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Balthazar Eskandar Shirazi

"Better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you are not."

0 · 221 views · located in More Phenomenal Earth

a character in “Good Evening, Monsters! Good Evening, Abe!”, originally authored by Kurokiku, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

Balthazar

Image
Race: Vampire; Full-blood.

Full name: My full name is Balthazar Eskandar Shirazi. I’m told this is a mouthful, so some people have taken to calling me “Raz.” I must confess I’m not terribly fond of it, but I’m not going to bother to correct them. It’s better than having my actual name butchered, I suppose.

Age: 48- Practically a baby compared to a large portion of my species, and there are those among them who will not let me forget it.

LOOKS

Height and Weight: Six feet and two centimeters, if I remember correctly. And I do, I assure you. Last time I checked, I was one-hundred and sixty-five pounds.

Complexion: If the name wasn’t enough to give it away, I suppose my complexion would be sufficient to inform a person that my ancestry is Persian- Iranian, as it’s called in modern parlance, and of course frequently lumped together with all other types of Middle Eastern, North African, and Indian. Swarthy, if you like, though I’ve also heard dusky, and if you wish to be blunt about it, brown.

Body Type/Health: Really, are all of these questions truly necessary? Hm… fine, if you insist. I am not some overly-muscle-bound protein addict, if that’s what you’re asking. I’m somewhat… lanky, I suppose, though really when one is of my species, the actual mass of one’s tissue is largely inconsequential, yes? Of course. My health is fine, thank you for asking.

Facial features: Is there something wrong with my face? It is… a face. Eyes, nose, mouth, ears, all of the necessary features. –Theatrical sigh- Well, if I must. The overall shape is somewhat squarish, at least in terms of forehead and jaw. My nose is straight, not too big, and everything lines up symmetrically. Oh, and my mother may or may not have at some point told me that I have eyelashes women would be jealous of. Women can have them- they do me absolutely no good at all.

Distinguishing marks: How many people do you know with bright white fangs? I also have tattoos, but for the most part, these are under my clothing and I’m not telling you where. … I didn’t mean anything like that! That was the working of your horrid little human mind, not mine!

Apparent Temperament: Well, I don’t make a habit of flailing my facial muscles about like some kind of fish, if that’s what you mean. If I should feel particularly out of sorts, I’m more likely to say it than show it- human body language and expression is something I have difficulty with from time to time. All those nonverbal cues make very little sense to me. I walk upright and with dignity, like I was taught, thank you very much.

Hair and eyes: Black and… black. I’m not going to say ebony and onyx because that sounds horribly droll. My hair is kept a bit longer than the average male, and it curls.

Casual wardrobe: I am… partial to shirts, cardigans or sweater-vests, and jeans or dress pants. I find this to be an acceptable compromise between comfort and decorum. Under no circumstances will I be caught wearing anything without sleeves or full pant legs, nor sandals. My upbringing leads me to see this as a rather scandalous way to dress, old-fashioned as I have come to realize it is. I still prefer it to the alternative.

ACTION TIME wardrobe: Usually, shirtsleeves and a vest, preferably with a Kevlar vest over that. A bullet may be somewhat less likely to kill me than the average person, but it’s not impossible and I prefer not to take any chances if at all possible. Discretion, as they say, is the better part of valor. Still with the slacks and ordinary shoes though- I’m not some kind of soldier, after all, and frankly it makes more sense to wear what I’m comfortable wearing than get distracted by something else. I refuse to dress or behave like a complete barbarian, thank you.


PERSONALITY


I doubt I am the first thing you think of if someone gives you the word “vampire.” Frankly, given the state of literature on the subject nowadays, I think we can all agree that this is actually a judgment in my favor rather than against me. First of all, I harbor absolutely no tendencies toward unbridled lust or unsafe emotional attachment- frankly the very thought is unnerving at best. I am a thoroughly rational creature and prefer it this way. Yes, nobody is rational all the time, and I will admit for the sake of this exercise that there are times when my other inclinations get to me, but most of the time I am well in control of myself.

What are those other inclinations? Well, if you must know, I am… well, I’m what a psychologist might call obsessive-compulsive, and somewhat germaphobic. I do not like any kind of disorder or filth. The extent of this neurosis is broad but not particularly deep- I do not like messy rooms, messy people, or messy relationships, but I can be pushed to tolerate all of these things if absolutely necessary. I despise the waste and filth of humans, which has made it more difficult than it already was to attempt any kind of understanding of them. Were I not immune to poisons and bloodborne pathogens, I might have starved to death a long time ago.

I have been called a narcissist, but that was by someone who thought I was human. Does this make a difference? Oh, absolutely. Is the panther a narcissist if he thinks himself better than the fish he eats? No, because better and worse do not factor into the relationship. One is predator, one is prey. This is a simple thing, one of the most basic correlations in nature. I do not hate humans any more than any predator dislikes prey, either: indeed, while I am forced by my nature to kill individuals with some frequency and do not regret doing so to survive, on the whole I wish the species only the best, else I might eventually find myself without a food source.

Friends? No, I can’t say I have any. What do you mean you aren’t surprised? I’ll have you know I’m a very polite, sociable individual- I just don’t really know what I’m doing around anyone who isn’t one of my kind or raised in the manner I was. Lovers? Preferably not; I don’t like being touched, mostly because I don’t like bacteria and dirt. There something about the knowledge of millions of tiny microorganisms crawling around on the surface of your- My preference? Well, that’s a rather intrusive question, is it not? I suppose gender is largely irrelevant, now that I think about it.

I am a particularly academic individual more than anything else, and certainly I believe myself to be in possession of both conventional knowledge and intelligence as well as a certain kind of tactical cunning. My social intelligence is considerably more lacking, and lately, I have taken to making a more extensive study of the humans I kill before actually dining upon them, to see if I might rectify this issue.

Speech: Despite being Middle Eastern by descent, I have what I am told is a “cultured British” accent, perhaps because the man from whom I learned English had one. I am capable of speaking several different languages in the manner of a native speaker. I do no swear often, but it has been known to slip out occasionally in less polite company.

Pet Peeves: Disorder, filth of any kind, rude mannerisms (though it may take me a while to figure out sarcasm), being interrupted, being treated like a child by older vampires.


EQUIPMENT


I carry a pager, a cellular phone, and in those instances when combat is truly required, a pair of curved, footlong knives, a piece of inheritance from mother dearest. All told, I’d prefer not to be in a physical confrontation, but that is not to say I cannot handle myself in one.


LIFE

Favorite color: I’m partial to reds, actually, though greys and silvers are also nice.

Hobbies: I’m an avid reader and chess player, though I more often than not spend my nights honing my abilities rather than engaging in anything more hobbyistic. I once hacked the American Pentagon- does that count?

Likes:
  • Books and poetry
  • Machines and Technology
  • The hours after dusk
  • Interesting conversation
  • Cats
  • Cleanliness/neatness

Dislikes:
  • Bacteria and/or dirt
  • Disorder
  • Recklessness
  • Physical confrontation
  • Being threatened
  • Having to decipher social situations

Fears: I am not afraid of anything. Why should I be? I am, however, wary of some things, such as getting caught outside in the daytime without proper vestments. I also tend to avoid crowd situations and confrontation- this is because people are more likely to begin bleeding in such instances, and I do not relish the thought of having to fight my natural inclination to feed at an inopportune moment. I like to remain in control of things whenever possible, and such an state- should it catch me off my guard- is anything but.

Agenda: Simply put, I wish to know how this Ebenezer individual knew as much about me as he did. My family is not exactly unknown, but too much of what he knew was personal. I take all threats to my person very seriously, and I of all people should know that someone with that much information constitutes a significant threat. My objective is to discover the nature of this threat, and then either leave it be or eliminate it as necessary. For now, though, nobody need know I am in this for anything but the simple intellectual curiosity.

What guarantees the fact that you'll stick around?: Ebenezer seems to have been acquainted with my late mother. There is a chance he knows what happened to her, and a chance he’ll tell me. While I am not normally one to waste my time on could-bes and mays, in this one case, I am willing… no, I must entertain an exception.

Day Job: I have never needed one, but I do on occasion do consulting work with MI5 and the International Police. It has given me an opportunity to interact somewhat with humans, and also a less-obtrusive opportunity to continue thwarting their technology with my intellect, which entertains me.

Where they hail from: My family is, as I said, originally from Iran. I was raised in the United Kingdom, however, and now reside there, in London specifically. My family owns a large estate there, of which I am now the sole occupant aside from the staff and occasional visits from my father.

How they became what they are: I was born what I am. Well, not the adult part, or the intellectual part, or what-have-you. But really, I suspect the only part you really care about is the vampire part, anyway, and I was born that. Both of my parents are from old families, and ones who have for the most part integrated with the human world in ways I am not yet capable of myself. I was raised with the best of everything, in ways keeping with tradition and customary manners, skills, and courtesies. I would only later realize how out-of-place this makes me in the modern world, but all subsequent efforts to alter my behavior patterns have been partially successful at best. I am a relic, I suppose, without the age to back it up. A shame, I think. Perhaps when I am old and withered, it will suit me more.

It was only when I tried modernizing myself at around, I think, the age of twenty or so, that I had my first brush with human technology, or rather the more advanced aspects of it. It was a rather shocking situation, as though I’d been pulled from a peaceful darkness into sudden daylight. It almost stung to know that for all the knowledge I thought I possessed, I was so completely moronic on this singular level. I made it the object of much fastidious study thereafter, learning binary and coding sequences like I had learned French and Latin and Chinese in my childhood.

I might have continued living in such a fashion had my mother not disappeared. It had always been the three of us, and frankly my parents were for quite some time my only companions, but one day she just… right up and vanished. I have no idea what happened, though I have a fair degree of certainty that she is dead. My father was never the same after that. Seeing him suffer as he did made me realize that I really didn’t want to go through that at any point, and I have been consciously avoiding anything remotely resembling emotional attachment ever since. That sounds terribly maudlin, doesn’t it? Ah well. Make no mistake- I do not lie awake during the day and fret over what might have happened or where she might have gone. Rather, if I do manage to find a lead, I pursue it to its logical end and then leave it if it should turn out to be fruitless. One day, I will discover what happened. When I do, the person or people responsible will suffer and die. That is all there is.

Notable experiences since then: Though better at using my inborn powers than my recently-changed brethren, I am still not an old one, and so I must practice with regularity to continue improving. This need has given me an unexpected benefit; I have been able to observe humans more closely and in doing so, am beginning to form a better understanding of them, though it is far from complete.

Opinion of the others:
Ebenezer: I do not know how that man knows what he knows, nor do I yet comprehend the full extent of his knowledge. I will, however, and when I do, I will be able to say with more certainty whether or not I trust him (unlikely), will tolerate him, or will simply be forced to wait until I am strong enough to kill him.

Humans: I have nothing against them, though I feel I adequately discussed this earlier. Nobody has control over the circumstances of their birth, and as long as they do not begrudge me the need to feed, I do not begrudge them their weakness, natural adversity towards people like me, or their particular oddities. Unless they touch me. I despise that no matter who is responsible.

Witches: Essentially the same, save these are stronger, yes? I understand magic only on an academic level, really. My encounters with witches have been few, but memorable.

Werewolves: I cannot fathom the near-compulsive need for disorganization I observed in the one werewolf I ever met. Other than that though, she was a perfectly interesting individual.


Criminal Record: In a more impulsive experiment into exactly how well I’d learned computer programming, I did hack the Pentagon, as I mentioned. I am told my current job assisting Interpol has expunged this from my record, and it is under these credentials that I am traveling to the United States. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have never been caught feeding, and thus though I have broken the human laws against manslaughter more times than I can rightfully be expected to remember, there is no record reflecting this.

Etc:: I may or may not… foster kittens. I like cats, all right? There’s nothing wrong with that, and I assure you it makes me no less of an aloof, hyper-intelligent undead being who regularly kills people in order to survive. Ehem.

Specialty: Well, aside from my obvious and oft-stated affinity for technology, my powers make me rather useful for getting places others cannot go, or perhaps reconnaissance, in addition to being useful in combat. I’m a tactician and a strategist- no, I cannot dent buildings with a single swing of my ham-sized fists (which I do not have to begin with) but I fight smart, as I believe the saying goes.

My actual powers focus on acrobatics and agility. I can climb, jump, balance and freerun with skills human parkour artists only wish they had. It requires a generally-high level of fitness, flexibility, and speed, but it’s the agility in getting from one place to the next that’s actually supernatural. I’m light on my feet and capable of gauging and completing jumps in excess of fifty feet. Consider me… something like a human-shaped cat. I always land on my feet, and have survived falls from very tall buildings. This last entails endurance beyond the norm, but not in the sense of being able to soak up bullets. High-speed impact of other kinds, though... well, I've learned to take such damage.

Preferred feed: Blood, of course. While causing very little in the way of physical change, feeding to the right levels makes me stronger than starving myself would, obviously, though if I haven’t eaten for a while, I tend to have that extra edge of irritability. It’s a risky proposition, though, because distinguishing friend from foe would be nearly impossible if I were to be exposed to any blood at all in such a condition. Also, just like anyone else, if I drink too much, I tend to get lethargic. Gluttony does nobody any good.

Believe it or not, despite my gentleman's upbringing, I prefer to hunt myself. I'm not precisely sure why this is, but I have found that meals prepared for me lose all flavor. I do not eat human flesh, finding it utterly uninteresting and messy in ways that a simple puncture-and-drain is not.

Sunlight tolerance: I can deal with perhaps thirty minutes of full noontime sun, or a good hour at dawn or dusk. Should I extend to these limits, I am unable to do much moving around for a good six to eight hours afterwards.

Social standing: Amongst vampires, my family is akin to human royalty. Respected, often feared, and sometimes even admired. To humans, we appear to simply be wealthy humans. The official story is that my father was an oil tycoon. We’re obviously “from” the right part of the world, and have all the necessary false paperwork, so nobody has sufficiently questioned it yet, and they are unlikely to.

Social stealth: On a family level, quite well. As an individual, I… struggle somewhat with this. It is difficult to relate to a species that I spent much of my life dining on rather than speaking with, and many of the subtle nuances are lost on me. I’m getting more adept at blending as time goes by, and luckily my “job” doesn’t seem to be one where much in the way of social aptitude is expected anyway.

BENEFITS FROM THE RACE
  • Power- Simply put, I am harder to kill than a human. My abilities lend me a range of tactical advantages, and I fully intend to take advantage of them where necessary. This includes enhanced senses, though obviously my youth hinders me somewhat where these things are concerned. Still, there is yet much time for improvement.
  • Intelligence- Knowledge, I am told, is power also. I am strategy-minded and quick on the uptake, in addition to having a wide array of factual information at my beck and call. Rarely do I meet someone else who can profess the same extent, though even I realize that there are bound to be such people in existence.

WEAKNESSES FROM THE RACE (or otherwise)
  • Sunlight- I simply cannot endure it for very long, full stop. Heavy cloaks help, and as long as all my flesh is covered or shaded, I’m fine, but if I dress this way, I lose my ability to appear in any way unobtrusive, so it lacks practicality to do so.
  • Bloodlust- When it’s been too long since I’ve eaten or even simply when I’m exposed to human hemoglobin and blood plasma cells, I lose a good portion of my rationality and ability to think clearly. Depending on how hungry I am, it may also become difficult for me to tell the difference between enemies and allies.

So begins...

Balthazar Eskandar Shirazi's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Micah Colby Ames Character Portrait: Balthazar Eskandar Shirazi Character Portrait: Wolfgang Wolf von Krieger Character Portrait: Sable Gossamer Valante Character Portrait: Sallie Harris Character Portrait: Annabelle Reed Character Portrait: Constantine Augustus Meyac
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KEY

Ebenezer
Your employer, kindly benefactor, and all-around fatherly figure. You've never seen his face, unless you count the Benjamins (or Queen Elizabeths or whoever mars your currency with their sagely visage).

Allies
Folks openly professed to be in cahoots with old Abe, most notably mission guides. The guides grade performance, all in all acting as a pair of eyes away from home. The helpfulness and openness of allies range, however--not all of them will like being useful. You very probably can't kill them without a severe cut in the salary.

Enemies
Folks openly against Ebenezer or his friends, and likely wanted dead for the effort. Poor jerks. You can try to talk to them, because they will have more to say than regular enemies, but ultimately you cannot go home and do your laundry until you've killed them.

???
Alliance unknown for these NPCs! They could be smallfry enemies, or they could vaguely want to further your cause.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Micah Colby Ames Character Portrait: Balthazar Eskandar Shirazi Character Portrait: Wolfgan Wolf von Krieger Character Portrait: Sable Gossamer Valante Character Portrait: Sallie Harris Character Portrait: Annabelle Reed Character Portrait: Constantine Augustus Meyac
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#, as written by Deallo
The windows were let down a bit to let the night air rush into the speeding car. Loud salsa music escaped the radio and blared outside of the confines of the powder blue Ford sedan, going 90km/h with no signs of slowing down in sight. Observers who might've caught a glimpse at the speeding vehicle would've thought it belonged to some young reckless driver who just got their license or a thief who might've stolen the car. Of course, they were wrong.

It was the driving of an elderly woman who was all the more glad to be alive and free.

Not the "I'm glad I woke up today" alive either, like some spry elderly gentlemen, but the "I'm glad I didn't get in the shot in the face" alive that criminals often face in a day to day basis. It was because of Ebenezer, even if by accident, that she's managed to get behind the wheel of a car instead of shot, liquified, dumped, and forgotten. Driving was also a joy she enjoyed too much. Back in Mexico, everything needed discretion, driving was off-limits unless the police were a little too close for comfort and an operation needed to be evacuated. Now, she drive free and fast, the way driving was meant to be. Annabelle couldn't understand how people drove so slowly like they were scared. Excruciatingly painful is what it must feel like to drive slow. There was no rush, no excitement, from being able to take control of a strong speed machine, and just using it to trot along the roads. It needed to gallop, speed down the roads, as cars were meant to.

If only it wasn't so dangerous; everyone would've been doing it. Police would've chased her if there were more patrols that night but as luck would behold there wasn't any that had met her. She swerved around cars and turned, nearly running over a young man who was running across the street to get to a bank, cutting off a taxi, scratching it's side, the blue paint scratching off the bumper. As Annabelle was driving away, she noticed the taxi was either following her trail, or going the same direction as her. Obscenities were shouted from the drivers side of the taxi but she was going too fast and was too far to listen in. She eyed the taxi in the rear view mirror, seemingly speeding up behind her, pupils flashing back and forth to the front of the road then to the yellow car.

Seconds were passing away before beads of sweat started forming on her aged forehead and her teeth started to lightly bite her lower lip. Suddenly a loud screeching pierced the air, the smell of burnt rubber crinkling any nearby nose, powder blue Ford sedan ducking into an alley and out the other side. Annabelle turned off the radio and made a few more turns to make sure the taxi didn't follow her. The paranoia instilled in her from years of working with The Cartel were satiated as the taxi was nowhere in sight.

The docks were now in sight but the car was in no speed near stopping. Headlights illuminated the three figures and for a brief moment; seemed like it was destined to run them over at top speeds until the brakes were slammed. The screeching was enough to pain the ears and the smell of burnt rubber filled the air. The engine hummed for a moment, headlights illuminating everyone on the docks before the ignition key was turned and pulled. Annabelle took a deep breath and checked herself, padding the Kevlar jacket, and her husbands black trench coat she had on. There were four pockets inside the coat, two on each side, and each had a revolver. Her prized M1 was in a shoulder holster, seeing as how much work she put into it, it was worth it to at least buy a proper holster for it. She brought her white purse along and had it hang in her right hand; not for stylish purposes but just in case anything happened, she could make a quick grab for the M1, which would take one solid movement.

Despite Ebenezer's kindness; paranoia was still creeping up. Rightfully so, at that.

She exited the car door and slammed it behind her before she opened up the back door, the cold bite of the wind rushing over her. "Darn it." Ana silently cursed herself, spotting the luggage bag containing the rest of her equipment trapped under the back seat, where she'd have to force it out.

Her head twisted, spotting the solitary individual on the dock, and moved towards him. Annabelle did look rather odd, suiting black dress pants, a blue Hawaiian shirt with a Kevlar jacket underneath and a trenchcoat. Almost as odd as the man, who at this distance, could see he was sitting on a crate.

In any regular circumstances, she would've tried to pull out the bag herself had it not been filled with munitions and weighed heavily. The Texan didn't see it fit to bother the couple either; as it would've been very rude. She smiled sweetly at the strange man before she spoke to him.

"Excuse me dear but can you help me? One of my bags is stuck in the backseat of the car and I can't seem to get it out. If only a strong man could help me..." Annabelle said, waiting for either him to help her, or wave her away...but right arm was precariously up, holding the purse by the forearm, and across the M1 in case she was speaking to some crazy man.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Micah Colby Ames Character Portrait: Balthazar Eskandar Shirazi Character Portrait: Wolfgang Wolf von Krieger Character Portrait: Sable Gossamer Valante Character Portrait: Sallie Harris
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An obtrusive amount of paper towel, skewed assortments of scented hand sanitizer, an unnecessary amount of chlorhexidine gluconate hand sanitizing liquids, organized slew of gloves tucked within the confines of the walkway dresser, cupboards chalk-full of bleach containers, and a myriad of colourful Kleenex boxes placed, calculatingly, thoughtfully, throughout the expanse of the apartment complex. It was every germaphobes paradise, so clean, so deliciously palpable. Reminiscent of a hospital, minus the sickly, scummy-faced individuals inhabiting uncomfortable chairs. Flat surfaces could be, quite literally, eaten from – though, that'd be really gross and ruin their continuous efforts to continue living in the cleanest, most immaculate, environment possible.

Sable had always been meticulous about his hygiene, even more so now that his roommate, Balthazar, had entered his private life. They'd been fast friends, despite the obvious gap in abilities and physical prowess, in their mutual abhorrence for everything dirty and disgustingly filthy. He showered twice a day (for ten minutes exactly), had a standing monthly appointment for his hair, and washed his hands before every meal. Slathering on hand sanitizer, as his repetitive ritual, didn't count. Pride, self-respect, and mild, recurrent, urges merely insisted that they kept an organized, pristine house. Every inch of every room retains the dignity of frayed ends tucked in, or simply removed with the snip-snip-snip of scissors, stains bleached with careful hands, and the absence of gathering dust. Quite honestly, it's Balthazar's interior decorating sense that keeps the apartment from looking like an out-of-place funeral home – and there's a couple of adult cats skulking around the corners, balefully regarding whoever is invading their territory. He wouldn't have been surprised if he'd found out that Balthazar ritually plopped them on his lap to brush out their fur because their coats, their coats, were perfect. Lamplight’s and interesting light fixtures were artfully anchored to the tiered ceiling, sharing an uncanny resemblance to studio lights.

Roomy bookcases lined the café au lait-coloured walls. Sable hadn't had the chance to peruse them, but honestly, he wasn't much of a reader, anyway. Beyond, ironically, dirty magazines of artistically posed nudes and the no-nonsense novel Skinny Bitch or romanticist novels like Twilight: his pursuits of literacy abruptly ended in a faint spit of boredom. Balthazar had been trying, unsuccessfully, to intrigue Sable's affronted senses of proficiency by nonchalantly leaving books in his room, on the dresser, on the night table, next to the toaster. Even if Sable annoyed him with his utter ignorance, his clumsiness, his awful vocabulary skills – they were, admittedly, two awkward ducklings with a penchant for sanitation. Hadn't he nearly begged Balthazar to let him live with him? No one else would do. Especially not that crazy she-devil who'd flicked gum on his forehead, so long ago. He didn't forget. He never forgot anything.

Regardless of Sable's initial shortcomings, the young Vampire was getting better and better at not being so damn inept, so damn useless. He wasn't bad singer, either, so that's probably why Balthazar hadn't harpooned him in the throat for belting out in the wee hours of the morning, totting his organic tea like a brandished sword. He thumped his chest, softly, with the heel of his hand. “Beggin, beggin you, so put your loving hand out baby, beggin, beggin you, put your loving hand out darlin.” Passionately, obtrusively, practically yelling, into the swirls of his coffee mug. “ Riding high', when I was king. Played it hard and fast, cause' I had everything – shit, Balthazar, how long has 'e been waiting there?

Sharp jabs indicating the window. New taxi cab, new, usually grouchy, acquaintance. Was it already time to rendezvous with the newlings?




Elegant spindle-fingers tugged insistently at the hem of a cuff that would not quite sit the way he preferred it, which was to say flat, immaculate, and perfectly in place. Once he was convinced that the burgundy silk lay exactly as it should, he glanced up into his hanging mirror and repeated the process with his shirt collar. His hair was never quite so cooperative, but with enough work, it retained a degree of pleasant dishevelment that he was given to believe was fairly usual among the general human populace.

Perhaps the bulletproof vest that he slid on over the shirt was less so, and the knives that slid noiselessly into thigh-strapped sheaths were certainly illegal in many places, but Balthazar didn’t much mind that. He tested the heft and balance of each before stowing it, sighting down the length of the blade for any stray speck of dried blood or grime, but of course he’d been meticulous when cleaning them, and there was no such stain along the pearlescent lengths of folded steel-silver alloy.

His flatmate’s bombastic singing voice drifted through the thick wooden door of his bedroom, and Balthazar smiled indulgently, which for him was nothing more than the most infinitesimal upward tilt of his lips. Should they come out of this monster-slaying venture with all relevant limbs intact, he might have to inquire of Sable whether or not he thought it best to go into performance. The last scion of House Shirazi was no mean pianist himself, and probably have taken up that profession were there not certain… matters that required his attention.

The smile, if indeed it could be characterized as that, disappeared when the thought took over, his mouth compressing instead into a thin line of displeasure. Smoothing it out, he slid the last knife home and glanced out his bay window. The vehicle there remained, and he supposed it would perhaps be time to get moving in earnest.

A venture into his walk-in closet produced a black longcoat, tailored to his frame, but with enough room to conceal his more unconventional accoutrements, and he paused only once in his subsequent egress, to rub behind the left ear of a cashmere-soft white kitten with half her tail missing. “Back soon, dove,” he murmured, not so far from purring himself.

He exited in time to catch Sable’s question. “About five minutes, now,” he replied with an air of indifference. This was not as much a product of his upbringing as his demeanor, for though his feathers were easy-enough to ruffle, if one knew the appropriate triggers, he did try for dignity at most times.

Allowing time for Sable to scramble around and grab his things, Balthazar took up his own small roll-along suitcase and double-checked that the cats had enough food and water for the intervening time, then made a mental note to call the girl downstairs anyway, just so someone would be there to check in case they were away longer than expected. She knew well enough not to touch anything, not that the elegant fusion of sleek modernity and sumptuous antiquity generally invited the perusal of anyone not wealthy enough to replace anything they unintentionally ruined. To the average person off the street, theirs was a very “look, don’t touch” abode, not that either of the two vampires raised in privilege knew that.

If you’re ready, I believe we must depart. The flight leaves in an hour and a half.




Had Balthazar proffered his melodious alliance, as his resolute pianist, then Sable would've clinched the deal in a heartbeat – or lack thereof. He was a mewling coward with the weak-willed spine of a jellyfish and somehow, someway, Balthazar still put up with him and even, with the confounded patience of a God, offered his advice, completely free of charge. His physical architecture held a semblance of shaking bones and awkwardly spindling lion-limbs, skinned and worn and concealed within a fancy-shmancy waistcoat with his sleeves folded to his knobby elbows. His lips idled at the mugs chipped corner, breathing softly across the creamy froth – it was his favourite, so he wasn't very well going to throw it out because of a little imperfection – before glancing over the steam towards Balthazar's closed door. Respectfully, he never interrupted his daily routine.

Fixated in front of the open window, draped elegantly with stylish, contemporary white sheers, Sable sighed loudly, obnoxiously, through his nose. How many days had it been since Ebenezer contacted them? It wasn't like he was counting down the days until their next mission, slashing unfortunate markings through the calendared nights like an overexcited school girl. Organic tea, unfortunately, would have to wait. “Doubt he'll wait any longer.” He placed his steaming mug in the microwave before scuttling away from the kitchen, inherently disappointed, like a spooked crustacean or a sullen hound dog. He soaked in that disappointment, fully marinated. Metaphorically born with twisted feet and the unbalance of a lopsided seesaw, Sable's swaggering footsteps transformed themselves into hopping sidesteps and mismanaged tumbles towards his neatly-made bed.

His fingers used to be bandaged from climbing rooftops, often bruised and beaten from scrambling across shingles and sandpaper tilings. His knees used to be plastered with horrendously coloured band-aids because his legs refused to bend properly – no longer, no longer. He wasn't nearly as useless. Thoughtfully, ponderously, Sable crossed his room and plucked his weapons from his bottom dresser, hidden in a secret compartment with his cleaning utilities. They were nowhere near as immaculate as Balthazar's weapons, but through him, he'd been able to learn how to properly oil and maintain his curved blades. His eyes crinkled, shining, observing the incandescent reflection of folded steel. These, in particular, had been Ebenezer's gift to him on his birthday last year since his family hadn't sent him anything at all. It might've been out of sheer goodwill or to keep him from blubbering in his bedroom. Either way, they fit perfectly into the grooves of his palms: lightweight, harmonized. Custom twin leather sheaths, mimicking a policeman’s tactical armpit holsters, hung from his bed frame, which he quickly snatched and strapped to his back. The blades themselves pointed downwards, extracted from the sheaths' in an easy, cross-armed motion – looked pretty damn cool, too.

Instead of automatically grappling with a snazzy, matching suit-jacket, Sable opted for his lucky leather jacket and zipped it halfway to obscure his dapper waistcoat. Anyone with a lick of fashion sense would've immediately declared his faux pas uncorrespondent, unbearably so – but he couldn't leave the apartment, on a mission, without his bomber jacket. It practically had magical properties. It was practically bulletproof. As quickly as he'd entered, Sable scurried out with an undignified bounce. He, offhandedly, pretended to fix the collar of his shirt and shrugged his shoulders. He pulled the lower compartments of the kitchen sink open, revealing a packed emergency knapsack, and hefted it over his shoulder before nodding thoughtfully, mentally flicking things off his checklist. “ Alright, alright, let's get going – wouldn't want to keep anyone waitin', would we?




Off Sable scuttled, like a crab with slightly mismatched limbs, and privately Balthazar had determined that if he didn’t try so hard to impress, he’d have much more success with it. Such contradictions were only observed with time and never believed when spoken frankly, so it was not a piece of advice he could simply offer as he had offered the services of an old-fashioned whetstone one idle afternoon when a mission was done but the grime remained. Earnestness would get one so few places in life; fortune favored the reserved, the reticent, the consciously-mysterious, if for no other reason than because their secrets were more likely to remain that way.

Sighing to himself, Balthazar opened the microwave and sniffed, determining the precise blend of tea Sable had used and how strong he’d made it, then dumped the contents of the chipped mug down the sink and washed it, placing it neatly into the drying rack before removing a more travel-worthy vessel from the cupboard and filling it with the still-hot water from the kettle. In went the teabag, and when this lot smelled the same as the last, he removed it and affixed the lid to the travel-mug with a decisive click. He preferred coffee, himself, but then tea had its uses.

His- what? Comrade-in-arms? Partner-in-crime? Flatmate? Only friend? For Sable was indeed all of these things to Balthazar, in some odd combination that meant only the most cursory of boundaries really existed anymore- emerged right around then, and the Persian man quite nearly pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers, stopped only by the fact that was holding the tea in one hand and his apartment key in the other.

Shaking his head, he handed the first to Sable and dropped the second in his pocket. “You,” he pronounced slowly, “are truly hopeless.” It was uttered with all the gravity but none of the sincerity of a much more dire proclamation, but in the end all Balthazar did about it was step forward and tug at Sable’s collar until it lay flat. The jacket, he had long learned he could do nothing about, and so he left it be. Since neither man was much for prolonged physical contact, the exchange was quick, both perhaps somewhat assuaged by genuine knowledge of the other’s cleanliness, but then Balthazar stepped back, and opened the door to usher the other man through, locking it behind him and picking up his suitcase to head down the stairs.

As it turned out, they made the taxi in plenty of time, though that did him no favors when he really thought about it. Public transportation was something that Balthazar quite supported in theory, but that theory at no point involved him actually having to touch its surfaces. To distract himself (mostly unsuccessfully) from this atrocity, he spoke.

Myanmar this time, as I understand it.




How much had he jammed into that backpack? It sagged considerably on his back, reminiscent of a repulsive slug-creature trying to jockey itself on a succulent host. Yeah yeah – he watched too many horror flicks. Too many anonymous, underrated movies he'd practically forced Balthazar to watch, too. Weren't they pretty much like study materials for future missions? He rubbed the kinks already pinching his shoulders, massaged between his knobby knuckles and slender digits. If it hadn't been for the deliciously wafting smell of freshly brewed tea, Sable wouldn't have noticed Balthazar's reappearance until he stood directly in front of him. Everything Balthazar did was reprehensibly, resolutely, passive: a viper's cunning slither. A panther's rolling shoulder blades, demonstrating it's sheer competency. A gazelle's jaunting haunches prepared to leap forward with unending grace – and a number of other African animals that had the ability to tear things apart or, however unlikely, flee before you could flap your gums. He admired him. Balthazar's expression, needled, nettled, and piqued, was always tolerant. In one hand, keys. The other held his lucky mug.

Like a preening mother he – albeit sans annoying clucking – or a nitpicking old ditty who'd done it all before – Balthazar resumed what he usually did whenever Sable bustled out of his bedroom looking a complete mess, far too busy trying to keep himself firmly planted on the ground. He felt the jingling keys drop into his front pocket and happily accepted the advancing thermos, grinning like a floppy-eared puppy who'd been rewarded. This wasn't his mother. This certainly wasn't his father. But in him, even if he hadn't initially planned it, he'd found a fast friend, an appreciated mentor and an unfathomably tangled mess – not in the literal sense, heavens no – that continued to puzzle him. “And what would I do without you t' straighten me out?” He responded breezily, jutting his chin unnecessarily forward to appear inexplicably thankful without coming straight out and saying it. Cleanliness and awkward displays of emotion held hands in the dark. Straightening the straps of his heavy pack, Sable ambled out of the apartment and led the way down the stairs. Balthazar always locked the door, anyway.

Sniffing indignantly. Squinting sternly. Mentally proposing some kind of truce with the taxi cab's dusty door handle with a hastily retrieved Walgreen's antiseptic wipes. He took intensified care to wipe down the areas he knew he would touch before doing the same to Balthazar's door, then slathered a hooping blob of smelly antibacterial liquid. Might've been strawberry. “Myanmar? Burma? Whu—.” It was almost a wheeze, or an intake of breath through the gaps of his front teeth. Of course, he hadn't heard any of the details because he probably hadn't been listening. Ebenezer usually relied on Balthazar to fill him in. His eyebrows furrowed, knitting together: concerned. Grumbling noises. Slowly, cautiously, Sable entered the vehicle and flicked his wrist at the taxi cab – airport, respectively. He didn't really want to clutch the back of his seat like a child, considering he didn't know how many people had draped themselves across it prior to him, so he twisted around to face his companion like a chortled rooster.

Balthazar. Diseases. There's so many diseases there.




Mmm.” His noncommittal answer was blocked from further elaboration when the driver of the cab slammed on the brakes, swearing at great volume in Spanish invectives which Balthazar understood but had no desire to translate. Were his balance any less finely-tuned, he would have been slammed face-first into the seat in front of him. As it was, he threw a hand out sideways to spare Sable a similar fate, though his dark eyes were fixed ahead, assessing the cause of the incident.

A light blue vehicle of some kind had apparently cut off the cab in traffic, and was now speeding ahead at an impressive rate, towards the airport. Balthazar blinked and shook his head, adjusting his posture to compensate for their altered speed, and exhaled from his nose. Some people, truly.

Hadn't it been for Balthazar's feline-like reactions, then Sable's face would've mashed itself across the dashboard. His reaction time and balance were as skewed as a one-legged man attempting to ride a unicycle, so he grinned shakily, more out of pure, unadulterated fear than anything else, before steadying himself by gripping the vehicles overhead sidebar. His eyes darted towards the light blue vehicle, speeding ahead – but for a split second, he would've sworn he saw a breezy mass of grey hair whipping past the woman's shoulders. It was a woman, wasn't it? Even if she wouldn't see it, Sable still flipped her the bird and grumbled: “Crazy coot.




Fortunately, Ebenezer had long ensured that his two armed veterans did not have to pass conventional airport security, and their plane, too, was private, the windows treated to filter out UV rays and thus ensure that the both of them were considerably more comfortable than they would normally have been. It helped that every surface was polished to shine, and enough of their home had seeped into the air transport that Balthazar even had a decent collection of reading material for the journey.

Diseases are far from the worst of it, I’m afraid,” Balthazar mentioned as soon as the aircraft took off. They often spoke in this manner, picking up threads from old conversations that had petered out It was not as though they often forgot things, after all, and if they did, well, it was not such a trying thing to continue anyway. The man with the dusky complexion did not point out that they were immune to diseases, because it was the principle of the thing and not the actual risk. “My understanding is that this is an escort mission, and there are to be… others.

Others?” The less-than-subtle scraggle-hound snorted while he absently shuffled through various magazines and discarded those that didn't interest him in the overhead compartment. Fortunately, Ebenezer understood his limited taste in literature. There were plenty of magazines to his liking. His eyebrows furrowed, dramatically, as his thoughts went rampant. He generally didn't play well with others because they thought he was annoying – more of a bother than an actual companion. Regardless, he'd been making real progress since initially being called by Ebenezer. “As long as there's no gum, no dirty fingernails – can't 'e ever enlist normal help?” He counted each offence off the tips of his fingers, ticking them off and tucking them closed. They couldn't all be bad, right?

This last was perhaps not so unfortunate, but frankly Balthazar was not a ‘people person.’ Polite, yes, and a good candidate for intellectual conversation, but the folk Ebenezer tended to pick up were not usually inclined to appreciate either of these qualities, and he had little else to offer save a steady hand and a repertoire of less-social skills.




The two men arrived at the docks in time for a raucous laugh to be carried towards them on the wind, and Balthazar cringed inwardly, removing his small case from the trunk of the rickety Burmese cab and extending the collapsible handle. He took a deep breath, which registered mostly ocean and slightly too-old fish blood, and shot his companion a sidelong glance. The expression was grim, but for all that his mouth retained a neutral cast. A job was a job, and it would be done, one way or another.

Shall we?

Reluctantly, Sable disembarked from the safety of the vehicle and surveyed the area with a quick sweep of his eyes. Dingy docks chock-full of smelly fish. It seemed like the prime location where Ebenezer would send them all to meet before a mission, right along with abandoned barns that were ready to fall apart with the slightest creaking winds – filled to the nuts with hungry, dribbling vampires. He wished he'd actually listened to Ebenezer's droning mission statements, or payed more attention to the dossiers he occasionally slid them. He nodded solemnly. It came off as a nearly robotic jerk, like a puppet's whose strings were tightly wound. If he'd started walking like his knees had less bones and less connectible muscles: it certainly wouldn't have been surprising. Faint silhouettes indicated an already animated group – probably the ones' they were supposed to meet. It was only when he heard a particularly lecherous voice crooning that his older, much barefaced self crept out of it's hole:

“Hello my little Liebschen, my name is Wolfgang von Krieger. Would you care to play fetch?”

If I threw something in the water, would you jump in, slick?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Micah Colby Ames Character Portrait: Balthazar Eskandar Shirazi Character Portrait: Wolfgang Wolf von Krieger Character Portrait: Sable Gossamer Valante Character Portrait: Sallie Harris Character Portrait: Annabelle Reed
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The more time passed, the more his mind began to drift. The currents must have been to blame, cascading and crashing rhythmically as a ticking clock or a heartbeat. His thoughts delved into darker depths, around where the fish had antennae that glowed like fireflies. Why do people drive on parkways and park on driveways? he wondered as a vehicle slid into view. And why, pray tell, is it that transporting something by car is called a shipment, whilst items transported by ship is called cargo? Such inexplicable phenomena had never occurred to him before, and he found it distressing. So distressing, in fact, that he didn't note the shadow of a silhouette until the shadow began to consume him.

"D'AH!" he hollered when she neared, jolting in a manner similarly to those blow-up car dealer nylon dolls. "Who are you!" His hands, so resembling roots used in premodern medicine, hovered protectively near his head. When he saw it was merely a woman who proceeded to sit like a tail-wagging dog, he reeled forward, slapping his chest as he exhaled a long held breath. His lips felt sewn up, undulating with every sharp, flaking bit of skin, and still he retained a deep-set uncertainty in his shuddering eyes. They prickled at her presence, likely due to the prevalent smell of smog. He was no stranger to the cigarettes himself, as there were many back in Italy who would lean precariously from their balconies, puffing and spewing swirling masses toward unfortunates who dwelled in the narrow streets below. But before the woman could answer him, another figure appeared on the scene, rendering Micah even more speechless. Why, that... what... That was a pick-up line, wasn't it? How... daring? If not unexpected. Perhaps he succeeded more often with the element of surprise? Micah nodded to himself, mulling over bringing it into play as soon as he mustered up the courage (which would be 'never,' he dimly realized). More gentlemen appeared, the first with darker skin than the former (causing him to cross out the idea of their being brothers), and he grew increasingly anxious. He'd not been aware that he would be traveling with such a large group of people. One of the newcomers--Micah sniffed the air, brows furrowing for a moment--arrived in time to hear the first man's words, and saw fit to respond. Oh, Dio. Conflict. Micah began to panic, hastily glancing left and right to find an escape route lest he be caught in the middle of a brawl.

His savior came in the form of a little old lady, and the skinny Mr. Ames heaved another breath, this time of relief. "Excuse me dear but can you help me?" she had rambled sweetly, "One of my bags is stuck in the backseat of the car and I can't seem to get it out. If only a strong man could help me..."

This, this was familiar. Campania did not receive as many tourists as the bigger cities, but he had his fair share of strangers ambling over, requesting directions with language booklets and travel pamphlets clutched like lifelines, smiling meekly and handing him a fragile photographic device with so many buttons. He supposed being often seen in a uniform did him favors in appearing approachable. He remembered this one time, a young woman and her pessimistically bored boyfriend came up to him just after he'd finished burying a body in a hedge maze. He had to tell them he was the gardener's cousin, helping out... Snuffed out as quickly as it lit up in his mind, Micah pushed the memory aside to tend to the matter at hand. She wished for help with her bags. "Yes." He replied, but in then recognizing her fluent American English, tried to blend in with less awkward vocabulary: "Sure."
He straightened, taking care not to touch or bump into anyone during his retreat, and made for the old woman's car like a terrified water skeeter scuttling across ripples. He'd noticed the black shining barrel of a gun only recently. Was he just coerced into helping an old woman unload her things at gunpoint....? He didn't know what to think of this, not at all. It was easy to tell which vehicle belonged to her--it was the only one untended, and the only one with its trunk flaring open like the enticing legs of a prostitute. Oh... that was a discomforting thought... Carefully gripping the bag and lightly jolting it from side to side, he managed to dislodge the thing (momentarily losing his balance--it was heavier than he'd expected), and closed the trunk behind him for good measure. "Er," he said then, looking meekly at the elderly lady as a means of inquiring where she wished him to put it. She couldn't be one of those people that suddenly expected him to carry her things everywhere for her... right...?

The dismayed thought lingered for a moment, but he'd caught sight of someone else meandering over. Another woman, with thinly braided hair. What were they called... corn fields--no, cornrows. They were longer than any he'd ever seen, hanging over her small shoulders past her ribs, and beaded with something that shined in the light. Seashells? How quaint. Contrary to his expectations, she was blonde, and quite lacking in hints of Southeast Asian descent. She was wearing a cropped denim jacket and slimming pants, which was probably what made her limbs seem so skinny. Yet despite that, there was a bulge protruding from her center. Ah... Pregnant...?

Oh, no no, it was merely some sort of large parcel wrapped in a dark fabric or paper. A rounded thing, perhaps a ball or a pot. She grinned in greeting when she was close enough to see them. "Hi there, mister and granny." She paused to appraise them coming to a halt in front of Micah. There was that funny smell again. "This isn't your mother, is it?" teased the girl, before laughing like a sprightly thing at his expense. Micah couldn't recount a time he was more flustered, and though he blubbered silently, he said nothing comprehensible.

Besides, she was already moving on, balancing the object with one hand at the pit of her stomach, and the other hand waving in a wide arc. "Yooo, guys!" she called. "Ylaine here! That Ebenezer guy told you about me, right?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Micah Colby Ames Character Portrait: Balthazar Eskandar Shirazi Character Portrait: Wolfgan Wolf von Krieger Character Portrait: Sable Gossamer Valante Character Portrait: Sallie Harris Character Portrait: Annabelle Reed Character Portrait: Constantine Augustus Meyac
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“If I threw something in the water, would you jump in, slick?”

Sallie's only regret about the present turn of events was that she hadn't gotten to make the statement herself—it was clever, and sounded like the sort of thing she might have come up with if she hadn't been so busy staring in reproachful confusion at the man who'd approached her. She'd never particularly been one to waste words on a disrespectful stranger, but now that she was going to be forced to work with this one, she wondered if this was perhaps a less than ideal course of action. Sallie rested her hand protectively on the gun at her hip, sincerely hopeful that she wouldn't have to use it this early in the game. With any luck, however, this newcomer would distract the would-be Casanova.

"You'd better take your business elsewhere, pal, or the stick you'll be fetching from God-knows-where will be your own," she thought to herself, but at the moment the urge to have the attention directed anywhere but herself overwhelmed her urge to be smug (which was a rare enough occurrence in and of itself), so she kept her mouth shut.

The newcomers were an interesting pair to say the least, both well-dressed and well-groomed. Dandies, Sallie wagered, though whether she meant in the innocuous traditional sense or the more accusatory modern presumption, she wasn't sure. Not that she was one to judge. The little one was only marginally taller than herself, and in total mass, might have been smaller (at least if Sallie wasn't taking a reality check on her own slight frame).

Conflict among their ill-matched group seemed inevitable, but she supposed someone had to step in to play the role of peacekeeper. Or at least handy distraction. She clutched the case awkwardly to her stomach and pulled herself up using one of the crates. "No need to get testy, boys. I have a feeling we're going to be seeing a lot of each other in the coming weeks. Sallie Harris, former FBI. This charming gentleman," the sarcasm in her voice was heavy, "has already introduced himself, but we could start the round all over again if you'd like."

The man (who had turned out not to be a statue at all, though she was surprised to find that out) she'd sat down beneath had taken his leave of matters, which she supposed she envied him for; if it weren't for the case in her arms, Sallie might have offered to help the little old woman herself. Now she had to interact with these upstanding gentlemen (and Wolfgang, but she supposed he was an "upstanding" gentleman of a different sort, as long as the term "gentleman" was used sarcastically), and she hadn't had a smoke in over an hour.

Fumbling with her pocket, Sallie produced a lighter and an open pack of Marlboro red. "You boys mind if I smoke?" The cigarette was already drooping from the corner of her mouth as she spoke; it was more a warning than a courtesy, and if the gentlemen in question minded, well—there was a perfectly good body of water they could douse themselves in, she supposed. Right behind them, even.

Before she had a chance to light up, yet another new voice was added the conversation, this one calling out over the already-abandoned docks. "Yooo, guys! Ylaine here! That Ebenezer guy told you about me, right?" Sallie squinted in the direction of this new addition, a small woman who reminded her of the sorts of young women she went to college with, sans the slouching hat. Assuming Dorian Gray over there was joining their party as well, the rag-tag bunch appeared to be quite the crowd.

The realization that she would be spending a considerable amount of time in close quarters with this bunch didn't bring Sallie much joy. She lit the cigarette in her mouth and took a long, calming drag, replacing the lighter as she did so. She was even polite enough to aim away from the faces of the men surrounding her—one of them in particular might have taken the gesture as undue flirtation, and that was the last thing she wanted to encourage before what already promised to be a long and uncomfortable boat ride. "Ylaine," she said thoughtfully, giving a wave with her cigarette in hand. The tip brightened and flaked along with the gesture. "Name sounds familiar, but I'm drawing a blank."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Micah Colby Ames Character Portrait: Balthazar Eskandar Shirazi Character Portrait: Wolfgang Wolf von Krieger Character Portrait: Sable Gossamer Valante Character Portrait: Sallie Harris Character Portrait: Annabelle Reed Character Portrait: Constantine Augustus Meyac
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#, as written by Ezarael
Wolfgang „Wolf“ von Krieger


“If I threw something in the water, would you jump in, slick?”

Why did this sort of thing always occur when he was preoccupied with a woman? For some reason he was never able to pay attention to whatever else was going on around him if women were involved. In all actuality it would have been better had he not take his focus off of his intended target, but as they say, "The best laid plans of mice and men.” The woman seemed like a cold-fish anyway, so there probably wasn’t much ground lost to be honest.

The werewolf almost wished he had kept focused on anything else though, because as soon as he let the outside world back into his realm of attention his superior senses were assailed by a cacophony of sensations. The acrid smell of burning rubber, brake fluid, and dead flesh slammed into his nostrils like a brick whilst squealing brakes, chattering women, and obscenities from none too far off battered his ear drums. An old woman with a strange accent was inquiring for some assistance from the dangerous-smelling man, just another reason Wolfgang never wanted to live to a ripe old age, if he couldn’t take care of himself it was time to go.

There was too much to respond to, but first things first. The flowery one with the comments was first up on the list. He reeked of death as the rail-thin woman from earlier, which was simply awful. The German uneasily lifted himself from his seated position, using his right hand to lean against the crate for a few moments until he could regain his composure amidst the overpower stench in the air. The other man smelled of death as well, just great this was going to be an awful boat trip, he would definitely need to pay attention to which way the wind blew whilst on the ocean, and of course he was going to Captain the ship and whatever Abe said be damned.

After settling his knees enough to walk again Wolfgang waltzed his not so merry self towards the one who spoke up, pale and short like all but the one with the dark complexion. When he came within two feet of the tiny man he laid his left hand gingerly upon the other’s shoulder and bent forward to speak in his ear, not much of an easy feat given the putrid stench emanating from him. He spoke very quietly, barely louder than a whisper, he imagined this one might have extraordinary hearing such as his self and if the others did he did not necessarily want to start any trouble right off the bat. He did need to work with these people after all. “There’s a pair of large balls in my pants if you care to find out friend, otherwise let us keep the wise-cracking to a minimum, ja?”

With a hearty laugh and slap on the shoulder Wolfgang straightened himself and gazed upon the others gathering around so far. A strange bunch to be certain, and it seemed the rail-thin woman had something to say, or at least she looked like she did what with the standing up and what have you with a “keep the peace” kind of look plastered on her face. If only she knew he detested violence then she might not have wasted the precious air reminding them of the fact. "No need to get testy, boys. I have a feeling we're going to be seeing a lot of each other in the coming weeks. Sallie Harris, former FBI. This charming gentleman," the sarcasm in her voice was heavy, "has already introduced himself, but we could start the round all over again if you'd like.”

“Ah, why ja definitely. How could I have forgotten my manners at a time like this? Wilkommen gentlemen! My name is Wolfgang von Krieger, and it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance!”

Before he could even being his splendid self-introduction the toxic smell of a cigarette assaulted his delicate nose quickly after the FBI woman asked them quickly, "You boys mind if I smoke?" Wolfgang coughed lightly to clear his throat as the smoke coated his lungs without permission, sure she didn’t blow it straight at his face but that hardly mattered when you were dealing with senses as acute as his own. Two new figures caught his attention though, one in a good way and the other in a bad way.

"Yooo, guys! Ylaine here! That Ebenezer guy told you about me, right?"

Now THIS was right up his alley of expertise, or however the Americans put it. She was small, in all the right ways, blonde, and fairly attractive, plus she didn’t smell of death like three others he need not mention, which was definitely a plus in his book right now. The other man though, he seemed like a pretty boy and cocky as well, probably the man who was swearing earlier, he would definitely need to divert this Ylaine’s attention from this man’s general proximity. Not that he was competition or any nonsense like that, no one was competition for Wolfgang’s stunning combination of beauty and brains, but it was always a good idea to hedge your bets.

“Ylaine you said? What a beautiful name you have Liebschen!” As he started with his moves Wolfgang quickly walked up next to the pretty young Ylaine and draped his right arm around her shoulders, holding his left hand out towards the package grasped in her arms. “Are you in need of any assistance my dear? Ach mein Gott, I am so sorry, but proper etiquette slipped my mind after seeing you. My name is Wolfgang my dear, and I am both ashamed for Ebenezer and insulted by the fact he told me nothing of your coming here!”

While continuing on with his small speech, or whatever you might call it, the werewolf began slowing urging the woman away from the pretty boy newcomer and closer to the docks. “So my dear what are we gathered here for? I am eager to start with my first assignment, when do we leave?”

Looking back at the others in their motley crew Wolfgang put an earnest and somewhat stern look upon his face before speaking. “So are we ready, ja? Is this everyone or is it time to go? I’ll be piloting the boat, ja, so you should hurry before both Ylaine and I leave you behind!”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Micah Colby Ames Character Portrait: Balthazar Eskandar Shirazi Character Portrait: Wolfgang Wolf von Krieger Character Portrait: Sable Gossamer Valante Character Portrait: Sallie Harris Character Portrait: Annabelle Reed Character Portrait: Constantine Augustus Meyac
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Sable saw fit to open their acquaintance with this group by leveling a quip at the… werewolf. Yes, that certainly had to be what he was, if the large frame and scent of wet dog that lingered about his rather comparatively disheveled self were anything to go by. Of course, the last werewolf he’d met had informed him in no uncertain terms that while he was the cleanest vampire she’d ever met, he still smelled worse than that. Having grown up with it himself, he was bound to disagree.

He noted but did not specifically acknowledge the human man and the older lady he went to help, though he swore there was something just a touch familiar about that vehicle, which was of course impossible, since he had never in all of his extensive travel been to Myanmar before.

All was put from his mind anyway when the werewolf, who’d predictably taken machismo-laden offense to Sable’s commentary, placed a hand on his flatmate’s shoulder and loomed over him, his retort crude as Balthazar would have guessed, had anyone asked him to hazard an opinion. The annoyed hiss that escaped the Persian man’s teeth was barely-audible to human senses, but of course humans were a minority here, weren’t they? One side of his upper lip lifted, an almost involuntary sneer that flashed a pearlescent fang.

How entirely reprehensible, to use your size and physique to intimidate when you had been challenged on another level entirely. Perhaps his mind was inadequate to the task, but this in itself was no excuse.

Perhaps fortunately, the situation was dissolved a good deal more civilly with the intervention of the group’s third vampire, and Balthazar relaxed, smoothing his face out again before his display, subtle as it was when compared to the main event, became too obvious. He was not an emotive man as a rule, but certainly, those he kept closer than arms’ length, while few in number, were his most obvious triggers. He made it a point to give the woman a courteous half-bow. “FBI?” he repeated with some faint trace of amusement nearly imperceptible beneath his usual accented lilt. “I do some work with Interpol, myself. Balthazar Shirazi, at your service.”

This last was directed at the group, which by now seemed to contain all of its members, including three humans (though the more youthful of the two males seemed a tad…off somehow, but Balthazar was no expert in humanity, so he might well have been imagining it), the werewolf, and the three vampires. Interesting; he’d almost been expecting a witch or two, but then perhaps one of them was. No herb smells, though, but… a faint hint of metal? From the elderly woman, no less. If he was surprised by this, Balthazar chose not to show it.

He certainly did not mind the scent of cigarettes, as his father had been quite fond of Cuban cigars for much of Balthazar’s life, and those were considerably worse than their slimmer cousins. He noted Wolfgang (ah, but the irony of such an appellation- was it his birth one?) seemed uncomfortable, and supposed that was the trade-off for a nose better even than a vampire’s.

By the time that anyone else who wanted to make introductions had done so, there was a shout from not too far off, and Balthazar turned to see a young female approaching. This, already predictably, set the German hound to baying like a fool puppy, and he introduced himself for what must have been the third time.

Charming.

His hastiness was even more problematic. “Only a fool runs headlong into a situation without understanding it,” Balthazar cut in with cool tones. “Miss Ylaine, Ebenezer was rather sparing with the details of our task. All we were told is that we were to escort someone or something somewhere, and that doing so involved travelling by boat. If there is any other information you would be willing to part with before we begin, I’m sure it would be most helpful.” He might have mentioned that Ebenezer hadn’t even mentioned her, but every species he'd ever encountered were alike enough in their desire to be important that he supposed this notion might be mildly offensive, so he tactfully omitted it.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Micah Colby Ames Character Portrait: Balthazar Eskandar Shirazi Character Portrait: Wolfgang Wolf von Krieger Character Portrait: Sable Gossamer Valante Character Portrait: Sallie Harris Character Portrait: Annabelle Reed Character Portrait: Constantine Augustus Meyac
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It's the little things that always counted. The irrelevant quips that sloughed from his flapping tongue before his fangs could rattle them to a close, and so Sable's mouth twitched into a slight smirk before trembling back into it's usual frown – clearly worried that this hulking menace would grab him by the throat and throttle him like a restless turkey, ringing his neck until he plopped across his feet like a broken marionette. He wasn't going to end up one of the man's dirty barbie dolls, if that was what he was thinking. It was never the big things that threw him off – always and only the little ones. The collar of his leather coat was pulled up to hug his slender neck and chin, and the dark circles under his eyes only revealed a fraction of how exhausted he actually was after such a long day. One his innards aren't panicky and his heart isn't thumping hollowly in his chest and spurred about so restlessly. His pulse ran sluggishly, as always.

Certainly, this werewolf was going to chase off all the women or earn himself a sharpened heel straight into his pelvic area, crushing all the important bits – if he pushed enough, if he spat enough slime at them like a tweed-suit wearing creep in A Night at the Roxbury. It wasn't difficult to picture him thrusting his hips, arms flailing fruitlessly as he crunched himself against several other bodies in an attempt to rid himself of whatever rapid hormones that ailed him. Thankfully, there weren't any appalling stenches that assailed his nose. It might've been because he, himself, smelled like death. The awkwardly soft smells of an open coffin or a room belonging solely to cleaned cadavers: grey flesh, dying molecules and a smattering of flavoured hand sanitizer. These were the scents that made up Sable's caricature: a dying fruit bowl, albeit without any swarms of fruit flies.

The muscles in Sable's arms immediately tensed, sending tendrils of dismay through his shoulder blades and biceps. It felt like pebbles had crept under his skin, pushing uncomfortably against his flesh and making them, quite, impossible to move. The larger German's fingers twitched, then he was suddenly moving away from the amalgamation of crates surrounding the woman he'd been smoothly attempting to accost. His eyes widened, quickly, then narrowed into sharp corners and angles. Had he ever had any altercations with the other group? Surely not. They'd treated him little more than a silly pup who hadn't learned his place but now – this creature, this mass of muscles, was stomping towards him as if he'd pulled his earlobes between pinched fingers. There wasn't anywhere to retreat to unless he wasn't to back in the ocean and plummet to it's depths, drowning in it's noticeably murky waters. It certainly looked dirty from where he was standing. The man's hand clamped down on his shoulder. He swore that if he'd wanted to crush his collarbone, he could've. It was in the subtle tension of the man's probing fingers, so gingerly, so softly depicting what could possibly happen.

Inadvertently leaning backwards, trying to disentangle the man's fingers from his person, Sable's mouth curled distastefully from the threatening whisper. “N-No need to get your panties in a bunch, I don't play fetch.” He threw his hands up, finally, defeated. He didn't want his head bashed in before the mission was complete – or really, at all. The vampire's composure shifted. It wasn't quite like a dog's whipping tail tucking between his legs, pressed against his abdomen, but it sure was close. This guy was the embodiment of flexing, muscle-pumping body builders. He could snap him like a twig if he so wished to, but more or less, Ebenezer would take the proper precautions, wouldn't he? He wouldn't let his only loving nephew be fed to the sharks, would he? “Wise-cracking. Minimum, got it.” His fingers, like thin harp strings, wiggled in front of his face as if he were making a solemn promise.

He'd already decided that Wolfgang was frightening even if he wasn't tearing his limbs into a mess of beef jerky. Sable laughed awkwardly when the werewolf slapped him across the shoulder, carrying himself as if nothing had truly occurred. “We will – be living side by side, that is.” Wolfgang von Krieger? If Ebenezer hadn't strictly told them that a werewolf was involved, then he wouldn't have noticed the faint smell of wet dog wafting from the man before him. He wasn't very perceptive to smells unless he was pressing his face into said article, which did not seem like a promising thing to do given Wolfgang's alternating moods. He took note of those who'd already introduced themselves and shuffled the names away with conventional, insatiably silly, words so that he'd remember them later. Nicknames were useful enough, so long as no one was testy enough to correct him. Sallie was all cigarettes and lipstick stains and something else that reminded him solely of business and piles of work sheets haphazardly strewn across the floor. Wolfgang – as he'd described before – reminded him of a large shaggy hound who'd mistakenly eaten steroids for the majority of his life. The older woman, who he'd been squinting at moments before, reminded him of that crazy coot who nearly drove them off the road. He didn't have experience for older lasses. He didn't have any dotting nannies cooking him blood cookies as a youngster, nor was he allowed to speak to any of his older ancestors unless he was spoken to: which, was clearly, not very often. The oddly grinning fellow had already bumbled forward with his offer to take the older woman's luggage, shuffling uncomfortably, while regarding the nannie's flashing gun barrel.

Another man entered the unusual scene, dressed purposefully well. If it hadn't been for the fact that this man had been invited by Ebenezer himself, then Sable would've guessed that he was a wayward model who'd lost his way and stumbled onto them, coincidentally. There was something off about him. He discarded his neurotic thoughts and shrugged his shoulders, offering a slight nod that seemed jerky, mechanical. He was still rattled. His plexiglass eye itched, so he knuckled it thoughtfully, glancing upwards until he caught sight, from the corner of his functional eye, of another woman who looked as if she'd missed the bus headed for a roller rink. Her optimism spilled over the brim of her cup. Sable couldn't help but flash a smile, waving a little more chipperly. Ebenezer hadn't mentioned who'd be guiding them, but he'd slipped out that, this time, it was a woman. She looked as if she sang off tune and didn't particularly care what she sounded like – it put him at ease. Optimism, optimism, optimism. Balthazar and Sable had little use of such things.

He shrugged, nonchalantly, when Sallie asked if anyone cared whether or not she smoked. Inevitably, even if anyone had any qualms, Sable doubted that she'd stub it out and respect their wishes. He didn't care either way. His lungs were feverish with poison and rot – what would a little tar and chemicals do to them? Absolutely nothing. After Balthazar had introduced himself with a quick, courteous bow, then Sable bobbed his head forward and added: “Sable Valante, or Mink.” Clearly, if anyone knew the mysterious phone-caller's last name, they'd know he was related to Ebenezer. Sadly, this fact never worked in his advantage. He was never treated any differently, anyway. His eyebrows flashed up, then sidled down when Wolfgang's eagerness to introduce himself to another woman, equipped with bouncing breasts, introduced herself. Honestly. Were all werewolves like this? Perhaps, there were reasons why Ebenezer hadn't told Wolfgang that there'd be women involved. He opened his mouth, thought better of it, and promptly clinched it closed.

When hadn't Ebenezer left out all of the important details, allowing them to stumble forward and figure out things for themselves even if it meant attempting to scale rooftops and smashing your face, unpleasantly, against rotten shingles. Junctures of skin and bones and tepid memories. It was enough to say that ridicule did not spill from his pores, anymore. His attention turned back towards Balthazar – the one who'd always known just what to say, just how to press the wrinkles out of their conjunctive missions. There was nothing to add, so Sable merely slipped his hands into his pockets and waited for a better explanation.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Balthazar Eskandar Shirazi Character Portrait: Wolfgang “Wolf” von Krieger Character Portrait: Wolfgang Wolf von Krieger Character Portrait: Sable Gossamer Valante Character Portrait: Sallie Harris Character Portrait: Annabelle Reed Character Portrait: Constantine Augustus Meyac
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#, as written by Deallo
The gentlemen had an accent, one that Annabelle couldn't quite place, but agreed to help her out none the less. She mentally remarked how fast the foreigner ran to her car; like someone lit his bottom on fire. It was suspicious, even more since there was a hint of...fear? Was it fear in his steps? Or hesitation? The old lady took a deep breath, reminding herself to be mindful of her surroundings.

On that note, she finally noticed the commotion that was occurring beside her and finally understood what he was running away from. He was just like my daughter Mary, never liked confrontation, running with her tail between her legs at the first sight of it. Of course, Annabelle knew it wasn't kind to compare a fully grown man to her daughter when she was sixteen. The fight that was brewing seemed to be an almost stereotypical challenge the old lady saw too much of back in Texas. Two men fighting over a girl. The idea was something only men can think of: if a guy beats up a lady's boyfriend, she'll leave him, and go to the man who's stupid enough to throw punches in the first place.

The really stupid girls are the ones who actually go along with it.

It brought her back thirty-five years ago sitting in a bar, sipping on some beer, when two gentlemen she didn't know tried to court her. Neither had the eye to see the ring of a married woman placed ever so precariously on her left hand.

One of them was a tall, strong fellow, who dressed like he was going on vacation, wearing a ridiculous captain's hat. He reminded her of her son Ronnie, the running-back for the Houston Texans, and she was going to assume he was just as dumb until he started to laugh the situation off. Annabelle managed to crack a smile; surprised he saw a man who's muscles didn't crush his brain. The other two men had an air of professionalism about them, one who was as white as the ghost and had been the one issuing the challenge while the other one, which Annabelle was quick enough to assume, was Indian. Both of them were rather scrawny at first sight. It was rather odd how they came out of the same car, and both dressed alike in suits. For a moment, the old lady could have sworn she saw the white one of the two before...but she couldn't place her finger on it. Her mind was a bit busy trying to decipher the relationship between those two...were they..? Naaah.

Tossing aside the ridiculous notion, the gentlemen with her bag cam back, and just as she was going to think him, the final stranger appeared. A young looking lady who had her hair all bunched up like some of the black woman she saw in New York when she went on a "business" trip. On the other hand, she looked like one of the free-spirited hippies who'd protest in the front of the white house with those seashells stuck to her head. "Ylaine" her name was; an awkward name to say if Annabelle dared to read it from a list. Still, it was nice to see an enthusiastic face in here. The rest of the group started to introduce themselves, making it easier for Annabelle to distinguish people rather then using "he" "she" or possibly "the brown one". Everyone had relatively simple names, slightly relieved the Indian one had a name that was easy to say, arching an eyebrow at Wolfgang's too enthusiastic behavior.

She perked up as the small woman introduced herself as Sallie Harris; freaking FBI. Sallie...Sallie...

The name was too familiar. Annabelle knew she heard it before but where? Working with the cartel? FBI were a problem in her line of work but was it somewhere else? It only took a moment to realize she wasn't breathing; somehow forgetting to exhale. Former FBI. Former FBI she kept thinking to herself, steadily taking breaths. There was also another character, one who hadn't introduced himself yet, just looking at everyone. It was safe to say he was letting out creepy vibes. Annabelle turned to her attention to Ylaine; for her turn to introduce herself.

"Oh, it so nice to meet you dear. Ebenezer told me all about you-" He hadn't. "-oh, how rude of me, name's Annabelle, darling. I own a gun shop called 'The Silver Bullet' back in Texas." The old lady said cheerfully, omitting her illegal occupation and last name. Trust was something that needed to be earned; not given after all. Amongst all of the introductions, Annabelle completely forgot about the awkward gentlemen who went to grab her bags, leaving him holding about 30 lbs of metal.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Balthazar Eskandar Shirazi Character Portrait: Wolfgang Wolf von Krieger
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#, as written by Ezarael
Wolfgang „Wolf“ von Krieger


Ylaine had deftly escaped Wolfgang’s grasp, seeming both mildly amused and very uninterested at the same time while maintaining a semblance of no hard feelings. What is with these women? The werewolf mused calmly to himself. No matter, there’s never been a hunt I haven’t enjoyed yet. He was displeased with the current turn of events, but there wasn’t much he could do about things but go along with whatever they were supposed to do, and it would take that much longer if they didn’t hurry up.

The man with the dark complexion, he had heard him state his name as Balthazar, who had arrived in tandem with the small man who had decided to introduce his presence with a wise-crack remark had decided to slight him as did his companion. Are vampires always this rude? Maybe their bad smell is supposed to be an indicator of their bad manners. His musings would make sense, if the world made sense that is to say. However the world rarely made sense so all he could do was make the best of his current situation.

There everyone was again, just standing around twiddling their thumbs and wondering what was going on. Didn’t they know that walking and talking were two activities they could easily accomplish at the same time? This is what happens when you deal with non-Germans, they simply have no clue as to what the word productivity means. “The only true fool is the man who cannot walk and talk. The longer you stand around asking questions which could wait for the boat ride or even the WALK to the boat is that much longer it will take us to finish the job. If you don’t trust your employer then find a new one ja?”

With that left between them Wolfgang continued his trek towards the docks, which boat he would be piloting was a mystery thus far so there was no point in walking much farther. His exceptional hearing allowed him to catch all of their conversation as he finally stopped around ten paces from the others, probably the halfway point between the party and the water. He turned around quickly with his bag, held lightly in his left hand, thrown haphazardly across his left shoulder, the zipper had come undone somewhat and the rather explicit image of a woman splayed across one of his magazines showed through loud and clear with the positioning of the moon.

A large grin once again spread across Wolfgang’s face as he gazed over the motley crew he had been coerced into working with whilst under the employ of Abe. He was disgusted, aggravated, aroused, and somehow amused all at the same time. It was a strange amalgamation to say the least. “Please, forgive my ill-manners. I tend to become a little over-enthusiastic when it comes to work. I’m not a man to waste time is all.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Micah Colby Ames Character Portrait: Balthazar Eskandar Shirazi Character Portrait: Wolfgan Wolf von Krieger Character Portrait: Sable Gossamer Valante Character Portrait: Sallie Harris Character Portrait: Annabelle Reed Character Portrait: Constantine Augustus Meyac
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The notion of the large man in front of them having any semblance of manners might have, in another setting, caused Sallie to lose her metaphorical soup in uproarious laughter, or at least given her a decent snicker. Presently, she wasn't feeling so much like laughing—there was a time and a place for jokes, and this wasn't it. She did, however, get a good smirk out of the matter, which was more than she could say for the rest of the day's events. The somewhat hostile introductions (and Sallie knew that "hostile" was probably too strong a word, but it was the best she could think of at the moment) didn't bode well for the rest of this endeavor.

And all at once, a vague sense of dread at being the voice of reason for this group of less-than-conventional individuals washed over her. Even vampires weren't immortal, per se, and she'd rather like to keep her head where it sat on her shoulders. Standing around sulking was probably not conducive to that, she decided, perching her already impressively shortened cigarette on her lips and taking the old white case in her off hand. "Maybe the big lug has a point," she said, largely good-naturedly. "We certainly won't get much done standing around with our teeth in our mouth."

Sallie had a few questions she wanted to ask Ylaine. As a matter of fact, she had a few questions she wanted to ask everyone present. Who, exactly, was she dealing with? She knew that the answer as far as their employer would likely come to a dead-end; she'd been 'round the track a few times, and had made a point to glean as much out of their phone conversation as she could manage (which was about enough to fill one of the little divots in a golf-ball, truth be told). He didn't seem like the sort of man to leave information lying around, and those who knew anything about him probably wouldn't divulge that information to a stranger in cordial conversation. But the rest of the myriad of Monsters—now that was another story. Face-to-face, she had a much better chance of getting a feel for who she was working with, and already she was starting to get some small indication as to who would prove to be bearable and whom she would want to keep a good distance from on their venture.

The two vampires who had arrived earlier (she assumed they were vampires, at least, from the smell) seemed congenial enough, at least for given values thereof, and though Wolfgang made her somewhat uncomfortable and smelled a mite like wet dog, he seemed, when his wits were about him, like he was willing enough to cooperate. She'd dealt with big guys before—it was rare that she felt threatened by them nowadays. The old woman, now she looked familiar, although Sallie couldn't place her face off the top of her head. This was what filing systems were for, and she hadn't had access to one of those in over a year. The man who'd been sitting on the crates when she'd arrived reminded her of a small dog, not necessarily meek, but—well, alright, meek was probably the best word.

She had the sneaking suspicion that the was more than he seemed—otherwise, why would Abe have hired him? After all, each of them seemed to have something nasty lurking just under the surface of their humanity. He sat near the top of her list, along with the long-haired chap who hadn't said a word since he'd arrived.

Flicking the butt of her cigarette unceremoniously off the dock and into the water, Sallie decided that the best course of action was to move herself along, and made towards the end of the dock herself. "Your bag's unzipped, just so you know, big guy," she added politely as she approached. "I didn't think it was legal for women to bend that way."