8FOLD: Mancers # 5, "Signs and Whispers"

Drew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Wed Dec 26 17:00:06 PST 2018

On 8/6/2018 12:47 AM, Tom Russell wrote:
> MAILE AKAKA, age 19. Aeromancer.
> Abducted and memory-wiped by the secret circle, she now knows that she
> is in fact The Company's top field agent and assassin.

She knows most of that, anyway.

>     "More like your gun malfunctioned," says Trevor smugly. "Smug" is
> just about the best word to describe him, she decides. Of course the
> only guy in the circle is someone smug and obnoxious. That's
> definitely something she'll need to rectify; she has literally no idea
> how long it's been since she got some. Unfortunately, and for reasons
> no one quite understands, mancers are apparently more likely to be
> women than men. Only about one out of five are guys.

Fascinating. :o

>     "What did I do, specifically, to teach you that?" she says. That
> sounds too much like what it is, like calling him out on his lies, so
> she quickly puts on the lost little girl act. "I'm supposed to be some
> great leader, but I don't know the first thing about what I'm doing.
> Everyone tells me I've taught them all these things, but I've got no
> specifics. I can't be good at it if I don't know what I did before,
> what worked, what didn't..." She sighs.
>     "Okay, sure," says Trevor. "You told me to think of it as a part of
> my body. So to control it, first I needed to control my body. My
> breathing. My balance. Everybody before who tried to help me, they
> made it a mental thing, and that works for some people, but for me, it
> needed to be something physical, tangible. You had me do all sorts of
> muscle stuff, which, your mum was a therapist? A physical therapist?
> So you drew on stuff she told you, I think."
>     "Yeah," says Maile, blinking. "Yeah, she was. I told you that?"
>     He nods. "Anyway, that worked for me. I don't know about the
> others. I mean, not to say you didn't teach them anything, because you
> did, but they didn't need your help the way I did, their powers
> weren't out of control the way mine were. I... it's good to have you
> back, Maile. I missed you something fierce."

Double fascinating. Is he a really good actor, or...?

>     "Yeah," says one of the Liekes, "the beets don't even taste that
> much like dirt. Ow! What? Me, why did you elbow me? Yes, you did!"


>     "Well, it's nothing fancy," says June. "I can only do so much with
> two hands. And yes, Goliath, my precious," she coos to the large cat
> sitting at the window, "one of those hands is reserved for scratching
> you. So, one hand."

Awwwww. :>

>     Trevor shrugs. "I'd be happy to help. Let me know where you want my
> hands, and I'll gladly put them there."
>     One of the Liekes snickers, then stops. "Ow! Stop it, me! What gives?"

They're cute!

> Trini shuts the stall door, then cups her hands around her mouth and
> nose. She breathes through her mouth. She can feel the warmth of her
> breath crashing against her palms. After three such breaths, she feels
> something sharp drag itself delicately along her thighs, like a
> fingernail. That's how she knows the magic is working; that's how she
> knows Claire is listening.

That is *very* sexual. Holy shit, Claire.

>     "The second I started to watch him, I saw through him, and the love
> died. Worse than that, I can see through him in reverse, I can look
> back over all our time together, and can see the way it really was all
> along. I don't even have memories to fall back on. It's all poisoned.

*Yeesh*. That's damn painful.

>     "And, like I said, this kind of thing has happened all along. I
> knew it was happening, but I couldn't see it, not until you told me to
> look. And he... he's wiping his own memory. He has to be. And so I
> asked him about it. (I didn't tell him about you. I knew not to do
> that.) But I asked him last night, and he got really freaked out. He
> doesn't remember wiping himself (of course he doesn't), but there's
> these blocks of time he can't account for. He's worried that he's
> losing his mind.

Fascinating. Is it involuntary? Is it implanted? Is it a decision he keeps 
making? His previous self peeking thru?

> But I can't lie to you, can I, Claire? He was so terrified. So
> fragile. And I don't know what it says about me, but seeing him like
> that, it really turned me on. It was maybe the best sex we ever had.

Kinky stuff woo! <3

>     "But here's the kicker. This morning, he didn't remember any of it.
> The sex, his confession, the question, all of it, just gone."


> When she enters Lydia's office, Claire is surprised to see Samson
> there. She doesn't quite trust him,

I mean, I wouldn't either! @-@

>     Lydia doesn't ask anybody anything. Even when she asks, she doesn't
> ask.

That's an excellent line.

>     "I'm sorry to have displeased you, Miss Black," says Claire,
> pretending to be flustered. In response, something delicious flickers
> behind Lydia's eyes.

Heeheehee :3

>     "Furthermore," continues Claire, "I believe I've determined how he
> is receiving his instructions from the enemy,

Oh, duh, he's getting instructions and then wiping.

> Effectively, we lay a trap."
>     "I like it," says Samson.
>     "It's workable," says Lydia, begrudgingly.

Personality! <3

>     "Not necessarily," says Claire. "If they're told we're looking for
> so-and-so, when they go looking for so-and-so they can't be surprised
> when they bump into us. They're expecting us. That's why we're giving
> them valid intel; when it goes pear-shaped, they have no way of
> knowing it was a trap, or that we're wise. The mnemonomancer remains a
> useable asset for the long game. That line of communication remains
> open. We manage the vulnerability on our end, and exploit it on
> theirs. Easy-peasy."

Damn that's a good plan.

>     "Here's the other thing that worries me," says Lydia. "Avery's good
> bait, for sure, but we can't afford to let the circle grab hold of
> her. If it looks like that's even a remote possibility, kill her."
>     "My pleasure," says Samson.
>     "I'm sure it is," says Lydia.

>     "So," says Samson, "I got my marching orders from Lydia. I take it
> Upper Management has something else in mind?"
>     "Maile gets away," says Claire. "But make it look convincing."
>     "Lydia won't like that."
>     "No, she won't. But there's a reason they're keeping her in the dark."
>     "And Avery?"
>     "Just what Lydia told you. Alive if you can. Dead if you can't."

Fascinating. :o

> Maile is in her room, her real room, back home, in Kailua. That's how
> she knows it's a dream, even before she starts to sink into the
> wine-red sheets, drowning in an airless, waterless sea.

Ohhhhhh some Excellent Evocative Description.

>     Her mancer's mark sits upon her left breast, centered on her
> nipple. Beth's fingers close around the back of Maile's head, and
> gives suck. At first it is sweet and hot like milk, then it becomes
> bitter and metallic. Her mouth fills up with blood; she chokes on it.
> She struggles and twists, but even when she manages to free herself,
> even when Beth is a tiny distant dot, she still feels it filling up
> her stomach, her throat, her legs and arms, bloating her with
> blood-milk.

Gosh heck intense. @.@

>     ...And now she's throwing up, worse than she's thrown up in many a
> moon. The kind of puking where your nose gets into the act: where
> she's well and truly blowing chunks.

Also... very visceral @-@;;;; You're really good at details, including 
disgusting ones, and that makes scenes like these really Come Across.

>     Something gets stuck in her throat, something disturbingly solid,
> and that's when Maile starts to really freak out.
Including coming across in ways that may occasionally be too much, *wow* XD;

>     "Emetomancy," says Lieke. "Divination by vomit."
>     "Like, fortune-telling?"
>     "More like communication. It is Beth speaking to you."

Holy crap that is amazing.

>     "It is only because you are resisting," says Lieke. "Beth is trying
> to talk to you in the dream, but you fight it. It's like the house;
> once you let down your guard, it will become easy. You gotta trust us,
> Maile."
>     (Uh-huh.)

Yeah that's Hard To Trust. @-@;

>     "Money means sex," says Lieke-with-a-book.
>     "Not everything means sex," says Maile. "You guys are kinda
> perverts, do you know that?"

I mean same.
>     Maile grabs the egg, fighting her gag reflex as her fingers close
> around its slippery, vomit-covered casing, and cracks it against the
> floor. There's a piece of paper inside.
>     "What does it say?"
>     "I think it's a twitter handle?" says Maile.

Oh my god. XD

> And, bingo, that looks like a
> mancer's mark to me."
>     "Where?" says one of the Liekes. "I don't see it."
>     "And she doesn't want you to," says Maile. "Look at her, and look
> at her friends. It's summer in Texas, super-hot, and everyone's
> dressed for the weather, except for her. She has long sleeves down to
> her wrists, like she's a cutter or something. But she's not a cutter.
> (Probably not a cutter?) But there, on her left wrist, under her
> shirt: it's glowing. Mancer's mark."


>     "The two of us?"
>     "I'm the leader," says Maile. "Leaders delegate. So, I'm delegating."
>     "It seems like you only delegate things that you don't want to do."
>     "It does seem that way, doesn't it?" smiles Maile. "But rest
> assured, it's not that at all, and I'm actually playing to your unique
> skill-set as I perceive it."

Heeheeheehee. <3

> Maile helps June with dinner. She likes June. She trusts June, and she
> knows how weird that is, thank you very much. She shouldn't trust any
> of them. They're all lying to her, they're all in on it. Maybe it's
> that June seems uneasy about the whole thing in a way that the Liekes
> and Trevor aren't; either she's bad at lying or she has a conscience
> or both.

That is lovely complicatedemotion.

>     Maile takes the mortar and pestle and gets to work. "So, you and
> Trevor, huh?"
>     "What?" says June.
>     "Oh, come on. 'Let me know where you want my hands'?"
>     "He didn't mean it like that."
>     "Oh," says Maile sadly. "Oh, honey. Oh, honey, no. When a guy like
> that says something like that? He meant it like that."
>     "Well," says June. "I'm, uh, certainly open to the possibilities."


>     "Here," says Maile, handing Trevor the pestle. "I'll let you do
> some grinding for June."
>     "I'd be happy to grind for June."
>     Maile shoots June a look. They both start cracking up.

oh my goddddddddd X3

>     "She's an evocamancer."
>     June drops her spoon, letting out a gasp. Trevor stops grinding the spices.

An avocadomancer! :o

>     "Right, sorry," says Lieke. "I keep forgetting about your memory
> wipe." (Uh-huh.) "An evocamancer is a summoner. They summon... well,
> not demons, exactly, but..."
>     Trevor mansplains. "Sentient concentrations of extra-dimensional energy."


>     "It's exactly what I've been looking for," says Maile. She chooses
> her next words very carefully. "Let's assume that The Company knows
> how I think, and that's why they took me and wiped me, tried to
> recruit me. Is that a fair assumption?"
>     "Um, yeah," says Lieke nervously.
>     "So they know I'd be looking to recruit someone like this. And it
> just so happens that David stumbles upon this kind of intel? Has he
> ever given us these kinds of tips before?"
>     "Not about assets, no," says Lieke. "Do you, do you think it's a trap?"

Daaaaaaamn, also damn, also holy gosh Maile you are super smart and rad.

>     "It's like four-alarm Admiral Ackbar," says Maile. They stare at
> her. "Seriously, I also need to work on recruiting some
> honest-to-goodness nerds.


>     "But we can't let The Company get their hands on an evocamancer,"
> says Trevor. "They're not just super-powerful. They're also
> super-rare. Like, I was pretty sure that they didn't actually exist,
> is how rare they are."
>     "Marcus was the expert on that sort of thing," says June. "But I
> think he said there hadn't been one since before the Lullaby. Since
> before recorded human history. So. There's that."

Fascinating. Was it just theorycrafting that revealed the possibility? I'm sure 
that, since the end of the Lullaby, they were trying to expect the unexpected.

>     Lieke shoots June a dirty look. "He was one of ours. Before The
> Company killed him." She tries to look at Maile, but can't. Chances
> are that means that Maile's the one that killed him.


>     That doesn't sit well with her. Not just that she has blood on her
> hands; she figured she must have, having been an agent on The Company.
> It was a lot easier to deal with that in abstract, though. But it also
> makes her uneasy. What is their plan, here? What's their end-game? Is
> vengeance on the menu?


>     "Okay," says Maile. "So, we need to try to get the girl. But here's
> my concern. If it is a trap, and I think it is, then David is
> compromised. Or they gave David this information to try and see if
> he's compromised. Which means it's time to get him out of there. I'm
> going to hope that we have some kind of extract plan in place?"
>     "We do," says one of the Liekes with a sigh. She turns to herself.
> "My turn this time, right?"
>     "Yes," says the other one sadly. "But I can go instead. I don't mind."
>     "No, that's okay," says Lieke. "June? Last meal for the condemned?"

So much badass. I love the Liekes despite their many flaws!

Drew "engine ON! GO!" Perron

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