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Ataraxy

To Command Despair [S-Class Artifact]

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Ana was too busy listening to the passive-aggressive catfight going on between Lilith and Blackhead (*snicker*), waiting for a good moment to insert a carefully triangulated, perfectly innocent statement that would stir the shit just a little more, to notice the tell-tale click of the pressure plate.

Thousands of tiny needles ejected themselves from the walls. The sounds of a billion tiny explosions, accompanied by itsy-bitsy little flashes of green fire, erupted around her compatriots. As they dealt with the damage in their own odd ways, Ana looked around, puzzled. 

Did they miss me? What.... oh.

They had not missed Ana. 

She looked down at the hundreds of teensy tiny pinholes peppering her body; the needles were small enough and thin enough that they had pierced right through her amorphous form and come out the other side, detonating against the cavern walls.  

Sonofabitch.

It didn't hurt, and what little poison transferred from the flying needle tips into her body was instantly neutralized by her unique cellular construction, and the explosions had occurred far enough away from her that she wasn't caught in the aftermath. The trap had been a total failure, mostly because it was made for creatures with a consistency of something a little more solid than ballistics gel. 

But man, if those two weren't so busy trying to pretend like their spleens were still on one piece, this little misadventure could have blown her cover. 

Ana quickly sealed the holes in her "flesh", and hoped that, if someone else HAD noticed her passing through a hail of poisoned exploding needles entirely unaffected, they'd attribute it to some more of that "shadow magic". 

She followed behind, content to let Lilith annihilate the next round of Xer, and tried to be inconspicuous. 

 

11 hours ago, Ataraxy said:

After Lilith and the rest had handled the traps, injured or not injured to various degrees, the three of them would arrive at a double fork. Four options. Four routes. Only one guiding them to the Queen Xer. Momentarily letting the decision hang in the air, Lilith headed toward a small crack in the cave wall. Earlier she'd sensed a power within the cave, one that she'd thought was weakening. As it turned out, however, it was simply a fluctuating power. Which was odd because energies usually only fluctuated naturally with younger children due to their lack of control. Reaching into the cave out of pure curiosity Lilith would attempt to grab the body within and yank it out from the crevice. 

"Well, that was unexpected," she muttered, "I'm not easily surprised but this is a first." Another glance. Lilith laughed. "And he's sleeping!" What an interesting creature. The desire to add the young human to her coven sparked to life.

 

7 hours ago, ourlachesism said:

"Who—who are you," he whispers to the woman, his voice meek and fading, like a musical instrument long left untuned. He clutches the blankets tighter around himself with shaking hands, desperate to gain some sort of equilibrium as to where he stands in this scenario, hidden deep in a hole in a rocky cavern with strange individuals peeking through the opening.

Ana blinked a couple of times, trying to figure out what she was seeing. A kid? In here? No fucking way. 

Her eyes narrowed as she examined the child, looking for extra seams, hidden zippers, or disguised bolts. No fucking way was there a random normal everyday kid hiding in this cave. This had to be a trap. 

What do we do with traps? Why, obviously, we run at them headfirst. It confuses them. 

"A child!" Ana exclaimed, putting a little bit of diamond dust just behind her corneas to give her eyes that youthful feminine sparkle. She stepped forward quickly and knelt beside the young one, making a show of examining him. "How have you come to be here? Are you injured? My name is Ana. Nobody here will hurt you." 

Well that was probably the biggest lie she'd told all week. Oh well. Whatever. 

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The Commander clicked her tongue. Before, when she hadn't as much experience with humans, she would have instantly tried to make the boy bow. However, she'd quickly realized that logic didn't rang empty while fear froze them. So, instead, she figured a different direction was called for. Loyalty was absolute in the long run, that's what made it worth it. Instant obedience was easy enough to gain from the undead. It was the loyalty of life that would make her stronger. 

"No questions," she answered the boy. "Just follow. Watch. Learn. Answers come to those who listen for it." 

In a last, desperate attempt to tear Lilith's connection from her daughter's mind, the Queen Xer launched an extremely powerful psionic blast there way. At first it was only a light tremble. Someone observant might notice the slight shaking of pebbles. The strength grew quickly and exponentially, soon the walls shook and cracked as the psionic blast surged against the minds of each in the group. The blast itself could be blocked with minimal damage, but the after affects wouldn't. The walls began to fall in in themselves.

The cave was crumbling. Collapsing due to the Queen's will.

A quick downward grab had Lilith closing finger around the young boy's waist and tossing him over her shoulder. Upon her touch, assuming he didn't do anything to resist her actions, the boy would be swarmed with a surge of necromantic power. Invasive at first. Panic inducing second. But then it was relaxing. Corrupting. It was raw power, protecting the boy's mind from the Xer Queen's psionic onslaught. 

"Don't go back," she yelled over the roar of collapsing rock. "There's not time! Run forward!" They were deep enough that anyone truly buried under the rock would be squashed like a rotten tomato. Even someone as eternal as Lilith would be trapped, locked in a cycle of constant healing and breaking until something removed the rocks. So with that warning and the young boy slung over he shoulder, she charged forward deeper into the cave.

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The boy blinks up at the strange woman peeking into the crevice he had been stuffed in, her vibrant red eyes drawing his gaze more than the silver scar running over her eye, more than the dark crescent mark on her forehead. 

"A child!" Another woman comes into view, her eyes glittering like jewels. He watches in a daze as she comes and kneels next to him, seemingly checking him over for any injuries, he thinks. "How have you come to be here? Are you injured? My name is Ana. Nobody here will hurt you." 

They look ethereal to him. He does not say this out loud.

"I—I, um—" He does not know what to answer the woman with the starry gaze, for there is nothing he can give as a answer, not with the empty vault in his mind.

"No questions," the red-eyed woman tells him. "Just follow. Watch. Learn. Answers come to those who listen for it." 

The cave is shaking. The boy whimpers a bit in fear when suddenly, the woman grabs him and throws him over her shoulder. He yelps from the impact but otherwise holds on to her shoulders with shaking hands, weakly shying away from the power washing over him but unable to resist. 

"Don't go back," the woman carrying him shouts, almost inaudible in the wake of the deep rumbles of collapsing rock. "There's not time! Run forward!" His fingers unknowingly clutch the necklace—it has stopped glowing, the moment the woman touched him and pulled him out of the crevice—and his free hand grips the woman's shoulder with all the strength of a toddler. 

Despite their strangeness, the boy knows he is safe amongst them. He closes his eyes and listens to the destruction around him with a unconscious, slow-growing smile.

 


Spoiler

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Edited by ourlachesism

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The falling ceiling and walls collapsed with a fray of flying shards and hidden materials, covering anything in its path with a thick layer of grime. It was a full five minutes of dead sprinting before Lilith reached a sturdier area. Cracks spread like spider webs but ultimately held together. Anyone left within the collapsing area would be completely buried, regardless of their strength. Not even the strongest PK in Terrenus could bear the weight of Gaia. 

Once the danger had passed, Lilith dropped the boy from her shoulders as casually as she'd picked him up. On top of the previous spikes poking holes in her body and grime of all sorts finding home in the smallest of openings, a handful of rocks shards had decided to embed themselves in her back while one had pierced through her throat. 

With a grunt and sickening squelch Lilith ripped it the bloody rock out and crushed it in her hand. The rest she momentarily left in. The process of her bodily recovery would eventually force them out whether she actively tried or not. Thus she turned her attention to the young boy. The possible chance to further increase the power of her coven. 

She knew Ziva would crouch to be seem more friendly and Ankou would soften his tone, but Lilith was decidedly against either. Who was this child to change her behavior?

"What is your name, child?" She asked, spitting out a blob of silver blood and yanking a needle from her shoulder that she'd previously looked over. 

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The boy closes his eyes for what must have only been a second, but the next thing he knows, the caves seem darker; the air seems thinner. The ground has stilled in its movement, but the sight of the cracks, coursing like tiny streams on the rock wall, sends a shiver down his spine.

For the moment, however, they are safe. His fingers pry off the necklace immediately, without thought.

The moment the woman sets him down, his knees buckle. He dusts off the rock shards in his hair, watches from the floor as she takes out the rock wedged into her throat and pulverizes it in her hand. His gaze passes over her hardbeaten but still standing body and—he does not feel fear, not really. He does not know what to fear.

He simply knows that these people are beyond normality.

"What is your name, child?" The woman asks him, and he stutters a bit, because what indeed can he answer? The walls of his mind are barren, but now, everything a little clearer, a little sharper, he notices that there is something lurking beneath the processes of his mind, but he cannot identify it.

He does not know what to answer, so he opts for the truth. "I have no name. I—I don't know—where are we?"

 


Spoiler

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As fortune would have it, the seemingly endless stream of bizarre events since she'd entered the portal dimension of Taen continued. "No name, huh," Lilith muttered, tossing the young boy a quick glance. Walking away from the boy toward the cracked cave walls, she ran her hand along the broken earth. Some were small but others were large. The width of their gaps allowing for the necromancer to plunge her arm nearly all the way into its depths. What a weird fucking cave. The magic used in its creation and the material embedded in the walls wasn't similar to anything Lilith had ever seen in Terrenus.

She pushed away from the wall and once again turned to the young boy. When not three feet separated the two of them, Lilith crouched down like Ziva had done to, oddly enough, another child in a different cave. Damn, what was with all the children in caves? 

At first Lilith didn't make a sound or say a word, only reaching out a hand for the child to grab if he so desired. Then, after a heartbeat, Lilith asked a single question. A question she'd repeated for years and would continue to repeat. "Do you wish for power?" Another heartbeat. "If you do, take my hand and forever follow my commands." If the young boy grabbed her hand, he would immediately feel a flood of power. Dark, corrupted energy, but power nonetheless. At first it would flow through his body, scorching like an inner fire before ultimately settling in his core. It was a boon. The wakening of potential and the adding of outer power. The more loyal the boy became in the future, the more power he could draw from the pit of fire in his core. 

Following such an event, a lunar moon would mark both of his forearms, chaining him as a lunar follower. Casting an eye at the boy and helping him rise, Lilith would speak only two more word to wrap up the events and finish the contract. "Hello, Samael."

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As the cave began to rumble, Ana's eyes narrowed at the littlest groupmate; she'd known he was a trap! But then he was gone, whisked away by the strangely possessive Lilith as she charged headlong further into the tunnel.

Ana wasn't so sure she was ready to give up her escape route just yet. An idea worked its way into her mind, and she smiled a little behind her mask.

She stood and turned her back to the others, watching as the cavern roof started to crumble. A large boulder fractured off and fell directly at her; seemingly without thinking, she reached up her arms and caught the thousand-pound projectile as easily as a dog owner catches a falling prized poodle. She cast it to the side as other rocks began to fall around her, far too fast and too numerous to hold onto. To her compatriots, it would look like she'd just performed a supernatural feat in the service of protecting the group before being buried in the cave-in. 

Of course, it was all part of the plan.

----

In spite of Ana's talents, setting the stage for her endgame took her quite a bit of time, during which the others would be heading deeper into the tunnels, maybe even beyond her reach. It was a gamble, but Ana's long (long, long) years of experience had shown her that taking a little extra time at the beginning of a journey would save a lot of time, pain and blood at the end. Plus, it would look super impressive if everything went off the way she hoped it would. 

It always sucked when her awesome, stylish, kick-ass backup plan never actually got used. Such were the risks of being so preternaturally cool. 

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The Mistress half-dead and almost buried, finally caught up with the group. She felt betrayed that her potential allies all run away when the cave's ceiling and walls began breaking and crumbling, large sections of it plummeting down, crushing anything or anyone to slow to run away. And knowing the Mistress, she was not one to run away. Taking her sweet time, she sashayed through the collapsing path like a mad woman taking a walk through the park. Her body was pelteres by innumerable debris, as she was too stubborn to use her unless the rocks were blocking her way. Broken, battered and covered in dust, she emerged from the rubble to join the others.

"I FEEL BETRAYED!" she barked at them as soon as she was close enough, "HOW COULD YOU ALL RUN AWAY AND LEAVE ME BEHIND."

Feeling that she has vented enough stress with her words, the Mistress eyes assessed her companions. That last trap must have taken a heavy toll on them judging by their current state. But the boy was still there. The necromancer must have carried the poor thing.

"NECROMANCER, IT SEEMS I HAVE MISUNDERSTOOD YOU. SEEING YOU HOW YOU HANDLED THAT BOY HAS EARNED MY ETERNAL RESPECT. NOW THAT I HAVE BEEN ENLIGHTENED TO YOUR PREFERENCES. I FEEL HONORED TO KNOW THAY YOU ARE A WOMAN OF CULTURE AS WELL!" the Mistress continued with a satisfied look on her face.

Edited by Zashiii

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"No name, huh," the woman muses, and he meets her gaze before she turns to walk towards the rock wall. He does not ask his question again, because he does not think any of them will be answering him at all.

"I FEEL BETRAYED!" A sudden booming voice fills the cavern, and the boy turns his head sharply to stare at the woman that has just arrived, seemingly battered and with a sheen of dust all over her. "HOW COULD YOU ALL RUN AWAY AND LEAVE ME BEHIND." 

He looks at her with faint distress, his eyebrows furrowed and his lip trembling. "Sorry, I don't think we meant to leave you," he trails off, unsure and meek, as the red-eyed woman swivels back and crouches down a few feet away from him. She extends her hand towards him, and the boy slowly raises his hand to meet it. "Do you wish for power?" She asks, and his arm halts in mid-air, his gaze snapping towards her own. "If you do, take my hand and forever follow my commands."

"I—I—" The boy stutters, his heart thundering in his chest. He does not need power, he thinks, not really.

He needs answers. And if the Lady can give it to him, then he shall swear fealty to her.

"The power of knowledge," he murmurs, quietly taking her hand and gasping as dark power washes over him, flooding his veins with scorching heat, spiraling down into the very heart of him. The necklace glows, a sickly emerald light, then fades down into nothingness. It sleeps.

A lunar moon appears on both of his forearms, but the boy does not notice them at first, trapped as he is in the woman's red gaze and the power coursing through him. She helps him to stand and bestows upon him a name. "Hello, Samael."

Samael. It is not his real name, he considers, not in the least, but it fits this. It fits his new birth. "Samael."

"NECROMANCER, IT SEEMS I HAVE MISUNDERSTOOD. SEEING YOU HOW YOU HANDLED THAT BOY HAS EARNED MY ETERNAL RESPECT. NOW THAT I HAVE BEEN ENLIGHTENED TO YOUR PREFERENCES. I FEEL HONORED TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE A WOMAN OF CULTURE AS WELL!"

Samael does not understand what the other woman is trying to imply, and so stares at her in slight confusion.

 


Spoiler

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Edited by ourlachesism

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The knowledge of power, huh? That hadn't exactly been the answer she'd expected but it was a satisfactory answer nonetheless. There were near infinite reasons to want power, knowledge only one of the many possibilities. For a child who knows nothing except that he knows nothing, wanting the power to obtain knowledge wasn't much of a surprise. Of course, her mark only allowed for his raw potential to be unlocked. That potential still needed to be refined and polished. Like a diamond in the rough. 

She nodded. Approving of his taking to the name. "Indeed. That name holds great power in its meaning. It can be evil, like a devil, or good, like an angel. It's up to you to decide what you'd like to be like. But remember this- either way, you are superior. Those beneath must bow to your will."

Turning toward Middy, Lilith couldn't help but let out a soft chuckle. "This is a world for the strong. If you had died in the rock slide, then you simply did not have the fortune of the powerful." The second part about culture wasn't all that important and so was ignored by the necromancer. However, the words eternal respect, were well received by Lilith. Although not one to appreciate approval of others, she gave a meaningful glance in Middy's direction. She'd known from the start that Middy was a woman of strength and would eventually be drawn to Lilith's promise of power. Most people who thrived in this world would be drawn to it. Such were the laws of nature. 

She vaguely noticed that Ana had fallen behind, most likely crushed beneath the stones. Lilith hadn't pinned Ana to be one weak enough to die to mere rocks, but reality seemingly proved otherwise. Only time would tell the accuracy of her judgement.

"If you wish to gain the mark of power," she said softly, her words riding on waves of ancient necromantic power, "you may request it." Once Middy responded, the crackling of insects started again from further in the cave and Lilith turned her gaze in that direction. Even though the noise was beyond her line of sight, it was easy enough to guess what was incoming. "More insects for the slaughter?" Lilith murmured, looking at the young boy and then in the direction of the noise. "Samael, for now, try to kill at least four of the creatures that we will soon see. You will not receive further protection until all four are dead." Though she said as such, Lilith would obviously fight off the incoming hoard, only letting four past her. Unless Middy fought. In that case Lilith would just watch. True knowledge came to those who watched and listened. 

Edited by Ataraxy

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On 9/13/2018 at 10:02 AM, Ataraxy said:

"If you wish to gain the mark of power," she said softly, her words riding on waves of ancient necromantic power, "you may request it.

"My apologies, Necromancer. If it was the old me, I would have already kissed your feet within a heartbeat. But the current me will never be able to forgive myself if I borrowed another being's power. However, once we get out of this cave, I will sure introduce you to a few dozen people who are more deserving of your blessing. And I would gladly request you gift the power they greatly need," Middy replied in a more somber tone. Gone was the arrogance in her voice, replaced by grim determination. 

On 9/13/2018 at 10:02 AM, Ataraxy said:

Once Middy responded, the crackling of insects started again from further in the cave and Lilith turned her gaze in that direction. Even though the noise was beyond her line of sight, it was easy enough to guess what was incoming. "More insects for the slaughter?" Lilith murmured, looking at the young boy and then in the direction of the noise. "Samael, for now, try to kill at least four of the creatures that we will soon see. You will not receive further protection until all four are dead." Though she said as such, Lilith would obviously fight off the incoming hoard, only letting four past her. Unless Middy fought. In that case Lilith would just watch. True knowledge came to those who watched and listened. 

"SO THEY CAME," Middy declared, pointing out the obvious. Her lone eye narrowed as she gauged the enemies before them. As long as these insects are stuck in this cavern, then the bugs would have to pass through her before they can reach the others. The Mistress stood before little Sam as power blossomed within him, once more recreating the spell she made earlier except this time it had a wider range but a weaker effect. Behind her, the approaching insects would feel the sudden increase in the pull of gravity once they came within ten feet of the Mistress Blackhead. The unfortunate few who were managed to reach the spell's effect were the first to taste the Mistress' power. Their bodies would be forcibly dropped tot the ground where they would gravel and squirm while pushing themselves upward in a futile effort to escape the intensified pull of gravity. 

Placing a calloused hand over the boy's head, Middy gently ruffled the boy's head then spoke in a surprisingly tender voice, "Child, let me give you a gift as well. With this, you will be under my cartel protection as well. If one day you reach my level or even Lilith's level of power, you may choose your fate. Whatever you choose, I and my cartel will support you."

Samael would feel the entry of another power within him. This one was softer, gentler, than the others that reside inside him. It was quite the starj contrast as the boss of a criminal syndicate and a wanted terrorist was using such a tender power. For now it will lie dormant within the boy but it will grow in strength as the boy grows stronger.

Without waiting for the boy's reply, Middy would thrust her blade into the ground as if to say, none shall go pass through this blade of hers. Unarmed, the Mistress of the Blackspear cartel began her onslaught. One by one, her bare hands would crush the incoming insects. She was flurry of punches and kicks, primittive attacks against primitive beings. However in the middle of her stand she deliberately let one insect pass.

"BUGS DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO TASTE MY BLADE. MY BARE HANDS ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH."

Edited by Zashiii

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"Child, let me give you a gift as well," the Mistress says, a hand caressing through his hair. Power washes over the boy again as he kneels in the dirt: a softer, gentler power blooming in his chest. Samael nods up at the woman with a quiet smile; he almost had not noticed it, trapped as he is in his thoughts.

Four insects, his Lady had said; four insects to slaughter before her protection extends to take him under her wing. Samael does not know what he can do to defend himself against the monsters, let alone kill four such creatures, but he can try his best.

The Mistress, however, seems to have taken it upon herself to stand between him and the insect horde, demolishing the creatures without nary a weapon in her hands, her sword stabbed into the dirt before her.

"BUGS DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO TASTE MY BLADE. MY BARE HANDS ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH."

He looks at her worriedly. As much as he is grateful to the Mistress for her show of skill in battle, he cannot prove himself to her and to the Lady herself if he is not allowed the opportunity to at least try.

Just as he musters the courage to ask the Mistress to step aside, one creature makes it past her defenses. The insect comes rampaging towards him in a bloodthirsty rage, and Samael's heart stops as it lunges with deathly intent.

No no no!

His eyes slam shut in fear —

 

—then reopen, a vibrant emerald light shining in them.

It is as if he is looking through the world's very innards, a landscape of refractive glass,  and washed-out greys, with the exception of glowing lights at the heart of every living creature in his sight.

The Shatterpoint, a voice says in his ear, disembodied and cruel.

The insect is caught in slow motion, caught in the posture of a leaping strike, and his gaze catches on the green light at its core.

Shatter it, and watch them fall before you, the voice says, wicked and razor-sharp. He obeys, for the sake of his Lady, for the sake of his life.

He presses against the cracks of the Shatterpoint, and the green light vanishes; the glass splinters, shatters, crumbles.

 

Samael comes back to himself, gasping and shaking, the fingers on his left hand bloodied as if cut by shards. The insect is dead on the floor, seemingly whole but lifeless, tiny shards of glass littering the floor from where they have exploded from the creature's body. "Did—did I do that?"
 

 


Spoiler

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Edited by ourlachesism

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"That's fine," the necromancer responded to Middy, shrugging her shoulders. "Anyone who seeks power is able to have it granted upon them." Lilith's tone was also moderately nicer as she noticed Middy was beginning to acknowledge their different power positions. To those who understood her as the most powerful and obeyed her commands, were those that Lilith had the most patience for. 

Lilith smiled at the boy's obvious potential. She'd been around his age when her necromantic and lunar energies had suddenly surged to extreme powers. Judging by the boy's actions and how he took down the Xer in a single hit, Lilith figured Samael had some sort of ability similar to arcane sight. But instead of seeing the leylines of magic, he saw weak-points. Most likely there was more to the ability than just that, even if it wasn't rearing its head quite yet. The shards of glass scattered across the ground and bloodied fingers complimented the possibility. With both her and Middy's power endowments, the boy had quite a bit of future potential to unlock. 

"One down," she said, a dagger popping into her hand and then thrown into the body of Samael's dead Xer. "Three to go Sammy." The instant she spoke the nickname, Lilith froze. Sammy?

That was a very odd thing for her to say. Normally she rarely even used people's names, much less nicknames. The last nickname she'd heard was when her adoptive mother had called her Lili. Needless to say, that woman hadn't lived much beyond Lilith's power growth spurt. Following that train of thought, she pulled another three daggers from her coat and stabbed them into the cracked wall behind her. Each dagger was a different color. Red, blue, and green. 

Whatever. She'd named him, so she could call him what she wanted. 

"This time two at a time." Lilith glanced at Middy and nodded. "Make sure these ones are stronger than the last."

Edited by Ataraxy

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14 hours ago, Ataraxy said:

"One down," she said, a dagger popping into her hand and then thrown into the body of Samael's dead Xer. "Three to go Sammy." The instant she spoke the nickname, Lilith froze. Sammy?

Sammy. 

For a second there, the Mistress thought she was hearing things. But no, the necromancer gave the boy a nickname. A nickname. It seems there's more to her than the Mistress had expected. Or did the woman develop some form of kinship for the child in such a short time. Unlike the woman, the Mistress was always fond of children, a trait that has been passed down from her genetic mother, the Lady Blackbush. Back when she was male, the Mistress had been part of Justice. She was, truth to be told a force of justice way back then. She had assisted the Bossman in freeing slaves together with Willy the sorcerer. She stood her ground to save those rebels and their children against the oppresive security of Antigone Isle. She was at there at Tormo saving that little girl who had ties with the monster she met at Antigone. And there was the countless orphans the carel had taken in for decades. Some now lead their own lives with their own families. Yes she had a fondness for children because she was once like them. An orphan given a family. Seeing Lilith possibly warm up to Sammy even for just a tiny bit was enough to assure Middy that the boy will have at least the family a young boy should have.

14 hours ago, Ataraxy said:

"This time two at a time." Lilith glanced at Middy and nodded. "Make sure these ones are stronger than the last."

Hearing Lilith's orders brought Middy out of her thoughts. For now she should just concede authority to Lilith. Afterall this was for Sammy's sake and not for either of them. The necromancer had already earned the Mistress's respect, no need for her to anatagonize the other woman. 

"TOO SOFT NECROMANCER. LET THE CUB LEARN TO FEND FOR ITSELF," Middy spoke as she let three bugs past her instead of two. These bugs were clearly way stronger than the one Samael destroyed. While her body is busy smashing insects left and right, the Mistress began her lecture, "Listen well child. My gift is a portion of my soul. It can only do one thing at the moment, it can amplify anything you do. As you grow older, more of its secrets will be open to you."

"Samael! When your life is in danger remember these words," Middy spoke as her power rose with every word, "'ASK NOT THE EAGLE HOW A DRAGON SOARS! NOTHING UNDER CREATION CAN STOP ME! MY WILL IS ABSOLUTE!' and my gift shall bloom for you."

 

Edited by Zashiii

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Samael does not think Sammy sounds particularly majestic, but well, what can he do? His Lady has given him his name, and thus she reserves the right to call him whatever she likes.

"This time two at a time. Make sure these ones are stronger than the last."

He glances sharply at his Lady, slightly alarmed at the next task. Two, now? He is uncomfortable at the thought of fighting more than one at the same time, but perhaps he can make use of that power again, whatever it was.

"TOO SOFT NECROMANCER. LET THE CUB LEARN TO FEND FOR ITSELF," the Mistress declares, and Samael lets out a little squeak as three towering bugs come rampaging towards him. In his panic, he does not hear the beginning part of the woman's speech, opting instead to slowly inch backwards, his face pale as a sheet.

"Samael! When your life is in danger remember these words. ASK NOT THE EAGLE HOW A DRAGON SOARS! NOTHING UNDER CREATION CAN STOP ME! MY WILL IS ABSOLUTE!' and my gift shall bloom for you."

His lungs seem fit to burst and he closes his eyes, trying to will the power back into the open. Samael's gaze turns emerald, and he loses himself again.

 

The longer he stays in that Other Place—the voice in his head tells him it is called the Mirror Realm—the more he can take note of its nuances, form an image in his head that he can understand.

The more power a creature holds, he notices, the more Shatterpoints are scattered throughout their being. In this hazy world of glass, he can see multitudes of gunmetal grey lights all over the Mistress, can barely see his Lady under a deep-glowing sheen of blackest night.

The monsters are coming towards him again, their Shatterpoints pulsing like beacons. He finds that he can only slow down an insect when he is focusing on one in particular, and so he takes off running towards the nearest one.

"Ask not the Eagle," he begins, ducking as the first insect makes a swipe at him,  "how a dragon soars." He winces as the second strikes him in the shoulder, carving a red line into his skin and his garments. He is unused to the feeling of pain, and he grits his teeth as he passes, rolling in the dirt to avoid a jab from the third insect.

But: he is calm and he is chaos, twirling around the insects like a dancer, like a little tornado, trying to find the right spot to break their Shatterpoint. "Nothing under creation can stop me," he says, driving his fist home into the spider-web cracks of the core of the first, the second, the third. "My will is absolute."

The crimson dripping down his hands onto the cavern floor is a small price to pay for the trio of eviscerated corpses strewn around him, littered against a sea of glass shards.

 

Samael slumps down onto the ground, looks at his bloodied fingers with faint dismay. "I feel tired." He turns his gaze beseechingly towards the women. "Um, am I—am I done?"
 

 


Spoiler

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