|Testing a Theory|
You find yourself standing amidst the center of Truce Village circa 1004 AD. From here the fountain looks old and respective, untouched from how it looked when it was first erected decades before. A few antique shops line the western side of the street while to the east a view of the water can be seen between the houses that have been built on the cliff's edge. For the most part it seems peaceful, and finding someone lounging about the side of the fountain is not uncommon...
The shadows above the Coffee House shift abruptly. Suddenly, Johnny appears sitting on the edge of the roof looking down gleefully. With a quiet chuckle he drops down to the ground and goes quickly over to Meln, pulling out a small ring and checking it's glow. With a shrug he pockets it again and blinks, "What'cha dooooin'?" Someone's clearly in a strange mood today.
In the shadows of the alley alongside the coffee house, a freshly flayed corpse hovers in front of Meln, as she slowly dissects it with a small knife. After a moment, she looks up, and seeing Johnny, smiles a little. "Mister Johnny. I have not seen you for some time. How have you been?"
Johnny raises an eyebrow after getting a better look at the corpse, "I've been... busy." With a slight tilt of his head he leans closer and peers into the face of the body, or what's left of it. "Anyone we know, or did you find him this way?" Letting a slow smirk spread over his features, he chuckles quietly.
Meln laughs gently, and shakes her head. "No one I know. I picked him up from inside the shop of a butcher." She gestures a little, and the blood slides off her hands, sleeves, and knife, and slips onto the ground into the steadily growing puddle. "What have you been busy with? I hope not destroying the world?"
Johnny shrugs slightly, "This world doesn't intrest me anymore..." Chuckling again he changes the subject, "I've actualy found out a new trick and I needed a test subject. I figured since your always studying..." As he speaks he glances at the corpse again and frowns, "...things, you'd maybe be intrested."
"Oh, well that's always good..." Meln sheathes her knife, and tucks it back into her robe. "A new trick? How very interesting, yes..." Seeing Johnny's frown, she gestures again, and a coffin made of ice appears, shuts around the corpse, and then fades back out of sight. "I can not say I would neccessarily make the best test subject... Exactly what trick?"
Johnny blinks as the body vanishes, "Huh? Oh... Oh! Yeah, something weird about this place. If I take an object into the shadows and move it, something appears and replaces it. I wanna try it on a person! Could be fun, or... you could cease to exist and be replaced with someone else." With an uncarrying shrug he continues, "Either way, it should be intresting..."
"That *does* sound interesting. I could fire up a clone for you if you wish, but it would take a few minutes. I have not needed one in a while." Meln smiles a little, and makes a few more gestures. Whirring sounds begin to start up in the distance.
Johnny raises an eyebrow, "Well, that would defeat the purpose wouldn't it? It'd um... contaminate the test results." Nodding in satisfaction of his own argument he grins again, "C'mon, this shouldn't hurt at all." oO(Well, me at least...)
Meln stares for a long moment, then nods. "...That is an excellent point. For the sake of science." She gestures a few more times, a white haze building up in front of her eyes, and then walks over towards Johnny. "It is my hope that my observation will not mess up matters?"
Johnny grins mischivously, "Oh no. Infact, it should help more than anything." His body quickly grows black, his eyes a bright white. Turning his palm up towards Meln in a familar guesture for her hand... "Trust me, this should be quite entertaining."
Meln gives Johnny her hand. "I was more hoping for illuminating. But one gets what one can." She glances out out across the street cursorily(One last time?), then looks back to him.
The darkness surrounding Johnny begins to flow over Meln's flesh as if trying to consume her. The shadows are extremly cold to the touch, like living ice. Assuming she doesn't let go of his hand it would soon encase her like a coccon. Breathing and sight would be no diffrent than normal, but a feeling of complete dispair would begin to fill her. Chuckling darkly he begins to drop down into his shadow, taking the traveler with him...
Meln merely observes the shadows surrounding her, and lowers her head as despair enters her heart. Tears roll down her cheeks, and she stares at the approaching ground until the darkness covers her eyes. "So this is death..."
Cale erupts into being from a black mist that literally shoots up from the ground itself, coalesing out into a large mass of black cloak. The -elf's- hand reaches out towards the sinking Meln, stopping just short of actually touching the inky blackness, a long black staff appears in his hand, which he'll then attempt to slid down underneath Meln's arm in order to yank on her, a large, large smirk plays over his lips, "Yes well, greetings. I am afraid this is -my- wife, yes?" He says next, the black mist slowly flowing away from his body to be replaced by a soft blackish aura of magic, both of his blue eyes seem to be just a bit more...blue than normal, as if reflecting light that doesn't exist.
Meln blinks, and looks up to the approaching elf, then her eyes with something as he tries to pull her away. "...Cale..." Not hope, of course, she's doomed at this point. But, does this mean that Cale is becoming closer to the Path of a Hero?
Johnny blinks as well as suddenly Meln begins to pull away from him. Looking toards Cale his eyes narrow and he immediatly releases the girl and leaps a few steps away, drawing his daggers in the process. "What the fuck do you want this time? We where trying an experiment!!" The darkness around Meln should immedatly begin to fade, taking their strange side effects with them. "Besides, not like this world would suffer if she where replaced with someone else! It'd just mean one less corpse to clean up after..."
Cale's smirk doesn't go anywhere. A hero? No, he would never consider himself such, then again, he doesn't consider the definition of Hero the same way others do. Once Meln is free the black staff fades from his hand into a mist, disappearing all together within the murky depths. He wasn't sure what the blackness around Meln was, which means you don't touch it. "Hmmm hmmm hmm...I desire whatever I desire, and I keep most of my thoughts to myself, yes?" He then looks to Meln as the blackness begins to flow away from her, his left ear twitching rapidly, creating a slight buzzing sounding from its speed, "Now, I wonder if perhaps you would explain your carlessness, yes? I had thought more of you, child."
"That is incorrect, Mister Johnny. It would simply be a different corpse." Meln slowly sits up, and looks up at Cale, smiling a little shakily. "But Mister Johnny is correct otherwise. It is an experiment. What true follower of knowledge would not sacrifice her life for the furthering of that goal?"
Johnny smirks in response to his refrencing her 'experiments' having been lost to the moment. "Yeah! She's obligated to die if that would be the outcome! You should except it and let us get this over with..." Although his posture relaxes, he continues to hold his weapons tightly. He doesn't trust Cale after last time. Things that could kill you should never be taken lightly...
Cale pays no heed to Johnny one way or the other, his attention, at least on the surface, is all focused upon Meln. "Indeed. How foolish, yes? It is far better to allow oneself to die in gaining knowledge so that you cannot pass it on, then have someone else conduct such a test for you in order that you might pass on the results to others, hmm hmm hmm..." His right ear twitches and he looks towards Johnny finally, "...yes well, it would seem I came too early, next time I shall allow such...tests...to continue without my hindrance." He smirks his way back over towards Meln, "Go and die then, yes?"
Meln thinks this over for a moment. "You have a point. I am the foremost source of knowledge in this age. Killing myself for research would be a little unwise." She glances down at her hands, and smiles a little. "...Thank you." After a few seconds, she shakes her head a little, and looks over to Johnny. "Although I do still wish to help with this research. I have several people I have found to be unneccessary in this world. Would you like to use one of them?"
Johnny frowns a bit disapointedly at the offer, "No, no... that's fine. I'll find someone else deserving on my own..." With a notible sigh he starts to turn and walk away seemingly ready to drop the conversation at that.
Cale smirks towards Meln and reaches out a hand to pat her head once condescendingly, "Yes well, one should think things through more, hmm hmm hmm...however, realize saving you was done simply because you are my only wife here at the moment, yes? I must always have at least one." He folds his arms within the depths of his sleeves as a black mist begins to rise up around him, he looks towards the Truce Inn, wondering if perhaps, since he's here, he should go get himself plastered. It would pass the time afterall...
"...I see. Good luck with that." Meln sketches a few lines of force in the air, attempting to attach them to Johnny as a surveillance device. That finished, she turns back to Cale, frowning a little. "I must admit I am a little disappointed. Although I appreciate your honesty... Why is that? Do you die if you do not have a wife or something of that kind? Or is it merely a matter of pride?"
Johnny stops in his tracks at the end of the alley and laughs at the conversation he's been listening in to. "Oh, well... that explains alot don't it? GET MARRIED, or else!!" Chuckling he leans against a wall and glances back, "Maybe he's in a contest for a trip to some crappy resort..."
Cale lets the black mist hover about his being, simply obscuring pieces of him at a time rather than consuming his form wholly, since Meln continues to speak with him. Truly, he has nothing better to do on this night, except search for a new wife, but there are so few good prospects in this dimension. "An interesting question, yes? Perhaps I find it amusing to have others bound to me in some way. Or, mayhaps it is that I desire to have a connection to the dimension I reside in." His head tilts to the side, his left ear twitching, "Or perhaps it is to teach others the idiocy of their current ways, yes?" His smirk grows, "Then again, I may be simply adopting principles on whims with no true desire for one thing or another." He of course, doesn't respond to Johnny, much less look towards him.
"I have a suspicion that Cale would only be in a contest for a fairly good resort. But it is otherwise a fairly interesting theory." Meln smiles up at Cale calmly. "It is too bad that it is not the case that no wives would kill you. Or that you will not tell me if it is. Then I could threaten to kill myself if you tried to marry someone or disarm my surveillance devices, or acted against my whims." She climbs to her feet, and looks over to his left ear curiously. "But I suspect that you are not quite as diffident as you claim. Your ear was twitching like crazy."
Johnny continues to lean against the wall and spy, if nothing else for the hope that it'd annoy Cale to have him shouting out random bits of sarcasm from several feet away.
Cale narrows his eyes slightly and his ears fold back, "Yes well, perhaps I have lied about everything then and am not to be trusted. It is just as well." He shifts his blue eyes towards the Truce Inn once more, then back towards Meln, the mist around him fades away and he steps over closer to her, leaning his head down towards her own, "Apart from Althena herself, you are the only one who has glimpsed a piece of my truth, yes?" He smirks, his eyes staring towards Meln, "I wonder if perhaps you shall ever gather up every piece and complete the puzzle." He leans in closer, as if to kiss her, then straightens back up, turning his head towards Johnny, "Yes well, if I had known there was consent, I would have not interferred. However, take care in who you trifle with, yes? One never knows if a dragon lurks beneath the surface, hmmm hmm hmmm!"
Meln blinks, then blushes a little as Cale leans in, fidgeting, then scratches her head as he turns to Johnny instead. She then laughs a little, shaking her head. "Solving the puzzle would be easy. I would simply have to immobilize you and enter your mind until I learned everything neccessary. But such brute-force methods seem somehow a little inelegant. Would you not agree?" She glances over to Johnny, then back to Cale. "...It seems you are not much of one to follow your own advice."
Johnny glances at his daggers and frowns as they stop absorbing any kind of energy from the conversation and resheathes them. Missing Meln's last comment he folds his arms behind his back he shrugs and yawns, "Life's too dull to play it safe..."
Cale smirks at Johnny and looks back towards Meln. "Hmmm hmmm hmmm...elegance should in no way impede one's desires. If, perhaps, I had decided to build a castle, would I waste time in making sure the magic composed of it would be beautiful and graceful in its crafting? Indeed not, I would simply bend the raw magic into a cacophony of chaos and forge the castle as I deemed neccessary, yes?" His left ear twitches slightly as the black mist once again begins to flow about his being, "Yes well, mayhaps I do not follow my own advice because I haven't learned from my own mistake of it yet."
"Life is never dull if there is something to learn. Perhaps it is simply the matter of my own weak gift. I tend to think using more force than neccessary a little unrefined." Meln smiles calmly. "But if that is the way you feel..." She draws a circle. After a few seconds, a small circular portal appears in front of Cale, spraying nonmagical pressurized sleeping gas towards him.
Johnny hears the sound of the presurized gas being released and glances over in confusion. As the image of the portal registers in his mind he draws his daggers again, perhaps things where finaly going to be getting intresting. Instead of moving he stands his ground and watches, unsure of Meln's intent or target...
Cale looks towards Meln and watches the circle get traced and the few seconds it takes for the portal to appear. Gas in the face. His eyes narrow down and his ears fold back. "How amusing, yes? I.." He closes his eyes, "Hmmm hmm hmm..." He laughs, perhaps to himself, perhaps at the clever use of nonmagic items with magic, nevertheless, he falls backwards as the black mist around him surges about his form and then fades away, along with him as well, using his last piece of conciousness to keep him from, well, being unconcious in the street as it were. Fwoosh.
"I would follow him. But he will be going somewhere I can not break into in the time it takes for him to awaken. If I am not much mistaken..." Meln shakes her head a little, then smiles. "A waste of a perfectly good technique..." She glances over to Johnny, blinking. "Why the daggers?"
Johnny shrugs at Meln's question, "Why not?" With a sly grin he resheaths them and walks slowly towards her once more. "They absorb things. Anger, magic, negativity... feeds it into me. Didn't you ever wonder how I do the things I do?" With a quick laugh he shrugs, "I was hoping for a free meal I guess... If I can't sleep I gotta do something..."
"I see. I am afraid most of those feelings no longer belong to me. They are not constructive in most circumstances." Meln pauses after a moment, then her smile widens a little. "I do not suppose you can tell exactly what sort of emotions you are absorbing...?"
Johnny raises an eyebrow and shrugs, "Dunno exactly. The way it was put to me, I absorb what humanity casts off. Some kinda emotional sewage created by negative energies. Used to make me all depressed and moody, but I've gotten used to it..." Peering at Meln a bit closer he tilts his head to the side, "Why do you ask?"
Meln smiles. "Simple. If your daggers absorb the cast-off emotional matrixes of others... All one would have to do is resynthesize and broaden the dagger's input levels, put on a few re-interpretation devices, and in theory, you could read emotions. Which would greatly help me in a matter I am considering."
Johnny blinks silently and stares a moment before responding, "No, um... actualy -I- absorb it. The daggers just magnify it. A demon gave me them to try to get me to serve him. That's when I started turning all black and spooky." Raising his hands he flexes his fingers in a childish way of emphasis, even going so far as to mouth 'Oooooh' after he finished speaking. Grinning he pushes his bangs out of his eyes and tries to act seriously again, "Um, what is it you need to read emotions for?"
Meln closes her eyes and smiles. "So I can see what lies behind Precious Cale's mask of uncaring. It would be most illuminating. But in that case we would ismply have to alter the intake of your emotional matrix device." She opens her eyes again. "Am I not correct?"
Johnny sweatdrops, "I really don't think that'd be a very good idea." Tapping on his forehead with a free hand he continues, "There's some nasty stuff in there and I'd rather not wake it up trying to tamper with my wastelock." Dropping his hand to his side he draws one dagger and begins to habbitualy twirl it off to the side, "Wouldn't an easier way to do it be to just get into his dreams and plant something? Dream hopping takes work, but it's not hard when you get used to it..."
"I am afraid I am not familiar with how one dream-hops. It is one of the several things that my theory of magic simply fails to entire encompass as of yet." Meln sketches a few lines in the air distractedly. "I do not suppose you have a book on it? Or some other method to show me the mean through which it works?"
Johnny shrugs, "Um... dunno. Just one of those things I picked up along the way. They used to practice it back in Zeal all the time. Part of the reasons all of them where constantly sleeping. I used to drop in every now and then and show someone a statue or building or something and then sit back and chuckle as they thought it was original." Grinning he adds, "Helped pass the time. Basicly you gotta put yourself in a trance. Um... what's it called? Projection? You project yourself into a body and enter someone's mind while they sleep. You can't really do much but watch their dreams, but if your careful about it you can take control of the dream. The downside of course is if they wake up too early you get trapped there until they fall asleep again..."
"Ahh. A trance... Well in purely mechanical terms it is a re-alignment of the perspective axis. Along with what that usually entails..." Meln begins to wander off, making various small sketches in the air with a forefinger. "So if we can add the emotional matrix in as a subfactor... rework the obligitory alignment axis by the means of the postindustrial work force..." She heads further away, enthralled once again in one of her favorite activities.
Johnny watches her walk off with a slight feeling of worry, but eh... not like he can sleep anymore anyways. With a shrug his form grows black and he vanishes into the shadow of the building. He'll have to come back and check on her again soon...