"Friends of My Friends", also known as "Demons and Boomerangs", is a Season 3 Day 30 thread written on January 25th - February 1st, 2015.
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The Warden: The Warden had been spending more time out of Haddock’s body than in, now, and it was odd how quickly she got used to the strange sensation in limbo. Hardly connected to anything. Floating. Sometimes she would just sit in a public place and watch the rebels go about their business, unnoticed by anyone who wished her harm.
Today she rested on the roof of a building, head tilted towards the sky, frowning slightly as she looked around everyone’s minds once more. She spotted Greg’s almost instantly and that strange little leap flickered inside her again, but her frown deepened when she sensed his intentions. And the number of other minds that were with him.
What do you think you’re doing? she said crossly.
Greg Ericson: Greg looked around searching for the Warden’s figure.
"Oh uh hey there Nala," he said, "I thought I stop by today, and I uh brought some friends to meet you." He smiled hoping she would see.
The Warden: She narrows her eyes and lashed her tail back and forth.
You told them, didn’t you.
Greg Ericson: "Of course I didn’t," He said,offended that she would think that he would break a promise. "I promised not to tell, and I didn’t. I told them that we met and that we became friends. That’s it I swear."
Hopefully he was convincing enough for her to believe him.
The Warden: There was a very long pause.
And what reason do you have for bringing them to me? she finally murmured, still not entirely against the idea but not entirely with it, either.
Greg Ericson: "I wanted them to see what I have seen. That you are not what everyone thinks you are. That you are not a monster to be hated, but a person who deserves kindness."
The Warden: The Warden sighed and slipped off of the roof, landing on the ground and leaning against the wall in the shadows. Come back here so you do not look like madmen talking to thin air. I will not reveal myself to the rest of the rebellion, only to your friends.
Greg Ericson: Greg smiled. “Come on guys. Let’s go meet our new friend.”
Grey Bergman: "Slow down there, bud," she said holding her hands up. "Let’s not get too hasty here. There’s no telling what she might pull."
The Warden: Tugging gently on their minds, the Warden said impatiently, What trick is there left to pull? I will not sit here all day to listen to you bicker. Ask your friend if I have truly changed and trust his words if you do not trust mine.
Greg Ericson: "Come on guys I trust her." He said walking backwards towards the Warden. "She could have killed me a dozen times last time we met if you don’t trust her trust me."
With that he turned around and walked into the alley.
Grey Bergman: Grey sighed. Thankfully, she was wearing her red cape, so no one saw her sword. They might have agreed not to fight the Warden, but she had to be ready to protect her brother and two sisters no matter what. “Okay, Greg, I’m sorry,” she said. “I trust you.” She then turned around to Asha and Warren behind her.
Asha: Asha smiled at Grey shakily. She reached for Grey’s hand, as childish ad it was. This was the stupidest thing she’d ever done. But she was going to go through with it. She was going to be brave for once in her life. Maybe the Warden would be nice to them.
Grey Bergman: Grey smiled warmly and held Asha’s hand tightly. “It’s going to be okay,” she whispered to her loud enough so that Warren could hear her as well. “I have my sword with me. So if there’s any trouble, you guys can take Greg and run while I will deal with her.”
Warren: Warren brushed off Grey’s plan with a smidgen of concealed frustration. She straightened her back and urged the group forward, turning back to Grey and Asha with confidence and perhaps a little reprimand. “Come on. We’re doing this, aren’t we? The least we can do now is give her the benefit of the doubt. We’re perfectly fine, so let’s go.”
The Warden: The Warden lifted an eyebrow and watched them approach down the alleyway, flicking her tail nonchalantly. Inwardly she was racing with thoughts, both worried and irritated and angry and a little bit excited. But outwardly she remained calm. She’d heard everything the little group had whispered amongst themselves but she pretended not to. Took you long enough, young ones.
Grey Bergman: Grey furrowed her eyebrows together in anger. She desperately wanted to give a comeback…to say something to avoid showing weakness, but she took a deep breath and calmed herself. They were doing this for Greg, and she couldn’t afford to provoke the demon. “Sorry to keep you waiting,” she said trying not to sound sarcastic gripping Asha’s hand slightly tighter.
Warren: Warren inclined her head respectfully, feeling nervous now and repeating Greg’s words to her earlier over and over. “Thank you for agreeing to meet with us,” she said. “I understand it was… unexpected. My name is Warren. These are our friends, Grey and Asha.”
The Warden: A pleasure. Her red-pupiled eyes glanced over each of their faces. My introduction is hardly necessary, so I suppose we will…skip over that. And why have you come to visit one you used to harbor such hatred for?
On the surface she sounded biting, but within her words lay a curious sadness.
Warren: Warren studied the demon’s face as she mulled over the question. “Because… you have a reason that you’re still here. You could have burned this whole place to the ground and slaughtered every one of us a long time ago, but you didn’t. And you still haven’t. Greg saw that before any of us did, and…” she shifted uncomfortably and her gaze flicked away and then back to the Warden. “I believe what he says about you. Now you have a chance to prove him right. I hope you do.”
The Warden: Do you? The Warden paused, genuinely surprised. You mortals never fail to surprise me… Her voice dwindled into silence, and then she looked back up and stepped a bit closer, bending over the group.
And is there anything you wish to know about me, little mortals?
Grey Bergman: Grey stared up at the demon. She could not get over how tall she was. It was pretty clear when she returned with Haddock’s body that she was even taller than the king himself. She mentally shook her head coming back to reality. The demon just asked a question about what they wanted to know about her…so what could she ask her? She didn’t exactly take the time to think of a question, but she would just have to improvise.
"Uhh…I guess, maybe…" she began. "Um…well, like Warren said, Greg saw something in you, and you could’ve tried to kill us all, especially when you were possessing Haddock…so…I guess…what I’m curious about is…if you don’t want to get rid of us then…how did you get involved with High Central and the Grounded-Dungeon business anyway?"
The Warden: The Warden slowly, slowly cocked her head, staring intently at Grey until she was sure the little human felt uncomfortable.
Always the hard questions first.
Tossing her hair out of her eyes, she looked off into the distance, setting her jaw. If you must know, I was captured. Summoned by an upstart young mage who found it enjoyable to trap whatever demons he pleased for his own purposes. I was kept inside of a golem that lay within the dungeon to keep the prisoners under control, and suffice it to say I…left. And so did everyone that was imprisoned within. And here we are today.
Asha: Asha was far from calm as she watched the demon. She still had her hand in Grey’s, and for that she was glad. The Warden was scary. She was tall and had red eyes and was something out of a nightmare. Asha had to admit, however, that she did feel kind of bad for her. She was captured, after all. But the teenager was still afraid of what the Warden might be capable of doing her and her friends.
Grey Bergman: Grey’s face fell as she listened to the Warden. That wasn’t the answer she was expecting to hear. She had heard plenty of stories about the Grounded Dungeon, the Exodus, and those High Central jerks ever since she was a kid. Traders had told her that demons were guarding the prisoners, but like everyone else, she just assumed that somehow the High Central government…if that’s what they even were anymore…struck some kind of deal with the demons and they just signed up. But no…the Warden was captured…taken away from her family…just like Haddock, Tree, Vox, and anyone else who was imprisoned in all those dungeons.
"So…in a way, you were taken prisoner, too?" she asked. "Those jerks at High Central forced you into this…"
The Warden: Too?
And then the Warden realized the ironic parallels of their situation and she had to turn away, momentarily moved by her statement. Yes…yes, I was. They did not force my extended stay, that is a different matter altogether. But yes, I was brought here by their cruelty and ignorance. She studied the little group. Were you…much the same?
Warren: The hybrid’s fingers twisted together and she was suddenly conscious of her fur as tall animal-like ears drooped beneath unpleasant remembrances. She nodded slowly. “…Many of us, yes. Others brought High Central’s punishment upon themselves by showing compassion toward the rest.” She tried not to look at her human friends, suddenly struck with gratitude and bitterness. “We… we never wanted this.” She fell into choked silence, as if wanting to continue but unable to.
The Warden: There was a slight pause. And then the Warden bent down until she was on one knee, looking at the half-breed straight in the eye. Neither did I, little pooka. I think…I think I understand what you have been through now. Once again her eyes leaped between all of them before she spoke.
I have said this to few others, but I feel the need to say it once more. I…I apologize for not understanding. For causing so much pain where it had already existed.
Greg Ericson: Greg was surprised to hear the Warden apologize. Although she was changing he still didn’t expect to hear it so soon. He wrapped his arm around Warren’s shoulders trying to comfort her.
"I forgive you." He said smiling.
It was somewhat difficult to say even though he was very forgiving. He knew all she had done to them and all she put them through, and the fact that she was apologizing, seemingly sincere. It was a big step.
Grey Bergman: Grey widened her brown eyes in absolute shock. She really hadn’t seen this coming. The Warden…was actually…apologizing? She had to be hearing things. This had to be some kind of trick, but…she actually did sound sincere. And if Greg was going to forgive her, then she would as well. She smiled warmly at the Warden. “I do, too,” she said holding her hand out to the Warden.
The Warden: She cocked her head at the human’s hand. Thank you. Inserting threads of her substance into the girl’s mind, she reached out to shake her hand, and it was as though she could actually feel the Warden’s long, slender hand wrapped around her own.
Asha: Well, that was a surprise. On the list of things Asha expected to happen, an apology didn’t appear at all. The Warden was being genuinely nice to them. She was shaking Grey’s hand (and Asha trusted Grey with her life)! Asha took a deep breath and hoped her voice wasn’t as shaky as she felt “I-I forgive you too, um… Miss… Warden?”
The Warden: You may… The Warden blinked slowly, once. You may call me Nalaagura, little one.
Asha: Asha let herself smile a little. “Okay,”
Grey Bergman: "Nalaagura…" Grey said testing out the name. "That’s a nice name."
The Warden: Thank you, little one. Her tail flicked self-consciously. I’d prefer if we keep this conversation between ourselves, all of you. That includes my name.
Warren: “Of course,” Warren said. “…Thank you, Nalaagura. This will stay between us, you can be sure of it.” She leaned back against Greg and allowed herself it smile. He really had been right all along. More than right. She was glad they had listened.
Grey Bergman: “I agree,” she said. “It would be bad news if people knew about this. They could easily assume that we’re up to something, and we can’t afford that when this Rebellion needs to stand together.” She wasn’t going to admit it now, but it did seem like Greg was right all along. They had been talking to the War—Nalaagura for a while now, and she hadn’t attempted to hurt them once. Perhaps, this could be the beginning of a friendship.
Asha: Asha nodded in agreement with her friends, clasping her hands together loosely in front of her. This was beyond crazy. But it happened. And in any case, new friends were always appreciated by Asha. No matter how strange the circumstances.
Grey Bergman: Grey smiled warmly at Asha as she nodded. It was great to see that they were all on board with this. They were going to have to stick together for this. This was the craziest thing they had ever done…perhaps even crazier than when she stood up to Stonegit….or even when she stood up to the Wa—Nalaagura’s mother, but she knew that they would find a way to get through it together.
She finally let out a breath that she didn’t realize she was holding. “So…what do we do now?”
The Warden: I believe we should part ways for now, young ones, the Warden said quietly, gaze shifting to the passing rebels behind them. It would not bode well for you if someone were to catch you making nice with a demon.
Greg Ericson: "Of course it was nice talking to you again Nala." Greg said with a bright smile. He was happy everything had worked out and that the Nala had been able to meet his family.
Grey Bergman: "Yes, it actually was," Grey said raising an eyebrow at the demon. "Although to make sure this stays between us, I think it would be best that we meet in secret, but only when it’s absolutely necessary. Whenever we see each other in public, we act like we’re still enemies until it’s safe to come clean about this."
The Warden: Yes…that would be for the best. She turned and folded her arms close into her torso. She didn’t trust herself to say anything else.
Grey Bergman: Grey nodded. Then she turned to Greg. Since he was the one to befriend the demon, it would make sense that he had some input on these…hopefully…temporary terms. As much as she hated the idea of telling him what to do and when to see Nalaagura, she knew that this was for the best. Still…he deserved to give his opinion.
"Greg…are you okay with this as well?" she asked.
Greg Ericson: Greg nodded. He knew it wouldn’t be smart to hang out with her all the time. The more they all saw of each other the more likely it was that they would be discovered and that was no good. “Yeah I’m okay with it. It wouldn’t be smart to be seen with Nala. People might get the wrong ideas. What about you guys?” He asked Warren and Asha.
Asha: "I-I think that’s a good idea." Asha agreed. No one needed to get the wrong idea about them. That would be bad.
Grey Bergman: Grey nodded grateful that the two of them were on board with this. However there was still one more person. “Warren?” she asked getting the Pooka hybrid’s attention. “Are you okay with this, too?”
Warren: “Well it seems everyone agrees!” Warren said with a smile. “I wouldn’t want to put Nalaagura or ourselves in an uncomfortable position, and I agree that the rebellion is very…quick to react. This seems to be the best plan for now.”
Grey Bergman: Grey smiled at her best friend. “Well, it seems like we’re all agreed then,” she said. “We should get back before anyone notices us.”