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[M] The Darkness Down Below

The familiar stench stung her nostrils as soon as they entered the great hall of the compound. Violet’s lips curled up in disgust as they were led further inside; Nathaniel’s hand grasped hers, squeezing tightly. She shook free of his grasp and let her hand fall back to her side. She wouldn’t give away her discomfort, as they would take it as weakness, and like most animals, weakness would mean death. Death was definitely not something she had on her itinerary, at least for herself; no, the only death she had in mind was that of her former master, and she relished the thought of smashing his skull beneath her boot.
Soon, soon.

Their minders stopped before a set of marble double doors, halting their small party behind them. One of the smaller underlings broke off and slipped through the door, re-emerging soon after to usher them inside.
The interior of the hall was drenched in white light and fabric that hung from the ceiling in great swathes of delicate lace and silks. Torches were perched on marble pillars throughout, lending a soft, flickering warmth to the otherwise cold room. Further beyond, she espied small groups of demons in various states of relaxation, dining on platters of fruit and meats and hushed conversation.
She could see Ramses deeper into the room, surrounded by his own inner circle, nude from the waist up, his toffee hued skin glistening from whatever oils he’d been rubbed with earlier that morning. He certainly wasn’t an ugly man, she thought, at least on the outside. Inside, though, she knew he was as dark and twisted as any enemy she’d ever known. The depths of his evil was indeed something she’d only begun to delve into, and with luck, she’d never reach the bottom of.
“Master Ramses, your guests have arrived,” announced the man to her right. He was tall, thin, blue and definitely someone disposable if it came down to it. She didn’t bother remembering his name.
“You’re dismissed, Reijlic.” Reijlic bowed and left, several of the other minders following close behind. Ramses supped his drink and motioned towards a set of cushions across from him. “Sit, eat. It’s going to be a long evening, I’m sure, and you’ll want refreshments after your trip.”
Vi eyed him suspiciously. Nathaniel pulled her towards the designated seats and sat, dragging her down with him. She took her seat, albeit a bit sloppily.
“I won’t bite, Uzumaki,” Ramses smirked toward her. “Not yet, at least.”
“With luck, you’ll choke.”
He grinned wider, flashing her his perfectly white teeth. “I do love your spunk.”
“I’ll just bet you do,” she spat back.
Ramses ignored her, setting his empty cup on the table and motioned for a refill from one of the nearby slaves. “How was the ride over?”
“Uneventful, really,” Nathaniel replied. “Only encountered a few brigands along the way, but they won’t be a problem any longer.”
“Good to hear,” Ramses reached for a fluffy pink cake from one of the fancy silver platters set before them. He pointed towards one of the lavender glazed cakes. “You should try one of those, I had them made for you, Violet.”
“No, thanks.”
“Oh, but they’re quite nice,” Ramses stuffed the pink confection into his mouth and grabbed for one of the purple colored ones. His finger dabbled in the colored glaze, catching some on a fingertip and lifting it to his mouth. A pointed tongue flitted out and gently caressed the sugary sample, his eyes closing for a moment as he savored the flavor. “One of the new cooks really knows their stuff,” he sighed contentedly. “Apparently, they were some kind of professional for a king on Camelot. Lucky bastard.”
The mention of Camelot piqued her interest. Before coming here, she had been tasked with a mission from Xavier for something she’d forgotten now, but nonetheless, would have to complete once she’d broken free. “What is the situation there?”

“On Camelot?”

Violet nodded. “Yes, Camelot.”
“Hell if I know,” and the cake disappeared into his awaiting maw. “News trickles in here like a leaking faucet, and this one hasn’t given up their secrets. But in time, I’ll get them.”
“Sure you will,” she snarked. Her gaze drifted over to Nathaniel, who had begun reaching for the food in front of him. He seemed to trust it more than she did, but she wasn’t so confident. She was hungry, though, but just couldn’t bring herself to dine with them. Ramses noticed, and motioned towards the food.

“I can feel your apprehension, Violet, but I do not poison my guests.” He picked up one of the cakes and offered it to her. “This one is especially delicious. The cook marinated the strawberries you see on top in a very fine sugar and-“
“You eat it.” Violet interrupted. “If it’s so safe, you fucking stick it in that disgusting maw of yours.”
Ramses had the nerve to look surprised. “Excuse me?”
“Open your cockholster and stick it in there,” she repeated slowly, dangerously.
“Violet…” Nathaniel warned, moving to his feet. She hushed him with a sharp look his way.
“Silence,” Violet stood, taking in the scene around her. Energy began swirling around her feet like a stray wind, rustling bits of dirt and debris. “Enough of this sham, Ramses. I’ve never liked the theatrics, I just get down to the fuckin’ point. I want out of here, and you are going to help me escape.”
“No one has ever left.”
“Not from what I’ve heard.”
“Truth.” Violet’s eyes began to take on a crimson glow as the power within her swelled.
“Even if there was a way out, how in the hell do you expect me to help you? What makes you suppose I would even do that? You’re chattel, a slave. Nothing more except goods to be sold.”
Anger flashed across her face, her fist balled and struck out, straight into the bigger man’s jaw. Ramses reeled backwards, a bright flash of red spurting from his now broken nose.
A growl erupted from the bowels of his throat, “You will pay for that, slave.” As he drew himself to his feet, Violet grabbed a fistful of his hair and brought his head down to her knee, a satisfying crunch echoing through the linen-draped chamber. Ramses grunted and faltered, and she brought her leg up for another strike, and another, and another, until he collapsed at her feet, sputtering blood around him.
“No, enough. I am no longer your slave, and I am sick of your lies. Sick of your face!” She swung her leg back and then directed it towards his skull. Nathaniel’s own foot struck out and intercepted, a hand wrapping tightly around her arm and jerked her back.
“Are you fucking crazy?”
She blinked up at him, confused first, then rage, such pure rage. Her body exploded in a shimmy display of light and power as she tossed Nathaniel aside and grabbed for Ramses’ still trembling body. He made some pathetic noises of protest, but Violet blocked out his pleas.
“Fight me, damn you. FIGHT ME.” She threw him across the room, through linen and lace draperies, through tables filled with foodstuffs and surrounded by his even more pathetic concubines. Stalking towards him, she was pleased to see him groan in pain as he rolled over onto his back.
Kneeling over him, she snaked a hand through his hair and jerked his face towards hers. “This brings me far more pleasure than it should, but seeing you like this, so broken, so…pathetic…how did you ever manage to climb so high on the social ladder, Ramses?”
“Fuck…fuck you!” Blood sputtered from his destroyed face, but his coal black eyes were  intense as they gazed back at her. “You will die for this!”
She threw her head back and laughed. “One day, maybe, but not before I get a chance to pull that cold, dark heart of yours from your chest and shove it up your ass.”
Violet released him, his head falling back against the stone floor. Rising back to her feet, she stood over him, feeling a rush of victory coursing through her.
“I can taste my freedom, so sweet, so delicious…so close.” Violet smiled. “Soon.”

Yet even in the moment of her exultation, a darkness obscured Violet’s surroundings. A sense of dread stole over her as strange black lines traced about her, resolving themselves into a shape that she would likely remember for years. She couldn’t be banished from here, that didn’t make any sense? Her panicked gaze managed to find Nathaniel amidst the deepening gloom, but his face was equally alarmed. If even he didn’t know what this was…
Her thought was uncompleted, as the floor fell out from under her, and she plunged back into the unknown. She fell through the floor, into a darkness even deeper than Ramses’s audience chamber. She plunged through shadow spinning helplessly away from a screaming Nathaniel, tumbling end over end into the depths. Her fall ended with excruciating finality as she slammed into a bed of jagged spikes. Violet screamed, pain coursing through her body as gravity pulled her farther down. Though barely able to move, the assassin’s senses managed to note another presence in the room.
“Are your free yet, Uzumaki?” Diablo taunted, as Violet’s arms grasped at sharpened steel, desperately trying to stop her agonizing descent. She turned her head in the voice’s direction, heedless of the blood that slipped from her fingers as she held the blades firmly, mercifully managing not to slide further. The lord of terror was still hidden in the shadows, though she had little doubt as to who spoke.
“Know that for all of his preening, the whelp is no freer than you are now, and he cannot give what he does not possess. In this realm, there is only one path to freedom.” Diablo strode from the darkness to tower over Violet, a flaming mantle trailing down his back, “Now tell me, what possessed Nathaniel to bring one so fiery to so fragile a discussion with Ramses. Your actions in that room were unprovoked aggression.”
“Why do you care?” Violet spat. The blood was making her grip loosen, and she was starting to feel light-headed. She wasn’t even sure how many places she had been skewered. It sure as hell felt like a lot. She fought through the fading consciousness to respond.
“Ramses was out to supplant you... He wanted to… overthrow you.” Diablo’s response was a deep and crackling laugh, though it struck violet as entirely mirthless.
“Did he now. And so, you naturally stepped in to defend my honor.” A massive talon reached out and slammed down onto Violet’s torso, crushing her into the ground and sending searing pain throughout her body. Her vision was now blurs of red and white, and she could only hope the sound of blood pumping was just in her ears.
“A proper tool acts ONLY when the master gives a command. You will understand this in time, or you will continue to suffer.” His point seemingly made, Diablo returned to his throne, and the spikes blew away into acrid sulphur. Violet focused her breathing as well as she could in a brief few seconds and then sat up. The Lord of Terror was watching her one claw holding a goblet of course fashioned from a human skull. He was waiting to see how she would react, Violet guessed. There was nothing for it, she would have to risk asking a question.
“So why am I here.” she ventured, not looking Diablo in the face if she could help it, “not to tell me off for killing a rival, surely.” Diablo’s nostril’s flared, warping the air in front of him with their heat, and Violet mentally prepared for more retaliation. Strangely nothing came.
“Because now your rage shall serve MY ends.” Diablo proclaimed, and then the pain arrived, as a sigil etched itself into Violet’s chest burning her skin as it carved out Diablo’s seal.
“You are being returned to the surface, but you will do so to further my own goals.” There it was, a promise close to freedom. Yet almost surprising herself, Violet heard her own voice ring out in defiance.
“Fuck you! I’m tired of being used for all of your games! I’m no pawn, just leave me alone!” This time Diablo’s ire was swift, a sudden weight flattened Violet to the ground, her failing body no longer able to hold itself up against the immense pressure She watched a massive stone fall, crushing her left arm, and seconds later the pain scorched through her brain like wildfire. Diablo reached down and lifted her limp body into the air, tearing the crushed arm free at the shoulder.
“Think wisely about what you do next. This can be pleasure for both of us, or endless misery for one. You will find I am a conscientious master. I know what you want, and I can tell you how to get it. My agents have already seen to it that Victor Wolfe has agreed to take part Karl Jak’s little games once again. There is a spot waiting for you when your return.” Violet stared down the face of fear, and said nothing. “Know that when the time comes, you WILL do as you are bid.” Violet’s vision failed, and as she slipped into merciful oblivion only a few words remained. “This design is far larger than you, little firebrand, and I WILL NOT be opposed.”
Quote:Violet receives +1 Brand of Diablo.
Violet is expelled to the void, please read the void information thread to understand what that entails.

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