The Investigator

I will be updating this, at the very least, 2-3 times a week.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mymyk: The Meeting

"Is it finished yet?" The Investigator stood nonchalantly in the home of his comrade, Jakaal Zephyrcate. More specifically, he stood in the library where, browsing the books, he kept his back to the man lounging in an over stuffed chair behind him sipping tea.

"The design is complete," came Jakaal's hauntingly dark voice, well paced, well versed, and well educated. "You know as much as I that it is up to you to breathe the life into it." A quiet sip of tea caused a tangible pause before the soft sound of the delicate porcelain cup resettling on the saucer joined the crackle and hiss in the hearth. "You also know, I'm certain, that it is not something that I approve of." Once more the tea was taken up to the man's pale lips before his icy azure gaze like the sky before a winter storm lofted upwards, watching as The Investigator fingered his literature. Jakaal had always been an avid reader, and by the looks of his home he did more than just dabble in culture.

The library was well suited to the man's taste, a large open room with a hearth in one corner surrounded by posh chairs of various comfort levels. Each wall from floor to cathedral ceiling had finely shaped stone alcoves with hand carved shelves fitted perfectly inside. The spaces between the alcoves held either large windows with thick brocade curtains drawn closed or a myriad of tapestries and ornamental weaponry. Pillars stood strategically placed about the room, large enough that they, too, had shelves of books built in them. There were various other libraries in Jakaal's estate, but this one, by far, was the favorite of all visitors, so it doubled as a sitting room. The other rooms that housed his books were cluttered, dusty rooms; the epitome of chaos and disorganization. They really existed to be more of a study than a library. He always kept this particular room nice and tidy, though, knowing it was his favorite place to sit with company.

The man, himself, was a quiet recluse, boarding himself up in his estate surrounded by desolate miles of deadening woods. It was as if his home was eternally set in autumn, and the man liked that just fine. He sat, looking quite calm and serene, in his favorite over stuffed chair in the library, seeming to hold little worry or concern about The Investigator's presence there. Long fingers held his cup of tea as if it were a fragile butterfly that he wished not to harm. Jakaal, much like The Investigator, liked to dress in fineries, but he was not near as exact about his looks as The Investigator. Inside his own home he would never dare wear his staple wide-brimmed hat, so it was much easier to see his pale golden-spun tresses, only a shade or two darker than the pale of his complimentary flesh. His attire, though, was always a dark selection giving him the feel of the inky night sky with a wave of washed out moonbeams for his hair. Barely did emotion ever show on the man's face as, even now The Investigator turned to him with one of his precious tomes open in his arms.

"This is science, Jakaal. Science and art and the delectable taste of game play." The Investigator watched as Jakaal calmly took another sip of tea while pages of the book were fingered and turned.

"Science is not my field, Sir. You hired me to do a job and that is finished. I plan to wash my hands of this and hear no more of your tales." Jakaal stirred for the first time in the meeting as he placed the cup and saucer upon the side table next to his chair and slowly rose to standing. "Come and we will make sure this is what you want before I ask you to leave me be."

"Come now, my friend. What I am doing, what -we- are doing, is creating," but he was interrupted by a sharp clap to the wall next to him which startled neither of them.

"What you are doing I do not know nor do I wish to know. I only know you hired me to create and mold, which I did."

"As will I, given some time. We will see who's art is more useful in the near future."
The book was placed back on its shelf and The Investigator followed along through dark halls barely lit by candelabras welded to the stone walls. No, Jakaal would never be able to wash his hands of his work with The Investigator. One touch and he was marked for life. The Investigator quickly was able to cause a stain that grew and deepened over time, much to the chagrin of any cleansing waters. Jakaal, though, didn't get away with just a touch, no. He dug his arms in up to the elbows and, just like quick sand, he was stuck and would only be sucked in deeper. He wasn't just a pawn; he was The Investigator's wild card. Or, perhaps, Jakaal would help in a different way, perhaps through apprenticeship. But just who would learn what from whom was the question.

They walked in silence through a labyrinthine maze from the north wing to the west wing and down two levels before Jakaal opened the door to one of his workshops and offered for The Investigator to join him inside. Once inside the door was closed and both stood for some time in admiration of what surrounded them. Even though Jakaal had been in here many times before, even he still caught himself holding his breath each time he entered.

The lights were dim but still managed to illuminate the inner struggle of the room with the perfect amount of detail. The floor was uneven, perhaps because of the fact that they were two levels underground. It could, though, also be due to the fact that the floor was ornately carved so that it appeared as if they were standing on top of various small stone creatures. Wave after wave of mice and rats which were small enough that they felt like cobbles beneath their feet, but resembled a rodent menagerie none the less. The stone animals began to climb the walls using the marbled vines for leverage, though few managed to reach higher than a foot off the ground. That was where the room began to churn and twist with images of joy, agony, sorrow, and anger. Small detailed pictorials littered the walls and were able to be made out only by squinting beyond the blanket of vines. It was as if the thickening of the handicraft could easily be viewed, layer upon layer, looking more like each piece was placed a top the next instead of the notion that they were all carved out of the same solid block of stone. The Investigator held his breath as he approached the wall of agony where an unclothed woman appeared to wail in her cage of vines and he gently traced his fingers over her cold stony cheek.

“You continue to amaze me, Lord Zephyrcate. Behind each door you unlock, I manage to glimpse a little more of what drives you.” And a little more of what can be used to continue driving him for that matter. And, perhaps the things that drive him can be used to lock him away as well.

Jakaal didn't seem to be listening, though. Nor was he able to ascertain what The Investigator was thinking. Not that he was wondering or even cared. He was pushing his way into the room in order to take up an item of more importance than what may or may not be on The Investigator's mind; an item that had been swaddled in the finest of cloth to protect it from the dust and dampness that the room seemed to accrue. He held it for some time, just seeming to test the weight of the object under his hands, his fingers twitching now and then, obviously just making certain the item truly was still there, locked in its soft confines.

“One of my best, if you ask me. The material was so grand that the runes seemed to place themselves. Without specific size proportions, though, I...”

“Don't you worry yourself about the size,” The Investigator snapped in a rumbling voice. As cliché as it sounded, size didn't matter in this case. He had been studying for some time and he was certain that he could size it appropriately after some practice. Calmly he reached to his throat in order to straighten out his ascot, brushing off the fabric of his vest carefully before offering Jakaal a smooth and certain smile that he didn't need to force in the least. “As long as the item is whole and complete, I wouldn't worry too much about one size or the other. I am learning every day and growing stronger,” but then he paused, perhaps deciding that sharing too much information was not appropriate at this moment in time. If ever he needed to share, a scant amount would do. “You have your coin. Whether it is useful or not to me should not matter in the least to you.”

“Fine, sir.” With that he offered the package towards The Investigator who drew it close to him, as if hoarding the item. Slowly, layer by layer, he began to unfold the cloth from around the new playing piece until a twinkling of metal could be spied. It was a ringlet set into a gold toned metal with runes carved deep into the flesh at varying intervals on both the inside and outside of the thin metal ring. A finger traced around the perfect circle as his eyes closed and a slow but certain grin came available on his lips. The runes near appeared to glow at the simple touch of the man, seeming to seek his purpose for them without asking a question, reaching tentacles of need into his mind in wonder.

“Yes. Delightful. Thank you. This. This is perfect.” A mutual probing from one mind to the other, but for sure that metallic ring was not alive! No, but he did manage to read each rune silently using only his fingertips running over each line in careful observation. “I will contact you if there is anything else I need.”

“Don't.” But The Investigator had already turned upon his heels and was taking long and determined strides towards the other wing of the house where he was to show himself out.