Uriel had placed the gold on the counter for the transaction. He had expressly chosen for them to rest in two separate rooms in the Inn, believing their choice to stop here was a foolish one. He doubted that Zakhul would disapprove, as he imagined the old daemon wouldn't hate not having to babysit him. A knot of stress made itself known in his stomach, making him feel nauseous and a little sick in his head. The next couple of seconds that had passed, a stranger spoke to him, placed a hand on his shoulder, and they were whisked away to an unknown location in the wilds before he could think. Dizzy, confused, and very much feeling like he was with plague, the young man covered his mouth and sprinted a couple steps away from the strange man to hurl. Using the support of a nearby tree to lean on, he'd throw up on the ground, what food he had eaten and drink he had now spilled out over the leaves and dirt of the forest. Once he was finished, he'd move a couple steps back toward the scout with a peaceful gait, taking a seat on the ground. He wiped his mouth and remained silent for the next two minutes as his stomach settled. As he took his time to relax and acclimate himself with his surroundings, he finally rested his eyes on Kaleb, paying attention to the unique situation he was in."I see he's at the end of his rope."
He spoke with a reserved tone, golden eyes darting away from his interrogator as if he were guilty. "I walked in at the wrong time at Everton, right before Zakhul went on his... 'spree'."
He brought his knees closer to his chest, not liking the very fresh memories he was sharing with the scout. "Zakhul took a liking to me, and kept me captive. It wasn't like I had much of a choice but to comply, so I worked with him best I was able."
The thought of this being a betrayal of some sort to Zakhul did nothing to affect him, considering how deceitful he was with where they were heading, and the reasons why. He hugged his legs closer to his chest, more burdened with what was going to happen after this interrogation then anything else. He looked over the scout, eying up the stranger's choices in weaponry, a frown gracing his features. He stood up for a moment, untying the dark gray cloak from his neck, and set it beside him, allowing the scout to see where he was reaching. "I'm going to disarm."
He stated, showing the sheath and the knife that was held in it on the side of his belt. Removing the pair from his toolbelt, he'd throw it a distance away, out of their sight."It isn't like that was useful in the slightest, anyway."
He mumbled under his breath, taking a seat on the ground again. Uriel looked over at Kaleb, a hopeful smile on his face. "If you're who I think you are, thanks for pulling me out of there. Any questions you have, I'd be willing to answer with full honesty. It's been a long day."
Kaleb looked at the boy as he threw up. Guess he was just a young boy after all. A daemon would not feel it that strongly. He breathed out a sigh of relief. However that made the next question so much more important. Why he was travelling with this daemon. This boy was interesting indeed. Kaleb detected no malice, a bit of self loathing or pity perhaps. But oh the boy was foolish. But it seemed like fortune smiled upon him. The daemon has not killed him, and now, disarmed and even more helpless, Kaleb would not either. His cold and unwavering gaze remained locked on the boy the entire time. He didn't think the boy was a threat, but caution never hurt anyone.
"He is indeed at the end of his ropes. Such a foolish one. If he didn't announce his presence to the world then he would probably live for a couple of years still." Kaleb shook his head. While he wasn't fond of daemons, he didn't hate them. However, any killer had to be put to justice, and daemons had the tendency to kill a lot. "First question then," he said and activated a truth spell, "what are its weaknesses? Strengths? Other properties? Anything special we should know?"
The scholar was not unnerved underneath the scout's gaze, quite the opposite. He had sacrificed his only way of defending himself, true, but the odds were against him to begin with. There was no chance he could subdue Kaleb and run away from him without being tracked down by the squad he was a part of, much less in an environment chosen by him. With no self-defense training, no awareness of where they currently are, it'd be a slaughter. There was no denying it was a precious situation, and Uriel was not blind to who held all the cards. "I wasn't aware of how much humanity they had until I had seen it. With such a callous disregard for lives, I can barely understand his ignorance."
He lifted himself from the ground, picking up his cloak and tying it back on, making sure it was secure. The young man kept his eyes focused on the scout as he spoke. "But that goes for a lot of you."
He cracked his knuckles in a non-threatening manner, evidently familiar enough of a gesture to relax him. Uriel's eyes caught a quick movement of the stranger's hand and a small crackle of magic as he had begun his interrogation, prompting him to raise a suspicious eyebrow, but nothing more.
Uriel took a clinical and frigid stance describing Zakhul, keeping everything short and to the point. "Extremely fast, with strength to match. I'm not sure if he was hurt or not, but he insisted on resting at this town. Adequate control over illusory magic. There is a high chance he will flee further South, as he believes that Valon is safe. He seems cocky, and gullible, not to mention he had no idea where he was when I met him. That is all I know."
Kaleb smiled faintly under his mask. Yes, daemons could be quite 'humaine' as the boy put it. That was why there was a kingdom of daemons that even hunted down their own kind who went out of line. Most of them just wanted to get by, like any other. But racism and the general fear of them made their lives hard. Then there were daemons like the one they were chasing. A lack of morals. Killed rather than put them out of commission or running. But he guessed that was also the way of the humans. Killing others for their own gain without giving much thought to it. But enough of that.
"Thank you for the information." Kaleb said and pointed towards the boy and chains made out of shadow appeared around him and formed a cage. The cage was sized with enough movement to move a few meters and even a bed, chair, a table and even a smaller box with a toilet inside. "I'm sorry but I can't have you leave. Not yet at least. I already know that you don't have enough power to break through, so don't bother. So be a good boy and stay here until we deal with the threat to the peace." Kaleb disappeared in the next moment.
Uriel opted not to respond before Kaleb phased away, and instead took a seat. His diplomacy in this situation left a lot to be desired, even if he was given a 'room' by the scout. Nobody had seen him for what he truly was, which he was thankful for. He placed his satchel on the table made of black shadow, and pulled out a dark brown journal, setting it in front of him. It took him a couple of moments to get out his ink and raven quill, but he had all the time in the world to spend. Dipping his quill in to the inkpot, he opened his journal, pawing through the various pages he filled prior to his journey until he got to a fresh, blank page. It was usually a satisfying time-sink for him, but this time was different. He held the quill on the first line for minutes, his right hand shaking ever so slightly under the pressure of his thoughts. Black ink stained and spread from the point of contact with the quill.
His hand moved.I couldn't understand what he was saying to me before. All that advice he gave me just sounded worthless coming from his mouth, after what I had seen hours prior. All these dead people... I still remember the bartender's throat being cut, the men that had died trying to take him down. The blood was incorrigible, seeping in to the wooden floors. I didn't realize what had happened until he was right in front of me, with my dagger to his abdomen, I saw his eyes. I didn't understand how he had such a human nature to him, I had always read in the stories about the Crucible that daemons were soulless creatures that were never meant to be on this plane. Now, I know I was wrong. Or rather, the history being taught to me was forged by the victor, not from an impartial viewpoint. Kids are terrified of these creatures, preaching urban legends about how the 'boogeymen' of the Crucible would come to take your life.
But now, I can't even consider how far this corruption has spread. Or if it has always been there in human nature, and I haven't been able to see in to that darkness yet. I had glimpses of it as soon as I had heard about slaves, been present at the family functions with my parents, heard those foolish nobles laughing about it. One noble turned to the other and said with a cruel smile, 'that he hadn't enjoyed putting someone in their place as much as that disgusting half-elf'. Politics are a parade of lies and fake smiles, and that is something that I learned acutely. My parents don't know of my beliefs, nobody does aside from Sophia. I miss that girl, there was something about her that made me feel like I could trust her, speak to her as if she was a sister. Now, I'm wondering if I continue on, that I'll ever see her again.
I had a dream prior to this journey. It was like a grand tapestry was laid out before me, before being taken in to shadow. My body was imperceptible, although I could feel it. My movements were like silk, smooth and every step taken with purpose. I had been walking for a long time in that abyss, and my stamina was seemingly inexhaustible until I came across a young man. Black hair, golden eyes, and a scarred face. His hand was made of pure aether, glowing with intense blue energies. I didn't realize it until after the dream, but that was me. I looked in to his eyes, and an unholy leviathan stared back. I can't even tell you my own nature, even if I look in a mirror and try with all my willpower to see in to my own soul. I wish I knew who I was, what I was capable of. I can't in good conscience take a life knowing what I do, and if that scout did, he wouldn't be able to live with himself. Better he ply his self-deception.
He dipped his quill in the inkpot, before continuing to inscribe his thoughts in the page.Everyone around me is so ignorant to the causality of what taking a life means. I've read of nations, wars, holy crusades, and serial killers in the books I've read. I had many tutors that were willing to humor me and grant me access to these texts. Warriors fight knowing their actions are just, killers are shaped by their birth and past, and heroes are symbols, not the men and women you see in Telduria. I had read stories of good versus evil when I was little, I was shaped by them. As time went on, I saw how stupid those stories were. The knight does not walk across a lake of moonlight to go to the tower and save the princess, no. He strides across that lake on the backs of the dead he slain on the path leading to the lake, and thus, is no hero like the meaning the story parrots. At the end of the story, he gets the love of a princess, the presumed surrogate for happy ending he seeks. However, he is haunted by the path he had taken across the lake, he glimpses what he had taken away from those people he killed, ruminating in his old age. The simple pleasures in his life that he had come to be bored by, the comforting crack of an egg on the edge of a pan, the wafting smell lingering throughout his home, the scent of fresh bread. The smile of his comely woman. Died with heavy shoulders.
Nobody is just in the act of killing a man. At the gates to Paradise, will I be able to say that I was ordered by another person to do thus? Will that justify my actions, protect me as the shield would in my hypothetical previous life? I cannot. This society is making more murderers by the day. I know the story of the common man kissing his wife and saying goodbye, maybe for the last time, all too well. I'm comfortable with them thinking I'm a boy, after all, I appear to be. They can never see within, only without. If the daemon survives this encounter with his pursuers, he may come after me. I should welcome it, for this journey was never without peril, was it? I can't help but think back to my visit to the Inn at Everton. For all the wisdom I write here, I'm afraid of following through. My hands shook like they never had before, I felt true fear. Now that I'm out of his reach, I feel liberated.
I don't know what would have happened if my ability didn't trigger when it did. I might have gotten killed after I stabbed Zakhul, if I opted to follow through. The scary thing is, when you're fighting another human being, it's never as clear-cut as some stories make it. If you are fighting to save countless lives, taking a life to save the people you love may be worth the risk. Maybe I sound too selfish with this reserved viewpoint, not subscribing to one ideology or the next, but I know that there is always so much more to everything that meets the eye. I hadn't really lied prior to being under Zakhul's captivity, but I knew how to deceive that concerned man perfectly well. It's concerning to me. On the note of concern, I'd rather nobody suspect me of anything and allow me to keep moving towards Ithell, but with what was left of my coin given to Zakhul, I doubt I'll see a single gold piece of it back. I had already spent too much on the room and supplies coming back from Everton, the most mileage I was going to get out of my coin prior to all this happening was a one-way trip to Ithell.
I'm not willing to go back home, it is too late for that. Now, my only choice is to figure out what that man is going to do with me. If he lets me go, I can't see myself making it very far to Ithell without proper training, goodness knows that this is bound to get worse. I'll need to ask him for help on that front, while I have the chance. He'll take pity on a brat like me, I hope.
Uriel closed his journal, popped the cork back in his inkpot, and cleaned up his quill before placing them all back in his satchel. He glanced over at the bed, his eyelids becoming heavy as he stared at it. It had been a day filled with terror, blood, and ignorance, which affirmed his beliefs. Lazily lifting the straps of the bag with a hand, he'd drag it along the floor as he walked over to the bed and fell on it, falling in to a deep sleep in a matter of seconds. The bag rested on its side on the dirt. In his sleep, he would whisper a name."Cara..."