"We…we were at the Chrysler building and this man appeared. Tall, white-blonde hair, purple tailcoat." Becky shook her head. "He looked like, I don't know, Vince Neil pre-drugs."
Balthazar looked surprised, "That sounds like Isaac, but he's supposed to be dead."
"Isaac! YES! Dave called him Isaac." Becky looked at Balthazar with sudden hope and such absolute trust that the older sorcerer had to wonder what Dave had been saying about him. "You can find Dave, I know you can."
Balthazar was thankful that one of them was so optimistic.
Dave was unaware of everything but the dark fog surrounding him. Some part of him recognized that he was unconscious and that part of him knew that being unconscious was actually a good thing. Being awake was too painful to bear.
Another part of Dave's mind, however, longed for the real world, regardless of the consequences. That was the part that knew there was a reason to keep going. The thought grew more and more persistent and the fog began to lift. Pain began to filter through the young sorcerer's body as struggled to wake up. The gasping sound rang through Dave's ears as his head snapped up. He was sitting on a hard, wooden chair in a barren stone room. The now familiar feeling of being unable to move from the neck down was disheartening.
Dave had hoped that, with no one else in the room, some of the security measures taken had receded. He mentally added up the time he had been held captive. The young man was startled to realize that, by his rough estimation, it had been almost three days since Isaac had brought him to the desolate prison to be dealt with, as Horvath had so eloquently put it.
Beyond that, however, nothing. No questions, no threats, not even witty banter was tossed out, and that frightened Dave more than anything else that had happened. It wasn't that the Morganians didn't have a reason to torture him; they just normally had a habit of using it as a means to an end. He had concluded on day one that they were just using him as bait for Balthazar.
Dave looked up as the door opened and Isaac walked in followed by Horvath. The Morganians approached him leisurely and, for the first time in three days, Horvath spoke. "I'm certain you're curious about why you're not dead yet."
"Not really." Dave had no problem looking mildly disinterested, despite his dreadful condition. He knew that Horvath would be able to tell that he wasn't lying. "I pretty much had it pegged from day one."
Horvath frowned and opened his mouth to speak but Isaac stopped him. "Continue, boy."
"Oh come on. I'm a lot of things, but I'm not stupid. A moron could tell you I'm supposed to be bait." Dave grinned humorlessly. "I'm sure you thought of how disheartening would it be for Balthazar if I'm broken beyond repair and he's unable to rescue me. He comes for me and is to distraught to fight back, you kill him, then me, then you ride off into the sunset together on a griffin or something."
Both older sorcerers were staring at him disbelievingly, but even as the started to correct him, Dave interrupted them again. "It won't work. Did you really think that I didn't have a contingency for this situation? We neutralized most of the sorcerers on the grimhold already. I gave Balthazar a detailed plan on what to do. Did you think I had to kill Morgana to be her downfall?"
Horvath looked like he was about to have an aneurism, but Isaac grinned openly. "Bravo, David. You seem to have it all figured out. Except for, well, everything."
Dave's eyes widened fractionally as he sorted through his analytical mind trying to find the answer.
"My dear boy, many have wondered at my absence over the years, but few know the truth." Isaac paused and looked at Dave critically. "When I first found out about you, I was concerned that Horvath would not be able to properly… motivate you to act like a Morganian. I was right, obviously, because no matter what he made you do, you remained so very pure of heart. This is where the problem lies."
"Years ago, after I learned of you, I went out into the world looking for information on how to change someone's very nature. Oddly enough, I kept coming back to the simplest of ideas: Love. It changed Horvath from an honorable man into a selfish, hate-motivated dung beetle." Horvath flushed and walked out the door, but Isaac ignored him.
Dave glared at the man and spat "It wasn't love, it was envy."
"But it was envy caused by someone he loved very dearly. But you, boy, don't seem to have an envious bone in your body. In fact, the very thought of your 'goodness' makes me want to vomit. However, it does make you that much simpler to break." The older sorcerer bent until he was at eye level with Dave.
"I've heard that you're in love David. Tell me, what would you do if you lost her." Isaac smirked as Dave's eyes darkened noticeably. "That's right. You'd be no better than the rest of us. Losing a loved one, especially in such a tragic way as I have planned for your little girlfriend, has its' costs. It leaves something behind, a darkness in the place wear your heart used to be."
Dave swallowed, visibly shaken. "And then what, I turn evil?"
"Not exactly. You won't have the strength, we've made certain of that. When all that hate and anger and darkness takes over, we'll strip away you're remarkable powers and use it to reinstate Morgana to her rightful place." Isaac straightened and headed for the door saying, "And as for your friend Balthazar coming to your rescue, even if he could find you, his blood is unable to pass through the wards of this building. He'll be dealt with by Morgana personally."
"You're insane. Like, guano crazy." Becky stared at Balthazar as though he'd grown a second head. Three days without Dave had made both of them stir-crazy. As Becky had predicted, Balthazar had been able to find Dave rather quickly. It was getting to him that seemed to be a problem.
Balthazar laughed quietly, "I might be crazy, but I can't physically pass through those wards."
"So you're going to make TANK do it?" Yelled Becky.
"You misunderstand, I will be going for Dave in Tank's body." "Yeah, because that is SO much better." The young woman scoffed.
"I can't go. YOU definitely can't go. Once I'm inside through Tank, I can sabotage whatever spell they're using to run the wards." Balthazar paused. "Unless you have a better plan?"
Becky rolled her eyes and flipped her long, blonde hair, but otherwise said nothing.
"Good, then here's the plan."
Becky walked towards the coffee shop feeling thrilled and terrified all at once. For the first time since Dave had gone missing, they had a plan. It wasn't a great plan, as Balthazar's body was currently lying uninhabited on the couch in the station, but it was a plan nonetheless. After Tank/Balthazar had left, Becky had been required to guard the sorcerer's body, which was mind-numbingly dull. After a few hours Becky had grabbed a dagger, which was clearly magical, that she had found in a massive trunk, and left.
As she strode down the sidewalk Becky couldn't help but feel like something was approaching her. When she turned the next corner she spun around and waited. As footsteps became clear, Becky braced herself and, just as a young man rounded the corner, she thrust her palm into the face of her follower. He reeled backwards, eyes streaming and attempted to right himself, only to tilt dangerously. As he leaned against the building for support, Becky pulled out the dagger and tried to look threatening.
"What the HELL was that for?" The young British accent sounded more insulted than angry.
"You were following me. Is this about Dave? Are you one of them?" Becky's voice was rising hysterically, but she didn't care.
"Alright, calm down. Just...GET THAT AWAY." Her follower had caught sight of the dagger and his reaction had been instantaneous. He was afraid of it.
Becky quickly realized her advantage. "Yeah, you'd better not come any closer or I'll, um, stab...you."
"You have no idea what that is, do you?" The man sighed, "Look, I want to talk to Balthazar Blake. He's the only one that can get me out of this mess."
"Well, tough. I want answers, and until you give me those, I won't help you."
With a glare, Becky's would be follower pulled himself away from the building and began walking down the sidewalk. When he realized Becky wasn't following he called back to her, "coming?"
"I'm not going with you! You might throw me in a dungeon or something."
"Actually, I was thinking the coffee shop down the road. I could use some caffeine." He looked warily at her, " and an ice pack." Becky trotted to catch up, keeping the dagger between them, but feeling much less hostile. "I'm Becky Barnes."
Balthazar and Tank could hear Horvath's whining tone as they made their way through the old fashioned brownstone where Dave was being held. Tank's senses were remarkable and if it hadn't been for the irritating instincts, Balthazar would have considered spending time as a dog more often. However, it was remarkably inconvenient to want to stop and urinate every two minutes just to mark possible territories. Thankfully Tank's canine loyalty and Balthazar's human cunning had kept them on track.
Sniffing the air around them, Balthazar could feel tank's excitement as they caught a familiar scent. It took all of the sorcerer's will to prevent the little dog from howling with joy.
'Slowly, carefully.' He repeated the mantra over and over. Eventually tank caught on and continued without as much guidance. Finally they reached a door that positively reeked of Dave. Looking around cautiously, Balthazar spotted runes that had been drawn out in ceremonial chalk. He recognized the spells as the wards that were keeping his human body out and Dave's in.
With smirking human thoughts and complete doggy instinct, Balthazar politely asked tank to mark the runes as his territory. With one last satisfied look at the dissolving runes, tank and Balthazar began pushing at the door.
Dave was certain that he was hallucinating. Tank the bulldog had just pushed the door to his prison open and was now staring at him with very human blue eyes. The young sorcerer pushed himself off the floor, though how he'd gotten there was a mystery, and tried to clear his head.
Putting his hand out, Dave was startled when the dog ran over and nudged his palm. It was real in a way that other thoughts and feelings weren't. Gathering all of his focus, Dave studied the animal intensely and stared into its' eyes. Its' bright blue human eyes. " Balthazar?"