Illyria - Illyria Act 1 - The Light Through the Darkness[Toggle Names]
Description: Benezet Desire travels to Illyria, where he runs across Sacred Order operative Brandon Malone investigating a case of mysterious psychic links to burial mounds. With Brandon's blessing, Benezet taps Guinee and gives Brandon an insight into the sickness that has afflicted those he is studying: something evil is in the burial sites of the Lost Kingdom.
When the Sacred Order came to him, it was about something that was familiar to him. Intimately so. It was a request to help with the six acolytes falling to comas. Each one with features contorted in terror as they lay unconscious. Just like the case of Emily Collins.
His case stalled out with the nurse who soon disappeared and then he ended up in a coma of his own thanks to an encounter with Juri which in turn led to one of the few black eyes he's received to his record in dealing with the supernatural. He took it personally. In fact, he returned her parents' retainer for his services and said he wouldn't stop until he was certain he could prevent another incident like hers from happening. The call from the Sacred Order was an opportunity to put to rest his personal demons he would take it.
The arcane detective along with a guide from the Sacred Order makes his way to a camp site near the Barrow-downs in Albania where he finds the six acolytes prone in their bed rolls each one with their faces frozen in terror. He then extends his senses to each of the victims. He has no question about that. They're victims. What he senses is both expected and surprising. He senses the energy threads from acolytes connecting to each other and the combined threads leading to one source far away. Not only that it was stronger than the one that he had sensed from Nurse Byrne in Metro City.
Dressed in a mauve purple gravedigger's outfit, inky black tattoos covering exposed flesh in thorn vine patterns with purple flowers atop his cocoa skin, Benezet Desire lurks through mist that seems to summon itself near the mounds. This was a fey place to be certain, things beyond the mortal ken drawing the bokor here. He felt the leylines, the world's preternatural pathways between individuals and their combined destinies, grow tangled. This was the equivalent of an organically developed urban hive, if one saw the fates as roads. Which, in many ways, have shaped the leylines themselves.
Benezet's third eye is closed without his touch upon another human being, unable to draw from the soul without tilting a man or woman back into the ether. What he's come here for is secrets, new and esoteric rituals to learn from the Illyrian temples of the strange. Benezet, a black bottle of white rum in his right hand, to place a soul within for a holiday of renewel and a wedding of soul to body, creeps into the doorway, the tall, angular man's smooth, inhumanly long face a mark of his Darkstalker nature. The soul inside him died in childbirth, and was replaced by a creature from Guinee, a gravestalker, a man that hunts through minds for their secrets.
When the detective in an oddly pristine white suit and fedora looks up, he sees the man in mauve approaching the Sacred Order camp site he raises an eyebrow. Brandon knows he has the order's permission to be here. This newcomer was an unknown quantity.
He extends his senses once again and he senses a shadowy nature to his energy but he also can see that he isn't the cause of this problem so there's no reason to attack just yet.
He turns to his guide and whispers in his ear, "Who is he? Why is he here?" His guide shrugs as he looks towards the gravestalker. Brandon's own eyes lock with Benezet's as his hand moves to his tarot deck, readying in case something happens.
"Sh-sh-shhhh," comes a whisper from Benezet's lips as he raises his hands, forefinger emerging from the grip on his bottle. "I come bearing gifts."
Benezet pauses in the doorway, lowering his left arm, but keeping the right up, his finger curling back around the neck of his bottle.
"My name is Benezet, I am a sorceror, and I seek this place for its secrets. The Sacred Order is attempting to open graves best left sealed. The dead hold secrets, as do we all, and I wish the times of old to be allowed to rest." He raises his left hand, pointing his index and middle finger to the center of his brow. "The worlds beyond this have many dangers, ones more than even you can sense." His mind opens for Brandon, and a netherscape beyond is seen, a land of prisons and asylums and tenements created by the suffering of those within them, inflicted by imperial wardens from ages past.
"I am here for the freedom of those I care for. These secrets, I believe, may be hidden here, but not without dire consequence for trundling feet." The hand atop his brow lowers.
"You seek a mystery, I sense, not treasure. Perhaps I can draw through the minds of these penitents, for the Lwa? I could offer you insights, in exchange for the opportunity to find them."
He was about to ask the question but Benezet not only shushes him but then answers the exact question he was about to ask. Who is he and what he wants. The detective's eyebrow raises an eyebrow and continues to listen. It was often said that one was to given two ears and one mouth because one should do more listening than speaking and it was a belief he could totally get behind right now especially considering he was dealing with someone he didn't know all that well.
He was about to give his own introduction and that's when he enters Benezet's netherscape. It wasn't exactly a magic he was experienced with and so he examines it and through it the one drawing him into the netherscape. The sorceror part, is as he said. Everything else, was up for examination.
He almost echos the final statement in the form of a question to make sure he heard correctly, "Offering insights in exchange for the opportunity to find them?" There's a pause before he adds on to his response. "I can't promise the opportunity to find them with me without knowing how you'll be obtaining those insights."
Benezet creeps forward on those long legs of his, the inhuman cant of a deer to his steps, extending long fingers to point at one of the men on the ground. "I simply tap their essence, and bring them down into the depths of their own mortality, keeping them just a step above the mortal coil," he whispers so loud that his tongue produces a snake whistle.
"And then I peer into their mind, and I see through worlds, to find their place in the soulscape. I learn the secret rituals that all people have, the little charms of luck and the habits of the mind, the toys and binds and touches, that they have, that keeps them in this world and not the next."
Moving softly over an acolyte on the ground, he moves to a squatting position, slowly opening his bottle of rum and taking a smooth sip. "Just a little touch, is all I need."
The guide that is with him is about to object but Brandon isn't there to keep Sacred Order secrets and he thinks back to having to see the crying parents of Emily Collins. He thinks back to his promise to himself to do everything he could to make sure someone else didn't fall to the same affliction their daughter did. His decision is made. Turning to the guide he whispers, "If we don't, we might not know what happened to them."
He turns back to Benezet, "I'm going to give you a shot. If I get the sense that you're doing harm to them or that you're betraying me, we're going to have problems."
He steps back and indicates the nearest acolyte and he extends his senses once more.
He's hoping that Benezet won't make a fool out of him.
Benezet sets his bottle of rum down, and slowly pulls back the sleeve on his right wrist. He makes a little hissing sound from between his patrician lips as he lays his right hand on the acolyte's forehead, a soft look on his face that tightens as his eyes turn black.
The acolyte, comatose, shivers, as his life force is tapped by Benezet, draining into the voodoo sorceror. Benezet glows with soft magenta light around him, just a faint whisper of echos, as he draws the acolyte down through his slumber, into a near death state. And then, Benezet closes his eyes, opening his third eye and peering inside the acolyte's head.
As Brandon watches the bokor work, he can feel the acolyte's energy get tapped into and considering his previous experience with his case, he's a little bit worried about how this will turn out. That being said, this type of thing wasn't exactly in his wheel house but at the very least, giving him details that he was able to pick up both through his analysis and Trish's personal might allow his temporary ally to avoid a potentially fatal mistake.
"Careful," he whispers. "The last person with a similar affliction I had dealt with slowly had their energy drained away. I also had hesitated on cutting the thread because I wasn't sure if there was some type spell or effect on her that would kill her the moment it was severed."
He examines the link and in his head goes over the difference and similarities between what he sees now and what he saw then.
"The links here actually feel a bit more substantial than my previous investigation. It wouldn't surprise me if we had less time to deal with this than I did back in Metro City."
He can also feel the attention that this has drawn which wasn't there before. He is certain that Benezet can feel that and so he doesn't tell him that.
Benezet slowly draws his fingers down the acolyte's nose, just two, one on either side of the bridge, before dabbing a bit of his rum on his fingertips and rubbing it over the acolyte's lips. The violet miasma around Benezet Desire pulses down his arm and back into the acolyte, returning his life force slowly with the taste of white rum, his palm over the comatose man's mouth. The uncanny voodoo man looks up at Brandon, from his squatting position. "They be in the barrows with the dead."
Benezet rises up, bottle in hand, turning to face the doorway to the camp and the barrows beyond. "This was a foolish place for this forces of the king to make their rest. They woke up the long resting." He turns his head for a silent moment, regarding Brandon. "Is this what brought you here? This is where it's coming from." He raises his spider finger to point at the barrow mounds. "They were after secrets there, and tried to seal themselves in a prayer hymn. The white light of this world came long after the pallor of the dead cloaked this place in night. This is a land of darkness, and these men tried to fight the elder things with the power of Christ. Christ doesn't come out this way, in the paths of time."
The private eye continues to be silent as Benezet takes the acolyte to the brink and then back by taking in and then returning his life force back to him. His lips turn downwards in frown as Benezet confirms what he had already suspected with his more superficial sensing of the energy threads.
He lets his anger seep into his voice as he answers the bokor, "What brought me here was the fact that they were doing this in Metro City and Southtown to kids who had no way knowing or defending themselves against this type of thing. They were awake long before these people set foot here." His fist curls tightly into his hand as his knuckles go white. If not for the nigh religious fervor he has for keeping his finger nails clipped to make his card manipulations easier, he'd have drawn blood from his palm.
"If it's a land of darkness, good thing I come with my own light."
"The devil walked this land, long before Creation," Benezet whispers. "Now all things have been pushed backwards. And still, souls come to the other side, to be with whichever savior they choose. I merely protect those that cannot choose for themselves."
Benezet quietly lopes towards the tent's exit. "Good luck, holyman. You will need a light that they do not understand - remember, light and dark exist alongside each other in the shapes cast by shadows. That is the real meaning of the Tarot." And like that, Benezet is off in the darkness, satisfied that he's found something more than a mere kingdom to explore. He's found something drawing across all of existence, that may hold a secret to freeing souls from Guinee's rapture.
Brandon's lips form into a smirk of amusement. He'd never claim holiness for himself because while he wields light, it originates from belief in himself and belief in his potential should he be able to reach it and not in a higher power.
As he watches the bokor exit, he calls out from behind him with a hint of mirth in his voice(probably from being called a holyman), "Take care, shadowy one."
Once he is alone with the acolytes and his guide, he thinks to himself about how interesting it is that they both see eye on some things. He, like the bokor, seeks to protect those that cannot choose for themselves. The only difference is that his fight is for those who are in the realm of the living (mostly). The arcane investigator has a battle to prepare for.
Log created on 19:36:54 03/18/2018 by Benezet, and last modified on 01:10:02 03/25/2018.