White Wings of Salvation

Title: White Wings of Salvation
Time Period: June 16, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Beisdean's hope for survival rests on something he doesn't have.

Though untarnished, the metal of the prison has dulled a little since the catastrophe that heralded the rebirth of magic. Plastic coated wire ties the man's wrists to one of the poles that extends from floor to ceiling. The fake leather that once covered the seats has been eaten away by vermin, possibly decades before his birth, therefore providing no comfort. Not that the bindings provide much room for movement. He can slide them up to stand, or down to sit. Sleeping is a very uncomfortable option.

Food and water come once in a while, often enough to keep him from dying of starvation or thirst but not enough to keep his strength. The last ration was yesterday, or last night… time, where Beisdean is kept, has no real meaning. There is no sun.

Currently sitting dejectedly, Beisdean stares at his wrists in front of him; they're scratched and bloody from having Darklight try to bite through the wire, but there's just not enough room for the creature, in whichever form, to get his teeth around. Currently, the familiar is off scouting for information and/or food — the former being of more necessity as far as Beisdean's concerned. If he can't get out, well. He'd rather not survive like this.

He lifts his head and winces as it seems too heavy for his neck; fatigue washes over him despite the fact he hasn't done anything in however many days.

Anything interesting? Do you see any of them? he asks the familiar, currently in the form of a common rat to blend into the surroundings.

"Brother, comes Darklight's voice, sounding relieved to hear Beisdean's searching for him. They live underground here. It is very strange. We have never seen anything like it. They do not speak, except the two who have brought you food. The rest all use their hands to speak, like the Healer's child. The two you have heard, I have listened to. We need to escape.

The worry in his familiar's voice is nothing new to the medium, but the urgency is. He rises and looks at the pole, up to where it connects at the ceiling and then down to the floor. Everything is so old… decades at the least. He pulls as far back as he is able before slamming into the pole with all of his weight thrown into his shoulder, hoping to dislodge it.

Pain makes him gasp, but his mental voice is steady. What have you heard, Darklight?

There is a silence for a moment, before the creature responds. I think they are going to kill you. They said you are a tribute, when God is called down upon the next full moon, the familiar's voice comes again, as Beisdean readies himself to slam into the pole once more.

In stark contrast to the quiet of the prison, Beisdean's struggles send out a ring that is near deafening. Vibrations from the pole continue through to the ceiling of the metal carriage and from there echo through the air, louder and louder.

There's movement in the tunnel, Darklight's vermin eyes can pick out something coming closer, fast. The way it moves is unlike any human that the familiar has seen or met before but its shape is one of a man. As it approaches, the rat's nose picks out a familiar scent. That body belongs to one of the voices he heard earlier.

He's older, by estimation likely in his forties, but he moves as though half his age. His run is silent, meant to take the prisoner by surprise perhaps, and therefore brings him up the side of the tunnel and to the roof. Hand over hand, his swing carries him as quickly as his legs until he lands on the roof of the subway car.


You have company, brother Darklight says, even as his rodent legs carry him as fast as he is able to the subway car.

The mage captive within slumps back to his seat, leaning his head against the cool metal of the pole and gasping for breath. The pain in shoulder and wrists are bad — his hands are bleeding anew — but the effort for those two fruitless body slams has worn what little energy he has away. He looks up to the ceiling, squinting as if he could see through it, then rests his head once more against the pole.

Even if I get away, they'll just capture me again… I'm in no shape to run.

Before the rat makes it inside, Beisdean's company appears behind him. A thin man, at least a head shorter than the mage, with greying hair and dark brown eyes. His olive skin seems more green than tan in the dim light he carries, which is nothing more than a few mushrooms. It's likely that the prisoner is hungry, but those aren't offered as food.

His free hand is raised, as if to strike the taller man where he sits but he doesn't follow through. He simply holds it there before letting it drop down to his side and then digs into his pocket. Bits of dried meat the size of a man's palm are pulled out and dropped next to the prisoner, rations for the next day or two. "Eat, you'll be no use dead." His accent is strange, the dialect unlike any Beisdean has heard before in his travels.

The lightsource is given a curious glance that doesn't last long. The scrap of jerky draws Beisdean's attention, but the man's words draw his attention back. "Won't I? I figured you planned on killing me. Not sure what it matters if I'm dead now or dead later," the Scottish man says, his voice steadier than he feels. Probably steadier than he looks too. His hands wrap around the pole to keep them from shaking.

"Why am I here, then? Perhaps we can negotiate something. I might be able to help you. Teach your people. Show you how to … to live somewhere better than this."

"You've been given a great honor," as much as the man would like his words to sound strong and noble, they're not. It's like he's reciting a speech written for him, which might be more accurate than not. "God will want you alive, he will judge you when the time comes."

The older man's knees crackle as he squats down across the car from Beisdean, looking more weary than wanting to be there. "I have no word for what is coming. It is supposed to be an honor to serve as you will but…" His wrist rolls as he makes a motion through the air. The dim light of the mushrooms is enough that the mage can see the apology etched into the older man's features. "If you have a god, pray."

"If I have a god," Beisdean growls, rising too fast and forgetting the way he's tied to the pole so he is pulled back down. "You're the one playing fucking god. This is primitive. Human sacrifice? What kind of uncivilized barbarians are you? You cut the vocal cords of children and kill strangers in some sort of outdated ritual?"

His blue eyes narrow in the dim light as he stares into the other man's face. "Whatever it is you think is going to happen, I can tell you it won't. All that will happen is I will die, and nothing will change for you."

"You will die," the man agrees, nodding to Beisdean as he places the bowl down on the floor between them, "but you should feel comfort knowing that you will save a small child in the process. If I hadn't found you, she would have given the girl. I can't have her feeding my people to God."

He motions to the dried meat laying on the floor of the car. "You think it's barbaric that we silence the children? We do it for their safety. Before, my people were preyed upon. Every baby's cry could mean the death of a dozen." He frowns, then points his glare at Beisdean, and finally stands. "I don't need to justify anything to you, if your god is more powerful then you'll live."

To leave, he uses the door instead of the roof access. "Just know that it's never happened before."

The reason behind the children's silence brings a scowl to Beisdean's face, and he looks away. "If you let me live, I can help you. Who is this woman? Who is it who is killing your people? I'm … I've read many books, I've been many places. Maybe I can help. Or you could leave this place, and escape with your people," he says earnestly, finally turning to look back again.

He presses his lips together and shakes his head before speaking again. "I don't have a god. I see what death is like. If it's a god that allows the things I see, I want no part of it."

Beisdean’s captor pauses.

Without looking at the man that's already been sentenced to death, at least by his estimation, gives a thought out loud. "You don't have a god," he repeats, placing a hand on the doorway. "Now would be a good time to find one, maybe you can be like our children and worship the doves."

He steps out of the car but his voice carries back to Beisdean as he continues. "They seem to think that those white wings will carry salvation."

The prisoner lowers his head into his hands, and it might look like he's praying, though he isn't.

Darklight. You need to go to the water. Seek the ship that carries Luna, Wartooth, the others. They need to avoid this area. If…

He doesn't finish that thought, and fear makes him shudder and close his eyes. "I can offer you a rare gift. I can let you speak to your dead. Say the goodbyes you weren't able to in life. There are reasons to let me live, but there's no reason to kill me, mate. Whatever you think this god wants in a sacrifice… if he'd usually kill a child instead of a man, I wont' do. I haven't been naive or innocent or pure for quite some time."

He lifts his eyes to look at the stranger once more. "It'll be a waste, and the blood will be on your hands."

"I don't want to know what our dead have to say," the solemn voice answers, it's quiet enough to give the impression that the conversation is over, at least by the echo. The older man is walking away. "I know what it is they would have to tell me and I know that it can't be good in the belly of a god."

When he's gone, there's only deafening silence.

Until the click of a pebble alerts mage and familiar both that someone else is there and has been watching. A little less than a half dozen sets of feet take off in different directions through the tunnels. It's impossible for Darklight to follow them all, if he's sent out at all, but his sharp eyes can pick up smaller bodies.

The children.