< A Strange Little Song | Red Ice Logs | Late Night Decisions >

Kinqueduran paces up and down the length of the second-story sidewalk in front of the inn where the Circle has taken up residence. Irritation still rolls off of him in almost-palpable waves, mingling with the thick, fragrant smoke from the new pipe he purchased after the brief, infuriating meeting.

  • Jaom watches from her spot against the inn's wall, looking equally unhappy but not quite as irritated. Instead, she's chewing on a bit of jerky like it called her funny names, while watching Kin pace.
  • Kinqueduran pauses, looking back at Jaom. "Am I being unreasonable?"

Jaom: "Look, if they told me I had to risk having my entire family put me to the sword in order to save the world, I'd balk. You have to deal with... whoever it is you work for again."

Kinqueduran "Deimos."

Jaom: "Deimos, right."

Kinqueduran "I don't see why they couldn't have asked someone else."

Kinqueduran "I was on my first vacation in ten years when this shit started. Hell of a way to spend it."

Jaom: "Sometimes destiny doesn't wait for you to get comfortable, I guess."

Kinqueduran "Fuck destiny!"

Kinqueduran "Destiny needs to develop a damn sense of timing.

  • Jaom nods, chuckling. "It really does, Kin. It really does."
  • Kinqueduran jets another puff of smoke from his nostrils, turning to face the darkened street again. "It's like there's some mystical schedule I've been locked into, where once every week, things are required to go from bad to worse."

Kinqueduran "And, lucky you, by hanging around me, you've probably been assigned a similar calendar."

  • Jaom nods at that, digesting the news. Finally, she looks up at the sky. "... what's kinda crazy is that I don't half-mind. Hell, this is half the reason I left the Isle."

Kinqueduran "What? To get swept up in a hopeless battle to save the world, then turn around and find out that you get to save the world from the guys who asked you to save the world."

Jaom: "... well, not that in particular, but in... adventure. Real, true, life-or-death stuff. Epic things... grand-scale madness those stuffy asses back in the City couldn't even begin to comprehend. Too busy trying to line their nests with jade, all of them..."

Kinqueduran "Epic adventure makes for very, very good reading."

Kinqueduran "And highly unpleasant living."

  • Jaom shrugs. "You think I wasn't prepared for that part? Look, I might've gotten into this with my eyes closed, but I've seen enough now... and besides, I do believe that things are ordered for a reason. I'm supposed to be here... dunno why, but I am."

Kinqueduran "...supposed to be here?"

  • Jaom shrugs again. "That's just how I feel about it, you know? I can't accept that I just wandered into all this through sheer dumb luck."

Kinqueduran "Denial is fun."

  • Kinqueduran grins.
  • Jaom snorts, rolling her eyes.
  • Kinqueduran changes subjects. "I think that I'll waste most of tomorrow getting a shave, a haircut, a bath, and a massage."
  • Jaom nods, with a hint of a smirk. "It'd do you some good. There's a decent guy under all that scruff."
  • Kinqueduran places his index finger vertically against his lips, and winks. Err, blinks. Who can tell? "Shh."
  • Jaom oops, hand to her mouth, and looks around. "Right, right. Gotta keep a secret."

Kinqueduran "I wonder if I should try to lie to Deimos, or just be a jacka- ... myself."

Jaom notices, when she turns her gaze away from Kin and back into the room she is sharing with Glory that the mirror looks strange. Her reflection stares back at her without eyes and hairline cracks are spiderwebbing the surface.

  • Jaom pauses... and can't help but blinks. The image catches her off-guard at first, but then she recoils. "... the hell's going on?" She snaps a finger at the mirror.
  • Kinqueduran turns to look at the mirror, already a bit worried.

Jaom: "I assume you might have an idea what's going on?"

The frowning, scar-torn visage of Deimos glares at Kinqueduran, one imperious finger gesturing him to enter the mirror.

Kinqueduran "...shit."

Jaom: "I take that to mean 'yes'."

  • Kinqueduran crosses his arms, lifting one hand and gesturing for Deimos to come out of the mirror. As he does so, he glances at Jaom. "Unfortunately. Deimos seems to have something to say."

Jaom: "... I get to meet your boss. Why am I suddenly filled with dread."

  • Deimos raises a blood-crusted eyebrow and then smiles. A broad, charismatic smile that would melt women's hearts if the face making it had not been ravaged by the Incarna's own fingers and his eyes torn from their sockets at the moment of his birth. In a tinkle of broken glass, the broad-shouldered and heavily built Lord of Madness steps into the room.
  • Kinqueduran sighs, answering Jaom. "Because you should be."

Deimos: "You do not invite me, Kinqueduran." With that, a glass-stuck hand grabs Kin around the bicep and Jaom by the scruff of the neck. Tossing both carelessly through the mirror, the Incarna follows.

Kinqueduran "Always so rude. Have you tried courtesy? You should just drop in to have tea with us."

The realm of shattered mirrors and reflective surfaces that Deimos inhabits spins around, reflecting the god far more often then the other two. His halo of broken mirror-shards whirls slightly in response to Kin's prodding.

  • Jaom winces at the grab, then summarily falls on her face, taking a moment to exhale before she pushes off and up to her feet. "... at least he's direct."

Deimos: "I see you have taken my suggestions to heart. Or halfway.

Kinqueduran "Completely accidental, I promise. Once I kill a suitable adversary, I'll just borrow something no longer needed by the dead and solve that problem."

  • Deimos shakes his head, bleeding sockets turning toward Jaom. "This is not the Solar I told you to save."

Kinqueduran "No, that's my darling wife."

Jaom: "You fucking wish, Kin."

  • Jaom nonetheless withdraws a little when Deimos looks down at her.
  • Deimos barks a laugh. "Why did you not bring me the Solar?"

Kinqueduran "It was a joke, Jaom." He looks at Deimos. "Solar...Solar...oh, THAT Solar!"

  • Jaom slowly shakes her head.

Kinqueduran "Yeah, we lost that Solar."

Deimos: "You will find him soon."

  • Kinqueduran shrugs a little. "I...don't know. I'm terribly busy, I doubt I'll have time."
  • Deimos does not seem overly perturbed by this information. The eternally sweat-slick skin of his bare chest, stitched with rips from the halo of broken glass the swirls around him, starts to drip blood. "You will have the time. He is important to my plans.

Kinqueduran "I know it's important to you. It's just not important to me."

  • Jaom would normally butt in and say something, but she's too busy wondering just what the hell is wrong with Deimos, staring more than a bit dumbly.

Kinqueduran "You have other minions. Why don't you assign the work to them?"

For a moment, the Incarna considers, idly taking a finger-sized shard of glass from his back and playing it through his fingers. With a decisive movement, he breaks it into three sections and jabs them into his chest. A single fast movement later, Kinqueduran is swept up into strong and bloody arms, peering into the depths of Deimos's eyeless gaze. Shadows dance in those bloody holes, boring into Kin's mind.

  • Deimos tilts the Orange's head back and kisses him. For several moments he holds the kiss. When he breaks it, his voice is low and full of an indefinably primordial passion. "He will be important to you."
  • Jaom proceeds to boggle at that. Man, does she boggle.
  • Kinqueduran struggles to free himself from Deimos's grasp, but apparently fails. When the kiss breaks, he spits in Deimos's empty eyesocket. "Rot, Deimos. Your plan will fail."

Jaom: "Kin... you know... maybe now's not the best time to... y'know, be you."

Deimos: "Do you even know my plan?" Deimos sets Kin back on his feet gently. "You will carry out your tasks."

  • Kinqueduran steps back and spits on his patron again, the last of the glass shards ringing. "I will not. Today, my blade turns its edge toward you."
  • Jaom can't help but pale a little. "Dammit, Kin..."
  • Deimos barks another laugh. "You already have the ire of Mars. Court not the wrath of Deimos."

Kinqueduran "Maybe I should repeat myself, since you seem a bit sluggish to realize the truth. I am declaring war on you, Deimos, Lord of Madness."

Deimos: "You forget who my sister is. You may both leave, with blessings." The Lord of Madness barks his laugh again, a chorus of dying hounds. "You have made commitments. They are not so easily overturned as you think." Planting another kiss on Kin's mouth, ignoring Jaom entirely, the muscular Celestine steps into a mirror and vanishes in a shower of glass. Jaom and Kin are left alone in his Sanctum.

  • Kinqueduran spits again, picking glass shards from his lips.
  • Jaom remains where she is, looking rather... unsettled, to say the least. "Your boss is a dick. Sadly, this doesn't surprise me."

Kinqueduran "This has to stop."

Jaom: "... question is how, if you even can."

  • Kinqueduran shrugs. "If I'm dead, my shard is released."

Jaom: "Hoi... death is the last option. If you fight, in anything, you fight to live first, and win second."

  • Jaom still looks rattled. "... Dragons, he makes my skin crawl."

Kinqueduran "You're not the one he kissed."

  • Kinqueduran reaches out one hand to Jaom. "Let's get out of here."

Jaom: "Yeah, true.."

  • Jaom shudders again, accepting the hand.
  • Kinqueduran grits his teeth, closing his one eye as he makes an attempt at exiting the sanctum.

With a twisting, screaming shattering of silvered glass one of the mirror walls breaks open and devours Jaom and Kin. They are vomitted out of the mirror world and back into the room Jaom and Glory share, looking none the worse for their passage.

Jaom: "... mn. You gonna be alright, Kin?"

Kinqueduran "When I was in school, my teacher told the class that there were no stupid questions. She lied."

Deimos: Xansha did say there were stupid people though.

  • Deimos is now known as ST`

Jaom: "... okay, let me rephrase that. Are you going to not turn into a puddle of sobbing flesh?"

Kinqueduran "Yeah, I'm alright enough to carry out my promise."

Jaom: "... you have to be one of the most stubborn men I've ever met."

Kinqueduran "I fail to see how that's a bad thing."

  • Jaom shakes her head in moderate disbelief. "Aside from pissing off people like Deimos, neither do I"
  • Kinqueduran shrugs again, returning to the elevated sidewalk to lean on the railing and stare out into the night.
  • Jaom watches Kin for a few moments, then leans against the wall nearby him. "You're something else, Kinqueduran. I really don't think they make people like you nowadays."

Kinqueduran "I'm going to pretend that's a compliment."

  • Kinqueduran hangs his head, actually looking burdened for the first time.

Jaom: "It is... not alot of people fight."

  • Jaom moves to place a hand on Kin's shoulder. "It really is easier to just go with the tide, sometimes. Only the strong or the crazy swim against the current."

Kinqueduran "And when the current is wrong?"

  • Kinqueduran shakes his head. "This is just looking progressively more hopeless and impossible. I can feel his voice in the back of my head, clawing at my brain like knives. He's pushing me to retrieve the Solar."

Jaom: "Nnnnn. But you're not going to, are you?"

  • Kinqueduran shrugs. "I'm certainly going to try not to."

Jaom: "I wouldn't expect anything less from you."

Kinqueduran "It's futile defiance, though."

Kinqueduran "It's just a matter of time before I give in, or before Deimos uses some more powerful form of suggestion, if not outright control."

  • Jaom chuckles, perhaps sadly. "... still, it's defiance. And if what will happen if you deliver the Solar is real, then... maybe it's less futile than you think. And..."

Jaom: "... if it goes that far, and I have a chance, I'll do what I can to try and stop you. If you'd want that, of course."

  • Kinqueduran nods. "The safest route would be to cut my throat now, before I have a chance to do anything."

Jaom: "I haven't tried you out in bed yet, so it'll have to wait, eh?"

  • Jaom snickers a bit, trying to lighten the mood.
  • Kinqueduran seems not to notice the joke. "That will be on indefinite hold until the end of time, I think."

Jaom: "Pfah. Fuck the gods, there's time for the rest of us."

Kinqueduran "No, there isn't time. That's sort of the whole problem we're facing."

  • Jaom tightens her grip a little. "... dammit, Kin. Just one smile... something. I can't have you just giving up on me now. If you're lost, I'm lost... I doubt Glory knows half of what's going on."

Kinqueduran "I doubt she has any interest in helping us."

Jaom: "Who knows? The end of the world as we know it might weigh on her soul. Who's to say what she will and won't do?"

  • Kinqueduran shrugs. "I suspect the end of the world is rather what she wants."

Jaom: "... hope not."

Kinqueduran "I think I'm going to skip the shave and haircut."

Kinqueduran "I need to repair my lance if I'm going to war with a god."

  • Jaom pauses, then looks up at the sky herself. "... I should probably try to send a letter home."

Jaom: "... Kin?"

Kinqueduran "What will you tell them? You're hanging around with a servant of the Abyss who's trying to get in your pants, a perpetually confused farmboy with a family falling apart, and a disfigured half-mad demonslayer chasing an impossible goal with insanity gnawing at his heels?"

Jaom: "... in gentler words, yeah."

Kinqueduran "I was being diplomatic."

  • Jaom smirks. "If only so I can imagine the look on Mama and Papa's faces. Mama would have a conniption."

Kinqueduran "I'm sure they'd send a damn legion out to find you. Which, actually, might work to our advantage. We could get an extra hour or so of defiance in before the world comes crashing down."

Jaom: "Pffft! Cathak? Spare a legion for a crazy dreamer? You must not have been paying attention to the news of the day."

  • Jaom has a bit of a chuckle at that.
  • Kinqueduran shrugs. "You never know. Maybe some seer has declared that you are destined to be Empress."

Jaom: "Oh, *fuck* that! The last thing I want is to be tied down!"

  • Jaom manages a smile, but it quickly fades. "... mn."
  • Kinqueduran manages a smile, finally. "Huh. I thought you'd have been into that sort of thing."

Jaom: "I don't want power. I want... I want to have someone write stories about me. I want to either retire and go home to crank out kids and do my dragonly duty, or have some grand last stand for a good and just cause. I... I don't want to be a bureaucrat."

Jaom: "Just want to be someone's hero, someday."

Kinqueduran "Do you think you'll every get any of that?"

  • Jaom takes a long time to think about that. For the first time ever, Jaom looks genuinely sad. "Probably not. But I won't know until I try, eh?"

Kinqueduran "Do you know what I want?"

Jaom: "A vacation?"

  • Jaom cracks a tiny, tiny smile.

Kinqueduran "I want my life back."

Jaom: "... yeah. I can understand that."

Kinqueduran "I miss my job. I miss my boss, my partner. I miss my biggest problem being Febrisa trying to set me up with someone or another."

Kinqueduran "...well, that and the reprimands for excessive force."

  • Jaom hehs. "... I wish I could do that for you. But... all I can do is just pat you on the back and say nice things. I dunno, we could go get drunk or something."

Kinqueduran "I was planning on not getting too drunk until the eve of destruction."

Kinqueduran "On the last night of Creation, I'll drink until I throw up my innards."

Jaom: "If it comes to that, count me in. Won't let you drink alone."

  • Kinqueduran chuckles, patting Jaom on the back. "You know, I think I like you best."

Jaom: "Woe unto me, huh?"

Kinqueduran "Yeah, it's probably a bad sign."

  • Jaom echoes the chuckle. "Oh, well. So be it."

Kinqueduran "Do you know any songs?"

  • Jaom hms, tapping a finger to her lips. "I remember this old festival-ish number I had to sing in Primary. Geh, I practiced it so much I thought my throat would tear itself out in protest."

Kinqueduran "Sing it for me.

Kinqueduran "I think we need to talk with the Sisters."

  • Jaom ehs... then shrugs and pauses, putting together the words in her head. One inhale later, she begins. She's no massive talent, but she's definitely not ruining the song, either.

As the song dies off there is no obvious reaction.

  • Kinqueduran sighs. "Figures. They dump another burden on me, then have no more help to offer. I'm going to bed."
  • Jaom sighs as well, clearing her throat. "Sorry, Kin... and... uh..." She pauses, then shakes her head. "G'night."
  • Kinqueduran chuckles. "Good night, Jaom."

< A Strange Little Song | Red Ice Logs | Late Night Decisions >