|An offer you can't refuse...|
As you walk into the closet, you'll see a very bare large closet. Somehow, a twinsized bed has been brought in here, and made up with black covers, sheets and all. It has one pillow and a thin summer blanket. There is a light, but it's a single bulb with a beaded chain hanging from it, with a small shrunken head as adornment.
Echoes haunt the fevered non-dreams of Lee Truart. Dim recollections of the past, of many pasts, weave themselves indelicately between fresh sensations echoing from more recent history. Predominant among these, pain. As her shadow self's throat expels life's blood in a steady, thick flow, choking final words and final wishes to her one-time friend, weeks hence the effect is shown here.
Lee bucks and thrashes in an extended spasm. Asleep for so long, her body has almost forgotten how to obey commands issued from the damaged director above, the bloody mercenary's mind so dimly sending signals now. A whimper escapes her lips, pathetic in light of her customary manner; in no way fitting the image she has projected this last, short lifetime upon Chronos. But this, to her oldest companions, would seem so much more real and, even, recognisable.
The spasm ends but calls forth a noted change in the immediate atmosphere. Black pinpricks flare in the air, tiny patches of darkness which come followed by larger shockwaves, ripples in the fabric of space-time. The enchantment binding Lee falters momentarily - an adept mage would instantly recognise the signs of a potent dispel, unorthodox though the source assuredly is. The floor of the apartment quakes briefly. This 'spell' is far from that found in dusty books or memorised by dusty minds. This comes from the very fabric of the universe, the very fabric of Twisted.... and further, inspired by another world entirely.
Again, the woman throws her back off the ground, limbs tightening, muscles bunching painfully. A second whimper sounds, yet more uncertain and desperate. For a half-second, her eyes flash open, pupils shrunken and ringed with reddened whites. A shame nobody is present to see this...
Sounds drift into the closet. Voices, footsteps, conversation. The sound of something unlocking. A blinding light and then, should Lee's vision return, the sight of Senior Diablo, the devil from Johnny and Devi's world standing over her with a sickly smile on his lips. In the background stands Devi looking slightly bemused. The devil adresses her, yet keeps his eyes on the former Nekojin. "Yes, see? Excelent. Took your time there didn't you dear girl." He offers a hand to Lee and tries to pull her up to her feet. "Welcome back to the world of the living, no matter how over rated it might be..."
Devi stands behind Diablo, her arms folded over her chest, for once in her usual wear, eyeing Lee with a touch of distain, and the tension of the moment building. "Well, this is a suprize." Leaning forwards, Devi peers more carefully at Lee, awaiting a screaming fit along with some violent thrashing. She's been asleep quite a while, even though the sleep spell was lifted some time ago, perhaps she's even more crazy then before?
Dark dots rage into being again through the flaring light, defiant for all their small obscurity, as he of many names enters. Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, The Devil... or Senior Diablo. Under whatever moniker, the power - good or ill - that accompanies his prescence is inescapable of any world. In any reality. And the almost-living energy working for Lee's dubious benefit responds in kind, a sharp crackle heralding a faint smell of burning as the echoes work overtime...
"SYAAA--!!" As Devi and Devil speak, Lee jerks again, her eyes open AGAIN, and this time they remain so for a trio of heartbeats. Staring wildly into the charged air, she slumps back only when another series of shockwaves erupt about her tense form, dropping her like a rock as the final vestiges of enchantment are dragged into a distant void. "Ka.. ka... huh...." her chest rises and falls hard, the thump of circulation more than audible as the former catgirl's system awakens.
After maybe thirty seconds she seems to register the closet's other occupants, struggling rapidly to right herself with one palm against the bed. The other extends, fingers curling into a vicious, shaking claw which she thrusts first toward Diablo-- then Devi-- and finally back to the big demon. "Who are ya," she murmurs, lips struggling to form the phrase, "..n'... who said I died?"
There's something disconcerting in the way she flexes her fingertips, as if willing something to appear between them.
Senior Diablo hmm's as he watches the display. Fine then, the offer is expired. He retracts his hand and shakes his head slowly with a hint of distaste on his features. "No one said you where dead, although you might as well have been as long as you've slept. Time to wake up. Time to smell the scent of chaos, something you should know quite well. I must say, from my viewpoint of things you've become something of a celebrity, but your past is dead. Your friends have forgotten you, and your allys are fightings amoungst each other." He leans to fill her vision with his grinning face. "It's time to bring things to an end, wouldn't you say?" Standing tall, the devil steps further into the doorway to inspect the stale air of the closet turned room and frown. "My name is many, although my proper, distinguished title is Senior Diablo. Mortals make up so many silly names for me. Call me what you will, but here I am. Now get off the floor and stop wasting our time. We've waited long enough..."
Devi says nothing, just watches Lee with a bit of concern. "Well, I figured she wouldn't remember anything. Ah, well. I'm Devi." She figures that it might not be best to remind her about Devi, and Cale coming to retrive her off Chrono. "Coma girl." Devi doesn't say this as a insult, more like to reinforce Diablo's comments on it. She leans back on her heels, waiting for the bombshell that always comes along with the powerhouses.
So she's slept. Laid in a coma. It's a first, but it barely seems to shock the woman. She frowns, glancing between the curious pair, but says nothing on this subject. She could have been knocked for six by anything, after all- a well-swung blade or fist, a long drop, or something more sinister. It doesn't matter, yet.
What matters is the chaos raging ins her skull. She cannot smell it, but she can feel it pressing upon her, threatening continued consciousness as a series of conflicting thoughts and feelings skirt her struggling brain in constant, speedy loops.
'Kill them both'. 'Go with them'. 'Ask them for more'. 'Go with them'. 'Stand up'. 'Cry'. 'Despair'. 'Lie down'. 'You've been asleep'. 'In a coma'. 'Broken'. 'Damaged'. 'You're fine'. 'Your name is--'
"No!" She snaps the single syllable without great viciousness, more with hurried concern for her own sanity. Name. She had a name, she /knows/ her name, but then does she? Does she really? Her frown deepens, and she lowers her vibrating hand, curling it to a fist and pressing it hard against her breast. "Everything comes to an end," she belatedly notes to Diablo, looking up at him with eyes glimmering, for the first time in many months, to something resembling awareness. And life. "But there's always enough time. Always."
Shaking her head as if to dispel some further enchantment, she starts to rise awkwardly, lithe figure slipping off the bed and standing as if against half her will. She seems distant as she looks about the tiny room, glances down at herself, and then looks over toward Devi. A spark of recognition bothers her, causing a tilt of the head and a tight swallow. "I know ya, right? Sounds familiar..." she coughs, a single further shake of her head seeming to bring with it a small, uncertain smile, "We're friends."
She barely pauses, and turns to Diablo once more. "Where we goin'?"
Senior Diablo scoffs. "Going? WE are not going anywhere. YOU have much to do, however." He turns towards her, crossing his talloned hands behind his back. "Your friend the maniac is past his expirey date. He's out with his neighbor boy looking for answers. The fates want to see you bring that to an end." His tail flicks back and forth behind him as the devil begins to pace around the bed. "You'll find your energies depleted. The child that was made in your image has taken much of that from you. You should deal with that as well." He pauses to look at Devi and narrow his eyes. Suddenly, if she's not in the room fully, the door will slam in her face. Otherwise he'll turn and lower his voice to a near whisper. "I've come to make a deal with you. Fuck fate, child. I have my own plans to fullfill..." Reguardless of Devi, he'll speak and only Lee will hear him.
"I want you to kill them for me. All of them. Every one of the fools that can identifiy you should be brought to an end. I want them in my domain. They've brought things too far and it makes me ill to watch. Do as I say and I'll sever the bond fate has placed upon you. I'll even release the soul of Crux for you. What say you, child...?"
Devi is still standing in the doorframe in her living room and looks rather offended and astonished as her closet slams in her face. Narrowing her eyes, she does nothing aside from press her ear against the wood, choosing not to cheat to hear the conversation, as she has a certain respect for the Satan of her world. That means little though. As they speak, Lee's few words run in her head. 'We're friends.' Does she really have any friends? Cale, possibly not, seeing how as he's pissed that she killed Sun. Johnny? No, he's not been around since Caliga sealed away the abomination. There really isn't anyone else. Oblivion's her boss and nothing more...
'You don't have any friends.'
Lee twitches as Diablo leans in close, his words only adding to the thick molass of her thoughts. Confused; and visibly so, the young woman takes a few moments to refocus her gaze on the lord of demons. Why would anyone make a deal with her? Who is SHE to be locked in such a poky chamber, and /still/ possess any kind of bargaining chip? Abruptly her mouth locks into a snarl, and her eyes blaze anew as she forces herself to focus on Diablo's lowered tone.
So she's to be a killer. It rings familiar, ripping the desperate snarl into a cruel grin. Her muscles may be partially wasted from so long without exercise, her figure notably thinner, lacking the streamlined power it has held for many years, but this sounds like something she can do. Something she remembers.
But who is Crux? Who is this maniac? Who is her mysterious acquaintance, excluded behind the door of the closet?
A growl starts low in Lee's throat, and she starts to back away from the devil, knees coming into forceful contact with the bedframe and dropping her to an undignified seat before she can right her poorly-judged manuever. "Shit," she bites off, lifting a hand to her mouth and nibbling at the overgrown thumbnail, "I dunno what's going on," she glances to the nearest wall, a violent shudder shaking her spine, "Dunno who I am, where I'm goin' next. Killing? Fine. I.. think I c'n do that. But I won't be controlled. Y'got that?"
"If you do... tell me more."
The door will open on it's own as if it wasn't shut properly to begin with. Things like that happen alot in the pressence of Senior Diablo. The devil guestures at the air carelessly. "I enjoy telling people the truth. I've no reason to lie. There really is nothing better than the moment someone thinks they know everything. Fine. You want to know more?" Ghostly images dance in the air before Lee. Devi will see them as well if she cares, but they'll appear one sided and flat. Every viewpoint will bear the same image.
Senior Diablo says, "First of all, there's the maniac, Johnny C. Another iconic image in the depths of hell where I'm allowed to roam. He roamed around with your birth parent and swore to protect you over the milleniums he's lived. Saddly he's done a poor job, wouldn't you say? He's quite unstable and will kill you if he's too confused."
Johnny's image fades and is replaced with the catgirl, Tabitha. "Tabitha was made by Johnny in your original image, but she's taken it upon herself to make herself younger. She now weilds his weapons and has both your energies and his memories, making her quite a threat to deal with. I belive several here want to see her dead and the balance of power would be severly changed if she's killed by anyone but you."
Tabitha flickers away and is replaced with Cale, in a male form this time. "The Dragonmaster Cale Charis. Quite powerful, and wouldn't stop to help you at the expense of anyone around. If you have plans, he'll find a way to stop them..."
Sun appears now instead of Cale. She looks like a zombie compared to any remaining memories in Lee's head. "...and Sun. She's full of lies. Devi will help you kill her if you ask. Anything else I'm sure this young assasin here behind me will be happy to fill you in about. Your on a world called Twisted, which you are as connected to as everyone else seems to be to you." The images vanish and Senior Diablo rubs his hands together in front of him. "Anything else you with to know? The secrets of your origins perhaps? Maybe the only way to kill a god? Perhaps you only need to know where to get the best burrito. All of these answers are within my grasp..."
Devi does indeed watch Diablo's images flicker by, her face turning to into a blank look, that shows no emotion as Johnny goes by, and one of her eyebrows rises at the comments about Cale. Well, she won't help with that one, yet. Once she decides how Cale feels about her murdering Sun, she'll decide on him. And when Sun is mentioned, Devi grins, dark and compelling. Yes, they kinda had a truce, but it still doesn't stop her from fucking with Sun in general. Hmm, maybe evn Tsuki can be drug into this one, and she can fulfill her promise to Caliga. Time will tell. She questions nothing, nor comments, choosing to let Diablo do his thing. But the burrito tempts her to ask....
Everything? Quite the opposite. Lee feels she knows nothing, and what little she knows she will not /allow/ herself to know. Thoughts of action and inaction abound, some options rearing their head to shift memories of feeling, of sensation. In many ways it feels as though more than one being speaks through the mists of the past. Conflicting interpretations of events struggle alongside recalled thoughts that cannot belong to the same person... and indeed, the quandaries continue as Diablo begins his show.
The first image sends a jolt through the bedraggled mercenary, leather of her bodice creaking as she leaps an inch off the bed and then pushes herself backward. "Him.. I know him," she murmurs, glancing toward Devi's location and then looking down at herself, at the blood on her armour. She remembers bleeding like a stuck pig, remembers /dying/ at this dark man's hand. The memory goes unsuppressed for a moment, and her eyes widen only to have the display shift and change, distracting the addled woman.
This Tabitha. This.. catgirl. The tail is focused upon first, and then the face; horribly familiar eyes, an expression at once known and alien. "What-" the woman begins to speak, and stops. She does not want to know what an 'original image' entails, how she has changed for better or worse. She has yet to even see a mirror and recall her own visage. Tabitha, for the moment, is her image of herself.
She sees that self die, again, a split-second portrait of destruction in her mind.
The others are as nothing to this, Cale and Sun - their great importance overlooked - flash past without notable incident. The effect on Lee's psyche is more pronounced, and it may be that both hands stray fractionally upward toward her neck. This may mean nothing, it may be imagined. Either way, her memory does not stir anything shocking to the forefront. As if overloaded, she simply gives a numb nod and settles back, sliding both arms behind her for support.
Prone, and breathing deeply as some concession to this, she pauses for close to a full minute, allowing the mental mud to squelch, swirl and settle. "Yeah," she speaks at last, the ghost of a smirk playing upon her face, "I wanna know a few more things. Who am I? Why'm I so important? And why can't /you/ do this? What's the point of askin' someone who can't look after herself well enough to stay /conscious, let alone wield any kinda power?"
"And," she adds, head cocking to one side, "What power have I had, an' why is it lost now?"
Senior Diablo's smile grows wider as the girl continues to ask questions. Good, he thinks, she's taken the bait. "You where born on another world as Samantha Lee Bogard who grew up a mercenary in the absence of your parents. You where used by a goddess to participate in a war with a demon who had likewise claimed the maniac as his own. You died, and the demon used your body to strike against poor disgruntled Johnny filling him with the pain and regret of killing you without realising he'd done no such thing. You where both expelled from that world like so much feces from a toilet and your soul was split in two. You helped hold a world called Chronos together while Johnny sat and waited for you not knowing you where already there. Your body manefested itself in an amnesiactic human whose form you hold now, named Lee after so much irony. Lee being the name of one of the more respected Queens of the kingdom. You went on to again be a mercenary until you where corrupted. The corruption grew inside you until Cale and this..." He glances at Devi and frowns again. "...person, came to 'rescue' you, bringing you to Twisted and placing a spell on you to sleep." Letting out a deep breath he crosses his arms at his chest and turns back to Devi again. "Bring me a glass of wine, yes? This may take awhile longer..."
Devi sits back, (having moved and camped out in her favorite reclining chair), listening to Diablo rant about Lee's history, and making a ashamed sound with her tounge as her refers to her with a frown. As she hears his wine request, she sighs, thinking to herself *He's Satan, at least keep him on your good side, get the fucker a glass of wine. Red, she assumes.* Eyeing him, she gets up, the patter of her feet muted slightly by the carpet on the floor. She steps into the kitchen and out of sight, levitating so as to reach her wine glasses, put up on the top shelf. The glasses themselves are interesting, as the glass has been warped and carved in heat to look something like, well, this :http://www.questionsleep.com/gallery/wallofmemory.jpg . After she retrives the glass, she digs in her fridge and pulls the last of her good wine out, pouting slightly as she pops the cork out, tossing it away and tilting the bottle, her head along with it. Watching as the wine flows like blood, she's taken back for just a moment to the instant she cut Sun's throat. Her red eyes flutter as she emptys the bottle, disregarding the rememberance for a later time. Shifting on her feet, she grabs the stem of the glass carefully with one plae, slender hand and moves silently back into the Living Room. She says nothing, merely holds Diablo's cup out to his right, so that he can grab it, thinking to herself *You are SO lucky you are Satan. Lemme tell ya...*
Lee listens to the elaborate, befuddling discourse without further reaction, at least outwardly. There's only a limited number of ways in which a person can express shock, surprise or terror; and she feels, somehow, that she has expressed in all of these ways before. Many, many times. Vowing to suppress emotional outrush so far as is possible, vowing to beat down whatever concerns and troubles her, the ex-catgirl, ex-mercenary, now prospective Devil's Handmaiden, simply keeps her ears open and her mouth shut.
...it's interesting, what he tells her. Ridiculous, and yet familiar to the warring voices within her. Each seems to still for a moment as its time in the spotlight comes, and in so doing each becomes more known to Truart, more familiar. To Truart, to Li-Bogard, and even - in part - to the vestiges of Cassandra that hold her together. The names come too, flashing in from her past as Satan, Lucifer, Diablo spins his tale. Who but he could inspire this so easily?
If easy is the correct word. As the voices, the personas experience their five minutes of fame and are left behind, they rise up in rage and frustration. Why can they not dominate now? Why have they been left behind? Why? Why? WHY?
"Enough," Lee pipes up as Devi enters, some time after Diablo's request has been delivered, "Enough now. I know who I am... no, wait," she smiles darkly, and begins to stand, pushing herself to feet that grasp the ground a little more certainly now. Peering up at the much larger demon, she shakes her head and allows the smile to become a grin, "I know who I've /been/. An' damn if it don't hurt like a thousand hells. I get it though, get why ya need me. Yer the devil. Yer the biggest bastard outta the lot of 'em... irony, right? Poetic injustice for those that stand a chance at messin' up your plans? Your schemes?"
She thrusts out her arms to either side in a vast shrug that barely misses the close walls. "A scheme within a scheme within a masterplan, evil at it's dubious best. Well, Senior Diablo, if ya want me, you c'n get me. I just want one thing." The act drops, her lower lip quivers before she can prevent the rising emotion.
But she renews the grin, and plants a fist to her breast, beating twice against her heart. "Kill the pain. Silence it. I'm done, I want out. I don't remember everything, but I reckon I feel enough. S'too much for one person to take, an' I don't wanna take it."
Her other hand lifts, curled to welcome a warrior's grip with the most purely evil being of them all. "Deal, or no deal?"
Senior Diablo's smile doesn't fade as the girl speaks. But when she makes his proposal he can't help it anymore. Loud and insulting comes his response in the form of a laugh. A long laugh. The kind of laugh that only comes out of those with egos larger than some states. "Kill the pain? Kill the very emotion that drives mortals? HAH! No, I think not. I've made my proposal and you'll go along with it because the voices inside you demand it. You will do as I've said because you have to. Your compelled to. I don't need to make bargins with you. You'll do as I've said because if you don't that very pain you wish to see end will grow with each face from your collected past you encounter!"
Senior Diablo makes his way towards the bed, pushing her hand away and getting right in her face. "Let me make this perfectly clear. I don't need to make deals with those I own. You once belonged to Cassandra and Benedict, and as much as I hate used goods, you belong to me now. Do as I say and you and Crux can go free. That is all the leway I'll give to you. Enjoy your time on Twisted..." Laughing he vanishes in an explosion of smoke. Strange, although he didn't take the glass of wine from Devi there's nothing in it. What a rude Devil he is...
Devi frowns and sits back down, studying the glass in her hands. Suddenly her eyes glaze over as she reaches out to examain things that she can see, leaving Lee to her own devices for a while.