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These Bloody Streets: Requiem for Allies! [IC] [PAST]

34 posts in this topic

 

-----Gregory-----

Gregory’s heavy boot smacked on the ground as he took a large step out of the lifted 1980’s era Ford Bronco, modified with offroad tires. The truck was a redneck's dream and a liberal’s gas guzzling nightmare. The truck rattled to and spat as the engine died, letting Gregory fully observe his surroundings. A slight breeze rustled his shaggy black hair. He tugged at the bottom of his thick winter coat--a worn black, it was the coat of a worker, nothing aesthetic about it just sturdy and black, made to last. His rugged blue jeans spoke the same language, blue collar. He inhaled and exhaled deeply, taking in all the scents around him.

 

They weren’t all too unfamiliar, the country of Kazakhstan isn’t all that dissimilar to certain parts of Russia--his birth nation. He could sense his pack-mates in the nearby area, ready to jump in wanted or unwanted if even the slightest sense of danger presents itself. He also smelt creatures more akin to death, “Vampires,” he spit on the ground, “fucking pieces of trash.” The heavily forested area of Kazakhstan would work in the their favor, however. In a worst case scenario, he doubted the vampires could keep up with even the weakest of his pack in this terrain.

 

“That fucking slut.” Trisha said as she stepped out of the passengers side door, “Dumb whore fairy bitch.” She was smelling, seeing, and listening just as intently as Gregory, this was the first meeting that they’d ever been invited to, and they wouldn’t put it past The Order, the Fae, or any worthless mage or human to set up an elaborate cover to get them to finally lower their guard. “Thinkin’ we can’t handle ourselves out here.”

 

Gregory turned to her, “What? It’s a stroke of luck they chose this place, if a fight breaks out we’d rip out that bastard Erevis’ throat the second we got into those woods.”

“You idiot,” Trisha scolded, “this is to spit on us. To tell us that we need this to be on par with everyone. They still don’t take us seriously.”

Gregory went quiet for a moment, thinking, “Fucking christ. It’s true when they say those ass fucks only give you the advantage and you can never take it.”

“No, Gregory,” Trisha retorted, “You’re just a fucking idiot. Anybody with a brain should have known she didn’t do this by accident.”

“Bitch.” Gregory growled but she was the Alpha-female. He wasn’t going to challenge anything she said, he may have been the Beta, but that didn’t mean he was about to challenge her.

 

Logan came around the corner, dressed almost identical to Gregory with the exception of a tan coat as opposed to a black one. He was getting older, but still healthy. His brown hair having streaks of silver in it. He was a brute of a man, easily six foot four and built like brick wall. “Quit bickering, I wanna’ get the fuck outta’ here and onto more important shit.” When Logan received the invitation he had to be convinced by other members to come, initially he was just going to ignore it entirely, “I’ve got a bad fuckin’ feeling about this.”

 

They parked the bronco about a mile out from where they needed to be and set out in a lax walk through the woods; follow the scent of the dead and cursed, angelic and demonic, benign and magical. “Hey, twenty feet ahead a clearing with a building in the center.” They kept to their trek through the woods as opposed to walking on the several different roads leading in. In a car they’re at a complete disadvantage, but on foot they were a force to be reckon. It’d be hard pressed for the strongest of foes to take on three werewolves of their caliber. As they approached clearing, Gregory observed that, there was no other cars or people anywhere in physical site. Logan was at his side a few moments later saying, “Jesus, what the fuck are we walking into.”   

 

-----Ryuk-----

Ryuk was wearing a long black cloak that dragged as they walked down the disgusting back alley in Beijing. It was mid winter in Beijing at the moment and Ryuk had on a pair of black Nike hiking boots with a pair of tight black leggings on under his shorts. He had on a black turtleneck as well. His cloak completely enveloped his torso and legs, though, dragging slightly on the ground. If he put the hood up, it would cover his whole face too.

 

Ryuk looked like a beggar next to the man he was escorting, Erevis, the strongest vampire alive.

 

Erevis wore a classic black and white suit, custom tailored to his body. Just his shoes costs more than someone’s car, most likely. Erevis’ suit hid it well, but underneath it he was a powerful and muscular man. He was short for his strength, he was at least a foot shorter than Ryuzaki, and he had thick, black hair trimmed expertly at the sides and top. His face was clean shaven and smooth. Ryuk had witnessed on multiple occasions Erevis fight, in less than an instant the man has his shirt ripped from tensing muscles.

 

They approached the location that Rasulka gave them and when Ryuzaki opened the door, Ryuk snapped his eyes open, it was a weird trick of interdimensional-space-time-manipulation that the Winter Queen pulled off, he was thoroughly impressed. They were given directions to a back alley in slums of Beijing. Once their, they were to find the back door to some ambiguous building, which was easy enough. When they walked through it they went from a dark and vermin filled alley to a ritzy and elaborate room. The room was snowing, on the inside, which completely through Ryuk off for a moment. The room was incredibly cold, too cold for it to be able to snow. He just summed it up as fairy bull-shit and kept following Erevis and Ryuzaki. This was literally the last place and the last thing he wanted to be doing. Erevis was a despicable worm of a vampire and Ryuzaki was a hot headed punk, he was getting tired of mopping up the blood when Ryuzaki carelessly let loose. An ornate knight greeted them and escorted them to the meeting chambers. Ryuzaki took careful mental notes of the whole route, already establishing escape plans if things here began to meltdown. When they approached the room that the Queen had decided to use for the gathering, Ryuk was again impressed with its grandeur. Say what you want about the tricksters, He thought to himself, but they’ve got one badass way to present shit.

 

The floor was an elaborate form of white marble that Ryuk had never quite seen before, a massive silk turkish rug, rectangular in shape, was splayed out. On top of that rug was massive, circular, table of dark oak. Eight ornate wooden chairs--each having an iconic carving in the back--surrounded the table. The table was large enough so that there was an easy ten feet to the either side of each chair. The Queen herself sat in one chair, frost nipping at the edges of it, and gestured to one three chairs to the right of her. On the back of the chair was carved a bat.

 

Erevis shook his head, “A bat? Really Rusalka?” Ryuzaki and Ryuk stood in the peripheral vision of Erevis, Ryuzaki to the left and Ryuk to the right. Lisanna sat in her chair, on the back of which was carved a sun, and her very presence radiated warmth, Ryuk, being caught in the direct center between the two, felt thoroughly annoyed at the confliction of temperatures. Behind Rusalka--the Winter Queen--stood her daughter and heir to the Winter Kingdom of Fae, Ezralda. She was young still, and clearly in a bit of a rebellious teenager stage of the fairy adolescence, Rusalka was dressed head to toe in an elaborate dress, ornate jewelry draping off her body. Ezralda had her hair in a ponytail and sweatpants on.

 

Lisanna was clad in a form of lightweight leather armor. Brown in color. She wore no helmet, instead her fiery red hair flowed down. past her shoulders. Her dark green eyes were vivid and glowing, staring at Erevis. Erevis and Lisanna have had an interesting relationship in life, they’ve been allies for some time, and will most likely continue to be so. They’re similar goals and hope to maintain the status quo have led them to find themselves riding the same tide of battle on more than one occasion. It wasn’t so much Lisanna that Ryuk was trying to make heads or tails of, it was the man behind her. He’d never quite seen him before, he could only guess from his limited knowledge of the Fae that he was the Winter Knight, typically the Summer Queen would never get within speaking distance of the Winter Queen, so she sent the Princess and the Queen’s personal warrior, the Summer Knight, as her escort.

 

The man was an intimidating figure. He cleared six feet easily, he was skinny, but completely toned with tight, lean muscle. There wasn’t a muscle on his arms or core that wasn’t completely defined. he wore a pair of heavy dark brown pants and sturdy boots. He was barechested and had a fur cloak carved from some strange looking feline-esque fairy animal. On each hip he wore a small hatchet. He had long, ghost white, hair that ran well past his shoulder. Dark orange streaks went down them. His eyes were completely black with an orange, feline, slit. Something that, Ryuk noticed, matched the young Ezralda’s right eye.


Erevis laced his fingers and put his weight on the tip of elbows, leaning forward across the table. Footsteps could be heard as others trickled in. “Rusalka, I do believe myself and your daughter have been formally introduced before,” Erevis smiled, bone chilling gesture, his fangs prominent, “Ezralda--” Erevis cut himself, as it appeared the others had arrived and they were coming through quickly.

 

-----Ezralda-----

Ezralda’s arms were folded across her chest, she’d been standing in one spot for nearly an hour now, waiting to get this ridiculous meeting going. The werewolves walked through next and took their seat, an elaborate wolf’s head was carved on the back of their chair. She couldn’t help but appreciate them, the only institute of change she’d seen or heard of in years. She was curious though, How did my mother let them gain such momentum? A collective group of werewolves was something she actively fought against for some time. To change her mind in the course of ten years was unlikely.

 

The man named Logan, the clear Alpha male, took his seat, folding his arms and not letting his eyes leave Erevis. Erevis remained still, staring back. The guards next to each other began to size each other up as well. The man with silver hair and purple eyes, Ryuk if she remembered correctly, seemed to be calculating everything. From the moment he walked through the room she watched him, looking at every window, every door, have a primary plan, a secondary plan, and even a tertiary plan. The man next to him was even more intimidating, tall and powerful he gave off a vibe of danger. The two body guards with Logan were not amused by the situation. They stood in solemn silence, as if Logan had threatened them to stay quiet. He clearly had them on a short leash here. It was evident he wanted to make a good first impression--strong, in control, organized.


The Queen was going to provoke everyone here today, that much Ezralda knew. She had already started by making them think they were being patronized in the beginning.

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Unknown Location…

 

The cavern was massive from one end to the other with a ceiling so high it was impossible to see it without directing a very strong light at it. The cavern was like a large bowl and buildings in the shape of cubes had been carved from the very rocky surfaces of the walls; the varying sizes depicted their various uses. They started high up in an outer ring and moved inwards and downwards until they reached a flat plaza where a large fountain showered water at its centre. The only entrance to this underground city was a pair of large double doors set into a raised balcony that looked down onto the plaza; a set of stairs following the wall down on each side. Three figures were stood on this balcony, apparently surveying the silence that filled the empty space.

 

One figure stood in front of the other two, standing with a straight back at average height. The figure on his right was a petite girl while the figure on his left was a monster of a man over 7 feet tall.

 

Raphael Ginta was the man of average height, standing tall with firm muscles and years of practice. He had black hair cut down to an inch in length and curiously orange eyes that appeared to shine in the dim fiery light. The rest of his face was hidden behind a mask of silver, crescent moons etched into its surface; the mask sported holes for eyes and nose but lacked the space to show his mouth. He wore a tight fitting turtleneck of black, black cargo trousers fastened by a black fabric-based belt, and black combat shoes. Thin black gloves covered his hands and a wide collared cloak rested on his shoulders; it, too, as black as the night sky.

 

He was stood at the edge of the balcony-like protrusion of rock and stared out across the city in silence. Eventually the monster figure to his left stepped forward slightly to speak.

 

“Boss? What are we going here, where is this place?” He asked, his voice deep and menacing to match his appearance.

 

Kai Vega intimidated most people with his voice when paired with his height of over 7 feet and the fact he was nearly as wide with boulder-like muscles. He wore a custom tailored suit, since no off-the-shelve number was ever going to fit him, of dark grey and paired it with a white shirt and black tie. As with Raphael, his feet were adorned with comfortable combat boots, black in colour. Held under his arm in a holster was a gun metal desert eagle, looking small in comparison to him, and hanging from the right side of his belt by a loop was a deadly looking axe. The weapon was constructed entirely out of a steel alloy with intricate carvings up the shaft. The crescent moon blade gleamed and flickered in the light, and a 2 inch spike was mounted on its opposite side to balance the blades weight.

 

“This…”Raphael said “…is where I was born; it is my home.”

 

Kai’s eyes widened in surprise but the petite girl to Raphael’s left actually gasped and stepped forward to get a better look at the silent city. “Oh, your birthplace, your hometown, where you came from.” She said with admiration in her voice.

 

Compared to Kai, Sophia Nurnhurst was a dwarf with her small stature. She made up for this lack of stature by standing out with bright pink hair, pulled back into four separate ponytails on the back of her head, and vivid green eyes. She sported a tight black t-shirt over a very nearly flat chest, white leather trousers, and white combat-styled boots; Sophia also wore a matching white leather jacket. A leather belt system around her waist held two large revolvers to her thighs and a pair of roman gladius’ on the back of her waist. Finally a plan white mask, sporting eye and nose holes similar to Raphael’s mask and a cracked mouth that ran from edge to edge and moved when she talked, covered her face. The skin around the edges of the mask was red as if the thing was grafted to her face, which it was.

 

“Yes.” Raphael continued, ignoring Sophia’s admiration. “A place that only I know is here.”

 

“Boss?” Kai said, sensing something about to burst from his leader.

 

“So, my lieutenants, would you care to explain to me…why the Queen of the Winter Fae herself…contacted me…and told me to come here!” he screamed the last words, his body shaking in anger. “A place, only I should know exists!” he continued screaming, breathing heavily through his nose when he finished, and continuing to stare out across the city.

 

Neither Kai nor Sophia said anything for a second before Kai spoke up. “You saying we’ve got a snitch, boss?” his tone indicating they wouldn’t have the problem for very long.


“No, Vincent, a snitch would indicate that they are leaking information known only to the organisation. This is information, known only to me!” He spat the last word. “And I didn’t tell him!” he roared. Raphael took a couple of deep breaths and controlled himself. “What we had, Vincent, was a spy.

 

Both lieutenants picked up on the past tense. “’had’, boss?” Kai asked.

 

“Yes. Fortunately I have already dealt with the situation.” Raphael replied.

 

Kai frowned and then a look of realisation appeared on his face. “The massacre at St Conrad…that was you.” Kai nodded to himself. “I should have realised, the state of the bodies was a dead giveaway.”

 

“Yes, St Conrad is the only place a spy could have infiltrated, so I killed them all to be sure. Afterwards, we will kill all the commanders and replace them with members of my choosing, using my methods.”

 

“’after’, boss?” Kai questioned.

 

“Oh…” Sophia chipped in. “…what did she tell you, what did the Queen tell you?” She spoke quickly and in excitement.

 

“I have been invited to a meeting…” Raphael said calmly, having regained his composure. “…with the most powerful organisations on the planet.”

 

“Yes!” Sophia screamed and air-punched enthusiastically. “They finally realise how powerful you are, they recognise your strength!”

 

“Yes, Celia, and since I was trying to keep a low profile in such things, that is nothing to boast about.” His voice was clipped and Sophia immediately quieted down. “However, this is a rare opportunity; I will not pass up the chance to see the faces of the creatures that run this world. I will burn them into my mind and then know who I need to kill when the time comes.”

 

“Oh, oh…” Sophia started jumping up and down on the spot in excitement. “…you can kill them all at the meeting. Get it all done and over with in one fell swoop!”

 

Raphael spun around in a snap, his cloak whipping around him, and his look silenced Sophia as his words had earlier. “You think me some kind of deity, Celia.” He said without a hint of question in his tone. “I admire you for that. But knowing when you are outmatched is also part of being strong. Even I couldn’t kill them all at once.” He could see the disappointment in Sophia’s eyes and laid a hand on her shoulder. “But I will kill them…on my terms.” Her eyes lit up again and Raphael released her to turn and face the city again. “We will go to this meeting, I will listen to what the prattling whore has to say, memorise their faces, and then we will leave and I will continue with my plans. Come.” Raphael turned and started heading down one of the staircases that led to the plaza, his two lieutenants in tow. “I expect you to say nothing and react only to a physical attack; you should hold no stock in what they say, no matter what it is.”

 

“Of course, boss.” Kai said as Sophia nodded her head enthusiastically.

 

“Now, her majesty told me that I just needed to walk through one of these doors and it would take me to the meeting place.

 

==================================================================================

 

Another Unknown Location…

 

The boots the Crescent Moon members wore made no sound on the white marble floor as they entered the grand arena where the meeting would take place. Raphael gave no indication the décor impressed him and walked forward to a high backed wooden chair that had a crescent moon carved into the back. He took a seat without a word and Kai took up position on his left, his face as stoic as ever, while Sophia took up position on his right, her mask failing to hide the wonder in her eyes. Raphael swept his gaze across the others in the room, momentarily locking eyes with all of them for a second before moving on and eventually finishing on the Queen herself.

 

He leant back in his chair and crossed his right leg over his left. “Just so you know, your majesty…” The title dripped sarcasm but Raphael made no attempt to hold it back. “…one day.” He said and then swept his gaze across the room again, feigning knowledge in who the people before him were, despite the fact he did not.

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Wind whipped past Caine’s ears, like whip through the air it whistled sourly, much like his own disposition to the current situation. The thick smell of rotting plants from the bog nearby filled their noses and prompted Charlie to cover his mouth with the scarf that hung loosely around his neck.

 

“God, what a smell...” he bemoaned loudly, wearied from walking in the sun that beat down on them from above. Caine seemed unphased as usual, sighing at the impatience of his younger companion. “It’s a swamp, Charles. And it’s hot, it’s not going to smell like roses around here.” He answered flatly.
 

“I know, I know” Charlie griped back “Just saying that maybe with all that power this winter queen has, she could have picked a less miserable place to meet.”. Victoria chimed in, her voice high and resonant as usual, a small smile on her face as she took in the cloudless sky above her. “We’re not meeting her here, dumbass. Fae never meet on anyone’s terms other than their own. This meeting is going to be somewhere as grand and terrifying as the person who called it.”

 

Caine wanted to chuckle a little bit, his companion’s light hearted bickering a decent distraction from where his mind had raced ahead, drifting in circles at the thought of the powerful people that would be here today, people he never thought he’d be running into again. His power was with negotiation normally, but with the fae there would be little of that. The want to give the benefit of the doubt to alliances and the want to sit on the edge of his seat played tug of war with his heart and brain.

 

The dirt path beneath them was enough to lead them, it had been a couple days since they had ditched the vehicle they had been using and set out on foot. It had been close to a week since they’d even passed through a town. He tended to avoid the general public at most costs, the pair of  monochromatic horns that curled from his head incited enough of a ruckus as it was, between most races and species. He gave off an heir of doom, like your very soul was trying to cower into itself and hide from his presence. Demons weren’t something you typically ran across in your living years, at least not for long and hopefully not royalty.

 

Even with the inclusion of the supernatural, there were some that still did not quite have a place in the world they lived on. In his case it was the fact that demons didn’t live on Earth at all “Thank the gods for that..” he thought to himself as they finally entered the dark tree canopy, the temperature dropping suddenly and the ground beneath them going hard as concrete. Charlie’s usual machine gun mouth stopped as fast as it began and Victoria’s smile waned within seconds. Caine pursed his lips some as he examined a small stone cabin only meters away from them “Come along...” he said to the others “...and mind your manners if you wouldn’t mind.” He shot a glance at Charlie over his shoulder who nodded solemnly.

 

The two trusted him differently, Victoria followed him like a lost dog, her teacher and friend. Charlie was less attached, he trusted them from a distance, unsure of his place between them and his own intrusion. As they stepped through the solid wood door frame the scene changed drastically. From the pressed dirt floor to stunning white marble, from thatch beams to the high vaulted ceilings of a grand mansion or a castle. Charlie audibly gasped, transfixed by the light streaming down the glittering stone walls. Victoria did her best to seem less impressed, the fae made her uneasy and each step made her heart jump a little more in her chest. Caine’s face was like a mask, his expression as cold as the air that churned with magic around them. He could sense the others, the way their power filled the very walls of the castle as if it was air within a balloon, threatening to burst the walls at any moment in an extravagant affair of noise and chaos. He straightened himself a bit, brushing dust from his dark grey trousers and flattening a pocket of his coat. The white scarf tied around his neck waved slightly as he walked, marked against his moderate clothing, frizzy onyx hair and rough striped horns.

 

They made their entrance as unceremoniously as they had begun, not much caring for the grandeur and luxury that the Fae provided them with. He took in the beings around them, all of them subconsciously tensed but outwardly stoic as himself. The massive knights, the built up werewolves, the sense of refined danger that radiated from the vampires and of course, the heat and ice felt from both of the seated Fae. The magic was thick here, and old, stronger than rivers and gravity that pulled the oceans to and fro. These were the forces that made the world function, held in balance by the beings before him. He sighed, the fangs in his mouth showing just slightly behind his blue tinged lips. “Good evening, everyone...” he said with a slight bow towards the Winter Queen herself, always one for convention was he. He found his place among the different factions, an exquisite chair with stars painstakingly etched into the back. The TrA had attended as promised, even if their leader somewhat knew where this was going. He sat down lightly, folding his legs at the ankles and settled in before the meeting officially began.


“Let the games begin, my friends...”

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==New York City==

Michael pushed his way through the crowded street. I shouldn't have agreed to this. Damn it, why did I do this? Michael thought to himself. He paused a second and surveyed the street around him. As stood there glaring back and forth he felt a small pair of hands on his left arm. He looked down and saw Clyte next to him. She was forcing herself to have a more human look, her skin had taken on a more pink-ish tone and her hair was much darker. She looked up at him with puppy-dog eyes.

Don't worry kiddo,” Michael said. “we'll be out of here soon.” He smiled at her, and she gave a timid smile back.

Michael” A voice sounded in his ear. He grabbed Clyte's hand and turned around again.

Echo.” He replied, “I'm in position.”

Echo walked up next to him. She was in her traditional Arpeggio gear, which would have stood out anywhere except the streets of New York. It was a light leather armor that revealed her midriff, and had a larger right shoulder pad with a treble clef on it. “It's up on the right,” She said, without moving her mouth, gesturing towards an alley up ahead. “Lord Ottava is close.

Michael looked behind himself. Incalzando Ottava walked slowly behind them. He didn't push anyone, and no one pushed him. The crowd itself split into two around him. Michael looked at Echo and nodded. As Ottava approached, Michael's ears began to ring. He had to blink and concentrate of keeping the sound out of his head. Clyte at his side whimpered a little bit.

I know.” Michael said, and gripped her hand. As a group they moved in past more people, and as a group they entered the alley.

The sound faded and the ringing in his ears died out. Clyte allowed her skin and hair to resume it's natural color, and Incalzando lowed the hood from over his face. The old man spoke. His voice rang out like an ancient orchestra, slow and ancient. “Thank you for accompanying me, Michael.”

Of course, Sir.” Michael said putting his right hand, clenched into a fist, on his chest.

Echo spoke, moving her mouth with her words as a formality, “We must be very careful, Lord Ottava.” She sounded melodic and quick tempo-ed as she spoke. “We do not know what the Winter Queen wishes with us.

This is true, General Echo.” Incalzando said, in a more even tone. “Though we should not assume the worst in people, we must also understand that a move against the Arpeggio would anger many, and our kind would not go down without a fight.”

As well, Sir,” Michael interject, “the Summer Fairy have also been invited, as Princess Lisanna will be there, as well as The Summer Knight Kailen.”

I do not trust Kailen.” Echo said.

He is... a hard one to trust. I understand, Echo. Just don't do anything rash.” Michael replied, as he went down on one knee to attend to Clyte. “Is everything alright?” He asked her, tenderly. She nodded quickly, her blue dress fluttering like the edges of a pond.

This will not be the place for a child.” Echo said, sternly, accentuating her words by glaring at Clyte.

She's not a child, Echo. She's a Nymph she can handle herself...” Michael paused. “But I have to have her by-”

Be calm please, children.” Incalzando interrupted. Of course he would say 'children' since he was far older than Echo and Michael combined. “If Michael wishes to bring dear Clyte with us, then we shall not hinder his ability to do so. Do you understand, General?”

Echo let out a short sigh. “Yes, Lord Ottava.” She said, no longer moving her mouth. “It's time we move out.” Echo turned away, towards the end of the alley. The alley was completely empty and at the end stood a door, which even in the heat of the city felt cold, even to just be around.

Yes, yes. Along we go.” Incalzando said, pulling the hood back over his creased and withered face.

Michael looked at Clyte, sternly in the face. “Stay close to me, okay?” As her protector, Michael couldn't leave her alone, but he wasn't sure what was going to go on beyond that door, and being a Summer Fairy, there was nothing he trusted less, then Winter royalty.

Echo pushed open the door, and there was a blast of cold air as the four of them walked in, and he door shut behind them.

It was elaborate in there. Far too elaborate. The essence of every kind of Beast and Demon and Magic hung in the air like an invisible fog.

Michael surveyed the room, the elaborate table and chairs. The soft cold that made Clyte shiver, as she clutched her own arms in an attempt to retain heat. The room itself snowed inside. The light flakes drifted down, settling softly in Echo's short black hair, or on the outside of the cloak that Incalzando wore. Around Michael and his natural Summer heat, the water melted before even reaching him, occasionally sending cold water droplets onto his clothes and face.

Clyte shivered and pulled herself closer to Michael in an attempt to stay warm using the heat he emanated like an aura. Michael grabbed the end of each of his asymmetrically colored finger-less gloves and pulled them tighter, before putting on hand on Clyte's head in a symbol of assurance.

The three made their way to a large wooden chair that, on the back had a large treble clef carved into it, along with small lines of sheet music and musical notes. Incalzando took the seat,  and Echo took to standing on a spot just to his right.

Michael stood to his left, and turned to face Lisanna. Putting his fist on his chest again, he gave a small bow. “Princess...” he said. Clyte sat on her knees on the floor. He leaned in towards her. “Don't worry kiddo, we'll be out of here soon.” Clyte smiled at him and nodded, even though he could tell that she was very cold.

What do you think, Summer Boy.” Echo said, he voice just a whisper in his ear.

I don't like it, Echo.” He whispered back. He leaned one hand on the table in front of him, speaking towards no one in particular. “I only recognize half the groups here... But all of them...”

Seem very powerful. I agree.” Echo replied. “Especially to get invited here by the Queen of Cold herself.

Incalzando grunted in agreement. It should have been no surprise to Michael that he was listening, but now that Michael thought about it, Incalzando was probably listening to every conversation in this room.

I'm scared.” Michael whispered. “This has got 'bad nightmare' written all over it. Echo, keep your guard up. Waaaayyy up.”

Definitely.

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“I told you a million times to stop with that nonsense of yours, Lynn.” A silent female voice said from between the two palm trees that had appeared in the middle of the desert. “It is time for us to go home”.

Lynn had never been one to take orders from anyone besides Fallar, but something in the way Elise talked made him feel like her questions were more like demands. He looked around the desert, trying to memorize what the heat felt like against his face. Before he could do so, the cold kicked in and the rain was in his face.

“Damnit, I still can’t get this thing right…” he muttered to himself while bringing back the dark and gloomy alleys of Copenhagen. Throughout the years he had spent walking down these streets, this was the first time he was pleased to get a last glance at it. “What’s the deal with this Winter Queen anyway? And why have we been summoned there, it’s not like they’ve helped us in the past?” He asked her, not sure why he was expecting any sort of new information from her. “Fuck it, let’s go home then.” As they continued their way towards home.

He watched as Elise made her way through the streets, skipping over the trashcans like they weren’t there. Lynn enjoyed this Elise, the one only he could see. Most of the time she prefered to act all tough to put on a show for others; to make herself look threatening or to make Lynn seem like he can pull this magic off to its fullest potential, he did not know. As they approached the motel they had been staying at for the past three years, a man dressed in a brown trench coat approached whilst pointing in the opposite direction.

“Wrong way, that’s where we are headed” Fallar said in a cold voice. “You’re late again, Lynn. I was about to leave you behind. Now come with me.”

Lynn muttered a quiet “Sorry” and began to follow Fallar. The man had kept him for years yet always managed to sound like he was never pleased by his actions. Elise he loved however and he had a weird habit of walking closer to her than Lynn. The fact that it was just the three of them made Lynn very paranoid. As they walked through Copenhagen, he noticed the lack of civilians around them. It was then that he realised they had completely left the city’s main streets and wandered into an alley by the Baltic Sea. They arrived at a giant black gate guarded by two men who did not react to their presence in the slightest, to Lynn they looked like stone statues that had been abandoned by civilization years ago. He watched as Fallar motioned at Elise then at the guards and the strangest thing happened. Before now, Lynn had always known what was going on in his sister’s head, but now he had no clue what she was attempting to do as she passed through the guards body and towards the closed off gate. It sprung open, revealing a corridor with a white marble floor.

“We would appreciate it if you could announce your presence next time, the Queen does not take kindly to bad manners” The man on the right said. Without batting an eye, Fallar replied coldly. “I do not announce myself to mere wastrels like you. You welcome us or we go in as we please. I do not take kindly of being summoned here by someone who has yet to acknowledge me in the past.”

Lynn could not help but let out a loud chuckle. In the 26 years he had spent with this man, it always amused him how well he was able to make an entrance. But he agreed, he had never been in any contact with the supernatural world unless he was screwing around with them in bars. He particularly enjoyed the warewolves, who never seemed to notice him slipping a few extra cards here or there into the card decks in poker games. It was almost exclusively his only way of making a living around a town he refused to grow a liking to. For them to be summoned by the Winter Queen was truly an unexpected treat, as Fallar would say.

“Now Lynn, I want you to shut that mouth of yours once we are inside. If talking is to be done, it will be I who does it. Elise may speak for the both of you.” He said in a threatening tone. Lynn had spent too much time with the man to know when he wasn’t politely asking. To the contrary, Lynn believed if he opened his mouth at all it would most likely be the death of him. They passed though the corridor, which Lynn now recognised to have been a portal from where they were to a whole new world. They approaced another door and entered the hall, Elise going first in her dance-like walk with Fallar and Lynn right behind her, both of the siblings examining every nook and corner of the hall they had just entered. The snow that was coming down in an atmosphere too warm for snow amazed Lynn. This was exactly the kind of magic he had been attempting to re-enact for months. Accompanied by the snow were other fractions he did not recognize. It appeared to be a meeting of some sorts, with supernaturals sitting by a table with chairs etched with markings to direct each member to their assigned places. Their invitation had clearly been debated on until the last minute, for not a single one of the chairs had anything to resemble their welcome. Instead, he saw a plain old chair, seemingly very old yet still elegant in features. He assumed this was were Fallar would be sitting, but to his knowledge Fallar did not seem to care one bit.  He watched as Fallar and Elise made their way towards two beings, one obviously being the Queen herself accompanied by a girl in sweatpants. “She looks just about as pleased to be here as I am, awesome.” He thought to himself.

Elise made her way towards the queen, now grabbing Lynn by his shoulder as to guide him to their destination. She placed her palms to her chest and clenched them together, nodding her head low in the direction of the queen. Lynn had never been much of a formal greeter, which he made very clear by simply slightly nodding his head. He was once more guided by Elise to the corner of the room, as there seemed to be only one spot for each representative. “We are tired little brother, time for us to get some rest.” Elise stated, as she touched the medallion on Lynn’s neck and dissapeared as if being sucked into it. This left Lynn standing alone, hands crossed in front of him, eyeing the other people in the room closely while the snow tickled his back as it melted through his clothes.


"Let the fun begin."

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-----Lisanna-----

The room began to heat rapidly. It was approaching an uncomfortable temperature, when Lisanna beckoned for Kailen. Kailen stepped next to her and lowered his head, “Yes, Princess?”

 

She whispered, “Who is that disloyal Summer Fae over there.” She spoke more loudly so that she could be heard by anyone listening, “Do tell me he isn’t a rogue fairy of our court that was dumb as to show his face somewhere like this.”

 

Kailen, as the Summer Knight and hence he has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of any higher tier, combat worthy Summer Fairy, “I believe his name to be Michael, Princess, he’s not a rogue and--”

 

“Michael,” her voice flat and even, controlling her fury, “Michael,” steady but furious, “are you daft or impudent?” She uncrossed her legs and turned her body, making direct eye contact with the fairy. A few seconds went by, all eyes in the room turned to them, the temperature rising alongside Lisanna’s emotions. “That wasn’t rhetorical.”

 

As the tension began to reach a boiling point, Risulka butted in, “Now, Lisanna, I doubt any offense was intended.”

Lisanna glanced at the Winter Queen, “Do I tell you how to handle your lot, Risulka?”

“No,” She said, the temperatures now clashing as Risulka’s emotions rose alongside Lisanna’s, “however I also never come into your palace at your whim.”

At the Winter Queen’s words Kailen’s hands clenched, his soulless eyes carefully watching not the Queen, but Ezralda. Lisanna didn’t speak back, instead she turned her body in her chair and crossed her legs as before. “Kailen this is something you are to discuss with Michael later. The Summer Court is not to appear divided.” Her last words she spat at Michael like poison, “Even if we have a good relationship between whomever he’s working with.”

 

-----Ezralda-----

Ezralda was expecting a significantly different course of actions to take place--every Fae knew of Lisanna’s short temper. Risulka had given her specific instructions to break up any physical altercation, should one occur within the palace. Despite the fact that they had a very long, very intricate conversation, in privacy before the rest of the guests started to arrive, Ezralda still didn’t trust the Summer Fae.

 

Once Lisanna had calmed down, Risulka began the meeting. Without a motion on her part, the grand doors slammed shut. Most of the body guards tensed up when it happened, having your only exit blocked off when you're in a dangerous situation tends to make even the most confident of warriors anxious.  “Before we begin,” She said, her voice cold and harsh, projected perfectly, “I must warn you that you are about to feel something...unpleasant happen.” A wolfish smile spread across her lips, “You can leave if you want, the doors aren’t locked, however if you do you forfeit any say here. And anybody who isn’t here will lose any say in future.” To the credit of all the people sitting down, none of them really flinched or seemed to care. It was the escorts who were looking nervous--even the more experienced of them. They all were glancing back and forth, mentally sizing up those around them and establishing plans to get their leader out of there as safely and as quickly as possible.

 

Risulka let five seconds pass by and nobody moved. Erevis, spoke up, “Clearly if we are all here, Queen Risulka, it means that we all trust you enough not leave.” His tented fingers rested just below his eyes, and in them was an unamused, irritated look. “Get on with it.”

 

Risulka nodded, “Indeed, Ervis, indeed we shall.” She gestured over to Ezralda, “Daughter, please cast the spell.

 

At her request, Ezralda jumped from where she was standing into the center of the table. The leap surprised mostly everyone, not a lot of fairies were as quick on their feet as Ezralda. Ezralda’s left hand whipped in front of her and the tip of her finger transitioned from a normal, human looking finger, into a sharp point of ice three inches longer than her original finger. All eyes in the room focused on that finger. She put it up against her right palm and drew a deep cut from end to end. With a small effort of will Ezralda’s finger returned to normal and the blood from her hand began to drip down onto the table. As it fell, it didn’t ever make contact with the oak, instead it just floated around Ezralda, orbiting her body as the moon orbits the Earth.

 

“Do not be alarmed,” Risulka spoke, “but my daughter is going to be etching a seal onto your foreheads with her blood, the same will be done to me as well.” The leaders of their prospective organizations didn’t seem too disturbed, and if they did it was too late. Risulka wasn’t going to let anyone leave this room now.

 

Ezralda’s blood formed into seven equal droplets and those droplets slowly made their way over to one of the leaders. They pressed up against the foreheads of everybody present and, like an artist painting a portrait, Ezralda simulated holding a brush in her hand and made several distinct gestures. An ornate and ancient fairy rune was drawn over each of their foreheads. This Ezralda noted internally, seems a little overboard. This type of magic wasn’t something one through around without first really considering the effects it has on the user. This was the fairy equivalent of running a marathon. When the etching was completely Ezralda spoke the verbal pronunciation of the word.

 

“Cirkversha!”

 

Human verbiage doesn’t have one specific word to match the meaning of this word in the Fae language, however it can be summed up to meaning, “tell the truth or face dead”. It was an old and ancient spell that would be, and still is, cast every time the Summer Queen and Winter Queen meet formally to hash out a truce. Regardless of your strength, age, or power, if you say something that isn’t true, or that violates the conditions under which this spell is cast, you will die--all of your secrets spilling forth into the minds of those you are linked to. A red string dashed and circled around all those sitting at the table--wrapping around the heads of everyone seated, making many different loops, bounding back and forth, connecting each person to each other, making many different passes. Once done, the two ends came together in Ezralda’s hands, one in each, and she held them up to her mouth as she spoke the next part of the spell,

 

“Under the binding power of death, not a single lie shall be spoken here.” Each word sent a surge of pounding pain into the heads of everyone seated. Like the thump of a migraine, “Nor shall an offtopic question be asked, a lot of the bodyguards were physically uneasy, frustrated at the surprise and their powerlessness in the situation, “likewise, a question intended to mislead or deceive shall also be acquainted by death. Also, an escort is considered a vassal of those whom they are escorting. As such, those whom those vassals have pledged allegiance to are held solely responsible for their actions, should something uncouth occur, under punishment of death.” The more she spoke and the more conditions she put on the spell only made the pounding more intense and more painful. It also put a tremendous strain on Ezralda. The spell began to conclude, and Ezralda increased the power she put into the spell, the pounding becoming worse and worse, “This” By now it was unbearable, Ezralda noted that even Erevis had a cold sweat on his forehead from the pain, “is your” she began to tie together the ends of the string, as they made contact it sent the sensation of nails through a chalkboard throughout the air, “only warning.”

 

She concluded and, to Ezaralda’s credit only took one deep breath to steady herself. She was definitely tired, but she couldn’t, wouldn't, let it show. The pain vanished from all parties involved and there was an audible sigh throughout the room. After the pain the imaginary strings of red faded into nonexistence, any reminder of the spell vanishing.

 

“My Queen,” She spoke, “the spell is completed.”   

 

-----Erevis-----

When the spell concluded, Erevis pulled a handkerchief out of the inside of his suit to wipe his forehead. Ezralda had walked back to her the Queen’s side. “Risulka,” As Erevis spoke the atmosphere of the room got dark, very quickly everyone forgot about the cold and instead were overcome Erevis’ dreadful aura--like walking alone in a parking garage, like being woken by a strange sound at night, the feeling of being followed down a dark road at night. Erevis’ voice was quiet and loud at the same time, quiet in volume but loud in presence, “if you do something like that again, you will indeed regret it.”

 

Logan, the disgusting inbred wolf sitting directly across from his didn’t even look phased. Worthless mutt, Erevis was angry, he’d heard rumours of this spell, and the more you had to hide the more it hurt. The two fairies also looked unphased those two have an unholy tolerance to pain. He kept looking around the table and noticed that he indeed wasn’t the only one suffering.

 

“My apologies, Erevis,” The Winter Queen finally spoke, “but you must understand. We can’t have violence and lies be spoken at this table.” She smiled a sick and twisted smile.

 

You’re one to talk, whore.”Yes of course,” Erevis smiled, regaining his computer, careful not to let his thoughts creep out before his words, I’ll have your jugular in my teeth one day.

 

Risulka clapped her hands--the escorts flinching--and continued, “I’ve invited you all here today to discuss a new issue that’s popped up, and that is a newly made cluster of islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.” As Risulka spoke everyone listened, this had been the talk of the supernatural community for some time now. “Some engineer with far too much money and far too much intelligence has been hired by the human governments to construct these monstrosities. six of them form a semicircle around the center island--much larger than the others. We do not know much about them.”  

 

A to-scale map of islands appeared in the center of the table, big enough for everyone to see, and constructed of water and ice. The largest island was roughly the size of the island of Sicily, while the smaller ones ranged anywhere from twenty five to fifty percent the size of the largest island.

 

“The largest island is called Nirvana” Erevis cut in, “the name of each other island isn’t important.” Erevis had had enough of Risulka for the time being, he didn’t care if he made her angry. As he remembered, she still owed him for when he helped her recover her daughter anyway. “Construction was started on these about five years ago.”

 

Lisanna asked Erevis, “I assume that your,” she paused, “informants led you to this information?”

 

Erevis smiled and the spell pounded at his head, forcing him to answer the question, reminding him that if he lied he would die, “Yes.” He continued, “Human robotics have undergone a revolution in the last ten years and as a result they had an endless inexhaustible supply of labor that just kept multiplying.” The others around the table listened intently, there wasn’t a being alive who had more inside knowledge than Erevis--if something was happening he knew about it. The only person here who Erevis didn’t have a spy for was the Crescent Moon organization, and even then he had one up until a few days ago when the leader of the organization found out and killed him. Erevis knew it was a bad idea to give Ezralda the information she asked for, of course she’d misuse it to make a point. She owed him for that, he remembered.

 

“The success of this project went far beyond expectations. Estimates by the department in charge ranged from ten to twenty years until completion and they did it in five. Underground tunnels connect each island to each other. Currently, everything being done over their is a complete secret. We can hardly even get physical operatives over there--state of the art security. My top informants think that word somehow got out of our spies and now they have everything locked down.”

 

-----Logan-----

Logan’s harsh voice boomed across the table, “Not to be rude, but I don’t fucking care.” A hushed and awkward silence went around the room. Gregory and Trisha both couldn’t help but chuckle. “Get to the fucking point, Queen Risulka.”

 

Logan’s request forced the words out of Risulka. By him requesting it, under the power of the spell, she was forced to tell them, “Most likely they are going to start imprisoning the paranormal their.”

 

Logan narrowed his eyes, about to speak, but Lisanna cut him off, “And dogs like you, the dumbest and loudest, are probably going to be the first ones they find.”

 

Erevis smiled at him, something that, if Logan wasn’t under this accursed spell, he’d kill Erevis for, “So I really think you should care.”

 

Logan went quiet, steeping. He shouldn’t have bursted out like that.

 

-----Ezralda-----   

Ezralda was, needless to say, shocked with how Logan had spoken to her mother. Not many things were that brave, and not many things lived afterwards either. To the Queen’s credit, she didn’t look mad or let her disrespect show. She spoke next, “there’s six minor islands and six of you. We think you should dispatch members of your choosing to investigate.” She paused for a moment, “A joint operation between allies.” She smiled and the room got colder.

 

Ezralda knew what at her mother was going to ask, but even so it still surprised her. More surprising was that Erevis said he didn’t have anybody in the loop on the project anymore. And he said, specifically, he couldn’t get any physical operatives their.

 

Careful, she thought, I need to read between the lines. He didn’t say he’s tried that hard. He just said he can hardly get them over there.

 

Erevis nodded his head, “One such operation seems like a grand idea,” he was civil but still deep in thought, “but why does someone of your caliber and power need help from us?”

 

The Queen turned to Erevis, “Well, you see, I just think there stands a lot to gain if all of us work together.” She smiled at him, and that smiled dripped with something. She wasn’t lying, she couldn’t lie. There wasn’t any dishonesty in what she spoke.

 

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- Raphael Ginta -

Raphael looked at each person as they entered, flanked by the guards of their choice. He burnt their features into his memory, fulfilling the promise he had made to his own guards. Out of the eight gathered organisations, Raphael knew only the Fae and The Order, although it was the first time he had seen the faces of their leaders. The others he was not aware of but knew that if the Queen had called them here, they were pretty big players in the world at that moment in time. Raphael had ended up with Lisanna of the Summer Fae on his left and an old man that looked like he was about to collapse at any point on his right. He didn’t know what organisation he was leader of but presumed it to be music based judging by the treble clef carved into the back of his chair.

 

The heat that came off Lisanna was nearly unbearable but Raphael knew that his two subordinates would be having more trouble with it then he was; temperature had always been a very minor irritation to him, regardless of its extremity. Once everyone had arrived, Lisanna causing a minor ruckus when she noticed another Summer Fae in the room that wasn’t with her, Raphael remained silent and kept his gaze on Risulka.

 

As things progressed, Raphael was not impressed when it was revealed some kind of truth spell was to be instigated in the meeting; especially if it forced an individual to answer a question directed at them. He took solace in the fact that the same spell meant the people there couldn’t go off topic and gain answers on other things while everyone had to speak truthfully. As the droplet of blood moved towards him, Raphael considered for a second repelling it, he most likely could, but decided against it; there was no reason to cause a ruckus so early on. It pressed against his silver mask, but Raphael could feel the energy seeping into his body.

 

The pulsing headache caused by the string around his head rose steadily with each condition set upon them and Raphael couldn’t help but grimace at the pain; he was glad his mask hid his expression. He felt Sophia move behind him but she stopped at a signal from his hand; clearly she could see he was in pain and would do anything to remove him from it. When the spell vanished, taking the pain with it, Raphael let out a controlled breath and settled in for a meeting the Winter Queen clearly thought to be incredibly important to induce such magic.

 

The explanation of Nirvana and its associated islands was quick and concise, and with Erevis’ input, filled with surprising detail. Of course, Raphael was aware of the creation of an artificial island but had no idea to their purpose. To find out that the humans intended to confine the supernatural elements of the world to it was somewhat of a shock. How did they intend to force those who did not want to go?

 

That aside, Raphael watched with interest at the clear relationships these powerful individuals had. I wonder if they ever even considered me a threat? Or even considered me before Risulka invited me to this meeting? No matter, for now I shall remain silent and take in as much information as I can.

 

- Sophia Nurnhurst ­-

The heat coming off Lisanna, who was to their right, was a pain and Sophia was glad she could not perspire. Everything happened so quickly after that that Sophia couldn’t keep up, only moving at one point when it was clear Raphael was in pain; during the truth spell activation. However, he waved her away surreptitiously and Sophia was glad when the pain obviously disappeared. She glanced at Kai, noting the sweat on his forehead, and knew that while she had been concerned with their leader, he had kept his gaze on the other guards in the room, ensuring they weren’t about to try something while the leaders were occupied. Clearly they had been as shaken as the Crescent moon members as Kai looked content; almost smug.

 

Six islands? Six people to investigate them? That math doesn’t make sense. Sophia thought, glancing at others while keeping an eye on the back of Raphael’s head. While she was looking around, she locked eyes with the male bodyguard of the organisation that was sat opposite them on the table. He had a stern face and long hair that seemed ready to burst from the ponytail he had it styled in, a medallion was hung around his neck.

 

While keeping her eyes locked on the man, Sophia tilted her head to the side and smiled beneath her mask. Her mouth was barely visible through the cracked smile shape on her mask and Sophia wondered what he thought of her with her hair, eye, and mask combo.

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After some moments waiting for the last few parties to file in, the air seemed stiffer than ever. No one wanted to be the first to break the silence, however the Summer Princess did the honors of breaking the metaphorical ice for everyone not too soon afterwards. He sighed inwardly as insults flew from the literally hot-headed Princess Lisanna towards the escort sent from the Arpeggio, named Michael from what the Summer Knight had said. The image of them standing next to each other gave him a brief mental image of Peter Pan with Tinkerbell, just if Tinkerbell had the ego the size of Neverland instead. The urge to call them as such was almost unbearable but even then the tiny smile crept across his face “You’re trying to keep peace here Caine, not start a war due to your terrible execution of children’s literature”. He was ninety percent sure they wouldn't get the joke anyway.

 

Their behavior wasn't something necessarily surprising, after all, the strongest factions of the world in one place was bound to cause tension.

But not on this scale. Ezralda’s spell that sent radiating waves of pain through each and every one of them there made it seem as if the world around them froze in time whilst Ezralda's conditions burned their way into their heads. He fought down his initial instinct to push against it, there wasn't a point in causing a rift so soon. Not when someone else would surely take the opportunity to make themselves look like an impatient fool, which for his sake seemed to be taken by Logan’s outburst. He rolled his eyes and contemplated the rivalries between the sects. He loathed the all knowing, stiff nature of Erevis but wasn't sure how much he really favored their rival werewolves either. Something about his past made him just hate that sense of entitlement to his core, even from just the very few times they had the pleasure of meeting.

He took the information much the same way as the Crescent Moon's leader did, with little more than an occasional nod of comprehension towards the queen’s frigid but informative explanation.

He waited for her to finish before making himself heard. “I have but one concern so far then, Your Majesty... If there are 6 islands you'd like us to explore then surely there are two to be left out. Who might that be?” He had an idea it could be the Fae themselves but left it open to interpretation as not to be a leading question. It cold be anyone at this point, even his own demons being that they were a minority with little alliances but a lot of unpredictability.

-------------

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Lynn had always been good at sitting things out and watching from the sidelines, but something about the situation made him feel very uneasy. The ruckus made by the two beings he did not recognize had amused him, he had almost hoped to see some sort of action going on between the two of them. He fought back the urge to let Hell loose, thinking of all the possible snowballs he could have had either of them throw at one another to start a fight. Something, no -someone-, stopped him from doing so whether it was the faint female voice of reason in his subconsciousness or the quick glance Fallar had given him before sitting down.

He watched the leaders of the groups as most all of them reacted to the pain that was cast upon them by the spell enacted by Ezralda. Fallar seemed to be affected by it more than Lynn had expected. He could see as his eyes closed and face tensed up, the vein on his forehead becoming visible.

“Are they expecting the master of deception to be able to have one ounce of truth in anything he has to say?” Lynn thought. He had never seen Fallar get so quiet in his life, probably because he was thinking the exact same thing. It finally hit Lynn why he had been asked to shut his mouth before their arrival. He could not help but wonder if Elise was affected by this spell as well.

"He doesn't look that well, you reckon he knew this was going to happen?" Elise asked, her soft voice echoing in Lynn’s head.

“Highly doubt he would have expected anything less from this powerful beings. Does not mean he was not caught off guard by this. I don’t know, I’m feeling very uneasy about this entire situation.” He thought, eyeing the Queen and Ezralda carefully. “One thing is sure, I do not trust any one of the people in this room. Why do you think they called us in on this unless they wanted something to go terribly wrong. I don't like being outsmarted, especially by a girl jumping onto tables.”

"I quite fancy her style."

“You fancy everything, El”

It was then that Lynn felt the piercing gaze of something against him. He scouted the room, hands still crossed in front of him before his eyes locked onto a young woman with bright pink hair and a mask covering her face. Her bright green eyes had been staring at him with what he made out to be curiosity as she tilted her head and a smile, barely visible, appeared on her face.

“The hell you reckon she’s smiling on about?” The stare was making him very uneasy. With a subtle move of his hand, Lynn pinched the corner of his medallion between his fingers. It was warm to his touch and he felt as Elise became more and more materialised. “You know, that smile looks more like a studying stare or maybe it’s supposed to be a threat?” He thought to himself.

"Worry not, little brother, for it it comes down to it, is is I who shall bash that mask of hers into her face."

The mental image of this made Lynn let out a chuckle as he returned the woman’s stare, his face now back to its emotionless state. She didn’t look very threatening, but who knew what sort of surprises were covered up by the mask she was wearing. Without breaking eye contact, Lynn’s attention was back to listening to the controversial conversation at the table.

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Michael was taken aback by the Princess' outburst. “I'm... But Milady...” He stammered.

“My apologies, Princess Lisanna.” Incalzando said, the words coming out in a soothing tone, like a slowly paced orchestral score. “We meant no offense. The Summer Court are among our trusted allies.” Lisanna replied by tossing her hair to the side and scoffing as she moved her attention back to the Winter Queen.

The Winter Court are... Even more terrifying then I originally imagined.” Echo spoke in his ear.

“Yeah.” He whispered to her, turning to check all the other faces at the table. “This is the first time I'm meeting her too.” As he turned he saw the Winter Court Fae standing at what was obviously the most fancy chair, snow and swirling and icicles adorned what he could see of it. His eyes rested on the Winter Princess Ezralda in particular. His hands at his sides clenched tightly into fists. His teeth clenched and his lower lip curled into a snarl.

Calm down, Michael.” Echo spoke in his ear harshly. He took a deep breath, but he didn't loosen his grip until he felt a small pair of hands on his left arm. Clyte was looking up at him with her soft blue eyes.

“Thanks, kiddo.” He whispered to her, putting hand onto her head.

She sat back down on her knees, he head was just over the table, putting her eyes able to scan the table as well.

“Do you recognize all the groups here?” Michael spoke to Echo under his breath.

Not all of them. Winter Fae, Summer Fae, obviously.” She said.

“The Order.” Michael whispered, nodding his head towards Erivis. He saw Echo get a slight look of disgust on her face when she looked over at them.

“And they're Werewolves,” Michael said, nodding again.

I thought Werewolves were clan based,” Echo whispered. “I did not think they were organized enough to be at a table like this...

Before Michael had a time to respond to Echo, Ezralda jumped up on the table. That scared Michael because he had never seen any Fairy move that quickly. Her finger extended into an icicle and she carved something into the table.

Ezralda stood up and spoke a single word “Cirkversha!”

“Shit.” Michael spoke aloud.

The truth spell wove it's way around. There was visible looks of concern on almost everyone's face and pain on almost every leader was in pain. The discomfort flowed off of Incalzando in waves causing an audible white noise sound. His hands gripped the armrests tightly and his he dropped his head down and his hood covers his face.

After the spell ended and everyone seemed to calm down, but the tenseness in the room was palpable.

The display started, showing off Nirvana and the islands around it. Six factions, six islands... Michael thought to himself.

“Lord Ottava,” Michael whispered, knowing Incalzando was listening to him. “She obviously speaks the truth... But I still don't trust her.”

Yes. I as well.” Echo whispered. “And what of the seventh island Lord Ottava?

“A good question indeed, General Echo.” Incalzando whispered back. And then he spoke out loud, “Queen Rusalka.” Incalzando said, turning himself to face to the right, towards her. His words flowed out soothingly, sounding like a small orchestra had started playing in the room. “I feel like everyone is wondering what would come of the seventh isle?” He paused for a beat. “Nirvana, I believe it was called.” He glanced over at Erevis.

Careful Lord Ottava.” Echo whispered in their ears, “One can still hide lies within truth.

Michael nodded in agreement and let out a barely audible grunt. He began to survey the room again, locking eyes with several of the other body guards before moving on again.

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-----Ryuk-----

The question on everyone’s mind seemed to, in some way shape or form, regard the seventh and largest island the Queen and mysteriously left out of conversation. The Queen was quick with her answer, “That island, being too large to explore alone, is something that I feel would be best done as a larger group.” The guests all glanced around wearily, normally these people were killing each other, not working together.

 

Ryuk noted internally, This would be an excellent opportunity. He glanced sidelong at Ryuzaki, they had discussed something some time ago, in secrecy of course, and he wondered if he was thinking the same thing. A coalition would certainly fix our lack of intelligence in the area, while also letting me network.

 

Erevis butted in, “An excellent idea.” Ryuk couldn’t say he was surprised, of course Erevis would be up for a movement such as this, if anything brazen occurs The Order would have first hand information as to the abilities of another organization's strongest fighters, and if it goes well then Erevis gets intel on the islands. It’s a win win for him.  “In fact,” Erevis smiled, Ryuk couldn’t see his lips but he could hear it in his voice, “I’d be willing to volunteer two of my brightest, standing right next to me at this very moment.”

 

Ryuk didn’t let his emotions show, he tried to remain as stoic as possible, but he was indeed thrilled by the idea. Never, though, in his almost seventy years of working in The Order did he do something that he wanted, though. So when Erevis said that, and obviously it was the truth, he nearly gawked. “Erevis,” He whispered, “did you--”

 

Erevis raised his hand, silencing Ryuk.

 

-----Ezralda-----

The Queen spoken again, “Lord Erevis has the right idea,” Risulka smiled at Ezralda, “my daughter shall be my liaison in the matter.”

 

That much, bothered her. She was visibly frustrated by it, the Queen hadn’t tasked her with much since her return, leaving her to her own devices, and historically amongst the Winter Royalty that’s how it went. The Queen had a Knight and other pions to order around. It was clear to Ezralda that the queen was sending a distinct message to the Summer Court, and anyone present who knew anything about fairy culture, This is my daughter, she isn’t of much value to me and I don’t trust her.

 

“Erevis,” The Queen called, “please enlighten us on what you are completely sure of about this island.”

 

“Yes,” Erevis responded, “of course.” He cleared his throat, “The island sits in a very lightly traveled part of the ocean, since the Atlantic treaty of Trade and Commerce some years ago, all nations traversing the seas of the Atlantic ocean are forced to travel a specific set of sea lanes, these islands are completely out of the way of all those. Also, they have a pretty advanced form of radar installed, now for things such as us that is a simple hurdle, however the close the get the less simple it becomes. There’s a new military defense system installed that shoots down everything coming close that doesn’t emit specific RF signature. Anything the size of a car or larger get a missile, while anything under the size of a car is pelted with fifty-caliber machine gun rounds.” He stopped, thinking, “And that’s all we know. After that last report, about four months ago, everything went dead.”

 

Ezralda was impressed with Erevis’ wealth of knowledge, in matters such as this, The Order had even the Fae outclassed. How long, She wondered, did it take for you to dig your claws this deep, Erevis?

 

Logan’s spoke from across the table, “You’re missing an important detail, Erevis, why have you gone four months in the dark? That doesn’t sound like you.” His arms were crossed, angrily glaring.

 

Erevis answered him, unable to conceal the truth or avoid the question, “I’ve tried nine times to get people over there. Every time we lose contact. There comes a point where you quit sacrificing resources and just wait things out.”

 

Ezralda wondered to herself just how many “resources” Erevis had lost.

 

The Queen broke the tension and said, “If you are opposed speak now, if you have any concerns let them be heard. Be aware, that there is something going on there, and none of us know what it is.” Ezralda was still confused hearing her mother speak in a manner that wasn’t absolute. She couldn’t lie, but still she could not be trusted. “We as a paranormal community must find out what is going on and establish a clear response.”

 

Lisanna smiled from across the table, not at Risulka but at Michael, the fairy body guard of the Apreggio. She said, while still looking at them, “What a grand idea, you have the full support of the Summer court.” She turned her head and stood up from the table, when she did the power of spell vanished from her, relinquishing her from its grasp. The spell reworked itself between all the rest of those that were seated. As she walked away, Kailen right behind her, “The Summer Fae will grant you the full use of Michael, in this endeavour.” She walked away, leaving a sense of unfinished business lingering in the air.


 

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- Raphael Ginta -

Sticking to the plan he had told his lieutenants, Raphael simply sat and listened to what the other’s had to say. He picked up on the fact The Order seemed to be failing in regards to getting spies onto these new islands and made a mental note of it. If The Order was so inclined to information, Raphael suspected the spy he had killed in his own organisation was with them. He also noted that Erevis had dedicated his two bodyguards as his representatives. Raphael did not know either of them, the one who had tried to whisper to Erevis or the silver haired one whose face and not changed from stoic since he had entered.

 

When the Risulka asked if there was any more queries or concerns, mentioning that the supernatural community should know what was going on, Raphael opened his mouth to speak. He was beaten to the punch by Lisanna, who dedicated the one called Michael and walked off with her bodyguard. With her gone, Raphael jumped in.

 

“I’ll agree to this venture for now. If what Risulka has said is true and this artificial island is to be some sort of prison for the supernatural, then I will gladly assist in changing that fact.” He raised his right hand and Sophia took a step forward so she was level with him. “Celia here will be my liaison in the matter. You may contact her when you’re ready to begin; apparently you know how to do that.” He poised the last words at Risulka, staring at her from behind his mask.

 

He stood up and he felt the power of the truth spell fade away from his body.  Raphael then tightened the gloves on his hands by pulling them at the wrist; despite the fact they had not been loosened at any point. He turned on his heel and stepped around his chair, heading for the door that had closed when the meeting had begun. Kai and Sophia stepped in behind him.

==================================================================================

- Sophia Nurnhurst -

As the man matched her gaze, Sophia held her smile, glad he had not shied away. As their gazes remained locked on each other, the crack on her mask that showed her mouth started to widen and the ends started to rise as if becoming a smile. More, nearly invisible, cracks started to appear on her mask as she was about to really freak the man out. However, Kai glanced at her and she came to her senses. If she did that, the others here might view it as some sort of attack and then things would tumble out of control quickly. Tilting her head back to the correct angle, the cracks disappeared and the mouth-hole returned to its natural state.

 

When Raphael raised his right hand, Sophia got the message and stepped forward, remaining unreadable when he designated her his representative in the matter. This both pleased and disappointed her; on one hand, it meant Raphael truly trusted her power and decision making abilities, on the other, it meant she would likely be separate from him for a time and that was always bad news in her books. She moved her gaze from the pony-tailed man, inwardly cursing that she had had to drop the stare first, and looked at each leader in turn as Raphael showed his displeasure once again that Risulka had desecrated his homeland.

 

When he got up, she dutifully fell in behind him and shot one last glance behind her at her staring contest partner before turning back to Raphael and heading towards the large double doors. She wondered if Risulka would let them leave, or whether she would stop them here. Part of her wanted the Winter Queen to stop them, just to see what Raphael would do.

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"Boom, we win this round" Lynn thought to himself, as he watched the pink haired girl drop her stare and follow who he presumed to be the leader of her fraction.

"You are being childish. Stop it."  Elise's soft voice could almost be heard from within Lynn's medallion as he was still rubbing it with his fingers. He could feel a slight hint of anger in her voice, most likely mirroring his own discomfort with the intelligence of Nirvana.

Just like every other leader at the table, Fallar seemed to choose his words very carefully. He had yet to say a thing, but Lynn knew this was his way of absorbing in as much information as was needed about everything that was going on. Lynn did not know whether or not Fallar had come in contact with any of these fractions before, but he had a feeling that some of them knew each other in some way. As the clan with the crescent moon carved on their chairs made their exit, Fallar finally opened his mouth.

“If it is assistance you are in need of, then I shall provide you with the young gent standing behind me." He said, rising from the table. "But that is all the aid we shall provide. I presume this will be enough.” Enough so that it was noticeable, he said the last phrases whilst the spell on him was wearing off.

Still eyeing the pink haired girl, Lynn took a step forward towards the table. His heart was racing but he refused to let any emotions show. His eyes met with the girl in the mask one last time and Lynn could not help but flash a smile as he winked at her.

“I guess this means you might get your chance to show that affection of yours to her, El. We shall meet again.”

Fallar had his eyes locked on the Queen herself as he took a step back from the table and Lynn knew this meant that they were leaving. He quickly made his way to his leader’s side and followed him as they made their way towards the double doors which they had entered through. As Lynn eyed Fallar, he noticed his face was showing signs of discomfort. He appeared older than just a few moments ago, Lynn presumed this was due to the spell he had been under. As they entered the corridor that would lead them back to the gates, Lynn wondered how much of an impact Fallar's last words had had on the Queen.

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==Echo Pienna==

Echo was very close to to breaking the stupid ice-sculpture on the table with a snap of her fingers. Her lip curled into a snarl.

She spoke to Michael and Incalzando with her powers. “Something rubs me the wrong way about this Lord Ottava.

She heard Michael inhale to reply, before Lisanna stood up and walked out. Echo watched Michael out of the corner of her eyes as he turned towards Lisanna, placed a fist on his chest and bowed. “Of course, Princess.” He turned back and exhaled deeply. Echo couldn't help but chuckle to herself.

The Crescent Moon leader added in that he would help, before standing up as well.

Lord Ottava, please be careful.” Echo heard Michael whisper under his breath.

Don't worry, Michael.” Incalzando whispered. He then spoke out loud to the table. “Queen Risulka. As the leader of The Arpeggio, I would like to say that you will also have our full support, including one of my own most trusted Generals.” He raised his right hand off the arm of the chair, motioning towards Echo. “General Pienna.”

Are you sure that this is wise, Lord Ottava?” Echo sent her words to him.

Fear not, General Echo.” Incalzando said into her ear. He then turned away from Risulka and stood up. “I believe it is now time for me to take my leave.”

Incalzando then stood up and turned to Echo, putting both his hands on her shoulders. Using his powers the same way as Echo, he sent his words to her ear. “Listen, Echo.” He said, in an incredibly serious tone. “I am not weak, and we have many other strong warriors on our side, but you are my most trusted among our ranks. Trust me, General Pienna.”

Echo tried to find the words to reply, but when that failed, she dropped her head down and replies to him “Yes, Lord Ottava.

I'm glad we sorted that out,” he said, before dropping his hands to his side and walking past Echo. She moved in close behind him to his right. “Come along now, Michael.” He said out-loud as he moved towards the door they had entered.

==Michael==

Michael was very distraught over the way that the Princess had treated him. He made sure to watch her and Kailen as they left the table. He felt his heart sink deep into his chest as he mulled over the way Lisanna had acted towards him.

Deep in thought he only barely heard the Arpeggio pledge to Risalka's cause. There was a small tug at his left arm that snapped him out of his concentration and he heard “I believe it is now time for me to take my leave.

Michael bent down on one knee to get closer to Clyte who had stood up now. She looked up at him with concern in her eyes. “Don't worry.” He told her, putting his hand on her head. “Everything will be fine.” She gave him a weak smile, but he knew the trust between them would hold them together. Her face turned to something more wrought with concern, as she nodded her head toward the Princess and Queen of the Winter Court, the Queen's face showing the hints of delight and a twisted smile.

I know.” He told Clyte. “I'm not sure I can trust her either, but Princess Lisanna and Lord Ottava have both agreed to help. There's not much we can do-”

Before he could continue, Incalzando spoke out loud “Come along now, Michael.” He said, without facing Michael.

Michael stood up and spun around. “Of course, Lord Ottava,” Michael said, hurriedly. He walked over to Incalzando's left side, as quickly as he could, beckoning Clyte to follow.

We must hurry back, now.” Incalzando said as he approached the door.

I, for one,” Echo said in Michael's ear, “will be happy to be gone from this place.

I think that's true for all of us,” Michael whispered back.

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-Victoria-

Victoria could feel her skin heating up, quite literally as the summer princess stalked her way out the door after putting the responsibility on that Michael guy. With knowledge of Nirvana between all groups and knowing that even The Order with its expanse of resources couldn’t even keep someone over there was concerning. Once again the fairies brushed it off like it’s some kind of game to be played with. It just made her blood boil sometimes.

 

Much like before, Caine had stayed quiet for a few moments as the next couple of groups made their commitments. Their organization wasn’t a large one in comparison to some here. They had members across the world that mostly consisted of other demons who had gone rouge, been outcasted and some half bloods who chose the supernatural side as their place, much like the two there today.  He glanced behind him, sensing her own anger, not to mention the impressive heat she gave off in the relatively frigid room. His eyebrows furrowed with a mild annoyance that wasn’t uncommon to see on him “Calm down, Vee. You’re letting things get to you.” He whispered a bit harshly. Their rather young leader wasn’t known for sounding harsh very often.

 

“The stress of that spell must have gotten to him a bit” she thought inwardly, holding a breath in for a moment to extinguish the flame that resided in her heart, her personal issues with the Summer Fae would have to wait until later, the future of everything that went bump in the night was possibly on that floating prison so ironically called Nirvana. She noticed a change in the bodyguards still scattered around the room from those still in attendance. Most had started out nervous, shifting from foot to foot almost. Some retained the anxiety, but the majority looked almost...pleased. Pleased with the chance to prove themselves or just get into the action.

She couldn’t quite read Caine’s face, he couldn’t seriously be considering throwing the TrA into this madhouse could he?

 

Just maybe this coalition could work. Maybe.

She just wasn’t going to put money on it so soon.

 

--Caine--

Turning back towards the ginormous table, satisfied enough with Vee’s response before going back to his pondering. The TrA had lots to lose from exposure, many had left the world they came from to seek anonymity, not to be detained by a different oppression, especially one from sheer ignorance and fear. Some would rather hide out than fight it out. Bet even he agreed, usually the diplomat in situations, that this was no time for talking. This was time for action, even if something about it seemed off. Shady even.


My organization would like to commit to this endeavour as well. I myself am willing to volunteer for this engagement” He confirmed to the remaining groups, adding “My apprentice Victoria will be accompanying me, when the time comes.” He could hear Vee make an almost inaudible gasp behind him as he stood to break the spell that bound them to the truth. “Queen Rusalka, please keep us updated, as I’m sure you will.” He nodded in her direction and moved to take his leave, his two cohorts close behind. Even as one bore her eyes into the back of his head of frizzy ink black hair.

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(On behalf of AnimeFreak)

 

-----Erevis-----

 

A man such as Erevis wasn't intimidated by much; ninety percent of the time he was the strongest thing within a one thousand mile radius. A man such as Erevis didn't let anything get the better of him; he had a network of things to keep that from happening. A man such as Erevis didn't worry or let it show; he'd lived to long for that, learned to many lessons. However, when it was just him and the winter Queen in the room, he suddenly felt all of them at once.

 

The others had been dispersed to their respective locations from wence they came, Erevis had even sent Ryuzaki and Ryuk away--telling them to wait at his safe house they previously discussed as their point of withdrawal. The Queen was professional enough not to intimidate him in front his pions, at least.

 

“Remember what we discussed,” she told Ervis, her very presence emitting a pressure so strong it imperativea physical weight was bearing down on his chest--if he was a living being he drew breath, he doubted he'd be able to--“it is imperative that it procedes exactly so.”

 

Erevis, to his credit, did not let even a hint of distress show, despite how badly his instincts were telling him to flee, escape, fight, run, “Yes, Risulka of course. If you could please hand me the summary of intelligence that my spies provided you on the island.”

 

Risulka smiled. The Queen of the Winter Court might as well be called the Queen of Deception. No one had specifically asked her if she knew anything about the island, if she had spies there. For the last four months, during the planning phase of this operation, she had been meticulously gathering data from spies who, with Erevis’ permission, she had possessed and controlled. They were dead to Erevis, full members of the Winter Court now, thus not his spies. Erevis was indeed proud of himself, he misconceived the others so well and so quickly that for a second even he believed he was telling the whole truth.

 

“Could you please, however, provide me with the intelligence reports that, for obvious reasons, you neglected to show me.” Erevis said, careful with his words, he wasn't an asset to Risulka, not yet anyway, so he doubted she would even hesitate to kill him if the slightest disrespect was uttered from his lips, even the stutter of him telling her something, not asking as was proper, “As you can relate, I'm sure, I dislike being the one in the dark.”

 

“Of course,” she responded, reaching down below her seat she pulled out a suitcase. With a wave of her hand it opened and she produced a thick portfolio--filled to the brim with pictures and loose pieces of paper neatly organized, “I trust you'll find everything in order, Erevis. You must be leaving now as I have other things to entertain.”

 

Erevis’ was intently looking over the reports, eyes brimming with excitement, a creepy ear to ear smile across his face. “Oh my,” he spoke to the Queen, she was sitting with her fingers tee-peed in front of her, a look of consternation on her face, “this is much better than I thought or could have imagined. Where is the--”

 

It was subtle, the Queens eyes narrowed and Ervis suddenly found himself frozen to the chair, something about this ice though, it drained him, as if the warmth of his body--somethinf that as a vampire he didn't even have--was being sucked from him. Suddenly he didn't feel Supernatural anymore, he felt like a weak and vulnerable old man.

 

“I told you to leave.” The Queens words were absolute, deadly, terrifying. “Don't you EVER”--her voice boomed harsh and shrill, the force of it breaking the ice holding him to the chair and sending him tumbling across the room, he knew better than to get up, best she think she bested him--”make me repeat myself.”

 

-----Ryuk-----

 

The planning stage was always the easiest for Ryuk, his brain worked several times faster than most so multitasking and the like were simple. In about thirty six hours he had a pretty elaborate plan layed out--many different cogs turning so as to make the machine move.

 

He was done with that now, it was all on paper and being routed up to Erevis himself for final approval; he didn't think hed need it, after about 7 years in his current position Erevis let him for the most part do as he wanted. While he waited, he kicked his feet up on his desk and lit a cigarette. He had a purplosh red glass of ancient wine next to him. He didn't so much inhale the cigarette as he just let the smell linger; something about it soothed him. The wine, though, he drank.

 

His office was small, but he liked it that way--totally off the radar. Each numbered member of the order had their own personal safe house, one that not even Erevis knew about, or so he said; Ryuk knew that that wasn't the truth, Erevis would never let a number completely out of his site. Ryuk considered his special, though. Most numbers had, he assumed, an elaborate mansion or an entire condominium obtained in secrecy. He had a simple two bedroom apartment--bought deep in the south side of Chicago.

 

It wasn't extravagant by any means. It had a modest kitchen, a small living room that barely fit his couch, a love seat, and circular oak coffee table comfortably. One bedroom he used as his office, he had an archaic desk and at least eight different four foot tall filing cabinets attached along the walls. Papers were meticulously organized and stacked on the desk, over thirty pens placed in cups. A hardwired, office-style phone was sitting on the desk as well. It was in this room where Ryuk currently relaxed; awaiting the encrypted phone call with the word to begin preparations.

 

After several hours of Ryuk waiting, the phone rang. Erevis was on the other end, “I'll get word to Risulka to contact the others involved.” A few seconds went by where no one said anything, Ryuk did not like talking to Erevis, “Do be safe, Ryuk, and take care of Ryuzaki. He's very special, you know.” The phone clicked and Erevis was done. Ryuk flipped off the lights and walked out. Erevis’ smug, always in control, voice like a constant reminder to Ryuk, One day Erevis, I'll watch you die. Even if it costs me everything, I'll rip you limb from limb, stare into your eyes until you die.

 

-----Ryuzaki-----

 

Kansas was a pretty miserable state, as far the US was concerned. The land was cheap, though, and that was the primary reason why The Order purchased one hundred square acres of land, completely off the books. The land was flat, too, which was perfect for their fleet of legitimately illegitimate jet air craft. This land was mostly used for launching and landing aircraft discreetly, but on occasion other things went on here, sometimes Erevis rented it out to cult groups who need to perform mass sacrifices involving runes the size of several footballs fields.

 

Ryuzaki was their, a statue in the late night, dressed to impress, a black three piece tailored suit with a purple tie tailorer to his large frame, meticulously shined dress shoes, a diamond tipped cane. His silver hair was pulled back in a slick pony tail. If the normal humans vision was 480p, then Ryuzaki’s vision was 4k resolution. He missed nothing, no detail was to minor, no movement to subtle. He had the eyes of a hunter, body of a man, and strength of a monster. Ryuk had given him a simple enough task, keep watch above ground while he waited for the others to join him in the underground bunker.

 

Ezaralda was already down there, question Ryuk again and again about his plan, ensuring he had every contingency planned for--which, Ryuzaki knew, Ryuk had. The man was a master planner. In a battle of strength, Ryuks body would be in tatters before he was able to remove his stereotypical-mysterious-anti-hero black cloak.

 

Ryuk had stationed Ryuzaki on top of the primary of transport for this evolution; a massive cargo jet, painted to identically match Fed Ex corporate planes of the same make and model. As far as anyone registering the planes IFF signature would know, as well, this is a legitimately owned and operating member of Fed Ex’s corporately owned jets. Ryuzaki was falling asleep, nothing would get past him--nothing ever did. He watched one by one as the chess pieces were organized on the chess board--all promised participants of this endeavor showing up.

 

-----Ezralda-----

 

One thing Ezralda loved about this man, Ryuk she remembered, is that he was just as prepared as she was. Ezralda had been planning for hundreds of years now, down to specific dates and times, just how exactly she would changed the fair and the mundane world. She had a plan, a counter plan, a contingency plan, a fake plan to create disinformation, a fake plan for the fake plan, and then a contingency fake plan. As they sat in he dimly lit, expansive and empty underground bunker, she drilled Ryuk on his plan; again and again and he never skipped a beat, questioned everything.  She could tell, though, that this was one man she wanted--needed--on her side. She hated admitting things like this her natural fairy pride got in the way, but Ryuk was just smarter than her.

 

Ezralda looker like she was about to go hiking, currently. She had on a tight shirt that hugged her as if another layer of skin; dark midnight blue in color. She was wearing a pair of pants that were hugged her legs and shins equally as tight as her shirt--these though were black in color. Over it all she wore a heavy winter parka, lined with the white fur of some majestic, arctic, beast--perhaps a wolf, fox or hare. Her curly blue hair was tied back in a loose pony tail and angled in a diagonal from the top of her forehead to just above her her inhuman, feline right eye seemed dull in comparison to her strange right eye--the whole thing black as night, with a feline slit that shined a bright blue in the dimly lit underground shelter. Her soft skin was a porcelain white, perfect and flawless, as if she'd never had so much as a scratch before--a stark contrast to her dark blue hair. Her cheekbones were soft and transitioned into a equally soft angel for her nose. The final touch to her ensemble was a pair of winter boots. It was strange, outside it was nearly seventy degrees Fahrenheit, but yet every time she exhaled her breath showed, as if it were below freezing I'm the room.

 

Despite Ezraldad interrogation, Ryuk didn't seem the least bit perturbed. “Ezralda, I need to make this pointedly clear,” be said, arms folded and leaving against a concrete wall, “the most important part of this plan is that we do things quietly. I would highly doubt they have a detection system running the entirety of each island, however I'm sure they have cameras somewhere. I don't remember the last time I made a plan with a variable as large as that attached to it.”

 

"That makes sense,” her voice gentile and distant, cold even “however the collective ability here is such that I'm not worried about much. We have our rendezvous point established.” She checked off a mental list on her fingers, “we have a well planned timeline of events that could transpire, and in the absolute worst case scenario we will fight our way back together and then leave as a group.” She got to the last finger she had raised and said, “And the island is also in a deep winter right now, so that is nothing but advantageous as we will be in my home element.”

 

Footsteps echoed down the concrete steps, the vibrations bouncing around the massive empty bunker. “Well,” Ryuk said standing up straight, “it appears our team is arriving.”

 

-----Gregory-----

 

“You can’t be serious, Logan!” Gregory was irate, furious over the order given to him to help The Order! “Are you mad?!” He was breathing heavy, growing in-between, and face blood red, “I can't even--”

 

Gregory was knocked back, a flattened nose and blood running down his chin. He wasnt dazed though, he stayed down. Knowing his place in the pack. He was out of line, and he knew that, but dammit Logan wasn't thinking straight. Logan barked, “I don't remember asking you, Beta!” Logan was fierce now, his age, wisdom, and strength bleeding into his raspy blue collar voice, “Are you challenging me, boy? Do you wish to be Alpha?”

 

The small cabin they were in got instantly quiet, Trisha glaring daggers at Logan--silently agreeing with Gregory. “Calm down, Logan--”

 

Logan barked back at her, fierce, “Trisha! Damn it” he was beyond himself, clearly torn. This was not a decision he wanted to make, Gregory could tell, “I can't be calm when our people our on the edge of civil war. We need to be united, respected, and strong.” He lowered his voice, “And if that means playing a little political correctness and trying to help people who don't deserve it, then that's something I think we should do.”

 

“They can't be--” Gregory started but stopped, he had pushed Logan enough. This was not a battle he would win. “Yes, Logan, I understand now. I apologize.”

 

Logan turned and left, obviously frustrated. As he walked out into the neutral North Dakota air he said, “I know this is hard, and a lot, but I asked for you a reason and only because I cannot do it myself. You know as well as I do if I leave things will crumble.”

 

Trisha helped Gregory up, “Go and say goodbye to your wife, Greg.” The rough and strong women very rarely showed affection, “Do not worry for she is in good hands, we are heading back to Alaska tonight. There will be nowhere safer for her than there.”

 

“Alright.” Gregory snorted and spat out blood, his nose had already healed itself.

 

Gregory did not want to do this. He could smell the vampire standing watching, eyeing him as we walked towards the bunker. Come over here and I'll rip your fucking throat out, dick sucker. He kept those thoughts to himself, instead just silently walking forward, the heavy pounding of his boots banging on the carved concrete steps, echoing through the bunker.

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- Sophia Nurnhurst -

The doorway Raphael led them through led them back to his hometown but he didn’t stop to look at anything. As they headed back to the stairs that would lead them back up to the overlooking plateau and the only exit, Sophia couldn’t help but look around and absorb everything she could about the place; she got the feeling she wouldn’t be coming back here for quite some time, if at all. She took in the buildings constructed straight from the stone of the walls and floor, the large open square that housed the fountain, and then stared when her gaze landed on what appeared to be a door constructed out of green emerald. Sophia turned her head back to Raphael and found her leader looking at her from behind his silver mask. He didn’t say anything and Sophia couldn’t help but let out a giggle before he looked away. Kai looked at her with a confused expression but she ignored it as they finally exited the underground city.

 

With the entrance sealed and hidden behind them, they continued down the grassy slope, stepping around the skinny trees and boulders that sat happily in the hard-packed earth.  Sophia started skipping enthusiastically when a voice sounded from her right, about 30 minutes away.

 

“Soooophiiiia!” the voice was high pitched and young sounding, like that of a little girl. Sure enough, a second later, such a little girl stepped out from a tree and looked in their direction. “Sophia!” she called out in excitement and started running forwards.

 

Sophia tipped her head to the side, examining her as the girl approached but before she was close enough to speak, Kai appeared in front of her and laid a hand on her shoulder.

 

The girl looked to be about 8 years old; she had pink hair a shade darker than Sophia’s own and matching eyes. Her hair had been styled into 4 pigtails, two at the front, two at the back. A white mask made of plastic was fastened to her face by a thin string that was tied at the back of head. She was wearing a knee-length dress of pale yellow with a brown butterfly design on her chest, and red wellies.

 

Raphael stopped but said nothing but as Kai opened his mouth to speak, Sophia appeared at his side, gripping the hand that touched the girl. The normally placid expression on her mask had cracked and changed, becoming an angry expression instead. Sophia’s body seemed to ripple and Kai found himself flying through the air before he crashed through one tree and came to a stop when he hit a second. Before he had even touched the floor, Sophia’s mask had returned to normal and the rippling had stopped. She looked at Kai with a thunderous expression and then spun around and dropped to one knee in front of the girl.

 

“Sisi, what are you doing here?” She asked, adjusted the bands that held Sisi’s pigtails in place. “and what did I tell you about using my name outside of the house?”

 

Sisi smiled and pointed at Raphael who stood behind her. “I followed him.” Then the smile disappeared and she looked at the floor. “I’m sorry, I do remember what you told me though.” Her voice was apologetic and Sophia smiled beneath her own mask.

 

“And where did you get this?” she moved to remove Sisi’s plastic mask by the small girl grabbed it and hopped away enthusiastically. “Come now, Sisi.”

 

Sisi bounced around and then came to a stop when she bumped into Kai who had walked up behind her. Sophia snarled. “Touch her again, oaf, and I’ll tear your arms off and make you drink what escapes; although you might like that.” She stuck her tongue out and gestured to Sisi who ran back across to her, wrapping her arms around Sophia’s leg.

 

Kai frowned and crossed his arms in front of his barrel chest. “Two questions: who is this girl? And how did she find us? I find it hard to believe she simply followed the boss here.”

 

“What, don’t you see the family resemblance?” Sophia asked and dropped to one knee again to rest her head against Sisi’s, before laughing and standing up again. “She also told the truth about how she got here.”

 

Kai looked over her shoulder at Raphael, hoping for him to say something, but the masked man simply nodded and then started walking again. “Take her home, Celia, and remain there. Wait for your call from Risulka and send me a missive when you are summoned.” he paused and looked over his sholder. "When you get home, you will find a letter sealed by myself, it is for your eyes only. Ensure you do not fail me in this endeavour.

 

Sophia gave a mock salute to him and then stuck her tongue out at Kai as he frowned at the girls again before quickly catching up with Raphael. “Come on, Sisi.” Sophia said and held out an open hand. “Let’s get home, shall we?” Sisi giggled, and then grabbed Sophia’s hand and started dragging her forwards.

 

Some Hours Later, Germany...

With Sisi bouncing around her like some demented puppy, Sophia approached the large metal gates and a brisk pace. Without even slowing,the gates swung inwards and the Nurnhurst pair entered the mansion grounds.; without a noise, the gates closed behind them. It took them 5 more minutes of brisk walking before they reached a large turning circle, with a dry fountain at its centre, and crossed it towards the wide staircase that led to a pair of large, ornate double doors.

 

When Sophia's foot touched the first step, the doors swung open and an older gentleman appeared, a look of mild conncern on his face. He stood tall with his back straight and his hands clasped behind his back tightly; he wore dress suit trousers, neatly pressed, under a crimson shirt that he had rolled the sleeves up in. He wore a pair of shined shoes on his feet and an expensive watch adorned his right side wrist. As Sophia approached, Sisi still circling around her excitedly, he ran a hand through his shaggy black hair.

 

"Ah, Lady Nurnhurst..." he said, bowing at Sophia, who jumped the final step to pat him on the head, which he apparently paid no mind to. "I had hoped the young lady had gone to you, since I could not find her." He dropped to one knee and held out his hand, palm up. Immediately, sisi ran over to him and wrapped her arms around him in a quick hug before she nimble climbed over his head and ended up in a piggy back position. The man smiled and stood up, ensuring he had hold of her legs to support her weight. "A letter awaits you in the foyer, Lady Nurnhurst; sealed by the moon's hand."

 

Sophia clapped her hands, impressed as always that Raphael had gotten the letter here before she had arrived, considering that she had taken the fastest route. "Thank you, Simon. Now, Sisi..." she said, directed her gaze at the girl who was bouncing her head back and forth as if listening to music. "...try to cause as much trouble for Simon as you can." A smile appeared on her lips as Simon sighed and the turned away, taking Sisi deeper into the house. Sophia skipped forward into the foyer, the double doors closing behind her on their own accord, and picked up the letter that Simon had left on a polished wooden table in the grand foyer. The red wax that sealed it bore a cresent moon symbol, indicating it was indeed from Raphael.

 

Several Weeks Later, The Order’s Secret Airfield…

Sophia stepped onto the large field that housed many aircraft of varying sizes and shapes; including a massive cargo jet stamped in Fed Ex colours. No-one came out to meet her, so she put her hands in the pockets her leather jacket and wandered nonchalantly onto the grass. Getting the feeling something was watching, she glanced around and finally her gaze landed on the cargo jet, which is when she noticed the man stood atop it in his three-piece suit. It took her a second, during which the two stared at each other and Sophia smiled, she recognised him as one of Erevis’ bodyguards; the stoic faced one.

 

She raised a hand a wiggled her fingers in a wave before using the same hand to point to what appeared to be a door that led underground. The suited man didn’t react immediately but when Sophia blew a raspberry in his direction, he narrowed his eyes and inclined his head a smidgen towards the door. Sophia gave an exaggerated bow, spinning her arm multiple times and going low enough her face nearly touched the floor. When she straightened her back, the man’s face had not changed and she couldn’t help but giggle before making her way towards the door.

 

It opened without trouble and led her directly to a set of concrete steps that led into the ground. Sophia shut the door behind her and then took the steps two at a time, turning one corner and leaping down the next set of steps, hitting the floor with a roll and coming up with her hands held wide. The three people already in the large room were looking in her direction, one of them looking ready to tear someone’s throat out. Sophia stood up and waved.

 

“Hi guys, and your majesty…” She used the same tone of voice that Raphael had used when adressing Risulka; except her target was the Winter Princess Ezralda. Sophia recognised the other man who had stood beside Erevis and the other she was pretty sure was a werewolf. “…isn’t this just the best?”

 

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==Echo Pienna==

Echo paced the hall outside of Incalzando's throne room. Her footsteps clicked along the floor, echoing out on either side. She tried to push everythign out of her mind, but the thought of being summoned by the Summer Court again made her anxious. The thought of Lord Ottava without her to guard him.

"General Pienna, please come in here." His orchestral tones flowed from the open door.

She spun in place and walked directly into the door. She hurried her way down the long room and got down on one knee in front of Incalzando's throne. "Yes, Lord Ottava, what is it?" She used her voice without moving her mouth.

"There has come an invitation for you." Incalzando siad, and Echo raised her head. He waved his hand, and a small envelope floated along the vibrations in the air, invisable to the naked eye.

Echo stretched out her hand and grabbed the heavy parchment envilope out of the air. "Is this the summons?" She inquired, removing the seal from the envilope.

"That's what I assume," Incalzando said. "But I have not read it myself, so I do not know."

Echo's eyes scanned the entire page quickly, taking in what she needed to know. It was indeed the instructions from the Winter Court, and the location of where they would meet up. "I understand Lord Ottava, but..."

"Yes, General?" Incalzando said, motioning to her. "Please, speak freely."

"Lord, do you think it's wise that you send me out like this?" she said. "I am the leader of the Royal Guard, without me-"

"Worry not, General Pienna." Incalzando interupted, "we have your two second-in-comand left to guard me. Harmony Ritmico and Sherzo Velcissimo are both incredibly capable guards, do not worry about me, Echo."

Using just her first name was a surprise for Echo to hear in such a formal situation, but it was a sign of trust, coming from the leader of the Arpeggio. She bowed her head one last time. "Of course, Lord Ottava."

He grinned at her, a playful-yet-knowing smile, as she left.

==Michael==

Michael crossed the plains of Kansas. It was flat. Boring and flat. He wore all the same brightly colored clothes as he did during the meeting the pevious week. The only change was that now on his left hip, was a small oval shaped satchel, attached to a long tether over his right shoulder. It was covered in a faded beige colored fabric.

He crossed the long flat land, closer to the large shape on the horizon. As he got closer it assumed its shape as a large aircraft. It was decked out from front to back with the purple and orange of FedEx colors.

This was detailed in his summons, one of the Order's larger operations.

As he got closer, he noticed a figure, decked out in an expensive suit stood one of the body guards from the Order that Michael remembered from the negotiations.

"Am I in the right place?" Michael shouted to him. He gave little in way of response, so Michael figured he was probably in the right place, conidering an Order member like that wouldn't have even let him that close if he wasn't.

"Not so fast, Summer Boy." he heard a voice behind him. He spun around, and Echo was on her way over. She wore her traditional Arpeggio battle gear, and jogged to catch up to him. Her footsteps were silent, muted by her powers.

"Shall we?" She said, motioning to he metal door.

They both made their way downstairs, right behind a girl with pink hair, and a strange mask. She turned around as they made it to the bottom of the steps. There was already a small group assembled. Michael's stomach sank, he was way out of his element.

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Caine sat in his office, watching the light stream in through the vaulted, stained glass window that sat directly behind his chair. It turned everything in the moderate sized room a lovely hue of blues, greens and reds even as sunlight waned in the evening sky. The room was formerly the pastor’s office, although now it functioned quite well as the control center for his organization of outcasts. Sitting forgotten in a valley, overhung by hundred year old trees and hills that rolled into the horizon, was a white walled church that had formerly served a rural town since moved away from religion and industry alike.

The position was perfect for the Autumn, out of the way without being at a disadvantage, and afforded them a particular luxury that they appreciated greatly. Demons were not a peaceful people, violence and cruelty came easy to them and quickly, like black flames that consume the heart and reason. The church, having formerly been a grand place of camaraderie and celebration, combated that with the flowing ease of the river that passed not even a mile away. Unlike folklore suggested, demons could enter hallowed ground, under the condition that no violence took place. Offenders were often rudely rejected by the spirit of the building itself, sometimes quite comically so.

He heard the door of the office creak open, Victoria slapped the thick, yet beautifully adorned envelope down in front of him, tiny lines of silver showing against the dark, royal blue of the  paper. As if frost had formed from the paper underneath. Caine thanked her for it and read it thoroughly, glancing back up at her after a moment and a tiny smile.

“ Please alert the others that we’ll be leaving soon..”

She huffed and didn’t answer him, closing the heavy wooden door a bit too harshly.

---

They passed through the flatlands of Kansas without much conversation. Caine tried to lighten the mood occasionally, keeping some light hearted banter between the two of them usually helped but Vee didn’t seem very interested.

The walk wasn’t long before the hulking shape of The Order’s outpost became visible, a cargo plane by the looks of it. it matched the description in the summons they had received some weeks before. It’s bright orange and purple stickers standing out against the bland background of blacks, greys and green foliage.  

Perched on top of it, as if he was one of the gargoyles from a church was one of the Order’s two liaisons, his face as cold and unmoving as sculpture.

Vee saw the edge of Michael's yellow shirt disappear behind the metal door to their left and grabbed Caine’s coat sleeve to nudge him that way, he had been momentarily lost in thought. He chuckled a tiny bit and led the way through the green, untouched grass next to the runway. He could hear her heartbeat pound in her chest and hoped being the first one down the tunnel would help steady her resolve. The room beyond the passage was occupied by what seemed to be just about everyone. Michael and the Arpeggio general had just found a place to stand when Vee and himself became visible.

“Quite a crowd we have so far...” he murmured, taking in each of the other delegates.

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“Here’s how this is going to go down. For the the next few weeks we will resume your training phase, it has been long enough since you improved on Elise.” Fallar stated as they entered back to the alley in which they entered the Queen’s meeting through. It had gotten dark and the last of the people on the streets had disappeared into the warmth of their own homes. Lynn took note of Fallar’s emphasis on the word improve, making it sound to him that he hadn’t been practicing at all, which he had. For several months now.

”That’s right brother, you have yet to teach me the most important skill. I want blue eyes.”

 

“You’re right sis, time to get you up and going if we are going to join any one of those freaks anywhere.”

 

-----

 

Elise was almost gliding through the fields, almost out of Lynn’s area of sight. Lynn was not surprised though, the two of them had never been anywhere outside of the city and for them to be half-way across the world in a field of nothing made Lynn feel like he could just run and hug the ground. They had been walking for hours before finally finding the spot Fallar had pointed out on the map he had given them.

 

”I found him brother! The boring looking one! Up there, look!” He heard Elise shout out, her voice high pitched and excited.

 

Lynn raised his gaze from the map and there it was, a cargo jet of FedEx. On top of which he noticed was one of the bodyguards that had been present a few weeks back at the meeting. He did not look pleased at all, in fact Lynn could not determine any facial expression on him. Elise was already making her way towards the door behind the jet, Lynn forgetting that she was not in her physical state anymore. He could feel the man in the three piece suit watching him and it was making him feel very aware of how slow his walk was. Elise did not seem to mind him one bit, her dance-like walk resuming its natural pace as she reached the door before Lynn did. He turned his gaze once more towards the man on top of the jet, but his gaze had already left Lynn, back towards the field in which they had arrived from.

 

“Jesus, do these people ever have a good time, you reckon?” He thought to himself, Elise giggling as she began to walk down the stairs.

 

”Is she here, is she here?” Elise’s voice was echoing in Lynn’s head as they both scouted the room. Most of them had appeared to have found their way here before them, not surprising as their journey had needed quite a few rest stops. He looked around for the blue-haired girl who had jumped on the table and soon enough he found her, Elise making her presence known and bowing down to her once more, out of curiosity and liking, Lynn presumed.


“Greetings.” She said, her voice able to be heard by everyone for the first time in years.

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-----Ryuzaki-----

Ryuzaki smirked, to think that anybody thought they could sneak past him. He could hear their footsteps and the static whispers of their radios in their ears. There were eight, he counted, and they were moving forward quickly with trained military precision. They continued forward in two, staggered, lines; the two people in front with their rifles drawn and to their chests, the others behind them, weapons tucked in close ready to spring forward should anything happen. OSSUM, he knew, It’s about damn time, I was getting rather bored up here. He lunged.

The massive cargo jet shook from the force of his lunge, he landed in front of the squad of men, they didn’t waist any time in opening fire on him. Ryuzaki’s diamond tip cane lashed out, protecting his body from all the bullets that would have hit him; he ran forward. The others began to fan out and pull up their weapons, trying to track the vampire. Ryuzaki closed the distance between him and the first two of the men, he swung his cane and bludgeoned the man in the skull--focing a concussion so powerful that it killed him on impact. As soon as his cane made contact with the first, he readjusted his grip and went to do the same thing to the second man. This man, though, was expecting that and ducked down--Ryuzaki’s blow wasn’t lethal when it made contact because of this. It still knocked him off balance when it grazed his helmet, however. When the man fell on his back he rolled over, trying to get away. Ryuzaki was on top of him, his cane through his chest, pinning him to the dirt.

The rest of the squad had reformed now and Ryuzaki smiled,  “You all aren’t the normal lot they send at me, that’s for sure. Much faster.”

“I’m getting hands on,” one of the men called out and ran forward at Ryuzaki, another man went behind him, and the remaining four tracked Ryuzaki wearily with their rifles.

“That is not going to work in your best interest.” Ryuzaki mused, They must have been ordered to take us alive.

The two men didn’t last long against Ryuzaki, the first he dashed forward and speared, hardly any resistance from him. Must have been a fluke, those first two. The second man produced a knife and Ryuzaki caught him by the wrist with one hand and the forearm with another. In a quick second he snapped the man’s arm at the bone and twisted his hand in a manner that it was not designed to be twisted, jamming the knife into his own throat.

The other four men that had Ryuzaki in a semicircle didn’t go hands on, as the other two had foolishly decided to and opened fire. Ryuzaki had no means to block these bullets, so instead he lunged before any of them could get the chance to fire, becoming a blurred afterimage. His right hand speared through a mans sternum, then he spun on his heel and with his left elbow he drove the point of it into a man’s face, caving it in with his inhuman strength. He kept spinning, not letting his momentum waver, and wretched his right hand out of the man’s chest. He lunged now, the other man was a several yards away, and delivered a punch to his throat that crushed his windpipe--leaving him dying and gasping for breath. The final man was running towards the jet, a bomb in hand armed and ticking.

Hmm, Ryuzaki mused, he must have realized his impending doom and decided to at least accomplish his mention. Foolish.

Ryuzaki was behind him in but a few long and fast steps, his hands around his neck. With hardly any effort at all, he pulled upwards and decapitated the man. Blood spilled all of his well shined shoes.

-----Ryuk-----

“Well now that we’re all here,” Ryuk said, getting their attention, “I suppose I’ll give you guys a quick run down.” He nodded to Ezralda, she was indeed the most powerful person in the room, and as such Ryuk didn’t want to step on her toes. She probably assumed that she was responsible for all of them, or something. When she didn’t say anything, he continued, “The plan is really simple and I was given some really really vague instructions on what to do.” He was not confident in this plan at all and, more than likely, it was shown in his words. Not that he cared, really, these people were stuck doing this whether they wanted to or not. “In the plane you have a waterproof bag next to you box--don’t worry i’ll explain boxes in a minute--and in there you’ll find a map and a small tracking device.” He thought for a moment before continuing, “It’s extremely basic, it will just shine one of its four lights in the direction of what it’s tracking, which is a beacon that Ezralda will secure on the largest island once she gets there and sets up.” Ryuk gestured to her and she nodded, noting that she understood the importance of her duty.

“I don’t know what you’re looking for, just like scout around and take notes of what you see.” Ryuk said, laughing, “As for how we are getting there, obviously it’s that jet. When we get close we are going to be shot down, however we will all be inside our magic boxes and, as we plummet to earth, we will be guided by the gentle winds of the fairy princess Ezralda.” He smiled at her and she smiled back, fortunately, Ryuk had noticed from his altercations with Ezralda thus far, she was nothing like her mother. “I’ve already calculated everything from the trajectory of your fall to the tides and the ocean currents, so as long as we push you out of the plane at the right time you should float onto the shore of your designated island. And if not you have a pretty detailed set of maps that I’m sure you are in no way qualified enough to read. At the very least you’ll be in site of the island and can at least swim to it. And I say boxes, but they are actually crates. I’ve had a team of some of our best sorcerers and witches cast different types of spells on them to increase luck, make them water resistance, and almost anything else.”   He stopped for a moment and thought of good closing words to wrap things up with, “The important thing is that you don’t get caught or seen. I may be from The Order” He wanted to say this before Ryuzaki got down there, the man was to close to Erevis for him to trust entirely, “But i’m not like them. I’m going to at least try and help you if you get fucked.”

Some of them look disconcerted, Ryuk could tell, and when Ryuzaki walked into the room it didn’t help much. Ryuk had heard the gunshots earlier, but didn’t think much of them. He was expecting OSSUM to show their face at some time. Ryuzaki’s footsteps left footprints of smeared blood across the floor. “Ryuzaki,” Ryuk said as he walked to him, “I really think you need to take my advice on this, but ripping off heads is too messy. Just snap necks instead.”

Ryuzaki nodded in agreement, “Most likely there will be backup soon. I didn’t kill them in time and they most likely reported their eminent failure.”

“Well,” Ryuk said, “That means we have to escalate things forward faster, we leave now.” Ryuk gestured for the group to follow him and they did so, boarding the large jet.

 

-----Ezralda-----

Ezralda was sitting next to Ryuk in the co-pilot seat of the large jet as he fired up the engine and flipped many different switches. He placed headset over his ears and adjusted the mouthpiece. She said to him, “You know how to fly a jet airplane?”

Ryuk nodded his head, “Yes I read a few book on it last week and I think I have the jist of it.”

She found herself lurched backwards suddenly as the plane rocketed forward at an impressive rate. Planes such as this were not designed to be launched from a dirt runway, so the ride was by no means smooth. Several times Ezralda though the jet would fall apart before take off. Ryuk came over the intercom system, “Ladies and gentlemen we have seven hours until our arrival.” He clicked it off with a notable pop.

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- Sophia Nurnhurst –

After her roll, of which none of the people in the room appreciated it seemed, Sophia turned around to see the two sound-related representatives standing behind her. They looked mildly shocked so she took a bow and then skipped across to the far side of the room, leaning against the wall. She pulled an elastic band from her pocket and started stretching it around her fingers, creating patterns with it. When the horned one came in, accompanied by his female partner, Sophia smiled. She then completely ignored the medallion wearing man when he entered last.

 

She noticed the fact that the girl with him spoke, she hadn’t heard her say a word before, but otherwise dismissed it. Now, as Erevis’ lackey began laying out the groundwork for the plan, which she guessed wasn’t very solid by the lack of information he provided, Sophia barely registered what he was saying. She instead, kept her focus on the horned one with a small smile on her face.

 

When the second of Erevis’ lackeys walked in, the stoic one, covered in blood her smile widened further and then disappeared when she realised that something exciting had happened without her. Before she could sidle up to the man, the first lackey called upon them and led them back up the stairs and onto the jumbo jet marked in the Fed Ex colours.

 

Once on, the princess and her new best friend entered the cabin while the rest of them were left to stand in the main hold of the plane; along with all the crates that Sophia presumed were meant to be the ones they were going to be stored in. There were some cargo seats bolted to the side of the fuselage and the band of supernatural’s all took a seat, strapping in as the engines wound up ready for take-off. Sophia opted not to take a seat and nearly fell over when the plane suddenly accelerated, bouncing on the rough airfield floor before taking to the skies.

 

Sophia started laughing and then leaped up on top of one of the cargo crates. “Anyone want to be friendly with me then?” She said and all the others looked at her. “Come on, look at me with less of a vacant expression would you.” She laughed again and then waved. “I’m Celia, nice to meet you.” She spoke slowly and on the verge of sarcasm. “Now it’s your turn.”

===========================================================================

- Raphael Ginta -

The man he presumed to be the Nurnhurst household butler tried to stop him, but Raphael looked at him and he dropped to his knees. Raphael continued down the carpeted corridor until he came to a door that had a picture of a butterfly pinned to it, clearly the product of a child. He twisted the handle and entered into the room, surprised to find it was not childish in any way, except for the mass piles of cuddly toys the girl seemed to have fallen asleep on.

 

Ensuring he didn’t sit on his cloak, Raphael took a seat on the edge of the bed and then rested a hand on the girl’s shoulder. In a heartbeat, the girl and leapt up and out of bed, landing in a crouch next to, looking at Raphael with fear and anger.

 

“Fear not, girl, you recognise me, yes?” his eyes sparkled behind his silver mask and Sisi watched him carefully. “I was with your sister, a few weeks ago, you said you followed me.”

 

Sisi looked scared and then managed to stand up straight, straightening out the dress she had fallen asleep in. “Not you, the big man.” She said quietly, looking down at the floor.

 

“So you didn’t follow me?” Raphael said, frowning beneath his mask. “Ok, how did you follow Vincent?”

 

“Sophia showed him to me once, in a picture.” She moved across to her bedside table and picked up a crumpled photo of Sophia wrapped around Kai’s shoulders, laughing while Kai looked incredibly uncomfortable. “I know then, where he is.”

 

Raphael eyes showed confusion. “Interesting. Do you know where he is right now?”

 

Getting more comfortable with Raphael now she knew he wasn’t a threat, she reached under her bed and pulled out a large rolled map of the world. She moved across to an open end of the floor and rolled it out flat. Then she stared at it and for a second nothing happened. Suddenly, her eyes lit up with white energy and white dots of the same energy appeared on the map. They were of differing intensities and Sisi pointed at the brightest. “Here.”

 

Raphael bent over to look and saw she was pointing at a spot in America where he knew Kai kept a safe-house. “Fascinating. And your sister?”

 

Sisi shook her head. “Can’t.”

 

“Can’t?” Raphael questioned. “Why?”

 

“Her mask.” Sisi replied, reaching across the floor where her plastic one was sitting and pulling it on so it rested on top of her head. “Faces tell me.”

 

Raphael thought and then it clicked. “Ah, hence why you wouldn’t be able to follow me. You need to see someone’s face to track them. It works through photo’s, you’ve just shown me that, what about sketches, drawings?”

 

Sisi seemed to have trouble keeping up with what he had said but got there eventually. She shrugged her shoulders. “Don’t know.”

 

“Let’s try, shall we? Have you got some drawing tools?” Sisi jumped up and ran across to her cupboard, she pulled out a large sketch book and some coloured pencils, running them back to Raphael. He thanked her and lowered himself into a sitting position, resting the book on his lap. He selected the black pencil and within a minute or so, he had a near perfect representation of the stoic faced one who had been with Erevis. “Where is this man?”

 

Sisi took the picture and stared at it hard. As before nothing happened for a second and then her eyes lit up with the white energy. She turned her gaze to the map and the previous points disappeared and were replaced with new ones. There was easily a spot in each country, with some having more than one. The brightest spot was over the Atlantic Sea and Sisi pointed at it.

 

“Here.” She smiled and looked up at Raphael.

 

He stood up and ruffled her hair. “Good, would you care to come with me, Sisi? I can take you somewhere exciting.” Sisi nodded enthusiastically and then rushed to another door in the room which, when she opened it, led into a massive walk in wardrobe. A second later, she reappeared with a large suitcase in her hands. “My, my, it looks like you are all ready to go.”

 

“Sophia told me to have a pack of clothes ready to go at any time.” Sisi replied with her wide smile.


“Clever girl, your sister, just call her Celia while in my presence, if you don’t mind.” Sisi looked confused for a second and then nodded her head. “Thank you, come on then, let’s go.”

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Caine-

Sophia’s keen green eyes focused on him, unwavering behind that white mask that shielded her face, his senses prickling at the attention. He glanced at her from the corner of his eye as Ryuk detailed the plan. A wild yet creative plan it was, to float their way onto the islands to bypass the security was not the first idea some would have had. Something didn’t sit right with him though, the massive body of water around an isolated island with a group of supernaturals that trusted each other about as much as a rickety bridge at best. He acknowledged the masked one’s slightly creepy smile with his own, his sharp teeth showing at the corners as they left the room to depart.

Boarding the large FedEx plane outside Caine could feel the stinging, blackened energy left behind by Ryuzaki’s slaughterfest from earlier, the metallic smell of blood still thick in the air around them. The take off wasn’t graceful by any means and had Caine not sat down a moment before he may have gone flying much like the pink haired one did. Vee radiated heat at his left, still nervous with the situation and a bit peeved at him still. She never could let things go very easily and he supposed he understood why.

The masked one bounded her way onto the crate a few feet away, her voice the same sing-songy tone as it usually was and just as sarcastically genuine one could be without seeming entirely malicious. The side of his mouth twitched as he looked her back from her perch.

“Celia is a nice name I suppose” he voiced, sitting back in the flat seat and crossing his arms and ankles in front of him. “My name is Caine.” with a pause before the “nice to meet you too..”

----

Vee-

Once aboard the massive cargo jet her gaze settled on the key wearing man sitting across from her, the woman next to him had such an odd aura it was almost invigorating, eyes that just radiated energy and excitement, like she was waiting on something or anything to happen, she sort of lifted her spirits a bit, a tiny smile spreading across her face. The man next to her seemed very comfortable with her, "maybe siblings?" she thought to herself lightly.

She directed her attention to the interaction between Caine and the masked girl from earlier, it wasn't often Caine was unsettled by something but this seemed to be doing it.

 

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-----Ryuk-----

 

The seven hour flight gave Ryuk plenty of time to pick at Ezralda’s brain. He couldn’t help but be weirded out though--every fairy he’d met and worked with was cut from the same dough, with the same cookie cutter. They were dry, cunning, conniving, and apathetic. It was a rare occasion when he did work them, granted, but in his life he’d met thirteen, and those thirteen--all being from different seasons, were practically the same people. Ezralda was none of the above.

For one she was charismatic, which was the last thing he would have guessed a fairy could be, and two she hated her mother with a passion. Her powers, he imagined, would be different as well. Most likely, he guessed, she would end up using them on these islands. Ryuk hoped that it wasn’t going to be on them. She may surprise him, but that still didn’t make him trust her--not yet anyway.

He was cut off mid-thought, though, by the broadcast from the Island’s military, stating to change direction. Ryuk cut it off and then flipped through the notepad he had sitting on the control panel for the aircraft. What elevation was I supposed to descend to again? He made notes a few hours ago about the safest altitude for the boxes, but he couldn’t remember anymore. Oh well, everyone will be okay; probably.

He turned and rushed back through the jet, jostling everyone awake and alert. “Alright we need to start leaving now. He nudged at Sofia, “You have island A, and you need to get in their now.” Sofia--oddly excited about it--rushed over to the box without complaint and climbed in. The intercom clicked and Ezralda’s voice boomed throughout the cabin, “One incoming missile, forty miles out, less than three seconds before impact.”

“Well shit,” Ryuk said, “Change of plans, everybody get in their boxes.” Seriously? At forty miles out they start firing missiles? God damnit. He called louder, yelling to Ezralda, “Take it out of the sky, we’re to far out yet.”

She didn’t respond so much as just smile. She dashed from the cockpit, down the aisle, and to one of the small passenger windows. Her body, clothes and all, began to change color--forming into solid ice and then into turning into a liquid, no container besides Ezralda’s force of will keeping it from spilling in all directions. The form condensed and rushed into and through a window, spinning and swirling at a high rate, drilling through the glass and outside.

 

-----Ezralda-----

 

Ezralda’s body drilled through the glass as a liquid and came out the other end completely normal, same clothes and all as before. The moment she was outside, all of her instincts were screaming to run--there was something off about this whole area and it wasn’t until she stepped outside the aircraft that she could sense it. That, though, could wait. Right now she had a missile to deal with, and probably less than a second to do anything about said missile. She scanned back and forth quickly, trying to see it. She could hear the general direction, but she knew that since the missile was traveling faster than the sound it produced that that she couldn’t rely on that. With less than four miles to spare, she lunged from the plane. Her right arm at the forearm and down became ice, clear and light blue--condensation rising off that part of her arm. Her first caught the warhead of the missile dead center, smashing the metal. She realized then that punching a missile probably wasn’t her best idea.

The missile blast shot her backwards, into the plane, caving in the side of it and leaving large dent in the metal--fortunately she didn’t pierce it. Metal shrapnel had peppered the side of the plane, but otherwise it looked to be in good order--still flying as straight as the autopilot feature would take it. The plane began to accelerate and decrease altitude, Ryuk must have regained the controls. Her left hand and both feet liquefied and and then froze, holding her to the side of the plane. She thought for a moment about different ways she could make the plane disappear--something like concealing the plane in a cloud would be simple, but that still wouldn’t get them past the radars. She realised some years ago that radars were the most pesky things that mankind had ever invented--right after fire and iron.

In mid-thought, Ezralda’s senses went berserk again. There was something coming for them now, something that wasn’t a missile. She looked out, easily able to pick out these figures--six of them, flying in a “V”. They were the shape of a man. Shit, she assessed the situation, at the current rate of things she wouldn’t be able to do much. She couldn’t fly and these things could. It was also made expressly clear to her by Ryuk how important it was to remain covert as long as possibly, so putting her face out there this early was going to be devastating to the mission, surely.

She coalesced her form back into water, and reentered the plane the same way as before, she didn’t reform into her solid state again until she was inside the cockpit, reseated next to Ryuk. “Bad stuff to report,” She said to him, “I flock of I-don’t-know-what’s is flying towards us, they look human in shape and size.”

Ryuk nodded, “Alright, well it doesn’t so much matter now.” Ryuk stood up, Ezralda noticed then that everybody was inside their boxes, “At this point if we go down each box should float--literally--magically to its destination, so I’m going to get in mine, you let them blow us up.” He thought for a moment before asking, “You didn’t need a box or anything?  I assumed that as a fairy you would have something--”

“No,” She smiled, “I’ll be fine.” She grabbed the controls on her side, remembering what Ryuk had shown her moments ago. She began to accelerate and descend, building speed, trying to cover as much distance as she could. Ryuk was gone now, disappeared into his, “Box”. I wonder how far out we are, she glanced down at Ryuk's side of the cock pit, but couldn't make sense of his notes. She was really just trying to occupy her mind, I haven't felt those sensations since--

The plane exploded.
Fire didn’t so much bother Ezralda, not anymore. One of the things she did when she was training was fight against fire. Her teacher clearly explained to her that fire was the greatest weakness of ice, and as such you should be prepared at dealing with it. The lessons taught to her from it were invaluable--most Summer fae use fire as their primary methods of offense, and having constant, effective countermeasures for them has proven a priceless skill.

 

 

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- Sophia Nurnhurst –

“Island A, Island A” Sophia sung as she skipped across to the box Ryuk had indicated was hers. The lid had slid open at some point and she leaned over to look inside. It looked like the inside of a wooden crate; empty except for a bag which she assumed held the objects Ryuk had mentioned in his briefing on their infiltration. She rolled over the edge and into the box, sticking her head up and out to look at the others.

 

“I feel just like a madman in a box! Alonsé!” She leant back and the lid of the crate started to close magically, but she stopped it with her arm and sat up again, her mask changing its expression to that of happiness. “Oh, oh, actually: Geronimo! I much preferred him!” She sunk inside the box again and the lid closed completely.

 

With the lid sealed and the magical enhancements fully activating, Sophia squirmed to get comfy and closed her eyes, recalling the orders Raphael had left for her at her mansion. They were very specific and she’d need to make sure it all goes to plan as soon as her feet were firmly planted on her Island.

 

- Ryuzaki -

As he had asked, a spare suit had been left for him on the plane and Ryuzaki had changed into them, discarding his bloodied one. The suit was much like his last one, three pieced, but was closer to grey and he now sported brown shoes. His hair was still tied into a ponytail and he held his cane loosely in his right hand. He didn’t socialize with any of the other members of the party, instead keeping himself to himself near the tail-end of the aircraft, near the loading ramp.

 

When Ryuk came bustling in, changing plans because of an incoming missile, Ryuzaki calmly walked to his box and climbed in, letting the lid shut on itself. As per his instructions, his crate had been made bigger than necessary and he used it to his advantage while he waited for the plane to explode.

 

He undid his waistcoat, followed by his shirt, and stuffed his tie into the inside pocket of his jacket. He then pulled his hair tie free, letting his hair loose, and laid it down his chest. Quickly he pulled his jacket off, followed by his waistcoat, then his shirt and finally he laid his cane at the centre of the clothing pile. He rolled them up and fastened it with the string he had removed from his hair, tying it tight so that there was no way anything could accidently fall out. Then he tied the bundle to his belt and laid back, now bare chested.

 

He felt the explosion through the magical defences of his crate, his enhanced senses helped with that, and then his crate began to free fall; spinning end over end. He counted to three and then with a sudden kick, he dislodged the bottom of his crate and let physics fling him out of the box as it spun. His bag of goodies flew out as well but he paid them no mind as they disappeared into the darkness.

 

The night was cold, not that he noticed or cared, and he reached the apex of his flight quickly, gravity grabbing hold and dragging him downwards. The flames and debris of the plane surrounded him, along with the other crates that held the others, but he ignored them as he adjusted his body and looked down towards the islands below him. His goal was what had been labelled ‘Island C’ and he quickly locked onto it with his eyes of red.

 

Forcing his arms and legs straight, with his bundle flapping wildly behind him from his belt, he shot like an arrow in the direction he wanted. He moved much faster than the boxes, due to his lesser air resistance, and he counted down his height in his head as he fell. When he was clear of the explosion and debris, and the other crates, he opened his arms and legs, slowing his fall slightly, and started to transform.

 

He didn’t turn all the way, there was no need for that, so he focused his energy on his back, just below his shoulder blades. The skin around that area darkened into a leather-like substance and something started growing out of it, twisting and bending until a large pair of leathery wings opened wide to allow the wind to catch it. This meant Ryuzaki was no longer falling and instead had switched to flying.

 

Ryuzaki had noticed the strange flying men that flew in formation but ignored them as they headed to the debris of the plane, and instead silently glided down towards his island. He picked out an area of thick foliage and directed himself to land in it, nothing except the sound of the wind on leaves indicating anything had happened.

 

Now firmly on the ground, Ryuzaki hid his wings away again, taking a couple of seconds to force them back into his human form and untied his bundle from his belt. He quickly dressed, ensuring all was neat and tidy before tying his hair back up and moving through the trees silently. His senses didn’t pick anyone up in the near vicinity but he didn’t take any chances as he picked a direction and started walking; he was sure something would catch his attention soon enough.

 

- Sophia Nurnhurst -

The explosion was muted and Sophia couldn’t help but laugh as she felt her crate drop downwards with a sudden lurch. While the crate spun downwards, she could feel the inertia through the magic, she started tapping her stomach in random tunes. In what felt like an age later, her crate hit the water and Sophia felt herself sink and then bob back to surface. The crate corrected itself so that when it opened, Sophia wasn’t the wrong way up.

 

She sat up and looked around as bits of plane hit the water around her, the enchantments on her crate ensuring nothing hit her. The crate started moving towards Island A, her assignment, and Sophia started paddling with her hands; not that she needed to. It took her couple of minutes and then her crate touched the sand of a beach, allowing her to stand up with her bag and jump out of the box. Her mask had returned to its neutral state and it moved slightly towards anger as she booted the crate and it flew back out to sea, sinking quickly.

 

With that dealt with, she pulled Raphael’s letter from her pocket and gave it another quick read. To start with, she would follow the plan as per the alliance, but soon she would need to do her work.

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