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"Stop? I can't help it... All I hear when you're crying, is laughs."

0 · 276 views · located in Pleasantville Asylum -Flashback-

a character in “Dark Passenger”, as played by Crooked Thoughts


Nickname: Cheshire
Status: "If I harm an innocent person, kill me. Or join me, whichever you prefer."

Name: Chester Harrison Lynch
Alias: The Grinning Man
Citizenship: Irish-American
Ethnic Race: Caucasian
Age: 27
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Single
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Education: College
Profession: Author
D.O.B: 10/31/1986
Height: 6'0" ft.
Weight: 160 lbs
Eye Color: Green
Hair Color: Red
Handed: Right
Tattoo: No
Piercing: No

Outlook: Optimistic
Integrity: Unscrupulous
Impulsiveness: Spontaneous
Boldness: Intrepid
Flexibility: Stubborn
Affinity: Cold
Comportment: Agreeable
Interactivity: Engaging
Disclosure: Secretive
Conformity: Heterodox
Criminal Class: Serial Killer
Past Conviction: No
Correctional Facility: N/A
Time Imprisoned: N/A
Inchoate Offense: No
Offence Against the Person: Yes
Crimes Against Property: Yes
Crimes Against Justice: No

Functionality and comfortably have always been Cheshire's guide to grooming and hygiene. You can't tell by the looks of him, but he actually cares a lot about how others perceive him. This is why he cuts his hair regularly. Albeit with a hunting knife, he still manages to keep those burnt orange locks neatly -- neatly used in the loosest sense possible -- trimmed and slicked with gel. Unfortunately, to his blade's dismay, he has never been able to grow facial hair including eyebrows.
Green, bleak, empty orbs fill the space reserved for his eyes. No amount of polish or light can put a gleam on these emerald jewels. Yet, only whisper of malevolence and pandemonium then whiteness life where there was once none. In that moment you stand but sheep before the hungry lion. Like flowers under the harsh desert sun, many have wilted under Cheshire's unforgiving gaze; unable to withstand their bewitching effects. He will often don a mask to further unnerve victims. Remove this vizard and reveal war paint; cracking, peeling, and fading like old house paint. Eyeliner and lipstick are also effortlessly applied, done with just enough care to put a permanent smile on his face. Now, why go through such an extensive effort to hide his face? Ask this question and be drawn to Cheshire's ever-vigilant reminder of his childhood: a horrendous scar stretching from ear to ear. Woe to the unwary soul who dares call attention to this flaw...

Bound forever to his body is the dry, sun deprived flesh of a true nocturnal predator. Pale and white like the driven snow, such a universal lack of color can only be accomplished by tirelessly evading the sunlight. His skin is cold and clammy to touch, yet rough and calloused from constant use. And like a debris ridden battlefield, scars litter his body. Some are gifts from deceased foes, while others were not so profoundly earned, and are the result of nothing to do.

Mass murderer's don't evade law enforcement for years by being physically unfit and possessing bad hygienic habits. At an even 6'0 feet and 160 pounds, Cheshire is the deranged murderer's model of fitness. His personal odor is a combination of blood and chocolate: an off-putting yet delicious scent. To avoid looking suspicious, Cheshire begrudgingly tries not to walk around in his "work clothes". Despite this, he dresses to kill by adorning himself in nothing but expensive tailor made suits. Currently, Hannibal is wearing: an entire black tuxedo, complete with waistband, white gloves, white corsage, and a bow tie.

A freaky mask, out-of-place suit, and a penchant for stabbing things... in short, Cheshire is definitely a person you don't wanna be alone with. He's a killer ripped out of any horror-thriller and is more than eager to reenact the death scenes with an unwilling subject.

Now here is an interesting person. A schizophrenic personality and a winning smile make Cheshire the life of every party; mostly because he's the only one there... He is an evil, murdering sociopath with a charismatic nature that draws you in. His air of confidence and eccentric behavior make him very interesting, from his mannerisms to the things he says. For a person like Cheshire, who can be heavily animated at times, something as simple as his voice can be a big part of his personality. At times it is quite husky and other times his voice drops to only a whisper. When talking loudly, he typically has obvious undertones of anger brought on by loss of temper. Whispering is used to emphasize his point, and while it doesn't necessarily mean he isn't angry, it does mean he is focused. The point here is that either tone could lead to the sudden death of anyone close enough to occur his wrath, which further supports his unpredictability. Otherwise, every conversation with Cheshire is brief and to the point; he never drones on about anything and makes an effort to make sure everyone is always listening.

Cheshire trivializes every situation; it has made him quite blasé to death, danger, and debauchery. He never takes anything too seriously, always seeing the light-hearted and funny side of everything. Conversely, the Grinning Man hates jokes and sarcasm, especially those made at his expense. Never let it be said that he can take an insult. He is very aware of how handsome he is and is quick to anger upon mention of it. Bloodlust and an obsession over violence in all forms, make it a very poor choice for mortals or anything else to talk down to Cheshire. The slightest insult will usually enact an act of violence that may not even be proportionate to the insult dealt.

The Grinning Man is extremely intelligent and cunning no matter how crazy he may seem. His voracious hunger for knowledge is a welcomed compliment to his capricious behavior. Cheshire does things for no apparent reason, except for the sake of doing them. He has no plan or motive, and he doesn't care about the consequences; he just thinks of something and does it without giving it much thought. If he does have reasons for doing things, he will hide them. Cheshire never lets people know what he's up to, masking his true intentions with seemingly reckless behavior. It's the combination of spontaneity and intelligence that make him impervious to the pitfalls that ail a person with only one trait. You won't easily distract Cheshire because he isn't dumb enough to allow impulses and desires to cloud his judgment; he is able to adapt and make quick decisions because his recklessness often puts him in chaotic situations. But, he’s also stubborn and will not be shaken from a path once descended. It’s this ego-driven attitude that makes him intractable.

Abrasive, mischievous and cunning are three good words that come to mind when Chester Harrison Lynch is nearby. He has a proclivity for subterfuge undermined by his belief in asserting dominance. He loves taking advantage of any signs of frailty or weakness in another's psyche through induction of fear and intimation, but he fears nothing himself. The Grinning Man is not afraid of being locked up. He's not afraid of the Fraternity. He's not afraid to die. He's not afraid of pain. Even if he was captured today and was tortured for hours, all he would do is laugh. Cruel and sadistic as he is, Cheshire has a human side to appeal to. So far, he hasn't killed any innocent man, women, or child. Still, he maintains that he has no qualms about doing so.

Overall, Cheshire is a distant person that prefers to walk alone, for he believes that he is the only one to be completely trusted. He has a sharp wit, is extremely aggressive and appears often nonchalant in his behavior. There is no doubt that he is very self-confident and strongly believes in what he is doing, though he is mostly driven by spontaneity. This is partially the reason for his cold attitude that doesn’t allow anyone too close. However, if one might take the time to get to know him and prove that they are worth his time, he will reveal himself as an intelligent person with a silver-tongue. He may also show that he can be a very loyal, protective companion, though only few will ever be able to gain his friendship like that. In the end, Cheshire is nothing but a bitter person.

ImageSin-Eater - That Giant Bunny: Meet Hannibal the Giant Bunny, but don't even think about hugging him because he's not the cuddling type. Hannibal isn't what he seems and so the first thing you must know about this mysterious rabbit, is nothing about him is true; not even his name. His current form was chosen long ago as a familiar figure to a younger Chester. As a child, during times of duress, Chester's mother would read him his favorite book: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It was through this book that Chester found an escape from the harsh reality of his childhood. For just like the White Rabbit helped Alice find Wonderland, he helped Chester find the same. So when these two met for the first time, it was under the pretenses that Hannibal would rescue him.

Another thing you must realize, is that Hannibal's appearance is a reflection of Chester's innocence. Originally, Hannibal was a bright eyed, bushy tailed, fluffy white rabbit. But as Chester delve deeper into depravity, insanity set in and he became the homicidal sociopath he is today. So as Chester became Cheshire, Hannibal transformed from the imaginary friend of an innocent child to the twisted rag doll of a psychopath.

Lastly, Hannibal doesn't desire to control Cheshire. After the ritual, he waited in the shadows, biding his time until the right moment presented itself. And when that time finally came, Hannibal manifested and showed Chester how to use his Dark Talent. The mad rabbit never even spoke, except only to answer the boy's one question, "Who are you?" and to that he responded "Hannibal. Your friend now, and forever." True to his statement, Hannibal has never left Cheshire's side. He's always been there as a silent guardian, spectating and sometimes offering subtle guidance.

Dark Talent - Sanguikinesis: The original Dark Talent taught to Cheshire is the ability to control the flow of blood in oneself and others, whether it be animal or human. Mastery of this talent has honed it like an intense laser, yielding complete sovereignty and enabling such feats as: Manipulation, Immobilization, Hemorrhage, and Doping. During the early stages of Manipulation, Cheshire was only able to affect himself. With practice he learned he could affect others through touch and later, at distances of ten feet on a max of two targets or one at double that length. Manipulation paved the way to other abilities, giving them functionality within the same radius. Immobilization is the result of removing blood flow from a specific limb. Cheshire can immobilize targets completely or partially, leaving them without movement and sensation. Making motor functions and muscle movement unavailable, the victim may freeze on the spot or crumple to the ground. Hemorrhage is the opposite of immobilization, as it directs all blood flow to one area. Cheshire uses the ability to induce heart attacks, done blocking blood flow to the heart or his preferred method of overflowing it and creating an explosion. Lastly, there is Doping, which is a technique that involves speeding up the blood flow in all or selected body parts, to give them more oxygen and nutrients thus making him much faster and stronger. There is a drawback to this however, the increase in his metabolism causes hunger thus weariness or even have a paralysis type effect after prolonged use of it.

Dark Talent - Blood Memories: This talent developed secondarily from the use and mastery of Sanguikinesis. It's a form of extra-sensory perception known as clairgustance that allows Cheshire to gain information about a person or animal through supernatural means. By drinking blood he can get personal information retained by the donor during consumption. Meaning, Cheshire cannot acquire information the donor has recently learned by drinking old blood. What he can do, is induce visions of specific experiences/memories as well as gain access to anything that person knew. To better understand the mechanics of Blood Memories you must know the algorithm it follows: consuming 1 pint of blood induces a trance that last 300 seconds enabling the retrieval of any information equating to the donor's age divided by how many pints of blood is in the body. In order for Cheshire to go back to an adult's childhood, he would need to completely drain them wherein knowledge stored a few weeks ago, would only need a single pint. No matter what, a pint is the minimal needed to enter the trance. Keep in mind, that blood taken from its source and blood separated from its source, is two different things. Blood separated from its source abides a different set of rules entirely. In this case, discernible information is based on 60 minutes for every ounce. And since there is no trance, there is only cloud of images, words, and numbers making usable information that much harder to distinguish.

Five years of practice and training put this talent on par with machines, granting him a few bonuses. Cheshire can now garner basic information from merely a taste, things like name, age, gender, blood type, etc... He even boasts that he can detect the faintest trace of blood in the air. Additionally, he seems resistant to negative effects associated with consuming blood.

Origin Disorder - Vampirism: Young minds are easily impressionable and therefore capable of molding. This idea is what drove Sebastian Castellan into thinking an infant -- his son -- was the perfect vessel for a Sin-Eater. Using the abilities of a telepath, Cheshire's mind was altered to have similar brain patterns as a killer's. But a side effect left Cheshire with a psychological need for blood. This is due to a mislabelling of synapses that now associates all scenes, sounds, scents, and sensations of blood with satisfaction and sobriety. For Cheshire, intake of blood is necessary for his survival like water and oxygen. In this sense this makes him a modern-day vampire as he will become depressed and enter a state of pseudo-sickness if he goes too long without it.

Tribute - Bloody Murder: Coinciding with the origin of his Dark Talents, blood is the obvious tribute that fuels his powers. It doesn't matter how or where its obtained, what matters is consumption. Minimal functional capacity requires at least eight ounces a day, five days without it and sickness sets in disabling use of Dark Talents. Blood fresh from a donor will achieve maximum effectiveness in Dark Talents.

Rabbit Mask: The trade mark calling card is a facet only the dead are aware of. For the last seven years, Cheshire has worn a mask when abducting and killing his victims. It started as a way to hide his identity, but evolved into something more after Alice got involved. Once she started making each mask different from the last, it became a tradition to wear her latest creation when preparing a tribute.

Leather Wallet: A fold-able leather wallet, brown in color and worn in use. The wallet contains four-hundred dollars in an unknown combination of bills and various plastic cards that any adult would need to make it through life, all of which are falsified. Identities and backgrounds are swapped every six-months through contacts given by Andy.

Create-a-Face: Utilizing theatrical makeup, Cheshire is able to create a number of guises needed to operate out in the open. The kit contains a wide array of prosthetics and other miscellaneous items needed to create realistic masks. It must be noted that Alice is actually the artist and Cheshire is merely the actor that brings the character to life.

Inconspicuous Van: Being elusive means constantly changing the mode of transportation. Currently, Cheshire is driving a stolen white paneled van he got from a backwoods car lot in Virgina. He isn't too worried about it getting reported since he killed the owner and disposed of his body.

Stabby and Friends: Convenience plays a large role in weapon use for Chester. With no particular skill set or formal martial training, he will actively make use of the surrounding environment as best he can. This can mean picking up a large rock to bash your head in or using shard of glass from a broken window to cut your throat. Additionally, A high level of unpredictability and tendency to fight dirty lends to his overall formidableness. But never let it be said that Chester isn't armed and dangerous. Always hidden on his person is a knife by the name of Stabby, which was a parting gift from his father and commonly used by the High Priest of the Fraternity. Cheshire has also been known to use a Garrote, Blackjack, and small, easily concealable blades. If being caught is not a problem, he will gladly opt out for much bigger melee weapons like axes, bats, and flammable projectiles.

To say Chester had a normal upbringing would mean redefining the word entirely. His biological parents offered him as a vessel to a malevolent spirit. Then his adopted parents locked him up in a filthy basement. And instead of being educated in a school like most kids, depraved professors in a mental institution taught him. But the weirdest thing of all is how animals and even humans mysteriously died around him. And with a history like that, a more accurate appraisal of Chester's childhood would conclude that he would be one disturbed and completely fucked up person...

As stated before, Chester had two sets of parents: those that conceived him and those that raised him. Sebastian and Carmen Castellan were the former, giving birth to a child who would have been Alabaster Castellan if it wasn't for the switch. The confusion took place on All Hallows' Eve of 1986 in the maternity ward of _____ hospital. A sudden influx of births sent the staff into a flustered frenzy, creating a lack of concentration among the staff. Meanwhile, in the old cathedral of an abandoned wing, robed men were performing a sacred rite.ImageImage Conducting said ceremony was none other than Sebastian Castellan, High Priest to a satanic cult known as the Fraternity of the Constant Ones. This unholy act would call forth the malign entity of a Sin-Eater. But before this could be done, the host body needed preparation. This meant using a telepath to alter Chester's mentality and give him deranged thoughts, psychotic habits, and homicidal tendencies. These adjustments would satiate the demon's hunger until the child was capable of making a true tribute. Once it was all said and done, he was to be placed back in the nursery for rest until checkout time. Except the error of a weary nurse would see baby Chester placed in the wrong crib and eventually taken home by Aidan and Evelyn Lynch.

Nearly polar opposites of the Castellan's, the Lynch's were a working-class, god-fearing family. What a nice couple they were too; so in love with each other and their newest edition to the family... that is, until the strange phenomena started occurring. The first thing they noticed was the crying that never happened. Silence was all they received from baby Chester; no wails, no howls, no nothing – it was baffling. Worried about their son’s well being, they immediately launched a medical investigation. Numerous appointments with multiple pediatricians culminated in the arrival to one conclusion: Chester was perfectly healthy, just special. Hearing this diagnosis made Aidan skeptical, but happy to know his son was fine. Still, there were many questions left unanswered, which became the foundation to a mystery that wouldn’t be solved until years later. In the meantime, the family was more than preoccupied with a series of unfortunate events that filled the gap.

With the passage of time, came the untimely end of several unlucky souls that crossed paths with Chester. His presence became synonymous with omens such as, black cats and the mothman. This aura of darkness enveloped everyone the Lynch’s knew, from loved ones to perfect strangers. Only a single moment alone with their son and death was imminent; at least that was how Aiden and Evelyn saw it. Fear lead to Chester's imprisonment in the basement where he would be confined to the dark, dank cage as punishment. Sure, you could say his parents felt horrible for what they were doing, and it was even possible Chester wasn't behind the accused evil deeds. However, they were his parents; therefore responsibility was solely theirs as is the failure from not protecting their son and forsaking humanity if they allowed him to become a homicidal maniac. Their ignorance had already put one boy in the ER; they couldn't bear the guilt from another incident. This is why they had to look beyond the cute face, the innocent façade of a child and see the underlying truth. They had been in the dark for too long... the light was nothing to them but blinding. Evelyn was still refusing to see, leaving Aidan alone to configure the pieces to the puzzle. It was clear though -- the pattern featuring Chester as the common denominator in a string of deaths. He recalled the many times he caught his son torturing animals. And now, after collecting blood samples, he had the DNA results which were negative for any markers relating Chester to Aidan or Evelyn. It was this discovery that lead him to a mind blowing epiphany.

Armed with a cross, Aidan set out to face who he thought was the anti-Christ. The arrival to such an outlandish inference was a journey fueled by paranoia and delusion brought on by Chester’s corrupt past. Nevertheless, he stormed into the basement reciting religious phrases and going on about what he discovered. He soon found his hand firmly gripping the collar of Chester's shirt, lifting his former son inches off the ground. It was then that he suddenly felt foolish and realized the error of his ways. Clarity washed over him causing him to drop Chester and retreat to his thoughts. He wasn't alone in this act though... Chester had not been alone during his incarceration; he had made a friend -- a friend who was now telling him to kill his father, which was a pretty tempting suggestion. Chester had seen how Aidan looked at him, how he talked about him, and how he took away his freedom. Furthermore, Chester wouldn't allow Aidan to take him away from his mother who had secretly took him outside, read him to sleep, and snuck him candy. The decision was made. Slowly moving towards a knife he managed to hide; he grabbed it and dashed toward his father who had made the mistake of turning his back. Years of piggybacking had taught Chester how to successfully jump and latch on his father's back. Aidan sensing this as an act of aggression instinctively bucked. It didn’t take much, after a few times of slamming his back into nearby walls, Chester’s grip loosened and he fell. Aidan had lost however, his wounds were many and it seemed he would die. Upstairs, Evelyn, who had been sleeping this whole time, was woke by all the ruckus. She rushed to the source of the commotion where she then screamed at the sight of blood pooling from her dead husband. Dropping to her knees, she clutched his body trying to stop the flow of blood. While Chester laid stoic still on the ground, covered in blood and emotionless to what he was witnessing. Despite feeling nothing, he wanted to cheer his mom up, after all it was his fault, and so he did what he always did in that situation. Usually, this was making funny faces until she started laughing. But as his friend pointed out, this was an especially dire moment, thus something extra was needed. So he pressed the knife to his cheeks, cut in an upward motion, and calmly said, "Look mom."

Thursday of February 14th, 1999 marks the day that both of Chester's parent died (this date would become a personal holiday celebrated by an annual tribute of horrific proportions). As a result, he admitted to Pleasantville Asylum where his life was surprisingly better. It was within the walls of a mental institution that allowed Chester to finally found a home, a place where he could be himself among the broken, unwanted members of society. Admittedly, it took some getting used to, especially the uniqueness of Dr. Rose's "therapeutic treatments"... Still, he adapted and made use of every aspect of the facility. Even when he got and made an outsider, he was still able to turn both into a source of revelry: producing victims for his dark urges and allowing him time to pursue scholastic goals (which he discovered he had a knack for). Unfortunately, what he couldn't handle was a peculiar meeting with the warden, which heralded events that would destroy his home. Said meeting revealed many truths, all surrounding how the warden was actually his biological father. Sebastian told him everything: the details of his birth and how it was an experiment, how he brought him to Pleasantville to keep a closer eye on him, and even about the Fraternity and the Sin-Eaters. Apparently, it was all to prepare him for a role he was literally born for. Chester, and others like him, were to escape only to become Sebastian's personal harbingers of death and guarantee his rise to power. And as fun as that sounded, Chester wasn't fond of being someone's weapon nor lab rat. So he gave this father what he gave the last one, bringing his seven-year vacation to an end. Luckily, his father was a traitor and made an escape plan utilizing gaps in security.

Chester and five other inmates escaped that night, leaving nothing behind but a burning pile of rubble. The group split up soon after that, never bothering to become facebook friends or send each other Christmas cards. Although, Chester and a girl who simply went by Alice, became a team. Together they traveled the country becoming infamous through a series of murders. Actually, it was Chester who did all the killing. The media even gave him a moniker, the Grinning Man, bestowed because he pins a custom smiley-face pin to the body of every victim. He even wrote a few manifesto like biographies detailing these crimes and more, all of which became best sellers. Alice just seemed to tag along, enjoying the ride and the protection that came from her pseudo-brother and guardian.

So begins...

Cheshire's Story

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Character Portrait: Cheshire Character Portrait: Murtagh MacCaddoch
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Book 1: Darkness Rising - Chapter 1: Rarely, They Meet

Tip-tap-tip-tap-tip-tap-tip-tap went the sound of dancing rain drops, followed by the subtle crackle of lightning, and then the sudden boom of thunder... all the while the wind howled, steadily keeping the tempo. This medley was nature's orchestra, but Cheshire was not a fan of classical music. To him, the insistent instrumental was little more than a conglomerate of boisterous sounds that failed to soothe or relax. No; instead it annoyed and enraged, leaving him only one option. Flee the dryness of his van -- whose interior only boosted acoustics -- and find insulation from noise and moisture elsewhere. A solution to which he sought in the asylum ruins just in front of him, where he hoped its large encompassing walls would muffle the storm's cacophony. Cheshire huffed angrily as he realized the irony in the situation: the relentless pitter-pattering driving him insane, forcing him to seek comforting silence in a mental hospital... Irony was life's version of humor and he hated being the center of a joke.

The van door slammed shut behind him, signaling the start of his journey. It also alerted his ever-quiet partner, Alice, that it was time to leave. She took heed of Cheshire's message and was soon following in his foot-steps. Both of them walked without any protection from the rainfall. Consequently, its torrential descent managed to soak them quite thoroughly despite their short walk. Once inside, they did nothing to dry themselves, what they did do was stop to take in their surroundings. It had been seven years since Cheshire was here, yet in spite of the light's absence, he could see that everything was the same. Nothing had changed, the exception being the new smell of dust and mildew to replace the old scent of depression and hopelessness. It seemed the Fraternity didn't bother taking anything, nor did they care to clean up, as evident by the remaining police tape and the lack of boarded windows. The entire place was a near-perfect replica of the day he escaped, which lead to the building's partial destruction. He marveled at what he had a hand in before continuing with the journey.

Cheshire took point as he and Alice maneuvered aimlessly through the halls. He whistled no particular tune as he walked its purpose to drown out any other sounds. The joint sound of wet steps and whistling echoed throughout the empty expanses of the building. Meanwhile, his mind was busy trying to remember what it was that brought him here. After-all, Mount Pleasant was more than five-hundred miles in the wrong direction. The missing information was found after he recalled Alice saying this place was symbolic, representing the last time the Cabal was together and what they're capable of when united against the same obstacles. Nonetheless, Cheshire disliked asking for help. He had done his job for years without the other's assistance, he failed to see cause in changing that now. Alice insisted however and therefore developed a plan, pointing out that it didn't matter how they got it, as long as they got it. And now, here they were... Cheshire stood with a nonchalant slant, hands resting in his pockets as he surveyed the recently entered area. They had made their way to the foyer, a crossroads of sorts within the asylum. The room was circular in design with a fractured statue of its founder in the center-most point. The damage came from the ceiling collapsing on it, leaving a large gaping hole in its place. Shining bright and steady, the moon's serene light cascading through, illuminating everything it touched. Apparently the rain had stopped, but the wind was still blowing as it delivered a familiar scent to Cheshire.

"The shadows betray you, Mr. MacCaddoch... Besides, I smelled you a long time ago. You reek of fear." Cheshire was partly telling the truth. What his nose detected was not the stench of fear, but a faint trace of blood. Likely a cut received from a broken shard of glass or a shaving mistake still fresh. "Your scaring Alice, so show yourself or be dragged out." He paused briefly as a smile spread across his face. "But please, allow me to do the latter?"

Murtagh MacCaddochFriday Dec 11 2013 08:06:34

"Damn it, I wasn't trying to hide myself." Murtagh lied back toward the familiar voice, scowling at the cut he received earlier when snooping around. Murtagh never forgot a acquainted face, just in case he needed to remember and recognize somebody that wanted to come after him. Cheshire was one that he would always remember even if Murtagh wanted to forget him. Stepping out from behind the statue, he noticed that the silent girl that followed Chesire like a duckling was still with him. No other person would follow a person so disconcerting.

"What the hell is all this about, Chesire? I came early to see if this was a trap and I'm met with two faces I'd rather not see for the rest of my life. You called for an important meeting, scaring the shit out of me by contacting me out of the blue to talk to me. I'm here. What do you want?" Murtagh only wanted answers. If this wasn't damn good, he had half a mind to just leave and ignore all contact from him from there on out. He wasn't armed, and was dressed in simple nondescript clothes. However, he did carry with him a cheap switchblade he bought down at a flea market ages ago in case things got hairy.

Cheshire & AliceFriday Dec 11 2013 08:06:34

"There." Cheshire pointed to a particularly well-lit wall. "Start there Alice." Nodding in agreement, Alice removed her backpack to take out a couple of cans of spray paint. She then moved to where she was directed and began working.

Cheshire watched her work, staring absently as the concrete absorbed the colors. It wasn't long before a blanket of silence fell over the three of them, only broken by the random intervals of hissing canisters. This was only a brief event however, ended by the sound of Cheshire's footsteps as he approached his former blood brother. He took the long way around the statue, leisurely walking and fumbling in his pockets as he did so. It wasn't until he was halfway around that his labor produced fruit in the form of a dagger. The weapon was held in his right hand and remained there as he ran the same hand through his hair, effectively using the rainwater to slick his hair down.

"Is that so? Well, I didn't realize there was something wrong with my face!? I guess I'll just have Good Ol'Stabby here make you my twin!" Cheshire exclaimed angrily, as he wildly brandished his blade merely inches away from Murtagh's face. "Nah... I'm just poking fun at ya, MacCaddoch." He laughed as he mocked stabbing motions before casually walking away. "But seriously, that hurts my feelings, you know? I mean, a guy goes out of his way to free you and what not. And in return, you ditch me and everyone else, without so much as thank you or see ya later. Now, here you are, all bent outta shape and shit, cause I wanted to talk? You're even so callous as to accuse me of setting you up..." At this time, Cheshire was constantly pacing back and forth. He was becoming very animated, arm and hands flailing about as he spoke in a high-pitched whisper. He kept this up until he suddenly stopped and turned to look at Murtagh.

"You wouldn't be trying to take advantage of my kindness, would you?" Cheshire asked as he cocked his head. "I think you owe me MacCaddoch, and its time I collect. So, it's with sincere interest of your health in mind, that I recommend you hang around for our little reunion. Once everyone has arrived, then and only then, will I divulge the details behind this merry meeting."

Murtagh MacCaddochFriday Dec 11 2013 08:06:34

"Don't twist your words like that." snapped Murtagh, taking a couple steps away from Cheshire hurriedly. "You wanted out as much as I did. I only followed you out when the time came." Murtagh paused and eyed the half-done spray-painting suspiciously before continuing. "This better be good, Cheshire. I'll stay, but only for old time's sake. If I find out that this is some dumb prank only you could have come up with, I'll be gone before you can say 'Just kidding'." Murtagh said in a low voice. Sticking a hand into his pocket, he patted the switchblade for some semblance of comfort.

If he was forced to escape, he would have to rethink how he would hide so Cheshire couldn't find him. He would have thought breaking contact immediately after escape would have been enough for them not to make the effort. Apparently there as something urgent enough for him to make it so.

Cheshire & AliceFriday Dec 11 2013 08:06:34

Cheshire grinned in response to Murtagh's compliance. His alleged reason for staying was due to their history, but Cheshire was willing to bet his insinuations proved persuasive and at the very least, he managed to intimidate Murtagh. To an outsider, it might've looked like the latter was his intended goal. But, they would be wrong in this assumption. Despite being a coward, Murtagh is paranoid, cautious, and has plenty of time on his hands. Pair that with his willingness to do whatever it takes to survive, and the so called coward is just as dangerous as any ax-wielding maniac, even more so since you won't see him coming. For that reason, Cheshire will never underestimate or force his hand, as it could lead to a knife sunk deep in his back. Besides, he would never hurt any of his fellow cabalites, or... it would actually be more accurate to say he wouldn't kill anyone in his Cabal. Because Cheshire wouldn't have hesitated to slice Murtagh's tendons if it meant making him stay. It wasn't an empty threat or lie when he said he had his health in interest. Luckily, violence wasn't necessary, so he pocketed his weapon and recomposed himself before settling down on the floor. There was at least several hours between now and when the others were told to arrive. Such an extensive gap was implemented to ensure Alice had enough time to paint, imagery was key in conveying the severity of their impending doom. Until she was done and everyone was here, he had time to reflect, sleep, or anything else he came up with to pass the time; he choose to reflect. Being in this place brought so many memories to the surface, that he couldn't help focusing on the day he escaped...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cheshire Character Portrait: Andromeda Snow Character Portrait: Murtagh MacCaddoch Character Portrait: Maximilien Robespierre Character Portrait: Gallius Dives
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Book 1: Darkness Rising - Chapter 1: Rarely, They Meet

"Over here my sweet meats." spoke a voice belonging to a young man.

The individual had a permanent smile on his face, but it wasn't because his life was filled with joy and happiness. To the contrary, his twenty years on earth were full of trials and tribulations that would break the psyche of a normal man. Yet, this one took it with a phlegmatic stride, trivializing every situation until he'd become quite blasé to death, danger, and debauchery. Lazy indifference, a persistent smile, and general optimism make this character similar to another thus awarding him the epithet, Cheshire. And presently, Cheshire's long red hair was sticking to his forehead due to perspiration. An unfortunate situation involving his biological father, Sebastian Castellan, and his untimely death has led to a rather fortunate opportunity. Said opportunity was the chance to escape from the asylum he had come to call home. However, the death of his father who was also the warden had complicated things. The irony of the situation is that it was Sebastian's idea to escape, he was even going to help Cheshire and a handful of other patients do so. So why'd he kill the only person willing to help him? The simple answer would be that he's crazy, but it's actually more complicated than that. Sebastian wanted to use Cheshire and his Dark Passenger as weapons to achieve his own personal goals. His father also revealed that this was the reason behind Cheshire's existence and that he had suffered to cultivate his Dark Talents. Finding this out enraged Cheshire and lead to Sebastian's very painful death. Now, here he is, accompanied by four perfect strangers all trying to break out from a prison turned mental hospital ran by a satanic cult.

"It isn't the way out, but we can at least catch our breath." Cheshire said, as he returned to the group.

He was leading them to back to a storage room, full of extra furniture, boxes of paper, and other miscellaneous crap. They had been exploring an unused wing of the building since it lacked cameras and the only plausible route of escape. But because none of them had ever been in the area, it was proving difficult to find an exit. Surely they had been out of their room for at least an hour now, dodging patrols and taking out lone guardsmen. It was only through a security exploitation that they were able to escape their cells in the first place. Soon enough, their luck would run out and they would be caught, it was only a matter of time.

Cheshire made sure everyone was in and the coast was clear, before closing the door and addressing the group. "We can't keep this up all night, it'll be morning soon. They'll find empty cells and tear this whole damn place apart looking for us. That's assuming we make it that long. Someone could find one of the bodies or us for that matter. It's now or never."

Cheshire & AliceMonday MAR 13 2006 1:43:11

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cheshire Character Portrait: Andromeda Snow Character Portrait: Murtagh MacCaddoch Character Portrait: Maximilien Robespierre Character Portrait: Gallius Dives
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Gallius Dives
Book 1: Darkness Rising - Chapter 1: Rarely, They Meet

Gallius picked at his fingernails, scrutinizing the immaculately-snipped edges. The unhinged cuticles smoothed down like fleshy ridges, scuffled with bite-marks. It kept his attention away from their ever-changing faces, moving around like Rorschach cards, slowly shifting into frog's legs, butterfly wings and the bottom half of a clown's face. Some of them looked more frightening than the others, but only when they were accompanied by harsh, edgy voices. Hoarse and dangerous—some of them looked less like monsters, and more what he imagined normal people looked like. In his minds eyes, Gallius pictured proper noses fitting along with proper eyes and proper ears, but whenever he chanced a glance in their direction, he shyly averted his gaze, staring back down at his hands as if they held the answers he sought. They looked like monsters, gnarled and raw. Their faces were unfamiliar, but their voices rung out with months of cognition. Each one was unique to its owner, and each one Gallius was able identify before they even begun their sentences.

He hadn't even been entirely sure why he'd come along with them. The mental asylum posed as the only safe place he'd been in for a long time—and it was the only place where they actually understood why he hid away, deflecting eye-contact like a cornered animal who'd been snapped on the muzzle far too many times. The nurses coddled him more than his mother had, toying fingers through his thick hair and braiding them whenever he could sit still enough. It was fine, as long as they faced away from him. It was acceptable as long as there wasn't a mirror in front of him. Too bothered to face what he looked like, and too frightened to wonder if he, too, was a monster, Gallius lived the majority of his adolescence facing the ground, grudgingly lifting his chin when he was told to. The letters his mother used to send him had stopped shortly after this little escapade, this escape into the night following a bunch of strangers who seemed as equally confused or lost as he was. Honestly, the only one with any semblance of direction was Cheshire. Guiding them along like this was planned from the start, completely nonplussed by the fact that they were on the run.

Anxiety coursed through his veins like a battering ram, threatening to spill out his frenetic thoughts into a whirlpool of dread. Sweet meats—the voice sounded jolly enough, almost like he was an overly happy tour-guide sweeping his hand out towards the horizon. Promising to show them only the best sights, because he wouldn't do it for no other group, nosiree. He still felt off. The entire situation felt off. Like they'd suddenly step onto a makeshift sidewalk, fall through a trapdoor and end up in the institutions office to be punished for their misbehaviour. He imagined being snapped on the wrist and coolly subjected to another diatribe of you're not getting any better because you're not trying hard enough. Everyone must have heard it at least once. They wouldn't be here if they hadn't. Even if he felt like he wasn't sure why he was out here, huffing quietly to quell the chills scritch-scratching down his spine, Gallius understood that he wanted freedom as badly as he wanted to colour their faces in, stencil in all the pieces of the human anatomy.

He passed through the open door, held by Cheshire and squeezed himself closer to one of the corners. Right, right—he'd helped knock out some of the guardsmen, but it hadn't been all that difficult. From his point of view, they didn't look human. They looked like roaring monsters, mouths yawning across where he thought their foreheads might have been. It took him a moment to tear his eyes away from his fingers, settling them resolutely to his sides to keep him from instinctively picking. He picked a spot above Cheshire's shoulder, staring like a blind man at the arrangement of boxes lining the shelves. Some of the tape was peeling down like clear orange peels. He mumbled something about map plans, but it came out as an incoherent squeak. Breathe, calm down, try again. Louder this time. The Outsider, as always, stood vigilant as a gargoyle, perched under his chin. “Is there a map somewhere, in these boxes? We can't keep stumbling around. You're right. They'll catch us.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cheshire Character Portrait: Andromeda Snow Character Portrait: Murtagh MacCaddoch Character Portrait: Maximilien Robespierre Character Portrait: Gallius Dives
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Andromeda SnowMonday MAR 13 2006 1:44:09

Little sweetmeats? Andromeda suppressed a snort of disgust, if only barely. He was aware that a sweetmeat wasn’t meat at all, wasn’t he? It was perhaps an inconsequential thing to most, but details mattered. Tiny pieces, tidbits of information that went unnoticed to minds so caught up in irrelevancies like emotion and adrenaline. She was no such creature, to be carried away by her fear or her excitement. Andromeda was cold, calculating, calm, and precise. She was, alas, also unfortunately dependent on these people until such time as they could actually get out of this damned building and breathe the outside air again.

This was her punishment for the few times she’d ever done things for someone else’s sake. Naturally—nothing she would ever do would be so suspicious as to land her in a place like this. There were no worse places. Andromeda could have handled a juvenile detention center, or even a prison. It would have been a matter of days before she’d established herself at the top of the food chain there, and she well knew it. Here was different—because here was run by a goddamn cult, and they didn’t succumb so easily to manipulation. She’d deduced that it was a cult within a week of being admitted. Rather slow, but then she had been quite a bit younger at the time, so perhaps excusable in retrospect.

She hadn’t seen the demon coming, but then, what rational person ever would?

Presently, the striking young woman looked a little worse for wear, tendrils of her white hair clinging to the back of her neck and her forehead, fallen loose from the ponytail that contained the rest. Her dark complexion bore a faint sheen of sweat, and there was a cut on her cheek. She’d had to get inventive with the lock on her door—they’d taken to denying her anything as simple as a bobby pin because they’d at last started to wise up to what a mind geared for ingenuity could do with even an implement so simple. It was then she’d known that getting out was becoming imperative. No longer was the simple interest of seeing what they would do enough to keep her here, nor the rather interesting cocktail of fear, dread, and misery that she could feed Lilith.

Leaning back against the door, Andromeda crossed her arms beneath her breasts and closed her eyes. It made this easier, not having the visual distractions. One day, she swore, she’d be able to do it as naturally as breathing, but today was not that day. Tuning out the pointless conversation going on around her, she tapped into the mental frequencies nearby. Ignoring Murtagh’s active paranoia was difficult, but she managed it, focusing instead for those people outside their little half-dozen. At first, it was only whispers, but then Andromeda exhaled, and the last of the goings-on in the room slipped away, granting her access to the minds of those elsewhere.

“As useful as I’m sure a map would be,” she asserted coolly, opening her eyes and flicking a clear blue glance from Gallius to Cheshire. “There’s no time. One of the guards has decided to check this very room for his stash of stolen medication, and he’s got friends with him. Five of them. We have fifteen seconds before they’re here.” Lilith was quite looking forward to it, of course, but Andromeda was frankly none too pleased. This would have gone so much better if she'd just tried it on her own...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cheshire Character Portrait: Andromeda Snow Character Portrait: Murtagh MacCaddoch Character Portrait: Maximilien Robespierre Character Portrait: Gallius Dives
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#, as written by Ezarael

Maximilien Robespierre
Book 1: Darkness Rising - Chapter 1: Rarely, They Meet
Monday MAR 13 2006 1:44:30

Despite the revolting presence of drab, white-washed, not that he had much of a distaste for the lack of color as he did for its blatant, uninspired overuse, and the horrifically disorganized furniture, papers, and garbage littering the room a young boy was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere of the room, and on that note the entirety of this wing of the asylum to be honest. It was hard to discern whether it was the soft moonlight drifting through opaque, dirtied glass, the chaotic state of everything located inside, most of it strewn about as if an earthquake had hit just prior to their entrance, the seemingly empty abandonment the cluttered, but empty space screamed of, or the dead guards which were littering the hallways and various rooms. Probably some combination of all of these elements were what sparked that inferno burning within his chest, and deepened Melpomene’s insatiable hunger, he had to take in every ounce of what the various rooms had to offer him, so that later he would be able to harness its raw essence into something of beauty, taking the raw materials provided and transforming the sum of the parts into something transcendent.

Maybe that was the reason Maximilien had crouched over the body of a slain guard, some fool who had been paying more attention to some filthy magazine and coffee than his job, a very dangerous decision given his employ within an insane asylum with characters such as Cheshire stalking about. That didn’t matter though, the guard was merely a supply of fresh sketching materials, the sticky substance being replenished at a much quicker pace than it was being utilized, which was quite a feat given the ferocity with which the artist stroked and brushed his fingers against the hard-wood of a desk, giving off the same appearance as a finger-painting child, maybe somewhat malicious, but still child-like none-the-less. Anything involving painting, sketching, drawing, or what-have-you were always his least favorite activities, they seemed so infantile and easily destructible that they weren’t worth the time or effort they took, but at times they served to put his thoughts to paper, materializing the mental images in such a way he could only manage.

Voices sounded off in the background, but they were of little consequence now, Maximilien had to finish this image, someone needed to bring it to life so that others could experience the grim beauty of this moment, and only he could perform such a task. Unfortunately for the artist though, his supply of finger-paints had run out, and a defeated sigh breathed out of his full-lips slowly, knowing full-well that the moment was lost and his current masterpiece would go unfinished. His mind changed its trajectory, turning to the conversation being had by his compatriots, motley to say the least, and for the most part incapable of producing any works of art such as he, except the one who was smiling, their “leader” at this point in time, seemed slightly different. His art may not have been as quintessentially pure and everlasting as his own, but the scenes he had seen him craft with the murders he committed were something beautiful in their own right, and the way he described gore was remarkable. Maximilien had spent many an hour trying to recreate the images painted by this smiling savant of murder.

A haughty scoff echoed through the quiet room after the artist registered their comments about a map, what amateurs could not merely feel the layout of a building from its design? This building was made for utilitarian purposes and to keep others in, it wasn’t very hard to figure out where they needed to go if they deciphered the designer’s creative process via the layout of the building, something that was rather simplistic given the complete lack of creativity in any part of this building. “Open your mind. Maps are only useful when you cannot see what is right in front of you. There is nothing special about this building; the designer lacked any artistic talent whatsoever. Figuring out the right path is but a trifle.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cheshire Character Portrait: Andromeda Snow Character Portrait: Murtagh MacCaddoch Character Portrait: Maximilien Robespierre Character Portrait: Gallius Dives
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#, as written by Arke

Monday MAR 13 2006 1:43:11
Murtagh MacCaddoch

This was a bad idea. This was a supremely bad idea. The young Murtagh MacCaddoch knew for a fact that this was a bad idea. Kicking himself the entire time, he continued allowed himself to be lead through the halls of of the strange Asylum by Chester. This did not stop him from flinching at every shadow or stifling a scream at every unusual noise. He recoiled at every body they left behind, fearful that they would wake up. While his mind was hardwired for the present, he cursed himself for being so weak to allow himself to be brought up to this point.

He hated everyone there. The only ones they kind of liked were those that kept to themselves, and left him alone. Every night as he went to sleep, Murtagh feared he would never wake up. People like Chester constantly kept him on edge, wondering if he was going to slip a knife between his ribs. He found no comfort in this enclosed hell, and with every growing day he felt more and more like he was going to explode. Not only this, by the voice that was "Myron" whispered to him constantly, demanding more and more vehemently to kill something. The babble about filling a void made no sense to Murtagh, and only sought to confuse him even further. Sometimes he was clear-minded enough to observe and maybe pick a few out that would likely kill him in his sleep, but most of the time Murtagh remained curled up in his bed trying not to sob uncontrollably. He failed occasionally. The nurses were of no help. No matter how nice they tried to be, Murtagh knew it was just a trick. They were fed up with that job they held of taking care of the crazy. He knew it, and refused to let them calm or comfort him. They set up a routine instead where they left necessary food at the foot of his bed and would take it once he cleaned the plate. No further contact was necessary, and Murtagh wouldn't have had it any other way.

Perhaps if he had stayed in the ward room instead of following Chester, he would be given his own little room. A place where he could finally relax. Those ideas were far gone now. He had reached his limit in staying in that room with his wardmates, and made one of his rare blind decisions instead of thinking things through. Now they were in a small storage room, awaiting their doom as they failed to properly path an escape route. Maximilien's words did not comfort Murtagh, who was beside himself with fear.

"We're going to die. We're going to die. I don't want to die. I won't die. We're going to die though. Oh we're going to die die die die die die die..." He trailed off, sinking into a fetal position as he felt the hairs raise on his back. Somebody was going to break even worse news, he knew it. The situation practically called for it. Then Andromeda, in her infuriatingly calm manner, announced the presence of incoming guards. Murtagh felt his stomach sink, feeling quite nauseous at the idea of being shot or beaten to death by guards. "Die die die going we're die to die die die going die guards die coming.." Murtagh whimpered, so shocked with fear that all rational thought flew out the window.

There was a sharp mental slap that brought him back to a poor semblance of clarity. The dark voice in his head demanding that he not give up now. It used a lot of words that Murtagh didn't understand, but it helped him stomp cowering just as the footsteps became audible. A new wave of fear washed over Murtagh, but even in this tense time he remembered his brothers words and slowly got to his feet, quickly shuffling to the back of the room and grabbing a couple boxes and pulling them to the floor to reveal their contents. Most of them contained hardware supplies- PVC pipes and the likes. Murtagh quickly snagged a pipe and braced himself.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cheshire Character Portrait: Andromeda Snow Character Portrait: Murtagh MacCaddoch Character Portrait: Maximilien Robespierre Character Portrait: Gallius Dives
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Gallius Dives
Book 1: Darkness Rising - Chapter 1: Rarely, They Meet

None of their responses did anything to stifle the blossoming burden of fear growling and snarling in the deepest pit of his stomach, threatening to heave its contents over his squeaky-clean shoes, which were freshly scrubbed and double-knotted to keep himself from tripping on his face in their maddening run, fleeing from everything that held any semblance of safety. He felt like a yellow-tipped bird teetering on a telephone pole, seconds away from being fried into a pile of melodramatic dust—and maybe he wasn't exaggeration, because if they were caught, they'd all go to jail. Everyone's hands were dirty and red with something they'd committed tonight, however literal it actually was. His own were busy threading through his pale locks, knuckling and clumping handfuls, smearing sanguine gore like flaky highlights. If pulling out his roots would make him feel any stabler, any calmer, then he would have done it long ago. But now, Gallius could only contend with picking and preening and distracting himself with anything else, other than these monsters.

Chester with his chiming carousel-voice, churning around brightly coloured balloons and cotton candy stalls. It was hoarse and musical all at the same time, revealing a man who killed optimistically. There was a breezy quality to his tone. He was guided by something. Some sort of drive, or perhaps, not. It was hard to tell without looking at him. There was Andromeda, as well. Coolly collected and firmly planted. Brisk in her manner, and seemingly all-knowing. Hers was the most pleasant to hear, even if her indifference sent disagreeable shivers down his spine, crippling his sensitive emotions. Maximilien's voice spoke volumes of his true nature—calculated and eccentric, spontaneous and devoid of verity. It was he who Gallius sidled away from, as he hunkered over corpses, painting pictures he did not want to see. Murtagh's fevered words, tumbling out like furious maracas, felt as if he were throwing wet blankets across them. Insistent and uncomfortable. All of them put together formed something entirely different. Not quite a family. Not quite strangers, either.

Monsters. That's what they were. That's what he was. Butchering guardsmen (he hadn't really meant to, but there were fine lines between putting someone to sleep and swelling their brains to disproportionate levels) only to reach an impasse. An old, chemical-scented closet with useless cardboard boxes and stacks of unwanted furniture. Gallius fidgeted in his corner, strenuously avoiding Andromeda's withering gaze. He could see the outline of her small face sweeping in his direction, accompanied by her steady, dispassionate riposte. If he were a small crustacean, he would've scurried away long ago. But, like a barnacle or a clam, Gallius was rooted in place, slightly trembling and folding in on himself. He felt like he was becoming smaller and smaller. Mouth promptly clamped, whittling itself into another small noise that barely sifted out from his lips. This was a mistake, he'd agree. Murtagh seemed to understand the dangers most of all, crouching low in the opposite corner and repeatedly mumbling something about dying.

Gallius did not fear death. He feared ridiculous things. He was afraid of getting into trouble. He was afraid of being alone, as well as being in the same room as people. He was afraid of saying something stupid. He was afraid of physical contact, of looking people in the face, of being coined incompetent. Bullets penetrating the fleshy lobes of his skull would have been a calming retreat—far out of his control, and at least he wouldn't have to make any burdensome decisions. Leadership did not sit on his shoulders, but simply slipped off like an ill-fitting dress. He wet his dry lips, and tried to swallow past the cottony lump in his throat. Maximilien was rambling about designs and feeling the architecture of the building and artistry and scoffing about a certain blandness that flew straight over his head. Gallius creaked in his general direction, wooden and stiff. He lowered his voice to a hoarse-whisper when he said, “Get us out of here, then.”

It was Andromeda's unhurried words that caught his attention, announcing that they'd have guests very soon. There were men headed in their direction. He strained his ears like a dog trying to figure out where the sounds were coming from. But, his abilities were trained for the unconscious. For rendering people unconscious, drooling and very brain-dead. Gallius didn't scramble over to the boxes like Murtagh had, because he'd never needed weapons before. His bare hands were dangerous enough. He held them aloft as the footsteps drew nearer, accompanied by brief spurts of boisterous laughter. Something about panties and stupid whore. Something else about pills. The timbre of their voices were shriveled and ugly; monstrous, even. Gallius braced himself against the wall, closer to Cheshire and on the other side of the door. It was only when the door swung open, stupidly kicked inwards, revealing three guardsmen, that Gallius budged from his hiding place, slamming into the nearest man. Sharp pain blossomed in the back of his head—batons, of course. His death-grip on the guardsman's collar forced them both to the group, where he fumbled his palm across the man's face, in the midst of a chortled shout.

No time for that, though. Blood leaked from the guard's ears in thin rivulets, tainting his red-rimmed eyes. Gallius desperately released his grip and covered his head to keep the blows from rattling his head like a drum.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cheshire Character Portrait: Andromeda Snow Character Portrait: Murtagh MacCaddoch Character Portrait: Maximilien Robespierre Character Portrait: Gallius Dives
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Book 1: Darkness Rising - Chapter 1: Rarely, They Meet

Here and now, in this moment, was a perfect example of why people refereed to the red-headed menace as Cheshire. Faced with adversity and certain doom, still this young man was completely calm in spite of his odds of survival. Sure there was sweat dripping from his brow, but it wasn't from anxiety but from exhaustion. Most obviously, was his smile; so wide and bearing teeth... If he were any other man, he might have accompanied Murtagh and cowered in a corner, fearing for his life. But like everyone else in the room, he knew this building was home to things scarier than conniving guards. Which is why he didn't fret over mere mortals and their sticks, instead he reveled at their perfect timing, hence his happiness. Fate saw fit to deliver unto him six men, all of whom were knowledgeable on his surroundings; he had to appreciate the humor in that. It was only then that he wished he was alone, being in a group made it hard to get optimal results. Such a delicate situation required stealth, precision, and time all of which he had none of. Cheshire wasn't a highly skilled assassin with years of training and advanced weaponry, he was something worse: a demonically possessed, cold-blooded killer who with a dark room, sharp blade, and restraints could make a person beg for the sweet mercy of death. Unfortunately for these greedy men, he had all of those things and just enough time to extract the information he needed.

Footsteps, he could actually hear them now. "Now kids, be on your best behavior for our guest!" he whispered jovially. A quick nod along with a mental command sent the girl who had become his shadow to hide in a wardrobe nearest Andromeda. She was ordered to stay there until he and no one else told her to come out. Alice, as was her name, made no sound to confirm, only scurried away to do as she was told. Unlike anyone he had ever met before, Cheshire felt the strange need to protect this child. He was connected to her, and not just by the mental link she formed between them; it was more than that. The anger he felt when he saw those damned cultists hurting her... Never, ever, had Cheshire lifted a single finger to help someone in need, especially if it didn't benefit him. Yet, without hesitation, he barged recklessly in a room, ignorant of the dangers hidden inside and risked his life for a stranger he had never even seen before? The severity of its obscureness was enough to withdraw him from reality, only to be hurled back by the recurring sound of conversation and laughter. Reentry to the present summoned a mischievous grin along with the parting present from his late father and warden, a uniquely crafted dagger. He held the weapon at his side as he pressed his body to the wall behind the door, opposite of Gallius, who was apparently volunteering for first strike. Now, they had nothing to do but wait.

Cheshire's heartbeat ran parallel to the proximity of the approaching group, increasing in tempo with every step that brought the men closer to the door. He was excited, feeling like the wolf as it stalks its prey. His heart was pounding like a madman banging on drums; he was surprised no one could hear it. And then, the moment of truth was upon him -- the door was kicked open simultaneously everything quieted and slowed. Cheshire grabbed the handle of the door, stopping it from rebounding too much and revealing that something was behind it. The guards had barely passed the threshold before Gallius' assault began and ended, resulting with the mass of them rolling around the floor like a dust cloud of fist and feet. There was a silver lining to this dust cloud, though. His allies misfortune presented an opportunity for Cheshire to ambush a straggler, "how predator-like," he thought to himself. The guard was moseying in to seemingly assist the other four guards, little did he know, he would end up condemning them instead. As the man cleared the door, Cheshire sprung his trap. He quickly shut the door, filling the room again with darkness excluding the slivers of moonlight streaming in from the window. Then, like a boa-constrictor preparing its meal, Cheshire wrapped himself around the unwary guard and pulled him in a secluded corner. Seconds was all he had to conduct his interrogation, but that was all he needed. These guards were not elite soldiers tasked with protecting their country, they were civilians here only for the meager pay. Tempt them with death and secrets would flow like water from a faucet.

In the quietest voice he could muster without hindering his words, Cheshire spoke in his hostage's ear, "Now, unless you want your insides to become outsides? I suggest you tell me what I want to know, and be quick about it. I'm in no mood to play." To demonstrate his resolve, Cheshire placed his knife just inside the man's stomach, causing him to twist and murmur a in pain.

Maximilien RobespierreMonday Mar 13 2006 1:45:00

Everyone seemed so concerned with the arrival of the guards, as if such flawed creations could possibly pose some semblance of a threat to them, as if the guards' obvious imperfections could possibly compete with the inherent beauty in their group, even if uncreative. The females moved away whilst the twitchy Mick rushed for a pipe, and the strange one rushed their guests head-on, leaving him to think how uninspired and lacking . . ., but not Cheshire, Maximilien knew that Cheshire could formulate an inspired plan of beauty quickly, and the execution would prove more than adequate to fuel the artist's creative desires. Before long the strange one was huddled within a pile of entangled bodies, lacking any capability of coming up with any original contingency, leaving the young artist to scream on the inside, his creative thirst being torn asunder by the actions of the incompetent fool. Cheshire though, what a thing of beauty, it had taken only moments for him to grab a straggler, obviously lacking in the foresight to consider the possibility of a lunatic waiting behind a door to snatch one of them. Time had slowed down to a standstill for Maximilien, as if this instant was supposed to be frozen in time so that he could properly inhale the essence of the scene laid out before him, feeling an invigorating wave of desire wash over his previously uninspired body.

Despite the obvious lack of talent amidst the majority of these comrades, if that word could be used here, there was some beauty to be had in the coordinated disarray displayed before him, they each knew what they were supposed to do, even if they didn't know it. There was a synergy between them, even if just for this one moment in history, and this moment would definitely need to be preserved in the annals of history, all he had to do was find some way to preserve it . . . Why don't you join in sweetling? These incompetents couldn't possibly compete with your brilliance, their spark pales in comparison to the flame burning inside you. Melpomene was speaking to him, urging him to become one with this moment, and as always his muse never let him down, she knew exactly what he would need to bring this scene to life later, and the only way to do so was to take part in the raw-emotion of the tussle. She was right, these simpletons could not possibly bring any harm to him, despite their size or armament, their moves were bland and repetitive, such lowly creatures could never comprehend the sheer brilliance that would accompany his actions.

"Yes, I must be a part of this if this scene is to be complete, it needs my talent . . . and I need supplies to finish my sketch."

As his body began to lurch forward, time started accelerating, until it surpassed where it had been prior to his muse's urging, but he knew exactly what needed to be done.The artist approached the oblivious group of guards pummeling the strange companion ceaselessly, blinded by their ignorance and simplicity, and he awaited for the right set of movemtents that he knew were coming, the repetition of their movements made determining their next move simple. A baton-ladened hand swung backwards, its wrist arching heavily and twist inwards slighty, greatly relaxing the hold his target had upon their weapon, and that was exactly the moment for which he was waiting. Maximilien snatched the weapon swiftly, twirling the end around just as quick and bringing the tip crashing down into the man's skull, sending splatters of blood, bone, and skull splattering across the room as Pollock would paint across a canvas. A surge of adrenaline fueled his movements, the boy backing off as the the other guards noticed his presence. They may be inferior beings, but taking advantage of sloppy, uninspired movements on an unexpecting target was much different than the current threat.

A smile almost threatened to don his youthful face, but the urge died down just as quickly. It was an unfamiliar expression.

Murtagh MacCaddochMonday Mar 13 2006 1:45:15

Murtagh, unsurprisingly, lingered in the back while furiously debating whether or not to rush in. The guards, upon inspection were of nothing to note. They were unarmored, and carried batons that the pipe out-ranged. Then, all of a sudden, the primary source of light was extinguished (no doubt by Chesire) and the guards were left in disarray. Gallius dove one, something Murtagh would never do. Chesire dragged one away in silence. As the fearful youth procrastinated, Maximilien had already moved forward and skillfully disarmed one. The resounding crunch made Murtagh flinch and Myron swoon. His grip on the pipe tightened as a guard broke free of the morass of limbs near the front and rushed for Maximilien to save his comrade. It was better to take advantage of that guard's brash move rather than engage a guard that would focus on him.

Just as the guard finished closing the distance to give the "artist" a swift canvas of darkness, Murtagh gritted his teeth and jabbed the pipe with both hands as hard as he could. The pipe connected with the guard's side, sending him stumbling. Adrenaline began coursing through Murtagh once more, leaping in and swiping at the vulnerable guard. The blow connected with his head, leaving him on the ground and moaning. Murtagh immediately knew the man was oblivious to the world now, and hesitated slightly. His ears continued to ring, the blood continued to roar, and now Myron interjected. Murtagh's look of tentative mercy became one of a wild animal as Myron poured doubt and anger into his thoughts. The man will get up and expose them. The man will live and condemn us in the end. The only way to ensure he stayed down was to hit him more. Murtagh's sight began to tinge with red as he descended upon the vulnerable man, whacking him again with the pipe. The pipe swung more, and more, the blows becoming more wild as Murtagh fought to ensure that the man would never tell a soul what happened here. It was only when a bit of blood got into his eye that he realize that the man's head had been completely mutilated. He wasn't incapacitated anymore, he was dead.

Cold realization set in not long after. Murtagh was a murderer now, in every form of the word. Turning slowly, he saw the other guards that were approaching him slowly. The only reason why Murtagh hadn't been clocked over the head yet was because of Maxemilien's presence and the intimidating aura he expelled after so easily dispatching their comrade. They kept a stern eye on the black youth, but this time they were now aware of the less-graceful animal named Murtagh. He was an animal now. The stained PVC pipe dripped with blood and flesh, and this time Murtagh had no excuse for so thoroughly ensuring a closed-casket funeral for this man. He couldn't summon any tears in his shocked state, and only the pure drive to remain alive caused him to clumsily dismount the man's corpse and back up to stand behind Maximilien. As he did so, the corpse of the man seemed to gain a stark contrast in the darkness, and the corpse began glowing a faint blue. The dark voice inside Murtagh was roaring with approval. Murtagh felt himself heat up, and looked at his hands. He was now a glowing blue outline in the faint darkness, the exact opposite of what he wanted. Confusion set in, and he shuffled back further. He had listened in on his ward-mates and knew about these Dark Talents, but he didn't know his until now. Both Murtagh and the corpse's glow faded after a brief moment, and Murtagh felt a hole he had never paid attention to before fill slightly. Suddenly some of the things Myron had said made a bit more sense.

There was no time to begin more experimenting, however. He regretted not doing so while still in the ward, but he didn't dare practice under the fear that his ward-mates would turn his powers against him. It was far better to appear a weak and insane fool that isn't worth the scum on the tile. Murtagh dropped the dripping PVC pipe, as it was going to only be slippery and hard to wield after being so soaked in blood. Sinking once again into the dark back of the room, he felt around the other boxes and found another weapon. Jars, beakers, and pipettes used for drug and chemical testing were stored here, and Murtagh found a nicely-sized jar. He hated having to kill these men, who never asked for this, but if he had to to escape and live, he would. The shock had worn off, and he shifted his grip on the jar to both hands and circled around the remaining guard approaching Maximilien and brought the jar down in a heavy downswing on the guard that was grappling with Gallius. The man staggered, his baton leaving his hand so he could clutch his head in pain. The jar had completely shattered from the force of the blow, and scratched the floor with glass shards. Murtagh felt cuts on his hands as the glass jar broke in his hands, but he then forced the guard off Gallius and stomped on the man's head repeatedly. The guard's spasms eventually ceased.

Gallius DivesMonday Mar 13 2006 1:45:10

Fortunately, the baton-inflicted beating seemed to subside, and Gallius was free to stumble backwards, away from the unorganized jumble that was taking place. Someone's face was becoming one with the linoleum flooring. Mashed against black and white checkered squares, which was quickly becoming spattered with grizzled gore, fleshy clumps and wads of mushed hair. More surprising was to find that the boot connecting with the bloody guardsman's face belonged to Murtagh, who'd given up his pipe somewhere along the line. He was thankful. His head felt heavy on his shoulders, like it was swaying on a pendulum. Something wet ran down his forehead, dribbled off his chin and pattered on his hand. The Outsider was a quiet citizen standing on the sidewalk of his thoughts, quietly watching to see what he would do without his aid, and coming up somewhat disappointed—releasing a child without fully testing any training wheels. He was not satiated by the meagre meal, hastily devoured. Noxious, pitted eyes looked into him and saw clear through.

It made him want to cry. Far worse was his disappointment, than the fact that a large gash had opened up across the right side of his skull. Battered and bruised and somewhat swollen. Though, the red streaked in his hair looked far better than the soft, plucky blond locks curled around his ears. He was not as quick as Maximilien, nor as creative as Cheshire was, because he believed that what he was doing was necessary. They were the monsters preying on the weak, trying to usher them into cages like animals. Manipulating them, using them to further their own means. He still felt something when he'd touched that man's head. Leeching out his subconscious, and fervid awareness, through a tube he could not exactly describe. He felt a light go out. He also felt his memories, like too-colourful, too-vibrant bonbons being popped into his mouth. Something about children on a beach, scurrying around with hermit crabs and sand castles. It felt like he'd been there, holding some strange woman's hand and laughing loudly, thinking nothing of the mental institution he worked at. It'd left him just as quickly as it'd come, leaving him gasping like a fish.

These memories were not his own. They were the lingering after-tastes, a little reminder that his own recollections were far less pleasant. He took a deep, lingering breath and looked up at them—these strangers who fought like demons, who moved instinctively, like they knew where to go and what to do when all hell broke loose. But, they were strong. Stronger than he was by far. If you were paralysed in all of your fears, then you might as well roll over and die. Even Murtagh had stepped up to the plate, utilizing his hands and feet and body as weapons. His fear drove him forward, shielded him from all of the badness in the world. Cheshire and Maximilien and even Andromeda seemed untouched by such things, moving beyond it with a certainty that left him breathless and frozen. He needed that. The Outsider tipped his head, mouth perpetually composed. Gaping eyes imperturbable and always-observing. No more kiddy floaters, training wheels or bed railings. No more, he whispered.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cheshire Character Portrait: Andromeda Snow Character Portrait: Murtagh MacCaddoch Character Portrait: Maximilien Robespierre Character Portrait: Gallius Dives
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Andromeda SnowMonday MAR 13 2006 1:45:00

As she’d thought, the room was soon invaded by a group of security guards, and though they were unprepared for the assault—spearheaded by Gallius—they recovered quickly enough, putting up at least a token resistance to their deaths, and in some cases quite a bit more than that. Andromeda was quite content to let the more violently-inclined among them have all of this particular brand of fun. She, after all, had no particular desire to know what it felt like for blood to dry in her pale hair. Nor, indeed, to have bruised knuckles or wounds of her own. She was not a trained fighter, something that she made a note to rectify as soon as she was clear of this place.

For there was no doubt in her mind that she would be free of it. The whole affair was only a matter of time. If this didn’t work, something else would. Perhaps something quieter.

Unfortunately, someone let a guard through at some point, probably not something that could be helped, though she certainly blamed them for it anyway. Unfair, perhaps, but then, so was life, as they all well knew. The guard, breathing a sigh of relief to be clear of the main melee, set his sights on the young woman and raised what appeared to be a nightstick, stepping forward menacingly. Her expression—cold, impassive, unafraid—did not change. Sociopaths did not feel much in the way of emotion, including fear, though Lilith was having fun with his. He knew he was going to die, but he was apparently determined to take down at least one of them before he did. How droll.

The demon's whispers were honeyed poison in her ear, promising power and satisfaction the like of which she’d never been able to know—not as a little girl in a dirty, poor household, and not as an unwitting prisoner in this place, watched over by white-clad wardens who knew nothing. Ordinarily, Andromeda did not pay the whispers much mind, because they came from that, and she didn’t trust it. It was an unknown quantity, the upper limits of its abilities were unknown to her. She knew not if it would one day overtake the sanctum of her mind, painting the crystalline walls of it a passionate red that she did not want, and this made her wary, like one predator circling another, fundamentally unsure of what territory belonged to whom, or if it must be contested at all. But today, today she would at least take the suggestion for what it was.

Suddenly and without warning, she stepped forward as well, placing the index and middle fingers of each hand on the corresponding temples of the guard, opening a telepathic link between the two of them. That much, she knew how to do, but for the rest, she would need Lilith’s guidance, and reluctantly, she surrendered her control. It was like something else slithered under her skin, fitting just as comfortably into it as she ever did—more so. Andromeda was pushed gently to some corner of her own mind, through which she could see the goings on, both inside herself and out in the world, but she had little control over any of it. She was a spectator in some grand theater, with the expensive seats but no real power at all. She watched dispassionately as Lilith called up the power they shared now, surging forward through the mental link and enveloping the lesser mind within her power.

Physically, Andromeda’s body leaned forward, a dark chuckle escaping her parted lips as the nightmare images Lilith so easily produced assaulted the poor fool’s consciousness. “Fear me,” she mouthed breathlessly next to his ear. And fear her he did—the healthy tan of his skin faded until his pallor was sickly white, and he tried and failed to swallow several times, Adam’s apple bobbing frantically in his throat. His eyes were unfocused, because what he was seeing was not right in front of him, but inside his head, and there was nothing he could do to rid himself of it. Lilith drank in the terror with undisguised delight, the wry little smile that took up residence on her face so very unlike anything Andromeda would wear.

He clutched at his hair, tearing it from his head and leaving bloody spears on his hands, the floor, his face. He picked frantically at his skin as she convinced him that there were things, dark things, crawling underneath it, and she would have been more than content to watch him destroy himself before the pragmatic voice in the back of her head reminded her with no feeling that they didn’t have time for that. Lilith pouted a bit, unhappy with this complete lack of appreciation for the subtle tortures of the mind—or in this case, the not-so-subtle. But she conceded that the host had a point. “Fine,” she conceded with a sigh, “Have it your way, then.” She withdrew, and with a bit of effort, Andromeda reasserted herself, looking down at the quietly-muttering man without any of the amusement Lilith had displayed. The voice at the back of her mind promised that this was just a taste of what she herself would one day be able to do, but Andromeda wasn’t honestly sure if it tasted sweet or bitter to her.

She’d never actually killed another human being before, though ironically enough, a murder was the reason she’d wound up here in the first place. It looked like she no longer had any choice. Glancing about the storage room, she found that there wasn’t much she could use, so she inspected the madman himself, instead. There was a utility knife on his pocket, more a boxcutting tool than anything, but she supposed it would have to do. Hiding the shake in her hand, she extracted it from his belt, flipping the blade into the extended position and contemplating it for a moment. The rest of the battle was dying down around her—she’d have to be quick. Though she felt no particular remorse for this, it did make her parents right about her, and she didn’t favor the thought overmuch. It didn’t matter.

Tightening her grip on the tool, Andromeda drew it across the man’s throat, silencing his incoherent babbling forever.

Retracting the blade, she looked at it with an air of academic inspection for a moment, then pocketed it, deciding that it couldn’t hurt to have it with her. The nightstick, she would leave alone. As the other fights stopped, she was already onto the next thing, examining the room with a calculating eye. They needed to find a way out of here, and quickly, but going back out into the hall would cut their time even shorter. Surely, there must—

She almost didn’t believe it, but she noticed an odd seam in the wall. Ignoring whatever anyone else was saying at the moment, she stepped past another pair of bodies and to the wall, running her hands along the seam for just a moment. Her brows furrowed slightly, and she rapped first one side, then the other, with her fists. There was a marked difference in sound. Withdrawing her new knife, she scored it along the wallpaper and peeled a bit, eyes narrowing with her satisfaction when she saw it. One part of the wall was indeed an ordinary plaster constriction, but the other was only a thin layer of the stuff over what had once clearly been a door. “I think I have our way out,” she said flatly, turning back to look at the others over her shoulder. “Help me get to this door—I’m guessing it leads somewhere.”

Perhaps, on an ordinary day, she would not have chosen the risk. Today, however, the alternative was an almost-certain death out in that hallway, and she was going to take the risk. Whether they came or not.