Chapter 14: "The Emperor"

Note: In this chapter, Kih manages to write and read something. This is a spill-over from a previous draft that I hadn’t gotten around to changing. She’s still blind. Don’t mind the plothole.

[Huge-ish panel. The felines and the pixie stand in shock around the Emperor. Focus on their shocked faces.]
Zota: It... what?
Alan: You can't....
Kih: [less shocked] We spoke on my way out.

Emperor: Indeed we did, furry one.

Emperor: It is good to have company for once. Please, make yourself comfortable - I'm able to hold anyone back that might disturb us.

Zota: But how can... The Emperor fought the fey! You can't be...!

Emperor: Allow me to explain. I promise it will make sense.

[E holds out a hand, stopping M who was trying to enter the circle.]
Emperor: Please don't. These markings are powerful chains. If you enter, you will never be able to leave.

[M looks slightly worried, while E explains]
Emperor: Yes, the Emperor fought the fey - my people. The humans started the wars, and they were ruthless. Among the things they did...

Emperor: These chains are not only my prison, they are a drain on my powers.

Emperor: In the beginning, the Emperor was a man.
Today, the Emperor is the mental capacities and power derived from my being.

Kih: But how...?
M: No. Even the Fey weren't that strong. There is no way you can run an entire empire like this, against your will!

Emperor: Not by myself, no. This is why they feed me the powers of mages and fey, captured and broken.

Alan: T-toke...?
Emperor: Swallowed, I'm afraid. Was he a friend of yours?

Kih: Not really. So, 'ow do you function?
Emperor: They tap directly into my mental and magical capacities through machines created by the original Emperor. Only a select few are allowed to do this, and even they don't know what I am.

Emperor: These few individuals are the Emperor's hands, fueled and adviced by me.
Alan: Like Anowa?
Emperor: From time to time, yes.

Alan: I... I can't believe this.

Alan: [suddenly smiling] Do you understand?! The Emperor is an ally! We can... there is no need for murder or, or... There's a peaceful solution!

[shot of K and Z. They don't seem to share his enthusiasm.]

Alan: I mean...

Alan: [turns towards the Emperor] Can't we just ask you to stop the raids? Stop the killings? Like, right now?

[the Emperor looks at KZ]

Emperor: [looks back at A] It's not that simple, I'm afraid.

Emperor: I have no free will in this prison. What the humans want, the humans get.

Kih: Why does no one know about this?

Emperor: [looks directly at Kih] Because this room is protected by impenetrable enchantments, keeping knowledge from ever leaving.

Emperor: No one has been here for half a decade. My guest are few and far inbetween. The humans guard this fortress viciously, because I'm forced to tell them to.

Zota: [looks at K] I say we kill him.

Emperor: I'm sorry, but I wouldn't allow you to. I am, after all, the last of my kind.

Alan: And no killing, we already agreed to that!
Zota: No *unnecessary* killing.

Alan: NO! We already lost Annie, and we killed those Tainted! No more! No! I won't let you!

Zota: I'm getting tired of you trying to control me, kid!

Alan: Well, maybe someone needs to! Or your peace would be build on blood!

Zota: Don't you DARE talk to me about building on death!! You 'ave NO idea!

[sudden shot of Kih]
Kih: We should leave now.

Alan: Wait, what?

Kih: [to the Emperor] I thank you for your hospitality. It 'as been enlightening.

Kih: If I may ask a question?
Emperor: Ask.
Kih: Is there any way I might bring knowledge from this room?

Emperor: None, I'm afraid. All memory will dissolve, any note will be erased, no sound can pass intelligibly through the opening, no magic can penetrate the enchantment. I'm sorry.

[Jay is in sight behind Kih]
Kih: Hmm.

Kih: Jayleen. Do your psychic powers surpass those of this room?

Jay: I will remember when I leave, yes. But you can't use me as your informant.

Kih: The trust issue, yes.
Jay: You need to bring the knowledge along on your own.

Kih: Then tell me 'ow.

Jay: I just said...
Kih: If we will forget all, we will forget your involvement as well. No trust issue.

Kih: At the moment, we are wasting precious time. We need to move on.

Jay: Yes. I understand.

Jay: Kih. A note written in your blood, and only yours, will pass through the door.

Zota: Why?
Kih: I believe I know why. Matthew, paper and a pin of sorts.

[Matthew summons the requested things.]
M: Here.
Kih: Thank you.

Kih: [to the E] Once again, thank you for your kindness. We will be back.
Emperor: I hope.

[Kih walks through the hallway, biting her own arm]

[Alan and Zota follows]

[On the way back through the hall, Alan catches up with Kih who is scribbling]
Alan: Are you sure it will work?

Kih: [locks her hand around the paper. Her arm is dripping blood from a wound.] There is little time for doubt.

Zota: [catches up] I still say we should kill it.
Kih: The thought 'ad crossed my mind, but it would not be beneficial. We....

[they pass through the door]

[Kih looks at paper in her hand]

[With a determined expression, she starts running down the hallway.]

Alan: [looks at Z] Zota...

Zota: Don't you dare fall behind again.

[M flies past AZ, looking slightly confused, as Z starts running]
M: What happened? Where are we going?
Zota: No idea!

[as they run, J shows up behind Alan]

Jay: Do you mind if I join you?

Alan: If you're through saying mean things to my friends.

Jay: It was necessary.

Alan: Being cruel is *never* necessary!

Jay: [surprised] I... forgot...
Alan: [starts running] But yes, you can join. The others probably have questions for you later.

[they catch up with the others]

[big, vertical panel. Kih suddenly stops.]
Kih: You!

[big, vertcal panel. Anowa is standing in the hallway in front of them]
Anowa: Well, if it aren't my favorite felines!

[small panel. Kih snarls.]
[small panel. Alan steps back.]
[small panel. Z steps forward]
Zota: Get out of our way!

Alan: [sighs] I warned you, Alan. Now I'm gonna have to hurt you.

Kih: [lounges forward] Bitch! Filthy traitor!

[Zota grabs Kih mid-air]
Zota: Kih!

[Kih turns and scratches his face]

[Zota falls behind, clutching his face, while Kih turns to Anowa]
Zota: Ah!

[Kih lounges, but Anowa throws a spell]

[Kih tumbles to the ground, while a bolt of rock catches Anowa's arm]

[Zota and Matthew close in. Very ominous panel.]
M: Kill her quickly.
Zota: [snarling, bleeding from his wounds] Gotcha.

Anowa: [looking tired] Oh, a pixie.

[she breaks the rock around her arm]

[her leg is caught by another growing rock]

Anowa: [breaks the rock] You're quick.

[rocks catch both her arms]

M: I'm among the best. Zota, kill her.

[Zota lifts his claws to attack]
Alan: [off panel] STOP!

Zota: [turns around, furiously] WHAT is it NOW???!

Alan: [walks forward] Let me speak with her.

Alan:[stops right before Anowa] You told me that you've never lied to us.
Anowa: Correct.
Alan: In that case....

[A breathes deeply]

Alan: We've found the jewel.
We're valuable to you again.

[Anowa smiles broadly]
Zota: [pushes Alan aside] Alan, you fool!

[Zota quickly rips out Anowa's throat]

[Alan looks at Anowa's collapsing body in shock]

Alan: You.... you killed her!
Zota: She was an enemy!
Alan: But... but...

[Zota picks up Kih. She moves a bit.]
Alan: She might've helped us! She's this huge, important mage here! I bet she could tell us where to find the Emperor!
And you... you KILLED HER!!!

[KAZ, M and J are all in view in this panel]
Anowa: [off panel] I agree, Zota, that was rather harsh.

[shot of Anowa, looking at the dead Anowa]
AnowAlan: Anowa, dear, that death is most unflattering on you. Makes you look pale.

[Anowa flicks fingers. The dead Anowa dissolves.]

Alan: How... what?
AnowAlan: Please, Alan, a small perception trick.

AnowAlan: Now, I believe there was an offer to join forces.

[M and Z both look angry]
Zota: We'd rather kill you first!

AnowAlan: [sweetly smiling] I'd rip you apart and feed you to the Doctor before you had the chance.
Do we have a deal?

Zota: NO!!!
Alan: Yes.

[Kih moves slightly]
Kih: (too small to read)

Kih: [opens eyes] ...bitch....

Zota: Kih!
Kih: [looks at Anowa] You will bring us out of 'ere. And you will answer every question we give you, directly and truthfully.

AnowAlan: I accept.

Kih: [getting to her feet, still holding onto Zota] First question: 'Ow well are the fey faring out there?

AnowAlan: Not very well. You should know that fey are mostly powerless against Tainted.

Kih: Fine. Matthew, you will tell them to retreat. Anowa, you will make sure they escape safely.

M: You can't be serious! We need to find the Emperor, we need to...-
Kih: We 'ave found 'im.

M: What?
Kih: [waves paper] We 'ave found the Emperor. Trust me.

M: But then he should be dead? Where is he?
Kih: It is not that simple.

[K hands M the paper]
Kih: Please. We need to regroup and discuss this. This is not a simple choice anymore.

[M reads the paper]

M: [looks up, pale] You're sure?
Kih: Yes.

M: [hands the note back] In that case, you're right. I will call the retreat.

AnowAlan: I... guess I'll cover you.
You cats keep going until you find a door. Write "Gate".

[M and An start moving down the hallway]

AnowAlan: [turns around and points at the note] Hey, can I see that -
Kih: No.

Kih: [to J] You follow us.

[KAZ and J start running down the hallway.]
Zota: [to K] 'Ow can you trust 'er?!

Kih: Because she was right. She could 'ave killed us all, right then and there. Since she did not, I figured she was sincere.

Kih: And in any case, she is now temporarily out of our fur, is she not?

Zota: I guess.
Alan: Did we really find the Emperor?!

Kih: [hands them the paper] We did. Read this.

[Huge panel. The note.]
Note: The 'doctor' is a true fey <- imprisoned by the original emperor (dead).
The Emperor = the brainpower and capacity derived from the fey and the raw power they feed to it (captured mages and fey).
Select few humans tap power through machines.
We spoke to fey. Will forget all when leaving room.
The prison = strong magic, no one able to leave.
                             (picture of the circle in which the Emperor was imprisoned)
Bottom right corner: Seemed to know Jay. Ask her.

Alan: [mirroring his first reaction] I... I can't believe this.
Zota: What... 'Ow?

Kih: Apparantly, I was allowed to leave with this note.
Zota: Are you sure you wrote it?
Kih: Yes. Look at the signature.

[Splash page. Three felines and Jay run down the hallway.]
Kih: Now let us depart before something goes wrong.