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 Chapter 10: A Fathers Pride

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Pennywise
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PostSubject: Chapter 10: A Fathers Pride   Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:32 pm

You see I've always thought of humans as weak, expendable creatures who did little but...exist. Till they reached a higher stage of existance. Namely. Us. The Oni. The kami. Well. Mostly the Oni. Just a stepping stone to something greater. perhaps thats true. But certain events have come to make me rexamine such a theory. To make me question these little thoughts I've come to so believe in. I suppose that, I should at least tell this story for if I don't commend it to something. I feel that I will be doing myself no favours. I fear that this is something that needs to be put on record somewhere. The story as one can expect started in the human realm. With a man named Jarvis. He was, as one could expect from a human male. Flawed. He wasn't particularly smart, nor particularly skilled. One thing he could do however was hold a weapon. And thats precisely what he did to serve his family. He was a scavanger. Hunted around the wastes, defended his scavanging points. And traded off what he could for food and other supplies. The life of a rat. Although considering my view on most humans that was a rather...generous. Description. His only family at that point in time was his year old daughter. His wife had died, not from giving birth but rather the infections that followed. Humans were prone to such things. Disease and death. And, thats unfortunatly where this story takes its fatal turn. Jarvis was to return one day from picking through the rubbles of the old world. There was just enough milk left from the day before to feed the young one, and yet. As he came into his home. There was an errie silence that bode nothing but bad news. I'll save you the disgusting details but Jarvis did return to find his child dead, much like tis mother a victim of a disease that claimed its life far too early. For most men, this would have been the end of them. Most would have went to the barn, found a rope and ended it there. Jarvis on the other hand. He found himself a bottle. And crawled inside. Now let me be the first to say that it takes a special kind of person to not accept things like this. Death is just one of those things that you have absolutely no control over. Well. Thats a lie. Death can be delayed but little else. But to outright reject the notion of death. Yes. It takes a special kind of person for that. A special kind of fool. One half drunk and one half dead himself Jarvis was on the stage of total collapse. He prayed to local gods. To the Kami, to bring his daughter back. But as you can expect. There was ultimately, no answer. So, when one doesn't get an answer from the all too good side of things. They turn to the other side.

And yes, my adoring public. This is where I come in. Suffice to say the summoning spell was, sloppily done. Although then again one can expect little better from an amateur. And a drunken amateur at that. That said considering the state of him when I first saw him, I suppose he should have been commended for summoning anything in the first place.As far as I could tell he had accidently mixed up the symbol for death with the symbol for pride. And well. Naturally that only ended up dragging me along to the mortal realm. Its an. Odd. Experience. Being summoned that is. I have to say it had actually been my first time and the best way I can describe it I suppose is like taking a phone call. Except that. You don't really take the call, as much as its taken for you. Its on autoanswer. No matter what you are doing at the time. Bang. Right there. So you can imagine my shock when one moment I'm standing in the Seat of Pride after giving it a nice clean, the next moment I'm in what could only be described as a shack ( at best) with a drunken lunatic looking at me in shock and awe. I'll never forget the first words that he bumbled out, each word slurred by the drink no doubt addling his brain. " Are you an Oni?". Now. I'm a creature of logic and as much as I understand that he was no doubt absolutely pissed out of his head. However. When one takes the time to rpepare a ritual. Draws a summoning circle, in their own blood too! And does all this for the precise purpose of summoning an Oni. When the creature comes through. What else do you expect it to be? A pigeon? ( That said I have met a few rather menacing birds in my time, hehehe). Suffice to say though I wasn't all too pleased. It wasn't just the smell or the sights that had put me off but the idea that my entire schedule for the day had at that point been utterly ruined. I had planned to meet Jowan in the forests to the east to dicuss just how things were going for negotiation on the clan of rage. Not that I had expected much other than " Not too well" from the fear demon. But still. It had been my plan. And now instead. What faced me was a twenty mile trek through rocky caverns bumping my head ever few steps off the cavern roofs and stalagmites on my way back to hell.Utterly glorious. I would have torn Jarvis apart then if it had not been for the ritual circle and of course. My curiousity. As I had said before. This was the first time I had ever actually been summoned to the human world. Or indeed. any world. USually whenever I came to these places it had been of my own free will. And the idea that someone had actually managed to drag me here. Well. It was both interesting and....well. Worrying.

As I had said before, the smell of the palce was indeed rather offputting. And not all of it could be blamed on the shack. The ritual circle had contained me enough so that I couldn't rip him apart the moment I was summoned. Giving me enough time to think about all that had just happened. Enough to calm me. Get me curious. So I answered the poor sods question with little more thana nod and a rather blun. " Yes". His next response was. Suffice to say a little more surprising than his first. He just nodded and then grabbed the bottle of what one could only assume was some brand of intoxicant. and took another swig. At that point. I used a small portion of my powers to break the impulsion that the ritual circle bound me with. Perhaps it would have been enough to hold a lower level demon. But one such as I? Breaking it was childs play. And yet, when I broke it. He didn't seem all too afraid. Rather a look in his eyes told me that he had expected this sort of outcome. And when I stretched my senses. I found in him. No fear. In fact. There was, virtually nothing. Nothing that is...save for the smallest portion of pride. Dampened down underneath all that alcohol. Just a small bit. Like a candle in a hurricane. It wouldn't take much to put it out.

Jarvis didn't need to explain the situation for me to instantly understand just what he wanted by summoning me. The smell of death was still in the home. But also tinged with it the smell of life. That smell that you could only get from a human child. A young one. Fresh life. Fresh blood. Then there was the look in his eyes, and the taste of his pride. Understanding. Perhaps its this that has caused me to need to commend this story to paper as well as memory. For my life is long. And this story. its not one that I want to forget. I don't want to have it left behind. We spoke the man and I. Of what had happened. And how he had summoned me for the express purpose of bringing back his infant. He said that he had his soul to offer me. Honestly I don't know where humans ever got theidea that demons actually traded in souls. Perhaps it was that whole darwinism thing. Who knows. Regardless. i explaiuned to him that I wasn't interested in his soul. However there was one thing I was interested i. THe ritual that he had performed in order to summon me, It had been made using blood. Which meant it was blood magic. And that was one thing I was greatly interested in. It was all too similar to the enochian rituals that I had made for binding Kami and banishing them. Closer to the banishing one, but expect this one actually dragged others to the place and bound them there. There was no doubt on my mind that I could improve on it. But there was the curiousity of just where Jarvin had actually learned to perform a ritual like this in the first place. He told me. There was a book. A grimoire he had found. And that if I helped him. He would give itt o me. It was fileld with rituals similar to this one. And that did inded interest me. A grimoire of magic from before the dawn. One that contained blood magic. Who kenw. Perhaps it was even me who had wrote it in the first place. The thought of that was like extasy on the tongue of my mind. I couldn't ressit it. So. My agreement was. To say the least. Hastey. However one thing I hadn't thought of was that for all the magical powers that I had in my possession, bringing the dead back to life was not one of them. Regardless, I didn't think that magic even if I had it would have done Jarvin much good anyways. There is the difference between bringing the adult dead back to life and then bringing the souls of the young back. The process of passing over is often. Damaging to the soul of a creature. its spirit sometimes doesn't survive the process of conversion from human spirit into Kami, Oni. Or Yokai. And considering the age of the mans young daughter. it seemed highly unluikely that such a soul would survive the return trip even if ti had managed to go through unchecked. Sufice to say that when I told him this. He wasn't all too pleased. Asked me " Just what use are you to me then?". Again, one of those insulting things that would have earned anyone with no leverage a gorey end. However, the man had something that I wanted, and I was able to cotnrol myself enough not to rip off his head or limbs. So, I proposed to him another method. That I go in search of her soul. Using blood magic to track it down. He seemed to think about it for awhile before agreeing. However. He did have one slight requirement. If I was goign to do it. He had to come with me. He was never going to trust an Oni with his daughters soul alone. Had the odd idea I would ssomehow corrupt it. My my. I wonder where he got an idea like that?

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 10: A Fathers Pride   Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:33 pm

II

The thing about the human soul is, that when it goes to heaven or hell. Its actually not supposed to still be in its vessel. And therein lay the problem for Jarvis actually coming with me to play pick up on this daughters soul. That and well. It was highly unlikley that his daughter had ended up in hell. There was only one place that fresh good young soul could have gone. And that place was all about the smiting. Always the smiting. For me, it would be a task unto itself. But for this guy it was going to be damned impossible. I explained that much to him but. There was no reasoning. So, there was only one answer really.

" You let me ride shotgun".

" What?"

" Possess you, let you do the daring rescue whilst I sit inside blaring instructions and providing the artillary"

"....Possess me?....artillary?....Just what are you planning demon?"

" Please..call me Jack..And you should know, your daughters soul is most likley in heaven, and in case you haven't guessed that lot arn't really too friendly to my kind...so more than likely I'm going to have to lay siege to the place...Sorry. We're going to have to lay siege...even then its risky, althjough as possessed you'll be stronger and won't die from exposure so quickly, it'll still kill you eventually".

Since that was the only option really on offer. He went for it. And. So the story begins. Describing the method of possession is strange, particularly for me. Usually possession spirits are those lesser kinds of spirits, ones that can't form themselves a body to intereact with anything else. So they enter human bodies. Warp them. Change them. In most cases the person adapted some of, if not all of the personality traits of the spirit. Really depended on just what sort of spirit was doing the possessing. As for me well, I have another method on its own all entirely different. The method of mine is quite simple. As opposed to fusing with the person to create a single new person, I stay out of that persons comfort zone. I don't fuse, I just wear them. Pushing down their soul and willpower and taking control of them completely. Meanwhile the other would still be aware, struggling away inside. Watching everything but able to do nothing. However, in this case. I wasn't going to enter the body forcefully and crush Jarvis's will to resist. Rather, I was going to be the one just sitting on the back bleachers. Watching everything through the eyes of a human. Whilst, true. I wanted the Grimoire. It had little to do with just how things were going to progress as far as the possession went. I could have taken control. Let him watch and ride out the whole thing. However. This was also another kind of...experiement to me. Don't really know why I did it. call it an impulsive action. One that couldn't quite be determined at the time. But I was curious, I wanted to see just how a human would react when faced with these odds and given these powers. Would they become corrupt? Would their goals twist like the power in their hands? Or would he succeed regardless of the weapon he used? Well. I was about to find out.

---

" Its painful". Those were the first words spoke by the human when he crossed the threshold into the realm of celestials. Well I had warned him that poloonged exposure to this place would kill him, did he expect it not to be a painful process or something? Regardless. I ushered him on. Forcing one foot in front of the other, even if his will was faint mine was resolute. The moment a demonic presence was detected in the celestial realm it was almost amazing at how quickly they formed a response. What was more amazing however was how well Jarvin fought. All it took was a single whisper from me. That these kami were the one obstical between he and his daughter. He fought like a demon. Well. not like a literal one. Sword in hand and possessed strength gained from myself, he was cutting his way through hordes of Kami, one after the other. In a war, soemtiems to break a deadlock. A storm trooper is required. When an offensive force is dead locked by defense.Sometimes the only way to break it is send in that crazy son of a bitch who would rush in ignoring all danger to self. Most of the time, these storm troopers died. But in doing so, they threw an enemy front line into dissary. Defenders, thrown into confusion by the suddenness of the attack. The chaotic beauty that can only come when it goes against all plans. Against the defenders of the celestial realm. This was Jarvin. He was just rushing in, killing one, running up and killing another, nothing seemed to matter, no time to stop for single combat, just killing quickly and then rushing on. The defenders having no time to gather or formulate a defensive strategy.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 10: A Fathers Pride   Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:34 pm

The chaos was absolutely beautiful. I couldn't help but laugh as he killed his way up those stairs. honestly I was no fan of celestials. It wasn't really a big secret that I disliked them. And just watching so many of them die before a human. Even if it was a human fuelled with my demonic power. When he reached the top of the stairs. Only then did Jarvis look back once, down at the bodies littering the stairs. I felt within him, a tindge of regret. But that was soemthing that my whispers quickly qwelled. Reminding him. Push ahead. Each second he spent here did more damage to his mortal body. As for that side of things. Well I was dealing with it as best I could, whilst Jarvis fought those Kmai I was channleing their pride into healing energies, which was, for the moment countering the effects of the atmospheric differences on his body. But that would only continue to work so long as he continued to fight kami. The moment he stopped doing that, his body would start to degenderate. And thats when shit would really begin to hit the fan. Pushing him forward, we couldn't stop. Not now.

As well as healing the wounds caused by the atmosphere change, I also had to do the quick job of working out navigation. There was blood left in the cot from the disease. it was a terrible thing to see. Not the blood of the child mind you, the idea that it had to go to waste like that. There was so much that I could do with innocent blood. But, then again. The grimoire would likely be worth far more to me than that. By that stage, after we'd killed our path through the intial defenders of the celestial realm.I had managed to figure out that indeed the soul of my little rats daughter was indeed in this place. And she had survvied the trip, well. From waht I could tell anyways. She wasn't however as...obvious. As she should have been. That alone put up a blip on my system. But it would be something I'd have to see for myself when we got to that soul. Honestly however I was curious in witnessing it myself. The conversion process that is. Tos ee what a spirit of such a being looked like. A fresh soul. A soul that young wouldn't have had tie to develop conciousness or form yet. And that brought up another issue. But again. It was something I would have to have dealt with when I got there.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 10: A Fathers Pride   Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:34 pm

As fun as it was, a quick siege of heaven isn't really what you would call easy. As handy as he was with a weapon, and as quick as he learned with my powers. The human wasn't what I would call...suitable. For the task. Rather I would have much prefered to have done this myself, I knew that as things were. I was limited to the ammount of power I could give Jarvin. Reasons for this being two fold. One the majority of my magical powers involved blood magic. And with me struggling to keep up with the healing of the atmospheres effects, I couldn't easily add on the injuries caused by the wounds needed to draw out the blood required for the magic. And secondly. Perhaps the most important part. I was amazed that Jarvin was able to hold my demonic essense even this long. Usually with demonic possession. I needed to let my hosts go after awhile. Otherwise there would be a dnager to them, and a danger to me. Try to imagine it like filling up a water balloon. One balloon can only handle so much water before well...exploding. if I gave Jarvin access to even more of my powers, then it was more than likely that the human would explode, of course, that would likely be causing some damage to myself also. As well as taking out a good chunk of the celestial forces. And as much as the thought of deep fried chunks of angel wigns falling from the skies sounded. Well. I just couldn't really deprive you, my wonderful auidence of your protaganist/antagonist.

Whilst movign through the realm however I was somewhat taken aback as to just how...pretty. This place was. It was certainly different from the udnerworld that much was a cert. I felt almost, jealous. Gazing upon the cool waters and landscape. These pitiful creatures had this...this paradise. When his kind were forced to fight tooth and claw just for a measly scrap of rock and dried dirt? To fight for their very survival? He thoughtt hen, perhaps therein lay their advantage. That barren landscape had made them stronger. This paradise had made the kami soft. Yet still. Resentment continued to grow.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 10: A Fathers Pride   Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:35 pm

----

" You said your name was Jack?...Right?".

" Yes"

" Tell me Jack, have you got any family?".

" I'm a demon"

" Demons don't have families?"

"....I had a woman once...and there is one who exists who calls me family, yet. I don't understand the concept"

" ...A family, people who love you and who you love in return...people you can depend on".

" Then no human, I have no family"

" I pity you".

----

it was at the time infuriating I suppose. Disccusion between myself and him concerning family. Of course. I didn't. And still don't hold the values he did. He saw love as something like strength. love and dependency went hand in hand. And the moment you depended on soemone else for something. Thats when you open yourself up to weakness. Iskra had once said that now I was like family to her. But I never did understand precisely what she had meant behind that. I had helped her through mutual benefit and she had helped me. It was little more than an alliance of convience, or did she see it differently? Or maybe, thats what family meant to her. Still, at the same time. He wouldn't kill Iskra in such a way as he once would have. The Hyena demon had grown on me. Much like a contacerous sore. Regardless what he'd said continued to bug me. It wasn't just what he had said though much in the content of his words rather the meaning behind them. Just what he was doign, giving up everything.His life. His soul. Risking the wrath of celestial bodies and making a deal with a demon just to bring back his family. There was weakness in this, his life was on the line now because of it. But there seemed to also be a strength that Jack hadn't quite uwitnessed before. This mortal was fighting his way through kami. Possessed and syphoning my power perhaps. But the very fact he was able to direct that power was a mircile in itself. The strength of will that seemed to be brought about by this...family. Protecting them. Seemed to be something that was nigh unbreakable. Together, we reached the place where the soul of the little girl lay, it was in a medow. A rather out of the way place in this realm. At that point I was begining to feel slightly...enclosed in this place. no idea why. Call it a beastial instinct. I was getting twitchy. Didn't like being here. Wanted to get out. Wanted to grab the soul and run. But then. It was never going to be that simple. First time I looked at that soul it looked like little more than a glowing white orb. And unfortunate to say. Thats precisely what I was afraid of.

As I'd noted earlier on in this little story. Young souls such as hers, rarely ever survived the process of crossing over, this was mainly down to a luck of substance. A soul is made of many things. Energy. But mostly it contaiend the experience and memories of that dead person. A soul this young. Didn't have many memories. It didn't even have a real kind of personality yet. It was young. Fresh. untouched. Like clay ready to be molded. Unfortunatly. This meant that because it had no real tangible link to Terra, drawing it back there was going to be difficult. If not impossible. " What are you waiting for Jack?". He asked me in an impaitent tone. " Do you like being here or something?". I couldn't help but roll my metaphycial eyes at that one. " Of course, the breath of Kami down my neck is the most relaxing part of this entire experience". With the sarcastic comeback put down, I made the move to then explain that situation to him. After a good time explaining missing out most of the mumbo jumbo practical details I ended it with a simple " Its going to be hard, if not impossible". It was then he took the time to remind me that this entire ventue was in an attempt to bridge that gap between the possible and not possible. And then, it struck me. There was one way to do it.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 10: A Fathers Pride   Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:37 pm

III


There always was a look in his eyes when things like this happened. That much I could tell from the strain around his eyes, the wrinkles. I emerged from his body, albeit, temporarily to tell him this. I thought it would be better done face to face. " Your child" I said tentatively, odd that I would have been nervous about this considering everything that had occurred to me in the past month. " Her spirit is not strong enough to make the journey back, she has no link to her body, no real solid anchor in the human world...that is...except you". The man seemed. Oddly puzzled by all this. " What do you mean except me?". I decided to be flat out and honest with him, which was a rare moment for me. People always thought of demons as liars, but in truth we didn't really lie so much as omit the truth, or perhaps bend the truth to our own advantage. This however was one of those few moments that could be done with nothing but oblique honesty. " The only way to bring your child back to the human world is if you sacrifice yourself, the Childs soul has no anchor of its own, so your own soul must become part of that anchor...In simple terms you have to trade places with her, but...its not as simple as that". Jack shook his head. " We would have to craft each chain in the anchor from part of your soul, your feelings, your memories...and when we're done...whatever is left of you would simply float away into nothingness...is that something that you are prepared to do?". What surprised me the most about the next part was the sheer abruptness to which Jarvis responded. " Yes". He said, barely even giving himself time to think over it. I had handed him his own death warrant. And he had gleefully signed it. Humans. I'd never understand them. To be a father. Is this what it meant? Complete and utter sacrifice for your offspring? I thought back to when the idea of my possible fathering of a child came up. My ideas had simply been to test it, or kill it. Nothing else. Not embrace it. Not love it. Not try to become part of its life. And yet here this man was, ready to give everything just to save a child who arguably, couldn't even thank him for it yet. And likely never would. " Very well then ". I said, taking a step forward and fading back into his body. Controlling him for a moment, I took his blade and slashed his hand. I felt his spirit within struggling against mine uselessly. I merely took the time to reassure him that it was only in protection of the soul before us. I placed his hand down on the grass. And ritual circle of blood formed. An enochian binding ritual. Any celestial who stepped into the circle from there on in would be trapped inside. The soul was safe.

------

" For spirits death is something that holds more fear than mortals. For what lays beyond the spirit realm. What is death for those who have already died? Legends speak of Sheol. The pit of souls. A place where spirits go after death. A plane of absolute darkness. With nothing but the screams of other souls for company. Why those souls scream though. Is something to be debated".


With that there was little more to do in this sense of things. The crafting of the soul chain was going to be started. And Jack didn't like being a part of it. Not that he opposed killing a human, which this would undoubtedly be the result of. Rather it just felt wrong to do it in this particular way. In this he wasn't just killing himself to save his daughter. What he was doing was beyond death. Usually whent he mortal body died its soul went to either heaven or hell. However this death would be the equivalent of soul death. Would be the equal of Jack himself dying. It was said that there might be a realm beyond this one for dead spirits. But Jack didn't believe that. He had almost died once, and he'd saw what lay beyond the door. Darkness. A pitch black nothingness that waited to consume them all. That, and the man with the yellow eyes. The yellow eyes of a demon of madness. To kill a man in such a complete and absolute way. It was almost. Appealing. " Lets begin then". Spoke Jarvis in an impatient tone. All too ready to rush to death thought Jack. But no matter how the Pride demon dwelt on the matter. Ting were going to progress this way. So. In one body the two sat within the ritual circle. Closed their eyes. And reamed together.

The library. It was precisely this that Jack was counting on. The man was no expert at the magic of the soul. As breaking as it was to admit. Blood magic didn't delve into those areas. Magic concerning the soul was something utterly different. Both concerned themselves with the life force of an individual true. But effecting them in separate ways. Identifying the distinction between flesh and spirit. So of this precise reason he had come here. The place of his dreams. Such had not always been the case, however ever since he had met the leader of madness. This place had been a constant in his sleep. The library. Ethereal corridors of books. Stacks upon stacks. Shelves upon shelves upon shelves. Yet there was an irony to it. All the worlds knowledge combined in the one place. Yet, each individual who ever came to this place ( for it was not limited to Jack) would only ever be able to read the knowledge, the books. That were relevant to them. Jack had once tried to read a book that Ceila herself had been reading, obviously one relevant to her. However, although he could see the words upon the pages. He couldn't comprehend them. It was not that they were written in a language that he could not understand. No. Each word he could. However. When he read one word, and moved to the next, he would instantly " forget" the word that had came before. Making reading the book absolutely impossible. Only ever being able to remember one individual word from any book not relevant to themselves.

Of course. There were books that were just completely blank. It was those he was most curious about. Although, as for his reason for being here. Well. He knew someone that could be here with a wide variety of powers. The leader of Madness. Jarvis stirred next to him, groaning. " Where are we?". Jack gestured around him. " We call this place the library, tis a dream realm...of sorts...". Jarvis touched his head, listening but not listening. " Gives you a hell of a headache being here for the first time eh?". Jarvis let out another groan. " By the dawn...no alcohol could ever make my head feel this bad". Jack let out a laugh, truer words never spoken. He remembered his first time here, staggering about like a drunk with the world spinning around him. The place still made him feel. Strange. but not like that. Not anymore at least. Honestly he didn't know how that fact actually did make him feel. Better for that he wouldn't wake up with such a sore head after sleeping or worse in that knowing he was feeling better about the place made him like Ceila. Made him like the madness demons that he had heard once wandered these hallways, but now no more because of Pride. " Ceila!". He shouted out, the words echoing throughout the halls of the library. He couldn't sense her, but then again that was normal. Most of the time she seemed to just pop out of nowhere like some sort of phantasmal watcher. And yet as he called her name. There was no answer. It was at first slightly concerning, the girl had never failed to answer his call. Then again this world was the realm of dreams and it was quite possible that right now, whatever she as doing. That Ceila was in fact awake. Even if half the time in person she constantly seemed to be asleep. " Looking for a friend?". Jarvis said, voice still shaky from the effects of the library on his mind. " Not quite". Said Jack. After all. Ceila wasn't quite his friend but at the same time she wasn't quite his enemy either. It was a complicated relationship of sorts. She did things for him that seemed to be done out of sheer random action, such was the nature of madness. But perhaps the true chaos and insanity of it all was that Ceila actually did seem to have some kind of plan. A madness demon with a scheme beyond mere mischief or idiocy. Now that was something truly scary.

A few seconds later and still nothing from Ceila, that...wasn't good. Time passed differently here. He knew that much. A few hours here might be little more than a few second in the outside world. Really it varied. He had learned that much in his experience of being here. However. This remained to the question of just what he was going to do about crafting the soul chain to save the little girl. He certainly couldn't do it himself. Knowing nothing of soul magic or anything of the sort. A flickering light in the corner of his eye at the other end of the library. The dreaded hall. The door. The sound of water dripping from leaky pipes. The old door with the peeling paint. The blackened glass. Clear with darkness behind it. A thought. Little more than a stray thought, a piece of something greater. A whisper in the back of his mind. Jarvis himself seemed to notice that, something was up. The body of the pride demon stiffening. Hairs standing on end. A face that looked blank but at the same time. Resolve in the eyes. " What are you thinking?" . He sent out the question, but it didn't seem to reach him. Wherever Jack was, there was something else on his mind. The voice in the darkness. it had spoke to him once before of things beyond the dark, of things it had tried to see beyond the door. But it much like him had only found the darkness. But your the answer Jackie boy . The voice seemed to know things, know things of that darkness. Temptation. A stray thought. Would the creature beyond the door know anything about soul magic? Would the creature be able to help them? And if so. Would it actually be inclined to do so. A whisper to himself. Demons never did anything out of the kindness of their hearts. Even he was only helping Jarvis because of the promise of that grimoire the man had happened to stumble across in his scavenging. That, and there was the fear he held of that door, and the thing that lay behind it. Not a lot scared Jack. But that man, thing...did. He and his door. His corridor. His section in the library. But then, when faced with something that he feared the pride demon never backed down, and there was a prize to be gotten in this, he wasn't merely going to wait around and hope Ceila turned up. " Stand up" He spoke to Jarvis, the man did so, however drunkenly. Jack supported him, and pulled him forwards, towards the corridor with the flickering lights. The man however seemed to grow more nervous in his grasp. More so now that Jack had gone unusually quiet. " Jack, where are we going?". Jack just kept his eyes on that corridor. On that door. " To someone who might be able to help us". Jarvis looked down that corridor, he saw the door. The flickering lights, the puddles of water on a dirty floor. " We're going in there? I don't know Jack, there something about that....I don't like that place....Don't...doesn't...feel right". Jack looked at him " Yes, it doesn't feel right, but then when does any of this feel right Jarvis? We're bringing a soul back from the dead that arguably shouldn't be able to come back in the first place....nothing about that seems awfully odd to you? I mean you made a deal with me, a demon to come even this far, of course this is going to be bad, otherwise you would have gotten nowhere but further into that whiskey bottle of yours".


Jarvis stood there for a moment. And then. A fist struck out. A haymaker that Jack didn't see coming whacked him back and into a bookshelf. A few of the books clattered to the floor in a heap. Flaming rage within his blood boiling to the surface. But then, that taste in the air. Pride, it seemed to be literally oozing out of Jarvis. A sense of self pride and a sense of pride for his creation. His daughter. A fathers pride. The realisation that such a strong sense of it could exist, stopped him in his tracks. He merely rubbed his cheek. Grabbed the human. And continued walking. Footsteps splashing in the puddles of water, it was strange, the last time that he had been here and walked in this corridor these puddles hadn't formed, hadn't existed. That indicated something to him. He'd always heard the drips of the water, but never saw any effect. Did this mean that, this realm was actually tangible? Eyes once again focused on the door. Right hand clutching Jarvis, who by now had frozen still. No longer struggling. But he whimpered words. " Jack...no...its". Jack's hand stretched out, ignoring the pleas. Ignoring the warnings. Grasped around the door handle. Moving to twist and....resistance. Confusion across Jacks face. He tried to twist it again, staring at the knob as if it would make any difference if he argued with it. In his hand he felt Jarvis go stiff. Frozen solid like a block of ice. Jack looked to his right at the mans face, it had gone pale. All blood drained from it. Silent. Jack followed his eyes. Looked to where Jarvis was staring so intensely. The glass window of the door. Before where there was only darkness. There, at the mid point in the doorway. Blurred, but still bright. Still visible. Two yellow eyes. Glowing like suns. " What do you want Jackie?".

A dark voice muffled behind the door. That same fear cropping up again, one that made even his hairs stand on end. That made him hesitate. Think over each word he spoke. " Why won't you let me in?". There was laughter from behind the door now. The eyes bobbed up and down in the dark as if the man was laughing. " That’s simple, you don't have an appointment~". A mocking tone. Jack gritted his teeth. He wouldn't complain. Too afraid to. And it seemed Jarvis mimicked his feelings on this particular subject. " We're looking to create a soul chain...Ceila isn't around so". The voice chuckled. " Ceila Ceila Ceila...the girl who cried wolf...I wonder Jackie do you always come to Madness demons for knowledge? Are they the font of secrets to you?". Jack stared into that darkness and responded in kind. " Genius and madness are two sides of the same coin". This time, an erupting laughter. " Ah true! Very well I'll tell you what I know...You've come to the right place if you want to build the chain...the first thing that’s needed is access to the persons memories...and well....this place holds all that....so step one...complete. Next, you just gotta find his important memories.books..then...start a fire...burn them!...after that....kill him over the fire". Jarvis went steely faced at that moment. Not afraid more. Resolute " Once his life’s blood is spilled over the fire of his memories. The soul chain shall be crafted. After that. You do with it what you will....take note though once the soul chain is used., it will wipe out his existence". Jarvis spoke up. " Price I'm willing to pay". The eyes seemed to move, looking over to the human. " Is that so?...we'll see".


Jack had to admit, walking away from that door was more than a relief to him. Still it was rather unnerving to have the thought of those yellow eyes from behind the glass glaring into his back as he walked away. Same was much said for Jarvis even if the humans didn't understand a thing about what was going on or what this place really was. Then again. He didn't need to understand, only know that by through this his daughter would live. They were looking for the mans memories. Jack knew that much, and in this place memories and such took on the forms of books. Thus explaining the vast unending corridors of this place filled to the brim with book upon book. Finding the memories of one specific human among the millions and millions of them was going to be quite the challenge. Yes. Only made even more difficult by the fact that it wasn't just the thoughts memories and feelings of humans that were stored here, but their spiritual counter parts as well. Jack had to wonder that if all these thoughts and feelings were stored here, did that mean that memories of those older than the dawn were also here? It was possible. Perhaps that was the reason for the books that were blank. Someone had erased those too. Still, when one comes to wanting to track something down more easily. Blood magic is always the best way to go about it. Jack grasped a dagger at Jarvis side and drew the blade from its sheath. Quickly grabbing the mans hand before he had the chance to tense it up and pull it away. " The hell are you!?". The man didn't have much time to swear as the blade dragged along the open skin and the blood welled up. This may have been a world of dreams but if indeed he was right about this world having some sense of tangibility about it then the same rules would apply to blood magic here as they did in the real world. After a short incantation. Indeed. It seemed to be working. Jack was drawn in a single direction. Moving towards the main centre of the library. Jarvis followed closely behind. Soon the drawing brought Jack to a book lying shut on a desk. Jack opened it and as expected the same forget me not theory applied to this one as well. After all. It wasn't a book that directly applied to him, he handed it over to Jarvis and the mans face once again went pale. " Its a decryption of my wedding day...no...not a description...its like I'm reading every single one of my thoughts on that day...I can...I can almost see it...". Jack took the book by the spine and slipped it out of his hands, slamming it shut. " Yes and I'm sure it will make wonderful fire tinder". The look on Jarvis' face as he said that was rather, sad. Almost disturbingly so. Deciding that he didn't like looking at this he just looked away and began the hunt down of the rest of the books. As odd as it sounded it wasn't that hard to track down the rest of them. The only issue was walking across the library. Certain books were in rather odd locations. To save them carrying the books all around with them Jackie merely left a drop site, where they could go, drop the book and then return to burn the books and well. Kill Jarvis when it was all said and done. It was odd for him to say but he didn't look forward to killing the man after burning the books. And oddly not just because he thought the act of condemning someone to such an ultimate and final death was perverse. More that over the time they had spent in each others company. The demon of pride had actually grown rather fond of the human.

Not fond in the sense that he considered him a friend. Or anything along those lines such as the way Iskra thought. But more that Jack had accepted his presence as one that he wouldn't kill immediately. One that he'd actually think about first. It was that sense of ballsyness and pride that seemed to float around him like a ghastly fog. The idea of never giving in, the idea of defying the impossible. And of course. The courage. And stupidity. To make this sacrifice in the first place. Jack was almost on the verge of asking him again if he was sure whether or not he actually wanted to go through with this after all. But the moment they came to that last book, the book of the memory of his Childs birth. The look on his face said enough. And it confused him. The moment he read that book, the pride around him began to burn like a fire. So much so that Jack couldn't help but take a taste. It wasn't something of choice rather it was as if it was being forced upon him, force fed down his throat. The power that it generated was....amazing. Intoxicating. He tasted that pride and it was almost as if he could experience the moment for himself. It was as if he was in Jarvis' s shoes, standing there next to the bed, being handed the baby. looking down into its eyes and recognising that yes, life was now complete. That everything had come full circle. That no longer did he live his life for himself. His life didn't matter. it was...only hers. He would live...to protect her...to shelter her...and make sure she lived. And that’s when he finally understood. This was why he was doing it. This feeling is how the human felt. No...it was only a portion of it. Only a fragment. And yet. It was so intense. The idea, the concept of the entire thing was so foreign to the demon of Pride. Jack understood how his human companion felt. But he could not fully comprehend it. He was a demon. He was Jack. He had no one. To rely on others was weakness. This was his mantra. And yet. One thing he did now understand was Jarvis' original words. " I pity you". For one brief moment.

Jack felt. At a loss for being as he was.

" You ready?". Jack asked, but he already knew the answer. For it was staring him in the face, those eyes. That intensity. Yes, he was ready to die. Jack clenched his hand, igniting the power of pride. The books set alight. Jarvis face was one of pure horror as the process began. " I-I...I can feel them fading...quickly...do it now before I forget everything!". Jack took his time in drawing his sword from the cane. He stepped in, and ran Jarvis through, moving up through the body, severing the spine and piercing the heart. Spine so that he'd feel no pain. The heart, so death would be quick. Breathing became. Hectic. Blood pooling at their feet. Jack caught him as he collapsed. Withdrawing the sword. Cradling his head. "J-jack?".Jack looked down at him, that fire in his eyes, the pride. It was fading. burning out. Something that made him almost. Sad? " Yes Jarvis?". The man looked at his, and weakly spoke the words. " Wh-..wh-when she’s back...you...you make sure she’s safe...you promise me...you promise me you'll make sure". This was not something jack had ever experienced before. There was a lump in his throat. He stared down t this...creature and. He was at a loss for words. " Promise m-me!". Jack looked to the side, not being able to stand the sight of this beautiful pride burning out. " I promise". That seemed to be enough, he felt Jarvis going even limper in his arms. Last words spoken.

"I can see her Jack....S-she’s beautiful...isn't she?"

EXP: 4429
PWC: 4062

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Chapter 10: A Fathers Pride
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