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Brenhin

"Why fear you the shadow?"

0 · 1,790 views · located in The Earth, 2017

a character in “A Tale of Seven Children//Rebirth”, as played by claw

Description

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~ Physical Profile ~

Name: Brenhin
Physical Age: Impossible to tell
True Age: 1585
Gender: Male
Race: Elemental Demon
Subspecies: Fire Demon
Description: The ancient creature that is Brenhin is large, imposing and terrible to behold. A creature of shifting smoke and burning flame he seems all but insubstantial. He appears as a forest fire, smoke giving him form so dense it becomes his physical limbs, fire beats in his ghostly breast as embers of every burning hate light his eyes, fill his mouth with teeth of white hot flame and burn eternally wherever he so wishes. His form is shifting and great and twists to the height he so desires, at times he may be nothing more than a wisp of smoke drifting from from shadow to shadow or else he is as great and tall as a tower, with mighty limbs that can crush as man in their drowning embrace or unleash a torrent of fire which melts all it touches.

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~ Psychological Profile ~

Personality: Brenhin is cunning, calculating and maniplulative. He schemes and plots and layers schemes and plots over one another in an ever growing web. For him the actual succeeding of his every growing lies, workings and trickery is only the pay off for the far more entertaining set ups. Though he is quick to grow angered at having his ploys and plots disrupted he is often able to work around this, giving himself his ever present nickname of The Lord of Deceit.
Likes: Complex people, plotting, mind games, humanity.
Dislikes: Hero complexes, being interrupted, being reduced in power.
Strengths: Brenhin's physical strength is tangible alongside his physical size, what he is strong with however are his latent abilities to control and manipulate. He is not one to delve directly into combat himself, but instead prefers to allow his enemies to tear themselves apart from the inside, turning allies against each other.
Fears: Losing his power.

Affiliation: Himself
Moral Alignment: Neutral Evil

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~ Combat Profile ~

Major Abilities:
+Pyrokinetic; Brenhin is not only a creation of flame and shadow but is able to control it, manipulate it and generate it. He is also to make fire dance to his will and twist around himself without issue.
+ Mark of Brenhin: The ancient demon learned long ago that to make a person a pawn they must feel they are in control, so Brenhin learned how to give someone that feeling of control. Bestowing an echo of his own power into the person, granting them the gifts to control flame and to shift their form into smoke, however these are not without a cost. The mark glows constantly as red hot embers over the persons heart, the Mark appears as though it were a broken wheel, two hands ripping it in two. But worse than that, it allows Brenhin to enter their mind whenever he so wishes, seeing through their eyes, whispering in their head and even when they are broken enough, directing them as a puppet in his games.
+ The Whispering Smoke: The smoke and fog that makes up Brenhin's form has unusual properties to any who inhale it. It stinks of rotten wood and leaves behind tar that has to be scraped away with a blade to be removed. But should any breath in this tight and clinging smog for too long their mind would become clouded, their thoughts becoming gradually harder and harder to form until they were left with nothing but base animal instincts.

Special Ability: The Slumberer Awakens: Brenhins form is one of mist, not flesh, smoke not blood. And yet this is not entirely out of choice. Locked away deep within himself, Brenhin has a the ability to take on a form of substance and fire and destruction, growing gigantic and strong, crimsoned skinned and with such a control over flame itself that he could create fires hotter than the stars themselves. But, alas, such things tax him to the extreme and should he so chose to unleash this full display of his great power he would be left reduced to little more than a shade until his power regrew, or worse, should this form be 'killed' it would turn to inert stone, trapping his essence inside until his prison was broken.


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~ Faction Profile ~

Faction: Openly- Devils Demons. Secrets- Himself
Rank: SS
Class: Demon Lord
Title: Lord of Deceit
Loyalty Level: 2

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~ Miscellaneous ~

Biography/History: *WIP*
Other: Brenhin uses hexcode colour #B2A719 Because yellow is the colour of deceit apparently

So begins...

Brenhin's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brenhin Character Portrait: Yohan Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by claw
The cell was indeed dark, gloomy even. That sense of unremitting dread seemed to seep out of the sealed door, bleeding into the hallway where the two guards stood, almost lazily at watch. There was no threat from inside the contained cell and they were in depths of the most safely guarded complex in the entire world, what reason would there be to truly care for their charge? It almost almost unsurprising that the two men, who stood in their frail body armour, eyes glazed over as their hands loosely gripped onto their loaded rifles didn't even notice the change in the air at first. Of course nobody could really blame them, it was hard to slip from the realm of waking dreams. Yet when the stench of burning tar, blistering skin and sickly firewood began to stick in their nose, then they noticed something was wrong.

But by then, it was too late for them to return to their senses as they once had. One of the two guards had snapped enough to his senses to notice the thin carpet of smoke, black as pitch, crawling along the ground, lapping at their feet, tugging at their ankles. That sickly sweet, foul smelling smoke was like burning hell to the mans nose, every foul stink in the world tore at his senses as his eyes watered. He tried to open his mouth to shout there was a fire, but oddly he found as he opened his lips they felt numb, his tongue large and unwieldy in his mouth. The words wouldn't come, just a strangled noise of shock and surprise. In panic he looked at his companion, and got only a blank, glazed look in response.

There was a painful, almost puppet like movement to his fellow guard as he turned around, stumbling like a sleep walker, to face the cell. The mans hand dragged itself up to the slot in the door, the one weakness in this otherwise perfect door. And with one smooth motion the latch was thrown open and the man stumbled back, moving in a drunken stupor. The guard who still had just the thinnest control of his senses watched in terror as the smoke suddenly stopped flowing around their feet and surged into the gap, as though it were a vacuum pulling all of the horrible black smoke away with it. The latch slammed shut behind the mass of stink and smoke but not before one, lone, dreadful word echoed through his mind.

"Forget"

The guard blinked, shaking his head. He looked about himself then sniffed, a grimace spreading across his face. It smelt as though someone had set off a stink bomb somewhere around here, why did he have to be put with all the boring jobs that always seemed to have something go wrong with them?

Inside the cell however it was a different story, the mass of smoke coalesced just within the confines of the door, swirling and twisting on itself as it drew itself up, condensing even as it grew itself in size. And with a dreadful, baleful pause there was a cracking, dragging noise of coals breaking in a fire as a flame, darker and of richer crimson than any natural flame burst into being in the centre of this shadowy mass. The prisoner within could only watch, silently, as two thick arms sprouted from the mass of smoke and terror and a crowned head grew from the top of the genie like form. In an instant a halo of fire illuminated the head, filling out the creatures eyes, splitting the top of its head in a burning mass that tore its smokey form apart and two eyes of dark fire burned within its black skull.

"Who... Who are you?" The boy within the cell questioned the now fully formed Demon, fear was well hidden from that pained voice, even if his body was less apt at hiding it. The Demon of smoke and fire bowed, a twisted, misshapen movement that twisted his smokey form in awkward angles.
"Yohand, is it not?" His voice was calm, smooth and incredibly deep, a rumbling growl carried through his words, splitting all sense of kindness from his voice, and it certainly didn't sound like he was putting that growl on either, rather that his very form created this sound of rocks cracking against itself. "I. I am the Demon Lord Brenhin. And I come here before you with an offer."

There was a twisted look of surprise on Yohan's face as he behind the Demon before him, mouth opening and closing in wordless confusion as he clearly tried to say something to grasp the situation before him before a look of anger spread across his face. Clearly he had just remembered who he worked for, if not who had locked him up and with a yell he ran forwards, cuffed hands raised above his head in an attempt to brain the Demon Lord. A swift and savage back handed slap put an end to those dreams of defiance as Yohan was sent flying into the wall, a Brenhin sized red mark forming on his cheek from where he had been struck. Brenhin sighed, a predictable response and one that frequently bored him, false defiance never brought good to anyone.

The legless Demon shifted across the room, drifting in front of the downed prisoner, watching as he shook his head to clear it of the obvious confusion that now drowned his thoughts in sticky pain. It must be so terrible for him, having been struck by smoke made manifest, it must surely be very painful indeed. He watched the boy before him blink painfully up at him, it seemed he wasn't about to lose consciousness. That was good indeed, he was after all on a tight schedule here and no doubt his absence would be noted if this took too long. Still, great risks brought great rewards.

"Now, as I was trying to say, I have an offer for you Mr Yohan." There was a look of hate in the green-grey eyes as they looked up him. It made him wonder if he would have to give the boy another knock before he would listen to the wonderful offer he was to lay out for him. It wouldn't be the first one who had needed a bit of forceful persuasion.
"What do you want from me?" A strange, otherworldly grin all but ripped Brenhin's features apart as the flame and shadow melded and twisted around themselves.
"Simply, I need you to do something very easy for me. In return I will ensure you are not executed for a crime you have not committed." Yohan look the Demon up and down before snorting, looking away in disgust.
"I'm not betraying the WDL for you, hellspawn." Brenhin twisted forwards, his face only a few inches away from the boys, the heat of his fire causing sweat to prick into being on his forehead.
"You misunderstand my intentions. I do not want you to betray the WDL, simply to send a message and I need a human for this message to be credible. In return, I shall give you the strength to leave the WDL and you may then hunt my lesser kind as you see fit with greater strength than you could ever have right now. Of course you could turn down my offer and I can find another way to send my message, though I fear that will cause a great deal more innocent blood."

That seemed to get the boys attention. He could see the cogs of internal conflict turning in his brain, it was painfully clear in his eyes as they darted about, trying to weigh up the options. Of course there was only one that would have ever been taken, though truly Brenhin cared little if Yohan did turn down his offer, it just brought him greater pleasure and brought many of his other plots into motion this way.
"Fine. I'll send your message. What do you want me to say and to who?"
"I shall tell you that when the time is right. But for now, allow me to uphold my end of the bargain. I shall bestow upon you the strength to warp flame to your will, to twist your words into weapons that the weak willed will bow before. Fire shall not scorch you, nor smoke choke you. You will know true power now." Almost gently Brehins right hand snaked out and laid just over the boys heart, pushing his clothes down. Suddenly there was a sizzling and the smell of burning flesh filled the air. Yohan hissed in pain as the searing pain spread through his breast and then all at once his veins were alive with living fire, ever inch of his body screamed in agony as a growing orange light sprouted over his heart. He wanted nothing more than to writhe on the floor to escape the pain but he couldn't even move his eyes, Brenhin's agonising touch rooting him in place.

And then as suddenly as it had sprouted across his entire body the pain vanished as though it had never been. The Demon Lord removed his arm to reveal the mark which had been left behind, the wheel being torn asunder by twin hands. The symbol glowed with a faint orange light, which was fairly easily concealed by the boys clothes. "Now, sadly my way out has been sealed behind me, and my alibis will soon begin to excuse my... Well none of that concerns you Mr Yohan. Now I'm afraid you will have to ferry me from this place, else our deal will be null and void. Be thankful that smoke is as smooth as the clean air for you now." Brenhin's flames suddenly sputtered and died as the Demon began to rapidly shrink in size, the smoke of his body dissipating in clouds before horrible the remaining mass of smoke practically threw itself at Yohans face, pouring into his nose and mouth as it swarmed down his throat, hiding in his lung. Now Brenhin had only to wait, in his hiding spot where none could ever hope of knowing his presence. And now that Yohan carried his Mark he could see everything through the boys eyes. This was all too beautiful to not enjoy.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall Character Portrait: Helena Kingsley Character Portrait: Brenhin
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Helena was not exactly overjoyed by the situation. She'd followed along, mostly feeling too sick and unsure of the situation to formulate any other plan, and was rather regretting it. As she'd walked the events leading up to her arrival had become more clear to her. The men, the van, the people holding a gun to her father's head..

As the group settled down Miss Kingsley sat hunched up in her seat, casting her eyes round the room and trying to work out some way to escape from this horribly unexpected situation. She considered the possibility of writing instructions to call the police surreptitiously on a napkin and seeing is she could slip it to a waiter without attracting suspicion... but soon came to the realisation that everyone was speaking Italian..a language she had very little grasp of.

Would it get to someone who could read it before anyone noticed what she was up to? Seemed unlikely.

"I don't want anything." she murmured, before good old British social conditioning kicked in to some extent.
"Still don't feel so good, I mean...thanks anyway."

It wasn't as if they seemed like horrible people on the surface. The young man who seemed to be leading things had helped her to her feet, and she was still clasping the vial the silvery-haired girl had given her, unsure if she should try it.

There was at least one person, a dark-haired woman, who was being quite rude, and this prompted a mildly disapproving look from Helena beneath her hair in response to being glared at, but she had far more pressing things on her mind at the time.

They seemed friendly enough.. although from what she could tell many were in a similar situation to her. Yet she appeared to be the only one noticeably panicked by the development. She was happy to admit she'd lived a pretty sheltered life in rural England, but she didn't think that being captured and taken hundreds of miles away was something you ever became indifferent to. Was this some sort of cult?

The appearance of someone who was both outside the immediate group, and appeared to be an English speaker, caused Helena's gaze to snap up rather pleadingly in her direction. Maybe she could slip something to this woman and get her to call the police? Her father must have reported her missing by now...if he was safe.. who could even say. Regardless at least through that she might be able to get away from this madness. She didn't want to 'learn how to defend' herself. She'd never had any need to until someone had decided to kidnap her. Mostly Helena Kingsley just wanted to go home.





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By all accounts it had been quite an eventful morning. The first intruder had been swiftly dealt with and escorted down to detainment. You couldn't simply stroll up to the HQ and begin snooping around without expecting retaliation.

The 'special' new trainees appeared to, for the most part, be a bunch of entitled children, so perhaps their title was appropriate. If it was up to her these creatures would be nowhere near the place, but it was made pretty unequivocal in discussions that it was not up to her. Until, at least, they gave her some reason to react.

Leaning back in her chair, ORIN moved her attention to more routine duties, the reboot. In order to properly maintain the system, she needed to update fundamental parts on a regular basis. In order to do that, she needed to restart everything, even her own internal components.

The software update generally happened only once a month and in itself only took a minute or so. For most people it would have been imperceptible. Some of the remote terminal screens could be seen to restart themselves, and network connections appeared out of action momentarily. Within the control room ORIN was sat silently, eyes shut, waiting for the restart. Most people might have been disconcerted as having to shut off large sections of their own mind in order to restart them whilst being completely aware of it, but she had extensive experience of it. Sit still, eyes shut, empty mind..

And it was back up.

She took a few moments to review all the files, make sure things were all in order...

It seemed off.

She was almost certain the file pattern was different. They were all legitimate files though. Metadata indicated they’d all been around a while.

ORIN frowned. Something about it bothered her.


Quickly though, her attention was taken with far more immediate problems, first they appeared to have another unexpected guest. ORIN homed in on Rinne and ran her data through the check. WDL contract, it appeared. Worth keeping an eye on, but nothing that needed immediate attention.

What she discovered next however, did,
as heat sensors in the lower levels indicated something very unwelcome.

Almost instantly ORIN snapped onto the surveillance system for the detainment level in order to catch sight of the demonic manifestation attacking the guards on the monitor. Almost immediately she had flagged the area and opened a communication line with any high level personnel and exorcists in the complex at the time.

Demon sighted in Detainment. Deploying standard protocol and awaiting permission to terminate.” she announced, switching to the feed inside the cell, as she brought the heavy reinforced barrier hissing down across its front, the airtight seal shutting with a slight puff of air.

It would not, in theory, take too long to douse the whole room in holy water. The loss of the prisoner was a very minor concern as far as ORIN saw it. It was the job of other people to pontificate over matters (and she was aware if the irony there), it was her job to act upon these matters.

A demon had infiltrated the bases in broad daylight and was, it appeared, making an effort to possess the newly imprisoned intruder. This was exactly the sort of situation she was designed to counteract. ORIN's eyes narrowed as she poised over defence activation codes.

People were always so painfully slow to respond.

Awaiting permission.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall Character Portrait: Helena Kingsley Character Portrait: Brenhin
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An industrial estate, somewhere in the North of England.


Robert Parker sat at his desk, scrolling through emails and yet consequentially reading absolutely nothing. Most of a cold cup of coffee and a half-finished pack of aspirin sat on the desk next to him.

Off in the gloom of his desk unlit by the glare from the monitor, the phone squealed.

Robert massaged his temples for a moment before picking up the receiver, to hear the voice of his receptionist, Sophie, on the other end.

“A er… Mr Green to see you Doctor Parker.”

Robert’s mouth dried up the moment he heard the word. His hands closed reflexively around the cheap plastic enough that he felt it near give way in his grip.

Of course there were many Mr Greens out in the country, in the world. It was not the most unusual name. It could be any number of people. Any number of men who were perfectly sincere in their wish to visit and discuss business from a small medical supply company.

But in that moment he was certain that it was none of those people.

It was him.

“...Doctor Parker? Shall I send him in?”

Sophie sounded a little confused. Robert realized he’d been silent for far longer than he’d intended. Trying to clear the awful dryness in his throat, he spoke up hoarsely.

“No, no, I’ll come to meet him.”



It was a few minutes later that Robert Parker was able to navigate the dark and narrow corridors of Parker Laboratory Solutions and make it out into the reception area. It was a small, shabby looking place with some scratchy covered-chairs and a picture of a meadow on the wall that was faded to the point of appearing like some ghostly hellscape.

Sophie, a short, slightly chubby young lady with a colourful cardigan and a grating laugh, was currently engaged in lively chatter and occasional hyena-like bursts of mirth opposite a tall, silver-haired figure dressed in a shirt and suit-jacket.

Upon hearing the sound of the door both turned, and Robert regarded the man, trying to hold back the distinct feeling of sickness rising in his gut.

“Good morning Doctor. It’s very nice to see you again. Sophie here has just been telling me all about her dogs. West highland terriers apparently. There’s been a nightmare with groomers this month. Complete travesty apparently.

His contact lenses looked pretty impressive. You could almost think, looking on his face, that we were something remotely human.

Robert narrowed his eyes.
“Follow me.” he stated tersely.

Can I get you anything?” Sophie asked, in an well-intentioned attempt to make up for her boss’s brusque response.
“Tea? Coffee? I think there’s some h-”
“No, we’ll be fine.”

Robert had cut her off.

Sophie shot the man a look but returned to the desk and continued playing minesweeper on the desktop.

The man in the suit just gavw a good-natured smile.
“Lead on Doctor Parker, I’m sure you know the way better than I do.

Robert would have been perfectly happy for the walk downstairs to have gone by in awkward silence, but his associate was in a rather talkative mood, voice resonating through the gloom and the footsteps on the half-rusted metal. Even if the conversation was rather-one sided.

Sophie seems to be a nice young lady. I’m very glad you were able to find a new receptionist so quickly. Lives with her grandmother apparently, rent prices in the area are quite crippling, terrible shame.

“Leave her alone.”

Oh Robert you know I have nothing but noble intentions. Anyway, how are the family?

The doctor's gut wrenched as he knew the question was coming.

How is your daughter?


“Much better.” he muttered out through gritted teeth.
“From what I’ve heard.”

They stepped out onto the bare concrete of the basement level. The ‘Cold Storage’ sign had begun to peel away, letters loose at their top and bottom. Down here Robert’s breath misted up in the chilled air.

No such mist surrounded the man who accompanied him.

Terribly sorry to hear about the ruling Robert. I’m sure the appeal will work more favourably for you. I’m sure you are a very capable father.

Robert swallowed back bile and remained silent.

The two stepped into a narrow, utilitarian corridor alongside a row of old industrial freezer units. Stains were evident on the doors around the seals. If one were looking a little harder at the old, ugly appliances had been very meticulously altered from their original function. In addition someone might see the symbols carefully painted on the surface in an almost-matching shade of off-white.

Dr Parker approached one at the end. He could just about feel his heart in his mouth as he reached up to the controls and turned the dial down to the ‘Off’ position. There was a hiss of escaping gas into the ventilation.

Then silence.

This was broken when ‘Mr Green’ gave voice once more.
I’m very sorry to pull you away from your work at such short notice Robert. I’m sure you have an awful lot to contend with at the moment. Unfortunately I didn’t have the luxury of prior knowledge about the situation. My daughter, you see, is apparently about to begin her education at a rather prestigious place. he explained, as if the Doctor were paying any attention to his rather than to the aging freezer.

Now, I think I’m rather old-fashioned. I’m quite protective of her. Perhaps a little too much, I’m sure she can take care of herself, but I always like to have a back-up in place. YOu of all people would understand the importance of doing whatever you can to protect your children..


Doctor Parker sucked in a sharp intake of breath and turned back toward the smiling figure, rage quietly burning in his eyes.

“You know nothing abou-”


BANG.

A sharp metallic impact against the door.

The man took a couple of steps back, forgetting everything he was about to say.

BANG.

The whole unit shook from the second impact. The thick metal of the door bent outwards than the airtight seal broke with a momentary sound of sucking air.

Robert reached round in a panic, searching for anything that he might be able to use to arm himself.

BANG!

The whole door tore off its hinges. Gas pipes ripped loose from their moorings, and the man’s vision filled with swirling mists of freon and water vapour. He struggled back for the far wall and as he did some hideous shape burst from the fog, barrelling into him at top speed. Robert Parker felt the air forced from his lungs as he was smashed against the wall, held several feet above the ground by his throat. Some grotesque, misshapen set of claws held him aloft, and in his swimming, misty vision he could make out some horrific parody of a face. Elongated, chitinous, too many eyes and far too many teeth. It snarled and hissed, the nightmarish visage closing until it took up all of his vision. It stretched its jaws wide, too wide, so that all Robert could see were the moss green depths of the maw about to crunch down on his face.

Rei. Please put Doctor Parker down.


A voice from somewhere in the fog.

The thing stopped, too many eyes wide.

Robert felt the grip on his neck suddenly release, and he dropped to the floor, gasping.

The mist was beginning to clear away. Over the sound of his own laboured coughing, the doctor caught a few noises from somewhere out in the obscurity. Snapping, organic sounds, like someone tearing up meat.

When the room was fully clear, he could make out his visitor, and another person now stood somewhere in front of the industrial freezer.

A young individual, probably female, though it was a little hard to tell. She (he?) was skinny and rather sickly-looking, skin pale and sallow-looking. Long hair hung down to her waist, and she was wearing a very old, very badly damaged medical gown.

The silver-haired man gave a short nod.
“Thank you Rei.
He turned his gaze back to Doctor Parker.

“Sincerely sorry about that Robert, misplaced enthusiasm, I’m certain it won’t happen again...will it?”

The new figure vigorously shook her head in response to the question.
“No. Nope. It won’t. Not again.”
With that she edged over to the man and helped him to his feet. Or rather, grabbed his arm and pulled him upright in a display of strength that far exceeded her build or size.


Good. Now Rei, it’s good to see you again. I’m aware that there has been a bit of unpleasantness. Regarding you, and your quite hurtful and immature behaviour. However, I’m optimistic that you have used this interim time to...reflect on your actions. I do hope that now we can start afresh and work together for something positive.

More vigourous nodding from the sickly creature.
Dr Parker stayed silent, propping himself against the wall, still overcome with shock from his near-death experience.

The visitor reached into his jacket, withdrawing a gun that had sat effortlessly disguised in an inside pocket.
Excellent. In which case I have a small job for you. First of all I’d like you to be ever so kind as to shoot yourself in the side of the head
.”

---
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ORIN resisted her immediate impulse, to scream down the comm line that Angel was a cretin, and instead took a deep breath and attempted to relay the information again.

"I'm not referring to the detainee placed in the cell Knight-Commander D'Brightaine. I am referring to the entity recorded breaking into the level, entering the cell and appearing to inhabit the detainee. If you are sufficiently concerned that I, as the base's security system whose construction involved many years and considerable funding, are not doing my job sufficiently that you can trust my conclusion then I would suggest that you do your job and go see for yourself."

She had, of course, already captured the footage of the whole thing in order to send it out, she didn't truly trust anyone to listen without hard proof. However she was less worried about vindicating herself at that very moment, and more concerned about not leaving that thing to its own devices whilst she argued with that pompous idiot D'Brightaine.

And if it set his head on fire when he went to check, that was just a bonus.

----

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Helena restd her folded arms on the table and her chin on top of them, gazing round the table as the young an who appeared to be leading this whole show spoke to her, implored somewhat by a rather soft-spoken girl across the table.

"I'm concerned about the whole thing..." she mumbled.
"I'm still not really sure why these uh...people are so interested in me...why I got...kidnapped..that kind of thing."

Her gaze flickered round to the other young man present, who had taken it on himself to strike up a bit of conversation with her...something she felt rather pathetically grateful for. Least it appeared she wasn't the only one who'd gotten flung in the back of a van recently.

"Uh...yeah that did..sort of happen. I was just sitting in a park and they grabbed my dad and kinda...well it wasn't exactly great." she explained. Helena hazarded a bit of a smile despite the fact that she was not exactly feeling her best. Maybe this did happen out in the real world more frequently than she'd imagined. Who could tell. Whatever was going on and whyever they'd all been brought here under this 'sibling' assumption, if they'd wanted her to die or be harmed or something she probably have seen it by then.

"Th-thanks...appreciate it. And yes, I'm Helena. Kingsley. Friends call me Hel."

Or rather she would if she had friends that knew her by anything but an internet username.

She returned her chin to resting on her arms. Her stomach was hurting, though she could most likely attribute that to it being completely empty, her having violently expelled its contents not all that long ago.

She didn't exactly feel in the mood to relax and eat lunch but at the same time she wasn't sure she wanted to be tasting bile and stomach acid for the rest of the day.

Having been watching what was going on round the table an spotted the rather rude individual seeking to horde the plate pf bruschetta, she suspected that dealing with that was going to be more of a problem than it was worth. Evenso, she was pretty sure someone was going to have to say something, and it might as well have been her.

She straightened up a little before addressing Ash.
"Um...I think those are supposed to be for everybody."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: Helena Kingsley Character Portrait: Brenhin Character Portrait: Vistra Mauve Character Portrait: Notable NPCs Character Portrait: Maniae
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If you wanted a thankless job, specimen technician for the WDL was probably a pretty good one. Art Hunter found himself in the role of carting bits of demon all over Europe in order to return things for study in Vatican City.

Surprisingly enough, a job that centred around demon corpses was surprisingly uninteresting work. Mostly because demons ceased to be especially dynamic when they had no head or only half a body.

Most of the time at least.

At the outside of the WDL compound, a van pulled up into place at the barrier level with the exorcist on duty. Some squeaky electronic music pulsed out of the window as a dark-haired man in his twenties sat in the driving seat, numerous fast food coffee cups scattered round the other seat and a look of profound disinterest on his features.

“Hey Hunter. Want me to report you in?”

The technician looked round with a shrug of his narrow shoulders.

“It’s fine. Got to cart all this crap in anyway.” he replied.

What he was bringing wasn’t really something you wanted to leave lying around somewhere. You didn’t really get along too far by trusting WDL cadets to exercise common sense.

A couple of minutes later Hunte ended up pulled up outside the block used for research. He hopped out of the seat, disturbing his collection of coffee cups and cereal bar wrappers, unhooked a white coat from the side to throw over the jeans and T-shirt he’d been wearing, and opened the back. Inside there was a gurney, and strapped down on top of that a translucent rectangle of plastic. Any close inspection would be able to work out the misty shape inside was looking suspiciously humanoid in shape..but the puddle of green around the shape’s head, like some sickly chartreuse halo, was not something you’d ever really associate with a human body.

Pushing dead stuff around was not exactly difficult, but it did kind of limit your options. It wasn’t especially heavy, but he wasn’t going to fling something like that over one shoulder and carry it up some steps. All that green goop could be poisonous..or..acidic...or how it reproduced. All kinds of horrible options. And the young man didn’t feel sufficient levels of zealous commitment to the WDL to risk his own life to get them a research specimen.

He pushed the gurney up to the usual door, approached the intercom sat beside it, and pressed the button.

“ORIN, technician A Hunter, signing in. One deceased specimen. Unknown species. Something gross. Here to report to Lovette for where to assign this thing.”

No answer.

“ORIN?”

Still no answer.
“This is about last week? Very mature. I’m not going to pretend the chimunk voice was not funny ORIN. You can’t ask this of me. I’m only one man.”

At continued lack of response, the young man sighed deeply, and snapped the channel on the intercom.
“Lovette let me in. ORIN is sulking and I’m not abandoning a cadaver in the car park.”

---

ORIN, for what it was worth, was not ignoring Technician Hunter’s requests out of spite, (even if she might’ve been tempted she wasn’t quite that petty) but was more down to her having far more important things to contend with before she let anyone in.

She wanted to scream at Angel for being a negligent prick and not dealing with the potential massive security risk that had presented itself, but she was also pretty certain that between his contempt for her and how far his head was lodged up his own ass, any amount of lecturing from her was not going to sway him to do any more than he already was.

Instead she set about instructing all the staff in the detainment level of evacuate the area and reconvene on all exits, while she pulled down all the blast doors and sealed off the area, including ventilation and water. Nothing was going to get out of that place. If no-one else in the organization was going to be on this, she most certainly was.

ORIN threaded her gloved fingers together, elbows leant on the table as she scrutinized the cameras. Lovette could handle whatever that idiot technician wanted, she wasn’t there too-

ORIN stopped.

ANOTHER manifestation?

“Lovette what in the hell are you doing and why is there some fracture in reality in your office?” she called down the intercom, before snapping over to the higher staff channel once again.

“Seeing as it appears we’re simply no longer bothering with actually stopping demons anymore, I’m going to assume none of you esteemed people are interested in the fact that yet another entity has managed to infiltrate the complex. But considering that, despite the apparent apathy towards the safety of the base, it is still my purpose to detect security risks, I felt it necessary to send you a courtesy call.”

---

Helena bristled a bit at the response from the individual she’d spoken to about the food.
It hadn’t really been a big request in her eyes, but it had been met with pretty undisguised hostility.

With renewed despondency and interest in eating anything once again gone, the young woman rested her chin on her arm again and took instead to idly rolling the vial back and forth between her hands and trying to work out how she was going to escape as soon as she got the chance. Maybe if she stuck around until everyone else had wandered off she could sneak out..


As such it took her a moment to realize she was being addressed, ending up regarding Vistra a little bit like a rabbit in headlights whne met by the apparent concern.
“Oh. Yeah. Not so bad I guess. I just hadn’t done...whatever that was before. Disappearing some place and reappearing. That was pretty new. It’s probably just because of that. And whatever people knocked me out with and stuff. I’m doing my best to be calm and collected and all but...not super okay with all this.” she explained, twisting her fingers in the sleeves of her dinosaur sweater.

This was really not a good day.

Upon Dawn's offer Helena came to grasping the ginger ale in her hands, not really too inclined to start drinking it but also not wanting to imply that she didn't appreciate the gesture. After some of her previous interactions Helena concluded it was easier and better to just play along.
"Oh yeah, thanks." she responded.
"I'll try that."

Wait until these people leave her alone, and then make a break for it. Couldn't be too hard...right?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall
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#, as written by claw
Warning: The follow contains gore that some may find unsettling, read onwards at your own discretion.


And now, sit. The boy twisted around, eyes darting to every corner of the room as he tried to locate the voice that had echoed around the place. It took him a moment to realise that his scanning for its source was fruitless, for it hadn't come booming through his ear, it had reverberated through his very being, crashing against his mind and soul as though it were a winter storm trying to breach the fortress of his mind.
"No." A noise similar to amusement seemed to bounce through his mind, a cruel and mocking sound that seemed to belittle him in just in making of the noise itself.
"Brave little creature, you fail to realise the depth of your position now." The boy twisted around, trying to escape the voice dripping with malice in his mind.

He froze suddenly, staring at the far wall. Where before there had been empty air there now sat two burning points of fire and light, hate and domination. He tried to turn aside to avoid looking at the horrific image only for the flaming orbs to follow him, no matter where he looked, Brenhins eyes were fixed behind his eyes and before them. "You see, little one, I own you now. You cannot defy me, not forever. Now, sit." There was a pull at the edges of his mind, a compulsion that screamed at him for fighting it. The edges of his vision turned a sickly orange even as the orbs of burning fire melted away from his vision. He gritted his teeth, fighting against the desire of his legs to crumble out from under him, all he had to do was focus, focus and resist and the voice couldn't command him, the drive couldn't force him to do what he did not wish.

This silent battle continued timelessly, with the boy standing fixed in one spot, teeth gritted and eyes tensed at having to focus so very hard against the Demon in his mind. And yet he could feel that Brenhin was almost mocking him, not even trying to force him to obey, as though he were trying to give him a sense of false hope that he could actually win. The boy pushed those thoughts aside as he tried to focus on very much not sitting down, even though the mocking presence continued to push against him.

The battle of wills was broken all of a sudden by the sound of the door being unlocked and the tramping of thick boots as men poured into the room, armed with far too many weapons than was necessary to contain a simple boy. They pushed the startled boy up against the wall and forcefully turned him around, pinning his arms behind his back before the cold touch of metal locked around his wrists, weighing them down with what must only be handcuffs. "Comply with their wishes, my messenger, do not resist and this shall all be over swiftly. Things are moving apace and you shall soon be free to go about your business."

He was certainly in no position to argue against the wishes of the Demon Lord this time, though true he could perhaps try to run, or kick out against the guards as they pulled him backwards and forced him out of the small cell that had housed him, what good would it do? He was surrounded on all sides by men armed with automatic weapons that would tear him apart in an instant. If he ran they could kill him without even moving, if he fought then one of them would shoot him in the back, his only thought of solace being that his death could mean the destruction of the Demon sitting inside him. But even then, he couldn't be sure that would be the way of things, for all he knew the Demon would escape unnoticed and nobody would suspect a thing. As much as it boiled in his gut to have to so much as carry this Demon even a single step let allow carry out its wishes he knew that his being free to hunt the Demon after this little message of his was sent.

As they crossed into the open courtyard, blinking against the morning sun, his eyes darted across the floor, his mind coming up with all the possible ways he was going to have to escape. They didn't looking good, too much open ground for him to try to cross and to be shot down on. And then his eyes landed on a small group of people, no more than nine of them, watching him. And he could feel a sense of elation coming from Brenhin inside of him. There was a joy and a hate in there both, and it scared him more than he cared to admit.

"Halt, it is time." Those dark eyes glowered once more from behind the boys vision, the searing pain returned to compel him to obey the Demon Lords command.
"I can't just stop, they'll kill me" He winced internally, his foot catching on the floor, causing him to stumble. One foot crashed into the other as he tried to stop himself falling flat on his face with his hands bound behind his back. But it was this lapse in concentration that finally cast down the walls of his will power that had up until now kept Brenhin at bay.

Now, so suddenly having his mind twisted away from putting up the mental walls needed to protect himself from the Demons corrupting influence he could feel the icy claws of dominion latch onto the confines of his mind and against his own violation his whole body stiffened. It felt as though he were constantly falling, there was a sense of disconnect from his body as though everything was rising and falling all at once. His gut squirmed painfully as it warped in all directions. His throat clenched tightly and drily as it burned in his neck. He felt as though he were about to be sick and shit himself both at the same time. All this pain and discomfort combined together and he was sure that it was Brenhins doing to make him feel this in all it's terribleness.

"What are you doing?"
"Why, conveying my message of course. I must commend you on being both courier and parchment." That disconnect grew suddenly so much worse. He could feel the wind against his face, feel the chill in the air, feel the pain in his gut as it burned at him, could feel his eyes start to scream at him as they dried but could not blink. He couldn't even twitch, his whole body rejected him, though he could still feel it. It was as though he were a passenger within a puppet, there was no sense of control any more. He could feel his body though could not command it and horribly it dawned on him that this was entirely what Brenhin wanted him to feel.

A laugh began to grow within the boys chest, a lazy smile twisted across his lips as his eyes stared blindly forwards. The guards around him looked at him, obvious concern spreading across their features as they tightened their grips on their personal weapons. The chuckle grew as it spilled from his lips, pouring out across the courtyard in it's growing madness. And then he could feel as much as hear a voice that was somewhere between his own and the Demons own bassy tones echo from his throat.
"Pathetic, weak, frail things. Strange how Humanity has grown so tall and yet remained so weak. So easily twisted by your betters. Hmmm, yes, twisted... Allow me to demonstrate how twisted we can make you."

He could feel the Demons puppeteer fingers grasp hold of his body, shaking the looseness out of his limbs suddenly. He shoulders tensed and there was the feeling of his arms straightening behind his back and lifting, raising towards the sky. Inevitably they met the resistance of his bodies natural limitations... And kept going. Discomfort instantly gave way to horrible pain as Brenhin twisted his arms higher than they shoulder ever go, his shoulder blades began to squeal as they grated against each other. And he could feel it all, every single iota of agony as his bones pushed together, felt his skin and muscle tear, feel the warm blood dripping down his armpits as his flesh pull itself apart.

There was a sudden and harsh crack and pop then ended the screeching of bone against bone and projected his arms forwards. His shoulders were now entirely twisted around the wrong way, the bone jutting out of the bleeding cavities at his joints. As the bone popped and tore itself apart as his joints were spun around in a way that no Human could ever endure the pain allowed him some sense of control of his body once more. He pitched forwards, crashing down onto his knees as a blood curdling scream tore from his lips. The tears of pain that had been welling in his eyes falling from his face to splatter through the crimson blood that pattered on the floor. He was only given the briefest of respites, as though the Demon that had so totally consumed control of his body was savouring his agony like some fine wine. It was to be taken in small, carefully controlled mouthfuls, not chugged down like cheap booze.

Apparently deciding it was time for another sensual sip of this delicate wine of human suffering, the boy could feel the Demon lifting his arms which should be entirely unable to even twitch in their ruination. The pain only grew as his bound hands stretched out and began to revolve inwards towards his chest, then arced upwards, bringing his elbows crashing together. He silently pleaded within his iron cage of pain locked away within the confines of his mind, that Brenhin would stop here. He had conveyed his message, he didn't need to go any further. But the Demon wasn't even listening, other than to enjoy his screams of agony as they bled forth from his lips.

Against the flex of the boys joints the arms twisted once more. The pain he had felt ripping his shoulders around felt only more concentrated now as his elbows loudly popped, the cartilage being the first thing to break as it visibly snapped through his tendons. Then with a sloppy crack his elbows shattered in a sputter of bone and blood and marrow as they tore open to allow his ruined arms to continue to twist around. There was hardly enough blood in his arms now for them to bleed as heavily as they had before, the scarlet puddle around his knees spreading as blood pooled around him in growing rivets and flows. And yet despite the damage done the arms continued to twist, hands hanging limply and loosely from within their locked containers. Something had to give, the already damaged shoulders that continued to rip and tear noisily as the brutally torn flesh constricted against itself or the steal cuffs that bound the boys wrists.

It was hardly surprisingly then that the boys right shoulder was the first to go, ripping free with a sickening noise that sprayed droplets of blood across the ground as the meaty appendage slammed into the ground. The boy continued to scream in the blinding pain, not being allowed even a single respite from it as his left arm continued to rotate until it too tore itself from his body. Blood poured down his sides, his shirt already taken more than the fabric could ever hope to drink up. The pain certainly didn't subside now that his limbs had been torn from their sockets, rather now he had simply less to focus on. Rather than two burning brands of white hot iron he simple had two discs of indescribable agony.

If he had thought such things brought his pain to an end though he was sadly mistaken. Blood suddenly stopped flowing from his empty shoulders and instead a thin black mist began to pour from his veins instead. But rather than drift off into the open sky as mist should it began to coalesce into two thin tendrils that twisted around, lacing through his shirt and tearing the blood soaked cloth off him. His chest was made bare as the tendrils slithered down his back, the Mark glowing brightly for all to see. As the tendrils made contact with his skin of his back from the third rib down the flesh began to peel as though it were a carrot under a knife blade. Blood seeped down his back as the skin rolled along under the touch of the gruesome black tendrils. They halted just above the boys hips and like some feeding squid they raised and then stabbed into the boys back.

They dug deep into his body, he could feel it against even the pain in his shoulders and the agony of his back as the flesh had been parted, pouring blood into the open air. He could feel the muscle of his hips being pushed apart from the inside, feel the tendrils drilling into the bone itself. There was a sound not unlike that of an ancient oak falling to the ground and the pain stretched across his hips, down his legs and back up again over and over and over until with a horrible wrench both legs were torn from their housing, spraying blood in every direction as the limbs were cast into the air, flying far apart. The boy would have pitched forward on his screaming face had the tendrils not planted themselves into the ground, forcing the bleeding, ruined torso to remain rooted to the spot.

Were the boy able to house any form of coherent thought he would no doubt beg for it to end, crying out in desperation for any kind of mercy that the cruel Demon Lord would give him. And in response all he would get back would be the mocking laughter of one so drunk on his own power over someone he could never let it go. Instead though the boy was caught writing in the prison of his own mind as he screamed and bellowed and mentally tore at himself to try and find some form of escape in the content of his own mind. There was none to be found now, not from Brenhin, not for him.

His bare chest began to hiss and bubble as though it were being subjected to an intense heat. The fleshy bubbles grew not just in size but in number as they spread across his bare torso, as they burst small pockets of the thick black smoke drifted out of them and raised upwards, slicing the skin of his jaw and cheek as they passed and halted around his skull before becoming small needles and plunging themselves into the boys flesh, protruding out as they twisted in different directions. From inside his own chest a mass of shadows pushed the now exposed ribs outwards slightly, the bones cracking and splintering against the sudden force. As more of his flesh bubbled and melted away more of his bloody ribs were exposed and the force pushed out again, this time though there was nothing to restrain the damaged bone and like a bomb exploding they shattered outwards, sending shards scattering across the stone floor. His ribs didn't explode outwards alone however as his now only partially covered gut was torn open too spitting his intestines out across from him in a gruesome rope of blood and gore and ruined human that splattered loudly as bile seeped from the perforated organs, now long past use.

In the gaping space where once organs sat so tightly and neatly now there was only blood and sinew and pain. The boys stomach had been split open by a shard of bone and acid hissed away at his exposed flesh. His lungs were perforated like a sponge and black smoke poured out of them as they hissed in the open air. His heart still beat an irregular pattern though it had turned a corrupted sickly black, the flesh of the bloody organ cracking like a charred ham as it beat it's unsteady rhythm. The boy the inexpiable agony in steady waves as his screams fell silent, his throat bloody where his vocal cords had finally ripped, the force of his tortured screams silencing them forever. He realised then, though he should have died a dozen times over that the Demon was keeping him alive, sustaining him to endure every iota of pain. Every drop of blood was another syllable in his horrible twisted messages. He was the message, not as a human, but as a torn and twisted pile of meat that had ultimately reduced itself to nothing more than a mess of flesh that could not even hope to sustain itself. And there was nothing anyone could do to stop it, Brenhin was too great, too powerful, too much for anyone to hope to crush. His ruined body was testament to that horrific message, nobody could ever defeat the Demon that could be lurking within any of them. Humanity was doomed, they were all doomed, everything was going to end in smoke and ash and the Demon would preside over the blasted remains until time ran dry.

His thoughts of the apocalypse were drowned out by some fresh hell as a gagging, clogging feeling began to run it's way up his ruined throat as though a horde of frogs were attempting to crawl up his gullet. Those that were brave enough or horrified enough to still be able to look at the ruined creature would see the bulges of some unknown entity as it pushed itself upwards. Then as it reached the boys adams apple it emerged. Rocketing from between his lips was a vast pillar of shadow, so sudden was the force of it's emergence as the five foot long appendage burst from the confines of his throat that the already agape jaw was thrown open so sharply that it all but ripped from his face. The boys cheeks tore apart like tender pork and there was as sharp popping sound as his jaw followed suit, hanging limply and loosely from under where the head had been snapped backwards. The boys eyes were locked in abject terror as fingers spread from the arm like the sprouting of some grim flower in the spring. An elbow joint snapped into existence on the black pillar and like a striking scorpion to moved at speed belying its size, the hand grasping tightly onto the upper portions of his remaining skull.

There was a twisted sound of bone cracking inwards under the strength of the black fingers under suddenly, as though it were a vaulting platform the unseen creature used the small, broken head to pull itself up and in a single gory flash what remained of the boys broken form exploded in a mess of ruined flesh and shattered bone and stringy sinew that splattered itself all around. The boys head was obliterated, finally ending the unimaginable torture once and for all as the Demon Lord emerged once more. The Demon, who's body was made of nothing but thick smoke so dense it seemed as strong as blackened steel rose tall into the air, billowing up to a great height that towered over the buildings. His arms stretched out and twisted as he almost flexed, seemingly proud of his horrific execution. His head twisted down to look at the Seven on the ground below him, well aware the stench that accompanied his form would be choking them, the smell of burning tar and rotting flesh was bad enough alone, let alone without the entrance he had caused.

Though no other fire coursed through his shadowy form, his eyes lit up in a deep orange blaze for just a moment as he beheld the gathered Seven. A twisted grin split across his dark face as he raised higher, long, thin, batlike wings stretched out from his back and pulled him even higher into the air.
"So easily broken. So easily manipulated. So easily terrified. You creatures are hardly worth the effort to control. But allow this most humble of demonstrations tell you of one simple thing. No matter where you run, no matter where you hide, no matter how deep the hole you creatures dig yourselves into, nor how many soldiers separate you and I, I shall find you. You shall never know my coming, little creatures, for who can you truly trust in this world? Who even in this organisation who have so kindly taken you in against your will can you truly trust? Who can you know is free from...." The gigantic Demon Lord twisted forwards, his horrific face of shadow and darkness coming close to the ground and only intensifying the stench. "Deceit?" A deep, grating laugh echoed throughout the colossal form of the shadowy Demon Lord before his form suddenly lost all consistency and the smoke exploded outwards, spilling into the street before drifting into the sky and dissipating into the air. Were it not for the lingering stench and the ruined mess of the boy on the stones it would appear Brenhin had never even been there.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall
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#, as written by Zalgo
Rick Brackwall

He waited as the remainder of the others arrived, most arriving only shortly after him. Caius of course was laggard and it visibly irritated Illusion given how she dropped him in on his back through a portal. Afterwords she segued nicely into the meat of the explanation, giving them a short briefing on the tasks they'll be set with.

"Don't think your prior experience means anything. This Boot Camp is special, something you haven't seen before, Rick. I suggest you all be on guard."

"I await the subversion in expectation with anticipation." He answered simply, giving a short nod before she continued on.


After that she wrapped up her explanation and they proceeded on forward, Illusion bidding the man coming in congratulations. She always did have a means of knowing things about people. Rick was not naive enough to not believe she had a means of prying into someone's business, albeit discreetly as it had yet to run against his mental barrier. All he knew was that lying to her was not an option. Luckily he was always a rather honest man, never truly lying in an outright sense. Just because he almost never lied though didn't mean he was obliged to share information unnecessarily.

As they went outside he spotted Angel along with four other guards escorting a prisoner down the street. He was about to bid Angel a friendly hello when suddenly the scene took a turn for the grisly.

Before long the prisoner's limbs were twisting about, typical results from a demonic possession. The event continued, the displays of self mutilation growing ever greater in gratuity until eventually there was little left of the prisoner save the upper torso and head. Meanwhile the guards who were supposedly keeping watch of the patient had backed from the scene, not acting upon it evidently. Angel himself had been standing aside, his hand clutching Loria the sword he kept at his side at all times. Illusion herself seemed rather unimpressed by the whole event. For the seven he couldn't confirm quite yet.


Rick himself remained composed throughout the event. He was tempted to identify the demon using his new magnifying glass however he was reluctant to show his hand and the fact there was a demon there was not the question he needed answered. What he needed to know here was why the demon chose to do this and what purpose the demonstration showed.

As it started attempting to crawl forth from the tortured victim's lips Rick swiftly gestured an arcane spell.

"Wind barrier." He quietly uttered towards the end of his motions. On queue the winds started to pick up, suddenly quite animated as they begun to swirl about the seven, Illusion and Eine. In addition clean air was being created at Rick's own position, creating a gentle draft against those around him as the clean air diffused into the forming dome of winds cycling around them. Rick's focus of study was more oriented towards offensive magics but most all casters had at least a rudimentary understanding of protection magics.


Thanks to the barrier the demon's stench was repelled, leaving the nine of them watching in relative comfort as the entity spoke. Hoisting himself up in an attempt at intimidation the demon spoke to them, no doubt trying to sow dissent among them before dissipating into smoke. All the while Rick held a fairly good poker face however slight hints showed through that he wasn't all too impressed. As the demon made his monologue he recorded the sigil imprinted on the dead guy's flesh into his clipboard as well as some bullet points regarding the entity himself.

After the demon had left Rick waited a couple seconds to see if the strange smoke had left. Once it could be confirmed to have dissipated he lowered the barrier, turning to Illusion.

"I figure this wasn't part of the Boot Camp experience you had planned. You said this would be something I haven't
seen before..." Rick walked over to the meaty remains of the prisoner, looking down at the discarded skull resting before
his boots.

"... This is all fairly standard for a demon."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall
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They soon arrived, others were late, but it was to be expected. They are indeed labeled as demonic in origin, yet they had lived as ordinary humans. The redeeming trait of humanity is adaptability, but there are variations. Some are quick, some are slow. Everything around them does not fall into a sense of normality, just not yet. All of them have issues needed to be faced eventually and their pace is not of anyone's making. In any case, she remained still and silent in her place. Even with Illusion's demonstration towards Caius, she did not say or even grant it any expression. This reaction was also extended towards to the brief introduction of what they are to do with 'Boot Camp'.

Once that was done. They were lead to their destination and like many journeys, a stop is inevitable. Theirs was in the form of a male who had been mutilated to death by a demon. This kind of scenery was to be expected when it comes to hell-spawns. There are many depictions of such transgressions on books and even paintings. The imagination of the human mind is rather bountiful when it comes to the twisted, macabre, and cruelty. It does make her wonder if humans were actually another kind of monster. Then again, even the divine can be violent if required. That is why darkness is not to be feared even with all the symbolism it held.

And just like so, Vesper's face did not change. It was pristine and statuesque in its presentation, a porcelain doll beauty gifted with grace and apathy. Her eyes of velvet were lifeless in its gaze and she did not even flinch or trembled with the entire visuals. She did not even appear to be alarmed at all either from the brutality, stench, or the demon. Through it all, even with the demon's words that aimed to cause discord among and within, she does not have any feelings to provide. In any case, Rick had provided protection with his magic. It was then she took the moment to glimpse at the others.

There was a notion for her hand to reach out and offer a brief repose. But, she took hold of it as a mantra echoed inside her head. "All is none." That quelled whatever tinge that yearned her to bring respite. The sheen which held her eyes for a second soon vanished into the air. She removed her attention from the others and gazed at the enthralling gift left by the demon before them. It reminded her how kind that demon is as she focused her sights on Rick who noted such activity is common. Then, she looked at the escort of the sacrificial meat, a man with wheat-colored hair, whether this was known or not, it is a responsibility that befalls him. She could also imagine ORIN's sense of displeasure. After all, their confidence of having a safe haven had been crushed earlier.

Then again, it is not her place to criticize. "Ms. Illusion." Her voice soft as it had always been as she called out to the smaller female. "Shall we continue on?" The calmness she exuded was archaic in its elegance, not a blemish of fear or discomfort cracked though her skin. "Time must not be wasted as you say." There was no force, but a gentle suggestion in her tone. "With all due respect to your instruction." She was not bothered whether they stay longer or if they would be required to do something, like to clean up. However, the others do not share the same sentiment. Even if they had resolved a mask of rock, the inside is a lure of vulnerability. The others were thrown into the pits of blood. "This should be enough for now, Ms. Illusion." The rarest instance, she spoke of her thoughts.


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall
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"I'll tell you a secret,
it's something that grants life
and grants death, whatever side
you choose, there shall always be one
truth which you must abide at all cost,
if not then, you are a no one."
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It seemed that everyone was still present. Disappointing. "Tsk." If it was remorse or shame, they were nonexistent because, he really wanted to be left behind. But, he was chained to the word known as attachment. That was the only viable thing that was keeping him collected as much as possible and his strong response of rejection. All of it, a means of self-defense ingrained inside his consciousness. He was still overlapping it with the reality that he was used to, like a child harshly clinging to a broken piece of glass even if he bleeds to death, but apparently, he would die of shock first instead of blood loss.

That's because the very moment he felt the goosebumps, someone grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and pulled him into that fleeting black hole that would churn one's stomach, making him rather dizzy before he met his seemingly constant companion, the floor. This kind of scenario was a repeat that he really didn't need to guess who was responsible. It was his sheer annoyance that he managed to ignore the haziness of his head and meet those crimson eyes glaring at him. There was a voice inside his head, to step back, but, his irritation of how he was handled, was far superior. "You should have left then. Tsk." He met that glare with his own of gold. Then, scoffed as he stood and crossed his arm in front of his chest.

The tirade of the midget about him being late was old news to Caius. He had never been early or on time with anything in his life. So, why should he be mindful of it now? His time had always been on his own, that's why as if as an act of rebellion, he turned deaf to whatever that man-child was spouting about. So, in the end, he missed everything that was said, because instead he drowned the sounds by repeating a chant inside his head. "Booze. Cigarettes. Booze. Cigarettes." It was highly effective as he was left in the black. The only time, he was taken to this reality is when he noticed the others leaving the auditorium. It seemed they were done, if that was so, he would like to have another drink.

With those thoughts, he hanged at the back and was about to take the turn towards the dormitories, but wondered why the others were going in a different direction. Weren't they dismissed? Are they supposed to go somewhere? They were not looking and he could easily slip away. The temptation was great and he wanted to do it, but the midget would make such a fuss again. And clearly, he doesn't want to be touched by that filthy man-child again. It was disgusting and so with a heavy sigh, he changed his direction and followed grudgingly the others who were quite a distance with him.

It wasn't something noteworthy as he soon caught up with them, but he wondered why they were stopping in the middle of the path. And because he was someone who clearly was not able to read the mood, or more like didn't made an effort to do so, he called their attention with, "Oi!" As he walked towards the group almost closing the gap between them and him, He could also see someone in front of the group. A man? Then, as if on cue, splat... He felt something soft and wet touching his face, moreover, it felt to be a lot. This made him stop as he reached to touch his cheek as some viscous liquid was also there. He had a hunch, because of the coppery scent, he had been familiar with in volumes, but to see, is to believe.

His finger touched it as he took a look and saw it... "Blood...?" There were even some fragments attached to it. He felt everything inside of him froze as his eyes widened and as if to confirm looked at the man he had seen earlier become a perfect example of a class-B horror movie. There was also some creature he could compare to those dungeon bosses in games. He had always thought them to look cool, but that was naive isn't it? Because, without the protection of glass, he felt his body trembled and steadily shook like a tree in face of storm of black smoke.

The scene before him imbricate with a bloody moonlit night and the corpses of detached red cloaked limbs accompanied by the relentless plea for help. Then those eyes of burning orange vanished into those hungry gaze of that beast. That made him lurched as he covered his mouth and nose as the stench enveloped his senses. He barely managed to keep himself standing as the voices grew louder in his head and the something incessant was clawing inside of his throat.

"C-ai... he...lp..."

"Why? Why? Didn't you help?"

The demons in his head were having a field day as they assaulted him. He fell to his knees this time as he held his head and continuously shook it. "Just stop... I... I did all.. I can. I'm--" His words were like a broken symphony as his eyes of gold gazed upon the ground as if it can provide a sanctuary for him, an answer. "It's not... not..." He continued to speak in a broken language and the tough ego that he was earlier crumbled into a puddle of blood.

"You abandoned us, Cai."

"No, I didn't!" He shouted in resistance and the grip he has on his head tightened. Then, the scent of brimstone enveloped him in a paranoia of the unknown and a voice that brought sweet promises. "Do you want power?" This voice was a stranger, but it carried a definitive weight in his psyche. The tremors of his body seemed to subside a bit. "I ask, do you want power?" He raised his head a bit as if to look, allowing those gold orbs to peek from his bangs. "Do you hear me?" There was a hand in front of him, it was not a girl's as it was large and strong-looking. But, it was covered in blood.

His eyes widened in horror as searing heat suddenly surrounded him. It was like he was in the middle of an infernal blaze. He felt that his skin was being scorched apart. "Grab it or die." He didn't want to die. He doesn't want to as he hold on to it and the scene shown to him change. The hand was not there anymore but, in turn, it was his that were bathed in blood. He shouldn't be affected by it. He had lived through a life of decadence, his hands were never clean anyway, but why did it struck him so, because of the voices that surrounded him in intensity.

"Are you powerful?"

"But, you couldn't save us."

"You're nothing."

"Why did you kill us?"

That wasn't true... Not at all. He shook his head in denial. The voice became entities, like ghosts that slowly closed onto him as, if choking him of his lifeline. "I didn't kill you! It wasn't my fault!" He then in retaliation swung around his arm as if removing the presence around him in a wild dance. "Are you really sure?" He raised his head in defiance, but what meet him were the same gold eyes just like his, the same face, just a lot younger. His rage dwindled in confusion and surprise. "Who are you...?" The child that is him gazed with such disappointment. "Don't be stupid." The child closed the gap between them as those small hands held his face. "You ate them up, even that dragon. You are a…"

The next word was whispered like a ghostly wind and like a bullet to the brain, images of seething fire, gasping breaths, delirious pleas, and a bloodied dragon on flesh, flooded his mind and the plunge, wracked him with heavy trembles and the clawing grew stronger. "Just stop it!" In the mixture of confusion and delusions, his hand raised into a fist as it collided with the ground, making it shake like he did as stones and dirt flew around him. Displaying, his strength of inhumane capacity once more, and once it settled.

What was left, was a considerable sized crater, and his golden eyes still in a haze and his face with bloody small hand prints on both cheeks, fitted for a child. "It's a lie..." He muttered under his breath.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall
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#, as written by zody
-| ? |-
-| Jonathan Black |-Image


Jojo had known something was up, the mood in the area being ominous and tinged with.. something. He paused behind the two in front of him, watching as the man staggered toward them. His eyes narrowed, and he saw the expression on the man's face. He took a preemptive step back.
"Oh no."
Splat.
Jojo spun in place, grabbing the two people closest to him- Ash and Helena- and forcibly turning them around to look away from the sight. He probably hadn't reacted fast enough to stop them seeing at least a little, but at least they'd be able to look away from the main course. "Don't." He turned back to Illusion, worry in his voice. "Miss Illusion, can-" He was cut off as he took in the sight before him. Jojo's hand flew to his mouth and covered it as the man began to twist and contort, Jojo's eyes beginning to widen as he took an unsteady step backwards and looked behind him for a moment before turning back. He felt something splattering against his face and chest, but he didn't put two and two together yet. All he knew was that as he'd turned back to look, something had smacked him in the face. He couldn't look away as the man was literally ripped apart, torn to pieces in front of the group. Whatever had hit him was in the back of his mind when there was something like that in front of him. He looked at Illusion and Eine, wishing they would help, but Illusion looked back at him and shook her head. Jojo looked over at Eine, who simply stood there with a stiff form, darkness in her eyes. He took yet another step backwards, his head starting to feel light.
He knew he was going to start heaving.

Blood, flesh, bone and organs splattered across the ground. The man was literally ripped apart. Jojo gagged visibly, doubling over slightly and keeping his grip on his mouth even tighter than before. His body shook as he tried to fight back the urge to empty the contents of his stomach. He looked up again, and took another step back.
Blood splattered across his face and arm, and he immediately spun around and began heaving hard. Dropping to his knees, he covered his mouth once again as he started retching. It took him a little while, but he eventually stopped himself. Breathing hard, he'd barely managed to avoid actually coating the ground with his breakfast.
"Guess.. that's why we need to fight demons.. heh.."

It was in this position that he was able to clearly notice Caius' own freak out. He couldn't hear the man very well because of the fairly loud wind, but Jojo knew a tortured tone when he heard it. Whatever was going on with Caius, it wasn't good. He swallowed hard, keeping his eyes on Caius before slowly standing up again. Waiting until he was sure everything had ended, Jojo slowly moved over to him. His head was still light, and he felt nauseous, but his concern for Caius overrode that feeling. Stepping down over to the taller man, Jojo spoke. "You.. You okay, dude? Lemme know if you need anything, yeah?" Jojo's voice trembled and he felt a bit weak, but obviously Caius was dealing with a lot more than just a random person he'd never met exploding. He looked tortured, tormented.
Jojo couldn't have that.

He reached out, placing a hand on Caius' shoulder as he crouched in front of him, slightly to his right. He didn't offer any more words, but he figured Caius knew that he was there if he needed him. He turned back around, looking over everyone else. " Is everyone okay?! Anyone need any water? I can run to grab some if you need it!" There was worry in his voice, and he tried to speak loud enough for everyone to hear. He'd almost thrown up at the scene, so he somehow doubted he was the only one that had that urge. "What the hell was that..? If that's regular for a demon like Rick said.." A look of resolution came over Jojo's face as he slowly stood up. "Miss Illusion, actually, can you grab some bottles of water from your portals for us, please? It might not be necessary, but.. it'll be something at least." He didn't mention how Rick and Vesper both seemed unaffected. It was.. he paused for a moment. Just what had those two seen to make them so.. stoic about this? A little bit of anger coursed through him, but he stifled it quickly. He'd talk to Illusion about exactly what they'd made Vesper suffer through later on. Right now he needed to make sure everyone was okay, and make getting angry wouldn't help with that.

He let out a long breath. Half of his face was coated in blood, and there was a huge patch of the stuff on his shirt. He paused for a moment, blinking before reaching up and wiping his face. He'd assumed it was sweat from having to fight so hard against his vomiting, but..

Jojo went pale as he noticed his hand coated in the blood he'd just wiped off his face. Looking down, he saw that his shirt was coated in the stuff. Thick, crimson blood stained his white shirt. He swallowed audibly, he seemed to go even paler. He went to speak, but couldn't. He hadn't noticed until just now exactly what it was that had hit him. He'd been too busy trying not to throw up, and then his concern for Caius had put the thoughts in the back of his mind. He was probably hit just before Rick tossed up the air barrier, which made perfect sense to him. He'd turned Ash and Helena around just in time, it seemed.

Jojo silently turned around to face away from the group, swallowing a third time. He crouched down, quickly yanking off his shirt and using it to wipe the blood from his face. He then quite happily tossed it onto the floor, standing up once again. He exhaled hard, shuddering as he turned to the others. "Uh.. permission to go grab another shirt?" He seemed to be fairly fine, but his pupils were a bit dilated and he was shivering a little. Not too much, but enough.

Inside his mind, he was piecing together everything that had happened. A demon had literally just burst from a man in front of them, torturing them to death and enjoying it. Jojo looked over everyone in the group, and he clenched his bloody fist. "That.. can't be allowed to happen."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall Character Portrait: Helena Kingsley
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Image"Oh...yeah...fine." Helena mumbled, a few moments after she realised that Dawn was asking her a question. It wasn't exactly convincing. She wasn't certain why she'd even said it. She certainly didn't feel okay. However any attempt to try and explain why she was upset...either kind of went without saying, or was something that she had to keep to herself at all costs. So she offered up the most socially acceptable response and went with it.
"Just k-kinda tired."

She hadn't totally hidden the shake in her voice.

Helena followed along with the group as they started walking, her eyes downcast and generally making little effort to pay attention to what was going on. That was until the group of people crossed their path. The young woman hadn't been paying sufficient attention to the halt, an nearly walked right into the back of Jojo who's been a little way ahead.

Something was...off...wrong. She couldn't quite put her finger on it.

While on some level, Helena was pretty sure that there was something not right, the moment one of the men's arms began twisting themselves out of their sockets was something she couldn't expect-

Helena was stood in a dark expanse. She could see nothing at all within it, and yet she was somehow certain the darkness spread in front of her a great distance.

She began to walk forwards, compelled by some unseen force. In her peripheral vision, Helena could pick up the fuzzed edges of buildings and walls in the gloom, all devoid of light and life.

It seemed she was walking for hours when she began to become aware of colour, somewhere in the distance. A red light far on the horizon. A last, something other than this oppressive darkness!

And then, without warning, Helena was elsewhere. Looking through a small gap out into some...indistinct room... as if she were somehow trapped in the space between walls. Through the small crack she could make out..a man in a well-pressed suit, adjusting his tie.

Somewhere else again. A dark room. And a blade..a scythe in greenish gold, the feeble light reflecting a strange hue off its edge.

Back in the dark street. Helena found herself stood below the red object, that towered over her and bathed the patch of ground in crimson light. A cross? From here it seemed to be a cross. As she watched however, the light that issued from it was dimming. Dark mist was crawling around the cross's base and snaking its way up to the top, consuming whatever light it did once give out. Helena, unsettled, began to back away from the corrupted thing, preferring to some degree the passive darkness of the lifeless city over whatever was devouring this object.

She turned away and jogged back into the shadow. It was..less oppressive than before. Less threatening. Now that she was used to it.

Crack!

An arc of electricity burst across the air over her head, spreading out and disappearing, searing white against the fuzzy black.

Crack!

Another blinding fork of light.

Then...a splatter. A repulsive feeling of warmth across one side of her body and around her feet. In the illumination cast from the bolts of energy, she could see the blood pooling around her feet, sliding down her face-



Sunlight.

She was outside the WDL base.

Why wouldn't she be?

In the few moments it took Helena to get here bearings one again, she gradually realised that she was facing the opposite way to where she had been before. When had that happened? Why had that happened?

Her concerns about that were diminished however when the girl became aware of something else. The warm, liquid sensation of something sliding down her face...had not gone away. Reaching up gingerly she felt for it, something thicker than water and warmer than anything had the right to be...and pulled away to find blood spattering her cheek and hair.

"Oh god!" Helena yelped in horror and alarm, swinging round to be met with the carnage of the courtyard where the man had been stood seemingly moments before. The memories came flooding back of the man snapping his own shoulders out.
"OH GOD!"

If she'd actually eaten anything in the past thirty-six hours, she might've joined Jojo in throwing up.


She hadn't much idea what had happened, but Helena was already pretty certain that it was considerably more than she could handle. The fact that Rick, whom she took to be the leader of this group, was utterly unconcerned with this carnage, and citing it as 'fairly standard' pretty much made Helena's stomach drop through the floor. More than a few people there seemed...totally unfazed by this. And..if anything that was more acutely disturbing than the pieces of corpse littering the area.

"This is...insane!"
she exclaimed, as she swung round for something to try and get the spattering of blood out of her hair.
"I don't know about the rest of you, but I wasn't even good at being a NORMAL PERSON! You can't just expect us to handle this! It's not fair! "

Tears stung at the corner of her vision but the sheer horrifying absurdity of it all expressed itself in anger over despair.

"Someone just died! Doesn't that even bother people!? I don't want you to turn me into someone who isn't horrified by that! I don't ever want to be like that!"

----

Meanwhile, the intercom over the yard crackled suddenly into life and the rather familiar noise of the defence system gave voice.

"Would you like me to say 'I told you so' now, Angel? Or would you like that communicated to you through official channels?" ORIN asked.

Down in her control room ORIN sat sideways across the chair, legs hooked over one arm and cup of coffee sat between her hands.

She was pretty certain she should be worried about some demon killing a prisoner in the middle of the compound, regardless of what Illusion thought on the matter..

But Angel being humiliated made it hard not to take some satisfaction out of it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall
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#, as written by Tanman
Ashley “Ash” “Soot” Clade
Image

With a simple nod acknowledging that Ash had done what she needed simply by reaching the auditorium, she proceed to fold her arms behind her head to wait. The following spectacle with Caius was mildly amusing, as well as a good reminder to her that prudence was the wiser choice when it came to this place. As much as she hated authority, she could stomach it where the alternative would result in worse humiliation like that boy had received. Unlike him, she wasn’t stupid.

Next came the briefest of lectures into what boot camp was going to entail, though it was still somewhat vague what that consisted of specifically. Maybe if they’d had more time she could’ve asked questions and found out a bit more, but she’d have to simply settle on the fact that she’d be learning her special abilities (Whatever they were), how to fight, and apparently participating in some reality show-esque survival game. All in all, she actually couldn’t complain too much. It was better than traditional schooling by a long shot, and she’d been in enough scraps to know the joy of punching some smug fellow in the face. If combat training required sparring, there was more than a few of her fellow demon-kin that she’d gladly take the opportunity to introduce to the floor. Camping wasn’t an issue for her either. In fact, she liked it a little rough.

"Now, if you would kindly follow me so you can learn how to become superpowered cool people, we should leave quickly. We'll be heading to the nearby garage to procure a nice vehicle for everyone to share." Illusion gestured for them to follow her, and Ash resisted the urge to raise her hand to interject. Following slightly behind the group, she figured she’d raise the fact that she’d make her own way using her bike at the garage, particularly given the arrival of Mister Friedman. She did however, turn back to the supply bags. ”Shouldn’t we carry these-?” Ash stopped herself as the bags seemingly dropped through the floor, the portals taking them closing as quickly as they arrived. ”…Never mind.” She mumbled, jogging a little to catch the rest of the group and follow after them.

The walk to the garage was going relatively peacefully, that Ash almost felt inclined to make conversation. In fact, she was about to when they suddenly came to a stop. Illusion first, then by herd mentality, the rest of the group. Leaning slightly to the side and moving up from the rear of the group, Ashley looked to see what appeared to be a bunch of the WDL goons, including that big wig from the other day, escorting some prisoner. He looked normal enough, but looks could be deceiving. She briefly wondered what sort of thing he’d done for such treatment, but didn’t care enough to find out. As far as sideshows went, this wasn’t very amusing.

”Uh, hello? Can we get moving again?” Ash asked, but her question was cut off by an ear-splitting crack, and the sudden feeling of movement as she was forced by another to turn away. So visceral was the feeling that filled her being that it made her visibly flinch. She knew that whatever going on behind her was bad. She could see it in the expressions of the people she’d turned to face. The sounds. Smells. Everything. All the warning signs were there that she should take her good fortune and not look behind her. But she wasn’t a wimp. She was tough. She could handle whatever it was. ”The hell JoJo! Get off me you do-” Ash hesitated as she slightly pushed him away, freezing in place as the blood caked across him registered through the slimy sensation on her hand. She wasn’t nearly as soiled as the boy, nor had she really felt it through her thick waterproof clothes, but it was still there. Slowly, her eyes traced the mess back to its source. She’d seen messed up things before, but never this close. Never this real. It was horrifying, and seemingly never ending. Transfixed on it like a train wreck or a car crash, her mind and body started to get through the shock and start shrieking alarm bells in her head. She took a step back, then inched further away. Barely, she managed to contain her own reflux as she covered her mouth and swallowed it back down. The taste left a knew sensation of disgust through her senses.

It was some sick joke. Some twisted prank by Illusion to throw them out of whack. It had to be. And yet, the blood on her hand from touching JoJo confirmed otherwise. She felt a little weak in the legs as they refused to work, the display of their insignificance and reminder of their mortality a world-shaking experience. As the winds gathered around them from what Ashley recognised to be one of Rick’s spells, it gave the black haired biker a chance to pay attention to the declarations of the demon that rose from the carnage in front of them. As the smoke billowed and the soldiers that had been escorting the prisoner scrambled to safety, Ashley was suddenly very happy to have a nerd like Rick helping them, but she didn’t get to dwell on that feeling long.

The message from the demon was clear. That were to fear him, and what he had planned for them. Ash didn’t really need it stated to her so plainly, as her body already felt that dread all over. The only solace she could take was that for whatever power this monster had; it clearly was not unstoppable. If it was, why didn’t it just murder them where they stood? No, this was just a vow on their heads. It didn’t actually mean anything, other than reinforcing the idea that there were many out there who wanted them dead. All the more reason for them to hurry up with this boot camp and learn some magic mumbo-jumbo to protect themselves from such dangers. Rational as those thoughts were, Ashley couldn’t keep her focus on them. Not with the corpse in front of them. Not with the memories that kept flashing through her mind to remind her of what happened, desperately trying to make sense of it and help her process it.

Around her, the reactions of the group varied. Breakdowns, indifference, mischievous smiles and even JoJo’s ever present practicality. Ash barely registered her own shock as her mouth remained agape, taking it all in. Slowly however, feeling returned to her numbed senses. Her brain began to catch up to the present. Vesper and Rick responded with casual indifference, like this was expected or normal. Ash 100% agreed with Helena’s reaction to that, though she didn’t voice it. That was insane. The fact they could just… Ignore that! Were they so desensitized to that gore and violence that they didn’t react at all? Even with training, Ashley didn’t believe she’d ever be able to handle something like that. She hoped she would never need to again.

Nearby, Caius was having his own personal freakout, though JoJo seemed to be on top of that one. His issues sounded a lot different to what her and Helena were feeling, so Ash instead focused on supporting the only other person who seemed to have a similar reaction to her. ”I’m with... Uh…” The pressure of the situation and the intensity of it all seemed to freeze up her brain, Ash unable to recall Helena’s name at the moment. ”…With the squirt. This is nuts! If you expect us to just accept this sorta thing, you’re even crazier than I thought!” Ash tried to sound tough and forceful, but she couldn’t stop the shaking in her legs. Her body was quivering in a flight or fight state still, and the adrenalin refused to stop. It was definitely putting her on edge in dealing with all of them, her words particularly directed to Rick, Vesper, Illusion and Eine.

”I was maybe okay with this bullshit before all this but this is… It’s just…” Still trembling, JoJo was the first to speak, probably not hearing this side of the conversation as he inappropriately began spouting some nonsense about water bottles. Probably his way of coping, but Ashley wasn’t putting up with any of that crap right now. Too many emotions were running high at this point, and she had to lash out. ”Oh shut the hell up JoJo! Stop acting like some bigshot prick! I’m sick and tired of your freakin’ mediating bullcrap! Just have a goddamn honest reaction for once and shit your pants like the runt and I!” Storming up towards him, Ash had to stop herself from giving him a rough shove, once again noting the blood soaked across him. ”Tch…” Rapidly spinning back around to Rick and the other, she remembered her beef with them, voicing it aloud. "What the hell is wrong with everyone here?!" With a frustrated yell, Ash finally stopped long enough to regain a little composure, catching her breath. She wanted to just get away from this situation more than anything else, but there was no running away at this point. She had to deal, at least to some extent. ”Screw this shit…” She swore under her breath, kicking some debris across the ground. “Why’d this crap have to happen to me…?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall
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Dawn returned Hel’s response with a sympathetic smile. “It’s, um. It’s been a lot, huh?” “A lot” was an incredible understatement, really. Especially given what she had told them of how, exactly, she came to enter the WDL. There was little that Dawn could say to the near-stranger in support, however, aside from an earnest “Hang in there,” as the meeting progressed.

Caius’ arrival didn’t seem to go unnoticed by their Principal, either- moments after he had glanced into the auditorium, he was whisked into one of Illusion’s portals and thrown onto the ground before them. Illusion took a moment to chew the man out before addressing the rest of the Seven, giving a brief rundown of what, exactly, Boot Camp would entail. Survival. Cooperation. Caution, most of all. Evidently, the WDL weren’t overly welcoming when it came to anything that wasn’t fully human- with the exception of Illusion, it seemed. Their fellow trainees were, in a way, could be considered as much as a threat to the Seven as whatever “Boot Camp” had in store for them.

Recruits in a supernatural hunting organization. All of them- even her, as strange as the thought was. The little procession began a journey to the garage, Illusion congratulating a man on a child that he seemingly hadn’t even mentioned before on the way. In the back of her head, Dawn began to worry that they were heading right this instant. She still needed to ask if there would be someone available to take care of Iggy for her- the last thing that she wanted was for her poor boy to be left by himself for a whole week. Dawn was preparing to ask one of the higher in staff when they came to an abrupt halt. Surprised, she looked over the shoulders of the others to see a batch of WDL officers, apparently transporting a prisoner, and then-

Snap.

The prisoner’s arm was twisting, popping and cracking under the weight of some invisible force. Bone was not meant to bend like that. Limbs were not supposed to yank themselves free from a body, thrown carelessly on the floor like trash. Dawn’s eyes widened in horror, hand clasping tight against her mouth and nose. The man was being torn apart by the seam, but she didn’t look away- staring at the scene, the mutilation, as if it were impossible for her to avert her gaze. She took a few steps back as the rest of his limbs were twisted loose, free hand gripping tight into the side of her skirt.

Slick warmth pattered gently against the front of her shirt. There were shouts around her, retching...pounding? But her focus was on the massive towering shape that bloomed from the...bits left of the prisoner. Dawn pressed her palm tighter against her face. The demon’s message was clear- he could reach them all easily if he so desired. And yet, after delivering it, he simply disappeared, leaving them to process just what, exactly, had happened.

He wanted to intimidate them. That was his purpose, and it seemed to have succeeded...for the most part. The staff didn’t seem all too bothered, except Eine, whose face had darkened as soon as the whole thing had begun. Oddly enough, the veterans among the Seven were almost completely unfazed. Apparently, demonic torture happened often in this line of work. The aloof nature of their company was quickly picked up by some of Dawn’s fellow newcomers- Helena screaming at the WDL members, Ash joining in quickly after, shoving Jojo for his attempt at stabilizing the whole mess. Understandable, in all the chaos of the moment, but it prompted Dawn to say something in defense of her friend. “He was just trying to help.” Her face was pale and drawn, and she spoke somewhat weakly, trying to look everywhere but where the prisoner...was. The last of the newcomers, Caius, was still lying on the floor, looking completely haunted.

Dawn, finally managing to tear herself fully away from the remains of the prisoner,had begun to hastily wipe at herself in an attempt to clear the blood away. It came from her skin easily enough with a few swipes (although there were a few patches that had already begun to dry, and now refused to do anything but smear), but there was nothing to do about the worst of the spill, which had landed on the front of her clothes. Unlike Jojo, there was no way for her to remove it without completely throwing modesty out the window, so on it stayed, Dawn’s hands left hovering above it in a helpless sort of gesture.

“Water,” she swallowed, craning her head away from the coppery scent. “Water would be...really great. I think.” Dawn didn’t comment further on their circumstances, or the fact that the veterans were unsettlingly at ease with the carnage. Perhaps it was a matter of distraction, perhaps something else. She stared down at her bloodied hands, looking ill.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall
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#, as written by zody
-| LORD OF ILLUSIONS |-
-| 'Illusion' |-Image


Illusion idly pulled her phone from her pocket as she typed out a message. Brenhin's threats washed over her body and mind- he was essentially powerless against her, and she knew it. As the smoke demon finished up his speech, Lusy slid her phone back into her pocket and waited. Giving him a cute smile and wave as he vanished, Lusy turned around to see the carnage before her. Blood soaked the front of her shirt, staining her nearly completely. She'd gotten quite drenched, although she simply reached up and wiped her face clean with a cloth. She licked her lips, making a disgusted face as she turned away quickly and spat into the handkerchief she'd used to wipe her face, before spinning back around. "Gross blood.. tastes disgusting.." Letting out a soft sigh, Lusy dropped away into a portal, reappearing from it moments later blood-free. Idly cracking her neck as everyone nearby had their tantrums, she sighed loudly. Tensions were high, emotions were flaring.. She felt something deep inside of her frame stirring before she immediately snuffed it out, burying and then destroying it.

At ORIN's interruption, Lusy had to hold back a snicker. "Ah, yes, truly a shame that our most prodigious of Exorcists under Arthur himself has been oh so badly humiliated. Truly such a shame." She saw Angel stiffen. Angel himself was bursting with rage- his target had been able to escape before he drew his blade.
Hatred flew through his veins as Illusion taunted him, her voice echoing throughout the area. His blade rocketed from the sheath and crackled with violent electricity as he shot across the clearing so fast it seemed that he'd teleported. His face was contorted with pure hatred as he sliced at the vampire in front of him. A small smile slid across Lusy's lips as she caught the blade in her hand, her grip covering Angel's own. She stepped in to him, speaking softly. "Not in front of the new recruits, Angel. You might make them dislike us even more if you keep acting so.. uncouth." Angel glared daggers at the vampire before stepping back and looking everyone present over. Sheathing his blade, he returned his gaze to Illusion, fists clenched. His entire body was tensed. "Just because you're a part of the WDL doesn't mean I won't kill you one day, demon. Consider that a promise I intend to keep- for yourself and the rest of your damned hellspawns." He hurriedly rushed off, almost sprinting after his cowardly men. Lusy's grin dropped as she noticed Eine staring at her, and she turned to the others.

"Everyone, calm down, please." Angel certainly didn't help the situation..
She extended her hand, focusing for a moment before reaching into a portal and yanking out a large bag of water bottles. She tossed one to Jojo, who immediately began dousing himself in it, letting the blood wash off a bit instead of letting it dry. He took a few gulps, washing the taste of bile from his mouth. Finishing, he sighed hard, looking over at Ash. "Water to wash down the taste of me almost throwing up, and also to wash the blood off my clothes.. kinda.. Figured you guys might like to get some too." He ignored her remark about 'shitting his pants'. He was too focused right now, and he knew if he started to actually think about what he'd just seen, he'd probably spend the next week being unable to eat or sleep- he already figured he'd stay away from meat for a long while. He was still shaking a little with dilated pupils, a sign that despite his practicality, he was fighting hard to stop himself losing it. He had to take a deep breath to keep himself calm. Losing himself now would be bad. Someone had to keep their cool- someone who still had emotions, that is.
Don't look at the body.

Illusion sighed loudly, raising her hand and clicking to get the attention of everyone present. "I am a vampire. I've been alive for thousands of years- I've seen innumerable atrocities, endless violence.. Something like this is regular to me. I'm a demon from Hell, so if I were to be disgusted by violence would make my entire existence difficult. It's not nice, but.. it's true." She motioned over to Eine, who stood stock still. Her white suit was untouched, and somehow still pristine. "Eine here is a veteran of a secret war where billions of people were slaughtered, including her own friends and family. She took an oath to never allow that to happen again. Both of us did." Eine nodded, turning to Illusion. "I made a promise that zhe bloodiest conflict in history shall never be repeated, ja, as did many people, Principal Illusion included." Illusion moved to point over at Rick, then to Vesper. "And these two have had enough trauma in their lives to see this and become unflinching." She dropped her hands, sighing hard. "We're not going to turn you into unfeeling soldiers. These people have merely been through so much that they don't fear this any more."

Levitating off the ground slightly, Illusion crossed her arms. "We're not asking you to become heartless. We're asking you to help stop this kind of thing from ever happening. To protect innocent people from being hurt by.. that. Imagine someone you love and cherish being hurt by that demon. Is that what you want? We're here to give you the power to create miracles and save the world. You may all be what you are, but we're here to get you to use that potential for good. We're here to make the best of a terrible situation. We, I, know none of you asked for this. You were all content with your lives, but.. I'm here to help you become strong, powerful- able to protect those you care about and more. That's the purpose of the Warriors of Divine Light- to protect humanity from things they can't defend themselves from. That's what I want you to take from this experience. Not that you're stuck here in a world full of monsters, but that with our help, my help, you'll be able to protect the world- your families and friends and loved ones- from monsters like that smoke demon." Her tone was hopeful, even a little pleading. It was obvious she had high hopes for the Seven, and wanted them to succeed and prosper- and be able to save themselves from whatever lay around the corner for themselves and their loved ones.

Dropping to the ground, Illusion brushed her dress off. "You're in a position where you have the strength to save the world. I'm simply asking you to help us do that. You're all so much stronger than you could ever imagine, so please, so everyone's sake, please let us make you strong enough to save the world- emotions and all intact."

She paused, then spoke again. "Please help us save the world. We need you." She bowed at the waist, staying like that for a few moments before standing up again. She let her gaze pass over everyone present before turning away and raising a clean handkerchief to her face. Her own losses still plagued her, despite her ability to hide them.
Her body suddenly changed, and Lusy was standing, smiling, before them.
Her face shimmered a little as she spoke. "Sorry for the shameful display, but I have to put this illusion up for a couple moments. Some scars run quite deep, I hope you understand." Eine's own face had darkened even further, and her eye was closed. Her gaze was far away, and she reached up and idly touched the bandage covering her face with a clenched jaw.

So many scars for so many people still hurt.

The illusion vanished after a little while, and Illusion turned back to those present, a pained smile on her face. "Well, what an event.. Hopefully we all understand why we're here, now, and.. I want to remind you all that I'm here to help you in any way I can. No matter the hour, or the place, I'm here to help and guide you." She spun on her heel, floating off the ground slightly as she began to move away the way they'd come. "We'll be taking the long way back past the dormitories so you can grab a change of clothes." She left almost right away, pausing momentarily to pat Caius' head softly before floating on. Eine was quick to follow, head bowed slightly. Her memories plagued her- a storm-filled night mixed with lightning and chaos.

And black flames that scorched the very earth on which they stood, burning, twisting, devouring everything in their path.
Eine shuddered as her dark thoughts consumed her.

Jojo stood there for a little bit, crouching down to pick up his shirt. He stayed crouched for a while, reaching up to put his face in his hands and mutter under his breath. "Fuck me.."
He stood a few moments after, tossing his wet shirt over his shoulder as he followed Illusion back to the dorms. He hoped that he could have a bit of time in his room to have his own personal freak out.
He hoped Dawn wouldn't ask if he was okay.

The vampire floated slightly ahead of the others.
Brenhin had fallen into her trap perfectly, and Angel had been made a fool of as an added bonus.
The day was going very, very well.

However..
She wished those tears had been fake.