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This piece of fiction was written around the date of 26 May 2008, and was a collaboration between user:p3a and user:Kouskous (players of Kall and Kouniam respectively). It was played out on an instant messaging programme, fully consentually by both players. None of the happenings detailed thus are widely-known in-character knowledge - this happened a long time ago, comparitively speaking, so even the consequences of what happened have almost all been completely cleared now.

Quality not guaranteed - this is old.

Warning - contains blood/violence/gore/magic/weirdness/messy tenses



Kouniam walked down the stairs from the first to ground floor of Nethergarde Keep, and peered at the sleeping Kall which he found at one of the tables.

Kall was breathing quite loudly, in that way that's not quite snoring but isn't very quiet either. She was obviously sleeping, though. It's also obvious she fell asleep by accident.

Kouniam whispered lightly: “Ered'nash havik yrthog ...”

His eyes turned darker and he smiles, with questionable motive, at the sleeping Kall reaching with his right hand to her. She didn't move, so he took his glove off from his right hand and held Kall's hand as well. She flinched slightly when contact was initially made, though she didn't wake up until a moment later.

The red Naaru-shaped scar on his palm glowed strongly and tuned loudly, locking Kall and Kouniam's hands together violently.

"Gah! Ow!" Her glasses, which were skewed on her face when she had it resting on the desk, fall off when she sat up (which she did so quite sharply). Kouniam made eye contact with Kall, smiling maliciously. Though she looked in his general direction, no signs of recognition were present on her tired face. Her eyes were unfocussed. "Who's that? I can't see." "Guess Kall Sprangler... just... guess..." "Geh... what is it, Kou?" She sounded rather drowsy. "Yes Kall... It's me... now relax..." "Whaddya want? Can you pass me my glasses please?" "Ohh sure thing..." Sarcasm tainted his tone.

Kouniam raised his left hand, the glasses quickly floating to it... "Here." He launched a small shock-wave which made everything in the room shake. Kall was pushed back, but with her hand locked to Kouniam didn’t fall off her chair at all. Her glasses’ frames cracked with the impact, although the lenses themselves remained perfectly intact. "Agh!..." She swore in Gnomish, clearly at him – though not too loudly. "What're you playing at, daft Eredar..." "Eredar...?" Kouniam cackled. "Nope... you’re wrong... yet again you just demonstrate how foolish you are..." "Oh, cut it out, you," she snapped, still keeping her voice low. "I know you're a big softie, now tell me what you're after - and I'll remind you Qia'll have an appendage or two off you if you hurt me, and you didn't like it when people left YOU to die." She sounded... esasperated, fed up, tired, and grumpy. Somehow like she didn't really care.

"Well Kall... the problem is that Qia won’t find out... will she?" Kouniam blasted another concentrated and quiet wave of impact, this time much stronger - throwing Kall up in the air but her magically locked contact with Kouniam made her fall to the table right after. Kouniam cackled louder. She swore strongly again, in Gnomish. "Aye she will, what makes you think she won't?" She seemed almost immune to the pain, as it didn’t show on her face at all. "Hmf... your persistence will get you nothing, foolish gnome. You have to learn that just because she wants you alive, it doesn’t mean that one day you'll be useful..." "What do you want from me?" She gazed up, somewhat defiantly (if somewhat tiredly) in his general direction. She still didn't have her glasses on, so her gaze was somewhat unfocussed. Her glasses were rather thick. Her vision was not very good. "Apart from you out of the way? Filth..." He launched a similar, yet more powerful ,wave that this time caught the Keep's guards’ attention. She didn't utter so much as an acknowledgement of the pain. "Careful," she muttered, quietly. "You'll die at their hands." "They'll die at my hands..." he responded, equally as quietly. Three guards walked in and waved their weapons to the mage and the warlock. "Begone, we are making a dangerous experiment! It is not safe here... leave!" They conversed among themselves as to what they ought to do for a few moments, then what seemed to be the leader nodded. They set about clearing the lower floor of the Keep, then left themselves.

Kall sighed heavily, as if she were merely bored. "Can't we take this outside," she asked, in an esasperated tone of voice. "You've a risk of someone like Ormel or your Lady coming and..." She smiled slightly at him, maliciously. The words "your Lady" had a certain sarcastic intonation to them. "It's crowded outside..." Kouniam's energies forced a number of objects to float around the room. Kall sighed. Breaking eye contact. Allowing herself to go limp, but with a certain solemn resolve in her facial expression. Resignation, if not submission. "Do your worst; I'll endure it." "You’re very submissive to pain... are you sure you're not a true power-hungry warlock? Like your father before you? And his master? Hm? Are you sure you're not that foolish one you seem to be, and are in fact a true caster of darkness and fear?" Kouniam smiled at her, evilly, enjoying every single bit.

"This is what my father used to do to me."

She didn't say anything more. Her face didn't reveal any emotion at all. "Bringing back good memories than? Maybe you'd like to... share..." Kouniam tried to lock eye contact, while the joint hands glowed even more. "Not really." She refused him eye contact, her facial expression not wavering one bit. "What a shame..." Kouniam launched another wave, this time the arcane focus of the wave was replaced by fire, at intense temperatures. The room started to burn magically – never damaging the actual tables past a scorch, but the flames perpetuating. Kouniam's clothes kept perfectly intact, despite the intense flames.

Not a muscle twitched, though the slight smell of burning flesh betrayed the fact that, actually, Kall was in quite a lot of pain. She had... endured this before. Whilst the other parts of her somewhat casual clothing gradually singed at the edges, her tabard - which was well-loved anyway - endured the temperatures, too. "Well well... we seem to be used to burnings... maybe a lava bath would be awesome wouldn't it?"

He smiled maliciously at Kall. There was a sudden look of alarm from Kall - though, not in relation to what Kouniam was saying, as the timing was wrong for that. She stared in a mix of surprise and horror at her hands, which glowed momentarily purple-black...

...before something materialising on Kouniam, and... er, as it were, nomming on his shoulderpads.

It was Kall's felpuppy, and it was trying to eat his mana.

"What tha...?" Kouniam looked back and stared at the felhunter he had on his shoulders. He broke the contact with Kall, making the floating objects fall violently on the floor.

A huge painting fell off right on top of Kouniam - he fainted. Kall stared in simple mesmerisation at what had just transpired. Then she snapped out of it, and tried to haul the painting off the two it had fallen on... both Kouniam and Sruulum. The canvas was light, so she propped it up against the wall (hoping, but not checking, that it hadn't been damaged), and looked at the two lying in front of her.

She decided to revive Sruulum first.

The newly burnt callouses on her hands made her wince slightly - now she wasn't under direct scrutiny of her torturer - as she stroked the felpup gently, willing it to come around (which it did). Then, she took her canteen, and began splashing water on Kouniam's face to wake him up. Kouniam kept unconscious moving slightly and moaning in pain.

"It's okay... come on..." Kall poured more water on her hands, rubbing them together - a sharp intake of breath indicated the pain. Given she'd just obtained some pretty nasty burns over her whole body, she wasn't doing so badly. She then began prodding his head to see where the worst bump was, so she could apply something cold to it. "There, it's okay, not going to hurt you..." To an observer, it was clear she was doing this without actually looking. She was going by touch alone. Sruulum, however, kept his hackles raised; he was stood, en garde (as much as a dog can be), behind the kneeling Kall.

"Hmm... what happened? Hmm?" Kouniam woke up and tried to get up, although he was far too weak and all he could do was hold his scarred hand with the other to contain the intense heat of the pain. "You were trying to kill me when Sruulum ate your mana. I think a painting fell on you." She paused. "Don't try and sit up, okay?"

She smiled, kindly - well. She tried to smile. That sharp intake of breath indicated the toll the burns on her face were taking.

"Kou, I need you to tell me what's hurting. I can't see without my glasses and I can't feel very well with these burns, but I need to help you, okay?" "My hand... the scar... it's... leaking... what have you done? What happened to the connection?... What? I mean... how?..." "You're bleeding? Which hand? You need to tell me so I can bandage... maybe it happened when Sruulum ate your mana?" "No! I'm not bleeding, just stay back... the connection was breached violently... it's unstable... get back!" Kouniam shouted. He tried to get up. He put his left hand to his head, which was hurting badly.

"Sruulum!" Her voice was suddenly commanding. "I need you to try and consume the excess mana and discharge it into the Nether, do you hear? The Portal's not so far from here, it shouldn't be hard. Can you do that?"

The felpuppy Sruulum whined, then thought about it. He then barked, affirming this as a possibility. "Good boy, now do it!"

The felpuppy put his antennae forwards, and concentrated - channelling the mana through his small form into... it wasn't sure where, but one assumed the floor.

"ARGHH! AHHH!" Kouniam screamed and twisted on the floor in pain trying to contain it. The puppy whined, but concentrated - it was well-behaved, and loyal. Kall shouted above Kouniam's screaming with surprising volume: "It's okay, it'll make it better! We don't want you to explode! Hang on in there!" "STOP THAT ALREADY! ARGH!" Something inside Kall seemed to snap. "KOUNIAM! STOP WHINING AND PUT UP WITH THE PAIN YOU WERE GOING TO INFLICT UPON ME, MYSELF, AND LET ME AND MY DOG STABILISE YOUR $(%&ING MANA POOL!" She had the voice of an officer, when she was angry.

The Nethergarde guards gathered outside murmured non-appreciative things among themselves about experiments.

Kouniam shut up. He tried to contain the pain simply with his face twisting expression and by holding his hand strongly. To help out, he took a bolt of Netherweave, stuffing it in his mouth - moaning in pain.

Kall took a few deep breaths in the silence.

She took some long-neglected linen from her pack, and soaked it in water from her canteen, placing it on Kouniam's brow to soothe him whilst his unstable mana was drained.

"Sorry. Just endure it. It'll be better once it's done." She sat cross-legged opposite him, the singes on her clothing and the fresh burns and calluses on her skin clearly visible. She should have been in a lot of pain, and she wasn’t. At least, she wasn’t giving into it. "Why.... do you do this...?” he asked, his voice muffled by the Netherweave. “Why...? After... arg... after all I do to you... how foolish can you be... argh!" He was breathing heavily, still trying to contain the pain. "Shh... it's okay..." Whilst the words were soothing, the tone of voice was disinterested. "I'm hoping, one day, you'll learn what "to return a favour" means.” She paused, and took a measured breath. “I'm returning YOU a favour, right now, in the ironic sense, by causing you all this pain. But, I’m also doing you a non-ironic favour. Which you, dear Man'ari, are going to have to pay back to me one day." "You wished... arg... that's where your foolishness takes a greater ste... ahh... step..." The fiery tone retook her voice. "I could cause you more pain if I wanted to! I could corrupt your very essence and make you burn until you were a BROKEN man, Kouniam... a broken man. I could do it until I made you CRY."

She paused.

"But I am not going to. And do you know why? Because I am not my father." Sruulum broke the channelling, leaving Kouniam's mana pool completely drained. "You’re just... hmf... stupid enough to give up your powers... hm..." He got up, still mumbling with pain. "That's your problem... you realise the power you have and yet refuse to use it... you're a fool... and that's it... you should have done all that already... but no... hmf..."

She cast a spell at him. It was Curse of Weakness. She approached him slowly. He took the Naaru shaped figurine from his pocket and placed it on the table. The curse Kall cast made him mumble even more, nearly falling. "Argh..." She pushed him: not even that hard, and half-heartedly, from about his knee height – knocking him over. "Don't be such a bastard, Kou." Kouniam muttered words in Eredun to the figurine in despair, trying to get up again. "Say sorry." "Achor... she-ki..." Kouniam looked deep into Kall's eyes and smiled maliciously. "Akmin-kurai..." "Speak in Common." Her tone of voice still had an edge to it. She allowed her own eyes to meet his, a fiery piercing gaze previously unknown to be possessed by her within her eyes. "Reesh, hokta..."

The figurine shattered into a thousand pieces that started to fly wildly around the scorched room, sharp as knives - cutting , denting and ravaging the walls and tables, carefully avoiding Kouniam - yet not Kall nor Sruulum. He kept smiling at Kall and just say "No..." Sruulum barked loudly at them, sustaining some cuts but dodging others, snapping at the shards and trying to eat them - Kall endured the cuts, not moving an inch, not flinching a muscle. Not even trying to dodge – not even acknowledging the pain.

"Say SORRY, you son of a succubus."

One of the flying magical shards caught her across the nose, slashing a cut where the bridge between the lenses of her glasses would normally go.

"As I said... no..." The last shard, a pure white light energised shard, floated before Kouniam - he grabbed it with his right hand. He kept smiling at Kall whilst she was getting badly attacked by the shards.

She didn't move. She didn't even try to stop herself getting cut. The only two things that remained in tact were her facial expression and her Athanatoi tabard. "I could have left you there to die." The white shard glowed in Kouniam's hand healing him fully and dispelling the curse as well as restoring his mana. He stood up and sighed at Kall. "Exactly... and you did not... you're a fool!" He waved his hand, pushing Kall against the far wall. He waved his hand again and all the shard directed right to her.

Sruulum attacked, unperturbed by the shards which he himself was enduring, and spell-locked Kouniam - taking the opportunity to take a chunk out of his mana, too. When it seemed the shards would hit every single part of Kall’s body, they stopped when Sruulum attacked. Kall had a soul-link active, obviously, at the time; else she would not have taken the exact moment in which Sruulum attacked to cast Curse of Tongues on Kouniam – but he resisted it. Kounaim tried to cast another arcane spell but couldn't. Furious, he froze the demon with a powerful Ice spell. He then directed to Kall. "You're so lucky she wants you alive..." "Wait til I tell her." Kall smirked, blood trickling down her cheek from a cut further up her face. "Ohh, but you shall not! If you do... we'll have dire consequences..." "We will?" She laughed. "You see... Farshala and Lowdan are not on her not to kill list..." "And you think you can find them." The grave resolve in her face was astounding. "It can't be that hard... can it?" Kouniam called forward a single shard, dissolving it into noxious fumes. In the centre Kall’s toddler half-sister, Farshala, could be seen. "Ohh yes... yes little Sprangler... I would be such a... shame..." She did not seem to be affected by the scrying trick – for she knew it was just a trick.

She added, seemingly as a side note or a change of subject, "I wonder why you went so mad when other people left you to die. Or when I did this to myself," she said, gesturing weakly to the cuts against her whole body. "The... others... they are not worthy of my consideration any more."

"I suspect you're like one of those playground bullies you read about in children's s-storybooks where they're all big and tough until their mother, who is bigger and tougher than them, is about." She either smirked or winced, and it was hard to tell which. "Anyway..." Kouniam waved, and the shard right next to Kall's nose slowly cut deeper into the cut it did before - breaking the bone itself, and absorbing the first blood of the subsequent nosebleed before floating back to the right of Kouniam’s hand.

Kall didn't even flinch, though the red liquid was streaming down her face at quite a rate. She was swaying slightly on the spot. "You're just like Father," she muttered. "No... I'm much worse than your father... trust me on that...” He smirked. “Your luck is that others want you alive. But maybe... maybe if I collect what she wants and keep it, she'll never care anymore..." He smiled at the bloody shard.

Sruulum - now released from the ice spell - whined desperately, then snarled, assailing Kouniam again: this time merely physically, biting down strongly on his hand with needle-like teeth and attempting to shake the hand around, trying to make it bleed. "Foolish creature!" Kouniam made his hand rise to earth core temperatures, blasting the inside of the demon’s mouth. Sruulum howled, but didn't let go. Kall cried out in empathic pain, caused by the soul link.

"Enough! Stop or your dear master looses a leg!" He waved with his free hand, making the shards over Kall's right leg carve deep into the flesh - very slowly. "How's it going to be, demon?" Both Kall and Sruulum gritted their teeth together, Sruulum therefore momentarily digging his teeth in further... but then he let go. He didn't so much as whimper as he limped towards Kall, and began slowly licking one of her wounds on the other leg to the one the shard was digging into. Kall was having to consciously focus to stay conscious by now – she’d lost a lot of blood. "Good..." "Now!" He waved his now free hand and the bloody shard embedded in Kall’s left leg turned from black to red, sucking the blood. "I have what she wants... should I get rid of you once and for all? Hmm? Maybe?"

Kall muttered something. Then realised it had been more than fifteen minutes.

Her hands glowed momentarily black and the aura of fel filled the room as Sruulum disappeared, and a voidwalker appeared for a split second before dematerialising again, leaving its bracers on the ground as though it had died. A shining light surrounded Kall, throwing all the shards from around and in her back into the room, though it did not heal any of her wounds. Kouniam stop the shard in mid air before they could crash into the walls. "Hmf... Voidwalker sacrifice! Now where is the void consuming shard?" Before Kouniam could do anything more, Kall pressed a button on a device – evidently made of some strong metal, or at least encased in it, as it had not been damaged - which had been clipped to her belt, and her existence began fluxing. "Transporter. Screw you, I'm going home." She grinned through the shining shield.

"Don't you dare!" Kouniam hurled a pyroblast in Kall's direction. It hit the wall. She was gone. He roared at Kall's disappearance, and his anger made him blast a huge wave of fire around what was left of the room.

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