Interlude! Koukishin 1

Mistuo had several meetings with the Demon Murrazanoth which were kept secret from the main group. They are transcribed here.

Koukishin (Curious one)

(After returning home, post demon summoning. Pre-Ada’s house meeting.)

Mitsuo kicks off his shoes and tosses his jacket onto an end table. He slumps deeper into the futon. His mind’s still spinning from the visit to Hugues’ place – news of an impending apocalyptic event, Hugues as a magic clone of himself, and Hugues as a Warden, for fuck’s sake. He wasn’t prepared for that kind of surprise; it’s got him way off balance. In all of that, though, one thought keeps surfacing over and over.

“A bargain, a bargain like we had of old,” the demon had said. “Let me watch, master, and I will aid you as I can, no binding needed.” From the sound of things the group would need all of the help they could find. A demon… a demon of curiosity, especially, would be far from the most reliable source of aid. But with an agreement in place he would be forced to help and forced to hold back his murderous tendencies. And Murray had already proven just how insightful he could be. Could that be enough?

Mitsuo stands up, hands folding behind his back, and moves to gaze out the window. He stares for a long time, lost deep in thought. Suddenly, he reaches a decision; conviction washes over him. He turns on his heel and moves rapidly to gather supplies. Salt. Scraps of wood. Pieces of paper with kanji inscriptions. Stones and candles and small ceramic statues. He arrays it all in a circle and begins to chant.

The now familiar puddle of purple goo forms into the shape of a badly wounded hellcat. Murray looks terrible, like he’s been beaten. His razor wire whiskers are bent and broken, and one ear horn has been snapped off halfway up. His tail seems to be a few inches shorter than it was, and several snaggly fangs are just gone.

The demon looks up, his bright black eyes burning a brilliant red. “YOU.” He says, throwing himself bodily at the circle. He bounces off, squeaking in pain, but springs back up and starts clawing furiously at it. “This is all your doing! I will kill you mortal I swear, I swear!” In a moment he seems to have exhausted himself and lays panting on the tatami floor. “What… do you want… now…” it wheezes.

“I, ah… I wish to apologize for the treatment you have received at my hands. It was horribly rude and unnecessarily cruel.” Mitsuo stands outside of the circle, gently observing Murray’s struggles, attempting to project an air of contrition. “You have warned me of an impending disaster and given me a chance to avert it, and for that I am grateful. Earlier, you expressed a desire to watch those events unfold. I offer you a chance to fulfill that desire.”

“You think highly of yourself mortal. These wounds were not inflicted by your magic. They are a price for the binding laid on me. Others would know what I know, and I cannot fulfill certain obligations to share that knowledge thanks to you.” It frowns, but the red fire has gone out of its eyes and it is now listening attentively. “So. A bargain then, now that you are alone? I wonder what the little master would think of this.”

“Perceptive as always. I did not ask him. That will be one of the conditions of any agreement we make: you will not reveal yourself to anyone unless I command it. First, tell me what help you are willing to give, and what your price will be.”

“I want to watch, to learn. I have been trapped in the pit for ten long years, and many things have changed since. The help I offer is the same as that which you have already obtained by force. Knowledge, experience, insight. I have been collecting all three for several thousand mortal years. I walked beside the rivers of Canaan in the olden days, and witnessed the fall of the cities of the plains. It was exquisite. But due to circumstances I was banished from this plane, and can only stay so long as I have a mortal sponsor.” Murray grins. “You are probably wondering why I would offer to help at all, but it is not the destruction I wish to see, that would merely be a bonus. It is the deception. This ritual is an attempt to fool God himself. Has such a thing ever been tried?”

Another sardonic smile appears on Mitsuo’s face. “In my religion, many kami are famous tricksters, constantly deceiving the people and each other. Even the mighty sun goddess Amaterasu, who had shut herself in a cave after feuding with the storm god Susano-o, was tricked into moving the rock sealing the entrance and thus forced to resume her place in the sky. I fear there is some chance of success.”

“Here, then, are my terms. You will make yourself undetectable in every possible way and to the fullest of your ability. You will not interact with the mortal world at all, except at my instruction. You will follow my instructions faithfully. You will answer all of my questions completely and truthfully. You will return to the Nevernever immediately if I dismiss you and you shall not return. And above all, you will not harm any human being unless I specifically instruct you to. In return, I will sponsor your presence in the mortal world. You may travel with me and observe the unfolding of this plot, though I reserve the right to instruct you to stay where I tell you if I feel your presence is dangerous. This is not yet a final offer, but are those terms acceptable?”

“I am no spirit beast, taichou. I must have a physical form on this plane. But I can be… unobtrusive.” Murray shifts his form and a plain grey housecat sits in the circle, looking entirely ordinary. “This should do for most times.” His form shifts again, this time into a very familiar statue shaped like a cat with one paw raised, holding an oblong coin. “And this for others.” The lucky cat statue melts back into Murray’s spiky form. “Is that acceptable? The other terms..” It bristles slightly, but calms itself. “I am here to witness a great event. You shall not prevent me from doing so by banishing me to the pit at the climax. Your oath, taichou, and I will abide by the terms.”

Mitsuo nods gravely. “I will not prevent you from witnessing the conclusion of this plot. We shall have to find you a smaller form, something I can carry around with me – a coin, perhaps, or a cufflink. But I believe we are in agreement.”

He steps back from the circle and kneels on the floor. Staring into the circle, he speaks solemnly. “私はこのを誓います。Murrazonoth, 私のところに来て。私に仕えて。”

“Watashi-wa kono-o chikaimasu. Murrazonoth, watashi-no tokoro-ni kite. Watashi-ni tsukaete.”
“This I pledge. Murrazonoth, come to me. Serve me.”

“隊長、来ますよ、役立ちますよ。” Murray answers in the same tongue, if a bit more archaic sounding. He lifts one paw and slowly, carefully, places it outside of the circle. The sound of a temple bell echoes in Mitsuo’s ears, low and heavy.

“Ah, you have no idea, mortal. None at all. Pray you never do.” Murray takes the form of the grey housecat and rubs against his shins. “What shall we do first?”

“Taichou, kimasu yo, yakudachimasu yo.”
“Major, I come, I will help.”

Interlude! Koukishin 1

Dresden Files: Nawlins mistaya