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Dogs in Almighty God's Vineyard

Dogs in Almighty God's Vineyard

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The King of Life has called upon you to be God's Watchdog, a defender of The Faith, the hammer upon which you beat men until they are purified. Can you answer the call, and do your best to defend and promote The Faith?

8,737 readers have visited Dogs in Almighty God's Vineyard since Magus1108 created it.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/dogs_in_the_vineyard

Introduction

Image

This is the west that never quite was.

It's an alternate version of history, loosely based on Mormon life in the 1800's. I say loosely, because this religion, that I shall call "The Faith," is not really the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormon preachers don't shoot sinners in the street. But you might.

You see, imagine a rocky desert like Utah, Nevada, and the like, with snaking rivers and impressive cliffs. Imagine indigenous mountain peoples ("Indians," if you will) living on the plains. Imagine a mighty city of zealots flanked by four huge waterfalls. Imagine a religious group that the United States territorial authority butts heads with often. Imagine cowboys armed with "The Book of Life" dragging out a whore by her hair and forcing her to repent or face the wrath of God.

Can you kind of see the picture here? Are you interested? Let me be more clear:

Who are you: The watchdogs of God. Your character is a cross between an inquisitor, a missionary, an exorcist, and a monk. You carry both scriptures and bullets, you bring both blessings and judgment.

What's going on: A lot. Mountain folk don't like white man encroaching upon their turf. Sinners don't like repenting. Towns don't like their dirt being pulled up for all to see. The Territorial Authority doesn't like the Faith's habit of foregoing standard trials for confession and repentance.

Where are you?: A beautiful rocky desert with a couple forests to the north and more than a few natural wonders. Lots of dust. Lots of grime and grit. Lots of blood, and lots of frontier justice.

When is all this?: 1800's. Think cowboys and westerns, complete with big hats, horses, six-shooters and Clint Eastwood.

Why are you doing what you're doing?: Because the King of Life or one of his counselors called you to be God's Watchdog, a defender of the Faith, the hammer upon which you beat men until they are purified. Maybe your character is a convert from the East and it's industrial worldliness and filth. Maybe you were raised by the Mountain people and are the token ethnic bad@$$ Native American "Aragorn" of the group. Maybe you were raised in the Faith. Whatever the case is, you are a Dog, and you work in God's Vineyard.

How do you do it?: Prayer. Faith. Exhortation. Blessing babies. Shooting sinners. It's difficult, but straightforward. What nobody tells you is that the hardest part of being a Dog is to keep believing you are really what you think you are. When bullets bounce off your coat and when you are calling the dead by name to draw breath once more, you might think you're preaching the truth. When you're bleeding on the ground, when farmer Jeremiah kills his wife, when you saw humanity in that sinner's eyes, you might lose your faith. Just remember, I'm not telling you if The Faith your character belongs to is true or not. I'll leave it to you.

THEMES

Redemption. Forgiveness. Fair enough.

Death, loss, grief, doubt. Dramatic.

Shooting, brawling, chasing on horseback. Good fun.

Is the Faith true? I don't know. Just don't be obvious, like have glowing miracles occur or demons appear or something. Play it straight. Pretend the world is like real life; as long as I'm talking about it, remember, no Rambo stunts, please.

Otherwise, just remember that I want this game to be DRAMATIC. I want tragedy. I want angsty characters (but if more than one person pulls the "my parents died" card I'm gonna be peeved). Your characters can be male or female, of any able age and marital status. The only tie that binds is your status as a Dog. This means you can declare doctrine. Yes you heard me, you can make up the religion's rules on the spot. Just keep it real, alright? No "sacrifice a donkey," let's play it like a psuedo-christian cult.

The Faith doesn't take kindly to loners; the Dogs work as a group. All Dogs have a long, patch-work coat worn at all times as an emblem of their position, a sturdy horse, a Book of Life, a jar of consecrated earth (holy dirt to sprinkle during rituals or something), and some form of gun.

Game System

You will post what your character does, and you can go ahead and describe whatever you want, so long as you don't resolve the action wholesale. Make sure you leave room for everyone to contribute meaningfully to a situation. Don't be a butt-hole; I know RPers are mature and courteous, so I have very high expectations.

I will adjudicate only FINAL RESOLUTION, that is, you can describe anything short of obviously ending the conflict. I'll decide the final outcome after the dust settles. Note that the more your character sacrifices, the more likely he is to win (getting hit with bullets or taking insults to heart is sure to win my sympathy).

Other Stuff

The Faith moved to the west to escape persecution. The Territorial Authority, although not at war with the Faith, is often at odds with it, as their goals are usually the same but their means differ vastly. The Mountain Folk don't like the Faith, but the Faithful like them enough to try converting them, with limited success. It is said that the ancestors of the Mountain Folk were once Faithful, but they fell away long before the white man came.

Your characters are expected to travel from town to town, bless babies, officiate at weddings and such, and purge sinners. The adventure style will be episodic, with each town having it's own "episode."

At the moment we require a minimum of three Dogs to play the game; so we'll need at least two other players, as I'll be taking a Dog myself, of course, and I'm only allowing one character per person. I might allow the creation of characters that aren't Dogs, and perhaps let people have more than 1 character, but that's for later. I'm not too sure how many people will be interested here, so for now, I'm just limiting character creation to Dogs only.

At maximum, having at least five players/Dogs (myself included) altogether would be wonderful, but the last two slots are optional, so it can just be the three of us to do things, really.

List of characters:

Dog #1: Magus1108 (Horatio)
Dog #2:
Dog #3:
(Optional) Dog #4: Nekriist (Otto)
(Optional) Dog #5: Hyperewok (Anna)

Character Creation Sheet:

Code: Select all
[font="century gothic"][center][size=200]CHARACTER NAME[/size]

[img]Insert Image URL here.[/img][/center]

[b]Age:[/b]
[b]Gender:[/b]
[b]Ethnicity/Race:[/b] (What race are they? Black, white, hispanic, Native American, etc etc)
[b]Level of Faith:[/b] (How Faithful is your Dog? Are they true Believers? Are they having doubts or a crisis of Faith? Have they lost their Faith? Or do they just pretend to believe, for one reason or another?)
[b]Years of Service:[/b] (How long have they been a Dog? A couple of decades? Five to ten years? Or are they quite green in their experience, with less than a year or two under their belt? Perhaps they're even fresh out of the academy?)
[b]Weapons/Equipment:[/b] (What sort of equipment or items do you carry, aside from the obligatory gun, the Book of Life, and jar of consecrated earth? And please have any items you have be period specific. No cell phones or other modern technology allowed.)

[b]Personality[/b]
   
This should be at least one paragraph.

[b]History[/b]
   
This does not have to be extensive, but at least one to two paragraphs.

[b]Goals[/b]

What are some of your characters goals in life? What do they aspire to be, or what do they aspire to do?

[b]Likes[/b][list]
   
[*]
[*]
[*]
[*]
[*]
[/list]

[b]Dislikes[/b][list]
   
[*]
[*]
[*]
[*]
[*]
[/list]
[/font]

Toggle Rules

Da Rulez:

1. No god-moding Or thou shalt be smited
2. The GM will have the final say in conflict resolutions Big Brother Is Watching
3. Obey the Roleplay Gateway rules Don’t fight the man
4. Stick to the Character Sheet Can’t live without a skeleton
5. Minimum post length of 200 words. No one-liners, give your fellow RPers something to work with. And please keep the grammatical/spelling errors to a minimum.
6. Stay Active Life happens, but the roleplay needs to keep moving. If you know you won’t be able to post at least every other day for some reason or another, let us know in OOC and write yourself to somewhere where you won’t hold up other posters.
7. If you are abducted by aliens and Disappear… I reserve the right to GM your character out of the way if you disappear and your last action is holding up other players. I will try to interfere as minimally as possible in such a situation, but depending on who your character is/what they are doing I may have to make major decisions for you. You have been warned…
8. PM or OOC plot suggestions, things you think would be neat or would otherwise like to see. No promises, but I’m open to input and good ideas
9:There is a limit At the moment, I am imposing a limit of 1 character per person. That could change in the near future, but for now, it stays.
10: Interest Dwindling? Be Honest If you're losing interest in this RP, please, just be honest and upfront with me, and tell me you wanna drop out. I can't count the number of times people just stopped posting, and didn't respond to my PMs when I prodded them. It's so annoying, and I just wanna cut through that bullshit.
11: Have fun! Having a good and enjoyable time RPing is what this game is most about. So make sure to have a blast!

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 4 authors

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Anna scowled down at the ground at the thought of hiding. At discarding the trappings that marked them as Dogs. But she couldn't let pride guide her orders. "The hotel, yes. Something was hidden there that they sought to kill to conceal. We must find it. And we will have more cover under night's darkness."

Then, something pulled at Anna's heart as her gaze snapped to Margaret when she explained her thoughts. It was dangerous, but not an unreasonable thought by any means. And yet...

She gritted her teeth as she hurriedly considered the odds at hand. "The owner may dismiss you, but it was a maid who attacked Sonia. The servants will notice more, and if one was a heretic, others surely are as well." She eyed Margaret worriedly, carefully keeping her tone even. "It is a great risk. But without coats and rifles, we blend in more easily with the locals. We only need to avoid conflict until nightfall."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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"To be fair, that woman may have just been dressed up as a servant, in order to lower our suspicions," Sonia couldn't help but point out. "Regardless, it is a fair point."

"Indeed. But it's a risk we may have to take in order to get to the heart of this matter," Margaret countered. She paused a moment, considering her thoughts before speaking further. "It is your call ultimately, Anna. But it seems we are agreed that investigating this hotel is our next best lead. However we decide to sneak inside, we have our next course of action decided. Now we just need to figure out where we're going to hide out until dusk."

"The church?" Sonia suggested, before shaking her head seconds later. "No, they'd no doubt look for us there. Besides, there's no telling if the priests have been corrupted as well."

"It might be better to roam the city at large: staying someplace for too long might draw unwarranted attention, particularly among the locals," Margaret argued. "Splitting up for the day might be best as well, I would say. We can leave our rifles and coats here, hide them as best as we can, and then we split off into pairs and disappear into the city. We can meet back up here at dusk, or thereabouts. Unless our Leader has a better idea, I think that is our best course of action until nightfall."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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"Gotta assume they're sharper than they look. Almost got the drop on us." Charles said with a brief, apologetic look to Sonia, and then a briefer glance upwards in silent thanks that he'd been quick enough on the draw.

He scratched worriedly at his beard at Sonia's further comment. He couldn't deny she had a point, concerning that it was to admit. After all, he'd come to Deseret hoping to find a place where an unfaithful priest would be all but unheard of, among other things. Of course, back East the problems had never been matters of heresy and cults.

"Wanderin' seems our best bet. Not the biggest city here, but big enough to be a fair few travelers passing through." He said, nonetheless grimacing as he looked down to the cavalry saber at his belt. Certainly something that wasn't carried about by any traveler as a revolver was. "Best be quick about it, yeah?" He said, stifling a heavy sigh as he unstrapped the scabbard and started to shrug off his coat.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Margaret nodded, and started to shuck off her own heavy coat and gun belt, Sonia following suit as the group disrobed themselves of just about everything that might identify them as Dogs. From there, they bundled their items together, before hiding them as best they could near the dumpsters in the alleyway they'd hidden in. From there, they split off into two different pairs, each going in a different direction as they sought to blind in with the populace, hiding in plain sight as they waited things out...

.....

The remaining hours passed by uneventfully, Anna and her Pack avoiding any untoward attention before they regrouped to where they had stowed their weapons and coats away. By the time they reassembled and were properly armed once more, the sun was nearly set, the dying light of dusk, along with the fluorescent lights of the lampposts, keeping the streets of Abernathy lit.

"Charles and I came across some hurried patrols now and again, but we managed to keep our hands down just fine," Sonia reported as she slung her rifle back over her shoulder. "Seems like our suspicions about the local police were right. Saw more than a few lawmen scurrying about, running around with armed civilians like headless chickens. Looking for signs of us, no doubt."

"That doesn't surprise me. No doubt they're getting desperate to get their hands on us," Margaret replied. "Though we'll have to proceed with extra caution on our way to the hotel. With it getting dark, most people are going to be heading home for the night. That means less crowds to blend in with. Which means it'll be easier for any patrols to spot us if we're not careful."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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The weight of Anna's coat was all the heavier as she shrugged it off, but doing so gave no relief. She had been so proud to be honored with that burden, when she had been made into a ranking Watchdog, one who stood as a beacon of Faith. Now, she was hiding that faith, and it burned at her as painfully as any wound. For the sake of the others, she forced a calm expression, and a brief smile to Margerat, with no words left to be said as they scattered.

Patience had never been her strongest suit, but at least the wandering across the town forced her to put one foot in front of the other, the march keeping her from brooding too much on her frustrations. Keeping a careful watch on the streets sharpened her focus, a risk that it may have been when any mere townsfolk did not walk the street so tensely. But it wasn't as if she hadn't seen gunslingers before with their hunched shoulders and restless tension, such were those who had their own burdens following them even into the safety of civilization.

Once they had made it to dusk and regrouped and rearmed without issue, Anna let out a quiet, relieved breath as some of that tension faded. "We'll move swiftly, stay off the main streets as much as we can." She said with a nod to Margerat, a hand already settling on the grip of her revolver, reassured by the smooth heft of the wood along her fingers. "We have the surprise once we make it inside the hotel. We'll use that to cut them down if any think to stop us."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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"Sounds like a plan to me, Leader. Hopefully the Lord will watch over us, and protect us during this endeavor," Sonia proclaimed, and Margaret nodded in agreement.

After a shared, hurried prayer, the Pack was on the move. With Anna at the helm, they made their way swiftly through the city, veering off the main streets in favor of the various side alleys and alternate paths. They came across a few lone souls now and again, but they seemed just as eager to get on with their own business, and so they managed to pass on by without incident.

They made it to the hotel without incident, crouching at a shadowed alley-way at the opposite end of the hotel. From their vantage point, they could see two armed men on either side of the main doors: obviously guards of some sort. There didn't seem to be any other guards around, though there was no telling how many more might be inside, or at any alternate entrances into the building.

"Alright, Anna. What's your plan?" Margaret inquired, after they had spent a little while studying the guards' movements. "We could try to take them out quietly, then go in through the front. Or maybe we circle around to the back...there's a chance there won't be any guards there, and I might be able to sneak in disguised as a servant, as I suggested earlier. Maybe do some scouting in advance."

"Still not so sure that's a good idea. Situation like this, splitting up would be dangerous. If we're sneaking in through the back or a side entrance or what have you, it's better to do it as a group," Sonia argued.

Margaret nodded in acknowledgement, and glanced over to their Pack Leader. "Well, it's your call, Anna. What do you think?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Anna could only do so much to hide the purposeful stride that had been ingrained into her over her years of service. Fortunately, it seemed that the few passerbys still parted swiftly for her, even without her coat of office. It had taken all of her strength not to grip at her pistol as she walked, in vain hope of easing the tension in her chest.

That tension still didn't fade once they reached the hotel. She glared out at the sight of the guards perched at the front, but at least it was clear evidence that something of value was behind those doors.

"We did a bit of scouting as is." Charles added, idly scratching as his beard as he peered up to the hotel's upper floors. "Didn't get much opportunity to nose around too much, but enough not to get turned around too easily, I reckon."

Anna only spoke up after another long moment. "We look for a back entrance. If there's guards there, we kill them quietly. We're not splitting up any further. We'll keep things quiet as long as we can, search as much as we can, but we've held back our fire and judgment long enough. Even if we're spotted sooner or later, they'll be awfully surprised to find us inside. Then we'll see where they run to, what they're trying to protect."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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"Sounds like a plan to me. Let's get to it," Sonia replied.

With Anna's plan agreed to, the Pack went into action. Even this late at night, they couldn't risk being seen so obviously heading toward the back of the hotel: so they doubled back a ways, before turning back toward the block housing the hotel. From there, it was a simple matter of accessing the side streets, until they neared the back entrance of the austere hotel.

Crouched beside a closed doctor's office opposite the back entrance, they keenly took stock of the situation. In contrast to the front, there was just a lone guard near the back door. A guard that didn't seem all that attentive either, busy as he seemed in taking a smoke break.

"I have a throwing knife on me. I sneak up close enough, I should be able to nail him in the jugular. Won't be able to get out any deathly warnings that way," Sonia suggested after a few minutes of observation.

"Or one of us could cause a distraction, drag his attention away, and we then sneak in while he's gone," Margaret countered. "It saves us from having to hide a body, and affords us a more stealthier entrance."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Anna's hand settled once more on the grip of her pistol as she moved, struggling all the more with a restless energy, much less the lingering anger that she'd had to held back for the sake of subtlety and restraint. But all she could do was sneak along with the others, watching and waiting further.

"No." She said once they'd found a spot to observe the hotel's back entrance. "We can't risk a distraction getting out of hand. Kill him quickly and quietly. We'll be moving long before anyone can spot the body."

With a look to the old Dog, she nodded, and gestured for Sonia to move on ahead. Anna could only wait, all the more tense burning anticipation, fingers gripping tighter still at her revolver. Her other hand settled on her belt, fingers brushing along her own throwing knives as she waited, ready to strike just in case. They had come too far to let a poor turn of luck spiral everything further against them, and Anna's heart burned with the urge to lash out against the unaware heretic. But still she waited.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Sonia gave a minute nod, and began the slow journey toward her target of choice. She crept along at a languid pace, stalking her way through the shadows and avoiding the dim luminescence of the few street lamps around them. She approached the lone guard from the left, hugging the fence that surrounded the exterior of the hotel's back entrance. Once she neared the gate she paused, her hand drawing down to the throwing knife at her belt...

A flash of steel reflected off of her thrown knife fwas the only warning the guard received. The blade sunk perfectly into his jugular, slicing through his windpipe and ensuring his death. A quiet, strangled gurgle hissed out of his lips, but all too soon the guard collapsed back against the wall, slumping downward as he bled to death.

Sonia waited a few heartbeats, straining her ears as she tried to discern if he'd been heard. But no shouts of warning came from the outside. Indeed, all was perfectly still and quiet in the night.

The guard dispatched, all four Dogs swiftly made their way to the hotel's back entrance. Sonia spared a moment to drag the guard into a nearby hedge and deposited his body there. It didn't hide him at all, but it would help to obscure him from obvious sight all the same.

"There's no telling what we could find in here," Margaret felt the need to warn them all, even as she drew out her pistol. "So we had best be on our guard."

"I think that goes without saying," Sonia wryly remarked. "Still, we have a few seconds to plan things out a bit before we head in. Way I see it, we either try to find the hotel manager's office, or we search the basement. We might find more concrete answers there, and might even have a chance to bag and interrogate the manager himself. But knowing cults, they seem to do most of their dirty deeds in basements, so that alone warrants a thorough check from us. I think those are our two best options right now...unless you've got another suggestion, Leader?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Anna gripped tight at one of her own knives as she waiting with tense anticipation, watching Sonia carefully, and the guard, ready to lash out herself at the first sign of an outcry. But she only needed to release that held breath as she saw Sonia's throw sink into the guard's throat, watching with a cold calm as the man fell twitching and gasping. She glanced back and forth as Sonia hid the body, then looking to the Pack.

"The basement. We are here to hunt men, not papers. If they are gathered, surely that is where they would hide their foulness." She said tersely, her hand shifting from her knife to the grip of her revolver with just as tight of a hold, giving the three Dogs a stern nod. "We will deliver a justice long overdue."

With little else that needed to be said, Anna opened the back door and strode quietly inside.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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The other Dogs followed after her, creeping inside with as much stealth as they could muster. Thankfully there was no one in the immediate area: just an empty hallway that branched off to the left and right, deeper into the building.

At the threshold to the back entrance, the Pack paused for a moment, judging their options. It was all well and good to decide to head to the basement first, but actually finding it could be somewhat trickier than initially anticipated.

Sonia hummed thoughtfully, closing her eyes as she tried to recall the layout of the place. She and Charles hadn't been here long, and they'd come in from the front, originally. Still, after a moment of recollection, she started to speak. "From what I can recall...there weren't an access to the basement from the main elevator. So, I'm thinking they have a separate elevator, or more likely, a different staircase for that. Makes some sense: they likely don't want any guests going down there by accident."

"It's just a matter of figuring out where that other entrance is," Margaret pointed out, her brow furrowed in thought. "A pity we don't have a map. I suppose we'll just have to figure things out the hard way."

"So it seems," Sonia agreed with a slight nod. "So, left or right. Hm, don't know if it matters much, but from the front entrance, the elevator was off to the right. So from the back entrance...that should be our left, I think. So perhaps we try out the rightward path? No doubt the basement is part of some employees only section, away from where the public might wander. So there's a good chance it's not anywhere near the main elevator or stairwell."

"It's as good a guess as any," Margaret allowed.

After Anna and Charles voiced their own agreements, the Pack ventured forward, stalking along the right-forking hallway and deeper still into the building. By some miracle, they did not walk into anyone as they traveled: and a further few minutes of careful walking brought them to another branching hallway. This time, however, each branching path was helpfully marked by a name plate.

KITCHEN, was emblazoned on the placard ahead, the path directly ahead veering toward the left. LAUNDRY was on the nameplate on the wall of the rightmost path. And in the branching left hallway the word, BASEMENT, was engraved on a name plate there.

"Seems we have a firm direction in mind now," Sonia noted with some relief. She glanced toward the left, her hand idly grasping the holster of her gun. "Unless we wanna check out either of the other rooms first? Don't know if anyone would be in the kitchen or laundry room this late at night, but you never know what we might find."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Anna let Sonia lead the way once they'd stepped inside, though she stayed closed behind her, her revolver tight in her grip and keenly at the ready for the first sound of footsteps that could have been ahead of them.

"They'll keep the guests well away from anything that ain't shiny and clean." Charlies said in agreement to Sonia, standing perfectly at ease behind the three, his revolver drawn as well, his other hand having drawing a sizable bowie knife.

"Left, then." Anna said with a terse calm, her body still rigid with tensing, waiting for the moment of inevitable violcen as they continued further into the building.

She let out a tight, relieved breath at the sign, then looking to Sonia with a quick shake of her head. "No, we can't risk it, or waste more time. We'll trap them in the basement and put them down like the beasts they are."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Sonia nodded, and from there the pack proceeded with swift certainty. They went down the left hallway, traveling along the corridor until they came to its end. At the end of the hall was a singular door, as well as a solitary bookshelf along the left wall and a stylized panting on the right. There was no nameplate or other marker on the wall or on the door itself, but there remained little doubt that behind this door was their intended destination.

Margaret ventured forward first, grim determination in her eyes as she gripped the doorknob. She turned it to open the door...but found the knob stuck firmly in place. She frowned, and after trying it a few more times, found the door had stayed firmly shut.

"It's locked," she noted with distaste, stepping back as she eyed the door with a critical stare. "And I doubt we have time to go looking around for a key. We should always shoot it open, or break the door down..."

"Ah, but doing that would alert the hotel's denizens that we're here," Sonia countered. "I know we're all ready for a fight...but the longer we can go without calling down hell on our heads, the better. We could try picking the lock instead, maybe."

"With what tools? And do any of us know how to pick locks? They didn't exactly cover this back at the Academy," Margaret noted wryly.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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The lack of any decoration in front of the door only stirred Anna's anticipation further, her grip tightening harder still around her pistol. She drew in a deep breath to steady herself against the flush of adrenaline, moving up close behind Margaret's approach as she drew her pistol from its holster, ready to fire the moment someone appeared on the other side.

And then, the door simply clicked against it's lock. She let out an annoyed hiss of a breath, biting back a curse, while James glanced back from where he'd taken a post to watch the rear.

"Reckon I can give it a try." Charles said with a wry grin to Margaret, opting not to elaborate on where he might have tried to pick a lock or two in his days before the Academy. He fished around his belt, eventually pulling free a small, thin knife meant more for food than anything else. As Anna stepped back, gun still tight in hand, he leaned down close to the lock as he pressed the blade in, carefully starting to wriggle it about.

"We can break it down if we must. It will not be much longer regardless until we are delivering the Word by bullet." Anna said tersely, tensing with impatience as she watched Charles fiddle with the lock.

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Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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It took Charles a good minute, but his efforts soon proved to be fruitful. The lock gave a click, and when he tested the door handle, it opened up with ease. Upon fully opening the door, a long staircase was revealed, the path dimly lit by a descending row of rustic looking chandeliers. The staircase curved toward the right halfway down, denying them a full view of the basement below.

"Well," Margaret remarked after a moment, staring into the abyss with no small amount of wariness. "There's no way to go but down, I suppose. At least we'll be able to keep a somewhat quiet approach for a little while longer."

"Probably not much longer. Like our Leader says, won't be long until we're knee deep in whatever occultist blasphemy they've got going down here," Sonia remarked.

With that said, the group started to venture their way down, Anna leading the vanguard as they descended down the stairs. The walk down was tense, an expectant air of restrained violence hanging between the group as they walked down the stairs. As they followed the curve, Margaret half expected them to run into another party, or to otherwise see things devolve into blood and sweat and gore as hostilities were renewed...

But they met not a soul as they traversed down the stairs. It was only as they neared the bottom that they saw a source of life.

At the base of the stairs...was a maid. She was a plain looking woman, dressed in a simple black uniform befitting of a higher-end hotel. She carried no visible weapon, and seemed utterly unsurprised at their presence as they reached the bottom of the stairs.

"Good evening, Madam Dog," the maid began, a pleasant smile on her face. She gave a small curtsy, displaying an almost disturbing amount of professionalism, even as Anna reflexively pointed a gun at her head. "We have been expecting you. Have you come to join the Feast?"

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Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Anna just managed to restrain her urge to pace, if not outright stalk, back and forth behind Charles as she waited for him to wriggle the lock open, both of them murmuring a brief thanks to the Lord when it did finally give way. Charles quickly stepped to the side with a curt nod to Anna as she swept past him, intent on being the first through the door no matter the danger, offering no further words of encouragement to the other Dogs, trusting them to follow her into the darkness. Charles gestured for Sonia and Margaret to follow after her, clearly intent on letting his larger size provide one form of protection or another if anyone came after them from behind.

With her revolver sweeping up, Anna descended with as much caution as she could restrain herself with, that restraint keeping her from shooting the maid as soon as she caught sight of her. Her grip nonetheless tightened, even as she glared hard at the woman. "Show me to them." She snapped, still not looking back to the other Dogs, only holding her hand up with a flick of her fingers in a signal for them to keep watch on their flanks. Anna kept her gaze fixed intently on the maid, ready to shoot at the first flicker of any sudden movement she might make to attempt a surprise attack.

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Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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The mystery maid kept up her cool demeanor, nodding simply at Anna before turning around and leading them deeper into the basement. Torches lined the walls, giving some semblance of light as they walked along: the resulting illumination painted a stark picture of the basement itself.

It seemed...far larger than it had any right to be, by Margaret's reckoning. The ceilings went on high, and the basement itself was made up of large, cavernous rooms filled with all sorts of troublesome devices. Margaret could glimpse a set of shackles set into the wall more than once: and through the dim light of the lit torches, she saw what seemed to be a wooden rack. This outer area of the basement...it didn't seem to be in use currently, but clearly, they had made use of it in the past for all sorts of devilish tortures. Perhaps this was where this cult, or whatever was going on here, had kept their prisoners?

It seemed ill-boding, then, that there were no prisoners to be found now...

Finally, the maid led them to a doorway at the end of the basement's outer chamber. The maid pushed the doors open, revealing a meeting room within. The room itself was well lit in stark contrast to the rest of the basement, though the inhabitants were hard to make out all the same. A dozen men sat cloistered around a table set with food, each of them cloaked in a dark robe, hoods drawn over their heads to obscure their faces. As one the group turned to stare at them, which only made the unease Margaret currently felt grow evermore present.

"Well, isn't this a most delightful surprise? Here we had people searching all over the city for you, and now we find you have come to our doorsteps of your own volition!" one of the hooded figures at the table mused aloud. The figure's voice sounded achingly familiar to Margaret, before a spark of memory revealed the truth to her.

The figure pulled down their hood, and sure enough, Margaret saw that Father Mycroft, Head Abbott of the First Church of Abernathy, was the one to greet them. Yet another high-placed figure in the city, proven to be deeply in bed with the conspiracy festering at the Heart of Abernathy. Just how far did things go? And how could a man of the cloth go so far as to betray his own oaths in such a foul manner?

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Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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Anna kept revolver raised and steady, tense with anticipation and restrained fury. A trap that it might have been, she had to let the cultist led the Dogs towards the rest of her ilk. She didn't let herself dwell on the restraints that had surely been used on the murdered Dogs, only striding forward after the maid. She said nothing, trusting that the Dogs would follow her, and shoot when the moment was right.

Her gaze barely left the maid's back even as they entered the chamber ahead, a glare flicking ever so swiftly across the hooded figures. Though, she did double take as the one pulled away the hood to reveal himself.

"Speak, then." She sneered to the abbott, turning her revolver to him, still careful to keep sight of the maid, tense and ready for any sudden movement from her. "Tell me what grand revelation has turned you from the face of the Lord. Tell me what you think will save you from the damnation to come by my hand."

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Character Portrait: Anna Ward Character Portrait: Charles Carver Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
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#, as written by Magus1108
"My dear, I believe you misunderstand me. I have not turned my face from the Lord. I have merely been...enlightened, about the true nature of the One True God. The Book of Life claims that the Faith as we know it has been perverted time and again by Lucifer and his demonic allies. They turned the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims, and all the other heathen religions against our Creator. Perverted His teachings. But...that is not the only perversion that has been committed here," Father Mycroft proclaimed. He gave Anna a thin-lipped smile, steeping his fingers together as he watched her.

"I suppose we can add heresy to your list of crimes," Margaret noted, though her tone was strained and rather forced. Her hand strayed to her gunbelt, not pulling her pistol out just yet...but clearly, she was ready to at any moment.

"Ah, but it is not I who has committed heresy here. It is...the rest of the Faith. The true teachings of the Great Prophet were distorted after his death: changed to better suit the narrative his heretical successors wished to project," Mycroft boldly proclaimed. "Hm...but, I think I shall refrain from any further discussion about the True Faith. After all, as you all are now, I doubt you'll be so open to hearing the truth. That is why I have a proposal for you. For all of you."

"You're speaking like you even have any power here," Sonia pointed out. Unlike Margaret, she had her pistol gripped tightly in her hand, though she wasn't pointing it at anyone just yet. "I don't see any armed guards here. Just you, the maid, and the rest of you robed freaks."

Mycroft smiled wide, and just for a moment, it seemed as if his eyes changed colors. A sickly, pale yellow appeared to flash over his iris, though just as quickly it was gone: replaced by the normal cerulean color of his eyes. Assuming it had even changed in the first place. Perhaps it was just a trick of the light.

"My child, you may think you hold the advantage, but rest assured...I am not powerless here," Mycroft declared with a deep, menacing tone.

The tension seemed to increase in the air: it felt as if a powder keg would ignite, if anyone said or did anything else. No one so much as moved in that moment, perhaps knowing full well that one false movement, one wrong move, and the whole thing would turn into a bloodbath.

A bloodbath for which side, though, was the question.

"So humor us," Margaret spoke first, breaking the silence as she eyed Mycroft hard. The others would be unable to tell, given how little they knew of her, but Anna would see it: there was a spark of fear in her gaze. Something he had done or said had truly shaken her friend, or so it seemed. "What is this deal you speak of?"

"It is good to know you Dogs still have manners," Mycroft chuckled. "But yes, the deal. Let's get to that, shall we? You four have proven so very vexing and improbably hard to kill...I have to admit, I'm impressed. You're all so very much like the two Dogs that came before you: investigative to a fault, and harder than a cockroach to kill. That is why I want to offer you a choice. The skills you all possess could no doubt prove themselves...valuable to our cause. So: join us. Join our Righteous Crusade against the Corruption within the heart of the Faith. Pledge yourselves to the True Face of God Almighty, and be reborn as his soldiers on Earth. With that, all of your prior sins will be forgiven, and you shall all be spared an agonizing death."

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View All » Add Character » 9 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Character Portrait: Anna Ward
Character Portrait: Charles Carver
Character Portrait: Ira Murphy
Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne
Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood

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Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
Sonia Redwood

"There is no time to regret the past. You can only look forward, and strive to make a better future."

Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne
Margaret Thorne

"I will avenge those who have fallen, no matter the cost!"

Character Portrait: Ira Murphy
Ira Murphy

"You will profess your love for the One True God, or die by the flame. It is your choice."

Character Portrait: Charles Carver
Charles Carver

"Wise man once told me, 'If I save but one soul, then all my suffering has been justified.'"

Character Portrait: Anna Ward
Anna Ward

"The wicked have no place in the vineyard we have wrought. So sayeth the King of Life."

Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Horatio Morale

"Sometimes all you can do is just live day by day."

Trending

Character Portrait: Anna Ward
Anna Ward

"The wicked have no place in the vineyard we have wrought. So sayeth the King of Life."

Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne
Margaret Thorne

"I will avenge those who have fallen, no matter the cost!"

Character Portrait: Charles Carver
Charles Carver

"Wise man once told me, 'If I save but one soul, then all my suffering has been justified.'"

Character Portrait: Ira Murphy
Ira Murphy

"You will profess your love for the One True God, or die by the flame. It is your choice."

Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
Sonia Redwood

"There is no time to regret the past. You can only look forward, and strive to make a better future."

Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Horatio Morale

"Sometimes all you can do is just live day by day."

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Character Portrait: Anna Ward
Anna Ward

"The wicked have no place in the vineyard we have wrought. So sayeth the King of Life."

Character Portrait: Margaret Thorne
Margaret Thorne

"I will avenge those who have fallen, no matter the cost!"

Character Portrait: Charles Carver
Charles Carver

"Wise man once told me, 'If I save but one soul, then all my suffering has been justified.'"

Character Portrait: Sonia Redwood
Sonia Redwood

"There is no time to regret the past. You can only look forward, and strive to make a better future."

Character Portrait: Ira Murphy
Ira Murphy

"You will profess your love for the One True God, or die by the flame. It is your choice."

Character Portrait: Horatio Morale
Horatio Morale

"Sometimes all you can do is just live day by day."


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