Damian, who had chosen to stay behind at the Library after helping defend its halls against the Sage, went on a search. Trying to pick out anything he could on the God-Eater, Damian found himself wandering the halls for a number of hours. Utilizing the information he'd gained through investigations, as well as risking his life on several occasions, he's able to piece together enough of the puzzle to lead him away from the major portion of the Library. What he was looking for, it had to be a tidbit of knowledge locked away in an unusual part of the structure...and uncanny it was. After a couple of days of wandering, Damian stood before a small alcove that one of the goblinoid janitors pointed him towards. Sitting on a plush couch between two pillars in the cut-out of the wall was a ghost. He was a scholarly looking man, wearing horn-rimmed glasses and wearing a sharp but plain suit, black on black. In his hands was a small notebook of some kind. When approached, he looked up. "Can I help you?"
Damian does know how to meditate, perhaps, surprisingly. All part of his life few people know about. The Reaper half. He’s no Zen student or anything like that, but his meditation is oddly martial and practiced. He’s been in the Athenaeum for four days, barely sleeping, researching this and things for the Sage. It’s been all consuming and like the nerd he is, he might have even forgotten a meal or two. Like following bread crumbs though, from one section of the library to another, picking up clues leading him to the greater mystery. Until he was in this alcove, with this scholarly ghost, but he was smart enough to be careful, he knew what kind of minions the God-Eater controlled. A brow rises as he studies the ghost. “Maybe. I’m looking for some material on an individual who calls himself the God-Eater.” Not Hannibal Miles. No, he’ll keep that Ace in his sleeve for now. “I’ve been looking for days and all my searching has lead me here.” Truth be told, Damian does look a little tired, worn out.
The ghost stared at Damian for a long while. It wasn't a heated or emotional gaze. It was difficult to tell really, if the man bore any emotion at all. One thing was for certain however; the man was analyzing Damian. After a full minute of staring up at him, the ghost crossed his left leg over his right, and his gaze returned to his book. "Be more specific." Was what the ghost said, adjusting his horn-rimmed glasses. "Your search led you here because I know about this man. If you want to know about him, form your questions with details in mind."
Damian shrugs at that, finding a spot to lean against the wall or a bookshelf without jeopardizing any books. He's very careful about that. Despite his penchant for technology, he seems to have a very caring relationship for information of any sort. A nod then, but he’s doing his own assessment of the ghost, carefully. A long moment in consideration, maybe taking the ghosts words to heart. “He’s killing Sin-Eaters, it has to be for a reason. What does he want from them? Is it just power? It’s been said he’s searching for something, do you know what?”
The ghost's eyes were darting back and forth in the book held in his hands. Never looking up and towards Damian, he seemed to be fully immersed in the notebook, almost as if he was paying the Sin-Eater no mind. The ghost must have been content with the analysis. Even so, there was a long pause of silence after Damian's questions, the ghosts words monotonous and careful. "Power comes in many forms. Desire for power stems from a multitude of reasons. If by power you mean 'the ability to kill more Sin-Eaters with relative ease', then no, that is not what he is after. That seemed to be what you were inferring based upon your wording." A page is flipped in the notebook ever so carefully, as if the thing would crumble if he moved it too hard. "All beings are searching for something. This one in particular, is experiencing discord within himself, and is grasping at the hope that what he claims will be his apotheosis will bring him the answers he desires."
Damian folds hands over his chest, not overly impressed with the attitude he’s getting. He was probably hoping to find some books rather than deal with a ghost. A sigh is released, heavy. He worked hard to get here. To this point. His eyes close a minute, maybe tired. “No. Power for power’s sake is rarely anyone’s goal. It usually has more reason. He seems to me like a being that has a bigger goal, like you say.” A little shake of his head. “What I am suggesting is he must have a reason to be killing Sin-Eaters that is a means to an end. If it were just ghosts or Geist’s, he could find plenty down here. So why Sin-Eaters? Do you know?” The Underworld, he probably means. “Discord? Because of his condition? His…sibling?” What else do you call it? “What kind of answers is he seeking? Does it have something to do with the Principalities? The magician? Did he serve him once?” That was always a bit of conjecture.
The ghost nodded ever so slightly, nearly undetectable. Another page was tenderly flipped and the ghost spoke only after surveying the page. "The man has an addiction for killing, to a point. For each Sin-Eater killed, more than one reason for the act exists, and each of his reasons are carefully measured and weighed before action is taken." The ghost licks his fingers and flips the page. "It is likely he sees Sin-Eaters as nothing more than raw material. Potential that he can mold into a workable and useful tool in his hands. It is also likely he views them as being full of hubris and decadence, wanting nothing more to ensure that they are aware they are not 'the top of the food chain', so to speak. Even if both of these statements bear truth, it is merely conjecture to believe one reason is more important than the other, or that these two reasons are the sole reasons why he kills Sin-Eaters. As for why he would kill them and not simply go straight for a Geist, that is likely so he could perfect methods of engagement against the prey he deducted would A) bring him the most trouble, and B) provide him the most information, since it was a two-for-one bargain, so to speak." The ghost swished his tongue around in his mouth.
"As far as his sibling is concerned, it would be more accurate to address the God-Eater as 'they' since both are fully conscious and aware. They have differing opinions on many subjects, and require more time to come to an amiable solution than it would if they were a single entity." The ghost, while still flipping pages and reading them with a very casual pace, didn't seem the least perturbed by Damian's barrage of questions. "He is seeking the same answers most people are seeking. Why. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do people so easily turn to malevolence? Why are people so selfish? Why are we here? Why do we exist? These would be the kinds of questions he seeks answers to, the things that drive him and keep him awake at night. As far as the end he is searching for, particularly in regards to the Principalities, or even more specifically, the Magician, the questions differ. It is not a matter of servitude for him, but a method to emulate their ascension to their current state that he is after."
“Carefully measured? I find that deduction to be curious, considering the simple volume of them.” Damian frowns a little at that, looking at a spot on the floor as he listens and considers. “The hubris part seems plausible enough.” Damian’s seen enough of those in Fallcoast. There’s a small pause and he looks back up at the ghost first nodding and then a little confused. “The most information on what, exactly?” Damian has theories, but too many of them, and he came here for answers, so he waits for the answer the ghost will give. A nod then. “I figured, considering he has two Keystones, he probably has two Geists’s, and when I found out about the sibling, that was my conclusion.” Lips thin a little and again he goes silent through all the philosophical. “Maybe he should reflect a little, since he’s doing a lot of the malevolence.” His jaw sets for just a moment and then stunned. “Wait a second. He’s trying to ascend, but uh, more importantly, he still serves the Magician?”
The ghost returned no opinions on any of Damian's open musings, simply turning the pages and absorbing the words within them as Damian spoke. "The most information on whatever he deemed necessary at the time. For instance, where more of their Krewe could be found, along with their strengths and weaknesses. He was of course, also looking for answers to the question 'How can I become divine like the Principalities'. When he first started the killing, he didn't even realize the Underworld existed, so while his search eventually led him here, he had quite a few questions for your kind up above." The ghost paused for a moment, his eyes not flickering back and forth. "He does not serve the Magician. He never did." Then his eyes went back to darting across the text.
“I’m not sure why he thinks we would have more information on Principalities than anyone. Believe me, we’re about as in the dark as most. He’d be as likely to get more out of scholars down here, or up there, than any Bound.” Damian shakes his head. After all, that’s where most of his information came from. “Or in here…” A nod, his brow flicking upward. “What did he find here? What did he search out here?” He caught that part as surely as anything. That last part is a bit of a surprise.” Does he serve any of them or pretend to? You said he emulates them. If not in servitude or pretending to serve them, how? How does he go about emulating something that is barely understood? Something that seems to have near limitless power? And more importantly…why is he so powerful? Where does that power come from? Like him, I’m a Sin-Eater, and I know more Bound far more powerful than me, yet we are barely dust to him? He destroyed people and everything in a prison, possibly the day after he died. I don’t understand how that’s plausible, do you? Especially if he was so ignorant at one point?”
"A lack of a proper starting point, for one." The ghost retorted, his voice and temperament as even as ever. "He was searching for the answers to the questions I have mentioned to you previously, and spent a great deal of time within these halls. Eventually he found a Sin-Eater by the name of Hassan Mohammed wandering the same halls." The ghost pauses, reaching to grab a bookmark on the cushion beside him. His motions were slow, seeming to take minutes at a time. "I said he was attempting to emulate their ascension. Pay attention boy." The chastisement came off as if he were a teacher speaking to a student, stern, but with little emotion. "He serves nobody but himself. As far as his power goes, he has gained enough of a metaphysical boost to his ghostly manifestations from the consumption of Geists that consuming them any further would provide no benefit. It is very addicting, much like shooting heroin. He's managed to gain that much mostly from taking his time, planning things out. He was a prodigious man to begin with, gifted with intelligence and wit beyond his peers, and upon learning of the world behind its mortal mask, he has made use of as many of his findings as he could, twisting them to his advantage. Part of the reason for his quick ascension on the rungs of mastering his powers was due to his unique keys, something which no other Sin-Eater knew about, especially since he's managed to keep them a secret for so long. It is to these that many of his victories were attributed."
“Excuse me? Hassan Mohammed? Down here?” Damian’s brow raises at that, that’s a very interesting little point. “Do you know what happened when he met Hassan, what came from that? What did he learn from him that was so important? Did they leave together, did the God-Eater do something to him?” A little shake of his head. Hassan didn’t mention this, interestingly enough, but it could have been an oversight. It could just be where the God-Eater kidnapped him from. “Do you know how one might become one of the Principalities?” He doesn’t seem to be asking for himself. “How he might, if it were possible?” So many questions, so many that he doesn’t even notice the chastisement. “What’s so powerful about his keys and do you know more of them? One is supposedly called the Venom key, do you know what it does? What the other is called and what it does?” Damian’s very intent now, more questions are rolling through his brain, but he’s trying to keep them organized.
"Yes, Hassan was down here. The God Eater met him, and they spoke briefly before parting ways. They left separately, with nothing having been done to Hassan. The God-Eater simply learned of Hassan's friends, speaking with the man as a fellow researcher. I believe Hassan was unaware of who he was speaking to." The ghost shook his head, letting his eyes come to rest on Damian as his hands rested atop the notebook. "I do not know how one might become one of the Principalities. As far as I am aware, the God-Eater owns all eleven Keys, as well as the two keys known as 'Venom' and 'Flesh'. From what I've been able to observe, the Venom key is very similar to one of your regular elemental Keys. The Flesh Key however, is something different altogether. It has something to do with unlocking the fear of death and the memories of the living."
Damian nods at that. “Do you know what the two of them talked about? Was it about a ceremony? Do you know why someone might want to combine two Geist’s into one? Have you ever heard of such a thing?” Damian’s considering it all, and maybe that whole ceremony thing has some merit now that he knows what Hannibal is. “Or where I could find a book on such a thing?” It is the Athenaeum after all. Another nod comes at the revelation of the Principalities and the God-Eaters keys. “That fits with what I have seen of the Venom Key to some degree. The fear of Death and memories of the living though? That is curious. I suppose one could do a lot with that, when looking for information. I wonder how it works, or how he discovered these.” That might just be him musing again, hard to say. His hands fall to his sides. “Do you know how he might be able to empower ghosts? His servants, his horseman?”
"I am aware they spoke of pleasantries, but that is all. I would assume that combining two Geists into a gestalt being would have some sort of advantage, but outside of your line of questions, I have not heard of such a thing. If there ever was a book on such a thing, it would be in the Lost Hall." The ghost, after speaking for so long, took the notebook and set it to the side, exhaling some sort of disdain for the rapid-fire line of questioning. After taking a minute to uncross his legs, and another minute to re-cross them in the opposite direction, the ghost once more adjusted his glasses. "The individual you know as the God Eater has engineered several Ceremonies of his own, and it is likely through these that he provides power to his five honour guard."
Damian might notice the disdain, it’s difficult to say if it matters to him. He does glance out from the alcove. He’s heard of the Lost Hall, but he also understands what that means. A simple nod. Maybe he slows down on the questions, maybe he’s just being respectful. It’s difficult to say, Damian seems to have few cares outside his bargain. Whatever the case, he doesn’t apologize. “I see.” He falls silent for a long moment, or maybe just provides the ghost with some time. “Do you know if these Ceremonies provides his honor guard with items of power? Or if there is a way to disrupt such power from them?” Maybe he’s just bringing the questions to a close.
The ghost clasped his hands across his knee, staring up at Damian as if his gaze was going to bore a hole through the man's skull. "He has used an alternate version of a ceremony your kind can perform, yes. The items they wield are Twilight items, imbued with the power to increase their natural abilities to unusual heights for their ages. I would assume that to disrupt these items, one would require the power to manipulate Twilight objects." The ghost looked around, side to side as he raised his arms. "Or simply break them while they are physical, such as when they travel here."
Damian nods at that, almost as if the answer doesn’t surprise him. About the only theory of his that actually has stuck so far. He was right, once. He takes the backpack he’s carrying off his back and opens it up. “Thank you. I am curious, how do you know so much about him? Them?” A brow raises, again the looks he gets from the ghost don’t seem to bother him. He has a job to do. You have to fact check your ghosts, too. The good news is, he knows the ghost isn’t lying. Old laws can work for you!
The ghost smiled an actual, honest to goodness smile. "He killed me." It was a simple statement, but it bore a lot of weight. "Thankfully I planned ahead, and managed to avoid becoming his tool."
Damian pulls out sheets of paper and some pencils and pens. That's all he brought besides food and drink. Most of it gone now. Mostly for Enoch. The Kerberos probably won’t mind, though. He takes the paper and pens and pencils, setting them down in front of the ghost. It seems a sensible gift in the Athenaeum, which is probably why he brought it. A nod, but it pauses him. “I see. I’m sorry. If I may ask, how did you plan ahead, how did you avoid this?”
The ghost shook his head, waving the gift away. "Your sorrow is not required. Here I am at home. Because I no longer require sleep or sustenance, I am able to read to my heart's content. As far as how I planned ahead...well, let's just say it involved a little will and a lot of work and leave it at that, shall we?" A polite, if not wry smile slowly eroded until the ghosts features were back to an unreadable mask. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have more books to attend to." He said, rising from his seat and dusting down his clothes.
Damian leaves the gift anyway. There’s plenty of what’s left to leave for Enoch, and anything the ghost doesn’t take is Enoch’s anyway, one would assume. He hefts the backpack back up and nods. The answer doesn’t really suit him, but he doesn’t press it for once. Doing up the backpack, he puts it back on his shoulder. “Yeah, and I have an old friend to see.” It’s an oddly grim statement. “Thank you again.” Hassan. Maybe, just maybe, Damian has a theory on what the God-Eater is up to, but nothing adds up. Still, all roads lead to Hassan. Time to go home.