Jump to content
Icarus Essair

Retrieving the Lost

Recommended Posts

They'd been looking for Sandalio for a frustratingly long time, and so far there had been no significant leads towards finding out why they didn't know where he was. It had been twenty some odd years and honestly it was starting to feel like maybe they wouldn't find him at all. Icarus hated that. He hated the idea that maybe they just couldn't find him. Sandi wasn't dead he couldn't be. Kassander would have known if that were the case. Then again, Kass hadn't been able to find him either so maybe... just maybe there really was nothing to find. And he didn't much care for the idea, and they hadn't given up on it yet. But... Icarus had to wonder if maybe they would be more useful at home than out here still searching.

Especially since Kass was dying a rather slow and agonizing death at the moment, which was, by the way, it's own level of horribly stressful. Icarus wasn't sure if that was a neon sign that they were already too late or not, honestly. He also wasn't really sure how a Sandalio that had been gone for this long was going to handle the fact that Kass was dying because there were very few reasons he could think of for the Spaniard to have been missing for as long as he had been, and absolutely none of them were pleasant.

Icarus was also running out of places to look. Of course, then he'd had a brief chat with Kassi today. And...well. He'd gotten an interesting idea from his brother.

"Ask the shadows..." Icarus said it to himself, mostly. Icarus hadn't even considered that possibility before, but of course he could ask the shadows. If they didn't know where he was nothing would.
"Hm?"
"Oh, just something Kassi said. So I'm going to ask the shadows if they know anything the light doesn't."

Icarus actually felt rather silly for not thinking of that sooner but uh. It was a little late for that. Icarus quietly shuffled over to one side and concentrated on reaching out so that he could hear them. Immediately he was given the impression of impatience. Clearly the shadows thought he'd taken too long too, it would seem. "...Sorry I'm late." He murmured first. "But ah, I was wondering if maybe you could help us find Sandalio." Maybe that could, Icarus hoped they could really. Getting Sandi home was... imperative at this point. And if they found him and brought him home then the four of them could also go home and help keep the Drago stable while they tried to figure out what was wrong with Kassi and maybe, hopefully fixed it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On one hand, maybe going home, now, would be something anyone else would've done a long time ago, and Tristan, despite not liking this idea, had thought this several times already. Honestly, it was even somewhat likely, given what was going on with the Drago and Kassander specifically, that Sandalio himself would've told them to go back a long time ago, and Tristan didn't like this, but he tried to remember it. It likely wouldn't be much longer before even he gave up, not because he wanted to, but because he imagined that was what Sandalio would've wanted. He'd have wanted them with Kassander. Whatever was going on with him was serious, serious enough it was steadily killing him, and even Hasan had no idea what the hell it was. That said something, because after Sandalio, Hasan was the Kassander-events lord.

Still, they were still out here, and Tristan wasn't sure if he should feel bad about that or not. Mostly, he deigned not to think about it, too much, lest he start questioning his own sanity. Most probably would've given up years ago. Most people weren't an Essair. You knew not stubborn until you'd met an Essair. This was doubly-true in the face of a Spanish Essair.

Ask the what? Icarus explained that, after a bit of prompting, though, so Tristan didn't ask. ... didn't the shadows have a habit of knowing things the light didn't, anyway? There was always darkness somewhere; even when there was light, there was darkness somewhere, whereas the light wasn't really in the darkest corners. It stood to reason, the darkness knew things the light couldn't see. ... and why, exactly, had none of them thought of this, oh, maybe twenty years ago? Tristan internally rolled his eyes, more at himself because he knew how darkness worked, thank you, and then watched Icarus.

The shadows seemed to get excited for a moment, and then stilled... and arranged into a trail. Tristan looked that direction, and tilted his head. "... haven't we been that way already?" He was fairly sure they had. On the other hand, by now, everything looked like everything else, so maybe they hadn't. He could admit to potentially being wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well they were awfully excited that he'd turned his attention to them. So that was.... well. It was something, at least. They didn't seem disappointed or like they didn't have a goal in mind when he asked.

Icarus watched the shadows form their trail. "...I think so." Icarus admitted mildly. "But I'm willing to go that way again if the shadows think it's a good idea." It was possible they'd missed something, after all. It was also possible that the shadows would lead them a different direction once they got to a certain point on the path. Either way, Icarus was out of better ideas and this was pretty much his last attempt at locating Sandalio. If it didn't work, then he thought they probably should at least mostly return to the Drago and spend much less time searching. It'd been a long time, and as much as Kassi would want them to find Sandalio, Icarus couldn't help but think that Sandi would want them there with Kassi.

Icarus didn't like being away from his brother when he was like this either, so there was that. On the other hand... the shadows seemed awfully excited that he'd finally asked them something, so maybe they really did have something to share. It would be odd of them to be so pleased that he'd come to them if there was nothing for them to share. Icarus didn't really want to get his hopes up, of course, who knew what they were going to find. But he was just a little hopeful that this would be the one thing that they needed to do to get what they needed.

Icarus rose from where he'd settled down to try and talk to the shadows and began to follow the trail.  ...what? He'd asked, may as well find out where it led to. If it meant they finally got to bring Sandalio home then good. And if not then they'd tried their best, and after this long no one could say they hadn't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That made two of them, Tristan supposed.

By this point, it either worked, or they were back at square one again, and they'd ended up back at square one so many times, Tristan was starting to question if they'd ever even left it in the first place. That was, maybe, a little sad, in a sense, but also he didn't terribly care, by now. It was what it was, so to say. "Yeah, so am I," he answered, and then followed Icarus and the shadow trail right after. It led somewhat in a zig-zag, but, Tristan figured it had to follow where shadow actually fell, and eventually, it stopped.

It took him a moment, but, he saw the hazy outline of a nightmare cage, alright. Whether that was the right one, or not, that was in the air. Then, the shadows could probably go into it, the chances of it being the right one were likely quite high. He didn't much like this, but they'd been figuring they were looking for a nightmare cage for a good long time, anyway. It was the only thing that made sense of Sandalio being gone so long.

"Well, even if it's not the right one," he said, "we should break it, anyway." Those damned things should just die out. Unfortunately, there was still at least one daeva that remembered how to make them. In any case, Tris didn't waste much more time, backing up a few paces, and hammering it with magic. None of them were a necromancer, which had an easier time breaking these because nightmare cages were very similar to necrokinesis, just perhaps a bit fancier. You ran the risk of damaging your soul breaking it from the inside, and if you weren't a necromancer, well, it was a lot of hammering it with magic until it broke.

That usually took a while. Oh well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Blink. Well, that was certainly something. Another nightmare cage. It'd been here for some time too, though it was difficult to tell exactly how long, and maybe that part was less important anyway then getting it dismantled. Tristan was, of course, right. Even if it wasn't Sandalio (though hopefully it was) they should free whoever it was because they didn't deserve this. Nightmare cages were just terrible and everyone made them really should just go away already. Actually, Icarus had much more violent things he'd like to do to the people who kept creating them but that was ah, something to be considered later, maybe.

"We should." Icarus agreed, circling slightly to one side and then joining Tristan in attempting to break down the Cage. Delara joined in slightly to another side. Between the three of them they could hopefully break it before too much time passed. .... It was okay though, there were tree of them and they were relatively strong, they'd manage to get it broken and the one trapped inside free.

The good news was, they were also all strong enough to manage to withstand it if the one inside of the box became violent.

"...Is it just me or does it feel like it's been... warped slightly?" Icarus mentioned after a bit. Sandalio was just psycho enough to try and break it from the inside despite the risks.

Sandalio might have considered his grip on reality tenuous. In some ways, he was better than he might have been. He knew he was in a nightmare cage. He knew what was happening wasn't exactly real (though some of it had happened, just not the way the box wanted him to believe it had). Knowing didn't really make it all that much easier after the dozenth time of watching the light of his life taken to shreds by Marcus. He had no idea how long he'd been in the box.

His memory of how he ended up trapped in the first place was pretty hazy. Sandi hadnt' asked the shadows because it didn't really matter. What mattered was escaping, but he'd been unsuccessful in attempting to break the cage from the inside. And a small corner of his mind reminded him  it was dangerous to break them from within anyway. On the other hand, he didn't know how long he'd been here, and the shadows occasionally told him help was coming, but so far, he was...still here, and still alone.

Maybe the shadows were wrong, maybe they'd never find him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Is this surprising?" Tristan asked. "It shouldn't be." Especially if and assuming the one in there was in fact Sandalio; nothing short of divine intervention could really keep that guy away from Kassander too long, and Tristan knew that. So, no, he wasn't surprised the cage was warped. Of course it was. ... Tristan might've done the same thing, really, so he couldn't even pretend like he wouldn't have, even knowing it was liable to shred his soul. Nobody said what happened after that; Tristan probably would've tried to find out first-hand. ... yeah, they were still related.

It took a while, not that Tristan was counting, but eventually its sparking stopped, it started to crack, and the cage's frame became more solid and visible. Almost. A breath in, and Tristan built up a load of electrical energy. The shadows at his feet suddenly buzzed with alarm, and shot through the chips in the cage.

Backward! they hissed, hoping Sandalio could still hear them. Your brother's insane and he's tossing an electrical ball at it! That could cause collateral damage, and you know, maybe getting shocked was not so great an idea for someone fresh out of a nightmare cage. If nothing else, it might trigger half-wild self-defence instinct, and that could end badly. Only a handful of seconds after they hissed their warning, a loud crashzap! sounded, as Tristan's electricity ball slammed into the corner. The shadows shot upward, spreading across Sandalio's skin in effort to absorb the electrical charge, if any reached him, before it hurt him. The rest of the cage's walls cracked and fell apart, the pillars shattering.

Tristan, for his own, stayed right where he was. They learnt a long time ago not to make any sudden movements after busting one of these. It tended to be rather unpleasant. ... he had a headache now... well, yes, he'd probably used too much energy. Oh well, it was broken. That was the important part.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Not really." Icarus admitted mildly. No, it wasn't surprising. It should have been given how dangerous it was to try and break one of these from the inside. But this was Sandalio and the box was what existed in an attempt to keep him from getting to Kassander. Of course he was going to try and break it. Still, Icarus hoped the former gladiator hadn't managed to do himself any damage in the process. ... He hadn't broken it though, so he didn't think it was irreparable. .... At least, not any more so than that many years in a nightmare cage might be normally.

Hm? The Shadows were upset about something. Sandalio could hear them in the back of his mind, suddenly seething. He obeyed them almost reflexively, sliding back as far towards the back of the box as he could manage. There wasn't much space though, so he wasn't sure it would be enough to calm them depending on what exactly the threat was. He didn't have long to ponder the situation before the cage seemed to break apart around him with a loud noise.

Confusion and uncertainty warred in his expression. Shadows danced at his fingertips for a moment before fading, clearly he'd decided not to attack. But the uncertainty remained. Tristan, Icarus, Delara. Not Kassi. But he knew them, and it smelled right and as much as his instincts screamed that this was some sort of a trap, some of the tension slid out of his shoulders. They smelled right, they felt right. Those were things the Cage never managed to do. There were some senses that just couldn't be tricked. Not that easily.

"Mm." His expression curled slightly into a smile after a bit. He didn't try and speak. The dryness of his mouth combined with the slightly swollen feeling of his tongue made that seem like a useless attempt. Slowly and rather stiffly Sandalio picked himself up onto his feet. Still, he didn't try and move any closer to them. Just concentrated on finding his balance for a second.

"Easy..." Icarus murmured. Not that he actually expected to be heeded just, he didn't want Sandalio pushing himself too hard right out of the gate here.

Sandalio reached slightly for Tristan, a rather obvious invitation for a hug or at least for him to come closer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, he looked okay. At least, he didn't look like he'd pushed against the cage too much, enough to do notable damage to himself. At the moment, Tristan was going to consider that a good start. Not perfect, maybe, but a good start. Turned out, too, they did have the right nightmare cage. It was about damned time they found him, Tristan was a little annoyed about it, but he was trying not to be. Something like that.

When he figured out Sandalio was reaching for him, though, Tristan shuffled over there and unceremoniously hugged him. He didn't say anything, just yet, but neither did he need to, because the way he relaxed and the fact, were Sandalio any smaller, Tristan probably would've completely swallowed him in that hug, that said enough. "Ryan's an idiot," Tristan said, quiet, "and attacked Maharaja amid looking for you. He's alive, but barely." By some miracle, Kassander had managed to save him at the last second from his own stupidity, but, all Kassander had really managed to do was keep him alive; Ryan was still healing, and it was somewhat of a toss-up, if he'd ever wake back up.

"And before you bolt off somewhere, home's not Italy, anymore." Yes, it did cross his mind that Sandalio wouldn't know that, and maybe saying that early on was a good idea. You know, before he tried going back to Kassander, whom, last he checked, was in Naples, only to find, Kassander's not in Naples. Tristan could find him again, but that really wasn't the point, no it was not. He really didn't want his brother running off right now, mostly because the after-effects of a nightmare cage took a bit to fully go away, and if he wasn't where Tristan could keep at least half an eye on him, well, he'd seen things go horribly wrong much faster than that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sandalio hugged Tristan back tightly, half clinging to him as soon as he'd finished gaining his bearings at the contact. It was strange, having something touch him after all this time, but for the record it was also a really nice feeling. There was a word for that, he was sure, but Sandi wasn't sure what that word was and maybe it didn't matter anyway. It was just a word and they didn't matter much at the moment anyway. What mattered was that they'd found him and apparently he was free.

And his other brother was a complete dumb ass apparently. And had attacked Maharaja after he'd disappeared. Sandalio kind of felt guilty for being the cause of such a travesty, but it wasn't like he'd tried to have these things happen and maybe he'd just have to... let that go. There wasn't really any point in being upset about it, and Ryan had survived at least. He could figure out the detail of it later. As long as he was alive and could heal, then that would be okay. They'd... they'd get through it together. They always had.

Which was just as well, because the shadows were buzzing around his feet, practically still clearly upset about something. He couldn't quite grasp what they were going on about. He'd figure that out in a second.

Tristan did manage to get through to him before he tried to shadow port off.  "Home isn't Italy?" He repeated slowly, obviously a little confused by that fact. Home had always been Italy, even before the nation was called that. "Where is home then?" Not sure he'd know it even if Tristan told him but there was... some level of concern if so many things had changed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, home wasn't Italy. It seemed wrong, Tristan understood that. Italy had always been home. Even when the Drago di Napoli did happen to relocate, they always stayed in Italy. From Capua, they'd gone to Salerno, then most recently, Naples, and they had been there ever since then. Of course, one day, Kassander decided, seemingly on a whim, that they were going across the sea to the New World, specifically a land-locked place in the endless expanse of the midwestern United States, and everyone was supposed to believe there wasn't a reason they were doing this, and Kassander was going to be happy with it. And then the Desert Storm came, Sandalio had disappeared, Kassander had started dying, and most days, Tristan really wanted to go back to Italy.

Nothing had gone quite this terribly in Italy, and Tristan wouldn't deny being a little homesick.

"Luxerion, Nebraska," he answered. "... it's fine if you don't know where that is. We do." And they could, of course, guide him the right way. Tristan made a face, for a moment, thinking, and then said, "you've been gone about twenty years, and... last I heard, no one knows why, but Kassander is dying." Perhaps these were things he ought to get out of the way, before they got there, so that he could do his processing beforehand. Rather than having it dumped into his lap immediately upon arrival, because it was obvious, last he saw their alpha. Kassander was a once-bright candle flame that was steadily spluttering out, and quite frankly, it was painful to watch, and sooner or later, Kassander would collapse on him, as often he did.

It was just easier, overall, if Tristan warned him before they got there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... Wait where? It didn't matter, he could trust Tristan to take him there. His brother wouldn't lead him astray on purpose so if he said that was where home was now then he'd just have to believe that, even if Sandalio didn't understand where or why they had moved exactly. The Drago was no longer in its homeland, and Sandalio couldn't help but feel like that wasn't a good thing. That there was something ominous about the fact that the whole group had uprooted and gone to some place in the new world.

Especially after that particular bomb was dropped. So they'd left Italy and now Kassander was dying. Well clearly the Drago shouldn't have gone to the New World since it hold anything positive for them there. There was also a corner of the former gladiator that rebelled against the idea of Kass dying so far from his homeland - as long as they had lived, and as long as they had lived in Italy he should be laid to rest there, if he had to be laid to rest at all.

His mind continued to swirl, railing against what he was processing, railing against what he'd been told. This was too much. This was too much. Being broken out of the nightmare cage only to find that the reality he was coming back to was actually worse in many ways was - Sandalio didn't think he could handle it. And yet, he didn't have a choice. That was just the way things were, Sandalio would have to figure out how to bear the unbearable because it was reality. Tristan wouldn't lie to him, not about something that important. And if Tristan wouldn't lie then... he had to accept that what he was hearing was the truth, even if he didn't want to believe it under any circumstances.

Twenty years, and Kassander was dying. Kassander was dying and Ryan had nearly gotten himself killed.

Somehow reality managed to feel worse than twenty years in a nightmare cage. The god of shadows wasn't sure how that was possible, and frankly he didn't want to dwell on it for very long.

"...Wanna go home." Yeah, he did. That probably wasn't surprising all things considered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... knowing his brother, that was probably a flat refusal to deal with it at all. On the other hand, maybe it was for the best. One thing at a time, he supposed. There were plenty of things to deal with, and maybe the towering mountain on the table was threatening to break the wood just fine enough already. Tristan didn't respond verbally, just nodded once. It was long past time they rejoined the Drago, anyway, it was just fortunate they had found who they were looking for and could return triumphantly, and it made perfect sense that was what Sandalio would want at this point. Home sounded like a good idea.

He didn't bother warning him, either; it was unlikely that he needed to. The shift in energy was generally enough to figure out what he was doing from. It was a short event, one moment they were standing around the remains of the nightmare cage, and the next, Apollo was softly beeping its hellos. "The layout's about the same," he said. "Very similar at least. Kassander didn't want anyone getting too lost." Getting lost in your own home, technically, was really kind of not great. "And you can ask Apollo where he is, if you want to go there first. ... doesn't seem like Hasan's here." He couldn't sense him, no. Hasan was doing most things around the Drago, now that most of them were looking for Sandalio, and Kassander was only able to manage so much before he needed to rest.

Now that they were back, Tristan at least was going to go figure out the current state of things and start helping again. Hasan probably could use the assist by now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That didn't turn out so well.

Mind you, Hasan knew the risks when he made the executive decision to go up there. For one thing, he wanted to make sure it actually was Marcus; he trusted Kassander enough to believe it, and he saw the way the Roman reacted. Only Marcus could've elicited such a response. Maybe he just felt the need to see it with his own eyes. If nothing else, with any luck, Marcus wouldn't recognize him (oh, but Hasan would recognize him), and he could get some idea of what his plans were. Why go through all this trouble to make himself Hamadaeva? Surely he couldn't still hold a grudge against Kassander for being prettier and smarter than he was. That was a difficult thing to fathom, so Hasan had to assume this went beyond Kassander and was bigger than their petty little one-up war from back at Rome.

Unfortunately, he hadn't managed to gain much in the way of intel before Gabriel was throwing fireballs at him. The French ginger was dangerous, but it had less to do with her skill and ability as it had to do with her unpredictability. In battle, one's opponent quite often had plans. They made logical decisions, and often very similar logical decisions to the ones someone else with some understanding of combat and how it worked would, but Gabriel was another story. No one had ever really taught her proper combat form, and while she wasn't exactly incapable of fighting, the truth was battle was inherently chaotic, and her ability to ride that chaos and sometimes turn it in her favor, coupled with her lack of instinctive reaction the same way a formally-trained combatant might react, threw even Hasan off guard, and he was hard to blindside.

He slipped up only a little, and the next thing he knew, he was crashing into the ground-floor entryway in the Drago complex, hissing angrily at the ceiling, his wings unfurling in a threatening manner. Apollo clicked twice, and a crackle of Kassander's magic alighted for a second, as Apollo's canons fired at something unseen outside. How very fucking dare-wait... there was a new smell, but not a new smell, it was familiar, in the complex. Hasan paused a moment, breathing; the Sandalio hunting-party had returned, but that wasn't what he smelled-

Sandalio. The relief in his expression then was probably tangible; Sandalio could figure out how to keep Kassander going until Hasan figured out how to save him. Or, even, Icarus could figure it out, and Hasan could rearrange some daeva-faces, whichever. He breathed out, smiled, and went to move that way, and stopped, loosing a pained hiss. Ah, he'd almost lost this wing, judging by the cut that went halfway up to the bone. There was a lot of blood under him. He should fix this first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They materialized in a space that bordered on familiar, probably due to Tristan mentioning that it was designed to be close to the original so no one got lost if they could help it. Delara and Icarus were barely a moment behind them. Home but not. Apollo felt welcoming, felt the same over his skin. But of course it recognized him, Kassander would have held onto the hope that he would return one day.

Sandalio numbly, and probably would have done just that without thinking anything of it if it weren't for the fact that Hasan chose that precise moment to appear, and then he hissed at the ceiling and it was clear that something was very wrong. Sandalio started to take a step forward, and then the scent of blood hit him, and something inside of him shifted. Nope. Nope. That was a very, very bad idea. Logic was strong enough to drive him to take a step backwards instead of allowing instinct to drive him forward.

If he'd been younger than he was, this could have been a disaster. Some small corner of his mind was just going to be thankful that he wasn't younger and so this didn't turn out nearly as badly as it might've. He was uh, going to stay back here for a second while he got his thoughts together enough to ask about where the bloodwine was stored though. He'd find his words again sooner or later.

Delara, of course, closed the space between herself and Hasan rather quickly, frowning as she did so. It was only a second or two before she started glowing, working on piecing back together the serious damaged wing. "I'm almost afraid to ask what's happening exactly." And yet, by saying that, Delara knew full well she was opening the door to get an answer. At least Apollo could probably hold off whoever it was. The security system didn't play and someone had to be a little more than determined in order to get in and be a real problem.

Just as long as everyone stayed inside and let it do its job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That wasn't generally the sort of entrance Tristan expected from Hasan. Then, the hissing and Apollo's clicking answered the unspoken question, and Tristan decided to let that one go. Unfortunately, that was a whole lot of blood, and Sandalio hadn't had sustenance in 20 some odd years... no wonder he backed up. The only bright side to this was that technically, Sandalio was likely weak enough Hasan could defend himself just fine, but that really wasn't the point.

"I'll go get the bloodwine," he said. "Just... stay here I guess." Apollo could handle whatever was outside, and Delara could handle the damage to Hasan's wing, and Tristan was going to go retrieve the bloodwine... probably several bottles because he kind of had a feeling that just one wasn't going to cut it, and that made sense. It was nice to be home, back around the scents of the Drago, but apparently something had gone wrong in their absence.

Well that made sense; lots of things went wrong in their absence. He just hoped nothing serious had gone wrong. Then again, he figured if anything had, Hasan would've found them instead of the other way around. Anyway, he shuffled around the others and headed down the hall. One good thing about being an entire massive complex full of vampires, there was bloodwine literally everywhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...