Team, 99

You Can’t Take Your Eyes off These Torture Cults for Even A Second

Ao3 Link

Cal hadn’t even set foot in the dry part of Narwhal Junction yet, and the Imperial presence was already ruining his life.

They’d arrived just after sunrise in Hörin Harbour, which was packed with ships. A little skiff had sailed out and waved a bunch of coloured flags at them, and the captain had waved some flags back and told Cal they had to wait until it was their turn to dock, and that it would probably be three or four hours thanks to all the Imperial warships in the harbour jumping the line.

“Yeah,” said Hail Pine, when Cal complained about this after he’d learned it. He had his leg in the air and was licking his balls. “Everyone knowsh the Eaglesh are the worsht.”

“Yeah, they suck,” Star Bear agreed, taking Mick’s dick out of his mouth to say it. “I mean I never met them, but I’ve heard they’re the worst.”

“They’re the onesh who gave me to the Clan,” Hail Pine said, as Star Bear went back to work. “They kidnapped me and they were going to make me a shlave but then they gave me to the Clan inshtead.”

“That’s awful,” Cal said. “I’m so sorry.”

Hail Pine shrugged. “Thanksh. I told everyone I’m going to try to find my parentsh in Narwhal Junction, but I don’t remember their namesh or what they look like sho I probably won’t.”

“We’ll help you.”

Hail Pine shrugged again. “I have a family.”

He did, but he was still going to Narwhal Junction to find his parents. Cal would help him find them. But for now, at least he knew what he was going to do while he waited to dock. “I’m going to go talk to our prisoner.”

“Are you going to torture him?” Hail Pine asked, looking up. “Can I watch?”

“I’m not going to torture him, and you can talk to him later if you want.”

“What makes you think he’ll tell you more this time than he did any other time?” Wes asked. He was on the floor, ass in the air for Joey, who gently smacked him.

“Quiet, bitch,” he said. “I’m still fucking you.”

“Sorry, boss,” Wes said with a smile.

Cal rolled his eyes, wondering how much longer Joey would manage to be in charge of anyone but Travis. Holly Cloud was watching them both with and at attention, and Cal had no doubt that Joey would be the one with his ass in the air as soon as Ray was done with his yak anatomy lesson. “I’m going to talk to him alone this time. He might say more if he doesn’t have an audience.”

“I think you’re just asking to be frustrated,” Sully said, licking Star Bear’s dick.

“Maybe.” But they had several hours, and as much as Cal could happily spend them all fucking everyone, there was work to be done and he had to be the one who wore the pants on the team. “But I’m going to try. I’ll be back soon if it doesn’t work out.”

“Have fun,” Joey called, as Cal went out into the hallway.

The ship wasn’t big and the hold wasn’t far, though Cal had to go above deck and then around to get to it. The hold where their cart was also held the horses of all the other passengers and none of them smelled very good in open air, let alone crammed into the hold of a ship. But Cal didn’t care about that, and he headed over for their cart, unlocking the back and climbing up into it. “Hi,” he said.

The Clan of Kozna guy didn’t say anything. He hadn’t said anything since they’d captured him, except for one initial monologue that had smelled more intensely of horseshit than anything else down here about how they were all going to regret crossing him or whatever. He just glared at Cal.

Cal sighed. “Look, it’s a bit awkward that I don’t know your name, so I’m going to call you Bjorn, if that’s okay. Or even if it’s not. I thought a lot about this, because I was worried that calling you by the most common Enjoni name I know is probably racist, but then I realized that you’re a member of a child torture cult, so it doesn’t actually matter if I’m racist to you.”

Bjorn didn’t say anything, so Cal decided that meant he was right. “So,” Cal said, sitting down, cross-legged. “We’re here in Narwhal Junction, which is where your cult is centred and where you yourself are from. Tell me, are the Clan of Kozna one of those torture cults that accept the human fallibility of their members and help them work on their personal failings in a supportive, loving environment, or should I expect your friends to come and try to assassinate you for fucking up your very difficult task of supervising a cageful of children?”

Bjorn took in a breath. “Do you believe you can annoy me into revealing the Clan’s secrets?”

Well, Cal had successfully annoyed him into opening his mouth. His voice was raspy with disuse, but at least he knew how to talk. “How do you know that’s what I’m trying to do? Maybe I want to join. Blue’s a good colour on me.”

“The Clan would never allow someone like you to taint our ranks.”

“Taint?” Cal asked, scratching his. “Now you’re the one being racist.”

Bjorn scowled at him. “It has nothing to do with your heritage. You have no respect for authority.”

“I’m literally the ultimate authority on everything in the universe,” Cal explained to him. “Arguably you’re the one who’s showing a lack of respect for authority.”

“I don’t know what the fuck game you’re playing, kid, but the Clan is going to kill you, and not just for rescuing the subjects.”

“Hm,” Cal agreed. “Because I’m looking for the Map of Amker, which they think they have. Too bad if they kill me they won’t learn what I know about it that they don’t.”

“This is not an interesting tactic. I’m not going to reveal things to you because you know the name of an artefact that doesn’t exist.”

Not yet, Cal thought. “I don’t expect you to reveal anything to me. We already know about the little boy you have locked up. We know what you’re planning to do with him. We know what you’ve already done to him. We know where you have him. We don’t need anything from you; We’re just going to go get him.”

Bjorn was silent, and Cal stood up, hoping this worked, because of course he didn’t actually know several of those things. He turned, opened the doors of the cart, and started to step out.

“Tell me how you know that information.”

Cal smiled.

He turned back around, letting someone else’s smile rise on his face. “Maybe not everyone in your Clan is quite as loyal as you are, Bjorn.”

Bjorn shifted, his chains clinking. “That’s impossible.”

“Sure. Go ahead and believe that, and let your Clan try to kill me so they never find out who betrayed them,” Cal said.

“No, it’s impossible for anyone to have betrayed the clan.”

Cal snorted. “Of course, if we’re half as effective at rescuing one boy as we were at rescuing the sixty you found before him, we don’t have much to worry about from your friends, do we?”

Taking a deep breath, Bjorn finally made eye contact with Cal. “Kozna will enter the world through the vessel, and he will punish you. It has been foretold. There is nothing you can do to stop it, no matter how powerful you think you are in this world.”

Cal was the main character of too many prophecies to be impressed with foretellings. “If Kozna wants to wrestle with me, he can line the fuck up because it’ll be a while before I get to him.”

Bjorn shook his head. “He watches all. He sees you, your plans, your allies. He sees everything you do. Everything you say. You cannot avoid him.”

Cal blinked. “Oh, does he now?” He’d be putting on that collar Rawen had given him as soon as he got back to the room, then. If he’d read between the lines correctly, the cult was going to turn the boy into the Map of Amker and then use him to summon this Kozna. If the collar hid Cal from the Map, it should hide him from Kozna as well.

“That’s right.” Bjorn was smiling, but it wasn’t a real smile. “There is no hiding from Kozna.”

Oh, Cal thought. It was impossible for anyone to betray the Clan. Fuck. “That must be very…comforting for you, knowing that he’s watching everything you do.”

“It is. He watches over us always.” Bjorn’s fists were clenched.

“Got it,” Cal said. It was a bit annoying how long it had taken him to grasp this. “Then I guess we have nothing else to talk about, do we?”

Bjorn didn’t say anything. Cal got up, hopped out of the cart, making sure to shut the doors behind him as if he weren’t coming back.

Cal ran up to his room, ignoring everyone, and rifled through his bag to find the collar. Then he went back down to the hold, back into the cart. He was gone from the hold for five minutes.

And when he got there, Bjorn was dead.

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6 thoughts on “Team, 99

  1. Hm. Did Kozna take exception to something Bjorn revealed, and if so, what?

    Or is it that Bjorn’s fate was always sealed, but Kozna wanted Cal to have that conversation with him before he died?


  2. That Kozna is omniscient, or close enough to it to pass itself off as such to its cult, has interesting implications for what the Map of Amker really is and how it works.


      1. Theories:

        * The Map is Kozna’s knowledge of location, expressed through a medium (a piece of parchment, for instance. Or a tortured child). As it is already a conduit for Kozna, drawing Kozna more fully into the world is simply a matter of “widening” the conduit.
        * The torture that Crow is undergoing is less “physical or magical abuse” and more “infinite knowledge being jammed into a finite mind”.
        * Kozna is basically this guy:


        1. 😀 This is certainly all very plausible! The Map being a fragment of Kozna is a really cool theory for sure. And it would make sense with what we know the Clan has been doing to the boy. And we’ve not seen much evidence that there has been actual physical torture being done to crow, so the possibility that it’s entirely just “the whole of the cosmos is being downloaded” is the source of his suffering.

          And that guy is adorable. He’d make great friends with Kozna, I’m sure! 😀

          Thanks for sharing!


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