Very effective, having Domick come and kill his sister before Mika can break her further. That's going to push Domick even closer to the edge, though, having to do that. Imagine having to live with that sort of guilt!
Hope the problem paragraph resolves itself for you.
As you'll see a bit later, this is the point where the balance of power starts tipping in Mika's favour.
This next snippet switches back to Mika again, and was one of the harder bits to write, mostly because when I was planning it I mostly just classified it as filler. Despite this, it ended up longer than expected. It is also slightly worrying how I have managed to write Mika both here and in the others...
Mika fumes with annoyance as the girl’s body goes limp, silently cursing his weakness. Bad enough that he had been watching and draining all satisfaction from his work, but to have him interfere like this... Mika glares icily at the mindless body. It is not even just that he had ended the session early and lost the chance for more information. He had taken from him the sweetest moment, that fleeting instant of total surrender when the last kernel of will crumbles and she becomes his. He had taken that, and he will pay.
“You incompetent fool.” Mika’s head snaps around, the watching Herder all but forgotten until now. “You pushed her too far. Perhaps you are not such a skilled technician as I was lead to believe.”
Mika spits another silent curse at him – he is proud of his skill – then replies smoothly, “Despite appearances, the human mind is a complex thing. Working with a mind is like working with flawed stone, the cracks can be used to help shape it, but hit a hidden fissure at the wrong angle and the whole thing shatters.” Mika studies the Herder for a moment then takes a risk. “It is unfortunate, but without being able to directly see the shape of the mind, it happens.”
“I have no time for riddles without results. You are clearly unable to successfully provide a simple service, I shall advise my brethren in future to go elsewhere.” Gathering his robes, he stalks out of the room, only the door’s heaviness preserving his dignity and preventing it from slamming.
Mika curses aloud, but with less venom than his previous silent ones at him. It is not as though the Herders and the Council are on good enough relations for the Herder’s opinions to be a risk to his job, and fewer grey-robes coming in and pestering him can only be to his advantage. Carefully cleaning and putting away his tools, he turns his mind to a more important observation. Before the Herder had left, he had seen the tiny relaxation in his body language that showed that he had accepted his explanation, had put aside any thoughts of obstruction or, worse, Misfit powers. A faint chill runs through Mika and he thanks Lud that his gamble paid off. Safer to be thought a fool by one Herder than to experience his own trade from the other perspective. Giving his tools a last check, he exits the room, leaving the now-useless body for the soldierguards to dispose of.
Now that you know who he is, try going back and reading the first snippet again. It changes it quite a bit :)
Ohhhh, right! That's kind of eerie. Even sadder than when I thought it was Ariel Mika was referring to.
I guess that in manipulating people's mind, coercers must get an amazing understanding of what makes a person tick... What I find very interesting is that last line of your first snippet, though. 'He understood that.' Implies that there has always been something a little dark in Domick's character. Which is believable, actually. He'd never been as straightforward nice and naive as some of the other Misfits.
I'm loving this, Bibli!
And since Mika effectively came from Domick it make a lot of sense really. Mika would have been born and created from that slither or darkness. Anyway Bibs, you have a really great concept of, well, their characters and I'm really glad to have read this. It's a really interesting way of looking at things.
I'm glad you're enjoying it. I have one last snippet coming which has some interesting bits and does show the effect the events have on Domick.
The gradual reveal of who he is was part of my original story plan. I was so glad at the start when I saw you all thought he was Ariel because otherwise it wouldn't have worked properly; it need the contrast between the 'evil' character you think it is and the 'good' character it actually is.
My interpretation is that Mika is a distorted version of Domick. Both of them are proud of their skills at gaining information and manipulation, it is just that while Domick tries to be as unobtrusive as possible and does it to protect Obernewtyn, Mika enjoys causing his victims pain.
At this point in their history, I also see it as Mika having access to Domick's knowlege, but being locked out of actually using his Talents.
[act]creeps back into the thread, surreptitiously brushing aside some hanging cobwebs.[/act]
So apparently my story is taking inspiration from the Ober Chrons; the deadline for the last segment was pushed back and it is long enough to need to be split. :P
However here it is, and I should be able to post the last bit within the week, certainally in time to keep my Obernowrisu goal. Part of what took me so long with the ending is that it is mostly just Domick angsting, so I had to be in the right mood so he didn't annoy me.
Ahead, Mika sees the dark bulk of the safehouse ahead and smiles in amused satisfaction. Never before has he come so close. Always in the past he has taken over, pushed him aside as soon as possible and buried him in the depths of his mind until his mask is once more needed. But not tonight; tonight, hehides curled in the dark sobbing, while Mika is the one to walk through the gate. Light leaks under the kitchen door and he imagines Kella, hisso-sweet bondmate, and demonstrating to her all the skill he has learnt. That would be a session to savour. And he has already done so much of the preliminary work, leaving her tantalisingly fragile in both mind and heart...
With a strangled cry, Domick collapses to his knees in the middle of the darkened courtyard, desperately forcing Mika back to the far reaches of his mind. Mika’s mocking laughter echoes in his mind and he flinches, recognising the truth in his last words. The thought of Kella stabs his heart like a knife; he is destroying her even as he tries to save her.
Once, it had been so simple; they loved each other, so they defied guild tradition to be together. They had been children then, as all at Obernewtyn were – and in many ways still are – children. But children must grow up. As an adult, now, there are no easy answers. He needs her there; needs her love and strength, the reminder of what he is fighting for. She is his tether amidst the corruption and deceit of the Councilcourt, a symbol of all that Obernewtyn stands for. She is what separates him from Mika. Yet at the same time, he needs to protect her. To stop her from trying to heal what is too much to fix. To shield her from the pain and darkness within the city; within himself. He needs her there and needs her gone, and the conflict is tearing him apart.
'He needs her there and needs her gone, and the conflict is tearing him apart.' Oh, yes! That totally works, Bibli! Love it love it love it.
And the bittersweet nature of Domick and Kella's relationship is very well written, too, and that realisation that Mika can and is destroying her. Lovely!
And, go go go! Reach your OberNo goal!!
Thanks Darga. Since you are enjoying it, have some more Domick angsting/relationship crisis in the last snippet for my story. :) This is the pivotal scene in his relationships with both Kella and Mika.
I have also finally gotten around to deciding on a title: Breaking.
Slowly, Domick climbs to his feet and walks the last few steps to the door. He hesitates for a moment, hand on the knob, then forces himself to enter. Walking into the kitchen is like walking into a different world. Warm firelight fills the room with a welcoming glow and the smell of fresh-baked bread wafts enticingly through the air. Standing by the table Kella turns, her lips rising into a smile of greeting. She steps towards him, lifting her hands in welcome but he flinches away, avoiding her touch. Mumbling excuses, he tries not to see the hurt in her eyes, the way her smile becomes brittle and hard. Worse is the acceptance. The lack of surprise that shows she expected his reaction despite their past and her continued devotion. Awkward silence fills the room, the cold within him draining away the warmth.
With a loud hiss, a pot on the stove starts to boil over and Kella moves to tend to it, releasing him. Escaping to the corridor, Domick feels as though a lump of ice is buried deep within his chest. He hates himself for the way he is hurting her, but she doesn’t understand. How can he touch her, knowing what his hands have done, even under another’s instruction? How can he look at her when he feels Mika’s hungry gaze through his eyes? How can he be near her with this monstrous creature inside him, straining to be free?
Finding himself outside the bathing room he enters, heading straight to the basin. There, he soaps and rinses his hands, scrubbing frantically, trying to remove the sense of clinging filth. In his mind he hears again the girl - the girl; he will not think her name - screaming, pleading. Then he looks down and it is not her but Kella beneath his hands, her beautiful face twisted with pain. Gasping, he reaches for Mika to force him back but he is not there, still trapped in his corner of Domick’s mind. It is only him.
Domick looks down at his hands - not Mika’s hands, his - forever stained with the blood of an innocent. How can he touch her? He shakes his head. No, it is too late for him, only she can be saved. She must leave, return to Obernewtyn where she is out of Mika’s reach, safe among children. But how can he make her leave? He can see already how when faced with his rejection her love and Talent drive her to try and heal him, blinding her and bringing her ever closer to danger. How can he force her away? Slowly, it comes to him, his last chance, the only way that has worked before: to save her, he must destroy her. The image of a girl’s mindless body in a cell fills his mind.
In the mirror the face shifts slightly, the eyes growing cold, the mouth lifting in a gloating smile. Mika.
Aww, inevitable, but so, so sad!
Poor Kella. Poor Domick. I so wish someone could have done something before he became infected with the plague :(.
I'm going to go weep quietly in a corner now :P. It's an amazing story, Bibli.
Ooh, that last paragraph was absolutely perfect. Greta way to end it off and so terribly tragic. [act]goes off to join Darga in her corner[/act]
agreed. [act]joins others in corner[/act]