Factions, Families, Clans, and Empires
The Orsa of Terminus wish to claim twelve artifacts to release their imprisoned lord, known only as The Sealed One. The Patronus Guardians seek to keep these artifacts from the Sealed One and his generals.
"Tall and and with a powerful but lithe frame, the Architect of the underworld has a presence that strikes fear into the heart of his victims. A dark complexion only adds to the way his very being seems to blend into the shadows that surround him, pulsating with a violent fervor that requires blood to be sated. Every powerful movement in precise and fluid, like the raging torrents of a blood-stained river, deliberate and lethal. Dark, long strings of hair fall across his face like the tails of rats fresh from the abyss, covering a strong-boned face that was once graceful and attractive but which is now cold and distant. Days worth of stubble shadow his face, framing a small, thin-lipped mouth nestled below a thin and yet prominent nose. Two eyes as dark as the coals of hell themselves leer out from this face, distant and yet bridled with a passion that cannot be satisfied, oval shaped and fearsome.
Young still perhaps, but horrors linger within this wretched creature that even we Masters fear to release. Scars now cross his body as though the guardians of Hell itself tore at his flesh every night, and so they have... Tattoos were forbidden and yet this hound has etched onto himself the runes needed for the Rituals. He was marred suitably...
Dark swaths of clothing are wrapped around his body in times that allow it, the traditional outfit of his school. Over this deathly mass of material are a number of leather belts on which hang the ornaments of his work, utensils whose only purpose is to bring death to his victims. His only protection comes in the form of two silver arm brace and leg braces with intricate carvings etched into the surface, depicting scenes of brutality and violence."
"Distant from the world, apathetic and coldly logical whenever in the presence of his peers. The Architect is a perfect representation of what we have aimed to forge, a creature whom uses the very thing that makes us all capable of life to destroy his opponents with brutality and indifference. Man, woman and child alike we have thrown to this beast and each time he has not disappointed his Masters. Truly he is an ungodly creation; the most barbaric of our puppets and he whom shall tear apart his own family should he be ordered to do so... and he was."
"A power no Master can tame; our creation is not inhuman as we so dearly crave... This slave, merely acting orders - until he realises we no longer hold the leash, or the whip to flay his disobedience..."
"I met him only once. He spoke little, only in cold and berating tones that struck me with a fear inconsolable. It was the immolation of his eyes, and the tiny wards carved into the flesh of his arms with some strange ink... he looked at me as though I were to be next, and I had no doubts that he would tear me apart with his teeth if only to feed upon my flesh. Even so, he killed my wife..."
Talents and Powers:
Critical Eye - Constant effect. Starting on turn one an Assassin has the chance to make an attack at three times his natural speed, in order to score a critical attack on the opponent. This can be reattempted every three turns thereafter, and cannot be stored over turns.
Silencer - No preparation is required. The Assassin has the ability to create a 'bubble' around himself (5m radius) within which no sounds can be heard or made. Sounds that are made within this bubble cannot be heard to those beyond the bubble, and vice-versus. The Assassin still hears all sounds although they are muffled and somewhat distant in nature. This area of silence is maintainable as long as the Assassin does not leave it limits.
Bodily Displacement - No preparation needed. The Assassin has the ability to resume any last known position within the last two minutes (this does not reverse time). This can only be used once per opponent per bout, after which this spell cannot be used until the fight reaches a conclusion.
Visionary - No preparation required. An Assassin analyzes an environment (30mx30m) and gains a perfect mental image, as well as the ability to mark up to three targets in this area. Once marked the Assassin is aware of the position of all targets provided they remain within this area (this enables the Assassin to realise ambushes and changes in the environment). With direct L.O.S the Assassin gains increased accuracy and lethality with all ranged weapons, and can recognise weak points in an opponents defences causing attacks against marked targets to deal extra damage.
Pandemonium - Generally for use after a successful attack, the Caster possesses the ability to release a toxin that incites panic in those that are present (25mx25m), creating a suitable distraction in which they can escape. The panic may be resisted with a suitable exertion of Willpower, provided that they are not weakened or emotionally stressed.
Blood Magic: The Blood Magician has 41 points of blood at full health. At the depletion of these points the Blood Magician will fall into a coma. Every two turns the Blood Magician has 1 point restored to his pool.
Detoxify - 1 blood point per use. A Caster has the ability to detoxify their blood of harmful substances or diseases during a turn, providing they are not attacking an opponent in that move. By giving another creature a point of the Caster's own blood, they may remove toxins from the blood of another.
Union of Blood - 2 points per union. Another creature may be linked to the Caster via a link between the blood that goes beyond physical touch, allowing for effects to be employed upon an opponent/ally from a distance of up to 15m (extensible by 5m per extra blood point). Multiple union's can be made simultaneously. All attacks usually requiring a physical touch no longer require this.
Thinning of the Blood - 2 blood points per use. A successful strike with a prepared weapon (coated in the blood of the caster before the strike) or the placing of the Caster's blood into an opponent removes the coagulation ability of the targets blood. This means that wounds will no longer heal of a natural accord, and will continue to bleed at an accelerated rate until medical help is found.
Leech - Via physical touch a Caster may drain 4 blood points from a living or freshly dead creature per turn. This ability requires no other preparation save skin-on-skin contact with the desired victim of the attack. In a similar fashion, blood points can also be used to restore energy to allied creatures in the same method. A side-effect is that the skin touched will wither and become life-less if drained.
Power of the Vampyr - 2 blood points per use. Wounds may be healed with the expenditure of blood points. This ability heals minor-medium wounds, with more serious wounds needed the expenditure to be doubled in order to begin the healing process. This may be extended to others via physical touch or a Union.
Cleansing of the Blood - 2 blood points per use. The Caster may expel three points of blood in order to remove a spell cast by another, so long as it was used within a 15m (extensible by 5m per extra blood point) radius of the Caster. For complex spells, another four blood points must be added for each turn taken to prepare the attack (I.e a three turn prep requires 10 points).
Flowing of the Tourniquet - 3 points per use. Within a 15m (extensible by 5m per extra blood point) radius the caster has the ability to cause excruciating pain within all living things. While not lethal the pain is debilitating and can cause a person to enter shock if previously hurt or otherwise distressed.
Curse of the Blood - 3 points per use +1 sustain. A Caster uses his infernal abilities to assault the senses of any opponents within 15m (extensible by 5m per extra blood point). Aside from heavy bleeding from all orifices, the ability interrupts with all standard forms of sensory perception for as long as the ability is maintained. This includes: sight, smell, hearing, touch, balance, taste.
Feast on the Flesh - 3 points per use +1 sustain. Within a 15m (extensible by 5m per extra blood point) radius the Caster may begin to boil the blood of any victim, essentially causing their blood to corrode their internal organs, muscle tissue and flesh. This ability can only target one area at a time (Areas: Arm, Leg, Torso, Head), at which point the limb will begin to eat itself from the inside out. (Turns: Excruciating Pain, Muscle Degradation and Bleeding, Loss of Flesh/Tissue, Loss of Limb)
Sins of the Blood - 3 points per use +1 sustain. The Caster expends blood points in order to realise the fear of their opponent. Once this fear is made known to the Caster, they induce visions and hallucinations in their opponent that match this fear in order to corrupt the mind of their victim. This ability can only be used once per opponent a bout, and the fear is in the discretion of the victim. (Damage by turn: Fear, Horror, Outright Terror, Insanity)
Plague within the Blood - 3 points per use +1 sustain. The Caster may expel blood in order to cause aggravated degradation of an opponents body in the same way as a corpse may decay. This ability can effect anything living within a 15m (extensible by 5m per extra blood point) radius of the Caster. (Damage by turn: Putrefaction/Decay, Mobility/Organ dysfunction, Incapacitation, Death)
Frothing of the Blood - 2-18 blood points per use. This spell allows the Caster to turn their blood, or blood within a 10m radius (extensible by 5m per extra blood point) into acid, providing it is not within another living entity. This blood deals heavy burning and corrosive damage to anyone except the Caster of the spell
Shocking the Blood - 2-18 blood points per use. This spell allows the Caster to turn their blood or blood in a 10m radius (extensible by 5m per extra blood point), into electrical pulses of varying uses. Does not damage the Caster.
Immolate the Blood - 2-18 blood points per use. This spell allows the Caster to conjure naked flame (temp 1,400-1,600 degrees) by sacrificing their blood; upon conjuring the flames they are able to manipulate them at will (up to a distance of 15m (extensible by 5m per extra blood point). The amount of fire they create depends on the blood-points spent.
Blood Rituals: The heavy tattooing on his body negates the need for extensive preparation.
Ritual of Sight - At the expense of 1 blood point and with an item of the target at hand, the Caster may track the current location of the target. A circle must be drawn with the blood, in which the item is placed. Once the ritual is complete the targets movements become unknown to the Caster, whom must re-cast to find a fresh location.
Ritual of Blood - At the cost of 7 blood points each, a ritual may be partaken in which both participants are bound together. A complex series of lines must be drawn for each person, joined by a single thread of blood. So long as one of the participants is alive, the other will reawaken after 24 hours of their death with full bodily regeneration. If both participants are killed within 24 hours of each other, then they will both remain deceased. This Ritual also gives both participants knowledge of roughly where the other is at all times, and within a range of 15m (extensible by 5m per extra blood point) can grant a telepathic link.
Ritual of Cain - At the expense of 4 blood points, the Caster may transfer all their bodily afflictions onto any living entity within a 15m (extensible by 5m per extra blood point) radius of the casting circle. In the same fashion, wounds may also be absorbed from someone else to the Caster if he or she so wishes. A large rune must be drawn in blood.
Ritual of Enslavement - At the expense of 4 blood points, this corruption of the Bonding spell allows the dominant caster to inflict pain upon his disciple, and to encourage thoughts and actions within them with enough willpower. It holds all the benefits for the caster, but none for the victim.
Ritual of Torture - At the expense of 4 blood points the caster conducts a ritual in which the victim is steadily flayed alive, and made to suffer their most frightening nightmares. Used to break opponents during war, in order to gain secrets or too demoralize enemy soldiers.
Ritual of Lesser Summoning - At the expense of 5 blood points, a portal may be opened through which hordes of Lesser Demons may be summoned. The ritual follows the same format as for Greater Summoning, taking two turns. Typically between five to ten Lesser Demons can come through each turn while the Portal remains open. (Lesser Demons range between dog to human size.)
Ritual of Greater Summoning - This ritual can be used to open a portal by which a Large Demonic entity can enter into the world, at the cost of 10 blood points and two turns. A series of runic drawings must be made around the summoning circle. Provided the ritual is not interrupted and sufficient blood is provided the Caster gains full control of the entity until their duty is completed, at which point the Demon is granted freedom. A Demon can be returned be expending eight blood points in a similar ritual with the Demon present. (Demons size typically ranges from one-story to three-story in size.)
Dark Magic -
Smog - The ability to create dark smogs that can enshroud areas (10m per turn) around the Caster. The smog causes no aggravated harm besides smoke inhalation, but does obscure view to all within it. The Caster himself retains the ability to sense via the smogs cloud, and can instill this ability onto others at his wish.
Traveling - The magician can open Portals that can instantaneously link two distant areas, allowing one to traverse great distances in a matter of seconds. The portal will transport any object, physical or magical, that enters it. Simple portals are roughly 5msq, with the size being increased per turn of preparation.
Shield - The magician can create a shield of Dark Magic around himself, and others within a 5m radius. This can be extended with concentration over multiple turns. The shield cannot block physical attacks, but is useful against magical attacks, particularly Light based attacks.
Orbs and Strikes - Bursts of energy that cause aggravated physical blows to an opponent, as well as some burn damage. These are generally small-ish in size, and rarely fatal by themselves.
Dark Stones - Stones created from a mixture of magical paths. These stones allow a constant link between the creator and the wearer; allows the ability to speak telepathically at range, transfer mental images and emotions, and allows the creator to transport via the stone to a location. They can also be used to inflict pain or gratification on a wearer.
Glock 29 x2 - A light-weight semi-automatic pistol, with a capacity of 15 rounds per clip (9x19mm ammunition). (Ammunition clips: Regular x2, Blood Hollowed x1). Clips can be kept on a belt similar to that of the Throwing Knives, with guns holstered in a suitable place. (Blood Hollowed clips contain a point of blood dealing 'Thinning of the Blood' and 'Flowing of the Tourniquet' damage.)
Shortsword - A steel-bladed sword measuring a 19" blade with a 4" handle. The handle is a strong polymer with a drip-guard and a cloth wrap to protect against slipping by sweat.
Daggers x2 - Two steel daggers measuring 10" with 3" handles. Each dagger has a drip guard and a cloth handle in a similar fashion to the Shortsword.
Throwing Knives - Stainless steal knives with a blade of 6" with a 3.5" handle, fastened on a felt that crosses the wearers body diagonally from shoulder to hip. The belt typically carries four knives.
Caltrops - Small barbed devices that are sprinkled across the ground to demobilize an opponent whom treads or falls upon them. The barbs on the caltrops are approximately an inch in size, forged from steel. Bag can be used once.
Blinding Powder - Contained in a small leather pouch, this powder is a chemical substance that induces blindness if it comes into contact with the eyes. This effect lasts two turns, and cannot be removed by physical means such as water, or rubbing. Bag contains three handfuls.
Garrot - A steel cord used for strangling victims by hand.
Ring of the Shjah - A ring that greatly reduces the effects of the Dark Arts against the wearer. This includes Necromancy, Blood Magic and powers stemming from Demonic sources. Protection is only granted when the ring is worn on the body in some fashion, and is granted to anyone who wears the ring.
Sehlia's Pendant - A pendant that contains a store of 4 blood points in a silver cone-shaped vial around a silver chain. These blood points can be used individually or collectively during a bout/scene. The Pendant must be manually restored after use.
Dark Stones - Small, opal coloured stones created with a mixture of Blood and Dark magic.
Ceremonial Dagger (Neragha) - An engraved, runic dagger crafted from an otherworldly stone, that is to be used when doing Rituals. Neragha also does damage similar to the effects of 'Thin Blood' on a successful strike, as well as draining a point of blood for the user. While being held, the Neragha reduces the cost of all spells by 1 blood point.
"A rat in the streets; little more than flesh and dirt mewling in the withered arms of its disgusting sires. The streets so lined with this filth that every breath was a putrid inhalation of disease and waste, every step a risk of stepping into a foul mire left in their wake. From here with doth collect our kin, clutch them from the maws of disuse and carve from their flesh weapons that will shape the ages..."
"How they writhe, or young creations; unwilling to do thy Masters bidding. Flay their flesh from their bones we shall, until they lay down willingly and without petulance in their accursed eyes. Smile softly they will, with all the talents of the whores at their whim. Bruised and beaten they will work for their goods, or else we shall draw blood from every scrap of bare flesh that can be found..."
"Neragha bit into supple flesh without mercy. Cold, distant where the eyes of our creation, a tool wielded deftly. Aware, he scowled at the recognition in her eyes as the blade was drawn across her pallid throat, a warm crimson veil slicking everything. Unblinking he stood back as a crimson blossom filled the puddle in which she say. Pride asunder filled me, for the dawning of our greatest creation yet had come upon us..."
"Betrayal! A swine unto our ranks doth he wish to become? Cast him into the dirt we shall, to tear his flesh from his body in chunks with blunt weapons and sharp words. Cruelly shall he be forced to watch, watch as she is torn apart by his Masters, her screams drowned out by the tearing of her flesh. Betrayal is a costly thing..."
Updates made as necessary for plots.
Swathed in black robing that shimmered with every powerful step he pushed open the door to Gambits, muscles taut beneath the loose fabric. As a viper stalks its pray he allowed his coal black eyes to survey the innards the bar, their light-less expanse sucking in every detail until finally he blinked, pale eyelids slipping across their surface for the briefest of moments. Deliberate in his slowness he crossed the bar with his robes fluttering in the air even though no breeze stirred the room. Calmly he observed the two men fighting while he walked, but the thin veil across his face obscured anything his features may have betrayed.
With deadly accuracy his eyes fell upon a board behind the bar, tiny notes tacked over its expanse with grim mug-shots. With a few deft steps he glided to the bar and allowed his eyes to scan the board. A single cluck of his tongue showed his distaste for what he observed; disappointment flowed heavily in his mind. So few craved the death of another, it seemed.
Turning again, so that his silhouette cut through the dim back-bar lightning he focused again on the fighting men. One swung a scimitar with an aggression that welled up feelings of disdain in The Architect. Such actions would have been surely punished in the occult...
Souless eyes scraping across the bar, his attention came upon the Empress and he entourage as they sauntered across the bar with barely concealed pride. Their armour pricked a vague recognition in his mind, but what truly garnered his attention was the poster one of her guard held in his hand. The solider moved to the Bounty Board and tacked the poster up, before turning back towards the rest of the guard. The Architect ignored the rest of the room, letting them all slip into the recesses of his twisted mind.
On the board the poster hung. The target: Jeremiah Mishca, Swift. He had never heard of the Mercenary, but identities matter little in his business. Whoever the man was, steel would meet flesh in an arc of gore in which the assassin would revel, briefly caught in the ecstasy of the kill. A slitted smile crept across the face hidden behind the veil as he noted down the details of the contract. It was a hefty some of money, to be sure.
Turning once again, the Architect scrolled across the bar with one face in mind. Unsurprised, he found nothing except drunkards and the weak. Even so, the taste of blood was coppery in his mouth, almost tangible...
With ill concealed curiosity his eyes fell upon the trio of guards, who had so suddenly snapped to attention, armour clinking rhythmically as they formed a neat little line. He wondered at who the woman was; he did not understand her dialect, but certainly she commanded power. He would remember he face. He allowed his deathly eyes to fall upon Domingo as he walked, face a stoic mask as plain as the veil that shielded it from the world.
Such violence in little more than a bar? Perhaps he would visit more often, if only to bathe in the blood of those whom found themselves torn apart. A low hiss emanating from between two thin lips escaped, slithering through the air until it was swept away by the noise of the bar. A shame that the violence seemed to have come to such an abrupt end; and before any blood had even been spilled.
"Disappointing..." Barely audible the hoarse whisper stretched from his mouth like the silk of a spider, cut swiftly off by a flick of a forked tongue. It seemed there was nothing more for him, here.
Rarely did anyone address him. Allowing his breath to rattle out while he cast his stolid gaze over Kazou, he took a few gliding steps forwards, footfalls almost silent on the ground, despite the weight of his instruments tugging at the insides of his robes. Even the belts tightened across his chest were adorned with the utensils needed to steal life. He came to a halt much closer to the man than was necessary.
He breathed slowly, eyes sweeping over the entire entourage - lingering on the Empress for the briefest of moments. In his mind he imagined planting his blade into his stomach...
"A job." Voice still coarse, he smiled beneath his veil. "Talk."
The Architects eyes sifted across the faces of her guard until she spoke, at once his eyes snapped to her, their expanse simply staring. Beneath his veil he was smiling, thin lips drawn back in an expression that appeared anything but pleasant.
The only words that were needed. Still the adage not to speak more than absolutely necessary pervaded his mind like a cancer. Another habit which had been cut into his skin as much as impressed upon his mind. A bitter smile crept across his face, and he nodded to Takayama without another word.
Sweeping his robes around him as he turned, the assassin strode from the bar.
Dressed impeccably in a black suit and a crisp white shirt, he stepped into the bar tucked his mobile phone back into his pocket. The howl of the wind outside was cut short as the door clicked shut, shielding the patrons from the chill. A few long strides took the man deeper into the bar, where he paused and looked around with coal coloured eyes. Noting nothing of interest, he moved towards the bar and settled down on a stool.
"What can I get ya, fella'?"
"Just a water, please."
He spoke in a clipped accent that could have belonged to a dozen countries. He paid for the water in cash, and took gentle sips while his eyes roamed the bar. They lingered for a moment on a board pinned up behind the counter, photographs tacked to its surface.
He snapped the phone shut at the same time that he stepped out of the toilet, and slipped the little device back into his suit pocket. The glow of the screen was visible for a few seconds longer, by which time he had made his way back to the bar and slid himself onto a thin, wooden stool. It was uncomfortable, but it gave him a good view of the bar, and the board hung behind the counter.
The bartender, a burly man with dark hair, went off to fetch a glass of iced water. Money changed hands briefly, and then he went back about his duties, cleaning glasses. Meanwhile, the well-dressed man turned in his chair so that his back rested against the bars counter. As always, Gambits was less than endearing.
Lowering the empty glass slowly, he shifted his eyes across the various groups in the room. None of the faces stood out, and no-one seemed to be aware of his presence there; to them, he was just another well-dressed man in a dimly lit bar. The glass touched the wooden counter with a tiny tap that was swallowed by the track playing through mounted speakers. He slid it away with his knuckles, not turning around to order another. Instead, he rested one arm across the bars top, and massaged the back of his head with his other.
As usual, Gambits was proving a lost cause. The board hung almost empty on the bar, save a few yellowing sheets of paper long since forgotten or ignored entirely.
Business wasn't good this season, it seemed.
He observed the fight with barely concealed disdain, eyes falling onto the mass of writhing bodies with something between pity and irritation flashing briefly. He reached for his glass of water, now refilled, and lifted it to his lips to take a small, insignificant sip. The chilled water stung his teeth slightly, but he ignored it.
Vaguely the notion of hurling the glass at whichever asshole was playing the music flashed through his mind, but he let the feeling pass. He would just sit and keep an eye on things, for now. Who knew when something useful might turn up?
The cold steel of his gun was a welcome comfort against his side.
Slowly, eyes still scrutinizing the bar, he removed his jacket and folded it up neatly on the stool beside him. He wore beneath it a simply white shirt, the sleeves rolled up to reveal and intricate design of tattoos that spread down his forearms. The dark hue of his gun was visible against the material, but given where he was, he doubted that anyone would take much notice of it.
As an afterthought, he drew a thin cigarette from his jacket pocket - Malboro, cheap and cheerful - and lit up. He wasn't familiar with the rules in Gambits, but he hadn't spotted the usual haughty security figures stalking the bar. Exhaling a cloud of acrid looking smoke, he closed his eyes and tried to block out the music pulsing through the bar.
Exhaling a final cloud of smoke, he ground the glowing stub of the cigarette onto the edge of the bar and tossed the butt into the empty glass beside him. Again his eyes fell on the board beside him, and again the same old familiar faces stared back at him; at least half of them were dead, he suspected. Already he was regretting stopping by the bar; all he had seen was a short scuffle and a few lonely souls sitting around drinking and doing little else.
With a jagged sigh that berated himself as much as them he slipped his mobile out and checked the time. Still early, by all rights, although the cold season brought the night to the streets sooner and sooner. He slid the mobile back into his jacket pocket.
At least the music had stopped.
A whispered tremor of stifled air announced his arrival in the street outside, a figure twisting together out of the dense patches of shadow cast by the orange streetlamps doting the streets. A light sheen of rain had fallen earlier in the day, enough to glisten on the surfaces of parked cars and the frosted windows of Gambits. Taking a second to indulge a lung fool of cool air, his eyes drifted around the street, near-empty at the late hour save the occasional wandering couple or glare of a cars headlights. Behind him a sign creaked ominously in the wind, its shadow stretching down the street.
Straightening the crisp black shirt he wore, he crossed the street with only the soft hush of his shoes to mark him out from the eerie silence of the streets; even the din of Gambit's was a dull fuzz of noise. Opening the door greeted him with a rush of warm air; thick and moist. A slight grimace twisted his face, but he stepped into the noisy bar all the same and looked around slowly, careful to note every face he could make out. The light fixtures flickered occasionally, momentarily throwing chunks of the bar into darkness through which he glided like a wraith.
A tilt of his head brought Maleficus into view, the ominous figure hanging in the air above the crowds. As quickly as he had acknowledge the figure he turned away, coal black eyes slipping across each occupant of the bar as he made his way silently through the crowds like a ghost. The soft pulse of the back-ground music sent tiny murmurs through his body, tangling with Maleficus' corrupting influence. A slight, imperceptible smile quirked his thinned lips.
With mild interest he swept his gaze back onto Meldraenei and Maleficus, hands casually slung into the pockets of his loose fitting jeans, expression muted.
It was a slight thrum of the air that marked his appearance; a smudge of perception remarkably similar to distant heatwaves shimmering on a summers day. Soundlessly, a figure folded into the alcove beneath the door as though it had been there all along. He stepped into the bar after a moment, the lowlights illuminating a crisp white shirt and stylish black jeans. Intricate tattoos swarmed their way up his forearms, disappearing beneath the sleeves rolled tightly at his elbow.
It was rare that he visited this place; but the sort of people he needed, or hunted, were the ones whom showed their faces here. He ran the tip of his tongue across one sharp incisor. Black eyes roamed freely across the bars occupants as he sifted his way through the crowd.
Eyes that searched.
Tiny drips of condensation rolled along the side of the glass and onto his fingers. Small splinters of ice tinkled as he laid it on the smooth wooden table and slotted himself atop a stool, eyes never ceasing their endless sweeping of the bar. He pushed aside the glass - a pretense for hanging around the loathsome place. Distaste sat strongly in the back of his throat. The night was young yet, though; it could be productive.
Red was moving along... steadily. As were his plans; soon they would have the trap set, and they would be one step closer to releasing The Sealed One. How many thousands of years had it been since they had last met?
A bright flash surfaced over his eyes.
It was gravity that finally toppled the man; his knees finally buckling beneath him so that his weight came crashing to the ground with a shudder that finally roused him from his memories. The man lay on the ground, blood trickling from his mouth as his last rattles of life were swallowed by the music filling the bar. Another man watched him die; red hair, and pale skin that reminded him of some freakish caricature he had once seen in his past. Ten years ago, perhaps.
The condescending look on his face was plain for any to see, and yet the death of a man did little to interrupt the bars occupants. Curious.
When his duty was done, the results would be inescapable. More than one body would be lain to its last gasp, and there would be few left to sit and watch...
He passed a scathing look between Suza and Drybones. It would never cease to grate upon him how idiotic some could be; they didn't see the bigger picture.
Before his thoughts could continue further, a sharp ringing cut through the bars music. He retrieved his mobile - unlike other millennia old entities, he wasn't afraid to adopt technology. He flipped it open and listened intently for almost a minute. He spoke only one word before hanging up.
He returned his gaze to the dead man on the ground, and shook his head. Piss in the wind. He understood the phrase well.
There was a chill in the air that belonged only to the years close; a succoring bite with each intake of breath followed by a puff of white that dispersed slowly before his eyes. The streets below would shield them from the breezes that now tugged his shirt in every direction like the hands of starved children. Sitting on the ledge of the building with his legs dangling off the side, his ebony-hued eyes followed the young pair as they meandered down the streets. Tessa and Liam. They were talking loudly, but he couldn't make out the words as they were swept away by gusts of wind.
He didn't hear Neferata's calls, but he saw her stumble from the alleyway in her gossamer dress, the white shimmering in the dim halogen streelights glare. She collapsed before them, as planned.
Sitting three stories above the scene, the man known only as Lucian watched with a malicious smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
Sitting upon the stone steps of the house that Talmara had just left, he had watched the two young ones succumb to the whims of the vampires. Neferata stepped from a copse of shade and into the street, at which point he himself stood up and made his way slowly down the steps just behind them. He took a moment to fasten the buttons on his jacket, before walking over towards the group.
Without speaking, he crouched down and bowed his head towards Liam's. he inhaled deeply. After a few long -- a possibly awkward -- seconds, he stood up and clapped his hands together, turning back to the group.
"It's only a short drive."
As if on command, a lorry marked 'TSO. Limited Removals' pulled up beside them, and a gruff looking man got out and opened the back. Lucian himself climbed into the passenger side...
As promised, the journey was short. Fifteen minutes later the lorry turned left into a narrow street, made narrower still by the cars lining the sides of the roads. Even in the late hour, a few houses still had lights glistening behind the curtains, and a young boy cycled past them on his way towards town. The lorry came to a halt half-way down the street beside a detached house with flaky white paint, and an unsightly green door. Lucian climbed from the lorry, and walked towards the house.
A rusted steel gate segregated the street from an unkempt front garden. He lifted the latch quietly, the slid the gate open before making his way up to the front door. Without looking back, he opened the door and stepped into the darkness within. A few minutes later, a bright light flickered on in the hallway.
He headed straight for the back door.
The garden wasn't much better kept than the rest of the premises, and a flagstone path twined its way through thick tufts of grass towards a grotty looking shed at the back of the garden. It was perhaps a dozen paces squared, without windows and only a single door.
Lucian headed straight for it, and tugged open the heavy door with a loud creak. The inside was completely empty - he hadn't bothered to provide any sanitary needs, or food or water. If they died, he cared little.
"Put them inside - and make sure you take anything they have on them, too. Including their clothing."
He stepped away from the door, and crossed his arms over his chest.
"Not just a pretty face, after all."
If he was being complimentary or sarcastic, he gave no indication. From his pocket he produced a heavy padlock, with which he securely fastened the shed door shut. They would have better luck breaking down the walls than the door -- though, even that might take a few broken bones and long, excruciating hours. The shed wasn't as rickety as it appeared. It would be a few days before he leaked the whereabouts of the two to the Academy. By then he expected they would be sufficiently traumatized to demoralize his enemies. Living in your own filth often did that to children.
"Leave four. The house is stocked. The former owners are in the freezer if they get hungry. Serves them right for having such an enormous freezer..."
"Red will be along for the days, with some others."
He turned away from the shed, now facing towards Neferata. Her two helpers disappeared inside the house, and he heard the front door close moments later. He heard no noise from within the shed yet.
"Nothing keeps them in there, except themselves. Part of me hopes they will try to escape just so I can skin them." He smiled. "If they manage to damage the shed too much, put them in the freezer. Make sure you take the food out first."
He cast one more glance at the shed, but still could hear no noise. he expected the first one to touch the walls would scream loudly enough to be heard. Lucian turned back towards the house and began making his way back up the flagstone path.
"I'm going to make some tea. Would you like some?"
Meanwhile, he had already sent a messenger to contact Red. Likely the creature would be lurking around Gambit's, as always. Without waiting for Neferata's answer, he stepped into the house and made his way to the kitchen. In a few days time, he doubted the kitchen would still be standing. Best to make good use of it while it was.