Summary:Spring converses with his jailer, hoping to reverse her conversion to Abyssalhood.



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Vojec Spring awakens early, as he has done every day since the beginning of his captivity, to note the exterior position of the grinding gears and crunching bones that echo into his barren black cell from somewhere outside and then mentally prepare himself for the coming day.

Vojec At 8:32 AM, without fail, Thorn of Night comes by briefly to ensure that her captive remains alive, fed, and un-escaped, before leaving immediately again and sending a subordinate -- a ghost, usually -- to check on him as many as six remaining times during the day.

Vojec It is on those days where curiosity, boredom, or some other yet unknown factor drives Thorn back to visit again in the evening -- an event occuring generally between three and twelve days after the previous occurrence -- that Spring has been able to stop and speak with her for, at least, more than a moment.

Vojec It is now the evening of his thirty-seventh day in Thorn's jail, and Spring's inescapable hearing has just caught the unique distant jangling that keys him in to her approach.

Spring smiles slightly, then bends to sit on the floor so that he can abrade the collar against the stone bench that serves as his bed, as he has done on a few of Thorn's other visits, to give the impression that he is hard at work on escaping.

Vojec It is several minutes before Thorn arrives, her face shaded -- as it often is, in these evenings -- by the sizeable black hat she wears, the banner of her new mockery of the Radiant Sabers still fluttering at her belt, and her hands still pale and white like those of one not long for the world.

Vojec "You are still here," she says as she walks in, in a voice largely lacking any intonation whatsoever.

Spring "It turns out that soulsteel is very difficult to damage."

Spring "How are you, Kai Buckthorn?"

Vojec "There is no Kai Buckthorn," she says, sounding a bit more irritated. "You need to stop saying that."

Spring "Can I help you with something?"

Vojec She looks in at him. "Tell me everything you know," she says. There's a momentary pause, then: "I know you know that I know that you can actually do that."

Spring "Sometimes I can. At the moment, though, I find myself somewhat short of breath."

Vojec Thorn nods. "I guess that's true," she says, looking him up and down. "In that case, just tell me something extremely useful."

Spring "All other things being equal, defense triumphs over offense; therefore, the warrior who first learns to protect their life will triumph over the warrior who first learns to take the lives of others." Spring quotes from the Doctrines of the Autumn Circle, an old and so well-known as to be cliche book on tactics among the Exalted.

Vojec She stares at Spring for a long, drawn-out moment. "You're right," she says, "you could help me with something. Thanks. That was very helpful."

Spring turns to look at Thorn in his turn. "Perhaps you could repay me with an answer of yours."

Spring "Why am I still alive?"

Vojec "You're valuable," she says, after another long pause in consideration.

Spring "Thank you."

Spring "Does my value truly outweigh my danger?"

Vojec "Well," she says. "You have to factor in that if you tried to get away we could probably just kill you then. At that point, yeah, you're probably valuable enough."

Spring "I suppose there is that consideration."

Spring "Do you really think you will be able to turn me?"

Spring "I suppose I am not sure what blandishments Oblivion can bring to bear."

Vojec "I do," she says, simply.

Spring "What will you do if you succeed?"

Vojec "Charge you with a vast army, I guess," she says. "Not really my call."

Spring "I am glad to know my potential service is considered carefully."

Spring "What would be useful for me to tell you, Kai?"

Vojec "How forces are being committed to the Blessed Isle. Where the primary resource supply lines for the forces are located." She pauses for a moment. "What the entrance codes on the Cascade have changed to since I moved out."

Spring "Mm."

Spring "The supply line for the forces of the New Realm is hardly hidden."

Spring "Wasirru supplies them."

Vojec "But the locations at which supplies are disbursed are moved on a rotating schedule that we haven't been able to predict or... learn." The unpleasantries associated with that last word are largely elided in her sentence.

Spring "Surely you do not imagine that the schedule would not be changed after my disappearance."

Vojec "Yeah, but you would know who would wind up changing it, and probably be able to figure out exactly how."

Spring "Matters of logistics are inevitably within Belladonna's purview."

Vojec Thorn nods.

Spring "One reason for this is that she is well-practiced in doing things I would not predict."

Spring "Besides introducing a random element into the future scheduling, I suspect she would intentionally seek out help from someone I would normally avoid."

Spring "Unfortunately, there are so many such people that it becomes difficult to decide which she would alight on."

Vojec "Hrmm," she says. "I guess they didn't keep you around for your personality."

Spring "They kept me around because I always won."

Vojec "Well," she says. "I've learned there's a first time for everything."

Spring "Well."

Spring "If you are right, and I embrace Oblivion, and become an Abyssal, I will win in any case, will I not?"

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Page last modified on November 29, 2009, at 02:20 AM