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This is a role or action play story. That means that I want full bodied paragraphs in a narrative, past tense, third person style that lead from one post to another to make something like a short story or novel when it's finished. We'll each create as many PCs and NPCs as seem appropriate to us. Each PC will be controlled only by its creator, who will determine the effects upon their PC of actions done to their PC by other PCs or by the setting itself. If there's any question I'll make a judgment, but I don't think I'll need to. Y'all have matured and grown to understand my style to the point where I don't expect much trouble. I'll propose elements of the setting and some NPCs, but y'all can also contribute to those. Let's just make sure we develop a coherent story arch as we go along. I don't want character profiles unless you're just determined to post one. I'd rather meet your PCs in a more natural, narrative style.

Much of the setting and premise comes from Alexander Starkiller, and this being the case I'll let him have a lot of say in the world building stage, which, again, I want to discover as we go along. It reminds me somewhat of the Resident Evil series, which is fine with me. Whether we meet zombies or Reavers or just people who are souped up and out of their minds and blood thirsty, the effect will be similar.

Alexander Starkiller said:

Well, as one borrowed idea I have, an example is said post-apocalyptic world. It destroyed almost all civilisation, and a heck of a lot of the human race. The cause could have been anything: nuclear holocaust, an asteroid [the basis for the Rage game I mentioned, and it involved an actual asteroid that will come close to the Earth in 2039], volcanic eruptions...

This leaves small bands of refugees, or towns, that have survived. It also, somehow, be it radiation, an alien virus, anything, created a rather large number of mutated humans. This can be brought about an performed in a number of styles, anything you cook up. Usually, these guys are just out for blood, but that's up to you. These guys are basically humanoid, though misshapen and usually stronger or faster than humans. Then step forward a bit. Technologies have been recovered, possibly there's a government involved with a lot of technological know-how trying to take over. Refugee towns are usually scrap, people have only just regained any set form of civilisation. But there are the mutants, and bandits, basically an antagonist looking for supplies and food; most are human, all are aggressive, some less human then others mentally.

Then our PCs come in, half a century to a full one later. They could range from settlers and refugees, to special people, hidden away in [stolen idea] cryo tubes or stasis or some hidden compound. The latter would have some sort of technological implant, some secret advantage, and likely innate ability of some skill. [Where I stole it from, it involved nanobots]. This could develop in any number of ways, including superpowers if you choose it, or just a 'better' human with a lot of skill. [Say, Batman-like to Captain America. At the very highest of 'better'.] The weapons and clothing and armour and equipment range from scrap, old and new, to some of the newest technology, advanced beyond our world's by quite a bit [though not excessively, given the need to rebuild for a long time].

The setting is a wasteland of some sort, of course. Deserts, wastelands of grey, but in some areas on the Earth, of course there are pockets of beauty left. Travel would need to be in 4WD or AWD vehicles of some sort, or even repaired, possibly, aerial vehicles at some point. Walking from place to place would be common for quite a while.

7/26/2011 . Edited 7/27/2011 #1

Tony sat on the rock on top of the cliff overlooking the narrow valley dropping down below him to the south. The wind whipped little strands of hair around his face where they escaped from his fur hat. He tucked his wrapped hands into his sleeves -- also fur -- and hunkered down against the cold. He could only stay out here like this without moving for a few minutes at a time, but it was worth it. Better than being cramped in the overheated compound. If he got too cold he could always cinch up his hood and start walking around.

It wasn't that he really had to be here. There were sentries, probably sleeping, who were more warmly dressed than he. But no one had come this way in the past year. It was more the fear of the legends from the south that kept them on watch. But wasn't that the wrong idea all together? They should be reaching out to people and bringing them in, if said people could take the cold, that was. The people of the way, as they called themselves, had what everyone else needed, especially in a time like this. So why were they hiding here in the northern mountains instead of taking it to those in need?

Tony ground his teeth and came to his decision. He'd made it long ago, really, but just had to settle with it throughout himself. He looked toward the few, small, wind whipped flakes and muttered, "Fine. I'll go. But it's dangerous out there, they say, so you'll have to go with me and protect me, y'hear?" The wind seemed to laugh at the preposterous idea that he could tell the one who orchestrated the wind anything.

He grabbed the pack on which he'd been sitting, slung it over his shoulders, waved to the nearest sentry, who waved back, and started down the narrow trail into the valley.

7/26/2011 #2
Alexander Starkiller

Aidan walked slowly to the west, in some mountainous region or another. It wasn't cold, but it was cool, and it warmed everyday, suggesting he might also be heading south. Or it might be nearing summer. Who knew. He just kept walking, repairing what was left of his boots when he needed to. Killed what remained of the wildlife when he needed food. He had been walking for many days, possibly weeks. His old home, his family... No, he wasn't about to think about that. Not yet.

He stopped a moment, as the wind pushed a little harder. He adjusted his garments, and then the dirty piece of cloth he had over his nose and mouth. He would need to rip a new piece from his ever deteriorating clothing soon. The dust was heavy in the air. He wished he had eye protection, but for now he'd settle for the cloth on his face, letting him breathe relatively easily. Finally, he adjusted the several leather belts around him, one to keep up his pants, a few more to keep everything together that he owned.

The dust couldn't be good for his revolver.

He started moving again, hugging what could be a canyon wall, or a steep and rocky hill. Obviously, it was hard to see that day. The wall of rock gave some protection, but not much. Aidan would need to find a cave or an alcove to rest until the dust storm, if that's what it was, passed over this section of wasted earth. Then he heard a growl. Gutteral, almost human... hungry.

7/26/2011 #3

Marlena Volkova adjusted her backpack's straps, making sure to stay aware of her surroundings. The brisk weather wasn't anything to worry about, not now, so she'd kept the jacket slung over her shoulder as she walked. The thick dust in the air seemed to stick to the back of her throat.

She coughed quietly, then squinted as her eyes became irritated. "Ugh..." The dust here was nigh unbearable. She would have grabbed a face mask and goggles if she knew she'd have this problem heading south. Or failing that, get a vehicle. As it was, she made do with shielding her mouth and nose with the jacket.

This is probably going to be murder on her weapons. A Glock 19 nestled securely in the right pocket of her cargo pants, safety on, of course; a sawed-off Remington 870, though a little beaten-up, jammed into the backpack alongside food, water, ammo, and a spare set of clothes. And if those failed, she could use a bit of fulgurkinesis, but that was the last option, seeing as it used energy she preferred to conserve.

There was something in the distance: maybe a rock formation? Hopefully some form of shelter. It was hard to tell in this low visibility.

Marlena squinted to try and get a better look, and then flinched at the sound of a low growl, something most likely not friendly. She reached into the pocket with the Glock and wrapped her hands around the grip. She slowly brought it out and flicked off the safety. Fighting was not something she wanted to do right now.

7/27/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 9/3/2011 #4

Tony walked in silence as he came around a pile of rocks that protruded a little into the valley . . .

. . . and stopped cold in his tracks. Ahead of him he saw a most unlikely sight. He blinked and confirmed the vision. Three things occurred to him in the next heartbeat.

The young woman -- almost a girl -- sitting on a rock just up the trail was perfect. Not pretty like a few of the women back at the compound, or in the old movies they'd found, but perfect. The symetry, the proportions. Perfection. She was very pale. Tony was pale because he stayed out of the sun as much as possible, but her palor was different. That of death. Finally, she wore very little clothing considering the weather. It looked like she had taken some effort to fashion the buckskins into a fitted dress that showed off her small but still perfect curves. She was built more for athletic ability than for attracting men.

Any of these things would have been interesting by themselves. Together they meant she was dead. Un-dead, to be more precise.

Tony did one thing with the un-dead. In one fluid motion he slipped out of his pack and lunged for her, thrusting a metal tent peg -- He wasn't sure why it was his favorite weapon -- in for the kill.

She must have heard something for she turned toward him, and smiled a little.

7/27/2011 #5
Alexander Starkiller

Aidan pulled back the hammer of his old revolver. It made a faint but echoing "click", likely alerting the creature to his presence. What was it though? A ghoul? A mutated human? An animal in pain? These thoughts flashed through his head in milliseconds, including with them all sorts of attack and/or survival plans. Maybe he should run.

The rush of air, the fast pad of bare feet pushing gravel as the thing ran, audible over the wind, though, got rid of the last idea. He couldn't out run it. He wished he had more time to take supplies now more than ever. He could have taken his personal wrist computer [for lack of a better name, for now]. But that had been impossible...

Had there been another click?

It was moving faster, a sprint to take out its prey: Aidan. It moved in a zigzag, or something similar, given the way the sound shifted origins. Aidan followed the sound, lining up the steel sight of his Colt, waiting. It was growling, screeching, screaming, thirsty for blood, hungry for flesh. Then an ugly bipedal creature, Aidan didn't waste time figuring out what, launched through the dust. Aidan fired once, stopping the creature in its tracks. But it got up, and rushed him again. Aidan had only hit a shoulder.

7/27/2011 #6

Marlena thought she heard a click somewhere nearby. Maybe it was nothing; maybe she was just hearing things. Or maybe she wasn't just hearing things and that had been another gun being loaded, or something. It always paid to err on the side of caution.

There was a faint crunch-like sound; Marlena recognized it as footfalls, someone or something in contact with gravel, and moving. The sound suddenly began to increase in tempo, which meant whatever was making it was moving faster. Marlena gripped the Glock with both hands. The footfalls were now accompanied by growls and screeches, seeming to get louder.

A loud crack, a gunshot, went off to Marlena's left; she flinched and spun, seeing a bipedal creature, just barely visible, suddenly stop what looked to be a sprinting lunge. It rose and continued a moment later, heading for a man that held a revolver. There was no time to see if the man was hostile or not. Marlena knew she had only two simple choices, both with their fair share of risks: Either help him, or don't.

If she did, it would reveal her position and kill any chance of remaining unnoticed. Not good, and worse if this guy was looking for victims. If she didn't, she might have a chance to slip away unnoticed, but that would kill any chance of getting help if this guy was looking for friends.

Everything depended upon this one stranger's possible actions. Marlena made her choice.

She chose to help.

Marlena preferred to hit her targets with a Mozambique-drill style of shooting; two shots to the creature's center of mass, then one to the head. Usually she would stick with body shots, but a shot to the thing's head wasn't out of the question at this distance.

After firing at the creature, if it fell down and stayed down, she would shift her focus to the man.

7/27/2011 #7
Alexander Starkiller

Another person was there. A woman it seemed. Of course, he paid little attention, as he was pulling the hammer back quickly. The creature was only a few feet away, it was up, and was looking to bite Aidan. Not good.

Aidan took aim as quickly as possible, but he wasn't practiced with gunslinging very much. The creature had him, in a matter of moments. Then two or three cracks of gunfire sounded, light bursting through the dust. The creature, a mutant that looked like some sort of wolf-man--somehow this one had retained its hair, unlike most of the cancerous looking creatures, which is what prompted the lupine image-- stumbled past in a stagger, dropping to its knees.

Aidan jumped out of the way, glancing at the flowing blood from its torso. He assumed the woman probably didn't have a PWC, given that she would have kill it if she had the Computer. It turned its head, looking as if it wanted to spend its last moments eating him, but Aidan simply raised his revolver, a blew a nice sized hole through the mutant's head.

He quickly searched the mutant, now aware that it was male, finding only a few silver pieces embedded in its hand, likely lived in the remains of a trust fund, bank, or mine. How Aidan knew that, he was oblivious to that. There was also a club by a small pool of blackish blood. Steel, thick, good material, obviously just a bent piece from a foundation to something, Aidan put that in his pack. Sure was heavy, though.

Aidan walked to the woman, and reached out his hand to shake. If she reciprocated, she'd also get the two larger silver pieces he found.

7/27/2011 #8

Marlena stood idly as the man jumped away from the creature and finished it off with his revolver. She watched him search it. She would have done that first, but he'd beaten her to it, and he'd made the kill shot, so she let the issue go without challenge. The man picked up what looked like a steel piece of metal crudely fashioned to function as a club, and put it in his pack. After that, he approached her and extended a hand.

Marlena simply looked the man in the eyes for a moment, before finally clasping the offered hand and shaking it. Without a word, it seemed that an alliance had been formed.

7/27/2011 #9
Alexander Starkiller

Aidan nodded his thanks, leaving the not insignificant silver pieces in the woman's hand. He paused after he let go, thinking. He hadn't spoken a word out loud in weeks. What should he say, if anything?

In a rough, grating, gravelly voice, scratchy from disuse, he said, "Thanks. Where are you headed?"

7/27/2011 #10

Several things happened in such quick succession that it would have seemed they happened at the same moment were it not for the adrenaline enhanced perception of time for Tony.

The vampire woman smiled at him, and it was neither an evil grin nor a sneer. She appeared happy to see him! She stood, turning toward him, offering him an even better target as he hurtled through the air toward her.

She spoke his name, except that it wasn't his name: "Malachi!"

The smile, the word, her beauty, he wasn't sure what, but it tripped something in his brain and he faltered just for the slightest fraction of a moment such that his metal tent peg pierced her just a hair's breadth to the side of her heart.

She went down before his momentum and weight, her face stricken with pain, but more with surprise that he'd attacked her. Why would she be surprised? And why, he wondered as he jammed the peg deeper, didn't she explode, or dissolve, or at least become paralyzed?

It only took a moment for him to realize that he'd missed his target. That wasn't supposed to happen. He tried to pull the MTP free in order to jam it in again, but her hand held his wrist fast. Even injured as she was, she was stronger than he.

"Malachi," she said through gritted teeth, "What're you doing? We're friends, remember?"

7/27/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 9/3/2011 #11

Marlena briefly looked at the silver pieces the man had given her, then pocketed them. The man seemed to be on the verge of doing or saying something, so she waited, flicking on the safety for the Glock.

Clearly, he hadn't had much contact with other humans for some time. Neither had Marlena, so she sympathized with the man when he finally spoke. "Thanks. Where are you headed?"

Marlena shrugged, nearly spoke, but a racking cough came out instead. She turned away and cleared her throat, then turned to the man and tried again.

"South..." Her voice sounded hoarse as if she'd used it too much, when in fact it was the opposite.

7/28/2011 #12
Alexander Starkiller

Aidan politely waited for her to finish coughing. He knew how that was. When she said "south...", he nodded. He checked his revolver, then slung it in his holster, adjusting his vest, and the belt around it. He looked out at the bleak grey landscape, as much as he could see through the grey dust. Possibly ashy.

He looked back at her, focusing on her eyes. "I've been heading southwest. I think. Depending on what you're up to, I could join you for a while," he said roughly, coughing a little. He needed to start talking to himself next time he was alone, to keep this from happening.

He continued the gaze, what else was there to look at? Not to mention she was rather pretty. "Hm, you need something over your mouth, stop yourself from inhaling this dust," he said, still taciturn. He grabbed the end of his ever shortening long sleeves, then ripped a cleaner piece off, handing it to her.

7/28/2011 #13

"Southwest?" Marlena's voice had taken on a little more strength. "Fine by me..." She coughed again, turning away to spit on the ground. Hopefully that would get some of the dirt out of her mouth.

She looked back to see that the man's gaze had evolved to a steady level. Didn't matter much, though, not to her. The guy hadn't seen someone else for awhile, including women? It was the same deal with her. Though she wasn't this direct.

"Hm, you need something over your mouth, stop yourself from inhaling this dust," The man said, then tore off a piece of his sleeve and handed it to her. Marlena took it and tried covering her mouth with it, similar to how she'd used her jacket.

"Thanks," Marlena said quietly. She put the Glock away.

7/28/2011 #14

She was pleading with him to remember something? What was up with that? Since when had vampires used such ploys?

Tony couldn't get the weapon free, and he was in difficult position to do any real damage to her with any of his other weapons. He tried to head but her, but she moved her head to the side.

"Malachi! Stop this right now."

She gave him a hard shove on the sternum, forcing his release of the MTP as he flew a couple of yards backward before stumbling to his feet. Why was she holding back?

The vampire rose and pulled the MTP from her chest, tossing it over the edge of the cliff, and advanced on him slowly. He was now at a distinct disadvantage.

"Malachi, I can understand you being a little messed up in the head after what's happened, but this is no way to treat an ally. Have they turned you? You tell me what's happening right now."

"My name is Tony!" he said through gritted teeth as he pulled a shotgun from beneath his parka.

"And you are a vampire, and this is loaded with silver bullets."

"Then I'll ask you not to shoot me." She stopped. "Clearly you've forgotten the times we've had together. But I've come all this way hoping to find a friend in you, since the rest of the world has gone to hell. You seem unwilling to accept the truth, so I'll just stand here till you change your mind or the sun comes out."

She planted her perfect feet shoulder width apart, folded her bare arms over her stomach, and glared at him with perfect, emerald eyes.

Tony leveled the shotgun at her, cambered a round of buckshot -- not silver, but she didn't need to know that -- and paused. She still wasn't exhibiting any of the typical vampiric behavior, there was something familiar about her, and it would be a pity to mar such beautiful skin, even temporarily, even if it was already dead.

Finally he reached a conclusion in his mind and spoke. "Who are you?"

She blew strands of perfect, curly red hair out of her face in exasperation, assumed a different pose -- storyteller? -- and spoke.

"I am Morcant ap Llewelyn, turned by the ancient, Antonious de Isigney in the late 12th century in Wales, after my family was decimated by Norman invaders and I rescued from r*** and death." She continued to tell the story as his shotgun slowly lowered, him being entranced by her perfect voice and movement as she acted out portions of the tale for his viewing pleasure.

"And when you finally came forward to meet me I was called Morgan Lewis," she continued. "We allied ourselves to fight the Hollow Justice and an attack from an army of vampires. Perhaps it was the beginning of the apocalypse, but whether that be true or not, it brought us close. We both lost loved ones in those battles. We both survived. Are you sure you remember nothing? Do you still drink the blood of the Nazarene? And do you remember my faith? How about yours?"

7/28/2011 #15
Alexander Starkiller

Aidan looked uncomfortable. The woman had thanked him, something entirely unfamiliar to him. He hadn't had anyone say that to him for months. Maybe longer. He cleared his throat quietly, hesitating a moment before saying, "You are welcome." He bit his cheek, running a hand through his short hair. "I don't need to go southwest, just so you know. I could go South for some time," he added.

Aidan licked his lips under the dirty rag. He decided he would need water soon, but hopefully somewhere less dusty. He scraped some of the dirt from his face, near his eyes.

His gaze shifted from the woman to the swirling, blowing dust. The grey pallor that permeated the area was growing darker. There was either more dust, or it was getting to be night. Likely the latter. Aidan needed to find some place to sleep for the night. No, they needed a shelter. He glanced at the woman, putting away her pistol. There were two of them now. He needed to remember that.

Turning to face her fully, Aidan said, "We should probably look for somewhere to spend the night. It's getting dark, obviously it's a dangerous area, and the dust isn't letting up." He looked at her eyes again, her face, still set up to guage the reactions of wild animals. He would also need to remember that she wasn't one of those.

7/28/2011 #16

"You are welcome," the man said, running a hand through his hair. "I don't need to go southwest, just so you know. I could go South for some time."

Marlena nodded at this. "I was about to say the vice versa version of that." She shrugged, watched the man look at the dust around them. She did the same, noting that the area around them was getting darker. Nightfall... Staying out in the dark would be foolhardy under these conditions. Marlena had gotten away with it a few times on clear days, but here? It'd be suicide.

The man must have noticed the same, because he voiced his concerns. Marlena nodded again. "Yeah. Did you see a spot near that rock, someplace we can settle down, like a cave, or something?"

7/28/2011 #17
Alexander Starkiller

Aidan shook his head. "No. But we could backtrack where we heard the mutant coming from, and maybe find its cave, or hole," he said. He went to where she was standing, which was close to where he had first heard the scream. He stepped up behind her, an arm over her shoulder, not touching, pointing where he had heard the sound. If this was a canyon, then that wouldn't help, until she told where she was and where she had heard it coming from.

"Your turn," he said softly, due to the proximity.

7/28/2011 #18

Drink the blood of the Nazarene? How did she know about that? He'd never seen her before, had he? And it wasn't as though he advertised the fact. And faith! Since when did a vampire have faith?

Tony frowned at her, but fuzzy memories started to come back to him, like old photographs. Maybe that's all they were. Blood seeping into a vest. The touch of that perfect hair against his cheek. The sounds of battle between soldiers; his soldiers; and vampires. Heat, wounds, death. None of this was new to him. It had happened in the 50 years he could remember. But these were unique pictures; moments that he hadn't remembered or experienced during that time.

"Nice story," He finally said. "Let's say it's true. I am this Malachi and you are Morgan and, against all that is true and right, you; a demon posessed, blood thirsty monster, have some kind of faith. Why are you here, and why do you want to talk instead of drink my blood?"

Again she blew the hair out of her face, and this time stomped a foot and clenched a fist.

"You men! So unbelievably dense you are. I can't drink your blood. The blood of the Nazarene? It would kill me, you know. And like I said before, I'm here for you, because you're the closest thing I have left to a friend. Not too many servants of the most high God among my kind, are there? And how many of you would stop trying to kill me just because I told you to? Nope. It's just you and me, baby, fellow immortals in a fallen world devoid of the chance for companionship for either of us."

She seemed to have cheered up already, just by talking.

"So what say you?" She asked. "Shall we travel together? You can guard me during the day, I'll guard you at night, and in-between we can get re-acquainted!"

She almost sounded like a giddy school girl.

"Well, I don't remember. Call me Tony, and I don't expect to sleep well any time soon."

He put the shotgun away.

"Great! We'll be BFFs," she said, and moved with vampiric speed to his side, throwing an arm around his shoulder. He stiffened up and she let her hand slide off his pack, pouting.

"Oh, fine. If you're going to play hard to get, go on with your stubborn self. I'll just walk here behind you."

"Achem? Ladies first." Tony motioned her forward and she grudgingly complied before sashaying down the trail just two strides ahead of him. It was maddening how she knew how to move. Not overtly sexual, but even more effective for its subtlety. And the worst part was his fair certainty she wasn't trying to seduce him. Just tease him as the only man remaining who might begin to understand her. And worst than that, he was afraid he actually MIGHT begin to understand her.

7/28/2011 #19

Marlena silently agreed with the man's strategy, but moved forward a little when she saw him approach and then move behind her. She turned her head to see him point over her shoulder, indicating where he'd heard the scream first.

"Your turn," the man said. Marlena promptly looked around, then stepped away from the man, tracing her footsteps. She ended up a little to the man's left, where she pointed a little to her left.

7/28/2011 #20
Alexander Starkiller

Aidan rubbed the short, grizzly he had been sporting for a few days. He wanted to shave, but hadn't the chance, so he had gotten used to rubbing it when he was thoughtful. After a while, he spoke up, "I know where the origin is, follow me." He waved the woman over, walking to where he had pinpointed the origin. It was a short ways off.

This raised another, more familiar question. How could he do that? He was as in the dark as usual, but he had been aware of this trait of his for awhile.

Aidan stopped at the origin, or nearby, likely. "This is where the mutant screamed. Hopefully, his den or a clue to it will be nearby." He gestured for her to go left, and he would go right. He started searching.

7/28/2011 #21

Marlena brushed at her short, thick black hair. Her hand came back with dirt on it.

This dust was practically sticking to her. She'd love to get a shower, soon... Hopefully they could find some sort of residential area. Even a stream would have been good. But not with this... man next to her.

"I know where the origin is, follow me." The man waved to her and walked to another spot. Marlena followed, confused, until the man stopped. "This is where the mutant screamed. Hopefully, his den or a clue to it will be nearby."

Marlena narrowed her eyes. How the hell does he know that? But she didn't ask, instead decided to go with it. A hunch was better than nothing. She started searching to the left when the man gestured to her to do so.

7/28/2011 #22
Alexander Starkiller

The woman looked confused. And rather upset with the dust. Who could blame her for either? He didn't know why any of his... abilities? traits? intuitions? existed, or how they worked. They just did.

That, and the dust did suck.

That's why he sent her in the direction he did. At least she'd know his traits were real, and usually accurate, when she found the entrance to a cave in a few minutes. Aidan just bid his time, obscured from vision mostly, the dust whipping around, clinging to him.

The dust really sucked.

7/28/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 9/3/2011 #23

Time passed. Marlena was feeling a bit under the weather. Was there a cave? Or were she and the man, yet unnamed, wasting their time?

Wait a second. Marlena spotted something a distance away and moved to it. Her eyes widened when she finally recognized it. A trick of the eyes? Was she finally losing her mind? No. It was a cave. No @#@$ing way.

"Over here!" she said, trying to keep her voice low enough to avoid alerting enemies, but loud enough for the man to hear. She allowed herself a small smile. For once, she'd had a stroke of luck.

7/28/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 9/3/2011 #24
Alexander Starkiller

The man walked over slowly, tired. He stopped near the woman, and spotted the cave, smiling. He looked at the woman. "Good job," he said, a little more upbeat. But given the way things were, that was only a slightly less deep and gravely monotone. He started into the cave, only ducking a little at the entrance, pleased that it opened up. He activated a solar powered, and clunky, light that he strapped to his chest to leave his hands free.

The cave was wide, tall and deep, the dust ending after only a few feet in. It ended in a dead end, which was good, but revealed a lot of dead bodies, one or two human but mostly animals. Could be a little good loot, too. He let the woman know that it was good in there, though chilly.

7/28/2011 #25

Marlena waited for the man to approach, staying silent until he complimented her. "...'Good job?' I should be saying that. I don't know how you figured out the origin so quickly, but I'm not complaining. So to you, good job..." She coughed after finishing her mini-speech. Shouldn't be talking so much...

The man switched on a light that was strapped to his chest; Perfect. Now Marlena could see just how much dirt she was covered in. In the bright light, she could see particles of dust float in the air. She looked down at her arm and brushed lightly. What seemed to be a hundred thousand particles flew from the spot she had touched.

"....Dammit," Marlena grumbled. It was worse than she thought.

7/28/2011 . Edited 7/29/2011 #26

The differences between night and day were marginal here at this time of year. It was winter, and the sun, if it was up there, simply made a low, wide circle a little above the horizon for about four or six hours a day before dipping back out of sight. Not that it was in sight to begin with. With all the snow blowing around and the constant cloud cover they were fortunate to catch a glimpse of the sun once every few days or weeks.

Such conditions made it relatively easy for a powerful vampire such as Morgan appeared to be. She certainly wasn't smoking, as he thought she would be if she were less powerful and this were daytime. He, on the other hand, would need rest after a while and began plotting how he might do so without becoming vulnerable to the monster ahead of him, faith or no.

She could probably dig. She could probably jump. She could probably climb. Fire would only stop her if it surrounded him and didn't burn out. Holy water? The blood of the Nazarene? These things wouldn't do her much damage unless she ingested them. A little contact with her skin would burn her, but only at the point of contact, and she might eventually heal from such damage. He didn't believe the bit about garlic, and she'd proven she could move more quickly than he, so even if the faith was a sham and crosses repelled her, they'd only offer so much protection. He had a U.V. flashlight, but didn't want to hurt her anymore.

Tony was so deep in thought he nearly ran into her, and leaped back into a defensive stance. There she stood, hands on hips, one hip cocked a little, staring at him with her head tilted slightly to one side.

"Penny for your thoughts?" she asked.

He half expected her to produce a penny.


"For real?! You've taken to wandering in a daze then, since the apocalypse? It's very unlike you. I definitely preferred the warrior Malachi, as much as I abhore violence. At least he wouldn't kill himself by walking into the face of danger."

"Speaking of danger," he answered, "how do I know you won't pose any to me once I go to sleep?"

Again the hair blowing. "Because, good sir, I could have endangered you right now. Or five minutes ago, at least, if I'd wanted to. And for your info, I prefer the little sip. IF I could drink your blood to begin with. You're so paranoid."

She flipped her hair and skipped on down the trail, still oblivious to the wind, cold and blowing snow that was now turning to sleet. He put up his hood, growled to himself, and followed, paying better attention now.

7/28/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 9/3/2011 #27

Tony was getting tired. Morgan looked like she could go all night, even with its being a long night in the winter. How was it that she wasn't cold? She must be, but it didn't affect her the same way it did him. He scuffed his feet, hoping to get her attention. No affect. Coughed.

"Bless you," she said, but didn't turn around or slow down.

"Achem. Morgan!" he called out. "Hold up a moment, will you."

"Sure. What's up?" she asked, stopping and turning half toward him.

"I think we should rest for a while. I mean, if you're with me."

"Of course! I didn't come all this way just to say 'hi' Where do you want to rest?"

"uhm . . ." he looked around, not seeing anything that looked attractive. It wasn't his first time outside but it was his first time with a vampire, as far as he could remember, and she didn't seem to need shelter like he did.

"Maybe a snow drift? We could dig into it. They tend to be relatively warm."

"Sure. I'll keep an eye out."

So saying she turned back down the trail and kept going, keeping an eye out even as she'd said. Eventually they reached a likely place where snow had piled up on the lee side of a boulder. Tony let his pack slide to the ground against a small tree, pulled out a small, folding shovel, and began to dig.

Morgan watched for a moment, a bemused half smile on her lips, before she put a hand on his shoulder.

"Mal . . . I mean Tony, let me. This is what we do, among other things."

He grunted something and stepped aside, offering her the shovel. She ignored it.

Her face crinkled up, eyes glowed red, fangs and nails elongated. Shoulders hunched.

Tony pulled out his shotgun and drew a bead on her.

She dove into the bottom of the snow bank, digging like a wild animal digging its burrow.

Tony looked on in amazement. Had anyone like him ever seen anything like this before? Her limbs were a blur obscured by flying snow and ice. After a few minutes she emerged from the new tunnel and shook herself. All the snow was gone from her body, only a little left stuck to her leather dress. She brushed that off quickly.

"Care to examine the premises, sir?" She asked.

Tony picked his jaw up off the ground, so to speak, thanked her, and ducked inside. It was perfectly sized for two people who didn't mind getting cozy.

"It's a little tight, don't you think?" He said, crawling out of it.

"Really? Why?"

"Well, it's not like we're going to sleep together or anything."

She laughed out loud, startling him.

"No, no. Of course not. I don't do that. Besides, I'm still getting over the loss of my husband, and you're not my type. No, I just want the maximum benefit from your body heat. I promise I'll be good."

There was no teasing in her voice. She wasn't being playful. She was perfectly serious. It took him a moment to absorb the change from her earlier behavior. Women.

"Okay. But I'm keeping my clothes on."

"I should think so."

She turned away and began to circle the place, looking around.

With nothing more to talk about Tony took off his parka, hung it up inside out for the sweat to freeze, pulled a closed cell foam mattress from his pack, and slid back into the snow cave. Once he made himself as comfortable as possible he took a piece of unleavened bread from a pocket and nibbled on it a little. He chased those nibbles down with a drink of the blood of the Nazarene from his canteen.

It was a sort of routine he'd assumed 50 years ago when he noticed everyone else eating and drinking at specific times. He'd found the canteen hanging on him, and not knowing what else to do, drank from it. He discerned that it was blood, but it actually tasted good, and he felt much better once he was done. When no one seemed to notice that he was drinking blood from the canteen he continued doing so every so often. He found he rarely needed to eat, but that also put people at ease, so he did so. It wasn't needed here and now, but it was a habit.

He was just wrapping up the bread and putting it away when Morgan slid into the snow cave head first on her stomach, almost like an otter or seal sliding into the water. She propped herself up on an elbow to look at him for a moment. He shoved himself over slightly to make more room for her as the space really was tight.

She smiled. "Well, goodnight, Tony. See you later."

Apparently the times of day and night meant about as much to her as they did to him, what with the sun being hidden so much of the time. She lay down and he was gratified that she didn't try to cuddle, though physical contact between them was inevitable. He noticed that she didn't have a scent, but that of the wild that clung to her hair. No body odor. He wondered if his would become an issue once he'd been a few days without a bath, and could only hope not. These and other random thoughts chased themselves through his head as he drifted off to sleep.

7/29/2011 . Edited by Fleur-de-lis Evans, 9/3/2011 #28
Alexander Starkiller

Aidan sat down. "Um, thanks," was his short response. How else could he really respond? He looked at the woman, smiling at her actions.

"You can't do anything about this dust. Not until you find enough water to bathe or shower in. Anything you try will just make it worse. Besides maybe rolling down a grassy knoll, but I doubt you'll find one. Just leave it be if you can," he said, almost warmly. Almost. His voice cracked before he could get halfway through what he said to her, and he finished by coughing. He took out his canteen, unscrewed the cap and took a swig. Wiping his mouth, then wiping off the mud created on his chin, he turned again to the woman.

"Need a drink?" he asked, before looking around the cave again. It was getting colder, and he wish he had a fire going. But there was only dry brush out there, so that was hopeless.

7/29/2011 #29

Marlena scowled when the man pointed out something she already knew. "I know I can't do anything about it yet. I'm no fool; don't mistake me for one..." Another cough racked her body. Damn this dust...

The man offered some water. Marlena looked at the canteen, the scowl fading from her face, and replied quietly, "I have my own water. But thanks for offering me." She'd made sure to stock up in that regard.

7/29/2011 #30
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