Kravitz peeks out from the mirror, listening to the three interrogate Lucas about what exactly he’s been doing with this portal to the Astral. He already knew the nerd was guilty, but it’s nice to hear a confession. Taako, who had clearly not been listening to a word spoken in the last ten minutes, eventually wanders over from where they’d been carefully inspecting the crystal with the Maureen-bot in it. “Okay, listen, let’s start from page one, okay? Who’s in the stalactite?”
Kravitz smacks his face with his hand, shaking his head with a grin as he decides it’s as good a time as any for a dramatic entry. Letting his human form become visible in the mirror, he grins at Taako. “You guys really aren't that sharp, are you? Still having some trouble figuring this one out, huh?” He throws a flirty wink at the elf to soften the teasing words, watching the three chuckleheads flail as they notice him in the mirror. Oh, by Istus, this was worth the wait after all. He sends her a quick prayer to that effect, and feels a warm, happy presence in the back of his mind in return.
Once they get over their initial surprise, the three react in, by now, predictable ways. Taako gives Kravitz an appreciative once-over, though their eyes stutter and widen as they glance over his exposed soulmark. Merle sticks to one-liners and grumbles about rock monsters, but it’s Magnus who’s the first to really speak up. “Oi! At least one of us knows what’s going on… I think…” He pauses, then continues. “So… You’re Death, aren’t you?”
Kravitz smirks. “Some call me that. Or the Grim Reaper, I’m fond of that one. But my name is Kravitz. I’m a bounty hunter for the Raven Queen. I came to retrieve Maureen after her nerd necromancer of a son broke her out of the Eternal Stockade, but honestly? There’s more people in this lab WITH bounties than without.”
Taako frowns at that, looking confused. “Yeah, you said something about that earlier? When you were, uh, a rock monster. But homie, Taako’s a transmutation wizard. The best transmutation wizard ever, maybe - but cha’boi’s not a necromancer. Neither are Mags or Merle, so… why the bounties?”
Kravitz gives a frustrated sigh, gesturing at three adventurers closest to the mirror. “You’ve all died and come back without checking into the astral plane. You’re supposed to die, go the the astral, have your afterlife. But Taako, you’ve died eight times. It’s in my book, and I…” he winces, putting a hand to his forearm, “I remember when it happened. As for the others? 19, Magnus. And Merle! You’re the richest bounty I’ve ever seen, you died 57 times and never once came to the afterlife. What in the Queen’s name were you three doing for all those years?! For that matter - Magnus are you even human? You look barely thirty!”
As Kravitz works himself into a rant - confusing the hell out of everyone else in the room as he continues - Taako glances behind him. Magnus still has Lucas gripped securely by the scruff of the neck, a dark stain marring the nerd’s pants. Lucas wasn’t causing it, then.. but out of the shining sea of souls behind him, a massive spectral hand was closing in on the oblivious grim reaper. “Hey! Bone daddy, watch your six homie!” Taako makes their decision. Even if tall, dark and spooky isn’t their soul mate (And honestly? They’re kind of hoping he is, because DAMN. All those buttons that the golem didn’t hit? Mashed.), he’s still too attractive to get ghosted by ghosts. Kravitz dodges, but takes a glancing blow and comes flying through the mirror, landing on the ground at Taako’s feet as a stream of ghosts pours in after him and forms into a giant skeleton, encasing the mirror.
The battle goes quickly. Surrounded by robots suddenly come to ‘life,’ the regulators and N03ll3 fight the smaller foes. Merle’s Della Reese cuts deeply into the monster-ghost-thing calling itself Legion as Magnus sneaks around and begins chipping at the mirror. Taako and Kravitz cast spell after spell at Legion, falling quickly into an easy, natural harmony as the pair alternates between wizard and death-cleric spells. Somewhere inside Taako, this feels… familiar. Like they’ve had this before, someone who just… clicked. But they know it can’t be - they’ve always been alone.
(As they have this thought, someone else makes a similar observation. Taako’s too busy casting spells to notice the umbrastaff’s handle warm up as its inhabitant shouts joyful congratulations to her oblivious sibling, and eventually the red-shrouded figure slumps, floating cross-legged above the ‘ground’ of her prison.)
After a few minutes of fruitlessly chipping away at the mass of ghosts, Maureen wakes up and cleans house. Magnus talks her out of the Stone before… eating it? Laughing at Magnus, Taako turns to Kravitz with a complicated, but friendly expression on their face. “So… bounties. You gonna reap me? Cuz I have to say, homie, that might take the record for shortest time between, uh, meeting and parting I’ve ever heard of. For, you know.” Taako gestures awkwardly at Kravitz’s forearm. With the crystals gone, they pull of the glove of their null-suit, rolling the sleeve up to display their own softly shimmering black tattoo.
Kravitz grins, shaking his head. “My Queen gave me some leeway, here. Besides, even She doesn’t know how you died and came back, only that it wasn’t necromancy. I’m here for Maureen, mainly.” Kravitz turns to N03ll3, a complicated look on his face. “You should come with me, too. You’re not supposed to be here either, though I can tell it wasn’t by choice.”
Magnus jumps in front of N03ll3, attempting to shield the massive robot body from Kravitz’s sight. “You said it, though. She didn’t choose this, she didn’t do anything wrong. Could you maybe just… take her back later? 20 years?”
Kravitz smirks. “Please, you haven’t lived twenty years in a stretch in your life, Magnus.” His face softening, he looks at N03ll3. Even as a robot, her body language is nervous, but not combative. “Let’s say… five. Five years to wrap up your loose ends, and then I’ll come get you. More than that and I’ll get in trouble, but you helped me out, here.” With that, Kravitz turns to Lucas, who's sitting on the floor in a puddle of his own piss. “You, nerd. I hate killing living people, and I don’t want to kill you now. But if I find out you’re practicing necromancy again you’re going in the Stockade before you can shit yourself. Got it?” Lucas frantically nods, wide-eyed.
Taako watches the negotiation, smirking at Kravitz’s intimidation of the shaking Lucas. Laughing softly, they nod. “What the hell, might as well get something good out of this shitty Candlenights. Hey, Bone daddy!” Kravitz turns towards Taako, a hopeful look on his face. “I’m… not sure I’m ready to be soulmates. And your timing is a bit wack, so I’m a little… But I’m willing to give it a shot. Gimme your frequency for Stone of Farspeech, and I’ll call you?”
Kravitz’s answering smile is soft and full of joy. “Take all the time you need.”
(Both of them pointedly ignore the quiet cheering of Magnus and Merle in the background, and Merle’s declaration of “I’m gonna call you two Taakitz!” Magnus mutters confusedly about “Twenty years at a stretch? What does that even mean?” But decides not to interrupt the potential lovebirds to ask.)