This post has the following content warnings:
Jan 27, 2021 9:20 AM
mid-Angband Kib lands on Leareth
Permalink

There's a snake monster again. How orig okay. No reason to provoke a chase scene. Kib lets it eat him.

Elsewhere, a naked young man, battered, malnourished, and desperately underslept, tumbles to the floor, settles there, falls asleep.

Starts screaming, like he's on fire, without waking up.

Total: 386
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

The room he's in is otherwise quiet and dark, low-ceilinged and underground and full of shelves of boxes of books and papers.

Elsewhere, it is not quiet at all. The alarm for one of the wards is going off. 

"- Berta, hey!" The young sentry watching for alarms scrambles up. "Sector seventeen, we've got - I've never even seen that one before - where is that, anyway..." 

     Berta, the senior mage on night duty, is currently napping, but she's up a few seconds later. "What." 

"Just come look at this -"

     Shuffling footsteps. "Dunno which one that is, they're randomized, Leareth has the keys– bloody hells, that's an inner perimeter alarm, something in there." 

"How?" 

     "I don't have the faintest idea. It's underground." She rubs her eyes and glares at the crystal focus. "I guess we'd better send word to wake him up."

Gulp. "Do we hav–"

    "I'll do it. He doesn't bite, you know." 

Permalink

Ten minutes later, roused from a sound sleep, Leareth is scrying his records room, after looking up the notes on which numbered ward-focuses correspond to where. This one is five hundred miles away, near Rethwellan, and no one else would be able to scry it but he put the magical protections on it himself and can slip around them just as easily. 

What's there? 

Permalink

Screaming naked asleep battered boy!

Permalink

What the fuck

His first instinct is to Gate right there and his second thought is that this is obviously stupid. The situation demands a response, though, and he's the only one who can Gate there, for the usual security reasons no one else has ever even seen it. 

He vacillates for five seconds on the question of whether to pull in Nayoki, and decides to hold off, she gets very cranky when he interrupts her sleep. 

"Get a team ready," he says calmly to the mage who woke him. "I want a Healer, a strong Thoughtsenser, and someone who knows how to check for Gifts." 

Permalink

This is done within three minutes and the requested people plus additional mages as guards are lined up ready to receive their orders. 

Permalink

"I am going to send you in there. I am not going to leave the Gate up for the obvious reasons." In case this is some kind of convoluted assassination plot, mainly. "I want you to find out who he is, how he got there, and - what is wrong with him - and stay in communication until I give you my approval to transport him elsewhere." 

Permalink

There are nods of agreement. Deep breaths are taken. 

Permalink

A glowing doorway to somewhere else snaps up on the wall of the underground room and five people spill through and then the Gate is down again. 

Permalink

Someone makes a mage-light near the ceiling. 

"Helga, what is wrong with him?" 

    "Give me a minute here," the Healer says, snappishly - she hates operations in the middle of the night - and cautiously kneels, watching the boy closely for any reaction before she reaches out to touch his forehead. She's got a shield-talisman but this is still making her nervous. 

Permalink

He doesn't notice her. He's still screaming and his eyes are still closed.

He is injured - it's about what you'd expect if he'd fallen down five or six flights of very angry stairs that were somewhat on fire and sharp in a few places, every day for the last week, except he doesn't seem to have hit his head at all. He hasn't been eating enough or drinking enough and he really hasn't been sleeping enough. Even though a lot of the injuries are days old none of them are infected, at least so far.

Permalink

"He's is really terrible shape," Helga says, "can we get him out of here soon?" 

     "Is he going to deteriorate more if we take half a candlemark to figure out what's going on?" 

"...I guess not. I can't see him being a spy, though, he's in no condition to stand up let alone sneak around stealing information or sabotaging things, he's not even conscious." 

    "Can you make him stop goddamned screaming?" the Thoughtsenser mutters. "I can't hear myself think." 

"I'm not an Empath," Helga snaps back. "Let me see..." She pushes with her Healing-Gift, trying to nudge the injured boy into a deeper sleep. 

Permalink

Oh, he's very deeply asleep already! He's so asleep! He's just having a VERY BAD NIGHTMARE and he's going to SCREAM ABOUT IT.

Permalink

"Nope, sorry, if you'd wanted not-screaming you should've dragged someone out of bed who has Empathy too." 

One of the mages casts a sound-barrier over him. Everyone relaxes a little. 

"I'm kind of doubting this'll be useful or informative in any way," the Thoughtsenser says ruefully, "but - here goes, I guess." He unshields, reaches, and tries to read the boy's mind, diving in a bit deeper than just surface thoughts. 

Permalink

He is having an - extremely vivid and detailed nightmare. All the pieces of a full genuine waking experience are there. He doesn't know he's dreaming. He is dreaming about being on fire!

Permalink

"Gah," he says quietly, thinking that this is inevitably going to give him nightmares now. "- Maybe we should try to wake him up? Leareth's going to be paranoid and not let us take him anywhere until we have some goddamned explanation for why he's here." 

     "Suit yourself," Helga says. "Don't figure he'll be much more coherent awake, though, he's in terrible shape. Can't you just deep-scan him in his sleep?" 

"'Just', you say, like it's not incredibly distracting that all of his surface thoughts are about being on fire - I can give it a try." He closes his eyes and dives in deeper, chasing down the threads of recent memories. Where was the boy before this, what does he know about how and why he ended up here? 

Permalink

Before this he was in his usual cell, forced awake by occasional prods with an orc's spear while they presumably had an artistic argunope he refused to speculate, and then there was a snake monster, which he definitely declined to have any sarcastic opinions about, and then he was somewhere else, and not actively being stabbed, so he fell asleep.

Permalink

Okay what he isn't any less confused and he is so much more concerned than he was a moment ago! What even is that - species? - in the memory, where was this, also he can't at all make the connection between the snake-monster and the boy now being here, or whether it means that the ??orcs?? might be able to follow. 

He relays what he's picked up, in a flat voice. 

Two of the mages look at each other for a moment. 

    "You on it?"

"One second." And the man reaches for Leareth with the usual communication spell.

<You're not going to like this, sorry.> 

Permalink

Leareth already doesn't like this, so the comment is uninformative. <Go on.> 

Permalink

<Good news, I don't think he's a spy or assassin - bad news, seems he was in some sort of prison before this. Being tortured. We can't make sense of how he got here, it definitely wasn't deliberate on his part. Unclear whether it was trackable but I think we should move him immediately just in case.> 

Permalink

<Noted. Is he Gifted?> 

Permalink

<...Just a second, I didn't, er, check yet, he's having a nightmare or something and won't quit screaming.> 

Permalink

<Please check now.> 

Permalink

Ughhhh this is going to be awful. The mage kneels by the sleeping-and-screaming boy and touches his forehead, reaching past his shields to look at the place where Gifts would be, inevitably picking up some nightmare-backwash as well. 

Permalink

NIGHTMARE NIGHTMARE FIRE FIRE no gifts FIRE NIGHTMARE.

Permalink

The mage stands up and takes a deep shaky breath. <No Gifts also you maybe want a Mindhealer for this.> 

Total: 386
Posts Per Page: