The times are growing harder, for all of the worlds. In Lyra's world, the Armoured Bears and Witches grow anxious within the frozen wastelands of the north, where further south, dæmons grow fearful. Even in Will's World, people are beginning to feel anxious, though they are not sure why. A war is coming. A war that threatens to engulf all of the worlds. It is the war of the Authority and the Republic of Heaven, created by Lord Asriel himself to overthrow the monarchy of the Almighty. And thrown in the middle of this, are two children, destined to hold the greatest weapons known to all the worlds. So what will you do? Will you fight to defend the Authority, or join Lord Asriel to help bring about its destruction. Armies are mustering, and the time is drawing nearer. Every person makes a difference. What will your's be?
Lord Asriel has opened a bridge to the city seen in the aurora borealis, and he has taken it upon himself to travel to the city in the clouds. Accompanying him is Marisa Coulter, and together, they have travelled to the other worlds, leaving Lyra's World, perhaps for good. A furious Magisterium has excommunicated the both of them, and stripped Lord Asriel of his title, and his possessions in Lyra's World. The bridge itself is sealed, as the Magisterium is now struggling to prevent others from accessing it.
But Lord Asriel's act has triggered other anamolies in Lyra's World, as strange windows have opened everywhere. They are nearly invisible to the naked eye, but sightings of them have been reported, and they are growing in number.
Meanwhile, the Magisterium has to contend with a serious breach of security where a large group of Republican commandos have infiltrated the grounds of the College of St Jerome's. Stringent reviews are now being undertaken of the Magisterium's security measures.
And at Oxford, Ryan Whitman is testing something which could change the world as we speak...
All character profiles, new worlds, and other related pieces of work (RP and fanfictions included) belong to the respective authors/makers and may not be reproduced in anyway without permission from them. However, the world of His Dark Materials, The Golden Compass, and the general setting of the RP belongs to Philip Pullman. Site disclaimer here. No copyright infringement intended.
He washed the pots, dried the pans and wiped the table. This was his new start, his attempt to atone for his mistakes, but somethings would never change. His ineptitude in front of the stove, the way he would do the washing up everyday while his daughter cooked beforehand. Viktoria laughed at this, stretched and followed him out of the kitchen. Two more stories to follow and then perhaps, bed, although they both knew there would be no sleep until their children had returned safely. Perhaps it was not wise to allow them to leave the house at such a late hour, but these were the final years of their childhood, and they were determined that at least for Jaqi and Furocah, life would resume as normal.
But now there was a knock on the door, and they looked at each other, frowning at the unfamilarity of it all. Jaqi had a key, and she knew better then to lose it, and no one knew of this address. The Magisterium? But he knew them well, and they would not knock the door before killing them. An overenthusiastic neighbour? Why wait until nine at night to greet him?
So he reaches for a knife, still wet from the washing, and he slides it up his sleeve, now wet and damp. Viktoria leads him outside, her claws now unsheathed, her body staying low to the ground and ready to pounce. Another knock, and he debates whether he should acknowledge it or simply disappear out of the backdoor and outflank the stranger from the side.
Hurry and look.
She stood beside him, ready to pounce at the slightest notice, nodded at him as he anxiously looked through the peephole, ready to throw the door open and swing the knife downwards at the stranger's head.
He did not.
For it was Mackenzie and Morpheusa.
He looked at Viktoria again, this time in confusion. He had not expected to see Mackenzie again, surely to be seen in the company of a fugitive would be detrimental to him if he was caught.
Let them in, but do not offer any information until asked. I will be here.
So he nodded, and after observing their surroundings for another minute, he opened the door.
He woke in another room, similar to the one before. The bed, the blankets, the mattress. The white walls, the guards. He noted the strange metal clasps on the ceiling and he wondered what they were for. They could be a rudimentary weapon of sorts, but they were too high up, too far away for him to use. He turned, he felt Viktoria nuzzling him and he found her tending to his bruised temple.
"No...Viktoria...it is not very serious," he whispered. Did he have to whisper? Was he allowed to talk before another rifle butt met his mouth? He chanced a look at the guards, wondered if he should ask.
"No," said Viktoria. "We do not need permission to talk."
"I do not want them to hurt..."
"They will not. They will not," she said. They will want to listen to everything we have to say, she added.
She was right, of course she was. They would want to hear them when he was raving and ranting in pain, when they were exhausted and starving and in pain. Sudden panic washed over him again. Did he...
No...at least...no...I kept watch while you slept and you did not mention your family.
He breathed a little easier, realised the cut on his lip had not healed, nor had the Magisterium treated his wounds. Had their interrogation already begun? Countless days of questions and varying strengths of torture? What would they start with first? He noted the missing table of food. So the starvation had already started. He appreciated the breakfast, perverse as it sounded. It would have go a long way. He noted the lack of water too, and that was a more pressing worry.
Another glance, and he saw the four walls around him. There were no windows, only one steel door.
He was to have no sense of the passing time too. Nobody to accompany him but Viktoria, and two silent guards.
They looked at each other. Nothing they could say, nothing they could do.
We should...we should sleep in turns. Stand guard to ensure that we...that we...
Yes we will.
He did not know what else to say. What should he say? He did not know what awaited them, only that deep down, this could be the end of it all. That there would be no return after his attempted murder of Father MacPhail. Perhaps he should...
Her fierce fury shook him out of his reverie, and he looked at her in surprise.
You have nothing to apologise for who you are, Edward. I am fully aware of the consequences of our actions, and we will face them together.
He looked down, looked at his hands.
Was this why you...why you...
Why you closed yourself to me for the past year? Why you hated me so much? Why I will never ever ever be good enough?
No, no, no.
She rubbed her head against his neck, willed him to stop thinking like that, to stop playing into the Magisterium's hands.
You were in a very difficult situation, and you were forced to make an impossible decision, Edward. Do not...
She placed a paw on his right hand, squeezed it to reassure him.
Do not place the faults of everyone on your shoulders, Edward. I know it has been very difficult and...if...if we die, I do not want you to die with...there will be regrets, Edward, but I do not want you to regret over how you have lived your life. You have done everything you can, lived your life the best you could and it is enough, Edward.
She nuzzled him, hid his falling tears from the guards.
You have never let anybody down, and you have nothing to fear, Edward. Mama and Papa are very proud of you, and so is Jaqi.
She affectionately licked the side of his face and gently nuzzled him to bolster his shaky confidence.
And me. I...I closed myself to you because I did not want you to feel my pain...I did not want you to hate me for how I lost in Oxford. If I had fought against the cat, you may not have lost your fingers and I...
You nearly lost your ear, Viktoria! It was not your fault!
And it was not yours. I have been so very very lucky to be your daemon, Edward, and I would never have it any other way.
He did not know what to say, had never heard Viktoria say so many things in such a short space of time. She nuzzled him again, then settled on his lap.
He woke to muted sounds. Something cold, something wet on his side. He felt cold water flowing down his ribs, a dull stinging sensation on his forehead. He was lying on his back, but something soft, soft and dear to him, was shaking on his other side.
He finally opened his eyes.
A pack of ice to dull the pain on his bruised ribs, Viktoria, burying herself into his side, afraid that she was about to lose him too. He stroked her head, willing her to calm down, to assure her that everything was going to be all right. He noted the ointment on her wounds, the cuts already closing.
He knew the procedures, he knew the steps. Harass the target, apply unstopping, unrelenting pressure. Offer a window of opportunity in the midst of the cruelty before killing him. Use everything possible against the target. The information was priority, everything else, second.
He wondered about Jaqi, and worry washed over him. Was she alright? Was she alive? No, of course she was. Jaqi was so much stronger, so much better than him. Surely she...Surely she...
His hands were shaking again, and he struggled to hide it. Did he mention her name in his captivity? Did Viktoria cry for Furocah in her dreams like she would? Did they already know? Already issuing warrants for his daughter? Using her against her father?
"Mr Branson, how are you feeling today?" A question from nowhere, and he looked up to see a man in a doctor's white coat. Viktoria reacted immediately, growling in front of him, ready to pounce, already recovering from her ordeal. The doctor backed away, and he saw the guards again, appearing from the corners of the room.
They would not win this. They would not run, they would not meet Jaqi at Mackenzie's.
It was impossible.
"I am not your enemy, Mr Branson. I am only your doctor," he said. Viktoria looked at him, and he saw the doctor's frightened eyes, his terrified stance. This was not his war, not his fault, perhaps the doctor drawing the shortest straw in facing what must look like a deranged killer.
"I am...I am..." He was on the verge of apologising, then realised how ridiculous it would sound. Apologising to his captors.
"I am fine," he finally said. "Thank you," he added, his father's teachings of manners and gratitude still not lost on him. Would he be thanking his hangman, slipping the noose around his neck? Would he be thanking the guards for his final meal?
He knew Viktoria would not, and he wondered if this was possibly his fault. If he had not been so straight, so honourable, so good. If he had ran without Jaqi, he would have survived, no doubt, without Jaqi to worry about, he would have ran easily.
But Jaqi would not have survived, his mother would have been persecuted, and that, at least, made this sacrifice worthwhile. His hands dug deep into his pockets for the clay statuettes and he realised, with a jolt, that he had left it with his daughter. That entering Magisterium captive empty handed was their sole chance of protecting Jaqi.
"Are you hungry, Mr Branson?" Already suspicious at this unexpected hospitality, he shook his head, despite his growling stomach.
"Well, we have food if you want some later. You have the room to yourself for the night," said the doctor. He turned, and he paused at the table of food.
"You should eat something. Look at me." The Doctor plunged a spoon into a bowl of stew, cut a hot potato apart. and tasted it all.
"I never poisoned it. I am your doctor, Mr Branson, not your enemy."
Still he sat down, he stayed with Viktoria in this room. There was a bed, a window, a table full of food and precious little. Two guards in the corner. His prison, but a reasonably comfortable one.
What are they doing, Edward?
Viktoria's thoughts, echoed in his mind. He did not know how to answer her, instead looked at his hands, anything to distract him from his growling stomach, or the aroma of food wafting towards them.
We cannot tell them anything. Cannot mention anything about the device or Mackenzie or...or...Jaqi and Furocah. They will be listening to us when we sleep, when we converse, Viktoria, I...
His daemon looked at him in steely resolve.
We will wake each other up if we so much as think about them in our thoughts, or mention them in our sleep.
I will take first watch, Viktoria. You must sleep.
So she did, and he held her close, and he looked into the distance.
He turns his collar up, against the wind and the rain. A dreary afternoon, and he wonders if the rain will ever end. He looks at Viktoria, and she, at him. He is not sure of his place here, concerned father, strict teacher, or both? He is not Curtis's teacher, but neither will he allow Jaqi to be influenced by this. To know that a mother was using those words in front of her child was unthinkable.
He does not know why, but he is determined to find out. And so, he stands in front of their door, and he knocks the ornately carved banger.
It had been a fortnight. Of rushed readings of the newspaper, of searching, of looking. Of the unending, undying fear, one which Viktoria felt keenly. Death was prevalent, and so was the constant wailing, the cries of the parents and the orphans alike. The corpses he passed, he glanced over, the people surrounding the pharmacy, then the emergency clinic. He was lucky, a step above those around him, he could read, he could write, he could ask a coherent question. Jaqi was half Chinese, dark brown hair, all distinguishing features in a sea of people.
And there were the pleas of help, some of which he could not ignore. Explaining the forms, the news, teaching a family how to explain their predicament, how to escape, all the while desparately trying not to scream at them. He had a daughter he was looking for, surely his situation was as important as theirs!
Most importantly, nobody recognised him. Not the guards, who were busy keeping people out, not the doctors who were dispensing medicine to all who could afford, and certainly not the people around him, who were desparate in looking for consolation, for an understanding of what was happening. Posters with his photogram were under signs of quarantine, of the ways and means of preventing the disease. Those remaining few which could implicate him, he tore and he burnt.
But this was only the borders of Winchbroke Glebe, this was not the heart of the problem. The areas where he could slip in and out before the guards appeared. Young, inexperienced boys who did not understand what was happening, who only knew how to drag rolls of rough raised wire, who only knew how to stand at their designated spot and moved the crowd along.
He saw the fear in their eyes too, these Magisterium guards who knew they were risking their welfare by sheparding the sick along the borders, trying to break up the crowds gathering along the borders, some trying to leave, others, to enter. They were young, he thought, too young. The Magisterium was spread thin if they were assigned to such a post, the way in which they tried to answer questions without an answer, ignoring parents who were pleading to enter for their children, or families who were trying to leave.
There was a crowd, there was always a crowd. He moved away, along the newly erected barriers, looking for a gap in the crowd, where the crowd thinned and the guards rarely patrolled. They counted the faces around them, checked the daemons. None were familiar.
A glimpse of dark brown hair, the silhoutte of what could have been Jaqi in the distance. They were too far away to see the daemon, to ascertain whether their suspicions were true. He could feel his hands shaking, his breath quickening. Should he call out her name amidst the crowd swelling around him?
And while we're at it, can you control Jaqi and tell her to take my money? She's not going to go far if she turns down every offer of money in her life. I mean...please don't rearrange my face, I didn't mean that offensively.
Oct 8 2012, 01:29 AM