The Insane Ones
Kai unbuttons his shirt and places it on a pall. The cold air of the basement causes the air on his arms to stand at attention. Next time, he decides, I am going to use one of those transparent, see-through materials.
He focuses his will, and applies his magic. Red lines appear on his naked torso, violent runes, marks of death and stranger things.
He grabs a knife and hesitates. Maiming himself isn’t ever easy, even for a Blut. He could use a syringe and needle for this. But there is magic in some gestures. The old gestures. Placebo, some mages would call it. But whatever works, Kai reasons.
He stabs his left hand with a knife baptised in saltwater, turned rusty.
A thick drop of blood swells up. In the silence of the basement, Kai spits a single word; “Gheist!”
“So you have attacked Rune, interrogated Eldridge and interviewed Elena”, Greyscale temporizes,” and now it’s my turn. Just to be curious; what did you say to Elena? Cause’ the girl has been in a funk ever since that meeting, and that bothers me something fierce.”
Tam Linn shrugs, glancing at one of the waiters of Evers. “The truth”, he responds with a smile that causes cold sweat to break out over Greyscale’s back. He can’t possibly know. He’s just trying to get a rise out you, Greyscale decides while maintaining a pleasant mien.
“The truth”, Greyscale says, picking up the reins of the conversation,” is a scary thing. Much more more frightening than, say the nature of magic, or the Council. Those things I just mentioned? They’re static. Unchanging. But the truth? You can’t hold the truth in your hands. And the thing about the truth”, Greyscale continues to say, in a conversational tone,” is that it changes. Say you spot a car-crash on a highway. You ask three different witnesses what happened. One of those witnesses will tell you that it was the busdriver’s fault. Another will say that everything went too fast. The third witness will say that the two first witnesses are wrong. None of them are lying, but they’re each giving their own account of the truth.”
“Again”, Rune calls out. Erim starts the beat once more. Under the influence of his music, Rune can use sixty percent of his power. But without his magic? He stops drumming.
Rune’s arms are crossed over his chest in a fragile-looking gesture. Fragile and unstable, very much like explosives.
“Now”, he calls out. Erim stops the clock. “Twelve seconds”, he says. “Better than last time’s ten seconds”, he mutters.
Sara Eksjö sits on a chair in the warehouse Erim and Rune are using to train. This world is insane. What they’re doing is insane. But the worst insanity is that she’s going along with them, instead of telling a responsible grown-up. Then again, Merith and Perenelle were once people she considered ‘responsible grown-ups’.
She listens to Rune’s thoughts as he struggles to control that rampant magic of his. Rend. Death. Murder. These impulses, tainted with alien overtones flow through her head. She forces them out. Nausea rules her, but still, she can’t help but feel a grudging sort of respect for Rune. To come back for that, again and again is certainly the greatest insanity.
Fenrir leans back against a lamppost that digs into his back. With his supernatural sight he makes out a girl in a window. He shouldn’t be doing this. It’s wrong, and far from subtle. With patience, magic and the help of an old friend, he could remain in Fallowfell for a long time without Linn picking up his trail. What he is about to do will kill any chance of that.
He lifts his head back and howl, the sound of a lone wolf staking out his claim echoing over Fallowfell.
That sound, carried by the magic of a demigod, is heard all over Fallowfell. Squirrels hide. Crows take to the air. Dogs whine.
The howl makes Hermann pause in his accounting. Fenrir. He sighs. There is the adage of too many chefs ruining a soup, which applies here. Him and the other teachers at Ochre could put up a fight against Tam Linn, should the worst outcome occur.
But Fenrir is the joker. His motivation is that of his granddaughter, but his powers remain oblique. And the Norse didn’t view him as a harbinger of death of destruction, that much Hermann knows.
If Abu Musa was here, he’d tell Hermann to kidnap Amanda Skog to ensure Fenrir good behavior. But he won’t do that. He’s better than that. That is what Hermann thinks to himself, but he not quite certain.
Tam Linn and Greyscale both react, each in their own way, to Fenrir’s claim. Linn smiles, sourly, whereas Greyscale roars with laughter. “Guess we got company”, Greyscale throws out, baiting Linn.
“You guess right”, Linn says while getting up. “I’ll be in touch”, he adds, to Greyscale’s unease. What more questions does he have?!
The sudden noise causes Erim to mess mess up the beat and Rune stumbles. “What was that?” he asks, worried. Whoever made that sound…. power, there is power in that voice.
Rune tilts his head, listening. “Verde thinks it’s Fenrir’s way of saying hello.”
Kai kneels in his now blood-splattered basement. His skin, usually pale, is the color of paper now. His breath comes in gasps. His thoughts are slow. He knows for a fact that if someone were to ask him a simple question, he wouldn’t be able to give a satisfying answer. He shakes it off.
It doesn’t matter. He has succeded beyond his wildest imagination. Whatever happens- the sound of wolf’s howl reaches him. He frowns. There is magic in that call. Powerful stuff. Not divine, but perhaps demigod-strength. Fenrir. Kai smiles to himself. Come Tam Linn or Fenrir, he’s ready.