Monday, July 28, 2014
Chapter 27: The Fairy
Rohane and Gysael collapse comfortably on their couch in the house they own in a distant city called Sunlit Tides. One more successful black market negotiation done and over with.
Stealing items without a trace is one thing. Getting rid of them requires more... finesse.
So they frequently travel here.
It's in a sector with long summers. The air is warm but the wind is cool, and it smells like salt and baked sand. And it sounds like palm leaves blowing against each other.
Sunlit Tides has an active shipping industry, and a very, very active 'underground'.
The siblings spend relatively little time in this place. That isn't unusual in this neighborhood. Plenty of people have extravagant vacation homes here. Those people keep their places looking perfect when they're away by hiring professionals instead of casting magic, though, probably...
Still, Gysael wishes they could move here for good.
Their home in Monte Vista is tiny and unassuming, and a little dreary... and all around nothing like this tropical paradise tourist destination.
The noise of teleporting objects breaks Gysael out of her thoughts. She glances around and spies a grimy old football on the floor, and a big box of cheap instant noodles on the table. "Ugh," she sighs. "Not this today."
"You know I can't help it," Rohane says. His on-purpose teleportation has become quite precise, but the not-on-purpose episodes persist. It bothers him. The things he yoinks for profit are carefully chosen pieces, and their rich owners are no worse for losing them. When items appear randomly, he has no clue where they're from or if they're missed.
Gysael and Rohane own a collie, originally named Riptide. A collie because it seemed funny, growing up with a sheltie and graduating up to a larger doppelganger of the breed. Riptide because it seemed appropriate. A good descriptive word for their adult lives.
The vet thought the name a little disturbing, though, so Riptide's name was quickly changed to Polka.
Annoyed from being cooped up in the house all day, Polka approaches her masters, whining and barking for attention.
"You want a swim in the pool before we go back to boring ol' Monte Vista? Hm? Hm? Swim in the pool?" Gysael's demeanor changes to pure sugary sweetness when she interacts with animals.
Rohane can hardly believe the person babytalking the dog is his little sister.
Gysael takes Polka out in the backyard to enjoy the sunset.
It had been a lovely, clear day - so unlike the weather they'd had lately in Monte Vista, where it rained so much and ruined anyone's plans to go anywhere. Izalee had wanted to go to the park all week. Gysael knew this because the kid was all Reggie talked about. Izalee this, Izalee that.
Being a parent must rewire the brain, Gysael thinks.
Meanwhile, a fairy brazenly searches the island.
These clothes may have been a bad choice... but she always wears them. It's so cold and clinical, where she's kept, most of the time.
Layers over the chest, to keep her icy heart from freezing the life out of the rest of her... shoes, like the humans wear, so she doesn't touch the Earth, even when she's standing on it. Nobody says these things to Foxglove's face. She doesn't understand jokes.
She yawns. A leisurely pace. When she brings in Eris, when she tells her handlers that she ingeniously crafted a spell to track that unstable element's unique (well, assumed-to-be unique) teleportation powers, they will praise her! They will allow her more freedom to hunt down these criminals as she pleases! They will learn that their strict supervision is unnecessary!
And that's why she's come here alone, without backup, off the records. Nobody is stealing her credit for this one. Not her timid father, not that ugly djinni demon... no, this time it is Foxglove who will save the day.
Rohane is just about to get off his butt and clean up the mess he made (unwanted objects usually get thrown in a closet) when the fairy invades.
"YOU aren't Eris," her tinny little voice complains.
Every muscle in Rohane's body screams at him to run, but... the creature before him is so beautiful, and so obviously inhuman, and until this moment he's never seen another supernatural being, like himself...
"Perhaps you know Eris," the fairy theorizes.
Rohane stares, dumbfounded, as she instantly transforms - with a POP! sound - into a tiny ball of light and flies around him a dozen rapid times.
"I sense you're definitely the source of the disturbance!" she squeaks. "You have something to do with her, Spotty, and you will tell me what it is!"
"Lady," Rohane says, "If I can call you a lady, I have no idea who or what you're talking about. Maybe if you'd start from the beginning."
"Eris is a fugitive," the fairy informs him. He's not human; she doesn't have to guard her words or appearance. "Eris is an unstable element. She is using magic in an unauthorized manner. She has escaped our agents many times, in a theatrical manner, but I have devised a way to capture her."
"Of course, when I found YOU," she scoffs, "I thought perhaps I'd made a mistake. But that's unlikely! My spell was flawless. You must have some connection to Eris."
"I'll have the truth from you," she continues her tirade without giving a long enough pause for Rohane to speak. Her hands make deft little movements, and magic lights up the air. Rohane's veins begin to boil with pain. "Give me the truth! I'll go easy on you, I understand, I've never met one of your sort who'd speak without a little persuasion."
Foxglove is disappointed when no secrets burst forth from Rohane's mouth. All he does is scream.
Then he breaks her spell. She makes note of the focusing stick he uses... but it seems very common and ordinary and boring. No clues there. "Ah, so you are trained! Good! What do you think you're doing?"
"Ha. You can't do anything to me."
He does try. If he could contain her magic with a hex, it could buy him some time...
But she powers right through that, and something about the way she looks at him tells him it was the worst tactical mistake he's ever made.
Bam, he's down in one hit, just like that.
The subject totally loses his shit when Foxglove kills him. But as angry as he is, she is even angrier. She had greatly overestimated his durability. "Whine whine whine! It's always about you isn't it!? If you'd been less weak I could have dragged you back to the lab and had something to show for all this effort, but now you're dead and the system has turned your body into energy and you were my only lead and this was all just a waste of time! I don't know where you came from, or your connection to Eris... why did you pick a fight when you couldn't take a beating?! How stupid are you?!"
The reaper comes to collect what's his, as he always does.
"I have an idea," Foxglove tries to bargain. "You can take his soul, but restore the body and let me take it. For science. We both technically serve the same people, don't we? We both fight for order."
"Get out of my sight," Grim growls.
"You don't scare me," Foxglove chirps, before she flits away.
Rohane doesn't resist the conversion to cosmic soup.
He isn't sure what just happened... but at least, in the confusion, the fairy did not notice his sister.
Gysael noticed the intruder too late to help her brother.
She watches helplessly as he's removed from the world.
She's far away from home, no one knows where she is...
She's never felt so alone.
Etc.: It's hard for me to ignore how much the premade collie doesn't look like a collie. I just have to tell myself the sims wouldn't look like people, either, if I weren't used to seeing humans depicted that way.
An alien (or even someone from a culture far removed from ours) looking at humans would probably choose to exaggerate or focus on completely different aspects of our appearance. You see this sometimes with little kids just starting to draw, even... like a kid might try to give the fingernails or nostrils more detail than anything else in the picture.
Disclaimer: a real vet will probably not make a face of displeasure if you name your pet Riptide, or Murder Weapon, or Heroin. It would be bad business. And they are professionals.