Sunday, December 1, 2013

Arrival: Meanderings

So there Nico is, standing on fuel-soaked sand and trying to keep the attention of a big bad earth-bending demon in human form. To begin with, she pretended to have the protection of a much more powerful demon - Maksim Rukov - and drew on the information from the diary and the comic book, hoping the thing had drawn itself as 'Smiling Jack'. It turned out her assumptions were correct - though the Stranger seemed upset and appalled that Maksim could have claws, horns and a fixed smile as the Stranger had 'solved that'. He was so upset by the idea that he collapsed a nearby building.

She remarked that she couldn't explain the whys and wherefores of his appendages, only that she had witnessed them. When he asked her for his 'friends' location, she tried shooting at him again but since the safety was mysteriously on again, she simply threw her gun down and put her silver sword to her own throat. If he rushed her, the secret would die with her.

She gave him an ultimatum. Give her friends until dawn to get away and she would tell him.

The Stranger seemed confused by the ultimatum. It seemed rather pointless to him - not to mention boring - to wait for dawn. Besides which, he could turn the sword to rubber before she could cut herself. So she grabbed out a lighter and threatened to burn herself alive.

The Stranger countered by saying that not only would that be a rough way to die but that he could simply smother the flames by controlling the dirt around her.

Things progressed from there with increasingly harebrained schemes until she ... claimed that she, herself, was Maksim Rukov. He had seemed to be implying that she might have been when he asked her about her food preferences ("Do you like chocolate or energy drinks?") among other things. She 'proved' it by reaching into her pack to pull out the Resident Evil energy drink, drinking it with relish.

When he asked why she'd lied, she claimed that it was to see what he was really like. He released her from the sand trap, took her through a doorway and teleported her into his library where he offered her tea. She tried to say as little as possible in order to avoid giving herself away but he seemed way too wrapped up in the idea that she really was 'Shaitan' to get upset.

He told her that his last host - the principal - had been killed by a falling girder. He'd survived a fair amount of time, helped others escape the school (she correctly guessed that he'd been the one to create those gripping hands out of the walls) yet died from something so simple. He also discussed the creature clique that Rukov had led. Tara was dead. Billy had fled into the Hedge. Viriel had accepted the 'offer' to become an embodied demon rather than remain an insubstantial fallen angel in a host and had subsequently been destroyed. Timothy was a sheriff somewhere. Zaphriel had been upset by his truck's destruction but was otherwise still around. The Stranger was surprised that Haruta hadn't chosen to be embodied.

Nico asked him to keep her identity a secret (which seemed the right thing to say considering Maksim Rukov killed a vampire gang due to the possibility of his identity being revealed) and apologised that she had things to do. She said she would visit again soon.

The Stranger seemed a little distractable by this point and agreed to let her go.

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