow breath left him and he could feel the sting linger for a moment longer than he usually allowed.
"Where can we find a giant crystal ball?" No smart remarks, no attitude, just... nothing.
Angeleau stared for a long moment, mostly in disbelief. This was either some major character development, or this was going to end very badly later on. "There may be one in the depths of the reliquary, but I know the fae guard a much larger one in their realm."
"Fuck me..." Faustus summoned his leather and shrugged into it. "I'm beginning to feel like this is a very complex game of karmic payback."
"Really? Is there anyone you haven't diddled?" Angeleau stared at his brother in disbelief. "...Seriously? No explanation? What, did you fuck the faerie king's daughter or something?" They were so nice, it was the only cause for malice he could think of given Faustus' history.
The blond cleared his throat, gathering a small satchel of offering. "Actually, it was the faerie king."
"I did." Faustus said in a matter-of-fact tone that was very reminiscent of his younger self. "I'll meet you at the shoppe." And then he was gone, disappearing in a flurry of white feathers that disappeared the moment they touched the hardwood.
"Dramatic bastard." Angeleau scoffed. He shook his head as he took his leave, still in disbelief. Did Rossa know of that conquest? He imagined Faustus had done it to spite him, and the thought actually brought a twinge of sadness to his chest. Ever the doomed pair. Life could be unfair like that, he knew.
Faustus steeled himself, reminding him every mile that he soared that it was for a good cause. They were going to help bring Silveus back... get him a place, try to improve the situation.
Guilt ate at him a little as he dropped in altitude. [i I should have been nicer to him.] If he wanted the chance to apologise, they'd have to save him first, of course. Though he was certain he had far more atoning to do, he opted to worry about one cause at a time.
As he descended, he could feel the veil sting at him, biting at his flesh and singing where his bare skin had been caught. Ever the salty one. These wounds would heal easily, but it didn't mean the ruler of the fae wasn't petty enough to ensure these visits were always uncomfortable.
Faustus drifted until his feet landed in plush moss. He padded through a glowing patch of lilies, waving little magickal motes away from his face. Someone kissed his ears and mussed his hairs. The teeny tiniest of faeries, he realised, catching one on his finger as he sauntered for the lake and it's rather intimidating fortress. It floated singularly at it's centre. More than a lake, this place was more like an impossibly large spring - cavernous and crawling with life. It pulsed with pure magick, reminding him very much of why he actually didn't hate coming here.
"Faustus." Came a soft voice. "How interesting of you to join us." It was one of the king's many servants - looking positively mischievous, he quickly realised.
"I'm just here for Eolande."
"He's aware. Shall we cross?" the servant's sharp little features were such a contrast to his soft form and flowing translucent robes. Faustus reluctantly followed after him, used to the song and dance of crossing the waters. They would drown an unwelcome visitor - a very suitable consequence that reflected the harshest of the king's personality traits. For such a sweet man, he could be impossibly cold. Reminded him of-
No, it was best not even to think it. He'd have to go admitting something pathetic if he did, so he kept his mind entirely blank as his bare feet touched the surface of the waters. They rippled underfoot but he never sank.
[i He'd let me sink just for the satisfaction.] He'd done it many a time before. What a surprise to find himself on the other end, stepping up onto cool stone for the most part dry.
Another rule one was to never disrespect was the whole shoes thing. He didn't mind the softness under his bare feet as they approached the arch that lead to the king's personal domain.]
The antique pink phone rang, its shrill tone perfectly preserved from the days when there was one phone line and everyone jumped on it to find out who was calling whom. He already knew why they were calling, so when he picked it up, he didn't answer with his usual trill. "Bring me your largest crystal ball, and hurry," he snapped.
Rosso quite liked the kid, as it was, and he certainly didn't approve of anyone dragging an innocent mortal into their business, regardless of who was doing the dragging. He'd figured it was the kid's job to speak up against Faustus--heavens knew he'd done his fair share of trying to talk reason into that prideful bastard--but this went above and beyond. He couldn't stand by this time.
It wasn't that he knew what was happening. Not at all. But Rosso wasn't one of the best clairvoyants in the world by some quirk of statistics, like the rest of those guessers and hacks. He simply knew things. Like that it would rain tomorrow, and that he and Faustus were doomed as a couple from the second they met.
It hadn't stopped him, of course. There were some punishments that were worth the journey there, and he'd had a hell of a ride. But when the end finally came, it had surprised no one less than it has surprised him. Of course, the exact circumstances had been an unpleasant surprise, and he certainly hadn't appreciated hiking two miles in six-inch boots to help a stripper home in a hurricane, but such was fate, and such were Faustus' unfortunate tastes. [i Would've worn the damn stupid-ass wellies if I knew,] he reminisced regretfully, for the dozenth time. Those had been great boots, and they'd been completely ruined.
But no. If he wanted a clear picture, he needed tools. A huge crystal ball would go a long way to clarify the image and help him search. And in the meantime, while he waited, he grabbed a bag of pink salt and started drawing out the formulae on the floor. Best to have everything ready before Faustus stomped in.
[center John watched on with little interest or concern. In fact, for the most part, the air he gave off indicated some level of boredom. As though this were really an inconvenience for him. To be called on to purify and prepare a sacrifice... again. For what? For their purposes, yes, but how could they be sure this... abomination... was the one? What made him different from all of the others.
The waters bubbled more furiously, until they were positively roiling, overtaking Silveus as he succumbed, drawing him into their depths as they purged the darkness from him. Julia watched on calmly, used to this ritual bath. It would not kill him, but it would feel very close to death. Of that, she was certain. She had once experienced it... long, long ago.
He memory attempted to creep to the forefront of her mind, but in the instant she reached for it, something stopped her. A wall. Like solid iron, it barred her from venturing any further.
“[i Julia].” John snapped, his honey brown locks aglow in the illumination that reflected off the baths. His feature were cast in a wilderness of flickering shadows. He looked almost... daemonic. Her form shivered as she venture forth to retrieve Silveus, stilling the waters as she melted into the surface.
Easily, they floated him back to the surface, pushing him back to the water’s edge where John knelt to drag him out.
“Pathetic.” He muttered, drying him down with clothes intended just for that purpose. Silveus was dressed in a plain sand coloured tunic and soon transported to the temple to be deposited in the reflection chambers. It was there that he would wait, until they were ready for him. Until he would meet those that had designed to claim his life.
John almost pitied him. It wasn’t his fault that this was his destiny. Doomed from birth to fall prey to darkness and purged only to be sacrificed. In fact, if he was being entirely candid, it was pretty fucked up.
It wasn’t his job nor his desire to care. He had his duties and his place - like everyone did here. As he passed through the white marble halls, he squinted, annoyed by how much sunlight reflected from all sides. Everything was smooth, endless, and sterile. It did nothing to inspire calm. He would sooner believe this place bred madness.
He carried Silveus to the last door. Stone slid away into a recess to reveal an entire white room. A large soft couch of sorts - it may have been a bed? Hard to tell from the odd design. There was also a table, a chair, pillows, not much else. Nothing he could potentially harm himself with, really.
Laying him out on the softness, he took a proper look at him for the first time since they’d collected him.
“You poor bastard...” ]
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