YvtW: Logrus scene
Hrm... I've gotten most of the ideas covered earlier down. But now I'm stuck on a ending to the scene. I need to end the conversation and get our heroes outta that particular limbo somehow. But I can't think of anything. Help?
It was immediately obvious, once the vertigo passed, that they were no longer in Tuat. In fact, they were probably no longer in the Egyptian spirit world anymore. But that little detail was secondary to the monstrous one-eyed serpent that faced them.
"...the Logrus," Tanith breathed.
The serpent replied in a hissing voice. "You see clearly, both of you. Too clearly."
Was it too much to ask that they can get through this adventure without dark gods or metaphysical threats dogging their heels in every realm or so? Perhaps not. Damn Murphy's Law anyways.
"What do you want of us?" Elrohir asked first.
The Logrus gave a hissing laugh. "I think you know what I want."
Let's go with the obvious, Tanith reflected. "You're... you're working against Llewella? What is Locke to you?"
"The mere fact that you are supported by a Princess of Amber should be enough..." the Logrus' non-answer trailed off cryptically.
"You sound as if there are deeper reasons at hand," Elrohir pushed.
"Perhaps," the Logrus sighed lazily, as if bored, "they are not your business."
Where's the logic in that? "If it involves kidnapping us from our quest, then it is," Tanith retorted.
The Logrus narrowed its eyes and bent its head lower. The long fangs that appeared in shadowed glimpses in its maw seemed even larger and dealier from closer up.
"Leash your insolence, girl," it hissed in a deceptively mild warning tone. "Do not presume to rise above your place."
Note to self... tread lightly when talking to giant manifestations of Chaos. Tanith thought blankly as she stared at the forked tongue which extended far too close for comfort.
Elrohir remained undaunted - or maybe it was the same bravado that sent Fingolfin out to battle Morgoth. "What do you mean to do to us if we refuse to abandon this quest?"
The Logrus sneered, if a serpent could said to be able to sneer. "Then you will find leaving this place difficult indeed," it declared. After a beat, it spoke again, calmer this time. "However, perhaps you will com to your senses in this... in time."
"What reasons have you to convince us from our path?" Elrohir pressed on.
The serpent laughed again. "Why, the common sense that even you of lesser beings can find." It's head lowered even more, until its giant single eye was at a level with the half-elf it was addressing. "Surely you have now realized that the soul you seek has not been sent to death and lost in death by normal means. One might even say that it was accomplished by means--" its eye now swung over to meet Tanith's "--far from any of you or your peers. What makes you think that, even were you to find him and restore him, he will not face the same fate once more? How well can you guard him in life? How many times will you comb the underworlds for a single soul?"
There was a silence of deep thought in response to the Logrus' exposition. Satisfied that it was on its way in convincing the two adventurers, the Logrus slowly swung itself back into a less confrontational posture.
At length, Tanith finally spoke up. "Would you be... one of those who might do that to Locke if we're successful?"
"I do not think I wold need to." The serpent's tone dripped with bored condescension.
Elrohir leaned in and spoke softly aside to Tanith. "Ratatosk did say that we were not...caged...in Helheim by chance," he reminded her.
But of course the Logrus heard that whisper. "Exactly so," it added. "Recall also that in any plot you would accuse of me, I am never the only player of that game."
"The Pattern?" Tanith looked puzzled. "But if Llewella is helping us--"
"How do you think she knew that soul?" The Logrus interrupted, smiling nastily. "Why should she expend thus powerful protections on you for it? You know of the Amberites; she is among those least motivated by the intrigue of her family and the war between Chaos and Order."
"...so?" Tanith asked, still honestly confused.
"Does she do this by her compassion for a low acquaintance felled by outside forces..." the serpent's tongue was now dripping with insinuation and velvet steel, "...or does she do this out of... guilt?"
"Guilt?" Tanith echoed, mind a-whirl and voice incredulous.
The Logrus affected its superior condescension once more. "It is unfortunate truth that the intrigue between myself and the Unicorn incurs a certain level of... 'collateral damage'... and unfotunate for many of our pawns that lesser beings break so easily." Its maw widened to a evil-looking smirk.
"You're saying... Locke was a pawn..." Tanith clarified slowly "...of the Unicorn? Or of you?" She rather doubted the latter.
The evil smirk shook in evil laughter. "Why don't you ask dear Llewella," taunted the Logrus, "when you next see her again?"
Tanith shook her head in confusion. Elrohir frowned from where he had been following the conversation. "I think you are trying to confuse us with half-truths," he muttered.
The serpent dismissed the accusation with typical arrogance. "You are just too simple to understand."
This isn't getting us anywhere, Tanith sighed mentally. Ah well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Verbally, she spoke to the Logrus, "then release us and let us </i>prove</i> what our 'simplicity' can do."
"To Tuat?" scoffed the serpent. "That land is as simple as the humans that dreamed it forth. Why, it took the living who are not even of that religion to recognize me."
Elrohir frowned. "That was because you hid your true self from them." He paused for a beat to remember that moment. "I saw your mask come down. With purpose!"
The Logrus snarled in sudden anger, causing both travelers to back up a step in trepidation. But just as suddenly roused, the serpent calmed itself down quickly. It stared at Elrohir for a long moment, before saying grudgingly, "You are...observant, elf-man."
Is that its way of spying on other pantheons outside the Amber/Chaos cosmology? Tanith pondered. But now did not seem like a good time to ask. "You were waiting for us?" she asked dubiously. "Why Egypt? You had ample chance before then..."
The serpent sniffed, almost indignantly. "Yes, yes, those dark and deadly underworlds where I'd hoped my persuasion would not be needed. And too, pity that someone... someones... else had found you first."