Chapter VII - Healing Pains

This is what you came here for. Adventure, intrigue, murder, mystery and action - plus a healthy dose of boring everyday stuff. One continuous story-line, broken up into smaller themes for easier consumption.
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TennyoCeres84
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Re: Chapter VII - Healing Pains

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Neasa nodded approvingly. "Whatever we can do to throw them off is the best we can do," she said.

Meris nodded in agreement with the plan, but she then turned her gaze to Nereus. "There's something we also haven't considered since you escaped. With your absence, that left a void. What if Buck in our son's body filled that void and decided to make a move? What if the Void Weavers Anjali and Coach saw were affiliated with him?" she addressed.

Hanako sighed. "That's also another possibility. With Chambers weakened by that potion, it's feasible he sent that imposter in his place," she mused.

Neasa frowned. "What kind of power level does he have? Is he as capable as Nereus?" she asked the couple.

The Archmage tightened her lips. "Close enough to be a concern, from what I remember. If we hadn't realized that Chambers swapped Chauncey's soul for Buck's, I'd say the body would fit him like a glove."

With regard to Gutierrez, Alastriona frowned in Archie's direction. "Gentleman, my arse," she spat. "He seems all polite and cordial, but I wouldn't trust him as far as I can throw him. He and his wife had an air about them that they expected to be treated like royalty. I seriously wouldn't be surprised if they made their entrance during Sophia's moment of silence on purpose."

Aspasia sighed as they discussed all of this. "The Choosing will have everyone's attention. Something like this only comes along so often. With Azazel and the others participating, things might considerably change for all we know," she observed, then nodding to Aidan. "We'll need to listen and keep an eye on our persons of interest, but try to steer things in our favor, if at all possible."
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Karl the Mad
 

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Re: Chapter VII - Healing Pains

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"If it comes down to it, we could fight back as hard as anyone," Marius noted in regards to power levels. "The issue would be getting the fight away from collateral damage, and I'm sure they'll use that against us."

"Cuz we're the 'good guys', right?" Charles asked sarcastically, making air quotes around good guys. "Pff. Maybe Hauser 'n me ain't on y'all's levels, but we'll stick it to 'em when it counts."

"Yes, but we can't have an air-to-air gun fight over the city," Marius pointed out.

"Might not have a choice," Preston mused. "Jenkins is right, morons will use morality against us; try and take fight away from civilians, morons target civilians until we come back. They don't care about anything but getting us."

"An' Drakey won't let us jus' leave, either," and Charles rolled his eyes. "Unless we go high enough tha' Black Speech won't affect no one down below?"

"Dragon-shout them into water and let them evaporate on the way down, or something like that?" Marius suggested. "Not a bad idea."
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Re: Chapter VII - Healing Pains

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Alex's comment made Bucky snort in amused approval. "And there's the family resemblance," he noted. "Sophia didn't care much for dragons or supernaturals who don't make their intentions clear none. Behave, and you had a perfect companion for any stroll through the park. We sat together under a few trees, on occasion. Talked a bit. I was happy to take her mind off of what makes this town tick, from time to time."

Archie nodded, his shoulders moving in a mute wistful sigh. "It is my hope you won't begrudge us our efforts to lighten your load, as it were, Alastriona."

Nereus, in the meantime, stuck his hands in his pockets. He looked back to the group once Archie had spoken. "My son is a labor of love, my friends. He has all my power, all my dedication and all of his mother's drive - I feel it as deeply as I do my own heartbeat. Unfortunately, his body was usurped. Nikolaas Buck is bound to have some of our respective abilities, but they aren't his - not entirely. They're like tools he's stolen - and I'm hopeful we'll eventually restore them to their rightful owner. I wouldn't consider him handicapped, however - not in the slightest. He's grown in my son's body, he's had centuries to make it almost entirely his."

He lightly frowned. "I don't know how to put it into words, exactly - neither Meris or I were made to use the Black Speech in the way the Loyalists do. I don't doubt he sees himself as powerful, but he's only tapping into a fraction of Chauncey's total power. I've had long years to suffer seeing Buck puppet my son around, and I've always deeply known that something of the man he could've been still remained. Something that attests of the Speech's power when used for Good."

The former Augur brought his hands together. "Once both halves are united, Lucian will find an equal in his abilities, and we'll present something and someone else for our enemies to fear."

Three crossed his arms on his chest as he listened to Charles and Marius. "It's not that I don't want you to go, Charles - I just know you're especially capable here, with Abraham - and I wouldn't leave Hope to Doherty, nevermind how comfortable he's gotten with his own powers. I know Magnus Tower is jam-packed, but..."

This was delicate. He didn't want to say he no longer trusted Tom implicitly. He settled with a deflection, instead. "Herbert is still more of a diplomat than a fighter, Melmoth and Abdiel aren't always around anymore," he said, gesturing to the pair, "Belphegor's interests align with our own but he's Sloth, so we don't have any guarantees as to his willingness to act, and Randolph only has power as a Judge. He could protect us, but he never could take the fight to anyone directly."

Obviously, the warthog picked up on this. "I'm still here, Aidan. I'm not leaving anytime soon, believe me.
- I know, it's just that you're as essential on the side of diplomacy now as you were on the front. I don't want to come back to London and to hear about Alice tearing a hole through the tower because her Eldritch puberty kicked in or with Envy thralls making impossible demands. Herbert might be Pride, you're still the face of demonic integration as a concept."

Aidan's intentionally ego-stroking argument seemed to have its effect, Tom lightly shifting his gip on his staff. "Well, I suppose you're right," he said, allowing himself a smile. "It's a good thing that Herbert didn't follow along, I don't think he would've appreciated hearing you say this."

Nereus looked vaguely puzzled as this finished, a look that Vernon and Eirean shared. Three settled with a side-glance to Marius, seeing as he'd shared his apprehensions concerning the warlock with the vampire. He couldn't speak openly, but they'd be free to ask Vlastos for a primer on the subject sometime later.
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Re: Chapter VII - Healing Pains

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Alex smiled at Bucky and Archie kindly. "I don't mind you helping me. I want friends, but I also want allies to help me look after this city. Saying Hope is a handful is understatement," she chuckled.

Meris lightly squeezed Nereus' hand in support. "In due time, dear. I mainly brought it up so that we wouldn't be surprised if Buck does turn up."

Picking up on Three's intentions, Aislinn raised her hand. "I'll also be here to help keep an eye on things. We'll make sure things run as smoothly as possible while you're headed to London."

Ciaran tilted his head. "I'm staying here as well while Bucky and Neasa help run interference."

It didn't take long for the young dryad to pick up game of subterfuge in Aidan's ego stroking. She was reminded of a game she saw during her brief stay in Blue Paradise when a con artist moved a small object under three bowls. Her instinct about Tom was right, and she would also ask Marius as to what happened with the warthog.
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Re: Chapter VII - Healing Pains

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"Abe's a'ready plannin' ter hit up London, though," Charles pointed out, "s'why he left early, 'member?"

Marius was quick to pick up on the subtleties at hand, though outwardly he rolled his eyes. "Where IS dear Wormsy, anyway? Also off getting ready for London?"

"Since when is 'e yer 'dear Wormsy'?" Charles asked, turning a slightly incredulous look towards him.

"Since we went through therapy together at the hands of Shen Long, that's when," Marius replied, cocking an eyebrow in return.

Preston, for his part, looked agitated. But it was rare that he didn't. "Wanna get moving, already?" he muttered, not meeting anyone's eyes yet giving them all an imploring look. "Stillness is death with morons after us!"
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