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ORIN

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0 · 462 views · located in The Earth, 2017

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

Description

Image



~ Physical Profile ~

Name: Operations Recon and Intelligence Network, O.R.I.N to anyone not wanting to recite all of that.
Physical Age: 22
Gender: Female
Race: Human (Well, at least that was how she started out.)
Description:
Oren stands at about 5'7, an angular-looking woman with blue-black hair, grey eyes. She has high, noticeable cheekbones and a naturally pale complexion, only enhanced by spending a long tie indoors. While not exactly intimidating in stature, she carries herself with an unsettlingly artificial manner, and doesn't seem to blink, something that tends to unnerve people.

Any differences from your provided image/s: Whilst she looks quite human in most respects, there's something really off about ORIN's eyes. They do not look human. Because they aren't. The eyes are entirely synthetic and offer a glimpse into the internal workings. The irises glow white, something that becomes fair more noticeable in the dark, and they have no visible pupil as all the surface under the lens has functional photoactive cells.

Her speech sounds rather synthesized, and isn't especially good at conveying tone.

Possesses some exposed circuitry at the top of her spine.

~ Psychological Profile ~


Personality: Cold.

‘Friendly’ and ‘helpful’ are not exactly the words you might use to describe ORIN. She is less of an assistant eager to help members with their problems, and more of a worldweary academic who feels a lot smarter than most of the people she’s around (probably because by design she most likely is).


ORIN is partly designed for direct interaction with staff in order to answer questions, so she doesn’t refuse requests, but she’s not always especially polite or sympathetic regarding the problems of others. She’s perfectly capable of being rude, and has few consequences to worry about for it.

It’s not as if the WDL can fire her.

ORIN may often come across as emotionally flat, very rarely seeming openly happy or sad about anything (though she can certainly convey irritability from time to time) and it often fools people into assuming that she doesn’t have any personality independent from the system.

This mistake is, of course, quickly resolved when ORIN takes against a person and ‘accidentally’ locks them between two blast doors.

Likes: Very little.

Dislikes: Most people.
Exorcists mistaking her for a demon in dark corridors and attempting to stab her.
Answering stupid questions because it's her job.

Strengths:

-Near limitless memory and access to all of the WDL's database files on demons, non-humans, and intel.

-Extremely intelligent.

-Does not feel damage to her body as physical pain, which means she can continue what she's doing even if hurt.


Fears: -Dislikes physical contact.

Rather painfully aware that if the base goes down, she probably will too.

Hobbies:

-Occasionally uses her connection to watch amusing animal videos.

- Tends to fill her time when she is not running the complex to conduct research in order to expand the database. Her scientific curiosity tends to override the need for medical ethics in some instances.


Secrets?: - ORIN powers the HQ. ...but what powers ORIN?

Outlook on life: The world is just a random assortment of things happening. There's no real reason to it. Imparting some kind of order and pattern on it does, however, give you means to survive, and that's important.

Affiliation: Warriors of Divine Light
Moral Alignment: Lawful Neutral

~ Combat Profile ~


Major Abilities:

+ Defence Protocol - ORIN is able to remotely control all of the HQ's defences at will. Whilst she's not designed to act in combat, she is quite capable of being a considerable threat when someone enters her own turf.


Minor Abilities:
- Able to pull any information from the WDL intelligence data at any time.
- Access to surveillance system lets her view almost anything taking place within the complex.


Equipment: Her access means that ORIN can effectively make the whole HQ her weapon, if she needs to.

Minor Skills: - An irritatingly good chess player. No-one will challenge her anymore.

-Does not need to sleep, which is just as well as her job requires she be active twenty-four hours a day.

~ Faction Profile ~

Faction: Warriors of Divine Light


Loyalty Level: 8/10

Regardless of her own feelings (or lack of) regarding the cause, ORIN's destiny is unavoidably tied to the fate of the WDL.
That said, she can often work out some wiggle room around orders in order to get something she wants.

~ Miscellaneous ~

Biography/History: ORIN is the result of a project commissioned by (now) Archknight Arthur as a means for both powering and defending the HQ from attack. It was something never made public knowledge, much due to the questionable ethics involved. Taking a human child and integrating them with the base’s computer system to serve as both the base’s power source, its main data centre, and the controller of many of its functions, the human part of the construct’s mind allowing for the adaptability and flexibility only present within a living thing, and allowing it to actively avoid damage and hazards.

Who ORIN way before she was ORIN is largely unknown, as well as what actually went into the construction of this crime against nature.

What people are a lot more certain of it that she has proved to be quite an asset to the WDL and its operations.

ORIN can be seen around the HQ fairly frequently, though never leaves it. She hasn’t stepped outside in twenty years, and has little intention of doing so. Those outside of the organization have no idea she exists, and for her to no longer be present inside the base would put the whole complex at massive risk.

Within it however, ORIN has more or less free run, and is provided with most of what she asks for by the top brass. He tends to more or less manage herself,
Other:


(baka baka)

So begins...

ORIN's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Notable NPCs Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Vistra Mauve Character Portrait: Sister Rianne

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[O.R.I.N]

Image It was around that time that set up against one wall, an intercom speaker flared into life, a short electronic tone accompanied by a voice that didn't sound like it came from a person.It was off. Metallic-sounding. It sounded like a recording through autotune or pitch correction, something that might have possible...had it not started out addressing Caius' demand to leave.

"A notice that if you attempt to leave without the permission of an officer, I'm authorised to initiate a lockdown sequence on the building, and you can all camp out there until your friend cools his jets."


A brief pause.
"More generally, let me introduce myself to all of you.
I am O.R.I.N, the WDL's network maintenance system.
I can see virtually everything that goes on in the facility and I have complete control of the security technology in all the complex's buildings.
I have no need to consider what you want.
I also have no need to be scared of reprisals for not considering what you want.
I thought I would remind you of that while you think over how you're going to react. Do choose carefully as you only get one chance to give a first impression, and triggering the blast doors is a very bad way to make a name for yourself.
ORIN out."


Somewhere within the core of the base, a figure leaned her forehead against her palms and sighed deeply.

The training was not exactly off to a good start.

Still even without advanced trend-plotting functions and algorithms she could have seen it coming. That was what happened when you pulled in untrained brats and expected them to take some kind of responsibility for their own nature.

People were, for the most part, a very irritating and complicated variable that made getting things done far more difficult than it needed to be. That was even without factoring in abilities and what these... individuals were going to attract by being present.

If it were up to her they would not be doing this at all.
Of course, no decisions of great importance were up to her.

The task of ORIN was to make sure things that other people decided to do would work out.

And that task would, if necessary, see her using the WDL security system on their newest recruits.

The figure, an angular-looking woman dressed in dark grey, sat back in the high-backed chair an action that disturbed several cables that rose up from her shoulders to disappear somewhere into sockets up in the ceiling. She'd needed to correct some problems with the wireless network, something that needed a form of direct connection, and fluctuations in the general power supply had required she establish the link via cable in order to charge the facility's internal batteries in case of any more flickers.

Just as well. If she was going to remotely go toe to toe with some angry new arrival then it would be embarrassing to have the power cut out.

It meant ORIN was stuck in the network core for a while, but that was not a problem. The WDL's network had plenty of things to keep her busy.

By her estimate, she had about five seconds to wait for a response. Not a lot of time for an ordinary person.
But time was relative.

A human only perceived seconds as the shortest amount of useful time because a human body was slow and unwieldy and needed more time to accomplish anything of note. A computer could make thousands of calculations in the space of a second. Her time spent waiting to see how people might respond to her introduction gave ORIN ample time to check the battery levels, run a ping check on the wireless network, examine each of the facility's external cameras for any kind of unwanted activity, and try to settle on some demeaning nicknames for some of the new recruit... though she decided that she might wait on the last one in order to settle on what she thought would be the most cutting.

It was with those things set that the woman snapped back to the previous camera and re-opened the sound feed.
If nothing else was going to come of this questionable venture, she could at least get a bit of sport out of it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Notable NPCs Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Vistra Mauve Character Portrait: Sister Rianne

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#, as written by Tanman
Ashley “Ash” “Soot” Clade
Image

Despite Ash attempting to take some semblance of command, it seemed her request was to be interrupted as another pair of girls made an entrance. With little hesitation and zero ceremony, the first of the two -an older looking lady with an eerily similar expression of annoyance to Ashley - dumped the second girl to the floor before striding to the corner to sit, making some offhand and grouchy comments about them. For some reason, Ash couldn’t help but smirk at the attitude of the woman, and didn’t even have a quip to comment on her.

”Um....Hi?”

Ash turned her gaze down to the other one on the floor, distracted momentarily with the pathetic looking kid. Seeing as she’d stopped just in front of her, Ash squatted down, extending her hand out to help get her off the floor. “Hey loser, try not to look so pathetic on the first day.” Hauling the younger teen to her feet, Ash appraised her appearance a bit, noting the numerous scars running along her arms. Those weren’t the kind of things healthy people had, and so Ash scratched the back of her head and turned away. Perhaps she should’ve cut that one a bit more slack.

Her thoughts on the matter were interrupted as an annoyingly familiar sing-song voice filtered in, Ash spinning to locate the source, distracted enough that Vesper was able to simply slip past her to stand with JoJo. Watching the mystical light show, Ash quickly realised that explained how the tiny girl got into bed with her. Folding her arms, she listened to the speech without interrupting. They were getting the answers she wanted, so she wasn’t about to start something now. Taking note that her ‘kindred-spirit’ in the corner was known as Rianne, as well as the look Illusion gave her regarding how violence and antisocial behaviour was tolerated, Ash simply snorted a bit, keeping her arms folded. Being called a doggo was mildly amusing though.

So, the nerd boy in a suit was Rick? Geez, poor guy. She didn’t even have to try to think of an insult to name him with a name like Richard. Still, that dweeb was going to be their instructor? He didn’t look like much. Well, she was going to enjoy making a loser like him regret taking the position. If he wanted her respect, he was going to have to earn it. Until then, she’d make sure to make his life a bit of a living hell. Smiling again, Ash looked forward to making that whiny baby tear his hair out in frustration.

"This is your place of residence from this day forth, where you shall be required to attend classes on magic, combat and the usage of useful devices such as vehicles, coffee machines and magic seals. You will be staying here for the rest of your lives and your every need will be attended to due to your unusual circumstances. We hope you enjoy your stay at the Warriors of Divine Light's Exorcist Academy and live long and prosper." Illusion elaborated, Ash pausing to take it all in. Combat classes? Magic? Well, they were in for a rude awakening when Ash prominently displayed that she couldn’t do a thing other than order around a motorbike. Looking over the rest of the sorry crew, none of them looked particularly special. She thought that they were all half-demon children? Somehow, Ash felt they were all going to be pretty unspectacular. Then again… Reminded of that bloody man that had attacked her, Ash unintentionally shivered a bit. Maybe looks could be deceiving. Demons didn’t have to look like monsters to be one.

"I don't believe you. You're clearly crazy from where I stand with all these stupid mumbo jumbo." The tall boy spoke up, and Ash eye rolled a bit, looking to him in disdain. Really? After all this he still couldn’t accept that maybe there were some things they didn’t understand? Granted, Ash had probably had a much more horrific induction to the WDL, but that Illusion chick was more than enough proof that there were supernatural forces afoot. Still, someone else would likely show him just how stupid he really was.

Just as Ash was thinking that, that someone decided to make their presence known. Ash was a pretty tough girl. Say what you want about her attitude, but she had a glare that could make people wither in moments. The fact that this man managed to shatter that demeanour with just his presence was impressive to say the least, as Ash took a cautious step back. There was certainly something intimidating about the head of the WDL, and that was before he’d even opened his mouth or blown up the lights with nothing but the act of barely drawing his sword. Still, Ash had a reputation as a bad-ass to keep. She wasn’t about to let him intimidate her. Much.

“He doesn’t look that tough…” Ash whispered leaning down towards Vistra. She looked impressionable enough for Ash to manipulate somewhat. With that said, she sat back up, before the big lughead started making another big deal and throwing another tantrum. Honestly, what was he, a two year old? Ash didn’t like this place any more than he did, but she at least had the common sense to realise they were stuck here. She was actually about to say something about his ignorance before jumping slightly as another new almost electronic voice came out behind them. Ash looked around a little confused until her eyes settled on the speaker and camera in the corner of the room, affixing it with a bit of a glare. So they were being monitored by some defence system. Wonderful.

“You hear that dumbass? You’re stuck here - like me - like it or not. If you can look past your own stupid, selfish needs for one second, maybe you could see that this isn’t some dumb joke. ” Striding up towards Caius, Ash was happy to get into his face with a sneer, condescendingly speaking to him like he was some child. “Believe me, if I had a choice I’d go back to my normal life without all you losers in a heartbeat, but I’m stuck with all of you, and you’re stuck with me. We don’t have to get along, but it looks like we’re gonna have a job to do, so we may as well shut up and play along for now.” Stepping back away from Caius, Ash turned to the rest of the group, tossing her hair a couple of times as it got tangled.

“I’m Ash, by the way. May as well get these introductions out of the way.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Notable NPCs Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Vistra Mauve Character Portrait: Sister Rianne

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#, as written by Zalgo
Rick Brackwall

Rick had turned and stood at attention as was formally expected as soon as he had arrived. He stood before the demonstration of power from the esteemed leader of the WDL, ever still despite all things considered. The lights had become so bright however that he had to shield his eyes, bringing a hand up to provide shelter to them without necessarily obscuring his view of Arthur. Only when the lights burst did his hand waver slightly, his will to not falter before Arthur strong enough to hold his composure during the event.

As Arthur bid them good day and left the auditorium Rick was still mildly robbed of words, not just from the display of power but from the revelation that he was to serve as this groups leader, at least for the challenge ahead. He wanted to volunteer to help guide the newer members through so as to ease their transition and smoothly bring them up to speed. Never did he suspect that instead he would be nominated for the task by the head of the WDL himself. Having his seniority recognized by the highest authority in the organization was quite the honor.


Of course that also meant that the responsibility was greater in turn. Arthur expected results and Rick had every intention to deliver them. However...

"I don't want to be a part of this shitty production. Find yourself another child of the devil or whatever."

This was going to be easier said than done given the belligerence a few of them were already displaying. He was about to speak but the situation seemed to roll away from him over a very short but active period of time.

"A notice that if you attempt to leave without the permission of an officer, I'm authorised to initiate a lockdown sequence on the building, and you can all camp out there until your friend cools his jets."

It seemed his new comrade's antics had drawn the attention of ORIN. If she decided to they were not going to be going anywhere which would make his job of introducing all the newcomers to the WDL significantly harder. She proceeded to introduce themselves as well as make some points, albeit in a rather threatening manner.


Next up of course was Ash, confronting Caius on his actions.

“You hear that dumbass? You’re stuck here - like me - like it or not. If you can look past your own stupid, selfish needs for one second, maybe you could see that this isn’t some dumb joke. ”

She proceeded to march up to Caius's face, trying no doubt to stare him down.

“Believe me, if I had a choice I’d go back to my normal life without all you losers in a heartbeat, but I’m stuck with all of you, and you’re stuck with me. We don’t have to get along, but it looks like we’re gonna have a job to do, so we may as well shut up and play along for now.”


He appreciated her task oriented sentiment however arguing with her comrade was only going to create division when what he needed was to better bring them together. He needed teamwork, not corporal punishment and belittlement.

"Okay, I think I've heard enough."

Rick had the composure not to put a palm to his face but was certainly struck with the urge to.

"Hey, loser." She directly addressed Ash "You sure as hell don't have to get along with me, but you're gonna want to get along with everyone else, so you can start by dropping that attitude before I beat the snot out of you. Don't waste my time, don't waste Rick's time, and don't waste the WDL's time. We need you all to cooperate. You know what doesn't entail? Acting like some playground bully because your insecurities keep you awake at night. 'Shut up and play along for now,' don't give me that crap. No one's ever worked properly as a team with a mindset like that, so why don't you get your head out of your fucking ass."


At last there was a moment to interject. Rick took the opportunity to get some words in lest the arguing spread and infect the fellow children's morales.

"Thank you Rianne."

He started, smiling largely to hide his cringe at the sharpness of her words. It was good that she was assisting him with the situation however her strong wording was in definite need for refinement. Choosing to let what was said thus far to sink in for Caius and Ash Rick opted instead to turn towards the other remaining children, all no less valuable than the other at this point.

"Hello. I'm Vistra. It's nice to meet you all, even with all this going on. And I suppose this would make us half-siblings? I've always wanted an older brother and sister."

Vistra greeted them all. She certainly was a strange one, reactions being atypical to his expectations but her demeanor was quite welcome.

"It is good to meet you Vistra. It is indeed true that we are siblings by blood. I welcome the opportunity to better relate now that we're all brought together."


He looked over, addressing the other non-argumentative members generally.

"At this point however we are united not only by blood but also by circumstance. I understand the situations that you all arrived under were less than ideal but with your cooperation that will change."

He maintained a fair tone of seriousness, giving their arrival the respect it deserves.

"As they say, A rocky start is simply the beginning of a thrilling hike."

He smiled more, interjecting some levity while lightening up so as to create a less intense atmosphere.

"Come now everyone. Whilst Illusion and our esteemed leader Arthur have given you all some explanation regarding our role in the WDL I suspect you are all full of questions still yet to be answered. It is my express pleasure to satisfy any curiosity and I'll be seeing to it that you are optimally comfortable and informed. Follow me to the projector room and afterwords I'll help guide you all to your respective dormitory rooms. If anyone's interested after that I'll still be available to give a tour of this establishment."

Smoothly he turned, gesturing for them to follow him out the door. As he stepped through he threw open both of the double doors in a grand gesture, unveiling the city of Rome in it's full glory to all stepping through.


Sometimes a bit of theatrics could be more powerful than technology and even magic at times. Rick certainly hoped it could keep their interest on him as opposed to just fighting each other like a wild pack of dogs.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Vistra Mauve Character Portrait: Sister Rianne

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#, as written by zody
| Jonathan Black/JoJo |


JoJo watched somewhat blankly as Illusion gave her speech, having ignored Caius' remark beforehand. He had something a bit more important to focus on than Caius being rude. Demon kids again, huh? Well, JoJo somehow doubted that. After all, his father was a bit busy with his new family now, and- JoJo winced, reaching up to rub the side of his head before shaking it, looking back up at Illusion. He raised an eyebrow; before his headache hit, Illusion was on stage alone, but now she standing right before himself and the others, looking them all over, although still speaking. He looked over to Vesper who'd moved to his side, before looking back to the vampire principal as she continued on. Illusion shrugged. "Unless any of you still don't believe that supernatural beings exist? I'd happily show you otherwise."

"What the everloving fuckles is going on here.." was the only thing JoJo had come out of his mouth. He knew that obviously something was going on- first there was that crazy spider woman, and then a lolita vampire had slammed him into a wall. He looked over at Illusion, eyes narrowing ever so slightly. She couldn't have been that bad, though, she gave him food when he was starving, after all. Remembering her previous reminder of her 'retaliation', JoJo had enough sense to keep his trap shut. Sure, he'd never expected to see anything aside from humans on this planet, but he had a fairly open mind- and no normal little girl could float or toss him around a room.

However, there was someone who didn't quite share his ability to not speak. His good old friend Caius, in fact. With a simple "I'm going." the man turned and began to leave the room. However, he stopped in his tracks right after. Jonathan turned towards the stage, only to spot possibly the most intimidating person he'd ever seen briskly walking across it. Even the vampire in front of him seemed nervous, and she turned around slowly to the man as he stood at the edge of the stage, glaring daggers at her. "Ahh, I forgot you were there. Haha, hi Arthur." With that, Illusion vanished into a.. thing. JoJo totally had to learn that move one day. His attention returned to the man, who gave them a painfully obvious ultimatum- and also marked Rick as their superior. Jonathan didn't really mind, since Rick seemed like an alright guy, but the hairs on the back of his neck stood up.

As Arthur began to showcase his power, and Jonathan wondered how much it would hurt to be smacked by that sword Arthur wielded. JoJo tensed up just like he did when the spider woman attacked him, and he grit his teeth. Sure, Arthur was absolutely terrifying, but JoJo wouldn't be stupid enough to fight him- Jonathan would rather use his head than his fists, even during a fight. And Arthur didn't exactly look like a guy he could get away with using anything else on.

".. Kill us? The hell have we done..? Is being born that bad?" He muttered to himself once Arthur had left, and he briefly looked over at Vistra, worried slightly at her sudden outburst of giggles and making sure she was okay. He turned back and let out a heavy sigh, visibly relaxing only slightly. He needed to find a phone and, well, do something- but then again, if he called Dawn, she might try to come get him or something. He couldn't exactly have the shorty come here and get whooped by Arthur or Illusion or whoever else was here- or imprisoned or whatever they did to people that tried to trespass here. Jonathan imagined it wasn't nice, whatever it was. He was zoned out to the point that he didn't even notice Illusion reappearing. His previous idea was the find a phone, but that idea was gone. Firstly because he'd seen Vesper again and leaving her wasn't exactly a huge priority for him- but mostly now he was just worried that he'd drag his poor housemate into something over her head. Both of their heads, honestly.

"Fucking.. fuck. The hell am I supposed to do?" Jonathan turned around, before groaning audibly as he heard Caius once again speak. He looked over at Vesper, checking on her, before he looked over at Caius. Illusion had apparently given them a chance for questions, and Caius was the first to respond. "Questions, then tell me. Where is the fuckin' exit?" JoJo groaned. "Really, dude?" Continuing his rant, he began to get ready for a fight from what JoJo saw. At this moment, he also noticed Caius' hands being bloody. Was he that intimidated by Arthur that he had to squeeze his fists that hard? Someone like Caius was scared of Arthur? "Well, fuck me, right? I thought that guy was fearless." In fact, thinking back on it, JoJo realised that the people who seemed the toughest of the group had reacted the most- Rick and Vesper barely even flinched, or didn't flinch at all.

He let out a sigh, about to call out to Caius before he jumped a little as the intercom on the wall crackled to life. Apparently there was a sentient being in control of the facility's surveillance system, and she didn't sound very, if at all, happy. Her name was ORIN, which probably stood for.. uh.. something. Probably. However, with her threat on the table, JoJo was quite honestly expecting things to start looking up.

He was so wrong.

You hear that dumbass? You’re stuck here - like me - like it or not. If you can look past your own stupid, selfish needs for one second, maybe you could see that this isn’t some dumb joke. The black-haired girl had practically waltzed up to Caius, immediately getting in his face and mouthing off at him.Believe me, if I had a choice I’d go back to my normal life without all you losers in a heartbeat, but I’m stuck with all of you, and you’re stuck with me. We don’t have to get along, but it looks like we’re gonna have a job to do, so we may as well shut up and play along for now.

Jonathan almost went and slammed his face into the nearest wall. He was nice, but he had his limits. They were literally just threatened with imprisonment if they caused anything, and here we had this girl immediately going and causing something. JoJo watched somewhat intently, though, as she'd walked right into Caius' range- and from what he remembered, that was not a good place to be. However, he was immediately a bit more relieved when she stepped away from him, turning to the rest of the group with a hair flip. How angsty. I’m Ash, by the way. May as well get these introductions out of the way.

JoJo began to wonder if being cut off was going to be a thing around here when, as when he went to introduce himself, the girl at the side of the room cut in. He was cut off. Again. It was definitely a thing. All pretense of niceties was lost within five seconds of her opening her mouth. She pointed directly at Ash after catching everyone's attention with two claps, kind of like a teacher getting their students attention. He'd expected something from her, but was just a little irked when it seemed that she, too, was intent on starting something. He glanced over at Rick, their designated leader, and wondered how he'd manage a group like this. JoJo actually felt sorry for him.

"Hey, loser." What an opening line- she was obviously trying to be the most friendly person in the room. Wall-girl stared directly at the black-haired girl, whom Jonathan now knew was named Ash. "You sure as hell don't have to get along with me, but you're gonna want to get along with everyone else, so you can start by dropping that attitude before I beat the snot out of you. Don't waste my time, don't waste Rick's time, and don't waste the WDL's time." JoJo raised an eyebrow. So she was also a member of the WDL? But aside from appearing out of basically nowhere, she seemed completely different to the two other staff members he'd met. Maybe she was some sort of instructor? Or, considering there was plenty people carrying around weapons that probably also had tongues as sharp as said weapons, she was just a regular mook that was dragged into attending with the girl from before? Whoever she was, she'd taken the mood in the room from slightly not bad back to oh god territory- he figured that Ash would have some very choice words for her right after.

Rianne put out her lit cigarette, and JoJo wondered if it was usual for someone to smoke for five seconds before stopping. Maybe there was a no smoking rule? "Name's Rianne, by the way. There's my introduction." He nodded slightly. Well, that's.. 7 new names he'd learned today. All up, he knew Vesper, Caius, Rick, Ash, Rianne, Arthur and.. Illusion? Couldn't be her actual name, right? Nah, JoJo decided, surely not.

JoJo was snapped out of his thoughts as the girl that giggled a bit too hard introduced herself. 'Hello. I'm Vistra. It's nice to meet you all, even with all this going on.' When she smiled at him, her smiled back- no need to be rude, especially in such absolutely ridiculous circumstances- I mean, a guy had just blown the lights by waving around a sword. That was absolutely insane. 'And I suppose this would make us half-siblings? I've always wanted an older brother and sister.' JoJo chuckled softly, "I s'pose it would." He spoke up, loud enough for everyone to head. "Name's Jonathan, JoJo for short. Pleasure to meet you all." 8 names he knew, now. He was going to offer his hand for her to shake before Rick, sensing the hostility between a certain trio in the room, took action.

He looked over as Rick spoke, listening to him. Apparently, Rick had been here for a while, so it was probably best for him to be listening to his senior. "At this point however we are united not only by blood but also by circumstance. I understand the situations that you all arrived under were less than ideal but with your cooperation that will change." JoJo nodded in agreement- even though he wanted to, he couldn't just walk out of here. He'd resigned himself to being stuck here for the time being. Honestly, he really just wanted to tell Dawn he wasn't dead- Rick would definitely know where there was a phone. He probably had one, even, and Jonathan knew Dawn's number by heart.

Tuning back into Rick's speech from his thoughts, he grimaced slightly. "As they say, A rocky start is simply the beginning of a thrilling hike." A thrilling hike doesn't usually start with getting your feet messed up, that's for sure. There's only a certain amount of rockiness that you can go through. Also, JoJo thought to himself, who even says that?

"Come now everyone. Whilst Illusion and our esteemed leader Arthur have given you all some explanation regarding our role in the WDL I suspect you are all full of questions still yet to be answered. It is my express pleasure to satisfy any curiosity and I'll be seeing to it that you are optimally comfortable and informed." JoJo looked up as soon as Rick mentioned a tour- he could finally find a damn phone! But something else caught him, and that was Rick's offer to answer their questions on Illusion's behalf. Rick at this point seemed a tad cardboard, like he was forcing his pleasant demeanour. 'Express pleasure'? 'Optimally comfortable'? Something seemed ever so off about it, although JoJo pinned that down to his nerves and his circumstances. He perked up a little, however, as Rick continued. "Follow me to the projector room and afterwords I'll help guide you all to your respective dormitory rooms. If anyone's interested after that I'll still be available to give a tour of this establishment."

He crossed his arms, surveying everyone else in the room, before he stepped forward. He looked over at Rick, then gave him a nod as he began to follow him. He watched, and couldn't help but smirk as Rick threw open the doors so fancily- "Man, this seems like a slow-motion intro moments at the beginning of an anime, I swear.." He muttered under his breath. He looked back as he walked, wanting to make sure Vesper was following.






| Illusion |


Illusion sat in her chair, a sly smirk sliding across her features as Caius questioned her. Not particularly invested in the events before her, she tuned out once the female doggo got in Caius' face, and then tuned back in when Rianne jumped in as well. She sighed, looking up at the nearest security camera and giving it a 'what the hell are we doing here' type of shrug. Her eyes flickered over to Rick, and she narrowed them slightly. "Shouldn't ya be doin' somethin', leader?" she thought, and was pleasantly surprised when Rick did, in fact, do his duty. As Rick did do something- albeit while apparently ignoring the three hostile satanspawns right in front of him, and Illusion sighed. Arthur had put them all on edge, and the two lovely firecrackers they'd gotten didn't seem to make anything easier. However, she had a much darker goal in her mind. She'd offered to prove anyone who didn't believe that those of supernatural origin existed wrong, and her eyes smoothly settled on Caius.

Waiting until everyone else had left the room or was leaving, Illusion cleared her throat. "Oi, Caius, my friendo. There's somethin' I wanna speak with ya about. Privately." She glanced over at Rick, a look that made it obvious that she meant for the others to move along and leave her alone with Caius. Waiting patiently, the young vampire smiled, before idly starting to read what seemed to be a newspaper. When they were alone, she looked up at Caius; "So, ya read the news lately?"






A pair of binoculars scoured the WDL grounds. The barrier barely did its job of preventing sight into the compound, and a sigh left the lips of the observer. "Lax defences.." They then groaned, cracking their neck before resuming their searching. For a moment, their binoculars caught sight of Rick shoving the Auditorium doors open all cool-like. A slightly chuckle left their lips. "Wait a.. Oh, so that's them, then." A pause, before the binoculars moved around the facility. The observer's sight landed on an open window in one of the buildings on the grounds of the WDL's Exorcist Academy. Zooming in a little, the observer caught a glimpse of a rather pretty woman adjusting their blouse near an open window. They zoomed in a bit more, a sly snicker leaving their lips. "Ho ho hoh, this is a great view.." The girl in the window finished doing up their blouse, and moved away. A sad sigh left the observer's lips as they moved their binoculars around again, this time finding their last target. A young man was suddenly accosted by another- attacked with a full rubbish bin, in fact. The observer snickered, watching the young Exorcist seemingly apologise to the man he'd just covered with trash.

Putting away their binoculars, they slowly stood up. Their gear weighed a bit heavy on their back, but they were here for business, after all.






The girl stretched as she exited the cab, smiling as it pulled away and she gave it a cheerful wave. Smiling and humming to herself happily, she began the short trek towards the guardpost that prevented her from entering the WDL's facilities. Well, it would have if she wasn't registered as a student. Her lips curled into a sly smile, and she half-walked half-skipped up to the guardpost, pass in hand if they had any questions.

Of course, like all men, the only question they had for her was 'Will you love me?', and her answer was always the same.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: Kane O'Reilly Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Sister Rianne Character Portrait: Yohan

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With the sudden verbal abuse that Rianne had dumped on the girl, she absolutely expected some kind of retaliation from someone with a mouth like that. She sat quietly, almost eagerly as she waited in anticipation to hear what she would say - her body was leaning slightly forward, hands on her knees and the slightest smile creeping at the corner of her mouth. Unsurprisingly, she jumped straight to name calling but in a few moments, the direction she took her insults changed drastically. 'Disgruntled badass? Too ugly to find a man? Arthur's lapdog? Obsolete?'

Rianne almost bust out laughing as Ash fumed at her, who then ended with a smug grin that showed that she was confident she had 'won' their little argument. Sure kid, you won, Rianne thought, eliciting a snicker as the girl sped away on her bike with the others. There were so many things that was funny about that entire sequence that she didn't even know where to begin. She couldn't even be mad - the wild assumptions, the smug look, the fact that she felt she had to get the last word in - Rianne changed her mind, Ash wasn't a playground bully. She was just an idiot.

"And that's fine with me," Rianne muttered to herself with a shrug, flipping her phone open. It had been buzzing for a few minutes now, but she'd chosen to ignore it. I'm just as much of a dumbass, though I'd never hear the end of it if I put myself in the same boat as her. Her eyes skimmed over the message she'd received and suddenly things weren't so funny anymore:

[Melody: 12:00 PM sharp at Della Pace. Come alone.]

Rianne quickly closed her phone, squinting suspiciously around the ceiling for a few moments. ORIN didn't see that, did she? God knows where's she got eyes and ears here. She put the phone away and rubbed the side of her temple with her right hand, gently closing her eyes. It'll be okay. Even if she did see, she probably wouldn't care.

Unlike her, Melody was not the type to pull pranks like this. Somebody's got a hold of her.

Rianne opened her eyes again and took a few deep breaths, opening her phone for a few seconds before putting it away once more. She had been too stunned to fully register the time and place that she was expected to meet this stranger. It didn't seem likely that it was anybody she knew, so she guessed that it had to be a demon of some sort. She'd dealt with their kind on many an occasion, after all.

In any case, there were still hours to spare before the clock struck twelve and she wasn't going to spend that time moping around, at least if she could help it. She half-considered asking somebody for help, but she wasn't willing to risk Melody's life. This was something she might have to face on her own. Standing up and dusting herself off, she waved and made her way towards the exit. "You two have fun, I'm gonna go grab some ice cream."

Or at least, that was the plan. By the looks of it, they were all sold out of strawberry. Peering off to the side, she spotted a pair of WDL students surrounded by a heap of trash. Oh boy.

She walked over and pulled the can upright, kneeling to the ground to pick up pieces of trash and drop them back in. "It's nice that you're introducing each other in the middle of all this garbage, but I hope at least one of you is planning on cleaning all of this up. Actually. . ." Rianne snapped a few times as if to jog her memory. "Kane, right? Get me a broom from the classroom, I'll clean it up."

Anything to take my mind off of tonight.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Vistra Mauve Character Portrait: Sister Rianne

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"I really hate to admit
that I need to concede on
some things, but it doesn't
mean that I would just take
it as it is, but I know I have
to, so I won't be weak."
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If there was gauge to determine how much Caius was bursting in confusion which relates to his temper, it would be bursting and just a step away before it exploded. He is truly the definition of stubbornness and even if everything he had been seeing is truly contradictory to what he believes. He would not be swayed and because he relays on emotions more, the resentment building inside of him due to the people and environment, simply blocks his willingness to view things openly. Actually, it's just pure immature hardheadedness that makes him resistant to everything that's being said even if, deep inside he could see logical points. Still, his temper triumphs over it.

Well, this was briefly rerouted when a voice reminiscent of those virtual assistants in the latest gadgets echoed through the building. Apparently, it replied to his demand. His eyes narrowed further inciting his displeasure. This ORIN character or whatever it calls itself was also have the keys to grate on his nerves. It was pinning the fault of a lock-down on him if he ever so prance out of here at his violation. Adding to that, it sounded like wacko job of big brother who sees everything and so on. "Tch! The fuck should I care about some piece of shit." His words had the lace of venom and his irritation as more confusing things keep piling up on him.

Then, this piss poor imitation of a biker chick from Addams family approached her as if she's worth even equal to dirt. He gritted his teeth and literally snarled at the girl. "Listen her you stick of a t-" He was unable to continue his retort when the sound clapping intervened along the lines. He growled for the interruption, but didn't say anything as he decided to ignore the two.

He just wanted to leave now and find the kids, if what that psycho Illusion said that they are alive and safe. But, he did glare at that sissy-looking girl who introduced herself as Vistra and had the gall to say that they are siblings. "Don't screw with me. We ain't family or even siblings. So, shut it!" His agitation was clear and because of it, he was venting it out in different ways. He then also glared at Rick who seemed to agree on that statement and to the punk JoJo. There was no way he would even think about becoming anything with these freaks. That was not even registering to him at all. He just needs to get out of here quick. That's what's being prioritized in his head.

In terms of what Rick was saying, he really didn't care that's why he didn't listen at all. Instead, he looked away from the group and the warning from ORIN didn't even cause any worry over him as he looked around to see where he could slip away and escape this circus of crazy. The opportunity soon appeared as the others began to leave the building. He could use that get away and when he was about to, but that voice which grated on his ears prevented him. He looked over his shoulder and saw that Illusion. "We're not friends." He retorted as he glared at the little fry of violence. Despite his temper, he did notice that he was left alone with Illusion soon enough. Then, his gaze fell on that newspaper. It was odd in every aspect to him. "What do you want?"

Illusion, with a small smirk on her face, lazily looked up in Caius’ direction. I asked you if you’ve read the news lately, rude boy. Have you? Lifting up her slender hand, she beckoned Caius over as her grin slowly vanished.Caius was really having doubts whether to approach, but his curiosity won over. "...What is it?" His tone returned to a normal range, but it was still filled with a controlled level of annoyance. He walked towards Illusion, but made sure there was a notable distance in case this man-child do something again. That grin was enough sign for him that something was up and he really wasn’t keen about throwing caution out the window right now. "So, what’s interesting about it, huh?"

Illusion turned to the page before her, chuckling. Just a little bit here. ‘An orphanage was attacked a few nights ago; several children, the matron murdered, and the rest of the children were missing along with one of the staff that worked there by the name of..’ Well.. ‘Caius Grady’, in fact. Hearing those words, Caius stiffened notably. The events of that night rolled inside his head as his hands were once again clenched into fists. He didn’t even mind the fact that he might make his hands bleed which had already stopped earlier.

Illusion looked over at Caius once more. According to this newspaper there was no animal found on the scene, yet there were several bodies. What do you think of this oh so wonderful development, Mister Grady? Illusion gazed right into his eyes, her expression dead serious. "... No animal…?" That was the question that echoed in his head as the image of that violent beast appeared in his head. "That’s impossible!" He loudly retorted in confusion while shaking his head in disbelief. "There was that…. Bear… Dog…. Beast!" He then met Illusion’s gaze as a rather useless, but plausible idea entered his thoughts. "You.. What did you do!?" It was not impossible from his opinion. He was attacked then, he was taken there and then that news…. Everything was confusing… The only person who could do something about it was this person, this Illusion.

That what? It’s called a werewolf- lycanthrope. Whatever. Illusion spoke in a monotone voice. We did nothing. If we had’ve done something, why would we have taken your lovely orphans into our protection? Caius somehow eased up due to Illusion’s anti-climactic tone. He bit his lower lip in obvious frustration as he wasn’t able to speak anything more. Illusion continued reading from the paper, It seems to have been an attack by an animal, however, nothing at the scene could be linked to any type of animal native to the region. A search was launched, but no results were found aside from a large tooth buried in the throat of a young girl, a human canine. Illusion paused. See, the thing about werewolves is that when a piece of them is torn out, it returns to its human form. She shrugged. But since werewolves obviously don’t exist, why was there a human tooth in poor Sophie’s neck, Caius? Can you tell me?

The memory of Sophie reaching out to him made him lowered his head as the scene made him shake his head in resistance. "....That’s impossible… Impossible..." Yes, he was resisting what was being said to him as he took a step back. "It was a huge animal…. Human? That’s impossible..." He tried to connect the dots, but he was never the type to handle such complicated processes. That’s why all he could was just a simple and rather low-level comprehension. "It must be a human in a costume… That’s it!" He pointed at Illusion as his eyes of gold lit with approval of that solution, but still, doubt swimmed behind it. All of that due to the fact he had grabbed hold of that beast… he felt that claw… It wasn’t human… "It’s a deranged human!"

So you killed a man? Ripped a man in two in front of all of those innocent people? You murdered a man? Or are you just clutching onto your beliefs that it wasn’t a monster when you know that it was. What kind of man is that big? That strong? What kind of man growls at you and looks like a wolf? What kind of man eats little children? Those words accosted him like daggers and each stabbed him true. Killing someone, it was not something he would lose sleep over. In his life, the idea of killing had never been an issue, more like he was prepared for that instance especially with the darkness of his life in the underground world. What actually pierced him was that his beliefs were being torn at the very seams. It’s like his impenetrable rock was being drilled into pieces, slowly, but surely.

Illusion shrugged.But if you still want to ignore the obvious lycan in front of you, I have another proposal for you. Caius Grady, if there was no werewolf to kill those children, and no man was found at the crime scene; that means that you ate and killed those children with your own hands, doesn’t it? So tell me, Caius. Do werewolves exist, or.. She paused, tossing the paper aside and staring at him as she stood up, looking right into his eyes, Are you a heartless, child-butchering cannibal, Caius Grady? His hand that pointed accusingly at Illusion quivered for a moment, as he lowered it. Then, "Hell no! I won’t ever hurt those kids! No!" He stated angrily and with a clear sincerity that would have been usually hidden with his rough words. His eyes also glowed with that harsh determination. "It’s… not a hu---..." He didn’t continue his words as he held his head and shook it in frustration. "SHIT! What the fuck is happening…?"

Illusion sighed. What’s happening is exactly what happened to everyone else here. Your regular life was suddenly torn apart because you were introduced to something that wasn’t human. You’re just being awfully stubborn about it. Illusion shrugged. If you didn’t hurt those children, and there was no animal, where does that leave you, Caius? There was a werewolf and you know it, don’t you?

At this point, the resistance that Caius had was blown away. His shoulders lowered and his eyes on the ground as well. "I..." He clammed up as he took a deep breath and calmed himself. The memories of the night and what happened to him here played again, but this time, things were being put into perspective. "Hey..." His voice had lost it edge of irritation, somehow it was calm, something unfamiliar to those who have observed him earlier. "That monster… that.. Werewolf is dead, right?" He was still not looking at her as he asked that question as if for confirmation.

Illusion, her face softening, nodded. Yes. You quite literally tore it in half, saving the rest of the children in the room. You also took quite the beating , she motioned to his stomach, but in the end, you were quite the hero, Caius. The word hero made him flinched. He should feel a sense of pride normally, but the faces of the Matron, the dead children, and Sophie haunted his eyes. Plus, he was definitely not the hero type. Still, he looked up and saw that expression which was usually only given to him by the Matron. She smiled warmly at him- not her usual fake warm smile, but an actually genuine one.

She put her hands behind her back, looking over at the podium she’d stood on before. I’m sure those kids are all grateful to you. They now have a place to live, a place to grow up, and most importantly they have their lives. She turned back to Caius, slowly floating up to pat his head. This time, he didn’t say anything and just allowed that gesture. I’ll take you to see them later on, okay? For now you should head to the projector room with the others. I know this is all difficult and new for you, but the more you learn the better you can protect the children, right? Illusion dropped to the floor, grinning. Now go, I’ll make sure that the orphans- well, not orphans anymore- are taken care of while you’re away. She looked at him again. Is there anything else before you go?

He was quiet for a while before releasing a big sigh and then looked at the ceiling. It was at that position he spoke once more. "I’ll hold you to what you say." Caius was not completely trusting Illusion, but that was normal, isn’t it? He was still wary and cautious, but right now… What can he really do? Apparently, everything around him is against to his desire to leave. Plus, he is worried about the kids remembering their horror when they saw what he did. His strength… that was abnormal. He needed to understand and these people can either give that or manipulate him, but he was willing to gamble. He was always risking it anyway out the streets. What was the difference here, right? "Keep those brats safe. Anyway, I’ll learn what am I here, right?" This time, he finally looked back at her.

Illusion nodded. Yes, you will. You’ll learn lots of things. You’ll learn more about the world than any other place could teach you. I’ll keep those children safe- I give you my word, but I expect you to grow strong enough that one day I don’t need to protect them. I’m sure they’d much rather be watched over by their big brother Caius than a tiny lolita like me. She chuckled softly. Caius didn’t mind the chuckle. He was still hesitant with the whole supernatural thing going on, but he wasn’t that closed off anymore. "That’s obvious." He noted on his part. Get moving, Caius. Today is introductions, tomorrow is boot camp. Oh, she motioned towards the doorway, Please try to get along with them. In a battle, they might have your back when you need it. I know you prefer to fight alone, but you have a family now. Don’t let that opportunity go to waste, are we clear? He looked away from Illusion. "I can’t promise about getting along with them." The idea of JoJo, that halloween-themed girl along with the others of having sort of a bond with him was really far off in his assessment. Even the word family, it’s foreign to him at the moment. "....But, I’ll tolerate them." He shrugged his shoulders. "So, which way is this projection room?"

Illusion, her smile suddenly turning sly, giggled. Oh, don’t worry about that. I can get you there in just a moment, however, you might hate me for this. She shoved Caius, her small frame making it somewhat comedic as this tiny girl, with one finger, sent him falling onto his rear. This was without doubt made him shock, but instead of meeting with the floor, he fell through one of Illusion’s crazy broken glass-looking portals, landing on the floor in a room with a projector being the most prominent feature. "Eh?" It might have been weak response, but his eyes were as big as a fish caught out water. His surroundings suddenly shifted as he looked around in a hurry. This... is... impossible... "How... It's... Huh?" He felt eyes on him as he looked up and saw a hole that he has the common sense to know shouldn't exist. But, it was there with Illusion smiling as she leaned through it. Just wait here for a while, the others will show up in a moment. Don’t break anything~ With that, the girl slid back through the hole, gave him a curt wave, and it closed up in front of him. By the time it was done, it was as if the hole had never existed at all.

Actually, Caius blinked a couple of times after that. Then, rubbed his eyes as he looked at the ceiling which was normal looking. "I'm not crazy... Nope... not crazy." He muttered that to himself while shaking his head. "The fuck... I guess I need get used to this... I need a drink... Badly." Just like that, he stood from the floor and sighed, the biggest he had ever done in his life.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall Character Portrait: Caius Grady Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Vistra Mauve Character Portrait: Sister Rianne

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Throughout the many things that happened in the span of minutes, Vesper was the pinnacle of indifference. She really had no opinion about the conversations going around her or the barbs being thrown between them. They simply did not concern her, so she stopped caring about it. Although, she did offer minimal and harmless responses when appropriate. One would be when ORIN warned them about the possible consequence of leaving as instigated by the brown-tall man (Caius). She was familiar with the system due to her staying and as a form of greeting, she performed a flawless keirei bow as named in her motherland. In this position, her hands were placed by her side as she bend forward in a 30 degree angle. The loose silver wisps swayed along as she did so, creating a graceful conduct.

After that, her next reaction was towards the scarf girl's (Vistra) introduction. She mentioned for them to be siblings and apparently, she fell into the category of older sister. She did not openly responded, but her purple gem of eyes lowered to avert the other girl's gaze. She does not feel comfortable being assessed as that. A haze covered her vision as if she was seeing into a realm that no one could reach and it was the truth. Memories surrounded her without mercy and an overpowering voice echoed inside her. "I'll tell you a story... Ane-sama." She closed her eyes and then raised her face once again as the haze vanished. There was not much of a difference about her or even in her presence, a complete emotionless doll she had become.

Though, she did tilt her head to the side as her sight had spotted a red splotch on the floor. It seemed to have come from that brown-tall man. Blood. There was only a flicker behind those eyes of hers as another voice assaulted her head. "You're an abomination!" It ended at that as she noticed that Rick had began to speak about assisting them in Warriors of Divine Light. He was the same with her, so she did not see anything odd about it. But, she did give him a full nod to acknowledge him. Then another barb occurred between the black-haired girl (Ashley) who separated her earlier from her brother figure, and the older female (Rianne). She simply stood by the sidelines as she glanced at Jonathan. He seemed troubled, but she was certain it was not something the he could not handle. That's why she looked forward again.

It was then Rick finally led them away. The dramatic flair was just that for her, dramatic flair. Yet, that was expected from her, though she did make effort to provide a commentary for Jonathan as she kept her pace beside her as they moved. "Would you be the hero then?" That was but a whimsical note by her as her eyes laid on Jonathan, before she looked ahead once more. Her face was neutral in every way, yet had that mystical elegance as she took each step with effortless poise. Though, she did notice that Illusion was left alone with that brown-tall man. She, however, did not see any importance in that.

"JoJo..." Her voice was low and had melody reserved only for the man beside her. "If you go, take me okay?" At that point, her hand gently gripped at the bottom hem of his shirt. She was not looking at him, however and her face revealed nothing of her emotions that seemed to have disappeared, long ago. After a while, she released her hold on his shirt as if she did not say anything. The world that was monochrome, now had a bit of color and the bandages covering her was slowly coming undone. Just like a sunflower, raising its head to face the sun. That's why, "Is she really a..monster?" She was fine, because she now knew the answer to that.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Yohan Character Portrait: Rinne Lucalia Character Portrait: Candice Hallows Character Portrait: Angel Lucius D'Brightaine

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#, as written by zody
| ??? |


Simple. Efficient. It was exactly as it had been told. A moment of vulnerability, a chance to alter the system. A delicate process, but thankfully, the knowledge that had been bestowed on the individual gave them intimate details of the inner workings of the man-machine hybrid. It was a small window, but all that was needed to make the necessary changes. The files were already prepared beforehand; it was just a matter of slipping them in undetected. When ORIN went through the standard maintenance reboot that was when the window opened. Both the system files, and ORIN’s memories needed to coincide, and the only way for that to happen without her noticing was this precise time. Quickly, flawlessly, the plan was executed, adding in the files as needed before slipping away silently. Now there’d be no further questions on that front. Perfect.






| Rinne |


Two hands gripped Candice's shoulders from behind as she sat in her chair, a smooth voice whispering right into her ear. "Meow." Candice turning to look behind her would yield no results, although she likely knew that already. A few moments later, a small black cat leaped up onto Candice's desk, looking over at her and stretching before laying down on said desk, eyeing her lazily. "Now, how on earth did you get in here?" Candice asked the small feline with some apprehension before sitting up, moving over to her open office door and slowly pushing it shut. The cat simply turned, meowing at Candice again- there was a smugness to the meow, though. She felt like it was flaunting something, especially since the cat stretched its front legs, still eyeing her with those lazy, smug eyes. "You know this is highly unorthodox. I thought we agreed that you'd keep contact to a minimum." Candice stated, folding her arms as she leaned back onto the door to ensure it remained closed. "Not to mention that 'you-know-who' has eyes everywhere." The cat leaped down behind the desk, and for a moment all was quiet. A few seconds later, though, a woman stood up from behind the desk. A small purr escaped her smirking lips as she leaned down and put her chin in her hands, eyeing Candice lazily. "Oh? And I thought I was a welcome visitor.." She slowly stood up, moving around to the side of the desk closest to Candice, and sitting upon the edge.

She was decked out in her usual combat suit, with a fair amount of gear to match- and her treasured twin revolvers sat, polished, at her hip. "I was sent to the area, and I decided to pop in for a moment to check on you." Her smug smile dropped a little as she looked the teacher over. "You look tired. And stressed. Paperwork always was a bother, so I don't know why you subject yourself to it. I could never handle all the writing."
"Work can do that, but at least this way I can see to it that I'm making a difference." Candice replied, giving a faint smile. "Some things are worth the trouble. I take it you know that more of the children have arrived?" She inquired, remaining against the door frame, obviously still worried about being found out. Rinne nodded, chuckling softly. "I do, but I wasn't dispatched here to harm them or anything." She raised her hand passively. "There's been rumours of some unnatural activity somewhere in the region- the WDL themselves requested we look into it. Figure they'd rather us die and not them if it's something big and nasty." Rin slowly stood up, motioning for Candice to come over to her with her pointer finger. "Besides, there's some business I have to attend to. Involving Kane."

Her expression dropped ever so slightly, and she crossed her arms. "You've been keeping the poor kid in the pits, haven't you?" Candice was being sneaky- she was using her glasses to hide her reaction, but Rinne had known her for a long time, so that trick was lost on her. "Unnatural activity, hmm?" The blonde teacher brought a hand to her chin to think. "Care to elaborate on that?" She added, blatantly trying to get one over on the Kasha soldier. Rinne adjusted her own sunglasses as a subtle 'no' to Candice, moving over to the other woman slowly. "You're being slippery, and I won't let it happen. Why is Kane sweeping up trash when much less qualified Exorcists are getting sent out on duty?" Rin crossed her arms, now close enough that she looked down at Candice as she spoke- her height made this an often occurrence, and Rin always enjoyed petting the shorter lady's head as an affectionate, if not slightly smug, gesture.

"Kane offered to, and it's to be expected. He's not prepared for the field, and if I was to send him out it would likely be seen as some sort of favoritism." Candice explained calmly, apparently not intimidated at all by the taller feline, although Rin was glad this was the case, as she wasn't exactly trying to be intimidating. Looking up to meet Rinne's gaze, Candice raised a hand and waved it dismissively. "He'll have his opportunity once he manages to improve his test scores a bit."
"The test scores you've been incorrectly marking?" Rinne's tone was flat- apparently she herself had been doing some searching- or maybe she just knew Candice all too well to think that her being Kane's teacher was good for the boy actually getting out to the place he wanted to be. "Kane offered to because you asked- you offer to do plenty work I'm sure, but you don't want to, do you? Your goals are much larger, yet you burden yourself with tasks because you think it's the nice thing to do." Rinne paused. "You're stifling him, Candy."
Rin's eyes narrowed ever so slightly behind her glasses as she looked at the woman before her. "And it's not favouritism when everyone else gets to go too." Rinne added.

Candice averted her gaze from the feline, looking down to the doorknob she had her hand on, and Rin noticed. To Rin, it was almost as if she was a nervous soldier looking for an escape route- Rin knew Candice had been messing poor Kane around just from the way she was acting so defensively- like an overbearingly overprotective mother. Rinne paused a moment. That's kind of what she was, in fact. Rinne chuckled inwardly. Finally, Candice looked back up to Rin. "You know what's out there. How dangerous it is. It's different for you and me, I know nothing's going to happen to us, but him..." She trailed off, looking to the side as she sighed. "You know what he means to me. I have a duty. An obligation to see to it that he stays safe. I've been against him joining me here from the start, but you insisted."

She pushed off of the door, moving up to Rinne, and attempting to stand some ground and force her back. "Stifling or not, it's for his own good. I couldn't stand if anything happened to him." Rinne put her finger on the bottom of Candice's chin and forced her to look up and meet her gaze. "You think I don't worry about him? You think I don't get scared that he might get injured, maimed or worse? Candy, please, he's my nephew." She sighed, looking down at the worried lady. "What happens if the barrier falls and Kane gets in a fight he cant run away from, Candy? Give him some experience. A taste. Something to let him decide if it's worth it, or if he doesn't want to risk his life. At least let him train- we both know that classes and combat tests only go so far. They don't prepare you for a succubus trying to get into your pants, nor do they prepare you for a wind demon stealing your breath from your lungs when they get close."

Rinne dropped her hand, moving it to clutch Candice's shoulder softly, smiling sheepishly at her less than PG choice of examples. "I'll be in the area. Take him with you somewhere- that way if he needs to have an eye kept on him, you'll be there. Besides, if anything happens, you know I'll come back you up as soon as possible." She smirked and leaned down to whisper into Candice's ear, her voice sultry, yet barely audible. "But, mind you, a wind demon isn't the only thing that's been able to take my breath away." She took a step back, turning to move back over to the desk. "If you don't take him out, he'll end up depressed, and upset, and he's too nice to say it but he might end up disliking you." She turned, leaning on the desk with one hand. "Candy, take him with you on your next outing, or I'll kidnap him." She stared directly into Candice's eyes as those last words left her mouth- she was dead serious.

Candice stopped, hesitating as she seemed to contemplate her options and think it over. Shaking her head, she sighed again, taking a step back towards the door, gripping the handle. "Though I question the nature of your examples, your point still remains. He's going to need to go on a mission at some point, it's just..." She paused, and looked back over at the Kasha lady she was speaking to. "I'll think about it. I certainly can't take him with me - that would definitely constitute favouritism. How about we leave it until after this boot camp, then I'll see to it that he either gets to go on a mission, or I'll bring him on one?" Candice asked, but once again Rinne knew her too well to fall for her tricks. She was trying to buy time, and Rin wasn't going to have any of it. She grinned slyly as Candice gripped the handle. "I wouldn't open that door if I were you, Candy."

Her face relaxed into a smirk as she beckoned Candice over; she couldn't resist getting a little smug jab at the other girl. "Well, there's plenty of demons who try to seduce me, you know. I'm quite the catch, as I'm sure you'll agree." Her smirk grew a bit smug as she stood properly, but the two ears on her head perked up as she zoned in on two words that left Candice's mouth. "Boot camp? Why not take him to boot camp? That seems super reasonable. And at this point, Candy, I think his cohort will be glad to see he's not stuck with cleaning duty this time." She sighed hard. "Although his cohort seem more like to make fun of him because he doesn't get to show off the skills he has, and instead if their laughing stock due to his clumsiness. Also!" Rinne pouted at Candice, a little irked by something. "Are you saying that my training didn't make him at all competent on the battlefield? I will fight you right here and right now!"

"I have no idea what you're talking about." Candice replied astutely, remaining at the door with the handle in her grip. "And unlike you, I have rules and regulations I have to follow. Suffice to say though, you've made your point, and I'll work to change things at the earliest convenience." She added, ready to open the door to allow Rin to leave. "Besides, there's no need for us to fight. I know I can never win against you." Rinne grinned. "Because I'm stronger, cooler and faster than you- and also because you know you couldn't hurt this face, am I right?" She quite enjoyed teasing Candice, in fact it was something she absolutely loved to do. She couldn't help herself, the girl was so darn cute! Despite her internal monologue, she sat back down on the desk, turning to look out the window. "You know, now that business is out of the way.. it's a little rude to just want to toss me out, isn't it?" She kept her gaze outside, watching a pair of birds land on the gutter of a nearby building together. "Do you watch Kane in class? Does he seem happy, Candy? How many people does he talk to? He could make some friends on that boot camp, and you'll be there to keep an eye on him. Seems pretty fair to me." Her smirk appeared to have vanished, replaced by a somewhat blank expression, but since her face wasn't in Candice's direction, it was hard to tell.

Candice, outside of Rin's view, paused, releasing her grip on the door handle as she looked over to Rinne pensively. Sighing, she threw her hands up in the air, exasperated. "It's for both our sakes. I'd rather not have you with an O at the start getting more wise to us than she already is." Rinne heard footsteps, then felt Candice's back press against her own as the teacher leaned against her. "If you're really that worried about him, I'll see what I can do. I promise." Candice stated genuinely, her stubbornness fading. Like she had said, she knew she could never win against Rin. She was being played like a fiddle, but.. well, she didn't entirely mind it.

A few moments of silence passed before two arms wrapped tightly around Candice, pulling her into a warm embrace. The Kasha was still looking away, her cheeks slightly reddened with embarrassment as she hugged Candice close. She sighed softly, turning to rest her chin on Candice's head. "I'm still mad at you for coming here and making it so damn hard to get to you. Legendary soldier or not, do you know how annoying it is the avoid Exorcists, your surveillance, and try to not give myself away? You couldn't have picked a much worse place to end up, Candy." Rinne closed her eyes, going quiet as she enjoyed being close to the 'stern teacher of the WDL Academy'. "Besides, even if there wasn't any business to attend to, I would've come to visit you anyway. I miss you, Kane too, and you suck for coming here." She smirked slightly.

It'd been at least two months since she'd last seen Candice, so her hug was tight and warm and almost overwhelming. Rin could die any moment of any day in her profession, so she naturally she wanted to see the teacher as often as she could. Her grip on Candice tightened slightly as she closed her eyes, greatly enjoying the press of Candice's body against hers. A long, contented sigh left her lips as he opened her eyes as Candice spoke.

"About as annoying as you were about me bringing Kane on a mission." Candice replied, mildly teasing the feline girl. "You know you could just wait until after work hours at my home? At least then we'd have some privacy... From eavesdroppers." Rinne chuckled softly, poking Candice's nose in a mocking angry gesture complete with a fake pout. "I hate you for adding that onto that sentence, you tease." She pulled away from Candice, her eyes sparkling a little as she stood up. "Maybe I'll pop back around later on so we can have some of that privacy you mentioned." She paused, giving Candice a sly smirk. "From eavesdroppers." She turned away, before suddenly spinning on her heel and leaning down to give Candice a quick smooch on the forehead. "I'm gonna go hunt down Kane and give him the good news-" She clicked her fingers before pointing at Candice, laughing lightly, "-don't disappoint him, now, or I'll spank you!" She made her way over to the window, giving the other woman a grin as she shifted back into her feline form and leaped out of the window in one bound.

Back in the room, Candice remained seated at her desk, dumbfounded a moment. Slowly, she got up, moving back to her seat, flopping into it with a soft sigh. Bringing her hand to her forehead, she gave it a soft wipe, staring at her pair of fingers. "The things I get myself into..." She trailed off aloud, before bringing her two fingers to her lips. "Love you too."







| Angel |


A small platoon of soldiers had surrounded Yohan, weapons raised. The blonde who lead them sighed heavily, sword at his waist. "Alright, let's escort him to the prison cells." He spoke with a degree of authority, arms crossed as he looked over the boy. He turned on his heel and began to walk, several soldiers moving alongside Yohan. They pushed him, and he followed- no use getting into trouble right here. The Exorcist who lead the team, Angel, sighed in frustration. "It's required that all Exorcists report suspicious persons when they're spotted. I'll make sure that Rianne lady gets a talking to." He uncrossed his arms, letting his hand fall down onto his blade and rest there as he strode through the grounds. He was at the head of the group, idly tapping the hilt of his weapon as his long strides lead him and his group through the academy grounds, towards a very specific location. "Oh, ya sacka shit, how dare ya come in 'ere 'n blah blahblah blah-" Angel cut himself off. Was he making fun of Rianne being uncultured still? He shook his head and groaned- he'd have to apologise at a more prudent moment. Maybe he'd let her off the hook this once; she definitely knew that she'd disobeyed a pretty serious rule already.

Eventually, after a few minutes of walking, the troupe crossed paths with a ragtag group of people standing outside of (or mostly outside of) the Academy doorway- most of them were without armbands. He paused for a second, looking them over, then noticing one Rick Brackwall with the group. He nodded at him, motioning for his men to pause as he did so. "Ah, Rick, I was wondering if you'd be able to, at your earliest convenience, get that.." Angel's lip curled, but his pleasant smile remained, "lovely.. Principal of ours to attend the Council meeting. She seems to be running somewhat late." He gave Rick a curt nod and, bowing to the others, returned to his group of men, motioning for them to walk once more as they began to make their way to the military base portion of the WDL grounds, to put Yohan behind bars for future questioning, or something.

His headache hadn't left him, and neither had the nightmares.






| ??? |


The lights flickered on in the dark room, a single lightbulb hanging from the ceiling. It barely illuminated the room the girl was in, and she grunted as she struggled in her chair. She hadn't seen them coming at all, so when the blank slammed into her face, she couldn't dodge it. She groaned, looking up as a person entered the room. "Ah, my apologies. We almost lost you, dear. Now, if you'll just hold still.. we want to help you get better. Much, much better."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Notable NPCs 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 Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Vistra Mauve Character Portrait: Yohan Character Portrait: Rinne Lucalia Character Portrait: Angel Lucius D'Brightaine Character Portrait: Charlotte

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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: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Vistra Mauve Character Portrait: Rinne Lucalia Character Portrait: Angel Lucius D'Brightaine Character Portrait: Charlotte

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| Jonathan |


Jojo eagerly listened to everyone's replies, smiling warmly as he looked at them each as they spoke. He noted Vesper breaking her stoic attitude to reply to him immediately, and he grinned extra wide as she did so- he'd missed his little sister after all. Waiting for everyone to respond, he was interrupted by the girl he'd caught in his sight beforehand joining their table. He didn't exactly mind, but he noticed Rick focus on her for a little more than just a regular gaze, and Jojo wondered what was wrong. He looked down for a moment, then shook his head- sure, he'd conveniently locked onto her when he'd looked around earlier, and Rick could've been thinking about anything, so that didn't mean she was automatically suspicious. Jojo smirked to himself slightly, imagining Rick in chibi form obsessing over Italian food. It'd be a funny sight if this were an anime.

Jojo was brought out of his thoughts as Angsty McBroodsalot spoke, and rudely called over the waiter. Jojo sighed under his breath at Ash's comment about him; this was the second time she'd called him out by name in the same day. He wasn't the type to get irked, but it seemed like she had something against him personally- besides, his 'prattling' was nothing but light conversation- she might be happy to sit around in antisocial, angst-ridden silence, but Jojo wasn't going to let this opportunity to chat go to waste. He wouldn't say anything to her about it, however, and he was much more preoccupied now with staring at the menu that was almost a complete mess of gibberish in front of him. He grumbled softly. "Yeah, right, I finally found a reason to have taken those Italian lessons I was offered. Fuck me for saying no, right?" Jojo put his chin in his palm and idly stared over it, before looking around the table again. He looked over at Helena, and decided to speak. "Hey, um, Helena, was it? You feeling better now? I mean, like, not wanting to throw up everywhere?" He gave her a warm grin as he continued. "Don't worry about it- I'm sure if any of us got shoved through that portal we'd get pretty messed up, too." He paused, looking around the table again. "You look super worried about something. Did they toss you in the back of a van, too?" Jojo chuckled softly. "They did that to me, too. Although I'd rather they'd have done that than let me get e-" He stopped himself, memories of the spider lady hitting him and causing him to frown slightly. "Anyway, uh, if there's anything you need, lemme know, alright? We're siblings, apparently, so it's kind of my job to help you out." He grinned again, before noticing the waiter and deflating a little.

He turned to the waiter and gave his order; simple spaghetti and meatballs with- Jojo paused noticeably. Rick had offered to pay, and they were selling alcohol here. His silence went on just a tad too long, and he coughed softly before turning back to the waiter and confidently asking for a glass of apple juice.

"I.. should've learned Italian. I would like something fancy, but all I know is 'spaghetti', really, so.. I'll just cook dinner for Rick some time later on as repayment for not getting something cheaper. And maybe start learning Italian, heh.." He looked around the room, and realised that Dawn, unlike him, was fluent in Italian- and so was Vesper. He tried not to sink into his chair a little deeper.






The girl sighed and sat in her chair inside the Capelli D'Angelo. Ironic for her to be there, despite her the core of her being. From this angle, she could just barely see the group of Seven chatting and socialising, and she eagerly eyed all of them. With a soft chuckle, she leaned forward and sipped from her glass. Noticing the nervous girl approaching them, her eyes flashed a little, and she subconsciously licked her lips as she stared at Charlotte- a Demon always knows another Demon, and the girl loved Demons. She chuckled softly as she stood up, watching the waiter leave with their orders and having seen all she'd needed to see. Her reconnaissance complete, she stood up and shrugged on her jacket before striding past the Seven as she exited the room. She, in the span of a moment, eyed them all and flashed a small grin that played across her features as she slid on her sunglasses and left the restaurant. Her eyes lingered on those mismatched orbs that belonged to one Rick Brackwall before she put her sunglasses on, however, and she paused a moment. Something flickered within her memory, and her smile became just a tad wider as she gave him a wink and finished sliding on her sunglasses. That action was enough to inspire their interest, although her objectives had changed slightly in the last moment.

In a few seconds, the girl stood on the steps of the restaurant, and giggled to herself softly.
Asmodeus didn't stay long, however, as she had some very important things to do before she was found out.






| Angel |


Angel stopped in his tracks as the voice of ORIN entered his thoughts. He groaned audibly, listening in to her announcement. Yes, there was a Demon in the facility- and Angel had just locked it up. Honestly, he sometimes wondered if ORIN had turned defunct over the years. With a loud sigh, he spoke quite loudly despite being patched directly into ORIN. "Request denied, ORIN. It's in the cell, and we want answers. Thank you for your assistance in the matter. That Demon is already in the cell, and has been for a while. You're welcome." Angel figured she meant that the boy he'd nabbed was a Demon- he couldn't have possibly known that an actual Demon had appeared and practically taken up residence in his body. Besides, Angel was late enough to the meeting as is, and he knew that a certain vampire would have some choice words for him in the form of insults if he were any later. In fact, she was already planning them in her head right now, and he knew it.






| Rinne |


Her ear was pressed against her mobile, and her expression was set in stone. She was currently receiving information about an attack on a hospital over in Istanbul. Electricity was cut, and then a few moments later the staff started screaming. Minutes after that, the entire hospital had gone down in flames- hundreds were injured, and even more were killed. Most patients were killed in the attack. Rinne swore under her breath, leaning hard against the wall, her bag of gear clutched tightly in her hand. "We've notified the two of the attack, and we're already here investigating before the WDL arrive to close it down." As Rinne stood there, she saw a helicopter take off and fly away. Seems they'd already began their movements.

Rinne closed her eyes, leaning against the wall and placing down her bag. She had eyes specifically on that hospital for exactly this reason, and they'd been killed before they could relay any information aside from 'something's going on'. Rinne, however, knew exactly the cause. The power had been shut down not on purpose, but because the energy had been drained and the resulting blackout was simply a result of that drainage. She opened her eyes again, grabbing her bag as she hung up the phone and marched back towards his apartment. For now, she'd enjoy her time with Kane. With this next case, she might not come back alive- her opposition wasn't some oblivious mook, after all.

Her opponent was a monster, and a smart one, at that.
And he was probably already heading here to act on his plans.






He dug his fingers into the wound, gritting his teeth as he pulled the thread through the skin and continued stitching his wound closed. The guard had gotten a good shot off, and as he sewed the gunshot wound shut, he dug in with his other hand and slowly, painfully, pulled the bullet out of the hole and yet did not flinch. Electricity crackled from his fingertips, keeping the bullet magnetised to his finger before he held it up. He flicked it, electricity crackling loudly as the already fired bullet became ammo for a human railgun and vanished into the sky. The man slowly stood up, golden eyes glowing unnaturally in the darkness. He yanked hard on the thread, clenching his wound shut with a messy-sounding wet noise before he bit the thread and cut it with his teeth. He tied a rather large knot at the end of the threat to prevent it from coming undone as he grabbed his shirt and put it back on.

He had one stop before he began his movements. He had twenty years of waiting on his belt, and he sure wasn't going to have that number get any higher. He put his hat on his head, a low chuckle leaving his lips as he touched a nearby shadow, silencing his laughter prematurely as he strode through the alley and left it behind.

The guard who had shot him lay in the middle of said alley, bleeding from the mouth, yet his body seemed perfectly untouched.

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 Character Portrait: Leviathan Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Vistra Mauve Character Portrait: Angel Lucius D'Brightaine Character Portrait: Rei

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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
.”

---
Image
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.

----

Image[/left]

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: Jonathan Black Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: Vesper Himemiya Character Portrait: Rick Brackwall Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Angel Lucius D'Brightaine

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#, as written by zody
| Jonathan |


Jojo gave Helena a smile as she responded, and would've replied if his meal hadn't been place down in front of him. He gave the spaghetti and meatballs a look-over, and happily licked his lips. Sure, he was plenty capable of cooking, but sometimes it was nice to be able to get away with not cooking (especially since a certain someone pestered him about cooking almost nightly). He looked up and nodded at Rick, giving him a quick thank you before his gaze moved over to Vesper. Itadakimasu.. it'd been way too long since he'd heard that. A soft chuckle left Jojo's mouth before he bowed his head in respect for a moment and then began to dig into his food. However, eyeing Ash steal the entire plate of bruschetta and Hel's subsequent call-out, Jojo couldn't help but smirk. He simply reached over and grabbed some of said bruschetta before eating it, all while ignoring Ash completely. If she was going to be rude, how would too, but he wasn't going to ruin the entirety of dinner over something this petty.

Hopefully Ash wouldn't do that, either.
As soon as the bruschetta had vanished into his mouth, his attention shifted back to his food. He ate it fairly quickly, obviously enjoying the food greatly. Conversation around the table continued, but once everyone had their food it became glaringly obvious that their attention had shifted. The table quietened down eventually, and Jojo was happy he wouldn't have to speak with his mouth full. After his food had been devoured, and everyone else had finished eating, conversation started up again. Eventually, however, the lunch had reached its definite end- Rick called over the waiter and stood, leaving with them and vanishing for a few moments before returning, receipt in hand. Jojo looked up at their leader, eyebrow raised slightly. His plate was awfully clean.

"In any case I'm glad to have welcomed you all to the WDL. For now I should return to my work and I'm sure you're all eager to set yourselves up for the days ahead. Do be aware we have a trip tomorrow so be prepared. I'll leave you all to your business, by this point I hope you're all quite well and able to navigate the streets here at the WDL. Good day and remember: If you have any concerns at anytime I or many of the staff here will be happy to answer them."

His message was directed at everyone, and Jojo nodded as he spoke. Having been here for quite a while, Jojo assumed, Rick probably did have some fairly important things to do. The trip tomorrow seemed.. interesting, to say the least. Jojo had no idea what was in store, but he nodded again nonetheless. He raised his hand, giving Rick a two-fingered salute and a grin. "Cheers, mate, thanks for chaperoning us!" He meant that honestly, although he was a little worried that his words would get misinterpreted- nothing on Rick's part, but just a little quirk Jojo had.

As the older man left, Jojo returned to finishing his food, eyeing everyone else before shuffling in his seat slightly. Actually, he'd probably be heading off as well- he wanted to make sure all of his stuff was in his room and hadn't been messed with. Jojo eventually finished his food- looking around the table once more. With a small smirk, he looked over at Vesper. "Hey, Sis, let's catch up later, yeah? I've missed you, so it'll be good to chat." He gave her a warm, wide smile before he pushed back his chair and stretched his arms above his head, groaning softly. "Ah, jeez, I need to sleep in a non-infirmary bed tonight.. That'll be great."

Stepping away from the table, he gave everyone present a grin. "It's a pleasure to meet you all, and I hope we can all get along. I'll probably roam around for a bit, but you all know where my room is, so.." He looked over at Hel again, smiling. "Also, I'm Jojo, I forgot to introduce myself earlier- pleasure to meet ya." He patted Dawn on the shoulder- a little habit he'd picked up as a silent way of saying goodbye. Offering everyone a wave as he walked away, he grinned once he was out of earshot. "Whoo.. so far so good- no super embarrassing moments.."

(for Rick input, Zalgo is thank)






| Angel |


With a hard sigh, Angel paused in his tracks. "ORIN, keep an eye on it- we have a meeting scheduled right now and I'd much prefer not to be late. If it causes any activity, activate the alarms and we'll come in full-force to destroy it. You'll also be cleared to use any means you see fit to pacify the threat, as per usual." He began to resume his march, idly reaching down to tap his blade. "I'll return personally and kill it myself." His march was quite brisk, and he began to almost speed out of the facility.

He paused a few moments later, however. "ORIN, alert all guards to keep away from the cell- seal off the area completely, but don't activate the sprinklers just yet. Act on anything you've seen appropriately, but do not touch the demon or the body it's possessing." He nodded to himself. If anything happened, ORIN would be able to let him and anyone else nearby know. When he was outside, he began to jog- he'd report the situation to Arthur after the meeting, and he'd be damned if he'd let that vampire appear before he did, regardless of a demon. As far as he was concerned, the threat was already contained.

Eventually, Angel half-burst into the meeting room. His eyes fell on the vampire sitting beside Arthur, and she grinned. "For someone who was so worried about me being late, you're awfully slow yourself." Angel screamed on the inside- the entire meeting would be filled with those little jabs and he knew it. Illusion's smile broadened.






"Sooooo.. Are you, like, ready to do this or like nah?"
"..."
"If you wait too long, you're gonna have issues, you know?"
"..."
"Ooookay, you're just being rude now. Stop it."
"I'll wait until later on."
"You, uh, sure? I mean you could literall-"
"I. Will. Wait."

A long pause.
"No need to be a shithead, yeah? Take your time, whatever, Jesus. Fuckhead."
"I'll wait until they leave- Then I'll introduce myself."
"What? To all of them? Like, seriously, dude?"
"No, just the one."
"That's creepy. Super creepy. You're a fuckin' creep, lmao."
"..."
"Jeez, fine! You're no fun! I just wanted your dumb ass to run in there and fuck around with shit but-"
"And add more to the stewing pot?"


There was silence as a reply.
"Aha, uh, fuck yeah? What else did you expect?" A pause. "Aaanyways, I got other shit to do, yo, so I'll leave you to it. Don't get caught or you'll be killed, yup. Ciao, shitface. Might wanna be fast."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Notable NPCs Character Portrait: Ashley 'Ash/Soot' Clade Character Portrait: Helena Kingsley Character Portrait: Brenhin Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Vistra Mauve Character Portrait: Madison Lovette Character Portrait: Angel Lucius D'Brightaine Character Portrait: Rei 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: ORIN Character Portrait: Madison Lovette Character Portrait: Maniae

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If Madison had been concerned before, then the word wouldn’t even begin to describe it now. Maniae flickered in and out of existence, taking a more mild form than the ball of uttermost chaos they were before, speaking of death and betrayal and the apocalypse itself. Not the most reassuring thing to hear on the day that the Seven was gathered, really, but that certainly didn’t devalue the being’s words.

Taken a step away from his desk (Madison had backed into it in his surprise after Maniae so suddenly appeared in front of him), the researcher nodded somberly, rubbing the side of his neck with one hand. “That’s...that’s quite a bit to take in so suddenly, I’m afraid.” Madison sighed. “I certainly hope that a few things you said can be avoided...but it was very kind of you to warn me like this, either way. I’m incredibly grateful.”

Even in the case that the prophecy was lies or complete nonsense, there was no harm in taking some vigilance in the future. Perhaps it was simple paranoia, but there were far too many instances in the world that had required foresight and received none. Cassandras unheeded, Jeremiahs ridiculed. Disasters that that could have tragically been averted. There was no harm in being particularly careful from now on- if it was a false alarm, it was a false alarm. And if it wasn’t…

Well, they wouldn’t be completely blindsided, at least.

Madison’s reverie was interrupted by the crackle of static from above; it seemed that Hunter had brought another delivery for research. Blinking in surprise, the look of uneasiness on his face quickly melted away into his usual bright expression. “Hello, Hunter,” he said pleasantly. “Just a second- I’ll go ahead and let you in right now.” Smiling apologetically at his guest, Madison circled the desk, snapping one of the buttons beneath before switching back to the communication feed.

“Door should be open now. Is there anything else that you need?”

Shortly after responding to Hunter, the intercom buzzed to life again, with a familiar- and rather frustrated, he noted- voice. “Oh, good afternoon, ORIN!” He chirped. “I was just speaking to Maniae here- they appeared in my office a few minutes ago and began telling me their predictions of the future. Fascinating things, really.” He glanced back at the ball of light for a moment. “I wasn’t quite sure how to go about containing them, as they appear to have torn a hole in reality to get here, but so far they’ve been excellent company.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Madison Lovette Character Portrait: Maniae

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#, as written by claw
The golden, glowing sphere that remained fixed in midair seemed to almost react now to Madison's obvious shock of their predictions. Though the streaming streaks of golden and silver light continued to pour out of its impossible centre there was something akin to a reassuring glint in it's form for but a moment, the light shifting just enough to mark a difference in its form. It did not last long before the golden sphere returned to it's new normality.

The explosion of static was a catalyst uncalled for. As though someone had stuck a needle in a balloon, or set a fire within a tornado, one tiny little string of golden light slowed, halted and then began to fall inwards. And then a second followed shortly after. And then a third. But the fourth, the fourth sundered and split into tiny fractals, these splinters of light fell over themselves, as they did so they began to shift in colour. As if a series of chains and ropes had been given a strong sharp tug one splintered ray of light became two, which became eight, which became twenty. The glorious golden light began to unravel itself as Madison spoke over the intercom to ORIN, gradually more and more of it's form was consumed by the maddening shifting array of colour and nonsense.

The blind watcher
The blind watcher

It matters little now
It matters little now

Events are bound together in chaos
Events are bound together in chaos

Beware
Beware

Danger festers in the holy heart
Danger festers in the holy heart

The serpents must not learn of our knowledge
The serpents must not learn of our knowledge

It comes
It comes

His brood is known and hidden
His brood is known and hidden

The pieces must stand together
The pieces must stand together

Abandon nothing. Fear all
Abandon nothing. Fear all


As the demonic oracle spoke the voices began to clamour more and more, as though they were attempting to shout over each other to be heard, growing louder and more confused as more and more of Maniae's form fell into the chaos of it's own vortex, the golden streams steadily flickering out until finally they had all been consumed by madness. Maniae remained there before uttering once more, in it's voice of a million voices, lacking in emotion or sense.

The breath of life binds all in brotherhood
The breath of life binds all in brotherhood

Cherish its gift
Cherish its gift


With a sound akin to that of a cave falling in on itself and a forest fire burning out Maniae began to rapidly shrink in size, the noise following swiftly after as though it were chasing the vanishing creature. And then as the swirling ball was no larger than a thimble it suddenly popped with a noise not unlike that of toothpaste began rather rapidly forced out of the tube far too swiftly. As it burst though, a thin film of unreality spread across the room like the skin of a bursting bubble and silently and forcelessly smashed against the walls. With that there were no more signs of Maniae nor that they had ever been there aside from the chaos of everything that had been thrown around in their arrival and from where the film had broken against anything it had touched there was now a peculiar smell not unlike that of peppermint.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Madison Lovette

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"I really do not care how good you consider the company to be Lovette. You could be planning to marry the thing and it would not change the fact that that is a high-level security risk." ORIN responded, making very little attempt to disguise her exasperation.

Fortunately, it seemed the thing had dispersed itself without need for her intervention.

Part of ORIN was tempted to lock Lovette in his office regardless, but then if she did then she would have to handle the specimen delivery and she had no intention to do that. The woman leaned back in her chair, taking a swig of coffee from the cup set down next to her. It was going to be a long enough day as it was.

Meanwhile, having been finally admitted inside, Technician Hunter hauled the gurney inside and along the corridors of the research block. It wasn't too long until he found Madison's office, and pulled into the doorway. The room had a rather odd smell about it, but considering the owner of it was an adult man in a skirt and stiletto heels, and he was hauling some hellspawn's corpse around, that peculiarity didn't really seem worth commenting on.

"Lovette. Got a fresh specimen. Some kid of weird green-bleeding demony shit." he indicated the plastic-wrapped shape on the gurney with one hand.
"That's the technical term. Obviously. Where's it going?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Madison Lovette Character Portrait: Maniae

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Madison wasn’t quite sure how a ball of delirium could appear consoling, given the lack of face and general identifiable features, but Maniae managed to pull it off rather impressively. Of course, he also wasn’t sure how it communicated without a mouth (a sort of telepathy, perhaps?), but as he had come under the acquaintance of several perfectly vocal, mouthless beings throughout the years, that didn’t raise too many questions in Madison’s mind.
Nevertheless, he was very much touched by the gesture.

Unsurprisingly, Maniae did not appear to have a positive reaction to the sudden voice of the WDL’s guardian over the intercom. They shuddered, torn apart by its own mass. Ribbons of golden light peeled away, drawn into their core to be replaced by the same nonsensical mess of being that they had been upon their entrance. The words, however, while distorted and rather ambiguous, still held meaning- some of which Madison was able to decipher quickly. Danger would come to them. Their enemy- demons? The “holy heart”?- knew that the Children were in the world, but not where they were exactly. Possibly. Bits and pieces of hints and information.

With one last scrap of (what appeared to be) advice, the demon of madness disappeared, going to some other engagement or land or realm, possibly. However, there was also something left behind. Puzzled, Madison gave the air a delicate sniff. Was that...mint? Yes, he decided, it was very much mint. The scent was familiar enough, given the little porcelain dish of the stuff upon his desk. Fascinating. He decided to view it as a nice farewell present of sorts, then turned his attention back to the speakers.

“I suppose that’s true,” Madison admitted. “My apologies for not immediately informing you of the intrusion, ORIN.” Promising to buy her one of the fancier roasts the next time he left the base, he went to greet Hunter, who was standing at the door with a fresh cadaver in tow. A bright, neon yellow-green was visible around its head, even through the plastic film that covered it. Madison stepped over, examining as best as he could without outright removing the sheet.

“Would you mind taking this over to Room 184 in Block C, please? Mr. Clayton should be able to take care of preparations from there.” ‘Room 184 in Block C’ being one of several pocket morgues/containment areas that the WDL’s laboratories offered. Rather grim, but still very much necessary in their line of work.

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 Character Portrait: 'Illusion' Character Portrait: Dawn Memoli Character Portrait: ORIN Character Portrait: Vistra Mauve Character Portrait: Angel Lucius D'Brightaine Character Portrait: Eine Minerva

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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.