Chapter 98: A Peculiar Madness

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When a Custodian of the Necromancer's Notes discovers a person attempting to destroy or steal material, or have done so, proper protocol is as follows.

1. Apprehend perpetrator and immobilize.

2. Recover stolen materials or reconstruct destroyed materials.

3. Terminate the perpetrator with extreme prejudice.

This policy was put forward to prevent any agent of the Eight from retroactively altering or destroying information. Acolytes would be wise to understand this rule, lest they fall to the Custodians' claws.

-The Necromancer's Notes, Acolyte Handbook, Chapter 3

***

"It's ironic," Laidu told Po Shun, "that the libraries have been the least useful place in my quest to find out about the Eight." 

"What do you mean?" Po Shun asked, tugging his cloak around himself to ward off the midday chill. They walked by the sea, on a raised street, the dark green brine below them splashing angrily at the foundation of the road they walked on. 

"Every source I look at sees the Eight as some sort of cipher for our inner evils, as some sort of... I don't know, a symbol. There's no way they can be real, so the legends have to mean something else. And then they extrapolate the 'symbols' of the Eight to fit whatever mad philosophy they want." 

"Ah." Po Shun thought for a moment. "I do see how that could be kind of difficult, seeiing as you can't learn about how to kill something if half the world thinks it doesn't exist." 

"Or treats it like a myth and analyzes it like it's some sort of code. Do you know how many theories I've read that state, authoritatively, that Kazalibad is really a symbol for the... what was it? The ideal androgyne." 

"Hold on." Po Shun stopped. "Wasn't Kazalibad the big grey guy? Who wore people's skin?" 

"Yes. And he has a dozen mouths all over his body." Laidu thought for a moment. "I mean, he's not androgynous. He's definitely built like a guy." The voices in his head focused on this, it seemed, buzzing around his train of thoughts like dozens of 

"And why would they think he's an androgyne?" 

"He can look like a man or a woman. I think. And the reason we villify him is because we're shackled by being stuck either male or female. He is free of that, I think, because he wears anyone's skin, and looks just like them."

Po Shun shook his head. "The short answer is that half the stuff you're reading is crap. Did you find anything useful?"

"Yeah. One thing." Laidu frowned. "And it's not good." He kept walking. "Apparently Kazalibad can recover from a single drop of blood, a single trace of his body left. Immolation is a good way to deal with him, as I found out, but he'll survive that. According to one theory, he conceals traces of himself around the world. Like he stashed vials of blood or locks of hair... well, he doesn't have hair, so something else. Which explains how he survived me crisping him to cinders." 

"He's an immortal who covered his weakness. Smart," Po Shun said. 

"Yep," Laidu said. "It makes my job difficult." 

I would try ripping his guts out, biting into them, feeling the sweetness of his blood as... you get the idea. And Kasran was there.

I get that you're a bloodthirsty monster, Laidu snapped at the mad voice, but don't be stupid. What if he regenerates inside me? 

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