Author Topic: More Fun In Hell  (Read 2057 times)

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Offline The Cedar Witch

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More Fun In Hell
« on: September 07, 2019, 03:44:06 AM »
for Brooce <3


Expertly he led her by the hand through the shadows of the city, keenly aware of her state should his speed of travel exacerbate her condition.  He made no effort to speak, though worry and rage edged into his mind despite his intense focus on carting her soundly through the dark.

Only we can save your kind.

What was meant by this?  That only the entity manifesting as this Black Phillip could protect the city’s demons from the destruction it intended to level?  The notion was preposterous.  The entity would never gain a foothold in this realm.  Not fully.  No human witch, bag of tricks or not, was capable of that.  Whatever she would bring forth would pale in comparison to the entirety of it.  The shade that would be birthed into this world at her hands would damage many, but it would be stopped.

Chtahzus’aak was not without his allies and resources here. 

He supposed that the entity’s words were meant to scare him, but they’d only intensified his anger.  Though the warning – Enter into this conflict at your own peril—was uncomfortably reminiscent of what he’d said to McCloud during their talk.  It was unsettling, that perhaps he’d been watched there.  But it could be a simple coincidence.  He had McCloud freshly on his mind tonight, anyway, it wasn’t a stretch to be looking for patterns where there were none.

It was a welcome distraction to the defensiveness over Sabrina curling in his gut.

Coming to a stop at the entrance to the Parlor for the first time, Zeus carefully pulled them from the shadows and released her hand.  He remained in form, shadowy whisps maintaining his modesty.  Dark eyes scanned the surrounding area as if he expected they’d been followed before his gaze came to a pause at the door.  One corner of his mouth twitched, appreciating the relief of humor cutting through the urgency of the night, and he placed one hand on the door to push it open. 
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Harlequin

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Re: More Fun In Hell
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2019, 05:17:07 AM »
The heavy wooden door swung open at Zeus's touch. Once her hand was released, Sabrina flexed her fingers reflexively before using her good hand to tuck her limp arm up around her ribs. Traveling through the shadows had been disorienting, but oddly comfortable -- like swimming through cool water; sights and sounds muddled and dreamlike.

She motioned with her head as she passed through the open door to invite him in. She breathed deeply as she crossed the threshold, and the beaten, magic-sick thing she'd been at the museum seemed to slough off her like so much dead skin. Back straight and shoulders as square as she could get them, she looked more now like an avenging goddess, even soot-covered and reeking of burned flesh.

The imposing exterior of the Parlor gave way to a riot of sound and color: enormous crystal chandeliers glimmering with the the light of thousands of ever-burning candles, the murals splashed across the tall lobby walls, the scent cooking food wafting from the kitchen, echoing laughter from the tenants scattered about the seating area underscored by Die Antwoord's "Baby's On Fire" playing from somewhere on the open second floor.

The lobby was well populated -- the self defense class Billie held weekly in the ballroom had just ended, and a few stragglers from family dinner were still lounging and chatting.  All conversation ceased and eyes turned toward the door, however, as the pair entered. The silence lingered for just long enough for hands to begin coming up to cover mouths dropped open in shock, until a young girl halfway across the room wriggled out of her seat and her mother's grasp and ran over to hug Sabrina about the knees.

Letting her limp arm dangle, Sabrina reached down to pat her head, then grasped delicately under her chin to tilt her small head back and forth, inspecting the thin line of sutures and underlying cut that ran across her forehead. "My head's all better, auntie!" she chirped.

Sabrina smiled down at her, letting her face go and stroking her hair "I'm glad, Judy. It doesn't hurt?" The little girl shook her head, then buried her face in Sabrina's torn, stained skirts, "No more playing on the stairs, alright? You know better." The child nodded without looking up, "Good, now run on back to your momma, sweetie. Auntie has some things to take care of." With one last squeeze, Judy did as she was bid, and scampered back to her mother's waiting arms.

The exchange seemed to break the tension in the room, and the growing whispers turned into murmurs that threatened to break out into shouting -- until Sabrina spoke again, loud enough to cut through the clamor, tone even and calm. She addressed a young woman dressed in yoga pants with a mane of kinky blonde hair, whose gaze had been ping-ponging between Sabrina and her demonic escort since they'd entered  "Billie, this is Zeus. I need you to get the workshop ready." Needing no further prompting, Billie scrambled off and up the stairs, moving faster than a human should have been able to. Sabrina followed at a markedly slower pace and motioned for Zeus to join her, the crowd dispersing as the moved through the lobby, though the whispers continued.

As they mounted the stairs, a different young woman -- this one with an enormous smile and rainbow hair pulled into twin buns top her head -- rounded the corner coming from the dining room with a bottle of champagne and 2 glasses in her hands. Seeing Sabrina, her expression dropped into one of concern, then horror -- but Sabrina was too busy pushing open the door that had appeared at the top of the stairs when Billie hung a framed photo in the formerly blank space.

Beyond was a room with a tile floor and stainless steel furnishings, but for the dentist's chair in the center of the room that Sabrina collapsed into as soon the door closed behind her father.

Inside, the photo on the door was mirrored -- an image of the rom they occupied, framed in brushed steel. "Could you take down the picture, please?" she asked, voice heavy with exhaustion. "It'll stop anyone else coming in here."

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: More Fun In Hell
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2019, 05:48:38 AM »
Zeus took in the reception to his entrance, feeling regret briefly at not taking to his more... palatable form.  For whatever reason, he'd assumed the Parlor would be more vacant than it was.  A strange assumption to make - Sabrina was a District Leader, after all.  Tension remained coiled within him, urging him to stay in a state that would more readily access his demonic skills in case Tess had followed them here in one form or another.  It was a feeling he couldn't shake, in spite of the fact that they were now firmly in Sabrina's domain.

He watched the exchange between Sabrina and the child in mute fascination.  There was something touching about how, despite her injurious state, she took the time to look over the child.  As if it were of equal importance to the situation at hand.  Was it this disposition that gave her the title of Saint?

The scenery was a blur to him, where he would have preferred to inspect and evaluate at every turn if circumstances were different.  He hesitated at the magical door, skin prickling at the back of his neck.  Would he be able to escape if he needed?  The tightness that persisted in his chest distracted him from following his afore-established routine of learning the surroundings and potential exits.  Particularly when magic was involved. 

Suspicion and defensiveness warred within him, and his movements were stiff as he followed her into the room.  They stilled at her request, at the weariness in her voice, and he placed the frame on the floor against the wall. 

When he turned back to her, there was a deeply concerned look on his face.  "What do you need."  His words sounded more of a statement than a question, and his steps toward her were hesitant. 
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Harlequin

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Re: More Fun In Hell
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2019, 08:57:55 AM »
"I need that goddamn know-nothing one trick pony dead and out of my hair," Sabrina spat bitterly before she could catch herself. As if to will the words away, she pursed her lips and huffed a sharp breath out through her nose.

"I'm sorry," she sighed, and pinched the bridge of her nose.

In the fluorescent light, he would be able to see the Treacle bubbling up through the scratches on her arms, pulling her skin back together, "I think my shoulder is dislocated, I need you to help me reset it." She looked up at Zeus. Her father. The only parent she'd ever known had been a monster, and she'd dedicated the latter part her life to doing better by those she served. She had never been anyone's child, yet it was his name she'd called when she'd needed saving. He hadn't had a choice in the coming, but he did in the staying -- and here he was.

"Thank you. For helping me." She said, at length, her eyes searching his face. His true form was magnificent.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: More Fun In Hell
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2019, 09:42:09 AM »
Zeus laughed at her initial reply, enjoying the bite in the words and the slightest release of tension it brought for him.  "No need," he murmured after her apology.  It would be better for everyone when the necromancer was dealt with. 

The blackness seeping from her wounds - fixing them - he almost mistook for shadow.  A longer look told him it was something different, and he resisted the urge to ask about it.  It was likely some sort of magic.  His attention shifted to her face when she spoke again, and he nodded both in understanding and agreeance. 

He was at her side when she thanked him, meeting her eye with a guarded look.  He didn't have a choice going to her aid, they both knew that.  Despite this, there was a bit of warmth in his expression, but he averted his gaze before it could manifest more significantly.  "Of course,"  it was easier to say than anything else but it did nothing for his discomfort.

Ridiculous.

Turning, he crossed the room to retrieve a hefty metal stool and placed it beside the chair where Sabrina sat.  With wings pressed compact against his back, he scooted the stool closer and balanced against it.

"Sit up straight.  Relax your arm."  It was a gentle command, lacking the coldness but not the authority.  He waited for her to move, ready to assist her if she needed it, and guided the arm into position.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Harlequin

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Re: More Fun In Hell
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2019, 03:46:15 AM »
Sabrina smiled wanly at the perfunctory 'of course', noting the touch of warmth in his face that he hid away just as quickly as she'd snapped up her bitter comment earlier. A thought of nature versus nurture briefly surfaced and dissipated just as quickly. She was just too tired to hold anything in her mind for long.

So he'd done this before. Good.

She did as she was told without speaking, though she watched him the whole time. Her back straightened, shoulders rolled back and relaxed, though the latter caused her face to tighten briefly in pain.

She remained quiet as his large hands guided her forearm away from her body, and rolled her upper arms outward and back in. The ball of her joint settled into its socket with a sharp popping sound, and an impact that rocked her whole body. As he handled her, Zeus would see unnaturally dark bruises blossoming beneath the skin around the joint, meaning a large blood vessel (or several small ones) had ruptured during the initial trauma.

"God's thumbs," Sabrina cried, tensing as she fought the urge to jerk away from the source of the pain.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: More Fun In Hell
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2019, 04:47:16 AM »
He worked methodically and with a neutral expression, internally grateful for something to busy his hands with.  Grateful still for her silence.  As her shoulder moved back into place, his conversation with Brael surfaced somewhere in his mind.  With eyes on the spread of plum across her skin, he frowned.

Now was not the time for talking, surely.

Gently releasing her with the work now done, he moved back to a more professional distance.

"Will that take care of the rest, or will you need me to fashion a sling?"  He nodded toward the whisper of blackness still tugging at her flesh.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Harlequin

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Re: More Fun In Hell
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2019, 06:56:50 AM »
"It will." Sabrina nodded, then winced when she tried rolling her shoulder before bunching her hands in her lap, "Eventually."

She continued to watch him for a long moment, before dropping her eyes, "I'm sorry if this is...hard, for you. It know it's hard for me. I never gave any thought, really, to having a father and now--" She moved her hands apart in a sort of helpless gesture, careful not to raise her shoulder.

She sighed, and looked over at Zeus again, sidelong "I won't call on you again like that. It's only because I was --" going to die "--I couldn't avoid it. But, I think I'd like to get to know you better? And I'd like to repay the favor, if and when I can."

Gathering courage, she inhaled deeply through her nose, and exhaled slowly through her mouth, before turning to face him fully again. "I'd like to be part of your life, and for you to be part of mine."

Her look was guarded as she observed him. He had every reason in the world to say no, to turn away from her and pretend none of this had ever happened. He could modify the defenses at the block, and figure out a way to to keep her summoning him again and that would be that. So far, he'd only ever given to her, after all.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: More Fun In Hell
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2019, 08:19:44 AM »
Chtahzus'aak did not anticipate hearing any part of what she said, and this showed readily in his expression increasing with each sentence.  He was dual parts relieved and apprehensive to hear them spoken aloud.

Shadows were not known to be trusting or trustworthy.  Always shifting, casting illusions, tricky, slippery...  This was what he'd come to expect, and behind every first impression came that dark cloud of doubt.  Better to see something coming well before the smile drops from their lips and friend becomes foe. 

She was half shadow, after all.  And he still did not know her.

Yet he stayed.  He relocated the shoulder and lingered where he could have left her at the doorstep.  Shadows had complexity too, depth and contrast existing amongst the interplay of light. 

Zeus stared steadily at her, arms crossed lightly.  "You may call on me again," his words were spoken slowly.  "If it is necessary."  He was no fool, she had lost control of the situation.  If he hadn't been summoned in time...

Another wave of defensive rage bubbled up, darkening his expression.  The weight of the price on the necromancer's head had increased significantly since he learned of her existence.  And this feeling was leaps and bounds ahead of his actual processing, it seemed to make the decision for him.

Whether or not Sabrina could be trusted.
Whether or not he wanted a connection to her beyond blood and coincidence.

There could be use in a relationship later, somehow it could work in favor with one of his plans. Or in plans not yet realized. Why close a door that was opening itself?  Yes, that was it. 

But the phrasing of her last sentence struck a deeper part of him that couldn't be pinpointed.  It accompanied an electric rush of something that felt like pride, a spreading warmth.  He crossed his arms over his chest and averted his gaze.

"I am not a pleasant person to get to know."  He stated softly as a fact without the weight of self-deprecation.  Beneath hinted disbelief that she wanted to try.  All he'd done was fuck her mother and steal a prized possession.  That merited far more animosity than whatever this was. 

No matter how he wanted to find some hint of an ulterior motive he failed to detect any.

"But I won't stop you from trying."  With his eyes holding a humorous glint, a dry smirk briefly passed over his lips.  A quick glimpse past the wall that went up to hide it again.  It was his turn for a slow breath as he looked off and away.  He uncrossed his arms and linked his ffingers together lightly in his lap.

"I do not know what will come of this" he gestured vaguely between them, "it is an unfamiliar beast to me."  There was an uncomfortable pause before he continued, much softer and with speed, "All I know is, I  will crush that necromancer if I see her again."  He hadn't noticed that his wings had begun to unfurl, tips shivering slightly with his anger.  He cast a heated defensive look at her, before swiftly burying it. 

Clearing his throat, he changed the subject.

"The offer of time with my library still stands," he glanced at her shoulder, "when you are ready."
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Harlequin

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Re: More Fun In Hell
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2019, 02:58:39 AM »
Sabrina held his gaze until he looked away, and nodded when he finished. "The day after tomorrow, I'll come calling. There are some things I need to take care of in the morning, in light of what happened tonight. I need to make sure I can reach you and the others in a less, ah, invasive fashion."

As to the Necromancer, Sabrina chuckled. Her eyes had stopped shifting the moment they stepped through the Parlor doors, and now there was a dull twinkle behind them, "You'll have to get in line, friend. It's personal, now. " a snort, "Next time, I'll be smarter." This was spoken low, as if to herself.

With a deep sigh, she ran her good hand through her ash-caked hair, throwing it back from her forehead and frowning down at her fingers when they came away greasy. Her wounded arm wrapped itself around her belly, almost defensive. "Gods below, I'm disgusting. I hate necromancy."

She looked up at him again, then, suddenly intense. Her eyes travelled to those unfurled wings, all a-twitch at the tips, talking for her father as surely as the lashing of a cat's tail. "Thank you," she said again, "For helping me," A pause, "and for letting me...try."