|The Archive (archivy) wrote in reality_crisis,|
@ 2012-01-03 22:04:00
|Entry tags:||!status: complete, dr lucius, the archive|
What A Prize [Lucius & the Archive]
The girl had been spotted almost as soon as she'd arrived. It was a stroke of luck that had brought her to New Troy. It had taken a little while to determine who exactly she was, but once they had... well, Lucius knew that fortune was smiling upon the camp. She would prove most useful. He'd made sure that the girl-the Archive-was set up with a well-appointed room. It was well guarded, though it did not appear to be a prison. He'd forbade his guards from writing down any instructions, or anything whatsoever that might tip her off. One tiny mistake and all would be lost.
For now, he was here for her. He would make sure she was protected, well cared for. And in exchange, he would gain access to all of the knowledge to be had. About the chosen ones, about the prophecy, about the other camps.
Once he made sure that the girl was awake and up for receiving visitors, Lucius carried in a tray with tea and the nicest cookies that were available from the limited food supply at his camp's disposal.
He knocked lightly on the door, waiting for her to grant him entry rather than just intruding.
The Archive was still confused about how she had ended up here. It had been jarring, not only the sudden shift in location and time, but the way she had been forced to 'catch up', so to speak, with how the world had changed. She had been incapacitated for hours as her magical reserves had assimilated the knowledge of this world. Sleep had taken over then, letting her human body cope with the experience.
Coping, however, was a far different experience for the Archive than it was for Ivy.
She was lost and confused without Kincaid. He was her touchstone, the one constant throughout her life. While the Archive knew it was a liability, Ivy needed the companionship, the safety that Kincaid represented. The only time in her life Jared Kincaid had not been there to help her, it had been Harry Dresden who saved her.
But neither one was here. She was alone.
At the knock on the door, the Archive sat up straight, her calm face betraying no sign of the emotions conflicting under the surface. In fact, after a moment, there were no emotions under the surface. She was in complete control of herself as she called out, a faint British accent lighting on her voice, "Come in."
Lucius nudged the door open and entered the room, tray in hand. He set it down at the table and looked the girl over. She was so young and appeared to be just a harmless, perhaps even silly, little girl.
He knew better. Looks could be very deceiving. He was just lucky that his men had spotted her upon arrival. None of them had known right away what she was, but they'd been rewarded greatly once he'd figured it out.
"Hello Archive. Welcome to New Troy. How are you feeling?"
He knew who she was. At least he called her by her proper title, instead of her name. It was a small thing, but Ivy cherished her name. It was something wholly her own, and, childishly, she didn't like to share it.
"Dr. Lucius," she said politely, inclining her head in a bit of a nod. "I seem unharmed. I am, however, a bit unclear at how I arrived here. Perhaps you would be so good as to explain?" If Kincaid was around, he would never have left her by herself. She had to assume he was not here. She began to calculate her vulnerabilities, all while continuing to sit calmly, her hands resting lightly upon her lap.
"Yes of course," he said, pulling out a seat at the table and gesturing for her to make herself comfortable.
He would wait until she was seated before settling himself in. He tried not to watch her too closely, though she was something of a curiosity. All of that knowledge, all of that power... all in the tiniest, seemingly unassuming girl.
"I'm sure that you are already aware that there are multiple realities. Our world became aware of this fact sometime ago, when we realized that many of our writers were actually tapping into other worlds. You see, we realized that our stories were real."
He smiled at her.
"As I'm sure you're aware, it came as quite a shock. It came as even more of a shock when a prophecy was made that some of the members of these other worlds would eventually find their way to ours. When you first arrived, you were very clearly disoriented. My guards made sure that you were brought into the safety of our camp where we could care for you and ensure that nothing harmed you. It's quite dangerous outside these walls."
The Archive nodded quietly as he explained. It was true, of course, about the multitude of realities. The prophecy he was speaking of was recent knowledge for her, and oddly incomplete. Something was interfering with her knowledge, and that had never happened to her before. It was... interesting. But there had always been ways of blocking the Archive's power, and there were methods of doing so. In the experience of the Archive, this was just another such situation to deal with.
For Ivy, it was a nearly liberating thing.
She arched an eyebrow at the man. "Am I to assume, Dr. Lucius, that I am to remain here, as you claim, for my own safety?" Her eyes betrayed her for just a moment, flickering towards the tray he had brought with him. She was hungry. But without Kincaid, she was a little nervous as well. The mercenary had been a constant in her life since her first breath. "I do prefer to make my own arrangements."
Dr. Lucius' fingers gripped the handle of the teacup that he had just picked up tightly. This was not going quite as well as he would like, but still he maintained a pleasant smile.
"Should you wish to make your own arrangements, I will not stop you. I assume that you've already received enough information to be aware of what lies outside these walls?"
It was a simple question, and his tone remained polite with just a hint of concerned. He knew full well that if she chose to leave, he could not stop her. His hope for keeping this asset lay in offering her protection and comfort. It was lucky that she was unaccompanied at the moment, for he knew that if she had her usual bodyguard, she would not be in nearly as vulnerable a position.
The Archive's eyes went vague for a moment, accessing the store of information. She frowned. She had magic, of course, and she was powerful. But there wasn't much out there. A lot that could hurt a fifteen year old human female. Ivy knew she wasn't invulnerable. Even with her power, she relied on Kincaid to keep her safe.
For just a moment, the facade broke. Fear and uneasiness showed on her face, those bottomless blue eyes flashing with a sense of dread. This wasn't her world. She didn't know enough about Lucius to know if he was trustworthy, but he was offering protection.
"I ask for your word, Dr. Lucius, to act as my host for the duration of my stay. Since you know who I am, you must know the rules of hospitality I follow."
The Old Ways. Ivy could rely on that much.
When the fear started to show through on her face, he knew he'd won. Dr. Lucius did not smile, nor did he show any sign that he was feeling quite triumphant. At her question, he nodded slowly.
"I am aware, and I give you my word that I will uphold your code of hospitality."
When it came to it, he could very easily work within the spirit of her rules of hospitality. He had no intention whatsoever of harming the girl. She was far, far too valuable. And he respected her power too much to attempt anything beyond subtle manipulations to get her to do what he wanted.
After a moment, Ivy nodded herself. She glanced again at the tray of tea and cookies. There were two cups, of course, but Ivy was polite and proper. Even hungry as she was. "May I?" she asked, indicating the tray. Hospitality couldn't be taken advantage of.
There was more for her to be concerned about than her own safety. She was the Archive, and this was a new world. there was information to sort through, there were stories to know, there were things to process. It had all gathered, like faded memories resurfacing, but having that information was different from processing and understanding it. It took time to go through. Granted, she was still inhumanly quick to absorb and understand such information, but it wasn't the same as gathering it all.
Then there was the rest. The other side, that no Archive before her dealt with. The feelings that were unique to Ivy. It was more than safety she missed without Kincaid. She missed her friend. She didn't want to be alone in a strange place with strange people. The episode with the Denarians had been years ago, but the experience had left its mark deep within the child.
"What is the current population and makeup of New Troy?" she asked, tilting her head slightly. "The records seem to be... varied at best."
"Help yourself," Lucius confirmed, sliding the tray a little closer to the girl. "We would like you to make yourself at home here. I will have guards posted outside your room to protect you from harm and if you ever need anything, please don't hesitate to let them know."
The guards would be there to keep an eye on this newly acquired and highly valuable asset as well, though he wasn't going to broadcast that to her.
In response to the population question, Lucius frowned.
"To be honest, we haven't kept records for quite some time. Unfortunately, it has been a struggle to keep all members of the community alive and well. There's a need to venture outside the walls for supplemental food sources as well as supplies and occasionally those scouts don't come back. There have been some unfortunate incidents when the monsters have managed to get inside the wall as well."
There was genuine sadness and regret etched on his face. Whatever else his motives were, Dr. Lucius cared about the well-being of the people of New Troy. He had pledged to himself to do whatever it took to serve their best interests. He just happened to have different ideas about what was in their best interests than some might have.
"If I had to estimate, I would say that the population falls somewhere between fifteen and twenty thousand."
Ivy's expression was impassive. She knew what she would have liked to do, what Harry would have done in a situation like this. He would have offered his assistance at once, tried what he could to protect those within the city. He would have used every trick he knew to raise the city's defenses against monsters, putting himself at every peril to save everyone he could.
She admired that. It was so very Harry Dresden. But the Archive could not do such things, could not support any one side. The Archive was neutral. Had to be. Was made to be.
She picked up a cookie and ate it, betraying her hunger in how quickly it was devoured. "I understand. You must be a busy man. Perhaps some water could be spared? I would quite prefer a bath, if that can be arranged."
"Of course," Lucius said. "This is one of the few buildings in New Troy with running water, so you are welcome to help yourself to a bath. The bathroom's down the hall. I'll make sure that the guards show you the way. I'll also make sure that a proper dinner is sent up for after you've had the chance to wash up."
He knew better than to press her for information today. It would have to be done subtly, slowly. He would need to earn her trust before he started working on extracting what he needed. It was fortunate that New Troy did have an extensive library, so he knew enough about the hostages that they had in the fight arena at present.
Ivy nodded graciously. "Thank you, Dr. Lucius," she said. "Dinner would be splendid." She ate another cookie, limiting herself as not to spoil her dinner, and stood. "I shall also require some more clothing, once it is available. Will I be provided an escort if I wish to walk around the city?"
She assumed she would, likely someone hand-picked by him. There was going to be a lot to learn here, and Ivy wanted to see some of it for herself. Now that Lucius had taken on the role of host, he would provide for her safety.
This was the first step. He had gained enough trust to build on. The smile he favored the girl with was genuine, though perhaps not for the reasons she might assume.
"I can assign someone to escort you around the city, and I'll make sure that you're provided with suitable attire."
She would be kept well away from any sign of the entertainment that he had arranged for his citizens, but there was little harm in allowing the girl on a guided tour of the city.