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Roleplay Forums => Fan-Based Roleplay => Topic started by: Verse on June 08, 2015, 10:11:35 pm

Title: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 08, 2015, 10:11:35 pm
At a distance it would appear like a crawling place. Water, of course, veins of the land, but not in an overreaching abundance. Make-shift stores with cloth overhang for protection, as well as stone base quarters, made to stand great tests of the weather. The lifeblood of the creatures here, more prominent in their priorities than what river and brook could provide, was gold, credit, currency. Where it gathered, a kind of sheen would amass, on the polished windows, on the brass details. People with that lifeblood liked to bleed it, so that others would know.

That life had its hand in stirring and flavoring the atmosphere. The scents around the hopeful, trading people shifted in incense, and sometimes a metallic wind for the very successful. People sought to surround themselves with the mineral tinted air even more than that of cooked food. Who wouldn't want coffers so filled their treasure could be felt with every breath? It was this promise that drew the human animal and all its distant relatives and competitors to the market outside of the castle city.

The high stone and its protective walls resounded with the good life generated by the trade center. And yet, lately, there had been a kind of animosity between the stoic towers, built on the backs of humans for the comfort of nobles, and the lively merchants outside. Instinct made the opportune weary of walking in to the city inside those walls, even though it was exactly residence within that had siren-called many to the surrounding market in the first place.

Oleyo knew a little about the phenomenon that kept the lucky at bay. He had spoken to people who had lost family to the white walls and their promise. The guards ontop, plentiful, had their backs to the outside. Their armor suggested the city was doing well. Oleyo was a tall man seated and bent over a large, long glass machine. The cycle encasing his legs and protecting his face from the winds drank light rather than recanted it. The machinery inside, akin to that of machinated horses, the cybernetic animals, did show off strands of purple and green when the combustion worked. Behind the casing that only exposed his back, Oleyo himself was turned into a smeared silhouette.

 

A section overhead folded forward to let him show his face, delicate ash on his lashes around black eyes, so he could speak with the single guard stationed on the outside of the main entrance into the city. The man looked the hunter over without registering him as such. Oleyo tapped his boot against the ground as he waited to be approved. He didn’t have to balance the bike for long before the man nodded. It seemed the guard was taken aback by Oleyo’s vampire pallid and surgical pretty to contradict a sleepy, sympathetic expression. The guard gestured for the inside and Oleyo went, the battery humming to provide quiet momentum.

 

He stopped by a tub of water. The horses already tied by it, several of them with high-end parts, didn’t stir when the machine receded around the newest addition to the increasingly secret city. Oleyo stood from the now gaping machine, and pulled the plate around his right arm with him. It was his main weapon, and the glass shield soon crept up his arm to perch itself on the shoulder, leaving his fingers free. The other shoulder and arm were draped by a giant gray scarf. There seemed to be something underneath with the same bulks as the glass plate. Under the scarf, which trailed after him on the ground when he walked, he wore a white armor, leather, reinforced with bejeweled metal guards here and there. His long green hair, mingling with the gray fabric guarding his neck and back, did not seem to deter or even register with the others in here as he cut through them. His weather bitten attire did not impress despite its quality. People of were used to exotics here. It was a smooth enough introduction of himself, and now, when his intentions should be interpreted as inconspicuous to anyone suspicious enough to watch him, he pulled the scarf to hood his face.

Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 09, 2015, 04:58:41 am
The town of Euboea had stood the test of time. When the Nobility lost their footing, Euboea stood tall, a monument of strength in a desolate world. After the nuclear fallout that began in 1999, the humans had nothing to cling to, and they degenerated into savages. Savages that needed to be civilized once again.

The Nobility knew that.

Euboea was crafted by one Noble millennia ago, and that Noble remained in the castle that smelled like the night. New dew, cold air, dampness, and a light floral scent hung around it. There were no windows to the structure that looked to be from a time long before mechanical horses. Red flowers hung on the walls. Red flowers decorated a garden, where also hung fireflies lighting up their backs despite the hour, and a fountain continued to flow with fresh water.

“Hmph.”

It was the only comment to escape Lydia Tepes as she rolled a clear orb over her hands, catching all of these sights through reflections. The orb could not penetrate the castle, for no light was allowed in. It worked only when light could be caught, and trained in the direction she wanted it, bouncing back images.

The silver-haired woman rolled the orb to catch the sights within the town, and soon glinted onto the familiar surface of Oleyo’s bike. ‘In already?’ Lydia had imagined there would be a fuss, that getting in would be difficult, but this seemed not to be the case for Oleyo was not being stopped at all. ‘Interesting.’

Of course, the rumors of this town didn’t speak of an inability to get in. They spoke of an inability to get out.

Lydia stuffed the glass orb into a coat pocket, within and close to her chest, before she rose to her feet and walked to her own bike. Hers did not cover so much, and when she kicked the kickstand and it came to life, it made not a sound. It zipped through the air, and her coat billowed out behind her, snapping against the air with her nearly-translucent hair flicking the air above it.

She pulled the bike into a hard turn right to bring it to a stop right before the guards, feeling that tantalizing pull of gravity as the bike nearly fell to its side from the abruptness. It hadn’t yet. It right itself and she kicked down the kickstand again and walked up to one of the guards. This one had the features of a cat. Lydia had noticed that not one seemed human—but not one also seemed natural.

Lydia Tepes was also not natural. She liked to think she could recognize other Noble experiments with a look, and her lilac eyes took in the way the creature seemed stitched together as it, too, examined her.

Her black duster did not cover her arms, and the skirt she wore wouldn’t have covered her legs if it weren’t for the thigh-high boots. The corset she wore did not cover her abdomen. Every bit of revealed flesh showed black markings that could be seen weaving around her body, and in constant flux with the flow of her blood, swirling and shifting as the blood beneath her skin disturbed them. It was never much, but one could become hypnotized watching those little changes. They did climb up to her face, particularly highlighting her eyes with their black swirls, and pulling at her red lips.

The Noble had been trying to learn if a vampire could cover the flesh to avoid being burned by the sun.

Instead, he’d created the weapon that killed Nobles, as the woman could control her own blood in ways that made other hunters quite envious. She used what vampires needed against them.

And yet, the guard gave her a nod and a gruff, “Go ahead,” completely unconcerned. Lydia almost allowed a trill of a laugh to escape her, but she did not. She gave a smile and went right back to her bike. She brought it to life and drove into the city. It was not difficult to locate a place to park her vehicle, and she abandoned it without a thought to seek Oleyo, moving through the people and looking left and right for a sign of him as she moved further towards the market.

After all, their employer told them to find her missing merchants. Where else would merchants be but a market?

It was the first place to start, and Lydia imagined that Oleyo would head that way, too.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 09, 2015, 07:49:20 pm
The walls, for all their impregnability, could not rid the city entirely of wind. He supposed that was a good thing on blistering days. And the wind, a felt but not graspable expression of the world, was not so strong in here, its direction and intention known, but dulled by the ring of white bricks keeping the living market outside from this less so oasis. A very sophisticated way of allowing but not unleashing nature. It was enough to curl one strand or two of his emerald blades of mane over the gray scarf on his back, but not much more. Oleyo looked around, coal in ash frames paying some respect to the architecture. It was built ruthlessly, flawlessly, which meant Nobles had imposed their vision on races under them to achieve it. All races were under the Nobels.

He was so lost into the bitter retelling of the world, and his own role in it, that a passerby bumped into him without him noticing. He frowned at his own lack of attention and it might have translated into anger on his face toward the now sitting person. She, who seemed earnestly angry, was hindered in her outrage by his expression. After all, he seemed to be many times her physical better. Oleyo quickly picked the woman up. She staggered after what he thought to be a perfect lift. Despite her energetic annoyance, she did not have much strength.

“Are you well?” he asked. “I am very sorry. I was just admiring your lovely walls here and…”

Her balled hand collided with his cheek. He had seen the blow traveling, but decided to take it out of courtesy. His green brows raised slightly. This person was weak, even more so than her bout with balance suggested. She corrected her black dress pertly, and pulled at its orange collar. The attire had seen better days, washed diligently, but she wore it with the pride he’d only seen in the righteous, or mistakably righteous.

“I will pray for you, but that does not mean you can touch me.” she declared. He could see the pupils in her brown eyes flare with blindness, her cheeks, already pale, faded before they returned to a better shade of white. She was still recovering from the fall and rise. He tilted his head before he bowed it. She was on her way soon.

 

With implications of the nun fresh in his pondering, he reached what seemed to be the marketplace. The pace here was rhythmic, unlike like the invigorating chaos outside. There was a contentment over the people selling and haggling inside the walls. He acquired a bag of lizard jerky for a small coin and tied the bag to his belt of knives beneath his scarf. While the butcher and curator of meats seemed healthy and pink, his neighbor, sharing the ceiling of the stand with him, did not look very spry. The merchant turned artist carried fatigue below his eyes, and held his head high. Tired looked good on him, as though it was a lifestyle choice. He was selling marble ornaments, and kept a thick catalogue among the samples on his table. The shop behind him was crisp and clean stone, contrary to the butcher’s smeared window and wide, wooden door.

“May I have that knob to look at?” Oleyo asked, and made sure to brush the merchant’s fingers when the merchant obliged. His hand had been cold. The merchant quickly retrieved the round, carved thing and placed it closer to himself when Oleyo was done pretending to scrutinize the object. Valuable, it seemed.

“This is a popular design these days.” The man remarked, crossing his arms. “At least among you shadowy types.” Oleyo pursed his pale lips waiting for the man to elaborate. Had someone else employed the same trick to gauge the man’s health after having seen his state? The knob was well polished and of a rare stone, expensive in bulk, but not remarkable among the other offerings on the table. Had the other “shadowy” would-be buyer also had the same plan as Oleyo? Lydia came to mind, but while she might have the same objective as himself, she couldn’t be described as Shadowy if the merchant did not refer to her marks. Somehow Oleyo doubted this man would have so much fun with his words. Someone else then, hooded?
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 09, 2015, 09:31:27 pm
Lydia Tepes could not help but notice all the guards. In a sea of pretty humans, all the guards seemed to be mutants crafted by loving hands. Lydia kept glancing at them as she walked by, wondering if there were any human guards. She began to wonder if there were any mutants who lived as normally as the humans did.

Of course, as she thought that, she started to notice them in booths selling wares, and a few out and about. ‘Peculiar.’ If Lydia didn’t know better, she’d think this some sort of utopia, a true cosmopolitan metropolis where all people lived happily, side-by-side. ‘Every utopia is a dystopia, and you know where this goes.’

She let her purple eyes catch the castle, before they saw the flickering of a familiar gray scarf go through a doorway. She stepped in, careful to balance on her toes so the heel wouldn’t break the conversation going on before her. Or Oleyo’s focus. He wanted to examine the knob for some reason that Lydia couldn’t comprehend, and it seemed he wasn’t the only one. “Shadowy types?” Lydia asked as she let her heels crack against the floor.

She closed the distance between herself and Oleyo and would wrap an arm around the one he kept uncovered if he let her, and lean against him. There were a few rules of this world, and one of them was that being a woman sucked. Oleyo became a shield. It was a habit, even though this place did not seem to follow the rules of the Frontier.

Lydia would have been quite surprised to learn nuns were even a thing, here. “Who else came by?” Lydia asked, wondering if they did truly connect shadowy types with hunters.

“It was a man with a wide brimmed hat, covered his face like his scarf,” the merchant commented, and got a dreamy look in his eyes as he reflected on the individual who had been by.

Lydia arched a silver eyebrow, but then glanced to Oleyo. In the look she was saying, ‘This place is strange’, and not the strange that came with Nobles. The people here weren’t living in fear at all.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 10, 2015, 06:39:37 pm
Lydia stepped in with the appropriate question at the appropriate time. His chin tilted her way as his eyes turned to recognize her shape and attire. His arm was at her disposal. This would be information shared. So, this mystery other shadow was a stranger to this place where no one left. Someone with a savvy for discrete research, at least to Oleyo's own level. Someone who was curious about the weakness in people. Oleyo decided to try and gain more from this merchant.

"Hat and scarf? You don't suppose he was sick, do you? I've seen some-- palid looking people around." he said as casually as such a question could be posed. The merchant seemed a little offended, but tried to hide it. Oleyo tensed his arm to communicate to Lydia his small success.

"He was not sick. He looked rather, good acctaully. And the other people you've seen are probably not either. Why, I myself have been struggling with some fatigue." the man said and laughed with some embarrassment. He waved at his neighbor, stringing up some pig legs, but the man in the bloody apron did not notice him. "Hurald here tries, but it seems some of us in Euboea simply do not eat well." He scratched the back of his head apologetically.

In this world, he should be apologetic. Choosing not to eat was not a game a lot of people got to play. Euboea must be doing better than even their white stone suggested, if a merchant like this could be picky with his meals. Oleyo looked around again. There was always the possibility the man was lying. "Well, I'm glad for you. What is your secret then, in this beautiful city, to such a carefree life? Are the taxes high? Do you have a benefactor?"

The man was about to reply half way through Oleyo's question, proudly, but the last suggestion sealed his lips. The hunter noted that it must be that, then. A benefactor. Lydia should have gathered as much.

"Perhaps you should consider buying something?" the seller suggested with some salt instead of giving any more information. Oleyo smiled and made up an excuse about only wanting inspiration for now and left, keeping Lydia's arm. He returned outside with her, if she'd follow. The day was as bright as ever. This caused him to notice the abundance of opportunity for shade around. Some walkways were completely protected by roofs set on pillars. Practical when it rained, he guessed. It made him think of the shadowy other that the merchant had been on about with some fondness in his voice.

"Do you believe we have competition? Fellow hunter, perhaps?" They had been briefed with another professional, as hopeful as them for the second, larger half of their payment.

A gang of men passed with particular interest in Lydia. After feigning the appropriate amount of hard brow and clenched lips at their cat-calls, Oleyo found that despite their dusty clothes, builders, he assumed from the color of the dust and the state of the city, they were all in good health. Scanning the area it was apparent that the sick and weak were far outnumbered by the healthy. Whatever ailed some did not spread to others. He was starting to suspect that this little condition would greatly affect the outcome of their job.

First though, they would probably have to deal with the frisky looking fellow who was not deterred by the scowling of the taller male. Perhaps the daintiness of Oleyo's paper white cheekbones and straight nose did not strike the hopeful, healthy brute as menacing enough when a price like Lydia was on the table. Oleyo tried to hold on to his aura of threat as the male, man no longer, left his exited group to shout for Ms Tepes, but it was hard being stoic in the face of so much primal nonsense. The fact that Oleyo snickered did not help calm the man's ego. If only he'd known why Oleyo was amused.

"You want to try the local lovesport or should I sweep this dirt under the rug for you? Your choice."

He imagined the reply with be either. Lydia would not be here if she could not decimate such dust on her own.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 10, 2015, 07:51:12 pm
Lydia had not taken notice of the pallid-looking people, but when it was mentioned she wondered if it was why she thought so many here were pretty. She examined the man before her more closely, but saw no fang marks. Of course, if there were, he wouldn’t be standing. He’d be in some bed crying out for his beloved Noble to come and kiss him again.

His words didn’t suggest Noble, either, but that they had the luxury to not eat well. A benefactor was behind it, but Lydia didn’t need to know that. It was bloody obvious by the castle and the guards that someone was taking care of their herd. For some reason, the man didn’t want to say it. He wanted to sell wares now, and so the hunters departed the store, Lydia always clinging to Oleyo.

“I do believe we must,” Lydia answered Oleyo’s query. Competition wouldn’t surprise her. Their employer had seemed both desperate and rich. “We should have asked for more.” If she had enough to hire other parties and pay that same down payment, more could have been thrown their way, too. “Do you think it is someone we know?” That would be more interesting.

As she asked that, a piercing whistle drew her eye towards the gang of catcallers. It was hard for her to act meek and frightened. Her eyes would never show it, but she let her body language indicate as much, clawing closer to Oleyo as she turned her gaze away and almost into Oleyo’s shoulder in an attempt to hide a smile. ‘Not so much different after all.’

Though men in the Frontier would have already been in their path, and far more than just one. Yet here, it took a moment, an assessment of the rival, before one even broke form.

She contemplated whistling for a guard. They were around, but seemed unconcerned. Oleyo asked her preference, and she took a glance at the man, giving him a once-over. He was more brute than anything, his muscles obvious. No doubt that’s what gave him his confidence, which meant he had to be stirring for a fight. “Locals always disappoint me. They’re spent too quick.” She untangled her arm from his.

The real problem was that for some reason, whenever she showed up a man, it had the opposite effect compared to Oleyo. When Oleyo proved his mettle, people backed off. When she did it, men took it as a challenge. “Do remove the dirt,” though one fingernail would break the flesh of her palm, allowing a bubble of blood to rise.

It was a ‘just in case’ the brute was more than a brute. She’d always have Oleyo’s back.

~***~

There was competition that had arrived earlier than the mutant pair, a bold and brash human given gifts in life by his blood. However, he made his fortune more by hunting vampires in the day, as he chose to do now.

His nerve, though, was almost shot.

The blonde man was not used to going unchallenged by the Noble fortresses. Usually there was a lot of work to be done to get into one of their homes, but this time, no weapons had shot off. No doors were locked. Not to mention, there was a queer scent in the home, and within the decorations were white flowers in vases, not the red ones he saw everywhere outside.

He also saw no guards here.

He stepped carefully, quietly, and tried to discern where the Noble’s bedchambers were. The stake he had in hand was held tighter against himself.

He came to double doors and pushed one open, crept in, but was startled by a, “Welcome.”

He spun around and caught the image of a woman in red, her hair put up nicely, and her golden eyes leveled on him. She was beautiful, in the inhuman way that all nobles and predators were. Her pale skin seemed to glow in the firelight, so much that he didn't even question why a Noble had fire around her in a room full of flammable things, including herself.

He was in some sort of lounge room, surrounded by books and comfortable seats. There were notes and sheets of paper everywhere, and he saw that just in front of him, if he continued straight, he’d find a laboratory.

However, his eyes didn’t stay there in curiosity, but went to the Noble. “H-how are you awake?” He stammered out. This hadn’t happened before.

She smiled, though it was anything but kind, “What kind of fool would sleep when there are hunters about?” The doors snapped closed behind the hunter. His back stiffened as he found himself now in the room with the Noble, with no exit near him. “Tell me why you are here.”

“You’re a Noble,” he dared to attempt bravado, though the way she looked bored and canted her head showed that wasn’t impressing. “You feast upon us, you use us, you should be killed.”

“Noble,” she mocked his reasoning, “but that doesn’t feed you. Who is paying you, dear boy? Why are they paying you?”

He didn’t want to explain himself, not immediately, but he thought he’d try a feint since it was all that was left to him. He walked forward, “Well, it was a woman outside your fine city,” his empty hand reached into his pocket, “she want—”

He threw small explosives that broke on contact with the floor, shooting small sparks and smoke up near the Noble. He was hoping to catch her red dress on fire, but that didn’t work. She was as quick as any Noble despite her attire, and he didn’t get close enough to finish with the stake. In fact, when he tried, he felt his hand held in mid-strike.

Then, he felt himself lifted up from the ground. The Noble was looking up very disapprovingly. “If the next words are not the full story, there will be no more words from you.”

The hunter imagined he could barter, “I’ll tell you, if—” but the Noble was good on her promise. He dropped back to the ground, but her hold on the stake didn’t release. Rather, she pushed the stake through the hunter’s chest with a thought, and watched him tremble and die on her own floor.

Humans bored her. This one wasn’t even worth becoming one of her guards, not that she often made hunters into guards. They were too unpredictable, and might still use those skills against her no matter how she reprogrammed their minds.

The double doors opened as she turned her back to them, and she didn’t need to ask who, “Do clean up the mess, Marshall,” Sheriff Marshall. It had an amusing ring to her. She walked back down that hall towards her lab, calling back, “Then you can tell me about the hunter you found in town and came to warn me about.”

The mutant with lupine features glanced at the body on the floor, before gaping at the woman’s pale back, nearly completely exposed to the last bone of her spine, then back to the hunter. “I’m sorry!” He hadn’t expected the hunter to be this brash, to break in after only being there a day. He had expected the hunter to do more research in the town, but it seemed he was a quick one.

Of course, that’s why he got caught by the Sheriff, too. So the black-haired man, scarred across his body, bent to pick up the body to dispose of it. ‘Best to eat it.’ He thought with a lick of his lips, and said, “I’ll be back soon, my lady,” before hefting it up over his shoulder and departing.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 11, 2015, 06:24:32 pm
Someone they knew. He would want to think so. It made things easier. Oleyo had clucked his tongue at the afterthought of upping their price. He wasn't greedy, not for that kind of wealth, but he enjoyed a good haggle. He leaned in over her when she retreated against his arm. The advancing man did not know what kind of favor they were both trying to exstend to him. Eventually she gave Oleyo his arm back, and left the dirt to him, to finish. The hood that had only shadowed his eyes fell back as he lifted his chin at the oncomming threat, leaving Lydia with a few paces.

The brute had wide shoulders and massive girth. Not at the zenith of his agillity, perhaps, but Oleyo would guess he was at peak strength for a human, at least. A flash of the hunter’s belt, all the narrow sheath of different lengths, would probably make a short bout, but that could lead to vengeance, since there'd be no physical sting. Also, Oleyo liked punishing dirty things. The man did not back down when Oleyo met his gaze. This would be fun, to some degree.

"I just want to talk to her, friend. You should share." he spoke with stubble dusted jaw. Oleyo shrugged and answered

"Thing is, friend, you have a big enough mouth to talk to her, sure, but I think you are lacking in size and vigor in the part you'd like to use when the talking goes the way you want. I am just saving you some disappointment." There was a gasp from his friends and then badly contained laughter from equally hair-lined mouths. In the voices they'd used to call on Lydia's attention, they were now urging their pack member to practice physical dominance on the tall fellow. Apparently his name was Jouen. Jouen did not need the incentive. Jouen ran forward.

Normally Oleyo would have simply stepped aside, perhaps leaving his leg to trip his opponent, but if he did now, Jouen would find himself head first in Lydia, which might not be as objectionable to the brute as it would be to the huntress. To keep that pleasure from the charging man, the alabaster fighter leaned right while reaching out his right hand to meet the oncoming ram. Pale finger’s clutched the fabric of Jouen’s sturdy vest and used the momentum to pull him forward faster than he already traveled, and then swung him around with Oleyo as axel. After about half the lap, Jouen stumbled on his own feet, and it became an easy matter to leave him with the rest of the speed to tumble back the way he’d come. There was no real damage in the toss and he stood up soon, just a bit disoriented but with enough anger to make up for it.

Out of courtesy Oleyo ran to meet him. Jouen, honor on the line, threw a good punch that bruised the air Oleyo’s head had occupied. Even with his legs bent, full of a damaging jump to extend an uppercut, Oleyo did not attack. Instead he used that spring to travel to the side, outside the range of Jouen’s cross. The angry probably builder continued to weave at nothing while Oleyo danced away. In the end, when Jouen was finally showing signs of fatigue, Oleyo gripped Jouen’s fist at the end of his arm’s stretch, and tossed it back far. Jouen brought it back with a vengeance. Having learned Oleyo was far to skilled at bobbing his head by now, Jouen instead directed the blow to the side of the body the scarf concealed.

Oleyo stiffened suddenly, digging his boots in to take the punch. The resulting sound of impact was dull and metallic. Jouen howled and bent over his arm. Oleyo stepped back. It was a cruel thing to do to a builder, but that was also the satisfaction of it. “Just know you got the kinder opponent.” He said without glee and turned to walk back to Lydia as Jouen’s friend came rushing forward.

“You missed out, I think. He seems like a very tender and caring lover.” He said as he smiled at Lydia. The subtle glee did not last for long. Three guards had come to see what the commotion was about. “I am sorry. It was just a quarrel. It is over now.” Oleyo offered with palms lifted in a suggestion of peace rather than submission, even as the point of a saber’s blade was all but lifting his chin.

The guard frowned and looked at the other men, fuzzing over their friend. "You should be more fair when picking fights." the guard said with some judgement. It actually stayed with Oleyo. The sheathing of the blade was dismissal enough. He pulled back his makeshift hood and walked back to Lydia briskly as the crowd and scattered and the builders retreated.

"Well, that was a scene." he mumbled as he walked for a roofed walkway. He had shown some of his cards now. If that had been Lydia's intention, she had won this round. Better not announce that they were hunters, and now it could very well be suspected that he was, while there was very little reason to accuse her of the same thing. "Any suggestions as to where we should go next? I have a little hunch about the church or nunnery. Hospital too, perhaps."

He would follow her lead, now that he'd done more than enough moves for her.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 18, 2015, 01:57:20 am
Lydia would not let Oleyo get far. After all, one of those brutes could come and try to grab her if she let her shield get too far away. She would not be in his way, of course. She knew enough about how he moved to position herself carefully, for everyone’s sakes.

When Jouen spoke, Lydia put a hand on her hip. ‘Share.’ Her nose wrinkled in disgust at the way he thought. It was a way that too many thought, and in this way she was always grateful for her wonderfully corrupted blood. She was not some poor, unfortunate, frontier woman to be moved about and raped. She was no one’s property, even if she pretended that Oleyo had a hold on her.

Oleyo’s commentary made her laugh aloud, along with some of Jouen’s so-called friends. A few gasped. Lydia caught a few dirty looks directed her way for her uncalled for laughter. Of course, she wasn’t supposed to laugh at such a thing, but she didn’t care. She shot them a cheeky grin, and then darted her eyes right back to Oleyo.

Envy painted many eyes green as they, too, looked back to the center of attention.

Lydia watched the charge, and did not waste her energy to move out of the way. Oleyo made certain she didn’t need to, swinging Jouen around. Another bout of laughter escaped Lydia, and she reached her hands up to hover over her own red lips, a manic grin coming to them. She did enjoy this too much.

Oleyo rushed and Lydia watched as that glee touched her lilac eyes. They followed Oleyo’s movements, which Jouen couldn’t seem to keep up with, though he tried valiantly to do so. It was not until Jouen started slipping and slowing that Oleyo saw fit to end the game. It didn’t quite end the way it would have, if Oleyo had focused. He let Jouen learn from his own mistakes, and Lydia let out another laugh as her partner addressed the brute.

The mob of friends surrounded Jouen and Lydia closed the distance between herself and Oleyo, taking the man’s arm once again. “He did seem quite tender, didn’t he?” All of his love taps in vain, “I think I am fine missing that. It isn’t what I’m craving today.”

The guards finally decided to get involved then, and Lydia scowled openly at them for not intervening sooner. She felt the movement of Oleyo’s arm and let him go. She offered no such peaceful gesture, but crossed her arms over her chest and dared the guards to challenge Oleyo’s assertion. The guard’s comment was met by, “Lions don’t choose their challengers.”

Kings were always challenged by their lessers. This hadn’t been Oleyo’s decision.

Oleyo returned to her, and Lydia again reached for his arm, a bit peeved by the guard’s clear inability to guess who started the problem. She blew hair out of her face as Oleyo mumbled, and then brought up plans. Options. “Nunnery?” Lydia sounded terribly amused at that prospect, “Oh, do entertain me. Let’s go see the nunnery of a town such as this,” how could a nunnery exist? She’d never seen one before in her life! “How do you know there is a nunnery? Did you see a little nun?” The glee had returned to her eyes as she looked up and under Oleyo’s hood to try and see his eyes beneath the shadow.

~***~

Marshall Trenz found his lovely lady back in the room of vials and liquids. False light shone down on the room, and two bodies were resting on two metal slabs. They had once been human, but now one was screaming in agony as scales of purple were starting to build over the flesh.

The other was no longer breathing. His black ears flicked as he tried to listen, but he heard no heartbeat. A machine hooked up showed the flatline, though no buzzing could be heard. Marshall glanced at him, then to Amaranth.

The look on her face, thin lips and a glare, told him it would not be good to ask what had happened with that one. He could guess that the hunter disturbed her at a critical moment in transforming the human into a mutant servant. “Do you have a purpose for being here, Marshall?” She asked him without looking, her eyes focused on the screaming and writhing human, held down by metallic restraints.

“That hunter was sent by the merchant these two worked for,” Marshall noted, “I do not think they will be the last ones sent.”

Amaranth flicked her eyes to him, and he said, “There have been more arrivals than usual over the past two days. I would like to position more guards around the castle instead of at the wall, with your permission.” Amaranth did not have many guards actually at her castle, since they usually distracted her with updates and reports. It was tedious.

“I do not think that is necessary yet,” Amaranth noted. “If you are concerned, you may withdraw in those two hours before sunset to the castle, while I sleep.” Her golden eyes returned to the monitors attached to the human who’s form was changing before their eyes. A flush of red ran through the green liquid, and then into his veins. He calmed, relaxed, and his now-yellow eyes opened. They stared up, dazed, at the ceiling.

“I will do that, then.” He gave an inclination of his head, and then ventured to ask, “What have you done to this one?”

He didn’t often understood. Amaranth was old, and her methods baffled him, but he knew he was one of her creations. He was old, too, a favorite and loyal mutant, but not half as old as Amaranth herself. He knew he was a product of mostly werewolf genes, but there was more to him than that. “You’ve heard stories of dragons, haven’t you? Powerful creatures that could spew fire and had armored flesh. They never existed, of course,” she waved one pale hand dismissively before he could ask.

“They exist today. I’ve seen lesser dragons try to invade our farms.”

“Ah, yes,” Amaranth chuckled, “I’d forgotten about those things. Well, they were created by Us,” the royal ‘us’. Marshall never knew if she meant her particular family, or if she meant the Nobility in general. “The problem is they are not as intelligent as the stories told, so I thought perhaps I could make an intelligent one.”

Bones cracked. The body twisted more. The human remained too dazed to cry out.

“A dragon before a castle…not even other Nobles would think to strike at me then. They’d perish before those hot flames. Shame I can't have a moat.” She'd yet to overcome that irksome water weakness, and didn't want to risk a moat. A loyal, fire-breathing pet would have to do.

“Do we have reason to worry?”

Amaranth didn’t answer that, but let her eyelids lower. Marshall knew the answer was a resounding ‘yes’, and that made the Sheriff worry. In the past, Amaranth and he had dealt with other Nobles who thought they could lay claim to all Amaranth had for one reason, and one reason only.

Amaranth always showed them why that was a very, very stupid reason. Not that any lived to learn it. “I’ll let you know if I see any carriages,” Marshall said.

“Thank you.” 
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 18, 2015, 06:16:24 pm


It had been a fun distraction to hear her battle against laughter while he’d battled Jouen. Both of them had lost in the end, he supposed, considering the forced presence of the guards and her eventual, audible glee. Lydia expressed all the disapproval that he could not. For the better, perhaps. The people fussing over their friend with his broken arm were angry, but some of that heat translated to something more possessive when they looked at Lydia. Better they realized she had a spine, and perhaps the ability to break theirs.

 

She seemed in high enough spirits at their choices, though, their bodies connected by arms again. He smiled, too, when she asked where he’d gotten the assertion of his assumption from. The feisty but weak woman from before flashed before him with all her pious and bias. Lydia was right, of course.  “I have been running in to people all day, it seems.” He explained. “She was also faint, like the merchant just now. Do you believe it’s endemic?” he had some knowledge of poisons and their effect, but he didn’t excel very well in illnesses. Since he didn’t quite know what this might be, this widespread bout of anemia, he had to guess on the latter. His condition gave him some resilience to ailments. His body was toxic to most things, but he’d not felt those toxins stave off anything.

 

The building they searched for and found would rise above them, adjacent to the castle itself. Tall enough to stir vertigo with its highest, pointed roofs. Some of the towers were spears, claustrophobic in girth, while other sections were stout, grand. The white stone seemed newer here. Whatever effort went in to maintaining the white rocks used to build this city, it had been additionally applied in and around its church. The archway had no gates, wooden or otherwise, but simply served to direct people into the garden. It was well grown and ruthlessly maintained. Thin tress with large leafwork on top. Green for the sake of beauty. Such hubris in this age of so little. Oleyo would find himself awed by the beauty in here. The stark fruits looked vain, evil where they perched on bushes and climbed the walls. Lydia would know some of his emotions as they walked, there on the sun blared stone path through the forest that would be garden, by how he shrugged his arm to let hers slide down over it, that he could hold her hand. Perhaps it was the snake in him that was drawn to all this. Or perhaps it was seeing so many deserts, moral and geographical, that made the hunter so engrossed with these kind of riches.

 

“Sacrilegious.” He breathed to his partner as he squeezed her hand, watching the ruby apples of a tree surrounded with flowers the color of Lydia’s own irises. His voice suggested he wanted to make the word a spit of appalment, but the size of the breath revealed he was struck in wonder more than he was disgusted. Around every lush collection of bushes was a polished fountain, white statues with rigid hair stained red by the elements or something more sinister.

 

--

 

Pello was a very sharp, blunt instrument. He often though he deserved Marshall’s post. Perhaps Amaranth had seen something in the green eyes she’d created for him that proved unfit for that level of responsibility. He was greedy, he’d admit. She had told him he was part dragon, once, to pacify him when he’d insisted she raise his standing in her employ. If a mother employs her children. There was a story about a wooden boy and his maker. Did the wooden boy count himself an employee, too? Strangely, she had eluted to the strength of the human body, that it would be enough, when she saw Pello take a blade to his torso without the skin breaking. It was as though he’d been the prelude to something else. Pello wasn’t often so smart that he would think around these orbits. His ego fed him whatever pride he needed at any time, and that was usually enough to sustain him. He didn’t often scheme of wonder over other’s scheme. A behemoth like him didn’t usually have to. Instead he liked beautiful things.

 

That was why he liked the church and its nun and monk vestibules. The prettiness of it all. Its own insistence. He walked the hall of a bridge connecting the main building to one of the book harboring towers. This tower had important scripts, historical and scientific, he was told, and so he could justify this trip often. His leisurely stroll was cut short by a tall man, beautiful cheekbones exposed but little more between the striped scarf and the low hanging hat. It was odd that the beauty could seep at Pello only from that white, almost blue skin. A giant sword stuck its handle up from the strangers back. Pello licked the air with his forked tongue when he saw the sapphire amulet in silver setting hanging from the neck of the man, otherwise clad in shadow. He had some of Amaranth’s air. Ah. Then a man he was not, not completely.

 

“What are you doing here?” Pello demanded, aching to throw weight around. He grabbed his golden sword, heavy to complement his own build. He also drew his dagger, blade broad from his equally golden armor. Only his head, scaled in green, was free. “No one is allowed in the family library!” he shouted.

 

The beautiful shadow let Pello come closer, and raised a hand with a sleeping face. The almost mythical Pello stopped when the face spoke a “no” to its host. The man-but-not-human grabbed for that giant, lithe sword and Pello took that as the final challenge and charged the intruder standing in the mouth of the library.

 

--

 

“Do you know he is a brute?” Amala said when she stepped out from behind a bush adorned with fat, gossamer berries. Her sleeve was buttoned up to the elbow, and a bandage was on the wound she’d opened on her forearm with the crescent pendant she’d placed back on its closed hook on her neckchain. The water in the fountain she’d offered her blood to was still pink, the shade fading fast in the cool liquid. Her lower lip was dark with the iron supplement she took. Oleyo recognized her. She was still as healthy as an unwell person could be, as though she was on her way to getting better. He guessed this was a natural state for her, though, always becoming better, and always becoming worse. He didn’t speak. She had spoken to Lydia, after all. There was a tartness to the nun’s face. Was she joking, somehow, or was there bitterness at the spikes of her lips? “He pushes women to the ground and convinces them of things with his black eyes and helpful hand. Partners of the other temptation, I assume, with a cross on his back, turning my sisters heads to let him look around.”

 

Oleyo looked to Lydia. Partner? Everywhere, there seemed to be someone that had come before them.

“Well?” Amala continued. “Would you two like to enlighten me as to who you are, and perhaps why there have been so many new wanderers in Euboea lately?” It was directed at Lydia, also. Oleyo thought he saw some genuine disapproval of Ms Tepes there, which made the look he’d first encountered, back when he’d bumped into her, seem almost gentle. Her hair billowed out in the same gold as the berries behind her. A very generous apparition that swell provided, contradicting the modest things he’d always thought were key to someone of the church. Her eyes were dark to counter that glow.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 18, 2015, 07:50:07 pm
“Mmmm,” Lydia let the sound escape her as her thoughts mused over what could be the problem in this town. Lots of pale people should point towards a Noble problem, but none of them were lying in bed crying out for affection. A toxin or an illness seemed more likely. “It must be, though it doesn’t seem to be affecting too many,” her eyes looked around, and back, “None of the guards.” They all looked in peak health.

She turned her attention back to the path before them, and considered what they could be missing. However, those thoughts vanished when they came to the church and all its greenery.

It had been a long time since Lydia had seen such growth, and so beautifully maintained. Though she was not as astounded as Oleyo, she appreciated the spot of beauty. “My, my,” she spoke to herself, and heard Oleyo’s comment. Another chuckle escaped her at that and she squeezed his hand, as if to tell him to ‘settle down’. She’d hardly noticed when his hand came into hers to start with, and didn’t dwell on it then.

Purple eyes took in the statues, but she stopped when they fell on one marbled image in particular. Something about it was familiar, with the long flowing hair and robed attire. The marble woman seemed to hold a place of significance in the garden, as Lydia noted how many cobblestone paths led to that fountain in particular. ‘Would this be the figure of worship, then?’ There was a tainted appearance to the water.

A woman’s voice took Lydia from her thoughts and she looked to the woman as she emerged from the bushes. A bandage was barely visible, poking out from the sleeve.

The question caught Lydia off guard, as did the explanation. ‘Pushing women?’ She shot Oleyo a look that might be disapproving, but the blonde woman demanded her attention with a snap before words could follow.

She unentwined herself from Oleyo to stand on her own before the interrogator. Her question had changed, so Lydia decided to ignore the statements made about the snake of a man at her side. “The brute here is Oleyo, and I am Lydia.” First names would be fine, wouldn’t they? Now how much honesty did she stick to.

The penetrating gaze of the woman suggested she knew a lie when she heard one. “I can’t say I know for sure why others are showing up here, but we’re looking for two people who came this way, Wallace and Gregory,” she told the little nun. She might be saying too much already, but then, perhaps the others who had come by would share a similar story. Confirmation was important, and any details the woman might be willing to share about that competition would be useful.

Lydia didn’t suspect the nun knew either Wallace or Gregory, unless she had shopped a lot in the market and made their acquaintance.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 20, 2015, 01:51:39 pm
He supposed it would be rather severe if there had been weak guards on duty. Lydia made a good point. It should not be contagious, not if the guards, reliant on their health, did not fret to stand close to others with the pallid affliction. It must be controlled somehow, then. That had come with many implications, but most of them were set in the back of his mind when the foreground was taken over by the garden. He would return to that train of thought later

The woman who had come to interact with them listened to Lydia. Lydia who would not be ruffled. After all, she knew him far better than the nun could hope to. The new woman must be joking, despite her serious demeanor. "Oleyo and Lydia." she said and visibly fixed their names to them. "And I am sister Amala, of the Artemis order." Oleyo could hear her struggle to keep her voice level, for modesty, but there was some pride raising the words. Ah, the easiest sin.


Amala didn't move a muscle on her face when Lydia probed on the subject that essentially was the reason he and she was here, in this alabaster city with its emerald, living wealth surrounding them. He imagined her indifference to the two male names spoke almost as much as any expression would have. They were being lulled into the assumption that no, Sister Amala didn't know anything, which had his instincts point toward the opposite conclusion. He squeezed the other hunter's hand to transfer this sentiment. Amala raised a light brow at this, either on to his suspicion, or offended at something that could be interpreted as intimacy, or both.

"No." Amala said, eyes directed at Lydia. "But a lot of people come here with a lot of names." She reached out to touch Lydia's shoulder, bringing her along, away from Oleyo. Or that seemed to be the plan. He thought of before, when she had been too averse to his touch to let him help her. It must be a matter of some gravity if she sought it out herself.

He would never know the answer. A deafening clap was heard from above. The three looked at the sky. The bridge high above them had cracked. Another thundering burst and the side of the bridge broke, stone and glass. A part from the falling debris, a golden armor, giant, hurled toward the garden. It recast the sun as it spun. Oleyo realized he'd let go of Lydia's hand and commanded the shield on his shoulder down for him to grasp instead. Beyond the armor, in the hole it had fallen from, he could see a shadow with a face. A sword caught the light that bounced off the golden suit in the air. This must be the shadowy stranger the merchant had spoken of, and the head-turner Amala was on about.

"Dhampir." he said, squeezing the handle of his shield just as the armored creature hit the side of a fountain, crushing it to let the water flood the gilded war-suit. "Mutant." he said when the creature stood, revealing his armor to have been scratched and cut in places, and its reptilian head. The Dhampir looked down at the three on the path, and the former adversary, already standing and hissing back at the sky. The pale one above vaulted himself up through the hole to stand on its roof, where he then threw himself out, his large cape catching the wind to let him flutter over the walls and into the city.

"I think he might know a Gregory or a Wallace." Amala said calmly when the Dhampir was out of sight. She let go of Lydia and walked toward the mutant, unafraid. "Perhaps you should pursue." she suggested. Oleyo followed Amala. He didn't know her vows or what she thought she knew about the mutant, but he did not look like someone with a friendly response, even to a sister with a helping hand. He nodded toward Lydia over his shoulder, if she decided to hunt the Dhampir alone.

--

D had an easy time navigating through the air. In fact, he had no trouble landing on his horse, boots on the saddle, before he slid down, mounting it. It was a quiet ordeal. His sword was sheathed and the book he'd wanted was in a pocked in his cape. The cybernetic animal strolled through the street with little worry. A powerful entrance, perhaps, but a quiet one.

"You should have killed him." Left Hand muttered against the reign. D didn't answer. Between the armor and the scales he'd given it a good try. The blow had simply made a hole in the wall, instead.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 21, 2015, 07:09:58 am
‘Artemis Order?’

What a curious thing to come out of the Sister’s mouth. Lydia had never heard of this Artemis in all her travels, and it didn’t place itself as familiar when she looked at the statue. Oleyo squeezed her hand and she returned her attention to the little nun, noting her expression before the eyebrow raised. ‘So you may know a little.’ The question was how to get it out of her. Perhaps it was only that someone else had come asking, but even so, any information was useful.

When the nun moved to bring Lydia along, Lydia hesitated just a second. The pull was to take her from Oleyo, and they’d not agreed to that. However, before anything could be spoken of, silently or otherwise, a distraction drew all eyes. A figure in gold fell. A shadow remained above.

Oleyo let her hand go, and Lydia stepped away from the nun, already anticipating how this was going to play out. The shadowy one was hers, since even from afar he looked more peaceful—albeit, more powerful. Of course, that was fine by Lydia. Oleyo would deal with the brute, as was his habit and custom.

“Dhampir?” Lydia repeated, looking to Oleyo as he said it with clear interest. “D, then.” If a Noble was here to be hunted, and a dhampir on the case, there was only one name, one man, who would be involved. She took a look to confirm it, as if a look would, but he was falling out of her sight by then. “I’ll see you soon,” she said to Oleyo, for there was little time, and he’d chosen his mark.

Lydia sprinted down the path and towards an archway that would take her out of the beautiful gardens, and away from the church. A figure with a tail ran by her, but she ignored the catty one in her pursuit of another. She could estimate the direction the figure fell, and she was certain she was fast enough to keep up with him. Arrogance told her as much, fights with the Nobility added to her confidence.

What she hadn’t expected was a horse, and she saw the shadow upon one, some yards away, when she rounded the wall to where he would have landed. ‘Not at a gallop yet.’ So would he run if called to? Lydia took a few running steps herself to catch up and close some of the distance.

“Wait!” The only way to know was to find out, and she jogged to catch up, “Wait, D!” Perhaps the use of his name by unfamiliar lips might make him pause.

The blood in her veins demented and disturbed the tattoos quicker, adrenaline high. ‘D’ had been the name constantly on the lips of the one who created her.

“It was His only success, but I’ll show Him. I’ll be better.”


Her creator had spoken with such reverence towards Him.

~***~

The catty one was black of skin with white hair, white ears, white tails—for she had two—white knees and white elbows. Her mischievous orange eyes had seen the fall of debris only after the sound of it twitched her ears. “Mm, what now?” Lady Amaranth liked the church, and so did Aila.

Usually Marshall roamed this area, when Pello didn’t. The two butted heads too often, so Amaranth gave Pello the honor of guarding the church more often than not since it was so dear to her.

It was Pello’s day, if Aila recalled right. No matter who, this required investigation, and so Aila left her post walking the roofs of the market to run full tilt towards the church. She passed by another mutant on her way, though not one of Amaranth’s. Her hair was pretty and long, and Aila was almost tempted to dart back and flick it for fun, but she kept on target long enough to find herself within the garden.

The sights and sounds showed three—a Sister, Pello, and a stranger. Though she was smaller than all of them, her reaction was to bare claws and demand of the stranger, “Did you do this?” Though one look at the stranger made her think that wasn’t possible. What man with such a pretty scarf would do such a thing? She wondered how tough that fabric was. “Pells?” She’d prefer his answer to a stranger’s, anyway, and her twin tails flicked side to side, indecisive.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 21, 2015, 07:51:34 pm
Oleyo had flashed a look at Lydia when she named the flying shadow. He would have to ask her about it later. They had worked with each other enough times that this division went smoothly. She was gone soon, to do what they agreed she would, and he was left, in turn, to see this situation through. He'd only barely registered the feline form, his attention mainly on the brave or insane Amala, moving closer to the lizard man. Oleyo stayed close to her, shoulders dropped but legs ready and shield still on his arm. She might think she knew this thing, but it did not seem in its best mindset.

He could see Amala was upset with the broken fountain. Her cheeks colored to the best of their ability. The reptilian thing, standing a head taller than Oleyo, narrowed its eyes at her. The kind of animosity nurtured over several meetings, and perhaps arguments, could be felt in the air. She inhaled to scold him, but before she could do so, and he could react in whatever physical way he'd choose, the feline spoke.

The lizard waved his arm at the cat. "Someone like The Lady Amaranth, Aila! Sucker punched me and ran away like a gecko!" he said with an increasingly distorted voice, man and something more primal. Oleyo looked from one mutant to the other. The situation was tense, but most of it seemed directed away from Amala. This would not last. "I'll go after him. Bring him back in confetti." Pello muttered and started for the archway Lydia had used.

As he passed Amala, she caught a plate in his distressed armor, wedged her fingers between it and its neighbor to pull him to a stop. It was mostly out of surprise that the large mutant halted to look down at the woman.

Pello didn't mind the sisters or the brother's much. They didn't disturb him on his duties. This one, however, he'd known to be more audible than the others. While he didn't crave her respect or fear, he sure would have preferred to have them now, that she seemed to think she held some kind of demand over him. "Let go." he warned. "I have to hunt for the damned dhampir."

"You can. Just after you've fixed the fountain. How do you suppose we pay tribute if the way to our goddess is broken?" she asked as she yanked the plate she was holding. Pello did not feel it.

Oleyo had come close now, just behind Amala. This would not work out the way she wanted, pre established relationship or not. His attention was divided between the large lizard hybrid and the cat a few steps away.

--

He had felt a presence follow him. He could hear it in the rhythm of the steps, how they set themselves apart from others here by their urgency. Not hostile, though. He'd kept on riding until she'd spoken his name. The horse stopped, but he did not dismount. D looked over his shoulder, and his eyes lanced through the shade provided by his hat to take in her form. The horse turned to have him facing the woman. The patterns on her changed. A peculiar thing. Magic, or science. It had a familiar composition.

"Who are you?" he asked, lifting his chin to have the hat away from his features, a bit of courtesy in exchange for the information he'd requested.

She recognized him, he saw. It seemed to be deeper than hearing about him. Was she someone he'd met in the past, grown up? It didn't look like vengeance, not so dark, but it didn't look like affection either.

--

Pello didn't take well to Amala's terms. He made this known by swinging his free arm at her, like a man would a fly. Oleyo darted forward quickly, arm bent to receive the blow on his tilted shield, directing the energy over his head to make sure the nun wasn't hurt. The turn of Pello's body had freed him from her hold, and despite her warning before, Oleyo took that opportunity to push her back. She of course stumbled from the force and found herself at what could be considered a safe distance.

"Not in the mood!" Pello yelled as he brought his arm down again, to collide once more on the glass shield. Oleyo slid the plate along the giant limb after he'd stopped it, until the sharp glass edge found a spot of exposed chainmal in Pello's armpit. The reptile hissed, angry at the cut that had been mostly absorbed by the little weave of rings, and used his other hand to slap Oleyo back with devastating force. The sound of the big hand impacting against Oleyo's side was a dull metal clang, suggesting he had his own armor. It wasn't enough to eat all of the impact, though, and Oleyo was thrown in a large arc, back. "Get him!" Pello said.

As Oleyo twisted to brace himself to roll on the ground, he realized that Pello had sent in him a direct trajectory toward the cat. With limited options, he decided to curl up in the air, behind his shield.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 21, 2015, 09:32:21 pm
There was no question when the man on the horse lifted his chin to take some of the shadows away, that this was D. ‘That’s it. That’s what she looks like.’ Though marble and feminine, Lydia realized immediately why the statue of Artemis had seemed familiar. There was a look to her that was akin to D, which was akin to the Sacred Ancestor. Growing up underneath that portrait, Lydia couldn’t mistake it.

A heat rose to her cheeks that no portrait could inspire, causing the intricate marks on her face to seem to bleed ink over the red, uncertain of how to flow.

The dhampir was as inhumanly and inmutantly handsome as the rumors suggested, and in spite of herself Lydia acknowledged it. It didn’t halt her tongue, “I’m Lydia Tepes,” she offered the surname to him. It likely went without saying that she was another hunter, but even so she wouldn’t say it.

A hand went to her hip, and the other gestured outwards and back towards the church. “The little nun said you knew of Gregory and Wallace.” She’d state those intentions instead, “I’m curious if you know them, or if we’re on the same path.”

~***~

Aila’s tails flicked quicker at the mention of another. A dhampir? She had heard of those. They were on the lips of Amaranth now and then, a thing desired but never created in Amaranth’s own womb. Considering how the woman created so many other things, it was a wonder she didn’t venture to birth her own creations, too.

The foolish sister grabbed hold of Pells, and Aila laughed aloud at her demand, “Do you think he knows a hammer from a nail?” There was mockery in Aila’s question as the giggles continued. She might have said more, but Pello did something stupid. He tried to strike the little nun.

Aila winced. Amaranth would not be happy with this show of violence towards one so weak. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” The cat shrieked at him, but he only shot her an order.

A cat doesn't take orders unless it can be convinced it was it's own idea.

Her ears laid back at it, the tails twitched viciously. He threw the man with the pretty scarf, and the cat instead flung herself towards the ground, rolled into a ball, and rose to her feet between Pello and the woman who had earned his ire. She was all raised hair and bared fangs, but at Pello. “Marshall will hear of this,” more a threat than Amaranth in the moment, for Marshall had little love of Pello. “Go after your dhampir and maybe he’ll pardon you, Pelly,” she used Pelly when she was angry with him. The names became increasingly feminine or childish when she was upset.

For Amala, she’d let her know that lady Amaranth would know of this fountain issue. No doubt, Amaranth would part with her funds to have it restored quickly, but Pello was not someone who could fix things. He fixed problems, but not of the building sort. He was into destruction.

~***~

Marshall had only just left Amaranth and knew to return two hours before dusk. He was unnerved after the parting, not simply because there was a Noble threat. He was unnerved because as the body of the merchant had continued to shift, and she’d started to cut into it, she had asked him something so simple:

“When was the last time you saw a dragon?”


With his answer that it hadn’t been long, and it hadn’t been far, she had told him to arrange a hunting party for that night. They were going to find some, and they were going to bring them in—alive, if possible.

This new creature that Amaranth wanted to create would be an intelligent dragon, the mind of a human would ensure that. It would be one as enthralled with her as the rest of her guards, bitten once and cherished forever. The thought of going after a dragon had Marshall on edge, though. ‘I don’t know why you want to come.’ The fire alone was enough of a threat to Amaranth that Marshall had tried to protest, but to no avail.

“I must show I can pull my own weight in protecting the people, too. It has been too long since I’ve honed my skill.”

There was no arguing when a red-head decided something, and it seemed bloodlust had caught up with Amaranth. They would be hunting dragons that night, ‘And who should come?’ Pello was the first to come to mind. Marshall wanted to make the party one of brutes, rather than one of speed. Those who could ensure the Lady wasn’t burned to a crisp from this bout of insanity.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 22, 2015, 12:56:29 pm
Oleyo was both impressed and relieved by how swiftly the cat bolted into a ball, rolling away from where he'd land. The restraints on the side of his body, concealed by the ever flowing scarf, were still ringing with the blow Pello had dealt him when he planet his boots on the ground. By the sound of their conversation, if that's what you'd call it, the other mutants did not agree on the next course of action. Again he reached for and retrieved Amala. She was as displeased as ever, but couldn't stop it from happening.

The scales on Pello's muzzle gathered to the middle, a hard snarl showing thin teeth when the cat threatened with Marshall. "Who's afraid of that dog!" he replied, annoyed. Her point was probably not that this would lead to a fight with the werewolf, Pello had made it known he liked that, looked for that, but rather Amaranth's disapproval. The part of his mind that wasn't furiously coldblooded had him make the same waving motion toward Aila that had all but toppled the nun. He did not grace the cat, though.

There was reason somewhere in what she'd said, and eventually the scales unlatched themselves from the middle of his face to go back to their usual formation, a little angrier, perhaps, when he huffed and flicked his tongue out, passing his furry comrade. "If you're not going, then I'll bloody well have to, won't I?" he said, making an excuse to leave this situation and pursuit the one who had thrown him to the ground. "Tell Marshall I'm doing his job if I'm not back when he needs a report." he jabbed at no one present.

The residual anger was let out with a roar into the stranger's face as he passed him and the nun behind him. The breath of that loud, empty threat was enough to blow back the hood still on the stranger's head. Pale, well composed bones. Weren't they all, today? Pello followed the direction he'd seen the dhampir descend, more than happy to push and toss people out of his way.

--

Her marks mingled with a familiar blush. It was nothing he hadn't seen before. The recognition was still there, deeper than fleeting gossip, and that was more unusual. She did not carry herself in a threatening way. Left Hand chewed on the rein before spitting it out so that D could dismount. He came to stand by the woman to listen to her.

"I know of them." he said. "They are missing." There was a price on them. He'd not directly been hired by the uncle of Wallace, but the merchant had been one of the contributers to the first fee of this mission. A handful of people had pooled their money to hire the dhampir. He was to retrieve anyone he could, and collect from individuals accordingly afterward. How could the hunter say no to such desperate, hopeful efforts? "I am looking for them, among others."

Her name stayed in his mind. Left Hand was purring at the implications while D stood there, quietly lamenting what her existence meant. "Tepes." he repeated. "Where are you from?"

--

Oleyo, with his hood off, looked to the feline now that Amala was safe. As the nun scurried to the broken side of the fountain, her shoes stepping on wet stone and drowned grass, he came to the twin tailed mutant. She had been instrumental in sending the lizard away, but Oleyo didn't hope she would be an ally. Still, he preferred not to threaten someone who might have information. The shield crept from its battle perch on his forearm to sit back on his shoulder.

"I don't suppose you know anything of a Wallace and Gregory?" he asked. How would he begin to extract information from a cat? All he could come up with, standing there, was to make his voice slightly aloft, to feign disinterest in whether she'd answer or not.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 22, 2015, 05:12:52 pm
Aila had to hold her ground to the last second. One sign of relenting and Pello would take it. He was difficult to work with, because she loved him in the way a younger sister loved a headstrong brother. He was absolutely infuriating at times, and she let out a breath when he started to vanish. Her tails lost their rigidity and her ears relaxed, perked up again.

She laughed to mask her anxiety. “Oh that boy of mine,” she commented to herself before spinning on heel to face Amala and the stranger with the pretty scarf. He was a sight with his flowing, green hair. She wondered briefly if he was with the light-haired mutant she’d not seen before.

However, her attention was to go to Amala, “Sis,” she thought it was affectionate. No doubt, others thought it blasphemous, “Which fountain was this? I can tell the Lady and she’ll have it restored, you know.” Amaranth funded the faith quite well, though she’d fix up anything destroyed in her town as soon as possible. She couldn’t be a good ruler if she let senseless destruction remain that way.

Then the pretty man spoke to her and she turned her focus to him. His tone was disinterested, and it caused her to wrinkle her nose as she recalled the two. She’d only committed Gregory to memory.

“Hey there, kitty.”

“Were they those annoying frontiersmen that came in?”

There was a mistake in answering that Aila acknowledged after the words were out, but the men had really annoyed her. One of them had dared to grab hold of one of her tails, and she’d launched claws into his face. After that they’d been keen to leave. “If they were, they made their way out a bit ago.” That was a lie and she knew it, but the truth wasn’t something she was allowed to tell.

~***~

Lydia had not expected the dhampir to dismount. Had she been of sane mind, she would have taken a step away from him. She was not of sane mind, though, and so she did not back away from him, but took delight in his attention to her words. He, too, was looking for Gregory and Wallace. ‘Others?’ It was almost a word on her tongue, but he repeated her name.

Surname. Then he asked from where she hailed. She lifted a hand and waved dismissively back, “A town once called Sighisoara in the north,” there was the ring of an accent there, a harshness to the ‘s’ that had not been present when she spoke previously.

It vanished just as quickly. There was a focus that she needed to retain, and Sighisoara was no longer. The Noble in his castle was no longer, so far as Lydia knew, though it hadn’t been by her hand. It had been by those who would show her to Barberoi, by those who would start her life with Oleyo. “What did you find at that church, D? We have the same goals here, it seems.”
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 22, 2015, 07:03:03 pm
Amala looked over at the cat as her dress drunk up water from the puddle she was kneeling in, while she examined the sharp edges of broken rock where Pello had landed. "It's not the one in the chapel," that only had water when it wasn't moist enough with sacrifice "but it is still important. Many of the hardest working people prefer the gardens. Say it is the western one, and they'll know." she said as she stood up by pushing the edge of the stone, still intact.

Oleyo thought it looked quaint for the woman to compromise her clothes like that, someone so rigid, for such a good cause. She really believed in her belief, and in her role. The cat had answered him, and he thought he'd somehow deciphered what might and might not work with it. This would not be an easy well of knowledge, though. He tried to note what facial changes she underwent when she lied, nothing ever left this city, after all, but hadn't had the wits to search before the lie was over.

"Thank you." he said and reached inside his scarf to pull out a strip of jerky. Since it was from lizard, it might be in bad taste, but he wanted to endear himself to this mutant, at least enough that she might speak instead of attacking him, next time they saw each other. "Here, for your trouble." he said and moved closer, holding out what he considered to be a treat.

--

Sighisoara in the north. This mutant and her moving palette of colors was more than she said. Left Hand had his suspicions, and would share them later, to be abrasive as usual, but for now the helpful parasite kept quiet. He could discern no cunning in her voice, at least not of the malicious variety, when she asked about what he had found. He remembered a particular blond on a singlewheel cycle that had also wanted his prey. This was different. Lydia was not lashing out at the world in the same way.

"Ancestry of enemies. As always it is hard to determine what is history and what is pressing." he answered, honestly. Someone named Tepes should know what this might imply. "Do you know about your own ancestors?" he asked.

He wasn't about to get an answer when familial anger imposed itself on the scene and the scattered city folk became even more so when the giant, green headed Pello turned the corner to see the two. Even the cybernetic horse was upset by the presence of the other animal. D lifted his eyes slowly from Lydia to see the coming monster.

"Hunter!" Pello bellowed as he continued to stomp up dust on his way to his vengeance. His intention was known when he drew swords again. "I want to take your head back to my mistress." he said. D passed Lydia and pulled his own sword at the still distant threat.

"Tell Amaranth she will have to wait for my head." he tested.

"Tell her yourself, I'll be sure to leave your lips when I bring you!" the lizard confessed without knowing it. D had gotten what he needed, then, and swiftly stepped back and sheathed his sword as he swung a leg up on his horse. He turned the mount just as Pello was getting to swinging. As D started moving away to have the angry creature follow, he tossed a book to Lydia.

"If we have the same goals." he said before kicking the horse in to a speed that the golden clad could follow. Eventually he'd just ditch the follower, when no one else could be hurt by his belligerence. Left Hand would not be happy that he'd given away the historical records in prose to the hunter. D mostly wondered if Pello would pass her without toppling her.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 22, 2015, 07:24:32 pm
Aila memorized the words that Amala spoke. They would be important to report. She liked the gardens, too. This mess was wholly unacceptable. The water was getting everywhere. She sincerely hoped Pello put his strength against the one at fault. He was angry enough to destroy whoever did this, certainly.

Then, a treat was offered. Her tails paused a moment in their twitching, and her eyes lit up at the smell of the lizard. She knew what it was, for she snacked on them now and then when she walked the market.

Oh yes, it was in bad tastes, but all cats had a dark sense of humor and a fit of laughter overtook her at the sight of it.

Well, she did like to eat lizards. She liked him all the more for it. Claws still out, she used them to puncture the treat in her attempt to grasp it, as well as give a test bat at the scarf that drew so close. She was so curious about the material and the way it would move against her. Would it have weight? Would it instead be like batting air?

Aila had to know, much as she had to have the treat. “Well thank you!” She didn’t often get paid by strangers for such petty information.

~***~

It was important to know one’s enemies. Lydia rarely did such research, since she so often relied on the tried-and-true tricks. Sunlight, poison blood, and Oleyo’s taunts had made the duo deadly. Often all three were utilized, if they could catch the Noble during the day. Even so, she understood how it was useful. She had to learn what worked to hunt vampires, after all.

His question caught her off guard. ‘Ancestors?’ It was on the tip of her tongue to say she didn’t have any, but in truth Lydia had no idea if that was the truth. She had no childhood and no adolescence that she remembered. She was created, grown, so far as she knew—although the man who made her had always found something humorous about the surname, too. She imagined it his joke when he named her, indeed, believed he had named her. “I—”

No answer would come. The brute that Oleyo should have dealt with came back around to them. Lydia glanced at her wrist, opened earlier, to see the wound had closed. She moved to place a nail gingerly over the scab. She’d tear it open if she needed to.

It seemed at first, it would not be necessary. D chose to flee rather than fight, and he threw a book to Lydia on the ‘condition’ they were on the same side. She caught it, removing nail from scab, and then folded it under an arm. Lydia did not call to him on the off chance it might allow her to escape the brute without a fight.

Drawing little attention was a strategy that was difficult to employ. She half-hoped the brute would chase the shadow, and she could leisurely stroll on back towards the church. She even made the attempt to walk back to the church, and drew her hand back to her wrist.

‘Just in case.’


The blood came fresh at the pull of the nail against the scab. 
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 23, 2015, 09:13:26 pm
Oleyo kept an eye on her claws when they waved closer to his hand. It never really felt threatening, but he couldn't be careful enough with his last hand. He had the impulse to pull in the dried meat to have the cat come closer, a game he liked to play with any animal, but decided against it. He didn't know what feline traits this mutant retained. Perhaps she'd read it as someone stealing her food. He let go promptly and watched the strip hang in her her natural weapons.

"You're very welcome." he said when he saw her interest in his scarf. It was a durable material, though wear had made it lighter than it had been when he bought it. Tendrils of the fabric waved below his elbow. He saw her claw shred a few more. How familiar. "It's a good weave. Not kevlar, but it's heavy duty, or used to be." he said as he used his now freed hand to hold up a tail of the gray fabric to waved it over her. It could pass as both showing off the material, or entice her to play, all disguised in small talk. If she was transfixed, or just overly interested, he was hoping more information would slip.

"Where are good places to go if you're a frontiersman and haven't made your way out?" he asked, still twirling the fabric above the mutant.

--

D saw the warrior in gold hitch in his stride when he passed the woman. She'd not done anything to offend, but Pello had seen her receive the book. With a quick tug to the side, the horse made a sound, and when the lizard man looked his way, D looked back, pulling his sword to have it drag along the ground as the mount kept moving him forward. Pello couldn't take this, with his anger and pride, and hurried after the horse and its horseman. They did not wait for the dragon to catch up before raising their speed. Eventually the hole in the crowd that the meeting had created started to mend, and no one really cared or looked twice at the woman with the dancing marks.

--

Amala realized soon that there was little she could do to fix the damage herself. She buttoned her sleeve around the bandage and came over to watch the green haired stranger play with Aila. There was a small smile on her face as she crossed her arms, the wet spots on her dress cooling in the considerably beautiful weather. The sister thought of stepping in, give a good schuss at the cat, but decided to see how much silver was on Oleyo's tongue, and how much information it would buy him. Usually her talents to protect the secrets of the city were appreciated by the silent ruler. Amala didn't know why she allowed this much freedom to the rude, crude hunter.

--

Left without the horseman, Pello hissed. He knew these streets, and yet somehow the dhampir had outmaneuvered him. It didn't help that every corner hosted a dark silhouette to confuse. After licking his wounds, and toppling a stand of ornaments, he decided to salvage what he could of the situation, and stomped all the way to Her castle.

He searched for her in her more secluded chambers. Servants were of no help, mentioning only that Marshall was looking for him concerning a hunt. Those servant were sent away with as much sentiment as he'd swatted the gray hood before, that they may tell Marshall themselves where Pello was. He intended to bring a piece of information to her that the wolf did not have. A dhampir with a long sword. She should want to know. Perhaps he'd tell richly of that, and how he fought to hold the dhampir back, and then speak very little of his fall onto the fountain.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 23, 2015, 10:14:06 pm
The strands of fabric pulled apart at the touch of her claws, and it caused her grin to widen. She took the meat, stuck on a claw, and promptly put it into her mouth. It was devoured in seconds as he commented on his fabric, and her eyes followed the string that dangled before her.

Was it permission?

Was he showing off?

A tentative hand lifted to bat it, and she’d go by his reaction as she answered, not at all looking at him as her attention remained fully engrossed with the queer fabric before her. “Probably a bar or a diner near the entrance. Food for the road. Maybe he wanted to rest at an inn near the entrance.” It suggested they were on their way to be close to the entrance and exit of the town, but Aila would never call it an exit. It wasn’t, after all.

There was a gasp from somewhere behind, but Aila didn’t need to look back. She knew the sound of that voice, and would have laughed if she weren’t so interested in the string.

Marshall stood now in the garden, having been directed there by others to find Pello—he was supposed to be on duty here. The lupine now stood, aghast at the destruction and the calm scene before him.

~***~

Pello had considered coming after her, this Lydia saw. However, the dhampir played knight and distracted him with a silent taunt. ‘Well, well.’ Lydia wondered how Oleyo was going to react to this. It wasn’t often that Lydia took interest in anyone but him, after all. To say she liked someone was bound to shock her partner.

Lydia almost reveled in the idea.

However, she needed good reason. She paused before getting back to the church and decided to look at the book in her hand. It was a maroon cover. Love-Lies-Bleeding was the title, and Lydia wondered it if was a novel before she opened it and found, instead, it was a history of one Lady Amaranth Landor.

The name Amaranth was being tossed around, and Pello had said she was the mistress here, so Lydia decided to read on.

‘Curious.’ The early history section did not begin with family, Lydia noticed. It made it clear that Amaranth was Noble, but there was no mention of a tie. In fact, Lydia didn’t know the name Landor at all. It spoke of a place called Greece, long since forgotten to human history. It spoke of her own devotion to an Artemis, but the image in the book was also just like a feminized Sacred Ancestor. ‘No wonder the church has this book, then.’ Amaranth must be a patron of it.

Artemis the huntress liked blood, too. Small wonder.

Lydia couldn’t help but think as she skimmed the pages that something was missing. There was no childhood. There was no growth. There was just Amaranth the woman, the Noble.

‘Noblesse Oblige.’ was written as the title of chapter two, and it spoke of the destruction of 1999 which so many Nobles had survived, and of their ability to rebuild society. It began to outline the city of Euboea. There were maps of it through its history and its expansions. There was talk of the church, and talk of technological advancements made by Amaranth, most of which seemed in the realm of biology and medicine. Everyone knew nobles created many of the mutants, but it seemed Amaranth got to take the honors for making the ‘meat beasts’ what they were today—cattle and not weapons. There was a depiction of them, too, as Lydia kept flipping pages, now idly walking along but not on the path back to the church, head down and eyes in the book.

The third chapter was the downfall of the Nobility, and Lydia paused on the page for a moment. The quote was familiar.

Transient Guests Are We.

‘Did you know the Sacred Ancestor personally?’
Though, Lydia supposed, it wasn’t necessary. If she had, certainly it would be in the book, wouldn’t it? That quote was just his most famous one, a reminder to all vampires that they were temporary and their time would come. All things had their rise and their decline.

When the nobility forgot this and abused their position above humanity, they fell.

This chapter was devoted to explaining how Amaranth avoided that fall. This chapter was her Res Gestae and reason for being. This was why Euboea stood the test of time. There was condemnation in this chapter towards those vampires who forgot their place. Whoever penned this either took from Amaranth's views personally, or knew them well.

Lydia glanced back to see who the author was, but found the name offered no insight, either. Rigel Hesperus was not a name she knew.

~***~

Servants were useful in carrying information. One went to Amaranth in her lab to whisper in her ear that Pello had arrived and was looking for. Amaranth found that curious, so soon after Marshall had left, and sent the servant to fetch Pello and let him know to meet her in the library before the lab.

All the while, her eyes never left the thing before her. It couldn’t quite be called human any longer, nor even humanoid. The changes were what possessed her to need actual dragons. The heart had expanded and eaten the veins around it. The ribs melded into it, creating a casing to hold the heart. The brain had destroyed the head, and Amaranth had to act quickly to ensure it wouldn’t be destroyed by the exposure to the elements. The flesh had become scales, but the rest of it had grown too much for the flesh to contain. Weaving it into a larger body would be the next step.

Threads and glass held this one together now, allowing her to see into it without cutting into it. It continued to breathe, and the heart continued to beat. It was still alive, but Amaranth worried. ‘Naught to be done till night.’

That was the most frustrating thing. She’d not given up attempts to walk in the sun, but none had been successful thus far.

Amaranth washed her hands not in running water, but with antibacterial soap alone. She cleansed them of the scent through a dry cloth and then walked out to her library to meet with Pello and learn what brought him here. 
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 24, 2015, 06:31:36 pm
His game had earned Oleyo another thread to follow. He continued to swirl and move the fabric, now that it had proven effective, ready to extract more information from the feline mutant as she chewed on the meat and was amused by the dancing cloth. Her opposite showed up to cut this session short. A mutant of wolf variety, and with it a less pliable nature. Oleyo's hand stopped as he looked at the new creature, which of course let Aila shred the little piece she'd been batting at but not catching until now.

He looked at the nun, who seemed amused by the entire situation, despite her efforts of concealing it. He took it as a sign not to worry. In the Barberoi werewolves were plentiful. Popular with anyone who had the money for one, and an ideal pack leader for those who had even more. Oleyo would have to assume that this one worked with both the cat and the lizard. "Well," he started. "it seems he made a mess here." to deflect suspicion of himself. He'd not done any of this, of course, but he'd rather this be stated quickly so that the wolf wouldn't prod further.

For what Oleyo knew of this race, though, they had good noses, in ever sense of the expression. Oleyo wasn't one to get nervous over a job, but he'd seen canine partners work as lie detectors and picking up untruths even when the person didn't know they were being untruthful themselves. Between the cat and the dog, he would have a hard time coming out alive out of this, if it came to a battle. Exit strategies were already forming, and even the consideration of using his second, locked away limb.

--

Amala was pleased with Marshall's reaction. This was as much of a scene as he seemed to think. Pello, the hard simpleton, had just walked away. The werewolf cared for the things that its master cared for. The sister came over quickly, feet still wet, and waved the wolf in. "Yes, as you can see, your dragon guard fell from the bridge to the library." she pointed to the hole in the connecting, stone limb above. "And crushed all of that fountain. The drainage is intact, so I guess if we can mend the wall, the people can still sacrifice. But look at the mess."

She didn't raise her voice despite being distraught. No need with this one. He'd do what he felt was right whether she was upset or not. This was true even when she disagreed. Good thing that she didn't today.

--

Pello looked around the library from where he stood. It was a big thing, worthy of being tucked away. A ruse as well as useable well of knowledge. If someone broke in, they could very well assume this was the sanctum and not look further. A way to protect the labs, if need be. He could understand things like these when he saw them, knew them, but he wasn’t one for such finery. He had once bitten through a factory born diamond with his teeth. He did not feel the need for such long deceptions.

He swallowed back the chemicals afforded to him by his construction, designed to ignite. The formula was imperfect, unable to burn until ridden of his saliva. At best, it became a kind of poison if he decided to bite into his enemy. Unfortunately, it had also been known to be an effective disinfectant in small amounts. So mostly he had to be content with this, an industrial broth in his mouth every time he was angry or excited. Good thing that he could not breathe fire today. He didn’t suppose he had so much of Amaranth’s favor that she’d forgive him for turning a section or all of her books into ash because of his state of mind.

Eventually she granted him audience. It was not his place to rush her. What is a mother and employer? His chest straightened in his armor and his feet came closer together. It was more out of habit than respect, it was more comfortable to give her every courtesy he'd been taught. She would of course be curious as to why he’d wanted to see her.

“I got attacked! I was going to the tower of records and there was a dhampir in the opening.” He said without needing her to ask. “Tall and dark, pretty, like you.” He said before thinking better of it. “But not like you. That is to say—it was a dhampir. Blue pendant, striped scarf. He tried to cut me with a long sword but instead threw me out the bridge and down into a fountain.” He huffed. “Those things are so fragile.” A hand came to his armpit, still cut but the blood was coagulating. The green hair flashed before his vertically slit eyes. Sometimes Amaranth advised him against things that were rightfully his, like vengeance. He wouldn't mention this, then. “Aila saw it. It wasn’t my fault. Then he ran like a coward.”

He didn’t omit the parasite on D’s hand willfully. The details presented were simply the ones he thought mattered.

“Didn’t see Wolfie anywhere, either. He should do his job.” He muttered, forgetting completely that the church was his area of responsibility if he in fact was on guard there at the time of an incident.

--

Said dhampir was outside the particular entrance Pello had used to go to his mistress. D quietly took in the structure, looking for weaknesses in its security. The horse knew to stand still. Left Hand was not so cooperative.

“You just showed your hand, no pun, to the competition, D. Do we really need that?” he asked his host. D scanned the windows and the guards on the walls. Not too many, but he’d say they were well placed. “And that Amaranth. Do you think she’d hide behind those walls during the day?” Left Hand continued, receiving as much response as he usually would. “And what are you going to do when she comes out again? Are you just going to stand here and hope you’ll do well without the element of surprise? How’s your sun resistance these days, D? Are you feeling great?” The increasingly frustrated parasite continued.

Eventually D had gotten enough of what he came for, and had the horse take them back into the shadows.

“Good talk.” Left Hand muttered.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 24, 2015, 08:36:42 pm
Aila shredded the fabric to her glee, though as Amala moved and Oleyo answered, she knew her fun was over. A pout crossed her dark face, but she turned to Marshall as Amala talked. His golden eyes, the same hue as Amaranth’s own, moved to Aila as Amala talked.

Aila gave a nod to confirm what was said. “So where is Pello?”

“He went after the dhampir.” That was it, then, the scent that didn’t belong under the sun. His eyes widened, his ears perked up more. “Eh? What is it?” Aila didn’t see that reaction too much, something with fear. Marshall wasn’t often afraid. He didn’t have reason to be.

“There’s a dhampir in town?”

Aila gave a nod, “Yeah, I guess.”

Her ignorance didn’t surprise Marshall, but he wanted to curse over it all the same. He kept his tongue in his mouth for a few seconds to rid it of the words. He shook it off and looked to Amala, “I’ll see this repaired. Aila, you’ll watch this area in Pello’s absence. I’ll go after him.”

Aila clearly didn’t care for the order, and opened her mouth to complain, but thought better when Marshall lifted his chin, daring her to challenge it. “Fiiiiine,” came the words. Marshall took in a breath to gather the direction of the scents he needed, Pello and the dhampir. “But send Pello back soon, this place is boring.”

Marshall gave no answer to that. He looked to the green-haired one. “What is your name, and your business here?” For he didn’t know him, and his scent was unfamiliar. Marshall knew better than to think that was a good thing, given what Amaranth hadn’t said, and what was now within the town.

Lydia stepped into the area as that question was being asked, and wondered if she could hide herself to avoid answering it when the wolf turned around. She tucked herself against the shadows, and held the book close against her chest.

~***~

Amaranth didn’t need to prod or pry. Pello was always forthcoming with information. He usually was. She was not surprised with his words, understood his perspective was flawed and biased. Even so, she was surprised to hear he was attacked, and she let it show in the lift of her eyebrows.

‘Dhampir?’

Now that was a word she hadn’t heard in a long time. Her lips parted just a bit, showing white, as she wondered at the presence of one in her city. She had expected Nobility, not this.

There was little point to asking Pello if he had been attacked, or if he had attacked. It was all the same to her child. The comment on the fragility of the fountain caused her eyebrows to lower, to furrow. She’d have to send a servant out to hire someone to fix it immediately. Accursed daylight. She’d do it herself if she could.

Indeed, as Pello mentioned that Aila had seen it, Amaranth walked to the wall and ran a nail over it. A square opened, and she pressed a button to summon such a servant up here, and then walked back to occupy the center of the room. “Pello, you were on duty at the Church today,” Amaranth reminded. She knew where all of her mutants were, each day.

Marshall had patrol duties that day. “I see that you did your job in attempting to protect the church and the records, and I am pleased with you. I will see that the destruction caused by this dhampir is repaired,” there were ways to talk to Pello to get what she wanted, “I would like to see this dhampir, though, alive. It is possible that he was confused or ill when you two crossed paths. The sun is not nice to them, either,” and it was day when they crossed paths.

A servant entered the room then, anxious, but Amaranth did not yet give it any attention, “You do not need to go find him, I would like you to sit so that I may examine your wounds, and then perhaps we can talk about tonight's plans.” She would not demand it of Pello. She was all but certain he’d volunteer.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 24, 2015, 09:47:10 pm
He tensed and his secret slithered, wide-eyed in its cage, when the wolf spoke to the cat. At any point they could turn against him. The secret didn't care, wanted to devour, but the mutant-who-would-be-long-lived did. He'd rather not have bite marks and scratches. The cat's response to the wolf let Oleyo know he'd been right about the suspicion that he was a leader in the group. Between the lizard and this feline it could not be a very easy job.

This dhampir was stirring things up in this city. Dhampir hunters were prolific. The look of this one reminded Oleyo of something they'd heard. Someone who ha left marks even with the Barberoi. They treasured good hunters there. D, as he was known, was a legend.

It was a bit of a relief to know the cat would guard this place. She had accepted him. While this could be fickle, it should be better than having a bloodhound sniffing his trails. His hopes to escape with his identity intact from probing were squandered when the wolf asked pressing questions. "I'm Oleyo." he said, and took a discrete breath to think of what to say next. "I am here looking for friends concerning work. But right now I'm thinking of setting up in an inn." The cat would be able to corroborate, if pressed.

He saw Lydia walk in, and also how she retreated into hiding upon seeing the wolf. He would have to help with that, keep the wolf too occupied to listen to his nose. "Had a little run-in with your Lizard mutant. Moody fellow." he started. That conversation would probably not go anywhere. "You wouldn't happen to have any recommendations on where I could stay, do you?"

--

Some of the subtleties of her expressions were lost on him, but not the slight change of shadows on her face when he mentioned the dhampir. He had been curious what she would think about that, and also hoping she would take great offense that this creature had fought him. His ego was hurt when she did not seem hurt, and even more so when she defended the actions of the dhampir.

Eventually, though, with the promise of his mother's care, his heart lightened, his pride swelling as he nodded all too eagerly. She had made him, she knew what would heal him. While he did not agree to the plan to take the intruder alive, he was rarely in a position to argue. "I'll try." and he would, probably.

He then quickly found a robust seat, a fainting couch actually, that was reinforced enough to support his frame. The carpenters had long since learned some of the furniture delivered to the castle should be sturdier stock.

He pulled off the metal sleeve to have it clanking on the floor. His arm, scale covered, was painted in his blood from the inside. The blood glittered. That green haired nuisance had cut him with that strange, glass weapon. He lifted the limb with an annoyed hiss as he touched his wounded armpit with his still gloved hand. The fight flashed before his eyes. The mutant they did not know had defended himself and dealt this cut. Pello didn't care for fairness, especially not with glass dust in his blood, so in his mind it was all the stranger's fault.

"It's not such a bad cut." he said as he traced the edges. It was a serious thing to be able to cut his armor and scales. He would not admit to that. "Tonight's plans?" he asked, when what she said finally caught up to him.

--

"Why are we here?" Left hand asked.

D was on the ground, leaning against the shadowed corner of an already obscured ally. In here, the sun was a memory.

"Staying out of sight." D replied. Left Hand chuckled.

"I see. It has nothing to do with the family on the other side of that vent, does it?" Left Hand asked. D did not need to lift his head to see the cavity he was talking about. They were sacrificing in this house. An affluent family, with their very own drain to offer their blood to the goddess of this city. The iron and copper scent filtered well out the vent. Of course Left Hand had felt it. "Comon. Why don't you pay them a visit? You'll end up saving many here. They should pay you tribute instead." Left Hand continued.

D dropped his head lower, ignoring the magic eater.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 24, 2015, 10:21:57 pm
Aila was already starting to stalk off to make it look, for all the world, that she was starting her patrol of the area. No doubt, she’d continue it for a while, before either curling up under the sun or in a room in the sun. Despite all the excitement of the day, this wasn’t normal. Peace was the norm, and peace was what Aila expected.

Marshall didn’t acknowledge her movements. He listened to what the mutant had to say, and growled at the mention that he was attacked. Pello, bane of his existence, Pello. He knew why Pello still drew breath, but days like this, Marshall wasn’t happy with that fact. “There are places near the entrance. If you’ve more money,” a once over. He wasn’t certain if the man was a man of money or not. He didn’t exude the air of it, “there are places in the hills,” he made a gesture in the direction, towards the castle but off a bit. There would be evident hills, and no doubt, more greenery than most got to see in their lives.

That was for affluent guests, who later became affluent residents. “I need to go find Pello,” before the trail of the dhampir was lost. He turned on his heel, attention focused on those two scents, and bypassed Lydia entirely.

Lydia didn’t move until the werewolf was out of the area, passed the archway. Then she stepped out from the shadows with a quiet laugh. She held up the book, “He wanted this and yet he gave it to me,” there was a boast in her tone as she approached Oleyo. She’d let him take a look at the book if he reached for it.

~***~

Pello made his promise, but Amaranth knew it would be better to trust Marshall with this. Pello would certainly try, but there was a decent chance the dhampir would be just alive. That, or Pello would find himself no longer living.

Except for a minor doubt she had, when it came to dhampirs and Marshall. She was certain her wolf was jealous, and rightfully afraid of, dhampirs. She was jealous of them. They had the strengths of vampires, and the advantages of humans. She’d never voice it aloud. Nobles weren’t truly meant to know those advantages, but to Amaranth, they were a warm summer’s dream that tortured her daily, when she had loved Apollo more than she had loved Artemis.

“Dusty,” she addressed the woman in rose by nickname, though her steps were taking her to Pello on the couch, “Go to the church of Artemis and check the fountain. See the damage. Then go find one of the construction workers to repair it, and pay them adequately, please.”

Dusty bowed her head, “Yes, ma’am,” and off Dusty went, human and lovely, able to go out into the sun. She’d not been bitten, but employed. That money kept her family affluent enough to live better than most.

Then Amaranth knelt before her child and took hold of his arm. There her expression truly softened, and there she looked hurt as she examined the hurt on Pello. While it was, of course, superficial, it was also not. Anything that could get through his scales was worthy of investigation. Though she wanted to meet the dhampir, she felt a fire kindle in her heart as she saw the blood flowing.

She clicked her tongue on the roof of her mouth. “My dear,” she sighed and shook her head. She knew what to do about it, though. “One moment,” she said as he asked about the plans. She lifted herself from the floor and walked back towards the labs.

It did not take her long to find what she was looking for. The items to heal her children were never hidden—not that anything was. For Pello, there was a syringe to hasten the growth of his unnatural scales on human flesh. There was a pill for his own blood, which never quite clotted to form scabs. The small ones would eventually scar from the heat of his blood, but the larger ones made it more likely that he’d bleed out before that. The needle itself was of diamond to break the skin. Her own strength would be enough to force lesser materials through, but she didn’t want to hurt Pello more than necessary.

Amaranth glided back into the room with the items, the clothes and disinfectants (for him, his own venom worked best), and began to answer, “My newest has broken the flesh of his body,” she explained as she now took a seat by Pello, and again lifted his arm. She wiped away the mess of blood with the clean cloth, and then began to disinfect the wound itself, now that she could see it. “Marshall mentioned he saw a lesser dragon a week or two ago in the farms. I believe there may be a nest not far from the base of the mountains. Tonight, I would like to go and clear it out, and bring back what we can. The newest needs a better body.” She’d move then to grab the syringe to inject the serum into him, but she was not watching for a painful reaction. "I would like you to accompany me. Your strength will be crucial."

Though her eyes were lowered from his face, she was watching to see if there would be jealousy. She’d gauge it and decide how to respond, for she’d already anticipated Pello wouldn’t be happy with a second dragon. After all, there was no second wolf, nor a second cat--well, unless the lion counted, but the lion rarely counted.

~***~

The scents of Pello and the dhampir diverged before the entrance to the castle. Marshall stood there for several seconds, debating the route. ‘Pello went to Amaranth.’ That meant that likely, anything he needed to say to her would be said. It wouldn’t be the best report, but she would handle it.

He huffed, and then turned from the castle to stalk the dhampir instead. That one was more problematic, if only because he was certain it was a hunter. He was also more than certain that Amaranth would want to see it—risky, more risky than dragons. If Marshall could convince it to leave, that’d be the end of it. He knew he’d be chastised, perhaps even demoted, but it was well worth it.

It was breaking all the rules to let a dhampir leave, alive. It’d be worse to kill the dhampir.

All Nobles were creatures of hope. If he lived, Amaranth would hope. If he died….

Marshall came upon the creature in the Hills area, where green grass swayed amidst golden hues. He found him in an alley near a home, and he lifted his hand in a wave.

He didn’t waste his breath with a greeting, though. He said simply, “You need to leave, dhampir, before night.”
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 25, 2015, 06:15:59 pm
It seemed the wolf was sufficiently distracted by the mention of the dragon. In lore the two competed for the role of villain. It seemed correct they have friction in this world. It was enough to either hide or trivialize Lydia’s scent and presence. The cat didn’t mind either. The cat didn’t mind a lot of things. He bowed his head for the advice on where to live. Usually, he was not flush with money, and neither would Wallace or Gregory have been. Oleyo waved his only hand at the wolf when he left.

Lydia flashed a book. She seemed happy about it, almost gleeful. The cat and the nun had gone when he came over to meet her. “It should have some significance, then.” He said and let it fall open in his hand. The title and the pages presented told him of its content, even though he couldn’t really gather any details. “History.” He said and held out the book to the side, so she could turn the page for him as they left the church. “This is big.” He said. It was grand, as any noble record worth its salt, and worrisome. The base of the noble’s continued existence was valid. The city itself, the castle, did well in reinforcing what was written.

“How is it that you came across it?” he asked, looking up from the book. “He went through some ordeal to get it, literally fighting off a dragon. And he just handed it to you?” He was curious, it was a real concern. There was a dark corner to his right eye as he looked her over. “Was it Vampire Hunter D?”

--

Pello was not a gentle creature, but he softened infinitely when Amaranth sat with him, and checked his wound. There was a bit of reluctant agreement when she had to leave again, if only to get what would eventually make him better. He had felt proud when her eyes gave away some attraction to his blood. It was validation as good as any, to the made son.

It was a welcome thing, that she lifted his arm and continued to tend to the wound. The crater had made its own attempt at shutting, edges webbed but not enough to draw the gash to a close. In the beginning, again like some spoiled child, he let her hold the arm up all by herself, but eventually he quickened from this dream, and used his own strength to keep it elevated while she worked equal parts magic and science.

A new sibling. She was always making more. Despite their inevitable impact on his life, Pello would usually not be so involved in them until they were thrust into the hierarchy. He had not had a problem with Marshall to begin with. The needle registered in him when she introduced it to his wound. It didn’t smart as much as the glass shield, and wasn’t anywhere as much of a punishment as the blade of the dhampir had been, even though that hadn’t broken through, but rather tossed him, thanks to his natural and worn armor.

“Dragon.” He said with a huff, as though the thought of something being stronger than him was preposterous. “I’ll bring them all home.” He bragged, scales gathering on the center line of his mussel again, showing teeth at the thought. He liked proving himself, both for his attachment to Amaranth, and to show off Marshall. She had padded his ego well, too. “And then I’ll tend to the dhampir problem.” An afterthought finally struck him. “And that green haired mutant too.”

--

Left Hand was going on about how good it would be to have another parasite to speak to, if only D would sacrifice his right hand, as well. D listened as he waited out the day. He didn’t have the luxury of waiting long. Left Hand quieted around the same time D’s eyes turned to the mouth of the alley. He moved off from the wall. A man that was also a wolf. Amaranth was well set, here. Werewolves were always trouble if they weren’t on your side.

“I will.” He said as he looked at the adversary through the slit between the rim of his hat and his scarf. “If your master leaves as well.” Good instincts on wolves. D preferred to tell the truth. He should be mostly invisible to most eyes in here, but this creature would probably be able to see him rather well. D took a few steps closer. His hands were lax by his side, but the right one was ready to flicker to the sword on his back and bring it down vertically, cutting across the space that the wolf now occupied if any movement was made that could be extended to an attack. The ability of werewolves varied, of course. He wondered about the competence of this one. “Or gives back the people that are missing.”

He preferred to use the sword in battle, and the sword preferred the open space behind the wolf. That first slash would have to do well in creating enough distance that he could continue any exchange. D lifted his head to look at the wolf, half of his face still obscured by the stripes of his scarf.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 25, 2015, 07:10:12 pm
Lydia turned the pages, mostly pausing on the ones with pictures since the text was always in reference to the images. She imagined Oleyo would glean as much as she had from this text, skimming the text for important words or details. “It is, for a Noble with no family,” Lydia pointed out.

Grand texts usually were grander because they spoke of family accomplishments. These were all Amaranth’s own.

Oleyo inquired on how it was gotten, and Lydia’s grin broadened quite a bit when he shifted his gaze to her, to ask if it was D. “It was. There’s no mistaking it.” No hunter worth their salt would mistake D. His position in the hunter world was enviable. “He tossed it to me when our conversation was so rudely broken by that scaled mutant,” there was a touch of disappointment, and perhaps, a touch of blame, in her tone. “But he did just hand it off to me, as you say. We're on the same search, too, for Wallace and Gregory. He's looking for others as well.”

~***~

The stitching began with the huff, and Amaranth smiled. Pello’s ego wasn’t too fragile today. That was good. The smile grew at his promise to bring them all, and she might have laughed in joy were it not for new information.

“Green-haired mutant?” Amaranth inquired, keeping her tone curious rather than suspicious. This one hadn’t been mentioned yet, and no one had come to report on a green-haired mutant. She didn’t ask what he did. Pello would give her that information, now that she’d asked.

Her gaze fell to the wound completely then, though they’d note his posture. Stitching was a business that required focus, for she wanted it to look seamless. She didn’t want anyone to be able to know that this area in particular was tender, and would break easier. Not that anyone would see it under all of Pello’s armor.

Still, she took pride in her work, and this was her work. Pello would look perfect before he left her side.

~***~

There had been a second voice, but as the wolf examined the alley, he didn’t see a second figure. He shook it off for the moment, his focus on the dhampir who said that he would leave, but conditionally.

There was tension in the wolf’s body, and in the dhampirs. “This town is protected by Amaranth. The wastes outside would eat it alive if she left.” Marshall challenged, wondering if the dhampir would be so cold as to prefer that. “As for any people missing to the outside world, they are no longer here, or else have decided to live here.”

That much Marshall believed to be true, even if he also knew it was a half-truth. The missing people were dead, or no longer the people they had once been. Aila and Pello were prime examples of that. If they remembered who they had once been, it did not matter anymore to them. They took to their new roles in life and their new jobs easily.

He could continue the lie, suggest that they were killed en route to their homes or employers, but that would be too defensive. He could tell the dhampir to search high and low, but that would be taken as a challenge, and the dhampir was already doing that. He could say no one was here against their will, and while that was true, it would likely be proven momentarily false if D tried to watch that new mutant, Oleyo. No doubt Oleyo didn’t intend to stay here forever. Marshall would consider it a blessing if he did. That happened. “There is no one to give back, dhampir, so there is no reason to stay.”

If he wouldn’t be reasonable about this, Marshall imagined he’d have to resort to unreasonable tactics himself. He knew, unlike Pello, when he was looking at someone who could match him, though. He was not looking forward to that idea, but his muscles were tensed, particularly his legs. He’d spring. That would be the fastest method, after all, and speed was required against anything even a little bit Noble.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 26, 2015, 02:38:15 pm
Black eyes hardened slightly when he detected the trail of accusation in her voice. He didn't hide his emotions from her, especially when they were about her. He'd not realized that prodding the cat about the mission would have been so dangerous for his partner. Of course it would. The anger lining the frames of his eyes was directed inward. She would know the difference. Every now and then, as they walked, he would hold the book to the side again, so she could continue flip the page for him.

"Competition from D himself." he muttered as he took in the information. "Hopefully we'll fare better than the Markus Brothers." If it sounded as though he thought that one was D's fault, it wasn't so. But the brothers had been on the same mission as the famous dhampir, and failed. It seemed the same tactic they'd employed then could be applied here, though, perhaps with more success. "It could be fruitful. If D's looking for others, then perhaps we could either negotiate for Wallace and Gergory, or he'll do some of the work for us." he blinked as he thought about another way. "Or we could even collaborate." Oleyo looked at Lydia then, closing the book when he really wanted to clench his fist, a little sign of agitation, as he waited for her reaction. She already seemed connected to D.

--

Pello was alright with the needle after the first initial sting. He nodded at her question as he thought back. “Attire not entirely unlike the dhampir, but gray scarf, white armor.” He sneezed at the memory. Compared to the all-black enemy, the mutant had been unoffending, somehow, but still, he was why Pello was now here, being stitched up. “He had a glass shield, chummy with that nun that likes to boss around the other monks and nuns.” Some of the anger was gone from his voice, sensing Amaranth’s concentration, and trying to keep still for her efforts rather than focusing on the anger. “Cut me with his shield of all things.” Which would explain to her the  glass glitter in the blood. “ Think I’ll have him for a light snack, after the dhampir” He cleared his throat. “is captured. And the dragon hunt.” A frown on the reptilian features. “There’s lots I have to do before I get to him. No matter. He’s not important.”

The mutant dragon turned his head slightly to the side, looking at her as she was engrossed in mending him. He wasn’t sentimental about anything but her. His narrow tongue flicked it’s two ends out to taste her air. He didn’t assume that he could touch her with it, so he didn’t. “Don’t worry. I’ll make you proud.” He promised.

--

D listened to the wolf as it spoke. Level-headed leader. He would have preferred a quick-to-anger adolescent. D took another step, controlled. At this distance, if they wanted to, the fight could be one of fisticuffs. A disadvantage for the dhampir’s blade, but not for the handle. He could easily draw the sword and wedge its wooden end into the wolf’s body if need be. No one to give back. It rung truer than the rest. The hat lifted as D fully met the yellow eyes. As always, he would be a wondrous face floating atop a lithe, blackened, armored body.

“I’ve gotten paid already, in part. There is no reason to leave, either.” He said and calmly nodded for the outside, beyond the wolven shoulders, out of this night place during high day. “I’ll go see Amaranth. Perhaps she’s missed someone.” Provocative, but true. He didn’t give the truth if it would hurt his goals, but he didn’t lie when he could help it. If there were people here that the noble had not claimed because they were deemed  not worthy or had yet to cross her path, they could still be saved. If the people paying would hope, then so D had to, until he could prove the opposite. Anything less would be a poorly executed job.

He made to walk past the wolf. A dangerous thing. All  his senses became external as he started moving his legs. Any direct attack should be deflectable with the lift of his sword, and then he could slide back onto the grass with the entire arsenal of his swordsmanship to his disposal. He imagined that if the spry wolf decided to jump, he could just send a traveling vacuum slash after it. Still, all this risk was worth it instead of engaging first. If this guard of the nobel preferred laced conversation over combat, then D would simply do what he had said, and go unbothered to the castle.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 26, 2015, 03:42:09 pm
The inward anger was appreciated, and so Lydia felt the appropriate amount of guilt for inspiring it. There was no verbal apology, for it would only be half-sincere, but there was a chiding smile to tell him it was all right.

“We’re not half as stupid as the Markus Brothers,” Lydia noted, believing it to be true. Stories had come out about them, after their death. They used a bed-ridden relative and were quite unkind to the only female with them. They were good at what they did, but that was their downfall. It was all they knew. Handling a dhampir, or even other hunters, was not their strong point. Others before D had fallen to them. “I wouldn’t be opposed to working with D,” she knew this would come up, knew this was where she’d say, “I rather like him. You might, too.”

Whether or not that was true was to be seen. There was more to say, and she’d not hide it and lie by omission, “I think he knows more about me, or he believes that he does.” That interested her. If D would be as free with that information as he was the book, which was now on the topic of all that occurred after the fall, then she’d certainly learn what the dhampir thought he knew of ‘Tepes’.

~***~

The sneeze ran up Pello’s body before it exited, and Amaranth held her needle away so the work wouldn’t be messed up. Then she continued, and listened to the talk about this other mutant. It seemed this was the one that truly bothered Pello. Usually, Amaranth had no use for other mutants. Some of them were malleable, and Amaranth did desire to learn more about mutating mutants.

It wasn’t something she ever wanted to do to those that were hers. This green-haired one could have been useful, but she understood already what he was. “Another hunter,” the words were more for herself. Who was it, she wondered, that had inspired this hunt? No one usually came for those she took.

The stitching finished, and Amaranth calmly opened the top to a balm. She ran her finger over the white balm, and then applied it over the closed wound. It would seal it, and protect it. The thread would dissolve over time, so no second check-in would be necessary to remove it.

Her eyes finally lifted to her dragon’s as he made his promise. She lightly placed a hand on the top of his shoulder as she leaned forward in her action to rise from the couch, pausing close to say, “I know you will, Pello,” before bringing herself to her full height. “Was this green-haired one alone?” She found it difficult to believe so many would be trying to hunt her alone. She was certain she had a better reputation than that.

Was it their ego, or had her reputation faltered over the years hidden away in Euboea?

~***~

The wolf was better at night, its powers dictated by the moon, yet he was a day guard of Amaranth. A night guard, for most of the night. Sleep occurred in the few hours before morning. Though the wolf knew the dhampir couldn’t be enjoying the day, he had grown up with a Noble who could fling him across a room during the day if she so desired it—it would be stupid to depend on that supposed advantage.

Yet, as the dhampir made his intentions clear, Marshall understood there wasn’t much of a choice. Though the dhampir spoke well, was calm, and was confusingly pretty, Marshall knew where all of that would lead. This man was paid, and that seemed a prime motivator. Marshall felt bad that he hadn’t introduced himself. It never seemed proper to engage an opponent without such a thing, but there was no choice. He had no intention of letting this dhampir meet Amaranth. Not if he could stop it.

He wouldn’t wait to strike the dhampir from behind. He wouldn’t even wait for the dhampir to pass or be at his side. As accustomed as he was to living, if he was to die he was dying with honor. If he was to kill, he was killing with honor. So he lunged forward when the dhampir took a step to the side to pass, claws extending out, a sparkle of gems encrusted—not for looks but for the strength the diamond added, Amaranth had told him.

One set remained near his torso to protect himself, and the other swung at the dhampir’s face.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 26, 2015, 05:58:54 pm
He wished he had said the words, apologized to her face. She let him off, knowing his meaning. He supposed that was all she needed. A cowardly act from him, but not so cowardly that he had to rectify it. He took it then, this little kindness and felt content enough. He even smiled at her remark about the Markus brothers. And then he was not so content, when she agreed in a little way to work with D. He knew himself enough to look straight into the book when she admitted to liking him.

It wasn't made better by what she hoped she might get out of meeting D again. Oleyo would have to be coldhearted not to understand that sentiment, though. Every mutant struggled with its origin, or the origin of its parts. Lydia was a mystery to her self. Oleyo found himself wishing D would not have the answers she wanted, but realized that he'd rather see her happy in that sense, than unhappy about another lead, leading to nothing. He'd had the luck of fully knowing his own story, and sometimes felt a kind of alienation when he saw the heartbreak in others, one completely different from his own. He didn't have to warn Lydia about this, she knew answers could often times lead to a knot in your stomach.

"Then we should try to have an exchange next time we meet him." he said and closed the book. He handed her the book back as they kept walking for the castle. "Of course, then we better have something to contribute." he said, watching the growing buildings in front of them. It wasn't hard to get to the castle from its connecting church, after all.

--

Pello realized he should have lead with that. A hunter. That was most important, wasn't it, to Amaranth? He would try to remember to be more to the point, good with the details, like Marshall. That thought was misplaced in Pello's memory very shortly after conception.

The ointment was numbing first, and then warm as it stimulated regrowth. He liked to feel his skin regenerate itself, smaller scales blossoming underneath his flesh to soon take the place of the damaged ones above. He could marvel immensely at his own blessings, Pello. He looked at her before he turned his head to find the sleeve to his armor. "Not alone. I saw a blond with him. Marks in her. It struck me as odd. Mutant too, if I'm to guess." As he picked up the golden arm and slid it on he corrected himself. "A hunter, another hunter." Just like she had said.

He stood and rolled his shoulder carefully to test the stitches. They felt better. Didn't smart as much when it wasn't open, and the ointment delivered enough anesthetics to let him be comfortable, although the heat still made him aware. Probably good. He wouldn't want to tear it by forgetting.

"Would you like me to take her too? She looked tastier than the green haired mutant." He, like any living thing, had an inclination toward the pretty ones. A palled or a tongue, rather. That was to say, he might try to have a bite of her, even if she wasn't directly placed on the menu.

--

D could sense some of the tension and, in the end, the resolve in the wolf. It moved sooner than he'd hoped. Those gems caught some shine even in this darkness. D lifted his sword hand and twisted around, as though he was going to take the claws with the back of his head. The sword, still on his back, caught the slash on its handle and hand guards. With his cape already flailing, D darted out, sliding to that stop, sword drawn after having attempted a shallow cut only to meet with the other hand of the wolf when he'd targeted his chest.

"Loyal." D said. It was both in pity and admiration. To the wolves that were hunters, there was more to it than duty. Something deeper. This one should be even closer to its master.

The dhampir pulled his sword back, the trunk of the blade by his cheek as he dug his heels in. The next moment that came saw the vanishing of D, and then he came to be a couple of feet from the wolf's face, slash already executed. it was wide enough to cut the two houses on either side of the werewolf, and would mean a devastating separation, torso from hip, if the wolf did not take measures.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 26, 2015, 06:51:58 pm
Lydia had expected that Oleyo would not be happy with her news. She could chide him about it, tease, imply, but such would likely only be salt in a wound she didn’t fully understand. She understood enough to know that her words would not be well received, and for now, that was all the knowledge she needed.

The book was folded under her arm as she glanced up to the castle, “Yes, we ought to,” she cast a glance to him, “We might gain something from that cat who was soft on you,” though by direction, it was evident Oleyo had other ideas in mind. Something more direct, perhaps. Lydia wasn’t sure how close Oleyo planned to venture, but her eyes went to the walls. She’d already decided earlier this place was unusually guarded—as in, for someone of Amaranth’s stature, there was less than expected. “There’s a garden here, too. Fireflies were flashing,” she thought to mention, since she had found it strange.

The orb was removed from a pocket then, as she recalled how she’d gained her information. The sun struck it nicely, and she rolled the orb to take in images from other reflective surfaces as they walked. “No windows, no open doors,” so she still couldn’t get a look in.

~***~

Two hunters, together. That was better, a stroke to the ego. Mutants, even—skilled and long-lived individuals, then. At the question Pello asked, she gave a nod, “Yes, but do let them cause trouble first,” appearances were important to the townsfolk. She couldn’t have Pello just walk up to someone and execute them, even if they were there to kill Amaranth.

Until that was officially declared, she had to assume they were innocent of harboring such a desire, but Amaranth hadn’t lived this long by waiting for others to strike. No, it was why even now she was planning to deal with a Noble that she knew she could not take in a fair fight, and she would not fight fair.

Marshall was the honorable one. Amaranth was the clever one. “Rest for tonight, Pello, or at least take it easy. Our venture is more important.” As he had said, even if he felt otherwise.

~***~

The first moves revealed much. Marshall knew the dhampir would be fast, though admittedly, he hadn’t expected this fast. Dhampir were meant to be lesser Nobles, but this seemed just as quick as any Noble. Certainly as quick as Amaranth. He was able to protect himself from harm with the diamond-hard claws, and he just took the force rather than the slash.

Nails broke through the shoes he’d been wearing to scrape into the ground and slow his progress backwards from the dhampir. The word loyal caused his lips to move, something between a sneer and a smile. He heard both the pity and admiration. He accepted both.

Scent was better than sight in this case. D’s scent hit the werewolf a moment after he was out of sight, and the wolf had sense enough to take a step back, and then jump backwards. It was artful, a backflip as the slash came at the space he’d been, too low then to hit the wolf. He dropped back to his feet as the slash was completed, one hand falling to the ground as the force of the landing came, to steady himself.

He didn’t delay, for delaying would allow D more time to think and prepare. There was a cost on his end, too, but the wolf was a creature of instinct and Marshall imagined he could win if he kept D on his toes. His strike wasn’t for the torso, or even anything crucial. He made it low, a bull-rush that seemed to be aimed at the torso. However, Marshall intended to duck near contact, and bring D to the by wrapping one arm around those knees. He’d fall with D, but he’d be on top, if he were successful.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 27, 2015, 01:49:26 am
The cat had been a good source for information. Would it be enough just to see it again? Would information flow as freely? Cats were famously fickle. What of two tailed ones? He thought that it was a possibility, but decided not to put too much stock in it. He looked up at the beautiful structure when she mentioned its garden. He wondered how the plant life would be, if the church's had been so lush. "Fireflies." he mumbled along. What a grand notion. Biological light on a land of greenery that shouldn't be. There was a stretch and a settling from the cage he was wearing.

He came back from his imaginings to see her work with her orb. It was always fascinating, and it had been invaluable in earlier pursuits. He nodded at the new information. "Tightly closed." he said as he looked around. He stopped them in front of a wall facing one of the high end inns the wolf had been on about. "I suppose we should wait here then. Maybe there'll be activity in the night."

It wasn't proactive, but lack of patience had killed many of fellow hunters. The advance they'd gotten should more than well afford them one night here. It would be less suspicious than standing outside the entrance, waiting.

--

Pello connected the fastenings to keep the sleeve in place while he listened to her. While he understood the notion of first strike, he couldn't like it, not when he wasn't the one striking. He shook his head, but they both knew he would do his best to follow her orders. Receiving orders always made him want to oppose them, it was usually just with Amaranth that the duality worked out in her favor.

"I'll take it easy." he agreed. Her well veiled order had been one disguised as affection. It was hard for the dragon to argue.

"I'm hungry anyway." he said as he looked at his shoulder. Everything seemed in place. No one could have told that he'd been cut, except from the now opened chainmail in the joint between the arm and the torso of the armor. "I'll go see about getting fed." There were pens in the dungeons for him. And animals all around. Pello, enforcer of Amaranth's will, did not have to go hungry in Euboea.

--

The roll in the air was effective both in avoiding the cut, and landing the wolf well, facing D. He had the blade by the side of his face again, looking straight at the wolf, who was now a couple of steps inside the alley again. When it rushed forward, D assumed it would be a tackle aimed for his waist, and offered a lancing at that level. The wolf dove under the intended counter attack and wrapped arms around his thighs.

D followed with the force of the beast, and then stabbed his sword into the ground. Using the sword as an axis as he leaned toward it, and he let go with his feet to let the momentum of the wolf swing him around the sword. Like a flag in changing wind the two bodies swung, the wolf on the outside. It was D's intention to slide out of the grip like so, to have the wolf roll on the ground without him. If only one leg was freed, he'd use that boot against the wolf's face. And if not, he'd roll and place the blade between them, resting it against the wolfs throat.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 27, 2015, 04:44:49 am
It wasn’t surprising that it was so tightly closed. What was really surprising was the lack of obvious tech—the lack of seams in the castle walls for turrets or other weapons. It was clear to Lydia that this Amaranth depended on her guards—she wasn’t willing to risk injury to them by having motion-sensing weapons.

She noted it as they walk, “When we figure out a way in, it shouldn’t be hard,” they were heading towards the inns now that the wolf had mentioned, “There’s no seams to suggest turrets. This noble seems to prefer thinking things to unthinking objects.” Which was quite curious. Did she not fear that one of them would turn on her? Lydia’s own creator had been so paranoid. Lydia remembered that quite well.

‘If….’ Doubt seeped into her thoughts in a way it never had before. If he was her creator. If she hadn’t been someone else before.

It made her wonder about the others in this town, the guards. Were they children of Amaranth, or did they have parents before?

~***~

Amaranth smiled warmly at Pello’s agreement to take care of himself. “I’ll see you again soon,” she promised, for they’d be going hunting together that night. It had been quite a while since she’d done such a thing.

It ought to be fun.

Amaranth would let Pello leave first, and then she would walk back to her lab, only to grow more and more frustrated with the fact there was nothing to do. Amaranth did not like to be idle, but to poke and prod her current project more was to risk ruining it entirely.

A hand moved through her hair in agitation, and she looked to an hourglass. The sand flowed with the movement of the sun, and a thought occurred to her.

‘Where’s Marshall?’


The werewolf was never late, and as the thought came, the unfading woman lost color as she recalled the amount of hunters in the town. ‘Two hours to sunset.’ Amaranth knew she needed to sleep.

Amaranth knew she wouldn't until Marshall returned to her side, not because she worried for herself, but because his tardiness gave her reason to worry for him.

~***~

Time was not on Marshall’s mind. He was in the moment, where only moments mattered. As much as he did not wish to underestimate the dhampir, he had foolishly hoped that his attack would be a success.

Instead, he found the dhampir had seen what he planned. He wrapped his arms around the legs, only to lose his own footing. Marshall lost his footing and rolled away rather roughly as he hit the ground, unprepared for the fall. Dirt stuck to hair and the fur of his ears as he reached with his claws to stop his own momentum, digging into the ground that gave way to clumps. He slowed, and he stopped, but not as quickly as he would have liked.

Internally, there was a small part of Marshall that was pleased with having someone difficult.

Internally, there was a large part of Marshall that had never been so furious, and so afraid, at the same time. He didn’t have the range of the dhampir, for he did not utilize any weapon but what was attached to him, and as he started to rise, he knew that the range of that sword was the threat. Marshall had lived a long life. He wasn't ready for it to end.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 27, 2015, 06:20:10 pm
Oleyo had another look around when she mentioned that there were no latches or nooks for advanced weaponry to hide. She seemed to be right about this noble. Euboea itself, the guards. To him it pointed to a kind of conservatism. It had worked for so long, why wouldn't it continue? A city by a trade center, well grown gardens and man-powered defenses. It was the kind of thing afforded to the successful. It felt a little like the snowglobes he'd been allowed to shake when life was new to him. Of course, this city would be a good way to know its Noble. Hopefully this way of doing things, manually, could be a weakness they'd be able to exploit.

"Then all we have to do is bypass them." he said. Not an easy task. He didn't even bother to salt his words with that sentiment. She'd know. That's why she'd pointed it out. This meant they had to learn more about the guards. It'd be quite a disaster if they couldn't match the wall-perched guards in strength, but that was rarely the problem. Numbers and tactics was all it came down to. Already he was noting their patterns, even as they neared an in with gilded letters resting above its door. He opened the door for her.

The inn was busy, even in its first hall. Civil motion, not chaos. A man at the counter waved them over with some enthusiasm. Oleyo brought her along with some visible disregard for what she might want to go. It wasn't so of course, but in here they might have to pretend, at least to begin with, since they wanted to appear inconspicuous for now.

"A room? There's a deposit, but no extra for sharing." the man said, nodding once to acknowledge Lydia.

It seemed it wasn't unusual for anyone to walk in here. Fortune could shift fast in a city like this. But Oleyo was willing to bet they'd be greeted with more grandeur if they'd been wearing other garbs than their armor. Fair enough, he supposed and paid.

--

Pello did leave.

The day was still such that she could not go out, and he felt the need to represent her in the city. Feeding time was also one of his favorite times. First food, then he'd go see Marshall. Pello picked his complaints in his head, and settled on telling Marshall how he should have been there to fight the dhampir. Marshall did run faster than Pello, something the dragon mutant didn't usually put much stock in.

He made his way into a close by inn, better polished than he usually preferred them. Sometimes the cuts of meat were smaller at fancier places. Better cuts. He didn't care for quality. This establishment had golden letters spelling out its name above the door. He huffed but still came to the counter of the restaurant.

"A pig." he said to the waiter, already sweating. The scared man did not really understand the order, but hurried away, anyway. Most people knew of Pello's manners.

--

D had his arm out, holding the sword that stuck out high from the ground as he watched Marshall slide into the open grass, breaking that speed by clawing the ground. When the wolf stood steady again, filled with all the hormones that a battle evokes, D's arm tensed and drew the sword from the earth, painting an arc to mark the way of the tip as he swung the blade back, far back, arm straight as he started running toward the opponent again. his scarf was alive, dancing around his chin, as was the rim of his hat, while his face was as calm as it was known to be.

When he was within distance, he would throw to feigns, a cross scar across the air, to see if the wolf would swallow that bait and put himself out of balance. To further disorient the canine, the last feign would come with a full turn of D's body, flailing out the cape to brush the wolve's eyes before the third strike would come, deeper, wider, cutting from shoulder to opposite hip. In this spinning ruse he was vulnerable, but it was a risk he was willing to venture, counting on his reflexes to to keep him out of harms way.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 27, 2015, 06:55:24 pm
Oleyo’s phrasing could be taken as implying the task easy, but a glance to his face let Lydia know he didn’t think that at all. The letters of the inn came into focus of the spinning orb, and Lydia pocketed it just before the door was open, and then stepped through and followed the force of Oleyo to the counter.

It was busy already, despite, or perhaps because of, the hour. Lydia sniffed the air and understood the inn doubled as a restaurant. Her own stomach grumbled its protest. She hadn’t eaten since breakfast.

Of course she had to go up to the counter, and she played along, didn’t wander off to obtain food. She glanced at the man as he spoke of the deposit, no extra for her, and she gave a smile, then looked away as Oleyo paid. She asked in a whisper, “Can we get food before going to the room?” It wasn’t like they really had anything to put away. If they did, it was in the storage of their bikes.

~***~

The dhampir had courtesy enough to wait for Marshall to get to his feet. Marshall wasn’t sure if he would have done the same, were the tides turned. The dhampir’s confidence never broke, and Marshall understood why. This was a true hunter, not some kid or mutant who got lucky now and then—this one didn’t need the cover of daylight.

The wolf knew his eyes would deceive him, but the sword didn’t have a scent that was strong enough to be useful. He did move to avoid the feigned blow, not understanding the length and cutting line of the blade well enough yet. The brush of the cape close to his face disrupted his ability to smell for a moment—long enough. There was a panic and a spike of adrenaline, but that didn’t come in time for Marshall to be spared all harm.

There was pain as the blade moved through his shoulder and down towards his hip, but Marshall knew how to endure pain. He grit his teeth and lifted his hands up to stop the blade prematurely and catch it with his claws.

He would get the weapon out of the dhampir’s hands if he could, but right now he’d settle for immobilizing it within his own body. His nose flared and widened, a small shift trying to demand others.

~***~

Habits could be problematic. Amaranth had always taken it for granted that she only added enough incense to keep her awake until the final two hours of daylight. Amaranth didn’t remember the habit until the scent of night started to fade around her, replaced with the scent of day from outside.

The fireflies would stop their sparking in the garden as the magic of the bewitching incense lifted.

Amaranth would falter and fall within the safety of her laboratory, dead asleep like any other noble ought to be during the day. It wasn’t in her coffin, nor dressed down. The red hair would splay across the white tiles like blood.

Her plans to wait for Marshall’s return were ruined by her own careful planning—for she never wanted night to occur, and the incense to change its scent to make her think it was day. The incense always burned out before it became night.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 27, 2015, 10:30:07 pm
Oleyo had sniffed the air shortly after she had. He hadn't noticed his hunger until he realized hers. He was eager to agree, it was in part because of how he'd botched his promise to take care of the large lizard before, even if she'd already forgiven him silently. "Yes. I'm famished." he said.

It wasn't hard finding their way to the dining area, the entrance large on the other wall. Again Euboea proved itself, by supporting such an eatery. His eyes, not at all as impressed with architectural finesse as it was with nature's own design, grew wider once they'd crossed the threshold. There were a few odd looking people and creatures in here, but the one that stuck out the most was the golden dragon. His size eclipsed one of the walls. A row of padded seats, just for his frame. Oleyo frowned and stopped in his tracks, hand on Lydia's.

"Seems like I'll get another chance to fail you today." he joked, looking at Pello from behind, at a distance.

The dragon rubbed his chin and leaned back to the dismay of the backrests. Somehow they held up. A few guests tensed but didn't dare move in fear of upsetting or insulting Amaranth's harbinger and most moody child. His eyes lit up when they brought him that pig, steaming. He hadn't predicated it be cooked, and assumed they had been preparing it for other parties, given how fast it was brought. It wasn't the biggest animal of its kind, but he was still pleasantly surprised by the scent that came at him.

He broke of a side, ribs sticking out from his fist before he brought it to his mouth. Bones were not a problem for the mutant. The garnish and vegetables lining the giant metal plate were of course superfluous. It had been another attempt not to offend the dragon.

"What should we do?" Oleyo managed to ask before Pello's shoulders stiffened.

The dragon saw their likenesses in the glaze of the pig's belly. Sharp, slitted eyes knew. Oleyo let go of her hand and dropped the shield to his forearm again.

The dragon turned around, standing, splintering the seats and toppling the table.

"Why isn't he attacking?" Oleyo asked quietly to the side where she was, unaware of the the promise the mutant had made to its maker. Just as he lowered his shield, ready to speak to the giant thing, it charged. They would not know that Pello had decided that being close to him was enough of a first move for him to react. He had said he'd let them cause trouble first. Disturbing him during lunch was troublesome.

--

D saw enough in the yellow eyes that he could understand that the wolf knew the purpose of the first cuts. The cape, however, had proven an effective maneuver. The flesh of the creature slowed down the cut enough that its claws could catch his sword. It was not a blade of great width. D held on to it as he looked at the beast, having saved its own life with the grip. Mayerling had a fondness for this kind of weapon weapons as well.

D stepped into the wolf and then lanced his sword forward. It would be harder to hold when it moved that direction, than it was when traveling down. He only needed to either disturb the wolf with the pain that this caused, or dispel some of the friction between its claws and the blade before he could simply draw the sword back swiftly, out of reach.

The cut was severe for anyone. D hoped the stabbing and the pulling would free his blade, if not then he would land a quick kick to the wolf's side to further increase the pain and disturb concentration so he could pull. When he did get the sword loose, he would launch himself in the air and land beyond the beast, sword out to the side after another slash he'd executed. He'd turn around to see if it landed.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 27, 2015, 11:15:16 pm
Lydia all but dragged Oleyo towards the food once they were all paid up. She certainly would have continued on towards the front if Oleyo did not catch her attention by pointing out the irritating lizard. Her brow furrowed, and this time her cheeks heated with anger rather than lust. “Oh, just ignore him,” Lydia said, hoping that would be enough, though she doubted it. “He’s hungry, we’re hungry.”

For Pello was gorging on a pig when they caught sight of the beast.

Oleyo still prepared to fight. Lydia intended to walk to a table as a show that she’d happily ignore the other if he would. Just as Oleyo started to ask about it, though, the lizard rose and charged. ‘Damn it.’

Her turn, then. Oleyo just lowered his guard. The book fell to the ground as she moved her arm. She dragged four fingernails down her right forearm and split it open. There wasn’t time to be slow or subtle. The black marks on her body bled towards the wound, and her blood was a darker hue than any human would ever have, though still red. It didn’t fall to the ground, though it bled quickly down her arm and down her fingers, there was a clear form that it took.

Four long, sharp, tendrils of blood followed the lines they’d been cut from and Lydia slashed them at the charging Pello. She didn’t care so much if they just touched him, or if they cut him—her blood was hers to control, and so far she hadn’t met an enemy that her blood didn’t burn and scar. It was a shame she was wasting it on a guard. It would have been hilarious if she could have gotten the Lady Amaranth to drink deep. If the guard lived, he’d likely warn her.

No drop fell to the ground to offer a warning, to melt through the floor.

~***~

Marshall caught the sword, but trying to twist it out of the dhampir’s grip was not going to occur just then. In the second he had to take to think, the blade lanced forward, puncturing muscles and tendons. It slide right through his claws which weren’t able to stop a forward advance. “Grah, tch!”

Claws disturbed, the dhampir was able to take his sword back. Marshall didn’t reach for it in vain, but pushed himself forward when the dhampir jumped, certain an attack would follow. His steps were a bit unsteady from the pain that lingered, but he was working to shake it off. Small shifts were running along his body. The pupils of his eyes lost their circularity, and his balance was found again when a tail grew to swipe the ground beneath him.

The slash cut air. Marshall heard it as his feet took him out of range.

The quick-moving cells were rapidly moving to heal the wound that the sword had inflicted, too. Marshall did not intend to shift fully—he was not a “true” werewolf, and so he tended to lose quite a bit of his reasoning capabilities when he shifted. The hydra-genes were what promoted his shifting capabilities, and so the healing, not the natural lupine genes.

“Marshall?!”

Marshall didn’t look back, though he knew that voice. He actually smiled, remembering he wasn’t alone out here. In all areas, there was some guard, and in this area was Amaranth’s lion, inspired by the manticore. She didn’t have a scorpion’s tail, but the whip at her side was laced with a poison Marshall could smell from here as she came around behind D.

When her green eyes took in Marshall's blood, that whip came out and she swung it at D’s sword-arm. 
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 28, 2015, 01:52:01 pm
Her enthusiasm for the food was equal parts endearing and heartbreaking. After her initial suggestion to keep a low profile became impossible, she too had to immerse herself in the battle forced on them. Last time he'd seen Pello he had been crashing from a high perch, landed on a stone structure and been fine. His velocity now shouldn't differ that much, even if the trajectory was horizontal, or rather, a course of collision. Oleyo was a master of blunt impact, but he'd not taken many things head-on as fast and durable as Pello.

Through his shield he saw Lydia access her power. It seemed the scaled, armored beast was focused on Oleyo, so she was able to cut the charging enemy as he passed her. He saw the orange glow on the gold plates of Pello's arm when her blood melted it and left the scales underneath hissing as the concoction started eating away at that as well. It did little to slow down the monstrous tackle and Oleyo stepped slightly to the side, not hoping to stopping the beast. In doing so Pello would hit the fortified glass at an angel, redirecting him slightly rather than attempting to halt.

As sparks flew between the shield and Pello's shoulder, Oleyo was forced to the side by the immense force. He twisted the shield to have the edge drag in one of the cuts already prepared by Lydia's blood. By the time Pello came to a stop, through the wall and onto the floor of the receiving hall, his arm was bleeding well. Oleyo hurried to to get in front of Lydia. Shield raised.

"Maybe the eyes." he said as he squeezed the handle of his defensive weapon. "If I can..." he started. Debris, wooden splinters and some rocks, cut him short as they pelted his shield. Before he could see through the dust he felt an immense blow to his body, lifting it. Pello was faster than most large, power based enemies, it seemed. Bouncing off the ceiling and spinning for the floor, Oleyo saw the monster wave a giant arm right at Lydia. Oleyo managed to grab a dagger and toss it toward the beast, but that weapon had no chance of reaching before that impact would land.

--

D found that the slash before his jump had missed. Ready to take advantage of the effect of the injuries he'd already caused, he launched forward again, but discovered the tardiness of his sword hand which eventually brought his entire body to a stop. Looking back he saw a lion hybrid standing in the grass. Manticore, rather. All the early myths in Amaranth's arsenal, apparently. The wings were impressive, and would prove to be a problem. He knew not to waste time on surprise in a battle, and twisted around quickly to charge the Lioness.

The visual confusion of his disappearing speed was probably nulled since he was connected to her by the whip, but there were of course other advantages to moving fast. He would appear close to her within a fraction of a moment, close enough that he could thrust the caught arm forward. Wings also had their drawbacks. He aimed for her side, and if she'd manage to turn her body out of the way of his skewering sword, her frame would still be compromised by those leathery wings that would likely be the victim of his blade. This unless her whip relented its grip and thus their connection.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 28, 2015, 06:56:34 pm
The blood did its work, as the weapons raked Pello and then started to melt through him. Lydia took the time offered by his focus to cut open her other arm, and then merge the four strands into one. It was a stronger form to have the four-in-one flow.

The other arm, however, didn’t flow quite as quickly. It was back-up, and Lydia didn’t want to pull the blood out so fast. There were already going to be consequences to this fight, considering her hunger. Wasting blood was never a good idea. She only had so much, and she disliked orange juice.

She heard Oleyo speak about the eyes before he was tossed aside by a blow. That turned Pello’s attention. The blood of the left hand flowed to form a shield, and she moved to raise it and duck beneath it, lowering herself to help handle the blow that came down. She’d feed the creature shield and arm before she’d let the rest of her body endure a blow. And it was a strong one, enough to break through the shield and strike Lydia’s arm.

The shield had blunted it, and no doubt, Pello had to be feeling the pain. That blood had fallen upon his arm as it pressed through the shield and coated it. Lydia’s arm took the blow but didn’t break. It fell against her chest and she staggered backwards but didn’t fly like Oleyo.

A dagger flew, and Lydia lifted her right arm with its single sword of blood, but she didn’t get in range. Rather, she flung an edge of it off and towards Pello’s face, hoping some might get in his eyes.

She wasn’t getting the blood from the shield back. That was going to be bothersome when the adrenaline left.

~***~

Marshall was delighted to see that D was now flanked, and had to deal with the whip around his wrist. As soon as the dhampir turned to deal with Valeria, Marshall sprinted forward to apply pressure.

Valeria had the advantage of wings and length of whip. Seeing Marshall move to engage, she didn’t waste time wondering where the dhampir was. The whip told her, and with a pull she knew she still had a grip on the dhampir. With one beat of her wings, she was aloft. The sword grazed her thigh on the way there, allowing blood to drip down to the ground, but once aloft she imagined she was safe.

She tried to tighten the grip of her whip on the sword arm, to pull it up and out of the way so that Marshall had an opening.

Marshall was intending to get close enough and remove the arm of the dhampir with a swipe. He would worry about killing the dhampir afterward.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 28, 2015, 07:43:38 pm
Pello had been unnerved enough to notice that there was a burning rising in his arm when he punched through her shield. He staggered back to a pain in the back of his neck. When he touched the hand not burnt by her shield to the area of damage on his neck he was able to pull out a dagger that had managed to stick between two scales. With some anger he turned back to the woman, more eager than ever to eat her instead of the meal they'd interrupted by their presence. Pello didn't yet connect her to her weapon, and think that perhaps ingesting the very thing that was damaging him now wouldn't be a good idea.

He might consider it now, when his eye were painted in that same lethal blood. He howled in pain. Amaranth had seen fit to coat his eyes with a biological film, more genetics he didn't take the time to understand, but that measure could not keep up with the properties of Lydia's concoction.

As the scaled animal twisted, flailing its arms to topple the furniture of the restaurant, Oleyo darted forward as quietly as he could, dodging the storm of wood and cutlery. He cocked back his arm and then punched it forward, lodging it into the back of Pello's knee. With some regret he had to leave the weapon there to pull out a pair of daggers as he retreated a few steps, away from the swinging arm Pello put out as he fell down on his good knee.

Oleyo circled the furious, blind monster as he tossed Lydia one dagger. The target was obvious, now that she had softened the natural defenses of Pello's eyes and face, they should be able to plant one of the blades in his brain though the ocular socket. Pello knew this, and had locked an arm before his wounded eyes to swat with the other, still roaring in pain and fury. "Be ready for the window." Oleyo said as he hurried to the side of the protecting arm, throwing his dagger at that shoulder, that did nothing but clank against the armor. Pello fell for it, and swung the protecting arm toward Oleyo, leaving his face free for Lydia's attack.

--

D missed the attack on the winged lion, save for a nick on her leg, and realized soon she was in the air. The wolf had taken the opportunity to come from behind. To get away D let go of his sword as he jumped. The weapon would fall as he ascended. His free hand, home of his parasite, caught the handle and swung the sword back, hoping to catch the wolf as the wolf rushed into the space where D had been.

D concentrated on the lioness, sending a boot her way, hoping to catch her anywhere on her torso to distract her enough so that he could untangle himself from the whip and fall back to the ground, where he'd probably have to dart back a few paces to orient himself, and keep out of the wolf's range.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 28, 2015, 08:06:30 pm
Lydia had to cover her own mouth to keep the laughter from bubbling up and escaping, once the blood hit the eyes. She had to be quiet to keep Pello from locating her, and so of course, she stepped away from the place she’d been standing and made a half-circle around Pello as Oleyo rejoined the fight.

She caught the dagger tossed to her, giving it a quizzical look. She rarely carried weapons, though this wasn’t the first time Oleyo had tried to give her one. When you were a weapon, the need to have something less dependable didn’t exist. Still, she supposed she’d lose less blood this way, and so the blood that had made a sword started to pull itself back in. Not all would make it, she knew.

Lydia made her way carefully forward and towards Pello.

The feint was made, and Lydia was near enough then. In the moment Pello lowered his arm, Lydia stepped into his space, not even an inch away, and reached up to thrust the dagger into his left eye.

She’d leave it there if it stuck, intending to get far away once the task was done in case it didn’t have the desired effect.

~***~

Marshall took the blow without slowing. The slash cut him open and cut deep, but Marshall was now driven by the need to end this and end this quickly. Valeria was involved, and he had an advantage that he felt he needed to press. The blood of the wolf painted the ground behind him as he followed the arch of the dhampir’s jump and was where he landed only a moment later.

One clawed hand pushed forward to target the dhampir’s heart, to put claws through it while he had a moment. The other hand was prepared to move to engage the sword again, since it seemed the dhampir was ambidextrous.

Valeria had underestimated the dhampir. A boot brought a peal of laughter, and she meant to swipe it away with her hand, but she was a bit too slow. Though it was just a boot, it had been launched with quite a bit of speed, and she took it to the gut. “Oof,” came the air from inside her, and she doubled over in the air, focus on the whip momentarily lost. 
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 28, 2015, 10:08:52 pm
Her glee had alleviated some of Oleyo's stress. She liked combat. So did he, but not in the same way. He liked to feel useful, liked doing something he knew he was good at. His stomach tensed when he saw her come closer to the beast. But Pello was blind, and distracted. She had very little trouble inserting the weapon into his face. Oleyo realized he'd drawn another blade, longer, from his belt when he squeezed it as Pello roared from the pain, the sound loud but empty. A reflex.

When the body fell back it pressed the shield in the back of its leg deeper. Pello swayed a few times, arms hanging, before he toppled with a hard crash through some not yet destroyed chairs. Oleyo hurried over to lift the leg in a favorable angel so he could pull the shield out and place it back on his shoulder. Now the clear plate would be stained with dragon blood. The blade he'd already placed back in its sheath. He looked at Lydia and then nodded for the door.

"I think it's time for a graceful exit." Too bad he'd already given his money to the reception. He would let her lead. "Hide. Or the bikes, perhaps?"

This wasn't the first time they'd done a job the loud way, but he preferred to me more practical. Dragons, it seemed, were not subtle.

--

D brought back his leg back quickly after he'd planted the kick in her stomach. He was grateful to have some slack to work with on the whip. The dhampir landed, unable to celebrate from having cut the wolf, and immediately had to bend his legs to duck underneath the wolf's first set of claws, to then jump into the air again, both hands gripping the handle of his long weapon as he drew the blade from the ground and up, partially to keep it from the grip of the wolf's second helping of claws while simultaneously cutting him, but also to extend that slash all the way up and over to the flying lioness. It would be a long, cutting arch, ambitious, since it targeted both enemies.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 28, 2015, 10:28:26 pm
Graceful was not a term that Lydia would use in that instance, as her blood mingled with the blood of the dragon. She’d drawn back what she could, but it was never enough. Paired with hunger, it was going to be a fast decline when the high of adrenaline wore off.

Already she felt a shake in her leg as she finally stopped stepping back from the creature. Her eyes moved to Oleyo, squinted as if it would help her make sense of what was said. The bikes weren’t what she wanted. She had wanted a place to lay low till night. That was their purpose for being here. She strung the logic together and said, “Hide,” as her answer. 

She stepped over the debris of wooden things to Oleyo, but did not offer an arm. Not yet, not while it was still on her flesh. The marks on her were dimmer, now, and less thick. No area was deprived of them, but all areas were affected. Thin, nearly translucent lines were running over her features now.

~***~

Marshall missed the first strike, and intended to go for another, but the dhampir was still as quick as ever. Marshall was showing signs of slowing, his body focusing its attention not on speed but on healing. As such, he took another cut when he tried to twist his body out of the way of the dhampir’s cut.

A yowl of pain escaped as it cut near the bone of his shoulder, and he retreated a step. A hand moved to cover it, before he shook his head and tried again to focus on the problem at hand.

More of Valeria’s blood joined to bother his senses, and he saw Valeria falter in the air. She didn’t fall, but it had cut into her breast when she tried to fly to avoid. It traced its way up to her cheek, and she had an eye. It wasn’t wounded, but she must have feared it would be.

Seeing a second injured brought sense back to Marshall. Amaranth had created them as a group for a reason—for Nobles, and things like this one. They weren’t truly meant to work alone, even if Marshall and Pello got that into their heads at time in their desire to prove themselves.

He would hate himself for it, but he shouted, “Retreat!” For Valeria, and then turned tail to run, as well.

They’d do better when they were all together—a pack. Valeria took the order quite well. She was a creature of packs, too, the lion's pride. She had no designs on being alpha.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 29, 2015, 07:08:19 am
At first the crowd had been afraid of Pello and his heedless moods. And then they had hidden from the fight. Now, when there was no Pello or fight, they fretted over the the fact that the dragon guard of Amaranth was most certainly dead. It was not a debilitating kind of fear. Screams awoke from the audience. Oleyo moved swiftly to meet Lydia, having heard her preference. He had great faith in her blood, it had been instrumental now, but also knew the toll of her weapon. Sometimes he wished she was not so useful, because then she might not have been so vulnerable, either.

He lead them out while the uproar grew inside the restaurant. It wouldn't be hard to loose themselves behind the houses, and it would only become easier the further away they got from the scene. People would be rushing to see what the ruckus was about, and they could avoid the main streets. Eventually they would come to a stop behind a house of residence, between their iron fence and the wall of their neighbors, where they had seen fit to stack barrels. He'd gesture for a box so that Lydia might sit.

He dropped the little pouch of lizard jerky by her side while he peered through the leafwork to see if the houses they were close to had anyone home. While he preferred to pay for himself, he'd borrowed housing on more than one occasion during his career. With a wave he opened the little gate to the garden. For now, this house seemed to be uninhabited.

--

D had felt the resistance in the his blade, and landed, stirring up the earth underneath the grass, with some hope it would be enough. Nonetheless, he had gotten into a stance full of spring to meet the threats again. It was a relief to hear the leading mutant suggest a retreat. D kept his eyes on them to make sure it wasn't a lie. He stood there, a shadow with a shadow, as he watched them move away.

"They sure made you feel welcome, didn't they? I kind of liked the lioness." Left Hand said while D moved toward the side of the building to the left of the alley. The horse was there. It was not bothered by the commotion and didn't stir when it was untied. "You have to wonder what they're like as poker buddies, eh? I mean, you're a stone face for sure, but I thought they made a pretty good team..." Left Hand didn't get to finish, as D faltered, placing a knee on the grass.

He showed teeth behind his scarf as he pulled himself up by the saddle of his mount. He breathed heavily, a relic of a reflex, as he swung his leg up on the horse. Left Hand remained quiet at least for a while, as D rode in whatever shade he could find. Luckily night was drawing close. "I told you we shouldn't have taken the desert road." he eventually muttered as D stayed close to the castle, inactive, while the horse moved for him.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 29, 2015, 07:26:01 am
There was one flaw to Lydia’s existence that she’d be forever bitter over. Though her creator had been Noble, and though he’d given her power over blood, he’d not seen fit to make it easy to restore. She was mostly human in that regard. She had turn food and liquid into blood, and that took time. The further they got, the shakier Lydia’s steps became. The blood on her vanished, the wounds closed, but her body knew there wasn’t as much as she needed within.

Her steps staggered, but she kept up with Oleyo. She’d be useless if she couldn’t. “Ol….”

But he gestured to a box, an out-of-the-way place, and she took the seat. She brought her knees up to her chest and let her shoulder fall against the nearby wall. The bag of lizards was dropped, and Lydia didn’t even consider sharing as she reached, and ate. She’d take what she could get in that moment, and hope her body worked quickly.

She wouldn’t stand a chance against a Noble like this.

He motioned again as half the bag was depleted, and Lydia pursed her lips, uncertain if following was in her interest, or staying put. If she had been thinking, she might have grasped the orb, but she wasn’t. So, she said, “Make sure,” since the chaos didn’t seem to be reaching here.

~***~

They had split in their run, but the one with flight was able to find Marshall easily once again. He hadn’t gone far, since he soon realized it was unnecessary. ‘Your only qualm, then….’ He surmised the dhampir was not here for anything else but his job.

The missing people.

Amaranth.

Valeria landed in front of Marshall and reached out a hand to him, placing it upon his shoulder. It was to steady him, though he wasn’t acting like he would fall. “What was that about?”

“He’s here for Amaranth,” was Marshall’s answer. He shook his head, ridding it of distractions and rage. “Find the others. All of them. Get the harpy to help.” The other one with flight would be useful in locating them all. “Have them come to the castle, say I order it. To our kitchen.” The kitchen had become the strangest sort of meeting room, but Marshall had been using it as such for years.

“Where are you going?” Valeria made sure to sound both offended and worried.

He brushed her hand off, “To the castle. I’ll alert those on guard not to let anyone in except us.”

When her eyes narrowed, he wrinkled his nose, “I’m not stupid, I’m not going back after him alone.”

“I won’t forgive you, if you do. I’m not taking orders from Pello.” She had no idea how soon she’d regret those words. “I’ll go, be safe.”

And with a flap of her leathery wings, she was off. Marshall waited a few seconds, then turned and beat a path back towards the castle. He smelled the dhampir close to the castle, but held true to his word. He made for the door of the castle and not the dhampir, shouting for one of the guards to join him. Only one would he dare to take from the wall while the sun still beat down on its walls. This one guard would act as courier to the rest.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 29, 2015, 07:34:11 pm
Oleyo looked back at her, considering if he should listen to her caution or not. He supposed there was a benefit to her staying here, stable, than meet whatever resistance a house like this would hold. He darted over the garden alone, and looked at the patio door. There were a few things in his belt that could easily unlock this, but he decided against it. A swift kick to the handle swung the door open, and he hurried inside. The dog rushing for the door, barking was regrettable. He stepped aside as it leaped for him, and crushed it’s skull between his armored side and the wall when it was unable to change its direction. He didn’t give it the respect it deserved when he ventured deeper to see if it was protecting anyone. No one home.

On his way out of the beautiful home, worthy of standing this close to the castle blocks, he brushed the body of the guard dog, whispering an apology.

“It is empty.” He said as he sat down beside her, only to wrap his one arm around her waist to insist she stand with his help. They had shared many hardships, been beaten close to death on occasion, all good hunters had, and moments like these always made him miss his second hand, so he could carry her. He didn’t assume she would appreciate being slung over his shoulder right now.

Well in the house, he’d look for food for her. There was a fountain, small, with fresh water. He assumed it was an altar. It didn’t matter, he decided as he filled a pretty ceramic pitcher and brought it and a cup to her. She’d need to replenish the volume of what she’d lost, but it’d still be diluted. He placed his bloody shield close to her, uncomfortable with leaving it, but sure now wasn’t the time to look conspicuous. “I’ll be back with something.” He said and nudged the bag of jerky toward her again before leaving. If she wanted to come, he would strongly disagree.

With the hood on, acquiring food hadn’t been as dramatic as he though. Perhaps he was still reeling from the bout with the dragon to have expected it. He was grateful for the brutes that weren’t truly giants. Most of the time he and Lydia could dispatch of them, since her ability to deal damage and leave them vulnerable, and his own swift attacks usually worked well on enemies that thought they were too large to be hurt.

He returned with a grilled chicken, pulling the hood back as he placed the bag on the table, beside the one that may or may not still contain jerky. He was of course hoping to find her conscious. Eating would be hard otherwise. Borrowed plates and silverware. Staining silver was a minor sin, at this point. “How are we feeling?” he asked with some lightness in his voice as he sat down and pulled a leg off the bird, and placed it on her plate along with some cooked potatoes and tomatoes, also in the bag that had come with the meal. “I think it was worth it, considering. That dragon couldn’t be anymore dead.”

--

Theodor the fox was running. He presented himself as the best informant in the city. It was none of his sources that had come to him today, with the information he was going to offer and hope to get paid for. He had simply been walking by the Archer inn when the commotion started. Already he had been gauging the distance from himself and the entrance he’d usually use when he wanted to relay things to Amaranth herself. At first he had hoped to find something out about the mutants fighting Pello, so there’d be something to offer Amaranth once Pello had slain them. Things did not play out like that.

Now he would be coming with sad news. He was a bit frightened, but his pulse was elevated. This kind of thing spread fast. It would mean a lot to be first. As he turned into the entrance, concealed but not entirely secret, crossed axes stopped his advance, the guards of harder faces than usual. He told them his business and it was enough to put a worried look on them. They did not let him pass. When he stepped back, disappointed, the axes opened for a woman in a maid uniform coming in. He knew her, had used her before.

“Dusty!” he called and reached for her, but retreated when one of the axes were directed his way. She turned.

“I don’t have time!” she said. She never did, always on an errand.

“You will have, for this.” He promised and she straightened to listen. He divulged what he knew, and asked her to mention his name when she carried the news. It was good to give freebies sometimes. Hopefully Amaranth would look favorably on him in the future. This way, he wouldn’t have to be in the room when Amaranth learned one of her mutants had perished.

--

“So,” Left Hand started. “here we are, the vampire hunting duo. The famous Dhampir and his trusty gun-hand. In a stinking sewage pipe. What grand adventures you take me on, D.”

D sat at the bottom of the round outlet. There was grass growing in the mouth of the big pipe. He had found refuge deeper inside. It must have been out of commission for a while, considering the state of its growth. This was as good as it could get. Dark and close to the castle. In an emergency, he could probably find his way inside without braving the daylight. Left hand was not so impressed.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 29, 2015, 08:26:43 pm
The waiting was always the hardest part. The ‘what if he doesn’t come back’. The ‘what if someone comes by’. Lydia endured it patiently, eyes cast down as she listened for any approach and willed herself not to shake.

It was Oleyo and not a guard who came for her. She smiled and let him assist, leaning against him on the walk back and wrapping one arm around his shoulders. “One day,” she joked, “I’ll die of bloating.” That would never happen, of course. She would die in this job, of that she had no doubts. Whether it was through dismemberment or blood loss was still to be seen.

She heard the sound of water once they were in. The town was obsessed with fountains. Lydia would have gone towards itself and dunked her head in to drink deep, but Oleyo motioned her to a seat. He returned with a cup of water. Civilized. “Okay,” she would allow his departure, even without his shield. Yet, when her slim fingers touched it, she wanted to hand it right back to him.

He was the one in more danger, if he was going out roaming.

Still, she remained with it. She drank at least three cups of water before Oleyo returned, and all the lizards were gone. When he returned, she smiled and rose, “Better, and soon better,” she could smell the food. “I hope you got something for yourself. I saved you no jerky.” The iron of the once-living was necessary.

She pulled the plate towards herself, and went after that meat again. The other things would be eaten in their time, but she knew what her body needed as the sun started to go down outside. “It’s one less guard we’ll have to deal with,” Lydia agreed. This was likely necessary. “Still plenty that may get in our way. They don’t seem inclined to betray her, do they?” It was a curiosity, though it was born of very little knowledge, and more instinct.

Lydia would have betrayed the noble who created her, if she could have. 

~***~

There would be two that were “first”, in their own ways. The lioness found Pello when she saw the commotion from the sky. She padded her way into the inn, and felt her heart stop. ‘I’m sorry!’ She did not forget her words to Marshall as she ran to the corpse.

She didn’t hate Pello this much.

“WHO DID THIS?!” Was her roar, for it couldn’t have been the dhampir. Stuttered and blubbered words came, but all she cared about were the bits of description. Two people. One with green hair. One with black markings. A pair of hunters, who she now had a personal vendetta against as she struggled with what was left of Pello, to bring him home.

Carrying him without help was demanded of her pride, and so when she returned she had to lay down, and receive bandages. Unlike Marshall, she had no hydra in her.

~***~

When the body of Pello was brought, Marshall had already heard the news from Dusty. Seeing the body made it real, and he directed the body not to be brought anywhere near the laboratory. He had already found Amaranth there, and he’d laid her down more comfortably. He didn’t want the first thing she saw to be a dead child.

It was bad enough the news was going to have to be broken to her.

The harpy had come, as had many others pulled from their posts, and Marshall explained the situation to them. Valeria laid in the room and listened, but didn't contribute much, seething in pain and anger.

There were, it seemed, three powerful hunters in town. A dhampir, a green-haired mutant with a glass shield, and a pale mutant with black markings. All of them had to die, but no one was to engage them alone.

“Amaranth wants a dhampir to die?” The question came from the harpy, who went against legend. He was not female, after all, but a gorgeous bird of raven hair and rainbow wings. “I don’t believe that.”

“The dhampir wants her to die.”

“That’s not the sound of it. I mean, maybe reading between the lines, considering what he wants—but you started it. Pello probably started his fight—he’s had this coming for a while,” everyone knew how Pello was. That didn’t stop Aila from hissing at the harpy, “Odds are the Lady will say different about your plans, Marshall. I say we wait for her.”

When Marshall grit his teeth, the harpy knew—Marshall knew that he was right. He didn’t like it at all.

A bell rang before he could say more. Amaranth was awake. Amaranth was calling.

~***~

The Lady Amaranth knew she had not fallen asleep on cushions, but that was the feeling beneath her as the day air turned to night. There was blood in the air, a familiar scent that drew her eyes open in worry. “Marshall?” Blood and fur. Amaranth saw none of it as she sat up on the fainting couch and looked around. Normally, he would take her to the coffin. To leave her here, meant something was amiss.

She was still in the lab. Her new child was still showing good vitals on all the screens. Nothing appeared changed, nothing moved except herself.

Amaranth rose, seeking an answer in a note, but there was no note to greet her. A touch disoriented with the sensation that something was wrong, Amaranth started to walk out of the lab and into the darkness of the library. All lights had been extinguished. ‘Never mind that.’

Her plan was to change and clean for the day, but when she reached for the library she found it difficult to hold onto that idea. Something was wrong, even if she couldn’t place it. So, she instead went to the wall and pressed the button for a servant.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on June 30, 2015, 07:15:27 pm
There was some unspoken disapproval of him leaving his shield. He hadn’t wanted to, and knew her concern. When her returned and she was still conscious, a little better even, he smiled. “You owe me, then.” He said and thought about how much that bag of dried lizards had given him. It had been a very good purchase. He watched her take a few bites before he tore off a leg for himself and put it to his lips. With a little sigh into the hot, salted skin he rolled the white meat in his mouth before he ground it and swallowed it. He was very hungry as well, it seemed. He produced his smallest dagger to pick up a potato so he could mix the flavors in his next mouthful.

He chewed as he contemplated her question. “Mark of a good leader.” He said when the food was gone from his tongue. He licked the back of his teeth. “Or a mother.” He thought aloud. Surely they must not have been from the barberoi. He would have known if someone had bought or acquired the combination of a wolf and a dragon mutant from the den of mercenaries and assassins. Things pointed to that she either made them herself, or that she had them from an early stage. Mutants weren’t really created for anything but use, and he had a feeling she had made them specifically. He thought of the cat and how she had like his scarf. She had not appeared to be working under threat. Such strong loyalties were dangerous. There would be reprisals for what they’d done at the inn.

“I think we should still go tonight.” He said as he picked up another potato, black eyes fixing on nothing tangible, imagining their previous plan. He was sure she hadn’t changed her mind about it, either. With a deep chomp of the chicken leg he was still holding, he broke off part of the bone, and crushed it between his molar teeth, left cheek, as he continued to lament what might happen when they entered the castle. The guards would be on high alert, but hiding to wait out this threat level wouldn’t be an option. Every moment they’d become more likely to be found. He tried to guess on how many guards would greet them inside as he continued to crunch the bone. He stuffed the potato in before he swallowed the marrowy dough.

He took her cup for water. “How are you feeling?” he asked, returned from his thoughts to look at her. He tipped the vial while still keeping his attention on her, as though she might collapse when he wasn’t looking.

--

“Looks… fortified.” Left Hand commented. D sat on his horse, just outside the pipe as they viewed one of the walls of the castle. “Not too many guards on watch for us to see, fewer than before, which means they’re probably finishing up on the welcome party for us inside. The wolf and the lion are probably not too keen on letting you take them by surprise.”

The chill and the darkness had done the dhampir good. It had been fortunate that he was able to cut off the collaboration between the two mutants before they were able to organize, or else it might have taken longer to recoup. He would be prepared for multiple angels of attack from his enemy this time. This wasn’t the first time an army was against him. Still, he would try to be as quiet as he could, coming in. He thought about the woman with the moving marks. A couple of guards had walked by the pipe, never thinking to check for the owner of the cybernetic horse bound there, small talking about the death of what D had to assume was the dragon mutant he’d sent down into the garden from the skybridge. Green hair and dark marks. The pair in the garden, the woman that had the book.

D wondered about Amaranth. She was ambitious, experimental. People willingly sacrificed part of their blood to her. He could have mistaken her for a descent creature, if she wasn’t a noble. “Do we even know she kills people?” Left Hand asked, solidifying D’s thought.

“They do eventually. She already has. She is a noble.” D answered finally. He would usually voice himself on this subject, despite his usual, silent approach. The hand that held the reign lifted a finger to push up the brim of his hat so he could look further up the wall. “And we hunt noble.”

He found himself climbing one of the towers soon. The black cloak hid him well against the angel between the tower and the wall. It was a trick he'd employed before. He preferred doing it close to heavily guarded walls, because the audacity and assumption no one would try it usually helped him. Well on the walk, he knocked three human guards out before sliding down to the courtyard and in through a window. The castle was in a bit of an upset. He understood why, and briefly felt sorry for Amaranth and her loss as he searched for where her chambers. In here, people were not so vigilante.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on June 30, 2015, 08:46:24 pm
Lydia had counted once. Fifteen minutes after ingesting quite a bit of iron, and it was as if nothing was wrong. She knew it wasn’t the truth, but the kick of it couldn’t be denied. “I’ll buy you some, once this job is over,” more than he’d given to her. Perhaps snake, for a bit of amusement.

Some of that chipperness died when Oleyo proposed the idea of a noble as mother. The thought alone was scary. Everyone heard the sayings of mother bears. Lydia imagined a noble was no less protective of those she would call hers. She wanted to dismiss it, and shook her head to do so. “Maybe they think that,” she’d allow.

Oleyo thought they should still go that night, and Lydia knew that she must have hesitated a moment, before her next bite met her mouth. Then, she moved too quickly, and gave a nod. She swallowed quick, “I’ll be fine, you just know how this is,” she’d prefer more time to recuperate, but she’d not let that stand in the way if the fight happened that night.

She looked down at the marks. They were filling out again, but they were still faded in hue. That was the real way to tell, not by how she was feeling. “I’ll feel fine and I really won’t be,” she chuckled, but then traced the lines of one of her mark with the end of the fork, “But they’re getting thicker again. I’ll be careful,” a lie, of course.

The happy thought was they might not be alone in this. There was the dhampir, somewhere. They weren’t working together, but they weren’t enemies. She’d like to keep it that way. He might be of use in dealing with the numerous guards.

~***~

Who was to answer? Marshall and Phineus, that harpy, looked at each other and knew the trust was not there to let one go alone. Marshall nodded. He wouldn’t win this one. “We’ll go tell Amaranth,” Marshall touched the visible electronic that signaled responses to calls, so Amaranth wasn’t flooded with servants. Another bell rang so all would know someone was on the way. “We’ll come back with her, or her words.”

Phineus moved without speaking to exit, but Marshall caught up and took the lead as the two mutants exited.

The library was the popular space today. Amaranth stood there when the two arrived, not changed and still not quite pulled together. The bed hair was evident. The clothing was wrinkled. Her rest must not have been peaceful. Still, she held the noble radiance and beauty, and her mind was sharp. He could see it in her eyes as those golden orbs looked between her two guards.

“Amaranth, you may want to sit,” the harpy suggested. Despite inspiration, Marshall thought he was usually more of a siren.

Amaranth shook her head. She stepped away from the wall and approached both. “Tell me what has happened.” Back straight, head up. Marshall wondered how long she’d hold the posture.

Phineus looked to Marshall, and Marshall sighed out. He dropped his gaze. “Pello is dead.”

A fist clenched. A glass vase behind Amaranth cracked, but didn’t shatter. “Two mutants, one—”

“—with green hair, and one with marks.”

Marshall swallowed and nodded.

“Where? How do you know this?” The lance of accusation caused Marshall to flinch.

Phineus stood up for him, “Marshall was dealing with the dhampir, he couldn’t have helped Pello.” The golden eyes shifted over to him, and he held that gaze, shocked more by the fact he was unfamiliar with the look than anything else. He continued on, answering the questions, “Theodor told Dusty, and Valeria found Pello. He died in the Archer Inn. There are likely witnesses among the staff of the Archer, and Theodor can be questioned.”

The sense of his words calmed the anger, or perhaps, suppressed it. Phineus saw a fire go out within her, and then the fist relaxed, “Yes. You’re…,” a breath. “It seems tonight will have to be spent investigating this matter.” The dragon hunt would have to wait, but perhaps there was enough left of Pello to let him live on in some way. She had planned already to wait until nearly morning to get to work. “Tell me of the dhampir, then. Why did you two fight?”

“He’s a hunter, Amaranth, I’m certain. He knows people have gone missing. He’s here for them.” Marshall managed to speak.

She could read between the lines easily enough, “You struck first?” Another wound for the night. Marshall wasn’t supposed to be rash. “Do you and Pello both have death wishes!” It wasn’t a question as her voice rose and her arms dropped back to her side.

Marshall shook his head rapidly, but it wasn’t denial to her first statement, just the second. “I’ve told you. I did not think I’d have to tell you more than once,” disappointment shook her voice, with her growing sorrow, her growing fears. Were Marshall not the bad child, he might have reached to hug her, but he knew it would not be appreciated as she stood in all her pain. “None of you are to start fights. There is only one reason for that!” Leaving. And usually, when the person had already left and gotten out of public sight. “How is Pello being kept?” She redirected.

“On ice,” Phineus spoke up.

Amaranth nodded, “Take him to the laboratory, put him in the preserving gel,” she ought to have a tube large enough for Pello. It didn't take a genius to use, either. “Our hunt for dragons is going to be delayed. Marshall, see to the staff, arrange a meeting with Theodor and the staff of the Archer Inn. I will meet them there within an hour or two to get this sorted. If you can find the mutants who harmed Pello, do so. I’d hear their side, as well.”

It killed her to say it, but there was no other way. “Now. Both of you, go.”

Out they went, without a word of farewell. Amaranth heard an, “I told you so,” when Phineus was outside the door, and it almost made her smile.

‘Get ready.’ She instructed herself to turn from the door to leave through another. Clothing, a hairbrush, a cup of blood and to face the world. These were the steps but she faltered before ever leaving the library as she saw a bit of Pello’s blood still on the couch.

Never again would she stitch his wounds, or hear his grudging agreements. She walked around the couch and knelt besides it. A finger reached out, only to turn into a hand that clenched the cushion near the blood. Her eyes shut tightly and her throat clenched itself against sound as she buried her eyes against the fabric and tried not to scream. Her fangs extended in the agony of stress and the want of revenge, not knowing what else to do as she sat on the floor and shook with silent cries.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 01, 2015, 06:21:35 pm
He was relieved she also shared his concern about this strange family of adversaries they would be facing. Many of the things they hunted were ancient, but this time they were well organized. They'd come upon villages, but never a city this big, so well kept, belonging to noble. Thinking she was the mother was enough. He was sure that was Lydia's point. The werewolves were known for loyalty. An entire group of mutants defending their family rather than doing a job they were paid for, or fed for, promised more of a challenge then your run of the mill mercenaries.

There was hesisation in his eyes when he looked at her, waiting for her answer. They were only as good as each other. They had to weigh the opportunity with their resources. He would have backed down then, if she hadn't agreed. He thought he might still, but it was useless to go into a dangerous situation without conviction. He nodded to accept, and to sympathise. "You just tell me if anything changes for the worse." It wouldn't usually. It wasn't as though it'd go in cycles, worse and better, she would get stronger and stronger, rather. Question was, of course, if the rise in strength would be steep enough.

Oleyo followed her eyes to the marks and put his knife down to follow the trail of the fork with his touch. So much power underneath her changing complexion. He looked at her face and licked his lips of the salt fromt he chicken. "We'll both be careful." he agreed and let his hand wrap around her forearm gently, without upsetting the mark.

They had done well, concidering, against Pello. Two against one. Favorable. How would it play out when they were outnumbered, odds turned against them in the same way they had been turned against Pello, at least? Oleyo also thought of the dhampir then, hoping.

"It would have to be silent." he said, thumb circling an area on her skin as he thought. There was no other way. They couldn't fight an army of people, let alone one of mutants bred for the purpose of protecting the castle. Hope was to go in and retrieve the people they wanted, or mementos of them. Payment had also been for revenge, as always. Would they stand a chance, even if they got this Amaranth alone? He put some pressure on one of her marks, sometimes they'd react to touch. Oleyo and Lydia had ways of doing away with nobles. He knew that this one would be different.

Their first hunt for a noble had felt so much more desperate than this. Oleyo’s body hadn’t found a stasis between itself and the parasite then. The noble had been alone but powerful. All for a little boy that had died on his way home to his uncle, who hadn’t had enough money for experienced hunters. “Do you remember Alemar?” he asked. Their first real job. He smiled distantly as he saw the silhouette of the vampire in her filling but not yet deep mark. “I think, if we could do that then, then we could do this, now.”

--

D could move almost freely in the castle. They were still preparing to look for the hunters, and hadn't closed everything down yet. When they did, he'd already be here, inside. He knew he had to stay away from the wolf, named Marshall from whispers by the servants, and his nose. Left Hand had been so kind as to provide information about the conversation, a few halls away, when D pressed him against the wall.

"This seems morally ambigious." Left Hand commented once he was pulled off the wall. D tasted the silence for a bit, and rolled the thought around.

"Not for the people that are missing." he said, settling on his old train of thought. Left Hand made a grimace but stayed quiet to let the mutants pass the door of their room.

"You think so too, or you would have stormed in, sword raised." Left hand said eventually. D turned the palm up to look at his talkative parasite.

"It is more important to try and find the people missing."

They waited by the door as D listened for steps. Eventually he could hear those of a servant, female. She worked close with Amaranth, he’d heard her voice before here. It was a simple matter to open the door, reach out, and pull her inside by her arm. D would hold her mouth, her back against the wall of this guestroom, as he would wait out her panic. Then he would look her in the eye.

“Your mistress keeps prisoners.” He said, voice calm as he’d debate whether to free her lips yet, his palm oppressive there, but not tyrannical. “Where are they?” he tried to keep her as spellbound as his physicality could afford him. He’d rather  not subdue her completely. She was human, and didn’t really belong in this world of monsters.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 01, 2015, 10:16:56 pm
Oleyo still understood the necessity of silence. Despite their loud entrance, they’d have to find some way close to Amaranth without making another scene. Her guards were well-trained and protective.

Lydia had to hope the Noble wasn’t so strong, but that usually wasn’t the case. She’d heard no rumors of Amaranth’s strength, though. It wasn’t like the Mayerling clan, all known for their wicked claws. Amaranth, when she was known, was just known for the town that thrived around them.

Underneath Oleyo’s finger, the black adjusted to move around it and encircle it. Lydia smiled a little at the reaction. Always a good sign. The empty plate was pushed aside.

Alemar also hadn’t had much of a reputation, though they hadn’t researched. They’d been excited and anxious to start, and so the proper preparations hadn’t really been done. Lydia was high strung. She thought she knew all that was necessary to kill a Noble. “I remember. We found him at dusk,” which hadn’t been good for them. They had thought they’d gotten there earlier, but they’d spent an hour or two wondering about his castle, looking for him. “I’m still amazed we got out of that, victorious.” Not just alive, but successful.

She looked around, “We shouldn’t be waiting here. The owners are bound to come home,” she had eaten, so there was no reason to stay and sit here any longer. Not in her mind, anyway.

~***~

It was a few minutes before Amaranth composed herself enough to claw her way up from the couch, and walk unsteadily towards her chambers. Her vision liked to blur with blood all the way, and she had to keep wiping at it. She couldn’t cry tears, of course, because that would be problematic. Vampires didn’t fare well with running water.

When she made it to her room, all she had to do was touch a cupid’s arrow, and it became a fountain. No water mingled in it, but blood collected from other fountains came into a goblet for her. She didn’t retrieve it immediately, but forced herself to dress nicely for the day. Black was the color of mourning, and had remained so through the years.

Black was the dress that covered her, and little in the way of adornments. The dress itself had a golden trim to it. She pinned her hair up with black sticks, and then drank deep of the blood that was provided to her. She hadn’t asked Marshall where everyone was, but she knew where they all would be.

Habits kept it as the kitchen, a room that was unnecessary for Amaranth herself, but required for the rest of her staff, and sometimes guests.

Phineus was there, but Marshall was not. Aila came to her immediately and wrapped her long arms around the woman, “I’m sorry,” Aila was still blubbering. “I shouldn’ta sent’em off, I shoulda, shoulda gone with’em.”

Amaranth wrapped one arm around the cat, and the other she moved through the guard’s short hair. “It is all right, Aila,” she spoke softly, strongly, “It is not your fault.” She looked over Aila’s head to Phineus.

“Marshall’s gone into town. We should go to the Archer Inn, and then to the Church.”

“Yes,” Amaranth agreed. She looked to the others then, and Aila pulled away only enough to look up at her face. “You may all resume your posts, or your rest. Do look for those who attacked Pello, but do them no harm, yet.”

There was little approval for her words, but she knew she wouldn’t see that. She disliked them herself. “Also do no harm to the dhampir. I need to speak to him as well, since my only witness to the start of that confrontation is Marshall.”

“They’re hunters,” Valeria was the one to protest.

“Yes,” Amaranth sighed, “Likely so. They must still be given the benefit of the doubt.” Valeria was wounded still. Amaranth put a hand on Aila’s shoulder and moved the cat away to approach the lion.

She assessed the wounds not life-threatening, but said, “Stay off duty tonight. Rest. I’ll tend to you in a bit.”

Valeria wasn’t going to argue that at all. She wanted to rest.

With that, Amaranth turned to her own guard, and gave directions to Aila as to how to act as courier to some on the castle walls. They didn’t need to guard it so well when Amaranth was out, so some needed to be moved into the town since Pello and Valeria would be out of commission for the night.

~***~

It was the end of Dusty’s shift. She just wanted to go home when someone grabbed her, and pulled her aside. She struggled, of course, but whoever it was seemed to be as strong as any of Amaranth’s mutants.

Dusty tried to scream through the hand that held her, but it didn’t seem to be making much of a difference. She felt tears start to well up in her eyes as the struggles died down. A statement came, and it wasn’t a statement she expected. She blinked, the tears falling, but none following to build in her eyes. Prisoners? Of course there were prisoners. This was a civilized town. It was usually just drunks who needed to sleep for a few days.

Her mouth wasn’t released, so she couldn’t answer with words. She could lift her hand, and she could point, though it wouldn’t be of much service. She pointed to the left, and made a gesture with her finger ‘down’. Dungeons were always somewhere ‘down’.

Dusty knew of no other prisoners.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 02, 2015, 06:26:33 pm
Oleyo laughed lightly. It was almost painful to remember how green they had been back then, and still gotten the better of their enemy. He supposed you needed a bit of luck to go with your talent in the beginning. The night had looked deceptively thick when they’d first entered through the walls of his hideout. All they had were their weapons and the courage inexperience comes with. He remembered thinking how dangerous it could be, really, if so many had been killed before. The struggle with noble was that. With their speed and efficiency in combat, it usually came down to whether you had it in you to slay them on or not. You couldn’t muster the effort if you didn’t have the skill needed to begin with. Not like fighting a man, when you could hope to win even if you weren’t fit to defeat him, just by wanting it more.

“A fateful dusk.” He agreed. “We won because we work well together, wet behind the ears or not.” He replied with a grin. At her suggestion they leave he nodded and stood, finishing off the rest of his chicken bone. He found a towel to wipe his hands. Usually he’d just use the cloth on the table, but decided he’d been rude enough to these people. “Perhaps we should go get the bikes.” He said as they were going out the door, both bags in his hand. He discarded them by the boxes they had sat by, outside the fence. He looked back over his shoulder to see the dog sleeping, still, unbreathing, underneath the fruit tree. “I think we’ll have to leave the castle in a hurry, however this goes.” He thought for her to hear as he shrugged his shoulder, again hugged by his shield, now washed and pristine in the fountain of the house.

--

Her expression did not suggest that she felt any relief or shame at the business of her mistress. The servant girl simply pointed. This one didn’t know, then. He loosened the pressure on her mouth, until he slid all fingers but two from her lips, to test if she’d stay quiet. “There’ll be danger in this castle. Perhaps you should find yourself elsewhere.” He said and would let her speak and breathe if she gave him enough confidence in her quiet to do so.

She was definitely motioning for the dungeons. He’d not made his way there yet. In his mind it would be too public of a place to keep proof of what was going on in this city. He supposed it could be possible, if the cages were guarded from the eyes of others, or if Amaranth really did have her subjects under such well-woven veil. D let his fingers swiftly move from her mouth and past her jaw to the crook of her neck where he left a bruise, small, by tapping once, firmly, at the running nerve. He’d catch her when she fell, of course. This room had a bed. She would wake up in it.

It had been a little troublesome to get into these chambers. The security had not increased from what he assumed, but it was well guarded to begin with. Black cloak helped. As he suspected, a pair of the more likely to be incarcerated prodigal sons of those who had paid him were here, and smelt of a prolonged stay at this place. These were probably thrown in for actual illicit activities, and not for attempting to leave. One of them, pretty if cleaned, reached out a soft hand as D passed. D reached beyond that plea for help and place a twi-colored vial on the inside of the lock. The wire inside would upset the volatile chemicals and cause an explosion big enough to undo the lock when the wire in turn received a signal. The man stepped back, nodding.

D found two more in the same position, and rigged their cages in the same manner. This wasn’t much of a clue as to where the others might be. As he turned to leave, already deep in the underground, a voice asked him not to. The dhampir moved closer to the bars, and an old woman waved from where she sat on a splintered wooden bench. She wanted to speak. He extended his hand, a pouch of nuts. He hurried over to examine the bribe, and quickly hid it in the folds of her rags.

“She builds them. Human like clay, to her.” She said and pointed her finger to rise from the left and settle to the right. “Saw it as a filly. Long time. Had to leave, couldn’t leave.” She reminisced. D left an exploding vial on the back of her lock as well.

“You’re a big softie.” Left Hand mumbled as they made their way up the stairs again. “Builds them, huh? We need to find a lab, then. Any idea where to look?” he asked. D did not answer. “of course you do. You’re Lab Hunter D. You could find a tucked away lab in your sleep.” Another flight of stairs in silence. “Do you sleep? A lot of people want to know, not just me.”
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 02, 2015, 07:15:28 pm
Lydia rose as Oleyo agreed and she stretched herself up, toes rising, fingers flexing. The marks pulsed with the action, stretching themselves thin, too. There was much to recover, but much had been recovered at the same time. “The bikes?” At first her only thought was of the chaos those fast vehicles would bring, not the escape. They’d already been too loud in their approach.

He was right on the matter of escape, “Mm. But let’s leave them before the entrance. I don’t think bringing them in is good,” though she doubted this Noble’s technology, she’d heard of Nobles who could program the mounts of others. It had been used to direct guests appropriately, once. A vindictive Noble could crash and burn a bike, though.

“We didn’t leave our bikes in the same place,” she noted, since she had not parked hers near his. “Where is your bike at?” She inquired as she reached for his arm to leave the home with him. They could go to the nearest bike first.


Another set of wheels, four, sounded from outside the home. A black carriage moved by.

~***~

Marshall was not at the inn when Phineus and Amaranth arrived there. “Did Marshall say where he was going?” Amaranth asked one of the staff as she was seated, the rainbow-feathered at her side. He took a stool rather than a booth, wings the bane of all sitting with chairs.

“He said he was going to bring Amala here, if he could,” the staff answered, and Amaranth nodded, understanding. Hopefully, Dusty had been by there now and hired someone on to fix the fountain job. “Do you need anything, Lady?”

Amaranth shook her head. She had drunk before arriving, and though it was always available, she did not like to partake of blood around others. She knew it reminded people of the darker aspects to her life, and she’d rather they not be reminded consistently. “No, thank you,” she crossed one leg over the other, “I am only here to find out why Pello is dead, and I want to speak to all who saw it.”

The man nodded. He hadn’t seen it, he was night shift and not evening shift. “Theodor shouldn’t be long,” nor should the other staff who Marshall had a courier go fetch.

~***~

Marshall had gone first to the inn, and from there he walked on to the church. He doubted that Amala would be awake, but she was the name on everyone’s lips about this situation so he would have to try to get her to wake up and come along. He wouldn’t force her. He didn’t think he’d have to, once he mentioned Amaranth.

Within the sanctuary itself, his steps were soft but still disturbing. A different sister approached him with a severe look on her face. “What do you want?” She hissed at him, the authority of piety behind her words.

Marshall answered softly, “Amaranth wishes to speak to Sister Amala about today’s earlier events,” he glanced towards the candles and the statue before his gaze returned to the severe nun. “She will be at the Archer Inn. I am here as an escort. That is all.” Open hands at his side. He never meant any harm, never had any reason.

The nun glared, but then, turned on heel without a response. She would go see about Amala.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 03, 2015, 05:05:21 pm
Oleyo nodded and took her arm. Ideal for swiftness would be to have the bikes as close as possible, but leaving such vehicles close would surely draw eyes. A pair of hunters inside, a pair of bikes parked by the wall. Not a complicated equation. His arm hooked hers closer to him when they went outside. Darkness. "I left mine by horses not far from the city gates." the wrong word, since there were no gates, really. He felt some comfort trickle into him at the thought of sitting on that machine again.

He exhaled with some relief when he saw the motorbike. A large thing. The glass was yellow, courtesy of the lamplight meant to keep the horses company. As he came closer, a surge of electrical veins spread over his shield, their likeness echoed over the glass plates of the bike before its latches opened and the doors lifted outward and forward, like a dragonfly, frozen. He turned to her and smiled. It was a beast of a machine, and took a bit of learning for its size, not to mention its one hand controls. Of course it had a seat for her behind his. Inserting his shield, a pulse of blue repeatedly struck the surface, awakening all the wires and greeting all the needed electricity. The bike had been drinking in the sun all day. It should be ready for a long ride.

“After you.” He said. He’d leave it up to her whether she wanted to be encased, have a windshield, or simply have her head over the otherwise protected machine. Those controls were at her disposal, on her right hand side. After she’d gotten on, or even if she wanted to drive, they’d go get her bike, as per her directions.

--

Theodor was rubbing his knuckles nervously. People contacted him easily. That was how he made his money. Two way street of information. This time he had received. Amaranth had wanted to see him. She was upset, no doubt. Not a vengeful creature, from what he’d learned or known, but he hadn’t delivered news of Pello’s death to her before. He suppose there was always the image of an overbearing, sensitive ruler in his mind. This noble had been good to the city. Theodor didn’t sacrifice often, so he usually just reaped the benefits of living in a closed area, protected, and gossiping for gold. But all benefactors had their own agendas. And egos. Perhaps today was the day Amaranth proved to be cruel, underneath.

He stuck his head of ruffled, red hair in to notice her sitting in the restaurant. Most of the damage had been mended already. This was an inn in the very highest definition of the concept. Some debris still in the corner, as though they wanted a reminded, perhaps to prove to the lady that what had happened had indeed taken place here, and underline their innocence on merit of their candor. Theodor straightened his back as much as he could as he neared her. He was summoned by one of her formidable trusted, and had no choice but to abandon his favorite lovesport with his favorite practitioner, William. William would welcome you again if you had coins. Amaranth did not deal in such currency or patience.

“Good evening, lady Amaranth.” He said as he bowed his head to the sitting ruled of their city. “I am sorry for your loss.” He looked nervously at Phineus before setting his brown eyes back on the vampire. “I understand you would like to know more about what happened to Pello.” He said. “I know very little other than what I saw, Lady. I came in when I heard the upset, and saw two fighting, a male with green hair, long, and a woman with marks on her skin. They…” Again he looked at Phineus, afraid her might strike him down for reminding Amaranth of what must grief her. “found some cowardly way to overwhelm Pello.” The Fox would have said it was a sound strategy, but wouldn’t miss a chance to suck up. “And he fought valiantly but in the end didn’t overcome their advantage. The rest of my information are from sources, not my own eyes.”

--

Amala had been sitting in their fine chambers, doting on her hair, tending to its curls when sister Ritha came with words in her eyes. “Yes?” Amala asked as she put down the vial. It’s cork, porcelain as well, was long and pointed. All of their trinkets, the brushes, the combs, the hand-held mirrors, had a design to them that could puncture. You should never find yourself without means to sacrifice. Her vial had dark smudges on its tip. Amala would not have her position if she did not sometimes fall down because of what she gave up to the fountains.

“Marshall wants you, sister. Says it’s about today’s events, about Pello.” Ritha informed. Amala nodded and stood carefully. “Do you need my help to get to the gardens?” she asked. Amala looked Ritha over with some offense and the other woman lowered her head.

“Shouldn’t you tend to the sisters with child? Or check on your own? The monks are having a little festival in the playrooms. Go watch the children run around.” Amala said as she waved Ritha off, making her way to the gardens by herself, the bandage fresh on her forearm. By the time she’d reached the wolf, her sleeve was buttoned up.

“Marshall.” She greeted and then lifted her hand to point four fingers at the opening, from which she’d assumed he came from. “Lead, please.”
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 04, 2015, 02:21:35 am
Lydia was attached to her own bike, without the windshield or other clutter. She wouldn’t drive Oleyo’s bike, for it didn’t feel proper. Not just because it was his, but the mechanics of the bike felt foreign. She knew it, she had driven it before, but it was not quite the same.

She had to adjust about once a century to a new style. She always tried to keep it sleek and uncluttered. Less to break. She would sit on the bike so there was room for Oleyo to sit in front and steer, and she’d offer directions to locating her own bike.

It turned out, her own glass vehicle was not far from Oleyo’s. A few more turns and she would have parked her bike right besides his. So, they were there in a minute, and Lydia jumped off from behind his bike before he brought it to a full stop. The landing was a bit rough, but she didn’t let the shock of pain disturb her walk as she approached her bike and mounted it, brushing her duster over and behind her. She wouldn’t sit on it. She liked the way it flowed out behind her.

“Lead on,” she told Oleyo as life sparked into her bike, illuminating it from the inside, out. At night, it looked blue from those inner lights.

~***~

The black carriage would reach the castle before Lydia and Oleyo. It did not go through the archway, but stopped and pulled off the path. Out from the black carriage stepped a man in a blood red cape and a black suit, tailcoats and gloved. He brushed a hand back through his silver hair and stepped away from the auto-directed vehicle, away from the programmed horses, and walked back onto the path on his own.

‘So, this is your Utopia.’


Every Utopia was a Dystopia, some more than others. Lord Byron Ruthven knew this better than most as his heeled boots clicked on the walkway.

“Stop!”

He wasn’t going to hide himself now that he was in. Amaranth didn’t stop any from entering. He had thought that was a pleasant lie when he heard the rumors, but found there appeared to be no exceptions.

Down from the wall jumped an imperfect creature to demand, “Who are you and what do you want?”

“I am here to see my child, and you won’t hinder me. Where is your Lady?” He did not hide his disgust with the term.

He had sent a letter ahead, a week ago. He had heard nothing, but then, he didn’t expect to. He was demanding Amaranth’s land for his own. He was ready to return to the spotlight after being forced from his own home, all those centuries ago. He’d gone to sleep for a while, but woken, invigorated.

What was Amaranth’s was his.

~***~

Amaranth was ignorant of the chaos at her castle. Theodor had arrived, and spoke pretty words. Amaranth wouldn’t have lived this long if she couldn’t tell when a line was being fed to her. They weren’t lies, exactly, but they were exaggerated truths.

Phineus was less than impressed, listening to tone more than words. He knew better than to speak. Amaranth could speak for herself, and she would, when the man was done flattering her.

“I appreciate your report,” Amaranth did, of course. That was no lie. “And your sentiments,” her smile was weak. She’d likely be hearing those sentiments for days to come, until she was ill, and even after that. “I was hoping that you had seen the start, but it appears you did not. I wanted to know what started this fight.”

As much as she wanted to believe and hope that Pello hadn’t started it, she knew her green-eyed child. She never should have given him green eyes. They were known for their envy and tempers. “Please, Theodor, tell me the hearsay you have heard and do not spare me any details,” she was ever-calm. The day her temper broke would be a freezing day in Euboea. “If you know the names of those who are behind the hearsay, I would also care to know them. This is a tragedy, but I would like to avoid causing more tragedy tonight.”

For no matter what, she would get to the bottom of this before dawn.

~***~

Marshall waited, outwardly patient but inwardly pacing. He did not like to wait, and to keep someone waiting. He did not know how long it would take, if Amala had gone to bed, and he did not want to stand there for an hour.

He did not have to, fortunately. The beautiful sister soon came out to him, and motioned outwards. He gave an inclination of his head to her direction, and began to lead. He gave the direction, “Amaranth should be at the Archer Inn by now,” and if not, she would be there soon. There she’d be told where he went, and there she would wait for him.

Hopefully, though, he was not keeping her waiting. There was much information for her to discover.

So, Marshall filled in the gaps, in case word had not yet reached Amala, “Pello was killed at the inn today by that green-haired mutant, and another with markings across her skin,” he said. He didn’t look back for a reaction, but he listened to see if there would be any noise of surprise or shock. “She is trying to understand why Pello is dead.” He didn’t know if Amala would be of much service there, but she had seen Pello before death, and knew the destruction he’d caused. Her report was as useful as any other in understanding what transpired while the sun was up.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 05, 2015, 03:00:59 pm
He liked having her with him when he drove. It was as much of a home as he'd ever had, a constant that he decided over. On occasion he had to drive whoever he was retrieving, but mostly only Lydia was allowed. The controls were off, with his limited limbs to steer, but he found symmetrical bikes, which was basically every other bike, felt wrong whenever he had to ride them. Habits. It proved to be a short distance before he stopped again.

He nodded at her, where she sat on her own machine, before the plates again armored him, and he drew up his leg. The bike darted forward, quiet with its electrical system on. It wasn't entirely silent, since he didn't want to raise suspicion on their way there. The streets were pleasant to travel, especially at lower speeds. He imagined he could feel some unrest in the people because of today's event, but it might as well not have been so.

"We should see the open road after this." he suggested over the com just before he came to a stop by a parking area about half a block away from the wall of the castle. He left his bike. Its wings retracted to encase the seat. Borrowing parking even though he did not intend to use the establishment it belonged to would be a smaller sin, considering. "Now," he said, looking up as they walked. "There has to be an unguarded way of getting into this castle. You'd think with all the water leading here, the sewage system would be ideal."

--

Theodor was not a formidable man. The very things he dealt with made him less so. Like himself, those that shared information with him did not like those cut from better cloth, be it morally of physically. It was harder to do his job when he appeared too savory, actually. But now, in front of the lady, he felt as though he could perform well, like an athlete left to his sport, or even a warrior with favorite weapon in hand. Most of the news he would share hadn't been his to begin with. When he delivered the news of hours ago through Dusty, he was aiming for speed rather than accuracy of details.

Now he had those details, having scoured his sources. "There was two mutants, My dear lady, as you know." he started as he held up two fingers, and quickly took them back, suddenly unwilling to leave too many extremities out with Phineus present. "And I don't think they expected to run into Pello. They'd paid for a room, you see, just before they went into the restaurant." He held out a coin, one he'd traded for its value plus a few coppers at the front desk. He placed the coin on the table for her. Hopefully the information would be worth at least that to her. "Perhaps you can trace the stamp. After that, from a distance, Pello seemed to have noticed them as he enjoyed his meal of pig." That's what the waiter had said. Not pork or chops. Pig. Theodor did not doubt that the dragon could have put away such quantities of meat. "He recognized them and charged through the restaurant to get to them." He lowered his head for respect. "And the rest I saw for myself and have already told you."

--

"I see." Amala offered, following the large werewolf. She didn't leave a lot in her voice. The death of someone was tragic, but Pello had ruined part of the garden, it was now sick with water, and his life had proven to be more in the way of her offerings than his death. "We will have one less protector. I would ask you to find someone as qualified as Pello to replace his watch." she said. In a way it was flattery for the dead. His presence did deter too much unrest, and she couldn't very well name all the positive things to his passing to one of his comrades.

She thought of the green hair, and realized she had a name to go with it. Perhaps the lady would like that. She also remembered the name of the marked mutant. There was a story she could guess on there, as well. "Do you offer, Marshall?" she asked. It could be worth something to share the information with the wolf, but she had no doubt things would be resolved anyway. She'd rather push her own agenda. It wasn't a good thing for the guards to be weakened, but she had a hard time imagining a life without regular sacrifice, and someone so close to the Lady should feel an inclination toward it.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 08, 2015, 06:39:56 pm
Lydia trailed behind Oleyo, the blue giving a beautiful glow to her bike. The city was quiet at night, something Lydia had not expected. For some reason, she expected it to be more alive than this. Perhaps she was deluding herself, though. Or perhaps the people were deluding themselves about the Lady.

Her castle shone at night, too. It was lit up, and the fireflies were back to moving around it, and no doubt, within its garden. The duo didn’t dare to go up the walkway, but took their bikes off the road. “Perhaps,” Lydia said as Oleyo mentioned a sewer. She hadn’t even considered that, for she didn’t think the pipes would be large enough, but it was worth a look.

The clear orb was again retrieved from her pocket, and rolled in her hand. “Mm,” there was a distraction at the gate. Her orb glinted off a noble carriage.

It then caught the reins of a horse, and Lydia laughed at the sight, “It seems someone else had your idea,” for the horse was waiting right by a pipe. The orb twirled and she got a general idea of where the pipe was located. “This way,” she stowed the orb and started to walk in the direction the orb had shown her, to a pipe that ought to be large enough.

~***~

In truth, this guard didn’t know exactly where Lady Amaranth was, but the tone of the Noble was grating enough that he wouldn’t have told, anyway. The parent of Amaranth? Unheard of. Amaranth had never named them, not to this guard, anyway. He had been under the impression they were a pair of nobles long dead.

“Lady Amaranth isn’t taking visitors this night. Come around tomorrow.” The guard suggested.

“Why is that?”

“A death.” Perhaps he would understand.

He didn’t. “So? All the more reason,” he walked forward, quite aware the guard would try to physically stop him. When the guard did reach out, he took hold of his own cape. He utilized it to swipe at the guard, and watched the swiftness with which the guard jumped away.

Blood still dripped onto the walkway, falling from the guard’s chest, but the man did feel a sense of pride for what his creation had made. He’d claim the genius as his own, after all. ‘You’ve all been brought up to kill Nobles and you do not even know it.’ How else to protect a Noble if you couldn’t keep up with one?

~***~

An amused look crossed Phineus’s face as the man quickly lowered his fingers, and Phineus drew one leg up onto the chair, and crossed an arm over it. Amaranth always told him he had as strange a sense of comfort as Aila. He liked to perch. He was resisting the urge to do so.

A coin was set, and Amaranth reached for it when Theodor detracted his hand from it, and turned it over in her hand. She appreciated the gesture of its offer, but it was of no use to her. She imagined the mutants were travelers already. This could only trace to distant lands, and though it might trace to the area of the ones who paid the mutants, it wouldn’t offer her much more than that.

The story told was no surprise, except in its consistency. Could all the witnesses have been of one mind, or was Theodor neglecting pieces of information. No matter, Amaranth set the coin back down, “You may keep it, if you like,” she pushed it away with the tips of her fingers. “I see it may be as I suspected.” Pello had told her of these two, after all. Had he not, this would still not be a difficult story to believe. “I am grateful for the information you have gathered together so nicely. Can you name your sources?”

~***~

Marshall imagined Amaranth already had ideas for the ‘someone’, although he was not certain if that one would guard the church itself. It would certainly add the missing one back to the force. ‘Another dragon.’ How fitting, time-wise. Amaranth wouldn’t see it as such for a while. So, he gave a nod to Amala. He didn’t speak because his voice would betray him.

A question was asked before the Archer Inn ever came into sight that caused Marshall to sigh. “No, Sister, I do not offer,” he was imagining a lecture would follow his answer. To his knowledge, none of the guards sacrificed. Some wouldn’t have minded. Some would have wanted to, though they wouldn’t have let knives replace fangs. Some still had memories of that first and only bite. Marshall’s memory of it was too faded to matter, having occurred so many thousands of years ago.

He could say he didn’t believe in Artemis the way Amala did, but that would likely be approaching heresy. Amaranth didn’t even believe in Artemis. She believed—rather, knew—the Ancestor. Belief wasn’t a component. If there were Gods besides him, Amaranth did not actually acknowledge them. 
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 10, 2015, 09:54:04 pm
Oleyo liked her magic. He always imagined it part of an all-encompassing wisdom, and thought that if there ever was anything that could grant wishes, and the one in turn to have their wishes fulfilled wanted all knowledge, Lydia would find herself without her orb, or the orb would find itself with a twin. He waited for her to make out whatever it was telling her. Good news. It was a competent trinket.

The area wasn't desolate, just empty. Forgotten, if not for the well kept grass. It had one temporary inhabitant, though. Oleyo wasn't always liked by all animals, even those enhanced by cybernetics. He touched his hand to it, and it accepted him. Not all animals get along, but there is an understanding that is not there with humans. The horse had appreciated he did not turn his left side to it when greeting.

"D´s?" he asked as he ducked after her, the pipe she'd taken a bit smaller than the man in him preferred. The reptilian thing that was also Oleyo, thrived in this space, and there was a new glow surround his black eyes when the shadow of the tunnel closed in before he whispered a name, and his shield hosted stars bright enough to fill the glass and then their path.

There was something about narrow paths like these that drew on his senses. A part of him he was born to reject, but had learned to use. "Does your magic tell us where to go from here?" he asked as the road forked. "If it doesn't object, then we should go right." he said and nodded. It was a low voice that suggested this, his head forced down by the low ceiling, face close to her shoulder so he could extend his shield hand.

--

Theodor was getting comfortable with the situation, although Phineus did not make that easy. She was not impressed with the coin. He had hoped for more. Nonetheless, he was quick to retrieve it and look at it himself, to seem thoughtful and as though he was considering its worth, so as to not look too cheap when he put it back in his pocket. No loss, at least.

He hesitated after that. He didn't have much decency in his body, but giving away sources was against the structure of which he built his world. At first it wasn't a deliberate halt in his voice, it was simply Unthinkable, what she'd asked of him. His eyes grew and sunk deeper into his skull, all but stretching the freckles on his nose as his cheeks grew paler. "M-my sources, Lady?" he asked, stalled. He looked from her usually composed face to that of her less so guard. He swallowed. "I met with someone here afterward." he said, knowing they'd probably already questioned everyone they could, or would. "Samuel Eldrige." the name felt hard in his throat and trickled out his lips. He suppose he'd rather do this than die.

--

The dog was apt at guiding. It should be. His employer was close to the god and his kind were famous for their noses and sense of direction. She scoffed at his answer as she kept up with him, never acknowledging the strain it was taking on her. She could judge with the best of them. "I suppose you believe you do enough with your services, practicing your violence and herding me and my sisters and brothers." she said, as impressed with it as a when a child swore off food or claimed they would never grow up.

Eventually they made it to the inn, where people worked instead of offered, where a meeting was already held. Amala bowed to Amaranth, their vessel and voicebox to Artemis. "My Lady. You summoned me. I have information, though sparse." She looked at Theodor with as much affection as someone like him should be afforded. She sat. Usually she would wait for the invitation of Amaranth, but Amala couldn't fathom a situation were she, who had bled many times her body for the god, should stand while a thief of truths did as well. "The green one is a quiet brute, dangerous. And his friend seems even quieter. A woman, mutant as well." she said. Quiet, in this context, seemed to mean cunning or of intelligence.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 10, 2015, 11:53:15 pm
“Yes.”

Lydia did not reach out to the horse as Oleyo did, but she confirmed its identity. Many of the horses looked alike, but she did not doubt the owner of this one. D was ahead of them, then. Would he find the Noble first? That was the question.

Would they find the merchants first? That would be a stroke of luck.

Into the pipe Lydia went. She had not the snake or reptile in her to care much for small space, but she had the smaller frame not to mind it as much. Her orb could do her little good, here. “There isn’t enough light,” she answered, “even with your shield.” It wouldn’t go far enough ahead for her to catch light on the pipes. There weren’t any, so she would heed Oleyo’s instincts in this case.

She turned to the right as he suggested, and would continue to listen to his instincts until they came upon a way into the castle that he found agreeable. There weren’t many sounds on the way. It was still so unnervingly quiet for night in a Noble castle.

~***~

Though they were brought up to kill nobles, the guards had not done so before. Byron was a pureblood at that, old and powerful. The guard had time to register the pain of the first cut, and then had to avoid a second as the figure before him seemed to vanish in thin air.

The speed was unreal. The cut came from behind and split the guard in half. Byron shook off the blood from his cape and then marched on forward, rather than clean up his mess. The doors opened automatically. Anyone who got that far on the walkway was assumed to be allowed in. A flaw.

‘Arrogant.’

Byron didn’t consider that he was the same way.

The guard’s body would be found by another only after Byron had entered the castle. The way he walked through it caused some servants to stall in order to look, but none stopped him. It looked as though he belonged.

~***~

Marshall could chafe at the words given to him, but he chose not to. It would not be the last time he heard them, and it certainly was not the first. He’d seen the lives of many Sisters, and he’d see the lives of many more. He’d hear their irritation with him a thousand times, he was sure, before he died. So, he remained silent. He wouldn’t say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to her statement.

He simply herded.

At the inn, he found Amaranth with an eyebrow raised at the information Theodor had passed. Phineus leaned towards her, but not even Marshall’s hearing could make out what the Harpy said.

Sound was a game to the Harpy. He didn’t even need to lean towards Amaranth to whisper, and be heard. “This one expects more than knowing he did well for us,” were the words on the wind. “That is why he hesitates.”

Information was money to Theodor, or so Phineus had surmised from rumor and talk of Theodor. The man rarely fed his information to Amaranth, so it was rarely important what he did to make a living. Amaranth smiled a bit, inclined her head a little. ‘Of course.’ How foolish of her to think her good graces would be enough. This man thought he was risking something in telling her his sources, even. ‘They are starting to doubt, then.’

It was a matter to deal with after all of this. She could not have her people doubting her ability to protect them. The name given was Samuel Eldridge, and it was the only one. One source. How strange. Still, it seemed he considered it a good source. There was no question as to why he only had one story to tell, then.

Amaranth noted Amala out of the corner of her eyes, and gave a slight inclination to offer permission to approach. Then she lifted her gaze to Theodor again, “Thank you for your services to me, Theodor,” it seemed she had exhausted his use, and had another to tend to. “You may see Marshall,” she caught the werewolf’s eye and he hung back rather than approach.

It seemed he’d have to deal with business with Theodor, as now Amaranth’s attention turned to Amala.

There was a bow and then Amala sat. Amaranth wouldn’t begrudge her the seat at all, and didn’t even look offended that Amala would do such. In fact, she smiled. Amala was dear to her.

The woman was pale. Of all the blood in this town, Amaranth knew the taste of her blood best, even when it mingled with that of others. The smell of blood was always around Amala, too, from wounds that had once been open.

It made meeting with her difficult, since she smelled like food.

Amaranth had honed patience to an art, though. She simply stilled her breathing until it was necessary to speak. A nod was given at the information. Sparse it was, but it was information, “I have been told you were present when this green-haired one had an altercation with Pello,” Amaranth said in an exhale, “I have been told that Pello began the situation here. Does that seem likely to you, Sister?”  Inhale. Amaranth was not thirsty, but it didn't change the fact she nearly shivered at the scent of familiar blood. It didn't change the longing.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 12, 2015, 12:41:09 am
D's horse. D had not identified himself as an enemy, in fact, he had helped them by giving information, the book, to Lydia. A friendly gesture. Oleyo knew better than to count on anyone other than Lydia for backup, especially since they were here for the same targets. He supposed he'd rather the vampire hunter snipe the reward than add to the level of difficulty of this mission.

She had mentioned the mechanics of the orb to him before. In truth he didn't know very much about it. He'd filed some of the knowledge in the back of his head, because it interested him. It would always be that she'd be the expert and operator. He wouldn't need to know much. "Too bad." he said with a smile. He'd take what help he could get. Oleyo was practical, not often proud.

It would be easy for Lydia to know where he aimed to go whenever there was two or more choices. His shield would only illuminate the mouth they should go next. It was a quiet, isolated walk. The walls and the undisturbed cobwebs suggested the legendary hunter had not gone this way. "Maybe we'll meet D in here." Oleyo said, engaging in small talk in a way that would seem strange to her, since she knew him. He was not a jealous person either, but of course, he didn't often wonder about how well he measured up to the beautiful D.

Eventually he whispered the name again, light voice, a good bye, and the light from the shield faded. There was light at the end of the next mouth, hitting a gathering of water. The room was small but larger than the tunnels they'd traveled. Here, standing in the water, they could look up onto bars in the ceiling.

"Would you like me to hoist you?" he offered, holding out his ready hand. They had scaled many a tall structure, just the two of them.

--

D had quietly watched from a window overlooking the walkway. The carriage had caught his eye. Knuckles down, Left hand rested on the windowsill. It was an unspoken invitation for the parasite to partake in the viewing, and perhaps read what he could from it.

The attire alone might have given Byron away. D recognized his face before the proof of impossible speed. Left Hand intended to say something, but D folded fingers over his lips to keep him quiet. The Noble was engaged with another, but always aware. D was taking a risk looking so directly at him already. Better not risk detection just for Left hand's verbal self amusement.

When the vampire had gone out of sight, the vampire hunter lifted the fingers. "Well. You sure know how to pick a mission, don't you D?" D didn't answer, and started finding corridors that might lead him closer to Byron. "Would it kill you just to take an easy one, once in a while?

--

There was tension in Theodor's gut when he waited for her to take the information. It had cost him quite a deal to reply, but now he felt as though he was being judged by that delay. He breathed when she spoke again, and felt excited to be directed to the wolf. He felt like a child again, walking up to father coming home from good business. The old man had sparkled Theodor's love of wealth with his generosity. So the fox went to the wolf, passing the sister. Theodor and Amala had very little in common. "My Lady." he said to Amaranth before he was out of earshot.

Amala waited for her information to be weighed and judged. The sister was ready for most things, and was sure she would be dealt a fair verdict by Amaranth. It seemed sufficient, as she was not reprimanded in any way for it. Hopefully it would help in the long scheme of things. The question that followed drew her back to the one who had spoken with Pello, after Pello had fallen to break the fountain. Oleyo had come to her rescue then, or so the green haired had thought.

"When they met, Oleyo had a bit of a bout with Pello. Oleyo had some misguided notion of saving me from a lash of Pello's arm." she said before tasting her own lip. "Yes. And the woman's name is Lydia." she remembered. "It seems neither of them were weary of Pello's size, but they don't strike me as rash." The underlying meaning being that Pello was. "If I were to guess on what happened in this place, it'd be that Pello's adversary was his own mood, and that became his undoing. Perhaps these two were just a catalyst." she said and lowered her head again, to offer condolences, while her words suggested Pello's demise by his flaring temper had been inevitable.

"May I offer you anything to ease his passing, My Lady?" Amala asked. She was sympathetic when situation warranted. She thought that perhaps now would be a good time.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 12, 2015, 01:49:33 am
‘Maybe.’ Lydia’s own thoughts echoed Oleyo’s words about D with a hopeful twang. She wanted to believe it was curiosity about what D knew, but that would never be all. Lydia could lie to Oleyo, if she wanted, about D’s appearance. She could not lie to herself, even if she understood it was the Noble in the dhampir that made him so very attractive.

“Are you so curious to meet D?” Lydia queried, finding his continued mentions of D strange. She didn’t even consider it was jealousy—at least, not over her. Perhaps jealousy over skill, but she didn’t want to think that way over Oleyo. Not her partner, who took down so many testosterone fueled maniacs. He would not fall to that emotion for those base reasons—he knew where it led.

The light of the shield faded, and Lydia slowed her steps. There was a light that shone from above. Their exit.

He offered his hand and Lydia laughed a bit, batted at it as she walked forward and put a hand on his head. She messed up his green hair as she said, “Oh, just get down on your knees, Oleyo,” his arm wasn’t going to be as good a boost as his shoulders. She pushed his head down, and he maneuvered into the familiar position. She was as gentle as she could be in stepping up on his shoulders, and then rising to stand as he did. It was much easier to work with the grate that way. One hand wrapped around the bars to steady both her and Oleyo below.

It wasn’t difficult, though it did require her blood to spill again so she could twist screws that her fingers wouldn’t have been able to do on their own.

Much of this blood wasn’t lost in the effort, and she was able to push the grate off the hole, and then hoist herself up and over. As soon as she was up and over, she laid down on the ground and let herself spill back over the opening to offer both of her arms to Oleyo. It would help him to get up. She didn’t have the strength to pull him up, but she could work as a bridge between him and the edge of the hole.


~***~

Byron barely heard the steps, but he did. He was not sure if he cared enough to intercept them, until he was certain they were coming to intercept him. He wouldn’t be trifled with, and from the quiet way the owner of the feet walked, he imagined it was one of Amaranth’s guards.

He turned a corner and found himself in the same hall as the strange man with the black hair. He wrinkled his nose when the scent registered. Vampire, but not. Another thing that should have been destroyed before it came into existence. “And here I thought the wolf was Amaranth’s leader,” then he reconsidered, “Unless you’re taking orders from that.”

Clearly, Lord Byron assumed the dhampir before him was in league with Amaranth, another of her creations. He assumed it would be in charge, too, assumed direct relation immediately. He wouldn’t put it by Amaranth to have actual children among her toys. “Where is she, beast?” It was the only decent name for a dhampir. They were not Noble, and they were even less than humans, in his eyes. 

~***~

Marshall looked to Theodor as he drew towards him, wondering what he was even supposed to do. He hadn’t been briefed on dealing with the Fox, and so he asked, “Can I assist you?” It wasn’t hostile, but it was clearly wary.


Oleyo and Lydia were the names given to Amaranth. Neither were familiar to her, not that she truly expected them to be. The same hypothesis was given again. Pello’s temper was his downfall. Amaranth refrained from taking a deep breath as Amala offered that opinion without sugar coating it. “You are right. That story was given to me by Theodor, and though it pains me to accept it, I knew my child.”

A matter of time, indeed.

Her heart twisted once in agony, and then again in longing as Amala made an offer. There was always one thing she would want, no matter how full she was. She would never ask it of the woman who gave so much already, and certainly not from her own veins, pulsing and warm.

Amaranth did find herself reaching out to Amala, though, and if the woman didn’t protest or flinch away, Amaranth would embrace the sister. It would be gentle, a consideration for her condition.

“Just pray,” she would say into the human’s ear, before clenching her jaw shut tightly against the fangs that painfully pushed forward. They wouldn’t find flesh. Amaranth wouldn’t bite.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 12, 2015, 06:38:48 pm
"I am curious about the legendary hunter." he said. That much was true. Their relationship wasn't predicated on any claim. He would be offended if she did not come to his aid in battle, that much he wanted from her, as he offered as much in return, but other than that, they were comrades. Nothing spoken, nothing promised. The things that were there were there because of how solid they were. Anything beyond that which was practical had not been discussed. Still, D's presence in her mind bothered Oleyo in more ways than what was practical.

He smiled as he kneeled, hair falling, upset, around his face. She was a light thing, and used it to her advantage. He stood and looked up at her work, but swiftly lowered his head when she applied her blood. Not something he'd like in his eyes. There was a hiss from his right side. Then Lydia was up and offering her help. He took one of her arms so she could hold him with both of hers. Oleyo pulled himself up swiftly. She would know to let go so that he could hook his fingers around the edge of the hole before he fell again.

Once up he looked around. A kitchen. Clean but barren of food or spices. He went to the closes table and trouched the wood. Stained but dry. There was something decadent with abandoned places like this. A large place always had unused rooms. He came to the door and opened it without waiting long. He was fairly certain that whatever corridor it opened to would be empty. "Hopefully we can find our targets and sneak out the same way." he mumbled as he pulled his hood on, muting his now wild hair after her ruffling. Gray was a good color for icognito, but bright green could be detected even at the corner of one's eye. The words he'd spoken had sounded flat, though. Signs of death might be more likely at this point.

--

D's boots came to a soft stop, halting the cloaked body as Byron detected it. Left Hand was appropraitely quiet. There was blood fresh on the vampire's aura, which pointed out very well why they needed to be hunted. This one was older than D had expected to face on this job. No matter. It became clear that Byron did not know D the way D knew him. The hunter let silence spread in the wake of the question as he concidered the situation. He did not take another step. Vampire hearing would be more than enough to converse at this distance.

"Does it matter, Byron?" According to etiquette, there was no reason D should be allowed to use his first name. D did not subscribe to those rules. Left Hand noted the tone in D's voice. D liked to play at indifference, but sometimes the harsh sentiments towards his father's race would shine through in D's expressions.

The hand itching to grab his sword relaxed. D remembered the mission. It was not to slay this Nobel, even if it might be opportune, as there seemed to be few other high ranking foes close by. It was a rare moment of realasation for D. He saw that he was hoping for an altercation rather than being prepared for one. "I'm here for her prisoners. You'd do well to have her give them to me." he said, his intentions of fighting flaring out form his person to fill the corridor and envlop Bryon without so much as a muscle flexed. "I have a list, if you'd like."

--

Theodor rolled his knuckles in his palm again, but it was out of pure nerves this time, standing infront of the wolf. It was clear Marshall was not amused by this. The Fox swallowed and lowered his head without letting Marshall go with his eyes. "Eum... I just offered infromation to the lady Amaranth." he said. He was tempted to embelish on what he'd done, but that would be both dangerous and fruitless. "She said I should talk to you."

There was a soft vibrato to Amala's gaze when Amaranth spoke of the large, scaled mutant as her child. Amala had culled a handfull of children to be future worshippers and productive veins for the church, and knew she'd not be able to leave them without her faith, either. Her heart broke along Amaranth's on this subject. She stood and took the taller woman's body against hers willingly.

Just pray. She would. She always did. Pray in heart, pay in blood, as they sang in the garden, and wrote in their rooms. She looked up at the woman, still holding her to herself. "There is a broken fountain in the garden. Perhaps it would be faster to offer you some of me personally." she said, letting go of Amaranth with one hand to lift the wrist between them, the bandage was still moist with her life, underneath the easilly unbuttoned sleeve.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 12, 2015, 09:52:33 pm
They were both in agreement on curiosity about the Hunter. How much more was debatable, but at least, curiosity remained ever the same, though none of them claimed cat-blood.

Once up, Lydia moved the grate back over the hole, but she did not return the screws. This would still serve as a quick escape, if it were necessary. Then she took in the scene. ‘Kitchen?’ For a moment, she was confused, but then remembered the mutant guards. They probably did not drink blood.

Oleyo did have the idea of using this as an escape. “Yeah….” If they could avoid a fight, that would be best. Lydia came to his side, and drew out the orb again. It was trickier in confined spaces. Corners were frustrating, but Lydia rolled the orb and kept a hand on Oleyo’s shoulder.

She would let him walk, and start to correct him only when she had a good idea of direction, or to avoid being caught by a guard. A guard wasn’t the first thing she was able to find, though she was searching low. Off vases, off stair railings, off bars, and then reflected in bars. ‘Odd.’ “The prison cells are empty,” she commented in a whisper. That wasn’t a good sign.

Perhaps there was a second prison, though? Lydia spun the orb rapidly, trailing it back up, following stair railings to new rooms and searching for another way down, another staircase that would lead to a second prison. Of course, it wouldn’t be found—there wasn’t one.

~***~

Byron was not surprised to be known by someone older than the guard outside. He did tilt his chin up at the way his name was spoken. His back straightened under the offense. ‘Does it matter?’ Yes, he thought as his nose wrinkled, of course it mattered.

This one was not Amaranth’s children, then. How strange. He waved a dismissive hand at the prisoner sentiment. “They’d be in the dungeons, beast,” he didn’t care if this figure wanted prisoners. He wouldn’t have prisoners in the first place. They’d be dead, or better.

He briefly considered that, uncertain how much Amaranth had taken after him. The mutants had to come from somewhere, though. “That, or in her lab. I wouldn’t know the names on your list.” He wouldn’t care either. “Go on, then. Best be quick about it, too.” Though the dhampir had offended him, he was not yet in a mood to bother with him. If the dhampir was still around when he’d taken his rightful place as Lord of Euboea, then he’d see the dhampir impaled on a spike outside the town. “You’re no use to me.” And he started to walk.

~***~

Marshall had found himself in this position more times than this. Every time, he felt unsure. He knew what he was supposed to do, and apparently, Amaranth trusted him to the task, but it was always awkward. “Oh.” Money.

Marshall didn’t keep weapons on him, so there was room for other, practical things. He never truly knew what a good fee for information was, but he dug out his wallet from an inner pocket on his vest and flipped through it. The money in this town was not of coins, but paper, for convenience. Coins were accepted and understood, but they usually ended up melted down. Marshall took five of his higher numbered bills and offered them to Theodor, “I think that is enough,” there was enough doubt there, though. Marshall was ever-fair, but even after centuries, this sort of business was still lost on him.


There was comfort in touch, and comfort in warmth. Amaranth was denying Marshall in favor of others, and Amala was a perfect sort to hold. It was a narcissistic sort of reason, though. Amala reminded Amaranth of herself, in a time no book would ever record.

Amala was not the first to do so. Amala would not be the last. All of them would fade with time, blessedly human, or cursedly so. It was not Amaranth’s job to protect her flock by changing them to spare them the ravages of time. She knew how rare it was that a human managed the change successfully, anyway.

The offer was made apparent as Amaranth turned her head and her body, just a bit, to see the wrist.

Phineus could see the fangs then. “Lady Amaranth,” his voice was only for her ears, directed by his whims. His hands did seem to move the air, to direct, “Remember.” He could see the bloodlust plain as day.

It wasn’t that Amaranth never drank from the vein. She did. She had learned to seal every Kiss. No mutant bore their first Kiss, and no human wore it on their neck. Her human targets were usually sleeping, though. Ignorant, though quite often they’d have a windfall of luck. Amaranth was never certain if it was something she deserved, or if it was a habit to break.

She did understand the act was disturbing to the public, even if they’d lie and say it was fine. So, lightly, she pulled away from Amala, but kept a hand on her shoulder. “I thank you, but I have already drank today. There are reserves. The fountain will be restored, soon. I asked Dusty to have a man hired to fix it, starting tomorrow.” Her hand squeezed the shoulder, and then she stepped away from the warm body.

Phineus left his stool then, and hooked his arm in hers, a measure of caution. “You haven’t drank enough.” More words directed just to her. Amala might be able to read his lips. “We should return and fix that." No doubt she was being careful with those reserves because of the fountain’s destruction.

Amaranth touched Phineus’s arm, and removed it. She didn’t speak to his words, but said instead, “You need to go inform the others that Oleyo and Lydia are not to be harmed. You are to find them. I want to let them know that their actions are forgiven. I understand it was in self-defense.”

Phineus expected that. He could fly, so he was often courier. He inclined his head in a deep bow, “I will do so,” and off he went.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 13, 2015, 07:45:27 pm
Oleyo was discouraged initially, when she said there was no prisoners, at least not in the prison. That would have been easy, or at least they’d know what to do, depending on the security. A prison break wasn’t the easiest of feats, but it was possible, and it might not involve a fight. After he’d lamented on that small loss, he realized it was odd that there wouldn’t be prisoners. He looked over at her as they walked, connected by her hand on his shoulder. “That’s strange.” He remarked. “Euboea is better held than most cities, but no prisoners at all? Perhaps there are other facilities, not in the castle.” A sheriff’s office or so, or even a separate prison with its own grounds.

 

They continued looking around. A noble wouldn’t have her quarters displayed in the open, at least not one levelheaded enough to have existed this long. He thought of old crypts and buried catacombs. This did not seem the place. “Do you see something in the heart of the castle?” he asked. If he remembered, the orb functioned off light. He supposed the chambers that might hold people kept against their will could be void of light, but there could perhaps be places adjacent to them that were lit. Better to ask then not, he figured.

 

--

 

This noble did not seem threatened, or even bothered to the point of reacting. D’s sword hand relaxed further. The Byron he had read about did fight, but the records were always more in the favor of dramatics than facts, never mind who wrote them. Human historians wanted to warn, and noble records wanted to embellish. Sometimes the truth couldn’t even be found in the middle. A lab. That was something. Industrious, this Amaranth. A good place to look for prisoners.

 

Left Hand smiled as D’s shoulders lowered as the vampire did not offer the battle the dhampir had been prepared for. Bryon needed to be punished, hunted, but he was not the mission, having just arrived and seeming to know little of the ones D was seeking. D would instead embark on his search for these labs. They had not been in the dungeons, which means they were higher. If Byron was newly arrived, with little knowledge of this place, he should be a sire returning to his childe. This situation could become flammable quickly, with Amaranth’s tendency to invent children, and her father here.

 

D watched the noble move but didn’t detect any real threat in his posture, and eventually D left as well.

 

--

 

Theodor had not counted with the wolf’s uncertainty. If only he’d suspected that these things made for battle were less comfortable with matters of coffers. Then perhaps he would have embellished, as he’d thought to do in the beginning. As cunning as the fox was, he was also a coward. He extended his hand and resisted the urge to count the bills. He had well seen the contents of the wolf’s wallet and the number of bills he’d taken out. A perfect amount for the information given, which of course begged to be haggled upward. He did not wish to haggle with the wolf today. Instead he put the money away and nodded a thanks before he was off.

 

With her wrist up, Amala looked at Amaranth. The sister received the kind handling of Amaranth’s hand on her shoulder. It was not Amala’s place to offer again, insist. She would admit to wanting the novelty of losing blood in another way, not that bleeding herself wasn’t delicious. She remembered times when she’d received fangs instead of her own blades. Nostalgic. Now would not be those times. Then the guard came closer, and spoke.

 

Amala did not hear. She finally put her wrist down when Amaranth addressed her subject. “I will also tell them, if I see them again.” She informed as she bowed her head and took a few steps back, her wound suddenly throbbing, stills tuck on the aspect of being kissed instead of squeezed. Foolish mar. Despite the gesture of offering the wrist, it was more likely blood would be drawn from the neck. When she stood at this distance, small, from the two creatures made of different matter than herself, Amala felt a little tingle of lightness on the top of her stomach. It pleased her, apparently, that the green haired mutant was not in direct danger. She waited to be dismissed, or receive other orders.

 

--

 

“Looking for the lab as well?” came a steady voice, dominating what had until then been a perfect silence. Oleyo was worried when he turned, because he should have heard this person coming. He was put at ease, his self ready for a fight settling, while other parts of his inner stirred upon seeing the dark shape with the white face, partially concealed by the shadow of a wide brim.

 

“We are looking for prisoners.” He said to D. The dhampir looked from the tall mutant to the smaller one. Perhaps that was meant as a greeting. Oleyo accepted it as one. D’s eyes stopped at Lydia.

 

“Then we are on the same mission.” D answered as he came close to them. Oleyo didn’t feel threatened, but the snake still moved in its cage. Oleyo looked at Lydia, now that D had invited himself to search with them, or perhaps offered his help to lead them. “A noble is here, older than Amaranth. He made her.” He gave, as though it was a gift. Oleyo couldn’t help but narrow his eyes slightly at the pretty face, on a taller perch than his own.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 15, 2015, 01:52:11 am
“Possibly,” Lydia concurred with the thought prisoners might be kept elsewhere. Other towns did have sheriffs, and those sheriffs had prisons of their own.

Still, an empty dungeon?

“I’ll try to look deeper in,” Lydia said, and twisted the orb. Looking for private chambers tended to mean mirrors. Lydia didn’t understand why, but vampires had mirrors. They weren’t useful to them, but they were almost always present in rooms where business took place. 

The orb hadn’t caught sight of D in it, because it was focused in another direction. Lydia was startled to hear the voice when it reached them, and she came to an abrupt stop. She looked up from the orb as if coming out of a daze. It was always that way when she was taken from it suddenly. It was like she’d just woken up.

Even so, she couldn’t stop the smile that spread on her lips at the sight of the other hunter. Her hand didn’t leave Oleyo, though it did squeeze his shoulder a bit.

“So you’ve been to the dungeon, then,” Lydia surmised when D expressed they were on the same mission. “I could find a lab, just give me a moment.” She’d been searching into the heart of the place since Oleyo suggested it, but with a more clear idea of what to look for, she had a better idea of the reflections. She tossed the orb up, and when it came back into her hand she turned it sharply to start going in the other direction. 

Lydia would soon say, “Got something,” and then wince, “Oh.” For the reflection was a glass tube, and within it was Pello. Certainly the lab, though, “I can take us there,” she pulled at Oleyo’s arm to lead him along, and maintain the contact.

“Which Noble is here, besides the Lady?” The orb wouldn’t catch those reflections, so she couldn’t say if Amaranth was here.

It was odd, if she was. Had Amaranth fled, to allow so many to wander her halls? 

~***~

Lord Byron had similar thoughts to Oleyo—locate the private chambers of Amaranth. Amaranth was not like other vampires, who would have their chambers underground and not decorated. Humanity clung to her like a disease. She had a mirror, a vanity, there was even a bed—an absolutely pointless bed.

Beds provided restless sleep to the Nobility. The floor was more comfortable, closer to the ground, though it rarely had the soil they really wanted. Byron couldn’t help but walk to the coffin and throw it open, on the off chance Amaranth would be sleeping.

She wasn’t, of course.

He slashed the coffin in half with his cloak, and let the soil underneath the wood spill onto the ground.

He stormed out, slamming the door hard.

A crack of a whip nearly struck his face, but he stopped short of it and his eyes fell upon the wounded chimera who had sniffed him out.

~***~

The amount was sufficient, it seemed. Marshall looked to the place where Amaranth was, separating herself now from the others. Phineus was leaving her.

Amaranth was speaking to Amala, “Please do,” her smile was kind, though the fangs hadn’t vanished. “Thank you,” she said to the Sister, “You may return to your covenant now, I apologize for disturbing you.”

The door was opened, but not by Phineus. Phineus had to step aside as the door was swung violently open by one of those rare human guards in service to Amaranth, “My Lady!” He was out of breath, panting, dripping sweat. “My Lady, Severus is dead! Cut open—cut in half—right in front of the entrance.”

“Who?” Amaranth demanded immediately.

“No…no idea..there’s a…a carriage….”

Amaranth was gone in a flash, standing by Amala one second, and gone the next. Marshall couldn’t trace her movement, but the scent hit him right as the red-headed woman passed, unseen. He looked to Phineus, who spread his wings and flew right out the door. Marshall inclined his head to those present, “Excuse me. Stay here, Roger,” he told the human, and then ran on foot, beating a path back to the castle.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 15, 2015, 06:19:55 pm
Oleyo noted her firmer grip on his shoulder at the presence of the other hunter, but tried not to linger on that for now. It wasn’t really prodding appropriate for this moment. She realized aloud that D had been in the dungeons. There was something satisfying with D having had to go down there, since he had no orb. Oleyo followed in her turns and kept a watchful, but not hostile eye on their new companion. D did not return the attention, trailing one step behind them. His silence was supposed to be an agreement to that he’d been in the dungeons, Oleyo assumed. What an impolite way to communicate.

“Byron Ruthven.” D replied. She would know of him from the book.

Oleyo knew there was something shared between the two that he in turn did not have any knowledge of. Whatever it was it must be from when they’d met before, and that in turn had to mean the book. Nothing to be upset about, since Oleyo had been given fair chance of reading up, only he’d not taken the time. Still, it was upsetting to the green haired mutant. He pulled his hood back a few inches, still on his head, most of his features now revealed.

“Pureblood.” D added as they rounded a corner. Oleyo couldn’t figure out if it had been an addendum or if it had been for his benefit. D’s help was starting to grate on him. Other matters were more pressing. “Your marks.” The dhampir started. Oleyo didn’t stop, but there was a stiffening in his walk. It would be Lydia’s descission whether she wanted to reply or not. The green haired noticed that D dragged his thumb over his left palm, almost contemplative. “May I touch them?”

Oleyo’s black eyes widened then, a clear scratch of his sole against the floor at the surprise. He was ready to take offense, if she did.

--

Amala inclined her head at Amaranth’s words. The suggestion was an order to her. Amala had nothing more important to do than to carry out suggestions from someone so close to the god. Things turned dramatic after that, information that wasn’t hers, nor denied to her, was shared. She saw the informant who had talked to Amaranth before her rub his hands. He would be peddling this little tidbit soon, then. She corrected her dress as though it needed it, a bit swooned by Amaranth’s departure, but not swaying. She nodded to the wolf before he left.

The sister made her way back to the gardens, thoughts on the green haired mutant. It seemed the castle was in a kind of turmoil. Soon she sat by the large pool in front of the altar indoors. She started unbuttoning her sleeve.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 15, 2015, 10:18:33 pm
There was a name that Lydia Tepes did not expect to hear. Though already pale from loss, her skin paled further as the marks seemed to thin at that name. It was a name she couldn’t forget if she lived for hundreds of thousands of years, and it was not a name she ever wanted to hear again, from anyone’s lips.

Lord Byron Ruthven had died, or so she’d been told by the hunters who took her to Barberoi.

“Yes, I know that,” she said when D mentioned he was a pureblood, the words coming out quick. It wasn’t quite a snap, but the anxious energy was there. Where the black marks shifted to branch out, the pulses of her blood disturbed them noticeably, erratically. ‘It has been enough years. He has no more power over you.’

It was in that moment she had wished, years ago, she had named the noble for Oleyo. She had never told him, since it was never going to be important. Byron was dead. Deader than dead, really. Except, if D were not lying, then he was still alive. Lydia did not know how he survived the destruction of his entire castle. None of that mattered. What mattered was the regret of not mentioning it to Oleyo, and the feeling now that she didn't want to say it at all.

There was a memory of fangs in her neck, not a visual one, but a felt one, that made no sense considering what her blood did. There was a memory, felt and visual, of being pulled to the side of the Noble whenever he called her name, no matter what else she wanted to do. She had been enthralled with him in a way known, but in a way that couldn’t be fought.

D’s question was strange. The orb stilled in her hand, and Oleyo scratched the floor. Lydia found she wasn’t opposed herself, but the scratched of the heel caused her to ask, “For what purpose?” before she would give permission.

A door left open by Phineus was ahead, and the hum of computers, machinery, and liquids were near. There were routes besides the library to the lab.

~***~

Amaranth did not stop at the guard. She did not stop at the carriage, though she recognized it. One never forgets their first car-ride, or in this case, carriage ride. One never forgets their father, nor their first love. When they are one in the same, that makes it even more difficult.

Like all first loves, that love withered on the vine. Byron’s pride got the better of him, and he no longer wanted the exotic toy of a human-turned-vampire. He’d ‘slummed’ enough.

The door opened with a touch of her hand to a pad near, and it didn’t close until both Phineus and Marshall had entered, close behind. She waited for them.

Marshall’s nose wrinkled, “Valaria’s—” her blood was potent enough, near enough, to reach him. He wasn’t allowed to finish. Amaranth seemed more concerned with action then with words. She, too, could smell the blood, and she knew the path well enough to be there in moments.

Lord Byron was flung against the wall the second Amaranth set foot in the hall. She didn’t take advantage of his position, though. Her legs took her to Valeria instead, and she dropped down besides the manticore. Valeria’s whip was shredded, and she was choking on her own blood, her throat a twisted mess of bone and muscle.

Byron chuckled as he righted himself and stepped against the wall. “She had very poor manners. Hardly fitting a chimera.”

“Manticore.” The word came harsh from Amaranth’s throat. She did not look up. Her eyes remained on Valeria’s, even as Byron’s footfall drew closer.

What was left but to give her peace? It was not a mother’s place to end a life, but it was her place to end suffering. “Valeria, close your eyes. You will soon go to Elysium.” Did mutants have souls? It was a common question. Amaranth wanted to believe so, as she wanted to believe she could trap those souls and bring them back to life, in Pello, in Severus, and now in Valeria.

Valeria shut her eyes, the gasping for air starting to calm. There would be no last words, just a last gulp. She would feel the cold tears of Amaranth fall on her face before passing; a mother's love forever solidified in a mother's sorrow.

Byron reached down to pull Amaranth up, but found his hand nearly cut clean off by claws. He pulled back, but blood still fell to the ground, showing the damage the wolf was able to inflict.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 16, 2015, 07:49:15 pm
D had intended to know her slightly, or about her, through her marks if she would let him examine them, but he received some information before that, in her reaction to the name. The dhampir didn’t stir at the tone with which she acknowledged the information, that she already had it, but he noted it. What an unusual way her marks deformed and reformed. D saw Oleyo look at his partner and then over at D. Not a protective reaction, but not friendly either. Perhaps the green haired knew more than D about this, but not much, it seemed. In that moment it was more pressing to ask why she had been so affected by that name, but it was not what she offered, since he had asked her something else, first.

“To know you.” He said and held his palm up in the candor that he could offer. Left Hand smiled, lips tight. It was not often he was introduced to people D associated with, not this formally, anyway. In truth, Left Hand would be more insulted than D would be, if she declined.

Oleyo narrowed his eyes at the situation. He did not know what might have stirred his partner like this. At first his surprise had been at the question D had asked, of course, but now it seemed Lydia was fretting over something else. The Vampire Byron Ruthven. There were things that had not been explained about her past. He’d been curious, but it had not been crucial for their relationship or trust. He looked at her, knuckles brushing her side discreetly, since he didn’t want to display too much comfort in front of the dhampir, should she want to be done with this subject quickly.

The marks had great significance to her. It was who she was, and a historical retelling of who she used to be. Her protection and her individuality. Touch them, D had asked. Oleyo would have said no, if it were in his power, because he wanted to protect her, but also because he himself had only graced them when he’d helped her. Intimate things. Things he thought that he’d get to explore, if anyone. This was not his decision, and that worried him, spiraled with some bitterness in the harnessed chest. A dull slam could be heard in the depths of the cage that was the side of his body. His blood must be boiling, for the snake to have such energy.

He was sure he didn’t want D to know Lydia through her mark. D seemed to understand that it was an intimate question, which was why had had asked. D did not seem to be curious to this point a lot, his legend spoke of a quiet creature, often already in the know concerning the things he was interested in. The mutant was starting to dislike the dhampir with unfitting vengeance. It made Oleyo think less of himself, but he had no more control over it than he did this tension.

Suddenly D’s demeanor changed, and since it would not be read in its face, most of its telling would be by the way his shoulders lifted. Oleyo, who was already staring at the vampire hunter, noticed, but before he could ask, D answered.

“Blood. New blood, mixed blood.” He said. And then a cloud of organ lining and bile. He lowered his head slightly. He recognized this fresh scent. The whip, the wings. “Manticore.” He pointed toward the door. “There is a lab over there, somewhere. A scent of disinfectant and washed glass. Perhaps your bounty is there.” He stated and moved. And disappeared.

He had no love for the one who had attacked him, but he should not be smelling her so well. She should not have died this way. Nobody should. Perhaps Amaranth was not so loving with her guards, or perhaps the vampire Byron had found the lioness with the whip. Whichever it was, the Manticore had suffered a cruel death. D’s brow furrowed slightly as his swift form, unseen, following the life vapors in the air. An inky thing, drawn across the floor of the corridors in impossible speed, until he found himself by a corner, where the next turn would be the scene of a scorned daughter meeting with an old father. D’s sword hand crawled with will, but he calmed, listening.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 16, 2015, 08:30:02 pm
‘To know you.’

It was a simple request, and a clear reason. Lydia could ask how that could possibly help him to figure out who she was, but she didn’t doubt it could. Even Oleyo understood that the marks which moved over her skin were like life to her.

Oleyo was taking offense while Lydia considered, looking at the extended hand for something more, something beyond flesh that would give D more insight than Oleyo’s fingers ever could. Instinct told her it was there, but her eyes wouldn’t see it. Meanwhile, her sense of touch was relaying to her how hard Oleyo’s heart was beating. It told her how angry he was.

To grant D permission would be to hurt Oleyo.

To deny D would be to lose something she wanted, even if she did not know what it was, or if she would regret it.

As they said, ignorance was bliss.

As Lydia looked from the hand to D, to give him an answer, his demeanor changed. He smelled something that Lydia was not sensitive enough to smell. He was not concerned with the bounty, but more with the blood. Lydia bit down on saying ‘wait’, and let him go off.

Her hand, however, left Oleyo’s shoulder and she took a step in D’s direction, confused, curious, and a bit in awe that he’d hand over a bounty so easily. Was he more in it to kill Nobles? Was he protecting them from whatever caused the bloodshed?

A mystery, indeed. “Oleyo,” she rolled the orb into a pocket, “Byron made me,” D was not here. It would be a secret between them, at least for the time being. No matter what, he would be the first to know. The first she told, from her own lips. “If we see him,” the words hesitated, “you may have to kill me.”

Oleyo knew that vampires could enthrall. Those who had been bitten were most susceptible, as the vampire wielded power over them through the ecstasy the bite provided. Lydia had endured bites after Byron, with no ill effect—the vampire always died, after all.

Byron had not died, and Lydia knew she had served him before she was brought to Barberoi. Time and hope were with her now, but all of that hope could be dashed with her name on Byron’s lips.

~***~

Byron had enough courtesy after the cut to his arm to wait, at least until the life of Valeria passed. His comments were cold and cutting, “She was imperfect. You should have disposed of her years ago.”

The winged man jolted to move forward, but Marshall reached out a hand to stop him. Phineus would take offense. Valeria was one of the few he could truly share himself with. He was closer to Valeria in some things, than he was to Amaranth. “And you,” Byron was looking at Marshall now, “I can see that you are old.”

Meaning, improvements could have been made. Meaning, he should have been scrapped, too. “But that is not why I’m here, Amaranth. I’ve let you serve in my place here for long enough, and I’ve come to take my place. You may stay, if you like, but—”

“You had no hand in this.”

Marshall caught the scent of the dhampir then, his attention shifting from the nobles. He did not come into sight, and it seemed the nobles were too caught up to notice the addition. That, or Valeria’s blood was too heavy for them. “What happened to Sighisoara?” As she spoke, she let Valeria slide off of her lap and onto the floor. She started to pick herself up to stand, the whites of her eyes tinted red.

“Minor set—”

Amaranth wasn’t willing to talk, for once. Lord Byron Ruthven would not be forgiven. He had killed Severus at the front, and now Valeria. In the middle of his words, Amaranth took hold of the daggers she had hidden on her body. It wasn’t with her fingers, but with the blessed power of the blood that ran through her veins. Ten blades launched themselves at Ruthven, and ten blades struck his cape as he pulled it up to defend himself with.

Marshall launched forward, not waiting for a command, and Phineus shrieked loud enough to give Marshall the advantage, loud enough to make the noble flinch and allow Marshall to tackle him. Though he succeeded in that, Marshall was almost immediately thrown off. He couldn't even get a claw in before Ruthven kicked him square in the abdomen and sent him against the wall. The noble rolled right back onto his feet, fangs bared.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 17, 2015, 03:16:29 pm
Oleyo was of course curious as to what might have beaconed the dhampir to leave in such an abrupt fashion. It had seemed very important to D to examine Lydia’s marks, after all, and the famous vampire hunter was not famous for letting interests show. Whatever it was, it must be pressing. Bloods, he’d said. Spilled, taken? Oleyo and Lydia wouldn’t ignore if they could save, but he’d been more practical in his approach to life. He’d rather not have a great death on his conscious if he could help it, but he’d rather not have his own death to carry in the after life, either. Perhaps D was more inclined toward the former.

He watched her step toward the distance D had already dispatched of. She looked vulnerable then. No less formidable, but as though her emotions spilled out, her confusion, her string connected to D, a string that was pulled and opened her up, stitches undone to some extent when he left. He reached for her when her touched had left him, wanting to bring her along to the labs D had directed them toward. That hand froze when she told her a new secret about herself. That hand fell to his side.

He knew what it meant, what she tried to avoid by telling him to hurt her, snuff her, if this Ruthven monster made to control her. How many had Oleyo and she killed for that reason? Some when their dear ones had protested feverishly, and some when their families had begged him not to. He’d spat at the sentimental fools that he was being practical, that he was saving the victim. He’d done it with some kind of bitter pleasure, too, punishing the vampire by stealing away their subject. Now, facing the possibility to do it to Lydia, even as favor and courtesy she’d requested herself, he couldn’t imagine it. Long ago they’d talked about it, and he’d told her to do the same if he was ever bitten, because he would revel in doing to her. That joke rung in his ears now, mingling with her words.

The hand came up again, upset for many reasons, and took her hand, the one that had warmed his shoulder, as he pulled her along with long strides toward the door which revealed a library. He could have easily been convinced to follow D before, curious and opportunistic, but not now with Lydia on the line. “Then you won’t see him.” He said coldly. “We’re her for the bounty, after all, and have spent enough time.” He added, the annoyed feign in the breath at each syllable not so convincing, and he knew it. He squeezed her hand firmly, afraid to lose it, and scorned that it might be lost. As he stepped in to the chamber of books, echoes stilled by the lined walls, his hood came off and the green hair flailed out like a particularly stark spring. He didn’t care for stealth anymore.

Finding the path toward the library wasn’t such a hard task, not when you followed the routes. He was curious to see this lab, and thought it would be nice to think of other things, the mission, for a while.

--

D took in the signs of the battle, the sounds, the vibrations on the wall he was leaned against, the scents and the assumptions off usual battle technique. He could see it clearly before his mind’s eye. Byron was being as cruel and self-centered as nobles could be, and in this altercation, Amaranth was a mother, avenging and perhaps protecting her children. It could also be chalked up to pride or rebellion. Eons could pass, but family ties remain a certain kind of insanity. D should know.

He could feel Left Hand wondering why he didn’t engage. Their fight could benefit him. A well placed strike could take out either of the vampires, and then there’d be less to deal with. D stood fast, never minding that approach. It was just as defendable to wait it out and fight the winner, if he decided to go in at all. The wolf had noticed him, it seemed, but was of course otherwise occupied.

Without knowing it yet, D had already picked sides, against the oldest vampire. If Byron did get the advantage in an attack, D would spin out of the bend he was hiding beyond, and use his invisible speed to cut the advance Byron would embark on, probably hitting that cape with his sword as he slid to a stop. It wouldn’t be a kindness to anyone present. It was simply against the hunter’s nature to let the noble win. That being true, D wouldn’t hesitate to deliver anyone who would attack him, then.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 18, 2015, 02:04:55 am
Oleyo’s grip was not the grip of comfort and kindness, but one of possession and stubbornness, when he took her hand. Lydia was pulled along with him as he moved with quick, long strides, from the area. The source of his anger was clear, and Lydia found comfort in his unwillingness to see it happen.

He was pretending to be annoyed, to spare her the kindness of true concern. “You’re right,” Lydia quickened her steps by a little, and wrapped her free arm around the one that held her hand, bringing herself closer to him. ‘Thank you.’

Lydia didn’t want to die so soon, but she would take death over being another’s puppet again, any day. She had never taken pleasure in killing those who fell into that state. She had done that more resolutely than Oleyo ever had, because she understood not all would recover. Few, would. She had been lucky. She wouldn’t be lucky again.

The library was entered, and there was a hall of books that seemed to lead down into something more. Before either could venture too far down it, the sound of heavier footfall drew Lydia’s attention. She stepped aside and pulled at Oleyo to pull him with her and out of the path of the one coming forward.

Marshall would barrel through both of them if they didn’t move. He was on a mission and had no time for interruptions. He had passed the dhampir on his way, and would pass them as he made his own way to the lab, to get the time-bewitching incense, to put an end to Byron Ruthven.

He'd lead them right into the lab if they followed, for he had to open the path for himself. The computer screens would only allow particular individuals access, and Marshall had no time to stop followers.

~***~

In the second that Marshall was kicked off Ruthven, Amaranth stepped to Phineus and grabbed his shoulder. She cupped a hand around his ear and whispered quickly, “Send him to get the incense.”

Amaranth knew that she would feel those terrible effects when it was lit, but so would Byron, and in her own castle, that was all that mattered. She also knew that Byron would kill too many if fought fairly. As he got to his feet, Amaranth stripped the floor of its rug and engulfed him in its thick fabric, pinning his arms and his cape under the vice.

It was really to give Phineus enough time. Amaranth didn’t hear the words, but she saw Marshall’s dazed reaction clear as the wolf pulled himself to his feet. “Amaranth wants the incense.” So, Marshall ran, because he knew what that incense could do to Amaranth if it were lit at night. He knew what it would do to Bryon.

The rug could never hold the pureblooded one, the older one. The Ruthvens were telekinetics.  Byron overcame the force with his own power, and the rug was torn to shreds by that unseen power and left to fall. As he heard Marshall run, he turned to stop him, but was quickly distracted. Knives and a scream from the very depths of hell.

Again, Byron couldn’t help but wince under that shriek and his response to the daggers was slower. None were able to strike his heart, but a few cut across him and drew blood. One cut by his neck and cut the cape from him. As it started to fall, he saw the blur of red and caught her arm before it could take hold of the cape.

Byron didn’t bother trying to hold it, physically. The new song that came from the harpy was pulling at his open wounds and opening them further, and all he wanted was to shut the harpy up. He threw Amaranth from him and manipulated her own daggers to follow. However, he let his influence leave them instantly.

Phineus shrieked again. He expected it, and had withheld his action until right after. He whipped his cape like a boomerang at Phineus’s neck. The harpy didn’t stand a chance at being fast enough to avoid it.

Off went the head, and the tips of his wings.

Nine daggers struck Byron’s back, and fell. He had been more prepared for this, with armor. A short laugh escaped him, only to be silenced as he felt one dagger break through the armor, right behind his heart. He was quick enough to reclaim the control over the daggers to put a quick end to the progress of the one, by throwing them all back at Amaranth, all for her heart.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 18, 2015, 05:05:59 pm
Oleyo was warmed by her acceptance of his arm. He wasn't one to seethe. It was important they deal with this Ruthven in the right way, whether it be fleeing or fighting. This mission had become more important. He reacted to the footfall as well, but didn't find his wits before her. He followed in her motions until they were concealed. His eyes flexed wide when the werewolf entered. He was in a hurry.

They slid after, Oleyo pulling her along, curious what he'd find in here. The wolf's nose seemed not to be doing him any favors, and he was ruffled enough that it could be good to assume he didn't care. Quickly Oleyo turned around a corner, a poor hiding place most days, but the Wolf seemed to be headed a straight line in and out, unconcerned with security protocol.

As he looked around, it was abundantly clear that the focus of this lab was not software. The slabs and machines suggested biology. The cylindrical vats weren't giving him good hope in finding their bounties alive. Once the wolf left, he'd come over to the computer, and look for anything that resembled the people they were here to retrieve, scouring through the data. "Looks as though she wants to fill the world with mutants." he blinked. "Her latest project is... ambitious." he said, drawing up the patterns and the schematics of the dragon.

--

D had looked at the wolf, recalling his patterns of motions from their previous encounter. The wolf did not stay to have another match. Loyal to a fault. So D stayed hidden listening to daggers slicing through the silence. That silence was broken when the Harpy shirked. Even D clenched his teeth at the sound. Eventually there was enough tumult for him to turn the corner and look at the scene. They'd be too engaged to bother or to notice. It was in time to see the head of the Harpy twirl along with the wingtips to the floor. There was enough blood here to grow D's fangs.

A conclusion was suggested, nine fold, traveling toward Amaranth with silver certainty. D considered seeing this end, but instead chose the one who would be mother over the one who would not be father. The dhampir dove into the cloud of life scents, sprinting with the speed he shared with both nobles. His sword was drawn and painted mercury lines from dagger to dagger, sending them off into a wall, interrupting their path toward Amaranth's chest.

When he stopped moving he became visible again. His eyes were on Byron. "I don't think the people of this city will benefit from your rule. You should not have returned." he said, lifting his sword to have the cross guard underline his eyes as he bent his legs, ready to launch forward again, this time aiming to slash once, and then stab forward. Either could land, but the stab could be lethal, since D aimed for Byron's heart.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 18, 2015, 06:39:43 pm
The lab held a similarity to it that Lydia couldn’t help but imagine was inspired by Byron. Then again, perhaps all noble labs were the same. The ones she was more accustomed to seeing weren’t biological, though. They were mechanical or computer oriented, creating things a vampire could truly control.

The wolf was out of the lab without considering them. Lydia did not see what he’d taken, but there was a moment where she swore she caught the scent of morning dew.

Then, he was gone.

Lydia released Oleyo once they were in and safe, to examine what was there on her own.

Lydia’s fingers traced the tubes of green, not a speck of dust on them, and soon came to one with a familiar face in it. ‘The dragon….’ As she thought of the reptilian fighter, her thoughts lined up with Oleyo’s words. “Hm? Another?”

Naturally, she went right over to where Oleyo was. On the computer were designs, not yet updated to include Pello, but that had notes and schematics. Updates that noted how the human’s flesh had split open, so the human was alive thanks to the machines. That frustration led to this new ambition, the need to obtain an actual dragon and fuse it with the once-human. “That one is…different,” her schematics showed that this creature wouldn’t look human at all, not like the rest of the mutants out there.

“Why would she do that?” The question was brought of curiosity. Almost all Nobles did these things to fix their own condition, or try. That’s what Lydia had gathered from Byron. To make something that would not even look human suggested a failure in her head—after all, how could a dragon-looking creature possibly help a vampire fix itself? It was a failure, too--not the original plan. Yet, the vampire was going through with it, rather than discarding it.

~***~

Amaranth would have never accepted death at the hands of Byron. She had speed enough to move, but her eyes tracked another. She took a gamble in not moving.

Each dagger’s path turned to the wall, and Amaranth was spared by the dhampir that Marshall, no doubt, had more than words with. ‘You do look just like him.’ The way Amaranth had surrounded herself, and Euboea, with images of the Sacred Ancestor would have made it impossible for her not to recognize him in another.

There was a pause for words, during which Amaranth pulled the blades from the walls without touching them.

Byron’s red eyes narrowed in disgust. He would not recognize the Sacred Ancestor in the face of a half-breed. “You—” but the dhampir moved, and he was taken by surprise with the speed of the dhampir. He thought the dhampir would be slower than that. The slash cut through his own armor. The lethal strike would hit the cape, reclaimed from the floor when Byron recognized the threat that the dhampir represented.

Byron attempted to manipulate the cape to engulf the dhampir’s sword, and to rip it from his hands.

A distraction would come in the daggers that went for his face, rather than his armored chest. He chose to bat at them with his hands rather than release his telekinetic control of the cape, and suffered for it as the daggers he missed painted his face red. 
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 19, 2015, 05:11:48 pm
He thought the designs and solutions were elegant, they probably stood on many failures. Oleyo didn't imagine people were worth much more than lab rats to a Nobel with a taste for this kind of science. It was a daunting thought, a noble with the control over a dragon. Amaranth would be thinking in those orbits, he imagined, from having seen the mutant Pello and his obvious inspiration. There were likenesses between this next project and the belligerent mutant they'd slain in the restaurant, but the new creature would be-- more.

He looked down at the controls. Finding a searching function wasn't hard, neither was typing in the names of Wallace and Gregory. The search yielded nothing. Perhpas it was too sentimental to name the subjects by their actual names. It was also hard to know names without asking for them, or if aliases were given. And here he was without knowing the exact genetic makeup of the people he was supposed to bring back. "A dragon as loyal as the bag of scales was." Oleyo muttered for answer when he tried to find an image archive. There were a few progress files, of course, but the camera hadn't really focused on the faces, and the images that were there had only recorded advanced stages of the transformation, which meant facial deformation. He grunted in frustration.

The footage eventually showed some of the subjects before submersion. Gregory was well documented. So was his failure, a failure written in scaled growths and a disrupted and pulled apart spine. They would not be bringing Gregory home. That was a bounty they'd have to do without. With some frustration straining his jaw, he continued the search for Wallace, looking for his likeness.

"Gregory didn't make it very far." he said with a sigh.

--

The slash had been successful. Byron was not ready for the arsenal of velocity D had at his disposal. By the second attempt, the noble had caught on, and wound a vortex of cape around the blade to stop it from finding its target. The hold stopped the dhampir in his way. There was no pain in the cape, or blood, so he wouldn't be able to push in and draw back as he had when Marshall caught the sword. In that moment, D met Bryon's eyes over the hand guard. The dhampir offered no sympathy or praise for the protective maneuver.

He saw when Byron's attention was drawn elsewhere, and also when knives opened up skin on his face. D then twisted his sword in the same direction the cape had encircled his sword. It was to free the blade and bring it back, slashing downward, at Byron's leg, before D would slide away, to be on the vampire's other side, pinning it between himself and Amaranth.

On good footing again, hopefully with his sword, he'd move forward, running up the wall and eventually slice once he was stepping fast on the ceiling, landing roughly where Amaranth stood when the slash had been delivered. He didn't have any illusion that he could hope she'd be civil, even if she could recognize this as an opportunity to be rid of a common enemy. He'd be alert, but not strike first, should she consider him a threat.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 19, 2015, 10:03:25 pm
Lydia let out a frustrated noise when the search gave no information to the names Wallace and Gregory. It was not surprising, but it was annoying. The images that Oleyo brought up rarely gave them much information on the subjects—not that it would have helped all that much. Lydia and Oleyo didn’t have much to go on so far as how the pair of merchants looked.

“I do not imagine the other is in a better state,” since this one was recorded as deceased. “I imagine Wallace is the dragon.” Since there was a new project, and Gregory had passed just yesterday. “Or the would-be dragon, at least,” the project wasn’t complete. It needed more.

“He has to be here somewhere, though,” her fingers grazed down Oleyo’s arm before she moved from where he stood to search the lab for this individual. All she needed to do was follow the sounds of a beeping machine, it turned out, for that led her right to the slab where the mess was, held together by clear and wired glass. Electricity moved through the glass like it did her bike.

There was little left recognizable of the man who had once been Wallace. His body was kept from being just a splat of organs by that glass and careful stitches. The stitches, however, didn’t try to bring him back together. Not completely. They allowed the growth that was tearing him apart, and allowed room for it, rather than defy it.

“No…we’re not bringing him back, either, I don’t think.”

Lydia at least, didn’t know how they would. If the Noble completed her experiment, he’d not be the same as before. He’d be a dragon. His family would probably not believe Oleyo and Lydia about who he had once been. 

~***~

The sword was removed from the cape, and Byron reached out for his cape before he shifted his control to the knives, ending their barrage against his face. His leg spilled red liquid on the ground, a deep cut that would complicate movement.

He sent the daggers at the dhampir this time around, but the dhampir was quick to leave his flanking position. He whipped the cape up to serve as a shield against whatever the dhampir had planned, but Amaranth had a different idea in mind.

She sprinted forward, blurring, and took hold of the cape. She yanked it down and towards herself, allowing D’s slash to go through Byron’s shoulder and sever one arm from its place. It was nothing to a vampire, of course—arms grew back—but it was an annoyance even to a telekinetic. Byron let Amaranth have the cape, intending to use it to end her, when the strong scent of morning reached him.

Amaranth laughed as she staggered backwards, the scent also bothering her. She knew better than to fight it, and so the laughter did end quickly. One step became a fall, and down went the noble.

Byron crumpled where he stood, looking to be in pain as he curled into the fetal position.

Marshall stepped into the hallway holding the incense aloft, a growl emanating from his throat that had been constant since he smelled Phineus’s blood, and remained so as he shot his eyes up the hall and towards the dhampir. It was a warning that Marshall wouldn’t hesitate if he thought to do anything against Amaranth while she was out of it.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 20, 2015, 07:20:47 pm
Oleyo knew that she might be right. Wallace the dragon. Now that was story he didn’t look forward to telling to his family, especially his unpleasant uncle. Most rich men were that way, wanting things done by their will alone. “The dragon, you say.” Oleyo said as he continued speeding through footage. He wanted to sound skeptical, because then it might not be true, but both his agreeing tone and his nod suggest he suspected what she did. He threw her a fast glance when she touched him as though to make him aware that she was going to look for their prize manually. He stayed by the images for now, sighing as he continued going through them.

She found him, and announced as much. His eyes lingered on the screen as though he might find him again before he turned to casually walk over to her. His stride stiffened when he saw the poorly held together body. They knew enough about the mutant genesis to see what this was, and still, it was enough of a surprise visually to make the green haired silent for a few moments as he took in the being partially contained by glass. Eventually he leaned closer, to see the prisms in the depths of the glass.

“You’re right.” He said with a sigh and stood up, looking at her. “Do you think the family will pay us for this information?” he asked. The real question inside his question was whether they’d be satisfied. Usually hunters would stipulate that information without evidence was sometimes all they could provide. Usually the families would think that was enough, but sometimes they’d call the hunters liars and refuse to pay. It was his experience the ones who wouldn’t pay were the ones deepest in denial.

His head turned to scan the rest of the lab, hoping for some kind of storage, and he soon walked over to a few shelves with boxes in them. Would Amaranth have saved something that had belonged to these people, by any chance? He didn’t see why she would, but perhaps she hadn’t had the time to dispose of all of it yet. He knew what Gregory and Wallace had been wearing last time they’d been seen. Hopefully that or family crests would be here.

“Should we destroy him?” Oleyo asked as he pulled up a nest of wires and then dropped it back. “it’s not our job, but do we really want her to have a dragon for a pet? If she is successful, then she will be trouble.” He was not the prince from the fairytale, with a magic sword and enchanted shield. While the world would be more interesting with this kind of creature in it, he preferred a more boring life than one where vampires controlled dragons.

--

D had landed where he planned, but Amaranth had moved. This was much preferable, since her involvement had let him take Byron’s arm instead of just meeting the defense of his cape. D readied his sword again, knowing well where a weak spot would be on Byron now. He also felt that he could count with Amaranth at least not attacking him while the older vampire was still in a position to offer harm. D did not need to execute the attack he’d programmed into his muscles. The wolf came with a daylight scent, D knew it when the part of him that hungered for blood felt sluggish. Left Hand didn’t have to tell him what the smoke in the air was.

Out of courtesy, D’s arm had extended when a few steps had brought him beside the falling Amaranth, the crook of his limb catching the back of her waist, to drape her over it his hold. Nobles had a lot of force behind their attacks, but rarely was that power ever based in actual weight. Their bodies were no more dense than that of humans. The wolf was not so pleased with this, the vampire hunter holding his mistress, bloody sword in other hand. D did not sheath that sword, but he didn’t raise it either, as he walked toward the wolf.

“The prisoners, people who aren’t allowed to leave Euboea. Now.” D said as he held out the arm where Amaranth laid. It wasn’t a trade, the wolf could have her either way, D wasn’t so coldblooded that he’d take her life when they’d fought together. Still, it would make things easier if the wolf cooperated. “The sooner I can collect my bounty the sooner you’ll be rid of me. I am sure she’d like that.” He said, and would then return to the body of Byron Ruthven.

D placed the tip of the weapon on Byron’s chest. It was an easy matter to grab each hand guard and pull down to pierce the heart.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 20, 2015, 08:09:18 pm
Looking at the figure and its glass, Lydia couldn’t help but wonder. ‘So who was I?’ Lydia had always assumed she was born and not made, but D now had her questioning that. After all, she had no memories of a childhood. No growing up. She’d never questioned it before, after all, she’d gotten older.

Memories faded with age. Why should she remember when she was five years old? She barely remembered being a hundred.

Lydia was taken from such thoughts by Oleyo asking about the family and information, “Not if the uncle has a say. This isn’t enough proof,” just saying it, even if it was a story no one would ever make up.

Oleyo turned to start the search for such things, but Lydia didn’t. She was too captivated by this to care about a trinket just yet. “Perhaps look for the trash?” She offered, although from the smell of this place, so sterile, Lydia wasn’t certain there was one. That, or it was changed often, which would suggest the trinkets of proof were already good. “Shame he didn’t have a tattoo….” It was grotesque, but cutting skin with a tattoo was decent proof.

Oleyo asked about killing him, and she felt her back stiffen. “No!” Then she added, “No on the killing, and on the…well we don’t want her with a dragon, either, but…,” no, she couldn’t kill this one, not yet. She didn’t think it would be a mercy to it, and didn’t want to think in that light. “Perhaps she’ll fail….”

Lydia didn’t really want that, though, either. However, what she’d seen of this noble, if she intended to be a threat to the world than she already would be. She had enough mutants here. She could have expanded her territory long ago, before the humans became wise to the vampires.

~***~

Marshall would have ripped off the dhampir’s arm, had the offer of Amaranth not been clear. Marshall took her into his arms and let D walk back to Byron. The man, evidently, had no qualms in just disposing of the sleeping. Marshall found that wasn’t comforting at all.

“You’d be surprised what she’d like.” Marshall said as D put the metal to the man’s chest. Marshall dropped the incense and crushed it beneath his foot. “She can tell you herself.” Marshall wasn’t getting in trouble today, not when Amaranth had to mourn three deaths.

‘Four.’ The sword pierced the heart of the vampire as he started to wake, much too late for him to do anything. Marshall imagined there was a part of Amaranth that would mourn Byron, to the end.

Amaranth had told Marshall not to kill the dhampir, and more than that, Marshall knew this was someone she’d want to meet, properly.

Amaranth, too, started to wake and Marshall dropped to his knees to set her down gently, so she could wake without kicking him. That had happened a few times before, and though she always apologized, it was a reaction she couldn’t seem to help. She only wanted to wake on something solid.

Still, it was sudden. The slip into sleep had been sudden, and her waking brought her to an upright position immediately. The smell of blood didn’t help. The memories hit her immediately. ‘Valeria. Phineus.’ And by the smell of it, ‘Byron.’

The blood was on a sword. Amaranth followed the trail of silver to the dhampir’s face, and remembered. She let the memory out in an exhale. As upset as she wanted to be, the time wasn’t now. “Thank you.” The word was spoken to both Marshall and the dhampir, one for the killing, one for the incense. One for always trusting her.

Marshall spoke, “The man wants to see the merchants,” this time he didn’t let pretty words hide what he meant, “the ones from a couple days back.”

There was a whine in Marshall’s voice, a wolf who knew when nothing good could come of this. Amaranth knew it well enough, and any other day she’d chastise him for it. Not today. She brushed a hand over his dark hair, by an ear, and down his head, “All right,” she said, speaking to the dhampir though looking at Marshall. Marshall took her hand and helped her to stand, “Please find Aila and Arion to move the bodies. Burn Ruthven.” Nothing but total destruction would suffice.

Marshall considered protesting, but there was a glint in her eyes that told him there was no room for it. These were not the commands of a Noble who couldn’t be refused, but of a mother. So, Marshall inclined his head. “All right,” and he turned to do so.

He knew, as well as Amaranth, that she was protecting him. They could both hope otherwise, and both were willing to do so, but the truth was between them. The hope prevented them from saying goodbye. Amaranth turned back to D, “Follow me,” she said, and started to walk. It would be back towards the lab.

From the Sacred Ancestor’s child, she’d offer no lies.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 21, 2015, 09:12:45 pm
Oleyo turned to look at her over his shoulder as he let go of what looked like a medical, hand-held mirror. The object landed on other seemingly outdated tools in the box he’d been searching as he considered what Lydia said. Trash. Brilliant. Looking around, he drew the same conclusion as she had, but was more hopeful. It was possible everything was burnt, but metals would survive. Hopefully their garbage disposal wasn’t too thorough. Oleyo went to the metal cylinder in a corner, obviously a can for waste. There wasn’t much in it once he lifted the lid. “maybe there’s a trash room.” He mumbled to himself. That was a lead, at least, and one that did not necessarily lead to combat, hopefully. Perhaps they could question someone on the way. Even the lowliest servants should know about the waste routine.

His head whipped around when she answered. He knew what he thought to be a viable respond from Lydia at the question he’d posed. She seemed to be more passionate about the subject than he had suspected. Oleyo looked at the glass body again. He saw a city in flames, and more work for them. Perhaps even mercenary work. The dragon of Euboea. Would they not feel bad if they could have stopped it? “Perhaps she’ll succeed.” He added. He understood by the way she looked at what had once been Wallace that she was drawing parallels between it and herself. He did not have this problem, as some mutants did.

His mutation had been one he’d received at birth from an earthly mother. The condition had been enhanced by a biological engineer father. Oleyo survived his parents and went on to live a life in search to belong, picking up fencing as a comfort, his longevity an obvious advantage. In his early career as a bounty hunter he’d come across the parasite that now inhabited roughly half his body. It fed him and cut his lifespan shorter than it would have been.

Oleyo know everything about who he was, and it didn’t always connect him to other mutants. Still, through the sympathy he felt for Lydia, he couldn’t help but consider the risks with this sentimental decision. He was not a hero, never really looking to do good when he could do well, instead. But he’d take back a bag if the snatcher ran by him, and he’d warn people if they were walking into hostile territory. A dragon would be hostile, he guessed, it wasn’t really a beast of burden to plow your fields, even in the hands of someone who cared for her city.

He found a button with a crest, but it didn’t belong to any of their bounties. The scratch on the back suggested it hadn’t been Amaranth herself that had placed it here. Oleyo imagined the brute reptile had played with it. It was a good sign, that physical things still existed for those who had become victims. He placed the button in a pocket and continued to scour the surroundings until he came across an open box in a shelving unit. He looked inside what had to have been what the wolf had been after.

“Insence.” He said and pulled out a line and smelled it. “Time-bewitching.” That also found a pocket before he closed it. It was a valuable thing, useful to any hunter, but expensive enough that it usually wouldn’t be worth it.

--

The wolf offered no information but perhaps what his lady would tell D herself. A wolf’s loyalty. D proceeded to pierce the heart of the Nobel. In efficient elegance, he flicked one of the handguards and pulled the other, spinning the blade three laps before he lifted the weapon from the ruined heart. As D contemplated further mutilation to make sure Byron wouldn’t come back, though he doubted this one was as powerful as Carmillla, Amaranth woke with a thanks. D held still, sword still resting by Bryon’s side as the wolf explained what the vampire hunter wanted.

Amaranth agreed, and had the wolf do what needed to be done. She would know exactly what it took to sanitize this world of something like Byron. The wolf agreed with reluctance in his throat. Amaranth was more agreeable then D had hoped, and he followed, sword sheathed by the first few steps. He soon recognized the corridors and thought of the two he’d lead to the lab.

“I am sorry for your loss.” He offered. That much was true. Whether she decided to be his enemy or not, she had made the creatures that died for her when facing Byron. And she was grieved. Without her slaying Byron would have taken longer. It didn’t matter if he would have to take her head from its body at a later time. Now they were being civil.

--

Oleyo was deep in his rummaging, and heard the comings steps too late. He quickly sped by Lydia, pulling her along to the corner they’d hid before. There wasn’t much else to do. Hopefully whoever was coming would be as unaware of them as the wolf had been.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 21, 2015, 11:23:40 pm
A trash room. Lydia nodded at the idea, and like Oleyo, fire came to mind. It was a wonderful way to be rid of anything. “There might be,” she said softly. There had to be trash in this castle besides from the lab, and gathering it all in one place to burn sounded sane. Would it be daily activity, though, was the question.

Fire could get hot enough to melt most anything.

Oleyo’s reaction was expected. Lydia knew with Byron on her mind, she was not thinking logically. She had put down other mutations before, and their origin never mattered to her. “Perhaps.” The fate of the dragon was unknown. The schematics weren’t certain to work to make it a truly intelligent creature, like fantasy novels of old. They weren’t certain to work in any way. This dragon was to be something new.

Fortunately, there was no argument, just the tension of the bad decision. Lydia knew it was that, but on that day she’d let emotions have the best of her. Oleyo started to rummage through things again, and Lydia pulled away from her distraction to join him. There was a shiny crest set aside, and time-bewitching incense was found. She quirked an eyebrow, “I haven’t seen that in a while,” she commented, “Good we didn’t come during the day,” they would have been the ones surprised.

At least at night they anticipated the Noble to be awake. This would give them an edge over the next Noble they actually had to kill.

She searched for other trash containers, rather than the many boxes. She didn’t believe the metal cylinder could be the only one, however, she didn’t locate one before Oleyo was taking her off to hide. Her quizzical look was answered by the sound of steps, and so, she fell silent as they hid.

~***~

There was no more, and no less, emotion to the dhampir’s words. Amaranth looked to him over her shoulder while she led, but turned her face away as a sorrowful smile came to her lips. Gratitude wasn’t meant to be expressed for such words, but for all her years, she didn’t know what was appropriate. She could repeat the words, and they would be true—the dhampir had seen a long life, and to be here, in this line of work, spoke of similar losses.

Loss of humanity in a mother.

Loss of vampiricy in a father.

The Sacred Ancestor wasn’t known for his paternal instincts. When they’d met the last time, he had not been as responsible as he had been the first time they’d met, when he’d been pleased with her care of Euboea. He, of course, was the only one allowed to leave. Amaranth would have never dreamed of standing in his way. The last time, he had found her responsibility to the people and her creations laughable. He’d seemed obsessed then, in his own way, with finding perfection.

They’d have much in common, in their in-between way. Her fascination would always take her back, though, to his exceptions—he could walk in the sun. She’d wonder what his blood tasted like, and if it would show her the way to what all vampires craved. The difference was, she’d once known the caress of the sun.

“What name do you go by?”

A human knows when they are guilty, unlike most Nobles. Amaranth considered if she would go without a fight. The idea was distasteful. Amaranth had been hiding her activities for many reasons. There were selfish ones, and there were more selfless ones. No doubt, the latter would sound like justifications and excuses. Even she had to wonder.

Her humanity hadn’t been around for over 10,000 years. It was, quite possible, she’d forgotten what was right and wrong.

They would come to the library, and they would go past it, to the lab. A hand scan was all that was needed to grant access. “This is where one is,” Amaranth told the dhampir, and as she started to walk to where the slab was, she caught a scent over the sterile one. Two. “The other is deceased.” It was not her intention, but D would know that soon enough when he saw the figure of flesh and glass.

She raised her voice, though didn't stop walking, didn't stop leading, “And you two, Lydia, Oleyo,” she didn’t consider she was wrong. They were hunters, too. They would be here. “You may come out. I know what you did to Pello was in self-defense. There’s no need for skulking about in the dark. I was going to have you pardoned.” The slab came into sight. With one hand, she motioned out for D to look if he liked, and with the other she took up the metallic crest.

It hadn’t been Pello’s. It had been Phineus’s, left in bringing Pello. The harpy had some similarities with the birds in his veins, one being a love of all things shiny. He had acted composed, but like Aila, he had his moments of endearing, passionate, obsession. This had been his favorite.


Lydia didn’t move from her position, but shot a furtive glance to Oleyo. She did not know D was walking with Amaranth at that moment, and she did not trust the voice of the Noble to be speaking the truth. ‘Trust it, or…?’ Oleyo had the incense. It’d be a shame to waste it, but it was also a clear way out.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 22, 2015, 08:00:01 pm
D noted her smile. She was engaged in some if not most of the social constructs. Nobles were. And to him, in this case, the flavor of that smile meant that she was filled with hurt from her losses. It offered D some comfort to know he’d could offer her as much.

“D.” he said, since they were being courteous. He had never lost much by giving his name, even if that sometimes delivered the truth of who he was. Amaranth already knew that. The library, a familiar countenance he’d learned to recognize over tides of human records, passed them, and the lab was coming up. He’d sent Oleyo and Lydia here. They hadn’t left. D looked around. He was well read enough to know how to operate these machinations, and he could feel Left hand’s senses lick the air for more information, traps. It wasn’t inconceivable that this vampire had taken him here to try to be off with him. He doubted it, though.

It was Wallace, what was left. She built him up slightly. Not dead, it would have been counterintuitive to her plans for him. D stood over the slab, hat making night of his face as he collected what information he could about this man that was barely man anymore. The other, Gregory, was dead. Had his suffering mirrored this, had be simply gone when this treatment was too much, while Wallace endured, his strength becoming his downfall. Their families would not be happy. D didn’t deal in happiness. He tried to supply closure. Looking at the half thing below him, he could say it was some kind of closure. Vampire involvement usually made cruel ends to humans.

Amaranth noticed the two other hunters, as she would. D did not worry for them, considering her tone, and continued to keep his eyes on Wallace that was not Wallace anymore.

Oleyo’s grip on Lydia’s arm had tightened when the two other’s had come in, and it had gripped her harder when Amaranth addressed them. He looked at her, and received the question she had in her eyes. There was no exit from where they stood, and despite the mystery that surrounded the dhampir, Oleyo was certain he wouldn’t attack to help Amaranth. Worst case, they’d have to fight her to get away. And then they’d use the incense. He nodded, and lead as he walked out.

D had his eyeful of the meat on the slab. He turned to Amaranth, lifting his head until there was light on it, at least enough to reveal his eyes. “What are you intentions with him?” D asked, meaning the one who had not died yet, on the metal bed. The answer might decide whether he’d let her keep the experiment or not. D might have been seen as a cold, goal oriented bounty hunter, but he was less so than the green haired mutant in the room. The dhampir had thoughts about the world, and what direction it should go. A noble with too much power could very well disrupt that direction.

Oleyo had to let go of Lydia’s hand where he stood, looking at the two otherworldly beings. D really did look as though he belonged more with vampires than he did with any other race. And the queen of the castle, she was what she was. A daunting display, the two of them, one which fed his bloodstream enough anxiety to have the animal in the cage swell and breathe, little embers lighting the metal shroud from inside. “We’re here for Gregory and Wallace too.” Oleyo said. It was ill advised to puff too much now, but showing weakness would be worse.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 22, 2015, 08:26:58 pm
‘D.’ Amaranth imagined the full name was the same as his father’s. A narcissist to the end, he’d name something he let live after himself. She wouldn’t ask for confirmation, nor denial.

In the lab, the dhampir remained peaceful. Amaranth had half-expected him to draw that sword and cut it all to pieces, but he did not. He took it all in, clearly familiar with this sort of place, and these sorts of things. Amaranth watched him, rolling the silver crest as she waited for the response of Oleyo and Lydia.

They revealed themselves as D asked what was to become of the man on the slab. The answer itself was obvious, but Amaranth held up a finger and walked towards another section of the room, keeping a wide breadth of space between herself and the two mutants. The one with the green hair reminded her of someone with green eyes. The other had a sort of familiarity, a recognizable pattern in the chaos of her marks, that spoke of a dead designer.

She spoke to Oleyo, “One is dead. The other is on the slab, in no state to leave it,” her doing, of course. She hardly believed that the two merchants were all they were here for. Plenty of families offered revenge pay.

That thought did, indeed, cross Lydia’s mind as her eyes tracked Amaranth’s movements. She did not pull herself out of Oleyo’s grasp, he released her. She remained near all the same. D had asked the necessary question. Lydia wanted to ask the needed one, but couldn’t find the words to inquire about Lord Ruthven. Instead, she asked, “Why do you do this?”

Amaranth’s golden eyes fell on her as she lifted the computer screen into her grasp. It didn’t lose its power at all, becoming like a tablet to carry from place to place when removed from its stand. There was an answer on her tongue, brought of loss, ‘Because I’m lonely.’ And it was just one of hundreds of reasons. “I’m not enough to protect Euboea.”

She brought the tablet to D, and held it out to him, “I have not updated it since this night began. There will be slight changes as I have new life to add to it.” Pello. He wasn’t forgotten, just not added to the plans. The plans would show her intentions to use actual dragon, and the details of the many sorts she knew to exist in the world, and how it would differ depending on which one. “He would be another guard here.” That was the extent of it.

“A dragon guard sounds more ambitious than that.”  Once the initial surprise of communicating with a Noble was over, it was easier to speak.

Amaranth shook her head slowly, a small smile still on her lips, “Not when there are Nobles who want your head and your city.” Ruthven wouldn’t be the last. He hadn’t been the first. “Is that not why you’re here, if you cannot reclaim the men?” Amaranth asked, looking between the mutants.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 23, 2015, 06:36:23 pm
Oleyo was glad Amaranth had offered an answer. She might as well just have decided he was unworthy of her time, as some nobles liked to go through eternity, but this one seemed to fancy herself a diplomat. Perhaps no worse than human leaders, omelet makers, breaking eggs, except for that she required red life to live her own. She gave the information that he’d already dug out. He should have asked another question, but this was about posturing, not real extraction of knowledge. He thought he was doing well, so much that he forgot to feign the appropriate sorrow for the one who had passed, and this would let both D and Amaranth know that he’d already knew.

Lydia, however, pressed on a valid point. She wasn’t necessarily working now, not on the mission. Oleyo imagined Lydia really did want to know why Amaranth had done all this. He expected an answer that would make him dislike the vampire more, some conceited speech of how their race was superior to humans the way humans deemed themselves superior over cattle. It would not be the first time a noble expressed such sentiments to hunters.

D looked at Lydia. He had acknowledged both mutants, but hardly thought a greeting would be necessary, since he knew they’d been there. Oleyo was tense, as could be expected, and Lydia stayed close to him. The male did appear somewhat classically threatened by the situation, some of that defensive air even sent D’s way, while the marked mutant was more curious. Without moving his head, D’s eyes turned back to Amaranth. He also wanted to know what she’d offer in reply. Whether it be truthful or not, it was always interesting to learn what she wanted them to think about her. She didn’t snap the answer out. She thought about it, and in a moment she looked as though she felt the losses, and that she cared about them.

He took the tablet, leaving the two mutants to do what they wanted with what had been said. D looked down at the table, the pad accessing everything the large body of processors could provide. He saw the DNA and the simplified graphs. She had been working on this for a while. He had to assume every creature she’d used had been a step closer to all this. No need to flip the page or go into other files. What she provided verbally was enough. He offered the tablet back, if she wouldn’t take it he would deliver it to the closest horizontal surface.

What she said was believable. He didn’t have to trust her to know that Euboea had made a very small splash for such a well maintained city. In her mind, the dragon was as much of a guard as the Harpy had been. D didn’t think many nobles had needs that could be satisfied without tyranny. Perhaps Amaranth had found balance on the knife’s edge here, or perhaps it could be made to be so. He became invested in the conversation again, when Lydia tested Amaranth’s answer. The vampire did not falter. D was pleased with what was said next. It was a good reason to keep a dragon, and why it might be necessary to a place like this white city.

Oleyo narrowed his eyes. Amaranth would of course use the dragon if human armies attacked too. Strive for military superiority. She would treat man and noble the same. A small comfort, but he supposed the small comforts were the only ones afforded most of the time. Still, he didn’t trust her, and he looked over at Lydia and then the dhampir as though to see what the verdict might be.

“No more prisoners. People leave unless its otherwise stipulated when they enter, or if they engage in criminal activity.” D said, looking at Wallace. It might fail anyway. If it didn’t, her plans weren’t entirely demonic. Even his tone of voice wasn’t so strict, mentioning the condition. “But no more nonconsensual mutants.” That condition, however, was iron clad, and he let that be hurt. “Or the world will most likely produce someone who will hunt you.” Thinly veiled.

Oleyo balled his fist. D had no power over him nor Lydia, but Oleyo felt as though the vampire hunter was taking charge over this. He turned to Lydia, to see what her response might be.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 23, 2015, 08:02:49 pm
Oleyo and Lydia gave no answer as to why they were here, if they couldn’t bring back the merchants. Amaranth supposed it didn’t require one. Revenge was always the alternative. It would pay better than just information, and wasn’t that why families hired vampire hunters? They must have already guessed their loved ones were, in some way, gone to them.

The tablet was returned, and Amaranth took it, folded it under her arm, and listened for the verdict.

What else would his child be, but judge, jury, and executioner?

Amaranth let the stipulations go through her mind. In the beginning, the rule of no one leaving had come into place because of Byron Ruthven and others like him. Amaranth only held court with the Ancestor and the Mayerlings, who occasionally frowned on her doings. There were still vampires out there who threatened her existence, and the town she’d built up. If they could find her, they’d destroy her.

‘Isolation could work.’ There were some, no doubt, who would want a mutant lifestyle. Marshall had wanted it, when he was dying. The werewolf she’d taken to blend with him hadn’t, but she hadn’t cared—the werewolf was dying, too, thanks to Marshall. ‘Iron curtain strategy, or a larger force.’

Amaranth would speak with those who remained to her, and she gave a slow nod, decision not made regarding how she’d continue after this point. She was willing to accept the condition, however. The dragon would be her last nonconsensual mutant. “I understand, D.” By hiding it, she’d always known it was wrong, after all.

“You can’t trust that!” Blurted Lydia, almost immediately, “Any of these mutants will say it was consensual to begin with, how will you ever really know it wasn’t?”

Amaranth shook her head at that, “Aila will tell you it was not to begin with.” Aila had been a fierce firecracker of a woman, a street-smart rogue who tried to peddle snake oil as if it were an antidote. “Not all retain their memories, though,” she frowned, clearly unhappy with that fact, and she hadn’t cracked it. She knew not why some remembered, and others didn’t. “Come see in fifty years. Come see throughout your long lives.”

Lydia wrinkled her nose, unsure what to make of it. “Why does Aila stay then? Why do any of those turned who know, stay?” She knew why she had stayed at Byron’s side for so long, though she’d not had the love of Byron that these mutants seemed to have for Amaranth.

“You would have to ask Aila,” Amaranth said. She couldn’t answer for Aila. About the only one she’d feel capable of truly speaking for was Marshall, because over the years he’d shown his heart to her. “If you do not believe me, return in a century. In a decade,” she extended her hand towards them, not in a gesture to hold, but in a gesture of being open. “Throughout the centuries, return and see.”

She cast her eyes to D, “I might have use of your skills in the future, depending on how Euboea changes.” If she opened it, yes. She preferred to be defensive, but if a Noble was sieging her gates, she’d have no problems turning a hunter on the noble who could get to the heart of the matter.

And, she chose to add, "I might have seen him again, by then."
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 24, 2015, 05:17:50 pm
Oleyo thought the silence was a strange wonder in and on its own. D had presented terms without faltering, and now Amaranth was considering the vampire hunter’s words. He supposed this was what a debate between peers might look like on a higher level. Wouldn’t Oleyo also respect an enemy that had proven formidable? After all, if the logic wasn’t too unreasonable, it could benefit to appease the desires of the potential threat rather than create a conflict where you might lose more than you could afford. It was simply wondrous to see this train of thought on a being such as Amaranth. Oleyo was also glad D had posed this, so that he and Lydia did not have to think about it. He didn’t usually act according to all his moral directions in his line of work, this was a rare treat, even though it wouldn’t be his own doing.

Oleyo found himself hoping for the answer, and the answer came, though it wasn’t announced in the fantastical way it deserved. Still, the vampire agreed to the terms. Oleyo breathed, not knowing he’d been waiting with his lungs for what the queen of this castle might say. Perhaps teaming up with D had not been such a bother, after all, not if this was the outcome. They wouldn’t be bringing anyone home at this rate, but this had all been a thornbush of possible dangers that they’d avoided.

The lightness of his heart was again filled when Lydia spoke. It was such a sudden protest he almost jumped. He who didn’t wake when snake fangs nipped toward him in the night. He looked at her, and knew she was right, and that he’d been too eager to be relieved. Oleyo, by far, was the least likely of the mutant pair to fight for good before he fought for his comfort, or for gold. On more than one occasion Lydia had proven to be of an entirely opposite position. This subject was also closer to her heart. Oleyo meant to raise his voice as well, to cement his partner’s point, but wasn’t able to do so before Amaranth retorted.

It wasn’t a splash of acid or some high and mighty argument. Amaranth conceded, head held high, to Lydia’s point. Oleyo felt provoked by this. If there was something he disliked more than belligerent lashings with useless points, it was agreement when you wanted to fight. Then she invited them to come and inspect her work. Would he be still alive then, or had the snake eaten the rest of his longevity, leaving Lydia to come alone? And what would they do if they did come, and she hadn’t held her promise? They were hunters, not a dragon slaying army. He looked to D, to carry the argument, but Amaranth did not follow that trail when she addressed him.

D had every intention of seeing Euboea mature under the freed reigns of Amaranth. Perhaps he had helped her more than he meant when they’d slain Bryon together. This order, here, seemed good for the people, a remnant of the peace that was available before nobles had taken to ruling humans in the light. Would she control this place with a fair hand, now when that hand was not shackled? He supposed she was as likely as any other leader. He wasn’t sure he’d offer his skills, but if she was not in the wrong, and there were other nobles that needed to be stopped, why would he not come if she paid the bounty? He’d make sure not to be a political assassin. He offered silence and no gesture in agreement.

And then she spoke of Him. D was sure he’d be curious, and that Amaranth wouldn’t withhold information. D was ever resisting that part of himself, though, and might for a moment look agitated. That drop of emotion was fast eaten by the serene ocean that was his countenance. “Do you have any mementoes of the people you’ve taken?” D said instead, changing the subject now that a deal had been struck, at least between himself and the queen.

Oleyo twisted his fingers. “Some of that bounty is ours.” He said finally. He felt somewhat padded between Amaranth’s invitation and D’s presence. There was no longer danger here, at least not in this small instance, and while he didn’t need the money this bad, he was sure getting to finish this job with closure for the families that hired them would feel enough like a victory that he wouldn’t begrudge this strange adventure.

D looked at Oleyo with eyes that said the two of them had done very little to deserve any reward, even if the ordeal had been perilous. Oleyo, of course, pretended not to read this message in D’s gaze. It was tradition and jargon to fight for the reward, whether it was yours or not, if you’d been involved. D saw this and offered a nod, and Oleyo didn’t know if that meant D would forfeit or if it was a small invitation for Oleyo to try and take the mementoes from D, if they existed.

D turned his eyes to Lydia next, waiting for Amaranth’s answer. An afterthought. “Aren’t there places you would like to stay?” He’d seen no fear or captivity in the eyes of the wolf or the other adversaries that had protected Amaranth from him and Byron. “This is simply that place for Aila and the others.”

Oleyo wrinkled his nose in anger, and put his hand around hers, squeezing.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 24, 2015, 08:25:53 pm
Amaranth had found some pleasure in observing the reactions of the mutants, when they watched her think. It was clear to her, then, that like so many other hunters they wouldn’t have considered terms and conditions. Then again, if these words had been spoken from them, Amaranth might have laughed. From D, from Mayerling, from him, Amaranth would listen.

D reacted little as she answered the other questions posed, and seemed to be striking down the will to fight in the mutants. There was a different sort of fury in both—one personal, one held in. D gave no gesture, but that was not denial. Amaranth read it in her own way, as an ‘It depends’, and that was enough for the moment. There was much to see in the future.

It was the agitation that showed, however briefly, that proved he was still listening. ‘So I am not wrong at all about you.’ When she saw him, would she tell him of D? She suspected that she would, if only to see how he responded. D spoke of other things, though, and Amaranth frowned, lifted a hand to her chin to think, “Possibly, if Marshall has not lit the fire,” all trash went to the fire. Byron would go to that trash, where he belonged. “It only burns once a week, I do not think it has burned since these two arrived,” Amaranth did not do that herself. It was safely contained and there had never been any accidents, but Amaranth knew to fear fire.

Amaranth set the tablet down, as Oleyo fought for a bit of the bounty. Curiously, this time Lydia did not add her voice to the argument. Lydia knew they hadn’t done much, but even she couldn’t deny the hunter’s feeling of deserving something, merely for venturing into the danger and coming out alive. Perhaps for cooperation with a dhampir and a noble? There were some, certainly, who would have wished both slain, who would have imagined the dhampir on the noble’s side.

Lydia wasn’t sure what to think.

“We can go to it,” Amaranth invited, also letting the silver crest fall. One day, she'd get rid of it. Not today. She walked to leave the lab.

D made a comment to Lydia, and Lydia met his eyes. This time hers were cold, because the question he asked should have had an obvious answer. “If I had such a place, would I be in this line of business?” Barberoi had been unable to hold her heart. Perhaps she was looking for that place, in these constant travels, but in truth Lydia didn’t think it existed.

She squeezed Oleyo’s hand back, and pulled him along to follow the Noble.

Today would be one mission that wouldn’t be forgotten in the haze of blood and death, Lydia knew.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 26, 2015, 04:20:37 pm
Oleyo liked the idea that the fire might not be lit yet. Somehow it was becoming increasingly important that they see this mission through. He didn't want the gravity of this to ring empty every time he thought about it. An effective way to dispose of garbage, he heard, fitting to such a big household. Hopefully Marshall hadn't, indeed. The vampire offered to take them there. Lydia had been silent, thinking other things than Oleyo, no doubt, valuing other things. He understood, but couldn't agree.

Oleyo had heard the question D had given, and was sure Lydia would like to respond. Quite provoking for the vampire hunter, Oleyo had to assume. But what did he know? Perhaps the silence of D was just another tactic to get an advantage. Oleyo remembered a mother figure somewhere in his life who liked to stay silent so that others would speak more than they intended. Lydia might be susceptible to such tricks now, when she seemed so invested, even though Oleyo was usually the hot tempered of the two. He followed when she pulled. "Yes." Oleyo said to Amaranth's offer.

"Yes." D said to Lydia's question. "If that place was not available to you." As it is to Aila and the others. It was a hard truth. Oleyo wrinkled his forehead in disapproval of that harshness. When he looked at D, who trailed behind the pair, while Amaranth would lead, it seemed as though the dhampir was fixated on the joined hands between Lydia and Oleyo himself.

D's silence and calm, and the scope of his legend, suggested he was wise, and still there was a shadow of confusion, however brief, when he saw the union between Oleyo's and Lydia's hands as they walked through the corridors. Oleyo hadn't often seen amicable partners among the Barberoi, even those that seemed to see eachother exclusively were not so affectionate, but it shouldn't be so unusual that it made the great vampire hunter D wonder, should it?

Oleyo wasn't slow to walk through the door once it was opened. He was not so eager when he saw what was inside. Of course there'd be other things than neatly folded clothes and proof of life. There were bloodied tools and stained cloth. Needles, broken glass vials. Everything wasn't piled up, of course, but rather put in separate containers to be dumped into a rather large furnace one room away. This room was cold. "Thank you." he said to their enemy turned guide.

He ventured on one of the closest containers and rummaged through its cut-up clothing. Wallace had been wearing a brown tunic and a darker leather coat with the family insignia on the lapel. Finding anything worn but of better quality would also be helpful. The family name, Ander, might be stitched on cuffs and linings. Oleyo wasn't averse to rummaging through belongings of the dead, nor was he really bothered by later having to dig through bloodied objects, but he didn't do it very effectively with his one available hand.

D stood a while inside the threshold, eying the mouths of the containers, and then picked out a scarf, a boot, and a hat with a silver buckle. He placed them all in leather a hold-all with robust stitching on it that he also pulled from a pile. He seemed content after this. Oleyo noticed his own frown. The vampire hunter must have more quarry than Wallace and Gregory. Surely D didn't mean to rub it in, but that was what was happening. Oleyo looked back into the container he himself was lifting clothes out of, brow raising as he pulled a glove with intricate stitching around an italic A. The size of the glove suggested Wallace over Gregory. He waved it at Lydia with a small smirk.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 26, 2015, 10:56:07 pm
‘If that place was not available to you.’

It rang in her head as Lydia dragged Oleyo along with her, grip tightening. Had she had such a place, ever? If she did, she didn’t remember it, and so could it truly be called that? The voice was nails down a chalkboard, the implications ripping to the heart. Had she known it, once?

It was easy to understand the idea. It was something she knew enough to snap at D about, but why?

She did not feel D’s gaze on the locked hands, so normal to her that she took it for granted. Their hands didn’t part until Amaranth reached the trash and had the metal doors opened for them to go trudging through. Lydia had to release his hand, then, for Oleyo paused. She wasn’t so distraught by all the broken things and rotting food. The mutants needed to eat. Meat seemed to be the favored dish, which was not surprising. The lot of them seemed like carnivores. Lydia would have been surprised to know there were non-carnivores, like Arion the Centaur.

Amaranth made a motion for them all, and then she stepped back and put her hands behind her back. She wouldn’t go into it. The fire machine was one of the few things in her own castle that scared her. It was a show of good faith that she stepped away, a promise she wouldn’t burn them all with the trash.

Lydia started to dig through the trash, accepting that she wasn’t getting out of this clean already. Her breaths were rare, and always deep and then held. D remained on the edge, and found things that Lydia didn’t think matched her quarry and Oleyo’s. ‘He has others.’ She reminded herself, and glanced up towards him again. That was right, he had others, and still he was letting the Noble go, despite all the lives lost, and all the lives changed.

Was it truly for the better?

Lydia heard a thud, but couldn’t see the occurrence outside, her angle bad.

Instead she saw Oleyo holding up a glove with that smug little smirk of his, and she trudged through the mess to see what was so special about it. “Ah,” and she then bent her knees to be lower to the ground. If the glove was here, there was good chance more was nearby. Her fingers combed through the trash until it stumbled upon the lapel with the insignia. “Here we are,” with the glove, and the lapel, the family wouldn’t be able to fight them. She rose up with the lapel, and then motioned towards ‘out’. There was nothing else they needed in the trash.


The thud that Lydia heard but didn’t see was Marshall dropping the body of Lord Byron. He was finally coming to the area to burn the body, and was terribly surprised to see Amaranth and D. He heard the rustling of others, and smelled them through the garbage. He glanced between D and Amaranth, the hope swelling in his chest to bursting.

It was rare the werewolf acted solely on emotion, but this time he ran forward and pulled Amaranth into the embrace he’d been needing since Pello died, understanding then he didn’t need to fear. She wasn’t going to fight again that night. The fighting was over. They would get to rebuild.

A lesser person would have been toppled by Marshall, but Amaranth didn’t so much as step backwards. She returned the embrace with similar force, letting her head rest on his shoulder and her eyes shut, mouth near his neck but not the least tempted by the vein that pulsed so near. His blood was unfamiliar, now, and written as undrinkable in her mind though she knew it wasn’t. She let out a breath of cold air against him in a sigh.

The night would get better.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 27, 2015, 07:38:34 pm
Oleyo had been happy for her attention, the glove his little triumph over the mission, and perhaps D. He put it into his belt while Lydia rummaged through the pile, and pulled up the lapel of the coat that was probably well shredded. He held his hand out for it with a rewarding smile. He’d already put the glove on his person, he didn’t mind carry the other proof. It was also an offer to rid her of the thing that had been considered trash by Amaranth. Oleyo had a bit of a twitch on his face. It felt odd that things had worked out so well, despite how wrong it could have gone at any turn. They were in the belly of a noble’s castle, going through the leavings of her victims, after all, and Amaranth was not hostile at the moment.

Oleyo didn’t jump at the thud, but knew that Lydia had heard as well. They all knew the sound of an ominous source when they heard it. Many bodies had been dropped in their time. There was no commotion to follow. D shot the pair a look to ask if they were done here. It caused Oleyo to stride out, as though it was a competition, Lydia in hand. He understood that it was childish, and tried to redeem himself by slowing down once he’d passed the threshold. The sight presented to him aided in his halt.

When Oleyo looked to the side, the vampire hunter had joined him in the stop. D wore the same look now that he had when he’d considered Oleyo’s and Lydia’s hands. It seemed that displays of affection between creatures involved in noble business confounded D, at least to some degree. This made him squeeze Lydia’s fingers a little firmer. Oleyo made a mental note to restrain the one-sided animosity he seemed carry toward D.

The embrace before them was tender. Quite the picture, D had to admit. Despite being shorter than the wolf, Amaranth looked motherly as she held her mutant. This was where his loyalty came from then. This ordeal had perhaps been more taxing for Marshall than anyone else. He had lost brothers and sisters. A wolf and its pack. D noticed the expression in the wolf, in Amaranth, and would not soon forget it. He looked at the floor, the splayed out noble with his heart open, courtesy of D’s own sword. It added to explaining the scene, as though D did not already know the details. Like Oleyo suspected, Amaranth confounded D.

Oleyo looked at Lydia and then at the body in front of them. He could guess what had happened, considering the precision of the wound holding the heart agape. He threw D a glance then, and it was not returned. No doubt that this was Byron, the one Lydia had said made her. How significant this moment was to her. All he could do was pull her closer to his side, lacing their hold tighter. The snake breathed softly, awake but not upset. Oleyo wondered fleetingly what kind of bounty would be upon Byron’s head. He didn’t really have any desire to collect, since it might be in bad taste, and it wasn’t his kill or mission, but arguably the body was worth its own worth in credits, at the very least. To Lydia, this moment must be worth endlessly more. He would let go of her if she needed to go closer to the deceased vampire.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 27, 2015, 08:03:25 pm
There was enough movement to bother Marshall when the initial sensations of touch stopped being electric, and warm despite the cold that was Amaranth. His golden eyes opened first, to assess the mutant duo that had joined the dhampir outside the trash, and his grip relaxed. Amaranth followed suit, and the pair parted.

Then her eyes fell on Byron again and the hate written on her expression was clear as day. She had hoped not to see him again. “I believe they have found what they needed, so you may burn him with the rest,” her tone was dismissive of the corpse.

Yet, before Marshall could step away and towards the corpse, Lydia was shaking off the hand that held her and walking forward, almost entranced. She wasn’t. For once, she could say she had her own free will around Byron. Though Lydia considered it might be sane, safe, to stay by Oleyo and to even wind around him the way she did when they walked through towns, there was one thing more important.

Unsafe. Insane.

Her nails dug into her arm and cut it right open again. The marks thinned again as the blood moved out. “He survived last time,” she said, not certain to whom she was speaking. “Stake to the heart, they said.” She hadn’t seen, but she believed it, if she was able to get out of there. He had to be near death.

She didn’t trust the wounds that left the heart in his chest. She dropped to her knees at his side and set her hand over the wound.

When she had drawn blood, Amaranth let out a hiss. The scent was sweet, sickeningly enticing. She turned her head away from Lydia but felt the struggle as the fangs returned again and she clamped her jaw down.

Marshall looked disgusted. He smelled through the lure that Byron had made of Lydia, when Lydia proved incapable of showing him the way to survive in sunlight. He noted Amaranth’s struggle and whispered, “Breathe deeper.”

Not the standard recommendation for this, and yet she did. Beneath the sweet was something sour. Something rotten. Her nose wrinkled at the dead scent, appetite lost immediately.

Marshall let out a relieved sigh as he saw the muscles of her jaw relax.

Meanwhile, Lydia listened. Perhaps she imagined the flutter beneath her hands. Perhaps it was real. In either case, the blood flowed to cover her hand and turn it into a monstrous, bloody and clawed gauntlet that she drove down through his ribs and to the heart. She wasted no time in closing her fist around it, and then pulling it out.

‘Never again.’

She got right back to her feet and walked to the trash-furnace. She threw what remained of the heart in, so it would be away from the body. So there was no hope for Byron this time. The blood on her arm flowed right back in. The marks thickened, but their form was not as sharp. She dusted her hands off and went back to Oleyo, as if nothing had happened.

Marshall glanced at the mutant, and then walked back to the corpse he’d dropped to add it to the fire. He would then shut the metal furnace up, and turn the fire on to destroy all of it, letting the silence speak for the importance of these events.

It was he who spoke, asked, “Do you need to stay and rest?” The question was mostly directed at the dhampir, since daylight was bound to catch up with him, but it was also for the other two mutants.

Lydia answered for both herself and Oleyo, “No. There are people worried sick that need information.”
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 28, 2015, 09:49:47 pm
There was no affection in Amaranth when she bid the wolf to take the body of her maker. D saw it. He recognized it. Not knowing their history, this was a creature that had attempted to lay siege to a city Amaranth had taken for her own. That alone was enough to tear families apart. In fact, that was the catalyst of many royal plots. He had lived through enough ages to see that the flaws in empires were usually amplified by the relationship between two or more parts that should have the trust of others according to convention or biology. The wolf moved to obey, or so D would imagine that he would. The female mutant moved first.

Oleyo watched her reach the body, as though she was the tide, pulled by celestial law. It seemed inevitable that she would be by Byron’s side, the way her body behaved. He allowed it, held to his place by her conviction, despite the risk of a post-mortem trap. Oleyo did take a step toward her when she cut herself. “Lydia.” He said, a question, a worried warning. For a second he thought that the ghost of Byron still held control over her. It was not a new trick to them, hunters both, that nobles would avenge themselves by causing those that were swayed to inflict damage, whether it be on the subject or their allies. It was a particularly dirty maneuver, but often effective to dissolve ranks.

D’s expression remained unchanged at first, but his face did turn to Lydia, following her when she came to her old master. The blood that came in to play had his jaw strain, and his lips almost part as his fangs pushed through, needing more space while the vampire hunter did not allow it. There was a small wrinkle of pondering between his eyes. His grip around the bag he’d filled for himself loosened. He was ready to wrap fingers around the handle of his sword again, should this situation ignite into something worse. He recognized some conviction in her eyes that might save her. Marshall drew his attention instead, and D tried the advice not meant for him. He detected the same notes as Amaranth with his nose.

Lydia, with some vengeance in her step, took the heart from its cage, and threw it into the furnace. With the help of the wolf, who placed the body there as well, Byron was undone, without option of coming back. Not like Carmilla, not like those mutants that  could transfer trauma. It felt strangely final, strangely undramatic, when the long lived foe was delivered to whichever after-world nobles came to.

Oleyo shook his head along with the answer Lydia had given. He was happy she had been able to provide herself with this kind of closure, and would be happy to move on now that they had what they came for. He stood straight by her side to emphasize the point. How bizarre this had been, to part on what could be considered good terms with a noble of Amaranth’s caliber.

“I will also be on my way.” D said. Oleyo watched the legendary hunter start walking. Was this it, then, their encounter with him? Perhaps this was how creatures like D interacted, there for their interests, uncompromising, almost uncaring, and then they were gone, slipping away. Would they see him again. “I will be back to make sure you don’t violate our agreement.” D said. Oleyo raised a brow as this, and then looked over at the wolf and his mistress. That was right. They all had a meeting to attend to in a century, should Oleyo still be living. What a loaded date it would be. Oley saw himself casually pulling information on the matter from people from this area before then.

“We as well.” He said and took Lydia’s hand closer to himself. Who knew? Perhaps the spirit of cooperation here would dwindle once the vampire hunter was gone. He’d seen swifter change in mood with nobles.

Soon they would be in their bikes, on their bikes. Would the wolf see them off, to make sure they went, or would Oleyo and Lydia look up at the pristine, white castle and imagine when they would be coming back?
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on July 28, 2015, 10:48:48 pm
Amaranth, briefly, wanted the door of the furnace open to watch her once-lover, always-father, perish. They had spirits, or so went the rumor, and she wanted to see it depart his flesh. She doubted she could, of course. Her eyes strayed to Lydia who looked to the closed door in the same way, and she wondered what Byron was to her. ‘Father.’ But not in the same way, not made of his blood, and not cursed to his life.

Would she live forever?

How long had she already lived?

For this meeting, they were questions not to be answered. Everyone was leaving, and Amaranth had not the energy to ask them to stay. They would meet again, and Amaranth imagined there would be more time for questions, then. It was almost…pleasant. A small thing to live for, but Nobles needed that to remain sane.

Left to their own devices, left to their solace, they lost themselves.

Amaranth was more grateful to these three than she’d ever confess. “I will look forward to it,” she informed the three of them, and let them all vanish without following. Marshall did not move to pursue. When the footsteps faded, Amaranth’s posture relaxed. One shoulder moved to the wall, to hold her up, and she shut her eyes after taking in another deep breath.

Marshall, ever reliable Marshall, asked, “What do you need?”

Amaranth shook her head. There were many things she needed. Organizing these things was the problem. “By dawn have everyone here. We must discuss the future of Euboea,” she said, then let her eyes open to meet Marshall’s, “I may need to have you run a letter to one of the Mayerlings, as well." Marshall tensed at the idea of leaving Euboea, but Phineus and Valeria were dead. The messengers with flight weren't available, and that left Marshall--the most recognizable of her mutants. "Aila and Arion took Valeria, Severus, and Phineus to the lab?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“Then I’ll…see what can be done.”

It was likely those three would rest forever. They couldn’t fit into a dragon, and she had no home for them presently. A funeral of sorts would be more necessary for them than for Pello, though he, too, would have one. She would speak with Amala about such a thing. It had been a…long time since she had considered such a thing. “Is there anything else before dawn?”

She shook her head, so he asked, “What agreement did you come to with the dhampir?”

Amaranth smiled, and reached out to him, placing her hand on his head, near an ear, “No more non-consensual mutants,” and her hand ran over his ear, forcing it down a moment. His hea tilted to follow the hand, “More who agree. Like you.”

A wry grin, “None like me.”

“It’d be too difficult to repeat,” to her, Marshall was still the masterpiece, even if he was the first. Pains were taken in making him perfect, that weren’t always taken with his predecessors. Perhaps, though…perhaps it would happen again, since she would interact with these people before deciding if they’d fit in with her group.

It would be a new era. “Tomorrow, we’re still going after a dragon.”

A huff of hot air escaped Marshall, but he gave his consent, “Less dangerous, anyway.”

Amaranth laughed her agreement.

~***~

Lydia and Oleyo were following in D’s footsteps to leave, hand in hand as always. The closure was settling. It had been settled before, but now, Lydia was certain there was no possibility of Byron returning. Knowing it was done by her own hand, after years of slaying vampires, she was certain of it.

There was a mystery ahead of her in D, in Tepes.

She meant to ask, but when she squeezed Oleyo’s hand to hasten his steps, such wasn’t her intention. The bikes were near the horse. The three of them were going in the same direction, and she meant to find out if they would continue that way. This time, she wouldn't be parting from Oleyo to chase the dhampir down.

“D.”

She would wait until he acknowledged her, and then she would ask, “Are we all going to Wesos together?” She did not know if D had taken things of Wallace and Gregory on his own, and meant to go first to get that bounty, or if he hadn’t. His intentions weren’t clear to her.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Verse on July 30, 2015, 09:04:57 pm
D tied the bag to the of the saddle of his horse. Black, like most of what he owned. The scarf danced once as though to remind of the ambiguity of its design. Lydia spoke to him, the one syllable, one letter name he had made for himself. D turned. All urgency was gone now. There was really just the next mission after having ended this one. His job was delivering the mementos and hoping the people in the dungeon find their way back, as well, now that the ban had been lifted. He could collect whenever. There was a lightness over his features that could not be read as happy. A soldier between assignments.

He considered her question. He’d not competed with them for the bounty of Wallace and Gregory, so the family of the two would not need to see him. There were a city on the way, a particularly adamant father. He should be receiving a boot of his daughter. Small woman, but a woman still, not a girl. And there was another worried family member of Wesos that should have some closure from the hat he’d brought. D considered the  male mutant, who was giving of an air not entirely unfamiliar to D. It was a hostility, but not an entirely unforgiving one. There was no real animosity there, even if the green haired would prefer D did not exist. “Yes.” Left Hand said. D nodded then, since his parasite had taken the initiative. “Yes.” He repeated and swung his leg up on the horse after having freed its reigns.

Oleyo simply nodded. D was not a competitor anymore. Even though his presence did rake a bit, it was nothing Oleyo hadn’t felt toward other groups he’d been forced to cooperate with during other hunts. He led Lydia along as D kept their pace with his horse. A higher end of horse, but a horse still. Oleyo would never choose those cybernetic animals over his bike, even though the means of control, reigns, were somewhat favorable to his one-arm condition.

As they stepped toward the machines, not far away, he wondered how traveling with the vampire hunter D would be. Probably a lot like this, quiet. He didn’t clamor for D’s approval, but it seemed odd that they would never have a real conversation. There were brooding, quiet types, but D did seem to take the highest price. Of course, with that face, perhaps it didn’t matter what you said to gain social favor. It could be part this that made Oleyo less than enthusiastic about traveling with the dhampir. Lydia was not bothered by D’s beauty.

Eventually he was able to climb into his bike, soothed by its welcoming awakening. He would not close it completely on this journey. If there were a few words exchanged between his partner and their new traveling companion, he wanted to hear it, and have his own input. "How fast is that horse of yours, D?" he asked, head lifted outside the pod of well assembled glass parts. D looked back at him, down at him. It made Oleyo turn the switch with his thumb and have the bike dart away.

D then looked to Lydia. "Competitive, your partner." he noted before lowering his head, brim masking him completely before sending his own mode of transpiration after Oleyo.
Title: Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
Post by: Krystal Itzume on August 02, 2015, 12:10:28 am
The peace of the events seemed to weigh on D in a way that Lydia did not miss, but did not understand. It was true that peace was a rare resolution, but she felt too at ease, perhaps, with her own closure to be concerned with the rest of the events.

Something else, however, answered her first. Lydia blinked and looked down in the direction of the voice, but couldn’t figure out where it came from since she was just look at D’s side, D’s hand. Her light eyes snapped up to his dark ones when he answered, though. ‘Yes’. Lydia would never be bothered by D’s beauty, though perhaps it was because she was willfully ignorant of its effect on her, and on the way it made Oleyo dislike D so strongly. It simply made her not mind that he was tagging along, though that would mean the bounty was going to be split three ways. She wouldn’t tell Oleyo to give over those artifacts to D.

“All right,” she accepted it with some joy. If he stayed long enough, she might not have to wait a hundred years to ask him about ‘Tepes’.

D was on his horse, and she moved quickly to her bike and quickly moved to sit astride it as Oleyo returned to his familiar machine. It made him happier, visibly so, and Lydia just rolled her eyes as the lights of her own machine lit, playing on the way her white appeared.

Lydia didn’t imagine the horse all that fast, D’s or otherwise. It was, after all, just a horse. So when Oleyo challenged him, she had to shake her head. ‘You’re starting to look like those men.’ Lydia didn’t get to yell it at him, to remind him how unflattering it was to be constantly in competition with other men, just because.

Had he learned nothing? Or was he just trying to prove something to himself? “He isn’t usually this bad,” Lydia commented to D, just before the horse leapt away to pursue. The horse was faster than she suspected, and she quickly turned the handles of her bike before lifting her foot and pulling on a familiar lever with the toes of her left shoe.

Gears shifted, and Lydia pushed through them all quickly to chase after the two men, deciding to enter the race herself. At least she had one advantage—she was light, and her bike was, too.

So off they rode to beat the sunrise.

[/end thread]