Friday, June 7, 2013

Charles Fiable: Aces High

((Damn it Iron Maiden, you will be a title one way or another!))

River and Charles were taken from their cells and frogmarched down the hall. She tried to speak to him and the guards didn't stop her, but he kept his head down and his mouth shut. They were both shackled and bound and as they reached a junction, Charles looked up, as they were being separated. He mouthed one word that looked like 'sorry' to her and then was out of sight before she could ask what he meant. She was pushed into a dinky little room with a pile of machinery on the floor. She frowned at it, then back at Mevolent's man. "What's all this?"
"No clue," the man responded with a shrug. "They said you would know what to do with it."
"Well I don't."
The man shrugged. "If you haven't done anything when someone comes back for you, it's your arse on the line."
River tried to object, but the man left her there. She turned to the pile of cogs and wheels and wires and random bits of sheet metal, and tried to conjure up some idea of what to do with it. Slowly, a memory formed, of dark-skinned hands working away at something. Did Isaac show her how to make whatever this was once? She knelt down and started working two pieces together, mildly surprised when she found she did know what she was doing. Even more so half an hour later when she found she had no second thoughts about building this for them, and still no clue what it actually did. Someone came in for her, a woman this time, and whistled in approval. "Very nice."
"Could be complete now if I didn't have the shackles on while working."
"Nu-uh, big no. It might be that we don't quite understand your sort, but we are not risking that."
"Risking what? A daring daylight escape? I'm a science-magic user, honey, what would I do, cure your colds? I'm not crazy, you know."
The woman narrowed her eyes. "You really mean that?"
"Are you stupid? I mean what I said."
"So you're are that River Tempest girl, right?"
"Uh, I famous around here or something?"
"Brazilian, married to one of the American lot?" River nodded. "The Remnant girl?"
"What? No! I'm not a Remnant. Do I look anything like a Remnant?"
The woman shrugged. "You have black lips, but not veins. I'll give you that."
River looked shocked. "I need a mirror."
"Now you've calmed down, it's fading..."
"I'm not freaking calm!"
The black veins began to spread. River was, admittedly, a normally anti-anger girl. She never got angry, and when she did, people got really freaked out. She had told Memphis off when they'd first met for stepping into the road without looking. He had stared at her and later told her it was attraction. She now had doubts about that. Perhaps that day she had looked like a Remnant.
"Easy, quit hyperventilating." The woman got out a compact mirror and showed her her face, which did indeed appear to have blackening veins visible.
"That's impossible. How could I be...and not know...?"
She shrugged. "Someone found out. I don't know anything about you other than that you have that thing in you."
"That's why Charlie refused to look at me on the way here...I'd gotten angry when they'd forced me out the cell...they hurt him so I got angry and he must have seen the Remnant...but I never get angry, so no-one knows, and how...? Nobody told me..."
"You just said nobody knows. Maybe nobody who would be willing to point it out knew."
River hugged herself. "This has got to be some kind of ridiculous dream or prank or something."
"Think what you will." She grabbed River's arms and marched her back out, back towards the cell, and her thoughts went a little crazy. She had hurt friends and family before by simply hugging them or grabbing them suddenly. They always commended her for being stronger than she looked and whatnot. She sometimes had memories that didn't fit. Memories that almost didn't belong to her, such as a memory of being in Germany, fighting. She was pretty sure this was the first time she'd left the American continents though. She was thrown into the cell and lay there, thinking. Charles wasn't back yet, but he wouldn't want to spend time with her anyway now.

At the same time

Charles mouthed two words to her before they were turned so they could no longer see one another. 'I'm Sorry'. There was something to it. A code he used with Jasmin and the others when they'd been alive. 'I'm Sorry' was a way of saying to play along if there was something to play along with. If not, it was a way of saying someone was left behind and they were going to go help them. That was the meaning he meant. 'Hope your nose doesn't fall off' means they have a plan, and he'd snuck that into a conversation earlier. At the same time, he meant just what he said. He was sorry. He didn't think he could get out of there. He didn't think he could get them both out of there. Plus, with what she was...

He was doing his best to put as little weight on his left ankle as possible, but the person pushing him was moving at a faster pace than he was, so it was decidedly difficult. He was shoved harshly against a wall when they entered a little room clearly used for torture. "Okay, where's your little friend?"
"I was going to ask you the same question." The small man spat back.
A small knife traced down his cheek and he suppressed a shudder.
"Listen, Frenchie, we were lucky to find a traveller like him. He's directly pissed off a high up woman working with us."
"I don't care."
"He deserves everything he got."
He just about managed to stop himself from kicking the man interrogating him.
"Oh well. You're a detective, right?"
"I am."
"Close friend of the current Grand Mage's...right?"
Charles said nothing, just glared intensely.
"I'll take that as a yes. And you didn't see the knife approaching your cheek, that much was obvious, so I think I've discovered a blind side."
"Impaired, not blind."
"My apologies. Of course, as you're best friends, it might be a bit tricky to weed information out of you."
"Good, not best."
"Oh. Had a fight recently?"
"Not recently, no."
"Well, let's start, shall we? Where does Jasmin Orage live?"
"Where in France?"
"In the middley bit."
"Where? Be specific!"
"In Bourges, in a house with white curtains and walls, a brown roof and blue window frames. There's a window box with pink flowers and another window box which is broken. There's even one of those weird flamingo things that are meant to be in gardens up against one window. He has a garden, but I think the flamingo's stand is broken. He lives near the cathedral, about a two hour walk, I think. I know last I checked his eldest went to the Institution Saint Dominique College, but I think that was her primary school, so I honestly have no clue. Alice would go there if she wasn't dead, I think..."
The man stared with an open mouth. "Uh...street?"
"That would be telling." he gasped as the knife made the first cut. "I'm not telling."

By the time he did tell, he was a quivering mess of blood and sweat on the floor and the man was kicking him. "Rue Bertin! He lives down Rue Bertin! Stop, please!"
The man frowned and thought for a moment. "Sounds like your address. We know your address. Where does your friend live?"
"Rue Bertin, Bourges. I swear to God, that's where he lives."
"I think that's a bit far from the Sanctuary."
"He married a god damn teleporter, he can live as far away as he wants!" He gave a sob and a shallow moan. "Lydie can teleport as well. He's still safe to live far out. I live on the edge of Paris. A flat. Rue de Corcelles."
"You weren't at a flat when we got you, Charles. Does Jasmin live in Paris?"
"Jasmin doesn't live in a flat either. He has three kids, it's too small." He managed to keep any scream in when the blade found his skin again. "Bourges! He lives exactly where I said he does! I swear, please stop!"
"You know, I hoped you'd be stronger than this."
"I've only just gotten out of hospital, for God's sake! Number seven, Rue Bertin, Bourges. It's got blue window shutter things and a blue drainpipe and an off-white wall and some bushes." He was telling the truth, but he doubted the man would believe him. "I've only just gotten out of hospital. Please stop." The man sighed.
"If we wanted to capture him or attack him, what would be the best way to go about it?"
"Holding his daughter ransom or hostage worked last time. I don't know about this one. He might be immune to that now, but he's very family oriented. He cares about his friends as well. You can use having me captive as leverage. He's very reckless. He might even come right here on a plane himself. I think I know a better way though..." His plan here was to mislead him, but he was cut off.
"I've heard enough, Charles." No, please let me speak..."I think I have the basic idea of what I need to do." He walked out and left him there.
"But I..." Did this make him a traitor? What it did was turn the situation from hope your nose doesn't fall off to raspberry lemonade and he had just lost his last ace.


"Making memories?" Asked the young man in the Necromancer robes, smiling. Jasmin shrugged.
"Not yet. Almost."
"Assistant, right?"
"To one of the Detectives. Triomphe, I think."
"I think Benjamin's met him." He put a hand to his chest, wincing slightly. "I think it's infected."
Another reliving dream. By this point Jalousie would glitch, but he didn't. He took a deep breath and smiled. "I guess you're right," he said as though Jasmin had responded. "I met a girl recently. A student."
Every girl he'd met had been a student of some sort. Then again, there were only three of them in his history. He was attractive, but he struggled to find girls he liked.
"Jalousie...if you can break from your stupid script in this stupid dream, what would you do? Charles is missing. How would I find out where he's gone?"
"You don't know?" It was a woman's voice.
"I do, but I don't want to believe it. And what would I do about it?" He looked up. Jalousie had frozen. Two women stood beyond. Amour Claquer was the woman who ended up his wife, a Necromancer. The other was a dark-skinned woman who had dated both Trac Querelle and Moyen Salomon in the past. Ariane Fragilite. She was a Sensitive of some kind, he had never been quite sure. "Interesting dreams, Jasmin." She replied simply. Amour looked upset. "Wake up. We're at your desk, where you've fallen asleep. We can talk properly when you're awake. I can't hold us here long."
"I can't wake up. I usually don't until someone's tried to cut my throat open. Usually Moyen or Trac. No offence, of course. My mind is just really screwy."
"My son's working for Mevolent!" Amour blurted. Jasmin gave her a look. "He knew where Charles lived and I think he's responsible for his disappearance."
Jasmin sighed. "Wonderful. Then what?"
Ariane shook her head. "I can't hold us in here any longer. Family. Watch them." She disappeared and he woke up with a start.

"Yes?" He looked up, shocked. He hadn't actually expected them to be there.
"What did you mean? Watch my family?"
"They have Charles. They'll try use him as leverage, and if that fails, they'll go after family. I've heard they've been after your family before."
"Everything I touch dies..."
"Is that one of your stupid little codes?"
"No." He stood, palms flat on the desk. "It means everything I touch dies. Anyone I dare get close to dies. It's better if my family leaves me."
Amour shook her head. "You don't want to be alone."
"It's safer for everyone." He thought for a moment. "What country did Moyen come from?"
"I...I don't know...Switzerland I think..."
"Canada." Ariane said.
Amour frowned. "He told me Switzerland."
"He told me Canada. He said there was a sector there where the official language was French."
"Whatever. I'm sending my girlfriend home and the girls to a children's home in one of those two."
"Are...are you sure?"
"Ariane, do you think you can arrange it? Make sure the country in question is not occupied by Mevolent."
"Jasmin, don't."
"I can't care anymore. It's bad for everyone's health."
Ariane clenched her fists. "In my eyes that makes you a horrible person."
"I don't care what you think. You'll just be joining a whole club of people, including me." he slowly sunk back into his seat. "Making memories. I'm going to lead this country to its doom no matter how hard I try to save it."
The girls stared at him and said nothing more before leaving. He held his head in his hands and sighed, wondering how he ever got in this state.

((...Jasmin's part...why did I do that? Kill me now...have to finish piece about when all of them were still alive as well...hey look, reminders!))

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