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Everything posted by Valentine

  1. Darkpine [Private]

    The woods were a quiet place of contemplation. Lex lay with his back braced against the trunk of a tree, his legs splayed out in front of him. He let out a long breath and rested the back of his head against the bark. He'd spent the remainder of his night out here, recovering from his drunken stupor. But in so doing, he'd come to a conclusion. He was better off dead. He'd spent the last few decades trying to make up for what he'd done in his past, the very worst of it. But just being witness to it, and doing nothing, was an inexcusable crime he could never be forgiven for. He wasn't sure there was any point in living. Lex looked up and saw the orange glow of the sun flickering through the branches of the trees. It was still early morning, but the sun was coming up at last. His skin felt warm, at first, it was pleasant. Something he hadn't felt in a long while, not that he was uncomfortable being a vampire. But imagine never feeling the sun on your skin. He held his arm up and looked at his hand in front of him. Little wisps of smoke rose up from his skin, and soon the comfort of the warmth turned to pain, but he grit his teeth and accepted it. As he sat there, he heard a pair of footsteps crunching through the leaves, and two familiar voices. Lex remained silent, but when he heard them react to seeing him, he spoke. "Leave me be!" He barked at them. "Ain't none o' yer business what ah do..." "Are you still drunk because that's a whole lot of stupid coming out of your mouth." Lily glared down at him before trying to pick him up. "My car isn't very far from here we need to get you home quickly!" Vivian rushed over and started trying to help Lily she simply kept muttering "Oh my gosh- Oh my gosh-" and looking back up to the sky to see how much time they had. "If ye had any sense like yer mother ye'd leave me alone, let an old vampire die, ain't nobody gonna miss him." Lex squirmed to break free but didn't want to use force as he knew he'd end up hurting them. "Just let me lie down there and ye can go on with yer day. Watch yer Hannah Montana or whatever ye girls are doin' this decade." At the Hannah Montana comment Lily let go and Vivian almost fell down with the sudden doubling of lex's weight. "Hannah Montana?? What do you think we are, six?!" She may have been upset but that didn't stop her from undoing her sarong skirt and throwing the green fabric over Lex to cover him from the sun. She was now topless and bottomless simply wearing a pair of nude colored panties. Her demeanor didn't seem uncomfortable though. "There that should buy us some time..." as she resumed trying to get Lex up. Vivian and Lily tried to hurriedly walk Lex to Lily's car. It was a couple minutes walk from where they had found him. Vivian then piped up, "I talked to my mom and despite how upset she seemed I don't think she would want you to kill yourself. You need to snap out of this!" Lily looked around the truck bed and grabbed a large sweatshirt while Vivian got Lex into the back seat of the Baja. The girls then jumped in the front and started driving. Lily glanced back at Lex, "Where is your house?" "On the outskirts, north o' town, off Park Rd. First left..." Lex muttered the details as he lay on the back seat. Lily followed Lex's directions and they soon found their way to a large modern house. "Wow this is nice..." Vivian said. She had leaned forward so she could view the whole home through the windshield window. Lily abruptly drove the car as close to the front door as she could to minimize sun time. She then turned around to question Lex, "You got a key I could borrow so we're not just standing in the sun for a while." "What ah need ah key for?" Lex muttered at her, "Keys are for keepin' people out, ah ain't got no problem wi' that..." Lily took that as the door was open. She jumped out and pushed the front door open, meanwhile Vivian walked around the car and helped Lex out making sure the green fabric was securely covering him as she ushered him quickly into his home. Lex could feel the heat of the sun burning his skin, even through the fabric of the skirt. He grimaced as the pain shot through him like wildfire through a forest. When they got inside, they shut the door behind them, and the house was enveloped in total darkness. It was only when the lights were turned on that any visibility returned, though, darkness was not a problem for Lex. "I'm goin' to lie down." He muttered, "Need t'sleep." He stumbled forwards and pulled the skirt off from his head. His face and throat were badly burnt, he looked like a burn ward victim, but as he walked, his skin slowly recovered. Burns were, thankfully, one of the few things that didn't scar. Else, he would be the most disfigured man in Darkpine, maybe the whole state. "Let the cat be." He muttered, as an afterthought and walked away to sleep off the alcohol, and UV light. "Ok, feel better... we'll uh, just be here if you need us..." Vivian watched as Lex walked off and turned to join Lily who was now simply looking around. The house was large and open, but all the windows were made with tinted glass. At first the girls couldn't see much, but they pulled out their cell phones to act as flashlights. There were numerous tall bookshelves filled with different novels. There was also a wall of doctor's degrees. The girls walked along glancing over all the different years Lex had gotten a degree. Vivian found herself drawn to all the books, while Lily stood in front of a picture she had found. It was of a woman, a bit of a tilted pout formed on Lily's face. "Wonder who this is..." She then reached her hand out to pick up the frame. Vivian glanced back over her shoulder. "Do you think Lex would mind if I took out some of these books to glance over?" "Put that down." Said a woman in an indignant tone. Lily quickly drew her hand back and spun around expecting to see someone, she flashed her phone light all around at eye level but didn't see anyone. "What the?!? Who's there." Meanwhile Vivian just looked stunned as she stared downwards. Lily saw her friend and had the light of her phone follow Vivian's gaze. "I said put that down, cretin. It does not belong to you!" Luna reaffirmed. The black cat with the long tail leapt onto the table the framed picture had sat on and twice in quick succession tapped her paw off the wood. "This instant." The little black cat warned. Lily scowled at the cat and took a few steps back, "Ugh... what on earth..." In stark contrast Vivian rushed forward. She bent down so her face was level with the cat. "Oh wow! Are you an enchanted cat? This is so neat! I had no idea there were spells that did that!" Luna pulled her head back and scowled at Vivian, "No I bloody well am not." Then turned her attention back to Lily, "Didn't you hear me? Put it down!" Lily placed the picture back on the table next to the cat, the grossed out look on her face not disappearing any time soon. Meanwhile Vivian was just thinking. "Y-you're not enchanted... then.... oh geez are you a cursed person?" Luna mimicked Lily's grossed out face then focused her attention on Vivian at last, something she'd said had caught her ear. Luna frowned and looked at the girls for a moment, then suddenly she realised why they were not currently running from the house like a couple of headless chickens. "...WITCHES!!" Luna howled, her ears folding back, her hackles raised and her tail almost doubled in circumference. Then she leapt from the table, intent on running to Lex. "WITCHES!!" She howled once again as she jumped. Lily snatched Luna up mid-leap, but made sure to hold her by the skin on the back of her neck. She held her a good distance away so that she wouldn't get scratched or bitten. "Now hey there don't go running and making a ton of noise. Lex had a terrible morning and needs some serious R and R." Vivian looked extremely upset as she circled around to Luna's front. "Look I'm sorry, by your current state I assume you must have had some bad run-ins with a witch or two, but me and Lily aren't here to hurt you! We were just bringing Lex home safe. He tried to... um... commit vampire suicide this morning." Luna hissed and batted her paws at Vivian's face in defiance until she mentioned suicide, and then Luna's rage fizzled out and she hung from Lily's grasp without resistance. She took a breath and then started squirming, "Let me go, cretin!" She mewled, returning to her usual self. "Not until you call me by my name, or at least something nicer than Cretin." Lily responded, but was met with an angry look from Vivian. Lily rolled her eyes and dropped Luna. "Fine..." She then walked back over to look at the picture again, but this time she didn't touch it. Vivian sat down on the ground giving Luna her full attention. "Is that normal behavior for him?" There was obviously concern in her voice so Luna could tell she was being genuine. "Hmph..." Luna closed her eyes and stuck her nose up at them. Instead, choosing to saunter back over to the table, whereupon she leapt up onto it and then pushed the frame back to it's original spot, then she whirled around and sat on the edge of the table and studied the two witches for a few moments. Eventually, she cleared her throat and spoke, "What do you suppose is normal?" She muttered. Vivian thought for a moment, that was a good point. "Um... I guess I don't really know..." She thought more for a while before responding. "I mean he must not try to kill himself very often otherwise he wouldn't still be alive right?" Lily whom was not paying attention to their conversation jutted in. "So miss black cat, is this you before your accident so to speak?" Luna mused on Vivian's words, but grew angry when Lily interrupted. "That's none of your bloody business who that is!" She snapped, but then she realised something. Luna studied Lily for a few seconds and then a cruel chuckle escaped her lips. "Oh, that?" She asked, raising her brow in surprise, as if she was only noticing now. "That is Lex's mate." Her grin widened and her tail flicked back and forth in little whipping motions. Lily looked saddened for a second, but that was quickly replaced with some forced ambivalence. "Mate huh? Didn't realize vampires imprinted. Thought that was a werewolf thing." At which point Vivian now perked up. "Imprinting?" Vivian questioned. Lily glanced over at her friend she didn't really want to be the one to explain that to her. "Um... ask Curtis about it. I'm not really sure on the facts anyways." "A werewolf thing?" Luna loosed a noise that sounded not entirely unlike a snort, "Maybe not the way you know it, but yes, a mate." She licked one of her paws and her hidden claws before continuing, as if she had all the time in the world. "Vampires live such long lives, that their mating rituals differ from most. After all, 'Til death do us part' is somewhat up in the air in their case, it's not a more or less guaranteed 80 years or so as humans would have it. Vampires are drawn to strength, so when one finds another attractive, they bond and stay together for a decade or two, until they decide to part ways. Sometimes vampires are closer, and remain together for much longer, but it's... unusual." Lily gave a little nod. "Got it, they're intense and probably vamp on vamp only since you know long lives and such with eternity and all... yadda yadda..." She glanced to the side with a huff, "This lady looks pretty basic anyways... guess I was expecting someone a little more badass... Figures." She then shrugged her shoulders and went to sit down next to Vivian. Vivian was still waiting for a response to her question, but when none came she asked again. "So is Lex depressed all the time or is this for a specific one time reason?" "To varying degrees." Luna replied coolly to Vivian, while quietly glaring at Lily. "For varying reasons." She added, taking a long and thoughtful breath as she looked around the house, "Long lives breed heavy memories and more pain forgotten than you will ever experience in one lifetime." Then she added, "I would not list the reasons, for you would wrongly hate him for what he is now, than what he was, as you should rightly." Then, as an afterthought, Luna leapt off the table and then pounced onto the sofa besides Lily, "Basic?" She rolled the word off her tongue like she was discarding a hairball, "You don't have a clue." She hissed and then straightened herself up and jerked her head at the painting, "That was a nordic woman called Alia. She was a human, like you. But unlike you, she was a fierce warrior. Many hundreds of years ago, Lex washed up on the shores of her village, half-drowned. A bear was ripping the flesh from his back, and eating it as fast as it would grow back. She killed it with her bare hands and nursed him back to health. They fell in love, Lex turned her, and they were together for nearly three hundred years. Come back to me when you've matched that, and we'll talk 'basic'." Lily frowned throughout the whole speech and when Luna was done she tried to shoo her away with her hands. "Alright alright, what are you? The guard cat of Lex's bitches, Christ, go back to talking to Vivian already..." Lily then swung her legs up on to the sofa and rested her head on the arm rest. Her large hoodie covered her like a short dress and she nuzzled into the couch getting comfortable. The girls had been awake all night and it was hard for Lily to stay awake. Vivian picked up Luna and walked to a rocking chair. She took a seat back and placed the cat on her lap. " You wouldn't know about anything in particular about my mother would you? Her name is Verra. I know Lex was involved with the group of vampires that killed her coven, but it sounded like he didn't actually murder any of them..." "Because he didn't." Luna yawned, resting her head on Vivian's lap. Vivian gave a little frustrated laugh. "Thanks that really cleared up everything... um... what's your name?" She asked as she slowly went to pet her. She wasn't sure if she was going to get scratched or not, but it was worth a try. Luna felt a hand slowly slide down her back, but she was too tired to complain, and it wasn't unpleasant, so she tolerated it, "Luna." She replied, "You get what you ask for." She added, in response to the girl's original question, "And it is polite to introduce yourself before asking a person's name." "Oh I'm sorry. I'm Vivian, and the smart mouth over there is Lily." Lily gave a little huff acknowledging the mention of her name before she passed out. "Well... why was Lex involved with a vampire gang... and more importantly what made him decide not to participate in killing people? I was under the impression vampires were well, a lot more evil than Lex seems to be." Vivian continued to pet Luna with a smile on her face. She interpreted this as Luna accepting her friendship, if not only minimally. "Like I said..." Luna yawned again, settling in. "Vampires are drawn to strength. They are not good or evil, they're just people. But they are attracted to challenge and hardship, and often seek it out. There are exceptions, but that is the 'norm' as you call it." She paused for a minute, enjoying a quiet moment for a while before continuing at her leisure, "Vampires don't need to kill, in order to feed. But some vampires believe that it's wrong to do so. Many vampires believe that when you feed on a person to the point of death, that a part of their essence is consumed as well, a part of their strength. So they believe they are keeping that person alive, in a way similar to how humans thank mythical beings for the animals they are going to consume. It's not good or evil, it just 'is'. Belief is a powerful thing, whether it's real or not... you'd have to ask Lex." She paused once again, the silence only interrupted by the quiet ticking of a nearby clock. "As to killing people, you refer to the night his group fell upon your coven, am I correct?" "Well yes... Not my coven though. My mother Verra's coven. When they were killed she moved to Darkpine and joined... my other mother's coven... which is now my coven." Vivian realized when she was done that explaining all that was probably irrelevant. "Yup, referring to that night." "It was your mother, Verra." Luna replied. "Lex had joined that group because their leader - a vampire called Serafino - was strong. Very strong. He united a number of fractured vampires and brought them together under a single banner. But he was as vicious as he was powerful, and he led them by his whim, slaughtering any who got in his way. You see," Luna stretched out and relaxed, "By Serafino's perspective, humans were put on this world to feed vampires, and he never cared much for their lives. Lex used to, well... he was... different, back then. Lex was sent by the council to ensure that Serafino was following their laws, but he was taken under Serafino's wing instead, and the two became the best of friends. It wasn't until Lex began to question Serafino, that loyalties began to divide. Lex stepped in to save Verra's life when she was just a child, and as a result he was forced to kill several vampires. He broke the first and most important law - vampires must not kill their own. Lex was stripped of his position, banished, but could not be killed as he should have been, as he was once..." Luna's voice trailed off as her breathing slowed and she started to drift off. "Wait wait, once... what?!" She abruptly stopped petting Luna so she might wake up and finish what she was saying. "...Once..." Luna yawned, then blinked and pulled herself awake, "What...?" She yawned, "Oh... once..." She sighed, closing her eyes again, and drifting off to sleep, muttered, "... once... was a... vampire prince..." Then she fell to sleep, purring.
  2. Konoha Gaiden [Private]

    [Chain Explosion] Their trap had worked. Observing Keigo and Ren from a distance, the two had separated and Keigo was almost taken out in the blast. Ren had fallen back to search for possible survivors, but he had no idea what had happened to his partner. Yuri and Kaoru followed him, quickly and quietly. Ren was a mountain of muscle, his endurance seemed neverending and they were struggling to keep up, especially Yuri. Ren leapt from a branch, breaking it as he stepped off, forcing Yuri and Kaoru to take another path in their pursuit. He hadn't noticed them yet, once he came to a stop, they could set a trap and take him out as quickly as possible. Yuri just had to get close enough to plant some of her Tsukimono bugs on him and then she'd have the advantage, a common tactic her clan employed. Weaken the enemy through their symbiotic bond with their bugs, empowering themselves so that even in an overwhelming fight, a Satomi clan member could overcome the odds by consuming the strength of their fallen foes. Yuri and Kaoru landed on a nearby branch as Ren fell to the forest floor and began to search. "Now." Kaoru whispered to her, "When I give the word, I want you to throw everything you have at him, and I mean it, Yuri. We need to stop him, if he survives then there's no telling what we could be up against. Are you ready?" Kaoru clasped her on the shoulder, reassuring her. Yuri shook her head and looked down at Ren. "But he doesn't even... what if he's not really a bad person?" Yuri asked. "He is." Kaoru replied. "But how do you know?" She whispered back. "They were a part of my village, remember?" He replied, looking down at Ren. "Now, we have only one chance..." Yuri swallowed, she wasn't ready. She didn't feel even remotely ready. Not to fight, not to take a life. But that didn't change the fact that she had to. She turned to face Ren who was busy inspecting the ground, likely looking for some kind of trail to pick up. Yuri raised her sleeves and felt the rush of warmth leave her body as millions of Tsukimono bugs evacuated from every part of her body, every pore. The black cloud flew into the air and she silently commanded them to disperse and, as always, they followed her commands without question. That was the price of the bond. She was their host, but they were her army. She could feel them disperse all around Ren. They were crawling on the ground towards him, they were flying in the air above him. They came from every direction. There was no way for him to escape now, he was totally surrounded. Yuri pulled the sleeve back from one arm and held her hand out in front of her, she turned it over, palm facing up, and then closed it into a fist with a swift motion. Her bugs surged forwards, Ren had time enough to gasp as the cloud descended on him, trapping him. The black mass surrounding him, weighing him down. He collapsed to one knee, just a black humanoid mass now. Yuri tightened her fist until her knuckles were white. "What's wrong?!" Kaoru asked, seeing the pained expression on Yuri's face. "It's doing nothing!!" She yelled, panicking. [Heavy Violence] A shapeless black arm raised up to where Ren's head had to have been, and then with a great show of strength, it ripped a great swath of Tsukimono bugs from his face. Ren's eye peeked out from beneath the human-shaped Tsukimono mass. "Company?" He asked, casually. Then he leapt into the air and slammed himself into the ground, killing the bugs on his back. He stood up and ran head-first into the nearest tree, crushing more of the bugs and toppling the tree. He did this two or three more times until there was almost nothing left on him. Yet, he remained unscathed. He had not so much as a single scratch on him. He was not weakened from chakra loss, or poison. Her bugs had been completely ineffective. "H-how?!" Yuri could barely speak. "This isn't the movies, kid." Ren replied, brushing off the last black specks, "I'm not going to explain my strengths and weaknesses to a stranger." He laughed, "I'm not that dumb." Then he took a deep breath and let it out, "Now come down from there, so we can talk." "Liar!" Kaoru snapped. He started to form seals and lightning fast, Ren launched himself into their tree, smashing it to pieces. Yuri and Kaoru fell to the ground, but before they could crash into it, Ren leapt up and grabbed Kaoru by the throat, while kicking Yuri in the stomach. She coughed blood and soared backwards, hitting the forest floor and coming to a stop a few feet away. "It's rude to call people names." Ren muttered, looking at the choking Kaoru with a sad expression on his face. "I'm--" Kaoru tried to speak. "I don't care who you are." Ren growled, and headbutted Kaoru, knocking him unconscious. He threw the boy aside and turned his attention to Yuri. "Now you, you're a Konoha ninja. You're just the sort of person i'm looking for." He grinned, and casually strode towards her. "L-leave me alone!" Yuri spat, trying to pull herself to her feet. She could barely breathe, every time she tried to draw in air it was like she was trying to inhale glass. This man hit harder than anyone she'd ever known, harder than her sister, harder even than her mother. She couldn't get hit like that again, she wasn't sure she'd survive. Yuri glanced over at Kaoru's lifeless body and a rage built up inside her. "I'll kill you!!" She snarled, trying to steady herself as she stood up. "That's more like it." Ren nodded, "Give me a fight, see if you can make me bleed." Yuri took one last breath and then raised her head, blinking back the duplicates her eyes were showing her of Ren. She raised her arms and flicked her sleeves back, bringing her hands together. She formed a single seal and held it, pressing her forefingers together to face the sky. "Bugs." Ren laughed, "What a one trick po--" [Kenkonitteki] Yuri opened her mouth and spat. The thick white fluid flew at Ren's face faster than a kunai. He was too close, and it was too fast. It splashed into his face and for a moment, he didn't react. He wiped the glob of spit off his confused face, opened his mouth to speak, and instead, a scream came out. He clutched at his eyes as darkness slowly replaced the forest and the last thing he saw, was Yuri standing defiantly before him. "What did you do?!" He screamed. "Isn't it obvious..." Yuri straightened up, clutching her stomach where Ren had hit her. "You're blind." For a moment, panic spread over Ren's face, but it was quickly replaced with rage. "You trained your body, but you couldn't train your eyes." She added, and then held her right hand up, clutching it into a fist. A fine black coating of Tsukimono bugs formed over it and then she started running. Yuri wasn't nearly as fast as Jin, she knew that. But she was strong. She was strong. She could find a weakness in his armoured skin, but only if she could disable his ability to counter her lack of speed. She started running as fast as her legs would carry her. Yuri opened her mouth and roared as she closed the gap on Ren. The enormously muscled man raised his boxing glove-sized fists to block, but Yuri was ready. Unable to see where she was, he couldn't block her. She slid beneath his guard, rose up and brought her fist up underneath Ren's jaw as hard as she could. She heard the crack as her Tsukimono-covered fist collided, and she felt give. She had broken his jaw. Ren wailed and grabbed at his face and tried to get hold of Yuri, but she deftly dodged out of the way and took a step back, when she felt a sharp pain in her shoulder and collapsed to the floor, unconscious. [Yogensha] "You're here..." Ren muttered, through clenched teeth. He tried to move his jaw as little as possible. "It's funny that you can see better now without your eyes." Ren shook his head irritably, and grunted. He sat down and sighed, rubbing his sweat-beaded forehead. He could relax at last, he wasn't running any more. He had served his purpose, been true to his leader. They were on the right path. "Now?" He asked. "Yes, now." They responded, their tone calm and soothing, "Are you ready?" They asked. "Good luck..." He winced, as he spoke. Then straightened up, and looked ahead into darkness. He felt a woman's hands grasp his head on either side, softly, lovingly. Then, there was a sudden snap, and he collapsed to the floor. A soft tap as feet left the ground, and then silence. Even the birds and insects of the forest had fallen silent. [Anun] "Yuri!!" Kaoru yelled out, running towards his friend. He knelt over her and checked her pulse, she was alive. But she was hurt. He looked over at Ren and studied the man for a moment, his neck was snapped. He knew that Yuri hadn't done that. "K-Kaoru..." Yuri groaned, opening one eye and blinking as the light flickering through the trees of the forest dazed her. "W-what happened?" "I don't know, you attacked Ren and nothing happened, we started fighting and Ren knocked me out, but when I came to and tried to help you, well... the last thing I remember is a sharp pain and waking up to find you next to him." "What?!" Yuri sat bolt upright, her head spinning. She looked at Ren, and realised then that he was dead. "I don't understand, I didn't..." "I'm sure you didn't." Kaoru nodded, "I think the same person who knocked you out, did the same thing to me." "But... why?" She asked, "They waited until I was winning against Ren to..." She trailed off, trying to think. "They likely wanted to assess your abilities, and stopped you when it looked like you were going to win." "But, they killed him...?" Yuri frowned, standing up slowly and shuffling over to Ren's body to look at him in silence. Kaoru stood and sighed, "It's a sad reality of being a shinobi, Yuri." He replied, "They were likely afraid you would get information out of him, like this, there is very little you can gain but insights into his own abilities. Nothing on his mission or goals." "It's a cruel thing to kill your own comrade..." Yuri muttered, sniffing. "It is. But sometimes the alternative is far worse." Kaoru took Yuri by the shoulder, "You know where Hisato is?" He asked. Yuri nodded, "Good, then return to him, I will hide the body for my village to retrieve later." "Alright..." Yuri started off, but stopped as she reached to touch her belt. It was where she had wrapped her konoha forehead protector, using it like a buckle, beneath her bandaged lower torso. Yuri looked down and frowned when she felt only cloth, "Oh... my protector..." "Your what?" Kaoru asked, walking up to her. "I..." Yuri looked around, "I've lost my forehead protector." "Oh, like this?" Kaoru pointed at his own, from Kusagakure. "Yeah... I can't find it, maybe it fell off when Ren hit me..." Yuri shook her head, "I can't see it anywhere. Damn..." "I'll look for it before I leave, alright?" Kaoru replied with a smile. "Yeah, but don't put yourself out, I can always get another when I get home." She smiled back at Kaoru. "You did a great job, Yuri. I know it doesn't feel like that right now, but you did." Kaoru nodded at her, and Yuri only smiled weakly in response before setting off. After a minute or so, Kaoru turned to look at Ren's body and grabbed him by one arm. He then lifted the arm, and dragged the body effortlessly into a nearby bush. Then he returned to the clearing, and let out a long-held breath. From his pocket, he pulled out a strip of black cloth and held it up, looking at it. Then he turned it over, unfolded it, and looked at the unblemished metal band of Yuri's Konohagakure forehead protector, and smiled.
  3. Konoha Gaiden [Private]

    [Morning] "I'm so hungry..." Yuri muttered, holding her stomach as it growled. "I'm going to order everything on the menu, my dad's ramen is the best!" Hisato gave her a wary glance as they walked down the street, noticing the sign, 'Ibiki's Ramen' just ahead. He shook his head and grinned at the two young Genin. Ibiki looked hard at work behind the stall, several customers were sat on the stools enjoying the warmth of the sun on their back, and the heat of the ramen in their bellies. A man and a woman got up, thanked Ibiki and left. "Ahoy, Ibiki!!" Hisato called, raising his hand. "Oh, Hisato!" Ibiki nodded to the man and they greeted one another as friends. "I see you've brought a couple of hard-working shinobi-in-training." "Hi, dad." Yuri grinned sheepishly. Ibiki turned and looked at the other Genin, the young boy. "Red hair, blue eyes. You're a Hideo, if ever I saw one. You must be Jin." "That's me." Jin said with a short bow. "I didn't expect people to know that. I mean, most people only know my dad and he looks nothing like me." Ibiki and Hisato exchanged a look. "So," Hisato clapped his hands together, "What are we getting?" Ibiki looked at Yuri and then turned to look back at the clock on the back of the stall, "Yuri, you gotta be going, don't you?" "Huh?" Yuri looked up from behind a large menu. "Oh, Mira!" She thumped her fist off the counter, "I have training, I totally forgot." Hisato turned to face her and shook his head, "You'll get your training during our mission, we're eating and then we're leaving." "Oh... alright, Hisato-sensei." Yuri replied, looking back at her menu. "--and that." Hisato turned to hear Jin finish ordering and Ibiki handed him the bill and began cooking. Hisato took one glance at the bill, muttered something about it not being a real number, then wished Yuri well on her training and told her to return as quickly as possible. He really didn't need another mouth to feed. "Right!!" Yuri nodded and leapt off the stool. She was going to be late, Mira wasn't going to appreciate that one bit. [Different Sky] It took a few minutes to reach her house, even sprinting there, but she made it. She ran through her house, and walked out the back door into an expansive garden. Well, to call it a garden would be an understatement. It was more like a small wood. Perfect conditions for secluded training - and insects. "You're late." Mira stated, her voice was even and quiet, but still upheld absolute authority. It was in those respects that out of Yuri and Mira, her sister was far more like her mother. "We're going to train twice as hard, then." She added. Yuri groaned, but one look from Mira silenced her. "Get ready." Mira walked away, turning her back to Yuri and waited in silence. "Are we picking up from last time?" Yuri asked cautiously. "We are." Mira replied. Her sister was beautiful, but cold. Mira had long silky hair, unlike her unruly, wavy mess. She was tall and well-proportioned, and she wore a long dark green coat with one sleeve missing. Her exposed arm was covered in bandages. Her sister had an enormous gourd on her back, and a similar pair of goggles to her own, obscuring her eyes. Before Yuri could ask her next question, Mira whirled around, launching herself at her without reservation. Yuri had time enough to raise her hands to block, but that was all. Mira collided with her, and Yuri flew across the ground and landed roughly. She drew in air, gasping. Her forearms were numb with pain. "Faster." Mira commented. [Keisei Gyakuten] "Alright!" Yuri snapped, lifting herself off the ground. She cracked her knuckles and then lifted her long-sleeved arms. A thick black cloud flew out from the ends and swiftly swarmed towards Mira. She was completely surrounded, there was no escape. "You can't expect to beat me, not with them." Mira replied, "Your Tsukimono are in disarray, maybe a casual observer can't see, but they have no cohesion, see?" Mira lifted one forefinger and from it spewed a thick, black cloud. It was far smaller in size than Yuri's but it expanded and swarmed over Yuri's insects. In seconds, the larger cloud fell away until there was a fine coating of dead insects laying on the ground. "Now, see the strength of a cohesive Tsukimono user!" Mira barked, and held her arm out in front of her. The dark mist of insects descended on her arm, as a black mass swept over it and spiked outwards, forming a blade. The form held tight, and glistened with moisture. "My insects have locked and formed a structure, like this, their shells are harder than steel. Their saliva can excrete any chemical I choose, and apply it to the blade. Don't get hit!!" Mira leapt high into the air, Yuri tried to follow her movements, but to her surprise, the body in the air dissolved into a black mist. She leapt forwards, sure in the knowledge that her sister had to be right behind her. Her guess was spot on. She narrowly avoided being gutted. But despite her instincts, the blade still knicked the back of her leg and as she took her next step, her leg failed her entirely and she crumpled to the floor, unable to stand back up. "They feed on chakra, you should know that. But more so, in this form, they can temporarily absorb the chakra pathways, disabling an opponent's ability to form chakra to that point, or even control their body." Mira walked around and looked down at her sister. "You expected to dodge me? You're too slow, too weak. Our clan can't use genjutsu, nor can we use powerful ninjutsu outside our Tsukimono bugs. You have to rely on them, and on your taijutsu. Those are our strongest tools, and yet you haven't mastered either." [Caution] "You're really startin' to piss me off..." Yuri growled, holding her leg in discomfort. It felt as though she'd lost a limb, she couldn't feel it at all, just a dull pain above where she'd been struck. "I know you're stronger than me, I can't... it's not my fault, you're a Jounin and i'm just a Genin!" "It's not my fault, i'm too young, you're too strong." Mira shook her head, the blade surrounding her bandaged arm melted away and dissipated into nothing. "Excuses. When I was your age, I wasn't nearly as weak-willed. I've seen your comrade, even he has a stronger will than you." "Shut up!" Yuri's eyes welled up and she grabbed hold of her sister's ankle, "You're so mean! Just stop it, alright! Help me up!" Mira yanked her leg out of Yuri's grasp and then bent over and grabbed her by her jacket and harshly pulled her to her feet. "I'm only doing this, because you have a mission. You cannot be allowed to hinder your comrades." A warm rush of energy cascaded over Yuri's body, and she felt her leg return to normal, she even felt as though she hadn't just fought her sister. She felt good as new. "Why can't you be more like dad..." Yuri muttered, pushing her sister off her. Mira looked at her but didn't reply, eventually she took a deep breath and answered with something else. "The chain is only as strong as it's weakest link." Mira started to leave, "You are the weak link. In our family, and in your team. Change that." Then Yuri was left in the wood on her own. She slowly tried to unclench her fists, she had held them so tight that it hurt as she uncurled her fingers. She took a deep breath and tried to shake off her sister's antagonising attitude. She was often insulting and difficult to live with, but she'd never been quite so hard on her before. Right now, she wasn't sure her sister even liked her. No, she thought to herself. She was sure Mira didn't like her. [The Raising Fighting Spirit] "What in the hell?!" Yuri yelled, though her voice was drowned out by all the commotion. She arrived back at Ibiki's ramen shop to see her father trying to grab Hisato-sensei, while throwing bowls, ladles and all manner of utensils. Hisato dodged them expertly, but then noticed Yuri, "It's time to go!!" He called to her, then a stray spoon clocked him in the side of his head and he went down. Her father dashed out from behind the stall and made to grab him, but as he laid his hands on Hisato, he vanished in a puff of smoke. Ibiki barely had enough time to yell an obscenity as Hisato disappeared into the horizon, literally dragging Jin and Yuri by the scruff of their necks. "Sorry dad!!" Yuri yelled back. [Evening] "Hey, uh, sorry about that." Hisato said at last. They'd been on the road for a little while now, and the sun was waning in the distance. They'd covered a lot of ground, but everyone had been fairly quiet. Yuri figured if it was anything like her, it was the anticipation of their first mission and everything that meant. "I didn't realise Jin was gonna eat quite so much, and--" He pulled out his wallet and opened it. A little moth flew to freedom and he sighed. "Yeah, well... we'll make a lot on this mission, so i'll be able to pay your father back when we get home, alright?" "Y-yeah..." Yuri replied, a bemused expression on her face. "Where are we going anyway?" "We're heading to Kusagakure." Hisato replied. "The... hidden grass village?" Yuri frowned in confusion. "Mm!" Hisato replied, "Kusa have no allegiance to the other major villages, but they lie on our border, so sometimes they ask for assistance, and we've always had an amicable relationship with them. Weird place, though. Forests of bamboo and giant mushrooms." Hisato scratched his beard thoughtfully, "We hold the Chuunin exams there, sometimes." "W-wait!" Jin said, his voice a little panicked, "We're not doing the Chuunin exams now, are we? I-I'm not ready!" "Ha ha!" Hisato's laugh was deep and throaty, "You ain't kiddin', kid." He shook his head, "Well neither of you are, but that's alright. We're just starting out, that day will come. No, Kusa has asked us for assistance in dealing with a rogue ninja.""They abandoned their village?" Yuri asked."Mmm..." Was Hisato's only response, his face was grave."But why are they asking us?" Jin said. "I mean, they have their own ninja, right? That doesn't make much sense.""True, they could send out more of their own ninja to deal with the rogue element." Hisato replied, "But there's a lot of politics involved." "I don't care about politics." Yuri muttered, folding her arms. "You're gonna have to, soon enough." Hisato muttered back at her, "Whether you like it or not." He groaned, obviously from personal experience, "Anyway... Kusagakure are a small village. They don't have the same systems in place as other major villages. They don't have hunter-nin's, for one. But that doesn't mean they couldn't track down their own ninja. The problem is that Kusagakure is surrounded by several different nations, to recapture a powerful rogue ninja, without a dedicated capture force, would require a lot of manpower. They're concerned that if they empty their village of shinobi, then they could be attacked by a hostile force." "So they think two Genin and one Jounin can help?" Jin said, raising his brow questioningly. "Am I the only one who thinks that sounds kinda stupid?""You're right." Hisato replied, "It's not the best solution. But it comes back to politics and the facts of life." "Ugh..." Yuri groaned, "Wait... are we supposed to capture a Jounin?!" "Yes." Hisato replied, without a beat. "Unfortunately, Konoha is stretched thin right now, and we didn't have the resources to commit a stronger force to this. But Konoha couldn't refuse, either. Kusa asked in order to foster a better relationship with us, so we can't really refuse without breaking all ties with them. Politics are stupid." Hisato let out a short sigh, "But," He added, with a hopeful tone, "I'll be able to track him down and capture him, with both your help, of course.""Awesome." Jin said, rolling his eyes. "I'm gonna die on my first mission because a bunch of old crusties want to play nice. Just great.""Now you're gettin' politics." Hisato replied with a throaty laugh and patted Jin roughly on the back. Up ahead, the path veered into a darker section of the forest, and to the right-hand side of the road, was an old tea house. It looked as though it had seen better days."Last stop before Kusagakure, I should think. Let's get something to eat and drink, take a little break, then push on, okay?" Hisato smiled at them. "But... you don't have any money." Yuri frowned. "I didn't say I was buying." Hisato grinned, clapping them both on the shoulder, and marched them inside. [senya] The tea house was laden with the heavy scent of perfume and cooked fish. For such a small and out of the way place, it was surprisingly busy. Most of the seated areas were taken. The ceiling was clogged with a layer of smoke and the kitchen at the back looked like it had a lot of orders on. The hot food smelled delicious and they hadn't eaten since breakfast. In fact, Yuri hadn't eaten at all. Her stomach was past the point of growling now, and had gone on the offensive, giving her hunger pains. She ran to the front desk and ordered food immediately, as Hisato and Jin sat down on padded cushions surrounding a short table. She joined her comrades and sat down, looking forward to the hot food."A lot of people must come through here..." She mused, looking around at the other faces. Most of them seemed uninterested in their group. "Hey Jin, have you ever left the village before?" Yuri asked. "Once or twice, I think." Jin replied. "Sometimes my mom and dad would take me to a little village by the coast for a few days. It's actually one of the few times we got to be together. My mom... well... she goes on a lot of important missions. So she isn't home all that often. What about you, Yuri?""Not really, well..." Yuri thought for a moment, "I mean, outside the village, in the forest, sure. But never this far. I think when I was really little, my parents took me out like that, but, I don't really remember." Yuri was pulled from her thoughts when her food arrived. She'd ordered half the things on the menu, and she started eating ravenously. Soon after, a tray of green tea and sweet cakes were brought to their table, they thanked the waiter and ate in silence for a few minutes, enjoying the relaxing atmosphere. "Excuse me, may I sit?" Yuri looked up to see a tall man. He had short black hair, pale skin and dark green eyes. He was covered with a dark green poncho. He glanced in her direction and she blushed and went back to eating - though with a lot more decorum than before. Hisato looked him over and then nodded, "Go ahead, it's busy here." "It often is." He replied, sitting beside Jin. "Hello.""Hi." Jin said with a mouthful of food. "I'm Jin, nice to meet you.""And you." The man replied, "My name is Kaoru." He bowed to Jin, "I see you are from the leaf, what brings you into our fine country? I'm travelling to Kusagakure, is that also your point of destination?" He asked, smiling. "Uh..." Jin looked over to Hisato for some help. "...We're... going to visit... a... uh... my grandma... is sick?"Kaoru smiled at Jin and turned to look at Hisato, "I didn't know ninja took their leaders on personal errands." "He's just trying to protect his team. Albeit he is a terrible liar." Hisato replied with a grin, "Good to finally meet you, Kaoru." "And you, Lion of the East." Kaoru replied. Yuri watched the interchange between the two men and glanced at Jin, giving him a 'what the hell is going on' look, as best she could. Kaoru caught her look and laughed. "This is Kaoru," Hisato smiled at Jin, "He is our contact with Kusagakure. He's going to assist us in recapturing the rogue ninja.""Well that's a relief." Jin said with a sigh. "So you're a Jounin as well, then?""I'm sorry, no." Kaoru scratched the back of his head, slightly embarrassed. "Well, y'see, uh... haha..." "Kaoru is a Genin." Hisato replied for him. "As I said, Kusa can't lose so much as a single Jounin right now." "But, I know our forests like the back of my hand, and i'm also a tracker!" Kaoru folded his arms, "Better at tracking than half our Jounin, anyway..." He added, proudly. Yuri wasn't sure how much of that was truth, or just boasting. But either way, she didn't care. She liked Kaoru, but she wasn't sure she could talk to him right now, so she just continued to eat in silence. "That's cool." Jin said with a nod. "Yuri is pretty good at tracking too. Maybe with both of you helping each other we can get this job done in no time, right?""Yeah, I hope so!" Kaoru replied excitedly, "I have my own training to get back to, though if I finish this mission successfully then I can take part in the next Chuunin exams. Have either of you taken your exams yet?" Kaoru asked, looking to Yuri. She looked up for a moment, shook her head and lowered it once again. "Oh, well, not to worry." Kaoru laughed his question off, "So, what are your strengths and weaknesses, Jin?" "I'd say I'm pretty fast." Jin said. "I learned Taijutsu from my dad, and he's the personal bodyguard of the Hokage. In terms of weakness... hmm... well I don't really know that much ninjutsu."Yuri choked on her food and swallowed with a degree of difficulty, coughing loudly. She reached forwards and drank her tea in a single gulp and, once she'd found her voice, it was framed by disbelief, "Isamu-sama's your dad?!" "Uh, yeah." Jin said, looking a little confused. "I thought you knew. I mean everyone knows who my dad is..." "W-well..." Yuri frowned, "I... my mother introduced me to him, and he trains me sometimes, but...""Really?" Jin said, looking excited. "Hey! We should spar sometime! We can see which one of us he taught the best! Oh... who's your mom?""Uh, well..." Yuri touched her sleeves together like a monk, and beneath them she pressed her forefingers together nervously, "My mom, she uh..." Yuri swallowed and looked at Hisato, but his face was expressionless, "Satomi Masa. The Hokage." Kaoru's attention immediately refocused on Yuri."Uwaaaah!?" Jin cried as he fell over on to his side, his legs dangling in the air. "You're the Hokage's... daughter!?""Mm..." She nodded quietly. Yuri looked up and saw her team and Kaoru focusing on her, her face felt hot."That's..." Jin sat up, pausing for a moment. "That's... pretty awesome! Yuri... your mom is a badass!"For a moment, Jin's comments didn't register. Yuri blinked (though nobody could have seen it) and frowned. She wasn't used to people her age reacting in that way. Mostly, they just told her to 'buzz off', or some other insect-related insult. Yuri had never had many friends as a child. She perked up and smiled at Jin. Okay, he didn't like bugs, but maybe this could work. "Alright, that's enough of that." Hisato let out a content sigh, "Ready to go Kaoru?" Their guide nodded, and so they stood and left the tea house."Oh..." Yuri spoke up as they walked back onto the path, "What's our target's name?" She asked. Hisato glanced at Kaoru and they said her name, together. "Oshiro Ayame... The Crimson Field."
  4. Darkpine [Private]

    The forest was quiet tonight. The birds had stopped singing, the insects had stopped chirping. Only the sound of the wind, and a set of uneven footsteps working their way towards the residence of the Clearwater coven. He was finding it difficult to walk in a straight line, in spite of his usual grace. "Bad idea Speirs, ye gon' get blown up, ah tell ye what..." He muttered to himself, then stumbled into a tree and had to use it to support his weight for a few seconds. He took a deep swig from a large bottle of whiskey and then he slowly pushed on. It wasn't the first time he'd gotten drunk and gone for a stroll in the woods, but it was the first time he'd done so when the Clearwater coven had been in town. At least, with their new addition. Verra. Verra Clearwater was the reason Lex was walking up towards their house, guided by the lights left on in the house, and the distant sound of voices he could hear. Many years ago, he had been part of a clan of vampires that took to drinking the blood of witches. Not an uncommon thing, as witch blood is like opium to vampires, not only that, but it lets them walk in the daylight, albeit only for as long as the blood is in their system. The unusual thing was the voracity and the frequency of their attacks, and Verra's coven had been his last stop with his clan. It had been the turning point in his eternity. You might call it a revelation. Needless to say, he had done much wrong in his life, and had spent a long while trying to make it right. He wasn't even close to that, and maybe he never would be, but tonight was another night that he went through the woods drunk. Drowning his self-hatred in cheap alcohol. But tonight, he wasn't going home. Lex half stumbled up the stairs of the porch, almost falling in the process, and knocked on the door. One of the many issues with being a vampire is, unlike most of the myths and legends, in most cases a vampire can't enter a house uninvited. Thankfully, as he was pressed up against the door, trying not to collapse where he stood, he heard voices outside. Lex took a few breaths, and then marched on like a good soldier should. After a short and semi-diagonal walk, Lex saw a large bonfire, and behind it an enormous tree. His eyes drifted up to see where it ended, when he heard a gasp and he looked back down. Stood in front of him were Vivian, and Lily - who was naked from the waist up, with muddy hand-prints on her breasts. "Y'all 're naked?" Lex's face screwed up in confusion, and then his gentlemanly disposition slowly pushed through his drunken stupor and he apologised and started to turn around, unfortunately he lost his balance and collapsed to the floor and tried to rest his forehead on a raised knee. Vivian and Lily stood staring at Lex a bit dumbfounded at first. When he mentioned Lily being naked Vivian quickly jumped in front of her friend to block her body from view. As she darted over Vivian finally found her words. "Lex?! What are you doing here?" After he fell down Lily piped up. "Um... he looks drunk." Vivian gave Lily a confused look. "Vampires drink alcohol?" Lily shrugged in response. Vivian then walked around to Lex's front and looked down at him on the ground. "...hi..." Slowly, Lex raised his head and narrowed his eyes, trying to focus on Vivian, "Y'all 're dressed now, ah jus'..." He tried to pull himself to his feet but fell back on his ass, "Ah shouldn'uh... stand by... can' jus' take it back, y'know?" He shook his head and took another swig from his bottle, then rested his forehead against the lip of the bottle and after a moment's silence, he half-shouted, "Vampire's drink!! ... like anyone is like... somethin'..." Lily was standing behind him clutching her mouth and stomach, doubled over in laughter. Meanwhile Vivian was just flabbergasted. She looked down at the drunken vampire with no idea what to do. "Lex what are you going on about..?" She began to ask, but then realized none of this mattered, before he could answer she continued. "Nevermind- you have got to go, if you are here when my mothers... when the whole coven gets here! I have no idea! Oh my gosh!" Vivian quickly bent down and tried to help Lex get to his feet. She looked over Lex's shoulder at Lily and yelled, "Help Me!" "Gerroff me, woman! Don' man-handle me now!" Lex pulled away but felt a second pair of hands hoisting him to his feet. He wobbled, but managed to remain upright and then narrowed his eyes at Vivian and shook his head, "Yeh got ah stupid face... ah got ye..." He looked down and held out the bottle to her, "... this." Then started to walk past Vivian, "VERRA!!" He yelled out. "I'm sorry... VERRA!!" Vivian took the bottle, the perplexed look on her face quite permanent now. Then when she heard him yelling her mother's name she was even more confused. "Wait! H-how do you know my mom!? Lex? Sorry for what?!" She ran over back in front of him to stop him. "Hey stop right there. What are you going on about?" Grinding to a halt, Lex swayed in front of Vivian for a few seconds before becoming indignant, "What yeh stoppin' me for? Jus' tryin' ah make it right..." He muttered, and pushed past her and sniffed the air a few times, trying to scent Verra. Vivian just stood and looked at Lily. "Do you have any idea what is happening?" Lily nodded her head very seriously. "Um, yea. A drunk vampire is looking to make things right with your mom. Pretty obvious V. How bad could that possibly turn out?" Lily's voice was dripping with sarcasm. Vivian's phone chimed and she looked down to see a text message from Penelope. - Me and your mom are on our way! Need any help with set up? - Vivian then began to shake her phone up and down. Looking at Lily desperately. "What do I do?!" "Gimme that!" Lex held his hand out expectantly, "I'll call 'er an' explain ah am tryyyyin' to say i'm sorry." He let out a deep breath and then something changed his mind and he turned and stumbled back towards the house, "Say ah can go inside, else ah can't, so go on now..." Vivian instinctively threw the phone to Lily who immediately began to type a response while Vivian chased after Lex. "No! No no no you can't go into my house!" Meanwhile Lily texted Penelope back. - Actually we could use some more dye for the mud and we can't find our moonstone crystals. Could you get those before coming down here? - "Can' tell me what t'do... god-dammit..." Lex clomped up the steps and stared at the closed door of the Clearwater home for a few seconds before indignantly grabbing the handle and breaking the lock by twisting it sharply, the door swung open and he strode inside. At least, he attempted to. His foot pushed forwards into the house and then it was as though an enormous hand had grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and thrown him back out. He flew a good distance and hit the ground roughly where he remained stationary, too tired and drunk to pick himself back up. "Stupid house, 's just ah curse don' matter t'me, is all..." He let his head drop and rest against the cool ground. Penelope came out of the house looking confused and angry. Verra stood behind her trying to see what was happening. Penelope rounded on Vivian who was standing next to Lex. "Vivian what on earth is happening here?" Vivian shook her head frantically. "I... uh... you see..." Completely lost for words. Lily managed to just catch up, she then looked from Vivian's phone in her hand up to Penelope and spoke up. "Heh... well we don't need that stuff anymore Mrs. Clearwater... um yea... probably not." Penelope came down the stairs and glared at Lex. "Who are you? And why are you on my property?" Meanwhile Verra now stood in the doorway looking at Lex with widened eyes as if he was a ghost, utter horror on her face. "Who're you?!" Lex retorted at Penelope, turning onto his side, trying to find a more comfortable position to sleep on, "Nobody, thas' what..." Vivian let out a sigh. "He's sort of a friend... who is drunk." Penelope gave her a stern look. "Well he needs to go home, we have a lot going on tonight. Everyone will be arriving here in a matter of minutes. You know better than this Vivian." Verra looked bewildered at how normal everyone was being. She ran out and pulled Vivian back towards her and onto the porch. "Everyone inside now!" She then grabbed Penelope and pulled her back as well. Verra wasn't the sort to give orders so Penelope looked at her a bit concerned. "Honey what's wrong?" But Verra wasn't listening to her. "IN THE HOUSE!" While that commotion was happening Lily walked over to Lex and with medium strength kicked him. "Hey, buddy, you gotta go. Come on..." "I'm shish hundred, ok?!" Lex half-yelled at Lily, thinking he was being attacked by Curtis and confused about where he was and what he was doing. He soon returned to muttering to himself, "I'm sorry, Verra..." Lex's eyes welled and he curled up. Verra froze again and then her fear turned to anger. "'re sorry...?" Her voice was scary calm before she erupted. "YOU'RE SORRY!?" There was a lot of cursing in Spanish as she took a couple quick steps forward and raised her arm. As she did a ball of light began to form in her hand. Penelope who was knocked out of her stupor wrapped her arms around Verra and picked her up. "Whoa whoa whoa!" She lifted her and brought her into the house. In the confusion Vivian ran after them and looked back at Lily before she shut the door. "You gotta get him outta here." Lily rolled her eyes as all the Clearwaters were now gone inside the home. She looked down at Lex as she crossed her arms over her chest. "Can't take you anywhere... jeez." "Ain't goin' nowhere with ye... gon' stay right here." Lex muttered with his eyes still closed, letting out a tired sigh. Then after a few moments of silence he slowly opened his eyes and pulled himself up, stumbling back out into the forest.
  5. Konoha Gaiden [Private]

    [Nakama] It had been a long, sleepless night. It had been quiet, dark and uneventful. But she had still remained awake throughout. Now she could hear the sound of birds chirping in the trees, and minutes later, a knock on her bedroom door. "Yuri? Are you awake yet?!" It was her father, Ibiki. Her name was really Sayuri, but her mother, leader of the Satomi clan - who also, to Yuri's great chagrin, was the Hokage - once said to her that her husband had wished for a boy during her pregnancy, had taken to calling her 'Yuri', so the nickname more or less stuck. "I'm awake!" She called back, with a groan. Yuri's head beneath the covers, she reached over to her bedside table and grabbed the black goggles and pulled them on, obscuring her eyes. She felt practically naked without them. Once she was awake enough to get dressed, she bound her abdomen and sections of her lower legs in bandages for support, then put on a pair of black shorts and combat sandals, then a short-sleeved black top that stopped at the bottom of her ribs, over which she pulled on a large dark green jacket. The jacket had flared sleeves that were so long they hid her hands entirely, and a wide stiff collar that almost came up as far as her nose. The jacket itself was no longer than her top, stopping just below her ribs in a half-cut. Yuri shared many features with the rest of the women in her clan. She had pale, porcelain skin. Long, wavy black hair. And she had an explosive temper when angered. The only thing she hadn't inherited, at least yet, was her womanly figure. She was very petite, and it was something of a sore point for her. Especially as her older sister, Mira, made most the men in the village turn their heads when she walked by. Her family was unusual to say the least. Never mind the fact her mother, Masa, was the Hokage. Or her sister, Mira, was a hunter nin. Both incredibly dangerous and important jobs in their own rights. On the flip side, her father was the owner of a ramen shop he had cleverly called, "Ibiki's". Though, her father was quick to point out that running the ramen shop was indeed, both important, and dangerous. At this, she always laughed, but then she'd spent a few summers helping him in the kitchen, and he wasn't entirely wrong. She loved her family, in spite of, or perhaps because of their flaws. She considered herself blessed, though it wasn't always easy being the daughter of the Hokage. With that, came expectation. Her mother was always very formal and distant in public, never showing her any attention or favour. Sometimes her mother would arrange strenuous training sessions with a man called Isamu, who no matter how well she performed, he always criticised. She found it difficult to make friends too, because of who her mother was. So no, as much as she was thankful for what she had, she didn't have an easy childhood at times. But, that didn't matter any more. She had worked hard to get to this point, she had aced her exams, finishing amongst the top in her class and now she was a genin. She was going to be assigned with a partner, and a teacher and she was hopeful she'd make new friends in them both. Yuri wandered downstairs and got herself something to eat, her father was running around getting ready for the morning food rush, gathering ingredients to take with him to work. Her mother was long gone, as she usually was by the time Yuri came downstairs in the morning. She didn't know where Mira was, but then she never did. Sometimes she would be gone for days or weeks at a time, then one day she would just be home, acting like nothing had changed. Picking up a slice of toast, Yuri took a bite as she ran out the door, wishing her father a good day at work. He offered her no advice, for he'd married into their clan and never been much of a fighter, his advice was always more worldly. Like how to talk to boys (which began, 'don't hit them without good cause'), and how long you should cook ramen noodles for (three minutes, no longer). She had to get out of her head, so many thoughts whirled around about her life and her first day. She stepped out onto the path and started towards the meeting area. She marched past the academy where she had trained, and the Hokage's office where she knew somewhere inside, her mother could be deciding the future of the village. She walked past her father's shop that had yet to open, and then on to the outskirts of the village. She left via the east exit and walked, skirting the forest until she came to a large open space with a bench placed in front of a pond. Yuri stood up on the bench and sat on the edge and sighed. She hated waiting, it didn't help that she was impatient as well as short-tempered. A few minutes passed, and at last, she heard footsteps. She wanted to impress her new partner and so she vaulted backwards off the bench and landed with a tap, and came face-to-face with a green jounin jacket. "What are you doing?" The man asked, he had a deep voice. She looked up but his face was obscured by the bright sunlight, but he was tall. Much taller than she was, and she wasn't a short girl for her age. "I... well..." She pursed her lips as she tried to explain. "Alright." The man replied, not letting her finish. And then, she heard it. Another pair of footsteps approaching, she turned and saw a young boy with fiery hair and ocean blue eyes, a smile spread across her face and she waved. So, she thought to herself, these are my comrades. [Rakujitsu] His name was Hisato. That was the only name he gave them. He was tall and slim, but his voice carried an air of authority and finality to it. His requests were more like commands. He had short scruffy mane of sandy coloured hair, and a short blonde beard. His skin was deeply tanned, and he had a thick scar running down the left side of his face. His left eye was a milky white, and the right was a dark brown. He had a look that reminded Yuri of a lion. She liked him immediately. As for her partner, she was unsure about. He hadn't said too much, but then, neither had she. Their jounin leader hadn't given them much chance. The moment the boy had arrived, Hisato launched into an explanation of their duties and responsibilities as genin. But his speech was long, and she was starting to get bored. She shuffled her feet and let out the quietest sigh. "Am I boring you, Sayuri-chan?" Hisato asked. "My name's Yuri, okay." She corrected him. Hisato crossed his arms expectantly. "Yeah, i'm bored! I want to, y'know... do missions! Save people, or something. This is boring." She growled, crossing her long-sleeved arms in a mimic of her jounin leader. "Boring? Mmm..." Hisato stroked his beard thoughtfully, "Sometimes being a ninja is boring, Yuri-chan! How very observant of you." "Huh?" Yuri raised an eyebrow in confusion. "Sometimes, you have to remain still, for days at a time, or remain incognito as a traveller in an inn, for months, doing nothing but eating sweet cakes and drinking green tea. You will long for those times when i'm done with you!" Yuri turned to look at her partner, as she was genuinely confused. She was getting the feeling that she'd won some kind of booby prize, or somebody was playing a trick on her. Maybe she was in the wrong team, or they'd sent some kind of 'joke' teacher. This man didn't seem to have all his marbles. He finds drinking tea and eating cake fun activities. She wondered what he'd experienced to make him so... zen. Regardless, she didn't like it. "Can't we just do something fun! Something physical!?" Yuri asked. "Something physical..." Hisato mused, and then a smile spread across his face. "Alright, we'll play a game, so I can test your abilities. I have here, a little money, if you can pull it from my belt, you can keep it." Hisato then pulled the note from his pocket, and Yuri saw it had a great deal of zeroes on it, her eyes lit up. "That's gonna be mine!" She took an excitable step towards Hisato. "But wait!" He cautioned, "For every failed attempt, you must tell your teammate something incredibly personal and private! Sharing secrets amongst yourselves is the best way to start friendships, it garners trust and comradery. After all, shinobi are all about secret keeping. Trust one another with your secrets and form the bonds of friendship. BEGIN!!" He shouted the last word, and in the same breath, vanished. "Aww, crap..." Yuri muttered, then turned to her partner, "Er, hi..."
  6. Darkpine [Private]

    Slowly, Lex leant over inside his coffin - yes, some things about vampires are true, but more out of tradition - and turned the volume up on the speakers. The radio started playing the news on his surround sound in the basement. He listened quietly as he tried to blink the sleep out of his eyes and then pushed the coffin lid open and stretched. He felt well-rested, if a little frazzled from the other night. He hadn't exactly been in any danger, but it had been a long night and he'd had to deal with a lot he wasn't expecting. He wondered just how many enemies he'd managed to make in a single night. Not likely his record, but even so. As he pulled himself out of the coffin, the thought of coffee sprung to mind and he slowly wandered upstairs in his boxer shorts. Walking up the stairs to the ground floor, he opened the door and saw a little black cat with a long tail and bright yellow eyes. "Mornin' Luna," He walked past the feminine feline, whose eyes never strayed from the vampire. As Lex came back from the kitchen with a cup of coffee, Luna remained sat in front of the basement, "Not talkin' to me now, are ye?" Lex mused, taking a sip of his coffee. Just then, something caught his attention from the corner of his eye. Lex turned and saw a small package, floating in the middle of his front hallway. Confused, he looked around as if someone was going to jump out and yell 'surprise'. He wandered over and poked it with his forefinger, and it bobbed forwards a few inches and then slowly drifted back into place. "Alrighty then..." Lex muttered, and opened the package. He picked up the vial and shook it, inspecting it for a moment and then looked at the note and his face pulled into a lop-sided grin. "Don' remember gettin' mauled by a puppy last night," He muttered to himself, but he smiled all the same. Lex took the vial, opened it and poured the contents into his half-drunk coffee and swirled it around before taking a sip. Lex let his shoulders drop and let out a deep sigh and closed his eyes for just a few moments, when he heard the crunch of a car driving over gravel. Footsteps. A knock at the door. Checking his watch - as it had only just gone sundown - Lex opened the door and stood in the doorway, looking at Curtis with a bemused expression. "Don' need t'yell, boy. Hear ye half way 'cross the forest." He grinned and stepped to one side, "Come on in," He offered, then added as an afterthought, "Don' pet the cat, she's cantankerous." Lex sucked in air through the corner of his mouth as Curtis stepped inside, Lex closed the door behind him. "Coffee in the kitchen." Curtis stepped inside and eyed the cat cautiously. "Uh... cats don't really like weres. Neither do dogs... or, well, any animal really." Luna crossed the room and leapt up on the table in the middle of the dining room just a few feet from Curtis. "Can't imagine why." Luna, the cat, replied. She then brought her right paw up to her face and began preening. Lex smirked and took another sip of coffee and sat down at the table. Lex watched Curtis' face with great amusement. "Wha-" Curtis said, backing off from the cat. "You just...just...ta..ta..." "Talked. Better than you, apparently." Luna finished for him, pulling her paw away from her face. "He smells of wet dog." "He's ah werewolf." Lex replied, finishing his coffee. Cats can't roll their eyes, but then neither can they talk. Luna could do both, and demonstrated so by punctuating her comment with the former. "Ah told ye she was cantankerous." Lex leant over and picked the newspaper off the table and began to read, giving Curtis time to gather his thoughts and if he chose to, continue his conversation with the cat. "Uh... so how does that work, then?" Curtis asked, not sure if he should be directing the conversation to Lex, or to Luna. "How does what work?" Lex asked, not looking up from his newspaper. "Uh... how does she talk?" Curtis said. "In complete sentences." Luna replied snarkily. "It's not complicated. Both myself and another woman were interested in marrying a man of wealth and good standing, but I came from the right family, and I was far more attractive, so when she realised he was going to pick me, she turned me into a cat." Luna paused and then added, "No matter what they tell you, men do not, in fact, prefer eight nipples over two." "That's... pretty fucked up." Curtis said, nervously scratching the back of his head. "I'm sorry to hear that." "That makes me feel so much better." Luna replied sarcastically. "I'd give you a thumb's up, but it's halfway up my leg." "Uh... right." Curtis said, deciding it was probably best to heed Lex's advice and leave Luna alone. "So I brought my tools. I can get your door back on for you just now. And if we get the car down to the shop at some point I can do some detailing for any dents or scratches." "Sounds good. Ye want some breakfast or somethin' 'fore ye start?" Lex asked, putting the paper down. He'd just finished reading an article on the infamous Joyce Kelly. Just some fluff piece about neighbourhood watch, but she was on the front page. Full story on pages sixteen and seventeen, he could barely believe it. "Ugh, thank you, bacon." Luna replied with an exasperated tone. "Wasn't talkin' to ye," Lex shook his head, to which Luna let out a mewling growl and then hopped off the table and wandered off into the kitchen. "I had breakfast already." Curtis said. "...and lunch, and dinner." "Mm-hmm..." Lex nodded and then it dawned on him, "Oh right, it's... dang, get my times mixed up. Ye want a snack or somethin'? Don' wan' ye goin' back t'yer folks sayin' ah wasn't ah good host." Lex stood up and walked into the kitchen, pushing Luna aside with his foot. "Oh..." Lex muttered, "Ah got... oh positive, or... beer." Lex looked back from around the corner of the fridge door with a sheepish grin. "Not a good time for beer for me." Curtis said, "And I'll skip on the... blood. It's okay, don't worry about it. I'm supposed to be making things up to you, you don't have to do anything." "Mm-hmm, alright." Lex shut the fridge, beer in hand, "Ah ain't the one sportin' broken ribs an' whatnot, but i'll give ye that." Lex walked over to the door that led into the garage, "Come on then, if yer comin'." Lex walked through and passed his car to open the garage door and let a little fresh air in. "Gon' be long? Want someone t'explain which tool is a torque wrench to an' then pass it ye?" "I wouldn't mind a bit of chatter while I work." Curtis said. He opened the rear door to the car and took out the broken door inside. He lifted it in one hand with relative ease and propped it up against the big hole where it should have been. He examined the area and gave a soft sigh. "Looks like I fucked your wiring up. Should be able to re-attach the door but I'll need to take this to the shop to fix the wiring. Until then your lock mechanism won't work." "Do whatever ye think's best, ah don' really play with technology." Lex replied, eyeing the strange collection of tools Curtis was setting out. "Alright well I'll get the door on for now." Curtis said, and he got to work. "So about the other night, again I'm sorry. I'm not entirely sure what happened myself, I only just got the story last night after it happened." "Don' matter. Nobody got hurt, 'cept the offendin' party." Lex laughed and popped the cap of his beer with a claw before taking a swig. "So, ye got the hots for that gal then, huh?" "Geez you don't beat around the bush, do you?" Curtis said, smirking. "But since you asked. Well, I'm not blind. She's pretty cute." "No ah speak my mind, always have." Lex took another swig of his beer and got into the seat of his car and reclined, "Y'all make a cute couple, i'm sure." Lex sniffed and sighed to himself, scratching at the paper wrapper on his beer. "It's not like that." Curts said, shaking his head. "Turns out there's some old family curse or whatever. All my life I didn't know, but I'm supposed to protect her from harm. Something her grandmother did to my grandpa a long time ago. Well, the shit trickles down, as they say." "Ain't that the truth." Lex muttered, "Still... curse, no curse. Don' matter. Curses everywhere these days. Luna cursed, vampires cursed, Archers cursed. Life goes on. Ye only fucked if ye start sparklin' an' gettin' angsty." "Heh." Curtis gave a little smirk. "I suppose those vampire films give you a bad reputation, huh?" "Weren't the best thing to come outta Hollywood, say that much." Lex sniffed, "Like to think o' myself as more a Gary Oldman sorta vampire, y'know? Got that tophat an' cane. Man knew how t'dress. People got no style no more." "So how old are you, then?" Curtis asked, quickly adding, "If that's not too rude to ask." Lex just grinned. A story for another day maybe, he thought to himself. Lex and Curtis talked a while longer, then Curtis left for the night. Lex stayed in the garage a while longer, absorbed in his thoughts until he was pulled from them by the jarring sensation of a heavy little body leaping onto his lap. "And what, pray tell, do ye want?" Lex asked, eyeing Luna who stared up at him with an unimpressed expression. "Taking in strays now, are we?" She asked. "Started with ye, didn't I?" Lex replied, "Thought i'd keep that train rollin'." "One weirdo is enough for me, if you please. Before that harlot turned me into a cat I never had any notion there were things like witches and vampires and werewolves. I had a very pleasant life, now I eat kibble and lick myself." "Can't have it all..." Lex mused, pursing his lips, then a thought occurred to him and he grinned wickedly, "Least ye can put yer leg behind ye head now." Luna hissed at him and hopped off his lap to seek adventure elsewhere. Lex checked his watch, he was to start his shift in an hour, better get ready. After all, there were two reasons he became a doctor. To save lives, and get women. Not always in that order.
  7. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    "Will you let me take these off you?" Violet pulled herself from troubled dreams and tried to wake herself up enough to process the question. She had a moment of panic when she couldn't see, then she was brought back with gut-wrenching clarity, of where she was, and what her life had become. Violet tried to sit up in bed, but as she tried to move she felt resistance. Of course, she'd been bound to her bed with restraints. "Will you?" The woman asked again. "Y-yeah." Violet replied, shakily. She felt the belts loosen, one by one. "Don't make me call the orderlies." The woman warned her, "I don't appreciate bites or scratches or spitting, or God knows what else." "Alright." Violet replied, she wanted the woman to stop talking. She felt like she was a child that had been put in time out. Privileges revoked, tantrum brewing. She had to keep that in check though, else it meant a needle and an afternoon drooling into her pillow. She'd learnt that one early on. "Okay, there you are." The woman took a step back and Violet slowly pulled herself up and out of bed. Something hurt. Violet reached over and touched her back. "Ouch..." She muttered. There were painful welts, bed sores. "How long was I...?" "A few days..." The woman replied, who Violet assumed must be a nurse. She waited in silence, until at last she broke it with, "I'll let some air in." She strode across the room and heaved open a window. There were bars on that window. No escape there, she was sure of it. And it wasn't like she was going to turn into a sparrow and just fly out the window like her dreams told her she could. But she couldn't discuss that either, if she did, she got 'corrective surgery'. What the doctors liked to name when they take a couple of rods put them on either side of your temples and run dangerous electrical currents through them. Violet took a deep breath, she could smell the fresh air. Could even hear a lawnmower outside, and a few birds twittering and singing to one another. It was calming. She felt much better for it, even if she was still trapped and confused. "What's your name?" Violet asked the nurse who had just finished fluffing her pillows and was making to leave. Violet heard her stop in the doorway. "Nurse Winters." The nurse replied, and opened the door. "You can leave your room if you like, walk about, maybe talk to the other patients?" She walked out into the hall as Violet followed her to the doorway and stopped there, holding the frame for support and so she knew where she was. "What's your first name though?" Violet asked. The woman opened her mouth to speak, stopped herself and leant in, "We're not really supposed to give our first names to patients." She chuckled a little. "I won't tell anyone." Violet replied, with a smile. She couldn't see Nurse Winters, but she must have been sizing her up, as a few seconds later she cleared her throat and, "Dede, but, my friends just call me Dee, alright?" Violet's smile dropped. She heard the sound of Nurse Dee Winters footsteps echoing quietly into nothing, "Wait!!" Violet yelled, and ran out into the corridor. She held her hands out in front of her and reached for a wall, trying to find something to hold onto. She found the wall on the other side and tried using it to move along the hall, but she only got a few steps before her probing fingers knocked into something, it felt like a cage of medical supplies. She tried to find her way around, but even as she did so someone asked her to step back as they brought a wheelchair-bound patient through the opening next to the cage. By the time they'd passed, Dee was long gone. Her voice had sounded strangely familiar and the name was the same. But then a horrifying realisation dawned on her. All the characters from her dreams seemed represented in the hospital. Had she overheard names, made acquaintances, been a part of group therapy sessions. Had she just collected this information, forgotten most of it, but somewhere in her subconscious she had used that information to supply her fantasies? Violet felt dizzy, her face was hot and she was having trouble breathing. She lowered herself down the wall of the corridor and sat on the floor with her knees pulled in, next to the cage and hoped nobody would find her for a little while. The world changed around him, and suddenly James found himself in The Void. He was in a facsimile of Vincent's apartment. He had to leave immediately, he was likely already being tracked. As much as he hated to think about it, he had to stop the inhabitants of this place finding him before one of the nastier things here could get to him. Those that were close to this location would be here before her, but not by much. Vael would have sensed him enter The Void the moment he arrived, and she could likely travel almost instantaneously. That, combined with her ancient knowledge of this place meant it wasn't if she found him, but when. It wasn't her ability that dictated the speed with which she would find James. It was her interest, curiosity, perhaps she had other things going on. The Nagloshi could be too unpredictable, that was one of their most dangerous traits. That and magic laser beams. James descended the stairs as the lifts weren't working, when he reached the ground floor, he found the lobby surprisingly empty. He breathed a sigh of relief. Usually monsters and other nasties congregate at the site of new arrivals. Soul-bearing mortals usually bring the biggest crowds, but he knew from experience that creatures bound to mortals were just as tasty. For monsters, that was like licking the inside of a chocolate bar wrapper. James crossed the lobby and started making plans. It was simple, more or less. Avoid the nasties, find Vael, and somehow get her to follow him back to the human realm, and aid Violet, without killing him, preferably. Though two out of three would do. His plans fell apart. James pushed the doors open and stepped outside. The sky above was a dark, tumultuous green, riddled with darker clouds that rolled across the sky in great waves. It was raining heavily, and the pavement outside the apartment was semi-waterlogged. James walked down the couple of steps in front of him, leaving the apartment behind and stepping down into an inch of water. But this water wasn't clear, nor did it reflect the colour of the sky. It was a deep, crimson red. James opened his mouth to scream, but no sound came out as his eyes fell upon the scene in front of him. Dozens, if not hundreds of bodies lay in the inch-deep water. Their faces contorted in horror, burnt or partially turned to ash. There were so many that James could barely take another step without having to first push one of them aside. It was too late for plans. "Found you." Vael sneered. James looked up and saw her. A body of dark purple energy, voluptuous and naked, yet featureless. The same could be said of her face, as pillowy lips framed a cruel grin, and almond-shaped eyes held nothing but white light. She floated down until she was just a few inches above the carnage and James tried to steel himself. "Vael, we need to talk, Vi--" A blast of purple energy collided with the ground beside him. Several bodies disintegrated and James ran without shame. His feet splashed through the water as he ran. Another energy blast struck right behind him, he could feel the heat on his back, and it burnt the hairs on his neck. He leapt towards the nearest object that looked like it might withstand a direct hit, but as he did so he was knocked aside. He crumpled to the ground and inhaled as white hot pain shot up his spine and he choked on the water he drew in with his first breath. Pulling his head up from the water, James let out a retching cough as he tasted the blood of a dozen monsters and then looked down. half his right arm was missing. It stopped a few inches beneath his shoulder, at which point it turned to blackened, smoking flesh. James wailed and tears streamed down his face as he quickly pulled himself behind the car and tried to think. He couldn't think. Every time he called for a plan, his brain just came back with, 'MY ARM!!' and that wasn't much use to him right now. He winced as the immediate white hot pain turned to a mind-numbing ache that was far worse than he thought possible. "Would you like this back, James?!" Vael called out from across the courtyard. James risked a glance around the edge of the car and saw Vael bent over, her face hidden by her writhing light purple hair. As she straightened up and brushed the living hair out of her face, she held up his arm, or what was left of it. It stopped just a few inches after his wrist. "I don't suppose you do," Vael continued, musing. "Not much good to anyone now, really." "BITCH!!" James screamed at the top of his lungs. "James." Vael clicked her tongue, then laughed. James yelped as his other arm touched the side of the car, it was so hot it had burnt him. He took that as his queue to flee. James pulled himself to his feet and started running just as a thin, focused beam of magic penetrated the other side of the car and shot through where he had been sat moments before, boiling the water where it pierced and leaving a long, smouldering hole in the pavement. He was running now, sprinting. He was fighting for his life, against an adversary that didn't care. Didn't plan. Didn't have emotion, at least as he knew it. Couldn't be bargained with. He had to run, or die. He was at her whim now. This was her game. He had spent his life being a cat, and now he was going to die a mouse. James ducked as a blast of energy struck the edge of the apartment building as he ran from the courtyard and around the corner, as he ran the city fell away and soon he found the water beneath his feet turn to slush, and then snow. He couldn't run any more. The snow was almost at his waist now. He pushed ahead, but the buildings ahead of him warped into disrepair, as though they hadn't been used in ten thousand years. The rain turned into a blizzard, and James cried out for help, his voice lost in the howling wind, though he knew nobody could have heard him regardless. He was freezing, but he could feel a heat at his back. James realised then, as he heard her laughing, that the chase was over. She was behind him, watching him flail and push on, despite getting nowhere. Freezing, in terrible agony and terrified, James turned to face Vael. In the realisation that he was to perish here, he would do so facing her in defiance, cursing her in every language he knew. What Violet would call 'throwing everything and hoping something sticks'. He opened his mouth to speak, but instead of a curse, James said two words as Vael raised her hand to strike him down. "It's Violet." Vael's hand froze in the air, hesitated. Her grin fell into a snarl and James immediately wished he had remained quiet and let her disintegrate him, or whatever it was she had been going to do. Vael glided towards him, closing the gap between them. Her feet touched down on the snow, and weightlessly she stood upon it. Vael crouched down so she was face-to-face with James and studied his face for a few seconds, the heat and light in her hand was so hot and bright that James couldn't look at it, and recoiled when she brought it anywhere near him. She reached out with her other, empty hand, and touched him on the shoulder. James' whole body tensed, and then he began to shiver, but not from the cold. Vael shushed and cooed at James, trying to calm him, but it came across more like a cowboy calming her lame horse as she loaded her rifle. "'It's Violet', what, James?" Vael asked, in a calm, quiet voice. She brushed aside his tears with her thumb and smiled at him. "Vi-Vi-Violet i-is h-hu-hurt..." He swallowed, trying to control his stuttering, "C-c-co-coma, s-she w-wuh-won't w-wake up." A deep purple hand moved across his eyes and he closed them, hoping for release. He felt her hot palm press up against his forehead, and he felt a piercing pain and then strangely, all sorts of thoughts and memories came flooding to the surface, unbidden by him. He watched helplessly as they came, one after another, until everything that had happened in the last few weeks had passed by and then, the pain stopped and the memories faded once more and Vael stood up and took a step back from him. "Interesting..." She muttered, the light in her hand vanishing. Then she turned, and walked away with just her voice in the wind, "Go home - if you can." Her laugh was the last thing he heard before she vanished. Vincent was sitting on the armchair in his apartment reading over the Grimoire. On the sofa Meredith was sitting with a pile of books from his bookcase and was reading through them for any chance of some answers. David was in the kitchen making more coffee for them, and Al was stood at the foot of the bed Violet lay on, just watching her. "This some ol' world shit, hoss." Al said, shaking his head. "I can't tell ye rightly what it is, but it's older than you or I...""You're not helping." Vincent said irritably, not looking up from the book. "I don't care what it is, we'll find a way to sto--" He lifted his head from the book and looked across his apartment blankly. "Something just passed my wards.""Are you sure?" Al said, turning around. "I taught you those wards ma self, they ain't that flimsy.""Positive." Vincent said as he stood up, finding his cane and picking it up. "Not just that, they've disabled them. Get ready... I think it's her." A bright purple ball of light exploded into existence in the middle of the room. Anything that wasn't nailed down was swept up into the air. Books and papers flew everywhere, the furniture groaned across the floor, there was a huge thrumming vibration of light and sound that washed over the entire apartment, and then the ball of light was gone, and Vael had taken it's place. Levitating a few inches from the ground, she held out her arms and at the same time, opened her mouth. A terrible screeching filled the apartment as Vael spoke something in her native tongue, and everyone present instinctively clamped their hands over their ears in pain. A brilliant light filled the apartment, blinding everyone. The screeching slowly fell away, echoing until there was nothing. The light receded, and Vael closed her light-filled mouth, and then there was stillness and silence. She looked out across the apartment. It was as though everyone was frozen in time. Meredith was frozen in shock on the sofa. Vincent had begun to reach for something in his jacket, but he too was stuck in time, a look of pained determination on his face. David held a pot of coffee in one hand, and a partially unsheathed blade in the other, droplets of coffee poured, floated up through the kitchen in slow motion, as though they were in space. Papers floated around, gently colliding with other light objects in the room. At last, Vael turned her grin upon the last figure in the room."Alphonse Regulus Blackmire." Vael purred, her grin widening as Al straightened up and let out a gruff sigh. Whatever he'd done, he'd stopped her magic from reaching him. Vael licked her lips and studied him for a little while, "You've gotten old, mortal." "Maybe. But I'll never be as old as you." Al said calmly. "Now, if yer done with the light show would ye kindly tell me why yer here?""It's rude to comment on a lady's age." Vael retorted as though she were hurt, then her white eyes drifted in the direction of the next room, "I came for my daughter, you should give her to me and then we can be on our way." She held her hands behind her back and looked around the apartment with genuine curiosity. "Violet ain't goin' anywhere with you." Al said matter-of-factly. "If fer no reason than to uphold Eli's wishes.""I have less right to my child than my husband?" Vael asked, floating over to Vincent and inspecting him thoughtfully, the way a collector might inspect their most prized item. She brushed a hand through his hair and picked a bit of fluff from his jacket before grinning and turning back to Al, "She's not human, you know." "Eli wished her free, and she'd ne'er be that s'long as she's with you." Al said. "Human or not, she's still a Hallow. She carries the same power Eli has, the same power that Vincent has awakened. A being like you would only exploit it." "Oh please, I have no interest in exploiting anything - except maybe the forces of nature, but that's a discussion for another century." Vael raised her eyebrow in momentary irritation before returning to what she deemed a 'pleasant conversation'. "She is my daughter, and she has every right to reach her full potential." Vael paused and took a deep breath, "I can feel it happening now, what's left of that frail fleshy bag of water is evaporating as we speak." She sighed pleasantly, but quick as a bolt of lightning, her expression turned nasty and her tone became accusatory, "Why is she asleep?!" "Took you long enough." Al said, shaking his head. "Thas why her nitwit brother sent fer you. We don't know why she's sleepin', we were hopin' you did."Vael hissed a word in her native tongue and crossed her arms irritably. After a few moments of stewing in her temper, she cast her gaze over the room, and released the hold she had over the room. Instantly, the papers and books and debris dropped to the ground. The coffee pot smashed as David released it to draw his sword and everyone surrounded her in an instant. "Touch me," She growled, "And that will be the last thing you touch," She paused as an image came to mind and she chuckled, "Just ask James...""You sure about that?" Vincent growled, and raised his cane to point it at her. "How about you ask what happened to the last Immortal that threatened me.""Wh... what did you do to James?" Meredith asked, she was the furthest away and looked genuinely terrified by Vael's presence. Her gaze turned to Meredith and Vael simply sneered, but then her eyes widened as she stared at Meredith. Her eyes lazily drifted back to Vincent and then she laughed, "You don't know..." She burst out laughing and lowered herself to the ground. "Oh, my... I haven't laughed like that in a thousand years, thank you." She shook her head in disbelief, and started towards the next room. "Enough." Vincent said. "I am tired of all the games you immortals play. Violet is dying, and I'll do anything to save her. Help us, or leave.""Dying?" Vael parroted the word, her eyes narrowed in suspicion of Vincent. She carried on her way into the next room, unhindered. There, she saw Violet lying on the bed, asleep. She looked tired, and in discomfort, but what was most shocking to her was that she could see the magical energy inside her, and it was flickering like a dying candle. "Nooo...." Vael muttered, panicking. She crossed the room quickly and bent down beside Violet and placed her hand against her daughter's forehead, "No... I...." Vael shook her head, "Something's wrong... this shouldn't be happening.....""No kidding." Vincent replied. "I hope you've got more to go on than that." "BE SILENT!!" Vael roared at Vincent. She turned her attention back to Violet and stroked her hair in silence for a short while, when she spoke at last, her voice trembled, "To use your term..." She began, "We... 'Nagloshi' do not have children often, less so even with... mortals." She rolled the word off her tongue like she was choking up bile, "With mixed parentage, children are always born mortal, and not all become one of us, but," And with this, a prideful smile spread across Vael's face, "Then if you are strong enough, and the change takes hold... well, eventually a Nagloshi must fall into a deep sleep to let the process complete, it is the only way we can do this. But something ancient has invaded her dream state and taken control. It is trying to stop her from transforming." "Like I said." Al piped up. "Ol' world magic. Problem is the ones who know 'bout this kind o' magic are long dead. Even the Wise don' have that kind o' knowledge.""What about the Grimoire?" Vincent said. "I've been trying to find information, but it takes a long time. The Keeper needs to be asked specific questions to supply the information.""Tha' book is the knowledge of a very particular family, hoss. Ye might not like what ye find.""If it means saving Violet then it's worth it." Vincent said simply. He walked over to the Grimoire that he had placed on the table and picked it up, opening it. "So... what exactly am I asking it to look for?"Standing, Vael crossed her arms and looked down at her daughter. She had no choice. "Ask your little book what a God would want with a living battery of magical energy." Then she held out her hand and an armchair from the next room slid across the floor and came to rest at Violet's bedside. Vael sat down in it and kept her eyes focused on her daughter.
  8. Darkpine [Private]

    The party quickly found it's feet. Bodies writhed against one another as a thrummed through the throngs of people, invigorating them as the song exploded, passing through the grounds as feet crashed in unison against the soft dirt and grass. Sweat beaded, drink flowed and the lights shone through the trees. Lex moved through the groups of dancing party goers and smiled at the occasional person that took notice of him. He had wanted to make an impression on people, let them feel comfortable with him. People are nervous of newcomers, especially in small towns. What better way than a party to show his colours? Besides, he was being selfish. This was a kind of celebration for himself as well. It was the third time he'd become a doctor. And it was the second time he was returning to Darkpine. The last time he'd set up shop it had been over a hundred years ago. Of course, he'd been back many times afterwards, but never laid down roots. Now was the ideal time however, as anyone who could have remembered him as a child would have passed away. Records changed just like faces, and now he was home again. Something pulled him from his thoughts. He heard a noise. A stifled scream. Lex pulled the beer bottle from his lips and sat it down on a metal beer barrel and left. Time to find some trouble, he thought, remembering what the young Archer boy had said. He couldn't help but smile. As he moved through the crowds he heard the scream again. It was a woman. No, rather, it was a girl. From the noises surrounding it, he recognised it immediately. He had heard it before, though he had wished he had never heard it at all. He remembered fighting in many wars, but none was more prevalent than World War II. They knew they were fighting against evil back then, it wasn't all shades of grey like it is now. But it didn't matter, evil breeds in even the most righteous of men, and some soldiers can't keep it in their pants. The changed just as he fell upon the scene. Three boys had surrounded a young girl. She was struggling against one as he tried to tear open her blouse. Another tried to hold her arms against the trunk of a tree, while the third had already noticed Lex."Evenin' boys, i'm thinkin' the lady don' fancy what yer peddlin'." He crossed his arms as the boy who seemed the leader of the three stopped just long enough to turn and look Lex over before returning to the young girl, kissing her up her neck. "Teach him a lesson, Bill." The boy muttered, ignoring them. "Ah knew a Bill once, he was an asshole. Are ye an asshole, Bill?" Lex asked, raising an eyebrow. The question enraged the boy and he charged at Lex. He took a deep breath, and the world slowed to a crawl. The music changed into dull beats and vibrations in the ground. The boy running towards him was barely moving now. The girl was frozen, the fear and panic on her face now static. Lex strode casually towards the boy who didn't seem to take any notice of the movement. The leaves beneath Lex's feet crunched slowly, and little plumes of dust slowly drifted into the air and remained suspended. Bill had raised his arm ready to punch Lex, but from the moment he'd held his breath the boy had no more than moved an inch. Lex casually held out his foot and pushed the boy's foot to the side just a few inches and walked past him. He strolled over to the boys holding the girl down. Lex gently opened the hands of the boy holding onto the girl from behind the tree. Then he flicked the boy in the forehead with his middle finger and walked back around to the ringleader. At this, Lex paused, thinking. Then he reached forwards and gently pulled back on the boy's forehead and at the same time, grabbed the boy's hand and snapped his little finger back at a ninety degree angle in the wrong direction. The boy didn't react, of course he couldn't. Lex was moving too quickly for any of this to register yet. He grabbed hold of the girl and gently lowered her to the ground and then took a couple of steps back and then as he took a breath, the world resumed from it's near-frozen state. The boy who had been running towards him tripped over his own feet and flew head first into the nearest tree. The boy trapping the girl behind the tree flew back and hit the ground hard, rolling over himself several times before coming to a stop. Lastly, the girl jumped in surprise as she heard the ringleader's scream echo out into the night as he flew to the ground in a heap. "What just happened?!" He screeched, gingerly holding onto his crippled hand. "Ye'd best get home before yer folks miss ye, boys." Lex replied. Bill and the other unnamed boy ran without another word, whatever happened, they wanted nothing to do with it. They'd made a mistake, and they were sorry to have had anything to do with it. The last boy, however, stood up and stared at Lex. He knew why, the boy was remembering his face so maybe he could tell his parents or the police, or maybe even take revenge if that was possible. "Michael, come on!!" One of the boys yelled. "Shut up!!" The ringleader yelled back at them, then he turned and ran into the forest. The girl remained sat against the trunk of the tree. Lex slowly sat down a foot or so away from her and remained there in silence for a little while. He took his jacket off and put it over her and waited until she finally looked up at him. "Ye alright, kid?" Lex asked, concerned. "Lily." She muttered under her breath. He smiled to her as he called for a cab to take her back home, put some money in her hand and sent her on her way. Lex sighed, and rubbed his forehead. There's always someone who wants to turn a fun evening into a nightmare, he thought to himself. And as if by request, he heard sirens. Perfect. The in the party had calmed down a little, the heavy beats had been replaced by fun dance numbers and people were getting closer, yet Lex moved through them like they were little more than mist. When he finally arrived at the scene, Lex decided he'd rather be dealing with more emotionally unstable idiot college kids than the woman he saw marching towards him right now. She was struggling to reach him as her high heels were digging into what was quickly becoming mud. But she was moving towards him through a sheer force of will. Behind her trailed a couple of cops, and what looked liked the Sheriff. "You!" Joyce Kelly screeched. Lex did his best to smile at her as they met, "Evenin' Miss Kelly, what's got ye so riled up fer?" "You very know well, am I to understand you're the one responsible for all this?!" Her eyes darted in every direction as a couple of the college kids on the outskirts of the party noticed the colours of the sirens and looked nervous. "Yeah, that's me. Jus' tryin' t'have ah good time, s'all." He replied, shrugging his shoulders. "A good time indeed!" Joyce muttered, her tongue clicking. "Sheriff, I demand this party ends at once!!" Sure enough, the cop with the wide-brimmed cowboy hat was the Sheriff. He sauntered up to join the conversation. He had a little bit of a paunch on him, a short grey-speckled beard, but he had an air of authority and patience about him also. "What's the problem here, exactly, Joyce?" The Sheriff asked. "Drugs, booze, forest regulations and noise pollution, and, and--" "--alright, alright." The sheriff rubbed his temples irritably, "Go home, Joyce. I'll deal with this." "Sheriff, it's my duty to inform you that--" "--Joyce!" The Sheriff barked, "Don't push your luck, now. Go on home." Joyce flashed a venomous glance at Lex and looked like she'd been holding her breath long enough that her head was going to pop like a balloon. At last, she expelled the held air with a snort and marched back towards her car. "Sorry, Sheriff. I wasn't aware this was against the law." Lex said solemnly. "It's not. But you're like to get to know Joyce right quick, its better not to get her dander up. Jus' keep your head low, and you'll likely avoid her sights for a while. I want to see this party finish up before midnight, y'hear?" "Sheriff." Lex nodded his head in respect to the officer, and the man, the woman and the sirens were gone within minutes. The party had stalled for the few minutes they were here, but upon seeing them leave, it resumed in full swing. The college attendees likely now felt invincible for having survived a visit from the local fuzz. Lex made his way back to his beer and picked it up and took a swig when he noticed someone. It was the other girl who had been on stage, singing with Lily. Lex paused to consider talking to her, but as soon as he saw her looking around he realised she didn't know. He had to talk to her. Lex moved through the crowd and came up behind her. "Lookin' fer yer friend?" Lex asked. Vivian jumped a little caught off guard. "Yes actually! How did you know?" She smiled politely and continued. "Tall brunette with a larger than life attitude." Vivi laughed, "Have you seen her?" "Yeah ah seen 'er." Lex replied, "Some lads confusin' 'no' with 'yes', ah reckon' she's shook up, but alright. Sent 'er home." Vivian looked confused for a second as she pieced together Lex's words, when the realization of what he meant dawned on her she looked a bit horrified. "Oh my gosh! Is she ok? Did you see everything... This is all my fault I shouldn't have just let her walk off without me..." Vivian held the sides of her head, her mind beating itself up. " I have to go talk to her... gah, I don't have a ride..." "I'll drive ye, already told the DJ to close up soon," Lex replied, he pulled his keys from his jeans. They started towards his car, "She's alright, more or less. Saw most of it, boys'll not bother her again." He opened the passenger-side door for the girl. Vivian looked around briefly for Curtis, but when she didn't see him she followed Lex to his car. "Alright, thank you so much... sorry to trouble you like this." "No trouble, little Miss," Lex replied, and closed the door behind her. He got in the driver's side and started the engine, in minutes they were travelling down the path and back into town. Once Lex had been told the route, he relaxed into his chair and sighed, "Want me to take ye home after yeh've seen yer friend?" "No that's alright. I'll just sleep over her place. I'm sure she'll want me to stay." Vivian still held an expression of guilt. Lex glanced at her as they drove, she looked chilled. He didn't notice the cold, but he knew it was best to turn the heater on. "Let me get that for ye," Lex muttered, leaning forwards, his bare arm brushing her shoulder as he leant towards the heater and turned the dial up. Vivian jumped a bit from the touch. She looked over at Lex thoroughly confused. "Oh my gosh! You're like Ice! Are you okay?" As she adjusted in her seat the cross around her neck rustled out from under her shirt now swinging from side to side slightly. Vivian began to feel a bit uneasy as she was trying to remember something important. "I'm alright, don't ye fret none." Lex replied, sighing to himself. At last they pulled down into Lily's driveway and Lex turned the engine off. "Got everythin' then?" He asked, turning to look at her with his alert, amber-coloured eyes. Vivian looked over at him. It was probably nothing, just a little worry in the back of her mind. Her hand reached up to her necklace a bit shakily and she sat awkwardly for a second. "Um..." She turned to the side a bit. "Would you do me a favor and help untangle my necklace from my hair real quick?" She gave a little forced laugh. "Dang thing is always getting stuck in my hair. It kinda hurts," She wasn't lying, because it was always on her it did tend to get tangled up. "Like to help, Miss, but can't. Allergies." Lex smiled and shook his head, "Young girl like you, witch t'boot. Ye don't need me to touch yer necklace to know what I am, but I ain't gon' hurt ye, jus' go see yer friend and i'll wait right here and we can talk after if ye want." Vivian's eyes widened after his abruptness. She should just jump out of the car, but something about her shock and fear mixed together hat her frozen to the seat. She seemed at a loss for words. It wasn't that Lex seemed extremely scary, but Because of her mother's horrible experience the idea of a 'less than super evil' vampire seemed relatively impossible. "A... wha.... uh..." The shift was fast. Curtis' eyes were the first thing to change, becoming a bright yellow, the pupils focused on Lex. His chest was beating as he let out an inhuman snarl, and his teeth began to grow out, sharpening and sticking out of his mouth. His ears became pointed and fur rapidly grew over the side of his face, his forearms and the top of his hands. He became marginally taller and bulkier as his muscles grew and became more lean and defined, however he slowly began to hunch over like a beast. Finally his fingernails grew out and sharpened in to claws, and his hot breath became visible in the cool air. Lex opened his mouth to explain, but as he did so it hung open and he frowned, "Y'hear somethin'?" He asked, as the car door beside him was wrenched from it's hinges and he was grabbed and thrown from the vehicle, "CHRIST!!" Lex yelled as he flew through the air and landed roughly. He quickly picked himself up off the ground and brushed the dirt off his clothes. He took a deep breath and looked from Curtis over to his car and his expression shifted from annoyance to rage, "That's my car!!" Lex snarled, "Y'know yer the one gon' fix that, asshole?!" Curtis didn't respond with words. He was beyond that now, the Wolf had dominated his thoughts. He gave a vicious growl before launching himself forward at Lex, his arms open and his claws bared to strike. Lex sighed and for the second time in one night, he held his breath and let the world fall into slow motion. Unlike a human's movements that were almost static, he could see Curtis' body slowly cutting through the air. Lex stepped to one side, pushed Curtis' arms out in front of him as though he was impersonating Superman and then gently pressed down on the boy's back. When he stepped away, he breathed out as the world returned to normal and Curtis slammed into the ground and slid across the path. "Now that's enough o' that, boy. Straighten up, else i'll speak to yer Pa," Lex crossed his arms irritably. The force of the fall brought Curtis' consciousness back to the surface. He picked himself up and turned around, his teeth still bared in anger. "Lex... What are you doing with Vivian?" He said, his tone accusatory. The primal need to rip and maim had subsided, but he was still angry as all hell. And he wasn't even sure why. "What ye accusin' me of?" Lex asked, raising an eyebrow. Then he pointed at Curtis, "Why don't ye calm down, girl's scared enough as is, don' need ye wolfin' out and scrappin' with ah vampire." Then he paused, "Ah can knock the wolf out ye, boy, if that'd be easier?!" "Don't threaten me..." Curtis growled, anger bubbling with every word. "I...I can't explain it. I knew she was in danger. I..." He looked around, confusion spreading across his face. "I...don't...wh-what's going on?" "I'll threaten ye all ah want. Don' be sayin' things ye can't back up." Lex shook his head but took a deep breath and let it out, "Now, was she in danger, or did she just think she was in danger, hmm? Told her ah was ah vamp, didn't ah?" "...That..." Curtis was struggling to speak. "...I...I can't control it!" He yelled, his eyes flashing with anger once more. He wasn't sure what was going on, but the full moon was close. He had let his wolf out to play, and it wasn't ready to go back yet. With another snarl he bounded forward, using his hands like front paws to close the distance quicker this time. When he reached Lex he swiped at him with his claws, but missed as the vampire seemed to dodge without effort. "Alright." Lex replied, "Ye can't control it." He took a step back as Curtis whirled around to face him again, "This is ridiculous." He muttered, and from Curtis' perspective, Lex vanished and reappeared a moment later, a beer in his hand and somebody's armchair on the driveway. "Come on then, boy, ye still wanna fight fer the sake of it?" Lex sat in the armchair and popped the bottle cap with his claw before taking a swig. Curtis let out a blood curdling roar and went for Lex again, this time bounding and leaping in to the air, descending down towards the armchair with his arms raised. Lex held his breath and watched as the werewolf descending on him slowed to a crawl. He took a sip of his beer and looked over at Vivian whose eyes were locked on them, he licked his teeth thoughtfully, took another sip of his beer and then raised his leg up to touch the boy's stomach and pushed it forwards then breathed out. He heard Curtis sail past him and crash into a tree, leaves started falling down and he brushed one off his lap and took another beer. "Sorry, kid!" He called out to Vivian, "Ain't meanin' no harm..." Curtis hit the ground with a thump, and when he went to get up he winced. He'd definitely cracked a couple of ribs. His consciousness returned to him briefly as the wolf began to realise how out-matched it was. He had never known that part of him to hesitate, to be afraid. But it was still beyond the wolf to be rational, to think his way out of it calmly. It ran on pure instinct, and right now, all alone, it's instinct was to call for help. Curtis lifted his head and opened his mouth. What escaped was a long, deep howl that carried through the night. He howled again and the strange noise carried through the night, through the woods and the town alike. Then there was silence, and stillness. Unlike before not a creature dared to stir after hearing his howl. And then it happened, one after the other. More howls echoed through the night, coming from different directions. "Well, shut my mouth." Lex muttered, taking a swig of his beer. He waited in his chair and sighed. It was too late now, damage was done, whatever happened happened, he just hoped he didn't have to defend himself, and have it escalate. If he ended up killing one of the boy's family he'd never forgive himself.The first three to arrive on the scene had done so almost at the same time. An older man in his early 60's with long, grey hair and a thick beard came running out of the woods. Despite his age, Curtis' uncle Cain was a strong and chiselled man, and behind him emerged two younger men, his sons. On his left was Justin, Curtis' cousin, and on his right was Marcus, a tall and handsome man in his late 30's with tidy blonde hair, dressed in a white t-shirt and black jeans. "What in the hell is going on here!?" Cain demanded. "Get the hell away from my nephew!""Ah ain't anywhere near yer nephew, hoss." Lex replied calmly, taking a swig of his beer, "If anythin' the boy's comin' into my space. See i'm all sat up here an' beer in hand, ye follow?" He punctuated his sentence with a 'cheers' before taking another swig. "Somethin' tells me you were askin' for it!" Cain bit back"You..." Marcus took a step in front of his father and eyed Lex carefully. Unlike the other members of his pack Marcus was cool, calm and collected. The way he carried himself was that of someone confident in his abilities, someone who had learned to control his temper. "...I've seen your kind before, Vampire.""What? You're kidding right?" Justin said, a hint of panic in his voice. "Wh-what the fuck is a vampire doing in Darkpine?""That is a good question." Marcus said not taking his eyes off Lex. "You're upsetting our pack, vampire. And let's cut the poor victim bullshit." Marcus glanced towards the car, and then back to Lex. "Are we interrupting your dinner?" "Dinner?" Lex raised an eyebrow, "Well shit... I was takin' this girl t'see her friend, on account she was accosted by a couple ah young boys." Lex shook his head irritably and re-crossed his legs in the chair, "As fer what i'm doin' in Darkpine? Whatever the fuck ah want." He replied, anger seeping into his voice, "An ain't none o' ye got the right to stop me, an' let me tell ye," Lex continued on, raising out of the chair and throwing his beer bottle aside, "I ain't a man ye fuck with...""And what makes you think I am a man to be fucked with?" Marcus said. "Let me be completely clear with you. This is our town, and we don't take kindly to anybody stirring up trouble. We keep a low profile here. Now... let's say I give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're not lying, because let's face it, your kind are particularly good at that. Well then in that case you get to walk away. But that is a one time offer. One that I know you'll fuck up at some point. You can tell yourself you're a good man all you want, but you need to feed, and we won't tolerate that in our town." "Everythin' eats, hoss." Lex laughed, "I ain't gon' stop ye from eatin' pigs jus' cus they intelligent." He shook his head at their ignorance, "'Sides, when I feed they walk home and sleep it off, ye say the same for the pig?" Lex paused and licked his lips as he looked over the group, "Yer most certainly are a man with which to fuck, blondie. As firstly, I am an old vampire, I ain't no youngling. You wanna fuck with me, be my guest, but ah guarantee ye value the lives o' yer family more than ah do mine an' thusly ye ain't smart enough t'know when you about to get fucked... second, ah have as much right t'be here as anyone. More than ye, even. Yer family lived here long, sure. Ah am my generations, this is my home. I ain't leavin' it for no fuzzy-faced little anger ball.""Oh I know you're an old one. The arrogance is a dead giveaway." Marcus replied, not an ounce of anger in his tone. "But if you're so eager to end your long life then-"Marcus was cut off by a low, resonating growl that rumbled through the area like a car engine. From the trees near Curtis a wolf appeared. It was not a wolf-like beast, a scary monster like in the movies. It was very large, but very much a wolf. The creature's fur was grey with bits of the fur streaked in a dirty blonde colour. It's very presence had commanded the attention and silence of the rest of the pack. It stopped for a moment, leaning in close to Curtis and inspecting him for a moment. Then it calmly moved it's head around, looking at Lex, the rest of the pack, and then finally the car where it locked it's dark red eyes on Vivian. The wolf gave a chuffing noise that came off like a groan of annoyance. Then it padded away from Curtis and stood between Marcus and Lex. It turned to Marcus and gave a short growl. Marcus looked annoyed, apparently understanding something from this. However he did not speak, instead he turned to his father. "You heard him." Cain said. "Let's go." And then Cain turned around and walked away without another word. Justin followed suit and then, although reluctantly, so did Marcus. As they disappeared the wolf turned his attention to Lex. He just stared at him for a moment, his red eyes studied the vampire but did not show any signs of anger or animosity. Then where the wolf once stood, there then stood a man. He was completely naked, but did not seem embarrassed by this fact. Sam Archer let out a heavy sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers. "Well, vampire." He said. "Let me start by telling you that you are caught up in something that doesn't concern you. That being said these events have caused, no doubt, a degree of trouble that I sincerely hope you were not looking for." "Jus' seems t'find me, hoss. Ain't nobody's fault." Lex muttered, looking the man over. "Might wanna talk t'some o' yer pack, though. Seems a dog is only stupid when it's barkin' at a dust devil. Crazy when it's barkin' on a closin' tornado, though." Lex shook his head and sucked his cheeks, trying to diffuse his risen temper. This was obviously the head of the pack. "Story goes thusly, drove this girl t'her friends, yer boy attacked me, I slapped him about, didn't wanna kill him, mind, just teach 'im a little forethought." He paused as he looked around for his beer but couldn't see where he'd thrown it. "Anyway -- Alexander Speirs, ye can call me Lex though, most do." "Sam Archer." Sam replied. "I won't bother you with the details, but my boy couldn't help it. That Clearwater girl, well, she's a Witch. No doubt she got quite alarmed by something you did. It's Curtis' job to protect her, and that's all you need to know." Sam looked at the car, and specifically at Vivian. "I think you better go home." He said to her. Then he turned to his son. "Curtis, walk her home please." He said. Curtis, at some point in the proceedings, had reverted his transformation and was back to his usual self. He got up, walking despite the pain of his broken ribs, and walked past his father. "We...need to talk." Curtis said"Yes we do." Sam replied. "Later, when you get home. Now go."Curtis made his way over to Vivian and helped her out of the car. Then he walked her away from the scene and in to the woods. Sam turned back to Lex to continue his conversation. "This car... Curtis ordered a part for it before he left left work. I take it it's yours?" "Seems ah might pointless now since yer son pulled my door off." Lex growled and let out a deep sigh before disappearing. A moment later he reappeared, the chair had returned to wherever he had taken it from. "Ah don't need details o' the why's and what not's but I ain't a bad man, or even a bad vampire, an' i'd appreciate a little respect. Been a pillar 'o the community here fer longer than anyone, albeit under different names. Hell, I birthed half the people here at one point or 'nother. I'm a doctor, call it recompense fer old transgressions." Lex looked back at his car once more, "Ye son owes me a debt, nevermind the fact I had to spend my evenin' and a considerable amount of energy 'deterring' him. Energy i'm loathe to give up.""Well, he can pay off his debt by repairing your car. Plus the new clutch and a full work up. No charge, of course." Sam said. "How does that sound?""Not unreasonable, but ah can't drink my gearbox." Lex strolled up towards Samuel, "Ah shouldn't have needed t'protect my life tonight, Sam. Never mind the car."Sam gave a hard sniff and folded his arms across his chest. "My son is not food. He did not ask for this, nor did Vivian. Sins of the father, or the grandmother in this case. If you want blood then you can have mine, and not a drop more than is necessary." Lex held out his hand, and took Samuel's arm by the wrist, "Ah never said ah word 'bout Curtis. Meant ye from the start." Lex replied, then took his thumb and using a fingernail that looked more like a black claw, he gently pierced Samuel's wrist and stoppered it with his thumb. "First, ah ain't greedy or unreasonable. Second, ah think o' this more a new friend settin' right a misunderstandin' that won't happen in future." Lex brought Samuel's arm up to his face and as he removed his thumb, Samuel's wrist began to bleed heavily. Lex drank from it for a few seconds, then stoppered it once more, licked his other thumb and then wiped it over the puncture wound, healing it instantly. "Last, maybe ye take yer racist, pre-conceived notions of what ah vampire is or is not an' ye re-examine 'em. Won't pretend i'm some kind o' innocent, but don't ye neither. Though, that past is behind me, where it belongs." "This is a small town, and the people here don't travel much." Sam said. "But there are other things at play. It's nearing the full moon, and despite the misunderstanding it's in our nature to be quite protective of our territory, and our pack. Any notions we have of your kind come from experience. I don't doubt there are some good vampires out there, yourself included, but you cause trouble even when you don't want to."Sam turned around and began to walk away, but stopped short and turned his head back to Lex. "And we're not just talking about vampires. Werewolves are just as troublesome, which is why I keep my pack here in this quiet town. Less trouble for everyone, and then maybe my kids can grow up without ever having hunters pointing crossbows at their backs. I love this town, and I love my family. To that end I will protect them from anything, vampire or not." "Ah like ye Sam," Lex replied, as the werewolf walked away, "I'll tell yer great grandkids 'bout ye," Lex sucked in air and turned to leave, "Maybe leave out the nudity." Lex walked over and picked up his car door and examined it with a sigh before putting it in his boot and starting the engine. In a few seconds, he'd left Lily's drive and within ten minutes he was back in town. He didn't feel like going home just yet, after the night's events, he felt like a strong drink. Something that might actually get him drunk. He pulled over and parked his broken car which garnered a couple of whistles and a laugh, which he accepted with a grunt and then walked inside a small, dimly lit bar called Jerry's. "Get a drink?" He asked. "Ooo, southern man," The barmaid replied. "Thirsty man," Lex replied, putting his money down, pointing to the nearest bottle of whiskey. "So what brings you here this evenin', darlin'?" The woman asked, handing Lex the bottle. "Tryin' to scour a man's ass from my memory." He started to pour. "Ain't we all." She replied, leaving. Lex looked up quizzically at her before returning to his drink.
  9. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    The first sound she heard was the gentle twinkling of piano keys. A saxophone followed suite and she heard a woman's singing. The song was 'Crazy He Calls Me', a classic 1940's jazz number. Violet hadn't heard that song in a long time. She tried to open her eyes but felt something pressed against her face. Cautiously, delicately, she touched her fingers to it. Rough, scratchy bandaging. She couldn't see anything, so she groped around. She could feel she was in a bed, she ran her hand along the covers until she reached the edge and felt cold metal. Was she in a hospital? She could hear voices in the next room and instinctively, she called out. "Hello?!" Violet waited a moment, she heard the voices stop. A door opened, and she heard footsteps approaching her. There was a rustle of papers like someone was checking through files or a clipboard, and then a chair scraped across the floor and someone sat nearby. A man cleared his throat. "How are you doing today, Mrs. Hallow? It's Doctor Tenenbaum." "I'm sorry, who?" She asked, frowning. Violet felt dizzy, she pushed herself to the back of the bed and took a deep breath. "Doctor Tenenbaum." The man repeated. She heard scratching. He was writing something. "I... I can't see." She touched the bandages on her eyes. "Ah..." The doctor cleared his throat as he shifted uncomfortably in his chair, "You don't remember?" "Remember what god-dammit!?" Violet snapped, she heard a metal clatter as someone, likely a nurse, dropped a plate of instruments on their trolley. "It's all right, nurse. Mrs. Hallow is going to stay calm, aren't you?" "Should I be?!" Violet growled, she touched at the bandages on her face, but they felt like they were on pretty tight. She couldn't just pry them off with her bare hands. But she didn't care any more about who was around to see her shift. She had to get these bandages off. A series of animals flashed through her mind, she could go big and tear the bandages off, or small and slip through them. Small would be less frightening, at least. Not by much, she supposed. She stretched and then she leant forwards in bed and... nothing happened. Frowning, Violet concentrated and tried a second time. Nothing happened. "Mrs. Hallow?" The doctor asked. "I... I can't shift." Violet muttered to herself. "Is this anything to do with the portal?" The doctor asked, nonplussed. She seized up. Did this man just ask her about the portal? Her breathing quickened and she started thinking of ways of getting past him and finding a way out of the room she was in. But something else was bothering her, that she found her confusion replaced by curiosity. "What did you call me?" She asked. "Mrs. Hallow?" The doctor asked, concern in his voice. "I'm not married." Violet growled, then the thought lit up in her mind and she laughed. Neither Doctor Tenenbaum nor the nurse seemed to find the idea very funny. "You'd find it funny if you were me, doc. I'm not really a 'guy' kinda gal." "I'm sorry?" The doctor replied, "Mrs. Hallow, I must be straight with you. This is not the first time we've had this conversation. We've spoken at length... many times." He paused as he considered his next words. "What i'm going to say I have said to you before, but it will still shock you." "Get on with it, doc." Violet sighed, rubbing her forehead. She felt hot, dizzy. "You were in an accident." The doctor let the words sink in, then continued, "Your husband is fine, but you were badly injured, and... well, there has been damage to your head, your optical nerves have been badly impaired. We're unsure to the extent of your head injuries, but... you seem incapable of separating fact from fiction, you have fits of rage and confusion, you have strange fantasies and dreams in which you are a sorceress and you fight monsters." "I'm dreaming..." Violet muttered, and she started to pull herself out of bed, all the while the doctor continued his explanation. "You believe you were undergoing some kind of change that would explain your loss of sight, you mention several people who you know very well and yet you refer to them as fantastical characters in a play you have created to rationalise the loss... the loss of your child." "What?!" Violet froze. "You don't know what you're talking about." She replied, frantically trying to pull the sheets off her legs so she could get free. As she did however, she felt the doctor's hands on her shoulders, pushing her gently back into bed. "It's alright, I know it's a shock, but i'm here to get you through it." "I don't have a child god-dammit you let me go!!" Violet screamed and shook against the doctor's grasp, but her usually supernatural strength had all but left her, she felt drained. "LET ME GO!!" She screamed at the top of her lungs and lashed out wherever she could. Then she felt a sharp scratch in her leg, and her head suddenly felt very heavy. Violet woke with a start. She tried to pull herself up in bed, but she could feel something restraining her. She thrashed against it, trying to break the straps binding her to the bed, but just as she was starting to think there was no way out of her bonds she heard a familiar voice. A voice that put her mind at ease. "--Alright, thank you." She heard a door open and close, footsteps, and then two large hands took her own in their palm, "Violet..." "James?!" She had to say his name aloud because if she didn't she thought it might have been make believe. "I can't believe you're here, the doctor is insane, he thinks i've been in some kind of accident, and I have a kid and they won't let me take off my bandages." She took a breath once all that was out, "They drugged me!!" She snapped. She waited in silence, feeling James' thumb stroking the back of her hand, "What are you doing, come on, get me out of here..." "We had a kid, Violet..." She could hear the pain in his voice, she felt a hot tear splash on her arm. "The doctors say you can't remember but you have to remember, you don't remember me? You don't remember Meredith?!" "I remember Meredith just fine, thank you very much. Faerie, maybe we can't trust her but she sort of saved our lives a few times." "I can't keep...!!" James started loud and angry but he stopped himself, "I can't keep coming back here," He said calmly this time, "You don't remember me, you keep saying you've never been married, you think i'm some kind of... familiar, whatever that is. You call our daughter a faerie and you talk about all these strange things that make no sense. Doctor Tenenbaum said your lies are a coping mechanism, that you can't bring yourself to accept that you lost your sight, your daughter, and your brother all in one night." "Vincent?!" Violet's voice cracked and she felt the tingling sensation of tears at her eyes, but no moisture on her face. "Vincent is fine, he's on the other side of the portal, I came back with you and Meredith and David and...." She trailed off, trying to think back to what had happened. "Stop it!" James snapped, standing up and letting go of her hand. "Meredith is gone! Vincent is gone! We haven't seen David since he left for the war and I know we had this accident and you were hurt and i'm so, so sorry but you have to stop this!! I can't go on like this..." Violet opened her mouth to speak but James fled the room, slamming the door behind him on the way out. She heard James stop in the corridor outside, and he was speaking to someone, they were reassuring him, or convincing him. She wasn't sure. She heard muffled parts of a conversation, then a few seconds later the door opened once more, and Doctor Tenenbaum introduced himself to her. "I know who you are..." Violet growled. "Good, this will make it easier for you to understand, I am glad you are lucid, Mrs. Hallow." "Don't call me that." "Alright, what would you have me call you instead?" The doctor asked. She shook her head and rattled off a few suggestions, "Violet, Vi, Miss Hallow. Anything there take your fancy?" "Very well, Violet." The doctor paused, she heard the rustling of papers again. "I must inform you that you are scheduled for a lobotomy next week. It's a fairly new procedure that--" "--excuse me?!" Violet yelled, "You're not putting anything anywhere near my head!!" "It's a simple procedure, and your husband, James, has given us consent. It's my belief that you will find a measure of peace after the surgery that you are incapable of maintaining now. Your husband cannot see you in pain any longer." "Alright, wait! Wait!!" Violet snapped, panting. She tried to slow her breathing and swallowed, "Can I have some water, please?" She heard the flow of water being poured from a jug into a glass, which was pressed gently against her bottom lip and slowly raised. She took a few sips before speaking, unable to believe what she was going to ask, but more afraid of the answers she was going to be given, "How long has... when was the accident?" She heard nothing, the doctor seemed intent on not answering her. She opened her mouth to speak, but in so doing, he was prompted to reply. "Four years." Those two words boomed in her mind, deafening everything else. She had been in this hospital for four years? The more she thought about it the more she found herself confused. She could remember waking up in the hospital bed a great many times, but she couldn't remember why or how she had gotten there. She could remember talking to Doctor Tenenbaum many times, but about what she had no idea. It was like her life was a jigsaw puzzle and she was missing the last few pieces for it all to make sense, but nevertheless, there it was, all out in front of her to see, even if she couldn't see the whole picture. It still made sense. In some twisted, horrific way, it was starting to make sense. "What year is it, Doctor?" He answered without a pause, as if he had been asked a hundred times before, "1946." Violet's shoulders relaxed and she sank into her bed in defeat. Everything she knew had been a lie. She felt like she'd been dreaming for a whole lifetime and woken to find everything she'd done was just some kind of sick joke. A loud screech made Violet jump in her restraints, "Christ!" She yelped, "Did you hear that?!" "Mrs. Hallow?!" The doctor stood up and put his hand on her shoulder. "You didn't hear that?!" She asked, listening for the noise. Sure enough, seconds later, she heard it again. It was a high-pitched screech, like someone dragging a metal nail down a blackboard. But the noise seemed to change as she listened. It wasn't just painful, white noise any more. It meant something to her. "I don't hear anything..." Tenenbaum replied, "... you should get some rest, Mrs. Hallow." He pulled the covers up over her and fluffed up her pillow, "I'll be by in the morning to see how you're feeling, now don't go giving the nursing staff too much trouble tonight, alright?" He gave a light chuckle as he left the room, and then there was nothing but the sound of her own breathing to keep her company. For a long time, Violet remained awake. She tried listening for the sounds at her door, but nobody came in to check on her. She occasionally heard footsteps or voices, sometimes those footsteps would pause at her door and move on. Was she in a hospital or some kind of mental institution? Was it really 1946 as the doctor had said? Everyone seemed to be going along with the joke, to her great expense. But the more she thought about it, the more it seemed like her vague memories of monsters and magic was the fantasy. It had to be. It just didn't make any sense. Would she have made it up to cope with the loss of her family? She couldn't remember, and the more she tried the more her head hurt. She resigned herself to getting some sleep, maybe in the morning if she could recognise the doctor and her husband, then they would know she was getting better, not worse. She laid her head against her pillow and let out a sigh. But she heard the noise again. A nail on a blackboard. But this time, the noise changed almost immediately. It changed into a word. One she had never heard before, and yet, it was still familiar to her. The screech shifted into a voice. It was distorted, uncomfortable to listen to, but recognizably still feminine. The word drifted into her thoughts and she searched for it's elusive meaning, as she faded into unconsciousness. It repeated about her mind like a broken record. "Nagloshi." "I don't know what to do, Vincent." James said at last, "Truth be told, i've looked for a solution to what's wrong with Violet for days and come up with nothing. There's no mention of it in any text books." James had spent the last hour explaining to Vincent what had happened. Once the group had gone through the portal, they had checked to make sure everyone had made it through. But Violet was nowhere to be seen. Seconds went by and James had told the others he was going back for her, but before he could step back through, Violet came through the portal and immediately collapsed. She was out cold, unresponsive. She was in some kind of coma. Once they'd managed to get back in the country (getting a comatose Violet through French customs had been a challenging experience), James had brought her back to Vincent's apartment and laid her down on his bed. They'd cleared the place up a bit in their search through his text books - something he likely wouldn't appreciate. Messy people might be messy, but they also tend to have intention behind where they place things. Once he returned, James could tell, Vincent wasn't happy. But he'd likely filed that complaint away under 'to be dealt with later', his sister was the priority right now. "I'm hoping you have something up your sleeve, Vincent, or maybe you know something about this, you can explain, because we're all stumped, and Violet can't stay like that forever. Her pulse is getting weaker and weaker. I think if we don't fix this, and soon, she's going to die..."
  10. Darkpine [Private]

    A pristine, white pair of size six slip-ons marched up the drive, it had taken her ten minutes to find the small dirt path that led to this house on the outskirts of Darkpine Valley. A clipboard grasped with hands adorned by long pink nails. She walked with speed and purpose, checking the clipboard several times as she stopped in front of the large modern house. The building itself looked brand new, half of the structure seemed to be built from tinted glass. Her jaw dropped as she pushed the sunglasses down to the end of her nose and stared at the beautiful architecture with her baby blues. Her bright red lips curled back with a smile as she looked back at the clipboard again, and walked towards the front door. As she got closer however, she could hear something. playing from the garage at the far left of the front of the building - her left. She was drawn by the sound, and brushed back a few strands of blonde hair in preparation for the meeting. She heard drums and didn't recognize the band, it wasn't really her kind of music. But she couldn't think about that right now. She saw the garage door was open and wandered towards it, as she turned the corner she saw a black two-door 1967 Chevrolet Impala. Of course, she didn't know that. It was just a black car to her. The hood of the car was propped up, and a man leant over inside, looking at the engine. She cleared her throat and put on a winning Hollywood smile with her pearly whites, but the man didn't turn around. He didn't jump, or so much as acknowledge her. She waited a moment then cleared her throat a second time. The man reached over and picked up a small cloth and wiped the oil from his hands and turned to face her. She was unable to stop herself from gasping. He had porcelain white skin, was at least six feet tall and built like a muscular athlete. His face was handsome and had an elf-like quality to it, with angular features, high cheek bones and almond-shaped amber-coloured eyes. But he was also horribly scarred. Every part of his bare skin seemed tainted by horrible scars. His bare arms were covered in them, and she could make out the faint lines of a couple of his more severe wounds on his chest through the white tank top he wore. The scars went up his neck, and he had a couple on his face as well. One thick line passed straight through his nose and ran across the tops of his cheeks. The other scar passed from the top left of his forehead down through his nose and ending below the other scar. The severity of his scarring surprised and appalled her, yet she couldn't help the association that his facial scars resembled a pair of crossed chopsticks. The man grinned at her, while holding a cigarette in the corner of his mouth. His teeth were as bright and clean as her own, though he had pronounced canines. He walked to the edge of the garage, staying in the shade of the door, and nodded to her, "An' what can ah do for ye?" He asked, in a deep, southern lilt. The accent was strong and unmistakable. She hated it. It was uncivilised. "Hi there!" She replied, her grin widening. "How are you doin' there?" "Fine." The man replied, running a hand through his shoulder length dark brown hair. He threw the cloth to one side and stood there expectantly, it took her a moment to gather her thoughts. There was something off about this man she didn't like. An unwanted element. She opened her mouth to introduce herself, but the music player in the garage clicked to the next and derailed her. She grinned as she heard the lyrics and then cleared her throat intentionally."Hi! My name's Joyce Kelly, and i'm just so gosh-darn pleased to meet you!" She strode forwards and held out her hand. The man looked down at her hand, inspecting it for some reason, she looked at her hand in confusion but before she could consider what was wrong, he took her hand and lifted it, bending to smell the back of her hand. She grinned and narrowed her eyes with a bemused expression as he released her. "Pleasure, Miss Kelly. Ah didn't know ah had neighbours, but i'm ah little busy--" "Oh, i'm not a neighbour, silly!" She beamed, and then held out a leaflet. He didn't take it. "I'm the head of the Darkpine Valley realtor's association. It's my privileged duty to keep our neighbourhoods safe for regular, law-abiding Americans like you and I, and I just wanted to welcome you to the neighbourhood." "Alexander Speirs, friends call me 'Lex'," The porcelain-skinned man replied, the cigarette at his lips was more ash than anything and so he took it from his lips and flicked it into a nearby bin in the garage. Joyce nodded and smiled, glancing back down at her clipboard. "Well, Mr. Speirs, maybe you'd like to come for a walk? It's a lovely day and i'd love to show you some of what we have on offer." Lex glanced outside, it might have been late afternoon, but the sun was still out in force. He shook his head and matched her smile, "Sorry, Miss. Car trouble, gotta get 'er fixed. 'Nother time, maybe." The warmth melted from Joyce's face, being replaced with a neutral, even cold expression. "Good day, Mr. Speirs." She turned and left before he could say another word. Lex sucked the inside of his lips and laughed it off. Strange woman, but she seemed harmless. He checked his watch, he had enough time to grab a bite to eat and then he had to head out. He walked through the inside garage door into his home and made a quick chicken sandwich. Then made for his car. Once inside, the tinted windows protected him from the glare of the sun. Good for driving, amongst other things. He took a bite of his sandwich, paused a moment when he saw his reflection in the mirror - yes, reflection - he ran a finger across the scars on his face and smiled, then turned the key in the ignition and the car roared to life and he drove from his house at speed. It might have sounded good to the casual observer, but she was in disrepair right now, he had to get her fixed. There is one thing that should be made clear now, before you learn anything else about Alexander Speirs. Lex is a vampire. A creature of the night. But garlic does nothing to him, aside from bad breath. He has a reflection. Holy symbols are for bible bashers and he can eat human food. Of course, it can't sustain him, but he likes the taste. Don't let popular fiction - not naming any sparkling names - fool you. Vampires are very real, nothing like the fiction, and there are those who know it, but they number in the few. They are not the psychotic blood-hungry monsters portrayed on television and the movies and Bram Stoker's novel. That man put vampires back several hundred years alone. No, in fact to mention Bram Stoker's Dracula is to take note of something else entirely. Something that even as Lex now drives to a small auto-garage in town, is making it's way to Darkpine Valley, and with it, a terrible threat.
  11. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    Time was ticking by. Violet had no idea how long she'd been kept prisoner, but whether it was a day or a month it didn't matter. Any amount of time spent in this realm was dangerous, she could escape in an hour and find her way back to the human realm only to discover that a hundred years had passed. But she couldn't leave, not without Vincent and everyone. Even Meredith. Violet didn't really trust her, she was holding too much back from them. But equally, she'd put herself at risk to help them, and they likely wouldn't still be here without her. A light ringing sound pulled Violet from her thoughts. She watched as her door slowly pushed open and there he was again. Goshwomp. The little pixie cautiously hovered in the doorway, assessing Violet with a suspicious eye. "Are you going to try attacking me again?" He asked, frowning. "No." Violet replied, honestly. "I can't shift, and I feel terrible, and I couldn't get out of here even if I had you." Violet muttered, and leant back on her bed. "Goshwomp, how long have you been a guard here for?" She asked, gingerly looking in his direction. Goshwomp frowned and touched a finger to his lips in thought, "I dunno... a while." He smiled, but his eyes were sad. Alright, we have our opening, Violet thought to herself. She fell back onto the bed with a sigh and propped her head up with her hands. After a minute or so, Goshwomp floated into the room and landed on the table on the other side. "Have you ever thought about being more, Goshwomp?" Violet asked. "More what?" "More powerful." Violet replied, studying him with a wry grin. "I mean, it seems to me you have all these great ideas, like how clever you were to wait on the other side of the door, to make sure I wasn't meaning you harm. How clever it was to bind magic to the doorway, rather than a removable door." "I am clever..." Goshwomp mused, kicking his legs off the end of the table. "You most certainly are." Violet affirmed, and then waited a moment before casually saying, "Really, you could be a King if you wanted to." "But i'm loyal to--" "--I know! That is what makes you so special, Goshwomp. But just think, if you had all that power, you could do whatever you want. You just need someone to remove Queen Shaylee, is all. Right? And then you could rule this season, unopposed. What if I removed her from power?" "You could do that?!" Goshwomp looked surprised. "Well why else would the Queen keep me all locked up here?" Violet explained, and Goshwomp nodded his head slowly, realisation dawning on his face. He looked around, checking to see if anyone was listening, and then he leant forwards on the table and whispered. "If I let you out, you can... kill Queen Shaylee?" "That seems only fair, doesn't it? A life for a life?" Violet smiled. Goshwomp wrung his hands together, the thought of power now filled his mind. He hesitated, but only for a moment, and then he gave in. Goshwomp flew from the table to the doorway and put his hand against the wall beside it. He spoke something quickly that Violet couldn't catch and then she felt a strange tingling sensation as the power of the room faded. Violet grinned to herself and slowly pulled herself off the bed and walked over to Goshwomp. "Thanks, Goshwomp." Violet smiled to him and held up the palm of her hand for him to sit on. He flew over to her and landed and the two exchanged a look for a few seconds. "So I have done my part, and now you are bound to--" "I know, i'm sorry." Violet replied. She was about to cast a spell that would end his life quickly and painlessly - after all, she couldn't be indebted to the tune of one Aspect of the Seasons, that would just get her killed - but then she had that familiar hunger return to her. Here she held a little ball of magic energy. It was like she was holding a beating heart. She could feel the heat and light emanating from Goshwomp. She closed her hands around him as he let out a startled cry, but she couldn't hear him. Her eyes and mouth erupted in brilliant white light, as did her enclosed hands. She gasped as she felt the energy rush into her and then, in a matter of moments, it was over. The dessicated corpse of the pixie fell from her hands and as it touched the floor, it collapsed into a pile of ash. But she didn't care any more. Violet walked through the ash and strode through the door. She turned and started walking down the hallway, at the next corner she came face to face with a faerie but before it had a chance to react she reached out and cast a spell, silencing him. He turned and started to run but she grabbed the back of his head, and drew the energy from him as well. It was ecstasy. His body fell to the floor with a dull thump and she continued on. But something was wrong. Violet winced as something hurt her eyes, she instinctively touched the back of her palm to her eyelids and rubbed, but the pain was already gone. It was not the pain that now panicked her. Violet held her hand out in front of her and watched as darkness fell over it until she could no longer see the hand she knew she was still holding just a few inches from her face. Violet's breathing quickened. She reached out for the wall and couldn't find it. Stumbling over the faerie's body, Violet frantically held her hands out in front of her. There was no light, no form. Everything was black, she slowly reached out, testing the ground with each step. She found the cool stone of the wall and followed it until the wall fell in and she found an open window. She reached out into the fresh air and waited. She could hear the chirp of songbirds, the warmth of the sun. This wasn't a spell, or a sudden shift of light. "I... I-I'm blind...!?" Violet gasped for air, she felt like she was going to pass out. She tried moving down the corridor but at that moment, she heard footsteps. She tried to turn and run, but she could no longer see. Violet tripped over the faerie's body and hit the ground roughly. Soon she would be back in her cell, or more likely, killed for her murder of Goshwomp and the faerie. Had they truly deserved their fate? She didn't know, and she didn't want to dwell on it, or her reasons for acting the way she did. She had to get out of here, but those footsteps were almost upon her... A soft rustle, and a gentle collection of objects cluttering off one another alerted Vincent to something outside. A moment later James leapt up onto the window sill. Vincent's coat and a number of his other requested objects were all together in a little bundle, just behind James. The bundle was currently levitating through an unseen force. "So, what's next?" James asked, grinning widely. "You look creepy when you do that." Vincent said, eyeing the grinning cat. "Good, i'll keep that in mind." He replied, and lowered the bag down into the room. Vincent collected his things one by one and inspected them carefully. He fastened his charm to his wrist and pulled his duster over his arms, adjusting his collar, and gripped his cane. With his effects back in his possession he felt instantly better. "Okay then... so where were we? Oh yeah... guns blazing, was it?" In an instant James transformed back to his human alter ego, complete with well-tailored suit. He reached into his jacket pocket and as though pulling something from another dimension, withdrew a long, particularly nasty looking blade that looked as though it had been dipped in a dozen different materials. "Well, guns, knives, something like that." James replied. "After you?" He added, with a grin. "Oh, also I should say that we should go and get Violet, like yesterday, i'm bound to her and I can sense when she's... well, she's in trouble, Vincent." "All right." Vincent said with a nod before striding across the room, making sure to collect the Grimoire on his way out. "Fair warning. When they realise what we are up to, and I reckon they'll realise pretty quickly, they're going to come down on us hard. We move quickly, we don't stop and we get out before The Queen decides to take us out Old Testament style." "Well escape is up to you, Faerie man. We just need to get Violet, David and Meredith." James put one hand on Vincent's shoulder, "Something..." James shook his head and continued, "Something is very wrong, Vincent. I've never felt anything like this. Violet is... she's well... terrified. I've never felt this from her before. We have to hurry!" "Well you know where she is." Vincent said before he sent his foot forward and kicked down the door to the room. He advanced and stepped in to a long corridor with similar doors on each side of the walls, kind of like a hotel. He held his cane out to his right and turned to face a creature that seemed to spill out of the walls like a spectral wraith. It surged forwards with a howling screech, gunning for Vincent. "Ignus!" He snarled and the creature was engulfed by a white lance of flame. The spectre shrivelled away from the fire and disappeared back in to the walls from where it had came. "Phobophage." Vincent explained. "They feed on fears and can change their shape to become your worst nightmare. Keep moving, it'll be back and it'll bring friends." James and Vincent sprinted down the corridor as fast as they could. As they ran, James whirled around and pulled a vial from his jacket pocket. As he threw it into the air he struck it with his blade and the purple contents splashed out in every direction behind them. Half a dozen creatures, pulling themselves out of the walls, recoiled in agony and vanished as though they had never existed. "Only got one more o' those!" James yelled, as they ran. "I'd save the other for a bigger fish." Vincent replied as he sent another jet of fire soaring across the room ahead of them. "Which way ahead? Left or right?" "Left, and then a right. Her room is right up ahead!" James turned on a dime and slashed out with barely a second to spare. The little creature that looked like a cross between a troll and a goblin toppled to the ground as it's grotesque head rolled off to one side. James quickly wiped the blood off his blade and ran after Vincent, barely losing a step. "Prisoners loose!!" Something cried, in the distance. "Guns blazing, it is." James muttered. Vincent took the left and immediately ducked as a large chunk of debris crashed in to the wall above his head. He looked up in time to see a creature whose mass was enough to fill the space of the corridor it stood in. The goliath of a man was a mess of raw, powerful muscle, with tusk-like teeth and beady, black eyes. "Ogre!" Vincent yelled behind him, before raising his free hand and summoning his barrier. The Ogre roared and charged straight at him. It's body collided with an invisible force, and Vincent found his feet sliding backwards along the floor from the sheer force of the ogre's strength. Eventually it recoiled and began to rear for another attack. Vincent saw his chance and dropped his barrier, driving his cane forward by it's handle. The talon-shape hand was made of cold iron, and as it touched the ogre it seared at his flesh, and the creature let out a blood curdling roar. Then with a whisper of power he sent unseen force through his cane and the ogre went crashing backwards through the hall, destroying the walls along the way, before stopping in a heap at the next corner. Then with his cane outstretched he focused his will again. "Ignus Magna!" He yelled, and this time the fire that shot from his cane went off like a cannon, and the explosion was so large that fire came crawling back down the corridor towards him. But as it reached him it was absorbed in to the tip of his staff. All that remained was smoke, debris, and a particularly large hole where a wall once was, leading out in to the world beyond. "Boom. Headshot." James grinned, and charged past Vincent and what was left of the Ogre. They turned the final corner and realised at once that they needn't penetrate Violet's cell. She had already broken free. A body lay next to her, the smell of charred flesh lingered in the air. Violet was on the ground, huddled up, her head placed against her knees. James glanced at Vincent and took a step towards her, "Violet?" "James?!" She yelled, and grabbed at the air in front of her. Her head lifted up, and James gasped. Her eyes were featureless, white orbs. "Help me!!" She cried, tears falling down her cheeks.
  12. The quiet tick tick tick of the clock at the far end of the room was interrupted for a few moments with a chime. A signal that it was now eight in the evening. Darkness filled the chamber room save for the moonlight from the window and a small candle placed at a bedside table, that itself was beside an enormous, intricately carved wooden four-poster bed. The room was lavishly decorated, the floor covered in thick rugs, the walls in tapestries. A jug containing a dark red wine sat on a bench and a set of men's clothes lay ready for their wearer. Rain fell against the window in heavy sheets, and a knock at the door. "Come in," She said, pulling her dark gaze from the rain at her window. "Contessa Anastasia?" The voice asked nervously, like a scared little field mouse. The girl used her title - Countess - so she knew it was a servant. Her family would have asked for Anastasia or Ana. She took a deep breath, and brushed aside long dark brown locks of hair from her face. Anastasia had a tan complexion, but flawless, as though she had been painted. The epitome of feminine Italian beauty. Her sumptuous lips moistened by a long tongue and exaggerated canines nipped at the edges of her bottom lip. High cheek bones, a petite nose and a sumptuous hourglass figure. "I'm waiting." Ana replied, crossing her naked legs. The servant walked in, averting her eyes from her naked master on the bed. She laid a small bowl of hot water on a table and a soft towel and then scurried from the room, closing the door behind her and apologising for disturbing her. Ana grinned and then stood and stalked to the clothes laid out for her. She had grown a habit of wearing men's clothes. It confused a great deal of the nobility, and she was often a subject of discussion, but it didn't bother her. Aside from the fact that they were too terrified to say anything directly to her, she had been dressing in men's clothes for over 400 years, when she was just a child. When they had travelled across country to come to Florence, the place that would become their seat of power. But back then, they had none, and the road was dangerous for a young girl. So her father had disguised her as a boy, and while the deception had long since ended, she had never found a dress comfortable to return to. She dressed in silence, putting on white breeches and long black pointed boots. A white long-sleeved silk shirt, over which she closed a leather jerkin, ornately decorated and embroidered. She then grabbed her belt, tied it tightly and grabbed the sheathed rapier and tucked it into her belt. A point of contention for her father, but one she had worn him down on many years ago. She reached over and picked up her masquerade mask. The upper half was gilded with gold and elaborately designed, while the lower half was created to appear as a regular face, but white as snow. She pulled back her hair and tied it before fitting the mask on. Tonight was going to be an interesting night, she thought to herself with a smile, hidden away behind the mask. When she entered the grand hall, the masquerade ball was already in full swing. A hundred or more guests, dressed in the finest clothes and masks, dancing with one another, sampling exquisite and exotic foods and drinks. A dozen rooms surrounding the grand hall had been given to guests, and who knows what. The music was up-tempo but mysterious and floaty, like if you listened to it too long you would forget yourself and stay there for a thousand years. The ambiance was dark, for though there were many candles and torches alighting the walls, the subdued lighting was intentional to add to the tone of the evening. The only peculiarity was a mechanism on the ceiling, and what looked like drainage pipes. Though this unusual addition didn't bother Ana, as she knew it's purpose. The guests were thoroughly enjoying themselves, dancing with abandon, and many were having interesting philosophical debates, while others formed business deals that Ana knew would shape the future of Florence. As she started down the stairs she had a funny thought. She was so often used to having her name announced in parties, that as she descended the stairs and nobody blinked an eye she was almost caught off-guard. 'Contessa Anastasia D'Medici Da Firenze!' they would shout, and people would bow and curtsy, clap and smile and occasionally, if she caught them looking, she would see a lustful gaze. She knew their family had enemies, in more ways than one, but their friends outnumbered them, and here, tonight, there were only friends. The rest were dinner guests. Ana smirked at her own little 'in' joke, and then reached the ground floor where she picked up a glass of wine, a dark red. She lifted the mask just enough to take a sip and then replaced it, and moments later heard. "What an unusual bouquet..." She turned to see a rotund man wearing a black mask just covering his eyes, a thick moustache covered his upper lip. He pulled the glass of wine away from his mouth just long enough to swill the contents around and examine them. As he did so, Ana walked up to him and smiled, "It has been aged for over fifteen years, and comes from the vineyards of Venezia." "Oh?" The man raised his eyebrows and smelled the wine a second time and nodded to himself, "What was the family of grape?" "Antonia." Ana replied, with a grin. The man frowned and looked at the wine again but as he opened his mouth to speak, another attendee tapped him on the shoulder and pulled him into another conversation. "You shouldn't play with my guests." The voice was deep and stern. "Sorry, father." Ana replied, turning to face him. He was a tall man, broad-shouldered and muscular. He had a short dark beard and tan skin like her own, similarly flawless. Though he didn't appear much older than her. She looked to be in her early twenties, and he was barely thirty. The same could be said for her mother. For which she couldn't spot right at this moment. She glanced around the room of the masquerade and her eyes rested on the musicians plying their trade. "You're interested in the musicians?" He asked her, inclining his head to study her. "It breaks up the monotony of this place." Ana replied, waving her hand at the hall. They lived in a large mansion near the very centre of Florence. The Medici family were of money, and influence. People came from all over the city to visit them, ask for their help or influence their minds. But to Ana, this meant very little. She was well-educated and had long since been taught the skills of politics and money and much more besides. But being what they were, she wasn't expecting to inherit any time soon. She knew she was next in line, however, her siblings were too young, and though she had one brother, he was a danger to himself and everyone around him, and she knew their father favoured her. Ana took another sip of mine and fixed her mask before walking onto the dance floor. She picked the prettiest girl on the floor and cut-in, and when her partner took offence, she explained to the man in simple terms that he was to go and sit down, have a drink, and wait. He did so obediently, such was the power of a glamour. Then she turned to face the lady who curtsied. It was only then that Ana noticed a face at the back of the room, amongst the musicians. He was setting up to play besides the rest, and she had never seen him before. She smiled to herself, as meeting new people was something she always enjoyed, no matter the occasion. Then she focused on her dance partner, and joined the throng. Tonight, she was a mystery, more so than any other night. Nobody knew who or what she was. Nobody cared, and she delighted in that freedom. Just for tonight.
  13. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    A cool morning breeze kissed her cheek and she felt a warmth that only the sun could impart. She was outside? Violet rolled over and felt soft, clean bed sheets. She yawned and stretched like a cat and sighed, when a distant voice started to pull her awake. It was light and feminine, yet melancholy. "Life is a tragedy." She said. Violet opened her eyes and realised she was in an unfamiliar room. What had she been doing? For a few seconds her brain hadn't realigned to the events of the previous night, but when it came rushing back to her, she sat bolt upright. She had been in the fae, the centaurs had attacked, and then... nothing? She couldn't remember. She looked down at the soft white sheets she was lying in and frowned. Did Vincent get them home somehow? Then she remembered the voice and twisted around in her bed until she saw a large glass-less window. It let a lot of light and warmth into the room from outside, but there were bars across it. Sat on a chair beside the window, with what looked like a pair of high-heeled New Rock boots resting up on the table, was her friend Dee. She was reclined and staring out the window with a sombre expression on her face. Though, that was mostly how she always looked. She brushed a few strands of jet black hair out of her pale face and turned to look at Violet with a gentle smile. "Morning." "What did you say?" Violet asked. "Morning?" Dee repeated, frowning. "No, before that." Violet grumbled, pulling herself up in bed. She noticed then that she had been bandaged where she had been wounded. She began removing the bandages, knowing that her accelerated healing would have taken care of a few fractured bones and bruises overnight. "Life is a tragedy." Dee repeated. "That's morbid. Even for you." Violet rubbed her forehead, she felt like she'd imbibed more than a half bottle of tequila. Or been hit by a bus. Maybe both. "Can you tell the birds to stop squawking. It's giving me a headache." She groaned, clutching at her face as she leant forwards. "I think it's quite lovely. And i'm not being morbid..." Dee muttered, seemingly hurt by the comment, "I'm a realist." She added, thoughtfully. "Real morbid." Violet grinned. "Anyway, how did you come to that conclusion then?" Violet asked. Dee thought for a moment and then licked her lips before speaking, "It's like Shakespeare, right? You talk about his plays being comedies or tragedies." "Right." Violet nodded slowly, letting Dee know she was listening. Her head was humming though, how had they escaped? "Well, you classify them as a comedy, if it ends with a wedding. But a tragedy if it ends with a funeral." Dee paused as she crossed her arms and kicked her feet off the table to face Violet, "Well, its not like anything ends in a wedding in real life, is it?" She gave Violet a lop-sided smile. "It's too early for an existential crisis, Dee." Violet groaned. "She's right y'know." Another voice replied. Violet loosed an uncharacteristic squeal and scrambled out of her bed, whirling back to look at what had made the noise. There sat on the pillow next to where her head had been just seconds before, was a strange animal. It was unlike anything she had ever seen before. But at the same time, she recognised it immediately. She had seen it once before, in the Void. But she had forgotten ever seeing it until she was staring at it right in front of her now. "What the hell are you?!" She barked, and then looked around the room, realising at last that she had never left the fae. "Son of a banshee..." She growled, looking around her room. There were indeed bars on the window, and the door looked solid. The room itself however was quite large and well-furnished. Food had been laid out on the table, and some water and wine beside it. Her clothes had been cleaned and placed in a neat pile, and she noticed she was wearing a sort of night gown. "I don't... am I a prisoner?" She asked, confused. Now would have been a good time to have Vincent there. She had never spent much time in the fae, not that she disliked it, she had just never had many reasons to remain in a place where you could be killed or become a slave for a thousand years at the drop of a hat. Or worse. She looked at the little creature on her pillow. It looked like a red panda, and yet it looked like it was comprised of silvery light and mist. It left little wispy trails of something behind as it moved to the end of the bed and sat down. Violet glanced at Dee who sat there in silence, "You can see that." She said, more as a statement than a question. "Yep." Dee grinned back at her. She hated her in that moment. Dee had a habit of withholding information from her, and at times like this, it really irked her, regardless of whether it was right or wrong. "I was wondering when you two were going to meet." She added. A smug grin spreading across her face. "We've met before though..." Violet replied, frowning, "But you changed..." "Yes." It replied, then after a long silence, "Do you remember what I said to you?" It asked. "You said..." She tried to think back, "You said I'd know your name the next time we met..." Violet replied. She couldn't believe it. What she'd seen in the Void hadn't been some kind of delusion or fever dream, or even some kind of illusion. It had really happened. But the strange little creature was right. "Your name is Zeal." "Yes." It replied, smiling at her. Then it stood and leapt onto the table, and up onto the windowsill. "The next time we meet, you will know what I am." It turned and started to leave, phasing through the bars as if they weren't even there. "Hey!" Violet snapped, stomping across to the window. "You can't just come and go as you please! I want answers out of you, you little rat bastard! Tell me what you are and why you're following me goddammit!" The creature responded with a toothy grin, then leapt out into the sunshine and disappeared. "... fucking... magical creatures..." She sighed, rubbing her forehead for a few seconds before remembering that Dee was still in the room. "You're no use!!" She shouted at her. "What?" Dee raised an eyebrow in surprise. "You know what that is!" She gestured at the window where the creature had been just a moment ago, "And you knew all along that I wasn't a Skinwalker, but you let me run off to that reservation and learn a bunch of lore that wasn't even about my culture!!" Violet was fuming, especially as Dee rarely lost her temper. Being mad at someone who just smiles at you just makes it all the more infuriating. "And you know I couldn't tell you, whether I wanted to or not." "Cosmic unravelling of time and space blah blah blah," Violet grumbled as she started to take her night gown off, but mid-strip she stopped and looked at Dee, "Face the other way, then." Dee rolled her eyes but did so all the same. Once Violet had changed into her own clothes she walked over to the window and looked out. She was indeed still in the realm of the fae. So they had been captured. "Dammit..." She cursed, clenching her fist and thumping it on the sill. She heard a key turn in the door and turned to see a strange little pixie with brilliant blue wings buzz into the room, give it a once over and then looked at Violet. "Greetings, darkling, I have--" "What did you call me?!" Violet snapped, and stormed forwards. The pixie retreated just enough so that it was behind the open door, and Violet put her hand out to grab the spiteful little creature, but found an invisible barrier blocking her exit. Whether the door was open or not, it didn't seem to matter. "I have--" The pixie continued, now safe in the knowledge it was out of her reach, "-- a message for you. You are the prisoner of the Queen of Spring, life and rebirth - Queen Shaylee. You cannot leave this room, your sentence has been carried out. You have been found guilty of trespassing in her realm, of harming its citizens and breaking a dozen of our most cherished laws, chief among them--" "I've had enough of this!" Violet snapped, and ran at the window. "Don't." Dee muttered under her breath. Violet leapt into the air, she had to turn into something small, like a mouse or shrew. Or maybe she should turn into small bird like a robin, so she could fly free into the skies once she was outside. She flew through the air, and started to shift. The most incredible pain Violet had ever experienced shot up through her spine and spread through every part of her body. She gasped as she collided with the wall and hit the ground. Panting, exhausted, her body still twitching from the memory of the pain she had experienced. "W-what... what was that?!" Her eyes were wide, "Jesus..." "The Queen is well aware of your 'habits', darkling. You will be unable to change inside these walls. No beast, humanoid, or other such facsimile will be possible, if you attempt it, you will experience that pain once again. Your sentence is 300 years, and I am your jailer. You may call me Goshwomp." "Charmed." Violet growled. "Should you need anything, call my name. I will treat you with respect, as long as you abide by our rules." And then Goshwomp was gone, the door closed and locked behind him. Violet pulled herself up off the ground and shuffled over to the end of the bed and collapsed onto it. "300 years...?" She sighed, closing her eyes. Then a moment later they shot open, "I'm not going to get the deposit back on my hotel room." "You should take this seriously." Dee muttered, looking around the room with a curious expression on her face. "I'm using humour to alleviate the gripping sense of dread, alright?" She replied in a snarky tone, and closed her eyes again. "I could help with that." A male voice answered. She recognized it immediately. "James?!" She sat upright and looked to the window to see a small black cat sat on the window sill. "How are you not captured as well?" "I'm rather clever." He replied, matter-of-factly. Unlike her, as a familiar, James was able to speak as an animal. Though, he could only transform into that cat, as technically he was shifting when he assumed a human form. His true form was the feline. "Well i'm freaking glad you are." Violet grinned and looked to Dee, but she was gone. "Oh for..." She shook her head, "Y'know, for a prison cell, i've had a lot of visitors today." James gave her a strange look, unsure of what she meant, but moved past it. "Well, i'd like to get you out of here but, why don't you just leave?" He asked, looking at the bars that were generously spaced apart. "If I try and shift it hurts like hell. I can't." Violet replied, furrowing her brow as she thought of possible escape options. "I overheard you speaking to someone," James remarked. "Oh, you heard that?" Violet asked with a nervous smile. "Goshwomp?" James confirmed to her. So, he hadn't heard her speaking to Dee or to the little silvery creature she now knew as Zeal. Typical. "I think if you're going to escape, you'll have to trick him. That's the only way. I might be able to get you out, if I had the time, but--" James stopped, his ears pricked up and he looked back outside, "--I have to go!" Speaking hurriedly, "I'm going to find your brother and help him escape, and then we'll be back for you. But don't rest on your laurels, hmm?" He smiled and then leapt off the window sill. After a few minutes had passed, Violet let out a deep breath and rubbed her forehead. "Dee?" "I didn't go anywhere." She replied. "What am I?" Violet asked again, and Dee shook her head. She nodded quietly in defeat and sat on the end of the bed, thoughts rushing through her mind. She tried to focus on the task at hand, but Violet couldn't help but be absorbed by the recent revelations in her life. As if Dee was on the same page, she suddenly sat upright and clicked her fingers together. A spark of inspiration. "You already know!" Dee clapped her hands together excitedly. "Excuse me?" Violet raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "No, look--" Dee stood and crossed the room to sit close beside her, "I was thinking about your childhood, and you have a memory, it's not exactly the most vivid of memories, apparently. But it exists. When you were a child, your mother told you what you were before she left. Definitely." Dee nodded with a bright smile on her face, her eyes dancing with excitement, "Yep. Definitely. You know." "So she told me what I was as a child?" Violet frowned, "I don't remember that..." "Well i've said enough, any more and y'know, cosmic blah blah blah." She grinned and kissed Violet on the forehead before standing up. "You're gonna be alright, Vi. Just take things one step at a time, don't force them. You'll remember, or you'll find out one way or another. Just remember that you're defined by your actions, not your heritage. Even..." Dee stopped herself and laughed, shrugging it off, "Anyway, see ya." And then she was gone, and Violet was alone in her gilded cage. At last. Violet shook her head and fell back onto her bed. She would have thought that the only upside of being a prisoner was you were generally left to your own devices. Unsurprising, then, that she had been incarcerated in the only prison in this dimension that gets regular visitors from another realm. She laughed at the absurdity of the situation she was in. It was laugh, or cry. But now she had to focus her attention on her jailer. The pixie called Goshwomp. If she was going to get out of here, she had to trick him into letting her out. But how could she do that? Wonderful as James was, she didn't want to rely on anything that made the conscious decision to lick their own hindquarters and call it 'cleaning'.
  14. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    Dark blood splattered across the leafy ground. Violet wiped a smattering of it off her face and tried to catch her breath. Several piles of ash and bone lay scattered across the clearing. Violet looked to check on James, and saw that his suit was undamaged, his hair was still pristine. She let out a long sigh and tried to straighten up. "You make it look easy." She growled, cracking her knuckles. "I'm just a little more careful, is all." James replied, "I'd rather not get covered in blood, thank you very much. Suits are expensive." Violet shook her head but smiled despite it, "Ok." She took a deep breath and let it out, gathering her thoughts. They'd killed all the dhampir that had been sent after them, there was likely only a skeleton crew guarding the civilians. She and James started back, moving quickly but quietly. She had half expected to find Vincent stood outside, tapping his foot impatiently, ready to deliver the clever quip he'd been pondering for the past few minutes. But as they approached, Violet's worst fears suddenly materialised. Blood dotted the ground. It was human blood, not dhampir. Violet signalled to James to freeze and they crouched down on the outer edge of the clearing, watching the hut in silence. She could see movement inside but couldn't make out what was going on. But the fact that Vincent wasn't outside with David, Meredith and the civilians could only mean one thing. They'd been captured or killed. Violet's face stretched into a tight snarl. She felt James' hand on her shoulder, reminding her to be calm. She glanced at him angrily but nodded all the same. Slowly, carefully, they crept from the forest. There was no birdsong, no insect chirp. The forest had grown silent. Like it was holding its breath, waiting for something to happen. And happen it did. Violet was just a couple of steps from the open entrance to the hut when a huge body came hurtling out, startling her. She raised her dagger but was pulled from her feet and the blade fell from her grip along with all the air from her lungs. She choked as she felt the world tumbling past her as the huge body drove her into a tree. She slumped to the ground, tasting blood in her mouth. She tried to get up, using the trunk for support, but a foot collided with her face and she snapped back against the trunk of the tree again and collapsed. She heard the dhampir laugh and then roar as she heard another set of footsteps dart towards them. It had to have been James, she tried to look up but just opening her eyes made her head scream with pain. Her vision was blurry. Large, unwieldy digits closed around her throat and lifted her from the trunk. She opened her eyes long enough to see a huge dhampir in front of her. Another was engaging James in melee combat. Neither one seemed to be getting the advantage. She'd seen James fight before, but nothing like this. She didn't even realise he could hold his own against a dhampir of that size and strength. She glanced back just in time to see the grotesque head of the dhampir holding her, glide past her eyes. She felt the crunch as it's maw full of fangs closed around her shoulder and she couldn't suppress her pain. Violet screamed at the top of her lungs and flailed in an attempt to break free, she heard James yelling but it was all white noise to her. She felt her own blood trickling down her body. Then the pain was replaced with something else. At first, she felt shivers run through her body. Like an ice cube slid down her spine. She felt the hairs on the back of her neck raise, goosebumps spread across her body. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head as she felt an intense pleasure and sense of well-being. The pain was all but gone. Her arms went limp as her mind clouded. She felt a release of pressure on her neck and she slid down the tree to the ground. It meant nothing to her. She heard voices, yelling. Seconds passed, then she felt something grab her by the hair. She was being dragged, and she couldn't do a thing to resist. She wasn't even sure if she needed to. More voices. But she could hear them now. Sound started coming back to her, like air filling a vacuum. In a matter of seconds, the voices were clear. She opened her eyes just in time to see the light overhead disappear as she was pulled into the hut. "--two of them." One of the dhampir grunted, throwing Violet into the hut. "Good." A voice cooed. "Then that's all of them, I believe." The voice went on. She could feel a strange energy wafting in front of her. It lowered itself until she saw a face close to her own. A smug smile spread from cheek to cheek. "What are you, exactly..." The man asked, his hand reaching out to stroke Violet's cheek. "Shapeshifter." One of the dhampir snarled, "Killed half of us in the forest with that," He nodded his head at James, "Another shifter." "Is she...?" The warlock asked, a mixture of curiosity and disbelief in his tone. "You bit her?" He asked, looking down at the wound on Violet's shoulder before grabbing Violet by her cheeks and shaking her limp head, her eyes seemed to be unable to focus on him. "Well I hope she remains whole, else--" Violet blinked, she wasn't sure where she'd been, or what had happened, but something was welling up inside her. A terrible pain, and a familiar hunger. It was like a heroin addict had gone cold turkey in fast forward. She groaned and tried to see what was in front of her. But as she started to feel the scales tip back to the centre, it was as though she had over-compensated and now they were leaning in the other direction. Where she was, who she was, who they were. It meant nothing to her. She saw a panicked expression on the warlock in front of her as her arm lashed out. Her fingers snapped shut on the man's throat and started to squeeze. She heard him let out a startled cry and choked out a half-plea, half-demand to the dhampir surrounding him. The dhampir however looked so surprised to see a bite victim lucid and strong that they hesitated - if only for a second. Then they descended on Violet and pried her fingers free of the warlock's throat. He stumbled back, gripping his neck and opened his mouth to issue an order when the dhampir holding Violet exploded in a flash of purple light. Blood, guts and bone flew everywhere, spraying everyone in the hut. Silence ensued. "Master Logan?!" One of the dhampir took a step back in surprise and fear. The warlock now identified as Logan grit his teeth and made a noise that sounded like a metal fork being pulled down a blackboard. Whatever the noise had been it seemed to resonate with Violet as her half-vacant gaze quickly focused on him, as though he'd called her by name. "I thought so..." He growled, "Kill her. NOW!!" He screamed, and pulled a small artifact from his pocket and started chanting over it, backing away as he did so. Violet started forwards, and levelled her hand at a target. A brilliant white and purple light thrummed from her hand. Her palm faced the nearest body in the room. Vincent. The light in her hand grew to the point that it looked ready to discharge at any moment. She could no longer distinguish between friend and foe. She was an avatar of rage. As the magic in her hand discharged, something slammed into the side of her, knocking her arm up into the air. The blast of magic exploded the roof of the hut outwards in a incredible display of light and sound that dazed everyone inside. Violet struggled against the dhampir that had caught hold of her at their master's command, but it was too strong. It physically overwhelmed her almost instantly and pinned her to the side of the hut. "Let go of her!" Logan roared. The dhampir ignored the demand, sure that if it let go of her they would be in danger once again. But he quickly regretted it. The dhampir snarled in surprise as Violet became hot to his touch, to the point that it was burning him. He let go of one of her arms for just a second, and then she snaked out and grabbed his face. Violet's eyes and mouth alighted with brilliant white light and the dhampir croaked in agony as it's tight leathery skin became brittle and thin. It looked as though all the life was draining out of it and within seconds it turned to ash in Violet's hand. She stood up, the light still pouring out of her eyes as she refocused on Logan this time. She raised her hand to attack, words flowed from her lips without her knowledge, but when she tried to call upon her magic, it failed. Logan's expression shifted from fear and panic into surprise and glee. He quickly held out a small knife and pointed it at Violet. "Pyre!" He shouted, and a jet of flame shot out of the blade and struck Violet squarely in the chest, knocking her to the ground in a single hit. She was motionless on the ground for a few, agonising moments. Then slowly, she began to stir. When she looked up, her eyes had returned to normal. Violet stared at her surroundings in confusion and silence. She looked around to see several dhampir with their backs pressed up against the walls of the hut, as though hoping to be absorbed by the building. The warlock stood on the far side. She saw Vincent lying on the ground, tied, beaten and bloody. As was David. Meredith was nowhere to be seen. James was pinned to the ground by a very large dhampir. "Welcome back..." The warlock growled. As Violet started to stand up he grabbed Vincent and lifted him to his feet, "Ah-ah-ah!" He cautioned, putting the blade to Vincent's throat. "That's enough." "Vincent?" Violet asked, her tone even and calm, though she was confused. "Violet..." Vincent managed to say, his voice dry and raspy. "...what are you... waiting for?" Logan recited several more words over the artifact he held in his other hand and tightened his grip on Vincent. "I..." Violet stared at the blade at Vincent's throat. "You have two options, Violet." Logan smiled warmly, like an old friend. "You can try and kill me, though you might not succeed. And I will most certainly kill your brother. Or you can take him, and your friends, and walk away. That is all you have to choose between." A series of emotions washed over her, dominated by rage and frustration. She wanted to lash out at the warlock, leave a smouldering crater where he once stood. But she was at a great disadvantage. He had her brother. He had David. He had James. She didn't see Meredith anywhere. It was quite possible that when everything happened she had abandoned them to save herself. "I can't trust your word that you would let any of us leave alive." She replied, rubbing her thumb and forefingers together impatiently. "We are in the Fae, no?" Logan said with a wry grin. "We can do as the locals do. I swear it, on my power, that I will set them free and allow you to leave this place unharmed, if you allow the same for me.""Heh... hehe!" Vincent was chuckling, but it sounded raspy and painful. Logan's eyes flitted to Vincent for but a moment, and then back to Violet, saying nothing. Vincent's strange joviality both worried and excited her. Either he'd gone off the deep end, or he knew something Logan didn't. Hopefully the latter."You're afraid." Vincent said. Logan's face twisted into an amused sneer. "Afraid of you?" He asked mockingly. "Broken and beaten?" "No... You're afraid of her." Vincent said breathlessly. "Violet... he's scared of you. Desperate men make deals... Trust me. You... you can beat him." Vincent's eyelids dropped down as he finished the sentence, his head drooping on to the knife edge as he began falling away from consciousness. "Dammit Vincent..." Violet cursed under her breath. She shook her head and laughed bitterly, "He's right. You are desperate." She spoke through tightly clenched teeth. Her anger felt like a bubbling mass fighting to overpower her, she had always had a temper, but right now she was struggling to control it. She was angry, and there was a part of her that liked that and wanted to do with it as it pleased. But she knew if she let that side of her take control, then everyone would die as a result of her flippant disregard. "So give him back to me." She said at last. "Desperate, maybe..." Logan replied, a wicked grin forming across his lips. "But I am no fool. I will kill him before you reach me, but you will not let it come to that. You know it is the logical option but... your heart will not let you. Will it?" As if to make his point he pressed the knife in to Vincent's throat drawing a thin trickle of blood. Vincent's head shot up again as pain jolted him awake and his eyes became wild and intense. "Let... him... GO!!" Violet roared, a crack spread across her face, a bright purple light shone out from underneath, illuminating the hut. Tears welled up in the corners of her eyes as she struggled to remain still. She could barely control herself, she wanted desperately to cast a spell but knew that Vincent would be killed in Logan's final moments. "Ah... anger... a dangerous emotion." Logan said, sounding satisfied by Violet's outburst. "Such outbursts can get people hurt. I wonder... if you let your anger control you will you even care who lives and dies? Perhaps you are a greater monster than I." "Don't call me that..." Violet growled, clenching her fists as she tried to think of a way out of this situation. She had to think of something and fast. There had to be a way to get everyone out alive, and stop the warlock at the same time. "But you are." Logan said. "The first civilisations told stories of you to scare their children into behaving. Great men and women have feared your wrath throughout history. Well... perhaps not you, since you're a bit soft as these things go." "What...?" Violet couldn't help herself. Her anger had taken precedence and yet these words disarmed her. "What am I?!" She demanded, taking a step forwards angrily but stopping herself as Logan reminded her of the knife at her brother's throat. "You don't know?" Logan asked, genuinely disbelieving. "That is... well I'd laugh in a more appropriate situation. The Huntress doesn't even know what she is." "Huntress?" Violet parroted, but before she could ask she felt a strange magic as something slipped over her, flowing down over her face and body. At first the sensation made her panic and she almost lashed out, but there was nothing hostile about this magic. It was defensive. The cool, sliding sensation covered her until she was wrapped inside it. "You need to hurry." The voice was a squeak behind Violet. With Violet underneath her veil she was fully visible, crouching not far from Violet. "Please, before he notices the fake." "Meredith?!" Violet snapped, but she calmed herself. Asking where Meredith had gone would have to wait for later. There were more important matters at hand, "You have to help me get everyone out of here!" "I am helping you." Meredith replied. "He can't see you, so go! Save Vincent before he notices!" Violet nodded to her and wasted no time. She rushed to Vincent's aid, she would have to be quick. She knew she could overpower a normal human, but she had to silence Logan, before he could cast a spell or do any more harm. Then there was also the two remaining dhampir and the big one that had James pinned to the ground. She leapt into the air and transformed. Logan screamed in hysteria as a Siberian tiger flew at him from out of thin air. Unable to react in time, he and Vincent were knocked to the ground, the dagger along with them. Violet stalked over Vincent's body, and padded towards Logan who was scrambling to the back of the hut. The people in the centre of the hut recoiled from her, but she ignored them. Her gaze was focused on Logan. He dug at the ground at the foot of the wall at the back of the hut until he heard her behind him. He whirled around to see Violet just a stone's throw away. "I didn't--" Logan started. Violet shot across the hut in an instant, the people screamed and the two smaller dhampir dove out of the way as she reached Logan in an instant and fell upon him. His screams echoed through the hut as she mauled him, tearing at his arms as he tried to defend himself and once they were spent, she bit into his face and shook. His screams stopped with a jerk, and silence resumed. Only the sound of her heavy, feline breathing remained. She turned, her face matted with blood. The two smaller dhampir fled from the hut but the larger one remained. He stood, releasing James and walked to the entrance of the hut and faced Violet defiantly. She turned to face him and charged. Violet had shifted back into her human form, the crack in her face had been restored along with it, though blood still covered her face. She wiped much of it out of her eyes and mouth and cut loose those tied, including her brother, helping him to his feet. James ushered the group outside of the hut and together they left. Violet had a lot to say, to Meredith, to her brother. She had a lot of thoughts on what had happened, and on what Logan had said to her before she'd gleefully torn him apart, but there were other problems to deal with first. Second on that list was escaping the Fae, but first was dealing with the heavy fall of hooves she could hear surrounding them. Two of the dhampir had escaped, and it seemed their deadline was up. "Wake up, Vincent. Diplomacy is your strong suit, not mine." She muttered, a truth she normally found irritating, though this time, she had appreciated her own form of negotiation. Though Logan had not.
  15. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    "You should stop smoking," Violet growled, pulling the cigarette from Vincent's mouth. "It'll be the death of you." She added, stamping it out on the ground. Well aware of the irony that they were walking into the fae world, to hunt packs of dhampir and who knows what else. "Besides," She sniffed and took a step forwards of the group, "I don't want to smell those cigarettes with a nose that has 300 million olfactory receptors compared to a human's six." Violet shifted into a large German Shepherd dog, a form she had acquired while working with the canine unit. It only took her a few seconds to distinguish the sickly sweet smell of rotting flesh and fresh blood. It was far removed from any of the background smells that vied for her attention. She surged forwards at a trot, her nose close to the ground. She led the group across half of Skid Row until at last she turned and walked down a quiet back alley and came to a stop. Violet stood before the wall in her dog form for a few seconds, trying to shift back into her human form. She was finding it difficult, like she was trying to draw herself from memory. Eventually she shifted back and shook herself uncomfortably like she was pulling on a wet jacket. "Alright," She muttered, "There." Violet pointed at the wall in front of them. Vincent stared at the wall, tilting his head a little. It was just a wall but he could see the various subtle signs that indicated a Way, a portal in to The Fae. "It was opened recently" He said as he nodded towards the blank wall. "Bits of residual energy floating around. Shouldn't be too hard to open." He held his hand out in front of him and pressed his fingers together. He focused his will to the ends of his finger tips, followed by a snap as he clicked them together. At the same time there was a crack, followed by a screeching wail which seemed to quickly grow silent as if sucked through a vacuum. The wall had parted down the centre, and an eerie blue light shot out from it. In the rectangular threshold, there was a dark forest. The smell of damp moss filled the street and Vincent nodded his head at the newly opened Way. "You all need to go in first, it'll close once I step through." "I can't wait." James muttered, stepping through. "See you on the other side." Violet followed. As she stepped through to the other side, she felt a rush as though she was drawn into it. Once she was there however, it was a world apart from what she'd left. The Void was like a defective mirror. But the Fae world was something else entirely. The smells and sounds of nature were alien, but pleasant to her. She reached into her jacket and pulled out a long machete-like blade. "I could get used to this place," James commented, looking around. "I can think of other places i'd rather be." Violet replied, looking around cautiously as they waited for the others. Once the others had passed through Vincent came through shortly afterwards, and the Way closed behind him with a hiss. He sniffed the air and observed his surroundings. They were in a dark but enchanting forest. He looked up at the sky, which contained far more stars and beautiful colours than the one in LA. "This forest is Centauri. You can smell the horse shit in the air. We should move quickly, they are superb hunters and they don't like trespassers." "There are no greater hunters than cats." James remarked haughtily. "I wouldn't like to put it to the test, James." Violet replied quietly. They started walking, for most of the time they were in silence. Perhaps in part because many of the group were captivated by their surroundings, but more than likely it was the bloodthirsty natives that they were aware could be lurking anywhere, that kept the group reticent. "So what's the plan then, Vincent? This is more your area of expertise." "If they have humans they will want a stronghold. Somewhere they can defend. This place might look pretty but there are plenty of nasties that would be more than happy to bag a few humans to play with." Vincent turned to Meredith as they walked. "How will your veil hold up against Centauri?" "On their territory?" Meredith shook her head. "I'm good but this is their home. All the subtle changes a veil makes... They'd notice.""I was afraid of that." Vincent said grimly. "Let's keep moving. If something comes for us... don't attack. Let me do the talking. Violet can you shift and scout ahead? Something quick and hard to see?" "Something quick and hard to see?" Violet repeated, thinking to herself. Then after a few moments of thought, it looked as though she was jumping into the air, but as she lifted from the ground, she shifted into a small green hummingbird that landed on Vincent's shoulder. Her wings lifted, buzzed for a moment to prepare herself and then she lifted into the air, hovering due to the incredible speed at which she could move her wings. She lifted off into the air just above the forest canopy and disappeared. Scouting ahead, Violet could see a strange world that looked as though much of it was forest, though it was far more diverse than anything on Earth. After flying for a few minutes, her eyes caught a plume of smoke and she zero'd in on it. As she approached she lowered herself into the forest and landed on a tree branch. Ahead of her the forest had opened out into a small clearing besides a little trickling stream. There was a large hut, the source of the smoke plume funnelling out of the top from a fire in the centre. A group of frightened men and women who looked pale and exhausted huddled around the fire, their arms and legs had been bound. Two people were stood outside the hut, talking. They looked human, but they were pale and there was something off about them. Dhampir aren't hard to spot for an experienced hunter, if they really look. There was no way they were human, or Fae. "How long will it take to be ready?" The man asked. The woman shrugged her shoulders, brushing long blonde hair out of her face, "A few hours, maybe. We've plenty to eat until then." She added, with a toothy grin. The two Dhampir talked about what they would do when they returned to the human world. There was talk of feasts and parties, and far more unsavoury things. Violet was engrossed in their conversation. Then something irked at her. She wasn't engrossed in their conversation at all. She wasn't even looking at them any more. Something was moving towards her, and had it not been for the animal instinct at the back of her brain telling her to fly to where she couldn't be hurt, she would have been caught. A pair of hands darted out to snatch her from the branch, but she took off into the air, and the male dhampir cursed and fled back to the hut to talk to the female. Dammit, Violet thought to herself, she shouldn't have been paying such close attention to them. Either they noticed she was out of place, or acting strangely, but they obviously must have thought her a shapeshifter. They had tried glamouring her, and it had worked for the most part, she was lucky to be alive. She flew back the way she'd come, hoping to inform the group so that she could warn them of the fact she'd been seen by the dhampir. But as she dove into the canopy and flickered through the trees towards the others, she heard a strange noise. The sound grew louder and suddenly it was ringing in her ears. The net swooshed over her face and beak, startling her. She tried to move her wings but the net was large and heavy, but finely woven. The weight was too much and she couldnt fly any longer. She started to fall. Violet tried shifting into a larger bird. But it didn't matter her size, because as she grew larger the net only entwined around her. She shifted back into her human form as she smashed through several branches and landed roughly in the undergrowth. The tree branches and the fallen vegetation helped to cushion her fall but even so, the air was knocked from her lungs and she felt one of her ribs break. She gasped and tried to inhale, but doing so shifted her rib and she struggled to suppress a scream. Rough hands lifted her to her feet and pulled the net from her, holding her still by both arms. Centaurs. She looked around, and saw that the rest of her group was already surrounded by them. She had been the last hope, and she too, had become caught. James nodded to her, smiling weakly. She tried to smile back and looked at the rest of the group, and then turned her attention to the centaurs who had remained silent. She was looking for their leader, wondering what spell, if any, she could use to get them out of this. Vincent was likely thinking the same thing. Maybe there was something she could shift into to distract them, or overpower them somehow. But even a polar bear wouldn't help much against a dozen centaur. She looked to her right and saw a female centaur with long black hair and tan skin, her body a black horse from the hips down. She stared at Violet with a piercing gaze, and held a long, lethal-looking blade, ready to strike. "Wha--" She started. "Speak a single word of magic, wizard. We will take your head." Came a voice from amongst the other centaurs. "We have no quarrel with you." Violet replied. "It is we who have quarrel with you." The sound of powerful hooves hitting the rough dirt of the ground echoed, and the Centaurs parted to show their leader, a strong male with short, grey hair that was swept back, and a large scar over his left eye that was a milky white. "We have trespassed on your land, and brought you dishonour." Vincent stepped forward cautiously, and briefly exchanged a look with Violet. "Do you seek to reclaim your honour?" "With blood." The Centaur leader said along with a grave nod. "We will allow you to say your final words, mortal." "We have come here to track and kill those who have brought mortals to this land. Dark ones who no doubt have bargained safe passage through this wood." Vincent was trying to sound calm, but he could feel his body trembling. "You honour the hunt, do you not?" "Aye," the Centaur said. "I see the hunter's mark upon your party. Particularly the shapeless one." His gaze moved to Violet as he said it. "But tell me, mortal, what does your hunt offer us. The Dhampir have exchanged a portion of their bounty for safe passage. What will you offer us?" Vincent hesitated for a moment. The wrong answer could cause great offense and would likely result in their swift execution. "We offer you a spectacle. Allow us opportunity and we will show you the defeat of the Dhampir by our hands. Every last one." The Centaur considered this for a moment. He surveyed the group and that short moment felt like an eternity. Finally he nodded. "We will allow safe passage for one mortal hour. You must show us a worthy hunt. Kill them all, ensure that none remain or your own lives will be forfeit.""Pinky swear?" James muttered. Violet shot him a look that told him to be quiet. "They'll honour their word." Vincent said to James. "To the letter. One second past the hour and they'll come for us. Unless every vamp in this forest is dead." Vincent turned back to the Centaur. "Isn't that right?" The Centaur smiled and gave a swift nod. "Indeed. This isn't your first bargain with our kind, is it mortal?" "Not by a long shot." Vincent replied. "But our time is wasting. Leave us, as agreed." The Centaur did not respond, but simply made a gesture to his people and then as one they moved, thundering off back in to the darkness of the forest. But they would be watching them closely from now on. She wasted no time, "The Dhampir are maybe ten minutes walk from here, to the north. There's two, that I can see, probably more but there was only two at the camp. They saw me, too. I don't know if they knew what I was or why I was there, but they're aware there are other things not from the Fae here, at least." Violet took a deep breath, "There's also at least a half dozen people kept in a hut, they look like they might have been there for a few days. Lot of bones and flesh lying around. It's not pleasant, let's put it that way.""Well we can't risk letting even one of them get away." Vincent said. "We should move in two cells. I'll take David and Meredith. We can move to the camp under her veil. But if they converge on us we'll go down quickly. Can you and James stir up some trouble? If we separate them then we stand a better chance.""Alright. I think I can figure something out." Violet grinned, cracking her knuckles with anticipation. Out of the forest, Violet strode. The two dhampir stopped mid-sentence when they saw her. She looked at each of them in turn, smiled and then darted back into the forest. The dhampir exchanged another glance and as the male ran after Violet, the female whistled as loud as she could. As Violet was running she heard the cracking of branches as the dhampir barrelled through the forest after her, and soon she heard the sound of more footsteps. There was at least a half dozen dhampir chasing after her. Probably more back at their camp, given what they were protecting. Violet ran until she saw a clearing ahead of her, that would at least give her a little freedom of movement, especially if she had to shift into anything of size. Violet turned to see the first dhampir pull himself free of the forest foliage and stride out to meet her."I knew there was something off about that bird." The dhampir growled. "Oh please, have you seen you?" Violet smirked, "You wouldn't know 'off' if you drank a pint of curdled milk." As the dhampir roared and charged, James came in from his side and impaled the dhampir in the heart. The look of shock and pain on the dhampir's face was etched there, as Violet flew forwards and with a quick spin, she used the machete blade to part the dhampir's head from his body. The corpse turned to hot ash and charred bones that fell into a loose pile."Lot more are coming." Violet cleaned her blade and readied herself while James had a strange grin on his face, "What?" "Oh, I dunno. Just like old times." James replied."Nostalgia later, James." Violet growled, as two more dhampir pulled themselves out into the clearing and faced them. Violet raised her weapon and readied herself, she could hear rapid footsteps approaching. They would have to deal with the dhampir, and quickly, or risk being overrun. She only hoped that Vincent was doing better on his end.
  16. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    On the corner of 1st and Main, Violet stood looking up at a large building that looked as though it was made almost entirely from glass. It was no surprise that the L.A.P.D.'s headquarters was often called 'The Glass House'. She crossed the road, making her way there. Seeing the officers come and go, and the general vibe of the building made her feel both comfortable and nostalgic. She hadn't been back here for months. Not since she'd taken a leave of absence. Violet walked up the steps to the building and opened one of the large double doors and stepped inside. Little had changed. The receptionist at the desk smiled at her as she stepped in and gave a little nod, which she returned and walked past a row of people awaiting processing, sat handcuffed to a seat on her right. It was a busy day, everyone wore tense expressions. Like they were all thinking the same thing, but afraid to say it. The officers she walked past were absorbed in case files, barely noticing her. She walked into the back offices. She'd really only come here to see one person, anyway, she just had to find him. If he was even in right now. "Hallow!" She heard the gruff voice bark her name and she smiled, turning to see her Captain. "Hey Cap'," Violet replied, smiling. Captain Dolores Adler was an imposing woman. She was tall, lithe but she carried herself confidently. She had a choppy blonde bob and bright blue eyes. She was attractive, buxom but she hid her attraction behind a veil of loose-fitting suits and a lack of sleep that showed on her face. "Get in my office, now." Captain Adler demanded, in reply, and walked into her office, waiting expectantly. Violet walked in, looking around the office as she did so before sitting down in front of her Captain's desk. Adler walked around and sat behind it, studying Violet for a few uninterrupted seconds before clearing her throat and smiling, "It's good to see you in." "Thanks, but i'm not really back." She replied. That soured the expression on Adler's face. "I see..." Adler licked the inside of her teeth as she played with the pen on her desk. "Y'know its been months? How long are you gonna take?" "I don't know, i'm just not ready to go back to it, Captain. Not yet." "It wasn't your fault." Adler jammed her forefinger on the desk with a dull thud, punctuating her statement. "I'm..." Violet paused, images flashing before her eyes. Tears threatened to spill in the corners of her eyes but she forced them back and sighed, "I don't know. Maybe it wasn't, but i'm just not ready to come back yet." She paused as she remembered the reason she'd come in. "Is James here?" She asked. Adler smiled, nodding her head slowly, "He's, well he's out right now but I know he's coming back into the station shortly, you can wait at his desk if you want?" "Yeah." Violet stood up and started to walk out. "Don't take too much longer. We all miss you, James most of all." Violet paused in the doorway and nodded back at her Captain silently. She walked out and let out a deep breath she hadn't realised she'd been holding and made her way to James' desk. It was meticulous as always. Papers neatly organized, everything was clean and orderly. There was a definitive statement about who this person was and how they operated based on this little space. There were no pictures of friends or family, no keepsakes. No little knick-knacks. Just the case files, reports, neatly filed. A well-kept computer, free of dust and dirt. A lamp, and a plain coffee mug, half-full of cold coffee. No doubt abandoned when he had to be called out. She sat at his desk and started flicking through the files of his recent cases. Homicide, homicide, triple homicide. Rape and double homicide. Nothing unusual, at least on first glance. But these files all had something strange about them. One victim had had their heart torn clean out of their chest. Another person had been drained of blood. One person had been beheaded and the spinal fluid was missing. Violet shuddered, nothing had changed. The world of monsters and magic was just as present here as it always had been. She wasn't surprised to find that James had taken all these cases under his wing. He embraced magic better than she ever had during her time with the force. There was a reason for that, though. James was a familiar. A spirit bound to the mortal realm by a pact. He could remain, for as long as his master - the one who had summoned him and formed a contract - retained him. It had been many years since she had summoned James, and their relationship had changed much since those early days. She didn't give him commands any more, they were friends. Partners. And a partner that knows how to approach and deal with the supernatural is a rare and precious thing. She had only been sat at James' desk for a half hour, reviewing his cases, when she heard a knock. She turned to see James standing there with a toothy grin on his face. "Am I interrupting something?" His grin widened and it spread to Violet infectiously. "James!" She grinned, throwing the case back on his desk. "I didn't hear you come in." She stood up and they hugged, "You look well." She added, assessing him. James was tall, very slim and tanned. He had an angular, handsome face with dark brown eyes. His dark brown hair was styled and slicked back and he wore a black, tailored suit. It looked expensive. His badge was open and tucked into his jacket's breast pocket. "Don't I always?" He glanced at his case files, "Anything take your fancy?" He asked, expectantly. "I'm sorry James, I--" Violet began. "--it's fine." James cut her off, but he was clearly upset. He leaned over and picked up the files. "So what are you doing here anyway? Not just catching up with old friends, I take it?" "I wish it was just that." Violet replied, "I'm here because I need to know if you've had any missing persons reports? It would have been recent, probably a large number. It would have to be in a concentrated area, too." "How many we talking here? Three or four?" James asked, picking up his files. "--dozen." Violet added. James couldn't hide the surprise on his face. "Three or four dozen?!" He said, trying to whisper but it coming out too loud. "Probably." Violet nodded, "We're not dealing with a single individual here, and we're probably going to be dealing with a group that has little regard for the law. If you go sniffing around there you're as likely to become a case file yourself." James was staring down at his files in silence. "What is it?" Violet asked. James gave her a look. "This--" He replied, his face was grim. He leant past her, and opened the bottom drawer of his desk and handed her a file. She glanced at James before opening it. Some files sound strange, or even difficult to believe. This report, however, was on a whole other level. There had been a steady flow of missing persons coming from Skid Row. That wasn't too unusual, it was one of the most dangerous areas of L.A. A well known danger zone, for tourists, or anyone really. Even the police are hesitant to patrol that stretch. But according to the reports, there had been several dozen more missing persons in the past two weeks. Most of them were homeless or vagrants, reported missing by their friends. Either the police wasn't taking it seriously, or didn't care, or somebody was being paid to stay quiet. "Wow..." Violet whistled as she looked over it, looking back up at James who gave her a weak smile. "If you're getting mixed up in that, Vi, you gotta be careful." James crossed his arms, examining her expression. She knew what he was doing, he was studying her to see if she'd lie to him. She didn't want to involve him, it wasn't his fight. She knew if he thought she was in danger he would refuse to leave her side. But, this time, she wasn't going to refuse. She explained what had happened, and by the time she was finished James was already grabbing his coat. "Thanks, James." Violet smiled at him and he nodded back at her as he checked his pistol. "Let's go hunting." James replied with a grin, holstering his pistol and sneaking a long-bladed dagger from his desk drawer into his coat. Violet and James marched out the front of the glass house. She called her brother, it rang a few times and he picked up. "Vincent, i'm on my way to Skid Row. Several dozen missing people have been reported in that area. I'll meet you there." She paused, "I'm bringing a friend." She added, smiling at James as they got into her car.
  17. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    What am I? Am I a skinwalker? Was that really my mother? Why was she using necromancy? Did she ever even love me or my father or was she just manipulating us to achieve her goals? Am I going to turn into whatever that thing was? How dangerous is she? Am I dangerous? Hundreds of such questions assaulted Violet's every waking moment. Right now she was sat on the end of her hotel bed, staring down at the floor. She had caught sight of a little stain on the carpet. It was red, possibly a splash of wine or maybe a drop of blood. Whatever it was, she was transfixed by it. She had spent the past couple of weeks apart from Vincent, apart from everyone really. She didn't want to hear from him. She needed space. Space to process everything that had happened. Had it helped? Not really. But at least she'd gotten some work done. She'd gone into the station for the first time in months, the Captain was happy to see her, kept asking her if she was ready to resume taking on cases. It wasn't enough that she was advising the department, not for the Captain. He obviously had a lot of crimes on his hands that probably had nothing to do with magic and monsters. Though she usually ended up with the strangest cases. The 'no hope' files. But she'd told him she still couldn't come back. He'd smiled and said it was alright, to take her time, but she could see the conflict on his face. If she didn't return soon, he was probably going to have to get a new detective. Knock. Knock knock. The sound of the door being hammered caused Violet to inhale swiftly and pull herself from her toxic thoughts. "Uh..." She croaked, licking her lips. She realised she hadn't spoken all day, and her throat was parched. She was hungry, too. She'd missed more than a few meals the past couple of weeks. She was a little paler, a little thinner. But she was still Violet Hallow. She still carried herself with an air of authority. No nonsense. A temper to be wary of. At least that's what she told herself, as she looked through the peep-hole of her hotel door. "Vincent..." She said under her breath. Opening the door, she stared at him lazily, "What?" "I brought donuts." Vincent said in his best attempt at a sincere and cheerful tone. He lifted the box and shook it a little as if to accentuate his statement. Violet didn't say anything but took the box from Vincent and walked back into her room, leaving the door ajar. She sat on the end of the bed, opened the box and pulled out the first donut she saw and took a messy bite out of it, eschewing her usually clean and ordered demeanour. She finished the first donut in a few seconds and then started another, this time eating slowly. She reached into the box and pulled out a napkin and wiped the powdered sugar from her face in silence, staring at the wall ahead of her. "So..." Vincent said as he stepped in to the room. He examined it for a moment before his gaze fell back on Violet. "You ready to talk about it?" He asked, quickly adding "It's okay if you don't..." "What's there to talk about?" Violet muttered back, continuing her donut in silence for a few seconds more until she pushed the last bite into her mouth and chewed it slowly, letting out a long breath. "It's not like my mother rose from the dead and started practising necromancy, playing mind games with me, goaded me into the Void, turned into a... whatever... put her arm in your ear, and I got a face full of... something, from that book of yours. Perfectly normal day, Vincent." "Right..." Vincent said, clearly chewing on his words before speaking them. "Well I'm here for you, and whenever you're ready to start digging I'll have your back. Well..." He paused for a moment, a little nervous. "...except right now. I kind of need your help, actually." "Naturally." Violet growled. "Well I can't help you, i'm sort of..." Her voice trailed off as her face screwed up irritably. "...closing yourself off and wallowing in self pity?" Vincent asked, it was subtle but he tensed as if half expecting for something to hit him. "I know something about that, believe it or not. It won't get any better if you just sit and do nothing, trust me." "I'm--" She was going to say, 'not wallowing in self pity', but she probably was. But that wasn't it. "It's more that I can't do anything right now, Vincent. Have you actually looked at my room?" Violet asked, looking around again herself. At first glance, the room appeared normal, if a little messy. But take a second look and you realised there was a lot amiss. The filament in the light overhead had shorted, and the ceiling fan was still. A glass of water lay on it's side next to her bed, the water had mostly spilled out into the carpet. Most of the bedsheets and pillows were on the floor beside the bed. Her clothes were in her wardrobe - but they were all on the floor, as the hangars were all bent out of shape. Violet crossed her arms and licked the inside of her cheek, trying to contain her temper. "Oh." Vincent said, as if he was only noticing for the first time. "Um... well, shit. Violet why didn't you tell me? I mean... I might be able to do something." He thought for a moment, rubbing his chin, squinting his eyes like he was having a conversation with himself in his head. "I mean I don't know about right now but... I could have looked in to this for you." Violet stood and stormed up to Vincent, "I don't need your help, i'm perfectly capable my--" As she raised her forefinger to point at Vincent, a little spark jumped the inch from her fingertip to his nose, and they both recoiled. "Argh!" Violet shook her hand, "Fucking carpet!!" She roared, stamping it as though that would achieve anything. She had completely lost her temper. This is why she had spent most of her time out, not that it really helped where she went. But she was fed up of everything reacting strangely to her. It wasn't unusual for a wizard to have an effect on their surroundings, but this was kid stuff. One of the first things you're taught to control, and soon you wouldn't even need to think about it. You just can't affect anything without consciously focusing your will into it, or on it, or around it. At least something. But it seemed like everything was against her right now. Two weeks of that had been enough. Violet bunched up her fists and felt like throwing them around, but the only face in the room was Vincent's, and she was already afraid she'd alienated her brother after what had happened in the Void, so hitting him was probably not the best move right now. "Normally you don't." Vincent replied. "But... I think you do, and right now my time is limited. So if you want to do something about this then it has to be now. Otherwise..." He trailed off. "Look, I have a job tonight. It could get messy, and it might be a long one. So let me help you. I might be a pretty crappy person... but I'm a good wizard. I know my shit." "Son of a..." Violet cracked her knuckles and stood quite still, reluctant to move across the carpet. She was breathing in and out entirely through her nose, trying to calm down. "Fine!" She blurted out, "Would you just get on with it, because if I knock one more glass of water over..." She trailed off, but the threat hung in the air. She took a couple of tentative steps back to her bed and sat down, a look of sour grapes on her face. "All right... um..." Vincent looked around the room. "I need to make a circle. We'll need to move a few things around." He didn't wait for a response and got to work. He made a large enough space on the floor by moving some furniture around. Then he got the spare linens from her closet and put them on the floor, tying them together and placing them in the shape of a circle on the floor. After he was done he pointed to it's centre. "Okay, get in and sit down." She did as he asked and sat down in the middle of the circle, placing her hands on her knees. "Can I admit that i'm uncomfortable, Vincent? The last time you put me in a circle, you turned my skin blue for a month." She looked around, inspecting the circle for breaks and nervously re-checking everything he was doing. "I just wanted you to dye my hair..." "I was fourteen." Vincent grumbled. "And how is that different from now?" She cracked a nervous smile. "Because I have spent the last 10 years devouring magical theory to the point of being a reclusive shut in." Vincent replied. "Now be quiet and let me do my thing." He held out his hand with his palms opened and with an effort of will he activated the circle. He felt the energy go up around Violet, sealing her inside. This had the added bonus of ensuring he was free of the looming potential of a foul tempered ass kicking for the foreseeable at least. Still he'd have to let her out some time and it was probably best not to piss her off, he knew she'd be more than happy to kick his ass later. He reached out with his senses, allowing them to wash over the circle and analyse everything within. He gave a deep inhalation of breath which did not sound very reassuring, but he remained calm. "Well your aura is all over the place. It's like you're covered in static. No wonder you've been fucking shit up. The real question is why. Just give me another minute." He continued to examine her with his senses, but he was struggling to find out what was going on inside her. He grit his teeth and then closed his eyes. When he opened them again he had activated his Sight, and when he gazed upon his sister his mouth immediately fell open. "Holy... shit." He whispered. Where Violet was sat, there was something else in her place. He couldn't find any other way to describe it but as a being of pure, raw power. He had thought that perhaps her magic had been fading, that it was bugging out as she fought to regain it. In fact the opposite was closer to the truth. She was bursting with power, but it wasn't like anything he had ever seen. A wizard's magic courses through them like the blood in their veins. Violet's power was bursting to get out. It was as if her body, the vessel for her magic, was made of plastic wrap. It was holding it in but the magic was violently moving around, finding weak points. "Dorothy, you're not in Kansas any more." He said as he shook his head. "But... I know what's up. In short your vessel, or your body in this case, it's like it isn't a solid form. Maybe it's a Skinwalker thing... all that transmogrification and changing of mass... I think you can fix it though." "What do you mean 'it isn't a solid form'?" Violet asked, a growl crept into her questioning tone. "I don't like the idea that you're going to 'fix me'. I'm supposed to shapeshift. If you take that from me..." Her top lip curled as her eyes bore into him."I meant I know how to fix you... well, maybe." Vincent rubbed his forehead. "Look, I know how to do it, probably, but you need to do the work. This isn't a physical problem. I mean your body is still there, you're not a bag of jello. I'm talking about the non physical container for your magic. Normally this is something that sort of just works on it's own. This is almost like... well like you've transformed. Your magic doesn't know where to go so you need to re-establish the link. I can help you, but in the end you'll be the one doing all the legwork.""Half of what you said just went over my head," Violet rubbed her temples, and relented, "So just tell me what you want me to do and i'll do it.""I can't promise it will work." Vincent said. "When you shift you have to focus on the form, right? But when you return to normal you don't have to focus, becaus you're just you. Well right now that form is all cracked and battered, and it's not holding. So you need to focus, like you would when you shift, but focus on being you. I mean it makes sense in theory but... I don't know if you could do it instantly. It might take time, and that's if I'm even right.""I'm not me?" Violet looked down at her hands, "I'm... my body, my own body, isn't my body? I have to consciously... become myself?" Violet's face screwed up. It looked as though she was fighting between the urge to cry and the instinct to lash out. "You look fine to me." Vincent replied. "I'm not a shifter though, and I'm working purely on my theoretical knowledge. I studied the art because... well because it's what you do. But I've never actually shifted, so I don't know." Vincent sighed and ran his hand through his hair. "Violet... I can't spend too much time on this right now. I want to, I really do. But... the other week when I went to Lucia's mansion... she almost killed me. No, actually she could have killed me. But instead she made a bargain with me. She gave me the book and in return I had to do a job for her. That's what I'm doing tonight." Dark eyes burned into Vincent. Violet stood up and smashed her fist against the invisible barrier she was trapped inside, "YOU LET ME OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW, VINCENT HALLOW!!" She yelled at the top of her lungs, and in a flash she'd turned into a leopard. The big cat gouged at the barrier to no effect and quickly paced back and forth within the confines of the circle before shifting back into Violet. She stood there for a few seconds as a look of confusion washed over her, "That was weird..." She muttered, but eventually refocused on Vincent, "Let me out of here, you stupid man. Right now." She growled, pressing her palms against the barrier. "Don't make me force my way out."Vincent, more out of fear than conscious effort, lowered the barrier of the circle, and then braced himself, whilst having vivid flashbacks of the time he had turned her skin blue. It was surprising how similar this scene was.Though her shoulder hit Vincent as she walked out, knocking him aside, Violet didn't attack him. She walked out into the hall, straightened her collar and swept back her long raven hair before pushing her hands into the pockets of her jacket, "Well?" She snarled, and marched down the hall, leaving Vincent standing in her bomb-hit hotel room. She was going to have to leave housekeeping another generous tip."Uh... what just happened?" Vincent asked, before realising there was nobody there to actually answer him. Then he ran off after Violet. "Wait! I need to rent a tux!""I don't know." Violet answered, as she heard Vincent catch up to her. "But when I shifted, it felt different, but... I don't know, I feel like i'm a little more in control, now... still kind of feel like Superman after sipping a Kryptonite cappuccino - but at least i'm not coming apart at the seams any more." Then she added, "Thanks." And punched him on the shoulder. Maybe it was meant playfully, but she knocked Vincent into the corridor's wall. "So, vampires?"
  18. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    Violet's head was spinning. Not just from how hot or exhausted she was, though her body screamed at her for relief. No, her head was spinning because her mother was stood in front of her, in the void, as a necromancer, and she was alive. Everything about that thought was wrong. How was it possible? If she was alive all this time then why had she left without a word? Why had she turned to dark magic? Then a nasty thought occurred to her. Had her mother always been a necromancer? Suddenly a stream of questions began fighting for her attention. "You don't know what you're talking about, Vincent." Her mother replied, tutting. "I already have the innocent, I could take the grimoire from you, and Violet, and you, actually. You think this--" She held up the arm that seemed made of energy. "--is going to stop me? You didn't even scratch me. Not really." "M-mom?" Violet repeated, unable to get her next thought out. "I know i've left a lot unexplained, dear, but if you come with me i'll explain everything and show you what you're capable of. You're feeling a little off, right?" Her mother smiled. That smile was so familiar to her, was it really her mother? But how was that possible? "You're not taking her anywhere!" Vincent snarled. "Even if I have to use every last bit of magic I have left... I'll make sure to take you down with me." It was no idle threat in his mind. It was a promise. "I wasn't asking you." Her mother's face darkened and her tone became cold like steel, "Don't use that tone with me, Vincent Gideon Hallow. If you do, I will put you in your place." Her face curled back into a snarl reminiscent of Violet's, "The impetuosity of mortals..." "Violet..." Vincent said, ignoring her mother. "Snap out of it. We're family... even if she's telling the truth, just look at what she's doing. Don't trust her." "I..." Violet opened her mouth to speak, but her mother cut her short. "You're family? I AM HER MOTHER!!" She snarled, her voice echoing strangely. Violet's mother raised her arms and a hot glowing purple energy quickly filled her palms. It took less than a second. The energy shot straight at Vincent, the heat and light was blinding but Violet was already moving. She couldn't control her speed, and she rammed into Vincent's shoulder, knocking him aside. But she was caught in the chest with the full force of the energy. Violet flew backwards like a rag doll and collided with the floor, tumbling over and over until finally she rolled to a stop and laid quite still, her body limp and lifeless. Vincent pulled himself to his feet, looking around for a moment until he caught sight of Violet. His expression soured and he turned to the Necromancer, glaring at her darkly. "Mothers like you have their children taken from them. Because you hurt them!" He began to channel his will. It came to him more easily than before. Fuelled by hate and anger, they were easy to harness. The magic they created, however, was violent and chaotic. It damaged the soul. But it was what he needed right now, and besides which he couldn't control it. He had dropped his cane in the fall, but he didn't need it for what he was doing. He thrust out his open palm. "IGNUS!" he roared furiously, the fire coming to him quickly. It did not flow out of him like a lance, as it had before, but like a vicious cyclone, swirling and twisting through the air, expanding forward in a mass of explosive heat and energy, engulfing his view. Seeing her daughter limp on the floor, she turned her attention to Vincent. "You should have done as I asked." Her face was full of rage and she strode forwards into the fiery cyclone. As she closed on Vincent, she was whispering something, chanting. The fire scorched her clothes and burnt them away. The flames licked at her skin and tore at it as quickly as it had done her clothes until there was nothing human left of her. Violet's mother walked out the other side of the cyclone. Her body was featureless, shaped like a woman's but made of dark purple energy. Her eyes were shaped by hatred, but filled with brilliant white light, as was her mouth, which was coiled into a wicked grin. "I am Vael, know me, Vincent, as I truly am. As Violet will be." A long flowing mass of pink energy cascaded back off Vael's head, like living hair. Her face was as featureless as her body, only the likeness of a humanoid remained. "This is what I do to mortals..." Suddenly Vael dispersed, appeared beside Vincent and jabbed her hand like a dagger, into Vincent's head. It sank in as though she had stabbed him, yet there was no blood. Vincent was consumed by an indescribable sensation. It was so incredibly cold, and yet it burned like hot coals. There was sharp pain like knives penetrating his skull, but there was also a debilitating numbness that made it all seem so far away. He could not scream, but his face was frozen in an image of pure horror. And then he was in his apartment, lying on his sofa. The only thing he wore was a pair of black, skinny jeans and the pendant around his neck. His hair was only slightly shorter, but it was recently cut and styled, making him look a great deal more healthy and confident. It took him a moment to realise there was something warm pressed up against him. He looked down to see a woman with long red hair, wearing only her underwear and his old Aerosmith T-shirt. As he looked down on her, she looked up from her position where she was nuzzling at his chest, and her hazel eyes were bright and happy. She smelled like summer flowers. "Claire..." he choked, as if he hadn't spoken in days. She smiled sweetly at him and moved to adjust herself. He lay back as she moved to straddle him, and she kissed him on the neck affectionately. The feeling wasn't intense, so much as it was just... right. His arms drifted to her hips as she raised her body upwards and he looked upon her as the sunlight shone through the window behind her. Something distracted him however. Something was nagging at him in the back of his mind. The sun was shining through the glass, but the image was fuzzy like the glass was covered in a thick frost. Then he looked to Claire once more and she gave a toothy grin. "Found you..." She said softly, in a sing-song way. "What..." Vincent murmured, and then he felt her hand clasp tightly around his neck. Overwhleming cold shot through him along with an unnatural and terrifying sensation. Claire's eyes sparkled and their pupils became feline and predatory. Her beautiful red hair shimmered and became as white as snow, her eyes a brilliant emerald, and her lips a light blue. "N-no!" Vincent choked but the grip only grew tighter, the sharp nails pressing against his skin, Claire leaned in closer, her lips navigating up his chest, his neck, and hovering over his lips. The sensation was beautiful and part of him wanted it so much, but in the back of his head he knew the sensation was forced upon him, unwillingly. The cold had crippled him, and he was engulfed in pure terror. "Hello, boy..." Claire said with a wicked smile as she gently kissed his lips, before pulling away and resuming her position, straddled on top of him, stopping him from moving. "I have found you at last...""No!" Vincent protested, "You can't...""Can't?" Claire asked. "Can't!?" Her face whipped closer to him again, her eyes filled with cold and venomous rage. "I AM SIDHE!" She screamed, her voice booming in his head, causing him horrific pain. "I AM THE COLD! THE SORROW! THE UNYIELDING STORM! I AM WINTER ITSELF!"Her voice grew gentle once more as her lips pressed against his left ear. "I am Isoleth... and you, boy... are mine!""Interesting..." Vael spoke, wandering through Vincent's memories as though she was on a stroll. She grinned as she watched him being subjected to Isoleth's rage, "But I feel you resisting Vincent, you have a strong mind. But like her," Vael inclined her head to the woman astride him, "I am a force of nature." She grinned and forced her will deeper into his mind. "You are but dirt beneath my heel, Darkling!" Isoleth snapped, somehow aware of Vael's presence. "If you know who I am then you know the value of my word. This child is mine!" Her sharp nails released their grip from his neck and trailed sharply down his chest, drawing blood, but Vincent did not so much as wince. He couldn't. "His life... it is not yours to take. Do you understand me?""Come and stop me," Vael teased and suddenly the room in Vincent's mind seemed to darken, as though all the light has being snuffed out. "It's easy to make threats when you're sitting on your throne, pixie." Emphasising the last word. The room seemed to fade into nothing, only Vincent and the bed remained and even that seemed to be fading into nothingness. "Hey!" Violet called out. Vael pulled herself from Vincent's memories just enough so that she could refocus her attention on her daughter in the real world. In the void. She saw her daughter slumped over, using one of the chairs as support. A smile touched the corner of Vael's mouth."I'm glad you're not dead." She said simply.Violet said nothing in reply. Somehow she had to stop her mother - if that was her mother - and get her and Vincent back home. But she felt weak, too weak to do much of anything. She felt like she was dying. The energy she had been hit by had left a terrible burn mark in her abdomen and it was likely far worse than it looked. But as she stumbled forwards towards her family, she felt a strange need. A gnawing hunger. Soon, the hunger was all that was left, nothing else mattered. It was like she was on fire. Burning from the inside out. Everything around her had turned to energy. She could see the energy in the void, wild and yet focused at the same time. She could see the powerful and violent energy of her mother, so bright it was almost blinding to her. She could see the magical energy seeping out of Vincent. She wanted to help Vincent, but right now, she couldn't understand anything but her need to feed. She fell towards her mother and grasped her formless leg. Vael looked down just in time to see Violet instinctively reach out and put her hand to the grimoire that Vincent had dropped upon being attacked. Pure glee spread across her face as she watched the grimoire open, pages flying. She watched as a huge mass of magical energy erupted out of the book, spiralling around Violet and then funnelling into her daughter's waiting eyes and mouth. They glowed for just a few seconds until the transfer completed, and then Violet collapsed."Ooh, fantastic." Vael cooed."You think so?" Violet growled, and looked up at her mother. "Whoever you are, you're not my mother. My mother's name is Martha." Violet's words visibly stung Vael, she recoiled and withdrew her presence from Vincent and he dropped to the ground. "Ich rufe alle befugnisse aus schnee und eis!!" Violet quickly barked out a spell in German, the language she used to differentiate her magic from her spoken word. Something their mentor had taught them. Vincent might have preferred Latin, but Violet never liked that flowery, old tongue. The energy of the void shifted and surged towards Vael, at first she started to absorb it, but suddenly the energy drew in moisture and the temperature rapidly dropped. Suddenly, the moisture formed into a slurry of ice and snow and she was knocked over. The slurry poured over her and froze solid, encasing Vael in magical ice. Violet knew it was only a temporary prison, she could already see some kind of heat assaulting the prison from within. She quickly grabbed her brother and reached into her coat pocket. She was too weak to just force her way back into the human realm, especially with her brother in tow. But she had kept something by for emergencies. Violet pulled off the matching pendant and held it in her hand and for a second time, recited another spell. She had to blur the lines between dimensions temporarily. It was a dangerous spell as anything could pass into the human realm after them, but she had to risk it, there was no time. "Schwächen die wände zwischen den welten!!" There was a loud popping noise as they were sucked out of the void, along with all the air surrounding them. The sound was the air rapidly filling the space they had left behind. Vincent and Violet landed roughly on a bit of tarmac, for a moment she wasn't sure where they were. Changing dimensions was more than a little jarring. Violet turned around and to her surprise, saw a large metropolitan bus careening towards them. Quick as a flash, fuelled by her adrenaline reserves, Violet grabbed her brother and dove out of the way, shocking the crowd that parted as they fell into the street. "'Ey watch it!!" One of the people barked, as he passed them."That accent..." Violet muttered, pulling herself back up. She turned around to see buildings covered in enormous screens, displaying the latest movies and commercials. "We're in New York, in Times Square..." She pursed her lips and looked down at the semi-conscious Vincent, "Shit."
  19. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    The search for the necromancer continued. Violet had lost all sense of time in the void. She wasn't even sure if time was flowing at the same rate. She felt as though she hadn't heard from Vincent in weeks. She climbed up the side of a grassy hill until she reached the top and looked out over what looked like a facsimile of Los Angeles. All the landmarks were there, the skyline looked, well, almost right. But the buildings were skewed. The sun was too close. The clouds too low. There were no lights, no cars, no visible foot traffic. An eerie glow seemed to seep from the city, some kind of magical energy. Violet wiped her brow, the climb up the hill had taken it out of her. She was hot. Really hot. Burning up, even. She knelt to catch her breath and soon found herself lying on her back, staring up at the strange sky. Sweat beaded all over her skin and slid down her body in tickling little streams. "Damn i'm outta shape." She muttered, confused at how hot and tired she was. But this wasn't normal for her, she often went jogging. She pulled herself up to rest on her elbows so she could look back down the hill and saw she was far higher up than she'd thought. The problem with the void was to navigate it you had to use instinct and emotion as a second sight. If you relied on the landmarks, you were fucked. All it'd take is a single shift, and suddenly your world would go topsy turvy. Violet had been lying there on the top of that hill for a long while now. She hadn't been feeling too good. In fact, she was content to stay there for the time being, when she felt something strange. She felt a voice, as though carried on the wind. She recognised it immediately and screwed her eyes shut to listen. It was faint and indistinct, but she caught a few words. “Vi-- I -- key. It belongs -- dad.†Dad. The word made her open her eyes like spring traps. "What do you mean 'dad'?!" Violet barked, to no-one in particular. She knew Vincent couldn't hear her but she couldn't stop herself from thinking aloud regardless. She leant up and took a deep breath. It was probably time to pull Vincent into the void. She sat upright and took another deep breath. It was just as well they were siblings or this would likely never work. Vincent had to know in sending that message she was going to pull him into the void. She would give him a few minutes to prepare and then begin. Violet sat upright, crossed her legs and placed her hands on her knees. She was never a huge fan of thaumaturgy, and don't even mention meditation to her. She was a focused person, but meditation was difficult. All that time spent as animals probably didn't help with sitting still. She had no patience for it. Closing her eyes, Violet concentrated. She tried to drain all her thoughts and feelings away until there was just a dark, comfortable silence in her mind. She reached out with her hands, gouging a circle into the earth around her with her fingers. She funnelled her will into the circle and reached out with her mind. She could feel a distant sensation, a consciousness trying to touch her own. It was patient, better trained, and if you can imagine, a little scruffy. Vincent. "Violet." Vincent's voice called through. "Glad to see you still remember this one." "Less chat," She replied, frowning. Trust Vincent to use a thaumatalurgic spell requiring great focus and will across dimensions as a Skype call. "Shift into the void, focusing on my position, when you arrive, dont move. I'll come to you." She gripped her knees until her knuckles were white. "Hurry up." Vincent never replied. Moments passed painfully slowly, with little to show. Then something seemed to slowly materialise into existence. The head came first, then the body. Doc Martin boots sunk into the dirt as the shape took physical form. Blue jeans and an AC/DC t-shirt came next, covered by an old, brown duster. Vincent's hair was tied back again and he had bandaged his hand. In his other he held his cane, and he was carrying a shoulder satchel. "Well..." Vincent said as he looked around, "Here come the heebie jeebies." "Deal with it." Violet growled, as she sloped down the side of the hill, looking weary and covered in sweat. "What did you say about the key and dad? I couldn't quite make it out, the void is all over the place at the moment, it feels like someone came through here and changed the setting from 'whisk' to 'purée'. "Oh." Vincent said before reaching in to his satchel and producing the Grimoire. "This is the Key, and it's dad's." "What do you mean 'its dads'?" She asked, holding her hand out as though she was going to take it, then thought better of it. "How could you know that?" Her eyes narrowed as she withdrew her hand and folded her arms with an air of suspicion and judgement. Vincent began to explain. He told Violet about what had happened with the Midnight Court, taking care to miss out that he had agreed to a contract with a damn Countess, some slaps were best to save for later. Then he told Violet about the book and it's Keeper, and about the ritual he had performed to gain it's knowledge. Sadly some slaps were unavoidable and he could see one on the horizon. "You idiot!" Violet snapped, and surged forwards, bringing her fist back to strike Vincent. If there was one thing you didn't do, it was give away your name, your whole name, from your own mouth, to an unknown and likely dangerous magical artifact. She brought her arm forwards to strike, but stumbled forwards and almost collapsed. Her head fell into Vincent's chest and she had to use him to steady herself. She was panting, hot as hell, and sweating profusely. "You're in bad shape." Vincent said as he held her up, keeping her on her feet. "We should leave and come back later. You need rest." "I'm fine, get off me!" Violet muttered defensively, pulling away from Vincent. "We have to get this done. Now." She took a deep breath, "I'll have a cold shower when I get back." She added, more to herself than to Vincent. Then she pointed down at the city. "Griffith Observatory. I think the necromancer is there, I can feel the magic from here, can't you?" Violet wiped her brow with the back of her hand. "Not really." Vincent said. "Or, well, I can feel all sorts of nasty juju buzzing around. Difficult to make sense of it." "It's... no," Violet shook her head, "It's all over, don't you..." She took a deep breath and started to walk towards the city. "It's leading us there," She pointed at the observatory in the distance. "I can feel it. I couldn't before, not like this..." She stumbled forwards, righted herself, and kept walking. She didn't want her brother fussing over her, so she had to distract him, "What's in the grimoire?" She asked, out of genuine curiosity. "Well simply put it's the combined magical knowledge of eleven generations." Vincent replied. "But more specifically I found this binding spell that... Well it doesn't make a lot of sense but it has some weird runes on the pages that match some other entries on Necromancy." "Binding spell?" Violet tried to think but her thoughts were becoming muddied. "It's really specific." Vincent explained. "It's supposed to lock down the nature of a creature of the Void. Like a specific creature. Not sure what exactly. Oh and uh... It requires the vessel to have a soul. The Keeper implied it only works on a half breed. Maybe it dampens a vampire's hunger or something, like if they haven't fully turned." Some of what Vincent was explaining resonated with Violet, she tried to put the pieces of the jigsaw together in her mind. She knew the answers were laid out before her, but at that moment it was like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. The more she tried to concentrate the harder it became. If she didn't start feeling better, then it would have to be Vincent that got them out of here. She could see the observatory ahead of them. In the real world, it studied the stars. There didn't seem to be much of that here, just strange empty space looming overhead. Whatever the case, the necromancer was there, waiting for them. Expecting them? She wasn't sure. But they had to stop her, they'd played her little game, got the key, found the door and now they were going to step through. Beyond that, she didn't know what to expect. A reward was likely out of the question, she could only hope that the necromancer released her hostage, whatever that monster decided to do with her, and her brother. "Want to take the lead on this?" She asked Vincent, with a weak smile, "I'll give you back-up, but I don't think I should be calling the shots here, Vince. I feel..." She didn't know quite how to end that sentence. 'Bad' might have fit well, though.
  20. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    The stalks of the sunflowers obscured Violet's vision. She couldn't see for more than a few feet in front of her. She could see sunshine overhead, but no warmth came from it. Strange clouds of mist hovered overhead and the sunflowers moved, touched by a breeze she could neither hear nor feel. A group of sunflowers rustled a few feet to the left of her and Violet instinctively darted her eyes in the same direction. Nothing. But it wasn't nothing. It was definitely something. And something was telling her that that something was following her. Do you ever get that feeling, when you're walking back in doors after taking the garbage out at night, that you need to get inside as quickly as possible because something is right behind you? She was having that feeling right now. Only usually that feeling means there's a nasty spirit taking a passing fancy to your nightly routine, not really something to be concerned about, as it can't do much to you. But this right here, in the void, was giving Violet the distinct 'garbage-night-flight' sensation. She walked in silence. Trying to listen for the movements in the sunflowers around her. Now and then, there would be a rustle. Sometimes in front of her, sometimes behind. It felt like it was coming from every direction. Yet whatever it was had not attacked. Had not attacked yet, she thought to herself. She had to focus, her greatest and maybe only advantage here was her magic. Shifting into an animal might help, but there were far too many unknowns in the void. Violet took comfort in knowing how people and creatures react to certain animals. For example, the fae dislike cats. Something to do with cats being aware of fae, and often being responsible for young and inexperienced fae deaths. Violet knew the reaction she would get from shifting into a cat in front of a fae. Shifting into a bear in front of a human. But what could she turn into when dealing with some of the monstrosities found here? She was experienced in the void, but that was like saying you understand the ocean because you have a glass of sea water. There was simply too much here to understand in a single life time. Another rustle behind her. No time for the comforting thoughts that wandered into her mind. Thoughts of her shifting into any creature she could get her hands on when she was a young girl, trying to impress or surprise her father, trying to scare Vincent. There was a strange nagging feeling at the back of her mind. Violet pushed through the sunflowers in front of her, they felt denser than before. Like they were closing in around her. It was probably just her imagination. But the pollen stung her eyes. The mirror. Something about a mirror. She was here to get a mirror? No, that wasn't right. She was fatigued, it had been a long week. She shook her head and grinned at her stupidity. The door is in the mirror. That's what the person had said. So she came here. For the sunflowers. No, that wasn't right. Violet slowed to a stop and looked around. The stalks of the sunflowers kept her in their shade. It had seemed pleasant at first, but now she felt like she was trapped. Like a roach in a 'motel' insect trap. Her head felt fuzzy, she was having trouble remembering what she was doing. She knew she had come here for something but what? "Are you okay?" The voice startled her and Violet tried to pull her gun out of instinct, but the weapon was gone. Had someone taken it? She searched for the voice but could see nothing. Violet frowned and unable to decide what she was supposed to do next, she sat down, crossed her legs and tapped her fingers on her knees. "You are lost." The voice said once more. This time, she realised the voice had come from above her. Violet looked up to see a strange creature sat on one of the flowers. It was like a cat, she thought. Violet could only think that because although it was sort of cat-like, it was also entirely unlike any cat she had ever seen. This creature had the body of a cat, but it looked like it was formed of semi-solid mist and silvery light. It's tail was far too long and curled down and around the stalk of the sunflower. It's ears were far too large for it's head. And, y'know, it was speaking. "You're not a cat." Violet said, matter-of-factly. "No." It replied smoothly. Suddenly Violet thought that was a stupidly obvious thing to say, but she was sure something was wrong with her and the cat didn't seem to mind her temporary insanity. She waited and watched the creature that didn't shy from her stare, it just watched her lazily, silently. Content. "What are you?" "You wouldn't believe me if I told you." It replied with a smile. That made her shiver. "I've seen a great deal of things. I don't think you'll surprise me." Violet replied indignantly. "But you haven't seen me." It replied proudly, "Nobody's seen a me." It added with a grin. "I don't like riddles." Violet snapped. "Yes you do." The cat-thing corrected her, swishing it's long tail. "This is getting me nowhere," Violet growled. "No, sitting there is getting you nowhere, talking is getting you somewhere." Violet paused for a moment, assessing the creature, "I don't like you very much." "Nobody does at first, but they grow to like me." "Ah!" Violet pointed at it and stood up, "You said nobody had seen you before!" "Not a me, no. A like me, yes. Everyone is the same, like that." "Ugh..." Violet rubbed her temples, "I need to get out of here." "Yes." The cat-thing nodded slowly, its ears bobbed. Every direction seemed the same to her. Violet looked in front of her, behind, in every direction. It didn't seem to matter. But she was quite sure if she wandered in any direction but the right one then she would be lost in here forever. She paused in thought for a little while, she wasn't sure quite how much time had passed. Time to leave, she thought to herself. "I know where i'm going now." Violet said confidently, and started forwards. "A-hrm!" The cat-thing cleared it's throat and it halted Violet mid-step. She backed up and gave an irritable glance towards the little wispy thing, and its only response was to jerk it's head a little off to the left. She raised an eyebrow at the creature but for some reason, she believed it. She took a couple of steps to the left and changed her angle slightly, and set off. She had only been walking for a couple of minutes when, without warning, the sunflowers came to an abrupt stop and she was in the middle of an empty car park. The change was jarring. Violet stumbled forwards and steadied herself against the side of an old white van. She shook her head and wiped her eyes, pollen fell from her like faerie dust. She took a deep breath and took stock of herself. Where had she been? She looked back and saw an open door that led up a flight of stairs. Oh that's right, she thought irritably, I left the building with the two monsters in it. Had to search for this 'door' for the key Vincent was going to procure. Violet took a few unsteady steps and paused to look behind her, she felt a little out of sorts. Like days had passed and she hadn't noticed. The sun was still high in the sky, but that could have meant anything. The void could play tricks on your mind, if you let it. But she was stronger than that. She pressed on, but a voice lingered in her ear. "You will know my name when next we meet..."
  21. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    A few days had passed since the night Violet had reunited with her brother. A few nights since she'd been shot. Since the necromancer had made contact. She had not heard from anyone in days. Violet had rarely left her hotel room. Her bullet wounds had healed but as always, the scars remained, adding to the already considerable collection she had amassed over the years. Monday night, she was lying at the head of her bed, reading an old grimoire. It was a small notepad, no larger than a handheld diary, but her mentor had enchanted it when she was still young, and its pages were near endless. She was searching for a spell that would reveal a person's location if they were to speak, but so far had found nothing. Violet reached over and poured the small mini-bar bottle of red wine into a tumbler glass and took a sip. Her phone rang. The caller ID showed her the last person she wanted to speak with, but the person she likely had the most pressing need to contact. She sighed, putting the glass of wine to one side as she rubbed her temple, trying to soothe her stress-headache. "What, Vincent?" She asked, licking her lips as she realised she hadn't spoken in several days. "We need to talk, Violet." Vincent said, his tone serious. "Turns out that Necromancer isn't just your problem. I got a call. She knows my name, all of it. I haven't used 'Gideon' in official records since I was 18." Violet remained silent for a short while, thinking to herself. It was only the sound of Vincent's voice, asking her what was up, that roused her from her thoughts, "Oh, sorry." She muttered, shaking her head. "Tell me everything she said, Vincent. Word for word." "She wants us to play her game." He replied. "Midnight holds the key, but the door lies within the mirror. She's going to kill someone. Tonight. Unless we stop her." "She wants us to play a game?" Violet asked, raising an eyebrow in disbelief. "I don't claim to be an expert on the minds of crazy people. Necromancy is dark shit, it messes with your head." Vincent sounded exasperated. "Someone's life is on the line. I know it's dangerous to do what she wants but... I won't sit on my ass like the others in the Wise. Y'know?" Violet snorted. She had choice words for the so-called 'Wise' but something more important was nagging at her. This necromancer certainly had a lacklustre moral compass. But she wasn't unhinged. She wasn't crazy. She knew what she was doing. She wanted both Vincent and herself to play by her rules. Killing wasn't her goal, it was her tool. Violet and her brother meant something to this necromancer. Somehow, she knew them, and wanted something from them. Whether it was knowledge of her, of what she was capable of, maybe revenge upon them, or some other unknown reason. Whatever this was, it was personal. Violet shared her revelation with her brother, "I think that's the kind of person we're dealing with, Vincent." She said at last. "You're probably right." Vincent agreed. "That doesn't change anything. You know she'll kill without hesitation if we don't play.' "That's fine." Violet growled, "If she wants me to play, then i'll play." Violet pulled herself off her bed and walked across the room. She stood in front of a large dresser and held onto the handle of the top drawer, "But I play to win." She added, and opened the drawer. Inside were a dozen instruments of her craft. Several pendants and rings, bottles with strange contents, a large angry-looking dagger and a number of other objects. Violet held her grimoire in her other hand and closed it purposefully, "Where do we start?" She asked. "Midnight." Vincent said. "That's the vamps, no question. That's our in. Be prepared though. They won't help us willingly." "You're likely better off going without me." Violet replied, cricking her neck, "They don't like me very much. Skinwalkers and vampires don't really mix very well. My people have a long history of guarding the tribes from their feeding excursions." "Sanguine aren't like the Dhampir. They don't have old world grudges. That said Lucia wanted to jump your bones and that's probably worse. I'll check things out with them. What will you do?" "Alright. Well if you're snooping on the vampires, then I think i'll look into the other part of our friends riddle. The 'mirror' - only one thing I can think of in this context that makes any sense." As she said it, she could feel Vincent squirm, "The void." "That place gives me the heebie jeebs." Vincent replied. "It's all yours." "Figured as much." Violet grinned, "Alright then, Vince. If she's going to make her move tonight, we better get on. See you soon." "Violet." Vincent said before she hung up. "After this... we need to talk, okay? There's some things you need to know. After that you can go back to... whatever you do." Violet let out a breath through her nose and brought the phone down from her ear for a moment, she reluctantly raised it long enough to say, "See you when I get back." And hung up. She couldn't start thinking about all that right now. The void was a place that required the utmost focus, or you could lose yourself to it. It was a place of pure thought and emotion, with no apparent landmarks or waypoints. It was somewhere you had to navigate by instinct. It was a place she liked visiting little more than Vincent, but when she was there, she didn't feel as he did. She felt comfortable there, capable of navigating and understanding it. In as much as it could be. She attributed this to what her mother had told her about skinwalkers. That once all skinwalkers had come from the void, and so they had a natural affinity in it. However, she also knew it was a lawless place, where the strong preyed on the weak, and where almost all 'monsters' were born. It was a savage dimension, but she had the tools to survive. Once she had equipped herself, Violet sat down in front of her bed and crossed her legs. The transition into the void could be unpleasant, even for her, and it was best to do while sitting. She knew however, she was going to have to be ready. Souls in the void are like flames in the darkness. And in the void, the moths have fangs. She pulled out the dagger from inside her jacket and laid it on her lap and concentrated. For a few seconds, nothing happened. Then she felt a lurching feeling, like the one you get just before the elevator begins to rise, only sideways. Then suddenly the world shifted. It wasn't so much she had left where she was, it was as though the world had taken a step to one side, and everything had changed around her, without moving location. She was still in a room, in a multi-floored building. But it looked abandoned. The wallpaper was peeling, and black mould dotted the walls. She saw something that looked like winged insects buzzing in the corners, though what they actually were, she couldn't guess. As she stood up, she grabbed her dagger and not a second too late. The door to her room smashed inwards as two humanoid creatures threw themselves into the room. They looked like the offspring of a vampire and a wolf. They had huge, beady eyes and long, pronounced muzzles full of teeth that looked like thick needles. Violet had to admit, they were not the most pleasant looking monster she had ever seen, and she had no idea what they were. What she did know, however, was that they had been drawn to her location by her soul, and so they were almost certainly not friendly, especially given their entrance. "Evening gentlemen, looking for a practising necromancer, wanna buy a girl a drink and talk about it?" The two creatures continued staring at her even as they charged. Violet threw up her hands, one holding her dagger. In her other open palm she loosed an uncontrolled, but powerful jet of flame. The monster howled as it was engulfed and then she was knocked to the ground by the other wolf-like monster. She rolled backwards as she hit the ground and braced herself against the wall as the creature leapt at her. Violet raised the blade, supported it at the pommel with her other hand and as the creature opened it's jaws she sunk the blade deep into it's neck. It took her a few seconds to recover, she was out of breath. She heaved the creature off her and wiped the blade clean on it's hide. The other creature - still wreathed in flame - continued to howl, as she left the room. She found a staircase and started her way down. The necromancer had said that midnight held the key, but the mirror was the door. So Vincent likely had to find the information that Violet needed in order to find whatever it was the necromancer wanted her to find in the void. Violet reached the bottom of the stairs and an old fire exit, she pushed down on the handlebar and stumbled forwards. She was no longer in the building, in fact she was no longer in a city. She was in a field of sunflowers, taller than her head. She couldn't see more than a few feet in front of her. When she turned back, she saw the staircase was gone. "Das ist wunderbar." She muttered, and started making her way through the sunflower field.
  22. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    LaChance was nowhere to be seen. His office was empty. Violet walked back out onto the nightclub main floor, Violet saw the throngs of customers enthralled by the music and the drink and knew that this was going to go badly. She had to get them out of here. She took a step forwards and shifted into a large grey wolf and snapped at the nearest person who regarded the wolf with fear and confusion. But they simply took a few steps back and became absorbed into the dancing hordes. She shifted back into her human form. Nobody took any notice. "Alright..." Violet growled, and reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out her gun and badge, "L.A.P.D. everyone out!!" She yelled, the music screeched to a halt, drinks fell from people's hands and the mass of bodies flooded towards the exit. "Typical." She muttered, people in LA were scared more of cops than wild animals. "Arturo...?" LaChance groaned, looking over the balcony, down at Violet. She could see the confusion and hatred on the man's face. Where was his friend and subordinate? How had Violet assumed his form, or turned into an animal? But more than those questions the one on his face was clear. "What's wrong with me?" He spat, recoiling and slumping down against the barrier above her. Violet started to make her way up the winding staircase. "An evil spirit called an Adaro is inside you, controlling you." She replied, as she reached second floor. Gun and badge still in hand. "I knew you were a cop..." LaChance groaned, holding his chest. "--detective." Violet corrected, "Sometimes." She said, as an afterthought. "He thinks you're a P.I." LaChance laughed. He was talking about Vincent. Violet shook her head, even when he was in pain, even after what he'd seen and what he was experiencing, LaChance was still just a scumbag looking to exploit other people's weaknesses. She hated anyone or anything that preyed on others. Before LaChance could say another word, Violet felt a thrum of energy vibrate through the room and LaChance's eyes widened to the point she thought they were going to fall from his eye sockets. They rolled into the back of his head and then a pair of black blue hands stretched out from inside LaChance's mouth, wrapped themselves around the edges of his lips and using them as leverage, the Adaro pulled itself free. It was like watching a deer give birth to a fawn. That is, if the deer was a human and the fawn was a mass of black goo and bone and nightmares. "You're making all the wrong kinds of friends, LaChance." Violet growled, and reached for one of the three banishing vials in her pocket. She pulled one out and immediately flung the vial at the Adaro's back. The glass smashed as it hit home, a plume of smoke rose from the creature and it howled, but nothing happened. The Adaro was on it's feet in an instant. Whirling around to face Violet, the spirit creature charged her. Violet quickly reached for another vial but as she lifted it up to throw it the Adaro launched into the air. The wet slapping of it's feet momentarily silenced as it glided silently through the air and smashed into her chest. Violet heaved, but managed to stop herself from vomiting. She fell back and hit her back on the balcony. She felt like she'd been hit by a truck. She felt drunk, and confused but still understood the peril she was in and tried to regain control. As Violet's senses returned, she realised that she had lost the vial. She had dropped it when the Adaro had crashed into her. Violet quickly looked behind her, and to her horror, saw where the vial had landed. It had fallen to the ground floor, and landed in a pint of beer sat upon one of the tables beside the dance floor. The Adaro quickly turned back to resume it's attack on her. Violet reached for the third vial when she heard Vincent burst through the door on the ground floor and the Adaro abandoned Violet altogether and leapt over the side of the balcony and landed in front of Vincent, snarling like a beast. It's strangely bright, yet hollow blue eyes staring at him lustfully. "Vincent, it's physical! I can't use that 'Ace' any more, it only works on spirits!!" Violet yelled down to him as she ran towards the balcony. "On it!" Vincent called back as he strode forward, stretched out his arm with his cane in hand and focused his will through it. Three bolts of condensed flame shot out from the end in quick succession, closing the gap between him and the Adaro and hitting it's chest and bursting across it's body. The creature snarled and stopped in it's tracks, but the flame quickly died out and it appeared virtually unscathed. "Ah... shit." Vincent snarled as he dug his other hand in to his pocket. "Your flame is too weak, mortal." The Adaro said, it's voice distorted and entirely inhuman. "Fuck off!" Vincent bit back as he pulled the pouch from his pocket and hurled it in to the air. He shot off another bolt of fire at the pouch and it burst in midair, it's contents bursting forth and scattering across the room. As the mixture touched the Adaro's flesh it cried out in pain, it's flesh igniting in an eerie blue light that seemed to claw at it, fighting to keep itself burning. "I am addressing the being within!" Vincent called, his voice booming through the room. "By Maiden, Mother, and Crone I speak thy name... Adaro!" There was a tingling rush through his body as he spoke the last word. Evidence that his magic was working. "Adaro!" he yelled again, and the creature roared in anger. "...Spoke thrice and bound... Adaro!" he said it the third time and sent out his will towards the creature. The blue flames had died out and it had regained it's movement, he had to finish the spell quickly. "I invoke sanctum of this vessel!" Vincent thundered. "Expelsum!"With the final utterance the body of the Adaro began to collapse, metling in to piles of ectoplasm, already sizzling away before they hit the floor. Even still the Adaro was not gone, nor weakened in any real sense. He had only cast off it's physical shell. "Tick tock, sis!" Vincent called, holding out his cane ready to fire another burst of flame. Over the edge of the balcony a large black panther leapt and fell to the ground floor, landing with a soft tap. As it whirled around to face the no-longer-physical Adaro, the panther shifted back into Violet. She quickly reached into her pocket and pulled out a small object. It was about the size of a Pez dispenser. It was a dark red, with a lid that craned back like a Pez dispenser and a... alright. It was a Pez dispenser. A little plastic toy that dispensed candies. The lid was actually a plastic mould of Elvis. She raised the Pez dispenser up and pointed Elvis at the Adaro who stared at it with a nonplussed expression. However, as she pulled Elvis' head back, opening the dispenser, a vacuum suddenly began to draw everything towards the Pez dispenser. The Adaro was howling, as it seemed to be affected by the pull far stronger than anything else. It screeched as it's body was pulled back into the Pez dispenser and it released a scream that Violet could only imagine belonged to a creature being slowly crushed, legs-first. She grit her teeth, knowing that she had been forced to do it. She released the mechanism on the Pez dispenser, and as Elvis' head slammed shut, the dispenser said, "Thank-you-very-much!" in an approximate impersonation of the King. It would have been funny if she didn't know the agony the Adaro was now in, for the foreseeable future. Violet pocketed Elvis and then turned to face Vincent, glancing back over her shoulder to note the empty nightclub. "Well that's two we've emptied now, do you think we should maybe try separating work and alcohol?""All I know is I need a beer and a burger." Vincent replied weakly. "That spell is hard without a circle. I think I'll sleep for a week.""You'll have earned it." Violet replied, and then paused. She shoved her hands into her jacket pockets and started to walk out, "Be seeing you, Vincent.""So it's like that?" Vincent called to her. "This isn't over you know. That Necromancer knows who you are...""Can't do much about that." Violet replied. "Just have to deal with it one step at a time. You have a habit of putting me in situations I don't want to be in. I can shift into a cat - doesn't mean I get nine lives.""I never put you on this case." Vincent replied. "I didn't even know you were in town." "No, Vincent, you didn't put me on this case." Violet said in an accepting tone, "But," She continued, "You have your way of doing things, and I have mine. I don't like being forced into situations where i'm playing by your rule book, or the rules of the self-appointed 'council'." She stood in front of him, unsure what to say. She felt like she should patch things up but she also felt like punching Vincent and storming off. She settled for a compromise. She gave her brother a weak smile and shrugged her shoulders, and left. She felt awful for abandoning her brother, it reminded her of their dad. But she knew getting mixed up with Vincent and his problems meant another stack of worries for her, and she had enough to deal with. Violet got in her car, and drove back to her hotel room. By the time she arrived, the hotel staff had fixed up her room, and apologised for the mess, though they had also asked her to pay a small amount towards the cost of the damage to the room. She didn't have any problem with that. After all, half of it was caused by her rampaging through the lounge as a bear. Violet took the elevator up to her room and locked the door behind her and warded it against a variety of magical trickery. She had lost all patience for magic and it's users tonight. She wanted to be alone, maybe eat some pizza and watch stupid hotel television. She slumped into a chair and covered her eyes with her hand, rubbing them wearily."You okay?" The voice made her jump. Violet was pulling her hand down from her eyes to her gun holster when the voice registered and she honed in on it's location. Her eyes darted over to her freshly made (and repaired) bed. There sat on the end was a young woman. Her skin was pale, and she had raven-like hair similar to Violet's, though this woman's hair was shorter, cut like a scruffy bob. Her eyes were dark, and she looked a little on the slim side. She wore an old pair of jeans and a white Sex Pistols tank top. Her arms were covered in tattoos of a hundred different things, from snakes and skulls to a wedding day kiss and even a frog with a top hat. "No, i'm not okay." Violet muttered, and leant back into her chair and re-covered her eyes, "Leave me alone, Dee." "That's no way to speak to a friend." Dee replied, suggestive emphasis on the 'friend', apparently. Violet rolled her eyes beneath her lids."This just isn't a good time to talk." Violet muttered, "Anyway, you can stop by any time, come back tomorrow." "Y'know it doesn't work like that," Dee said with a grin, kicking her legs off the end of the bed. She glanced around the hotel and whistled, "Not bad!" Then popped her lips together like a bored fish, "Uhm, brought any girls back here?" She asked as if it was a passing fancy. "No." Violet growled. "Brought any gu--" Dee began. "--No!" Violet snarled, "Dammit, get out from under my skin, would you?!" Dee licked her lips and shrugged, falling back on the bed. Then she deliberately threw herself into the bed several times more, testing it's bounce and give. "I could get used to this." She said thoughtfully, "So... necromancy? You almost died?" "No I didn't, did I?" Violet replied, flashing Dee a look. Dee held her hands up, "Okay, you didn't almost die, but..." "Any excuse." Violet muttered under her breath. "I heard that." Dee said, raising her eyebrows. "I should think so!" Violet barked, then the two of them looked at each other and laughed. "So, I should go..." Dee muttered. "Yeah, when will I see you again? Maybe stop by some time when I haven't been in mortal danger?" "Well, if you want to pick up...?" "I'll think about it." Violet replied, honestly. "Alright." Dee sighed and then leapt off the bed, "Well! I know when i've over-stayed my welcome." Violet crossed her arms and said quietly out of the side of her mouth, "I miss you." "I know." Dee replied, a look of wild glee in her eyes, then she vanished. "So much for no magic tonight, maybe I can still get that pizza..." Violet moved towards the hotel phone, intent on picking it up to place an order, when it rang, her fingers just an inch away. "Dammit..." She growled, not wanting to pick it up. Eventually, her curiosity got the better of her. "What?!" She growled down the line. "Expecting visitors?" The voice of the necromancer. Violet quickly looked out her window, but there was nothing there. Hell, she hadn't expected there to really be anyone outside her window several stories up, but with magic, you never knew. The line went dead, she slowly replaced the phone in it's charger and bit her lip. She was going to have to call Vincent, whether she liked it or not. You didn't mess with a necromancer solo, when you could go in with a team-mate. Even if it was Vincent.
  23. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    "You're a representative of The Order of the Wise?" Violet repeated, surprise on her face. "No, I don't think we're glossing over that one." She added, as they made their way back to her car. She got in and as Vincent closed the passenger-side door, she started the car and pulled onto the main road. "We've got time, let's talk about it now." "Later." Vincent insisted. "You need to keep your focus, now is not the time." "I'm quite focused, thank you. Here, let me give you an example," Violet glanced at her brother before turning her attention back on the road, "I still want to know why you're a representative for the self-appointed magic police." She growled. "First of all." Vincent replied testily, "Becoming a representative is a de-facto title. When you are declared a wizard by their standards. That doesn't mean I'm one of those assholes. Secondly, they're nothing like cops. They're more like politicians and judges. Only a select few actually do any policing." "Uh-huh," Violet muttered, "When a group go around telling people how to use magic, and killing them for breaking their made up rules, i'd call that policing. Though i'd also call that being judge, jury and executioner, but I was being polite, for once." "They aren't the good guys, I'm not saying they are." Vincent gave a sort of frustrated sigh. "But what they do is... necessary. That doesn't mean it's right, and in practice it's probably all sorts of fucked up but... if nobody followed the laws this world would be way more fucked up." "Whatever." Violet shook her head, leant forwards and turned the radio on, twisting the volume dial right up. The conversation was over. When they finally arrived at the beach front, Violet pulled into a small car park and killed the engine. A couple minute's walk down the beach, they could see a large house. It was modern, stationed by the beach and by all rights, was probably worth millions. They got out of the car and Violet locked it, pocketing the keys. "So, does this guy know who you are?" She asked. "Who? Giuseppe?" Vincent asked, but quickly shook his head side to side. "Nah. Well I don't think so anyway. I don't know if you noticed but I'm sort of a recluse, y'know?" "That's all I needed to know." Violet replied, and closed her eyes. Images of a thousand faces flashed through her mind. If Arturo Giuseppe was anything like LaChance, she would have to be a victim. Disarming, attractive, feminine, submissive. Violet's body changed as she stood beside Vincent. Her figure became more of an hourglass, with an ample chest. Her skin became lighter, unblemished. Her tattoos, markings and scars vanished. Her hair flushed into a bright blonde and grew out to below her shoulders. Her face morphed to lose the native american feature's she had inherited from her mother. Her lips became plump and her eyes turned light blue. Her clothes morphed too, but because of her magic. She was now wearing a black dress that looked as though she'd been poured into it, and high heels. A necklace fell down into her cleavage. "Don't say a word." She muttered, irritably. "Uh..." Vincent replied. "I'm not touching that..." A knock on the door. Arturo Giuseppe took the glass of scotch from his lips and picked up the pistol on his coffee table. Giuseppe was a large man. Both tall and muscular. He had a strong fake tan, slick hair and an action hero chin. But he also wore suits that were badly fitted, and colour coordinated. The suit he adjusted as he stood up was a brilliant white, with a prison orange shirt underneath. He stalked up to his front door and looked through the peep hole. He saw a young, attractive woman, holding onto the shoulder of a man he didn't recognize. The woman looked as though she was in pain, she was holding her right foot up off the ground and a broken high heel clutched in her other hand. He frowned and while still holding the gun out of their sight, opened the door to them."Hey, what do you want?" He asked, looking at each of them."I'm really sorry," Violet said in a voice entirely not her own, "My heel broke, my brother was taking me to a party and I think I twisted my ankle. It really hurts! Do you have a phone we could use and maybe an ice pack?" She flashed a lop-sided, sheepish grin at Giuseppe. "Sorry if we're disturbing." Vincent said with a soft smile, although he was clearly not the actor his sister was, and had opted for a particularly neutral façade.Giuseppe sighed, "Fine." He closed the door, pushed the pistol into his trousers and made sure his shirt was covering it, and then opened the door, "Ice in the fridge, phone's on the table." He said, and walked back to his sofa and picked up his drink. Vincent walked in and Violet took a step towards the door but felt an invisible force pushing against her. She couldn't enter, because Giuseppe hadn't invited her in. She cursed inwardly and then called out, "It's alright to come in?" She asked. "Yeah, I opened the door, didn't I?" He yelled back, taking a sip of his drink. Violet felt the barrier in front of her disappear and she stepped inside with a sigh. She gave Vincent a look and nodded at Giuseppe before hobbling into the kitchen. She started putting together an ice pack, hoping to give Vincent a little time to talk to Giuseppe before she came through. Vincent picked up the phone and dialled a number, his own phone at his apartment. After it rang for a moment it went through to his answering machine. "Tch!" Vincent shook his head and looked to Giuseppe, pointing at the phone. "On hold." he said with a sigh. "I'll be as quick as I can.""No problem." Giuseppe replied in his italian-american accent. He said nothing else but he didn't leave, clearly still a little suspicious of Vincent. "So uh... this is a nice place, bet it cost a buck or two." Vincent said, trying to sound casual. "Yeah. It did." Giuseppe replied, giving him nothing. Vincent contemplated a moment before activating his Sight. He didn't much like doing it, but thankfully what he saw was nothing too alarming. The room was much as it appeared normally, and Giuseppe himself, while a particularly grotesque version of himself, was definitely human and there was no familiar thrum of magical energy. "Come on... this is a joke." Vincent said complacently as he held the phone to his ear. "I'm uh... Bob." He swore at himself internally as he said it. "What's your name buddy?""... Arturo." came the somewhat hesistant response. "Look buddy are you gonna be much longer? I'm a busy man.""Out of my hands I'm afraid." Vincent replied. "Still on hold." "Hey, sorry," Violet interrupted their awkward conversation as she came back in, walking gingerly on her 'injured' foot. "I've got an ice pack, I don't want to take up any more of your time, so we'll be going." She started towards the door, "Come on, Bob." She added, with a smile. "Uh, right." Vincent replied as he put the phone down. "Well thanks, I guess..." "Sorry we bothered you," Violet added, ushering Vincent out the door. She turned back to look at Giuseppe and smiled, "You've been a big help, anyway." She leant in and kissed Giuseppe on the cheek and walked out, closing the door behind her. The two of them walked back down the beach, and with nobody in sight and them clear of Giuseppe's home, Violet quickly shifted back to her normal self, shaking as she did so as though she was casting off something unpleasant. "I'm glad that's done with." "Well if nothing else comes from it." Vincent said with a sly grin, "At the very least I'm sure Arturo would love to take you on a date." "He's not my type." She muttered, "Anyway, now we can get close to LaChance." She flashed Vincent a wicked grin, and in Giuseppe's voice said, "Let's go see 'im."
  24. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    She watched Vincent drive away, leaving her outside the hotel. For a while, Violet stood outside, lost in her thoughts. Had she been too hard on Vincent? She had always thought of him as a reckless boy, but he wasn't that person any more than she was who she was as a child. A lot had probably happened to Vincent, and there was likely as much she didn't know about him, as he didn't know about her. Her shoulder ached, and the discomfort roused her from her melancholy. Violet entered the hotel and went up to her room, closing the door behind her. The staff had apologised, saying her room wasn't ready yet, but she ignored them. She stepped over broken furniture, glass strewn across the floor. Her room was a wreck, but so was she. She took her shirt off and checked the bullet wounds in the mirror. They were healing nicely, but it would still be a day or two before she was back to normal. She tentatively stretched, testing her physical limits and was pleasantly surprised. It had helped a lot to see a doctor and get the wounds stitched closed. Violet's body was covered in tattoos, for everything from runes and symbols to a list of names and strange writings. One of the bullet wounds now partially hid a symbol on her arm. She sighed. So much for that. There was only one thing to do. She had to know for sure who had killed Rebecca. There was no use pursuing LaChance or the creature on his shoulder if it was unrelated to the murder of that woman. Violet took her jacket off and changed into some fresh clothes and then made some space in her room. She pushed her bed to one side, cleaned up the glass on the floor and then picked up one of the shards and sat down on the carpet. She pressed the glass firmly into her left palm and pulled the glass across her flesh, careful not to cut too deeply. For a moment, her palm didn't bleed, but then it came pouring out like a little red stream. She ran her hand slowly across the floor, tracing a circle until it was complete. She needed a magic circle to stop her summon from escaping or doing her any harm. She licked her palm clean and concentrated on it. A mixture of her faster healing factor and focused magic helped it to heal over relatively quickly. She only found it annoying she couldn't heal something as complicated as deep tissue wounds like those inflicted by bullets. The circle was complete, Violet pulled her phone out. She opened her pictures folder and scrolled until a picture of Rebecca appeared. The picture was sectioned off down the middle, on one side, the picture was of Rebecca at a bar, smiling at whoever was taking the picture. She seemed happy. The other side of the picture was a police shot of her corpse. The ragged, drained body. Laying the phone to one side, Violet knelt and got comfortable, just outside the circle of blood. She closed her eyes and concentrated. Summoning ghosts was like anything in the world of magic. Focus and strength of will. That, and a little luck. Violet waited for a short while, getting the picture of Rebecca clear in her mind, her death and who she had been. Then, when she was ready, Violet opened her mouth to speak her name. "Rebecca..." She whispered. A few moments passed, Violet breathed slowly, listening with her eyes closed. She felt the room cool dramatically, her breath escaped her lips as a visible cloud of mist. "Who hurt you, Rebecca?" Violet asked, opening her eyes. She was sat in front of her. Rebecca. She looked much as she did in life. But she didn't look happy. She was confused and upset. She looked around the room slowly, her eyes falling on each object as though she was considering them intently. "Rebecca?" Violet asked again. The ghost looked directly at her, "What do you want?" Rebecca asked, frowning. "Can you tell me who hurt you?" Violet replied, watching her carefully. Ghosts could turn at the drop of a hat, and she had to watch for it. The magic circle would protect her, but ghosts are almost forces of nature. Emotion made physical. She could still affect the room once she got her bearings, and if she found a way to break the circle... "I don't remember." Rebecca replied, but her tone was full of doubt. Her right hand clasped her left arm nervously. "You do, Rebecca." Violet replied, offering the woman a warm smile, "I need you to help me catch your killer. Can you describe them?" "Killer? I'm not dead." Rebecca replied, matter-of-factly. Every time, Violet thought to herself, and sighed. "You're dead, Rebecca. You were murdered." "That can't be, I remember... I remember... how did I get here?" Violet leant to one side and picked her phone up, "I'm going to upset you now, Rebecca, but I want you to stay focused on me, okay?" She held the screen up to the ghost and showed the woman the dual picture. Rebecca's face fell, she looked as though she couldn't believe what she was looking at, and yet at the same time, realisation dawned on her face. "That... I don't understand... that can't be..." Tears graced Rebecca's cheeks, her eyes fell to the floor, "I was... I was just walking out... for a cigarette. I saw something..." She frowned, shaking her head as she began to recall her last moments. "It came at me, like... gaunt, white... but those eyes..." "The eyes?" Violet asked, encouraging her. "Horrible, blue eyes... staring right into me. Then..." Rebecca veered off into silence and Violet let out a sigh and leaned back. That was all she was going to get from her. Then she could see the change beginning. Rebecca turned from confusion to anger, and injustice. Her mood darkened, and the room got colder. She stood up and started shouting, "I want to go home! I want to see my mom, let me go! You're not keeping me here any longer, I have customers waiting!!" She banged her fists against the air, unable to escape Violet's magic circle. "Let me out!!!" She yelled. The lamp behind Violet fell from it's resting place. It was time to finish this. "Go home, Rebecca." Violet commanded. Just as quickly as she had appeared, the ghost was gone. The room quickly warmed right up once again and she had her answer. There was no doubt any longer. Rebecca's killer had been the Adaro. Whether LaChance was controlling it or not, he was connected, either way. Violet stood up and pulled on her jacket and checked the time. It was late, a lot later than she'd realised. She picked up her phone, started to dial Vincent's number and stopped. She felt the room become cool once more, and she immediately went on guard. Rebecca appeared once again, but she looked haggard. "Rebecca?" Violet asked, frowning. Rebecca howled and struck out at the magic circle. Her fists hit the air and Violet quickly took a step back and tried to call Vincent, but the phone was pulled from her hands before she could dial. How had Rebecca returned to the physical realm? The ghost froze up, staring at her. Violet felt a chill up her spine, and then Rebecca spoke. But when she opened her mouth, it wasn't her voice. But someone else entirely. "Which is better, Miss Hallows?" The voice was sickly sweet, feminine. The voice was kind, but fake. Violet took an immediate dislike to it. "Who are you?" Violet asked, getting ready for anything. "Is it better to be born good? Or is it better to overcome your evil nature through great effort?" "Why are you asking me this? Who are you?!" Violet snapped. "You know why." She responded. The light's flickered and suddenly the bulb popped, casting the room into darkness. Violet held up one hand and summoned a flame into her palm, bringing light back to the room. Rebecca was gone. "Dammit..." Violet clenched her teeth and let the flame in her palm dissipate before she walked out of her apartment room. There was nothing left for her there any more. As she reached the exit and walked out into the cool night air, her phone rang. When she picked up, she heard her brother's voice. "All right I'm about as prepared as I can be. Tell me you've got something, because I have a really bad feeling about this." "For good reason," Violet replied, "LaChance isn't the one in control. I don't know if the Adaro is acting on it's own, or taking commands from another entity, but this goes deeper than LaChance. I had a little run-in with our puppet master. I'll tell you when I get there." Violet hung up and pulled her car keys from her pocket and unlocked her car. Getting in, she turned the heater to full. She felt chilled to the bone. She sat there for a little while, and then finally started up the engine, and rolled out of the hotel parking lot and made her way to Vincent's.
  25. Hallowed - Private Kyo& Val

    Gethsemane. The name of the four-star hotel in which Violet was staying. She walked into the lobby, the door held open for her by an attendant. She strode across the deep crimson carpet and nodded to the receptionist as she passed her and took the elevator up to her room. The sixth floor, room 204. She opened the door with her key and closed it behind her, locking it and chucking the keys onto the glass table in the middle of the room. Violet let out a deep sigh, it had been a long day. Between the undead, her brother showing up out of nowhere, vampires and evil water spirits, she'd had just about enough of the magical world for tonight. She ordered some food from room service, undressed and got into the shower. As the hot water washed away the dirt, aches and discomfort of the day, she ran her hands over her body. The bumps of her scars were a reminder of the danger of her job. As though Violet was able to heal faster than a human, she still scarred like them. Bullet wounds, bites and scratches, deep cuts and burnt or rough patches of skin splashed across her body. Across most of her body, were dozens of symbols, runes and other strange markings, safeguarding her from various magical attacks. The tattoos spanned the length of her body, across her arms, her body and down her back, all the way down to her legs. She pulled a robe from the closet and tied it around her and wrapped her head in a towel to let it dry of it's own accord. Room service arrived, and she sat at the end of her bed, eating and flicking through the channels on the television. She was checking the local news, as often times - and annoyingly - the news would fall upon bodies before the cops. A fact she often had to rely on, much to her chagrin. Yet tonight, the city seemed strangely quiet. There were a few traffic accidents, a number of home disturbances, several of which were domestics. But there was little news in the way of murders. Her phone remained silent. She felt strange, unable to settle. She was used to having to work, or wanting to have time off, but ultimately getting called away to a job. In fact it had happened so often she'd been unable to hold down a relationship, or form many friendships that weren't related to her job, and the world of magic and mysticism. But now she had the time off, she didn't know what to do with herself. Violet pushed the food around on her plate and eventually put it to one side and decided she might as well catch up on missed sleep. She turned the television down low, but kept it on. The noise was comforting to her, and so she curled up in bed, turned the lights out and let her dreams take hold. Something woke her. Her senses were buzzing. She looked across the room, and despite the near-darkness save for the glow of the television's light, she could still make out the time. It was nearly four in the morning. What had woken her? She looked around the room but could see nothing out of place. But she felt like she was not alone. Instinct told her to look to other realms and reluctantly, she opened her mind's eye and looked into the realm of the magical. Her room seemed relatively similar as it did in the human realm. She saw the occasional creature or spirit passing through, but there was nothing out of the ordinary in that. None of them took any interest in her, despite her being able to see them. Violet frowned as she leant up in her bed. She felt strange, something wasn't right, but she couldn't see anything out of place. She leant over to her bedside table and picked up a jug of water and poured some into an empty glass and sat upright. Letting out a deep breath, she shook her head and took a sip. As she sat there, she lifted her knees up and balanced the glass of water on top, holding it there and watching a drop of water on the edge, teeter and slip down the outside of the glass. She watched it almost like a cobra, hypnotised by the movement of the snake charmer's flute and it wasn't until she saw the movement in the reflection of the water that she realised why she'd been transfixed. Someone was behind her. Immediately she tried to leap up, but felt a pair of gloved hands coil around her throat. They were throttling her, almost immediately she felt dizzy. She was going to pass out. Instinctively, she turned into the first creature that popped into her mind. The thing that could protect her. In an instant, her body morphed into an enormous light brown grizzly bear. Her attacker howled in surprise and released her throat, though at that point his grip was no more a danger than a flea bite. She turned on the man and batted a paw at him. Her paw connected and the man flew through the air and smashed into the television, casting the room into darkness. Though not for her. He stumbled towards the door, and she gave chase, but it was difficult to follow him. She was so large now, and despite the size of the room, it was full of furnishings that got in her way, and slowed her pursuit. But it didn't matter any more. She had him. Violet raised up onto her hind legs and opened her jaws, ready to land on the man with all her weight and bite down on his face. Quickly, her attacker pulled something from his coat pocket and a terrible ringing stung her sensitive ears. She felt something hit her, and she fell back and the man fled from her room. If it wasn't for the fact she'd been shot many times before, she might not have known what had happened. She knew she was lucky to be alive, however. A small calibre pistol round was never likely going to put down a grizzly. It still hurt like hell though. She suppressed her cries but it didn't matter, she could hear the couple in the next room over arguing about whether they were going to call someone. People in L.A. didn't like to get involved, and she couldn't really blame them. Too many witnesses go missing before the trial comes up. Violet lurched towards her bed and brought her paw up onto the covers and looked down at her chest. She saw three little bullet nubs push their way out of her wounds. The injuries themselves would take a while longer to heal, however. Days, rather than weeks. She grit her teeth and morphed back into her human form and released a cry in spite of her resolve. The bullet holes were smaller now, proportional to the size she had been when she was shot. She had taken one in the shoulder, one in the arm and one above her right breast. She pulled back on the covers and wrapped herself in them, protecting her modesty and grabbed her phone. Violet unlocked it, and scrolled down the contacts, her finger hovered over her brother's cell phone and then she backed out of it and dialled 911. "You're lying." "I'm not lying, Doc." Violet replied. She watched as an orderly pushed a patient by in a wheelchair and then turned her attention back to the doctor who was inspecting her wounds. "I was attacked, and I got shot, okay? Could you just stitch me up, and be done with it." "No, look--" The doctor - a man in his forties with a greying beard and hair - came around beside Violet and ran his hand across her back, "You have no exit wounds. Furthermore, these are far too small to be bullet wounds, granted, they match the shape... but, anyway, these wounds are days old, not hours." "I'm a quick healer." Violet muttered. "Uh-huh, and i'm Gandhi." The doctor replied, irritably. He pulled the pan full of instruments to his lap and took a needle and degradable thread that the body would absorb naturally without needing removal. He disinfected the wounds and then stitched them closed. "Now then... If you're not going to be straight with me, i'm going to call the cops." "Great." Violet replied, "I used to be a cop. They'll be happy to see me. Thanks, Bapu." The doctor rolled his eyes and made an irritable noise like he was clearing his nostrils and then walked out. Left alone in the hospital room, Violet checked the curtain was closed properly and then got changed. She gingerly pulled her coat on and scrolled down her contacts to her brother and sighed, hovering over the 'call' button. This time she pressed it. A few rings, he wasn't going to pick up. She waited, and just as she was about to hang up, she heard the call go through. "Hey, can you pick me up?" Violet asked. "Uh..." Vincent murmured groggily down the phone. "Don't you have a car?" "Yeah." Violet replied, and then held her breath, "I left it at the hotel. Can you just pick me up and not make a big deal about it?" "I could." Vincent replied. "But it's stupid O'Clock in the morning and I'm grumpy. But I'll save it until I get there, after all you'll owe me one after this. Where are you?" She looked up at the wall clock, it was just past 6am. "Uh..." She rubbed her forehead, "I'm at West Hope Memorial." "Well looks like somebody didn't go to bed like they were told." Vincent replied. "All right, give me a half hour." Violet hung the phone up, "I tried to." She muttered, and stood up slowly. As she did so, however, the doctor walked back in and shook his head immediately, trying to usher her back onto the bed. "You need to rest." He said, offering her a couple of pills. Probably for the pain. "That sounds a lot like, 'you need to wait for the cops to get here'." She corrected, "Look..." She gingerly reached into her pocket and pulled out a small black wallet. The doctor opened it and saw the gleaming badge of a detective. "Oh, you weren't kidding." The doctor muttered, handing it back to her. "Wish I was." She replied, "Thanks, Doc." The cool morning air helped to wake her up as she stepped outside and looked out across the car park in front of the hospital. After a couple of minutes Violet walked over and sat on a bench and closed her eyes. Next thing she knew she heard the sound of her brother's voice. "What?" She growled, looking up at him. "Oh, right..." She looked around, rubbing her eyes with her good arm, making sure to keep her injured one still. Vincent was leaning out of the open window of a black 1979 El Camino that had seen better days. Dented and covered in rust, it's exhaust spewed black fumes out from behind it. The front door on the driver's side had a large scratch caused by some unknown, but undoubtedly inhuman creature. "Do you want to get in before the rush hour starts?" Vincent offered. "I've told you before, the traffic stinks in L.A." "No worse than you." Violet muttered and slowly stood up and crossed in front of the car and got into the passenger seat. "Just a ride back to my hotel would be great." She pulled on her seat belt and let it rest gently against her shoulder. "You got it." Vincent replied as he pulled away from the street and took off down the road. "So would you like to sit in awkward silence or do you want to tell me what happened?" "I'd like to sit in awkward silence." Violet replied, looking out the window, "But I can't really do that," She muttered, "A couple of hours ago, a guy broke into my room at the hotel. I didn't hear a thing, just woke up, felt a weird presence and so I thought maybe something otherwordly was bothering me, but when I checked - nothing." She paused, adjusting her seat belt as it was uncomfortable, "I lean over for a glass of water, and suddenly i'm getting throttled. I shifted into a bear, and he freaked out. I'm pretty sure he's not savvy on magic, or at the very least, what I am, anyway." Violet rolled her window down to let a little air into the car, "So, I shifted, and he shot me a few times. Hospital, phone call, here I am." "Well, shit." Vincent replied. "Looks like someone has eyes on you. That must mean you're getting close to something." "Well i'm definitely into some kind of business. But i'm just not sure if it's the right kind." Violet replied, "If we were on the right track, following something magical in nature, do you think they'd send a human to kill a shapeshifter with a pistol? His bullets were just that, too. There wasn't anything on them, they weren't dipped in anything. I'm healing just fine." She paused as she considered what had happened to her, "I think maybe they looked into my past, saw what I used to be, or... what I am, I don't know. Maybe they're just criminals trying to protect something of that nature." "Sounds to me like somebody has stumbled upon the supernatural world." Vincent replied. "There are plenty of practitioners who awaken their powers without anyone to guide them. It's likely they know nothing of what magic really is, or the laws that they must abide by. If that's the case, if they've stumbled on to some deep, powerful shit...well then they are probably all the more dangerous for their ignorance." "Oh, shit..." Violet cursed, shaking her head. "LaChance." "Maybe." Vincent said, but he sounded unconvinced. "It's unlikely that some dipshit with the gift would know how to hide their aura. LaChance didn't give me any vibes, and he seemed completely unaware of the... thing that was attached to him." "But that's just it." Violet replied, "Maybe it's not him at all." She looked at her brother as she spoke, "Think about it, he stumbles across some magic books, maybe someone tells him he can use magic to further his personal goals. Maybe it's money, or power, I don't know, that's beside the point. He intends to use magic for money, power, influence. Trying to do that, he spawns that, whatever it was called... Adaro?" Violet twisted in her seat to focus on her brother as they slowed to a crawl, caught in the L.A. traffic. "I think he accidentally spawned an Adaro, and he thinks it failed. He's given up on magic. The Adaro isn't protecting or guarding LaChance, it's whispering in his ear. Feeding his paranoia. It told him to send someone after me, without knowing what I am. And it would make sense that he wasn't hiding his aura, because he's not in control of any magical ability beyond what he's summoned - and that, he doesn't even have control over." Violet paused as the pieces felt like they were falling into place, "But if this is the case, and I think i'm right, that still leaves one missing piece - who told LaChance about magic, and why?" She grinned, "Right? They put LaChance up to this, hoping to stir the pot. It means anything that happens comes back to LaChance, and leaves this unknown party completely blameless. Like a ghost, only worse. We can find ghosts..." She sighed, rubbing her forehead. "Whatever the case, I want to get my things back at the hotel room. I got rushed out of there so fast I couldn't get my sidearm." Violet's face tensed as she realised she'd said something her brother had never heard before. They hadn't seen each other since their teens, barely spoken. Vincent had no idea she'd been a cop, or worked her way up to becoming a detective prior to being pulled back into the world of magic. Violet sighed, it looked like it was going to be another long day.