The Hope Under Broken Souls (Peregrine x Invader Len)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Peregrine, Jan 28, 2015.

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  1. When the phone rang, the rumpled figure on the couch stirred, before casting a glance at the heavy, corded brick phone that sat on an old, wooden coffee table in the middle of the room through a lock of dirty blonde hair. He blinked in irritation, before rolling over and burying his face back into the arm of the couch. He had always meant to move that thing to a significantly more out of the way spot, but had somehow never actually gotten around to it. At least it never rang more than once, because the phone automatically disconnected as soon as a call came through.

    The phone rang again.

    Karl Filius was on his feet in the blink of an eye, staring, bewildered and confused, at the 1980’s landline phone, almost as though it had somehow betrayed him. However, when the phone rang a third time, he finally understood that it wasn’t his landline that was ringing. Karl hurled himself over the back of the second part of the L-shaped corner couch, before running face-first into a wood-paneled wall. He rapped impatiently on it, and the wall slid away in front of him.

    “Thank you,” Karl muttered, somewhat sarcastically, before slipping through the now open panel into the space beyond.

    On the other side of the wall was a hallway, completely overcrowded with desks, shelves, and cabinets, and filled to the brim with all kinds of miscellaneous junk, both fascinating and commonplace. However, none of it was newer than approximately 1990.

    As the phone rang a fourth time, Karl began to toss his way through the room, looking for the source of the noise. Tucked away into the back corner of a bookshelf halfway down the hallway, buried behind a couple of hats, an old goblet, a massive stack of old parchments and maps which were more or less recent, a really old rotary phone, a box filled with spools of thread, a needle, and a ripped pillow from 19th century France, he finally found the source of the noise. Somehow, still miraculously plugged in and charged, a 1990’s Nokia brick cellphone was ringing at him.

    Karl stared at it for a moment, before the phone yelled at him again, ringing so loud that he nearly slapped his hands over his ears. No wonder he had been able to hear it in the other room. It took him another moment of staring, and another earsplitting ring, to finally determine what the phone was, and why he had left it plugged in. A tricky smile crossed his face, and he quickly picked it up before it could ring again.

    “Donald, you bastard. Aren’t you fucking dead yet?” Karl swore into the phone, a glint in his eyes belying the harshness of his words. Not that the person on the other end of the phone could tell.

    There was a shocked silence, broken only by a faint crackle brought about by bad reception. Karl broke the silence a moment later as he burst out laughing. “Ach, Duck, you know I’m just joking. How the bloody hell have you been?”

    Still the phone remained stubbornly silent, and Karl glanced it out of the corner of his eye. Was the thing broken? That would be perfect, wouldn’t it, that the thing finally gave out just as he needed it again.

    Finally, though, the silence was broken by a hesitant voice. A hesitant voice that was, far more importantly, unfamiliar. “Are you... Karl?”

    In an instant, all the humor left his voice. Instead, every syllable promised a quick and painful death should the mystery caller refuse to answer. “Who the fuck are you, and how did you get this number?”

    “I... I’m Donald’s son. He gave it to me.”

    “As if. Donald doesn’t have a son.”

    “No, I swear. I’m Michael, son of Donald and Denise King, born May 21, 1994...” The kid continued to ramble on, desperate to prove his identity to the angry man on the other end of the phone, but Karl had stopped listening. He had been struck by an overwhelming wave of nostalgia.

    Back when he and Donald had still been running together, Karl had always joked that he had no choice but to name his firstborn son Michael, to keep the Disney tradition going. He had never actually expected Duck to take his advice.

    “So, tell me Mouse,” Karl finally said with a resigned tone. Somehow, he hadn’t fully acknowledged exactly how out of touch he was with the real world, that he wouldn’t even know that his former best friend had given birth to a son. But, wasn’t that why he had retreated from the world a little over twenty years ago? It didn’t require him to deal with the fact that life went on without him. “How is your father?”

    “How did you know that na... Never mind.” There was a rush of static as Michael let out a breath. “Da’s fine. He’s as ornery, determined, and hard-headed as ever, but he settled into a working life easier than ma was expecting, after he finally came back to earth.”

    “That’s all good to hear, but if he’s fine why are you calling me?”

    Michael paused again, obviously flustered. He hesitated a further moment, either trying to find the right words, or waiting for some other kind of prompting or stimulation. But, as was always the case, he eventually spoke. “There have been rumors going around, rumors that the Holy Grail is back.”

    “Don’t tell me that is why you called.”

    “You’ve got to understand, these aren’t just regular rumors. There’s serious weight behind them.”

    “I wouldn’t give a fuck if God himself had given you a divine vision. The Holy Grail is the most monumental waste of time that this world has ever seen, and it brings nothing but pain and suffering. The best thing anyone can do is stay the hell away from the thing.”

    “But what if someone who intended no good got their hands on it?”

    “To get it, someone needs to bond to Excalibur. That takes care of your problem right there.”


    “That really is the only reason you called. Well then, sod off. If you try and call this number again, it won’t be working.” With that unceremonious goodbye, Karl hung up the phone, before hurling it down the hallway. It bounced against the far door with a soft thud but remained otherwise intact. Karl scowled.

    He was going to have to find some more permanent way to destroy the thing. For now, though, he’d just pull out the battery.
  2. Artie looked up at the building in front of her. The locals had described it as a fort, though, she found that hard to believe. It looked like a dilapidated old nuclear bunker, moss and weeds growing in clumps. There were no windows, and the single, rusting metal door to the inside looked like it was ripped from the hull of a submarine. She had taken an overgrown, dirt road to get here, her scooter lying on the dead brown grass. She stifled a shudder from a sudden temperature change, why was it so cold here? She normally stayed in someplace warmer this time of year; San Diego was good for squatters, LA good for business, Miami was always fun for partying, and Houston had that cool space museum. And yet, here she was, up here in the northernmost parts of Maine in the later half of March, freezing her took us off in her oversized, ragged tweed coat.

    She took a deep breath, rubbing her gloved hands together to keep warm, before finally deciding that going into the stone hut to talk to the strange creepy guy inside was better than standing out in the cold. She crept up to the door, looking it over. There was no handle, no lock, not even a doorbell. Weird! How was she supposed to get in then? She felt a rattling in her belt, pushing the tweed coat back by her hip. That dagger was rattling in it's sheath, why... Wait, what had the old man said? Something about cutting through metal and blending with shadows. Well, maybe she could cut through the door, though how that would work was beyond her.

    Drawing Caerwennan, Artie gripped it carefully with both hands, wondering how she was going to do this. Did a flame come out like a blow torch or did she have to stab it like a can opener? Unsure, she held the dagger at arm's length, tentatively tapping the door with it.

    It was a freezing, jolting rush, starting through her finger tips and running through her whole body. Her eyes went wide as every single hair on her head stood on end, and she was pushed back by an invisible force. Sprawling on the ground, she coughed, still shuddering, the taste of metal in her mouth. Holy shit! What the hell was that?! Was the door electrified or something?! Sitting up, she patted down her short black hair, dusting her knees as she shakily stood up. She picked up Caerwennan, placing it back in it's sheath, staring desperately at the door again. Great, how was she gonna get past an electrified door?

    She looked back to her tarnished scooter, should she go back? This whole magic stuff creeped her out, maybe she should just go back to conning and cat burglary... No, no way! That treasure... They said it was the greatest treasure ever! She wanted it, the fame, the glory, but most of all, the money! With new resolve, she marched up to the electrified door, covering her hands with her sleeves and pushing hard.

    The door swung open without any effort.

    Artie blinked. Shit, had it been unlocked? Who just left a door unlocked when there were treasure hunters around? This guy must be a real wacko, living in an old bunker yet not locking the door.

    She walked down through the darkened passageway, the stone walls wet and cold. It felt like it was even colder on the inside! How long had she been walking for, anyways? The bunker hadn't been this big on the outside, had it? Maybe this was some scientific-like effect or something, the electric shock was messing with her brain.
    Eventually, she reached the end of the passageway, one single, electric lamp at the end. She scanned the walls, wracking her brain. Where the fuck was the door? Did this asshole live in an electrified cave? What the shit?

    Wait... The old guys said this guy was also magic, right? Maybe there was a password, to get in? Or some secret button? Maybe it was a hollow wall?

    Leaning against it and pressing her ear to the stone wall, she tapped on it, trying to find any sign that it was hollow. What she wasn't expecting for the wall to give way, sending her tumbling into the next room.

    Coughing and grumbling, she sat up, rubbing the dust out of her eyes. Whoa, where the hell was she? It was like a completely different room, like some fancy library or something. Shelves of books and strange memorabilia lined the walls, so high that ladders were place to reach the upper shelves. The carpet was dusty and faded, but looked like some regal persian carpet one might find in a palace. Antique writing desks and armchairs were placed here and there, but what really caught her eye was all the junk! Piles of books and papers were scattered everywhere, random objects like scales, orbs, statuettes and robes draped over them. The only clean spots in the room were the narrow passageways through the hazardous maze, and a space cleared by an empty fireplace. As soon as she got close, it roared to life, making the room warm and bright.

    She looked back to see the hole she had fallen from, only to find that it was gone, replaced by more bookshelves. Aw jeez, well, that escape route was gone. She turned back to the fireplace, it looked so warm and enticing... She crept closer to it, warming her hands and feet. Man, it felt so good, like she was being eaten up by the heat! Being so warm again reminded her of the pain in her stomach, when was the last time she had eaten? Delaware? New York? She couldn't remember.

    Getting to her feet, she looked around the room, getting annoyed at the lack of doors.
    "Hey! I'm hungry! Stop taking away the doors and find me a fridge!" she shouted, as loudly as she could. When there was no response, she scowled, resorting to what she did best- snooping. Maybe there was a phone somewhere and she could order pizza...
    #2 Invader Len, Jan 30, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2015
  3. As the magic of Carnwennan struck against the metal door it was automatically repulsed by one of the many wards that protected Karl's safe house. No matter the nature of the person who attempted to gain entry, the very nature of the strange magic in the place would never allow someone to enter by force. But the secluded house had still assessed the nature of Artemis as soon as she had entered into its perception. It had quickly determined that she was here neither to harm the man that the house silently and uncomplainingly hid from the outside world, nor steal its precious objects that had to be protected. Once, some time ago, that would have been enough reason for the house to swing open its door and grant a stranger entry, but times had changed. Its beloved no longer welcomed visitors into its sanctuary. That was more than enough reason for it to repulse anyone who came seeking entry.

    But just as the physical blade of the dagger had pressed up against its door, burning magic attempting to gain entry by the will of its wielder, Carnwennan’s essence had touched the consciousness of the house. Their mental contact had been as short and abrupt as their physical contact, but the result was drastically different. The blade was repulsed, moved aside by the house’s magic, but the dagger had succeeded in impressing upon the house the importance of Artie's task. Waiting and hiding were no longer options, no matter what Karl might want. There were times where it was necessary to upset a loved one in the short term in order to protect them in the long term. Without any further prompting, the house opened its door.

    It shepherded Artie deep into the sanctuary, patient as only the conscious but lifeless knew how to be. All the same, it did eventually grow tired of her uncertain wanderings as the girl missed another set of stairs leading down and remained on the empty upper floors. Finally it opened its walls, giving her no choice but to go to the one other living human sequestered inside.

    The house’s “beloved” had spent the past many hours angrily working his way through the mess that was the cluttered hallway. Just like a child would shove everything into the closet when asked to clean his room, this hallway, along with several other rooms, passages, desks, and bookshelves scattered throughout the sanctuary, had become sacrifice in the process of keeping the more important rooms of the house organized. It was filled with things that simply didn't belong anywhere else. None of the things in it were particularly dangerous, nor particularly useful. They had worked their way in over two hundred years, things with breaking enchantments, forgotten uses, and lost purposes that might once have been worth protecting, but now were kept around only because the last dregs of magic in them could prove mischievous if thrown away.

    This hallway was particularly disorganized, in part because it was easily accessible from a good chunk of this floor, and in part because the things contained within it were guaranteed to be almost completely useless, but simply hadn’t been thrown away because Karl did not believe in letting anything go to waste. Now, however, he was determined to go through it object by object. That didn’t mean they would get thrown away. But they would get organized within the hallway, placed on the proper shelves with things that were, by some reasoning only Karl could truly understand, like each other. There would be no more unwanted surprises.

    And, of course, that was the moment when the girl appeared in the hallway. Karl was on his feet in an instant, quickly snagging an old, wooden cooking spoon that was sitting on the shelf next to him and brandishing it at her as though it was a sword. She, however, appeared to be completely oblivious to the fact that she was not at all welcome, and shouted some nonsense about doors and food.

    Briefly he considered actually attacking her, forcibly driving her out of the house. Instead, all he did was cast a withering glare at the fire, letting his house know exactly what he thought of its choice to let someone in.

    “What the bloody hell do you think you are doing in here?”
  4. "What the bloody hell do you think you are doing here?"

    Artie turned around when she heard those snarling words, finding a rather unkempt man bristling at her, pointing a wooden spoon. Sarcastically, she put her hands up, expression deadpan.
    "Whoa there, chief, don't wanna hurt anybody with that." She remarked, before going back to her snooping. She picked up an old skull, holding it to her ear and shaking it, before tossing it aside.

    "Man, no phone, no computer, what kind of hobo doesn't even have the number for Pizza Hut lying around? This place is like my buddy Tino's apartment, except without the piles of semi-sentient takeout. You got a kitchen anywhere? I don't think I've eaten anything for the last hundred miles." She asked, brushing past him. She walked into the room he had just been in, spotting an opened bag of potato chips on the sofa. They looked like they had been open for a few days, but with the growling in her stomach, Artie didn't care.

    She picked the bag up, sitting cross-legged on the back of the couch, popping a few into her mouth, making a face of disgust.
    "Yuck! Barbecue! Gross!" She hissed, though she continued eating them.
    Remembering her reason for coming, she looked back to the guy, taking another handful of chips.
    "Hey, are you the guy who lives in this house? Charlie or Skarl or something, right? Cuz, I'm looking for him, somebody said he could help me out. Some kind of weird detective, I think." She asked, her mouth full, finishing the bag in the blink of an eye, before tossing it over her shoulder.

    "Anyways, I'm Artie! That's an A-R-T-I-E, not a Y, kay? This place was hard to find, I had to call this guy all the way out in... Damn, I forgot. Anyways, he said his name was Donald or something, like the duck, ya know? He told me to tell you that, said you'd know what it means. Anyways, apparently you're the guy to come to for supernatural stuff, right? I just found out a couple weeks ago that magic is real and monsters exist, so it's been something of a whirlwind." she explained, shaking his hand, the words coming out of her mouth faster than a machine gun.

    Her stomach growled again, making her cheeks go pink as she let out a nervous laugh.
    "Whoops, there it goes again! Say, mister, ya got anything real to eat around here? Hopefully stuff that ain't barbecue flavored or several days stale?" She asked, batting her eyelashes and giving him a begging stare.
  5. For a long, furious moment, Karl seriously considered whacking her with the spoon. It was the perfect example of mischievous, useless magic. Once it had been a self-stirring spoon, but after an unfortunate incident its magic had gotten switched around with that of the self-chopping knife. Whenever it hit something, it would start trying to chop it up. Considering it was blunt, and wood, it was almost entirely harmless, but it served as a wonderful distraction and method of irritation. The idea of this invasive, obnoxious little creature being chased around the house, hit over and over on the head by a spoon was, however, a pleasant enough image to keep him from acting upon the impulse.

    However, when she picked up the skull, Karl was quick to forget about the spoon. He dropped it on a shelf, and it clattered onto the wooden surface. It shivered for a moment, before deciding that wood did not count as a food item, and should therefore be spared chopping. He caught the skull when she tossed it aside, peering into the eye to make sure that the orb suspended in the cranium had not been damaged, before carefully setting it back upright on an open surface. He then turned to tell her, as rudely as he could comprehend, not to pick up things that she didn’t understand, but she was already gone, hurrying past him into the living room through the still open wall.

    Karl, in turn, followed after her, pausing only long enough to rap the wall irritably. “I think nothing of your taste,” he told the house. “Get her the fuck out of here.” The house did not oblige. “Dammit!”

    It was lucky that Karl was engaged in a silent battle of wills with the house in that moment, and was only half listening to Artie’s babbling. Had he actually heard that she had come from seeing Donald and Michael, and connected her arrival and Michael’s call about the Holy Grail, nothing, not the stubborn girl, an equally stubborn supernatural house, or the magic of Carnwennan could have saved her from being tossed back outside, and hexed with a spell to get her to forget his existence and the reason she had come to see him.

    When she finally shut up, Karl latched onto the only part of that storm of words that he could remember. “What the fuck do I care how you spell your name? What makes you think that I give a damn about anything you have to say? You are not welcome here, and if you had used that empty head of yours for even a moment you would have realized that. Now get the fuck out.”

    Without further ado, Karl grabbed her upper arm tightly, dragging her off the back of the old couch and to the door out of the room. He twisted the handle, but the door remained solidly closed.

    Karl rapped it sharply. “I’m getting rid of her. Don’t try and stop me.” He tugged on the door. Which remained closed. Karl’s lips pressed together tightly, before his mismatched eyes narrowed. He released Artie’s arms suddenly, almost as though she had burned him, and turned to face the door again.

    “Fine,” he said. “You win. She can stay.”

    His conversation with the house concluded, at least for the moment, Karl turned back to Artie. “Kitchen is this way.” With no further words, and uncaring of anything she might have to say to him, Karl turned, striding to the other side of the living room. The wall before him promptly, almost apologetically, slid open. “You coming?”
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