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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #60 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.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #61 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.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #62 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.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #63 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.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #64 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.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #65 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.”

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.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #66 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.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #67 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.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 08:54:35 am by Krystal Itzume »


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #68 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.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #69 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.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2015, 02:31:09 am by Krystal Itzume »


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #70 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.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #71 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. 

« Last Edit: July 18, 2015, 08:07:26 pm by Krystal Itzume »


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #72 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.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #73 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.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #74 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.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #75 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.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #76 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.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #77 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.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #78 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.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #79 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.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #80 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.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #81 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."


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #82 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.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #83 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.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #84 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.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #85 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.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #86 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.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #87 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.”


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #88 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?

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Nesting Doll
« Reply #89 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.


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.