Spy for a Demon
Written in Collaboration with Dragonflight
Zu was waiting for her in the usual lounge she used, these days,
for debriefings and audiences with Sun Soul. A claw on her scaled foot tapped on
the tiled floor as the door opened to admit the tahrim, whether in impatience or
mere boredom. She had her guard-beast with her-- ironic that the creature was
such a pale gray, compared to its mistress's black-- and it watched her
aggressively as she entered. Sun Soul never really cared for guard dogs, even if
they weren't actually dogs-- something about her feline nature, perhaps,
preferring to work alone rather than having to rely on another-- but to each
Sun Soul sketched a brief bow in greeting; having been with the woman for as long as she had, most of the formality had gone out of their interactions. "My lady."
"Sun Soul." At her nod of greeting and permission, Sun Soul seated herself in the other chair in the room. "I trust your expedition was fruitful?"
"It would have had to be, or I might have come running home before my ears were frostbitten," Sun Soul smirked. "The primary objective was met, but I hope some of the other tidbits I came across can be of use, as well. People do love their politics."
"They certainly do," Zu agreed. "And I'm sure you'll be meticulous in your notes." Sun Soul smiled at the compliment, and there was a pause before the dark lady continued. "However, as of now, I am faced with something that could require your talents... but it has the potential to be far more dangerous than you are used to."
"The potential?" Sun Soul repeated politely. A new assignment already, before she gave a report? Must be important.... "May I have some details, then?"
"It involves demons," Zu said, and Sun Soul's ears twitched in surprise. Demons? Like... from stories? Did they actually exist? "More than what you find in legends and stories. Demons straight from the pit of the Abyss, and more. That along should tell you something. If you're interested, I'll continue, but if that alone is too much, well... I'll just let you get to your report."
"And more?" she repeated, one ear flicking with curiosity. "Is there actually a demon on the loose, then?"
"And worse." Zu scowled. "I don't know what else it's done before this, but...." She hesitated. "I trust you still know when to keep something secret?"
"When it's likely worth my life to keep it so?" Sun Soul laughed without humor. "Of course."
"Indeed." The lady cleared her throat a little uncomfortably; what odd behavior in someone usually so controlled. When she finally spoke, she started off hesitantly: " ... it attacked Aran, and may have stolen something from me." Aran-- Zu's little pet, wrapped in chains but otherwise free to move about the complex. Sun Soul's ears flicked again with more surprise: she would have expected her to be angry, not upset, if her current plaything were tampered with. "I'm not certain," Zu continued. "It's only recently that I learned that it had some ability to erase the memories of its presence. I know for a fact that it is extremely dangerous."
"Well," Sun Soul mused, "it's only dangerous if it knows I'm there, or knows I'm dangerous, right? Unless it's the type to lash out at anything around it, which I suppose is possible. What exactly would you want me to do? Just follow it? Watch it?"
"It's planning something, and I want it stopped, but I can't do that until I know what it's doing. But you are correct, it is only dangerous if it knows your intentions."
Sun Soul thought a moment. She hadn't done much research into demons-- it was technically a dead subject, one meant for scholars, writers of fiction, and the arcane mages, not for spies who only cared about living, real people-- but what she could remember suggested the fed off anger and destruction-- not a problem for her, she was good at controlling her emotions-- and could possess people-- more of a problem, that. It also suggested that they were bound in the pit and couldn't escape except spiritually, hence the need to possess people. "Does this demon have a host, or will I have to worry about it trying to body-snatch?"
"It had a body when it was here previously... and from what I know, they don't give up a viable host very willingly. So I doubt it will become an issue."
"Well, that's something, then. About the memories vanishing-- can you offer me some kind of protection from that?" Sun Soul asked. "Or the funds to purchase one from a mage? Some way to protect my mind from that sort of thing, so whatever I learn won't simply...." She waved a hand. "Disappear."
"I have something I think will help with that," Zu assured her. "But in case it fails, you'll have a manner of backup... I can give you further details on that, later on."
"Well, then," Sun Soul smiled. "Where am I going, and when do I need to be ready?"
"The demon disappeared offworld," Zu said, and she perked curiously. She'd never had even a lunar assignment, much less an offworld assignment. "I'll have the information you'll need ready this evening. You'll leave once you've had time to rest."
Well, that was normal, and there were a few things that needed doing before she left, like research into demons, wherever it was she was going, and getting a new wardrobe. Most of what she'd taken to Adhemme's wasn't fit to wear, anymore. "I only have one more question," she said simply, and skewed her ears, half serious and half amused. "Will it be cold there?"
Zu actually chuckled. "No, it won't."
Sun Soul sighed in relief. "Good. I can submit my report on the Calu clan via the data crystals, then, while you prepare my briefing for this new assignment. I'm looking forward to seeing the details."
The mistress of the underground citadel sent along her own crystal, as promised, that evening. Sun Soul scanned the information curiously. She was, indeed, going "offworld"-- off any world, to a space-faring vessel large enough to be considered a city, itself, called the Twisted Fate. She'd listed all the details on the demon itself again, including those she'd already outlined and a fairly complete description of both its host and its transformed state, as well as a good cover story. The Twisted Fate existed in part to create and then send out creatures much like the Riihan, only darker, more twisted, and definitely more creative. In order to gain access, one had to sign up as a candidate-- a Chosen-- for one of their "biotheurges". That, in and of itself, sounded interesting, but it was certainly a good cover: the Fate provided free room and board, and some minimal entertainment, on top of letting you interact with the other Chosen. It really was perfect.
There was also a bespelled ring charmed to protect her memory, which she slipped on immediately, and a memory crystal, spelled for her to record important events from her own memory into as a backup. Lastly was the revelation that she wouldn't be traveling alone, in the form of the name of her partner.
Sun Soul frowned at that. She preferred to work alone, but... well, yet another backup wouldn't hurt, she supposed. Maybe the person wouldn't be annoying. She'd just have to wait a couple days, until the date they were scheduled to leave, and see. Until then, she had some research to do-- and a wardrobe to replace.