Sharing his knowledge, Valmont wanted to show Ruby a world that he was from. He was trying to invoke memories, that may help her remember her past life, and who she really was.
Scene setting: The Embassy of Hell : Seven sins series.
Co-written with Zu.
Zu: Ruby took the arm offered to her, and the both of them went their way to the training room. It had been awhile since Ruby used her weapons against someone, but she had a feeling there would be no killing involved. In a way, Ruby was disappointed but it was just her nature for a long time; not killing would go against that very nature. She saw the… whatever that was that Valmont took from Nicholas, and it may be the thing that she’d use to talk to others. Ruby didn’t mind, but when she thought about it, wasn’t it that thing that others used to make words? She didn’t know how those things worked, but she’d learn very soon. She placed her hood back over herself, almost as if to calm herself down.
Razorbackwriter: With Zachary and Nicholas both set tasks to do, this meant that the Ambassador was able to escort Ruby freely to the training room. The incubus had taken from Ruby’s expression and demeanor that she was uncomfortable with all the fuss of the sudden arrival of staff. It was something that she might have to get used to if she had any plans on staying at the embassy on a more permanent basis. Taking his arm and placing the hood back over herself, the crimson hooded girl now seemed to be more at ease just in Valmont’s company. With the board and chalk in one hand and Ruby on the arm, he escorted her through to the next corridor and down a passage.
“This room does not get used much. Training is something that only happens in a time of war and thankfully the last war was pretty much over before it started.” The doors would be opened by two guardians and this allowed Valmont to walk Ruby through without trouble or letting her go.
On arriving inside, Ruby would find herself in a large expansive room with coloured floor mats that criss crossed the marble floor, and on every side wall there was armaments from across each and every kingdom. A sample selection of the very weapons used by each creed of Sin. There was also suits of armor and mock battlements set up for practice runs. It was a very odd set up for an indoor arena. Which is exactly what it was.
The doors were closed behind them and this was when Valmont turned to Ruby.
“Show me your sword, and just how you wield it.”
She may not be able to have the gift of speech, but he wanted to see just what kind of warrior lay beneath the ruby coloured hood.
Zu: Ruby was glad that the others were gone, it made her feel more comfortable to deal with just one person rather than a group. Even since they expressed themselves to one another, not even a day ago, Ruby had gotten very comfortable with Valmont. He understood her in a way others wouldn’t try, or couldn’t. He gave her a place to stay, and a good sense of companionship. The two guardians gave her no trouble, and she had hoped not either. Ruby looked around the new room they were in. She had never been in a training room before, and knowing that they’d be alone, she let down her hood to once again show her face. She looked a bit amazed, but not as overjoyed as once would suspect.
She looked at Valmont, who now addressed to her and her weapon. He called it a sword, but it wasn’t really a sword. Ruby knew what it was, and she wouldn’t be able to say what it actually was. Still, in Ruby’s world, seeing was much easier than talking about it. She pulled it out and with a flick of her wrist, it popped open in it’s full length. Her scythe was taller than her, almost twice as tall, but she seemed to wield it with ease. She looked at Valmont and put it to her side, standing up, wondering what he wanted her to do next.
Razorbackwriter: The weapon that Ruby unsheathed was larger than when he remembered seeing it up at the Isolated cliff. Interesting that this was the choice of weapon for a petite girl in a hood. Not one that those she faced would expect either. He remembered that she drew on it when she was afraid, or intimidated. This left the Ambassador to wonder if she used it out of a love for the weapon, or solely as a source of defense. Ruby had drawn her hood back as well, when she was in Valmont’s company. Again observations about this girl were starting to paint a picture of one that was both insecure and afraid in this place – Hell. Someone went to a lot of trouble to stitch up her mouth and then leave her here.
The girl handled the scythe with relative ease, considering its size and presumed weight. She had a natural and fluid ability to wield it as though she was incredible experienced in its used. A scythe is more commonly owned by a reaper, or at least that is what Valmont had thought before now. But Ruby wasn’t a reaper of souls? Was she?
“Very impressive, I must say.” The Ambassador gave her an encouraging smile to see how well she handled the long scythe. He had no intention of trying to disarm her, or cause her reason to take fright. Valmont had been careful as not to be impulsive or reactionary. There was simply no need. Too much too soon might be detrimental to their very new friendship.
“I can now see that you are more than capable of using it. Though the physics are astounding considering its size.” By this he meant that it was almost twice her height and yet she moved it effortlessly. “Thank you for showing me Ruby.”The training room was probably the best open area in which to have a demonstration of her weapon safely. The Ambassador then explained more about the room. “Here, we have all the different types of weapons commonly used by the different Kingdoms of Hell. Each donated by the reigning monarch of the time. Fascinating, if you like museum pieces.” What the Ambassador meant by this was that few if any of them were used. It was more for studying and understanding how each kingdom went about warfare, which was common place.
Remembering the chalk board and the chalk that Nicholas had acquired, Valmont took them out and then he wrote a simple letter V on the chalk board. V standing for Valmont. It was written in a cursive style and the Ambassador showed the board to Ruby. He was hopeful that the girl might understand. This being the first opportunity he had to try and teach her.
“This is the letter V.” He then pointed to himself and said his name. “Valmont.” Once again he pointed at the chalk board and back to himself. “V.” He took out a small cloth and erased the V, replacing it with an R. Valmont turned the board towards Ruby and said. “This…is an R. R…for Ruby.”
The Ambassador offered the board and chalk to Ruby as a gift.
Zu: Ruby felt a bit of happiness and warm in her cold body when Valmont gave her that genuine smile, she even grew a bit transparent by that. It had been awhile since she’s gone transparent, but so far nothing happened yet. She kept it out until Valmont thanked her for the demonstration. She put it away just as effectively as she had taken it out, focusing back on Valmont who was giving her a bit of a history lesson on the weapons in the room. This was an entire different culture she was not exposed to. Throughout her time here in Hell, Ruby only knew a few things; death, blood and loneliness. She was a killer, after all, so there was no time for friends. Before now, Ruby didn’t care about anything besides what she already knew. Now, with Valmont’s kindness, she became more open and especially with Valmont, more than with anyone else. Ruby was right behind Valmont, watching him explain about the weapons.
The subject now turned to the chalkboard and chalk, which was given to Valmont by Nicholas. This was the thing used for this “communication” that seemed absolutely necessary. She didn’t know why it was that way, but if that was part of Valmont’s world then she might as well get used to it. She stared at the board, seeing the smooth movements of the chalk running along the blank space. It amazed her, and after Valmont was done, she took it with the up-most quickness and started out trying to do what he did. It seemed the board and chalk too all her attention.
Razorbackwriter: Valmont was more than just curious to see how Ruby took to writing on the chalk board. He wanted to see how she held the chalk between her fingers, the way she poised the tip before starting to make sweeping strokes. The ambassador was of course rewarded almost immediately, when Ruby took to the first attempt with a flourish that had him smiling effortlessly. The girl had taken to the task so well that all her attention was now focused on the small chalk board and the way she used the chalk to make lettering like Valmont had done.
“You are a natural, Ruby.”
The Ambassador brought his hands together before him, interlocking his gloved fingers as he watched her with a growing enthusiasm. He had never envisioned himself as any sort of teacher before, but then again he had not been challenged to teach a girl to communicate. Though in a way, they already had a bond that was beyond the need for speech. Valmont was finding himself more and more at ease with the girl, and not in the least bit acting out in his nature. It was something of a relief. Unusual though.
Ruby may well wonder why writing was considered such an important form of communication. Valmont saw it as more than just communicating however. It was a way in which many were able to learn about the past, their histories as so written by scholar and men of great learning. From the simplest of drawings on rock walls, to the many tomes that filled the great libraries, it was an integral part of civilization.
The ambassador would wait silently for Ruby to finish with her chalk board, before deciding to extend the tour to the great library of the Embassy. It was a place that held thousands upon thousands of books. The answers to many a question lay within the walls and naturally it was a place that Valmont frequented when he had the chance. Now he had another reason to go there. In a way this was a manner of sharing himself with the hooded girl. Spending this quality time and embarking on a friendship that he hadn’t realized up till this point that he actually needed. He felt a closeness to Ruby that was hard to describe.
“Would you like to see where the books are kept?” He asked, knowing that the training room would be boring to her now.
Zu: Ruby didn’t write the typical way, but instead used her whole hand to move the chalk. It would be a long while before she could actually use it the way others did. Ruby did try doing it like Valmont, only for the chalk to slip out of her hands. She picked it up quickly, before it even had a chance to fall to the ground. She may not have been a writer, but being a warrior until now, she had the reactions of one. She “gave up”, in the sense that she’d try again later when she was away from Valmont, which probably wouldn’t be likely as she would most likely stay by his side the entire time. When asked to see some books, Ruby just agreed with a nod of her head. Ruby put the chalk in it’s proper place, and the board around her neck as they continued through the Embassy.
Ruby was brought to a place where books rested until it was their time to be used. Ruby looked a bit anxious when seeing the monstrous amount of books in one place. She’s seen something like this before, but not to this degree. Words were in these, just like on the chalkboard. Ruby wondered, would she be able to write books for Valmont? In less than a day, Ruby was doing and thinking things that never crossed her mind; Ruby never saw herself as more than what she was before her meeting with Valmont. A tool only to be used for killing, now brought into another world.
Razorbackwriter: The library was a darkened hall that had all the curtains drawn and the shutters over the windows. No natural light was allowed in, and the only illumination came from either lit candles or small reading lamps that could be found on tables that dotted the interior. The surrounding walls were filled with books, and the way to reach many was to scale ladders that ran along on coasters at the bottom. Fed into tracks, they could go as far as ten metres, before you would need to scale another ladder.
Valmont walked along now with his gloved hands behind his back – the back of his right hand slapping the left in a fluid motion. His body was fairly rigid and he had an air about him. It was natural to him, as he thought that slouching was a form of being lazy in one’s self. When he regarded Ruby once again, he noted a look on her face that showed anxiety. Was the library too much for her? Or did she think that the ambassador was going to try and get her to write great novels, after only just giving her a board and chalk just a short time before. Valmont acted quickly to allay her fears.
“Ruby, fear not. This is just a place that I enjoy a quiet moment, to reflect and also to learn. I wouldn’t try to get you to write long stories like the ones in the books.”
He had hoped that his explanation would suffice and that she could go back to being relaxed in his company. They truly were very different, and Valmont was doing his utmost to ensure that he did not upset the girl. This in itself was unusual, since he was having to suppress his own natural feelings and urges. Valmont had managed it when he had to meet with female royals before. But this was different. The ambassador felt this overwhelming sense of responsibility for the girl’s well being. Almost father like with a child. It was all very new to him too.
Valmont stopped and thought for a moment. There was one place he could show her, that would give them a way to interact on a level that required no words at all.
“Have you ever danced?” Valmont was thinking of taking her into the grand ballroom, where parties were hosted for dignitaries. It was a short walk from the library.
Zu: She was told not to fear, and that she wouldn’t be writing much outside what was around her neck. This made her look comfortable, but she was actually a bit sad. It might have been a scary thought to Ruby, yet she would have loved to try it if it would please Valmont. If she could, Ruby would have the cutest smile on her face. Truly an innocent soul, despite her abnormalities and her current state in Hell as a killer. As they were speaking, Ruby saw herself becoming transparent when her hands went missing. Unlike many times before, this actually didn’t matter to her. Ruby’s focus was so much on Valmont, nothing else mattered at the moment. Ruby didn’t realize it yet, but she had developed the most intense relationship with Valmont. He was something Ruby couldn’t have, a friend. Someone who wouldn’t turn their back on her, someone who saw her as more than just a killer. It was the only thing Ruby ever wanted.
Valmont asked for this… dance. Ruby never heard of that, it must have been something only fancy people in Hell do. It did interest her, so with a nod of her head, she agreed and stood next to Valmont, following his lead. She began to become visible again, in her hands at least, as it was the only thing that turned transparent. She clung onto Valmont’s arm as they walked, her eyes showing her daydreaming on this… dance.
Razorbackwriter: Down a long corridor that was just off the library, was the grand ballroom. This room was kept locked for most of the time as the hallowed hall was filled with treasured art and of course a massive chandelier. There were columns along the sides of the hall made from marble, that went all the way up to painted ceilings. Murals featured many of the previous Princes of Hell – a testimony to their leadership. The Ambassador paused a moment to take out a golden key and placed it into the lock, turning it so as to show Ruby the wonder of the ballroom.
Ruby’s easy acceptance to follow along gave Valmont hope that this was something she might like to enjoy. The doors swung open with ease, to give both the Ambassador a sight that would captivate. The ambassador looked down at Ruby, who was clutching his arm tightly. He couldn’t help but feel a touch of pride that he somehow had made her feel good about all this splendor.
A servant came in behind the pair, and bowed low.
“Shall I put on some music, Ambassador?’
“Yes, Gregory. If you would be so kind.”
The servant snapped his heels together and then strutted across the floor to where there was a beautiful phonograph. There was a stack of old records on a table beside it, and the servant carefully took one out of its sheath and placed it on the turn table. Lowering the stylus arm, after giving it a good crank, a soft waltz began to play. The sound was of course carried by the vast expanse of space within the hall. Valmont reached for Ruby’s hand and led her to the center of the room. Watching them, the servant took his cue to leave and this meant the Ambassador was alone with his charge.
“And this….is how we dance.”
Placing his right arm around her waist, Valmont took her right hand with his left, and then slowly began to make steps to lead her into a waltz. The music provided the perfect mood and tempo, and the Ambassador lifted his head back, speaking an incantation that had the chandelier erupt with a dazzling light. Around and around, the Ambassador would lead Ruby on this magical dance. If this had been the first time that she had experienced this, it may well give her a new found joy. The Ambassador was attentive to her needs, and he kept his eyes focused on hers as he danced her around the room.
Often it is sometimes hard to understand what Australians mean when they use old Aussie slang to talk to their mates and loved ones. This video by the Aussie band “The Rubens”, fills you in on the meanings of some of our more colourful phrases.