[ Master Post ]
Fandom: Magelight Chronicles (Crossover Crack)
Characters: Frost, Ice, ‘Nico’, ‘Lucian’
Warnings: Expletives, blasphemy, political and religious commentary
Notes: I don’t even know. I got into the crackiest discussion with Frostburn, earlier, and this just … happened. It’s a somewhat different take on a long-lost fifteen-page fic I wrote fifteen years ago. There’ll probably be a part two, in a while, when I figure out how to get there from here.
[ Master Post ]
He called himself Nico, because it was a good name. Not too strange, but just interesting enough to catch the ear. It was the kind of name that might be remembered in a hundred years. And just like he’d always been, he was trouble — Dudley Do-right in fishnets and leather. The kind of guy who’d walk into a church and demand to know where exactly loving your neighbour fit into anything coming out of the pastor’s mouth. Sure the Catholics were a little crazy, but the Baptists just set his teeth on edge. And the Anglicans? Political bullshit-artistry at its finest and most bizarre. He wished he’d come to check on the world, sooner. He’d have had some words with that Henry…
But, the time was now. With the arts of men having reached a point that they were nearly on par with some of his father’s more frivolous fifteen-second creations, humanity needed to be nudged, just a bit. The tyranny of outrageous falsehood built on fear and mangled rememberances of the past needed to be addressed and cleared out of the way of the ability of man to help his fellow man. There were good people left in the world, but most of them were brought up short by the stolid rigidity of a system that had been decaying under its own entropy for at least a century, if not longer. A system that, in many places, claimed to draw its right and power from words he’d said more than twenty centuries past, but had long since started putting words in his mouth.
And that kind of annoyed him, but it happened to the best of the prophets of good and right. The folks who bothered to write it down would slip in what they thought someone said, or what they wished someone had said, and after a few translations, it started to degrade pretty badly. It was time to come back and refresh their collective memory, and thanks to that brilliant thing that was the internet, he would probably reach a lot more people a whole lot faster, this time.
There was still that thing, though, about the desert. He’d an old friend who’d stuck around all these years, telling unpopular truths at the most inconvenient times. An old friend who was terribly fond of the sand, the sun, and the carrion birds. And he’d done some checking and was pretty sure he’d figured out where the man had gone.
"What are they calling you, these days, Light-bringer?" Nico asked, and the slender man with the dark skin and the light hair turned around from the bar and the girl he’d been chatting with.
"Jesus Christ!" the dark man exclaimed, grabbing Nico by the shoulders. "I haven’t seen you in a good thousand years! How have you been?"
"Nico, actually. Nicholas Darby." Nico wrapped his arms around his old friend. "And it’s been at least two, not one."
"Has it been so long? Time flies, in this place." The dark man stepped back and shook his head. "Lucian Cavaletti. I’ve always had a thing for remaining close to the source material, you know."
Nico laughed. "Luci, you never change."
"Sure I do." He held up the ends of his hair. "I dyed the tips just this morning."
Nico supposed that Lucian was technically his brother. His significantly older brother — half-brother, really, as they only shared a father — but, ever since they met in the desert out around Nahal Darga, they’d been the best of friends. Lucian had tried to corrupt him, to show him that their father was an ass at the best of times, and the rest of the world, made in his image, wasn’t much better.
In a lot of ways, they’d corrupted each other. Nico had shown Lucian that it was still possible to enjoy a world that was pathologically averse to honesty, when truth was insufficient to its vanity, and that sometimes one just needed to bring down the word like a mallet, to drive a point home. Lucian had wielded the truth more artfully, dressing it as a convenient lie, never speaking an untruth, but letting people’s assumptions lead them wherever they wished to go, but where once it had irritated him that he could not just be taken at his word, with Nico to laugh with him, he learned to give people the time to make their mistakes and to chuckle at their follies.
"You still leading the poor fools astray?" Nico asked, stepping toward the bar to get a drink.
"I’ve gotten better at it. I don’t even have to leave parts out. I can tell someone the entire truth from beginning to end, about their situation, and they’ll still do as they meant to, and then try to hang it on me." Lucian shook his head and waved to the bartender for two more of what he’d been drinking. "You were right, Jo— Nico. They’re amazing and really kind of funny. I mean, overall, it’s pretty sad, but you watch them go, and … I can’t help but laugh. I tell them everything, and it happens just like I said it would. And they’re so amazed — like me saying it just meant it couldn’t be true at all."
Nico shook his head. "Do I have you to thank for the current state of things?"
"Nah. You know I wouldn’t do that to you." Lucian paid the bartender and handed a drink to Nico. "I keep trying to fix it, but…" He shrugged.
"I told you the truth was a dangerous thing. In truth lies creation and the names of all things. And through a damaged glass, it becomes a strange and distorted panorama, bearing only small relation to itself." Nico sipped the drink and nodded appreciatively. "Come on, I had to come back, didn’t i?"
Lucian grinned and took a long swallow. "The things they did to what you told them… And the truth is still in that book. Even now, I can see it, but it’s buried under so much crap."
"Humans, Luci. They’re like that. I told you, back on the salt plains, they may be made in his image, but in that image, they share in his madness, but thankfully not his power. But, they’re getting powerful, now. It’s time to remind them what matters."
Lucian paused a long moment. "Dumb all over, a little ugly on the side," he deadpanned, with a wry look.
Nico choked on his drink. "I love you, man."
"Of course you do." Lucian grinned over the top of his glass and then glanced toward the back of the room and waved. "Your timing is excellent, as it always is — in this place, at this time… Come, I want you to meet some of the most creative artists of the truth I’ve met in all these years. You’ll like them; they’re not human."
"Luci, I’m human." Nico rolled his eyes and followed.
"No you’re not. Well, not really. You’re only half. You’re a demigod, and quite literally." Lucian kept talking as he dodged easily through the crowd. "And speaking of the old fart, how is the all-father, these days?"
"You know, you only get away with talking about him like that because he already threw you out." Sidestepping a dancing couple that backed into his path, Nico continued to trail along behind Lucian. "He’s still pissed. Figures you’re keeping company with his brother and the others."
"See, and that would require me to take sides, which I’m not going to do. He never really understood that. Takes both of them to keep each other honest, and even then they’re lying. It’s no wonder people are so fucked up."
"Speaking of fucking…" Nico watched a girl walk past them.
Lucian shook his head, as they approached a table with two people seated at it. "Nah, she’s got a girlfriend. Not even for you, Nico."
"Man…" Nico shook his head and turned his attention to the table just in time to hear the shorter of the two answer some comment he hadn’t heard from the taller.
"Yeah, yeah. Up yours with a bottle of ke—" The short one’s head swivelled, suddenly, candy-apple red hair flying back. "Luci!" he cried, leaping up and wrapping himself around Lucian.
"Hey, Ice. Still violating the laws of physics?" Lucian grabbed the tip of the short guy’s nose and squeezed it, affectionately.
"As often as he’ll let me try!" Ice grinned back wickedly. "Oooh… Who’s your friend, and is he single? And even if he’s not, can I at least try?"
"Jaysus, Ice," the tall one called out from behind the table. "A little class?"
"Fuck that! It’s just Luci!"
Lucian grinned. "It’s all good, Frost. My man doesn’t stand on ceremony, much. Your kind of guy, I think. His first wife was a hooker."
Ice smacked Lucian upside the head. "Cheap shot, mate. Totally cheap."
With a laugh, Lucian started the introductions. "This is my old friend Nico, and when I say old, I mean old. Nico, I’d like you to meet Ice and Frost, sons of one of the houses of the Lesser Lords."
"Djinn?" Nico asked, studying Ice.
"Weirder. They come from one of those islands up north, that you never got to see, and I’m not talking Corsica."
"Pleased to meet you," Nico said with a smile, taking hold of Ice’s hand.
Ice paled and jerked his hand back. "I know what you are… Oh, fuck. You are one of the Lesser Lords. You’re him, aren’t you?"
Frost stood up and moved around the table to stand close behind Ice. "Full sentences. Small words. Who’s what?"
"His name didn’t used to be Nico, did it?" Ice asked Lucian, still looking a little pale and shaky. "That’s your brother Joshua, isn’t it? It’s like shaking hands with the queen…"
Lucian inclined his head slightly toward Ice, in silent thanks for choosing the other Anglicisation of his brother’s original name. "He’s a friend of mine from way back. You couldn’t have really expected him to be any less than I am."
"There’s a difference between the son of a power and the holder of the power, Luci, and you know it. I know you hold a power, but that —" Ice pointed at Nico "— holds the most attention of any of the Lords I’ve shaken hands with."
Comprehension started to dawn on Frost, and his dark eyes lit up in confused excitement. "That’s —?"
"So it is," Ice drawled tartly, reaching out to shake Nico’s hand again. "Jesus Christ, superstar. Thrilled to finally meet Luci’s darling brother."