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Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight Read 5292 times

Krystal Itzume

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Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« on: August 24, 2015, 02:18:14 pm »
"This is what you shall do;
Love the earth and sun and the animals,
despise riches, give alms to every one that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others,
hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people,
take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men,
go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families,
read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life,
re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book,
dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem
and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face
and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."

~***~

Flight had been liberating, and flight had heralded a new dawn for Euboea. Flight came in the form in what was, perhaps, one of the newest and most wondrous creations of the Nobility—or that was how Amaranth liked to think of it, since the Nobles had struggled to tame dragons though they had created them. Beneath her now, as dusk had settled to night, was that green-winged creature. He was vast, and he was powerful, and also large enough to carry more than one rider.

The red-haired woman looked to see Marshall crouching low against the beast, golden eyes wide with fright. He hated flying, but he did it.


 “Come here, Marshall,”
the woman spoke over the rush of wind in their ears, and held out one hand to him. He looked up from the scales, to her hand, then looked back down at the world rushing beneath them. He let out a whimper before crawling forward across those scales and letting Amaranth take hold of him and pull him under her arm, sitting up properly. “It isn’t so bad,” she cooed as her nails scratched at his ear.

He wanted to agree. He’d done this several times now. However, he knew this dragon wasn’t wholly the merchant, nor wholly the beast they’d conquered. It was also Pello, and a part of Marshall always imagined the dragon was going to try and throw him one day. It never did. In fact, Dracul, as she’d named it, was little like Pello.

Still, now and then, he could see the glint of the former ‘dragon’ in those silver eyes of it.
“You don’t want Mayerling to see you scared, do you?”

Mayerling had already seen him scared, the first time they’d showed up with little announcement. Mayerling had been one of the first Amaranth chose to visit, to glean ideas of how to move forward in the world once again.

It hadn’t been all that difficult. Amaranth advanced her craft with a hospital, and turned the willing to mutants. There were still hunter problems, but Marshall and Amaranth had long ago accepted that as a part of their life. The new problem were those who wanted to be mutants, that Amaranth refused, or those that refused her terms. Many of those were the dying, who had a brush with mortality and wanted a change. They tended to become violent when refused.

What did they have to lose but life?


“Why are we going to see him again?”
Came the whine, if only to have something to discuss and distract.

“He invvvvited ussss.”
His language was heavily accented, more a product of being a dragon than of who he had once been. V’s and S’s were drawn out, and all the R’s were rolled. Every hard sound, like a K in ‘key’, was clicked. “Issss Marssshall still being a puppy?”

“Yes,” Amaranth answered, earning a rueful glare from her ‘puppy’. “Are we nearly there?” The dragon made travel so much faster. Who needed a carriage with a dragon?

“Within the hour.”
It bent left and flew down, causing Marshall to stifle a whine again and cling to Amaranth. “Now we’re clossser to the ground if you fall off, Marssssh.”

“I…appreciate your…consideration,”
Marshall managed to say through gritted teeth. He did not imagine that was the reason the dragon had made such a sharp downward twist.

Less than an hour later, they came upon the old-looking structure that belonged to the Mayerling they sought. Despite how old it looked, specks of technology peeked through, or threatened to give away how advanced its inhabitant truly was. Dracul concerned himself with that only so much as it came to landing. He did not wish to harm the technology—well, he did, just to show he could, but he did not wish to invoke the wrath of a friend of Amaranth, so he was careful in placing his claws on a stone perch, on the tower he had first showed up on all those years ago, when his wings were new.

He leaned his body over the tower once he’d taken hold of it in his claws, so that Marshall would not step out onto air.
“Will I go insssside thisss time?” Dracul asked as Marshall immediately jumped off the creature’s back.

“I don’t know,”
Amaranth told him as she followed Marshall down, “I am not sure yet if Mayerling has space enough for you.” As if in answer, Dracul tried to press its wings tight against its body to make it smaller.

~***~

Nearly a century had passed for the vampire hunters, Lydia and Oleyo. Though they had been invited back to Euboea, Lydia had still paused outside its gates. Her motorcycle, updated as the years went on, hummed beneath her as she twirled a familiar orb in her hand—not updated.

It wasn’t the only thing not updated. Her style was still a mix of leathers and skin. The brown skirt she wore didn’t reach her knees, and straps of leather crossed their way down her legs to her boots. Her top had no sleeves, just a corset of buckles. The ink of her body was relaxed with her breathing, with her heartbeat. Her hair was longer, to her knees, and the wind still played with the nearly translucent strands as it always had.


“Not much has changed.”

She would say to her companion, the one who now knew more than all of the Barberoi about her. They’d spent that century doing what they always did—hunting. Lydia had considered going to Sighisoara, but each time it crossed her mind, it had been discarded. Oleyo who was on borrowed time, did not need such a thing in his life.

More and more, Lydia was aware that her time with him was shortening. Her life as a hunter, too, might be shortening. Who could replace Oleyo? But how could she go on alone?

She was not D, though made by vampires.
“There seems to be a new, large structure. A hospital,” she told him, “and there’s a lot more water flowing in and out.” The reflections on the surface made it easy to see so much more of the town, this time around. “It’s…quite alive.” Though no one could have said it was dead when they arrived the first time, now the market truly shown with bright colors and strange items for sale. “They still have lizards to eat, though,” she said before at last putting away the orb and looking over to him, lilac eyes looking for his eyes of black. “Are you ready?”

Somehow, she hadn’t imagined they would actually end up here. Despite being a mutant, thinking in terms of centuries didn’t happen often. Not in their line of business, anyway.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2015, 06:05:19 pm »
”Of course he must come in!” Tohi Mayerling said from his mechanical steed, standing underneath the tower the dragon was perched on, making new marks ontop of the old ones. He had particularly forbidden the workers from undoing those marks. You must keep the signs you’ve been visited by a dragon, whether they be damage or tribute. “I have room in the courtyard.” He said and gestured at the wall, of which he was on the outside of, assuming Dracul could see said garden on the other side. The mistress of Euboea and her guard had been set down on the walk ontop of that wall. It had not been hard to see their arrival. Tohi  had the steed climb the stone, spears replacing its hooves, despite the hardship to its joints and hydraulic cooling system. It was a new machine, but looked used once it had pushed itself to carry out his ludicrous command. He stepped off the smoking metal beast, arms out.

His hair was white, his eyes a soft brown, lined in charcoal. The tresses were held back by three jeweled clasps at the back of his head, keeping the white curtain spilling surgically inside and down the large collar of his blood red cape. That color matched his smiling lips. He wore black leather underneath, with golden straps and a titanium belt, bedazzled in the same way the clasps on his head were. He came toward her with those offered arms. “Amaranth of the dragon city Euboea. Capital of war and trade alike. Welcome.” He flattered and expected an embrace so he could offer the same to the wolf.

“Doing well, I see.” He’d say and look up at the mode of transportation that had taken her here fast. Their coils sending messages were of course faster, signals through the nothing far swifter than wings, but other than that technology he couldn’t imagine many other ways to bridge the distance between Castle Eyling and Euboea. “Will you take a drink?” he asked, gesturing toward the tower, but the door instead of the giant thing on it. “And a steak for you, Marshall? I’d rather fence with D unarmed than have you say I’m a poor host.” A glint of gold in those warm eyes. He kept tabs on the hunter that had helped his cousin once. Her run-in with D was no secret between them.

--

D was otherwise occupied. Fencing, however, wasn’t far from his mind. His horse, a price from a hunt not a decade ago, was running for all its pistons. The gears, of highest quality, were wearing. The powersource, radiation from a rock set where its heart should be, was still strong, but the output barely supported the speed he wanted. There was enough dust on his person to rival the black of his ensemble. He had turned down the mission of hunting a particularly cruel noble for this. D tried to combine duty to his profession with duty to his allies when he could. This was a good time to do so. The hour of Euboea was coming, both for his visit, which he didn’t worry much about, he’d been vigilant on its progression, knew of its new hospital and beast guardian. It was other things that he hasted for now.

--

Oleyo had traded his white leathers for gray ones. The stark green of his hair had faded slightly, white straws nestled with those of emerald. It was also shorter, barely past his shoulders. He retained the youthful details of his face, but the black eyes were lined with a kind of red that made them deeper, and tired at the same time. The cage was tighter around his left side, and he still wore a scarf, crimson now, over it. He smiled as he nodded along with what she said. He’d parked his bike by hers.

“I’ve missed those lizards.” He said. And he’d thought about them often, when thinking of this place. It was the flavor on his palled when he visited here in his memory. As he stood by her, at the gates, he wondered if he would be here next time, if there was another promise made, set for another century. The snake moved sluggishly to challenge that thought. “Do you see the ghost of Pello anywhere?” he joked as he looked at her. He grabbed her arm and pushed her behind himself, facing the way they’d come when he heard rushed hooves. It was a giant black thing that came to them, the careening cybernetic animal eclipsing the midday sun along with the flailing cloak of its rider. Lydia and Oleyo would not mistake D for anyone else.

D looked down at his comrades. He had encountered them on the odd job since. It was worrisome that they went after bigger quarry, but it had also been encouraging to see how well they did in bad situations together. He looked at the walls, as though he’d be able to see over them. They were kept pristine, but he knew there were sometimes futile attempts at taking Euboea. It connected to his business here, today. “Lydia. Oleyo.” He said when his horse calmed down, the heat radiating from its machinery burning more than the desert ever could. “There is no dragon here.” He deduced. He didn’t suppose Amaranth would be without it. “Do you know where she is?” he asked.

Oleyo kept back a frown. D was not rude, not intentionally to them, at least. This shortness might be considered such, which led the mutant to believe D was stressed. His thought became a gasp when he saw D slouch, head dipping to cover his face as always, before his legs relaxed around the steed, letting him slide off. Oleyo had time to turn to Lydia with his surprised look before swiftly stepping forward and catching the famous vampire hunter across his own arm.

“Sunsickness!” Left hand called. He crawled up Oleyo’s shoulder to look at Lydia, fingers curled. “We have to find Amaranth. We’ve ridden through the blistering days to get here fast. An army is coming!”

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2015, 01:43:30 am »
Dracul’s head swiveled on its neck to look down at the white-haired vampire. It was difficult for a dragon to smile, but he certainly tried as the invitation as extended. In place of a smile, he spread his wings as wide as his lips would have gone, “Thank you,” was rumbled out.

Amaranth moved to be near where Tohi would dismount. She wore no cape, the significance of it still too closely tied to a now-dead Noble. She kept to her dresses, and the day’s attire was black and gold, with black predominating and gold trimming everything. A single amaranth flower was tangled in her red locks, at the top of the single braid that fell over the rest of her red tresses.

They matched, though unintentionally, with their black, gold, and red. She did not blush at the flattery, and though she wished it weren’t true, Euboea had earned a reputation for holding up against war, and for providing weapons—not mutants, Euboea would never be Barberoi.
“Tohi Mayerling,” she spoke his name and stepped into the embrace, returning it by wrapping her arms around him. “Thank you.”

There was a moment’s nuzzle against his neck, a moment to take in the scent of the blood that ran through his own veins and brought him life, before she parted to let him extend the offer to Marshall. Marshall knew to expect it, but he was not half the fan that Amaranth was, despite having known Tohi as long as the vampiress.

He stepped forward and would wrap only one arm around the vampire. He still humored himself stronger than Tohi, if it ever came to it, but he didn’t truly want to find out nor reveal as much of his strength in an embrace. It was firm, tight, and quick.
“Mayerling.” Stiff, now that he’d regained his composure off the dragon.

“I will drink.”
Amaranth accepted. She did arch an eyebrow at the glint in his eyes, wondering if D was why they were invited. Marshall lit up, just a touch, at the offer of a steak.

“Raw. Please.”
Just a little cooked. He was still more civilized than some.

“What about me?”
Dracul being that ‘some’. “Ifff I cannot get a hug, I want a pig, or I'll tell the world you're a poor hossst.” Dracul had folded his green wings back against him. “I’ll tell D you’re a poor hossst.” He did not know D, though he knew of D. He knew D was the reason he was alive, knew that he was named for a trio of reasons: Dracul meant Dragon, Dracula was important to Amaranth, and D was the son of that vampire.

He hadn’t met Dracula, either. Amaranth said it was likely he wouldn’t for a while—his visits were rare.


~***~

“I’ll get you plenty,”
Lydia promised when Oleyo spoke of how he missed them. No doubt, she owed him food. She usually did, as he was usually bringing her food or drink to make up for what she lost. She’d splurge on lizards if Amaranth wouldn’t play hostess and offer freely.

When he asked after the ghost of Pello, she could only shake her head. They had both heard of the dragon, though Lydia had yet to see this green beast. Rumor had it, that it sung. Lydia wasn’t sure what to think of that. She was caught then, and smiled playfully at the nab. Before she could speak to it, she understood it was not so playful. The sound of the hooves reached her ears, and she looked to the rider.


‘D.’

Long remembered, and met a few times in these years. They were, after all, both vampire hunters. The ink responded to the flutter of seeing him again after so many years, though, her heart always acting as if it were the first time she’d seen him when they were parted for so long. The ink bled across her skin with the quickness of the beats.

His greeting was curt.
“No, I don’t know where Amaranth is,” Lydia had assumed she was still somewhere in town, even if she couldn’t locate the dragon. That Amaranth was gone seemed somehow…wrong.

What was more wrong was D’s state. Lydia gasped when the dhampir slipped, but Oleyo was the one to catch him. She moved quickly after Oleyo, wondering at what to do. An entity on D’s hand spoke to them, and Lydia stared at it for a moment, before deciding to just accept the situation.
“Sun sickness,” she repeated. “Let’s get D into Euboea. What can we do for him?” She’d not dealt with enough dhampirs to know. She offered to help Oleyo with D, thinking he’d have to ride on one of their bikes rather than his own horse. She’d allow it on hers—Oleyo was usually picky about such things.

It might be that same pickiness which would have him let D ride with him, though. Either way, she would assist him, as only one arm was not good for this situation.
“I’m sure one of Amaranth’s guards knows where she is,” she added for the sake of the talking hand.

‘An army?’
How did she and Oleyo miss that on their way here?

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2015, 06:02:14 pm »
He made s how out of eyeing her outfit. Like minds. She had never been cheap when it came to affection, and he leaned into her nose, to let it touch him deeper. He did not like to posture by protecting those tunnels of life, like some other nobles did. The wolf was appropriately stiff in greeting, contrary to his mistress. He was not necessarily here under the pretenses of friendship, he was here accompanying someone friendly to the Mayerlings. Tohi nodded deeply at the request of what kind of stake he served. He could sympathize, if anyone. When the dragon spoke, Tohi jerked to turn and lift his head, smiling wide at the treat. He laughed at the audacity of the dragon, but calmed down soon. “A pig, then, so you won’t tattle on me, Dracul.” He held all the fingers of his left palm out and down, toward the courtyard. “Snug, but I suppose you could take to the sky if you need exercise after your meal.” A pulse awoke around the rocks of the wall, and quickly shot along the wall to deliver the orders.

“Thank you for coming, all three.” He said as he lead the way toward the opposite tower to the one Dracul had chosen. There was a door there, wood, that opened upon their proximity. Along the walls inside a spiral set of steps would take you down, but in the middle there was an elevator, as well. Walls were war things, he could not always count on the mechanics of an elevator, even if he preferred to be comfortable when scaling or descending, as the horse would prove, still steaming outside. “Are things well at home?” he asked, thinking of her set-up. He admired her work, but subscribed to more traditional way of gain worship and blood. He did keep his own town with riches, though, since it would be an eye-sore not to.

The elevator was spacious, it needed to transport artillery for the guards, so Marshall would have no trouble fitting, wolf form or not.

--

Oleyo didn’t know exactly what to do first. In their small missions, D had taken help from them more as a courtesy. This was different. The dhampir would have had a face full of dust if Oleyo hadn’t reached out. When the hand crawled, he of course wanted to smack it away, but it moved with enough certainty toward a goal that wasn’t malicious that Oleyo didn’t swat. Besides, he’d have to let go of d to do it. The parasite spoke and Lydia answered.

He echoed her thought without knowing it, as he sat on the back of her bike, clinging to D as they would go into Euboea as she’d said. An army. He wouldn’t have thought much of it. Fighting was what they did. They weren’t usually a part of a force in the way an army is a force, but they would not be alive if they weren’t sufficient in both attack and defense strategies. This made him pull D closer. “We need to get him where it’s cool and dark.” Left Hand said. Oleyo thought less of D’s safety and more of his message. Left Hand huffed in amusement, looking at the driver of the bike, and her pretty hair whipping her pretty neck. “And some blood wouldn’t hurt.” He was being cheeky, of course, since one of the first things he’d learned about Lydia, was that d would not fare well from sampling her. Oleyo shook D’s body to chastise Left Hand for his ill timed joke.

The guards usually did not fret when new people came in. They would, however, have to cross their weapons when the bike came. They were not immortal, so they did not have memories of the three hunters, and this scene was somewhat concerning. “Halt!” they called, but ready to move aside as to not be ran over. “What does your company want in Euboea.” One asked, looking at Lydia, since she drove.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2015, 01:46:13 am »
Dracul gave a snort, his show of laughter, when the pig was agreed to. Tohi was easy, but then, Tohi liked him. There were others not so hospitable, those afraid of him—as every Noble ought to be. He understood that he was made when news of Byron Ruthven was on Amaranth’s mind, when he was a threat.

Byron had arrived too early for Dracul to meet him, but he knew his purpose.

Fire burnt the skin of Nobles like paper. He had to be careful even around his mother. He understood that the fight against this body had been quite the interesting one, though he had none of those memories. He and Marshall had discussed it, once. Marshall had memories of wolf and human, though he had said it took a while for his mutated mind to understand the wolf memories existed, since they were not in a language he understood any longer. Marshall was curious if ever Dracul would remember the dragon, or Pello.

He remembered neither—only Wallace, a plump man not plump enough to contain what he was now.

His wings lifted him in the air as Marshall and Amaranth were led away. He would descend into the courtyard and relax himself there, awaiting his pig.

Marshall and Amaranth did not follow the way that Dracul took. They had to uphold the idea of civility; jumping from walls didn’t adhere to that idea. It wasn’t human enough.
“Things are well in Euboea. We continue to make progress in this stagnant world, though I'm afraid I'm no closer to helping either of us,” Amaranth answered Tohi. She could talk endlessly of the medical advancements and her own research; she could tell him of the mermaid that now resided in Euboea, a beautiful and monstrous thing who had once been a Sister, but no doubt they would not interest Tohi in the way they interested her. Besides, none yet had revealed any way of altering their own fate. The sun was still her enemy. Blood was still her food.

They stepped onto the elevator,
“Are things well here, Tohi?” there was a touch of concern. She did not know if he had asked her here for a favor, after all. “With your family?” The Mayerling clan was vast, and most of them truly Noble, by her definition.

~***~

Lydia laughed, just a little, at Left Hand’s joke, though Oleyo took offense. She blamed neither,
“I doubt my blood will help him,” she noted, “Unless he has a death wish.” She’d not be humble when it came to her blood. She imagined if the Sacred Ancestor himself was fool enough to drink from her, she could kill him.

The same would result in his son.

Oleyo’s bike, and D’s horse, would have to be returned for. Lydia let Oleyo onto her own bike, and D was somehow maneuvered with them. Her bike was smaller, so the fit was tight, and Lydia tried not to think of how much of either D or Oleyo was pressing against her before she leaned forward to all but lay over the handlebars before shooting the bike forward with haste.

The guards that met them were human, a change that Lydia hadn’t noticed until she was up close. Her bike came to a jarring, quick stop, since she had expected a familiar face, or a mutant, rather than humans
. “Sorry,” she said quickly back to the passengers. Her flying hair also likely hadn't been too much fun to deal with.

Her voice raised to the guards,
“I’m Lydia Tepes, and with me is Oleyo and D. Perhaps you’ve heard of us?” One lost color. The other brightened. Apparently both had heard of them, and both differently. “We are here to visit Amaranth, and warn her—we’re old acquaintances,” friend didn’t seem quite right. “We know she’s gone, but D needs to get in to her home.”

A vampire would have a good place for a dhampir, wouldn’t they? Byron had always kept a place underground for himself, even if he had elaborate guest rooms. Amaranth didn’t seem like the sort who’d be offended if someone else rested in her coffin, particularly if she wasn’t using it. Amaranth also, probably, had blood somewhere.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2015, 04:46:32 pm »
He had expected Euboea to be well. It had a dragon, and a ruler who truly cared about it, advanced it. She told him as much. A smile and nod for that, the curl of his lips almost high enough to let his lips split apart and make it the grin that it should have been. It fit the purpose of his amusement that her city did well. He wanted it to be blossoming, actually. The new haven, the beacon that it could be, standing before its biggest threat so far. Romantic, if nothing else. In many ways, Tohi was a romantic.

“Here?” he asked back. He paid little attention to his home. He tended to its aesthetics, and used its position and wealth whenever it amused him, but he did not have the love for it that Euboea had of Amaranth. The people were lucky in that he was not needlessly cruel, and mostly left them to their own devices. Usually that meant a fairly lenient law system because of his absence, but also an often broken communication, when they wanted things of him. “Good.” He said. It was probably true. None of his advisors had suggested otherwise. Seeing Amaranth always inspired some kind of large scale reform. He sometimes toyed with the idea of being a benevolent, involved leader, but his attention span was not so vast. He was more than content with his independent city, that neither loved him nor hated him too much. Fear and respect was enough.

He looked at Marshall while he thought about the answer to her second question. Tohi kept up with the happenings of the world, and he had a few plots in his own family. He had a cousin he wanted to marry, and there for another he preferred to kill. He supposed it wasn’t good elevator talk to speak of his intention of making a wound between two prominent vampire families. “No crisis yet. But you know us big families. If forever is our banquet, then it is also one long family dinner, and those can turn from chit-chat to chaos inside the toss of a vine glass.” He laughed to himself when the elevator stopped, at the floor. “Human food metaphors. How barbaric, am I?” His hand extended to show them the automatic door, so he could follow after them. Surely the wolf would appreciate being between himself and his mistress for a few moment, until Tohi caught up.

They were met by servants dressed in blue. They didn’t know what to do than be present and follow, since it seemed their master was still talking. They were more afraid of Marshall than the other two.

“It seems the food is ready, speaking of.” He said and looked at the people. None of them were carrying a tray or a vial. “I guess they mean for us to sit down and take it.” He said. The servants stirred now, worried they’d displeased their master. Fear and respect. “I’d rather take it in the library.” He said to his guest, but for his servants to hear. The tallest of the help spoke to another, and he in turns jogged away quickly, obviously to ready said room.

“I can exchange pleasantries with you all day, Amaranth.” He said as they walked. “And you, Marshall, who never shuts up, I love our vivid debates.” He joked as he looked at the guard she’d brought. “But I wouldn’t waste your time for my own merriment.” A lie. A lie that was so profound he almost did laugh. He’d slaughter the world if it would make him merry. He’d stop as they passed one of the windows to see the stable boy come out to the courtyard with three animals as he looked up at the terrifying dragon. The window was large and hosted the scene well. Tohi was obviously distracted from what he’d intended to say. Shortly after the stable boy with his stick to heard the pink, the black and white, and the wild boar, a chief would follow with a roasted one a silver plate. Tohi wondered if they meant to feed all of them to Dracul, or if he was supposed to pick favorites.

“Oh, I think it’ll be the wild one first.” Tohi said and reached inside his jacket to retrieve a small plate of platinum, waving it. “Anyone on any other?” he asked as he slapped the plate against the fingers of the other hand. Amaranth would of course know more about Dracul’s preferences than Tohi, but that made it more exciting. Perhaps even Marshall would venture a guess, he might be closer to Dracul, the way comrades are, and know his choices better, while Amaranth was its mistress.

“Anyway. Have you heard of Welfgang Tomotus.” He asked, his eyes still on Dracul. Welfgang had been a pain in the neck for Noble society. He’d liked to wage war, and spent his alliances for even a speck of more land. Cruel, as many were, but ruthless to the point of it costing him well-drawn tactical moves. Exiled and disgraced, Welfgang had written his own end by Noble court and law, when his enemies converged and sentenced him to rid of the ballistic warfare he preferred. He had not been heard of in quite a few centuries.

--

Oleyo shook his head at her apology. He liked riding on her bike. Their driving styles were as different as their machines. He relied on some gyros for steering, of course, because of his handicap, where as she could control her bike in a traditional way. And her hair smelt good. It smelt of her, after all.

Demsey, new, had been given told to be on the look-out for these people. They were to be treated as guests, and Amaranth herself should be notified of their arrival. She was no here now, since her dragon was not – Demsey and Olav weren’t the first to know anything, and were left to a lot of guesswork. “Please come in!” he shouted, nervous to fail the lady. He quickly pulled his ax back. Olav, who was not so disturbed, but rather excited to see them, also removed his weapon from their way.

“What my friend means to say is that you’re welcome. I’ll lead you to the castle.” Though they’d recived no instructions as to what to do if the lady was not here to greet her guests, he was sure it was more wrong to treat them ill than to cater to their need. He untied the reigns of a random horse by the gate. It was not his. It didn’t matter now. It might not be able to keep up with her machine, but it should get there faster than his own legs. “I’ll escort you. I do believe Aila is at the castle.” But who knew? It was anyone’s guess where the cat would be at any given moment. He was hoping she’d be there to make the decisions, so he wouldn’t presume to have to guess, himself. He started riding.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2015, 01:42:21 am »
Amaranth never really expected much from Tohi in the way of information on his city. Now and then, there were interesting tidbits about his family; it was not something she shared in common with him. The politics of Nobility were fascinating when it came to the purebloods. A wry grin twisted her lips at his commentary, and she suspected things were heading towards a crisis of sorts, but she didn’t voice her assumption.

“Quite barbaric. You don't even know how it tastes,”
was Marshall’s comment to Tohi’s question. Amaranth rolled her eyes skyward at the wolf’s addition.

Servants came near, but stayed at a distance. Marshall was the cause, and he knew it. Despite showing few wolfish features, he had not grown less intimidating in his long life. His gaze flickered over the servants briefly when it was mentioned that food was ready.

Amaranth noted the absence of the vial and glass, as well, and bit the inside of her cheek—not enough to draw her own blood, but enough to show. When Tohi said he would take it in the library, she waved her hand to indicate that she was in no rush, either. She could delay her meal until Tohi was ready to drink. Tohi was finally getting to the point.

Marshall didn’t so much as smirk at Tohi’s comment, though he did let out a heavy breath.
“Yes you would, Tohi, and I would not mind,” Amaranth had started to enjoy visits for pleasure more and more. Even so, she allowed Tohi to continue and speak his piece.

They were distracted, though. Pigs. The trio had ventured near enough to Dracul now, that such a scene was to be expected. At his query, Amaranth shook her head, but Marshall said,
“I’ll bet the cooked one.” He saw Amaranth’s eyebrow raise, but he didn’t explain himself. He had learned one thing of Dracul—the dragon would always take cooked food over uncooked.

Usually, he expected to cook it himself in his own fires, but when it was offered to him cooked, he took it. It was a queer thing, but Marshall expected it.
“I’ll pay if I lose,” he didn’t offer up money. He didn’t have enough on him to match what Tohi put up.

A name was mentioned then, and Marshall’s face showed recognition—soured recognition.
“I know him,” which meant, of course, that Amaranth did. “Know of him,” he clarified. He had never met him, but he’d heard jabs. Welfgang was close enough to Wolfgang.

Amaranth did nod, once.
“We met a long time ago,” they had not gotten on well, needless to say. Though Amaranth was not always in good with certain purebloods, the sort of vampire that Welfgang was would never get along with her. “Why?” She feared why this man would be brought up. She hadn’t heard of any of Welfgang’s activity in years.

~***~

They were welcomed in rather than sent away. Lydia let the bike inch forward as the one said that he would take her to the castle. She would let him mount the steed.
“Aila,” Lydia recalled the name on Oleyo’s lips. The cat. She found herself doubting that Aila would be there, just because of that.

“Thank you,”
she spoke to the guard with the axe, before following after his companion who was atop a steed, and urging it forward to follow after the guard atop his horse. ‘Just a little longer, D.’ She glanced back momentarily at Oleyo, to make sure that he was all right, too. He had only the one hand, and so had to remain on the bike while ensuring D didn’t slip off, too.


Aila was not at the castle, but she was atop roofs. She saw them pass beneath her, and recognition lit in her orange eyes.
“HEY!”

Over the sound of the bike, how could she expect to be heard? Her white tail flickered in annoyance, and she went after them at a sprint across the roofs, hoping to meet them at the castle, though she knew she would be later than they. Fast she was, but she was no competition for a horse or a bike.
‘You all would come with Amaranth gone.’ Somehow, she imagined it was planned by them, to try and catch Euboea off guard.

They’d be disappointed.

Euboea thrived and did so while gaining consent.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2015, 04:45:12 pm »
In all honesty, Tohi liked Marshall, had been looking to find or make one like him. At one point, he’d talked to Amaranth to make something like the wolf for him. But the little audacities he afforded the werewolf would not be as delightful from someone in his own employ. After all, Marshall was who he was because of Amaranth. While the noble liked competence, he grew tired often, and only the servants that knew this had lasted as his close help, whether it be tacticians or tailors. He had laughed coyly at the lady’s exposure of the blatant lie he’d spoken.

Then he had looked at Marshall. The dragon would go for the cooked pig, then. A gourmet dragon. It made Dracul all the more exquisite in Tohi’s warm eyes. Another handful of plans to steal the beast from the lady whisked through his mind. None of them were enough, and some of them would take far too much effort. He did so enjoy pining, though. He did not enjoy loosing, however, and it seemed now that his bet on the wild thing had been way off. The excitement had him put a little dent into the platinum plate, a metal and shape used as currency in his town. While they waited, he noted how familiar his guests were with the Tomotus menace. Marshall replied promptly, while Amaranth pushed the conversation further. If she’d met Welfgang, she’d know he was mostly transparent airs toward more power, with thin small-talk and even a thinner veil on his intentions.

“Driven fellow.” Tohi said about Welfgang as he tilted his head, watching the scene of the dragon and his pending meal, served up and waiting. Why did he not have sport like this in his town? “I have reason to believe he plans a return to the—shall we say physical political scene?” War. No one in the corridor would not know he meant war. “Seems he has not been idle while he’s been quiet.” Tohi had studied Welfgang once, mistaking his ceaseless ambition for tactical genius. The truth was laid plain by just looking at his armies, or even his way of speaking. The things Tohi were saying were of course foreboding, and he would quite like to elaborate in the library. But he’d hold off until he lost the bet to Marshall. “It’s not unlikely all of us will be seeing more of Welfgang in the near future.”

--

Olav rode ahead of them. Surely the vehicle could overtake this cybernetic animal, but they were not likely to be let in without him, so they kept an even pace with each other. Every now and then he would cast an eye back at what the green haired one was carrying. Olav was excited to see the dhampir, who had a larger reputation than the other two. Hopefully that hat would fall aside or off completely at some point. He saw Aila too late to stop and wait for her, as they had already reached the entrance to the castle when he noticed an agile thing sprinting a few rooftops away.

He had interacted with the feline mutant on occasion, and knew that she was sometimes hard to communicate with, the way cats are, and he would definitely not have seniority or rang over her to demand attention. All he could think of doing, even though there were guards he knew placed by the gates, was dismounting and waving at her. She should also know about these visitors, if he did. “Aila!” he called, as though she wasn’t already moving for them.

Oleyo came off Lydia’s bike, still holding D. Left Hand was quiet. Perhaps that was a good thing. The snake was also quiet inside its cgae, but he could feel some tension there. Despite the urgency of the situation, he had a smile on his lips for the cat. They’d not had physical conflict, and right now she represented some hope of seeing Amaranth and a ticket inside the castle. “Do you think she’ll be as distractible as before?” he mumbled to the side, to Lydia. His scarf lately was not so ragged as the one he’d used to play with Aila last time, but it had a pretty dark blood color. He would have waved if he had a second hand.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2015, 10:03:57 pm »
Dracul was not listening, if he even could hear from the soft tones the vampires spoke in. He was a creature of noise, after all. The pigs were brought before him, and at first he did eye the wild one. Wild had such a different taste from domesticated, but he usually only got domesticated animals.

He lifted his head up, his neck arching to blow a stream of fire at the beast, but then he caught the scent of already cooked meat.

It was a necessity of his system that all his food be cooked—the stomachs in him were more human than dragon. Raw meat was not half as beneficial. Fortunately, fire often meant that didn’t matter. He could cook meat on the fly. Cooked meat, however, appealed to him more. Flavors were put into it that he couldn’t put into it—fire had but one setting. He whipped his head towards the plate of cooked meat and eyed the holder until they set it down. He waited only long enough to let them get a few steps back, and then his head dove down to engulf the meat, leaving the plate and any side trimmings behind.

His head lifted, he chewed, and his tongue pushed pieces back down his throat.

He heard Marshall laugh, and let his gray eyes flick towards him, before they saw the black pig running. He immediately engulfed it in a stream of flame, careful with the other servants, and began to crawl towards the flaming carcass as Marshall continued to laugh.

Marshall’s attention towards the conversation the vampires were having had drifted. Amaranth’s attention hadn’t.
“Does he now?” Welfgang would return in only one fashion. “How interesting. I heard nothing from him on this matter, and I own the capital of war,” or so Tohi said. “Marshall, will you wait with Dracul? I would like to drink. I am sure your steak will be brought out, and Dracul has plenty to distract him from stealing it.”

Marshall turned to her, befuddled at the sudden order.
“Is everything all right?”

Her eyes said no.
“Of course,” she lied to prevent a scene, and he understood. It would be explained when she had a better grasp of the situation herself. He gave a nod, and Amaranth looked to Tohi, “Shall we adjourn to the library?”

~***~

Aila did catch up, but she was breathing raggedly and was clearly agitated. The flick of her tail behind her indicated that, as did the way her ears laid low. Chase was good sport, but Aila was a quick killer. Endurance was not her strong point, and not at those speeds.

She let out a rough breath in a huff of indignation for the chase, temporarily forgetting she quite liked the green and faded one. She didn’t hear Lydia’s reply of,
“Yes,” to Oleyo’s question, but looked at the guard with a glare.

“You should have gotten me first!”
But then she glanced towards them, and her eyes took them in. D was…D was unconscious? Oh, that would not do, Amaranth would throw a fit! “What’s wrong with him?” Fear was evident in her voice.

“Sun sickness?” Lydia said it as a question, a hope that Aila understood.

She did.
“Get him in! Ugh!” She ran ahead, across the bridge to the castle and pressed her hand to a scanner on the wall, nigh invisible to untrained eyes, and the gates opened immediately to let them pass. “Leave the bike. Olav, help Oleyo!” she shouted back, name not forgotten after all this time. Lydia had dismounted from her bike already.

A creature near the bridge, around the castle, came to the surface to observe. She was clad in naught but blue and gold scales that formed legs and ran up her side, her arms, and gave her gills at her neck. Her wet hair clung to her white skin, and with eyes that had no whites, she observed the interesting situation with a glowing smile of fangs.

The mermaid, so called Nerida, was new. She told Amaranth she would protect her with her own life, if she would but give her to her love, to the sea, and so Amaranth had improved the waters and threw money to make a river to the ocean. So Nerida served her loyally, and liked to splash Aila whenever she got the chance. Her thoughts lingered on doing just that, but the haste and agitation made her wonder if such was truly a good idea.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2015, 07:27:33 pm »
It was a show he could not have directed better himself. Oh, he liked a good spectacle, and this was high quality. The strange thing with Dracul, the Dragon of Euboea, was that he was not a mindless beast. Tohi had spoken to him just now, atop the wall. But the way the head moved now, and the way the flames came out, though precise, were reflexive, like that of a creature of instinct. A pretty show, and a bit humbling, in no little part because it also meant Tohi lost to Marshall, even though the dragon had looked at the wild meat first. Coming in second was not worth anything in a bet like this.

He extended his arm with the valuable plate quickly, his bitterness slightly theatrical, but without threat. Being too good of a looser took away the fun of winning, and he promoted winning, but he also did not want to be considered a sore loser. A good amount of sour was good enough, for the spirit of the game. Most of the display would be sincere, after all. “Congratulations. I’m sure we’ll find something else to bet on, one day.” Tohi eyes remained on the scene where the servants were not so amused. They were not tasked to feed a dragon often, but did their best to serve the beast, keeping their proud backs and chests to hold on to courtesy while they were also afraid for their lives.

He turned to the lady when she spoke with her guard. Tohi gestured to make it so when she offered the stake be taken here, somewhere. Another blue jacket ran to carry out that order. The master of the castle smiled to himself. They were put to work today. Splendid. That smile remained and lifted a bit further when she suggest they leave, he bowed his head slightly to agree and then nodded to the wolf, directing two servants to his side. “Marshall.” He excused as he started walking with Amaranth, arm out as though they hadn’t been headed that direction already, other hand on the low of her back for a few steps.

“Have you seen in a bigger group of people that are still familiar with each other, that there is usually one who brags about one day transcending his, and it is usually a male, position and ‘showing them all’? It is common in the servant quarters and on any working place with a watering hole, the army as well.” He asked, long winded, as they walked passed a few paintings. One of them had brilliant play of light on the castle being built. Another was of a carcass of a beast with several rotting spears through its rib cage, where focus had been more on the deep shadows of the decaying flesh and the sheen on make the wet surfaces look realistic, vibrant. “Welfgang is not that ego afflicted braggart, unfortunately.” Tohi huffed out as the stopped by two grand doors, already open.

The library was extensive, gilded here and there, and favored whites, beiges, and silvers among the gold. Great windows, or so you would have to assume, with great frames, but with heavy curtains now. A table was set, a servant with a tray on either of the two chairs. The trays held an array of vials, the glass ones revealing to hold a dark liquid. She would know he did not rely on tribute for his blood. “Which means he is not a very conventional war monger.” He added as he hurried over, swatting one of the servants away as he stole the tray and placed it down, and pulled out her chair. The horrified servant bowed and took may steps back. The remaining servant became pale, but didn’t dare move. “A war mongrel, perhaps.” He said with self-congratulatory laughter. Beyond the table, a silver stance, tall as a man, had been set up, with a large book opened to a spread of a charcoal drawn piece, not an uncommon medium when artists tried to depict what they perceived to be demons. She could choose to sit or go to the book. He would extend her a vial either way, and take one from his own plate before he excused that servant as well. The drawn images would be of small creatures and large ones, clustering around an object shaped like a star of blades.

--

Oleyo had not expected to be as happy as he was when he saw the cat, even though she was agitated. He would have played with her if he could. Instead they followed her, and so did Olav. Oleyo saw something gleam in the waters before they entered. The castle was as impressive as he expected, even though they had to see it in a bit of a haste. There were of course fast taken deeper into the structure. Aila was appropriately stressed by D’s state. Surely the need for darkness had been underlined, working for Amaranth. Left Hand was quiet. Perhaps that was because he did not want to reveal himself to the cat. Another entity on your body, unfettered by your own health, could be a big advantage, he knew. Oleyo did not expect Left Hand was shy.

Olav kept up. He had tried to take D’s legs, but the green mutant did not seem to want the help. Perhaps he didn’t trust anyone else, or perhaps it was a matter of pride. The guard had no choice but to follow. Aila felt quick now that they were not riding Lydia’s bike anymore, and it was a bit tasking to keep pace with D as cargo, but Oleyo would not allow himself to fall too far behind. Part of him felt as though he’d just been here, even though some things had changed. Perhaps he had waited for this return for the entirety of the time that had passed. Part of him was  happy he’d survived to keep the deadline, the same part had not expected to.

“He said something is coming. An army.” He said as they made their way, even though it had been Left Hand that had delivered the news. “I suggest we make preparations. I don’t know how long D will be out until he can tell us the rest.”

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2015, 02:37:24 am »
They would indeed find something else to bet on, Marshall was sure, as he took the plate from Tohi. He drifted, when Amaranth and Tohi did, eyes briefly following the low hand of Tohi, before he came near the area that Dracul had cleared. With an arched eyebrow, he asked permission to sit, and he was given it silently.

He took a seat.
“Do you want pig?” Dracul offered, since there was another still alive. Marshall shook his head.

“You always burn it.”
Marshall had tried to eat his food. They all had. “My own meal is coming,” he informed.

“You could havvvve it raw,” Dracul offered. Again, Marshall shook his head. He was the beast that ate the raw meals.

“I won a bet because of you,”
he said as he waved the plate, “I’ll buy you a treat with it, when we get home.”

“I can havvve anything in Euboea anyway,”
he huffed smoke, then finally blew a flame at the pink pig. He didn’t go to the corpse immediately. “You’ll havvve to make a trip with me.”

“I’m not flying.”


“You’re sssso sssslow!”
The dragon complained, “We musssst fly.”

“I don’t have to share,”
Marshall noted. Another huff of smoke, and it went to feast on the pig, debating if it was worth the pace Marshall kept.

~***~

Amaranth walked along with Tohi, taking his arm, always pleased with the contact he afford her, here. There were others, colder, who still treated her as inequal, but around Tohi she always felt at least that. Equal. So, his words brought a wry grin to her face.
“Are you insinuating something?” No one had ever said that of her, not exactly.

In a way she might be kindred to Welfgang. They did not boast. Their actions proved what they were, and she’d walked over her so-called betters. She held court with Dracula. She had met D and survived. Her town spoke volumes, her research, more. She had seen the death of her sire, started it, though it was ended by others.


“What a shame,”
she said when Tohi mentioned Welfgang wasn’t one of those. They were easy to crush before they proved their words had bite.

They passed paintings that added atmosphere, and with the conversation as it was, her eyes lingered on the bloodied beast for a while longer than others, before it was passed by and out of sight. Into the library the pair went, and Amaranth’s own eyes lit up. There were books here she’d borrowed, and more she’d borrow in the future. Their collections weren’t the same, their interests different, but there was overlap. Amaranth was nothing if not a connoisseur of information, and she took it from every place.

If nothing else, it gave her names for her children. Most had Greek names, like herself, Marshall an exception—he was first, he would always be the exception.

There wasn’t nearly enough red, but how could there ever be?

The vials added the red, and Amaranth glanced them over. She knew what they were, but she made no mention of it, and would feign ignorant to herself. It was better than taking of the vein, something she had started to wean herself of even more since D’s visit. She had her moments of weakness, when a devout sister would offer and she’d take, but she tried to keep those few and far between.

She had given Sister Amala the Kiss as she died, letting her die in bliss, and there were tributes to her in Euboea. Amala had been there for the change, and had been ever at Amaranth’s side in a way her children could not be. She had loved Amala in a way. There had been the temptation to keep Amala for life, but she had fought that, too. It would never have worked.

Amaranth took her seat when it was offered, so as not to be rude, and then took a vial as her eyes moved to the other image. The golden gaze studied it, with the shining star about to be forever extinguished.
“You’re warning me, aren’t you?” She said after a few seconds, and then pressed the glass to her bottom lip. “I would think you asking me to be an ally, but that does not seem to be the direction. He is coming for me, and not you, is that right?” She hesitated to drink. It might be best to save it for the gulp that would suppress fear, to mask it.

A mother always knew how to hide fear.


~***~

Down they went, down and down, to Amaranth’s true chambers. Compared to the rest of the home, it looked like an area that was deserted. There were no decorations, just bare walls and a single coffin against one gray wall. The coffin had been restored since Byron’s visit, now made of cypress wood that added an evergreen scent to the room.
“Here, she won’t mind,” Aila moved the coffin door aside and motioned for D to be put in it.

She imagined D hadn’t slept in a coffin a while. Though Aila couldn’t profess to know much about dhampirs, she knew plenty about vampires. Vampires needed coffins with soil in them. In Amaranth’s, it was soil of her home when she was human, gathered beneath the wood and hidden there so she did not come out with soil clinging to her when she woke.

A dhampir would share in that nature, somehow. This would help, she was certain, since this was meant to help the vampire sleep well. Amaranth never rested well outside her coffin. She’d once run down the science of it, but Aila had forgotten most of the rationale. All she needed to know was that the coffin was essential.

When D was put in, she'd slide the coffin door over him. There was no lock to it, he could leave whenever he was up to it.

Aila then moved her eyes over Olav, Oleyo, and Lydia.
“Army.” She repeated what Oleyo had said. She laughed, a high pitched sound, and said, “We would have known if an army were coming. We have scouts, we have people coming in…we would have heard by now.”

“I don’t think D would work himself sick to lie,”
Lydia cautioned.

Aila’s nose wrinkled.
“I suppose it could be far off,” but no news of an army moving had reached them at all. “Damn it, I’ll…,” she recalled they said we, and she remembered to eye them suspiciously, then continued, “I’ll send out scouts. You two, uh…I don’t know, make yourselves at home? Amaranth’s gone to visit a friend. She’ll be back before dawn. I think.” She could stay at the Mayerlings. It didn’t happen often, but it did happen. 

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2015, 07:11:53 pm »
Amaranth had agreed it was a shame Welfgang was not typical in the sense that he could be predicted the way some lords of war could. It was not that he didn’t desire the respect of others, from what Tohi had gathered, it was just that it came second place to having actual power. Not unlike someone competing, Wolfgang did not mean to raise his hands until he was finished, because it would take away from his result. Only Welfgang did not have it in him to stop.

Tohi watched Amaranth become comfortable in the chair, and enjoyed seeing her pick a vial, and would look forward to seeing her drink from it. He took his own, a bulbous glass, silver stem and glass bowl. He liked the weight of a good amount of blood. He remained standing to round the chair meant for him so he could go to the book. The artist was not as classically perfect as the ones they’d passed in the corridor. This one was cerebral, with a good understanding of anatomy, but moreover, she was honest, a true membrane between the scene and the paper. The horns, curled to straighten, was her signature. Theneesa Aub. This book had not come cheap.

“Oh, you know me, my Lady.” He said as he touched a creature with black diamonds encrusted into its neck. “I’m not built for war.” Another pretty lie. Marshall was not here to point that out, so it was not as satisfying as before. “But I hope you don’t mind if I come and visit, helping hand or not.” His finger moved over to the weaponized star and poked it. “This is known as the Mordent.” He said, voice loosing that chuckling lilt. He was fascinated by the fabled weapon, almost grateful for its existence. “As symbol, or a steering wheel, it had no real value on its own, even though it is pretty.” He said and molested its image some more, a decadent, selfish way to use the fine artwork. “It says that the metal echoes with your heart’s desire, and translates it to a language the Mortlings understand.” Upon that second name, his finger circled outward, pointing to the other creatures, gathered around the Mordent. He took a deep swallow from the glass and then looked back at her as he licked his lips clean.

“It seems Welfgang Tomotus spent his time away earning the Mordent from someone I do not know.” Whoever would have it? Dracula himself? The old artifacts were sought after, and the useable ones like the Mordent, were as doubted as they were desired. “I would not have mentioned this, since you have Dracul now, and Marshall of course,” the wolf was an afterthought, since he didn’t know if it would be insulting not to mention him. “but I believe The Mortlings might give your breather of fire a run for his scales, this time.” He said and flipped the page. This one had a very prominent change of palette. A dragon in the middle, yellow scales, darkened by the surrounding, spewing a pretty, orange flames to engulf the monsters from the previous spread. Theneesa knew how to draw a dragon, she had on many spreads after this one, and as Tohi put the glass greedily to his mouth and opened widely around the rim to pour, he continued to change the page. Through it, the dragon would keep breathing, and the Mortlings would keep coming. At the end, there was just a broken skeleton left of the great yellow dragon. “Tenacity.” He said, breathing deeply from having drunken so much. “the Mordent controls the very genetics of the Mortlings. They reproduce without fault, large as this glass upon birth, and larger than I within the hour. They become what their master wants. A wave of shadow, as long as there is food.”

He put the empty glass down before he flipped the next page, the paper cheaper, falling from where it had been pinned between the fine works of Ms. Aub. He caught it and placed it in front of his guest, on the table, by the other vials of blood. It was a small manifest on how the writer’s village had been devoured by “a wave of shadow” with muscle and teeth. In the story, hastily written, he would tell of how the creature controlling the wave, The Onyx general, asked of about an altar of a dragon their town sacrificed to. Surely Amaranth would be familiar with the small religion Dracul had been the inspiration of. The man confessed to having spoken of the creature they worshipped. A crude sketch of someone with a cloak, holding an object of many prongs was on the back. Tohi picked up another glass, this one lithe, tall. “It’s from a village far away, where people haven’t seen Dracul, but I’m not sure how long distance and other items on his agenda are going to keep him away. If I know Welfgang, the fact that your city is well protected, is reason enough to challenge it. And as you see, dragons have fought the Mortlings before.”

--

Oleyo felt the chill coming out when Aila opened the coffin for them. He looked at D and then placed him down, he even let Olav lift the legs so the boots wouldn’t clunk against the edge. A good coffin. If he’d come across it closed during one of their jobs, he would have worried. Someone who would keep their coffin hidden like this, without finery, surely was a mind to be reckoned with. Sometimes the vanity of the noble was the only weakness a hunter could explore. There were no traces of that weakness in this room.

Oleyo listened to the cat, and nodded along when Lydia protested. Very few things prompted haste in D like this, at least as far as the green one could imagine. He was about to speak up, when he could hear a voice from inside the coffin.

“This is comfortable enough.” Left Hand said, voice dulled, calmed, clearly and attempt at imitating his host. It was strangely humerous to hear, but Oleyo kept quiet. “Someone needs to find The Lady Amaranth and her dragon. The city will be under attack soon. Tell her a Wave of shadow is coming, and that it eats its way through the living things of the land to come to Euboea.” Already it was longer than D liked his words. “Good night.” Left Hand added awkwardly, probably on purpose.

Oleyo turned to stand by Lydia’s side. “What are your routines for an attack? Lydia and I can deliver a message. Our bikes are faster than the cybernetic animals of this city. I don't think we should leisurely wait for Amaranth to return. The city might need its leader and dragon.”

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2015, 01:27:33 am »
“Hm!” It was almost a laugh at the Mayerling’s joke of not being built for war. Their bloodline was as suited for it as the Ruthven line. Instead of telekinesis, though, they had claws that would put any lion to shame. “No, I do not mind, Tohi,” a stray thought crossed her mind; perhaps she could hold Tohi hostage to have the other Mayerlings help.

That would backfire, though. They’d likely crush Welfgang and Amaranth at once, and Amaranth was not so low. If she needed them, she’d ask, not force.

Mordent was noted, and her mind wove its way around etymologies. There was truth to words, and his description carried some. Mordent related to sound, and sound was vibrations. The blade created, or control, creatures known as Mortlings. They grew, and they conquered. Dragons, unintelligent ones, but dragons all the same, had fallen to them. She bit her lower lip, and was reminded of the glass there by the gesture. She let go of her lip and drank the blood in one quick gulp, tilting her head back so the blood would have no resistance on its travel down.

Her eyes then fixed upon the drawings again. The glass was set aside, the taste of the blood lingering in the back of her throat, teasing her where she couldn’t get to it with her tongue.

Then, her eyes inspected the hasty text, and her index finger ran over the scrawls.
“Mm. I do not suppose this will be as easy as ripping the Mordent from Welfgang while airborne, will it?” On Dracul, she could encircle an army without landing. If she could see Welfgang, she could pull on that inanimate object and bring it to herself.

That would be far too easy, though, perhaps she’d be lucky. Perhaps Welfgang was simply hoping to catch her unaware and unfamiliar with the blade. She lifted her golden eyes from the page to look Tohi in the eye. Her fingers, also, lifted from the paper and lingered near the vials but did not yet grasp another,
“Do you have thoughts for strategy?” Her thoughts were divided: she either had to get the Mordent, or kill Welfgang. She wasn’t yet certain which would be more viable—obviously, both were on the agenda. The question was, which first? “Do you know what else travels in his army?”

They found the nearest vial, and took hold of it, removing it, and again drawing it close to Amaranth.


~***~

A voice spoke within the coffin, and Lydia did her best not to smile when she realized it was not D. She had to bite down hard on the inside of her right cheek to stop it, though Aila clearly saw nothing odd about it.

She just listened with growing agitation. Ears lowered further. Hair rose on tail and head.


“Night night,” Lydia said to the Hand.

Aila twitched and shot her a look that said she somehow didn’t appreciate the farewell, then they flicked right to Oleyo,
“We have…well we’ve not dealt with whatever this is,” from the sounds of it, “but we have artillery on the walls and we have the Iron Curtain,” so-named by Amaranth, though it wasn’t iron. It was a work of her invention, of course, learned by her more recent practices with her own bloodline talent.

It was a way to put a translucent dome over most of Euboea. It needed updating, as some farms would be outside of it now since Euboea slowly expanded outward.
“I can call people into it, and I can prepare the artillery. Move ammunition up.” She wished Marshall was there. He was their field leader, and though she’d heard plans run down a hundred times, she had never really had to lead them.

“You know where Tohi Mayerling is?”
She asked, deciding it was best if they run while she scrambled to figure everything out to get the Curtain in place. It seemed the best way to go until Amaranth and Marshall returned. "Amaranth is there. On Dracul it's about an hour." At a leisurely pace, anyway. 

Lydia answered.
"We do," he was something of a big name target, like most the Mayerlings. Very few had enough money to actually interest hunters in hunting them, though. Lydia and Oleyo had never gone after a Mayerling--the pay was never enough given the risk.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2015, 06:28:50 pm »
He enjoyed seeing her drink. She was calculated in her movements. Even though whatever she said here would not be final, she lulled over the decision while enjoying the blood. She paid such great attention when it was about her beloved Euboea. He wondered if the inhabitants knew how rare that was. He smiled widely when she suggested a plan of attack. She did have the advantage of the air. The yellow dragon, though not too great a reference since it was hard to know if Theneesa was drawing from imagination and exaggeration over fact, had been on the ground. “Oh, I hope not. That’d be too simple wouldn’t it?” he said with a curl to one of the corners of his lips. “But I suppose there’s nothing that contradicts it.”

He liked to think he had a talent for war. His uncle had said as much. But being good at something did not meant liking it. Tohi liked challenges, and did appreciate some of the grandeur of war, so he dabbled in it here and there. Mostly he was looking to start things, brat that he was. That was another kind of tactics. “You have your mutants and Dracul. It seems hard to overwhelm someone with a replenishing army, especially one so well directed, but perhaps you could surprise him with a show of force, enough to get to him, and have Dracul do with him as he does with pigs. The Mordent would not be so hard to get by, after that. Why, I’d even be able to pick it up for you.” He wore an innocent smile. To many that would be worrisome.

He touched the rim of the narrower glass to his upper lip upon her next question, playing with the vial rather than intending to empty it, just yet. “That’s the interesting part, isn’t it? The Mordent could make Welfgang a number of things. It is rumored that the Mortlings eat each other for material, when there are no enemies to take from, so perhaps not something too large upon his arrival. Perhaps he’d travel light, too, cut hs army down, since he seems to have a penchant for stealth these days, as my knowledge of him border almost on that of myth. He’s been rather prolific in cleaning his plate at every village, framing fires and other things for his march. Could that mean the current configurations of the bulk of the Mortlings are smaller rather than larger?” He looked at the glass and then finally tasted its contents. He had known this woman. He had not expressed she was for letting. His chef would have to be chastised for this. “Nothing as large as Dracul, at least, and nothing intelligent. He seems to be content in the numbers he can bring out. I won’t say he won’t get creative if a bout goes on for a while, though. He is simple, but he is also goal oriented.”

He sighed, tasting the copped left on the tip of his tongue. “I wish I could have better news for you. I am planning a marriage one of these centuries.” He said and lifted the glass to his own honor. “But that’ll be a story for when you shake of this little ordeal, yes?” Perhaps by then he would already be in said marriage, depending on how well he schemed, from here. “Do you have allies? I could recommend a few of The Mayerling, but I doubt they’d be there in time for when they’re needed.”

--

The cat was better informed of the city’s defenses than Oleyo had imagined. Perhaps it was wrong to assume such a playful creature did not maintain some knowledge of military issues. She had a lot of responsibility, after all. “If you think that’s the best course of action, then you should.” He said, as though she needed his approval. He was simply trying not to be rude, when obviously they were having a conversation. As he’d considered before, today, he did not have so much knowledge on how wars were run, even if he’d partaken in some.

He took Lydia’s hand. “We’ll look forward to seeing the iron curtain upon returning, then.” He said as he walked along with his partner. It would take them longer than a dragon hour to get to the Tohi’s castle, and time did not seem on their side. Hopefully upon their return, D would be better.

It would be another ride on Lydia’s bike back to his own, and then they would be burning fuel all the way to the castle. Hopefully the defenses would not be too severe. He knew of lasers and trap doors to the castle, but the surrounding village should at least be penetrable on their bikes. After that, hopefully, they’d be able to contact Amaranth somehow.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2015, 01:53:14 am »
Amaranth gave Tohi a chastising look when he suggested it was too easy. “I’ll take easy and let you play with Welfgang, if you like.” She would always take easy in these circumstances. She would always save what lives of Euboea and her mutants that she could. War meant death, and never on just one side. Amaranth would avoid as much of that as possible in this case.

One nail idly tapped the glass vial as Tohi offered his ideas. Yes, offensive was good. She preferred defensive, but if she could catch Welfgang off guard, that would be better. She had many advantages, but nothing like the Mordent. She would always single out the leader. That was one strategy she knew to be good, regardless of circumstances.

It just had its risks.

And Welfgang seemed to only have the Mordent.
“Foolish, then. If he loses that blade, he’s done for.” She mused more to herself, before she was taken by Tohi’s comments on marriage and such. She allowed a laugh to escape her, “I daresay I’ll take centuries with Welfgang. I was human, once,” she reminded as she rose to stand, “I remember the meaning of time, and ambition.” It was queer how some vampires forgot one or the other in their eternity. They languished in sloth and hedonism.

It was their downfall, of course, and thus the reason Euboea prospered.

Amaranth remembered mortality, and Amaranth knew that she was not, truly, immortal.
“Will I be invited to your wedding, though? It’s been such a long time since I’ve even heard of one,” their numbers were thinner, after all. She’d not been wed. Once, she might have married Byron, but…

She shook her head at the question,
“Your family, our Ancestor,” in different company, she might have just said ‘your Ancestor’, but here she claimed it. “And D. I think I’d have an easier chance with D, but he has no army.” Finally, she drank of the liquid, thinking of others. None she’d call allies. Most of the purebloods tolerated her, or hated her. Finding a Made Vampire with an army was rare. “Mm,” sweet, actually. Almost too sweet. Too young. She set the vial down. “Welfgang knows how to pick his enemies,” she chuckled.

Others might have been easier to destroy, but others likely had more allies. He’d draw ire for that.
“It seems I must cut our visit short to return and prepare.” She did not hide her disappointment as her eyes moved down to the table, and to thoughts of conversations they could have had of Tohi’s future fiance.

~***~

Aila was mentally frazzled, and she accepted the approval easily. It helped, even if Oleyo likely had no idea about this Curtain or anything it entailed. She just wanted to move, to run, to start getting others involved who knew more than her.
‘Does the Curtain go as deep as the water?’ That made her worried.

Movement. Aila’s eyes flew to the hands, and then back to Oleyo’s features.
“Okay. Be fast.” She said, and then without a thought for D, or them, she took off running. Her claws clicked on the ground with each step, extended in her anxiety.

Lydia glanced to Oleyo, then squeezed his hand.
“We can’t come to Euboea and just have tea, can we?” Last time they were here, it hadn’t been easy, either. Byron Ruthven had come as well. The hunt wouldn’t have been simple even if they did try to succeed. “Let's hurry,” she pulled, and said, “Tell D we’ll be back soon when he wakes, er…Hand.” Did it have a name? It needed a name.

She would bring Oleyo out with her, and take him to his bike. D’s horse was still there, and she considered bringing it towards the town, but time told her otherwise. She left it standing once Oleyo was on his bike, and took the lead towards Tohi’s location.

Before Euboea would be out of sight, the Iron Curtain would flash into the picture, a blinding light at first that then became like the shimmer of a mirage in the desert. No one would be getting in. No one would be getting out.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2015, 08:12:59 pm »
That was the only real plan, wasn’t it, to have Welfgang loose the blade. What a delicious defeat it would be to watch as the Mordent was pried away from his grasp. Would he hold it tighter than Amaranth held Euboea? Surely it reached as deeply into him as her love for her city held her. It was the entire meaning of this theatre, to see them both collide because they were equally immovable in their outlook. Welfgang would not let a dragon city if it contradicted his power, and she would not see it fall, at cost of anything, because it had already cost her everything.

He laughed quietly when she spoke of her perspective. She was made, and had memories of it. A precious gift. He envied that, too, and would take it as well, if he could. How fresh his warm eyes would become, if he could inject value into his immortal life by remembering a time when he did not have eons to build things and see them crumble. He waved his hand almos dismissively at the idea that there was a chance she was not invited to the wedding. “Of course you’ll come.” He decided. “Maybe I’ll stick the invitation with a spear to a pig and endear myself further to Dracul, when the time comes.”

She counter her allies, and his brows raised at the last mention. “Oh, yes, that one.” He said with interest. The only hunter that might be allowed in Mayerling halls. “I want to meet him.” He said quite sternly, as serious as he would let the mood become. And then he nodded. “Yes. To think someone with an appetite for military power wouldn’t have comrades.” He mused as he finished his glass by filling his cheeks before swallowing. It was a lovely gulp that let him know the woman a little better. Some fear. Oh, those barbarians. He would have to come down on them soon for this atrocious act against his palled.

He came over to her, forehead creased in slight disapproval at her leaving. “Oh, no, you mustn’t leave yet.” He protested, reaching to take her hand between both of his. He could be endearing when he wanted, and he knew that affection could often be bought by projection affection. “I haven’t given Marshall and Dracul a cow to share yet, to see if they would, and we haven’t schemed nearly enough.” He said, selfish as a child, breaking usual conduct to underline their friendship. After all, part of this visit was to keep her that Welfgang could help himself to a few bites of Euboea. That, in addition to him really liking her company. “I’ll donate to the new hospital, both technology and funds, if you stay the night.” He bartered, knowing full well she had all she needed already.

--

Oleyo had seen the cat move. It was strange to see her so involved. It was good. He hurried to move with Lydia after she had said her things to Left Hand. How strange it was to be in a hurry for other things than their lives and money. He had a few friends. They rarely needed him to move fast. What did it say about him, if he’d led a life where he believed in so few things that he would not hurry to help people. How odd that his friendship to a vampire would awaken this in him. “maybe we can drink to winning?” he said as they made their way.

He felt strangely invigorated by this task, the adrenaline fighting the bad things the snake did to him. As they were moving on their bikes, and the Iron Curtain flashed into existence in their rearview mirrors and screens, he steered his bike into hers, using a usually aggressive maneuver to lightly bump hers, to deliver a playful intent before he pushed his bike harder. It was not a good trait, but Oleyo had also enjoyed catching D. it was not often that D would have to rely on others.

“How long do you recon?” he asked over their com system as they made Euboea smaller and smaller behind them.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2015, 02:05:26 am »
It wasn’t an invitation so much as a demand that slipped Tohi’s lips, and Amaranth smiled for it all the same. Yes, then. She would come to the wedding, and likely put on something of a show for him with one of his less forgiving relatives. He’d have his fun and his bride, and plenty of gifts. “Dracul would eat the invitation, too,” she suggested, though she didn’t mind him endearing himself to Dracul.

When D came up, it was clear that Tohi was interested. Who wasn’t?
“He’s supposed to visit soon,” Amaranth hadn’t lost track of time, after all. She didn’t realize they would all be there today—it was still too early by her reckoning.

Yet as she had mentioned leaving, Tohi came to her and grasped her hand in two of his. Sweet, but she had no patience for sweetness and warmth in these times. She did not narrow her eyes, for he had done her a service, but her tone was strict.
“Tohi Mayerling,” full name, as if he were a child he played at being, “You know I do not play the long game of scheming, and I will not leave Euboea alone in this time, even if Welfgang is a year off,” vampires had such strange ideas of what soon could be. “If you wish to continue our visit, you could come along,” and she allowed an offer, “You could ride on Dracul.”

She did not think Tohi would really need much incentive beyond that. Getting him home would be dealt with when he wanted to go home.


~***~

They drove, and she had chuckled at the idea of drinks to victory. Most definitely. They might even makes fools of themselves amongst the victors, for Lydia wanted to believe that Amaranth would win. Any other thought was foolish.

How funny, how much Amaranth had come to impact the two of them, when they’d know her for so short a time. They had spared her, though. Lydia still wasn’t certain if Amaranth was someone she could be kindred with, considering Byron. They had seen D spare her, too.

Time was asked for, after a nudge, and Lydia hastened her pace to match.
“Depends. If we push these things hard,” and they could go harder, “we could be there in less than two hours.” A dragon could fly fast because it had no obstacles, but a bike could move pretty fast given its size and mobility. 

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2015, 07:18:57 pm »
He squeezed her hand as he listened to her refusal, and then the suggestion. It was the plan, all along, to come to her. And things would be as interesting, even if he could not stall her. The promise of a ride on Dracul did agree with the Nobel. Better not make it too obvious that perhaps her triumph was not his goal in this entire ordeal. He didn't mind Amaranth coming out the winner of a skirmish with Welfgang and the old weapon, but he'd of course prefer it be an interesting journey.

"Oh, you drive a hard bargain, Amaranth." he said and gave her the hand back. He nodded as he picked up another glass, medium sized, and winked at her. He was uncharacteristically thirsty for a noble. He was cruel, and a sadist, but didn't necessarily indulge in blood spilling for the volumes alone, but he did like to fill himself with blood. His family found it a bit embarrassing, the way he could put away meals. Anyone who knew him for a longer period of time would recognize it was greed and impulse control issues rather than a need or hunger. He swirled the liquid until it threatened to spill over the rim, and then used the momentum of it to toss the glass up and back, along with his head. He'd been drinking for a very long time, he knew how to do it fast. "How can I say no to a ride on Dracul."

A little glance to the side sent one of the servants running. Tohi had a few things he liked to bring on a travel, even one so close as Euboea. They would know to pack a chest and send it by carriage, of course. He'd never burden Dracul with such cargo. Also, it might make himself less comfortable in the air, given the two others with seats spoken for already. "Would you atleast wait until the preparations are done?" He touched his collar, shaking it and hiding his lips behind it coyly. "I'm not wearing my flight ensemble."

--

It took about as much time as she had said. It would have been faster if they hadn't run across a particularly open field of sand traversed by sandrays. Oleyo had always had a certain respect for the migration and habitat of the sandrays. And while they were rarely aggressive, why would a giant have strife with a mouse, they were still dangerous on merit of their weight alone. Jumping off the dunes their impact created and avoiding the splash of their dives became a hazard. He had liked the way their wingspan eclipsed the sun. He had a feeling Lydia knew, she'd heard him mention it a few times in their travels, and he noticed that she slowed whenever they were underneath one.

Eventually the town currently feeding Tohi Mayerling's ego and coffers rose to meet them. Their pace could not be as furious as it had been so far, and so he let down on the throttle. The walls were high, and the town itself was well kept, though nowhere near as pampered as Euboea. There was some of Tohi's vanity here, but also some of his neglect. The citizens they could see from the gate were not lurched forward from the pressure of either slavery or too much taxes, which was above average for any place ruled by Nobility.

He looked at her when guards came to ask them of their purpose in Tohi's town. Oleyo looked at Lydia then, and then back at the guards. "We need to speak with your master. Or rather, one of his guests. It is quite urgent and I believe you'll benefit from not stopping us." He raised his head higher from the windshield of his bike to see the towers, if they held a dragon, or perhaps even pillars of smoke, to see if the Lady of Euboea was still in the vicinity. The guards quickly moved aside to let them in. They were afraid of costing their master an important meeting more so than they were of angered him. Perhaps they had been instructed of his preferences.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2015, 03:58:13 am »
The Lady’s lips twitched up in a not-so-subtle smirk at Tohi’s complaining words about her ‘bargaining’. She wasn’t bargaining at all, this was an all-or-nothing sort of deal, but she’d not argue over semantics. “I thought you would see it my way,” she informed him as she took her hand back, and then stepped back to give them both the necessary room.

Amaranth did not take another vial, but frowned as Tohi wanted to delay more. There was a part of her that wanted to scream and shake him, but she refrained, first clenching her fists,
“Very well, but if you take longer than twenty minutes, I will be gone,” unclenching. He had his time limit, and Amaranth would not stray from it. “I will be in the courtyard with Marshall and Dracul, and I thank you, Tohi. Thank you for letting me know of this,” she told him, and there was gratitude over the coldness of her impatience.

She did not wait for his response, either, but walked out to the courtyard.


~***~

Dracul and Marshall had chatted in her absence, about food, of course. Marshall’s steak arrived, but he did not share it. It was not big enough to share, after all. They spoke of the other Mayerlings, and that drifted to speaking of the one who went to space.
“Why doessss Amaranth not go?” Dracul asked after a while. “Why doessss she not havvve a ship?”

Marshall found himself staring at the empty silver platter when that was asked,
“She had one, once,” when many, many nobles had them, and many, many nobles fled. “She broke it down and used its parts for other things.”

“But why doesss she not go? Iffff Mayerling and hissss human would have been accepted, then sssshe would havvvve been.”


“Too easy for her,”
Marshall smiled, though it was not sincere, “She has considered it, going away, to return. She went once, but….”

He still remembered her bitter disappointment with the hedonism run rampant. The challenges that faced the vampires back then, had been how to find entertainment. They no longer craved the advancements that Amaranth craved, they no longer fought what they were tooth and nail, and so she’d left in a fit of frustration.


“She didn’t like it.”


Didn’t like it?”

“Didn’t like it,” he repeated.

Before Dracul could protest the lack of information, his nose caught a scent that claimed to be familiar, but couldn’t be. Two. The scales around his mouth and nose wrinkled as he looked up and over the walls, at something he couldn’t see.
“What is it?” Marshall asked, as Dracul started to claw his way across the courtyard, and then opened his wings to pull himself up onto the wall and to look down.

Those eyes, though no longer green, saw the ones approaching. He had an immediate dislike of them, an anger and a fear he was wholly unfamiliar with and did not understand. He longed to breathe fire down at them, but instead he let out an unholy roar, hoping to alert Amaranth to these hateful things beneath him.


“Dracul?!” He heard her worried voice below, and turned to have a look at her, thinking he himself had caused her haste, unaware she was already on her way back to the courtyard.

“Hunterssss,”
he hissed the word out, certain the creatures below were that. Perhaps here for Tohi.

~***~

Lydia would not forget Oleyo’s love of sandrays for as long as she lived, though she did not share his affection. Sandrays had little care for them, which meant they also had little care whether they lived or died. They would not (often) go out of their way to kill travelers, but Lydia was wary of the giant beasts nonetheless.

Still, she slowed when they were under one, for Oleyo. She did not admire them as he did, but kept a wary eye on the ones above to make sure they wouldn’t try to do something rash, like dive down quicker and eat them, or crush them.

When the desert was crossed, Tohi’s town was soon in sight. Lydia had only ever gone by it. Venturing into the home of a Mayerling was, perhaps, safe, but she was still a hunter, and the Mayerlings were still vampires. Even if they did not go out of their way to kill, they might take offense at a hunter passing time in their home. That, or they’d think the hunter there for them, and make the first strike.

It was never good to taunt a vampire unless one did intend to kill it.

Oleyo spoke when they arrived, and they were not denied. Lydia asked,
“Has the dragon left?” just as Oleyo zoomed ahead, and one guard shook his head. She smiled, and then gave chase towards the castle. The answer was given to both her and Oleyo anyway, though.

The beast itself ascended from the walls, and came to stand upon them and look down at the two before they could get near enough to talk to a guard at the gates. Lydia’s eyes widened at the sight of the green-scaled beast, not so much at its vastness, but at the intelligence that glimmered in its eyes, paired with maliciousness. She almost put the brakes on early, but managed not to.

She did slow, and did come to a stop, as the creature started to turn a bit.

Then, it spoke, but one word:
“Hunterssss.”

“Tell her it is Lydia and Oleyo!”
Lydia cried up, certain her voice wouldn’t reach Amaranth, but the dragon’s might.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2015, 07:10:26 pm »
He would have started the price at higher than twenty minutes, but saw by the tension in her hands this was not a haggle. He would have made another show at getting longer, but she promptly decided that her offer was the one that would stand by leaving the room. He remained where he was, smiling, waving the fingers of one hand at the distance she put between them. He looked at the one servant still in the room, the one he had assaulted a few moment before. Tohi traced the rim of the largest glass, just slightly grander than his first pick as he held a thought in his downcast eyes. “A finger. The least useful one. Make sure it heals well. Chef’s should be respected, even when they do wrong.” He said, sealing the fate of the one who had killed the woman now sparkling and cooling on the table. Then Tohi was off for his chambers.

Oleyo had his eyes fixed on the top of the wall, adrenaline unsettling the parasite that had become half of him. Black eyes spiraled with deeper darkness when the giant thing presented itself above the stone. It made his heart punch harder at his ribs when he saw it. Magnificent beast, the columniation of Amaranth’s ambition and also a sign of their history. He thought of Pello, how perfectly primal he had been, and could see it in the sways of the scaled head. He stopped his machine, making marks on the ground, by Lydias. Oleyo had his foot out as he stared up at the upset creature, and eventually stood up from his bike after it had opened.

“She really made a dragon.” He said. He felt connected to it. Perhaps it was the scales and the vicious nature of the snake, or perhaps it was the tint of vengeance in the dragon’s eyes, but something in it latched on to Oleyo, and the hunter trailed his belt of daggers with his fingers as he kept his back straight and chin raised to behold the monster. It seemed this place, the town and the castle itself, was intact because of the whims of this creature. Its size rivaled that of the sandrays, but its movements came with other purpose. There was a kinship also, for his part. It could have been something that combatants felt toward each other, or it could simply be gravity, one smaller thing toward a mammoth one.

His head twisted to Lydia, waking him from the stare as though he’d been ripped from a deep dream, when she gave the beast a message. He soon returned his attention to the dragon. There was nothing for Oleyo to add but that continued, challenging gaze. Would the beast come down and burn them to powder if Amaranth did not call upon it and hold it back? He thought he heard the noble’s voice from behind the walls as doors were opened to the courtyard, guard eager to defuse the situation. There, on the stone and the grass among the empty fountains, she was with her wolf.

Oleyo walked toward her but noticed that his stride was unsteady. The Snake was thrashing against its cage in recognition of the other beast. With a hiss the host had to wrap his other arm around the cage and shake violently, to communicate to the parasite that it should behave. The snake did not want to listen, and still hissed and breathed when Oleyo stood before Amaranth. His aged image did soften slightly upon seeing her. The noble they did not have to kill. With her here, perhaps the noble native to this town would not be a threat, either.

“D came with news.” He said to her, lowering his head slightly if she wanted to keep it a secret. He assumed she’d want an explanation before she wanted niceties. After all, her invitation had not been for them to come disturb her when she was with her kind. His pupils flared in their black rings because he shared chemicals with the snake, that only now seemed to settle. “An army is coming, Lady of Euboea, and it was enough that the vampire hunter rode himself to sunsickness to deliver the warning to you. He sleeps in your coffin.” Perhaps the imagery could underline how grave the situation was.

“Guests of my guest?” came a voice. Tohi smiled as he came out, black leather robe over black, lithe armor. There were silver scales covering one shoulder of the outwear. His foerarms, long and pale, were left bare. A beacon for others that he was a Mayerling, the family of clawed nobles. No need to waste a war suit whenever he brought out his weapons. His hair was gathered by one clasp now, of black feathers. He did come to stand by Lydia first, between her and Amaranth, as though he was joining in on a conversation at a party. He looked her over, the huntress, and seemed to approve of the marks. “Don’t you look sugary sweet.” He said before lifting one brow to look at his first guest. “The hunters from the pact?” He’d kept up on information, of course. He looked to the dragon after that, and then back at Amaranth. “A reunion. How heartfelt. I am not giving up the seat on Dracul to any sand dusted ruffians.”

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2015, 04:26:08 am »
“Lydia and Oleyo.” Dracul hissed back the names he knew, names he never liked. He had been told by Marshall why—they had slain Pello. Only now did he consider that this piece of him was still quite alive, in some way. Logic wound its way to his mind, but it did not settle the hatred. As the gate below was opened, he turned his body to follow the movements of the hunters. He lowered himself atop his perch, but didn’t fly back down. He brought his head down low, neck stretched out, and watched how the woman with the marks gave him a wide breadth of space.

The other smelled more like kin than any he’d ever met. It made him hate the other all the more, even as he allowed a tumble of clicking rumbles to move up his throat, a wordless call to the something similar.

Amaranth strode forward with Marshall at her side, and Dracul watched the pair closely, prepared to destroy the hunters if need be. However, he had more restraint than Pello could have ever mustered.

Marshall knew something was amiss with Oleyo, but not in the way that Lydia did. She matched his steps quickly, leaving her bike outside, and put an arm on his shoulder. She was tempted to wrap it around the length of both his shoulders and pull him towards her, but she did not. Not yet. The threat, or the promise, lingered in how close her fingers were to his neck.

Amaranth listened to Oleyo with patience, though at the name ‘D’, she stiffened. His explanation caused no reaction of relief until the coffin was mentioned—and that was not quite relief. What blood she had in her painted her cheeks red.
“My coffin?!” As if such a thing mattered. Her coffin would be the best--for her. The soil beneath the wood was her homeland. She suspected such a thing did not matter as much to a dhampir, nor even to a pureblood, but it mattered to her.

That, and the mere idea...it was a queer violation.

It was the shock of it all, that culminated in D in her coffin, that made the situation all the more dire. D and Dracula himself would have been the only ones shown to her own coffin, and while she was glad her guards understood that, she still found it flustering.

Marshall’s lips twitched at a smile due to that reaction, but he said nothing to it. Mayerling returned to them, and his eyes shifted towards the Noble as he approached them, clad for war in the way a Mayerling would be. Marshall had respect for their style in combat, considering his own. He wanted claws like them.

His nose wrinkled at the comment to Lydia, and her response,
“Would you like a taste?” Marshall wasn’t sure if she was playing or being sincere, as the woman of poison blood offered her wrist to the Mayerling.

“I wouldn’t,”
he growled, just in case. “They are the pacted ones.” He noted.

Amaranth then shook her head,
“No one would take your spot, Tohi. You're the golden friend," said in mockery of his hair, and to remind him he was a friend older and dearer, in some ways, than these mutants who were still silver, "Marshall, do you prefer to go on land, to see these two into Euboea?”

Marshall accepted it without question,
“Yes,” he glanced to them, “I can keep up,” he promised, understanding what would be necessary to do so. Fully shifted, he could almost keep up with Amaranth herself when she sprinted, went full-tilt.

Dracul huffed,
“Not with me.”

“I’m not competing with you.”
He noted.

Amaranth then looked between the two hunters,
“This was not how I hoped to meet again,” her smile was wane, “but I am glad you drove all the way here. I will be returning immediately. I will give you a proper tour of Euboea once this is done with. I understand if you do not wish to follow now....” Amaranth briefly reconsidered her assumption that they would, and her offer to Marshall.

D was in her coffin and an army marched. These two things demanded her immediate attention. She hoped D would get on better with Tohi than he had Tohi’s relative.


“We will follow,”
Lydia said, glancing towards Dracul suspiciously. She then glanced to Marshall. “Are you sure you do not want a lift?”

The wolf shook his head. He stretched his arms up,
“It has been a while anyway,” he offered as explanation. The one with the caged snake ought to understand what it was to run free.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2015, 08:00:19 pm »
The dragon became more real the closer they got. They were here for its lady, but the focal point was of course the giant beast. The other reptile inflated and flattened like a lung in its cage beside his torso. The snake acted like a captive beast, angry at the new beast, but also interested. Anxiety. If he had been the only man behind bars in a world of lesser creatures, wouldn’t he also marvel at the arrival of a new person? The contact between the snake and the dragon seemed based more in ferocity than kinship, even if their languages were similar.

He leaned in to Lydia when her arm came. This happened as often as it used to, the ruse that they were not equals for the less developed world-views, but lately it had been more for his benefit than they let on. Would the wolf know, with his nose and instincts. It didn’t matter much when the lady spoke. An apology was on Oleyo’s tongue, then, when she showed displeasure. Perhaps he had made lighter of the fact that D had borrowed her bed than they’d though. Amaranth had presented herself as a reasonable individual, but even the most just leader had pet peeves. He threw a quick look to the side and down at Lydia.

Tohi fixed brown eyes on her wrist, the one not around the other hunter. What a cheeky response. He knew how Pello had died, but considered if that fate wouldn’t be worth it in light of this blatant offering. Surely her poison would be composed in such a way that he wouldn’t be able to drain her before he died himself, so it wouldn't be any kind of hurra, just a drink for the heck of it. Still, it was tempting. He slapped his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “Thank you, Marshall.” He said, eyes locking with Lydia’s. “Don’t take this as a No.” he said to her and quickly ceased the hand attached to that wrist. A mark rose ominously to greet him above her veins. He kissed it, and felt his face tingle in warning, as though a blade had just passed his lips. The male hunter was as amused by this as could be expected. Tohi released her hand.

Oleyo watched the Mayerling step back. Flamboyant adversaries usually wanted their flare to hide something, and they wanted that secret to be suspected as strength. He was sure Tohi had played this game long enough he didn’t know where the theatrics ended and where his real personality began. Surely, if one had the world before them, one would be a bit eccentric. Wicked power or not, Oleyo still had the dagger picked out in his mind for if Tohi showed any sign of hostility. He wondered if he’d let Tohi bite Lydia at this proximity. Good thing he didn’t have to find out. He listened to Amaranth. “What little we saw of Euboea, it seemed to do very well. We hope to see more once it’s safe.” He said. He nodded to the wolf, also. “There are sandrays. I’m sure you know.” He offered.

He looked up at the dragon. No nod or goodbye, but it seemed strange to leave without acknowledging him. The snake took a breath to crowd the cage. It was time to depart. They made it back to the bikes. They kept their fuel cells well and full, so a trip back would be no trouble. He’d look over at her when he’d reached his bike and seen it light to life. He looked uncertain but not unsure. What was their role in this? It was a perplexing relationship they had to the players in this game that was becoming one of war. They’d come to see about Euboea, and it was being run as promised, as far as they knew. They’d not been commissioned to fight, but would anyway. Was this for the people inside the walls, or was this because of the friendship, if that’s what it was, that they shared with Amaranth?

He sat down in his bike after having delivered the emotion of questions rather than their details to Lydia through his own expression. Either way, they needed to make haste.

Tohi was excited, and had fleetingly waved away someone coming to confirm regarding his luggage. It could arrive whenever. A few of his best chests would also be delivered with a far more delicate cargo. He liked to keep himself with food from home, after all, but he supposed the good people of Euboea wouldn’t like it if their kin were displayed as the cattle they were in his eyes. He jogged to be almost directly under the dragon that had seemed more intressted in the two hunters. He drew wide cirles with his arms. “Hey there, Dracul. I belive it is time to go.”

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2015, 02:05:20 am »
Lydia caught the look that Oleyo threw her as Amaranth seemed paranoid about her coffin, and offered him little more than a sly smile. It had not been they who took the initiative to take D directly to her own coffin, after all. It was a bit amusing to see something bother the Lady, too.

Then, of course, her attention had been taken by Tohi, and the way he grabbed her wrist. She did not pull from Oleyo, but her lilac eyes dared Tohi to drink.
‘One sip, darling.’ The words danced on the tip of her tongue, even though she was not here to kill him. ‘One sip is enough.’ Did he yet know she was a weapon created by Amaranth’s sire? Would he reconsider?

Her smile was devilish as he kissed the mark, and it pushed at the surface to meet him, but did not break the skin.
“We’ll see, my darling,” the term of endearment always meant for vampires about to take a kiss that would kill them.

No fang scraped, and her hand fell back to her side as the arrangements were made. Lydia’s fingers danced near Oleyo’s neck while all of that was sorted, and he expressed what they felt of Euboea. Amaranth smiled at his words, and Lydia offered no counter. They had not seen enough to counter, nor to doubt that Amaranth was true to her word.

Marshall gave a smile and a nod,
“I know,” he was aware of the sandrays. He was usually good at feeling the vibrations in the ground to avoid them, but even if he failed, their hostility was exaggerated. That, or perhaps he was just something they did not consider threatening. He was never sure.

Marshall gave a wave to Dracul, and then looked to Amaranth. There was a moment’s hesitation in the space of a second, before they decided on a lack of affection in the shared smile and nod. Amaranth took her skirts in her hand and walked towards Dracul, and Marshall walked with the hunters to leave the city.

Tohi was as excited as a child receiving a puppy. Amaranth did not bother to hide her amused grin, and Dracul finally turned his attention from the hunters when she approached. He lowered his head to let her touch it, as Tohi flailed about before him.
“Must I?” he asked, the pout of a child not really pouting. It was low enough to be a whisper—for a dragon. It was quite probable Tohi still heard.

“He gave you a pig,”
Amaranth’s whisper wouldn’t be heard. “Be nice.” She patted the side of his head, and then walked on to find the path she usually took up, using Dracul’s own bent leg to bring herself up onto his back. She imagined Tohi would mimic the path.

When Tohi spoke, Dracul spread his wings wide, but remained bent.
“It issss,” he agreed. “Hurry on then, Tohi. I’ll sssshow you how high I can get.” He didn’t mind Tohi, but he was concerned the man’s flailing would lead him to fall. He was pretty sure a vampire could die if they fell from high enough. As high as he could get, certainly.

~***~

Marshall followed behind them, as the pair of hunters walked side-by-side. He did not wish to get between them, but he observed the pair of them.

Oleyo was different from the last time—more than Lydia was.
‘He is not long for….’ Marshall wondered at it. His own lifespan was supposedly eternity, but he was made that way. He knew not all mutants shared that blessing, but it felt…strange…to be looking upon one who would not last the tides of time, to be there at the very end.

Lydia did not pay much mind to Marshall as she walked with Oleyo, and as she caught his look. His concerns and his questions were hers, but things moved too quick to seek an answer or, perhaps, a reason why. Perhaps the answer to it was in how willingly the two of them were going along with this. There was no pay to it—it was the exception.

Like Amaranth had been.

Euboea, and Amaranth, were exceptions, and that made them interesting. To her, it was like the way Oleyo was an exception. Exceptions were worth protecting.

There was no real answer to give, as she swung her leg over her bike and glanced back to Marshall.
“You sure you don’t want a lift?” She asked him.

Her answer was to watch the man before her morph. The clothing he wore ripped—this was no partial transformation. Beneath the light of the moon, Marshall became as large a werewolf as Lydia had ever seen, and she knew that for a moment her blood ran cold as his flesh burst into fur and larger muscle. The tension and cords were visible for only a moment, before the black fur covered him completely. His bones were bent and contorted by those very muscles so that he was a creature meant more for four legs than two.

He was not a pure werewolf, and that was evident in the short muzzle, and the thin fur around his neck. There was thick flesh there, protective. He growled out his answer, no longer truly capable of speech, and ran ahead of the duo.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2015, 07:24:40 pm »
Tohi waited patiently for Amaranth to ready her dragon with whatever words and ways she needed. Despite his show, he probably was not about to toss himself atop a weapon of war without its consent, or before this consent had been solidified. There was a bit of relaxation in the monster from what she communicated, and Tohi considered himself accepted, at least for this ride. He watched the lady get up, and was fast to extend an arm with a hand to help her, should she take it. Then it was his turn, and although he was a bit uncertain as to how to mount a dragon, he climbed the same way as she had, tossing his leg over a seat behind her. It was a mistake to think he’d be able to ride Dracul like horse, the breadth of a dragon's back was wider, and Tohi's legs were uncomfortably parted, not at all like the cybernetic stallions he owned. He might get better situated as the ride went on, because he did not want to waste this experience on upholding appearances.

“Should I hold on to you?” he asked, and wondered if it would anger the dragon. How delightful it would be. “Rather, may I?” he added and parted his arms, ready to embrace her if she thought it’d be the safest way to ride.

Oleyo thought of his own mortality when the black of his eyes collided with that of the wolf, though Marshall had been looking at Lydia at the time. Those thoughts stayed with the green haired mutant as Lydia asked the wolf one last time if he wanted wheels rather than paws. The roads Oleyo traveled with Lydia were good for some introspection. He’d risked his life often, for her, for others, for pride, sometimes even for comfort, that was easy because it was his choice. This slow end wasn’t the same. Everyone wants to write their story to its conclusion, no one wants to simply run out of ink. He brushed the armor of the cage with his only hand. The snake had saved him many times. He’d wished he’d died instead, of course, if it meant not having it. Instead of sliding into old despair, he trusted old apathy to take him from the dark imaginings.

His thoughts were further pulled from that pool when he saw Marshall change. It was one of the small wonders he knew about, but rarely saw. They avoided bouts with werewolves when they could. Oleyo smiled to himself and threw around some dust with the back wheel. He thought briefly of bumping into Marshall with the machine, sure the wolf body could take it, but wasn’t sure if it would be taken as a sign of aggression rather than comradery. Instead her puttered by Lydia and her bike slowly before sending himself off. He knew they’d need any head start with Amaranth on her dragon.

On one occasion, they had been hunted by a werewolf that could keep up with their bikes. Usually he would make a point out of retrofitting his bike for the mission, but he’d not anticipated that kind of development when retrieving a chest for a count. The adventure hadn’t been fatal, of course, but it had been concerning to see four paws keep up with his bike. He hoped those associations would be dispelled, to any degree, by Marshall running with them now.

Oleyo also would worry, during the trip, about the state of Euboea upon their arrival. D had been very convincing in his haste to come. What if the army was already at the gate? Would Marshall know a secret way in? It seemed a waste of a trip to come here to enjoy the civil nature of the city Amaranth cared for, only to see it pelted in rocks and fire, or whatever ballistics the enemy employed. It put a weight on his heart, and more fuel to the fire inside him, determined to be a part of this war, no matter what part.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2015, 03:39:09 am »
There were some upturned scales that were useful as places to sit, or to hold onto. Spikes, as well, that went down Dracul’s neck, but Amaranth usually just sat “side-saddle”, as it were, and let one hand rest idly on such a scale. With her talent, it was not really necessary. A small bit of applied telekinesis, and she could stay on Dracul while walking.

To Marshall’s horror, she had demonstrated it once.

Tohi’s offer was not refused, though, as he tried to sit comfortably with his legs straddling Dracul. Amaranth rose from her usual place, and heard Dracul let out a huff. He would fly just the same as ever, with her as cargo, though she knew he would want to scare Tohi when she took a seat before Tohi, to let herself be embraced by him. She did not sit facing front, but let both of her legs drape over one of his, and leaned a shoulder into his chest.
“You will be safe, Tohi,” though he was the one offering it.

She lowered a hand down to the scales,
“Up, Dracul. And do not linger high too long, I wish to see the ground.”

Up he went, with a jump from the wall of Tohi’s home, and an extension of wings. They beat a gust as the bikers and Marshall cleared the area, and he ascended fast, though he kept the tilt from being too much. He wouldn’t want Tohi dragging Amaranth off, after all.

Up and up the black beast flew, until it could taste the clouds.
‘The air the angelssss breathe.’ Amaranth had called it that, and he liked the poetic idea. It was cold, too. Amaranth had expressed a liking for it—for extremes, in the sense of temperature, though cold was a comfort. Cold did not threaten her life like warmth did. “Higher, Tohi?” Dracul asked, wondering if Tohi would have already had his taste of the thrill and want to go back down, like the coward Marshall.

~***~

Lydia laughed a bit at the playful masculinity of Oleyo, the rising to the challenge. Though it was always childish, she suspected that was what she liked about it—he was rarely ever serious about it. He did not take offense so easily.

Off he went, darting after the wolf who could keep up. Lydia spurred herself after the pair of them, briefly rising to just one wheel before landing comfortably back on two besides Oleyo. She shot him a wicked grin, a thought of play, although this situation was deadly serious.

What would they see, when they got back to Euboea?

Marshall feared that thought, too. He felt the gust of wind as Dracul finally launched himself up into the sky, and he looked skyward to see the dragon. Lydia did, as well.


“Wow….” Lydia doubted her expression of awe would carry over the wind and the bikes, but it was truly a sight. She didn’t see many dragons in the first place, and so she couldn’t quite look down as it ascended, its shadow becoming smaller and smaller as it rose.

It would not be troubled by the sandrays, would it? It was far too high to have such a petty concern. Far too high to have…any concerns.

Lydia felt a brief longing to join it, and wished she’d been invited. Yet, she knew that the thing within it was liable to throw her off its back when it knew she would break on the ground. Oleyo, too. She would never know that ride.

She just knew the bike pulsing between her thighs, and it called her attention as the texture of the ground shifted to sand.
“Shoot,” she had to grip it tighter, to regain control as it swerved a bit, her lack of focus nearly causing a loss of control.

The ground did rumble, though, and that was the end of her fight with the bike. It slid from her fingers as the shake sent the bike forward and Lydia back. She hit the sand hard and rolled with it, feeling it scrape across her flesh and find its way into her mouth. She coughed and spat, groaned when she came to a stop at last, and then nearly shrieked as she saw her bike tossed by one of those sandrays.

Broken on falling back to the ground.

And Marshall wasn’t looking back.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2015, 12:44:16 pm »
It was satisfying to the Noble when the dragon was less so upon the lady accepting Tohi's offer and request. It was much more pleasing to hold her, he realized, as wrapped one arm around her shoulders, and one over her stomach to be secured around her waist. It was refreshing to meet her every time they did over the centuries. She was reasonable when her goals allowed, and would not withhold pleasantries or even affection simply to starve him, as many did because it was a very basic level of the social game.

Her comand lifted the dragon, and the woman swimming in Tohi's stomach swirled with his excitement. "I've not felt this way in a while." he said to her. What a fantastic thing to own, a dragon. His head whipped from her and directed its eyes forward when the dragon voice easily barged through the wind, the vocals perfectly made for speech up here. Tohi grinned with all his teeth and looked up at the clouds, the moving water that they were making his skin tingle, but not solidifying in the dread that kept him from crossing oceans. "Of course, Dracul! Or is this as far as you can go?" he challenged, and winked at Amaranth before he pulled her closer. It was for the intimacy, but also because he didn't know the capacity of this dragon, or its propensity for teasing.

--

The bikes and the wolf had kept up with the widening ring of dust left in the wake of Dracul's take-off, and they stayed inside that roiling storm until it died. It wasn't too stressful for the filters int heir machines, when they'd ridden through real malweather out in the desserts. It also gave the start to the travel back a good, ominous jolt. The stiff smile was on him as the onboard camera lifted to let him see the dragon cut itself out against the sky. He looked over at Lydia to see if she was also enjoying the pressure of their mission, the fantastic of their circumstances, when her bike wiggled on its trajectory.

He smiled at the lively wag of her vehicle, delighted at the show of enthusiasm, without thinking how unusual it was for her to play in that particular way. His black eyes grew wider when the sand complicated what he realized could not have been deliberate swaying. He thought to turn closer, and hope to correct her path with his vehicle. It was too late when it and her divided hard. Oleyo quickly turned, as fast as the terrain would let him, and chased back what little distance had grown between them, and was by her side by the time she'd stopped on the sand.

His bike spread its plates quickly to let him out, and before checking for anything broken, he scooped his hand under her, picking her up against him. "Lydia!" he asked in a loud voice, its staleness ready to deny any kind of grave realization. He could only take good news, considering. "Are you alright?" he pressed, chin bopping a little on a stiff neck as though to convince her and the universe she had to be. He wondered if it had been the turbulence of the dragon's rise that had knocked her bike, but he remembered clearly that they'd ridden out that lash already.

Behind them, far enough for safety, but not enough for comfort, another sandray rose toward the sky, and sent a lazy but sizable wave to lift and deflate underneath them. Those rays had long since adapted to treat sand almost exactly the way their relatives in the oceans handled water. He would have lamented on the symmetry, and physical prettiness of it, if he wasn't obsessed with his partner, hanging on his arm. He'd instead alter between looking at her face, and turning toward his bike, ready to take her to it whenever he'd gotten conformation she'd be alright. His bike was half buried because of the slow swell of sand. he cussed and the snake rattled.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2015, 07:52:21 pm »
The Noble games were for the purebloods, in Amaranth’s not-so humble opinion. She was starved enough, starved more, because of those petty games. She wondered, though, if she might play them a bit when Tohi married, show her affection all the more to see if she could boil a pretty wife’s blood in front of his eyes.

He’d likely appreciate it, too, if she played the Mistress in red. The other Mayerlings might hold it against her, though. She’d have to consider carefully if she wanted to ostracize them for the sake of one black sheep.

As she mused on these things, she let her head rest against his shoulder and let each breath contain a scent of the blood that moved beneath Tohi’s skin, as peaceful as if they’d been riding a train and not a dragon.

Dracul responded as expected.
“Ha!” Came the laugh at the brazen dare, and up he went, higher and higher, cutting through clouds to a height no human could have survived unprotected. The air was too thin, too chill. It would be difficult even for the Nobles to speak, if only because air was required to talk, but for Dracul it was not so.

Clouds would obscure vision below, and Dracul settled at this height. He could push higher, but that was even a strain for him, and he knew that they could not afford that.
“How do you like it, Tohi?” He asked, preening already in expected praise.

Amaranth’s eyes trained themselves on the clouds,
“Not long,” she purred out again, as her power pressed itself outward to pin bits of her clothing to Dracul’s back. A slip wouldn’t thus bother her, and she imagined Tohi would be quite fine if he didn’t move too much. Holding on to her would serve as an anchor. If he moved, though, she’d have to let her influence tail him, to be prepared to pull at him to pin him to Dracul, too. "Enjoy it, Lord Mayerling," she encouraged, a teasing note at using his surname. A slight bend of her knees would give him permission to move. She'd lean away to offer more if he did move.

And she did hope he would think to move, she’d allow it if he returned—the next time he got to be upon Dracul might be a ways away, after all. This was a luxury even a Mayerling couldn’t experience daily.


~***~

The sand scratched through thin flesh at the high speed, and the ground bruised. Fortunately, it was all sand, and no hard rock dared to appear to whack against Lydia’s head. She was dazed, of course, and could not immediately spit the foul sand from between her lips. Her eyes were shut tight against it, and her head swam.

Still, she heard Oleyo from afar, and let out a pained groan when he lifted her. Every nerve in her seemed to have been grazed by the fall, and it all ached, all sore immediately from the twisting that came with the fall. He was asking a question, and Lydia reached up to find his face, found his shoulder, decided that was good enough. Probably better as a plan made itself action and she tried to plant her feet on the ground beneath her.

He probably wanted words, didn’t he? She opened her eyes to see him, then turned her head to spit sand and blood from her mouth, wincing more at the foul taste than the fact the inside of her mouth was cut, somewhere. She wasn’t terribly concerned with where right then, guessed it was her tongue from the feel of it.
“Fine,” she said as she let her fingers dig into his shoulder to fully right herself against him. “Fine, fine,” she repeated once on her feet, and she could force a smile. “Thank you. Seems I’ll need a new bike in Euboea,” she had to stretch to feel all the aches, and did so while tilting her head up to see one of the cursed creatures that had shaken the ground.

She glowered at its lazy flight.

When everything had popped and every ache had been felt, a few earning another wince, she gave a nod to Oleyo. She would be sore, but nothing felt broken. She manipulated her blood to start clotting so that she wouldn't bleed out. The wounds would scab over soon and she would indeed be as fine as she said.

Right now, though, the soreness had her craving a bed and sleep. It had already been a long day in traveling to Euboea, and then to find Amaranth, and back. She hoped this threat to Euboea would choose to sleep a day, at least, too.

Lydia would follow Oleyo back and ride with him—her bike was too far gone.


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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2015, 01:57:09 pm »
Tohi savored her warmth. He'd not taken her company into account when he dreamed of riding Dracul. What a mistake that was. As he'd imagined himself cutting through a palette of blue, he'd seen a picture of his lonely self, detached from the world and there for, in some sense, ruling it, while controlling the giant animal of flight. This, seated here, with her against him, was far more rewarding and rare. It wasn't often his dreams failed to surpass reality.

He took her closer still when the dragon balanced itself between the fading air and the beginning of space. Another world, a place Dracul didn't only reign, but also a place where only Dracul and those he accepted could be. He answered the dragon when it wanted his evaluation of the outer-world travel. It became useless motions of the vampire mouth. Tohi cleared his throat and increased the pressure inside his lungs to try again. His commanding voice, used when he spoke from balconies, though he knew not to throw commands at Dracul. Still the voice could not be washed of countenance, even though he used it for its strength and not its power. "Very pleasant, Dracul." he said. Amaranth could probably feel his chest inflate and his posture straighten for this task. "Exotic. You must fly here often, as beautiful as it is."

He looked down at the lady after that. An excited look. Tohi had never subscribed to the stone facades that some nobles religiously clung to because of a misguided concept of snobbery. His own expressions were lively, and it seemed to scare people just as much, so in some sense Oleyo's theory was true. He brushed his temple against her hair to gladly take the offer before he slid his hands off her. With some lack of elegance so minuscule only other Nobels would detect it, he erected himself, knee first, and then feet. He laughed to himself, that the little height he added to his head took him that much closer to space.

"What a delight!" he called through the wind and lack of air as he lifted his heels slightly to lessen his footing, slowly sliding back over the scales he stood on. The trick worked well with Dracul's velocity to move the Nobel all the way back to the thickest beginning of Dracul's tail before he again put his heels down, lifting a hand to wave at Amaranth from there. With some knowledge now on how the back of a dragon in flight worked, he connected his hands proudly behind his back, and started walking forward, adjusting his weight and balance according to what he'd learned. He walked past her with a wink, and started for Dracul's neck. "I trust she keeps you clean, Dracul, or do you simply burn off dirt yourself?" he asked when he was closer to the dragon's head. He was not entirely sure what was fitting small talk at this moment.

--

He couldn't fathom carrying her on his shoulder, so he was grateful she had the use of her legs. In fact, her condition did not seem so grave, and he could see the darkening of the scrapes as they solidified. A good trick. She proclaimed she was fine, what else could she have said? How often had he said the same when it was a lie? Oleyo reclined the backseat as much as he could, which wasn't much at all, before he placed her in it. He hated the sandrays for this. He thought of what symbolic was he might have vengeance. He didn't know they weren't entirely to blame.

"I'm sure we can find you something good." The shops in Euboea were well stocked. The prices ran a little high, as with all high-end cities, but they were prone to haggle like anyone else. If they could argue that she needed the machine in service of the city, he was sure they could get a deal. Oleyo leaned down and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. "Try to relax." he said as he stepped into his seat and the plates of his bike locked into their protective formation before the slightly buried machine dug itself out with a furious roar.

He felt the ground shift and grow, and made sure to release some oxygen for combustion into the engine to send them off fast before another ray erupted through the desert underneath them. He narrowed his eyes at the road ahead, at the horizon, but didn't look back at the animal that cast them in shade. All he had to do was keep the speed. "Do you remember Denzia?" he asked as his suspension system made the flights and landings off the dunes as comfortable as possible.

Denzia had been connected to Carmilla somehow, the same magic. She'd shown them a future together, and a child with Lydia's white hair and his black eyes. The image of Lydia and her pristine skin and Oleyo with both his arms had been as beautiful as it had been revealing. Denzia hadn't been as strong or as intuitive as Carmilla. Her spell was broken easily; his dagger, Lydia's blood. But the image, though heavily manufactured and based on the Nobel's own guesses of what might mesmerize them, had taken root in Oleyo's mind. At grave times like these, he always returned to that image.

"Do you remember Seriph?" It was what Denzia had named the boy. He bullied the throttle, and the bike sped harder on the uncertain terrain. He looked to see if there were any clues after Marshall along the way.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2015, 06:32:58 pm »
The tone of voice that Tohi had to use was one of command, and it almost made Amaranth chuckle. She had mastered the art of speaking up here by now, but Tohi was so new to it—she had forgotten that fun bit. She only smiled for his dignity, and carefully maneuvered so he could be free to walk along Dracul while in the sky.

She brought her knees to her chest and turned so she could watch him regardless of whether he went towards the tail or the head. First he ventured to the tail.

Dracul did preen. Amaranth could feel the shiver of delight run down his scales, and she saw him look back, a twinkle in those eyes. Amaranth was often glad she had made sure they would not be green. It would make her think of Pello, if he shared those eyes—she did still, like now, when she considered the absence, but not most of the time.


“I do fly here often,”
Dracul let Tohi know. He liked the heights. He liked the angel’s air. 

He was careful to keep himself straight and rigid, so Tohi would not fall, although Dracul knew Amaranth was watching closely. He had turned his head back before seeing the wink, though he heard the starts of a laugh and wondered. As Tohi made his way to the front, Dracul lowered his neck a bit, offering room and the true ability to look over his shoulder.
“I know how to bathe myself,” Dracul answered in a huff of offense, “Do you think she bathes Marshall, too?”

A laugh did come from Amaranth, lessened slightly by the air, but it was clear she was laughing at them both.


“There’s a nice rivver ssssystem all around Euboea.” And a pretty siren to chase whenever he got deep enough into it. There were spots where he could submerge and swim. It was the only thing that made it tolerable. Dracul did not enjoy bathing, and he did prefer to bathe in fire, but Amaranth had insisted on it, at least monthly.

Her ability to keep track of months still astounded Dracul. He’d lose track if not for her. Months blended into years into decades. Soon, he knew, decades would blur into centuries.

He started to descend, slow considering Tohi’s position, but he had not forgotten Amaranth’s order. She wanted to see the ground.


~***~

In the back seat, Lydia sat, and she leaned back again once she planted her hands on either side to try and get the crick out of her spine. It did little, but when she returned to relaxing she was at least met with a kiss to her forehead. A tired, bitter little smile came to her lips, appreciation written on every other inch of her face.
“I’ll try.”

That was going to be hard when every part of her body wanted to tense to fight the pain. It’d do nothing, but the body wasn’t capable of reason. Tense and release, tense and release. Perhaps it was trying to massage it out? Lydia just tried to take control of the process.

Lydia kept her hands on the sides, though a part of her did want to lean forward and just wrap around Oleyo. She wasn’t sure her back would care much for the slight arch. Nothing was going to be comfortable, but to complain of something so minor after what she’d seen would be petty.
‘Even this.’ The slight jars and bumps made her grimace.

Oleyo’s words also made her unhappy, as the memory of a future that never could be came to mind. Her, without her marks, and Oleyo with two arms.
‘I wonder if I had hair so white when I was unmarked.’ There were many more things she had started to wonder, since she never got to ask D about the Tepes.

She bowed her head and shut her eyes,
“How could I forget Seriph?” Seriph, rather than Denzia, “I always liked the name.” She’d considered naming a bike after it, but that would be cruel. The bike would die before her. Every bike had so far. That one, she had called Verrine. “Why, Oleyo? Are you thinking of quitting?”

‘Are you thinking of what we never are?’
And always were. Somehow in the past it was them, and in the present it was never true, as future worry lingered in the present, and was forgotten in the past.


If there had been signs of Marshall, it was likely not on the sand, for the movement of it covered his tracks and he dared not slow. No sandray caught him, and he cleared the desert without trouble. Only then did he pause to consider the lost hunters, to consider his speed. It was for a moment only as he recalled they found their way from Euboea to Tohi--they could find their way back without him guiding. He scented the air only briefly, always hunting for a Noble scent, and took off towards Euboea once again.

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Re: Vampire Hunter D: Transient Flight
« Reply #29 on: October 05, 2015, 07:43:16 pm »
Tohi looked forward when Dracul positioned himself to better allow it. This dragon was an animal, but also a vehicle in a much more grand way than a horse could be. It was a strange feeling to be standing on something so effortlessly sturdy, hard, but that had its own will. To some extent, Tohi had expected to feel as though Dracul was the driver of his own body, the way a knight controls his armor, but not so. Dracul felt organic, despite the composition of his out layer. Tohi laughed and bent a knee to touch the shoulder he was closest to. “I do think so, Dracul. They’re old friends.” His voice was still that of a speaking leader taking questions from his army, but the tone was softening slightly. “And Marshall looks pampered.” Tohi’s taste was discord and mischief, after all. Dracul was famously young for a dragon, perhaps he would not have the wisdom to resist such teasing.

The addendum amazed Tohi. A dragon in the water. He looked over his own shoulder, back at the lady, now with her knees high. His expression would want a confirmation. “I should like to see you swim.” He said to the dragon. “Do you boil the water for yourself before you go in?” he said with amusement at the thought. He of course put Dracul in scenes of slaughter or distant tasks such as flight and sleeping. It was odd to think he played and sat around and lived his life, as well. That was the true image of someone, wasn’t it, the sum of all their normal actions.

Tohi inhaled when he felt the dragon descend, diving through the clouds. Cold smoke ate the three of them, and Dracul took them out beneath. It was more acute, this feeling of seeing the ground. The mechanics of this ride became more apparent when he could see the land, as the map makers saw it. He followed a vein of the world toward where they were going. Maybe it was this that made the old dragons what they were. Why would they care of anyone else when they were large on land and kings of the air? It seemed you’d need a very benevolent heart not to be smitten with superiority. “Can we burn a forest before we return?” he called back at the lady, hair flailing around the exited nobel’s face. “Or ruin crops?” Among the things that Tohi was, mischievous and a trifler, Tohi was also a villain.

--

He couldn’t help but smile, not unlike the smile she’d given when he’d kissed her forehead just before. Yes, Seriph was a good name. He thought of serpents, the thought of seraphs. Perhaps a little glint of intuition had glimmered in Denzia then. She could have been powerful. It was a good thing they’d been hired to hunt her.

Always, he thought. He always thought of quitting, and always realized there was nothing outside of it. How does a pawn quit the board? “Would you follow me if I did?” he asked. They probably could not have a Seriph, not the way Oleyo’s parasite had taken over his body. He could not have two arms either. It didn’t matter, any of it, he supposed. His strongest connection to this world was with Lydia, and what they had always done was hunt, that was why it hadn’t bother him much to go with this line of work, with this life. What would there be for him, for them, if they decided this incident, this possible war, was the last? The desert offered a lonely rock for a lonely bump, but the bike stabilized quickly.

Eventually they would pass the dunes that were currently subject of sandray play. He would slow down then. They were coming reasonably close to Euboea again. The wolf had escaped them, it seemed, loyal to its mistress’ cause.