One Tree, One Jewel, One Family - Chapter 3 & 4
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Chapter 3: At the Abyss

With closed eyes Daath stood at the eternal abyss and listened to it. He used to come here often. To remember. To forget. To talk to the abyss. This time, however, he stood motionless at the edge of the black hole and listened. He wanted to know what the abyss held from this whole thing, whether it had any ideas, whether it could give any advice to Daath. A gentle melody circled Daath, and a weak but noticeable gust of wind stroked his face. The melody was reminiscent of an orchestra of little bells, tubes, and… a strange but gentle and gentle-hearted xylophone-like sound. Daath wondered if the tubes were just the wind, but it wouldn't change anything. He stood with closed eyes and listened. He told the abyss what happened in the last troubled weeks. With his eyes closed, Daath played with his thoughts, not knowing whether the abyss forced him to do so, or he himself did. Recessed in his memories, he talked with the abyss. No, "talked" isn't the right word here. "Communicated",. No, everything is wrong. It was not the abyss with which Daath was talking, in no way, it was himself.

Daath slowly opened his eyes. As in a dream, the abyss appeared before him in its full splendor. Deep, dark, cruel. However not frightening, but kinda soothing. After reorganizing his memories and thoughts, Daath looked deeply into the abyss. "Thank you", Daath whispered, "you always manage to calm me down, I'm able to always arrange my thoughts well here." A strong wind hit the young man with the grimace, as if the abyss wanted to answer him. "I understand …" The wind grew stronger, forcing Daath to hold his hand in front of his face and his eyes. After he opened it, the black abyss had disappeared. In its place an eternal green meadow. Not able to form a gentle smile, Daath again closed his eyes and thanked the abyss for a last, final time.

With his usual grimace, Daath stood at the door to Kether's hall. Not sure if he was really going to do what he was about to do, he stood in front of the large stone double door of the hall. It didn't seem to trouble the servant next to door, after all, something like this isn't rare. Daath took a deep breath. He reached for the handle of the stone door and pushed it open.

The council hall revealed itself Daath with a bright sparkle from the direction of the glass windows. Everything was in its pre-determined place, the vases full of roses, eleven carved seats at the table, and the crystalline chandelier on the ceiling. However … something was missing. Something terrifying, cold and stiff.

Kether was nowhere to be seen.

Daath, confused and not understanding why Kether was absent without telling the Fruits and servants, approached the great stone table. There was a red rose in the middle of the table, Daath remembered the one time he looked into Kether's cold, orange eyes. Beside the rose was a paper note, without long thought Daath took it with a hand movement.

"Good thing you came, Daath. I'm sure you've got some questions for me, meet me at this place:"

The beautiful and old-fashioned handwriting of Kether made a disgusting impression on Daath, as if something was hiding behind this beauty. Next to the words was an address, also written by hand.

"What the …" Daath could not understand why Kether should avoid his visit. How … How did he know he wanted to see him at all? Nothing made sense, nothing fit as the last puzzle piece in the big picture. Kether was unpredictable.

Daath crumpled the note and put it in his pocket. He turned and went back towards the door.

"Master Daath, is somethin—" the servant could not complete her sentence when she saw Daath's eyes. His gaze turned into an ice-cold beam, the servant, unable to avoid this piercing gaze, froze on the spot. Not a single word wanted to escape from her mouth. Daath's emotionless face only underlined his current appearance. A black, long coat and an equally black trousers, which are usually worn with suits. His aura, his whole existence, compelled the ruthless Kether.

"Kether's gone, I'll look for him, report the other Branches of Kether's absence, understood?" Daath said with a deep voice.

"Y-Yes", the servant bowed deeply before Daath. Daath turned his gaze from her, and began to walk with heavy steps along the corridor. The frozen servant remained in her bow for a few more seconds, after which she finally raised her head again. She was just a simple Fruit, born to serve without emotions or feelings. But what she just felt was indisputable, deep-seated fear.

The castle was in turmoil. "What does that mean, 'he is not there'?" The masked Gevurah asked with iron voice the other present Branches. "The Crown tells us nothing and just disappears from the castle?" He added.
"This is unusual, not normal", Binah began to speak. "You don't say, Understanding. Nothing like this ever happened before, we'll have to convene a council", said Hod, looking towards Binah.
Gevurah continued his speech, "Are you insane, Majesty? Summoning a council without the Crown? Outrageous."
Something inside Hod's inside clattered briefly. "Well, what do you suggest, Law?"
Gevurah's bells on his coat began to ring. He turned his gaze from Hod.
"Calm down first, both", said Binah in a calm voice, "the only ones who are still in the castle are the three of us, the servants, other Fruits and Leaves. Where Knowledge is, we don't know, he probably is chasing the Crown."
"Daath …" Gevurah murmured.
"Law, you are being rude against another Branch."
"… sorry, but …", Gevurahs little bells became quieter, "… the Knowledge is behaving very strange in the last time. Gevurah moved his face with the white mask without eyes, a little to the right, where Hod was standing.
"… Possible", she whispered.
"In any case, we shouldn't rush anything, it's just the three of us, let's wait for Chesed's and Tiferet's arrival. Then we can discuss our further actions."
Hod nodded, "Agreed." Gevurah thought briefly. "Yeah, let's do that."

Chapter 4: Fall

Daath walked down the dark stairs of Binah with a quick pace. When he ended up at the black door at the end of the stairs, he pushed it open. He was in a small, empty side street. Daath looked around first, recognized a main street full of people in the distance, and proceeded in that direction.

He did not know this city, but a sign told him that it was Frankfurt. The skyscrapers told him that he must be in the middle of the city. He reached for Kether's note in his pocket and read the address again. Since he was not familiar with it, he asked some bypassers for directions.

A short time later, Daath was in front of one of the skyscrapers called "Messeturm". "Damn", Daath whispered to himself. "What the hell is this madman doing?" After a moment, Daath hid in a dark corner of the building and waited until a suitable person emerged from the entrance. It had to be an employee, because of some signs one could recognize that it was an office building. And office buildings normally cannot be entered as a civilian.

It took about 20 minutes, but a middle-aged man in a suit stepped out of the building. He had a card hanging on his pants, probably one with which one could enter the building. Daath quickly transformed his figure into that of the man and then concentrated on copying the card. It hurt, but it had to be done. Daath used pieces of his flesh and skin and converted them into the card. When all was finished, he waited for about another half an hour, then stepped out of his hiding-place. He went through the main entrance of the Messeturm and discovered a controlled passage to the elevators and the stairway.

As Daath was about to scan the card with a device at the entrance, a cold shiver ran across his back. "Oh, Mr. Lieber, didn't you actually finish your work, or did you forget something?" An employee said, behind the information office. "Uh, yeah, right, I forgot something at my workplace, so I came back", Daath said with a stranger's voice. "Ah, I understand", answered the co-worker, and sat down again in his chair. "But … didn't you actually have your workplace here, but somewhere else? I thought you were here only because of a check-up today …", the young man added behind the information center. Daath ignored his statement and stepped through the barrier as quickly as possible. He had to get away from people who could recognize him in his present form quickly.

Daath walked with rapid steps towards the staircase. Using the elevators would be dangerous, as there was a relatively high chance of meeting someone. He did not want to take any risks.

For another time, Daath reached for Kether's note. "64", a single number stood on the sheet next to the address. "Damn you, Kether", Daath cursed in his thoughts and started to climb up stairs for stairs. If he had already visited the top platform, he could have just teleported himself there …

It seemed to him like an eternity. Floor for floor for floor, it just took no end. "… forty four?" The large, white numbers on the concrete walls told Daath that he still had to expect climbing up 20 floors. No wonder he did not meet a single soul here. As it was slowly getting uncomfortable and very tiring, Daath turned back to his "normal" shape.

After endless gasping, sweating and swearing, Daath was finally at the entrance to the top floor of the building. Daath touched the metallic handle and thrusted the heavy fire door to the outside.

He was at the "top" of the Messeturm, a narrow platform. In the middle of this platform was a pyramid-like structure that blocked the view to the other side of the platform. Daath tried to stay alert, but the strong wind did not make it easy. Daath looked around first, and after he realized there was no one on this side of the top floor, he began walking again. Daath tried to ignore the view, he did not come here to enjoy the view of Frankfurt am Main, but to meet up with Kether. It had become dark now, lights of various colors were shining in the city.

After Daath could finally see the other side of the platform, he recognized a man in a leather coat, leaning against the railing with both arms, and looking into the far distance.

"That took quite a long time", said the man, without looking away from the distance.
"Kether …" slipped out of Daath's mouth, "… what … what are you doing here?"
"I've been waiting for you, of course."
"I did not mean that, why did you order me here?" Daath didn't like it, that Kether played dumb.
Kether no longer supported the railings, "Daath, what do you really know about the Foundation's MTF units?"
Daath was surprised by Kether's questoin, "Sorry?", He did not know what to answer.
"I asked you, how much you know about the Foundation's Mobile Task Forces, Daath, the German branch, to be exact."
Daath paused. "I…"
Kether turned around and looked at Daath's face. "Daath, do you trust me?"
Now Daath really did not know what was going on. "In what way?"
"Would you trust me with your life? Would you go to hell with me to achieve a goal?" Kether specified.
Lying doesn't work, not on Kether. Every little movement was observed with great precision by Kether's eyes. No, lies won't do.
"… No, I would not", Daath replied.
Kether seemed little surprised, "… I understand." He looked back into the distance of the city. "Do you like the view?" Kether asked Daath.
For the first time Daath looked in the direction of the city. An infinite, beautiful sight appeared before him. City lights everywhere you looked and the Main sparkled in the bright light of the round moon.
After a while Daath started talking again, "That does not explain why you wanted me to come here"
"Oh, it does not?"
"Don't play dumb, Kether."
Silence. For a moment, Daath thought that Kether did not know himself.
"I think you have some questions to me, Daath, you can ask them."
He dodged his question again, but Daath actually did have a question to Kether.
"Kether, you met with Malkuth back then, did you not?"
"Possible, what if that were true?"
"Malkuth is dead, Kether."
"Yes, he is, what now?"
Daath came straight to the point, "Who killed him?"
Kether's eyelids fell a little, "What are you implying?"
Daath was not stupid, and Kether knew that, "Kether, did you …" Silence.
Daath continued his speech after a few seconds, "Kether, answer my question honestly … Did you kill Malkuth?"
It was, once again, quiet on the top floor of the skyscraper. Kether was still looking into Daath's eyes. Out of nothing, Daath saw a spark in those.
Kether tilted his head slightly to one side and spoke in a calm, steady voice. "Alright, it's true. I've killed him with my own hands, shot, to be exact."
Daath felt sick, "How can you say that with such a calm voice?"
"I can't help it, you know that we both, no, all Caecus Carneliana members, have no emotions, or rather … they cannot express them."
"Do you realize what you're saying? As a leader, you've shot one of your own subordinates."
"I have, yes."
Disgusting. "And why?" Daath asked this strange man, no, 'being'.
"I'm doing everything for the goal, I have no other reason of existence", said Kether, with the same, deep voice as before, when he admitted the murder of Malkuth.
"As I see it, your 'goal' is hardly the liberation of the sentient beings caught by the Foundation, but something completely different."
Daath had a keen understanding, he had thoroughly seen through Kether. "Do you have any objections?"
"I do not care what you're up to, Kether, but whatever it may be, I do not like your approach, you do not care about lives, for you, they're only means for your goal. You put the goal before the path, Kether, do you understand that? "Daath's voice grew louder.
Kether turned and stepped forward two steps. "… and you want to stop me?" Kether's voice was rough and deep, like a voice of a leader, not forgiving, not forgetting.
Daath, in his thoughts, backed away to his voice, "…", he could not get a single word out of his dry mouth.

After about half a minute, which seemed like an eternity, Kether broke the silence first.
"Hm, I think they are here now …" he whispered, still loud enough for Daath to understand. Not understanding what Kether really meant, Daath still stood in the same place as half a minute ago.
"Well, Daath, I believe we are finished", said Kether.
"I beg your pardon?"
"We are finished, it's the end of the road. Out. Finito", the thoughtlessness of Kether disturbed Daath.
"Stop doing what you are doing. What do you mean, Kether?" Daath repeated his question.
"Well, how do I say that best …", Kether moved his hand to his mouth and stood in a pensive pose.
Suddenly, he snapped his fingers, "Oh, the 'Light Chain' is here!"
Daath froze. "Light Chains? What? That cannot be!", Such thoughts filled his head.
At the same moment he recognized a familiar sound. Searching for the source, Daath looked up and in all other directions.
"A … helicopter …"
"That's right. The MTF units really are good at it, huh? And the Foundation's communication network too." Kether clapped his hands and looked up, where the helicopter made it's rounds.
A cold chill ran over Daath's body. He'd not want to be captured by the Foundation, not after he'd seen what she did with her "SCPs", and after Brenner freed him.
"But how … did they figure it out?" Daath's sharp mind recognized several heavily armed soldiers in the stairwell. They did not have much time left.
Kether simply continued as if there was nothing, "Probably someone has seen you, maybe as you were changing shapes, maybe someone has noticed something unnatural."
"That is impossible." These words remained stuck in his throat.
"What are you going to do now?" Kether asked him, his eyes brighter than ever before.
Daath's sharp consciousness began to work again, it had been a trap all along.
"You … You lured me out here? Did you want to test my loyalty?", It was impossible for Daath to express his emotions, but his loud voice and blue eyes showed all his feelings that were boiling inside him right now.

He was faced with a choice. Kether was an abominable creature, but his "death" would not change anything. In the contrary, all the other Branches would rush to libere him, and that would only produce an immeasurably great pool of blood.
Kether climbed over the railing, "And? Did you decide?" His leather coat flattered in the strong wind. Daath realized that the soldiers were now a few steps from the door.
"You tricked me, Kether!"

Kether stood one step away from the abyss. He turned to the direction of Daath.
"Oh, did I?" Kether looked at Daath mockingly. He stretched out his arms, closed his eyes, took a step back and …
Daath rose over the railing before Keth's mocking talk. The soldiers had now reached the top and pushed open the door. "Damn you, Kether!" With these words, Daath jumped off the edge and "dived" down. "Fucking shit, do not let them get away! Go! Hurry!", heard Daath as he jumped off.

Daath touched Kether's shoulder in the air.

"Damn you, forever and ever!"

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