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    The Prisoner

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    The Prisoner

    Post by tuck on 11/04/12, 09:48 pm

    Kallista made her way down the dark stairs slowly. Her stomach tightened with every echoing step she took. This was not going to be an easy visit, but it was one she knew she needed to make.

    She had almost broken down and asked Tzesira to come with her, to lend her support and offer an intimidation factor, but she knew that wouldn't work. That wasn't how this sort of thing was done. If he talked to anyone it would be her, and her alone.

    She reached the bottom of the staircase and knocked on the heavy iron door. After a minute a small metal plate slid aside and two cautious eyes peered out at her. She held up her notarized document authorizing her to visit the prisoner and after a moment the metal plate slid shut again and she heard the sound of lock gears turning.

    Obtaining the papers for this visit hadn't been easy. Even as the capturing agent it had taken several of Vedran and Monti's contacts to obtain the necessary paperwork to visit an inmate on Highmark's death row.

    "He's the last cell on the right", the guard said as he let her into the holding area, "The portals are magically sealed, so you won't be able to pass him anything or receive anything. If he gets unruly or says anything relating to escaping, you let us know at once. There are scrying spells active on this whole area, so any funny business and you're out of here quicker than a kobold in heat. Understand?"

    Kallista nodded.

    "Good. If you need anything urgently, give a shout. Try not to disturb the other prisoners if you can help it, though."

    "Thank you", Kallista said, the words feeling numb in her mouth. She hesitated for a moment.

    "You okay?" the guard asked.

    She nodded.

    "Yeah... yeah, I'm fine."

    With a deep breath she took a step forward and let her momentum carry her down the hallway beneath the flickering light of the evenly spaced torches. As she walked she was dimly aware of shapes moving in the magically held cells on either side of her, but she kept her gaze forward, not letting it shift even when the occasional catcall or whistle echoed out from the cells.

    Finally she stood in front of the last cell and turned to see her cousin already waiting for her behind the shimmering blue magic force-field.

    "Hello Anibaal." she said with all the strength she could muster.
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    Re: The Prisoner

    Post by Josh on 01/05/12, 04:18 pm

    Anibaal sat cross-legged on a small cot, facing the opening of the cell. In his lap, he cradled a single candle set on a flat holder. He stared at it, taking turns passing each hand slowly through the flame.

    Without looking up, he addressed Kallista in a quietly bitter voice.

    "Hello, Kallista. Having a good time slumming with the ash?"
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    Re: The Prisoner

    Post by tuck on 01/05/12, 04:28 pm

    It had been a long time since Kallista had heard that word used in that manner, and it took her a moment to grasp Anibaal's meaning.

    "They're my friends, and there's more warmth in their souls than in all of Bael Hexott, Anibaal. Besides, you're in no position to be calling anyone names."


    Last edited by tuck on 01/05/12, 04:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: The Prisoner

    Post by Josh on 01/05/12, 04:36 pm

    "Friends." Anibaal spat the word back at her, disgusted. "Listen to yourself. You truly are one of them."

    He barked a short, stabbing laugh.

    "And warmth. You know as well as I do that warmth is just the byproduct, the radiance by while they can console themselves that the flame cares. Contained in their hearths and lanterns, they think they've tamed it, made it theirs."

    He finally looked up, his eyes burning.

    "Change is the fire's true purpose, dear cousin, and it is coming for you."
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    Re: The Prisoner

    Post by tuck on 01/05/12, 04:48 pm

    Kallista stepped back reflexively when he looked up, scolding herself silently for allowing him to intimidate her even from behind the magical barrier. She felt her voice come louder than she had expected, tinged with anger around the edges.

    "We're not in Bael Hexott now, Anibaal. This is a city of stone and water and life. The Fire has no power here. You have no power."

    "Not even the cult can reach me here."
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    Re: The Prisoner

    Post by Josh on 01/05/12, 04:58 pm

    Anibaal gave her a smile, a wicked, cruel thing which inspired a cold dread.

    "How long did it take you to convince yourself of that? All your wandering, city to city, fearing your father's reach. When you came across them in the dead city, did you feel safe then? Or is it here, in this tinderbox, where you think we cannot touch you?"

    He leaned forward, his face an eerie mask of spiteful glee.

    "The flame has already touched this city, dear cousin," he said, using the last two words like a knife to bleed her, "and it shall rise to consume it."
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    Re: The Prisoner

    Post by tuck on 01/05/12, 06:17 pm

    "Where?" Kallista demanded, "When? What's coming Anibaal? What is my father planning?!"
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    Re: The Prisoner

    Post by Josh on 01/05/12, 09:39 pm

    The tiefling raider sighed and leaned back, resuming his nonchalant posture.

    "The spark is merely carried aloft on the currents of the greater conflagration."
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    Re: The Prisoner

    Post by tuck on 01/05/12, 10:04 pm

    Kallista sighed.

    "You are so full of shit", she fumed, stepping towards the energy field, "You talk about sparks and conflagrations, but you know what you are here? You're a pathetic relic from a dying religion. You're going to die here. They're going to hang you and you know that my father can't lift a finger to stop them and wouldn't even if he could. All you are to him is expendable."

    Kallista forced herself to pause and step back, keeping her rage in check for the moment.

    "Anibaal... you were always smart. Can't you see what you're doing? What a lie it all is? There's so much more out there. Maybe if you cooperate..."
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    Re: The Prisoner

    Post by Josh on 01/05/12, 10:15 pm

    "Maybe what? Maybe I can be their pet, too? They'll show me mercy and I can live a life of comfortable slavery, toadying to this cowardly filth?"

    He sighed.

    "I was always going to die, Kallista. This is sooner than I'd hoped, but the fire is lit the moment we're born, 'til it gutters out into embers and ash. Not all of us are so afraid of that as you are."

    "You call me a relic, say my beliefs are a lie. I can admit to the first, but some relics are worth more than others. And you know there is power in my faith, you just don't want it to be true. You've convinced yourself that there isn't a price for your life here, but if I'm mistaken, all you've found is a different delusion."

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    Re: The Prisoner

    Post by tuck on 01/05/12, 10:31 pm

    Kallista felt her cousin's comment stab at her, sharp as any sword.

    "I'm not afraid to die. If I was I'd never have left. But if I'm going to die, then I'll do it on my terms, for my god, not your sad, cruel excuse for a titan."

    "Only one of us is deluded, cousin. Look at yourself. There's nothing left of you but cruelty and hate. Is that the life you want me to return to?"
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    Re: The Prisoner

    Post by Josh on 01/05/12, 10:41 pm

    "Return to? Not at all. You've been corrupted by this world."

    He spat, giving her a look of complete content.

    "Cruelty is a weakness of the fearful who seek to prove their dominion. The flame cares nothing for the feelings of its fuel."

    "And as for hate, you forget. It is our birthright. This world is sick and weak, and it is for our people to cast it into the fire, cleansing it to make way for a better one."

    Another sharp laugh escaped his lips.

    "Your god. Our people were betrayed by one god already, dear cousin. They are all false; you'll relearn that lesson in time."
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    Re: The Prisoner

    Post by tuck on 01/05/12, 10:55 pm

    Kallista winced as his words opened more cuts, but they were old wounds, and ones she was well adept at tending.

    "You're wrong." she said, fighting to find the strength to say it with conviction, "There's more to this life than hate. It's not weakness to care for others. To believe that there are other ways to change the world than fire and death..."

    "But I'm not going to convince you of that, am I? You're way too far gone for that. I pity you, Anibaal. I'm sorry that you have to live like this. That you have to die like this. I don't want that. Even after everything, I wish you would let me help you."
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    Re: The Prisoner

    Post by Josh on 04/05/12, 09:33 am

    "How?"
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    Re: The Prisoner

    Post by tuck on 04/05/12, 09:55 am

    Kallista opened her mouth to reply, but found that no words would come out. She didn't want to believe that even Anibaal was beyond help, but what could she really do for him? Even if she could somehow prevent his execution, and that was far from certain, even if he told the authorities everything, he would never leave here. What exactly did she think she was going to be able to offer him?

    Why had she even come down here? Was it because she honestly thought he would tell her something useful? Or was she looking for some sort of vindication? Some sort of salvation?

    For several long moments she simply stood there. Finally she lowered her eyes slightly and spoke.

    "I'm sorry", she said.

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