Inch By Inch

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Inch By Inch
Date of Scene: 30 November 2012
Location: Hollow Bastion
Synopsis: Maleficent and Leida discuss events, past, present, and future.
Cast of Characters: Leida, Maleficent

Maleficent has posed:

Maleficent schemes.

This is something of a redundant statement; one could just as easily have said 'Maleficent breathes' or 'Maleficent has creepy horns'. She plots and plans in her sleep, except that she never sleeps. Right at the moment, she's scheming over a jeweled but tarnished silver goblet, staring down into it with the casually intense interest of someone watching a really gripping talk show. Her spidery fingers dip into the liquid, running crimson drops around its edges, and making the wineglass not sing, but scream.

Leida has posed:

A nearby doorway sqeaks slowly inwards, its ancient metal hinges groaning at the abuse being heaped upon them by the massive wooden slab. The portal opens about halfway before a small figure steps through the gap.

Running her hands over the doorknob idly, Leida slips into the shadowy room with nary a sound to give her away. She pauses upon entering and glances about with faint curiosity. Her expression, as usual, is blank and placid like someone at peace with the universe or, more appropriate, living in their own.

The girl drifts over to a piece of furniature, inspecting various parts of it or objects upon it before moving on to the next. Eventually, her wanderings carry her towards the black-clad sorceress, despite that fact that Maleficent is so dark that she practically blends into the shadows.

Her eyes are drawn to the current object of the dark lady's rapt attention and she tilts her head to the side, peering up at it in silence.

Maleficent has posed:

Any chair Maleficent sits on is a throne, from the most humble footstool to the plainest wooden rocking chair. Its essence is simply imbued by her presence to suit her purposes, without its shape twisting one bit. This is a major psychological asset in Shadow Lord meetings, where the seats at the round table are all ostensibly identical.

At the moment, her throne is an ornate armchair, straight out of Victorian England. It's impossible to tell what color its plush upholstery and fuzzy tassels would be in full light, but bathing in the darkness, they are a violet just barely above absolute ebony, touched here and there with fiery copper inlays.

With preternatural awareness that has nothing to do with sight or sound, her lips curve into a sinister, welcoming smile. Then they part, blowing softly upon the surface of the goblet; it ignites with sickly green flame, which rapidly expands into a globe more centrally placed in the room, for others' viewing pleasure.

Within, Heartless sack a town of some kind. There is screaming. Also crying. Hearts are extinguished, consumed, and converted by the dozens.

"When the cats are drawn away," she muses, amused.

Leida has posed:

The girl's eyes widen slightly as the sinister flames ignite, turning her head to follow the orb to the center of the room. The flickering green light dances in her eyes, a tiny mirror image of the doomed town reflected on the glossy amber surfaces.

Leida takes a few slow steps towards the magical image, lifting her hands to cup the fire between them without touching it and gazes into the globe.

"Look... a butterfly from the swamp is fluttering its wings..."

The essence of the darkness residing within her stirs at the horrific images being fed to it through her twisted vision, relishing the scene of suffering and torment. It takes these feelings in, absorbing as well the faint sense of empathy that the fragmented mind of its host feels for the unfortuante souls, wherever they might be.

"Everyone is dying..."

Maleficent has posed:

"No," Maleficent corrects contentedly, leaning back to survey the carnival of carnage in queenly comfort. "To become Heartless is not to die. It is to live freed of all pretention, of all the lies they tell themselves. To struggle for the only thing truly worth fighting for. We give them the power to take for themselves what they've wanted all along."

They advance upon a chubby little boy, no older than two or three. He clutches a stuffed bunny to his chest, lower lip quivering, eyes screaming for his mother. One reaches out a shadowy claw and extracts, then messily devours, a sparkly ball of energy from his chest. Within a heartbeat, the boy is floating a few feet above the ground, his eyes becoming yellow orbs, his features fading into inky homogeneity. A blue robe sprouts around his chest.

Raising his tiny hands to the sky, the latest Heartless summons a fireball to incinerate his nursery.

And Maleficent's dark smile is not only for the boy, but for the demon's taste of the boy's transformation. "It's been too long since you and I took in a show."

Leida has posed:

"Free...?" Leida shifts her hands around the burning orb, peering at it from a different angle. "Not... dead..."

She shakes her head and lowers her arms, staring at the floor dejectedly. "Not yet... when does it end..."

The girl shudders as if suddenly cold and then lets out a soft cry of distress as the thing inside of her rises to the front of their shared consciousness. A faint nimbus of shimmering purple light wafts up from her skin like the haze of a heat mirage and when she turns to look at the witch again, the same light fills her eyes like full moons in the dead of night.

"Yes... it has... been a long... time...?" The voice that speaks is now composed of two distinct tones, one young and childish, filled with uncertainy at the words spilling unbidden from its mouth. The other is oily and dark, hissing with restrained hate and venom.

Maleficent has posed:

Maleficent's yellowed, beady eyes -- so similar to Diablo's, yet so much more -- narrow almost to slits as she regards the orb, and the being behind it. With a snap of her fingers as casual as hitting a button on a remote control, she mutes the feed, so to speak. And the word she speaks next is a dark name that time has forgotten, used only for dark purpose, in dark places.

Hollow Bastion qualifies.

She's as fond of it as she is of anything, and caresses the syllables silkily on their way out of her lips. When they escape, at last, in their entirety, they embrace that ultraviolet light like an unholy benediction.

"It will end," she croons, more cruel than comforting, "When you are ready to take the next step. I can only guide you, dearest, but the path is yours to walk."

Leida has posed:

Leida wraps her arms about herself, clutching her body tightly at the sound of the word that poisons the air with its mere utterance, made all the more foul by the origin. A thick white mist escapes her lips as the creature lets out a deep sigh at the touch of its own name in more years than it could even try to remember. It had almost forgotten it had one.

"We do... what we must... to survive..." The girl recoils instinctively from the memories that this statement evokes, shutting them out and the demon is glad to oblige for once. It no longer wishes to remember the horrible mistake that bound it to this meager form either. Ironically, the Heartless were ultimately responsible but it doesn't choose to bring that little point of contention up.

"We... no longer see... clearly..."

Maleficent has posed:

Maleficent does not directly control most of the Heartless, at any given time. Sometimes none of them. She /founded/ the Shadow Lords in part to delegate that responsibility, and the soul-tainting that goes with it, but it's also true that true, unsummoned, extant Heartless are, if not exactly a natural occurence, a fact of the shattered reality of the modern day.

That's not to say she wasn't responsible, directly or indirectly, for the demon's current situation. It's pretty likely, one way or another. But it doesn't trouble her, either way; it lives on, and its story continues, with more torment than it ever could have inflicted in its original form.

There's nothing like a little girl to turn brave heroes into idiots blinded by rage and frustration.

"And survive you have, gloriously. There is no fear more terrible, no pain more poignant, than that of betrayal, and to look at you is to trust you, in your present form," she points out. "But if it is clarity you seek, I could oblige you." For a price, goes unspoken but blatantly understood by anyone who knows the first thing about dark magic. Even if the Dark Fae wanted to do it on the house, some sort of sacrifice would still be required, to fuel the working itself.

She leans forward, lifting an eyebrow imperiously, waiting to hear what it's willing to offer. It need not be personal; using the possessions of others, physical or emotional, is the oldest move in the book.

Leida has posed:

The demon licked its lips; a decidedly human display of nervousness and yet another indication of how much it had been forced to endure in the merger of souls. Did it even have anything left to offer that would fuel such potent magic?

Perhaps it could offer something of the girl in the exchange but then she had very little left to give and it was only her current tenuous grasp on reality that made the foolish and the brave throw themselves at her with reckless abandon. She still had the spark of life, the hope of redemption that they latched onto. To give up that would certain doom it to failure and death.

As for itself, it had bonded to intimately with the its host that any trace of its original self were naught to be found, not in a way that would satisfy the magics, atleast. It was nothing more than a concept now. A legend from a world that no longer existed to speak of its atrocities, to frighten children with the threat of its mere existence. No, it all the ways that mattered it truly was nothing more than a shadow now.

Its arm brushed against the hilt of the blade fastened to its waist and the thought occured to it that it might use the ancient magic sword for such a purpose. However, the enchantments that bound it to the weapon were strong. Much much too strong for it to unravel. Perhaps even too strong for her. No... best not to risk it and be wrong.

After this short and silent deliberation, the girl's eyes staring blankly at ahead, she shakes her head from side to side slowly. "We have... nothing suitable to... offer..."

Maleficent has posed:

Maleficent rolls her eyes impatiently. Her hand flicks out, turning the screams of the nauseatingly green energy globe back on. Most of the village is in flames, now, and with a slight frown, she calls in some thunderclouds. From several dimensions away. Lightning follows, but also devastating, drowning rain.

"Can't let that town disappear completely. Wasteful," she sniffs with disdain, imagining the town being wiped completely off the map, all of its suffering forgotten. How droll.

Once that's been handled, she looks back over at the demon and its sword. "So go get something!" she suggests with slow, syrupy patience. Poisoned honey. "Bring me the shattered dreams of a hero, and I'll weave them into all the eyes you'll ever wish for."

Leida has posed:

The girl shies away from Maleficent, displaying the physical reaction to match the demon's mental one at her words. It knows the sound of deceit when it hears it and the witch has little patience when it comes to dealing with such trivialities.

Regaining control of its body, the creature inclines its head in a gesture of respectful acquiescence and the noble girl latches onto this action, taking it all the way into a full curtsey. Her metal 'skirt' doesn't suit the task very well, unfortunately, but she tries all the same.

"Ofcourse... we already... hunt..." It straightens up and looks back at her, the faint hint of a smile on its face. "The one called... Garland... has unleashed us... upon a place... called... Manhattan..."

Maleficent has posed:

Deceit? No. Maleficent delivers on her promises, every time; building up a reputation over thousands of years as a dealmaker, so that when the moment arrives, hopefully in the near future, she can be a dealbreaker in the most spectacular way possible. Her smirk at the demon's quailing is pleasant enough; when he can't stand the clouding of his vision, he'll be back.

"Yes, it's the Manhattan-focused crowd I have to thank for tonight's entertainment," she murmurs agreeably, looking back at her flash flooded township, which is assuredly not a part of the island. Perhaps, if the threat to Manhattan wasn't so totally preoccupying so many heroically-minded individuals, they would have been able to protect this place. "One world in thousands, one star in the sky... it's not important if they win or lose, it's how one plays the game. Still... I hope they succeed. Good for the ego, and they are all very young." LEXUS, Negaduck, Riku.

With a twirl of a finger, the sorceress supreme summons an absence, which settles into her palm, congealed nothingness. A seed of the void. "Plant this in strange places, and stranger things will grow," she proclaims, flicking the seed into the demongirl's palms. "Tend it yourself, or give it to one of the others, I care not."

It's as much a dismissal as anything. She turns back to her view, where a few survivors are beginning the agonizing process of collecting what few corpses exist -- most have already become Heartless, after all -- and laying them to rest...

Leida has posed:

Leida's hands cup together and catch the dark artifact, cradling it back and forth in her palms as she stares at its non-existance. A darkness deep and pervasive is all that looms back at her. Gently she presses it to her chest and the armor melts into bubbling oily shadows that swallows up the seed, keeping it tucked safely away from prying eyes.

"We shall do... as you say..." Turning away, the girl moves back over towards the doorway through which she entered and steps out into the long musty hallway that stretches across the length of the castle interior. The door creaks and whines behind her as it is pulled shut, closing in the dark presence and the scene of final nightmares upon an unknown world.

The creature wondered if it could trust the deal that had been offered. Certainly the witch would grant its wish but would it be in the form that it desired? Even its kind knew the hazards of dealing with such sorcerors.

Still pondering this, it set off down the corridor and began to settle in for another long slumber. The girl was already stirring, her presence annoying forceful in the absense of clear purpose. But Garland had already handled that little detail for him. With a hissing sigh, it sank into the depths of her mind and cloudy eyes filled with confusion and wonder peered out again, following the invisible bread crumbs laid out before them.