[Story] The Epsilon Project - Final Chapter (2013/06/29)

Started by Tapewolf, January 18, 2012, 03:46:41 PM

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llearch n'n'daCorna

I grant you that. On the other hand, that 50k years figure might just mean she believes (with a fair amount of accuracy) that she knows better than everyone else.

Which doesn't leave a lot of room for people to make their own mistakes and learn from them. :-/

Ah, well. All a bit interesting.
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I was going to say something, but you guys have already addressed everything and more what I was going to. Although it is interesting from this point of view, particularly the unnerving prospect that Taun, due to her age, /has/ probably been there, done that, heard of it or seen it done better, and probably that much more than anyone else.


Think I may have broken through the writer's block now, so I'll post the next chapter.

Chapter 46

"Hello, Richard," Daryil said.  Sheila and Sydney were already in his office, with Jakob and Illiath lurking in the background and trying not to crowd the jackal too much.

"What's... what's this about?" Richard asked nervously.  "Am I in trouble with you?"

"No," Daryil said.  "But I might be in trouble with you.  You see, I have some news for you, Richard.  Some good news, and some bad news."

"What's the bad news?"

"Your father is alive," Daryil said, heavily.

"What?!  Where is he?  And wait... what's the good news?"

"Your father is alive," Daryil said, happily.

"I don't understand," Richard said, on the verge of tears.  "If he's alive, he's alive!  What's the deal?"

"The problem is that he never died," Daryil said reluctantly.  "Callahan was replaced with a substitute prior to his execution.  Things were getting hairy and there was a risk he would be uncovered..."

"You lied to me?!" Richard snarled, balling his hands into fists, and his wings threatening to become tentacles.  Tears were starting to well in his eyes.
"My father really was a traitor... and you... you strung me along, you led me to believe that my father was dead, manipulating me into doing your bidding like a Being!  Is that what you're telling me?"

"I'm your Clan Leader," Daryil reminded him, and Richard shrank back, suddenly fearful.  "And I'm really sorry," Daryil continued.  "It was... shall we call it a secondary deception?"

"What the hell do you mean?" the jackal demanded bitterly.

"I didn't want to do this.  Given the choice, I wouldn't have, I'd have told you immediately," Daryil said, "And I hope you can forgive me for not doing that.
"But unfortunately it was necessary for The Professor to believe that Callahan was dead.  And that in turn meant that you had to believe it.  It wasn't my preferred option, and I realise that it looks like I was trying to turn you against Fa'Rana clan."

Daryil paused and glanced around the room at the others.

"I'll admit that I'd rather have you in my clan than in theirs, but it's something that you need to decide yourself, and you must do that based on facts, not lies.
"And whatever it may look like, the true facts are that I saved your father, even if I couldn't tell you at the time, and that Professor Fa'Rana ordered him to be executed.
"I must point out that if The Professor ever finds out Callahan lives, he will try to kill him for real.  You must not betray him.  Do you understand?"

"I do," Richard said, sniffing slightly.  "But who... who really died...?  They would have known... the blood, it had to be convincing... Is that what you do to... to Daryil clan members who don't make the grade...?" he swallowed, looking up into Daryil's face and terrified of what he might find there.

"That wouldn't work," Daryil said.  "An impostor would revert to base form when they died.  No, I created a copy.  Jakob did something similar once, in a misguided attempt to flee from his wicked past, but he lacked the synthesis of technology and Tri-wing power that I possess.
"I duplicated your father, Richard, as if I was creating an avatar, but with a biological foundation so that... so that he'd behave like a real corpse when he was executed.  And so that his DNA would match.
"The one thing that was too tricky to copy exactly was his brain, and if I could copy it precisely, I'd be condemning a real person to death, simply to act as a distraction.  I couldn't do that.
"So I made him a vegetable with no soul, and I took possession of him - his body became an extension of mine, again, like an avatar.
"Richard, it was me they tortured, it was me they murdered and I felt every moment of it.  That's why I already knew it was The Professor calling and what he wanted, because I was there with him."

Daryil shuddered at the memory.  "I'm glad it wasn't him, Fa'Rana's clan are vicious little bastards.  I'd hate to think your father suffered through such torments on my own account.  I couldn't dampen the pain either, they'd have known something was wrong."

"But earlier... when we first met... you said he was a rogue clan member!  When really he was a spy!  You lied about that!  How can I trust you...?"

"Again, I'm your Leader.  There has to be some trust between us or you'll live your whole life in fear and I'll be stuck with a dysfunctional clan member.
"Be that as it may, I was a little economical with the truth, but I did not lie.  I did not order your father to spy on Fa'Rana.  For one thing, he started doing that before he was your father, and secondly, it was his idea, not mine.

"I appreciate that this may drive a wedge between us, and again, I leave the choice up to you.  If you want to return to The Professor, you may.  But your father must stay with me and under my protection.  He can never return to Fa'Rana clan.  And his life will be in your hands if you choose to leave."

"How much was really true?" Richard asked, in tears.  "How much of my life was a fraud...?"

"More of it was true than... than I'd like to admit," Daryil said.  "And that is the bad news, Richard.  Callahan has broken clan law.  Jakob, bring him before me."

The wolf left the room, returning a few moments later with the silver-haired jackal in tow, a contrite expression on his face.

"Glad as I am to see you alive and well, there is some unfinished business between us, Callahan," Daryil said, his expression grim and his height a couple of feet taller than normal.  "You have broken my laws, and you must now pay the penalty."

"No!" Richard screamed.  Daryil pushed him back, ignoring the interruption.

"Listen well, Callahan, for you have sinned against me, your Lord and Master.  I therefore lay upon you a penance for your crimes."

"I accept your judgement, Lord..."

"Be quiet.  I give you an errand to win back my favour.  Do not fail me, or you shall face the true fury of my wrath," Daryil said, his hair white and his eyes blazing red, the form he used to punish the wicked.  Callahan had seen this before and swallowed.  Richard was sobbing softly.

"What must I do, Lord?"  the jackal asked, kneeling before his master.

"Go to the fridge and fetch me a can of cola," Daryil ordered.  "Diet cola."

"Fridge?" the jackal quavered.  "What fridge?"

"In the kitchens," Daryil snapped.  "Where else would you find a fridge with cola in it?"

"Shall I show him the way, Dar?" Jakob asked.

"No!" Daryil snarled.  "This is a task for him, and him alone.  A quest!  Seek for the fridge, Callahan.  Bring unto me a diet cola.  That is your quest.  Now go... I command you!"

Callahan bowed and scurried out of the room.

"'Diet cola'...?" Jakob asked, looking at Daryil strangely.

"If he can't even figure out where the drinks are kept, he's not exactly an asset to the clan now, is he?"  Daryil shrugged.

The jackal incubus returned a few minutes later, bearing a small red can.  Daryil took it from him.

"I SAID DIET COLA!" the incubus screamed and flung the can across the room, his face a mask of rage.

"Just messing with you, master," Callahan said, and presented a white striped can.

"Oh good," the fox said, and taking the can, crushed it in his fist, showering fizzing brown liquid everywhere.  "Your mission is complete, and your sins are forgiven - this time.  Do not let it happen again."

"Eww," Callahan said, brushing a damp patch in his fur.  "Was that necessary, Dar?"

"I hate diet cola," Daryil said, and hugged Callahan.

* * *

During the so-called 'New Golden Age', in the final days and weeks prior to his untimely death and the realm falling under control of Taun's clan, Lord Voll had enacted a grand scheme to end all poverty in his domain, by the simple expedient of rounding up the impoverished and beheading them in the capital city's main square.

Thanks in no small part to Lord Voll's dubious economic policies, the number of needy and poor to be disposed of was overwhelming.  Swords, axes and hanging had all proved too slow for the massacre he seemed determined to carry out, so more efficient methods were attempted including giant guillotines capable of decapitating four or more paupers at a time.

Given that such equipment was rather hard to move and that the poor were spread rather thickly across his entire realm, it was necessary to bring the poor to the place of execution, though a door-to-door technique had been attempted in places.
In order to facilitiate this genocide, the unfortunates were carted off to execution square in specially-modified Gryphon-Wagons known as tumbrels.  As she sped through the outskirts of Parbury aboard Jeremiah Taun's jeep, Lady Finch had a pretty good idea how 'Psychotic' Lord Voll's victims must have felt when the guillotine came into view.

"Convince me," Jeremiah said suddenly.

"What?!" Lady Finch jumped, lost deep in her own thoughts.

"Lady Finch, you kidnapped one of my brethren and then attempted to murder me.  It would be just for me to slay you myself.  Sometimes I wonder why I haven't done so already."

"You threatened to kill me on numerous occasions!" Finch snapped.  "What do you expect to have happened?!"

"I was just doing my job," the husky said mildly.  "One I was not terribly happy about doing in the first place, as you may recall I mentioned on several occasions.  Would killing me have solved anything?  No.  Taun would have sent another, and my successor would not have wasted time offering you any kind of deal, you would simply have been executed where you stood.
"And yet, in spite of the indignities you have heaped upon me, I can still plead for your life, recommend to the clan's elders that you should be spared.  But you'll have to convince me.  Otherwise, it is likely that your life will end with your head bouncing across the floor of Taun's hall."

"NO!" the succubus screamed, and lunged at Jeremiah.  The steering-wheel twisted, the jeep suddenly careening to the right, rolling over and coming to a messy halt by the side of the road.

"You crazy bitch," Jeremiah said, blood trickling from his muzzle.  "Are you trying to kill us both?!"

"Taun means to kill me, you mean to kill me!" the wolf succubus screamed, quivering with a mixture of rage and terror.  "But you won't!  You won't take me alive!!"

Unable to summon her wings, she seized Jeremiah's own sword and threw the enchanted blade at the incubus, skewering him.  Then she turned and fled.

J.P. Morris, Chief Engineer DMFA Radio Project * IT-HE * D-T-E

llearch n'n'daCorna

.... If that's not suicidal, I don't know what is.

Frankly, I'm not sure if Jer should call in reinforcements _because_ she's that crazy, or if he should just take her out himself. If it were me, I'd be inclined to the former, but the Taun clan have some serious training, so...

Assuming he's still alive, of course. Which, again, if it were me, I'd be wanting an enchanted blade that wouldn't hurt me, no matter how many times you poked it into me.

Entertaining as Dariyl is to watch, I have to wonder what Richard's reaction to that was...
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Just posting to let you know that I'm still reading this, and intend to keep doing so. However, I have a lot of far less interesting texts to read, and those are stopping me from coming up with good comments.
~~ Gabi a.k.a. Gliynn Starseed, APF ~~
Thanks to Silver for the yappities, and to everyone for being so great!
(12:28:12) llearch: Gabi is equal-opportunity friendly


Quote from: llearch n'n'daCorna on March 03, 2013, 05:51:56 PM
Entertaining as Dariyl is to watch, I have to wonder what Richard's reaction to that was...

Richard gets more of a look-in next chapter.

J.P. Morris, Chief Engineer DMFA Radio Project * IT-HE * D-T-E

llearch n'n'daCorna

Quote from: Tapewolf on March 03, 2013, 05:59:39 PM
Richard gets more of a look-in next chapter.

I figured. I didn't want you to think we weren't still reading this, though. ;-]
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Quote from: llearch n'n'daCorna on March 03, 2013, 07:05:06 PM
I figured. I didn't want you to think we weren't still reading this, though. ;-]

Heh.  It's mostly that Sofox' critique during proofreading was that Richard hadn't really reacted to it much :3

J.P. Morris, Chief Engineer DMFA Radio Project * IT-HE * D-T-E

llearch n'n'daCorna

Well, he's right - Richard didn't. We saw him start to react, and then it kinda went quiet after Dariyl pronounced the quest.

It was a lovely quest, mind - I laughed myself sick. But still... responses littered through the first half of the sequence, and then nothing for the second half. It's a bit of a flaw.
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llearch n'n'daCorna

Thanks for all the images | Unofficial DMFA IRC server
"We found Scientology!" -- The Bad Idea Bears


Chapter 47

Caroline sat up with a start, not quite sure whether the voice was real or whether her mind was playing tricks with her.

My child, the voice said again.

"Yes, my lady?" the jackal replied, staring at the ceiling.

Your son is drawing large quantities of power from me.  I believe he is injured and may die.  I felt you should know.

"What?!?  Where is he?!"

He lies beside the road of plastic stone, betwixt the river underground and the iron tree...

"That's not enough to locate him!  I need the coordinates!"

Look to his chariot, then, Taun's voice said.  Archaeon bitched and nagged to have them fitted with tell-tale devices.  Maybe this new-fangled electrical magic will serve some purpose for once.  Oh, and Caroline, the attacker was a wolf succubus.

"Thank you, Taun," the jackal said.  She grabbed a selection of her favourite weapons and ran headlong to the tracking station.

* * *

"Well, Richard," Callahan said, struggling under Daryil's grip as the incubus stroked his hair, "I guess I have a bit of a confession to make."

Daryil let him go, and the jackal stumbled, picked himself up and stood before his son apologetically.  Richard burst into tears again.

"How... how much of it was true?  How much of my childhood was a lie...?"

"I suppose I better begin at the beginning," Callahan said.  "It's true that I spied for Daryil, but it's also true that I loved you and tried to bring you up as best I could.
"I really was a renegade Daryil member, back before Daryil ascended and could track his clan members properly.  But in spite of that, he eventually caught up with me.
"Those stories I told you when you were a puppy, about murdering Beings... they were exaggerated, but not much.  I was never a lawyer, and I never ate anyone's soul, but I did kill people for fun, and sometimes I left Daryil's clan mark on the wall in the victim's blood."  In the background, Jakob blanched.

"That was what pissed Daryil off," Callahan said sadly, "Pinning murders on his clan, he had to work overtime to persuade people that it was the work of a lone crazy and not part of his clan's policy.  I... I really fucked things up there..." the jackal trailed into silence.

"I caught him," Daryil said softly.  "He was a stain upon my clan, and so I resolved to turn him over to the authorities for trial and execution.
"But by this time, Callahan had fallen in with the Fa'Rana clan.  Pleading for his life, he offered to spy on them and report their activities to me.  I accepted, paying a high blood price for Callahan's murders and promising that if it ever happened again, he would be immediately delivered to their justice."

"I started living a lie with Fa'Rana's clan," Callahan said, "But I really did fall in love with Lady Finch.  As I said, I loved you and cared for you, especially while your mom was off on business.  I encouraged you to dress like Daryil, so that the gloves would cover your clan marking.
"But I did also lead you astray, Richard.  For all my boasting, Daryil would slay me if I destroyed someone's soul.  And I couldn't let you stain yourself in that manner either, Richard."

"You taught me to steal souls, Dad," the jackal said softly.

"I led you down a blind alley, Richard.  I made it all up.  What I taught you will give someone a headache but it does nothing whatsoever to their soul.  I hope you can forgive me.  All along, I knew this day would one day come.  And I tried my best to make it as easy as possible.  I had to work within Daryil's constraints, and within the limits of my own morality, that Daryil had re-awakened in me.
"I didn't lie to you out of selfishness or to crush you emotionally when the truth came out as some 'Cubi do, I did all this because I wanted what's best for you, Richard.  Because I love you..."

"I love you too, Dad," Richard said, and buried his face in his father's fur.  Behind them, Daryil led Jakob and Illiath out of the room. 


"That was beautiful," Jakob said, eyes slightly wet from Richard's reunion.  "Why did we have to leave?"

"Yeah, sorry about that," Daryil said.  "But something's come up and I need you to go to Arnold's.  Illiath, I'd like you to go too for backup, if you can spare the time.  I've heard there's some kind of blockade on the intersection and I'd like you to check it out.  It might be that Fa'Rana are trying to seal the place off in case Taun try to attack them.  Be careful, both of you."

"How are we going to get there?"  Jakob asked.  "Kirian is off on some kind of..."  Jakob paused, as Daryil made a gesture.  The motorcycle gear he'd been wearing a few days before suddenly appeared in a folded heap in his outstretched arms.

"Oh no no.  I can't ride," Jakob complained.  "I don't even have a bike."

"Illiath does," Daryil said.  "You can ride pillion."

"This is just so you can see me in leather, isn't it, Daryil?"  Jakob said.

"Yes," Daryil said dreamily.  "I should make racing suits into a mandatory uniform for Daryil Clan.  What do you think?"

"No," Jakob and Illiath said in unison.

* * *

"Looks good so far," Jakob said in the helmet mic, glancing around while Illiath rode.

"We'll try the west approach next," the succubus told him.  "But... ah crap, the power plant is overheating again.  We'll need to stop."

"Ugh.  What's the problem?  That's a boron reactor, isn't it?  Is it an easy fix?"

"Yes and no," Illiath said.  "The cooling system has been acting funny lately.  Last time one of the cooling fins came loose.  There may be a design fault in this model."

A few minutes later, the pair of them were stood by the roadside, helmets resting on the bike.  Illiath had removed her gloves and was poking around the reactor cowling.

"The heatsink mount has sheared," she announced.  "I can fix that - again - but we'll have to wait for the reactor to cool down first."

"Need a hand?" Jakob asked.

"I'm fine, but I'm going to go on worldnet for a bit," she said, pulling out a large cellular phone from her pocket.  "I want to see if anyone else has reported this problem."

Jakob sat and waited for a few minutes, counting the passing traffic on the road into Grunmore.  None, none, none, he counted, and feeling bored, glanced around. There, in the distance by an electricity pylon, was a small, squat car of some kind.

One, he thought, and then noticed the skidmarks.  The vehicle had clearly come off the road in a less than controlled manner.

"I'd better check that out," he said, "Looks like there was an accident."

"Mmm-hmm," Illiath said vacantly, and tapped something else into her phone.


"Holy fuck..." Jakob exclaimed, approaching the vehicle.  There was one occupant, a blue siberian husky with green hair and a sword stuck through his side.  There was also quite a lot of blood.


"Y-yak...?" the husky coughed, eyes flickering slightly.  "Are you dead too...?  Have you come... to guide me to Valhalla...?"

"Oh no, no... it's okay, Jerry, hang on there..."

Frantically, Jakob worked, removing the armour as gently yet quickly as he could to get at the dog's wound.

"Let go of him, shithead," someone said.  Jakob whirled around.  A very angry jackal succubus stood behind him, wielding a large pole-axe.

"Who the hell are you?" the wolf asked.  "Can't you see I'm busy?  This is an emergency!"

"Not for long," the succubus sneered.  "Step away from him, and kneel before me.  Surrender your head for your crimes.  I promise it'll be quick."

"But he'll die," Jakob protested.

"You'll die first, bitch!" she promised.  "Now say goodbye."

"Don't do this, crazy lady," Jakob warned her.  "Daryil will kill you, he'll suck out your soul... " then the stun spell hit him.

* * *

Jeremiah stirred.  The pain was incredible and he whimpered, but through greying vision he saw Jakob, concussed and forced to the ground.  The wolf's head was resting on the bonnet of the jeep, and a succubus was stood in front of him, raising her halberd for the killing blow.

Mother...? he thought blearily.

The effort was immense, but somehow the husky managed to sound the horn.  It made a deafening blare, not only distracting Caroline and throwing her aim, but bringing Jakob around too, who pushed himself away quickly as the blade came down.

"Stop doing this," Jakob slurred.  "Surely you can see... I'm not a succubus... At least let me save his life!  Kill me afterwards if you must..."

"Lies!" the jackal shrieked. "Shut up, you slut!  You may look male now, but you'll revert when I kill you..." then she slumped to the ground.  Jakob looked up, bewildered.

"I leave you alone for five minutes..." Illiath complained, hand glowing slightly from the spell.

"Thanks," Jakob said, as she helped him up.  "But oh gods, we have to help him... help me save Jerry, he'll die..."

"Jeremiah?!  You know him...?" Illiath started.  "Oh crap... That was his mother.  What did you do...?"

"Not now!" Jakob snapped, "Help me save him first, then we'll talk!"

"...I think she thought I killed Jerry," Jakob said as they got to work.  Illiath drew the sword from the dying husky slowly and carefully, Jakob casting spells upon him to seal the wound and stabilise his condition.  "I... I think she may have thought I'm a succubus.  She seemed to be kind of deranged, she wouldn't listen to reason..."

"That figures.  Caroline was a berserker," Illiath explained.  "When she gets mad, she's not so much mad as completely mental.  It's like she was never able to control her emotions properly, so Taun retired her from active duty because she's too dangerous.
"Now tell me, how did you come to know Jeremiah...?"

"He was my roomie at SAIA," Jakob said reluctantly.  "He joined the Academy while I was in my final century..."

"There's more to it, isn't there?" the Doberman grinned lasciviously.  "I can tell."

"Okay, yeah," Jakob said uncomfortably.  "We had a fling or two."

"Muahaha," Illiath chuckled.  "Careful!" Jakob warned her, as the spell went astray.

"That will have to do," she sighed at last.

"Will he make it...?" Jakob whimpered plaintively.

"I don't know.  But this is the best we can do here and now.  Putting him in a healing sleep and slowing his metabolism was a good idea, but he still needs urgent medical attention.  We can't take him on the bike, but you... you can drive, right?"

"I can, but... his jeep?" the wolf queried.  "Will it still work?  It looks like it's rolled over and back." 

"They're mil-spec," Illiath pointed out.  "A little tumble like that won't hurt it."

Jakob tried the ignition - it didn't catch.

"Shit," Illiath said.  "Okay, I should be able to get it working, though."

"There isn't time for that!" Jakob protested.  "Wait... that... Caroline?  How did she get here?"

"She must have... oh."  Illiath uttered a brief incantation and another jeep, TAUN021, suddenly appeared a few metres away, the driver-side door still open.

"Right.  You take Caroline's jeep.  I'll stay behind and fix the vehicles."

"You're a far better driver than I am," Jakob said.  "Can't you..."

"No.  In case he doesn't make it... You know the Zalaman Process.  You can remove his soul without damaging it, that he might live again.  I can't do that."

"So you drive and I'll watch over him..."

"No!  Someone will steal my bike!" Illiath protested.  "Or Jerry's jeep!  That's Taun property, we can't just abandon it!  I have to try and fix it.  I can rack the bike on the back once I've got it running again."

"What about the crazy lady...?"

"Take her to the hospital too.  You might need to impersonate her if someone asks you for your ID," she added.  "Oh, but make sure she's disarmed."

"The jeep's only got two seats!" Jakob pointed out.  Illiath just grinned.  "Oh no," Jakob said, "That's a really bad idea."

J.P. Morris, Chief Engineer DMFA Radio Project * IT-HE * D-T-E

llearch n'n'daCorna

... I'm really not sure what Illiath has in mind, but _any_ of the possible options seem like a bad idea.

Medically speaking, even. :-/
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"We found Scientology!" -- The Bad Idea Bears


I should probably confess that the exact design of the Jeep has drifted a little in the telling of the tale.

Chapter 48

Lady Finch stood before The Professor, addressing him nervously.  The expression on the raccoon's face was grim and full of suspicion.

"What have you done?!" he demanded.  "How did you get back here?  What has happened to Taun's envoy...?"

"I killed him," she admitted at last.

"You did what?!" he screamed, wings becoming tentacles, one of them looping towards her neck.  Sophie and Wendy rushed forward, grasping her arms and forcing her down...

Lady Finch rubbed her eyes, and opening them, saw the main square of Grunmore once again.

"I can't..." she whimpered to herself, and then shut her eyes.  I can't go back... he'll kill me.  But if I don't, Taun will destroy me... Daryil... he'd turn me over to Taun or worse...
But he has Richard!
she realised.  If today will be the last day of my life, I must at least say goodbye to my son... 

Slowly she turned and headed into a side-street.  There she changed her form, giving herself feathery grey headwings and a light grey-brown fur.  She looked almost like a female version of Jakob.  "Rellis," she said, "Take me to the Headquarters of the Jayhawk Cybernetics Corporation."

A streak of orange light appeared and wrapped itself around her.  A few moments later she was gone.
* * *

"You asked for me, Lord Daryil?"  Joshua queried, standing before him in full 'Cubi mode.

"Yes," the tri-wing said.  "I heard you're an avid mountaineer, and I need someone to visit a range of mountains in the Northlands."

"I should really be getting back to Starfire," the husky replied doubtfully.

"Ah, but this is something you'll need to report to Starfire in any case," Daryil said.  "Consider it a tip-off.  But if you are worried, I can talk to them myself.  I'm sure they will make allowances for you being loaned to me."

"Where do you want me to go?" Josh asked quickly, the thought of Daryil talking to his superiors filling him with abject horror.  "And what am I expected to find there?"

"The ruins of Harla'Keth," Daryil said.  "And you're looking for Keaton's Clan Leader."

Josh's wings fanned out and he took a few steps backwards, bumping into the wall.

"You won't be going alone," the fox reassured him.  "You'll need people with knowledge and experience of Jyraneth Clan, so they will be going too."

"Oh gods... not Keaton..?"

"No," Daryil said.  "She's shit-scared of Jyraneth, and even if she wasn't, I can't risk her falling under her Leader's spell.  No, I had some volunteers.  Do you remember Salomere?  Dorcan's mother?"

"Yes," Josh replied slowly.  "She's coming?"

"Unless you have a major objection, yes.  Also, her mother-in-law, Julei Ja'Fell."

"I... I'm not sure I trust her," the dog said uncomfortably.  "She... she was a Jyraneth, wasn't she...?"

"Yes," a voice said behind him.  "And I appreciate your concern."  Josh turned with a start and gulped slightly - Julei stood there in her typically seductive attire, black leather, silk, shiny leggings and gloves like some kind of pin-up.... everything a red-blooded male husky could want all wrapped in a shiny package.

"If I were in your position, I wouldn't trust me either," the husky succubus admitted.  "In my time I have helped commit more than a million murders..."

"Really...?" Joshua asked, his voice raising in pitch as he tried to remain calm.

"Well, I'm exaggerating, but I did many evil things in Jyraneth's name."

"Do you regret them now?" Josh asked, nervously.

"For the most part, yes.  But sometimes - just sometimes - I look back on the excitement of it all," she sighed.  "Unless you've done it, you can never know the thrill of being a predator, of picking out a victim and slaying them while they whimper and beg for mercy.  And the seduction," she added, throwing back her hair and adopting a pose that would have made Josh's eyes water if only they could.  "Wrapping some helpless Being around your finger, having them pleasure you and then crushing the energy from their helpless soul and devouring it..."

"Daryil," Josh said, eying the succubus nervously, "You were afraid Keaton might go like that under the Lady's influence.  With all respect to Julei, is there a risk she might... well... defect?"

"No," Daryil said.

"Jyraneth sentenced us to death," Julei pointed out, and the spell was broken.  "I may be a little old-fashioned in my thinking, but I realise now that violence and murder has no place in my day-to-day life.  My family have adopted a pro-Being stance, and that has proven to be a sound and good policy.  In any case, I swore myself to Mordrith's oath.  Even if I thought so little of my family as to betray their beliefs, I swore to let the past be the past.

"In any case, Daryil has asked me to come with you and you should trust him even if you don't trust me yet.  I know the old layout of the city, because I lived there for thousands of years.  And if the Lady really has awakened, I know how she thinks.  Or used to, at any rate.  Whatever the case, Mordrith has shielded me from Jyraneth so I should be immune from her influences." 

"So, Julei and Salomere," Josh said, trying hard to put Julei's lithe figure out of his mind.  "Is anyone else coming?"

There was a knock at the door.  Daryil opened it, and Salomere entered the office, with Nicklaus in tow.

"Hello, Nick," Daryil said.  "You know Julei already, I think.  This is Joshua Oswald.  He's dead."

Josh glowered at Daryil.  "I'm an android," he explained.  "I was a Being, but as Daryil has rather untactfully put it, I died.  When Jakob offered to rebuild me into something more 'Cubi-like, I took that opportunity."

Josh took the young man's hand and shook it.  "I'm Nick Jy... Ja'Fell," he said.

"We're planning a little expedition, Nick," Daryil said.  "Would you like to go too?"

"Where would we be going?"  Nick asked, nervously.

"To find Jyraneth," Daryil said blithely.  Nick let out a loud squealing noise and dashed out of the room through the door, which was closed.

"Not again," the Tri-wing said, studying the splintered hole in the door-frame where the lock had been pushed through it. 

"Lord Daryil," Joshua said, "I don't think he wants to go."

* * *

Caroline came to muzzily.  Everything was dark and her hands were bound.

Foolish, she thought.  Shouldn't have given me the chance.  For this indignity, I'll... she hesitated, realising that the bracers were enchanted.

Maybe not so foolish.  These are Taun issue, she decided.  Must have been taken from my poor son's vehicle...  Wait... that's where I am now!


Jakob was driving a stolen jeep with a dying husky slumped in the seat next to him and the vehicle's registered owner tied up and dumped unceremoniously in the boot.  Things would be extremely difficult to explain if he was stopped by the region's militia and he felt rather conspicuous, dressed as he was in the racing leathers Daryil had given him.  The fact that he had clearly hopped off a sports bike did not exactly help him blend in.

As it happened, Jeremiah tended to drive his jeep in full platemail and Caroline clearly had similar preferences, since the controls of her vehicle had been modified in the same manner as her son's vehicle to allow for the clumsier touch of gauntleted hands.  As as result, Jakob's own gloves and boots did not hinder him.

The wolf's headwings twitched slightly as he sensed a sudden pulse of mind and emotions  nearby.  Oh shit, she's awake, he thought.  The succubus went through a spectrum of emotions and then settled on a sullen anger.

Well, that's somehing, Jakob thought.  She's not likely to do anything rash just yet.   

Making sure there was no other traffic or hazards nearby, Jakob concentrated for a second and lowered part of his mind-shield briefly.

Sorry about this, he thought loudly, But I have to get him to safety.  We can talk things out afterwards, maybe.

There was a brief burst of hatred and then the emotions settled back into dim anger. 

The hospital was in the outskirts of Fairwater and Jakob felt a deep sense of relief as it approached.  So far no-one had stopped him.  It would have been quicker to go to Parbury, but Fairwater was safer.

Jakob still wasn't sure who had tried to murder his old roomie, but since Grunmore was apparently some kind of headquarters for the Fa'Rana clan there was a fair chance they had some hand in it.  If they wanted Jeremiah dead, leaving him in a hospital in a Being city infiltrated by their clan was not the best idea.  No, a city run by 'Cubi would be a far better choice.
In any case, it's too late to change my mind, Jakob thought, parking near the AE unit and walking briskly into the reception.

"Mr Pettersohn...?" the receptionist said.  "Yes...?" Jakob said, fluffing out slightly.

"We had a call from Illiath Taun, she said to expect you and a Jeremiah Taun," she continued, as a pair of orderlies came past with a stretcher and a trolley.

"We'll take it from here," she added, "Though there is some paperwork that will need to be filed."

Jakob sighed and took off his gloves.

* * *

Lady Finch was disguised as a Being when she arrived in the Jayhawk headquarters at Thorsden.  She, Johan and The Professor had spent a not inconsiderable amount of time making covert studies of the headquarters of the Jayhawk Cybernetics Corporation.

The fact that the foyer contained a large statue of Lord Daryil in some kind of goth wear had by itself been a good indicator that the site was somehow crucial to Daryil Clan's interests, but it was what they had learned from ex-members of the now-disbanded Subtle Paw that had sealed the deal.

Lady Finch had learned that while the headquarters was precisely what it seemed to be - the bona-fida hub of an industrial conglomerate, albeit one financed by Daryil - it also held a far darker secret.  One of the corridors contained an intradimensional portal, a bridge to the organisation's secret research and development base, said to be deep within Furrae's Arctic Circle and very heavily guarded.

If Daryil had some kind of bolt-hole, as most tri-winged Clan Leaders did, it was almost certainly there.

With a quiet confidence that she didn't really feel, Lady Finch made her way past reception, through the main door and into the corridors.  She couldn't quite remember how it went, but there was a helpful map.  One of the corridors was unmarked and came to an abrupt end.

That has to be it, she thought excitedly, almost forgetting for a moment that she was under sentence of death from at least three separate factions.

She opened the door and found herself staring at a sheer concrete wall.

"That'll do," a voice said behind her.  "We shut the portal down as soon as you entered the building.  You can revert to your base form now."

Lady Finch turned around nervously, and found herself staring at a muscular Alsatian incubus with the clan mark of Lord Daryil on one arm.  He was flanked by armed guards and what appeared to be some kind of robotic feline animal.

With a sigh of defeat, the succubus released her disguise and became a red-winged wolf once again.

"Good.  Now, who are you and what are you trying to do...?"

The succubus closed her eyes, breathed deeply and steeled herself.  "My name is Lady Albeth Finch," she stated.  "I was attempting to break into Lord Daryil's sanctum, where he is holding my son.  I surrender.  Take me to your Leader."

"Very well," Nigel said, and placed a pair of enchanted bracers on her wrists.  "Daryil has been expecting you."

Lady Finch gulped.

J.P. Morris, Chief Engineer DMFA Radio Project * IT-HE * D-T-E

llearch n'n'daCorna

Take me to your leader. Hehehehe.

I dunno about anyone else, but I'd be really hesitant about asking that of anyone associated with Daryil. After all, I might get what I asked for, and meeting him would have fairly unpredictable results...
Thanks for all the images | Unofficial DMFA IRC server
"We found Scientology!" -- The Bad Idea Bears


Indeed, and that seems to be exactly what happened.
~~ Gabi a.k.a. Gliynn Starseed, APF ~~
Thanks to Silver for the yappities, and to everyone for being so great!
(12:28:12) llearch: Gabi is equal-opportunity friendly


I knew I'd forgotten something.

Chapter 49

Lord Daryil sat behind his desk, an imposing expression upon his features like some kind of ancient king sitting in judgement.  He did not look up as Lady Finch was led trembling into the room.

"Ah, hello Albeth," Daryil said, without looking.  Instead he levelled his gaze on the desk and removed an apple from his drawer.  With his bare hands, he twisted the fruit slightly and it ripped into two pieces.  Lady Finch struggled to keep her breathing steady.

"I take it you're here to rescue Richard?" he asked, looking up at her at last.  "I keep telling you that he doesn't want to leave..."

"I know.  I also knew that I would likely be caught.  I just wanted to see my son again, one final time before you kill me," the wolf said.  Daryil fluffed out slightly, and swept the pieces of apple into a small metal wastebasket.

"I beg your pardon?" he asked.

"I have made a foolish mistake," the succubus began.  "Taun will destroy me when she learns of my crime.  The Professor will sell me out to her in order to save himself.  And I know that you will not forgive me for my sins.
"I do not ask your forgiveness, I have accepted my fate.  Do what you will to me... all I ask is that you allow me to see my poor son one final time."

"If you've pissed off Taun, I'm not sure I can help," Daryil said.  "Well, I guess it depends what you did.  I might be able to get you off the hook or ameliorate the damage you've done."

"Do not toy with me, Daryil.  I know that I have broken your Tenets.  Whether it was real or feigned, Callahan feared your wrath.  I have killed many more than he has and I know that you mean to exact a terrible penalty from me for my crimes."

"My dear," Daryil said, "It's not like that at all."

"But I have broken every one of your Tenets..." the succubus said, staring in disbelief.  "You would forgive me, but threaten Callahan with death?  I don't understand you..."

"Ah, but Callahan was a member of my clan.  You are not.  What you get up to in your own time is not my concern unless it somehow threatens myself or my children.  Though I do find the brain thing extremely distasteful, and soul-stealing is despicable," he added, lip curling.

"Be truthful, Albeth," Daryil said.  "I will consider your request.  And yes, I may allow you see your son, but I will set some conditions.  First, what do you intend to do after you have seen Richard?"

"I hadn't thought that far ahead," the she-wolf admitted.  "It seems a waste of time to make plans when Taun will end me, perhaps my soul too... Yes, I... I think I will have to kill myself."

"Ah yes," Daryil said.  "The Taun business.  Taun is a rather distant old bird and it's difficult to provoke her to violence.  Tell me, Albeth, what have you actually done...?"

"Well," Lady Finch began, "It's like this..."

* * *

Jakob walked back out of the hospital with a casual gait and headed towards Caroline's jeep.  He hesitated, glanced around and then slowly reached down to open the boot.  As he bent over, a wild figure leaped into the air behind him and brought her sword down across his neck with a savage grin.

Bracing herself for the impact, Caroline staggered as the blade passed cleanly through the wolf's neck and down into his collar like it wasn't there.  It glanced off the jeep's boot with a resounding clang.
Overbalancing at the unexpected lack of resistance, the jackal succubus tripped over and thickly gloved hands seized her wrists, pinning them back and reattaching the enchanted bracers.  She looked up at the sky and emitted a piercing scream of frustration and anger.

"Naughty," Jakob said, strolling towards Caroline and Illiath as his illusory double vanished.

"Let me go, bitch!  What you did to my son... I'll kill you!" the jackal screamed.

"Calm down, calm down," Illiath said, holding the crazed succubus firmly.  A small crowd had emerged from the hospital building, and a giraffe Demon in a white coat approached them.

"What is going on here?  Is she alright?"

"Um," Jakob said, glancing to Illiath for reassurance.

"She's a bit crazy," Illiath said apologetically.  "Her name is Caroline Taun and she has a few emotional control problems."

The warden frowned.  "Taun...?  Is she related to the incubus we just admitted...?"

"It's his mother," Jakob put in.  "She seems to think I was responsible for his injuries and won't see reason."

"Oh, we're used to that here.  I can have her sedated if it helps," the Demon offered.

"We might be able to avoid that," Jakob said, and stared down at the jackal, eyes blazing.  His hand began to tremble slightly and a tear was forming in one eye, soaking into the fur.  Caroline became limp and began to sob uncontrollably.  "I'm sorry," she said.  "I'm so, so sorry..."

"Emotion jamming," Illiath whispered to the demon.  Aloud she added, "She should be safe now.  But by all means sedate her if it looks like she's going to freak out again.  You probably do want to keep her under some kind of watch."

"She will want to see her son when they're both well enough," Jakob said.

The demon nodded and led the weeping figure into the hospital building as they watched. "Now what?" Jakob asked.

"I don't think there's much more we can do," the doberman mused, putting Caroline's weapons in Jeremiah's jeep and removing her bike from the racking.  "We'll leave both vehicles here, I think."

"Are you sure?" Jakob asked, glancing unhappily at the building.

"There's nothing more we can do.  The hospital has both our numbers so we'll be informed about Jerry's progress.  No, we should inform our clans.  Besides, I have a school to run."

So saying, she hopped on the bike, and patted the back seat, gesturing him to sit upon it.  Reluctantly, Jakob helmeted up and climbed aboard.
* * *

Daryil sat back and stared at Lady Finch for a long time.  "That was fucking stupid of you," he said at last.  Lady Finch nodded unhappily.

"I might be able to have him resurrected," he added after a moment, "But if you've actually murdered Taun's fixer, High Command are going to want your death, I fear."

"I am resigned to it," Lady Finch said.  "But I will be with my husband once again... that is one consolation."

"Ah, yes. Callahan.  That's a bit of an interesting question," the tri-wing said.

"Is it...?" Lady Finch asked sharply, glancing at Daryil.  "Professor Fa'Rana believed that he was a construct of yours, that his life was a fake and his execution a hoax.  But the Professor didn't live with him for nearly thirty years.  I would have known if he was an impostor.
"Lord Daryil, there is one thing I need to know before I die... Richard's father.  Was he really a traitor...?  Did he really betray us...?"

"He was a sleeper agent," Daryil said, after a pause.  "You were careful not to let him know too much.  This year he began sending me information, but to be completely honest, it amounted to very little.  Broad hints, mostly.  I wanted him to leave in case he was discovered and killed."

"Then it was all for nothing," Lady Finch sobbed.  "My poor husband, beheaded..."

"That was me they beheaded," Daryil said.  "May I add that it was extremely painful.  As an experience I couldn't recommend it..."

"Ihh..." the succubus started, staring at the fox with a mixture of horror and disbelief.  "You... you...  No!  You just told me he was a sleeper agent!"

"Both are correct.  Your husband was real.  But what you beheaded was a bio-construct piloted by me."

"Then... he lives...?" the wolf looked at Daryil intensely, with an air of hope bordering on desperation.

"Yep," Daryil said.  "Unless you tell the Prof, of course.  Then you'll risk him being killed for real."

"The Professor will kill me if Taun doesn't," Lady Finch snapped.  "Why would I want to..."

"Albeth, if I may be so blunt, you're a murderous bitch who has anger management problems.  But those are things that can be cured.
"Let me make a proposal.  You could join my clan.  You're ideally placed, with a child of my clan and a husband who owes me a big favour.  The rite of transferrence would be a trivial matter.  Obviously you would then be subject to the restrictions of clan law, starting from your moment of joining."

The wolf stared at him, lip starting to curl.  "You..." Daryil silenced her.

"In exchange, I may be able to square things up with Taun High Command for you."

"You... you think I would betray my own clan?!" she hissed.

"I'm not asking for that," Daryil said.  "But you would be reunited with your son and your husband.  And you'd be alive.  Frankly, that's a lot more than you deserve."

"Do you seriously expect me to believe that you'd allow someone like me in your clan?  After all the things I have done?"  Lady Finch growled, staring back at Daryil through narrowed eyes.

"Yeah, there'd be all sorts of legal complications with Taun, Marlbury, all the clans who want a piece of you after threatening to murder their children, and so on.
"You would be on probation for a long time, you would owe me some really serious penance, but those are just details that can be worked out in the end.
"And no, I don't expect you to turn into some kind of devoted fanatic who goes around spreading the Word of Daryil, but your becoming neutral rather than trying to destablise our whole world, that would be worth a lot.  Even so, I certainly don't expect you to betray The Professor, even if he wants you dead..."

"The Tri-Wing power..." Lady Finch squeaked.  "You already know all my thoughts!"

"Ah, but that only works if you're talking to me in person, which you aren't," Daryil said.  "And you have to be a member of my clan, which you aren't.  However, should you join us, I can shield you from that process if you wish it, at least to begin with."

"Daryil, I would rather face Taun's justice than join your clan."

"That can be arranged," Daryil said.  Lady Finch froze, stricken.  "I... I didn't mean..."

"I know.  Frankly I'd be alarmed if you immediately accepted without hesitation.  No, I don't expect you to make a decision right away," Daryil continued.  "But I do want you to think about my proposal."
So saying, the incubus glanced at the Alsatian hovering nearby.  "Nigel, this interview is over," he said.  "Put her away from Hayley and treat her gently but firmly.  Make sure she doesn't escape or talk to our other guest."

"But my son...!"  Lady Finch yelped as she was led away.  "I must see my son!  You promised...!"

"No, I didn't," Daryil retorted.  "But I'm in a good mood, so I think I'll arrange for him to visit you anyway."

J.P. Morris, Chief Engineer DMFA Radio Project * IT-HE * D-T-E


Quote from: Tapewolf on March 23, 2013, 07:47:28 AM
"Then it was all for nothing," Lady Finch sobbed.  "My poor husband, beheaded..."

"That was me they beheaded," Daryil said.  "May I add that it was extremely painful.  As an experience I couldn't recommend it..."

"Ihh..." the succubus started, staring at the fox with a mixture of horror and disbelief.  "You... you...  No!  You just told me he was a sleeper agent!"

Bwahaha.... I know it's terrible but I just love this scene. Just imagining Lady Finch's face. Bwahaha!


Quote from: Merlin on March 25, 2013, 12:14:59 AM
Quote from: Tapewolf on March 23, 2013, 07:47:28 AM
"Then it was all for nothing," Lady Finch sobbed.  "My poor husband, beheaded..."

"That was me they beheaded," Daryil said.  "May I add that it was extremely painful.  As an experience I couldn't recommend it..."

"Ihh..." the succubus started, staring at the fox with a mixture of horror and disbelief.  "You... you...  No!  You just told me he was a sleeper agent!"

Bwahaha.... I know it's terrible but I just love this scene. Just imagining Lady Finch's face. Bwahaha!

Daryil certainly has a way of putting certain idea's in others heads.
I perfer my spam cooked on a skillet.

llearch n'n'daCorna

Quote from: joshofspam on March 25, 2013, 01:32:02 PM
Daryil certainly has a way of putting certain idea's in others heads.

Yes. It puts me in mind of "Will It Blend" ...
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"We found Scientology!" -- The Bad Idea Bears


Quote from: joshofspam on March 25, 2013, 01:32:02 PM
Daryil certainly has a way of putting certain idea's in others heads.

That's truer than you know, as we shall see...

Chapter 50

"Yvonne," Daryil said, his voice and appearance a dead-on copy of Lady Finch, "Tell me about the Epsilon Project."

"Project Upsilon was the upgrading of the showers in the Grunmore facility.  Previously they were individual 9.8 kilowatt power shower units, but the increase in personnel made it necessary for a larger installation to be fitted, supplying a number of showering stalls from a dedicated central boiler system."

"Very interesting, but I wanted to know about Epsilon.  E-P-S-I-L-O-N," Daryil snapped, mimicking the succubus' short temper with a remarkable degree of accuracy.

"I have not been briefed on the project."

"What have you heard about the project, though?"

"The Professor has described it as 'The Ultimate Weapon'."

"What else?"

"I do not know."

"That will do for now, Yvonne," Daryil said haughtily, breaking off as he heard a knock on the door.  Putting the android's head into standby, he got up and left the lab.

Nigel jumped backwards as Lady Finch emerged from the laboratory.  Daryil quickly reverted his avatar to base form.  "Relax, Nigel, it's me," he said.  "I was just questioning Yvonne."

"Prove it," the Alsatian snarled.

Daryil glowered at him.  Nigel's body went rigid, his eyes unfocused and staring into space.  "You are my Clan Leader," he said in a dazed voice.  "These are not the droids I'm looking for.  Three bags full, sir!"

"Happy now?"  Daryil said, letting go of his mind.  "Because if you're not, I can make you happy!"

"Urff," Nigel said, shaking his head.  "Okay, you win, Daryil.  Please don't do that again."

"Sorry, but you did ask for it," Daryil said, grinning impishly.  "Besides, if I do that too much you'll build a resistance to it.  That might not be a bad thing, of course.  Anyhow, was there something you wanted?"

"Yes, it's about Lady Finch, in fact..."

"Oh dear," Daryil said, shoulders slumping.  "You want to send her to the guillotine along with Hayley, don't you...?"

"Milord, with due respect, whichever way you look at it, we... Well, we do seem to be harbouring a lot of wanted criminals lately," Nigel sighed.

"I prefer to think of it as a safe haven for the persecuted," Daryil said.  "Okay, so they are being justly persecuted, but if we simply hand them over they'll die!"

"Maybe they should," Nigel argued.  "Would you have them free to roam around taking yet more innocent lives...?"

"But taking theirs...?  That seems such a waste when they could be rehabilitated or turned," Daryil argued.  "What would it even solve?  And besides, I've done far worse in my own stupid youth.  Would you wish me executed...?"

"Now just a minute," Nigel started.

"It's not that easy.  We can't afford mistakes when dealing with someone's very life.  We should always err on the side of caution, if not for their sake, for the sake of their loved ones.
"Don't forget, Lady Finch is Richard's mother and Callahan's wife.  If she dies, it'll be YOU breaking the news to them, not me.  Having seen what happened to Richard when he thought his father had been beheaded, do you seriously want to make things worse...?"

"No, MiLord." the Alsatian said, looking at the floor with a stubborn expression on his face.

"Good.  Look, Nigel," Daryil said, gently, placing a hand on his advisor's shoulder, "I know you were brought up as an adventurer in some tin-pot kingdom out in the back of beyond.
"I can't really blame you for your somewhat medieval sense of justice... an eye for an eye, a life for a life, a soul for a soul... but I'd like to think that we as a society have moved past that kind of barbarism.  It's always better to redeem than to punish.
"And the real killer is that we're all guilty.  You're an adventurer, Nigel... you've killed people.  Every single one of us has done something that has carried the death penalty somewhere, some time.
"Many of us have a price on our heads, and so do many of the adventurers sent to bring us in.  If everyone was called to account for their misdeeds, we'd have a barren and empty world, wouldn't we?"

"But the alternative is to let monsters run rampant!"  Nigel protested.  "Demons in particular, they will kill people for little more than sport!  That's what an adventurer should be about, bringing justice to monsters who have no compassion or regrets about what they've done!  Would you deny them that...?"

"Justice, or revenge...?" Daryil asked, pointedly.  He sighed and glanced unhappily at the floor.

"I realise we're not likely to come to a final agreement on this any time soon," he said.  "But I will not have my clan murder anyone who can be reformed into a productive member of society.  That's clan policy, or it will be next time I revise the Tenets.

"But at the same time, you're quite right, Nigel.  I don't want to give people carte-blanche approval to go on a rampage... I'm trying to find the sweet-spot.
"Yes, one of these days, gods forbid, we will have someone completely irredeemable on our hands, and yes, if I'm absolutely sure, I will pass them along to the authorities to do with as they wish.
"Hayley comes close, I'll admit.  But in both of them, in Hayley, in Lady Finch, even in Keaton, there is still that little spark of good, and as long as that spark remains, they can still be saved.

"I understand," Nigel said, and glanced back at Daryil.  "Yes," Daryil smiled.  "I think you do."

* * *

Daryil stood before The Professor, addressing him courteously through the video link.  The expression on the raccoon's face was grim and full of suspicion.

"Greetings, Professor.  Have you got a minute?"

"What do you want, Daryil?"

"Fish fingers," the fox said.  "Sex.  To crush my enemies and to hear the lamentations of the women.  But right now I want to talk about Lady Finch."

"Lady Finch...?" the raccoon stiffened, trying hard to conceal his emotions.  "What about her?"

"She is in my custody," Daryil said.  The Professor panicked.

"What?!  You.. you kidnapped her?!  Do you have any idea what you've done?!  You have doomed my clan, Taun will kill us all... I see!  That was your plan all along, to get Her to do your dirty work for you!"

"No," Daryil said.  "She came here of her own free will."

"What has she done?!" he demanded, a mixture of horrified fury.  "How did she get there?  What has happened to Taun's envoy...?"

"She says she killed him," Daryil said at last.

"She did what?!" the Professor screamed, wings becoming tentacles.

"She maimed Taun's envoy in a panic and believes that everyone wants her dead, you, me, Taun.  And from your reaction, she might be on to something, I might add."

"...And she came to you for sanctuary?!  To plead for her life in exchange for betraying me?!  Is that what you're saying...?"

"Actually she assumed I'd kill her, but she begged to be able to see Richard one last time, who as you know is attending a school temporarily housed in my territory..."

"I don't believe you," the raccoon said flatly.  "She would never betray me.  But for the sake of argument, why are you telling me?  What is the reason for this call?"

"I want to make a deal," Daryil said.  "The offer of a lifetime!  As I believe I mentioned before, I have Hayley who would likely have been guillotined by now if not for my protective custody.  My chief of security thinks she should be.
"However, I am willing to offer you Hayley and Albeth, subject to the proviso that you do not harm either of them upon their safe arrival.
"In exchange, I want you to stop trying to take over the world or Parbury or whatever you're doing.  Or, if you have to, at least be a bit more open about it.  This underhanded stuff gives our whole race a bad image and I don't want us being hunted down as monsters.  That nearly got us all killed during the wars.
"Oh, and I also want you to stop threatening my clan and interests.  I have done nothing to you, after all.  If we do come to a disagreement such things can be sorted out by diplomacy, surely...?"

"Let me see," The Professor said.  "Your offer is Albeth and Hayley in exchange for throwing away more than four centuries of work?!"  He looked slightly amused.  "You don't ask for much, do you, Daryil?  Was there anything else you wanted?"

"A pony," the fox said, eyes shining.  "A bright blue one with a multicoloured mane and little wings!  Though fish-fingers and sex would be nice too, if you're offering."

"No," the raccoon snarled.  "Your terms are unacceptable.  When my plans come to fruition, it will benefit the entire 'Cubi race!  We shall be masters of this world as we should have been in the first place!"

"Yeah, that would be rather nice," Daryil said, "But it should happen over a long period of time and with the consent of the other races.  That's kind of what Taun is trying to do over the next ten thousand years or more, and that's the kind of strategy we should use if our race truly should rule, which I'm not really sold on in the first place.
"No, Taun plans a slow and gentle path, but you're trying to force the issue and do it quickly.  That's dangerous.  I don't know what you're planning, but the hints and rumours I've heard sound pretty mental, and when it's me saying that, you know you've got problems.
"Professor, what really worries me is that you may trigger another war, one that would end our race forever.  I can't let that happen if it's in my power to prevent it."

"Those who dare, win," The Professor said smugly.

"But the meek shall inherit Furrae," Daryil countered.  "If there's anything left to inherit after you gamble and lose."

"I have nothing further to say to you, Lord Daryil," The Professor said coldly.  "Tell Albeth that I'm sorry."

The screen went blank.

* * *

"Hi guys," Niall said, approaching a table in one of the common rooms.  Sydney and Richard were finishing up some homework - Sheila had already finished hers and was reading a treatise on the Fae.

"How's it going?"

"Not badly," the doberman replied.  "Seduction classes.  We have to design an erotic outfit that we can easily change or shapeshift into.  Nothing wrong with that, I guess, but still... I'm not sure I understand why the seduction courses had to be mandatory.  I don't want to be that kind of 'Cubi!"

"There's more to seduction than just seducing people," Niall said, stroking his leather trousers in a provocative manner.  "'Cubi can sometimes start doing it unconsciously, and this helps you control it.  Besides, it can be fun.  Especially the films in the advanced course."

"Not more educational films..." Richard moaned.

"Oh no," Niall said, "You have to make them.  You split into pairs, videotape it and then the rest of the class has to evaluate your technique."

"Eww," Sydney said, edging way from Richard, who looked far too eager at the prospect.

"Did you need something?" Sheila asked, trying to derail the conversation.  "I mean, no offence, but some of us are working..."

"Yes, actually.  Richard...?  Daryil wants a word with you when you've got a minute.  It's not urgent.  He's calling The Professor now anyway, but if you can pop by his office in ten minutes or so..."

"Who actually is The Professor?"  Sheila asked suddenly.  "I mean, I've heard of him, and I know he's in charge of Richard's clan, but who actually is he and what does he want?  And why does he call himself The Professor anyway?"

Niall sighed and sat down.  "Some centuries ago, Fa'Rana was a professor teaching at SAIA, Fa'Lina's original Succubus and Incubus Academy," he began.

"Oh?  What subjects did he teach?"

"Death," Niall said.  "Professor Fa'Rana was actually in charge of the Necrology department at SAIA until Fa'Lina sacked him and kicked him out of the Academy.  Apparently she didn't like some of the things he was researching."

"SAIA taught soul-eating and all kinds of cool stuff," Richard blurted eagerly, then covered his muzzle with a shiny gloved hand and looked abashed.   "Uh, I mean nasty stuff," he said.  "Point is, why'd she allow things like that but kick him out for his research...?"

"SAIA had to cater to the needs of many different clans," Sheila said, ignoring Richard's slip.  "With so many varied attitudes it was impossible to please everyone.  Some clans would refuse to use the facility if their children weren't taught how to do evil things like rape or soul-stealing.  Other clans wanted to use SAIA but resented the fact that her academy might teach their children to be soul-stealing rapists.
"At the end of the day, she had to compromise to get the thing going.  So she did end up with classes that taught soul-stealing, murder, torture, rape and many other hateful things, but they were very tightly controlled and that would not have been the case with a clan's own teachers."

"That's about right," Niall said.

"But there's something I don't understand," Sheila said, glancing at Niall doubtfully.

"Go on," the fox said.  "I'll answer if I can.  But if it's about my love life or dad's..."

"They say that Fa'Lina could see the future," Sheila stated. "That she could predict what her students and staff would do within SAIA, and even a couple of months after they left.  Why did she kick Professor Fa'Rana out after so long, instead of preventing him teaching at all?  She must have known about his experiments, and what he was going to do!"

"Yeah," Niall said.  "I think she kept him for as long as she could, but eventually it got too much for her.  I don't know why she did it, and we can't exactly ask her now.
"But I have heard rumours.  They say... that he was kicked out, not because of what he was doing, but because of what he would have done if she hadn't ejected him."

J.P. Morris, Chief Engineer DMFA Radio Project * IT-HE * D-T-E

llearch n'n'daCorna

Oh, Daryil.

He's awfully hard to bargain with. It's kind of like trying to hold a screaming kitten with a pair of chopsticks.
Thanks for all the images | Unofficial DMFA IRC server
"We found Scientology!" -- The Bad Idea Bears


Yeah, I've dropped back to a two-week schedule for now.   The writing has slowed down a little.

Chapter 51

"Hello, Richard," Daryil said.  He was dressed in the same manner as the jackal standing nervously before him, tight pants, shiny arm-length gloves, long boots and not much else.

"I have some bad news," he continued.  "Your mother is in trouble."

"Oh gods!  What's wrong?!  Is she hurt?"  Richard yelped, wings fanning out.

"Not yet," Daryil said.

"What do you mean, 'not yet'?!" the jackal squeaked.

"She's tried to murder Taun's ambassador.  If that gets out, being hurt will be the least of her concerns.  However, I'll see what I can do."

"Thanks, my Lord.  But where is she?  Is she in danger?"

"No.  She's here, actually.  Surrendered herself.  I tried to broker a deal with her, but she's a stubborn one.  So I've put her in custody for now while I work out what to do."

"Please let me see her," Richard pleaded.

"Yes," Daryil said, "That's what I'm here for.  Come with me, please."

Daryil led the way and then stopped suddenly, causing Richard to bump into him.

"What's the matter...?" the jackal quavered.  Daryil glanced back at him, unconcerned.

"The headmistress has returned.  Since she's part of the puzzle we should probably catch her first and all go to visit her together."


Lady Finch sat upon her bed.  There was a bitter irony in that her cell was not dissimilar to the one that she had holed Sydney up in.  All manner of comforts were provided, books, television, though no worldnet and her own phone was blocked, shielded from the rest of the base by a Faraday cage in the walls of the room.

She looked up with a start as the door unlocked and opened.  Daryil came in followed by a distraught-looking Richard, and then finally by Illiath Taun, broadsword on her back and a rather grim expression.

"No!" the wolf yelped and backed away.  The bracers she wore prevented her from assuming an offensive posture and she found herself backed into a wall.

Daryil stared at her in surprise, Richard still distraught, Illiath still grim.

"What's the problem...?" the fox queried.

"Please," the wolf said, "Not here, not like this... give me a fighting chance, at least!  And not in front of my poor son!"

"What's she..." Richard started, but Daryil interrupted him with a cough.

"Illiath isn't here to execute you," the fox said.  "Though she would be within her rights to do so.  No, she's here to help you, in a sense."

"That's a sick joke, and you know it," Lady Finch snarled.  "Like Illiath Taun would ever wish to help me after everything I've..."

"You owe me a lot," Illiath said, a sour expression on her face.  "You've kidnapped me, embarrased me before my Leader, ruined my school and forced what's left of it into Daryil territory, which goes against everything we've done to try and give the school a neutral image.
"The insurers say that the attack is an act of war and not covered by our policy, and the Professor continues to refuse to return the property to my keeping.
"So yes, you have a lot to answer for, but maybe you can convince The Professor to make amends.  In any case, I would rather not see your life ended.  Being a member of Taun's Clan, I can plead for your life before High Command."

"I killed your emissary," Lady Finch whispered.  "Taun will never forgive me for that."

"Actually you didn't," the headmistress corrected her.  "My companion found him dying, and rescued him.  Unless someone else has designs on his life, he will recover.  I thought you might find this interesting."

"You see," Daryil put in, "If you swear to be very, very good, we can probably square things with Taun for you.  I doubt you'll get out of it unscathed, but you should get out of it alive.
"But I will do this only if you can promise not to cause more trouble.  After all, why should I waste time and effort getting you pardoned if you just go out and bring another bounty down upon your head...?"

"Did you have anything more specific than 'being good'?"  Lady Finch asked, her lip curling slightly.

"Being very, very good," Daryil said.  "Not killing people, not nicking their brains or their souls anymore.  Joining my clan would be a great start too," he added hopefully.  "I can help you.  I can cure your anger problems."

"You know my feelings on that, Lord Daryil," the succubus said angrily.  "My answer is still no.  You think you can square things with Taun?  Well, I think I can square things with The Professor.  Especially if it seems that Jeremiah will live.  We should be able to manage Taun ourselves..."

"I wouldn't bet on Taun Clan letting it go without help," Daryil sighed.  "You did attempt to murder him, and he is likely to recommend to High Command that you represent an immediate threat to clan interests.  It will take a lot of work from both Illiath and myself to undo that.  Also..."

"Also what?"

"Well, I called the Professor up earlier, actually," Daryil said sadly.  "I offered to send you back to him if he promised not to hurt you and to stop doing things which may endanger our race.  But wouldn't go for it," the fox sighed.  "I didn't think I asked that much, and I'm sorry.  Actually the Prof said he was sorry too, but I don't believe him.  I think he's just abandoned you."

Lady Finch stared back at him for a few moments.  "You... you're saying this to try and make me join your clan," she snapped at last, but the fear in her voice was still obvious.

"Well, that too," Daryil admitted.  "But... well, if you need proof, I can show you the recording.  Heck, subject to a boatload of restrictions to try and prevent any mischief, I might even let you call him up for a brief chat."

"I may take you up on that offer," the succubus said.  "But you have brought Richard too.  Why...?  Do you mean to try and break my poor son's spirit by seeing his mother in your power?  Is that your game?"

"Of course not," Daryil said.  "You allowed yourself to be captured because you wanted to see him, remember?  Well, here he is.  I'm afraid I can't leave you alone together, but I can leave you in Illiath's care.   Not because I want to invade you privacy, but just in case he's brought one of those fancy teleport devices with him.  But aside from that, feel free to talk as you wish."

"I'll let you know when they're done," Illiath said, as Daryil left the room, locking the door behind him.

Cautiously, as if hardly daring to believe it, the wolf succubus edged closer to Richard, throwing the occasional nervous glance towards Illiath as if expecting to be thwarted or separated from her child.

At length she stood there, strangely vulnerable as she glanced at her son, wondering if Daryil's influence had pushed the two of them apart.  Perhaps that was it, that his plan wasn't to break Richard, but to torment her by having her only child reject her...

She glanced down with a start as Richard threw his arms around her, hugging the succubus tightly and choking back sobs.  It took all her strength to keep the tears from her own eyes.

"So,"  Lady Finch began at last, "How has school been?  Have you been eating properly...?"

* * *
"Sorry about earlier," Julei said, waiting in the office for Daryil's avatar to return.  "But it was important you understand.  I have a dark past, dark enough that most 'Cubi would consider me to be a pariah.  My former clan was evil and that is something which I look back on with a certain degree of shame."

"One thing, though..." Josh asked.  "Why didn't the Dragons kill Jyraneth?"

"I don't know," Julei admitted.  "Maybe they hoped she'd destroy the Kamei'Sin.  The Dragons always loved to have others do their dirty work for them, after all.
"Or it may simply be that in her ignorance and naivety, Jyraneth found some way to hide her clan from them which other Leaders had never discovered.  I'm not sure I'd really want to ask..."

"I was born to a clan of Jyraneth allies," Salomere said, glancing up from the book she was reading, a clothing catalogue aimed at 'Cubi that had been lying on Daryil's desk.
"So, I don't have any experience of her.  But Neremath, my husband, even though he was just a child he knew that asking too many questions, or just one wrong one could land you on a one-way trip to the Red Queen's executioners..."

The door opened.  Salomere started, terrified for a moment that Lady Jyraneth's men had come to claim her soul.

"Sorry about leaving you all hanging like that," Daryil said, "Stuff needed doing, and spreading my attention between too many avatars at once can get confusing.  I've brought Nick back, though."

"Why do we need him?" Josh asked.  "No offence intended," he added quickly.  "It's just that... well, if he doesn't want to go, I don't think it's right to force him."

"Nor do I," Julei said.  "But he has something we need that we cannot provide for ourselves.  He's young enough that he can still dream.  As you may or may not know, an incubus or succubus who can still dream is able to communicate with their Leader, if their clan does have a living tri-wing fronting it.
"Much as I hate to admit it, Jyraneth still is technically our Clan Leader - all we've done is mask ourselves from her."

"She scares me," Nick said.  "Back when I realised I wasn't a Demon, when I figured that I might be an incubus, I read as much as I could about our race.  About all the clans.  About Jyraneth.  It was horrible, and it made things worse when she started to appear in my dreams...  I don't really want to go with you..."

"Please, Nick," Daryil said, "We do need your unique talents.  I know it will be tough, but it is important.  It's important to all of us that we know if Jyraneth is returning.  If she is, we need to know now so we can take proper precautions.  Whatever happens, I promise you'll be safe.  Julei will take good care of you, and I'll give each of you an emergency teleport amulet just in case things start to get hairy."

The young jackal glanced from Daryil to Julei to Salomere, still unsure.

"Hey, I know!" Daryil started, sitting up eagerly, "If you agree to go, I'll give you the best night of your life!"

Nick backed away, terrified.

"Okay," Daryil said, "If you agree to go, I won't give you the best night of your life!"

"Stop it," Julei snapped, angry and defensive.  "You can't force him to go with us by threatening to rape him!  He's young, he's scared and he's part of my clan!"

Daryil stared at the husky in surprise, drawing himself up to his full height.

"Is this how you would usually address a Tri-Wing...?" he demanded.

Julei stared back at Daryil with a look of horror on her face.  He began to giggle.

"You should see your face," he cackled.  "And yeah, you're right, Julei, I'm sorry.  It's just that Nick is so bish and pretty, and he's at the age of consent..."

"That doesn't mean that he..."

"I'll go with you," Nick blurted out, edging away from Daryil.

"I said she'd take good care of you," the fox said.

J.P. Morris, Chief Engineer DMFA Radio Project * IT-HE * D-T-E


I've been reading this for five hours straight and am about half way through.  :U

Will edit this will a possible critque and/or praise when I finish.


Finally managed to go through all the chapters, what a ride. Kind of sad I've reached the latest chapter, actually, but at least it's still ongoing. Now, I'm not entirely sure how to critique this story, simply because I just finished it recently. I think I need to scan through and re-read the chapters to truly feel like I can critique a book. I don't like reading it once and judging it unless it's god awful, which this definitely was not! In fact, with praise incoming, I felt like this story flowed nicely, was able to connect some of the "mysteries" rather smoothly (like the fact that Daryil wasn't Richard's dad, just because Richard was too young and Tri-Wing can't have kids... and Daryil's a bit fruity).

Will probably critique this better when you post another chapter or so, as that'll give me time to re-read most of this and get a groove for it, but for now? MOAR CHAPTERS PLZ!  :eager


Quote from: Bandersnatch on April 18, 2013, 04:53:21 PM
Will probably critique this better when you post another chapter or so, as that'll give me time to re-read most of this and get a groove for it, but for now? MOAR CHAPTERS PLZ!  :eager

I'm working on chapter 58 at the moment, which is about 75% done.  At this point I probably could switch back to the weekly updates again because I've cleared a big hurdle.  On the other hand, since the story is rapidly approaching its end I don't want to rush things and be left with a substandard finale.

Or I could switch back to weekly and if I do run out of buffer you'll just have to wait ;-)

J.P. Morris, Chief Engineer DMFA Radio Project * IT-HE * D-T-E


Quote from: Tapewolf on April 20, 2013, 12:51:59 PM

...since the story is rapidly approaching its end....

...if I do run out of buffer you'll just have to wait ;-)


Though I guess all good things must come to an end, eventually.


Quote from: Bandersnatch on April 20, 2013, 01:19:34 PM
Though I guess all good things must come to an end, eventually.

Trying to prolong a story past its natural end rarely works.  That said, I remember when I realised I was running out of ideas in Future History, it nearly made me cry.  But 60 chapters was pretty good innings and besides it was stretching out the comic - each new chapter added 6-12 weeks to it  and if I didn't stop I'd have something that lasted for decades. 

60 chapters was my goal for Epsilon as well.  I think it's going to overrun slightly, but not by much.

And with that in mind, I can probably go back to a weekly schedule, so here you go:

Chapter 52

Professor Fa'Rana sat in his usual chair in the meeting room.  For a moment he cast a glance at Lady Finch's empty seat, but his expression hardened and he cleared his throat.  The other 'Cubi around the table came to attention.

"I'm afraid the time has come," the Professor began unhappily.  "As I'm sure you all know, there was an unfortunate incident involving Taun's clan.  Lady Finch offered to throw herself before Taun's mercy, but for reasons known only to herself, she has reneged on this promise.
"As such, we must assume that Taun will shortly mobilise her army against us.  Now!  We have long prepared and practiced for this kind of attack, so everything should be fine so long as we stick to the procedure.
"I will be placing the base under lockdown as of 0630 hours - the shields will be raised at that time, so you have until then to sort out any affairs that require contact with the surface.
"Prior to this, I want action taken against Daryil.  All functioning K1300 units are to report to the main laboratory for briefing as soon as this meeting is concluded.  Are there any questions?"

"Just one, Professor," Johan began.  "Taun is more than fifty thousand years old.  If she truly wants our heads, she can wait indefinitely.  With respect, hiding will only delay the inevitable..."

"The Epsilon Project," Professor Fa'Rana said.  "I believe I have made the final breakthrough.  We need only hold her off until it is completed.  Then she will have to listen to us... or be destroyed."

* * *

"You wanted to see me, Lord Daryil?" the Demon asked, cautiously entering Daryil's office and kneeling respectfully before the fox.  Daryil had enormous power, and even though Daxxon had rejected the usual Demon creed of power above all else, it still coloured his outlook from time to time.

"I'm not really your lord, but yeah," Daryil said.  "Just one second..."
So saying, he reached over to a calendar upon the wall.  With a flourish of his pen, he made a large tick on the entry for the previous day.  As Dax stared at it, he realised that the entire month up to that day was graced with a multitude of ticks, in varying colours.  Some appeared to have been done in crayon.

"Uh," the alsatian said, glancing at Daryil in confusion.

"Just signing yesterday off," Daryil said.  "So that the gods know it has met with my approval."

"Um... what happens if it doesn't...?" the demon asked nervously.

"We have to try harder the next day," Daryil said.  "I mean, yes, it would be nice if I could reload and do it again until it's perfect, but I'm not that powerful.
"There were a couple of crosses last month," he added with a sigh, "the fall of ISIS, Arnold's murder, Hayley... various ugly things like that."

"You wanted to see me, Lord...?" Daxxon asked again.

"Oh!  Yes.  I was going to tell you about the incident with Taun's Clan recently.  One of their more mental clan members went off her meds and tried to kill Jakob.  He's okay," the fox added quickly, "I just want to avoid any further incidents.
"I figured you'd find out about it eventually and I wanted to be sure that you didn't do anything that would complicate the situation by attacking her or something."

"I understand, Daryil," the alsatian demon said.

"Yes, now..." the fox's voice trailed away.  Daxxon looked up and saw that Daryil's wings had fanned out.

"Holy shit," Daryil said.  Daxxon glanced around but whatever Daryil was looking at, it wasn't in that room.

* * *

The melon sliced cleanly in two.  The class erupted into a round of applause as Professor Falkirk bowed.

"And that," the ungroomed poodle said, "is how you can form your wings into offensive weapons.  As many of you will know, 'Cubi tend to do this instinctively when threatened, but the story doesn't end there.
"Having conscious control over wing-tentacles will allow you to be more... well, I hesitate to say more deadly, because as a school we don't really want our students rampaging, and besides, killing a person robs us of their emotions.
"But the extra strength and precision which we can get through practice and exercise can be really handy for cutting through rock, felling trees, demolition and so on.  There are countless peaceful uses for your tentacles as cutting implements, much like an axe can be a murder weapon or a tool for saving lives.
"And in case you are wondering," he added, glancing down at the seeds and juice down his front, "This little demonstration is also the reason I am wearing PVC trousers this evening.  I can wear them in the shower after the class.
"Next lesson will be a practical - I'll start teaching you how you can do this yourselves, starting with shadow-puppetry.  Are there any questions?"

"No?  Good.  In that case, you can all fuck off," he said disarmingly.  "I haven't set any homework for this lesson, though there will be a special prize if you can beat my high score on Soul Burglar III," he added and began writing a large number on the whiteboard.

"I thought that was one of the best lessons so far," Richard said, as they left the classroom.

"I hear the matter manipulation classes get pretty interesting in the later years," Sheila replied.

Sydney glanced at her briefly.  "Is that creating raw materials directly or something?"

Just then, Professor Falkirk ran past, hounded by a small gaggle of students.

"I thought there weren't any questions," the fox said.

"Apparently there are now," the poodle called back.

"So, uh, Richard," Sydney asked, "How is your mother doing?  Do you know what Daryil has in mind for her?"

"She's... odd," Richard said.  "Relieved to find me safe, but confused and kinda scared.  I think it's about Dad, now she knows that he's alive, but he's teamed up with Daryil... That's kind of put a strain between them.  Yeah, she's glad he's alive, but him selling out to Daryil, that's... well, she's got very mixed feelings.
"But she was also scared Taun will kill her.  Before, she saw death as a way to be with Dad again while also paying for her clans' sins, but now that she knows he's alive and that Taun's envoy is alive, she's got something to live for again."

"Maybe she should join Daryil's Clan," Sheila said.  "She's in an ideal position to do.  You give her the genetic link and Daryil is a tri-winged Founder..."

"I dunno," Richard said doubtfully.  "Daryil told me not to mention that.  I think he thinks she'll think I'm trying to force her to do his will, that I'm completely in his power or something.  Either way it would upset her and I don't want that, she's got enough problems as..."

"As what?" Syd asked, and glanced up at Richard.  The jackal's wings had fluffed out and he was backing against the wall in terror.

"Get back, back against the wall!" Richard squealed.  "Hide!"

Sheila gave a gasp and flattened herself against the wall, Sydney doing the same.  A troupe of mares walked past them, eyes vacant and dead, movements oddly stilted.  A pair of them stopped, turned to face the opposite wall and then marched through it, leaving a gaping hole in the concrete and plaster.

* * *

"What's happened?!"  Daxxon demanded, looking scared.  His skin had hardened instinctively, a protective reflex against danger that all Demons shared.

"Professor Fa'Rana has attacked the base," Daryil said, speaking quickly and clearly.  "There are at least three android mares in L-block.  I think they're after Jakob or someone.  Possibly Lady Finch...
"Ashley," he said suddenly, punching the lynx's extension number on the wallscreen.

"What is it, Dar...?" the lynx said, face a picture of concern.

"Fa'Rana's androids have entered the base," Daryil said.  "What measures can we take against them?  Also, how the hell did they get past our shields?"

"Oh fuck..." Ashley said.  "Those jump devices... they're directly warping space!  It would go clean through our magical barriers..."

"Where's Jakob...?" Daxxon demanded.  "I have to go and save him..."

"No!  Those things killed a bunch of Demons in Marlbury!" Daryil snapped.  "Don't do it, Dax.  I don't want someone as hunky as you to die..."

"But what about Jakob?!"

"The Professor has often expressed a desire to kidnap my son to use as a lever against me," Daryil said.  "I am certain that their goal is to capture, not kill.  The Professor may be crazy, but even he must know what dire fates I will unleash upon him if he assassinates any of my clan.  I think he'll try his best to avoid that.
"But he might view you as disposable.  "No, I think our safest option is not to provoke the androids.  Let them carry out their task and worry about a rescue afterwards.  Unless of course, there's some kind of... hic!" he gurgled.

"What happened?!"

"One of the mares grabbed my avatar," Daryil said.  "It's just teleported it, along with Jakob and I feel a little light-headed.  Whee!  I'll be better in a second.  But there are still two left in the building.  Avatar... ygh, Ashley I mean... are there any precautions we can take?  Any weaknesses to the androids?  Besides what Illiath and Jakob told us earlier..."

"The jump units," Ashley said.  "They require an enormous amount of power to run.  From what Yvonne has told us about the android design, there's a hefty capacitor bank inside them that has to be charged for each jump.  If it were me, I'd make them twice as big as needed so the android can warp in and warp out quickly.  If I understand it right, it's located-"

The door burst open.  Daryil spun around, magic already crackling around his fingertips.

"It's us!" Sydney yelped, slamming the door shut behind him.  Daryil cancelled the spell.  "I thought you were a robot," he said.

"They got Ri-" Sydney began, but then flattened himself against a wall as a robot mare crashed her way through the door, which was still closed.

Daxxon ran at the intruder before Daryil could stop him, and launched a kick at the robot's midriff.  There was a searing flash, a thunderclap and the alsatian found himself flat on his back, twitching slightly.  Pieces of mare fell like hail around the room, charring whatever they touched.

"Are you alright...?" Sheila asked, helping the stunned Demon to his feet.

"What were you trying to tell us earlier, Sydney?"  Daryil asked, politely but firmly.

"They... they got Richard," the fox said.

Daryil looked stricken, and then his face became a mask of fury.  "Got?!" he demanded, "You mean to say they murdered him?!"

"No, no!" the young incubus bleated, as if Daryil was accusing him of the killing.  "They took him!  It grabbed hold of him and then they were both gone!"

J.P. Morris, Chief Engineer DMFA Radio Project * IT-HE * D-T-E


Mhm, I like how Daryil was basically a bit of a ditz till the very end when he thought Richard was murdered. I also like how "got=murder" is the first assumption.

Also, I agree that prolonging anything to the point where it doesn't feel like the original story is bad, though it's still sad when your stories come to an end. :mowsad

Also also, I didn't think the chapter would be posted so soon, so NEXT CHAPTER WILL HAVE A REAL REVIEW! (Of course, knowing my luck, it'll be out before I actually scan through it all again.)


I know, as an avid reader of both this fic, and several of Tape's other stories I should already know this, and yes I am ashamed to have to ask.

But who is Daxxon?


Quote from: Meany on April 25, 2013, 01:26:33 AM
I know, as an avid reader of both this fic, and several of Tape's other stories I should already know this, and yes I am ashamed to have to ask.

But who is Daxxon?

That's a fair question.  His name has only been mentioned twice in the story up to now, and he is new in this story.  It will become clear by chapter 54, as will one of the reasons he hasn't appeared much.

J.P. Morris, Chief Engineer DMFA Radio Project * IT-HE * D-T-E