"Haddock Possessed" is a December 18-19, 2014 Season 3 thread during which Haddock wakes up after his blast to the chest... and realizes he survived because the Warden is inside of him.
Haddock wakes up in an area he does not recognize. He is startled to realize he still is alive, for his last memory is of being blasted in the chest with fire magic by Stonegit. Haddock, horrified, recognizes all at once why he has survived and feels incredibly queasy: the Warden preserved his life and is now residing inside of him. He is possessed by a demon.
The Warden tells Haddock to give his body's control over to her, but he refuses. The two of them fight control over his body while exchanging verbal spars. The Warden wins in the end, taking complete control of him, much to his now-inexpressible internal horror.
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Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: It was the sort of nausea that ate at the insides.
Ate from the insides, an alien swelling and churning from within the walls of the abdomen, twisting guts, clawing, clawing, clawing against the rib cage, stabbed at the navel, squirmed and groped and tore aggressively into the center of the belly. It was the invasion of a force, an unwanted entity, right there – there – there inside of him.
Tearing him apart. And he could do nothing but clench his gut, hunched over, dry-retching at the dirt beneath him.
He felt… unclean. Terribly, terribly unclean. An absolute revulsion for his own body overtook him, for there was something far worse inside than that horrible, unbearable queasiness.
It was the thing that had kept him alive. That had healed him from the impossible.
He had just woken up a moment ago to hear her voice inside his head, explaining it all.
She had invaded him. Coursed over the veins of his blood and stretched over every muscle. Those muscles now shook as Haddock, trembling and horrified, realized in full force what had happened.
The Warden: Well, it hadn’t been the first time this had happened to her, but it didn’t get any more pleasant. The first time had been gut-wrenchingly awful, and she had sworn she’d never die in a vessel’s body again. The next time was better, and by the third time the experience had mitigated the pain.
But this, apparently, seemed to be a first for the King. She didn’t blame him.
She wasn’t quite sure where they were, but she knew that the King was in no fit state to direct himself. And besides, she now had the prize she had sought after. Attempting to force herself through his body and into his mind, she grunted in exertion, Welcome back, Your Majesty. Now, hand over the reins, if you please.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: He could grab the sword and plunge it quickly into his chest to try to actually kill himself - and through that kill the Warden - before she could take control of him and use him to harm others, but that was no option for Haddock. He would fight to the end, and he would do that while living. He cared too much about his own self-preservation for that - even if it would have meant defeating his greatest enemy. And he highly doubted that, if she could manage to heal him from a fireball, she would fail to keep her vessel alive from a puncture wound.
No. He would fight her with all his will. And that would have to be enough.
Clenching his teeth, gripping onto his stomach - and what was that horrible pain in his chest? - Haddock snarled, “No. No. You won’t for an instant gain control of me, monster.”
The Warden: Oh, my. You want to play, do you?
She saw the brief image of his sword entering his heart, and even though he dispelled the notion as soon as it crossed his mind, she quickly thrust all of her power into controlling his hands, forcing them down and away from his abdomen.
Let’s play, she hissed.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Revulsion.
He could feel something else trying to control him, to take control of him, and he hunched over on all four limbs again to continue retching, body heaving horribly and involuntarily at the abdomen, leaving him dizzied and throat dried when it was done. But that could not dispel her. No bodily action could dispel her. No physical action could dispel her.
Must… be… strong.
Could not give in. Fight, fight, fight with his mind, force his thoughts all into pure will, all authority and defiance and hatred against her.
For this was no game. Not to him. It was his life. And so he fought.
The Warden: Tough fellow. This was going to be harder than she originally thought.
Valiant effort. His hands. His hands. She only needed to take over his hands. Just focus on one part, and the rest will follow…like breaking a dam.
I wonder what the state of the camp is, now, she began to whisper, focusing intensely on derailing the commands he sent to his fingers. In shambles, no doubt. Those homeless miscreants. The poor, poor half-breeds with no one to protect them…I wonder if there’s even anything left, if they’ve all been recaptured and sold away…
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Shut UP! he screamed inside his head. He probably screamed it aloud, too. Gods, he was so angry. Odin and Thor and Frigga, he was so angry. He wanted to take up his sword and slaughter her for that. Drive that pointed tip of his sword into her. ATTACK her. Use his rage against her. A physical fight, one as he was most accustomed to besting. Kill her.
He clenched his fists, tightening his entire body to the point his muscles ached, held himself as firmly as he possibly could, both out of desperation and anger, and defiantly told her, You are only saying that to try to make me lose control. YOU! WILL! NOT! HAVE! ME!
The Warden: The Warden chuckled smoothly, the sound becoming clearer and stronger. She was beginning to recover from their little trip. So out of your element, little King. You’re used to cutting, stabbing, drawing your blade and speaking with metal. Pressing, ever pressing, slipping into every crevice she could find. His mind was a glass and his temper a flame; if it grew any hotter…
You should watch that tongue of iron, Your Majesty, both the one in your scabbard and the one in your mouth. It could end up hurting the ones you love. Dark-eyes, for instance, she said conversationally. Did I ever tell you how much pain he felt after you rejected him?
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: He could feel himself shaking both inside and out. He knew not if it was trauma or anger more.
Trauma, more likely.
How DARE you.
The Warden: Oh, yes, it was dreadful. All he wanted was your attention, your assurance, but did you give it to him?
The Warden began feeding him the memory of her talk with the boy, the thoughts she had picked up on. Dark-eyes’ agonized wail echoed in both of their minds.
Nobody knows who I am! How I really feel!
He was beautiful…I wanted to help him…I wanted him to feel human for once…I was a fool.
…I’m still a fool…
She let the final words echo in their battling minds before speaking up softly. Oh, but you did return his affection…I nearly forgot…oh my, what would your dear wife say? And she made a massive shove towards his hands, wrapping herself around his nerves and straining for control.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Was… he panting…?
Shut it off shut it off shut it off shut it off. By the power of Loki Laufeyson, NO.
No. No. Block memories of them. Block those nightmarish words spinning out from inside his mind.
Think think think think think what could he think about that would strengthen him and not give her fuel to fire him more?
The Warden: Broken threads of conversation, vague tunes, unfamiliar faces, they all flashed across the King’s mind in an attempt to shield himself from her power, but it was thin and ragged and she cast it aside like a cobweb. There’s no use escaping it. She did the mental equivalent of seizing the sides of his head and dragged his attention to focus on her completely. Scene after scene flashed before them. The dungeon. The rebellion. The battle. The cell. Vox’s funeral. The lake, and Akkey, and Tree, and the blind one’s characteristic wound, as much as she knew, and that she knew he knew.
All of this…is your fault, Gareth.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: He tried to focus on the dungeon, the Grounded Dungeon, and her role as the Warden of the prison. Or is it yours? But he could feel himself slipping.
The Warden: There. A crack. She could see it. She was so close.
Oh, no, dear king. If you hadn’t rallied your silly armies, none of this would have happened and everyone would remain safe and sound and whole in your cells. Perhaps you could have waited and escaped later, at a more convenient time. You should have watched for when I had overworked the cat-child, you should have waited until I had exhausted my strength. Instead you pushed me at my prime. The Warden tut-tutted and dug the razor-sharp claws of her mind into his, continuing to lock his attention on her. What a mistake. And how many have paid the price…
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Clenched. Teeth. Must. hold. on.
It is no mistake to fight with my full hatred against you!
He could… feel… something… clouding…
The Warden: But it was folly to waste lives in your mad attempt at revenge. Another crack, another splinter; he was folding like a stack of cards. Just a few more pushes and his soul would be hers. She leaned on his mind, increasing the pressure to an ordinarily unendurable level. But who knew how much she had to tighten her hold on this one? He was rock-solid, that was for certain, she thought with grudging admiration. But no matter. Even the tallest mountains crumbled over time.
You don’t deserve to be king. Her essence began to leak into him. You don’t deserve their loyalty, when you treat their lives with such abandon. You…are…not…worthy. With that final word, she gathered her consciousness into a spear and shoved into his frantic thoughts.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: No… no no no. It is because of YOUR FOLLY that I took the risk. For men to die is but a result of the war we must fight against your malignant presence.
his mind… on the verge of… collapse…
The Warden: War can be avoided. Peace can be achieved. But you chose war.
The Warden was bleeding, bleeding, through his fingers, his legs, up through his heart, and the only thing left, the only bright spot that remained was his mind. That glorious, shining prize…
So selfish of you, Your Majesty. Now everyone will suffer. Your soldiers. Your friends. Your loves.
And your family.
The quick images of the man’s wife and children thundered through her mind, and then there was a colossal SNAP and he was crushed like a leaf under her power. Crazed with triumph, she flooded into his head, finally taking full control of his body. Her mental exultation was suddenly vocalized as her vessel began acting under her control, and the King’s throaty laugh filled the still, dank, freezing air. His hands moved upwards and she brushed his jaw, familiarizing herself with his face, running a hand through his hair, chuckling idly all the while. She found him in a corner of her mind, boxed-in and horrified at what she had done, what he had let himself do, and she curled his mouth in a grin.
"You lose," she said aloud.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Scratching desperately, desperately at a box.
He did not even have the power to scream his terror.
The Warden: Getting carefully to his feet, the Warden stood in place a moment and closed his eyes, breathing in the night air. She didn’t recognize the place they were currently in, some wilderness draped in night and dotted with bodies of water, but reaching out with her mind, traveling over the landscape, she caught wind of a small group of frantic, scrambling minds, somewhere in the distance, miles away. And two minds in particular that felt very, very familiar.
Let’s pay them a visit, shall we?
And one foot after the other, staggering and limping on his bad leg, pulling his ragged cape around his shoulders, Haddock began making his way south.