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Arcane Snowman

A Dusty Revival

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July 18th, 2009

Silver’s Rare Books and Antiquities was a formidable building, despite having been built 200 years ago, it still stood as majestically as the day it had been finished, or at least that what Damien thought, it was a two storied building: at the front door stood a thick tree counter, enabling however stood behind it to overlook the entirety of the shop, all around, antiquities were locked away in their own show cases, each open space neatly punctuated by the supporting pillars. In the middle of this stood a corkscrew staircase of blackened steel, leading up to the second story, where there was row upon row of books shelves with a great overview of the story below.

Today had been a good day; John had come to the shop quite early and as always buried himself in the dusty old books, although they hadn’t talked, Damien was simply puttering around, organizing books and enjoying enjoyed the feeling of having John around, one thing he could always accredit humans was that their mere presence could be such a great comfort. Luckily John was buried enough in his books to not notice what came next, one moment Damien was upstairs happily humming and the next he was downstairs, standing over John; book still in hand, melody still on his lips and a familiar tingling in the back of his skull.

â€ÂWhoa…†exclaimed John finally having looked up from his book, his voice breaking Damien out of his stupor of surprise, â€Â…when did you come down? I didn’t hear you on the stairs†Damien just smiled, for more than one reason, but before he could say anything, John interrupted him â€ÂI know. You geezers have your secrets.†to which Damien just patted him on the shoulder, it didn't take long for John to notice the time, â€Â%$^#... it's that late, I have to get going, it’s getting late and I need to be back home before 11 o'clock…†John was speaking rapidly, all the while packing his things into his bag and hurrying out the door â€Â… see you later Mr. Silver.†Despite the pang of loneliness in Damien’s side, he couldn’t help but feel that it was perfect timing.

â€ÂOh, how we’ve waited for this moment.†said Dalkaresh as the shape of Damien Silver twisted and contorted, his silver hair grew long and paled to a dull ashen color, his eyes shone bright green and all over his body, which now seemed nothing more than dust and smoke, bright red tattoos permeated through the ephemeral skin and joined together. â€ÂAnd now, freedom awaits.†and with that, Dalkaresh vanished from the store.

And appeared in the park of Lantern Hill.

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Stesha hadn't spent much time in Lantern Hill since she moved to Freedom City, but she rather liked it. It was a quiet neighborhood and relatively safe, so she wasn't nearly as worried about running into bad guys when she did her work. Not that she didn't think she could take a normal mugger, of course, not when she was a real-live superhero, but it was still a big hassle. In Lantern Hill's parks, the pathways were clean and there were very few junkies and homeless people, and that was nice. People in Freedom City liked what she was doing, for the most part, and there'd even been a few articles in the newspaper, even if they were very small.

Tonight she was doing her usual job in a medium sized, park, lining the paths with flowers and making all the trees healthier. She was right in the middle of making a pot to go next to the water fountain when suddenly... something appeared right in the middle of the park! Startled, Stesha's concentration broke, and the half-formed flowerpot collapsed back into dirt as she squeaked with alarm.

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Hearing a voice of panic, Dalkaresh turned, if such an action could truly be called turning, his eyes two grass green spheres, which clearly were pointed in the opposite direction of the person, simply permeated through what seemed to be a skull-shaped mist encased within a labyrinth of swirling red, finally the two green lights were pointed towards what could only be a her, â€Âplease, raise no alarm. We, wish you no harm.†like a lollipop wrapper, the rest of the mist and its casing, unraveled and reformed, until Dalkaresh was completely facing her.

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"Don't come any closer," Stesha told him, looking around for running room, or better yet, something to transmit from. "I'm a superhero, so don't think I'm a pushover or anything..." The quaver in her voice belied the brave words a little bit. "Who are you, and what do you want?" Her hand closed over a dozen seeds in her satchel, making her feel a little better. It was always good to be armed.

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Realization struck, and it struck hard. Dalkaresh could have cursed himself to a fate worse than death a thousand times over, such was the idiocy he felt right now. â€ÂWe are not here to test your mettle young one, neither are we here to make this the last time you will seen the sun.†He spread his arms out wide, his features solidifying just a little more, what previously was skull-shaped becomes more like a face, it’s features obscured, except for the cavity that is the mouth and the grass green eyes â€Âwe are here to enjoy natures bounty, but if you’d like, we could do so in another county.â€Â. The color of one of the spheres momentarily dull, a terrible attempt at a wink.

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The new visage didn't do much to reassure Stesha, but at least the... whatever he was, didn't seem overtly hostile. He had a very nice, very human-sounding voice, for all that it seemed to echo a little, and at least he said he didn't mean any harm. Stesha took a step to one side, bringing her onto the grass, just in case. "I'm Fleur de Joie," she told him cautiously. "Who are you?"

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â€ÂDalkaresh.†replies he, bowing elaborately. Then raising his head, he continues, turning on the charm, just to be sure that she does not flee or try something that would put her in danger â€Âbut tell, oh hero young. Do you spend your nights amongst the flower throng?†he gestures around himself, and towards the dirt that lies on the ground.

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"Oh, I was working," Stesha said, looking down at the pile of dirt near her face. "Making the park beautiful." She extended her power again and the pile of dirt once again spun up into a little dust devil, then organized itself into a large terra-cotta flowerpot. With one eye still on the stranger, she tossed the handful of seeds into the pot, where they immediately sprouted into shoots and new green leaves. Even with strange interruptions, she didn't like leaving a job half-done. "I"ve never heard of Dalkaresh," she told him. "What are you doing here?"

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Purposefully avoiding the reasons behind why this Fleur de Joie never having heard of him, â€ÂAnd beauty you have brought this place…†continued Dalkaresh without missing a beat, but soon enough he faltered, and his voice wavered, so many memories welling up within him, all those emotions, all those who are no more, for a brief moment, his form altered, but a simple flash, the smoky appearance solidified and began to crack, revealing blazing red, as if it were magma, what before was spiraling and elusive was now solid and crude. Pushing those emotions aside he returns to better thoughts, and he goes on â€Â…as we said, we are here to enjoy natures graceâ€Â

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Stesha took a quick step back at the vision of red magma, still trying to decide whether this entity was scary-but-benign or scary-malevolent. "Well, it's a public park," she said, a little uncertainly. "If you just want to enjoy nature, it's open to everyone. I'm just gonna... you know, finish up here." Still keeping an eye on him, she formed up another flowerpot and seeded it. The plants in the first pot were already opening flowers, releasing their pretty scents into the warm night air.

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Expressing, what could only be classified as a smile, â€ÂBy all means young hero…†as he spoke, he turned around, and this time, the green spheres that are his eyes were only two vague dots through the hazy outlines that were Dalkaresh. Without taking a single step, he found himself a couple of meters away from where he and Fleur had firstly been speaking, it almost seems like he’s forgotten about her, but perhaps he’s merely letting her finish what she came here for, he didn’t want to scare her any further, but he still wanted to talk, he had been isolated for so very long. Gazing towards the stars, he began to whisper, just loudly enough that it could be heard on the passing breeze.

â€ÂBy dream threads wound

For love, descended to ground

Through vow forever bound.â€Â

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It was a little hard for Stesha to look at the weird misty guy, but she kept an eye on him as she created a few more flowerpots, setting them down near the swingset and on either side of a bench. The first pots were bursting with flowers now, of all colors and sizes, with vines trailing down the sides. "So," she finally said, "are you new in Freedom City?"

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Dalkaresh smiles, and although he answers his eyes are at the moment fastened at the stars as passing breeze tickles his essence â€ÂNo young one, we are old, we have lived through times untold†as he spoke, he turned towards her again, it was after all, rude not to face the one you speak to. â€ÂWe were chained, bound. Like a bird trapped on the ground.†Like a candle snuffed out, Dalkaresh disappears, only to reappear closer to Fleur, â€ÂWe came here today, free, to express our never ending glee.â€Â

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Stesha startled visibly when he appeared close to her, and leaned away just a little. "Why were you chained up?" she asked him, trying not to look too hard and see through his skull again. "Did someone have you locked up somewhere? How did you get out?" Around them, the trees rustled uneasily, as though touched by an unfelt wind.

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This might be a bit difficult to explain, thought Dalkaresh, â€ÂNot a cage of sticks and stones, nor warden of flesh and bones, no soul to hear our moans†ignoring the rustle in the trees, she was scared and he could understand why, but even so, he continued â€Âno, there were neither locks nor bars, only the torment of soul-deep scars.†he hadn't planned on adding in the last bit, but sometimes the need to rhyme and his incapability of untruth was less than ideal.

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"I don't understand," Stesha admitted, taking a step back to put just a little more distance between them. The... guy, the being, whatever she called it didn't seem quite right, he seemed sad. But being in prison could make someone melancholy too. "Who locked you up for so long? How did you manage to get out?" She quieted the trees, but she herself was feeling pretty fidgety. She wished Moira was here, or even Jack, someone who would know what to do with strange ethereal beings who'd just gotten out of jail.

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Clasping his ephemeral hands together, Dalkaresh answered “Perhaps we had better show, after all, words are nothing, to what pictures can bestow.†a multicolored light began to shine through the ephemeral fingers as Dalkaresh started to rub his hands together, and as he did, he spoke, his voice drowned in melancholy and nostalgia

“By dream threads wound

For love, descended to ground

Through vow forever bound.â€Â

Spreading his hands, Dalkaresh revealed a globe of swirling colors the size of a mandarin, as his hands moved away, the sphere stayed in mid air, expanding until it was the size of a basketball. “We will show you a tale so old, that no one remembers, and thus never told.â€Â

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Fascinated almost in spite of herself, Stesha forgot most of her nerves for a moment. She leaned in towards the shiny ball, trying to see what was inside it. Her fingers itched to touch, to see if she could, to see if it would be warm to the touch, she kept them firmly down at her sides. Hopefully the pictures would explain what the cryptic words didn't.

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The swirling colors take shape and solidify; but the first thing that becomes apparent is the sound of thousands of glasses splintering, everywhere, there is darkness, the only thing visible is two people, one is obviously Dalkaresh, it has the same hazy features and grass green eyes, but somehow it is fairer, less ephemeral, in his right hand he holds a sword and in his left is a gauntlet of obsidian crystal connected to a chain wrapped all the way up to his elbow. His opponent is of similar features, ephemeral but he looks more like a human shaped hurricane, carrying what looks like a chain of clouds. Not a word is being exchanged, only the clash of weapons which reverberates through the void as the sound of a thousand glasses splintering, for several minutes, nothing happens but them vanishing and attacking each other from odd angles and the other blocking. Finally, both vanish at the same time and the thing that happens is the two clashing in a frontal attack. Dalkaresh’s opponent, dissolves wordlessly, leaving him to collapse in a bloody heap. Then, clasping his hands together, Dalkaresh ends the vision.

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Stesha cocked her head and studied the scene as it played out on the glowing ball. From the talk of lost love and deep melancholy, she'd been expecting something a little more epic than being taken in a fight, but some people were really serious about that sort of thing. She looked up at the being. "So you fought the man with the cloud-weapon thing," she asked, "and he beat you?" She thought again about what she'd seen. "Or you beat him, and he died, and you got locked up for it?" she guessed.

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“We were once a lord you might say

A ruler by night, a trickster by day

In dreams we roamed, where we held our sway

But according to some, we were led astray

We loved a human, and our duty did we betray

So usurpers attempted us to slay.â€Â

Replied Dalkaresh solemnly, there was more, but he did not want to mention the consequences of his battle, having relived the meeting with his adversary was more than enough for now.

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A moment of silence passed while Stesha thought about that. "So what are you doing here," she asked at length, "if you're not allowed to be around human beings? I mean, you can't be from around here, right? If you're free to go where you want, can you go back... to that place where you were, and pick it all up again?"

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“We learnt about love from humans, not fey, most fey don’t understand love anyway†Bitterness clogged up Dalkaresh’s voice. During the last minute; he had approached the appearance of the image of himself that he showed Fleur, becoming somewhat more human. “Like all fey, we are bound by truth and vow, we tell only truth and what we vow, we can never disavow.†a weakness that they did not want to reveal, humans had proven before that such knowledge could be dangerous to Dalkaresh, but so far Fleur had proven to be kind-hearted, if not a little misunderstanding. “we are here to protect our line, from now till the end of time.â€Â

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"Your line?" Stesha repeated, thinking hard to pick the threads of meaning out of the flowery words. "So you loved a human woman, and had children with her, and now you're here to watch over your family?" That seemed kind of sweet and romantic to her, in a weird way. Given the span of time he seemed to be talking about, they were probably great-great grandkids rather than his own children, but it was still nice.

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Dalkaresh smiles meekly, but sincerely “Indeed young one, you are correct, now with all due respect, could we this subject neglect?†he was free, for the first time in what had oddly felt ages, centuries had never been so long, as the past two. â€Âperhaps I’m getting old†whispered Dalkaresh in the voice of Damien Silver, a very normal voice, in contrast to Dalkaresh’s actual voice. He let out a deep sigh, melancholy was indeed overwhelming sometimes.

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