Geneviève wasn't sure what sort of reaction she was expecting, but this certainly was the strangest one she had ever received.
As the streetlamps flickered back to life, a foreign phrase tripped from the man's tongue while he simultaneously tripped on the curb. Geneviève watched, entranced by his peculiar behaviour. She was also taking a moment to regain her composure; no matter how many times she had stepped in and out of the shadows, it always took her a few moments to resettle herself within her new form.
Geneviève felt a small, amused grin tickle her face as she felt the strange man's energy again. Fear was ever present, but there was something else. Something... formed in his mind. A plan, perhaps. Her nose crinkled as she focused on his thoughts; he was going to shift, but he was worried about time... he didn't think he could be quick enough. He was worried someone would catch him.
Shift? Catch him?
And then it hit her.
"You're a shapeshifter!" she gasped, finger pointed at him as he pulled off his shirt.
Having been focusing on his thoughts for the past several moments, Geneviève hadn't realized he was in the process of taking off all his clothes.
"Oh, my," she said. "Stripping for me already? But we've only just met." Shaking her head, she strode towards him. The sound of her black boots against the tarmac echoed through the hollow streets, and Geneviève became rather hypnotized by the sound; her footsteps had never sounded as powerful as they did at that moment. She almost giggled at the sound, but instead shook her mind clear and continued with, "Now, now, we won't have any of that just—"
Geneviève's head whipped to the side at the new voice. It was that mysterious presence she had felt earlier, and it belonged to man. No, not a man. Not quite.
Torn for a moment between the mess of a man on the ground and the power she sensed coming from the newcomer in waves, Geneviève made the most practical choice: both.
Grinning like a fool as she bent down and grabbed the man by his upper arm, Geneviève dragged him deeper into the street so she could take a closer look at the other being before her. She had noticed two other women in the street as well, but had no interest in them for the moment.
Hand still wrapped tightly around the man's arm, Geneviève stopped a few feet short of the being standing before her and appraised him. She should have felt tiny compared to him, given he was at least seven feet tall and she barely cleared five, but being the bold little tart that she was, Geneviève could only be amused by their height difference.
"And what do we have here?"10/7/2010 . Edited 10/7/2010 #91
"You're asking me? I was hoping you could tell me where we are!"
*She's a stranger here, too,* Bianca thought, her lips hanging loose as she tried to pull together some semblance of rational thought. The implications of this place were vast, it's tangibility questionable. She'd heard about dream-weavers and other related headfuckers, and she'd always had this cocky resolve that should it ever happen to her, she would just know, and be able to snap herself free in seconds.
Now, she couldn't think of any other explanation, but this place and moment being anything other than real just didn't quite comprehend. You can't feel subtle shifts in the air in your dreams, your shoes don't chafe, your heart doesn't pound...your face doesn't throb from where you crashed into solid brick.
She would have to use the ace up her sleeve - the seer-gaze.
As her left pupil dilated wide, a crash came from behind her, causing her to whirl around.
"Shre nocht hob'mil, mak'ru sh'ma trie jes q'ue! Nyt'a, Nyt'a!"
A being had leapt out from the shadows, a man - tall, lanky and blurred around the edges. The gaze was telling her there was more to be seen in him, but that's not what she wanted. She wanted to probe the streets, see if they crumpled and faded. A creature followed the man, and the gaze was locked in fascinated awe. It was a woman - possibly. The gaze had shredded away whatever base perception saw, underneath it was pure writhing, splendid -
A sharp lance of white hot pain bolted through Bianca's head, she clapped the heel of her hand over the socket as her eyes screwed tightly shut, willing the gaze to close.
"Stop," she hissed under her breath. She could feel it, pulsing at the back of her eye - sent into overload. She was going to burn herself out.
"Cyngh!" she said, louder, using the command Imp gave her to shut the gaze. It ebbed reluctantly, but still pulsed and twitched.
Taking deep breaths she slowly opened her right eye. The man was tearing his shirt off, and the creature, indeed, a woman, crouched over him with predatory grace.
Now, she looked normal, well, as normal as an epitome of maneater could look, but Bianca knew what she really was - or had a vague idea. All she could do was stare.
The ground thumped beneath her feet.
"HEY!" a booming voice cried, making her jump out of her skin.
Now here was trouble. Suddenly, Bianca found herself sincerely, deeply wishing she hadn't wasted her seer-gaze on testing the streets, and accidentally, the shifter woman. The man that had plummeted from the sky was far more ominous. By his sheer size, he screamed "glamoured-demon", and the choice of attire did little to help the matters.
As the sinuous woman wrenched the man with the foreign tongue up off the ground, and strode boldly to the giant, Bianca removed the heel of her hand from her eye socket, and peered out with trepidation. The fluttering protest of the gaze had quietened into nothing, but it's attempt at resistance had shaken her to the core. She had never been unable to control it before.
The woman was looking the giant man up and down, eyes large and shining in the washed out light.
"And what do we have here then?" she murmured.
To the left of them stood the young American girl. She was changing colour. As you do.
Bianca caught her eye, and fought the urge to beckon her over. In company such as this, she was easily the one Bianca was least unsettled by, and if she knew anything, it was that working with others was preferable to working alone. Unfortunately, she also knew that only fools judged by appearances.
She gave a deep sigh, cleared her throat, and announced in her loudest, clearest brat voice.
"Okay, anyone who has any idea about where this is, why I'm here and how you get out, raise your hand: Now!"
...if that didn't get everyone's attention, nothing would.10/7/2010 #92
The woman's magic felt like it was sinking into my skin, all shadows. I inhaled it like smoke, but it wasn't stiffeling or choking--she wasn't trying to kill me, yet. If anything, it was relaxing--seducing.
"Zauk, zauk, fuck! Let go of me!" I pulled my arm away from her and stood clumsily to my barefoot feet. I opened my mouth to continue slander, but closed it once I met brief eye contact with the man who was even taller than I was. He looked amused, and I immediately couldn't place him. What was this? Some monster from beyond Lugosi's shores? I sensed--guessed, the presence of Faal, perhaps he was a demon. Yes, somehow I was in a world of gods.
But that didn't account for the two young women-- "Okay, anyone who has any idea about where this is, why I'm here and how you get out, raise your hand: Now!"
Both the goddess-woman and god-man looked in the direction of the young woman who had shouted, and I used the opportunity to attempt moving away. The goddess-woman reached out and yanked me closer, shaking her head with a wild grin.
I pulled back out of the goddess-woman's grip, glaring, and started putting my shirt back on. "I think I must have died," I said, matter-of-factly, a strange apathy coming over me like it usually did in hopeless situations, "and Nyt'a must have punished me to this hell-place for my desertion." I looked around the street for a moment, peering into the absent darkness. "Funny, I always assumed there would be more vampires."10/7/2010 #93
Hailey caught the gaze of the blue fireball lady, noting that her left eye looked rather put out, like those dilation drops that the eye-doctor would give on occasion. She frowned at the thought. Those things were awful.
" ...raise your hand: Now!"
As the only part of the sentence she heard, Hailey threw up her hand. The wide eyes of the group all turned on her, and she stared at them in response.
"Uhm... should I not have raised my hand? I only heard um... the last bit of that sentence..."
They all scowled.
"I think I must have died," the man who said it struggled in the grip of some shadow lady who had only just appeared. He said a couple other things that Hailey didn't bother to pick out, except for his last remark. "Funny, I always assumed there would be more vampires."
"As long as they don't sparkle." Hailey snorted. "Well, if we're going to be here a while, can we get on a first name basis? I'm Hailey, from Michigan..."10/7/2010 #94
One of the women had asked a question, but it barely registered in Geneviève's mind. She was far too interested in the mysterious being in front of her, as well as making sure the Shifter didn't stray too far.
The other girl had said something, her hand raised in the air in some sort of salute, Geneviève supposed. She had offered a scowl in reward for her efforts, but upon feeling the Shifter's mood plateau, she couldn't help but glance over at him in worry; it was best not to familiarize oneself with apathy for too long.
"I think I must have died, and Nyt'a must have punished me to this hell-place for my desertion.... Funny, I always assumed there would be more vampires."
"Died?" Her magic bristled at the thought. "Surely the Neor would be here if we were dead." She shook her head and laughed, condescension merging with her magic and making the sound thick and heavy. "And what is this vam—vampi-vampires you speak of? The word is strange..." She paused, forehead creasing as she rolled the word over her tongue. "Vampires..." She blinked. "What is vampires?"
"Well, if we're going to be here a while, can we get on a first name basis? I'm Hailey, from Michigan..."
The other girl had spoken again, and the sound of her voice combined with the sound she had uttered—something similar to that of a swine—had caused her magic to puff out in anger.
"Calm, now," she whispered to it.
Her eyes drifted from the Shifter to the girl, and Geneviève struggled with her magic to keep the frustration she felt out of her voice.
"Hailey from Michigan, I am Geneviève Métisse from the former house of Felsberg, second daughter of Paramount chief, Mahiet, and Mistress of the minor tribe of Amon." Her magic relaxed at her introduction, and even went as far as reaching across the distance between them to caress the girl's cheek.
Geneviève smiled charmingly.
"And who," she continued, turning her attention back towards the two men beside her, "do I have the pleasure of meeting in this dark and desolate place?"10/7/2010 #95
Naturally, there were two conclusions--I was being tested by this goddess, or I was in fact, lost among strange beings from beyond Lugosi. I found myself doubting our location. No, perhaps this wasn't Cypress. It was too strange. This, Geneviève, if not a goddess, was too strange. I had to know for sure.
The sarcasm came with the hopelessness, and it was Sh'marook nature, really. If I was being tested, I hoped I made the correct choice. "Achitophel," I said slowly, and then with a smirk to go with my faked confidence, "king of the Sh'marook myth, great protector of Nyt'a, and mate-partner with the powerful and terrifying Margot of Jatru."
It was not necessarily all a lie. But it could test them--if they had heard of me, which if we were in Cypress, and if they were native to Lugosi, they would have, then they would know I was fabricating the truth. They would know I was a deserter of the war. The witch would know of me, certainly.
I looked towards her, a sinking feeling that shied from knowing her reaction.10/7/2010 #96
"And what do we have here?"
The woman was bold, Kane had to give her that much. It took some major courage to walk over to him and stand there, apparently completely unafraid; courage, or stupidity. He smirked, his eyes staring unblinkingly into hers and opened his mouth.
Before he could respond, the other male suddenly spoke, "Zauk, zauk, fuck! Let go of me!" He angrily yanked his arm free from the woman's grasp and looked about ready launch into some kind of tirade. He caught Kane's eye at that moment however, and his mouth immediately snapped shut. Kane could taste the fear dripping off of the strange man and grinned widely, exposing his wickedly sharp teeth.
Again, someone else spoke up before Kane could say so much as a word. "Okay, anyone who has any idea about where this is, why I'm here and how you get out, raise your hand: Now!" He turned his head to see who had spoken; it was the witch.
As soon as he looked away, Kane sensed sudden movement from the man. He turned back just in time to see the woman reach out and drag the man back to her side; he had apparently used the momentary distraction to put a little distance between himself and the woman. Once again, he pulled his arm free, though this time he merely started putting his shirt back on, rather than trying to attempt another escape.
The other female, the one standing near the witch said something at that point, but Kane's eyes stayed locked on the male. He was curious as to what the man was building up to. His fear, though still highly apparent, was now tinged with anger. "I think I must have died," he said suddenly, his voice sounding very resigned, "and Nyt'a must have punished me to this hell-place for my desertion. Funny, I always assumed there would be more vampires."
Kane had to bite back his laughter then. If this guy thinks Vampires are the worst thing Hell could set on him, he's got a very fucking unpleasant surprise headed his way.
"As long as they don't sparkle." The other woman spoke again. "Well, if we're going to be here a while, can we get on a first name basis? I'm Hailey, from Michigan..."
Nobody said anything for a moment. Kane had not been expecting anybody to just straight up introduce themselves. Just as he opened his mouth to make a crack about not giving your name to strangers, the woman closest to him whispered something. He turned back towards her, just as she began to speak in a louder voice.
"Hailey from Michigan, I am Geneviève Métisse from the former house of Felsberg, second daughter of Paramount chief, Mahiet, and Mistress of the minor tribe of Amon." Kane could feel her magic as it stretched out into the night air and brushed gently against Hailey's face. "And who do I have the pleasure of meeting in this dark and desolate place?" She turned back to face Kane.
The male introduced himself quickly and an odd smirk made its way onto his face. "Achitophel, king of the Sh'marook myth, great protector of Nyt'a, and mate-partner with the powerful and terrifying Margot of Jatru." He spoke confidently, but there was a slight, nearly undetectable, waver in his voice that could only mean one thing.
"He's lying," Kane stated, amused. The man's eyes opened wide, and fear quickly took the place of the false certainty from before immediately vanished. "But that doesn't really matter now, does it? What's in a name, after all?" He chuckled darkly and let his gaze roam over everyone else. "I'm Kane, king of jack shit, great protector of nobody, and mate-partner of…well, let's just say I'm not really big on commitment." He paused for a second, waiting to see how his little joke would go over. There was only silence. "Really?" he asked. "Nothing at all? Not a snicker or a chuckle, or even a smile? Dear god, you people need to lighten the fuck up."
Everybody remained quiet, though all of them were now staring at him like he was out of his mind. Kane debated for a moment whether or not he should go a little farther and really freak them all right the fuck out, but he eventually decided against it. They were all looking a little jumpy, and he knew he might regret it later if he was forced to kill one of them; any of them could potentially have information on what exactly was going on.
"Well," he started up again, since nobody else was saying anything, "we've all introduced ourselves. I guess that only leaves you." He levelled his dark gaze on the witch and waited for her to provide a name.10/7/2010 . Edited 10/7/2010 #97
It was buried beneath his surface but she could still sense it.
Geneviève could only nod at this, already having come to the same conclusion herself. The air shifted then, as the being beside her chuckled. It was an attractive sound, deep and powerful. "...King of Jack's Shit, great protector of Nobody, and mate-partner of…well, let's just say I'm not really big on commitment."
"King of Jack's Shit?" Geneviève had to cover her mouth with her hand to keep in the laugh that was bubbling forth. "How... exotic," she mumbled into her gloved hand.
Finding herself once more, Geneviève rolled her shoulders and fixed him with a blank stare; best not let him know she thought being King of Jack's Shit was the most ridiculous title she had heard.
"Well, we've all introduced ourselves. I guess that only leaves you."
The being had spoken again and it drew Geneviève's attention to the woman who had been holding the blue flames earlier.
Geneviève frowned disapprovingly. The woman was as small as she was, although her complexion bore more colour than Geneviève's and her eyes were much darker. Her hair was the night to Geneviève's dawn, and it if she hadn't clad herself in such brightly coloured cloth, Geneviève would have mistaken her for one of her people.
Drawing her magic back to her, Geneviève looked around, bored.10/8/2010 #98
"He's lying." I waited for Faal's demon to react further, expecting to dart back away from an attack. "But that doesn't really matter now, does it? What's in a name, after all?"
My name? He thought I was lying about my name? Well then, for the first time in a very long time I felt a bit defensive, almost sad--so they hadn't heard of me. And I hadn't been lying about being the king of Sh'marook myth...but they hadn't even heard of my people. So I was really alone here, and these weren't gods. I squinted a bit, as I realized, well, they actually weren't that terrifying if they hadn't tried to kill me yet. And this sarcastic Kane and this Geneviève for some reason thought I lied about my name--could their magic be tricking them like Jude's did? But neither of them were lacking control, or precision, or--really anything. They seemed perfectly in tune with themselves, even willing to perfectly tune to their environment.
"King of Jack's Shit?" I rolled my eyes as this Geneviève spoke. "How... exotic," I heard her add.
I eyed her, thinking the same--how exotic, yes, and new--and something not trying to kill me. Upon seeing her in a less hostile light, I wondered if she was really on the witches side with her free magic that I could feel moving within her.
"Well, we've all introduced ourselves. I guess that only leaves you."
I looked towards the real witch, the one that I knew was like Eddy, familiar. And I backed a bit, waiting, becoming tenser--ready to run and disrobe faster than one could say kings of nothing.10/8/2010 . Edited 10/8/2010 #99
This was normally the point where Bianca would step behind someone bigger, fiercer, and more powerful than her, and peer in fascination around them at the monsters.
Where was Benedict when you needed him? Or Jane? Jane would know what to say and do. She'd have them under her thumb in seconds.
One of Jane's many small [pretentious] nuggets of wisdom popped into Bianca's head, calming the panic. *People will only ever see you as you let them see you.*
They were staring at her - these things - waiting for her to answer. As far as power went, it sounded as though they would leave her trailing in their dust - weak and useless. 'Hayley from Michigan' might sound innocuous enough, but her colour changes indicated a demon, or shifter - something otherworldly as the other three, at any rate.
She pulled on her best greeting smile - the one she used when ditched onto the reception desk to meet and greet any visitors when Benedict and her team couldn't think of anything else to do with her. It was the smile that made everyone, men and women alike stop to take a second look, due to it's sheer size and warmth.
"My name is Bianca, but most people call me Bee. I haven't got any title to speak of or anything like that, and if you'll excuse me, I'll keep my surname to myself."10/8/2010 #100
I waited again.
But this Bianca ended there, with her warm big smile--she didn't attack me. She didn't threaten me. I'd never seen a witch woman smile so broadly. I glanced around, wondering what there was to smile about...or was she smiling because she had a trick up her sleeve? Smiling because she thought it might win everyone over to her favor? I'd seen Eddy do it before, with Charlotte and Jude.
I wouldn't fall for it.
"Yes. Well," I paused, "you're a witch, right? And you're--," I looked at Hailey from Michigan, "you're human," I didn't sense magic in her, but perhaps it was too stuble, or she was a witch with precision and complete control.
I turned on the other two, "And you are...ah," the man looked expectantly down at me, "a demon," I settled with, though he and this woman were the most confusing.
"And you," I looked at Geneviève from Amon. Houses? Tribes? She spoke as if she were from before Jatru, out of time--and if she did not know vampires...yet her magic was more alive than the other witch, more outspoken. I rubbed my chin for a moment, and then, "Your magic is free like a witch. But..." I couldn't place her. My fascination was evident with these two, I couldn't even assume. Neither of them understood Sh'marook. No knowledge of any legend I'd read or heard from Elders prepared me for their evident power. I gave up, and tried to come to my conclusion. "So all of us have something."
But it was just a dead end. So then, logically, "What's the last thing anyone remembers?"10/8/2010 #101
In the slight pause that answered him, there were footsteps - the kind of expensive footsteps made by a pair of newly-made and newly-soled Oxfords on ancient stone.
From around the corner strolled a wolf, his right hand in his pocket and his eyes regarding the dial of a pocketwatch. He put the watch back in his pocket, and from inside his coat removed a cigarette case.
"Well, my darlings," he said. "It seems that I've found you." He lit his cigarette thoughtfully.
"Do be careful," he said. "Your voices carry quite far."10/8/2010 . Edited 10/8/2010 #102
Kane's gaze never wavered from the witches' face as he waited for her to introduce herself. Her expression was fairly simple to read. The look in her eyes as she glanced at each of the others in turn made it quite obvious she was appraising everyone, judging how powerful they were.
After a moment, a brilliant smile suddenly spread across her face. It was warm, cheerful, engaging…and completely fake. Kane has seen the same expression on the face of every shopping center greeter he'd ever encountered. "My name is Bianca," she said loudly, clearly trying to project confidence, "but most people call me Bee. I haven't got any title to speak of or anything like that, and if you'll excuse me, I'll keep my surname to myself."
Again, Kane was forced to give credit where credit was due. While it was obvious to him the confidence with which Bianca was speaking was nothing more than a front, he was sure it would be at least semi-convincing to most.
Kane opened his mouth to respond to her but someone else beat him to it."Yes. Well, you're a witch, right?" It was the other male, Achitophel.
If one more person cuts me off, Kane thought, his lips curling up into a snarl, somebody is getting their fucking head removed.
"And you're…you're human," the man continued, turning to look at Hailey. Then he turned towards Kane and Geneviève. "And you are...ah," Kane cocked an eyebrow and waited, "a demon." It sounded more like a question than anything else. Kane just smirked in response. "And you," he said, his eyes moving over to Geneviève, "your magic is free like a witch. But…" He paused and stared hard at both her and Kane. After a moment, his shoulders slumped; he was clearly stumped. "So all of us have something."
Way to state the obvious dumb-shit. Kane shook his head, his eyes focused on Achitophel's face. It hadn't escaped his notice that the man had refrained from revealing exactly what he was to the group.
Kane's thoughts were disturbed a second later when Achitophel spoke again. "What's the last thing anyone remembers?"
Before anyone could respond, Kane caught the distinctive sound of approaching footsteps. He turned his face in the direction the steps were coming from and waited for whatever was coming to arrive. Whatever it was had a heartbeat and smelled like a dog or a wolf. It wasn't a werewolf though; of that, he was sure.
When the newcomer was finally revealed, Kane had to bite his lips to keep from laughing out loud. A humanoid wolf in a suit? What the fuck?
The wolf was looking down at the pocketwatch it held in its left hand. Without looking up, it slipped the watch into its pocket while using its right hand to pull a cigarette case from inside its coat. "Well, my darlings," he said as he removed a cigarette from the case. He slid the case back inside his coat before continuing. "It seems that I've found you." He paused to light the cigarette. "Do be careful; your voices carry quite far."
Nobody said anything for a moment, but Kane couldn't hold himself in check for too long. "You have got to be fucking kidding me!" He roared with laughter, his entire body shaking. "Really? A talking wolf that walks on two legs, smokes cigarettes and wears a suit? That's...I don't know what that is. What the fuck is going on here?" He shook his head, his hilarity quickly being replaced by anger. "This guy," he jerked his thumb in the direction of the wolf, "is clearly not from any place I've ever been before. And you," he nodded towards Achitophel, "I don't even know what the fuck you are. You're clearly not human."
The man opened his mouth, presumably to defend himself, but Kane's large index finger making a sudden appearance directly in front of his face convinced him to remain silent. "No!" Kane yelled. "You cut me off one more time and I'll cut off your fucking leg!" Everybody took a step back from the enraged man. "This is bullshit!" he continued, as he started to pace. "One second I'm standing around with my friends and the next I'm here with you…whatever the hell you all are. I don't want to be here; I have a lot of shit to do. Big things are going down in other places, things that I can no longer help with since somebody decided it would be a good fucking idea to magic me here."
Kane came to an abrupt halt then. His eyes closed tightly and his entire body tensed up. He took several deeps breaths, letting each out very slowly. When he opened his eyes a minutes later, his entire body relaxed and the rage that had been twisting his face disappeared completely. "I want some answers," he stated in a calm voice, "and if I don't get any very soon, I'm gonna start taking tearing all of you apart, piece by piece." He cracked his neck and opened his mouth wide, revealing his viciously sharp teeth. A set of extremely large, deadly looking fangs slowly slid into view. Slowly, his forked tongue slid out of his mouth and ran along the edge of one of his fangs. "Understand?"10/8/2010 #103
Hailey was so turned around she didn't know what questions to answer.
Well, monologues could be fun.
"Nice to meet you, er... Wolf." She wondered how he had gotten to be like that - maybe he was a shapeshifter too, but had managed all of the ridiculous inconsistencies of animal DNA. In any case, he was quite... well behaved. Plus, pocket watches were legit. Anybody who had a pocket watch HAD to be legit.
"Achitophel... actually, I'm going to call you Kit. One, because it's nice and short, and two, because you're acting like a girl. Not that that has anything to do with it. BUT ANYWAY, your question! All I remember before ending up here was that I was running down the street, and then next thing I know after opening my eyes was I showed up here. Whoo-hoo."
Hailey thought a moment, then added, "And Kane, I don't have any answers for you. I really don't. But if you ask me, it'd be pretty hilarious to me if you tried to cut me to pieces. Really, that could be entertaining. Just sayin'."
The awkward stares she received were enough to almost make her snort and giggle. Biting her lip, she just shrugged, content to be kicked out and see if she could find a way out on her own.
Everybody was just getting angry and weird, anyway.10/9/2010 #104
When the girl had finished speaking, the wolf approached the group by a few steps, and adjusted his shirt cuffs. His tie pin winked as he moved out of the lee of the building and into the light of the streetlamp.
"Charmed, my love," he said.
In front of him, there was a pillar, downed quite violently, perhaps the result of the siege that laid this city to rest. Its edges were somewhat softened by the passage of time, but still - they had been broken with some force. It made a passable bench.
The wolf crossed his legs at the knee, revealing lilac socks.
"I suggest," he said, "that those of you who are not adept at defending yourselves take care in the company you keep, if you keep any company at all. He may shout all he likes," he continued, glancing at the large creature who had been producing so much noise, "as he is evidently well-equipped to defend himself from whatever may lie in the darkness."
He pressed his fingers into his palm, producing a deep blue flame, from which he lit another cigarette. "As am I. He does not seem particularly invested in anybody's well-being but his own, however. Might I convince any of you to depart as quickly and quietly as you are able to avoid trouble brought about by alerting native dangers to our presence?"
When no-one answered him, he said, "Surely where we're from and what we are is of far less importance than what we do next and how we return whence we came? I might venture to add," he continued, studying the various dials of his watch once more, "that this very grand person who was making such an awful racket might not be the wisest choice for a compatriot, considering his penchant for violence? Come now, do be sensible."
He glanced up, seemed to remember that his speech was likely to drive the mountain man to violence against his person, and absentmindedly moved his fingers, upon which, he turned to sand, and dissolved.10/9/2010 #105
After the wolf-man appeared, Bianca decided enough was enough. She had to do a locater board to look for Kasper and Jem, and find out if she was as truly alone as she feared. The bizarre creature's talk of "native menaces" had put her on edge as well, and while a board would give her no idea of the city layout, it should at least show how many, if any, 'menaces' were lurking in the streets.
Her chance came when the demon Kane started his tirade. Clapping her hands over her face in apparent terror, Bianca swivelled to crouch onto the ground, presenting her back to the entire group. Hoping that they would write her off as a scared little girl, and pay her no attention, she fished for the parma violets necklace hidden beneath her neckline. Two beads should be enough.
As she crunched the boiled sugar beads between her teeth [wincing at the bitter tang of waterproof coating] and tucked the necklace back out of sight, she fished the piece of chalk she kept in her skirt pocket, and drew a quick scale circle on the pavement. It was much smaller than her preferred size, but any bigger would cause her movements to attract unwanted attention.
Right now, Hailey was speaking. Good. She was stood in completely the opposite direction to Bianca, so the others should be completely diverted. Cupping her hands around her mouth, and ignoring the familiar British lilt of the wolfman ["Charmed, my love,"] she whispered into them "expiscor animus, expiscor anima, expiscor advena, amicitia, et hostisis."
Patch-Latin was a trick Ruby taught her - any scholar of the language would stare at her incantations with horror, but it did the trick. As she cupped her hands around the curves of the circle, small spots of light flared into life inside the circle.
The spot in the centre, slightly larger and brighter than the rest, was her. South of it were the five dots of the others. A large part of her wished that this had been it, that the cityscape was as empty and hollow as it seemed, but smatterings of dots extended out to the edges of the circle. It was hardly teeming with life, but if every other dot was hostile, they might have a problem.
"he is evidently well-equipped to defend himself from whatever may lie in the darkness," the wolf was saying. His voice was pleasing to her, and somehow gave comfort and chills at the same time. There was a timbre and tone to his voice that reminded her of Benedict.
"Way ahead of you, pal," she murmured under her breath. It was all very well finding the dots, but to get the most out of the board, she needed to use the seer-gaze again. The tingling in her eyeball and socket had stopped, which meant she was ready to go again, but what would happen if she couldn't get it to close again? It was by far the most problematic of Imp's 'gifts', and literally gave her a glimpse of a phenomenal power, with horrific consequences lurking, should she ever dare overuse it. The first time that happened, the team had been looking for a female werewolf who had given them the slip in Victoria station. Bianca had shot to the highest point, set up a board, and used the gaze to find her, directing her team members towards her over the phone. Even when her eye started to burn with pain, and her head was screaming in protest, she kept the gaze on. According to Kasper, she had stopped speaking sense, then lost coherency, and when they found her (with the captured werewolf at least) she was crumpled in a twitching heap, surrounded by panicked and confused passers by. She didn't wake up lucid until the end of the week.
She hadn't had it long then. Through repeated trial and error afterwards, she'd discovered anything longer than thirty seconds of use left her with headaches, nausea, even temporary blindness in the eye, with the symptoms getting worse and worse with every second of use. If she pushed it to over two minutes, that was when she fell apart and a blackout was inevitable. The pain in her head had still not cleared from her earlier, albeit accidental, overuse - it lurked like a snake getting ready to strike. If she couldn't close it again this time...
...She knew she didn't have an option. Her left pupil flared wide.
The dots shifted and changed, forming rings of gradiating colour around their white centers. Her own was a dominant fuschia, fringed with two bands of blue, one dark as midnight, which blended with the fuschia to make a band of murky purple, the other the same bright powder blue of her fire. The first thing she looked for where signs of Kasper and Jem. She'd know their auras anywhere - Both tinged with sickly slate grey, eating in to Jem's sour, mustard yellow and Kasper's vibrant, sparkling red. Neither were anywhere to be seen. An awful lot of the 'hidden' dots were shrouded in a flat, pale grey. Not a good sign.
Disappointed, and somewhat unnerved, she used what was left of her time to sneak a peek at her reluctant 'companions'. One was yellow, a bright, sunny shade, tinged with two rings either side of the band - an earthy, golden brown, and a vivid forest green. So Hailey seemed to be as wholesome and genuine as she seemed. That was comforting.
The other auras were not so reassuring.
One was a strangely incandescent black, glimmering and undulating like the film on petrol, with a tight, bold ribbon of crimson ringing it from the inside, and a subtle trimming of ice-white tinting the outer edges. Genieve. It confirmed her suspicions tenfold. Only creatures consisting almost entirely of magical energy had auras that shifted tone and shade like that...yet those also usually lacked any sort of base colour. Creatives usually had hollow auras that glimmered like gossamer cobwebs, yet Genevieve's colours were solid. So strange...
Either side of her were the men, Kane and Achipotel. Kane's was a thick band of steely silver, fading into a rusted red on the edges. A thin ring of black ran around the inside. It was particularly cold and metallic for a demon...
Achipotel's had a glimmering outer ring, with a soft, apple green as his dominant colour, and a pallid lilac dominated the inside curve. There was a gradual shift to something darker and quite troubling before it cut to the central white, and next to the vibrant, smokey purple of the wolfman, tinged with an outer band of gold and a hint of claret red, the nervous young man's aura looked particularly washed out and, well, damaged.
Her thirty seconds were almost up. She tested her ability to close, and to her relief felt it obediently shrink. Then something caught her eye. Directly behind the group, another dot had appeared. It had no white centre, no deviancy in colour, from centre to rim, it was a bright, vivid powder blue.
Snapping her gaze shut in panic, Bianca shot to her feet and turned around, eyes wildly searching for the creature she knew was there somewhere. All she could see was the group. The wolfman had finished speaking, and somehow dissolved into nothing, but that was the least of her concerns. Realising what she must have been seeing, Bianca's eyes darted up to the building rooftop, desperately scouring the shadows for something she dreaded to see.
There was a dart of something out of the black, and something leapt from one level to the next. Something small, agile, and streaked pale blue and white.
Bianca shrieked, and staggered backwards.
"No!" was the only word she could muster. "No! No!"10/9/2010 #106
There was a conversation going on, but Geneviève was far away. Her bored expression was merely a mask; she realized she might have revealed too much about herself. This had never been a problem before, so she wondered why she had suddenly become so excited. Assuming it was a combination of last night's events and the new setting, Geneviève could forgive herself for her momentary break in composure.
Her mind was elsewhere, in a distant time, travelling the vast landscape of her memory. Her magic was restless, though, and had strayed away in thin tendrils to trail at the feet of her acquaintances. It sensed the Liar's discomfort; her magic made him uneasy and he was worried about the Witch who was now projecting fake confidence in such offensive waves that it brought Geneviève back into the present.
"Play nice, now," she murmured.
As her mind slowly caught up with the present, she hardened her expression and lightly imbued it with magic. Her face was an eggshell of indifference now, her eyes flicking from each face as she tested the waters of their emotions once more. She didn't bother with their thoughts. She could learn enough from their feelings.
The Liar's fear was replaced with fascination, but Geneviève still decided to ease his mind. With a blink of her eye, she called her magic back to her and forced it to remain still beneath the shell of her expression. It wasn't an illusion. Not quite. But it was something similar; something to make her magic less... evident.
But how does one tame a wild current? How does one chase after it and force it to be still? This was a question Geneviève had asked herself many a time. She knew how to make it appear to disappear from the surface, but there was still always that gentle undercurrent pumping through her veins; unable to mask itself from the comparatively dulled senses of the most powerful magical bearers.
A wolf in man's clothing had walked up while her thoughts had been far away. She wasn't moved either way by this. Some of her people were wolves, while others men, and the occasional jester would dress themselves in man's cloth while they were in wolf form. This wolf, however, had a certain air to him. Geneviève didn't like it.
"...I'll cut off your fucking leg!"
Geneviève's shell rippled with the sudden awareness. It seemed the conversation had taken a rather aggressive turn. Bending her vision to see who the demon was talking to, Geneviève noted that it was the Liar. She felt torn suddenly. If things became ugly, who would she side with? The Liar, although a liar, was comforting in his own pathetic way, but the demon was powerful and Geneviève was entranced by it. His anger was crackling with his power and it made her feel somewhat dazed; it was like an intoxicant.
A mild breeze blew through the street, and Geneviève made up her mind. Allowing her voice to be carried by the wind, she tilted her head a mere fraction of an inch and said to the Liar, "Don't be frightened. I shall look after you."
"I want some answers, and if I don't get any very soon, I'm gonna start taking tearing all of you apart, piece by piece."
Although the demon's voice was calm, Geneviève watched as revealed a mouth full of sharp teeth with a set of fangs to go with them. Geneviève frowned. A memory-trail as thin as a spider's silk had appeared in her mind, and her eyes became distant as the demon ran his tongue along his fangs.
"Fangs..." she said. "Fangs... Oh!" She whipped around and grabbed the Achitophel's arm. "Vampires!" she said nodding energetically. "Yes, I know of vampires!" Her mask had fallen away by her sudden outburst, and her magic rushed forth in crashing waves. "A foreigner from across the sea said something about vampires. We have a different word for them, though, we call them—" She suddenly remembered herself, and her attempt to mask her magic so as not to frighten Achitophel any further.
"Be still!" she chided, her hand falling from Achitophel's arm to place on her hip. Her gaze had fallen to the spot on the ground a few feet in front of the demon. Her magic had apparently been rushing out towards him, spurred on by Geneviève's own attraction to his power.
Her magic started. Slowly, like a child who's just been told he must to go to bed, her magic crawled back.
We must not forget ourselves, she thought to it. Now's not the time to have another split.
Geneviève looked back at Achitophel and smiled.
"Charmed, my love," the wolf said.
Geneviève had managed to tune out another conversation, it seemed. She looked over at the wolf, wondering why she was having such a problem with time. She was losing it more frequently and she even considered that perhaps, she was in a dream crafted by the Neor.
"...Come now, do be sensible."
There was too much of it, she realized. Her magic was at a rolling boil now and she felt overwhelmed by it all. Between the demon's power, the Liar's fear and the emotions the two other women were projecting, Geneviève realized she hadn't been around this many people in years.
She had been trained, of course, to infiltrate courts with her charm and extract valuable information, but she hadn't been assaulted with so many sensory inputs for years now. Her senses weren't used to absorbing so many things at once.
So Geneviève did the most sensible thing. Geneviève turned it off.10/9/2010 . Edited 10/9/2010 #107
(( I'm bored with Kit, essentially, and I'm going to just poof in Jude instead. We'll just say that Kit was like, "I really don't wan to be here" and then he just went poof and then someone else from the same story had to take his place to keep the symmetry :D If everyone wants to notice what happened, they can, or they can just pretend like Jude was here the whole time ))
I was standing and waking from sleep and it was the weirdest feeling, because well, no one ever wakes standing. Especially when the last thing I remembered was falling in the sunlight--and then here I was, in the dark.
It didn't take me long to know I wasn't in Cypress. It didn't take me long to discover I was being gaped at by a bunch of--well--
"My, my," what's here? my magic finished.
"I'm not sure."
But I felt better than I had in days--and oh, my magic quickly started framing things, grabbing names, places. One from Angles, two from the maybe the Allied Confeds, and then well, two that were completely out of any space or time that my magic could understand.
No one smelled particularly good but the young woman who must have also been from the Confeds--I didn't look at her long, afraid she could do something to draw out my vampirism. Which was being kept quite checked among the strangers who all had something my vampire instincts found unsatisfying and dangerous. She's uh, Hailey, my magic drew.
And that's Bianca, it nodded. I looked at the next young woman, she reminded me of Charlotte, taking control, not looking too upset, just frustrated. But she wasn't anything like Charlotte either, because she had magic. What's this? I wondered, what's this, will it talk to me? But it didn't. In fact, she looked very upset, her magic was upset. She gaped at me now, looking like she was about to tear her hair out in complete frustration and shock. I wondered, maybe she was more like me than I thought. She muttered, "No, no," under her breath.
And then the last two, Kane and Geneviève. Kane and Geneviève. My magic shied a bit from Kane. Best not stay there long, he looked like he was about to break something in half--maybe my magic, or try. He was strong, stronger than me--I knew my place, and it would involve a lot of back-stepping and staying at a distance. Ah, don't fight with him, my magic reminded.
"I know, do you think I'm fucking dumb?" I hissed.
Oh, and well, then there was Geneviève. She was--was the closest. Yes, closest to what I knew. But she wasn't from Lugosi, and she wasn't from Angels or the Confeds or any place my magic knew or had heard of. Not even Jatru, not even myths--unless she was from history. Out of time, even. She was like most witch women, with precision, because there wasn't anything outward there, just secret, and controlled. And well, I could deal with that. What were witches, but shadows, really? Just magic shadows. She reminded me of a real shadow.
For a fleeting awkward moment, I thought of Charlotte, oddly worried for some reason. What if she was alone? And it would be getting dark, what if it was dark? And did she have enough bullets left--and what if the vampires came?
Don't think of her. Feel, my magic whispered, there's something coming.
I looked at Kane. Well he certainly could feel it too, maybe all of them. But certainly him. He was very old. Old with a lot of zeros.
I tried not to laugh, just in a moment of nervousness. "Let's see," I ran through them one more time, "Hailey, Beey, Kanny, and Genny. There's something coming, huh? Which one of you can do some sort of--thing, to figure out what it is?" I looked at Beey, "You already did the where are we thing, right sweets? Can you do anything else like that? I'm sorry, my magic hasn't been concentrating on much of anything lately. Are you okay now? Yes?"
I looked at Kane, "Maybe you could scout ahead, huh, brother?" And then Geneviève, "You could start working some spells," and then Hailey, "You can...well you can...do you have a gun?" I thought, thinking of Charlotte, "Try to find a gun, does anyone have a gun for her?"10/9/2010 . Edited 10/9/2010 #108
This has to be a dream.
Hailey kept telling herself that, but the more she thought it the less she believed it.
In the past 2 minutes, Wolf had disappeared in a poof of sand, Kit had been somehow poofed into this dark, scary looking creeper guy with a W over his eye, and Bianca had began freaking out like the sky was falling down.
Hailey had tried to follow her gaze, see what she was screaming at, but she couldn't see anything. Just the dark sky and the abandoned buildings around them.
"What?" Hailey's head whipped between her and the empty street around them. "What's wrong?"
Creeper guy started dishing out orders. She vaguely heard them, but managed to pick up on the last sentence, aimed at her. "Try to find a gun, does anyone have a gun for her?"
Hailey gave a full body shiver, her skin changing pigments from white to brown and back again. Awful. She could find something better to use.
Maybe if I shut my eyes and click my heels...
Hailey squeezed her eyes shut, clicked her heels just in case, then opened them again.
So much for that.10/9/2010 . Edited 10/9/2010 #109
|Engineer of Words
There was enough magic in the section of the street below me to make my head spin. Never mind that all my wards were going off and my skin felt like it was on fire. There were five of them, and only one felt human. No, scratch that, four now. Wolf-man and his energy disappeared. Worst case scenario meant that's one less abomination I'd be painting the tarmac with.
It was curious that all of them were having a conversation, though. Especially the demon. I could sense his energy signature from almost a mile out, which is what drew me here in the first place. Not subtle, but when you were that strong you didn't need to be. The whole thing was unnerving, to an extent I didn't want to admit to myself.
Against my better judgment, part of me decided it was worth checking out. I made note my weapons were all still loaded, then stepped out of the empty window frame of the building directly behind them. As fate would have it, I didn't do a good job of checking what was immediately below me, and landed in a dumpster with a loud metallic clang.
So much for subtlety.
Guy with the brand on his face had started barking out orders when I'd left my feet, but had paused when the entire group noticed something resembling a body landed right behind them. I stepped out of the dumpster, a bit embarrassed and sort of amused by how incredulous that most of them looked.
"I've already done a fair share of scouting," I said, putting on a completely straight face. "Place is dead for miles. I don't know what you're looking for, but you're probably not going to find it."10/9/2010 #110
Geneviève was a flickering flame in a dark cave. She had drawn her magic so close and so tight that she hardly noticed a shift in her outer environment. Something had changed, she was sure, but she wasn't entirely ready to withdraw from herself just yet.
Time had been playing tricks on her only moments earlier, and she could only come to the conclusion that this was indeed a dream. If that were true, however, she would have to test her theory and somehow manage to wake herself up. Waking from a dream wasn't as easy as it sounded, though. She had to first figure out if she was in a former memory, compound landscape, or a mass illusion. The geography of dreams was as vast and as intricate as reality. Even more so, to those possessing knowledge.
There was a whisper in her dark. A vein pulsating and slithering, pushing through the stale air towards her. Her magic responded. Eagerly it licked Geneviève's mind and told her to come out of herself; there was someone new worth greeting.
It has magic like us. Like us it speaks.
Geneviève resurfaced cautiously, her magic urging her to move faster.
"If I'm hasty I'll—"
It was too late. Her magic had forced her to rise back to the surface too quickly, and all she could do was brace herself against the maelstrom of senses her body was now absorbing.
"I'm not sure... do you," open right eye slowly, "think... there's something coming." Now open the left. "Genny... start," breathe deeply now, "...working some spells..."
"...had to be a dream."
"Place is dead for miles..."
It was only a moment. One precious moment of glorious silence as the current crashed to a halt.
And then, "This is not a dream."
She gave a small grin before screaming, a short, vicious cry as her magic tore at her feeble flesh. Her magic had turned itself back out on the world and the effect was as painful as the first time it had happened.
Pain. White hot and searing.
Veins melting, irises burning, skin bubbling, nostrils flaring, tongue turned in knots, and legs rooted to the spot.
And then it stopped.
But not before her magic exploded in all directions to ripple through the air like a shockwave.10/9/2010 . Edited 10/10/2010 #111
(( For those who haven't read INSIWB, Jude's magic can actually be heard by everyone present, so it literally sounds like he's talking to himself ))
Pulling out all the stops. All the stops.
Her magic rippled and a small shock rolled through me. I stiffened, taking the warning, and moved away from her as her magic--came outward, I couldn't describe it. One moment it was Eddy and precision and then it was this shadow, all shadows, all free and there.
I crouched to the ground for a moment, unsure what to do, unsure what she asked. See, it was rude and all, but was she like me, could she control it? If she could, then what did she mean by it? It hadn't been a hit, not an attack. But it wasn't inviting me either. It was just her-centered, maybe just letting me know it was there.
I stood back up, still confused. I didn't see much of what anyone else looked like.
All shocks, pulling out all the stops.
No, Gaia, my magic said, shut up. Don't talk to her unless she gives you permission.
"Speak for yourself," I hissed.
Maybe she's upset you didn't say moon prayer.
"Only my grandmother was that traditional," I mused, but then, maybe that was right--she did seem to come from a different time.
There was a sudden ahem from someone, a interrupting cough.
One decision, my magic fluttered unity for a moment, pleased we could come to the same conclusion. Yes, best remember the old traditions.10/9/2010 . Edited 10/9/2010 #112
When a person is tired, they sleep. If they are thirsty, they drink. If they are sick, they take medicines. And when they are vulnerable, they arm themselves. Geneviève had done all these things in a single moment.
Ailment and remedy, Geneviève's magic was both ends of a spectrum. It caused pain and shortly thereafter soothed it. It made her sick and then cured her. The shockwave encompassed all these things and more, so it was with clarity of mind did she turn to appraise the beings who surrounded her.
There were two new men now, but only one was of great interest. First, however, she had to silence the Witch. She was screaming her head off and the sound made Geneviève cringe.
Her magic had already rippled outward, so it made silencing her much easier. Geneviève's magic was offended by the noise, as well, so with a single step forward and a, "Shut up now or I will strangle you to silence!" her magic rebounded from the shockwave and slammed into the Witch.
It leaned in once more to slap her across the face. Just for good measure.10/10/2010 . Edited 10/10/2010 #113
The girl, Hailey, was the first one to respond to Kane's words.
Unfortunately, he didn't hear a word she said; just as she began to speak, another voice suddenly resounded through his head. 'Kane! Kane! Can you hear me?'
Kane recognized the voice immediately. What the fuck? Adrianna?
'Yeah, it's me. What the hell happened to you? Where are you?
I don't know, he thought back. I was teleported to some empty city I don't recognize, along with a bunch of other people I've never seen before. Then something occurred to him. Wait. How did you manage to contact me if you don't know where I am?
There was a long pause before she responded. 'When you disappeared, nobody knew what was going on. When I told Xander I couldn't sense you anymore, he suggested that you'd been taken from the world. We decided to try a power-sharing ritual and attempt to focus in on your aura that way. And it worked.' Even in his head she sounded incredibly pleased with her success.
Before he could say anything back to Adrianna, Kane suddenly realized that the wolf had disappeared. He looked around for a moment before shrugging and turning back to his thoughts. Good job. Listen, I don't know what exactly is going on or how long I'm gonna be here. Clearly I've been brought here for a reason. I want you to…
He trailed off there, distracted by what was happening around him. The witch had just started screaming in terror, a human had fallen into a nearby dumpster, and Achitophel had apparently been replaced by something else. That something was currently speaking, but Kane tuned him out for the moment.
Listen, he thought quickly, don't do anything stupid while I'm gone. All of you just sit tight and wait for me to get back. If everything starts going all to shit, you use that technique we've been practicing all right? That should calm everything down for a couple days. Understand?
Adrianna did not sound pleased when she answered him. 'Yeah, yeah, I get it. God, even when you're not here, you still piss me off. You're the most infuriating person I've ever met.'
Kane chuckled in his head. I practice; good to know all my hard work is paying off. He paused again when he felt Geneviève's magic shot out towards the still screaming witch. All right, I've got to go. Things are getting lively around here.
'Okay, she said back, 'be careful.' Kane had to hold back a snort of laughter at that. In all the time he'd known Adrianna, he'd never once gone the careful route. It just wasn't his style.
By the time he returned his attention to his surroundings, the witch had shut up. The human and the other newcomer were staring at the others silently.
Kane took the opportunity to study the thing that had replaced Achitophel. It was clearly magical; he could feel and hear its magic. But there was something else about him, a familiar smell. It only took him a second to place it; blood. His eyes widened in recognition. Vampire.
Clearly it was a different breed of vampire than what Kane was used to. While it was common practice for vamps to use magic and spells, none that he had ever encountered had the magic inside of them like this one did. "Who are you?" he inquired, his gaze focused on the strange vampire's face. It said nothing, and the silence dragged on for a moment.
"All right, all right," Kane said eventually, fed up with waiting and all of the craziness. He tried to keep his tone light, not wanting to set any of the others off. "Obviously none of you know what the hell is going on here. Before anything else happens, I think we should clarify some things." He looked around at everybody; they were all staring back at him. "First things first, I highly doubt this place is entirely devoid of creatures or people. Is everybody here willing and able to fight if something attacks us? And secondly, which of you are willing to work together? Despite my earlier outburst, I'm one hundred percent ready to work with anyone who can help me get the fuck out of here. I can only speak for myself though. What do you all say? Geneviève, Hailey, Bianca, human, Vampire?" He looked at each of them in turn and waited for them to respond.10/10/2010 . Edited 10/10/2010 #114
Imp was here, watching her, stalking her, coming for her.
That must be what this whole place was: A trap. Some nightmarish hallucination the malevolent creature had sucked her into, so it could tear her soul out of her body without a fight.
Is that what would happen if Imp caught her? She'd lose her body to the rogue fae? Was it already happening now? This whole thing a distracting illusion?
All Bianca could do was scream and sob as a million unstable conclusions whirled round and round her head. She wasn't ready, this wasn't how it was supposed to go. Ever since she'd discovered her 'supplier's true motives, she had made an unspoken vow to find a loophole and save herself. If anyone could do it, she could.
But she hadn't - she thought she'd had so much more time...it was so...terrifying, frustrating, gut-wrenching, heart-clenching, throat-choking, UNFAIR.
The ground came up and hit her, arse to ankle, shutting off her screams like a switch.
The lady, Genevieve, was looming above her, a distinctly annoyed look in her eye. That was when Bianca realised she had fallen over, although how and why that had happened escaped her. A sharp slap smacked across her face, rich and tingling, like electricity, and then Genevieve was gone, slipping away liked greased smoke, leaving Bianca wondering if the woman had actually approached her at all. The slap had left the entire side of her face numb [fortunately, this was the side that had hit the brick wall...unfortunately, it was now probably swelling up like a balloon.]
"All right, all right," the demon, Kane, spoke up. Staring into the empty sky, stained an unpleasant puce from the streetlights, Bianca waited for her heart and breath to slow as the demon continued. "Obviously none of know what the hell is going on here. Before anything else happens, I think we should clarify some things. First things first, I highly doubt this place is entirely devoid of creatures or people."
Bianca's thoughts jumped back to the pallid grey dots that had lurked throughout the locater board with a sinking sensation. They certainly weren't alone. Usually a single colour, especially a dull, insipid one, meant weakness, both physically and mentally, but different worlds meant different rules...especially when dealing with hallucinations. She should probably tell the others something about that...
"Is everybody here willing and able to fight if something attacks us? And secondly, which of you are willing to work together? Despite my earlier outburst, I'm one hundred percent ready to work with anyone who can help me get the fuck out of here. I can only speak for myself though. What do you all say? Geneviève, Hailey, Bianca, human, Vampire?"
Bianca pulled herself up to sitting, hand covering the numbed side of her face. She raised her hand
"He's right," she said. "I'm pretty sure there are things out there, and you know, safety in numbers..." She got to her feet, and brushed down her skirt. "I'm not a fighter, but I have some skills that should come in useful and..."
The nervous, stripping man - he wasn't there anymore. In his place stood a fierce looking, dark-haired man who seemed to be having a conversation with himself. A quick glance around the group showed that this didn't seem to bother anyone else in the slightest - they were barely paying him any attention at all. Obviously she had missed something quite important.
She may have been hearing things, but she was sure she heard him mutter the word "grandmother".
Bianca cleared her throat [ahem], and the man stopped, going stock still and silent, but his gaze wasn't focused on Bianca, or indeed, anyone at all - by the spacey glaze to his eyes, [which were unusually bright] he was somewhere else entirely.
"Does someone want to tell me who this is?" Bianca said, pointing at him.10/10/2010 #115
"What do you all say? Geneviève, Hailey, Bianca, human, Vampire?"
Vampire. Geneviève turned and looked at the newcomer. The corner of her mouth twitched as she looked him up and down. So this is what the Liar had been speaking of. Strange, this vampire was incredibly different from her people's equivalent to them. No matter. Like the demon had said, it was time to clarify some things.
"Does someone want to tell me who this is?"
Don't think of him, Geneviève. You need to prioritize.
She found it odd how the Liar had suddenly disappeared, and wondered at the vampire taking his place. They were clearly two separate beings, but perhaps they were working together somehow...
Focus. You have other places you need to be, remember.
But her magic wanted to speak to him. He was far too interesting not to pay any attention.
"Focus." She had said the word aloud but didn't bother being embarrassed about it.
"I'm wondering the same thing, actually, but I think the important thing to note is that we are definitely not alone." Her magic had strayed towards the vampire, but Geneviève caught it and directed it to wander the street. She was sensing other beings drifting around, all with varying degrees of power. "I think this one," here she nodded towards Bianca, "might know more about that."
Geneviève looked at each member of the group in turn. "I'm willing to travel with you all until we figure out how to return to our respective territories. However," here she paused, eyes slanting to look pointedly at Bianca, "I will not tolerate any unnecessary outbursts..." Sniff. "Magical or otherwise."10/10/2010 #116
Magical outbursts! My magic pushed me forward towards Genny, fix it!
I bowed a bit, stiff, I felt like I was a child again and my mother was standing at my back ready to scold. So the words came out very fast and jumbled and I forgot half of the prayer, "Daughter of Gaia, blessed be, in moon, in light...give me...permission to speak?"
You fucking idiot, my magic groaned.10/10/2010 . Edited 10/10/2010 #117
"Erm," Hailey rubbed her nose after a moment, as Geneviève had momentarily spaced. "I can't really fight... but as long as your DNA is pretty similar to mine, I can fix you up right fancy if you get hurt!"
Everybody was watching the weirdo guy with the W on his face, and Hailey rolled her eyes.
"Well," Hailey mumbled to herself. "As long as you're not unconscious, I can fix bones and stitch up arteries. I can fill bullet holes. I can give your brain a dose of REM in under a minute. But you guys were never that good at science, were you..." she trailed off, also watching and waiting for the weirdo guy to introduce himself.10/10/2010 #118
I waited but Geneviève only looked amused and then, "Did you hear me? Who the fuck are you?" the demon Kane growled.
I hadn't heard, so it was a bit funny, the whole thing really, and I tried not to laugh. "Me?" Oh this was fun--I couldn't think of a time when I'd ever had to introduce myself. I pulled out all the stops. "Prince Jude Malevolent of the witches," I was glad he'd pressed a word out of me, I didn't like the meaningful pause in Geneviève 's hesitation. "I'm all for cooperation, brother--and while I can't fill bullet holes, I've been known to kill with a few words. And well, I tend to bite."
That was pathetic.
"Shut it," I muttered.10/10/2010 #119
Geneviève was relieved the vampire had spoken first. Amusement danced across her features as she watched him bow and pay his respects to her. What was even more entertaining was the fact that he was asking for permission to speak. Permission to speak? Geneviève approved of this formality.
She decided to let him suffer with her indecision for a few moments. As luck would have it, the demon had drawn the vampire's name out of him...
"Prince Jude Malevolent of the witches."
Her magic sparked.
Tell him your title. Her magic was so eager to impress his, it was bending her thoughts to its will.
Our title is of little consequence. Besides, we're not considered true royalty—our blood is different.
"...I've been known to kill with a few words. And well, I tend to bite."
Her magic wasn't so patient, however. It rushed towards him and caressed his face, twirling around him in hopes of drawing out his magic.
Geneviève stomped her foot.
It hesitated a moment, but thought better of disobeying its vessel and eventually withdrew from Jude.
Geneviève lifted her arm towards him, bending it slightly at the wrist.
"Charmed, I'm sure," she said, waiting for him to kiss her hand. "You have permission to speak."10/11/2010 #120
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