Apr. 25th, 2012

thulcandran: (Default)
This is, as the title suggests, a random selection from a work in progress. I've had jack shit in inspiration lately. I'm struggling with depression (as the subtitle suggests, I am schizophrenic-bipolar, but suddenly things went boom into the depths), and work is absurdly stressful, and real life is basically kicking my ass. I'm still trying to write. Most of it just never makes it A) onto the typed page, or B) out of my head. Which sucks. So I'll try to pick this back up, and in the meantime, have a piece of story.

As the voice behind him had finished its list, the man had straightened, as if taken by surprise; a moment later, he turned sharply, and with surprising speed for his build, closed in on Jack. He stared, terrifyingly fierce, at the figure behind him. "Leon and Davan both had a hand on this?"

Aside from momentarily clenching around his shoulder, Jack's captor made no sign of fear. Jack was somewhat impressed - if he'd had control of his muscles, he would've been backpedaling with everything he'd got.

"And Xerxes, as I said, and as he'll tell you if he ever actually walks all the way over here. What else would you have expected, Erik?"

Erik's eyes flashed, and he gestured at Jack. "Your thoughts on the key aside, does this look like a Baron, or one of the Powers? Do you really have no concern for what Davan's work, combined with Leon's, could do to a mortal caught in the crossfires?"

Jack felt Caun shrug. "I think they had enough people looking over their shoulders to keep them in line - as do we," he finished, pointing to something off to the left. Before the man could respond, the newcomers were on them, talking, asking questions, pointing in his direction, and generally causing a ruckus. After a moment, one figure separated himself from the group and walked towards him; he waved Caun towards the crowd, and the creature released its iron grip on Jack's shoulder and walked away. It looked something like a lizard, an elf, and a man, crammed into one body, though the result was less disturbing than it might have been.

The man who approached then could only have been Xerxes, Jack realized. He looked to be about sixty. His skin was leathery and wrinkled, his hair white, and his eyes were an electric blue. His beard was trimmed neatly an inch or two below the chin, and his manner denoted a great deal of power. Rather at odds with the rest of his impression, he wore a loose collared shirt and pants - and, all garments being askew, appeared to have dressed in some haste.

He reached up towards Jack's face, an unsettling glow around his hand. After a moment, he released the glow, and nodded to Jack. "You are unsilenced," he said, reaching for a flask clipped to his belt. "I sense no power in you; you understand, our preparations had to be very thorough. We all of us have enemies, in your world." After a swallow from the flask, the glow swirled once more around his hands, and Jack felt his knees buckle.

A pair of strong hands caught him around the armpits and held him up for a moment, until his legs felt solid enough to stand again. "It can take a little time for control of the nervous system to return," Erik said, behind him. "Are you alright?"

Jack shifted his weight a bit, experimentally, and nodded. "I-- yeah. Yeah, thanks."

The man gave his shoulder an encouraging grip (from which he nearly fainted) and walked around, to where the rest of the small crowd stood. Caun glanced at him and said something sarcastic-looking, and he grinned and responded.

"Are you quite awake?" Jack snapped to, and realized that the wizard standing across from him was giving him a rather caustic glare.

"Ah - yes. Sorry. Yeah." He didn't seem to be able to reach any of his usual reserves of sarcasm.

"Well, excellent. Shall we continue, then?" Clearly, no such affliction pursued the wizard. "You arrived here with a key in your hand that is of great interest to us; raise your hand, please, and show it to me."

Jack blinked - briefly, in the back of his mind, he remembered what would happen to him if this key did not arrive safe and sound in his boss's hands by the morning. Something told him, though, that the possibilities of that ever happening had been all but erased. He sighed, and held up his right fist; it took a moment to open, having been clenched shut, and the blood on the key dried.

Xerxes looked at it for a long moment; Jack realized very quickly that he was seeing more than the little metal piece he had pinched from the lamp. After he'd apparently learned all he needed, he looked back up at Jack. "How did you come by this key? How did you know to use it - and how did it bring you here?"

Jack opened his mouth, blinked, and stammered a few nonsense syllables. The wizard sighed and rubbed one hand over his eyes. "You can answer them one at a time," he explained, in a rather overly patient voice. Jack merely nodded.

"The lamp, it was a dinner, and I set the fire," he said finally, after thinking a long moment. Xerxes blinked at him. "Um. Sorry. I took the job, the slippery - lamp in the not on fire, all the cops and the gates. Key in study not found, last found, my skin all - all hung, dead."

Xerxes sighed, looked back at the key for a moment, and grimaced. "Okay," he said. "We'll leave that question off for now. How did you know to use it?"

Jack shook his head. "I no, it shadow. Cops, shouting, gates, shadow and I ran."

Frowning, Xerxes looked closely at him. "Do you know what you're saying?"

"No! It, things, talk... can't."

After a long moment, the wizard snarled something, stooped down to the ground, and drew a hand across the ground in a slitting motion. "Come here," he said, taking a step back.

Jack took a hesitant step forward, and the whole world around him seemed to explode for a long, long moment - sounds, music, notes stretched on like taffy, birds warbling like thunder, and the light of a thousand thousand colors pierced his eyes. He clapped his hands over his ears, and everything stopped.

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