Stained-Glass Souls [Finished] Read 52398 times

Krystal Itzume

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Stained-Glass Souls [Finished]
« on: October 08, 2013, 02:09:39 pm »
‘I did. I made this sacrifice for you.’

Blood-painted memories flashed like lightning, as the steps echoed in the memory. Metal and pain were entwined around each other.

‘Don’t ask stupid questions.’

Faceless figures stood around in shock, or what must have been shock. There was no way to tell without expressions. She should not have had them all killed so quickly. There were many questions left unanswered.

Thunder rolled and turned it all to black as consciousness pushed darker thoughts back.

‘If I cared about my soul, I would not have called to you.’

The pale green eyes opened on a tidy room of light, creamy colors. Not obnoxious, and far from offending any senses. It was utterly frustrating. It had been years, and still she was waking up in this room. Still, her revenge was left unfinished.

The dull curtains covered the gray sky from her sight. Lightning flashed, casting shadows across the floor and the sheets. Her eyes only noticed the unusual shadow of a propped up letter on the nightstand, pure white. A smirk worked its way to her lips at the thought of hues as a pale hand reached out from under the sheets to grasp the envelop. The seal was unmistakable, the handwriting too familiar.
‘Did you open it?’ She wondered idly, and did not herself open it.

It was too early to open it. She cast it back on the nightstand, laying it down with the name laying against the wood. She shut her eyes once more, imagined resting another five minutes before memories of being rudely awakened returned. An involuntary shiver ran up her spine and she kicked the sheets off to get out of the bed. One too many incidents had gotten it through her head that waking with the morning light was the best idea ever; kindness was not part of the deal. Tired eyes skimmed the room for further oddities as she stretched and yawned, before half-stumbling towards her wardrobe.

She wasn’t sure how long she stared at it before considering it might be a good idea to read the note first, in order to best prepare for the day. A groan escaped her and she trudged back to the letter. Slender fingers managed to open it, and find the new command that had reached her.
‘Growing in frequency.’

Well, given how good a job she did, she couldn’t blame Her Majesty. Since returning to take up the family name and business, she’d proven herself more than capable. The Queen thought it was her, anyway. She, like the rest of the world, could remain ignorant of the truth.

A frown etched itself on her countenance.
“What do you care of prostitutes?” She muttered into the sleepy morning, before casting the letter down again and returning to her wardrobe. It would take two to four days, she hypothesized. Get to Whitechapel, speak to the chief of police to figure what could be divulged, and from there pretend to use their leads. The truth would come from the underworld, she just had to decide on contacts. ‘Likely have to be bait.’ The thought was annoying as she took out the pieces for her attire that day. ‘Maybe once I could convince him to try being bait.’ Not that she was ever worried. Where humans might fail, he would never fail.

She would never understand the necessity of all these layers in clothing, nor the corset. Mostly, the corset, which she used to find so difficult to get on. Now, it was second nature to lace it up. Today, the strawberry blonde thought she succeeded again in the lacing as she smoothed her hand down the royal blue of the two-piece ‘walking suit’, or so her tailor had called it. Black lace wrapped around the hem of the skirt, her collar, and her wrists. Black buttons gave off the idea that the top could be taken off practically, easy, but she knew better. She donned black, heeled boots over dark stockings, and then retrieved the letter before walking out of her room to join the rest of her household for breakfast.

she greeted without looking to him as she entered the overly large dining hall. The table was long enough to comfortably fit twelve people, but it was only set for one. The servants would eat elsewhere, save Vastian, who did not eat. She held the letter aloft after sitting down, expecting him to take it from her, “We will be traveling to Whitechapel soon,” she eyed him then, watching for a shift in his expression to give away whether or not he’d read the contents, “Be sure all your affairs are in order. We will be there a little while, may even have to stay with Viscount Raphael,” she sighed, as if it were a horror. She feigned disliking the Viscount, but actually had grown to find him entertaining. It had nothing to do with the fact Vastian hated him, of course. Nothing at all. “I’m not certain I have the funds to waste on the frivolities of a hotel,” he’d let her know soon enough whether or not she had such funds, depending on how badly he didn’t want to stay with Viscount Raphael.

She had a feeling she’d magically have enough for it, so they’d be spared another rant about how the English were the most superior.

« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 10:27:24 pm by Krystal Itzume »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 02:13:28 pm »
In the large, beautiful and rich house, few Ripe entered which upset the large, muscular demon. 'Ripe' was a taste of soul to him, humans who had plenty of malice, cheated many, lied and stolen often, their souls were the juiciest. The 'Stale' were humans who weren't the most honest of people, but other than a few lies here and scams there, they made their ways to the top. The 'Filth' were the poor humans, the ones who have always been the ones stricken with poverty, bad luck, and lack of opportunity. There are also the average citizens of the world, they are both equally disgusting and therefore both are called Filth. Those three classifications categorized the entire population of the world and it really was that simple.

All those maids, butlers, waiters, servants were all Filth and to kill one of them and devour their soil would be too much work for little gain. Filth souls were disgusting, slimy and dirtiest, it tasted like drinking warm swamp water. Stale were less common than the Filth in the Vesper House but still numerous. They were politicians, police detectives, private investigators, realtors, lawyers, doctors, the usual upper-class. Once, in a while though, few Ripe appeared. Mob bosses, loan sharks, shady lawyers, corrupt officers, drug dealers. Very unusual for a Ripe to show up and the more delicate to kill, because there were so few, they would definitely be missed. The maids and servants were not sure what he really was, more than a mysterious, menacing man who lived in a private wing of the House designed only for him. Maids and servants were forbidden to enter that wing, they usually left him food, clothes, anything he desired and rang a bell and they'd be on their way. Vastien would never miss that bell, however he'd retrieve his items on his own time. A few hours, days, weeks even!

Very few humans had ever seen Vastien in his demon form and only for a few seconds at that since they were most likely going to be killed and have their soul devoured by Vastien. The staff of the Vesper House never saw Vastien walking around, using the bathroom or eating. Unless, Madam Seren was going to be present, Vastien was like a ghost. When it was too much trouble for Vastien to shift into his human form, he usually wore a black, full-length greatcoat, black dress shirt and black slacks. It was like a half-human, half-demon form. He retained all of his human features, except he looked bulkier and taller. In his human form, Vastien was an average-looking Caucasian male in his late 20s. He had long, straight, jet black hair which was like a mop on his head, since his bangs draped over his clear, colorless pupils. One of the few flaws in his human form but it didn't matter because most people found it too frightening to stare him in the eyes.

A prickly, beard stubble decorates his face and all sorts of tattoos plague his torso. Standing at 6'3", Vastien retained a less bulkier muscle build and shorter height compared to his demon form. He stood in the large dining hall, waiting for Seren, the maids and servants that entered and exited the dining hall tried not to stare at the tall, menacing man. As far as anyone was concerned, Vastien was Seren's bodyguard/advisor and nothing more. Very little questions were asked anyway, except when Seren was meeting with people, they tended to be uncomfortable or terrified in his presence. A quick reassurance from Seren that he was harmless was enough to ease most nerves, but Vastien reeked of pure evil. His voice was tempting and persuasive, he could break a human's resolve in a number of different ways.

When Seren entered the dining hall, she didn't even look at him. The two weren't the best of friends and while Vastien had practically sworn to protect her with his life, promised never to lie to her, he made it perfectly clear to her that it was strict business. She was Ripe after all and he would feast on her delicious, juicy soul whenever the contract was done. He took the letter from her and read over it, nodding to himself. As soon as she mentioned the Viscount, Vastien snarled to himself, he truly did not like that man. Her smart little comment didn't help his mood neither, grinding his teeth together, he wished there was some other way.

"Sure you do, you just don't know where to look." Vastien said in a mocking tone, kneeling down right next to her, his hands fetching something from under her chair. Standing back up, a purse filled with coins was dropped on the table right before her. Of course, the coin purse wasn't under her chair originally. You could say Vastien was quite the 'magician'.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2013, 02:14:22 pm »
It was cool gray afternoon when the large black steam engine came screeching into the station.  It slowed to a stop and its doors opened and poured forth its contents of weary travelers.  One figure stood out among the many.  Like a dark tower, he loomed over the other passengers and they fearfully parted from his way as he moved through the station to the curb at the pebbled street.

“Professor!  Professor!”  A Young boy, dressed in university kakis and shorts hurriedly after him. “Will I see you in class tomorrow?”

The dark figure glance to the boy.

“Of course, child” his voice was thick and raspy, with a slight foreign accent. “Now go home.”

As he turned back to the street, His long black thin fingers gripped the golden lions head of his cane as a murderous pang hit him.  He waited for it to pass and pulled up his thick black coat till its collar met his cheeks as his dark vicious eyes peered out hungrily from under his top hat and thick gray dreads that hung down over his shoulders like a mane.

“Good day Professor Moriarty.”  The youth waved to him as he crossed the street to his families carriage.

Morality simply sneered back in contempt.

Insolent brats. He hissed in his mind. A worthless mind, not even worthy of my time. So much is the cost of my ambiguity. None the less…he would make a good ransom should the opportunity present its self.

He pulled out his pocket watch and checked the time. It should be arriving any time now. He replaced his watch and reopened the paper he held under his shoulder. It was the Times, across it’s cover was splashed in large bold letters “Horrific murder and mutilation in Whitechapel”. Moriarty’s eyes consumed the article in a moment, and he paused to look up at the stars in a blank gaze. The stillness was however was only extern, his mind was a flurry, calculating every element in the area and the crime and the impact It would have on his business. Seven brothels within 20 minutes, Four opium houses within 30 minutes and 37 street walkers work that beat. 30%, 50% and 15% regular payments, 250,000 pounds a month, 15% of the annual gross. How much of that business would be lost? 40%? 50%? 70%? the longer the police lingered in the area and the public was uneasy he could see it plummet to nothing.

A black Handsome pulled up to the street curb. The smiling groom tipped his hat to Moriarty as his tall body staggered up into the coach. Without a word the groom whipped the horses and the carriage rushed down the street, he knew well the routine of his master. As the handsome cut its way through London Moriarty eyed the by standards. The arrival of the Irish had been a boon for his business. Cheap, desperate and easily intimidated, the bad ones made excellent soldiers, and the good ones were easy to extort.  He carefully eye the centers of his own businesses as he passed one front after another, the unassuming clubs, bars, brothels, shops and opium dens that each unit of his workforce maintained. Where they clean? Presentable? The appearance of ordinary business was key.  As they swept pass one pub Moriarty’s sharp eyes spotted a drunk laying out in the side walk. Too obvious…the wrong kind of attention that would bring, they are getting sloppy, all of them. Moriarty pulled a notebook from his coat and scribbled down the clubs name and the members of the syndicate that managing it.

The Handsome cut out along the Thames and from the high road Moriarty could see across it to Parliament and Westminster. He was getting close to his true home. They cut across Westminster bridge and into the illustrious streets that surrounded the seat of the house of lords. The driver pulled up along a row of grand buildings along the Thames bank, many of them the apartments of wealthy ambassadors and illustrious hotels. One building stood out, smaller than the rest, yet gilded in all the splendor of a of a upper-class establishment.

It was the Broken Spade, one of the most elite club houses in all of Europe, boasting a membership that included royalty, nobility, and celebrity.  Many came here to have their rubber and billiards chalk but it had many other attractions, a bath house, a library, and dining hall, and more, enough for a man to be lost among its attractions unaware that it was the seat of the most powerful criminal organization in England. So grand in population and appearance that few would notice the modest professor Moriarty disappear into it every evening and emerge every morning, little did they consider what he did there.

The Handsome careened to a halt in front of the busy and bustling building. Moriarty hoped out of the carriage and raised a ten-pound note to the driver. Then he turned to join the groups of illustriously dress men in top hats as they accented the stairs into the golden warm light inside. As Moriarty entered the double doors into the red velvet carpet and golden walnut halls a porter was quick to nod to him in respect. He tipped his hat and continued on to the massive card room.  There were three dozen tables were about, with any manner of card, billiard and dice games at play, the tables were stacked and crowed with Dignitaries, Lords, Duchesses and others of grand heritage as bus boys hurriedly delivered their cocktails and returned again to the bar for another round of orders. Among his largest clientele were the foreigners who stayed in the adjacent hotels and villas that made up the foreign quarter next to Westminster.

He walked among the crowd, a total stranger to all, making his way past the games to the stairs that lead to the restaurant and the smoking room with in the library.  he passed the illustrious guided rooms and halls into a maintenance passage way to a elevator.  Here a lone porter stood, much different from the polite and handsome boys in the lobby below. He was large, scared and bull faced. The only outward flicker of the true purpose of the establishment.

“Afternoon Sir” he said kindly as Moriarty entered the elevator. He slid the door close and then turned to the three button electric dial. He pressed first, second and third floor buttons all at once, and the elevator jumped to life, and descended downward to the basement. “Miss Moran is present Sir.”

“Good.” Moriarty’s harsh voice had a crackled pleased sound in it, and he pulled the newspaper form his pocket again to review it. “How is this new elevator Burte?”

“Good sir, easier on the feet since we got rid of that stair case.” The Man nodded. “Keeps the wanders out too.”

“That was the purpose. No more drunk ambassadors we had to get rid of late?”

“No sir, without the trick and the password they can only go to the above floor sir, it was a grand idea sir.”

“Progress brute…Progress.” Moriarty gave him a grim smile as the elevator came to a stop. Brute slid the door open and Moriarty walked down a shallow passage way into a empty waiting room with a set of thick mahogany double doors. He entered the double doors and emerged into a large illustriously furnished studio office. There was a central large black and gold desk, with leather arm chairs placed in front of it. Behind it was a carefully organize laboratory and study desk with a huge map of London hanging from the wall with papers and photos scattered about it in piles. To the left of the gaint desk was a fully stocked bar, with a old man bartending it, and the other side of the wall lay a night stand were Moriarty walked to and took off his coat and hat to be hanged.

“Good night sir.” The bartender spoke up with a thick German accent, his blank eyes showed that he was blind.

“It is afternoon Von Herder,” Moriarty spoke curtly to him as he walked to the bar with Cane in hand. “My Brandy?”
“Here sir,” A cautious hand pushed a glass of the amber liquid onto the bar. Moriarty pick it up and took a light sip.

“This is not my brandy.” Moriarty sneered at it.

“No sir! Miss Moran brought it. She insisted you try it, It is Brugerolle Cognac, Vieille Réserve, bottled in 1795 Sir!, A rare and fine Vintage sir, supposedly of Napoleons own celler sir! ” The Blind German shuddered uneasily.

“Indeed so.” Moriarty took a deeper sip of the vintage again. "And How would such a scarce and priceless 100 year vintage up in Moran’s merger collection of liquors?” Moriarty turned one of the leather seats at his desk.

“it's from our French Prospect, Monsieur Gagnon.” A cold voice with a slight undistinguishable accent spoke up from behind the large arm chair. In it, a Lean blonde Lady sat, strangely dressed in a white tweed suit, with her hair pulled back and her vicious blue eyes carefully inspecting a notebook that lay upon her lap while sipping her own brandy balloon. “A gift from one of his recent successful heist, a collection of five bottles among other rare items.”

“Ahh, to find such a rare fare is a complement to his cunning. Do we know where this heist took place Moran?”

“Not even a whisper on the streets.” She shook her glass and sipped it.

“And that is a complement to his skill. It will probably come out once the illustrious victim has had time to live down the shame of loosing such a precious vintage.” Moriarty sipped again at his glass pleased with it and moved across the room to his desk. “It is time to meet Mr. Gagnon, see if he is interested in a more…closer relationship with us.”

“I suspected you would feel so Sir, I gave him this address, instructions and the password the moment he offered this exclusive gift and told him to come tonight at six.”

“What?” Moriarty froze mid stride. “You have never been so indiscreetly liberal without my instructions.”

“I have never seen so valuable an asset pass my gaze. Not only is he a master thief but a master coiner as well, he has set up shop printing half crowns by the hundreds, and he has his claws in nearly a dozen French businessmen and nobility.”

“Blackmail?” Moriarty swirled his cognac in it's balloon glass, a expression of surprise on his dark face.

“Yes, so discrete that it took careful inquiries to verify them. If he had been any other whelp off the street or the situation less pressing I would have consulted you first. But as I understand it Monsieur Gagnon has affairs both here and in France and I was worried that any hesitation might cause word of our…internal issues…to reach him and his interests to float away from us and England.” Moran voice was firm, but a slight creek of insecurity was in it.

Moriarty stood in silent thought, that blank deep gaze of his showed that his mind was well occupied in the issue.

“Well done Moran…Von Herder!” Moriarty turned to the Blind Bartender. “Wire to the Iron Horse Pub and send for Pollock to come about six.”

“Y-yes sir.” The German turned and carefully walked with a stick to the corner of the room were a telegraph machine stood.

“Pollock?” Moran raised an eyebrow. “I thought we had made arrangements for him.”

“Same arrangements…” Moriarty gave malicious smile. “Different scedual.”

“Ahhh.” Moran gave a sweet smile. “The Test.”

“One can be both cunning and skillful…but without nerve neither will serve us. ” Moriarty circled about to the other side of the desk, and placing his cognac and cane on one side and his Notebook and newspaper on the other he sat down with the air of a tired and relieved man. Then gathering himself he lifted the paper and placed it in front Moran, its heading facing her.

 “What of this?”

She glanced over it and met moriarty’s annoyed gaze.

“It wasn’t one of our men.” her speech was quick and firm. “I have investigated it myself. Everyone was at their post.”

“This I am well aware of Moran, For one of my flock to kill one of it’s own in such a fashion and without my consent this is sudden and brutal death. The business in whitechapel?”

“Bad. No witnesses and the police are keeping customers away.”

“By all of Ogun, the signs of the murder tell that it will happen again. Do you remember those Red Death killings several years ago…how costly it was to us?”

“Yes Sir.” Moran was visibly on edge, her grip on the brandy balloon was tight, and her knuckles were white.

“We cannot wait for this to drag out into a month to month problem.” Moriarty sat back, pressing his fingers together in thought. “It must end swiftly. Order our ladies of leisure to flood the streets, 24 hour shifts, and increase the posted guards on every block. Take from other districts if necessary and report any suspicious activity.”

“but…Sir, that would make it more likely that the killer will strike again.”

“Exactly.” Moriarty sipped his cognac.

“But don’t we want the killer to stop? Would it be wiser to close business?”

“No, that would be the exact opposite of what we want.  Terrible as these crimes are at least the victims are prostitutes, societies castaways, but should we close house and no easy victims for our killer is found he will strike out at a common lady, which will outrage the public to extremes. However, if we provided opportunity he will strike sooner and with hast, giving us greater odds to end this.”

“I understand sir. But they will think you mad.”

“Indeed Moran, Indeed.” He swirled his Cognac. “Ignorance will never understand Genius.  Now…To other business, what do you have to report?”

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 02:14:55 pm »
A viscous fog rolled over East London; the cobbled streets suddenly blanketed in a heavy gray haze, making it difficult to see passersby from three stories up. The curtains fluttered slightly as she peered out of the dusty window.

Meeting him always put her on edge, even more so today when he had sent word to meet him at the docks. The docks. What a horrid place. She had only been there an hour, and had already witnessed a bloated body being carted ashore, several River Men eagerly pulling the corpse apart in hopes of finding something worth while. Something that would pay for tonight’s dinner and drinks. She shuttered at the thought, and wrapped her arms tightly around herself.

She glanced down at the gold pocket watch that Gagnon had gifted to her when they had first arrived in London. She thoughtfully turned it over in her hand...

A slight movement outside of the window snapped her from her reverie. Delamere peered out toward the streets below. The fog swirled madly below her window, as though someone moving very quickly had just passed beneath. Her heart skipped a beat as the haze settled.

“It’s good to see you again, Delamere.” The honeyed accent came from behind.

She spun, her copper red hair twirled and bounced with her. “You startled me,” she placed a hand over her chest, heart pounding.

He did not reply, only closed and locked the door as he entered. The man was a wraith, and a master lock pick; his tools already concealed somewhere inside of his dark topcoat. Gagnon smiled and motioned for Delamere to join him at the splintered table.

“Tell me,” she began after taking a seat, “Why choose such a place for our meeting?” She crinkled her nose, “It’s... sublime.”

Gagnon smiled, deepening the crow’s feet at the corners of his eyes, “Do I detect sarcasm, ma chérie?” He removed his top hat and placed it between them. His walking stick, with its gold embellishments, laid across his lap.

“You would be daft if you didn’t,” Delamere cringed as she glanced around the room.

“To task, Delamere,” his French accent, although still detectable, was nearly gone. He had so effortlessly disguised his voice soon after they had arrived in London.

“Whitechapel,” Delamere began, “The murders...”

“Yes,” Gagnon interrupted, “Putting quite the damper on his cash flow.”

“You mean Moriarty.”

Gagnon nodded, thoughtfully twirling his walking stick, “Probably making the old boy nervous.” He leaned back in the chair, his dark wavy hair glistened in the flickering lamp light. Delamere patiently waited for him to complete his thought, but he never did. After nearly five minutes of silence, Gagnon tapped his walking stick on the table and quickly sat straight up, a twinkle in his eye, “Well, my lovely, put on your best tattered dress and your biggest smile.”

Delamere cocked an eyebrow.

“After my little errand tonight, we shall set about catching the Whitechapel menace.” Gagnon rose, and turned toward the door.

“Wait,” Delamere jumped from her perch, “You plan on using me as bait?” She reached out and grasped his arm, “And what errand?”

He smiled and gently patted her hand, “Yes, and my appointment with the great man himself.” He pointed at the table, “Would you hand me my hat?”

Standing firm, Delamere shook her head, “You are meeting with Moriarty? How did you manage that?”

Gagnon waited patiently for Delamere to retrieve his top hat before answering, “I made a peace offering and it paid off.” Placing his hat atop his head, Gagnon leaned forward and kissed Delamere on the cheek, “Be ready by eight, my meeting shouldn’t take any longer than that.”


The instructions had been explicit and easy to follow; however, even a foreigner like Gagnon had heard of the Broken Spade, and did not actually need directions to find the club. The password, however, had piqued his interest...

The elevator lurched to a stop after a short descent. Pulling the door open, the attendant-a bull of a man-ushered Gagnon down a narrow hallway and into an empty waiting room. Without a word, the attendant left Gagnon standing before a wide set of mahogany doors.

Gagnon waited until the bull retreated down the hall before approaching the doors and rapping purposefully with his walking stick.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2013, 02:27:32 pm »

It would almost be worth it to go to the Viscount’s anyway for an extended stay, to watch as Vastien fought his urges, bound as he was to her. He referred to her as ‘Ripe’, a status she accepted without viewing herself as corrupt—simply smart. It wasn’t her fault others couldn’t play the game the way she could, or believed morals were anything besides subjective views. A relativist at heart, dignity and nobility were the things that kept her from sinking into depravity.

Seren had her aesthetics, and she intended to keep her dignity until the bitter, and likely painful, end. She’d never delude herself on that, and intended to enjoy what little things she could. As such, she savored the sight of Vastien kneeling besides her, mocking tone all but forgotten in light of the new position. Pride was something they had in common, both a friendly link at times, and at others the cause of their friction. Finding Vastien in compromising positions always touched her sense of humor. She’d reap what she sowed later.

Mocking her though he was, she took it with ease unusual of the higher class who was usually so easily offended by slights, and allowed herself a smile as the coin purse was placed on the table. She leaned towards the purse, shifted the cloth a little to peer inside,
“Well,” a rare touch of approval, “It seems I’ve misplaced the correct currency for once.” If he wanted to pretend her forgetful, she’d accept that. Better than admitting it came from him, though supposedly demons could grant fame and fortune with ease, among their many persuasive talents. Such a fleeting thing as material satisfaction didn't appeal to her, though.

“I suppose we will be able to splurge on a hotel, though we will still have to visit the Viscount,”
she picked up her fork, twirled it idly. “He’ll take offense otherwise.” She suspected Vastien had some understanding of the politics of the nobility by now, full of lies and false politeness. “Perhaps he will even have a lead for us,” she did not sound hopeful for that, though, “Speaking of, Vastien, this appears to be the third murder by this character. Have you heard anything on this matter?” Her tone was one of indifference, as if she didn’t care much whether or not he’d heard anything, as she poked the eggs with her fork, letting the yellow ooze out from the core, frowning with dissatisfaction. She’d told the chef before she hated runny yolks.

Vastien tried to hide the nasty scowl on his face, still visiting the Viscount? Just to maintain a false friendly relationship. Sometimes, Vastien felt like these humans lied to each other more than he did, who could expect more from humans, though? They were so disgusting and it was just so typical of them. Seren wasn't so bad, perhaps it's because he was getting used to her, she was the only human he could stand. She was definitely spoiled, while it didn't matter to him very much, the way she pushed her food and refused to eat slightly annoyed the demon. What he wouldn't give to devour a Ripe's soul right about now. He wasn't sure how Seren felt when Vastien would feed, if he had to guess, she probably wasn't too happy with him feeding frequently. He could go a while without feeding but it would weaken him over a prolonged time without nourishment. She had watched him feed several times and since that would eventually be her, perhaps watching him feed bothered her?

"Nothing recently, it seems our murderer has proven to be very elusive. Then again, most humans aren't very smart, no offense."
Vastien paused for a moment, his eyes watching her fork play with her food. He rolled his eyes, did she have to be so spoiled? "Couldn't they just trap him?" He was sure he could find and trap the killer with ease, but it would have to be with his own methods. Unfortunately, it was slowly becoming Seren's way or no way. Their methods didn't go hand-in-hand and he really had no room to object, the contract's terms and stipulations always seemed to give him the shorter end of the stick. "If you're not hungry for eggs, I could fetch us some souls. Not sure if you'd like the taste."Vastien chuckled quietly, however he couldn't blame her, all human food was terrible to him. With perfect timing, right after his little tease, his stomach began rumbling. And just when he thought she would have no comeback.

Seren let out a sigh at the lack of information. She was tempted to comment on his so-called smarts, given his lack of knowledge, but knew the difference. They’d still have this case settled soon.
“None taken. I’ve never considered myself among ‘most’ humans.” Seren said instead. She could explain why the police weren’t just trapping the fiend. Risking one of their own required cutting through a lot of red tape, something she and Vastien would find unnecessary. Red tape didn’t stand in her way, paperwork unnecessary. The only paperwork that would be required would be a letter back to the Queen when it was done, stating simply that the task was complete.

A glance down at the eggs, and she finally set the fork down. She wasn’t going to talk herself into eating the eggs. She didn’t like them much to begin with.

He decided to comment on it, which earned a sly smirk from her as his stomach rumbled. Perfect timing.
“Perhaps you should have some eggs,” she suggested as she lifted the sausage patty from her plate, put it on top the bread, and bit into it. She moved the plate to the side, suggesting he was free to try it if he wanted, before swallowing down her bit, “Although being what they are, I suppose they’ve never even had a soul. I suppose they wouldn’t have much of a taste to you,” she ‘tsk’ed, then added: “There won’t be any feasting in Whitechapel. Too many issues there already with murder, and we do not need the attention,” no need to draw more attention. She didn’t let that topic linger, though, added instead, “We will want to try to trap the fiend. Baiting him may work best in this case, but we’ll have to investigate his usual behavior first.”

He picked up her fork awkwardly, trying to position it in his hand like she had. It was quite comical really, a large, powerful demon who could cause mass casualties was being bested by silverware. His eyes gazed at the knife, he wouldn't even try to learn to use that. Only thing Vastien knew what to do with a knife was to kill with one, not to cut eggs apart. He managed to get a piece of the eggs on the fork and he savored the eggs, they actually weren't that bad. He knew that he could fill his human stomach with human food but he needed souls to stay alive, not eggs. Setting the fork back down, Vastien took a napkin and softly patted his lips with the fancy cloth.

No feeding? Was she trying to kill him? He was being dramatic however, he could go another two months without feeding but he would deteriorate over time. He silently fumed in his mind, knowing no matter how angry he got, he couldn't do anything to her. There was always room for compromise but Vastien tended to just go along with what she said, in the end, she would pay with her soul. She spoke of baiting the murderer, it wouldn't take a genius to figure who would be the bait. Even if Seren volunteered, he wouldn't allow her to do so. Her soul was on the line and he wasn't about to let the contract become null or void if she got herself killed. Rolling up his sleeve, he looked at the contractual seal on his wrist. He had never asked Seren where her seal had appeared at, there was no choosing either. The seal could appear anywhere, even on someone's face!

"Very well, however consider the following. Once, we apprehend and do whatever we need to do with the killer, maybe he has a little accident?" Vastien could only imagine how tasty the murderer's soul must be. Perhaps feeding on the killer could be an exception? If not, you couldn't blame him for trying.

Seren didn’t expect her recommendation about the eggs to be taken seriously. Vastien told her enough times how disgusting human food was to him, so it was a wonder he would even try—even tried to use the fork!
‘Have to train you with it one day, so you look proper when using it.’ That time had gone on so long to consider training a demon to use a fork should have annoyed her, but it didn’t at the moment. She smiled and shook her head at the spectacle.

Seren had finished her makeshift sandwich when tried to suggest a way to eat. She’d already considered him feasting on the Ripper. The Queen’s letter, while it didn’t order death, all but said she wanted this dealt with ‘cleanly’. No trial business.
“Accident?” She knew what he was getting at, “We do not allow accidents to happen. If you mean the criminal dies, then yes, he will die. That is my intent.” She agreed to that, “There’s no need to have this Ripper arrested and go through the process of trial.” She shifted her gaze to Vastien, “If you didn’t leave such obvious signs when you took a soul, I might allow it. Unless you can obscure those signs.” He could destroy all the evidence entirely, but Seren wanted remains for the underworld, a decent message to be sent. Perhaps if he was brutal enough, the red marks wouldn’t be so noticeable. Or all the flesh flayed off. ‘Fitting.’

Seren rose, left the offer available as she walked to the bells lining part of one wall to summon the servants.

He arched an eyebrow at her response, she was actually going along with it? The way she underestimated him was not something he would forgive so easy, she was so lucky for that contract. It was the only thing keeping him from tearing out her throat sometimes, he simply snarled and muttered something. He kept his comments to himself for now but even a little freedom was better than none, perhaps if he could dispose of the Ripper really well, she might be more lenient and he'd be able to feed more frequently.

"Just leave it to me." With that, he turned on his heel and proceeded to his wing of the house. The entire wing was dark and since no maids or servants were allowed there, they couldn't tidy up or keep it maintained. That was just fine with Vastien since he didn't even need all that space, but the privacy he was given was great. The long, empty, dark and carpeted corridor was adorned with old, dusty portraits and locked wooden doors. He wasn't sure if Seren ever entered his room but he didn't have a bed in his room nor any of the essentials a human would desire or need in a room. The heavy smell of sulfur flooded his nostrils as he entered his room and Vastien actually found the aroma to be pleasant.

Seren had to chuckle at his muttering, knew she’d once again upset him with an underestimation. If she ever admitted the truth, though, he’d get lazy. She never doubted his abilities at all. He could and would obscure the markings well enough so he could feed—he’d obscured methods of killing so well as to leave the Yard perplexed.

“Very well,”
she said, before he left the room. She rung for her butler, and when the middle-aged man arrived she explained that she needed the carriage prepared for her and Vastien’s departure. She needed no assistance packing her own things, much like Vastien. It was one of the few menial chores she was more than willing to do, and so when the directions were given she left to tend to her own packing. 

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2013, 02:28:26 pm »
One could say Vastien's room was like a medieval torture chamber, assorted weapons, armor were organized on a shelf, the crude metals had been forged with the fires of the underworld. The room definitely reeked of sulfur and death, dried blood had been used to draw on the walls. He lit several candles and incense as well which happened to join the awful odor in the room. The floors were lined with sulfur, mustard powder, blood, charcoal and other mixtures and with a snap of his fingers, a flame crackled to life in his hand. Setting fire to the ingredients, the sound had to of echoed throughout the entire house. It sounded like an mini explosion but there wasn't any serious damage, Vastien had been launched at a wall and he angrily cursed at yet another failed attempt. Standing up, he sighed and looked at the destruction in the middle of the room, recovering the necklace from the ashes. It was beautiful necklace really, the sapphire gem gleamed elegantly once Vastien dusted the ash off of it. He would have to scour the lands to find one of the main ingredients he needed to enchant the necklace and the necklace wasn't even for him. He knew nothing would happen, his open palm facing the necklace, wishing the necklace would react to the enchantment. If the enchantment was successful, the radiant, blue gem would shift into an onyx, ebony color and would come very handy.

He would have to try again another time, the last thing he wanted was to be behind schedule for their trip to Whitechapel, his appetite for a Ripe soul was becoming increasingly insatiable and he would get his soul. Shoving the necklace in his coat pocket, he straightened himself out and snapped his human wrist back into place. It didn't hurt as much as it should have and Vastien felt several cuts on his face opening, nothing he couldn't handle. Leaving his room, Vastien descended down the stairs and out to the courtyard where their carriage was already being prepared. The horses whinnied and immediately started acting up once Vastien approached the carriage. The driver knew who he was and didn't want to make a fool of himself in front of his boss's advisor. Not to mention, the driver couldn't shake the cold feeling of fear that had swept over him when Vastien grew closer.

"A thousand pardons, sir. I don't know what came over them." The driver watched as Vastien seemed to calm the horses with a gentle touch, he stroked their manes softly. At least that's what the driver saw, what really happened was that Vastien's touch froze the horses' hearts in sheer terror and they remained silent. Vastien smiled and nodded at the driver, stepping into the carriage and settling himself in.

"They're beautiful, they will get us to our destination with haste, I assume?" Vastien leaned back in his seat, not really caring when they arrived actually. The Ripper had no curfew as far as Vastien was concerned and neither did he.
"Of course, sir. Safely as well." The driver added, trying to ease his nerves.
"Say, you look like a very dependable man. These horses are prime cut, the best of their breed and only an expert could maintain such discipline. Can I interest you in a little bonus to your pay?" Vastien fetched for another rather, fat coin purse filled with pounds and handed it to the awe-stricken driver. "A little thanks from me personally, you don't have to pay me back. However, I hope, shall a favor be needed, you're a man I can consider?" Vastien's eyes narrowed and his lips curved into a devilish grin. The driver's common brown eyes were lulled and he was at peace right now. Just a blank stare in those eyes, the man had easily succumbed to the temptation of greed and had quickly sold his soul for fortune. It was not like eating a man's soul, that was filling and tasty. Devouring someone's will was like a delicious waft of a tasty Ripe, one so mouth-watering you shake violently. But there was no sustenance, no filling in that. A temporary fix even. That's exactly what Vastien needed, a little quick bump to take him off the edge. All the stress that had been falling upon recently was getting to him and when being attracted to something else other than a soul for a demon, it became addictive. A soul is something so common for a demon and being led by another source was very easy, nearly impossible to stop. Vastien had restraint though, he had enough discipline to stare down an entire platoon of soldiers. Without an addictive personality, addiction was harder to fall into, Vastien only feasts to sustain, not to gorge.   
"Yes, of course, sir." The driver replied in a dull manner, he would carry that blank stare with him for the rest of his days. He wasn't sure if Seren would notice, a severe reprimanding would follow indeed. How disgusting, being talked down to by a lowly human. It almost made him sick to his stomach, but he had to blame the lack of nourishment also.

The explosion did not so much as disturb Seren. It was more common than she’d like to admit, but she went on without a flinch with folding the various articles of clothing, finding her gun to add to her purse, and all the other little necessities. The coin purse itself was moved, most of it being placed in her luggage, the other bit in her own purse to pay immediately for the hotel. She moved to her drawer, found a key, and opened the top drawer, one of the few places she’d forbidden Vastien from looking.

A simple journal was taken out, her own personal notes mostly on the criminals dealt with, and clues to finding the ones behind the crime that took her life from her all those years ago. She would have loved the simple black book to be filled by now with the clues, but it was only half-way so, incomplete, like the task itself. She always took this book with her.

The second item was a letter. She kept most of her correspondences from Vastien’s eye, though she always suspected he looked at them when they were delivered. This was from the Viscount Raphael, a note about some party in the near future he wanted her to attend. She’d double-check the date, see if she could make it work for her stay in the area, and kill two birds with one stone.
‘I need to make more social appearances as it is.’

With the two items packed inside the purse near the gun, she walked out, carrying the luggage many would have thought too heavy for her. Seren refused to make it appear like she was struggling under the weight of it, though truth be told it was quite the pain. She could have called for another servant, but she opted not to.

Outside, however, was another story,
“Barnaby,” she called to the driver as she set the luggage down on the ground. The normally anxious man looked at her with a dull gaze. “Put the luggage up.”

“Yes, Lady Vesper.”
He answered, far too emotionless, before leaving his post to pick up her bags. She watched him with a frown, something he normally would have commented on—wondering what he’d done wrong. Instead, he moved to the door of the carriage and opened it for her, offered the customary bow.

Seren was far from impressed as she stepped up into the carriage and sent a pointed glare to Vastien. It didn't soften even as she noticed the cuts on his face, which she expected he earned from whatever explosion he caused. She didn't ask much about the goings-on of his room or his activity, gave him privacy she probably shouldn't given his deceptive ways as a demon. Instead of asking what could possibly harm him, she focused on the issue.
“What did you do to Barnaby?” Pointed and direct, as always. She’d forbidden Vastien from eating the souls of her servants, but it seemed he’d done something anyway, though she couldn’t put her finger on it immediately.

Spot on, Vastien thought, silently fuming in his head. Another hidden, never revealed and buried kudos for Seren. Vastien simply stared at her with the same, careless look he gave her. Like he was doing something and she was his little daughter begging for attention. He did the same thing he always did, his abilities are the same, simply no volition to commit any of her wishes. Why did everything have to be perfect? He moved past her, ignoring her question for now, pretending to examine the boorish Barnaby. His hand filled with malice and more temptation landing on his shoulder calmly, injecting him with the venomous sin. 

"Sir?" Barnaby asked, even Vastien hoped for increased emotion, something to make Seren believe he was fine. Not even a look of concern? Why does he have no emo-oh that's right, Vastien pondered, a sigh escaping.
"Err-, nothing, Barn." Vastien said cooly, a friendly yet daring smirk on his rugged face.
"God bless ya." Barnaby responded without a care in the world, God blessing them or not mattered not in the end. All the malice and temptation Barnaby absorbed it without resistance, there was no struggle or human will trying to end it.

It was then that Vastien figured by the time he turned around to face his pretty master, her adorable face would be peppered with bright, red cheeks and a nasty frown. Vastien sighed, lowering his head, his right hand massaging the back of his neck, obviously stalling for time. He didn't even try to lie or bend the truth a little because there was no point. Why, because there was no way Seren didn't know what he had done? No, because one of the repeated lines of texts in the forsaken contract was that Vastien swore on his OWN soul being torn out and devoured that he would never lie to the contractee because the verdicts of both parties would be null and void and wouldn't take place.

"Look, Seren. I'm starving here and I just needed.. a quick hit. He'll never change! He's still the same man you're used too, it's just he's more-eh, ..submissive." Vastien paused, hoping that was enough. "In another words, he doesn't care about you or what you want but he'll still do it for unknown reasons at the same quality." When he realized that overabundance of talking for him mind you, had just occurred, he smacked a hand on his face, sliding and slipping down to squeeze and contort his lips and speak. "Devoured his will to live, not his soul. Period." That was better and more Vastien-esque, no? He wondered what the punishment would be this time? His brilliant master in plain terms had a rather.. unorthodox-let's just say unique style of punishment. Vastien was always surprised with this, a sort of small thrill he'd never confess to anyone or at least he hoped. "In all honesty.., he worried too much. I'm relaxing him out for a while." Vastien had a habit of snarling and growling once she grew angry and began to make him feel threatened, almost like an untamed beast coiling up and getting ready to strike.

What a great start to the day! Clouds are out, sun is up, birds are chirping and another Seren-favorable stipulation mysteriously appears on the ALREADY signed contract. How it must've always been enforced, it's just that everyone in history that ever existed, even the creators forgot about it. Yeah, that was the logical answer, alright. All of these thoughts he just had sped by him with the speed of light as the small high he received from Barnaby's will had finished coming down. 

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2013, 02:29:27 pm »

Seren was patient, when she knew victory was close at hand. She did not press Vastien, but waited, knowing he would answer for staying silent would bother him more. He couldn’t lie to her, either. He’d tried to get around that, omitting details or using words with double-meanings, but such practices had started to die off.

Seren actually covered her mouth when Barnaby said his bit about ‘God’ blessing them.
‘I am so far beyond his blessings.’ Seren thought, amused at the thought. If God were going to do anything, it would be smite her. Well, he could try to smite her. She’d never allow it. Vastien would never allow it. Seren would challenge God if that entity thought to cross her path and stop her.

Vastien likely expected her to appear upset, the expression on his face telling, but Barnaby’s comment had tickled her sense of humor too much for her to return to an expression of irritation as quickly as she ought to under Vastien’s gaze. Instead of reverting to anger, she managed to pull herself together enough to look impatient.

Vastien rambled. It was unusual, and she raised her eyebrows to show her interest at the change of behavior.
‘More submissive, hm?’ While Vastien seemed to think it was all right, Seren had a feeling that 'more submissive' left Barnaby little room to think for himself, which could become quite the hindrance if an issue arose and he had to come up with a decision without direction. She clearly should have been more specific in outlining what could and couldn’t happen to her servants. “What am I going to do with you?” Seren sighed aloud as she tilted her head up to look up at the ceiling of the carriage. “Always finding ways to get around the intent of my words,” a slow smile pulled at her lips, and she shut her eyes in thought, musing over how best to deal with this. He no doubt expected the order to slip her lips, “You will not take the will of those employed by me without my express permission, Vastien. That is an order.” A searing pain made itself known on her left hip, common whenever she said those four little words. It was one of two marks burned on her soul, the other a remnant of a hell she’d not return to.

“So far as punishment for superseding my intentions, I’ll come up with something later,”
a touch of mystery would bother him, or so Seren hoped, the paranoia more grating than knowing what was to come. She tilted her head down and fluttered her green eyes open, meeting his own gaze, “Honestly, Vastien. I’ve no intention of starving you. You’re no good to me weak,” that little smile remained on her lips, amusement, admonishment, or admiration obscured and expressed as one, “Do tell me these things. I will let you feed. I can’t promise it will be anything besides junk, but it is better than nothing, isn’t it?”

He could've lied and disputed it until the end of time and there would never be a victory for either side. Oh wait, no he couldn't. He couldn't because of the damn contract! That damn contract, that was what Vastien frequently resorted to when given no other options to vent, he would repeat them in his head forever. However, Seren wasn't all powerful for several reasons and it was these few reasons that kept Vastien from wearing a leash and muzzle. The contract was written very.. loose-worded. The stipulations from Vastien were vague and allowed for double-meanings. One thing could mean another, only typical of a shady demon. The phrase "The contractor will be limited his freedom but granted the approval to bask in obscurity." That's what his stipulations were, obscurities, in every sense of the word. So many loopholes and twists that allowed Vastien to snake his way around her rules and regulations, protecting him from complete control.

"I suppose. A Filth soul is a soul regardless of the muddy-water taste. That is, if I am even allowed souls." Vastien smirked, turning around to face Barnaby, letting out an innocent yawn.
"If only you humans could sprout wings and fly, this wouldn't be such a dreadful journey."
"Us, humans? What's that make you, Mr. Ba'al? Vampire?" Barnaby let out an uncaring chuckle, knowing full well vampires didn't exist, not like he cared either way.
"Damn right, Barnaby." Vastien leaning back and a ripple of mirth washing over him, Seren knowing all too well that Vastien could fly and quite majestic as that. Flying had to be so beautiful to the humans, to him, it was as common as running. It obviously took a greater toll on his lungs and tired him excessively with repeated use. Usually, Vastien would try to remove his torso clothing because his wings grew fast and large and cared not for the cloth in front of them. He loved his greatcoats and they were very expensive, not like Vastien cared.

Flying was like a response to fear, sometimes if he felt real threatened out of nowhere, his wings would sprout without his order and clear whatever was in their way. Depending how intense the shock is, a simple gunshot would stretch his clothing were he not expecting it. He would let her simmer with that, tucking his hat over eyes and resting up. She hadn't really punished him but he knew she did this to make him squirm. But, his lack of nutrition had begun to make him more aware and paranoid, he was constantly on his toes about everything.

So, the carriage strolled through the foggy, cobblestone floors towards central London. Vendors, impoverished folk, the Filth of the filth lived down there. Whitechapel, the last place Vastien would rather be. Why couldn't Seren had gone alone? The fog only grew thicker as they entered the Tower Hamlets borough, the ground was wet with dirt and rain, rats scurrying along the road. Such an usual place for a Ripe to dwell and Vastien would be the bait tonight, perhaps he would get murdered? Hah, that will be the day, Vastien thought, trying to ignore the Hell he would be soon arriving at.   

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2013, 02:30:12 pm »
“You still get to eat souls,” Seren chuckled, “Perhaps something nice, soon.” She didn’t mind that he needed to eat souls to live, she only minded the mess. So long as people still thought it a rare illness that cropped up from time to time, she wasn’t bothered, but she knew if demons could cross over, other things could. Eventually, it was going to be recognized, and traced back to Vastien—to her. His fate was hers.

Vampires. She smirked. Perhaps she ought to ask Vastien if vampires existed. Look into finding one, see how the vampiric curse worked with the demonic seal.
‘No, I’ve done enough toying with the supernatural.’

She shut her eyes on that thought, settled into the carriage for the ride. It would be a few hours before they arrived in Whitechapel, and she had to deal with the police and gathering information.
‘How I’ve missed Commissioner Moore.’ Commissioner Moore had been commissioner since they began their business relationship some years ago, and he filled her in, grudgingly and on the Queen’s orders, on what her father used to do, and the full extent of her authority. He had tried to convince her not to take up the mantle, convinced himself at the time that Seren was an innocent girl who had been through enough hell.

Five years later, she’d nearly convinced him she was from hell. There was never a criminal left for him to question or arrest when she was done with a case. 

Sleep stole over her, the rocking of the carriage almost familiar, almost nice. It was always almost. The sleep was deep and dreamless, the only sleep she liked. Her body shifted with the movements of the carriage, tuned out to Vastien’s irritation, and the nearly emotionless driver. There was no thought of existence beyond the dark. In a word, it was perfect. She often wondered, in waking, if such was the fate of eaten souls—that oblivion. She could not quite wrap her head around the idea of a soul dying, though certainly they did when eaten. Life, all possibility of life, was extinguished in that moment—the life in body, and the life after death.
‘Better than Hell.’ Her final destination if Vastien failed.

A stone, or some sort of obstacle, jarred the carriage and Seren was woken with a start. It felt like no time had passed since she nodded off to that moment, but looking around revealed quite a bit of time had passed since that moment. She glared at the window as she straightened up, blaming the outside for changing its scenery so drastically. She took a deep breath and noted it was now raining, after all the threat of it earlier. Lightning illuminated the area clearly; they were in London, and at Whitechapel.

Seren stretched her arms up,
“Beautiful outside, isn’t it?” She adored storms. “Hm?” Her eyes caught some gathering outside, and then a devious smile played on her lips as she recognized one figure. “Well, the game begins.” She liked to outdo the police. She moved and opened the door, though the carriage was still moving, and leaned out, “Barnaby! Let us out here, and then go park the carriage somewhere near.” She directed, and he quickly brought the horses to a stop. Seren grabbed her purse, leaned back in to grab her purse, and then jumped out of the carriage, into the pouring rain. She ran on ahead of Vastien.

“…have both kidney’s missing, the liver, the womb—good god, of all the—”
They were under an overhanging eave, and Seren slowed her pace to walk up behind the commissioner, eyes gleaming. She cleared her throat and watched the familiar scruffy and aged face turn to see who interrupted. “Oh. You.” His gaze shifted then to include Vastien in the comment. The commissioner couldn’t explain it, but he disliked Seren’s ‘shadow’. He could never look at him long. His gaze shifted back to Seren shortly, brown eyes hardening on the young woman.

“Commissioner Moore,”
Seren greeted with all the formality and politeness she could muster for the audience of other officers, “The Queen has sent me to assist you with the Jack the Ripper case.” She glanced around him, noted the open door and the few officers near the doorway, one covering his mouth, bent at the waist, clearly nauseous. “I take it there’s a victim in there?”

“Yes. Missing several internal organs.”
He tapped a pad in his hand.

The other officer who had been aghast at the organs missing, a local of Whitechapel, was gaping at how willingly Moore shared the information with this woman. He knew he recognized her, she owned a confectionery business and he’d taken his kid to try a new bit of candy at a store; she chose that one to make an appearance at and talk at length about her business and inspirations.

“I’ll want to see the write up soon,”
she said, glanced at the confused officer and smirked, before starting to walk by, calling back a: “I’ll come by the station to see it. You should head there so you don’t catch a cold.” Seren stepped around the confused cop and moved towards the open door to see the body herself, though someone called out and tried to warn her it was too gruesome. He was silenced by the commissioner, who made it vocally clear that Seren had his permission to examine the scene. The gaping man asked after her identity when he thought she couldn’t hear.

She heard the usual answer,
“Seren Vesper. That’s all you need to know.” And she tried not to snicker at the poor man’s predicament. It had always been easier to explain her father’s presence, the blond haired dog of the Queen, slick and suave, with an easy smile that belayed his cunning.

The amusement was killed soon enough. The sight was actually rather horrific, compared to the usual murders she saw the aftermath of. Few took the time with dissections of this nature.

The body’s torso was cut open, not brutally, but with precision as if the individual knew what they were doing. The intestines that were visible were pulled from the body, and draping off the bed to rest on the wooden planks of floor. The blood was everywhere, as with the stench of bowel movements. The stains on the bed were not blood alone, that much was clear.

The expression of the prostitute was a mask of painted horror, red lips and colored lids which she had a feeling were painted after the attack, given how nicely the face was beautified with the cosmetics. The throat was slit, so perhaps the woman had died before the dissection began.

Seren took a few steps to approach, cold green eyes taking in the sight in a distant way some could only hope for. She’d guessed right, the cuts on the torso was too precise to have been managed by an amateur. Seren bent over the corpse as some stared at her in surprise, debated going near to pull her away. The way the organs were removed also suggested expertise.
‘Narrows our suspect list down.’ Medical training of some sort, certainly.

Her finger traced the throat wound, trying to get a feel for what weapon might have been used.
‘Two different ones.’ The cut on the neck was not nearly as clean.

Her fingers moved to the opened flesh of the torso, traced the fragile skin up to the shoulder. It was there her fingers stilled, and her skin paled, turning her to a statue as the present vanished before her eyes, sights and sounds lost.

…And silver bars obscured the vision of dissection, but couldn’t block the dark eyes of the boy on the table, as she stared back from her corner, unable to break from the hypnotic trance. Those dark eyes were dead, numb, gone, despite the way he still took in breath. Despite the lengthy, blood-coated organ that hung unceremoniously—

—And it was the present, where icy-dead fingers recoiled from dead flesh, and the organ that hung unceremoniously from the bed was not near as fresh, near as bloody. Booted feet staggered backwards, reeling as the doctor yelled at a novice about the sloppy handiwork, the unnecessary, how one day, one day even that—
‘Don’t scream, don’t scream.’ Her ears strained to hear the present, her hand started to move up to press against her lips. She felt her booted foot step on something that wasn’t exactly the floor, and she lost her balance.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2013, 02:31:07 pm »
"Mm." Vastien answered quietly, looking outside the window as well. The sky was gray and storming, while the heavens roared and the frequent flashes of lightning were nice to look at, Vastien couldn't shake the tremendous boredom off. Seren had managed to doze off for quite a while, Vastien on the other hand had spent the trip having small bits of conversations with Barnaby or taking in the scenery around him. Finally, they had arrived at Whitechapel and Seren was on her feet the second Barnaby let them out. Unfortunately, the rush of energy that had come over her was not present in him, he slowly followed her to the gathering crowd taking shelter from the rain.

The commissioner's little comment irritated him, but he decided to ignore it. He knew the commissioner didn't like him, more importantly he didn't like how he followed Seren everywhere. While the other officers weren't as open as the commissioner was with Seren, it was quite funny to see how she completely threw them off and started barking orders. Her authority had an impressive reach, he grinned to himself, simply listening and not adding to the conversations. Removal of internal organs? The Ripper must have taken his time and had a little fun with the next victim, how bad could it be?

Upon seeing the corpse, Vastien's expression remained the same, it was a graphic and gruesome killing but it didn't bother him. Tch, big deal, so he cut out a--, Vastien's thoughts were interrupted upon looking closer at one of the bodily, bloody organs. Oh now that was new and horrible at the same time but why do such a thing? It served no purpose, sending a message perhaps? The incisions looked professional, linear and not too deep. He allowed Seren to handle the thorough investigation, he wasn't about get himself all bloodied.. again.

Just when he was about commend her for being so brave and non-lady like, Seren started backing away from the corpse almost as if startled by something. The way she covered her mouth said it all, the scene had gotten to her. The second she lost balance, his body moved on its own and caught her before she fell. He wasn't sure why, his body simply reacted, he could've let her fall and he wouldn't have been at fault. The weight of her body had come down so close to the floor when he caught her that he had to bend his knees to keep from dropping her. Lifting her up carefully, the stench of corpse was becoming heavy and was starting to make him a little sick. The tight hold he had on her was broken, Vastien immediately moving away from her, he wasn't sure if she'd find his interference strange or not.

"Are you alright? You look like you've seen a ghost." He whispered, arching an eyebrow, unfortunately concern was not present in his tone. Had it been a more serious situation then that would've been a different story. "That was a close one." Vastien added, looking at her once again to verify her well-being. Eh, she'd live, not every day a woman gets mutilated in such a fashion. He moved over to the body, just another dolled up prostitute, humans were so disgusting on the inside. He knew she must've felt embarrassed and Vastien sighed, shaking his head.

"Excuse me, Madam, but the Viscount is expecting us. Shall we get going?" He announced out loud for everyone to hear, the whole moment was priceless. Vastien nearly laughed at how respectful he was pretending to be, however if she played along, perhaps her near-fall would be overlooked. The commissioner would probably be more strict about letting her into crime scenes if he found out, something that wouldn't benefit Seren at all. This wasn't the first time Vastien had to bail her out of a situation, however it had never been for anything like this.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2013, 02:31:59 pm »
“Jonathan small?” Moriarty’s rasping harsh voice echoed in the office, a gold and black mahogany grandfather clock above Von Herders bar ticked pass a quarter till six.
“Garroted.” Moran replied she as compared her leather bound notes to his across the dark desk.
“James Wilcox?” Moriarty asked as he scratched out the pervious name on his list.
“Knifed and in the Thames.”
“Lord Holdeness?”
“Burnt alive with in his house, an accident in the gas mains.”
Moriarty looked up from his clean black leather note book with agitation. “I thought I told you to make creative use of his cocaine addiction, Moran.”
“Lord Holdeness had recently rid himself of that vice in such a way that it would appear too suspicious if he were to suddenly relapse. I adapted to the situation.”
“Excellent!” Moriarty scratched off the name “The Parsons Gang?”
“We eradicated all except Ulysses Parson’s youngest brother, Clide, who is only six and can’t bear witness. He will live on as an example of Mr. John Clay’s work.”
“Good, the Iren Addler problem?”
“She is paid up with interest, and the young prince will be receiving a letter with evidence of his incrimination and the suitable price of silence by the end of the week.” Moran turned a page of her tattered brown notebook as she read off the details of the case.
“And…” Moriarty leaned back in his leather chair, his expression was set in a tense and suspicious glare. “The Williaby brothers?”
Moran’s fierce blue eyes met his dark brown ones “Both garroted. By my own hand.”
“Good” Moriarty tense posture relaxed and he turned back to his book. “I am sorry Moran, I know you were fond of the Williaby Twins. But their actions against that young lady was far from civil, and you know that kind of attention is costly to us all.”
“I was not as fond of them as my commission sir.” She gave a subtle malicious smirk “ They pleased me well, but not at the cost of my lively hood. There will always be others.”
“yes, your loyalty is beyond question Moran.” Moriarty leaned forward to his notes again. “Pollock’s contact?”
Moran took a final sip from her brandy balloon, then placing it on the desk she pulled out a folded envelope and tossed it to Moriarty. It slid to a stop at his hand and he picked it up to examine it in the light. One corner of the white envelope was blotched heavily with crimson.
“Well done…” He smiled and opened the envelope. “Was this Lark’s work?”
“Yes sir. He handled it soundly and to our knowledge Pollock has not realized his exposure.”
“We shall see at six.” Moriarty replaced the letter after viewing it. “Increase Larks commission, he has done well over the last few months. It is time we rewarded his hard work.”
“A 10% bonus?” Moran flipped a few pages back and hovered a pen over a list of names.
“20%, the elimination of the disobedient will leave us with quite a surplus in payroll despite this Whitechapel business. It at lease gives us a opportunity to…”
There was a sudden rapping at the heavy doors. Moriarty shot a quick glance at the clock above the blind Von Herders head; It was a minute short of six.
“Someone is quite punctual, It is our French friend.” Moriarty brushed his striped black shirtdress and cleared his desk, placing the black notebook into the bottom draw of his desk. “I had hope Pollock would arrived first.”
“How are you so certain it is Monsieur Gagnon?” Moran quickly stood and folding up her notes she stuffed them into the depths of her tweed suit.
“Pollock would not wait at the door.” Moriarty pulled a black pipe from his desk and began to load it with shag tobacco. “His familiarity is a symptom of his treachery.”
Moran pushed both leather seats to the desk and strode to the door. With a firm jerk she opened it and met the dark eyes of Gagnon. Moran’s cold face gave pleased smile.
“Monsieur Gagnon.” She stepped aside and waved her hand for him to enter. “My master awaits you.”

The heavy doors whispered open on oiled hinges. Gagnon, hat already in hand, stepped forward, meeting Moran’s bright gaze.

“Monsieur Gagnon... My master awaits you.”

Gagnon smiled and bowed deeply, “Thank you.” He paused momentarily before turning his attention toward the stately gentleman seated behind the desk. Ms. Moran’s attire was as unconventional as it was appealing. The tweed suit, although hand-sewn with a man in mind, fit her nicely and gave her an air of authority. Gagnon mildly wondered what Delamere would say if he gifted her with a similar suit. It probably would not go over too well.

“Mr. Moriarty, I presume,” Gagnon, doing his best to erase his French accent, approached the exquisitely carved desk. The less he revealed of himself, the better. He had boldly chosen to keep his legal name as opposed to assuming a new one, a strategic choice that could very well spell death for him as well as his young ward. However, if by chance, Moriarty did decide to dig into his past, Gagnon had paid enough people off back in his home country to muddle any inquiry.

The older man was packing a pipe; Gagnon noted the fine-cut tobacco being used. He could think of at least five men back in France that sold only the finest tobacco-perhaps another gift idea to sweeten his chances of infiltrating Moriarty’s gang.

Walking stick and top hat in one hand, Gagnon ran his free hand through his dark wavy hair, “This is quite an exquisite office.” He looked around the room, the silver-gray hairs that peppered his sideburns stood out. Playing the part of the cocky thief, Gagnon boldly offered his right hand for Moriarty to shake, “The invitation to meet certainly was a pleasant surprise.” He smiled, “I am, however, wondering what took you so long.”

Moriarty thin black lips creased into an amused smile. At a glance He could see Gagnon was everything Moran championed him to be and more. The Man’s cool and subtle form, his steady, firm and penetrating gaze, the deep rich tones of an intelligent and experienced voice. He was everything Moriarty desired in an agent. His speech was perfected, save for the slight annunciation of the A that one had to be a linguist to distinguish as French from among the Irish, Scotts, Wales and Cockneys of England. Outwardly he looked no more menacing then any wisened lawyer or humble banker and yet, he had that thieving cunning of a man who knew his trade far too well not to be proud of it. Moriarty gave a slight glance to Moran, who was beaming with the pride for her discovery and pleased, he gave her a nod of satisfaction.

“Quite the contrary Mr. Gagnon,” Moriarty stood up from the desk and gripped Gagnon’s out stretched hand like a vice. “This meeting has actually been quite accelerated beyond our more common protocols. I am Professor Moriarty, Please, have a seat.” Moriarty waved one hand to one of the open leather chairs. “Would you like some of my Shag tobacco? It is the finest from south America. And please feel free to ask for drink, Mr. Von Herder may be blind but he is a superb Bar keep.” Moriarty sat and striking a match to his pipe took a long draw that he exhaled with a eased and pleasant composure before returning to his rigid self as Gagnon got situated.

“Understandably you have heard that my identity is somewhat a secret, for those in the know who whisper it carelessly are frequently silenced by Moran’s Piano wire. Thus you are aware now how rare a privilege it is that you are before me. Under normal circumstances we would have shadowed you for months before making contact, However its Moran’s judgment that you were an individual whose company I could not afforded offend and your exquisite gift was enough to get into her good graces. She, like all women, is easily impressed by rare gifts…but I am a man of function and I value ability over flattery. Moran has spoken of your aptitude for larceny, and that you have set up a coining and forgery operation as well? And black mail? Are these the only fields of skill you posses or have you more cards then those you hold on the table?”

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2013, 02:32:44 pm »

Gagnon tightened his fingers around Moriarty’s hand, matching the gangster’s vice-like grip.

“Please, have a seat.”

Gagnon smiled, “Thank you.” He lowered his tall frame into the chair. Gracefully crossing one leg over the other, Gagnon took a brief moment to survey his surroundings. To refer to the room as lavish would be an understatement. Moriarty, obviously, had expensive tastes and did not seem to restrain himself when it came to luxury.

“Would you like some of my Shag tobacco? It is the finest from south America. And please feel free to ask for drink, Mr. Von Herder may be blind but he is a superb Bar keep.”

Gagnon nodded his thanks, but refrained from ordering any drinks. Until he was able to gauge Moriarty’s true intentions, it was best to stay away from anything that could easily be altered or poisoned. After all, Gagnon had made quite a name for himself in the underworld, and had begun to encroach on Moriarty’s turf.

“... Moran has spoken of your aptitude for larceny, and that you have set up a coining and forgery operation as well? And black mail? Are these the only fields of skill you possess or have you more cards then those you hold on the table?”

Gagnon settled back in his chair, tenting his long fingers in front of his face. A thoughtful look clouded his dark eyes, and the man remained silent for a few moments.

“I wear many hats, Professor.” The haze lifted from his eyes, and they sparkled once more, “I am a master of all that you have listed, and so much more.” Gagnon glanced back at Moran, she seemed pleased with the meeting thus far. Perhaps this was a good sign.

“I not only have the ability to acquire rare pieces, but I also have the contacts in and out of country to move such items,” he glanced over at the barkeep, mildly wondering what sort of secrets he had heard over the years.

“Coining and forgery may bring in a steady stream of money,” his hands slipped down to his lap where his walking stick rested. He thoughtfully spun the cane in his hands, “But I was looking to branch out. While the money is steady, it rarely brings in large quantities at any given time. So, I made the inevitable jump to blackmail. And a much larger payoff.

“I own one of the largest opium dens in the city, and I oversee the distribution of laudanum not only in London but in many adjoining cities,” Gagnon paused, “But I am certain that you already know all of this.”

He sat forward, “So, come now. We are both intelligent men. Why did you so urgently need to meet with me?”

Moriarty sat back with a contented smile as Gagnon read off his list of talents. He was impressed indeed, for among his flock few had accomplished so much in London, even less so unobserved. And then as Gagnon spoke of his opium trade a dark change over came the professor. His eyes grew dark and glazed over with a distant almost dream like expression. Moran shifted uneasily as she saw her master go into this state, she knew well how closely Moriarty study the underworld, how he applied his mathematical genius to calculating the economical statistics, percentages and variables of the game. It was a sign that something had piqued Moriarty’s more calculating nature, and that was never a good omen.

Moriarty could not compute the percentage of Laudanum and opium by products pass through the docks, for it was always difficult to secure loyalty from sailors. But if a house had opened up, even a small one, Moriarty’s data would have detected the sudden change in the market and clientele would drift away from his house to the new source. Moriarty knew, as in astronomy, every action and entity had an effect and influence even if the object itself was unseen, Like a great planet obscure from view its influence in gravity would be detected among it’s neighbors. Moriarty’s opium dens were all forced to keep records of clients served, money collected and resources spent, so that any sudden change in the regularity of clientele would alert Moriarty to changes in the market, allowing him to adapt strategy. He scanned back in his mind all the previous records of the weeks, every district, every house, every client, His mind a flurry with statistics and percentages. He could not detect any significant change, and thus his mind shifted onto the problem. If his data were true…then Gagnon must be lying…but if his data was faulty…the Gagnon was among the most cunning he had ever encountered. There were many possible variables for error, X factors that had to be eliminated before the equation could be complete. His own agents faulty or fraudulent data was a common aspect these days, in addition the opium houses at the docks were also so unpredictable because of the coming and going of ships that a non-syndicated house could hide among it’s chaos. Then, of course, there could be some clever skill that Gagnon might have devised to hide his presence. Moriarty mind slowly began to return to reality as it exhausted all possible explanations and he, realizing his sudden change , nodded to Gagnon again with a please smile.

“Most impressive…I would like Moran to see the extent of your success here in London should you be interested in my offer.” Moriarty hid his suspicion under the same pleasant demeanor. “As For why I ask you here I will be honest. In London here is only room for one organization, placid as things are now between us in time there will always be conflict. To avoid this I offer you membership in my organization and in that I offer you much. You are a stranger here in London, but by now who have detected my agencies influence in many places. We are unlike any criminal organization in the world, we are unknown, separated, disorganized and individual, yet all connected, powerful and vicious. For the last thirdly years we have run London in the shadows and in the light, the law has no power over us for they cannot grasp the entity they face, what is left of the guild that once rivaled us is but a single individual, and the courts are so flush with our wealth and favors that not one of us has ever stood in the dock. Most importantly, we are ambiguous, seeded among the law-abiding public indistinct and undetectable. The Common public can’t tell a syndicate man from a copper, and even then find it hard to think him as a member of some organization that has no defining banner or creed that they have ever heard of. If you Indoctrinate with us, obey my simple rules, you’ll have freedom to pursue whatever it is you desire, with the assets and resources of many at your finger tips. so long as your grow and prosper so shall we, and so long as we grow and prosper so shall you.“ Moriarty leaned forward as he took a long draw from his pipe and locked his dark eyes with Gagnon’s, “So what say you to my offer?”

Usually two or three steps ahead of his prey, Gagnon rarely felt anxiety-rarely felt the pressure that came with uncertainty-but as he sat in that underground lounge, an unfamiliar sensation began to gnaw away at him. The uneasy feeling that this could all blow up in his face. His lies discovered, his true identity revealed. This would surely spell death for both Delamere and himself.

In a swirling dizzy mist, his mind suddenly left the underground lounge behind as it began to retrace the steps that brought him and his ward to London. The desperate plea for help from the Police Captain. The intense weeks that followed as he went to great lengths to erase his past and create a completely new identity. No, that was incorrect. The Victor Gagnon that existed now wasn’t that different from the Victor Gagnon that had existed back in France. He was still just as cold and calculating-still just as brilliant as he had been back home. He still relied heavily on Delamere to keep things running smoothly even when he slipped into one of his opium-induced comas. Yes, opium. He still partook when he could, and as one of the biggest distributors of the drug, he had found that his access had increased exponentially.

“Most impressive…”

Gagnon’s eyes cleared and he returned Moriarty’s smile. The anxiety that had been gnawing at him suddenly vanished, leaving behind a quiet confidence.

The older man was no fool, and would prove to be a bit more difficult to bring around. Moran, obviously, seemed taken by Gagnon’s prowess, but Moriarty was a bit more reserved. Gagnon may have to perform a miracle before he was completely trusted by the gangster. Or completely throw the man for a loop-catch him off guard...

“So what say you to my offer?”

Gagnon paused, “It is a generous offer, Mr. Moriarty.” He shifted in his chair and tapped his long fingers on his thigh, feigning doubt. “Forgive me if I come across as flippant, but I am already successful.” His eyes flicked from Moriarty’s emotionless expression back toward Moran. If someone was going to make a move to kill him, it would most likely be her. The bull that had initially escorted him down the elevator had searched him for weapons, but had failed to confiscate his walking stick which cleverly housed a slim-barreled .22. It was not a lot of fire power, but with his steady hand, a twenty-two caliber bullet was more than enough to drop an assailant.

His fingers wrapped around the golden ball at the top of the stick, ready to draw the pistol, should the need arise. “I have many contacts in place already that cater to my every whim.” He twisted the golden ball, “Forgive me, but I only see how this merger benefits you.”

Moriarty threw his head back in a fit of harsh rasping laughter. This Gagnon was not a man to be intimidated or trifled with, a Man of steel nerves, it was no use trying to sweeten him into the deal. It was time to enlighten him to the raw reality of the malicious ‘offer.’

“Indeed.” Moriarty shook his pipe admiringly at Gagnon. “The benefits are few…membership in the largest criminal organization in London, access to a sophisticated system of money laundering, arms dealing, political swindling, gambling rackets and prostitution rings, Legal, political and law protection, vast new business contacts that spans continents, and rare technology and talent recruited from across the globe. But all of these I am sure a man of your skill could accumulate in your own with time.” He took a deep draw of the black pipe and gave a smile that for first time that night showed the true monster within, and with it fell all his pleasant formalities. “However these are all great in consideration of the alternative. Know that you’re not the first to enter this arena with us, Sir Gagnon. Two years ago a large section of the Irish organization known as the North Ireland paddy whacks, displaced by the famine, attempted to established a foot hold in London among the other migrating Irish communities. We didn’t notice them for several months, but when we did, We offered them the same option. Sam Mcbrewer, the organization’s head, Passed on the offer in his arrogance and confidence of arms. Do you know what happened to them?” Moriarty’s vicious grin widened as he raised his hand up, “They simply…” he snapped his fingers. “…disappeared. There was no bloody street war, No violent headlines in the papers, Not even a single gunshot. The attack was so swift, so ingenious, so well calculated as an apparent collection of coincided 'accidents' that by the time the Irish realized what was happing their entire leadership was gone and the lost and wayward soldiers became slaves to the syndicates whims.” Moriarty’s dark eyes fixed on Gagnon. “They passed on what I did offer, not considering that it was what I didn’t offer that they should have valued. And so it was with the Triads before them, and the cockney street gangs, and the Italians and so on.” Moriarty sat back, His vicious eyes passed over Gagnon, a momentary glance at the subtle way he held his cane, then back to his eyes. “I respect and admire you Mr. Gagnon, but you are a man who can be a powerful ally or a dangerous enemy, and I must know on which side of the fence you will stand.” His face seemed to soften again for a moment. “Do know, Should you accept, you will be no mere soldier, but among the upper command beside the likes of Moran, a man of your talent would be placed nowhere else in our organization. So…” Again Moriarty leaned over the desk expectantly, the tense air in the room heightened as Moran also leaned in to hear Gagnon’s reply. “what say you?”

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2013, 02:33:31 pm »

‘Owner of the corners….’

Seren expected to hit the floor, and wake from the dream. The bars would be back, and the scent of pork would be in the air, teasing her with a future that would never be. Instead, she was caught. Her hand muffled the sound, the feel of another quite unexpected and undesirable in the state between past and ‘future’. Hands could only mean she was the next one, the next one to finally succumb and have such a dead gaze.

However, her eyes recognized the one who helped her up soon enough, before she could further embarrass herself, and she didn’t add to his troubles of helping her up.

She was quick to brush herself off, white hands moving down the darker fabric as Vastien commented on her slip. No concern, it wasn’t necessary. She’d simply tripped. A fall wouldn’t kill her, she wasn’t that fragile.
‘Ghost says it well enough.’ “Fine.” [/COLOR]She answered, curt and to the point. Self-loathing threatened to kick in as she cast her eyes about to try and estimate how many had noticed; it looked like most had been occupied, or were now pretending to be occupied, except one other young woman Seren noticed. She raised an eyebrow, but didn’t go to speak with her. Vastien interrupted such thoughts.

The way he addressed her so formally that took the chill of death from her fingers. She held the laughter inside as a ghost of a smile crossed her lips.
“You’re right, we are behind schedule now.” Seren agreed, playing along to escape the uncomfortable situation and the room. If there was gratitude for the ‘reminder’, it wasn’t expressed.

Her eyes darted once more to the body before she moved for the exit, though. For seconds that seemed like a minute, she etched it into her memory, laid it over the past.
‘Such sloppy handiwork, all these unnecessary cuts, must I do ever—’ A blink, and it was gone. The prostitute was there, dead. No one was going over the handiwork. It was expertly done.

She turned and walked back out, avoiding the eave. The rain felt good, cool and refreshing. She stood in it as she moved to the commissioner.
“Moore, I will be by before the sun is down. Please inform someone at the station, or be there yourself so that I may go over the case.”

“You’re going to catch your death in the rain,”
he said, his touch of concern present. Despite it all, the commissioner still worried over her. When she didn’t answer, a flustered sigh escaped him, “Fine, I’ll have it done, but you sure you want to waste the time?” A touch of a sneer, “You always say we never produce any good information.”

Seren let that smile widen on her lips,
“Why, Commissioner, wherever else would I get information?”

It was the reminder that he’d nearly slipped in front of his officers that caused him to curse, and turn away, knowing he was dismissed. Seren turned and walked off into the rain. She approached Barnaby, handed him a bit of money and instructed him on the hotel to go to, and get himself a room. His services would not be necessary, at least for a little while. She didn’t explain it verbally to Vastien as she left Barnaby to find the hotel, seemingly ignorant of the bothersome rain and how there was no way she was presentable to see the Viscount with her blonde hair sticking to the sides of her face as the downpour continued.

Vastien followed Seren out into the rain, really wanting to get out of the rain as soon as possible. The way Seren made the commissioner look like a fool in front of his officers was quite the sight. She was so young and could put the hardened commissioner in his place if she felt the need too. If he learned anything from his 'master', it was that she never got into the details if it wasn't necessary. Her true intentions were hazy and apparently Vastien wasn't on the need-to-know basis either. Then again, who would trust a demon with such vital information? Not like he cared anyway, he was in it for her soul and nothing more.

"Into the belly of the beast, eh?" Vastien said, leaning in and whispering into Seren's ear as the two walked away. Vastien turned his head, exchanging glances with the commissioner one last time and Vastien didn't even try to hide his devilish smirk. He knew the commissioner didn't trust him, the fool probably even believed that ever since Vastien came into the picture that Seren had changed. He was always in her shadow, 'advising' her, Vastien was a shady-looking character and who knew what trouble he was getting Seren involved with. All this snooping around and playing detective was hardly Vastien's idea however, it was all her doing. Perhaps he saw Vastien as some vile serpent, coiling around Seren and injecting her with venomous lies and deception. Vastien's smirk had to annoy the commissioner because he knew he could do nothing about it. Once Barnaby was dismissed, Vastien knew they weren't going to be visiting the Viscount.. yet. For whatever reason they weren't going, he was filled with delight not having to endure that man's presence for a little longer.

For once her plans weren't a bother but he wouldn't admit that to her, it would be hard to believe seeing Vastien thanking Seren for something. The rain wasn't doing either of their appearances' any justice, his long, dirty blonde hair matted to his forehead and the sides of his face. His coat peppered with the constant downpour, it seemed they would walk for now. The sudden change in plans were only sudden to him since once again he was not informed on the course of action. In a way, he preferred it like that, kept him from getting too involved or attached to her cause. Emotion was the last thing a demon like him would want, he had to constantly remind himself why he didn't just devour Seren's soul and be done with it.

"If not the Viscount, I hope wherever we're going is nearby, the rain doesn't seem like it will subside any time soon." Leaning his head forward, allowing his soaked, blond hair to fall forward, his hands wringing the water out of it. Swinging his head back, his hair fell back into place, slightly shivering from the cold rain. The sky lit up from a flash of lightning pursued by its audible, ferocious thunderclap. Oh great, a thunderstorm, Vastien thought to himself. The direction they were headed was the slums, the red-light district, the Underworld, so that was her plan.

His voice at her ear had a sent a shiver down her spine that the rain couldn’t do, but it was a convenient excuse. Fortunately, he made no note of it, and she brushed her wet hair back, walked on until he spoke up regarding destinations. She’d thought it evident by now, but glanced back as he, also, shivered. A touch of mocking sympathy graced her expression, smile giving away its falsehood,
“I forget you’re practically a cat when it comes to rain. We’re going to see an old friend.”

Her attention returned forward as the sights became more and more familiar. Though she recognized the scenery, she herself was not well recognized, which was what she liked, though she kept her eyes open for any of the thieves who might stupidly try to pickpocket her, clothing giving away her nobility. The air of confidence she walked with tended to dissuade most; though none would say she fit in, it was clear she belonged.
“You recall Johnathon Miller?” She inquired of Vastien as she noted with some curiosity the number of women who, to her, were evidently prostitutes had not diminished in lieu of this news. Johnathon Miller was the head ‘pimp’ of the area, not charged with brothels, but charged over the true street walkers. Street walkers who, if they were sane, would not be working.

Evidently, they were not sane, or were under others, because the number hanging near businesses, under eaves, seemed more than normal, especially for this hour. Seren would be surprised, if she didn’t see the tactic.
‘So, you are certainly aware.’ Her smile widened a touch. Well, at least when she sent for Moran, the woman would have information on the subject. Much as she detested Moran, she did like to see her squirm under the threat of the Vesper getting more involved.

'A cat? A jungle cat perhaps.' Yes, that was more suited than its domesticated relative, cats weren't terrifying but lions and tigers were and so was Vastien.. when it wasn't raining. He had the name before, the amount of prostitutes roaming the streets looking for customers was unbelievable. News of the killings surely even trickled down to the slums of Whitechapel, if anything, the number of street whores should've diminished. Seren's rich clothing, Vastien's expensive greatcoat, were they some foolish tourists, the way crime was these days? They were potential targets alright and the prostitutes were like animals, approaching their prey and basically throwing themselves on them. These women were desperate and would do anything for a few pounds, Vastien wasn't interested in these filthy women at all.

"Sounds familiar, never knew we were friends with a pimp though." He shook his head, constantly keeping an eye on the impoverished denizens of Whitechapel, who knew what ideas of crime were running through their heads. "Just so we're clear, if things ever go real bad, am I entitled to do what needs to be done to get us out of there?" He hadn't taken Seren with him while flying before because the need never arose and he was sure she wouldn't appreciate his wild and fast flying. While he doubted he would ever have to morph into his demon form, his human form could only take so much punishment and he had no problem 'cleaning up' any witnesses with his powers, unfortunately Seren had the final say.

"Need some company, handsome? 20 pounds and I'm all yours." One of the prostitutes approached them, he rolled his eyes and kept walking.
"Get lost, wench." He replied with an annoyed tone, knowing full well she'd keep bugging them.
"Aww, don't be that way. You can call me whatever you want for the right price." He could smell the liquor on her breath, she could barely walk straight and he wasn't sure if she lost balance and tripped or purposely threw herself at him, whatever the case he felt lips graze his ear. How dare she put her filthy lips on him? Vastien's hand wrapped around her throat, the flesh on her neck beginning to sizzle and he angrily shoved the drunk prostitute onto the sidewalk, the woman landing on her bottom and she cried out in pain, snarling menacingly and was poised to attack. She rolled around in pain and most likely passed out from the pain and the alcohol. He felt eyes on him and knew Seren wouldn't approve of him killing the whore then and there. He calmed down, his anger settling and nobody bothered to help the woman back up.

He looked at Seren, that was one side that he rarely let loose, he wasn't sure how she would react. For the most part, Vastien has proven to be stable, to keep his powers and anger under control, but this was new. Straightening his greatcoat, he picked up his pace returned to walking beside Seren, not wanting to speak of the incident.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2013, 02:34:41 pm »
It was almost amusing, the predatory looks of the women as they walked by, all eying Vastien, and then her, debating. At Vastien’s inquiry, her lips pursed in thought. “If you understand the word need.” Seren answered, speaking slowly as she tried to consider a way to explain it to him. “If a fuss can be avoided, it will be avoided. If not…then yes. Do as needed.” Priorities were priorities. Her life and her cause came even before her want of avoiding fusses.

It was then one of those bimbos approached, dark haired and exotic, but drugged up. The swagger of her walk wasn’t just because of the ungodly heels. Seren kept walking, as did Vastien, until there was a fall. Seren took a few more steps before the sound and scent of burning flesh drew her attention. Spinning around, she nearly cried out for him to stop, but bit it back. The woman was on the ground by then, passed out, neck burned. Seren lifted her gaze to glare at Vastien as he walked back to her after straightening up his greatcoat. She waited, her anger far more patient than his. She resumed walking when he had caught up, but spoke not a word, frustration stilling her tongue for once.

That was too close…far too close to revealing his nature amongst such a crowd.

A clap of thunder seemed to take on her rage and push it out in its pulse. That, or perhaps sight of Miller’s fabric store caused her to calm, as her posture relaxed and she stepped ahead of Vastien in order to enter the cover store.

The little bell rang as she entered. Her eyes immediately locked with the brown ones of Johnathon.
“Aw, hell.” Seren only smirked at the greeting, didn’t bother with speaking. “Figured I’d see you or Moran soon.”

“You haven’t seen the lovely woman?”

“Not yet.”

“Pity.” For the sake of the few customers and other employees, Seren went on to add, “I need to discuss acquiring quite a bit of silk and wool for the show she and I are to be in. The costumer is getting impatient.” Attention immediately drifted away as she walked across the wooden planks of the floor. “Shall we go to discuss this order?”

“I suppose,” he muttered and pushed himself away from a counter, “Benny, take care of things, don’t disturb me till I return unless Moran shows up.” With that, the dark haired man led the way back to his office without so much as a look back at Vastien. He opened the door, “After you, Lady Vesper.” He hesitated a beat, “Ba’al.”

“Thank you,” Seren smiled warmly as she walked into the room and took a seat across from a desk.

“Would you like any tea?”

It was really a stupid question. “Yes, thank you. You are being quite hospitable today, John.” Seren answered, noted the look Johnathon passed to Vastien to ascertain whether or not he wanted any.

He knew Seren wouldn't be happy but she didn't punish him right away which was worse. Whether she wanted him to squirm or she was accumulating and taking note of all his screw-ups, whatever the case, Vastien didn't like it. The two arrived at Miller's fabric store, Johnathon Miller, another one of Seren's contacts that he couldn't stand. The employees and customers in the store stared at him, humans tended to feel a chill sweep past them whenever Vastien was near them. There was always something about Johnathon, humans were liars by nature but this man was something else. He never mentioned it to Seren because he never felt the need, it was like Johnathon said one thing but really meant another thing. Shrugging, he walked around the store until it was time to get down to business and he followed Seren into Miller's office.

"Still specializing in women's clothing eh, Miller?"
He said in an uncaring tone, there was a lack of enthusiasm in his little joke. They spoke of Moran, yes he had met her once, that woman had a similar swagger to Seren's. Both women demanded respect and they damn well received it, Vastien had spoken no more than a few lines of conversation to her.

When the tea was offered, he noticed Johnathon's leg shaking, and he began drumming his fingers on his desk anxiously soon after. He remained standing, looming over Seren, casting his shadow on Johnathon. He figured Seren still was upset with him and he didn't feel like digging his grave even deeper, so he accepted the tea. He watched the man leave the room for a moment and he returned with the teapot and only two cups. Two? Something was up.

"No tea, John?" Vastien asked, taking the steaming cup of tea that was poured for him. Johnathon nearly spilled Seren's cup when he posed the question, Vastien was surprised to see John look at him with a grin.
"Not a fan of this blend, Benny loves it though." Johnathon ran a hand through his hair nervously and passed Seren her cup, waiting for the two to drink the tea. He could see the malice in Johnathon's eyes, no he couldn't read the man's mind, but his evil intent was as clear to Vastien as daylight.
"If you say so."  Vastien didn't buy it. When Johnathon noticed that Vastien was stalling and examining the cup, the leg began quivering again. Blowing on the surface of the tea, he brought the cup to his lips, but before the tainted beverage could enter his mouth, his nostrils picked up a bitter scent coming from the tea. His eyes widened and he threw the cup on the floor, letting the undissolved contents of arsenic powder spill out.

"Seren, don't drink the tea! It's poison." He exclaimed, making sure she was alright and didn't drink the tea. Johnathon's face was in shock, how the hell did he know? His hand quickly reached for the revolver in his desk, aiming it at Seren, she was the target. Before Johnathon could even think of shooting her, Vastien had already vaulted over his desk, tackling Johnathon to the floor and savagely beating the man with his fists. Vastien rose, his hand clutching Johnathon's throat and with one arm, he lifted the man and pressed his back against the wall, the vice-like grip around his throat would kill him in no less than a minute. Their eyes locked for a moment and it was just a little mind games, but Vastien forced Johnathon into a state of mind where he'd experience and suffer in his own personal Hell for a few hours. All his phobias, horrible experiences, nightmares, everyone he's ever wronged were present and could drive him insane.

The nice, walnut oak desk Johnathon had went to waste once Vastien removed him from the wall and slammed him right through it. Picking up the boiling pot of tea, he wanted to pour it all over the man's face but he was suffering enough as it was. Johnathon rolled around on the floor, his hallucinations were so vivid and frightening that he began shouting and begging for mercy. He was talking to himself of course and Vastien was still fuming, relaxing was still in progress. Placing a hand on Seren's shoulder, he finally understood why she needed his help. People like this had murdered her family and now they were threatening to kill her too.

"Are you alright, Seren?" He looked at the hand on her shoulder and withdrew it, offering to hand her the pot of tea. "Would you like to do the honors?" He smirked, wondering if almost being poisoned was enough for Seren to have a little fun. Surely spilling boiling tea on her assassin would be loads of fun, right?

Seren could be labeled a tea snob, but it had developed early in life, one of the few things her father had immediately tried to train her in, was recognizing when something was poison. Even if Seren were not bound to take up the mantle one day, it was possible someone would try to poison her simply for the relation. Simply to hurt that man. Early in her career as his replacement, it had been more common—still not often, up until she and Moran had a little chat that sent orders to all to cooperate with her.

Every now and then, one would slip up, thinking they’d be rewarded for killing her at last, thinking the guild would die without her.

Johnathon set the cup down before her. It was his first mistake. The smell wafted over to her as he began to pour, and she could see the flecks of powder in the mixture. If he had poisoned someone before, successfully, they must have been idiots. Seren feigned ignorance as she accepted the cup, breathed in what was once a delicious earl gray blend, one with a hint of a lavender she knew as ‘Lady Grey’.
“Black tea,” she nodded her approval, might have settled into questioning after feigning a sip, were it not for Vastien’s exclamation. She glanced towards him with a little smirk, “I know.” Calm as ever. She hardly reacted when she saw the gun.

There was no need, after all. Vastien took the matter into his own hand, and Seren sighed, wished the tea wasn’t poisoned so she could add another tally.
‘Remember to explain ‘need’.’ The fuss of this was bound to alert at least Benny, if he walked down the corridor. The room was at least pushed relatively far into the back for just these reasons, though usually Johnathon was the giver and not the receiver.

Seren considered calling Vastien off, but didn’t, let him have his fun as she wondered if there really was enough arsenic to kill her, deciding as the man was pinned to the wall that the tea would taste bad. It wasn’t worth the risk. The smirk remained on her lips as she watched Johnathon’s eyes, knowing what Vastien was doing. It was quite a good way to torture someone, as Johnathon soon made obvious by his hollering. The poor desk, though, was destroyed. Seren winced at the sound, quite sure that was going to carry.

Vastien’s hand fell on her shoulder. Of all things, that caused her to jump. She settled with ease and looked up at the demon, smiled despite the new tally she’d added.
“Perfectly fine, Vastien. Thank you,” she glanced at the pot as it was offered, his hand removed from her shoulder. She still felt the hot cup in her hand, and with a glance to Johnathon, knew it was going to take something to snap him out. Cold water would be better, but beggars couldn’t be choosers. “I have enough,” she said as she rose from her seat, let the purse slip off to rest in her place. “Such a waste of good tea,” there were footsteps moving towards the room. “Since you’ve let the store hear you, see what you can do to keep them from worrying much.” The tone was dismissive, controlled, as she walked around the splintered desk to Johnathon, bent, and picked up his gun in her free hand. No good letting him get that again, particularly if Vastien needed to leave the room to deal with this new issue the fuss had caused.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2013, 02:35:30 pm »
"..Right." There was never a moment where Vastien wasn't occupied, such tranquility came once in a while. It was always some other objective or request, he proceeded to the door and allowed Seren to do what she wished with her assassin. He would have to deal with the staff and customers, what joy. Shutting the door behind him, Benny arrived on the scene right on time and tried to look into his boss's office even though it was closed.

"What's going on? We heard some loud noises." Benny asked, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Ah Benny, Lady Vesper and Johnathon came to a compromise and Johnathon insisted we have some drinks to celebrate. He was telling us an outrageous tale and I was simply going to use the latrine." Vastien said calmly, masking his true intent, and shoving his hands into his pockets.
"Hmm, I'm going to see if John needs some more tea.. excuse me." answered Benny, pushing past Vastien only to get slammed against the wall, a faint thud echoing through the hall, not loud enough for anyone to hear. His hands covered Benny's mouth to keep from shouting, choking the air out of his lungs.
"Better yet, how about you go back to the front and tell them everything's just fine?"

Benny wouldn't be able to refuse, his words were so tempting, weak-willed humans gave in the easiest. He released Benny and the man fell to his knees trying to regain his breath. He turned around and headed to the front, explaining that Johnathon had a couple of drinks. Vastien let out a sigh of relief, glad that was over. Anymore intruders like that and Vastien would have to start incapacitating and hiding them because this was getting bad.

Slipping back into the room, Vastien walked over to the shelf with the assorted liquors, pouring himself a glass of whiskey. If there was one thing the humans got right it was liquor, he was more tolerant than most humans and he needed large doses to feel the effects. This didn't mean he was an occasional drinker, moments such as these like foiling an assassination attempt deserved a little celebration.

"Never thought he had it in him, you don't think someone else gave him the order, do you?" He asked, sipping the whiskey and leaning against the shelf.

Once Vastien had stepped out, Seren tipped the cup over Johnathon’s face. The sputtering from the action soon turned to lucid comments and lucid actions. Beaten though he was, he found the strength to get up into a sitting position and back himself into a wall. Seren set the cup on a portion of the desk not ruined. Controlled as ever, she stepped to Johnathon and pointed the gun down at him. “Perhaps now you’ll tell me about the Jack the Ripper murders, and who had the brilliant idea to put more whores on the street?” Though derisive, she did mean brilliant, and was quite sure it wasn’t Johnathon.

Her attention was in two places, listening to the door in case Vastien, for whatever reason, failed, and on Johnathon.

“Y-yes, of course,” his hand ran back through his wet hair,
“It was their stupid idea to put more of the whores on the street, I got a telegraph earlier about it.” Their only meant the higher ups, Moran, or the ones she’d yet to meet, though she suspected a singular figure rather than a council. Some had tried to persuade her otherwise. The derisive tone, however, was interesting, queer. Moran wouldn't approve. “Jack the Ripper? I don’t know much about him.” Something at least. Seren was quietly pleased with that. “He targets the whores, he doesn’t seem to have any type except young, and the area’s Whitechapel. Heard a rumor there were actually two involved,” her eyebrows raised, “Some of the whores were talking about a retard with a large bit of money that, unless he’s some goddamn heir, he couldn’t have, and none of’em recognize him as an heir. Whoever’s doing the job is an expert, or something. No retard could,” he suggested, “Takes out the organs.”

“A doctor most likely,”
Seren agreed,

Vastien slipped in at that point, and Seren lowered the gun. Vastien’s presence alone was a large enough threat, as evident in the change in the man’s disposition.
“Who told you this?”

“Amrita, one of the Indian women. Said he was new, began showing up a little before the murders. Not the only one, though. Few others that are new, the women know’em.”

Seren nodded, figured it wouldn’t be impossible to find this Amrita as Vastien grabbed himself a drink. She wasn’t sure how plausible this was, but going to the women for information on new men might be a good start either way.

Vastien posed an interesting question. The nervous tics of the man returned with it.
“Do you deny it?” Seren inquired vocally as the man began to rise back to his feet.

“Of course I do,”
shaking leg, certainly not from injury. “I’d be a fool to betray them.”

“Unless they’re finally losing their grip.”
Seren shrugged, “As the murders suggest, and how often I’ve been bothered of late. Is there someone else I ought to be seeing to conduct business with, Johnathon?”

The wait, the beat of silence and slip in posture said it all,
“Never mind.” She walked back to the chair, her purse, set his gun down, “Send word to Moran. Follow my direction exactly.” The telegraph device was there, fortunately unharmed, having an area to itself in the corner. John approached it, waited for further direction. It was a Cooke and Wheatstone device, lacking the letters ‘q’ ‘j’ and ‘z’. “Send this: S-e-n-d M-o-r-a-n t-o t-h-e f-a-b-r-i-c s-t-o-r-e J-o-h-n i-s d-e-a-d.”

The look on his face once he’d spelled it out was priceless, and he turned around immediately.
“P-please, Seren, I—”

She interrupted him with a snap of her fingers. She didn't want to hear anymore blubbering. She didn't even care if he'd confess to other allegiances. His life had ended when he tried to kill her, his use now expired.
“He is yours, Vastien. Just be quiet."

While she didn't say it, Vastien knew that Seren wouldn't be so forgiving on Johnathon's behalf. He knew the moment was coming, casually strolling over to the two, enjoying the whiskey, still keeping to himself. He could hardly contain his amusement as he spelled out the message, it took Johnathon longer than it should have. As soon Seren gave the order, the whiskey glass shattered over Johnathon's skull, the shards of glass implanted in different spots on his head. He ignored the broken pieces of glass that stuck into his palm, a small price to pay, Vastien thought. Johnathon dropped to a knee, groaning in pain as blood slowly oozed from his new head wound. Johnathon rose to his feet but could barely stand, Vastien's fingernails were replaced by sharp claws which easily slashed through Jonathon's throat. His neck began leaking like a small fountain, kicking his boot at John's chest, launching the man against a wall.

"Might want to turn away." Vastien warned, watching someone's soul being torn out was not a pretty sight. Johnathon looked at Vastien in terror, choking on his own blood and he allowed Johnathon to see what he truly was. There was some red-skinned monster towering over him, he was dressed in some strange armor, horns on his head and wings extending out of his back. Johnathon cowered in fear, pointing at Vastien and trying to back away into the wall.

Placing a hand on Johnathon's forehead, after a while, his eyes rolled into the back of his skull, the life being drained out of him. Vastien was trying to keep himself standing, but his soul was so delicious. Johnathon was a pure example of a Ripe soul, pulling his hand away, an ethereal, astral version of Johnathon being pulled out of his body. Opening his mouth, he literally devoured Johnathon's soul and nearly collapsed onto the table next to him. Vastien rested his head on the table, the kick from absorbing a Ripe soul was stunning. Other than the fatal throat slash, without his soul, Johnathon looked like he died from natural causes.

Once, he recovered, Vastien stood up straight, energy coursing through his veins. He felt rejuvenated and indestructible again, whoever wanted Seren dead, let them come because they would have to deal with an empowered Vastien. His tremendous appetite had been filled and he was actually smiling when turned around to face Seren, still not over how great souls tasted, it just had been so long.

"While I feel ridiculous for admitting this, the prostitutes may have some vital information."

Seren knew well the monster she was letting loose, didn’t bother to tell Vastien not to dirty up the place. He’d have to clean it up, after all. Moran would be on her way. It’d be in bad tastes to show her into such a filthy room.

Seren didn’t wince at Johnathon’s pain. There was enjoyment to be had in watching it, though not much. Vastien suggested she look away as his form contorted. Seren usually did, finding more entertaining things to do when Vastien went about ingesting souls, but she’d seen it before. Watching it let her know what was in her future, and she’d like to know so she didn’t die a mess like Johnathon.

There was nothing entertaining to do, but to humor Vastien she pretended to examine the gun of Johnathon, though her eyes strayed towards the towering figure Vastien had become, wings and all. It ought to be terrifying, but she was amused with how easily impressed Johnathon was in his final moments. The seconds ticked by, until Vastien removed the soul, clearly enjoying himself far too much. The ethereal Johnathon was devoured cleanly, not a speck of ethereal residue left behind.
‘Does it hurt?’ It was the only question Seren had, but never asked. Admitting such a fear of pain, wanting the last moment to be pleasant, of all things, was ridiculous. Undeserved.

Seren smiled as she rolled her eyes when the demon collapsed from his orgasmic experience. It didn’t take him long to recover, standing up straight and even smiling.
“Yes, the prostitutes likely have a decent amount of information. I will track down the one he named later. It would not do for me to be absent after asking for Moran.” She offered the gun out to Vastien, “Nor can we greet her with such a mess here—you’ll have to clean up after yourself. Honestly, Vastien,” a chiding tone, playful, despite it all, “Though I do envy the delight you get from simply eating, even if I can hardly believe that thing was a Ripe.” To think Johnathon could compare to her in the department of souls. It was almost sickening. “I should hire a better chef.” More an afterthought, though, as she wondered if food for humans could ever be so delightful.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2013, 02:36:10 pm »
"Guess I got a little carried away." Vastien said, wiping his lips with the back of his hand, turning to stare at the corpse. He slowly reverted back into his human form and although he hadn't eaten anything since the morning, his human stomach was filled and satisfied. "I admit I've had better but beggars can't be choosers." Taking the revolver, he handled it with little care, staring at the human weapon, hardly impressed. Such a quick, cheap way to kill someone. He had been shot plenty of times and it was annoying to be hit by those tiny metal pellets but it would take quite a lot of bullets to kill him indefinitely.

Fortunately, blood wasn't impossible to get off but getting the stains off of his particular greatcoat was too much work. Stepping out into the hall, a door to what looked like a broom closet was slightly open. Vastien returned into the late Johnathon's office with a bucket of water and several rags who were permanently tinted with pink stains. It wasn't the first time those rags had cleaned warm blood off those floors and it also wasn't the first time Vastien had cleaned up a murder scene before. Dumping the bloody mess with bleach and hot water, Vastien quickly got to work, expertly rinsing of any evidence. Even the body had been hauled into a back room, Vastien's bloodied greatcoat covered the corpse and he shut the door, taking his mind off the incident. Luckily, his clothes under his greatcoat were shielded from the carnage and he returned to pick up the large chunks of desk that had splintered and shattered from Johnathon being put right through it.

Essentially, Vastien had only cleaned up the blood and stuffed all the incriminating evidence in the closet, his greatcoat would simply have to be burned later. He had plenty of greatcoats anyway, having to dispose of one wouldn't be the end of the world. Still, it was a damn shame, that was one of his favorites. Moran would be meeting with them very soon and even he wasn't sure how that meeting would play out, but perhaps Seren would play nice for now, it was clear she wanted something from Moran and nothing would be accomplished if Seren released Vastien's leash once again. He wasn't too happy as the role of an attack dog but he could provide Seren with better protection than a dozen bodyguards.

He picked up a table and set it where Johnathon's old desk was at, the desk had occupied much space and the room felt deserted. Pulling out the large chair in which Johnathon usually sat in, he expected Seren to take that seat when Moran arrived. Vastien usually stood next to Seren, looking down at the person or people they were meeting with, he usually made those meeting with Seren uncomfortable and uneasy. Even without Vastien for added intimidation, Seren was very convincing, it was difficult to refuse Seren anything if Vastien was present. Completely aware of his ominous aura that saturated the air around him, he could shatter a human's resolve with a simple exchange of glances. If staring at Vastien in the eyes wasn't enough to persuade someone to do as he wished, making physical contact was the next step and that usually did it for everyone. The touch of the devil chipped away at a victim's physical, emotional, mental and psychological defenses, it would take a strong-willed human to resist his touch.

"If it makes you feel any better, I'm sure your soul is much tastier, Seren." Vastien said jokingly, however he intended to find out eventually. It would all be fun and games until the fateful day that Vastien could claim his prize. The last soul of the Vesper bloodline, sounded like quite the prize when it was put that way. "I'll dispose of the tea, wouldn't want Moran craving a cup, correct?" How terrific that would be, Vastien thought to himself.

Vastien went about cleaning the area, and Seren walked about, examining what little there was to go through when the desk was removed, expecting to find something wholly unrelated to the task at hand. She ought to search the drawers, but she didn’t feel up to it right then. Before the evidence was wholly destroyed, perhaps. She might leave that task to Moran, though—after all, she wasn’t the one who really had to worry about it. Seren would see about having Johnathon taken to an undertaker, at least. She’d note the death to the commissioner, and that would be all. Moore would do his own investigating, of course, but in the end it would be concluded that he couldn’t arrest Seren for it.

Seren kept herself distracted a while. It wasn’t until Vastien brought in a table, and then a chair, that she gave notice to his activities, torn away from flipping through a book on stitches that could be made. She set it aside, not finding what she wanted hidden within its pages. She approached the chair, running her fingers over it, before deciding it would suffice. She retrieved her purse, calmly took out her own small-frame revolver, and then took her seat with the revolver near at hand, atop the table. She’d be able to grab it quickly, but it was really just for show.

The next step was to take out her notebook, the fountain pen, and made note of Johnathon’s hint at another power coming into play. She’d quiz Moran on it, but doubted that woman would give up much, lest Seren felt like changing the playing field.

She clicked the pen shut as Vastien spoke, words written, but she didn’t yet close it. The ink would stain the page if she did it too quickly.
“A little better,” Seren admitted, amused with her own arrogance on the matter. She shut her eyes and leaned back in the seat, stretched her hands up as she shook her head. They fell back to rest on her purse, “Leave the tea. We should offer a cup to Moran, let her know John made it, and see if she notices anything amiss.” Seren fully expected Moran to notice it. If not, it wasn’t her problem that stupidity was running rampant.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2013, 02:36:33 pm »
As Moran and Moriarty waited Gagnon’s responds the gold telegraph machine click to life in the corner of the office. Von Herder shuffled out from his place behind the bar and move to it, his sensitive finger catching and lifting up the line of tallied paper that emerged from. He ran his fingers over it, the smooth indentations communicating the message to him. He tensed and turned to the desk. Moriarty raised an eyebrow from his fixed gaze on Gagnon, a motion for Moran to investigate.

“What is it?” She hissed at the blind German as she approached. Von Herder handed her the small strip of paper. She eyed it. “what!?” she scoffed in amazement. It was apperent some grave transgression had occurred that required her immediate attention and yet she felt uneasy of leaving Moriarty alone with Gagnon. Gagnon had proven to be far more capable then she or her master had suspected, but was he deadly? Dangerous? The tension between the two as they glared each other down made her concerned, and yet, duty called elsewhere. And Pollock too had to be dealt with. She pondered the thought for a moment, then finally moved to Moriarty.

“Master, A urgent issue requires my attention.”

“What?” Moriary gave her the thinnest of sidelong glances. “Now?”

“There seems to be a problem in the leisure division in whitechapel.”

“Miller?” Moriarty raised an eyebrow.

“Yes sir. Apparently he is dead.”

“Oh, how disappointing.” Moriarty didn’t seem surprised, but death rarely shocked him “He will be hard to replace.” Moriarty turned to Gagnon. “Our head of leisure services you understand, few men can keep a straight head when dealing with whores.”

“Sir?” Moran pressed.

“Yes, yes, Do your duty Moran.” He flitted his pipe for her to go. “Investigate and return quickly.”

“Of course sir.” She hurried away to Von herder next to the telegraph machine.

“Rare is the like of Moran.” Moriarty spoke to Gagnon. “She is the Runt of the litter so to speak, yet still capable of incredible feats. She is one of the most dangerous things that walk the cobble stone streets of London.” A wolfish grin emerged on Moran’s pink lips as she heard her master’s words, it was almost too much of a dead give away to the truth. Almost.

“Von herder, Wire to the Steel Garden and have Moot and Velker meet me at Millers place in a quarter hour.” She spoke in a hush voice to him.

“Of course, Ma’am. Will you be needing any special gear?”

“No, the Claymore is more than enough for this I think” She padded her right breast, the bulge of her fire arm there.

“Indeed, Ma’am” von herder nodded and made his way to the telegraph machine.

Moran made her way quickly from the basement office. She cut through the Broken Spade’s revelers and to the street, hailing a hansom as she reached the curb. It was one of her regular boys that pulled up.

"Millers and make it fast.” She jumped into the cab.

“Yes Ma’am.” The boy lashed the horses. They cut through traffic and out of Westminster and up through Charing Cross then a hard back street north into Whitechapel. As Moran glanced about she could see that her masters order had been perpetuated, the streets were flooded with prostitutes. then how did John end up dead? She wondered, he was a cautious one, discrete, and loyal. Had that infesting hidden influence she and her master felt got to him too?  There had been so many problems of late, so many coincidences and accidents to be just the ‘deterioration of obedience as a result of common routine’ as her master said. Things were changing around them and he couldn’t see it, and if he couldn’t find it’s source she couldn’t kill it.

   Moran unbuttoned her white tweed coat slightly and reached to her revolver harness under her armpit. From it she pulled out a huge revolver of strange design. The Claymore, her custom made Weapon nearly a foot long and weighing 20 pounds, it was a monster of a handgun. It had been cut from a solid brick of steel, It’s rectangular barrel boarded directly into the slab to accommodate the ridiculous size of the ammunition, .50 caliber shot gun shells, both slugs and gauged, which were held in a giant pinwheel just above the ivory handle. It only had room had four shots, two less than a revolver but two more then a shot gun. Its heavy weight designed to counteract the terrible recoil also allowed her to use it as a deadly bludgeon and many a time she had pistol-whipped a man’s skull open with it.

 Moriarty had presented it and its twin sister to her after the success of a particularly nasty problem she resolved. He knew her love of shotguns for its devastating effect on groups, but distained them  for being so bulky and difficult to conceal. As always he had created a solution and few since had seen her draw the Claymores and lived to tell about it. It took an ox of man to hold such a difficult and heavy weapon but few would question how she wielded it like it was made of air. As she gazed at the silvery sheen of the barrel engraved with a profiled head of a wolf howling at a crescent moon she spoke the words written below the relief.

   “Ad Dominam Lunae.” She let out a chuckle then popped the breech open and from her pocket  she pulled and placed three slugs and an eight gage shell into the wheel and snapped it shut. She slowly ran her fingers over the smooth rectangular barrel’s engravings and replaced it into her coat as the carriage came to a halt.

She hopped from the Hansom and tossed the cabby a ten pound note.

“Stay here and wait for my return.”  She said as she turned to the fabric shop and the two brutish large men who stood silently at its door. Moot and Velker, they were two huge muscled and scar covered men that looked like they had been plucked from a gladiators arena in some ancient barbaric past. They were Moran’s best breakers, strong and sharp but lacked that key foresight that Moriarty required for those in the higher ranks thus they were never fated to raise above the common thugs of the syndicate. But Moran had worked with them so long that her nature, habits and mannerisms was as well known to them as much as her vicious temperament. They had a deep respect that when beyond simple fear and for that they earned twice the wages over her other breakers.

She made eye contact with each, a simple communication that spoke volumes to them. It was an unknown situation, Killing might needed to be done, But caution was necessary. They nodded they understood and both cracked their grey coats enough to show the butts of sawed off shotguns to her. She gave a content smile and pushed her way through the door into the store.
The jingle of the bell echoed in the empty shop. Benny, John’s secretary and right hand stood shaking uneasily behind the cashiers counter. He had ushered all the customers out the moment he had seen the two thugs arrived outside, that was never a good sign, But as he saw Moran in the door frame he jump and turned pale.
“Miss Moran!” he wailed the greeting as if a ghost had walked in.
“What happened?” Moran was to the point.
“It’s that Seren Vesper Ma’am”
“Vesper!” Moran’s eyes flared and her teeth mashed. A sudden and intense urge to attack something, anything, shot through her and for a moment she glared at Benny with the eyes of a hungry predator. Then with a spasm of intense effort she seemed to regain herself and return to a clam but agitated state. Benny stepped back, he had heard the stories of how quick she was to anger and what she did to those who inspired it. Unlike the others among the syndicate’s authorities who played civil and kind to the public, Moran was kept by Moriarty because of her double bladed nature to be cold and calculating in times of peace and an insane blood thirsty killer in times of war.
“Y-yes ma’am” Benny shook.
“Explain.” Was the only word Moran could say with control, the throbbing urge of hate within her was taking too much effort to keep down. The old wounds left by her last encounter with the Guild operative and her strange lackey burned with remembered pain.
“She came a while ago…I don’t know whats happened but I haven’t seen or heard from John since he entered that room with her. She is still here.”
Moran glanced pass Benny, down the main corridor to the office which John conducted the Syndicates secret business. She felt the shadows of Moot and Velker come up behind her. She gave a sideways nodded, not to Benny, but to the air beside him, then walked passed him down the corridor. Velker followed her, moot didn’t. There was a wet thud then the drop of a heavy body, followed by the footsteps of Moot as he raced to catch up to them. Benny would be out for a few hours, by then she hoped to be done with this business and ready to question him.
Moran reached the door to the office. She stood there for a moment in silence,  she reached out with her senses closing her eyes to amplify her keen sense of smell and hearing.  She could hear a set of calm footsteps…they were heavy, firm, not a woman’s step. Only one? No…she could smell that familiar sent, Seren. She must be standing still or seated, yes, the lackey was the one that was moving. That strange lackey. Caution was always needed with that one, Moran didn’t know what he was but she was certain that he wasn’t human. He didn’t smell like one. Two yes…but john? She had not dismissed that smell of blood, she could taste it in the air, muddled with the harsh bleach before she had even reached the door. It made her mouth water and the predatory urge grew stronger within her, like a frenzied caged animal it screamed with in her mind. No, she must maintain control here, must be calm. Seren was the last of the vespers, only a individual of what was once a large and troublesome organization. Moran knew that she could not simply kill Seren. The woman was dangerous and immensely resourceful, Moran had first hand experience of her abilities and that of her even more capable lackey, but Moriarty forbade any transgression upon her and a policy of caution and even cooperation was in place to avoid conflicts. For a long time revenge blinded Moran to her masters motives in the issue and it took great effort for Moriarty to convince her that such action was too costly.
“The Greeks have a saying for situations like her,” he once tried to explain. “Better the devil you know then the one you don’t.”
Still, if this was a clear case of an attack…it would be a justified for her to have that long awaited sweet revenge.
Moran pulled her claymore from her coat. Seeing this Moot and Velker did the same with their shot guns.  Moran glance over the shoulder to them and raised a hand. She stretched out two fingers, then clinched it to a fist then to a flat palm and finally a finger pointed to Moot. The two giants nodded with understanding and Moran turned back to the door.
There was a moment of stillness then Moran shot her leg forward with ferocious speed and kicked the door clean off its hinges. Before the door had even hit the floor Moran had gauged the situation, Seren at the table, the lackey languidly standing beside her, the broken desk, a slight splattering of blood along one side of the wall, the welcoming chair, the tea cup, the revolver at the side of the table. Moran instantly leveled her gun towards it and fired. The Claymores blast sounded like a bomb in the small room, The tables corner exploded into splinters as the revolver when spinning into the corner. Moran instantly moved the Claymore onto Vastian as Moot and Velker leveled their shotguns at Seren.
“Any movement and you will both die.” Moran tried to speak calmly, but the bloodthirsty animal could be heard in the words. It came out like a challenge, a dare rather than an order.  “Now, explain yourself.” The question was directed at Seren, but Moran didn’t take her steely eyes or her claymore off Vastian.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2013, 02:37:15 pm »
“Seems it will be more than Moran.” Seren spoke idly to Vastien as she leaned forward and grabbed her gun. With a motion, she asked Vastien to fill the empty spot with Johnathon’s own gun. Seren liked the illusion presented by a weapon on the table, even if it was just that. She opened the barrel of her own gun to check that all slots were filled, each bullet bearing a special engraving, before she moved it back into place and estimated the points of entrance of the three. Six shots were ready. She kept the gun loaded despite issues with safety, kept it in its own case to try and combat that hazard. Whenever she did need it, she rarely had the kind of warning that Moran offered to her now.

There was a thud some seconds before the woman’s entrance. The shadow under the door that remained paused there for several seconds caused Seren to roll her eyes. As if the rushing footsteps of some heavy individual hadn't given them away. Honestly, hadn't Moran learned to respect her yet? The entrance wasn’t surprising to Seren. Quite the opposite, it was disappointing that she expected the violence, the lack of control. Her gun was pointed at Moran when the woman entered, fired, and removed the other gun from play.

The wood splintered and broke off, but Seren didn't flinch as some of that wood landed neatly on her skirted lap, or brushed against her flesh. Moran was probably disappointed no splinter went into Seren's eye. Seren's attention left those in the door to glance to the fallen gun.
'It would have just been a hindrance anyway.'[/i]  Moran usually had no fear of guns, she remembered one of their early encounters and the suggestion that the bullets wouldn’t do anything.

One shot later and it seemed they did. Studies in alchemy and the occult lore led her to enhance bullets lest she come upon foes from the other realm. They did quite well against humans, though she’d never witnessed them poison someone before, as they seemed to with Moran. It made her interesting, and for all Seren’s distaste of her, interesting people lived until she figured out what made them so. That, and her need to meet the true head of the organization hadn’t yet become a ‘need’.

“Down boy.” She said to Vastien, amused as she did move, eyes not leaving one of the men with the shotgun. The dare in Moran's tone was too much to resist, so she leaned forward. No shot was fired,  but the trigger fingers were clearly prepared. Seren wasn’t worried. Her eyes returned to Moran. “I like you better when all your senses are in tact. If they were, I think you’d smell the answer from the tea and understand that dear John decided not to follow orders.” Seren said, made a motion to it with her free hand. Her gun remained pointed at Moran. “Vastien can bring you a cup, if you would like to see for yourself.”

Seren was ever-cordial in such situations, only because to her, it was its own form of elitist mockery. The melody of compliments and insults, the offers and calm disposition suited her well. The smile remained as she waited for Vastien to do as instructed. Fresh from his feast, these guns weren’t going to worry him, though she doubted either of the two thugs would turn their attention to Vastien if he went about the implied direction to bring Moran tea. She might fire. Seren kept her green eyes on the woman, wondering which she’d prefer. The reaction from both Vastien and Moran would be priceless, but then, it would add more time and hassle, and she would prefer things to go smoothly. Moran could be rational at times.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2013, 02:37:52 pm »
Moran could bring an army, it wouldn't matter to Vastien in his current state. He felt like a god, clenching his fists over and over, veins bulging out all over his arms. The great power that once coursed through his veins had finally been restored, his hand grasping the bottle of whiskey and began chugging straight from the bottle. Johnathon wouldn't miss it after all, wiping his lips with the back of his hand, Vastien tossed the glass bottle over his shoulder, the bottle shattered upon contact with the floor, spilling the alcoholic contents.

When Moran and her thugs entered the room with their weapons drawn, Vastien snarled under his breath, knowing how bad the situation could get with one wrong move. Seren had her weapon aimed at Moran while the thugs had their sights on Seren, shotguns in hand. Pesky humans and their annoying firearms. While Moran's was a little big to be a revolver, it would take way more than that to put the demon down for good. He had been shot in his human form before and it simply was an annoyance.

It wasn't like it hurt, to Vastien it felt like a constant stinging, they simply made a mess and were hard to get out. Were Vastien in his demon form, those insignificant pieces of lead would have trouble penetrating the muscle mass and tough, hardened demon flesh. Were Vastien to get shot in the head in his human form he would simply revert to his demon form which wouldn't be good news for anyone, not even Seren. In his demon form, he found himself to be more defiant and unwilling to take orders from humans.

'Tch, I'm no one's dog.' He thought to himself, frowning for a moment at Seren's little remark. She was surprisingly calm though, as if she had foreseen all of this, while he was the one who was antsy. If it came down to it, Vastien would force the transformation prematurely, no doubt he would be peppered with gunfire but his human form could rot for all he cared.  There would be more bodies that night and Moran was yet another tasty-looking Ripe.

"Just say the word, Seren." Vastien announced out loud on purpose, he had an ace in the hole. If fire was exchanged, with or without Seren's permission, he would take action. This wasn't some fuss that could be avoided. Grabbing the teapot containing the poisoned tea, he poured a more than generous amount into a mug, hopefully enough arsenic for the three of them. He slowly walked over to Moran, each step was careful, no sudden movements. Unfortunately, poisoned, boiling tea versus a revolver, the revolver wins every single time.

All he needed to do what get the two goons' attention, that way Seren could unload on Moran to her heart's content if she felt the need and Vastien would confidently take the two meatheads with his bare hands. He was small compared to them but being underestimated only made his job easier.

"The arsenic gives it that bittersweet kick, quite nice once you get past the being poisoned part." While he would be shot, he'd love to splash some tea all over Moran's pretty face. It would be worth it. He stopped when he was close enough to Moran, not enough to hand her the tea, but within definite killing range were he just a pathetic human. "If you don't want me getting any closer, have one of your apes fetch the tea. I'm harmless though, I promise." As harmless as lion alright.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2013, 02:38:14 pm »
Moran’s suspicious eyes drifted from one to the other as they moved and spoke to her. The sounds of their voices seemed distant and foggy. It was that hazy influence that filled her senses and mind whenever she was around blood. She could smell it through the splits in the closet as if the corpse was laid out before her.  That subtle nagging creature in her chest seemed to shift and spread like some festering infection up her spine and into the base of her neck. She tensed, snapping the sensation back into her chest and reasserting her faculties.

She had expected a trap, not this. She could see that this was another of those informal ‘visits’ that Seren occasionally made to some of the syndicate agents she sometimes worked with, but obviously this had gone wrong somewhere. Moran motionlessly studied her surroundings in the subtle detection of minutiae that Moriarty had taught her.  The blood, the desk, the slightly riffled office, the barely distinguishable poison that was drenched over the maddening stench of the body with in the closet.  To Moran the scene smacked of a cover up, the cleaning of the blood, the removal and hiding of the body, the doubtful accusation of the poisoning. Moran didn’t think John miller capable of such a act, he was a coward.  He would have just as much to fear from the syndicate as from Seren if he attempted it.  But then again, poisoning was a coward’s way of killing and Moran’s acute senses assured her that they spoke the truth.  Still, Moran knew the impression of something could be just as incriminating as the actual act, for in ignorance is poor interpretation, the axiom of a good frame as Moriarty would say.

Moran’s gun arm limped for a moment as she slightly moved the claymore away from Vastien then she lowered it and replaced it in her coat. Moot and Velker did the same. She cracked a rye smile at Seren.

“Of course.” Moran replied with a sarcastic tone. “It must be as you say.” Moran stretched out a hand and snatched the cup from Vastien's hands. “Thank you man-servant.” She said with her most dismissive expression as she put the cup to her nose, then, with a playful glint in her eyes, she placed to her lips and drank. For a moment she felt, a slight discomfort, then nothing.  She pulled the cup from her lips, empty. This reminded her of how she had once mistaken a glass of purified sulfuric acid for water on a hot muggy summer London day in the lab. My what a shock that was. She thought. Moriarty banned her from that place, the incident costing him too many good men and rare precious resources. Too much blood down there anyway.

“Here Lackey.” She handed the cup back to Vastien. “Now wash it good for your master, like a good pet.” She brushed passed him with the air of a wealthy man passing by a pander on the street and came face to face with Seren at the table. Moran knew how tight Seren’s grip on Vastien was, but could sense the subtle friction between the two. she was sure he wouldn’t attack her exposed back no matter how much she insulted him unless Seren gave that order. Moran smirked, maybe she would.

“One thing seems somewhat…askew.” Moran leaned over the table to meet Seren’s eyes. “John may have made the foolish attempt, but it is clear to me that you didn’t exactly kill him in self defense. Treacherous as he was, you should have left him alive for us to deal with, unless you had some justification for venting your disgusting sadistically perversions  on an already defeated man?” Moran pulled back slightly, a tinge of indigent revulsion in her eyes. “Really, You know how the Syndicate likes things done.  We would have given you a warehouse for you to play all your filthy little games on him, but now I have to waste my precious time cleaning up your impromptu torture chamber.  So, Unless you have anything else to say…I think it is time you left our establishment.”

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2013, 02:38:50 pm »
Seren arched a light eyebrow as Moran drank down the liquid, wondered if she’d developed some immunity to poisons. Seren had once considered such a risk of slowly making herself immune to them by ingesting small dosages over time, but decided it wasn’t worth it.

Her eyes, however, quickly narrowed in distaste when Moran referred to Vastien in such an insulting, flippant way. It was something Seren felt was only within her rights to do. It grated on her, but she showed no sign of it besides the narrowing of her eyes, and the straightening of her posture when Moran handed the cup off. The gun remained pointed on Moran. Vastien wouldn’t leave or take her orders. At least, Seren highly doubted it unless he had some point to get across, and the situation was likely too hostile for him to risk it.

Seren’s breathing was even as a twisted little smile came on her lips, this time not at all masking her raw hatred, though it was not directed at Moran.
“Warehouses of torture are absolutely useless except in breaking weak minds and weak bodies,” she spoke with the certainty of a math professor trying to explain something as simple as 2+2. She leaned forward, lowered the gun to rest upon her lap, “Far more fun for my twisted, sadistic mind to get at people where they are comfortable, and break them open in the places they feel secure. Then if I don’t kill them, I’ve ruined them. They’ll never feel safe again.” There was a threat in her tone, the suggestion she may one day do just that to Moran, “But the fun of it aside, he had information I wanted and was not willingly giving it. A bit of pressure was required, and honestly, I’m surprised you’re not thanking me for killing him,” the glint in her eyes was purely arrogant as she said, “After all, it is a crime for you to do it, but for me? It becomes the will of the law.”

She leaned back from the woman,
“And I am not leaving, until I know what you are aware of regarding Jack the Ripper. Clearly you know something, as an order was sent out to the prostitutes." She didn't note her opinion on the strategy, added, "Perhaps you will cooperate? I'm not in the best of moods today, and I've been thinking over how much I've been called by the Queen to fix the messes your syndicate seems incapable of fixing on its own,” the reputation of the Vesper’s guild wouldn’t let her consider the syndicate the group in charge, in the end. It didn't matter how they liked things done, and it was part of the reason she did kill John. Little reminders of how her favor could turn away were necessary, “And lest we forget, we have an agreement that I will not bother your syndicate, so long as order is maintained. Order has not been maintained. I think John was recognizing that your group is losing power, too, though. I really should have pressed him for what other group he was working with.” She allowed the slip, hoped to see a reaction of confirmation of some other group. Some other issue, “Maybe they would be more cooperative and willing to hold up their ends of a bargain.” Though if another group existed at all that could pose a threat, that was a problem for both her and this syndicate. Two warring groups would have to be put down to one, or none.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2013, 02:39:28 pm »
Normally, petty insults like that didn't get to him but when she snatched the cup from his hands, the blood running in his veins began to boil. When she drank the tea, he hid his satisfaction, waiting for Moran to start choking and collapse from the poison. No such thing occurred. Wash the cup? No, not after she put her filthy lips all over it. Even if Seren gave him that order, he would completely ignore that. He was no human's servant, contract or no contract, he could refuse his service whenever he felt like it. The cup in his hands was in danger of being shattered, his hands were trembling from the sheer anger.

Vastien turned to look at Moran's two huge, ape-like henchmen, they were like two statues. Neither of them made a sound nor a move, were they that stupid or just disciplined? Whatever the case, even statues would find the way Moran disrespected him amusing.

"Just what the hell are you two buffoons looking at?" He said angrily, tossing the cup at their feet. It shattered immediately, one vein on his head making itself visible, it was all that power he had just regained, he needed to release it. He walked over to the two men, they towered over him and doubled his mass, the two henchmen probably didn't feel the least bit threatened. "Clean it up or I'll make you." He got into Moot's face, looking at him directly in the eyes. Vastien was looking for a fight alright, hoping he'd take the bait. The two seemed like all brawn but no brains which meant his 'persuasion tactics' would be easier but he didn't know how much restraint Moot and Velker had.

With a smirk, Vastien moved over to Velker, sending his finger to prod at the huge man's chest. That was if Velker didn't grab Vastien by the wrist and performed some defensive counter, either way, it would give Vastien the chance to take out his anger on the two. He kept one hand behind his back, his sleeve draping over and concealing his free hand. Razor sharp, thick claws extended out of his fingernails and could definitely slice through all that muscle and girth.

"What's the matter, big man? No bark or bite without mommy's command?" In a way, Vastien was in the same boat as them, except he'd never admit it. But if he was angered enough, he could ignore Seren and slaughter the lot of them. It would only add to the list of punishments that were pending in Seren's twisted little mind.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2013, 02:40:10 pm »
Moran stared at Seren in a gawked fashion as if she spoke in riddles. The law? Moran thought, is she serious? Doesn’t she know they are utterly useless? Had she not figured out by now that the law as much a part of the syndicates payroll as its own killers? And The police that weren’t were fools who depended upon Vesper to shine light on everything? And the torture and murder of john doesn’t fall into any noble ideal of ‘the law’ or ‘justice’, he wasn’t one of the violent or devious, a cunning business manager that occasionally had to deal with the difficulties of whores but nothing more. But in a moment all moran’s speculations were blown aside as Seren asked for information on the killer.

First there was a look of dumb shock on moran’s face, then as Seren finished Moran suddenly threw her head back in a eruption of laughter. It was a good minute before she could regain the self control to speak.

“You must be joking.” Moran’s flushed face slowly stilled as the laughter subsided. “To ask favors of me with this…”she motioned Seren’s gun. “And that…” she thumbed Vastien who had been menacing her men. “And of course this…” she threw a open palm toward the closet, blood seeping through its cracks in the doors. “You must have surely have lost your mind because it looks to me that you are causing the disorder here. And  threats? Please, If you were any other your brains would be on the wall behind you the moment I entered this room and that is the extent of the ‘cooperation’ I will give you. Anything else will done in the proper manner of business.” Moran leaned back over the table, eyeing Seren. “If you want information you will pay for it, trade for it, or do jobs for it, nothing less.” Moran straitened, back arms cross and eyes thin. “and put your lackey back on its leash…any more instigation from him and I will let it come and you can deal with the whole Syndicate for the consequences.“

Seren was amused with Moran’s reaction, though her eyes strayed to Vastien while the woman laughed her head off at the demand. She narrowed the green eyes, before they had to avert back to Moran when she began to address her once more. All the while, she had a pleasant smile on her lips.

They quirked as Moran seemed to think she’d be doing Seren a favor.
‘Oh?’ However, she didn’t address that issue first. Vastien was annoying her, as well. “Vastien, lest you wish to further delay your ends, you will not bring the entire Syndicate upon us. It would be an unnecessary obstacle for us to deal with. Relax.” Easy as they would be to deal with, easy to replace, Seren didn’t want the hassle nor the entire underworld to explode on itself. It would delay her own ends, put her own goals aside as she had to clean up that mess. She had to maintain the order there, even if it meant allowing it to be kept in check by someone else.

Her attention returned to Moran.
“My Lady, unless your organization is responsible for Jack the Ripper, I daresay you’re doing me any favor be informing me of what you know. Rather, consider it me doing you a favor by putting a quick end to him, sparing you more dead whores, and allowing business to continue as before. In a way, I will already be doing a job of sorts for you,she waved a hand over the desk, “This Ripper can’t be good for profits. I imagine our goals are the same here, if you could put aside your petty pride and let me help.” Moran at least knew how good Seren was with getting the unwanted and troublesome off the streets for the syndicate. She had a knack for it.

But in other words, Seren wasn’t paying for it. She had leads enough from John if Moran did not want to provide anything.

It was all the satisfaction he needed, neither henchmen moved a muscle nor tried to clobber him. He had calmed down considerably, grinning at both of them. Yes, he had heard Seren's demand for him to stop threatening them but he was far from tearing through their flesh with his claws now.

"That's what I thought, ladies." Yes, he also heard Moran's little remark about bringing the Syndicate down on him. Which is why he didn't whisper that, he would willingly take them on, although that's probably not what Seren's plans were.

He knew it must've been frustrating for the men, having one's masculinity challenged was something no man enjoyed. Vastien was happy having the last word, coolly turning on his heel and towards the two women. They were waging their own little war, it was amusing to watch them.

"You're honestly better off leaving Jack in our capable hands, wouldn't want to get those manicured nails all bloody." Despite the lighthearted comment, Vastien didn't smile nor grin like he normally did. Crossing his arms, he gave Moran a disgusted look, the claws retracting back into his flesh.

Seren’s eyes darted briefly to Vastien when he settled back into a more tolerable disposition, albeit lacking the usually amusing arrogance. ‘Good.’ Her posture relaxed a bit, and her eyes returned to Moran with Vastien’s words.

Moran gave a smarting smile as Vastien retreated back from her men. Moot and Velker were good soldiers, they wouldn’t budge without her command, but she was proud that they stood their ground when the lackey had pressed them. His unnerving nature was easy to detect even to them.

The event spoke volumes to her of Seren’s mission. The murder of a few whores meant little to the syndicate in the comparison to the killing of a high-ranking manger such as john, but the tension and the insistence spoke that this killer was far from the occasion psychopath to Seren and this alarmed Moran. Such problems did crop up and usually the syndicate left them to Seren and the shoddy police forces. On rare instances, Moriarty took a particular interest and ordered the problem resolved with earnest by having Moran hunt them out with her own talents and either kill them or, if their skill was unique, recruit them. In this case Moriarty was annoyed, more so because it was a distraction from the greater internal problems they were facing. It didn’t seem any different from the strangler they had last year, or the kidnappings the year before that, so why would this killer mean so much to Seren that she would instigate the syndicates wrath when she had been more level in the past.

Moriarty will want to know about this, he can see things here that I cant. Moran realized that she had stumbled upon something of grave importance. She stood considering for a moment on the action she should take. A part of her want to leave and consult Moriarty first, a quick glance of her watch betrayed that it was nearing seven, Pollock as well as Gagnon where issues where he expected her presence. But another part of her could sense the dangers if she left Seren unsatisfied. After a moment she moved, placing her hand with in her coat, and pulled out her tattered and torn note book. She opened it and turned to Her investigations of the murder. It was filled with the acuminated notes from the syndicates paid police officers, prostitutes and sentries along with Moriarty’s tactical orders for the situation and speculations all written in that bizarre syndicate cipher. Moriarty had furnished her with additional possibilities to the killers identity in case his trap didn’t catch anything, but he had advised her to avoid seeking out the individual until after the trap proved a failure. “Prey that knows it is hunted is always more difficult to catch then prey that is unaware.” He explained.

“What I know of the killer is this, He is likely a doctor, a surgeon or a coroner, possibly a former army surgeon who has had training in action but has since established a local practice in London.” Moran began to read off her notes. “He doesn’t live in whitechapel but may own property there and has spent some time there either as a child or as an adolescent. He probably grew up impoverished and has since found success, maybe married with a estranged wife or single. He is highly intelligent with a driving sense of purpose, this has given him a fanatical view of superiority and self righteousness over his fellow man. We believe he is likely harvesting the organs for sale to medical schools either on the continent or up north to Scotland but he leaves the bodies behind as a symbol, a self-gratifying sense of superiority over his victims and those who investigate their killings. He will probably come off as charming or mild mannered but his true nature will be invigorated in some topics such as science or religion and has a particular distain for women and the poor." Moran turned a page. “He has an assistant, likely a protégé that may be a relative or close personal friend. He handles the girls and most descriptions imply he is a young individual of weak mind and strong body, average height , dark hair, probably black or a very dark brown, is unattractive and walks somewhat with a limp. He dresses richly with a suit, but its unkemptness shows he is not a man of class and his speech is slow and stuttering but usually he is flushed with money so he lets that do the speaking for him. He has been carefully coached on the selection of the women, going for the young naive and desperate lot over the skilled veterans. He handles the disposal of the bodies. There is a possibility of a Third man involved, as we believe they pick up the girls by carriage, but it could be that the doctor may act as cabby or the cabbies are unaware participants.” Moran slowly closed her book and met Seren’s eyes. “Hopefully that is helpful. A Mrs. Amrita, the body master who handles the Whitechapel onsite operations can give you a first hand interview if you like, she can be found on Cannon street off of Whitechapel high street." Moran’s gaze shifted thin. “Prey that no misfortune befalls her in your presence or our next encounter will be fatal.”

Moran’s mood shifted for the better, though Seren noted her hesitation, her curiosity. Somewhere, she’d slipped, but she didn’t know where, or how, or what had been revealed. Seren decided to ignore the gnawing feeling, though. She was getting her information.

The physical descriptions were new, with the suggestion of one being mentally slow.
‘Interesting.’ The idea that two were involved seemed a popular theory in the Underworld, and she’d trust that instinct. Yet, though much of the information regarding the second participant was good, the thought that the organs were being sold stuck out in her mind. ‘Check the hospitals nearby.’ She made the mental note, almost wanted to send Vastien immediately to the nearest one, learn about the organ trade there and if there had been an increase off the books. On the books, even. Especially after Moran touched on a religious connection. Seren’s left hand clenched the fabric of her blue skirt. It only began to relax as Moran hinted at a third.

Seren wouldn’t dare to hope she was getting closer. She’d been disappointed in the past.

When Moran looked back to Seren, the strawberry blonde was at ease, and she nodded her agreement regarding helpfulness.
“Quite helpful. Her Majesty will be grateful when I’ve removed this threat,” Seren rose, hoped the mention of Victoria added doubt to Moran's suspicions, “I have no intention of harming Amrita. I did not walk in here planning to kill John—I prefer the devils I know.” She didn’t even look to Vastien, though it was directed to him as much as it was to Moran and the deceased John. “You won’t do anything untoward, will you, Vastien?” Rhetorical, of course, and she went on to address Moran once more, “So we do not have this issue again, let us be clear on the proper procedure if one of the syndicate tries to kill me when I have not provoked them.” She’d see what Moran might have in mind. She began to put the gun away, digging the case out of her purse, “You must understand I am a fan of efficiency. Getting the information I needed and getting rid of a weak gear in the system seemed the best method, but it appears unsatisfactory to you, so tell me what you would prefer and I will take it into consideration.” She wouldn’t promise to adhere to it. She was not a part of the syndicate, after all, but better relations helped her out.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2013, 02:41:13 pm »
When Moran actually began cooperating, Vastien was having trouble keeping his jaw off the floor. If he wasn't attempting to keep a veil of animosity between him and Moran, Vastien would've done away with the nasty scowl on his face. His hand gripped Seren's chair, fingernails burrowing into the soft, comfortable material as he too listened intently. Vastien tended to tune out any 'business talk' as it really didn't interest him, Seren usually gave him a rundown of the discussion at a later time anyway. This time however, he couldn't ignore the information, while the sources weren't 100% credible, what Moran was saying made sense. Two or three individuals involved instead of one elusive, poltergeist of a serial killer? That theory sounded way more realistic, so the Syndicate actually was good for something, Vastien rolled his eyes at the thought.

Vastien was a proud demon and he didn't forgive those crossed him so easily, this time they would operate with the Syndicate's assistance despite Vastien's opposition, but it was necessary. Whenever he was freed from the contract he'd make sure to pay Moran a little visit. Vastien withheld a laugh when Seren asked him about any troublesome ideas he might be concocting, shaking his head.

"I would never do such a thing." A forced smile as he turned his head to stare at Seren for a moment. His right hand swiftly parting some blond locks that were obstructing his vision, grinning at the look Seren was giving Moran. Seren wasn't one to take orders, she was too used to giving them out and being in charge, Vastien knew Seren would ultimately take the path most beneficial to her. Whether it would be to the Syndicate's standards or preferences was the real question. They were one step closer to capturing Jack and whomever his associates may be, if more prostitutes had to be slaughtered to do so, they were sacrifices Vastien would have no trouble making.

However, she had given Moran the floor for ideas and she did say she would consider them, if only he could read minds it would make these 'business talks' less tedious. Humans had a knack of taking forever to get to the point.

“Hurm.” Moran snapped her notebook shut and placed it deep within the folds of her jacket. “I am sure the queen will, If you catch him. We are taking our own countermeasures and It is likely that this Jack the Ripper will be in good company at the bottom of the Thames before the end of the month.” Moran gave another suspicious glance around the room then locked eyes with Seren. “In the mean time you should consider yourself on thin ice with us, any more syndicate blood on your hands and we will have…issues. Your a professional, you should know the proper procedure in such things. we have our laws and enforce them, detain and refrain from your desire to tidy the place. So far things do not look good for you as it is. I have to report this to the board and I only have your word and a poison pot towards John’s guilt, while the evidence here has shown without a doubted your hand in his torture and slaying. Cleaning up the crime only furthered that guilt and obstructs my investigations. You’re a detective, evidence is only part of the whole case and you have yet to tell me the other. You never gave a motive as to why john would attempt to kill you. He knew the strong injunction against your person better than most as he informed for you, No? Why do you think he turned on you?”

“John did not give me a motive,”
motives didn’t matter to her when the chips were down. “I have never denied my involvement, Moran, and I won’t. I think our past has shown this is unusual behavior for me, and that should be taken into account with this so-called board. Besides, I’d never poison tea. Waste,” she motioned to the pot, seeming truly disappointed that it had been wasted. “If you want to know why I think he turned on me, I suspect it an order from someone else outside the syndicate, or perhaps someone within wishing to be on this board of yours. Perhaps he wanted it himself and thought bringing my corpse would better himself. Whatever the case, the motive is greed.” That’s all she truly needed to know, and greed was not something as easily put down with explanations of ‘why’ an action shouldn’t be taken. 

Despite popular opinion, she was not a detective. The Queen did not care how things got done, so long as they got done. She only investigated when there was a need to get the right person.
“Perhaps you will find evidence for why, as I am certain it was an order he received,” he was confident enough to try it, he wouldn’t eliminate evidence of its existence, “I have to tend to other business now. This Ripper will be gone before the end of the week.” If it even took that long. “Vastien, we’re done here. Good luck, Moran.” With a motion to Vastien, she strode out of the room, by the two guards, and soon, out onto the streets where the rain had lightened up.

Seren stood outside, unmoving, for a few seconds. Thought, wants and what she needed to do, conflicting,
“Vastien, go to a few of the hospitals nearby. Find out about the organ trade there. Harm no one.” He could use whatever method he wanted. “Find me when you are done.” Seren offered no more before she started to walk off to find Amrita. It would be one of the few times she ordered Vastien away when still tending to business, but she could not let the matter go ignored.

Harm no one? There went the easiest way to procure information then, if Seren was sending him off on his own it could only mean that Jack and his cohorts had went up in priority. It was true that Vastien could cover more ground on his own but had the encounter with Moran triggered this sudden change of plans and pace? It wasn't important nor did Vastien care, but he turned on his heel to face the opposite direction. Lowering his head to look down at his shoes, the rain pelting the back of his head, remaining silent and still thinking of what he would say to her. After all, it would be the last words they'd exchange for who knew how long because Vastien's solo excursions ended at odd hours. It was his own discretion after all, if he felt satisfied with his investigating then he usually returned home to Seren and gave her his results.

"Don't wait up." Vastien said, walking away from her, heading into a dark alleyway where he could be hidden. He didn't need any curious onlookers or eavesdroppers witnessing what he was about to do. Taking off his greatcoat and shirt, he draped the clothing over his arm, not wanting to damage them but if they got a little wet, so be it. It took a while to get used to the pressure plaguing his back, having to push his hand against a slippery, moist wall to steady himself. Long, black wings sprouted from his back and the pain was deeply rooted from his lack of flight in a while, after all humans didn't have wings and Seren's motives didn't require him to fly.

He stared up at the raining sky, raindrops peppering his face and his loud, savage roar was masked by a deafening thunderclap. Lightning flashed brilliantly behind the dark clouds, within seconds Vastien was airborne. So liberating. With the flap of his wings he could increase his speed if he wanted too, luckily the fog-shrouded streets of Whitechapel hid Vastien as he flew over the rooftops, looking down at the individuals who were still out and about that late at night. His keen demon eyesight spotting his first destination, the Royal London Hospital, Vastien gracefully descended onto the roof and looked down at the street. The streets were abandoned save for one or two whores walking around to find another lusting customer. With a snap of his fingers, his wings were incinerated and would be reborn again if he needed to fly once more. Vastien jumped off the roof and landed on a fire escape, the impact louder than he expected.

Once he reached the bottom, he quickly buttoned up his shirt that had been under the greatcoat and was saved from the rain, the same couldn't be said for his coat however. He briskly entered the hospital, waking up the man behind the desk once Vastien slammed his hands down on the desk.

"I demand to speak with the head surgeon on official order of the Queen. Now." It wasn't entirely false, after alll Seren was working for the Queen and Vastien was serving Seren so it all worked out. The startled man was about to ask him to leave until he met Vastien's hypnotic gaze, the sudden urge of refusal washed away and compliance was all the man could think about.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2013, 02:41:56 pm »
The office was nice, even Vastien had to admit, the man before him seemed like a no-nonsense type of man. Everything was neat and organized, his certifications and accolades were framed in sequential order. The desk was well-maintained, however he did spot a poorly hidden bottle of whiskey on the shelf. No human was perfect, they all had their flaws and Vastien found himself staring at the man in silence, directly across from him. Both men were silent, save for the shuffling of papers, the surgeon was looking through a folder, fortunately he had not crossed gazes with Vastien yet.

"Well, Mr. Smith, how can I help you? I was on my way out of the door but this seems like an emergency." Smith, a fake surname would be appropriate, thought Vastien. The surgeon, Erik Heimann, the German accent rolled off his tongue perfectly, it was a different change to the accents Vastien was used too. Erik adjusted his glasses and stared at the mysterious individual before him, he didn't look like a man the Queen would appoint. On the off chance that he was telling the truth, Erik dared not take any chances and risk having to flee England as well.

While he was a brilliant surgeon, Erik had gotten himself in quite some trouble back in Germany which is why he fled and went to find work in London. His past was checkered but it was enough for the English, Erik had to clean up some muck and dispose of any traces that could lead back to him.

"I'll get down to it for I have no time to waste." Vastien was 'borrowing' a lot of Seren's mannerisms, he made sure the way he sat, the way his leg was crossed over the other slightly and professionally, the way he settled his arms down on his lap, his posture, it all had to be perfect. "This hospital is one of the leading hospitals when it comes to organ transplants, I hear your surgical staff is unrivaled." Erik half-smiled, taking the compliment without a problem, little did he know that smile of his wouldn't last. "That being said, organs must come through here all the time. Has there been an increase of donations lately?" The surgeon's smile faded for a moment and he diverted his attention to the folder on his desk, looking for the latest organ log sheet.

"I really shouldn't be doing this, but here you are." Erik pushed the log sheet forward, a parchment with dates and what types of organs, as well as the name of some donors, some remained unnamed. The latest entry hadn't been for a few weeks, Vastien wasn't about to believe some piece of paper that could've been edited at any time. Even if it did look really official and legitimate. Erik reached the log sheet right away and placed back into his folder, the man all of a sudden was in a hurry. "If that's all, Mr. Smith, I really should get going, my wife really worries when I come home this late. You know how it is." Kind of, thought Vastien, curiously enough, there was no wedding ring on the surgeon's fingers.

He's lying. Vastien stood when Erik did, kicking the door shut behind him. "Perhaps, some of your staff forgot to update the sheet. Perhaps, some organs never made it onto the books." Erik knew where Vastien was going with that, while he didn't show it, his resolve slowly crumbled on the inside.

"I can assure you no mistake of that caliber would escape my knowledge. What you are implying is highly unprofessional and illegal, furthermore I don't like these accusations. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave." Erik frowned, Vastien noticed the man's hands were shaking at his sides. Vastien smirked, he wasn't about to leave so soon.

"All of the other hospitals in the area check out, Erik. Except this one." This was untrue, Vastien had not checked the other hospitals but Erik's reaction would verify if he was guilty or not, would he cave? "Whoever your private donor is, just know he is a murderer. By not confessing, you are an accomplice and I will get to the bottom of this, doctor." Erik's heart froze in sheer terror, murderer? It couldn't be.

"I have no idea what you're talking about, I will not ask you again. Leave my office and this hospital immediately!" Erik nearly shouted, his face was red with anger, pointing straight at the door. To kill the doctor then and there would've been so easy, it wouldn't require much effort either. Seren didn't want anymore bodies. Not yet anyway. Vastien grinned once more, allowing the surgeon to simmer in his own rage. Whether the doctor was guilty or not, he wasn't sure but he knew Erik was hiding something.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #24 on: October 08, 2013, 02:42:42 pm »
The path to Amrita was not difficult, particularly given Moran’s instructions. Seren couldn’t shake the nagging feeling of insecurity, though. Rather than weaken over time, it had grown stronger. When Vastien was far away, it was almost crippling. The paranoia that they were just waiting, that they knew, somehow, without her knowing where they were, or even how to find them, the exact moments when she was vulnerable bothered her. It was irrational.

‘No it isn’t.’

They had been saving her, while all the other lives around her suffered, she was instead marked and spared—foolish on their part, of course.

How red the room had looked before it was incinerated! Almost as red as the prostitute’s skirt, but not nearly as transparent. Seren gave her an appraising look, before a smirk came on her lips. The expression of mocking disdain was impossible to hide, bred into her.
“Is Amrita here?” It would be an inn, of course. At least this made more since then a clothing store. “Moran said she was somewhere here….” She cast her eyes over her shoulder to observe other businesses, but dropping the name was enough.

“Come in,” the blonde motioned her inside the inn. From the smell, it may as well have just stated it was a brothel or orgy house. It reeked of sex. The Indian woman was easy to spot amidst the many pale-skinned Europeans. Their eyes locked, and Seren felt cold for a brief moment, that gnawing paranoia that she could be seen through rising.

The blonde didn’t have to speak. Amrita walked over the floor like a queen in her own right, feline nature unsettling when she reached out, not for a handshake, but to take Seren’s chin in her hand.

Seren slapped it away immediately and took a step back, glaring. Unsettling indeed. Amrita didn’t even flinch, but her smile seemed to suggest she expected it.
“You are no customer.” Her accent was heavy, but Seren could make out the words. “Not of the usual kind.”

“She said Moran—”

“It is not Moran that sends her,”
Amrita interrupted with a light chuckle. “Come back, Brit.” Seren sneered at the term, but held her tongue from speaking in any offensive manner. Again, the insensible prostitute reached out to touch her, this time taking her hand and entangling her fingers in Seren’s in a vice-like grip. Seren pulled at the locked fingers, quite unhappy with the contact, not that she was a fan of it in the first place. Long nails dug into the back of her hand in response. “I’ll make tea before we talk.”

“That chai stuff?”
She tried to sound offended with the prospect, as if chai were disgusting, but truth be told it had a way of calming her that she didn’t want to admit in front of this woman.

Amrita cooed as she led Seren into one of the rooms, decorated with several throw pillows, a rug, and a bizarre four-armed idol. Amrita released her hand before she began to flit about the room, offering conversation as she moved to make the tea. “That is Kali. Do you know Kali, Brit?”

“Seren Vesper,”
she said, deciding hearing ‘Brit’ was going to annoy her too much.

“I thought so,”
that feline grin. She continued, as Seren examined one of the dark throw pillows with her foot, trying to flip it over without actually touching it. “Kali is a goddess of India, a mother goddess.”

“You must have horrible relations with your mothers.”

“On the contrary, our mothers are kind to us, able to protect us, unlike your Virgin Mary. Her son gets nailed to a cross and all she does is weep.”
Amrita clearly did not prefer the Christian theology, not that Seren could blame her. She wasn't exactly the kind to take many of its tenants to heart, turn the other cheek, or simply mourn. Grudgingly, she sat down, and moved her purse into her lap, tried to straighten out her skirt all the while looking for something wrong with the room. “For she is also a demon slayer, able to remove evil influences from our lives.”

“Demon slayer?”
At least something amused her. Seren looked back at the idol with a wry grin on her face. “Really now?” She couldn’t imagine Vastien struggling with something like that, if it were even real. “I doubt she’s ever seen a demon.” The head she was holding didn’t look nearly demonic enough, though that was one of the tricks of the trade.

Amrita interrupted her examination of the head with the tea. Seren accepted it, clearly wary,
“She has seen plenty,” Amrita suggested, smile all-too knowing. Amrita settled onto a cushion, took a sip from her own cup as Seren held hers, unable to ascertain whether or not it was poisoned. “As I have.” Seren doubted it, imagined she meant a certain kind of customer but wanted to use her creative license to explain how deeply corrupt they were, “Too many walk into these doors and try to take these misguided women, many foreign, with no families. I am their mother here.”

‘Their Kali.’

“You are here about someone preying on my girls. Unusual.”

“I do as the Queen asks,” Seren answered. “I am here about Jack the Ripper.” At least she was getting to the point, though Seren didn’t enjoy being read so easily by strangers. A giggle escaped the woman, and she leaned forward to touch Seren’s arm. Seren flinched away from it. “Stop. Touching me.”

“I’m sorry, habit. Drink your tea,”
she said as she leaned back, “You are far too anxious.”

Rather than do as directed, Seren placed her cup down on the wooden floor.
“Just tell me what you know about Jack so I can go.” She spoke through gritted teeth, eyes glaring into the tea. It was sitting there, just taunting her, smelling so pleasant.

Silence went on for a few seconds, grating on Seren’s nerves more than the touches.
“Look at me,” Amrita directed.

Naturally defiant in the face of inferiors, Seren fought her natural reaction and instead looked, mantra on repeat.
‘For the Queen, for the Queen, for the family pride, for the Queen, for the Queen, for the Queen….’

It didn’t mean she wasn’t glaring, though. Amrita was satisfied enough that she was looking at her, as if it confirmed something.
“The man I think is behind it, I did not suspect for a while. He has a kind heart. I do not think he knows of the greed of the other.” The theory of at least two continued. “I hear the women are always made-up, the face never marred. I know it must be this one who picks them up that beautifies them further.” It sounded twisted, not kind, to Seren, but she bit back adding any commentary. “He kills them before the other can, merciful in his own way.”

Seren took a deep breath, forced herself to reflect on the scene. The cut to the neck had been as clean, she recalled that, far more jagged. Merciful?
‘Yes.’ She would have to agree as she swallowed back the sight of dead eyes.

Amrita was still talking.
“The other has no heart of gold, and craves what is unnatural. Those organs that are taken, so professionally, I doubt are put to any good use as some have suggested. No,” a single, sharp, shake of her head. Hazel eyes held no doubt in her own certainty. “What drives one to kill so many is rarely medical, but hunger,” she spoke as if she knew it, eyes shifting to the statue of Kali. “Unnatural,” she repeated. “Destructive and violent, an addiction that is weakening the mind and weakening the ability, and want, to hide.”

“A cannibal? You think a cannibal is doing this?”
Seren would believe someone harvesting organs before that. It seemed too exotic. ‘Remember.’ Nothing was too exotic, though. This Indian woman with her foreign deity was here. A demon was her usual companion, and she’d seen more than her fair share of unnatural and odd happenings.

No, the feeling was disappointment.

“Cannibal, hm? Perhaps so, but that is not the hunger I speak of,”
her eyes remained on the deity. “Food that weakens and kills the eater is not sought because of that primal hunger.” The woman spoke in riddles, but it was not that which frustrated Seren.

Yes, disappointment. She had gotten her hopes up, but instinct was now leaning to cannibal despite the dismissive nature. Seren rarely went against her instinct in these cases.
“Perhaps you are right. Do you know who they are?”

“Not by name, no,”
she shook her head, dark hair catching what light flickered into the room, “We do not require names.” They didn’t require much besides money. None would turn down a suspected murderer on mere suspicions. The money was needed, and they handled unsavory sorts. “The one who comes to buy, though, he only takes very young women. He is a little heavy, with brown hair and green eyes—but I cannot say much more. You all look alike that I get confused. He has a sweet smile, though. One dimple. I remember that much to separate him from the rest of the heavyset who come here.”

They weren’t providing her with much, but it would have to do. Seren pushed her fingers back through her wet hair and shut her eyes, trying to think.
“The one with the unnatural hunger is a doctor?”

“Certainly, yes.”

That was agreed upon. There were two involved, and two possibilities—a cannibal, or a organ harvester. She preferred Moran’s telling, hoped to find the fanatical organ harvester, but the accursed instinct said otherwise. She racked her mind for further questions, but came up with only one:
“Who do you think it is?”

Amrita’s lips quirked just a little and she looked away from Kali. Again, she leaned towards Seren,
“You can recognize the unnatural,” it came out as a purr, and before Seren could stop her, the hand shot up to her shoulder and moved the cloth, revealing the mark of eternity that rested there, the Roman numeral of ‘I’ resting where the two ovals should have met to be entwined, unbroken. Instead, it stopped short.

Seren was not so kind about this gross error of judgment. Amrita’s hand was pressed to the floor, twisted at an angle, the threat of breaking it clear.
“I warned you,” Seren growled.

Amrita shook her head, looking apologetic,
“I thought it something else!” She pleaded, and it seemed so sincere that Seren released her. Amrita backed away quickly. “Truly, I thought…never mind,” a shake of her head. “May Kali protect you, Seren. I sense something amiss with your soul.”

Seren stated coolly. She rose, shouldering her purse once more, and adjusting the cloth of her attire. She had all she wanted out of this Amrita. “Thank you for your assistance.”

“Are you going to leave without your chai?”

Seren was tempted not to. The smell of it still filled her nostrils with the pleasant scent, but she didn’t pick the cup up.
“Enjoy it while it is still hot.” She would get tea elsewhere. Raphael usually had good tea, but first she needed to find the inn she had sent Barnaby. She was in no state to walk to his door right then.

As she left the room and shut the door behind herself, Seren swore she heard Amrita speaking. Likely, to the idol. Seren didn't wait to hear what she said as she walked on and left the inn. Her green eyes skimmed the darkening street when she walked out of the inn, and a sigh escaped her. It would be quite the walk. Well, it would give her time to peacefully go over the accounts of the Jack the Ripper while Vastien gathered his own intelligence. He might provide the key to knowing if it was an organ harvester or a cannibal. 

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #25 on: October 08, 2013, 02:43:14 pm »
The silence in the wake of Seren’s absence gave Moran’s mind time to clear.  The scent of the blood was potent and it still called the beast in her, but with the object of hostility gone she felt herself grasping more control of her mind with refreshing clarity. The encounter had left Moran dissatisfied with a lingering ominous sensation that she hadn’t gotten the  whole picture of Seren’s motives. Moot and Velker remain stoic as statues, well familiar that this time of reflection was necessary for Moran to pull upon those critical thinking patterns Moriarty had instilled in her.

“Damnation.” Moran hissed. Seren was after something, knew something about this killings that  set them apart from the common crimes of the underworld. And why had John attacked her? What was his intention? The whole event was thick with unanswered questions that she could not detect with inference nor speculate with imagination.  Moriarty might see something here that she might not. Moran glance at the clock on the wall, 7:15, she was long overdue.

“Moot.” Moran turned to the pair. “I want you to go to Amrita’s, find out what she and Seren discussed and where she thinks Seren might go next. Then go to the hospital and find out what that butler is asking.? I want to know where they go, what they ask, what their told and what they do. Pay special attention to the questions they ask, understand yes?”

“yes ma’am” Moot nodded.

“Velker.” She turned to the other. “Fix things here, dispose of the body, bring in the cleaners and send for enforcers to supervise Benny in the handling of collections until we find a replacement for John.“ Moran glanced over broken desk and moved to inspect it as Moot and Velker exited the office, each to their own task.

Alone Moran quickly pulled out of the drawers in the broken desk and shook out their contents. A red book, a ledger, fell out to the ground from the last drawer. Moran picked it up and glanced through it, it’s pages were fill with numbers and ciphered words. It was John’s operation records, the financial and business transactions for all of the Syndicate’s prostitution done in whitechapel.  Income, Expenses, debts, losses, names of workers and known clients, special events and incidences, all of it to the last entry before his death, all carefully recorded and ciphered in the first tier codex that all the lower syndicate members were required to encrypt their notes in. This cipher was not as complex as the one the syndicates financial arm or board members utilized, Many of the lower syndicate heads hated encrypting their records so Moriarty had developed a more basic cipher for them to work with. Every month all the major divisions of the Syndicate had to send in these ledgers for audit, where moriarty carefully read through them all. It was always a thing of fascination for Moran to see him read through hundreds of these booksnand from the accumulated information he could detect problems  and influences in the syndicates structure and vice markets, predict the organizations rise and fall of income and personnel, who was trustworthy and which operations to expand, shirk, divert or adjust for maximum profit. The ledgers also allowed him to intimately know and understand the writers, and he often awed Moran by accurately predicting and profiling many of the writers to perfection. At first she thought he might be a sorcerer, or something unnatural like her, but he reassured her that it was only knowledge acquired from studying the imprint of the personality left by the style and hand writing of the record keeper.

What would he see in John's last entries? Moran thought as she hefted the notebook. Maybe there is the answer.

Moran stuffed the ledger deep into her coat and with a final glance up at the clock hustled out. She passed down the hall, through the many front of the store and into the streets. There the Handsom still waited, as she leapt into it the cabby whipped the horses and the carriage when roaring out of Whitechaple.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #26 on: October 08, 2013, 02:43:53 pm »
“It’s dark.”

The Commissioner did not sound upset, though, as Seren waltzed into the station. For once, she was alone. She looked far more approachable without the shadow that was Vastien. Wet hair, soaked attire, and shivering, he couldn’t help the cords that were pulled.

“I lied,”
she spoke as if it were of no consequence, despite it being one of the things she detested in others. She hadn’t intended to lie, of course, but circumstances arose. She forgot how long it took to travel on foot to the station. It was a lie all the same, the technicalities didn’t matter. “I killed Johnathon Miller, owner of Miller’s clothing store.” The name was so uncreative.

“What? Why?”
The Commissioner was on his feet. Seren met him with a bored gaze. He knew how this went, and he sighed under the look, clearly frustrated. “Go to the back, I’ll set you up there with the files, then you’ll explain.”

“Thank you,”
she smiled sweetly and walked to the room she was all-too familiar with, down the stairs, where files were stacked to the ceiling. The table was free of mess, the bench seat for once not covered in boxes. Seren took her usual place and waited with growing impatience for the commissioner. The smell of tea came before him, a minty scent that her nearly on her feet to get to it faster. She’d been teased with tea all day, first poisoned, then mocked. When the commissioner sat down the pot and cups, along with the files, she reached for the tea first, ignoring the amused look he passed her.

‘Some things never change.’
The commissioner shook his head as he poured himself a cup, took a sip, and then tapped a notebook.

Seren sighed. Reporting. It was confession without the guilt and repentance. Dry, boring, and no hope of wine at some gathering in the future.
“Johnathon Miller knew a lot about the prostitutes of White Chapel. I went to him for information. He tried to poison me—he gave no reason, but I can imagine plenty.” An eyebrow arched, and Seren simply shook her head to the unasked question. Another sip of the minty tea, “I got some information out of him, before I had Vastien execute him. I cannot say where his body will end up, I left clean up to another.”

Commissioner Moore had tried to learn all of Seren’s underworld contacts, but she never said their names until they were dead. It was rare, but it happened. Most of those Seren killed weren't contacts, but the criminals she was charged with finding. It seemed the Queen never wanted them arrested. He decided her silence would be good. It meant that when Gagnon’s work came through, she couldn’t count any of those he uncovered as criminals as her business contacts. When the leaders fell, she wouldn't be able to put them back in their places. Her father actually kept meticulous notes on that, concerned for the well-being of his contacts. Seren's motto seemed to be survival of the fittest. The only contact, if he could be called that, that she deigned it appropriate to protect through confession was Vastien.

As his pen recorded what little she offered, Seren took out the pictures from the files of Jack the Ripper. They matched in many ways. Organs were missing from each, all varying, save for one. The womb had been removed from each victim. Kidneys were removed from the most recent, but a heart had been removed from the first. It actually seemed the only internal pieces he hadn’t taken yet were the intestines and brains.

The throats were always slit. Even in the pictures, Seren could tell the cuts were made by different hands, and different blades.
“We know the killer must be a doctor.”

“The killer is not a doctor,”
Seren corrected. “The dissector, however, is.” All the women were indeed young. “Hm,” Seren smirked, “Funny the Queen doesn’t ask me to get involved until a foreigner gets killed.” The third victim was a Swedish woman. The Queen couldn't have asked her to investigate this fourth, only killed recently. Unless.... "Jean-Baptiste been around lately?"

“Not that I have seen,”
the Commissioner's answer was short, direct. Jean-Baptiste Chinal was another of the Queen's dogs. There was animosity between him and Seren. Moore assumed Seren was hoping to pin the crime on him, or at least harass him for a short while for it. “What do you mean by suggesting an accomplice?”

“I mean there are two involved, Commissioner. The cuts alone prove that. Everyone else suggests it,”
she answered, “If you want to know about a criminal, you ask criminals.” She was certain she’d told him that a thousand times. There was a key in the missing womb. Her finger tapped the word idly, trying to pin it down.

The Commissioner noticed.

At the thought, the sheer simplicity and lack of creativity, Seren laughed. It was not at her own oversight, but his stupidity. Her humor kept her from reflecting immediately on what Moran and Amrita had to say, though it kept going over and over the consideration of this killer as a doctor, and what possible use a womb free of the body could serve. She managed to stifle her laughter with a whiff of the tea, and then a sip, though a light chuckle slipped when she placed the cup back on the table.
“It is not that simple. Not at all,” she disagreed. Her finger traced the cut of one woman’s neck. “He’s hungry for something,” it came out as a coo, as if she could coax the truth out. “The womb isn’t really an organ you can sell, not like the heart, or the liver, or the kidneys. It is valuable, of course.”

She was lost in her own wanderings. The Commissioner knew there was little he could offer. She had the information in front of her, so he chose to get up.
“I’ll be leaving Seren.”

She nodded, hardly recognizing his dismissal as she flipped through the details, estimated times of death, last places they were seen. Most were last seen exiting pubs and the like, no doubt drunk. No doubt, easier to persuade.

Each painted face, perfectly done up, stared up from where they rested on the table as Seren flipped through the reports.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #27 on: October 08, 2013, 02:44:39 pm »
The rain had subsided for the moment, but he knew it could start up at any moment. Now that his 'research' was finished, he had to find Seren and that was yet another boring task. He didn't know where she was exactly, but he could always find her wherever she was. The two were connected more than they thought, spiritually as well, Seren's soul wasn't the only soul on the line. Vastien was taking a risk since his soul was also on the line, something that somehow must've slipped his mind and was never relayed to Seren.

Due to this, he didn't have to know where she was, he just knew and she was not nearby. He could feel the distance between them and walking would take an hour or two. It was so much easier to fly anyway, it wasn't long before he took flight and was on his way to find Seren. She felt closer now, but something wasn't right, the feeling that he was being followed just couldn't be shaken off.

'Bring him back, preferably alive.' Those words never left the demon's mind, and the human who magically sprouted wings had to be his target. Unless humans discovered a new trick. Vastien, was it? It didn't matter, he was given a job, to bring that mischievous demon back into the underworld where he would be punished dearly for his crimes. If it became too difficult to bring Vastien back alive, he was given the authorization to kill the demon.

He too followed his target by flight but lagged behind to avoid detection, despite the heavy London fog, he wouldn't underestimate his target's eyesight. He would wait until Vastien was at his most vulnerable, this demon was not to be taken lightly, he could sense the sheer power but he wouldn't have been given this assignment were he not qualified. He'd have to devour a few souls before engaging Vastien, just to be on the safe side.

The police station? Again? Vastien sighed, knowing he'd have to face the Commissioner again, descending down into a dark alleyway again. His wings lit up in a flame and were burnt to a crisp, the ashes being taken by the wind. He strolled out of the alleyway like it was nothing and casually walked towards the police station, greeted with dirty looks from the officers standing outside of the police station.

"Where do you think you're going, pal?" One of the officers asked confidently, blocking his entrance into the station with his hand. Vastien rolled his eyes, not in the mood to deal with them, curling up a fist in annoyance.
"Commissioner." Vastien called out into the station, luckily he had been passing by and heard him. He could spot the stress on the man's face, Seren was no doubt the cause of it. The Commissioner sighed upon seeing Vastien, another headache.
"You again.. just take him to my office." With that, he was gone once again and before entering the police station, Vastien looked over his shoulder behind him, as if he were looking for someone. The bounty hunter watched Vastien enter the station from behind a chimney on a rooftop, ducking just in time when Vastien turned around.

Vastien followed the officer to the Commissioner's office, the door was even opened for him and right before him was Seren, she was so concentrated on her work that she probably didn't hear him come in.

"Looks like they're letting you have visitors quite early." Vastien said, covering his mouth after a yawn managed to escape.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2013, 02:45:39 pm »
When Moran finally got back to the broken spade it was a quarter passed eight. It was not uncommon for her to be late to meetings but never out of tardiness, her work simply kept her on the move and complications always arose. However the importance of the Gagnon meeting and the issue of Pollock had required her presence.

Moran descended back down to the subbasement below the broken spade where she found Morarity at his desk, carefully studying paper reports and lines of telegraph messages, the chairs across from him empty. A supple young Chinese woman, Moriarty’s Deaf-mute  hair dresser, Amal, sat at his side on a small stool, carefully stitching the loose hairs of Moriarty’s dreadlocks back into themselves with a crochet needle. She was a common sight to Moran and she could tell by set of Moriarty’s thick dreads that the woman had groomed nearly all of his left side, a sign she had been at it for a while.

“Something eventful transpired to at poor Mr.Miller’s death?” Moriarty didn’t look up from his papers, but his voice carried menacing impatience.

“He was murdered.” Moran sat down into one of the leather seats, A glass of scotch, her usual drink, was place in front of her by Von Herder who shuffled back to the bar as quickly as he had shuffled out. “it was done by Seren Vespar.”

“oh?” Moriarty cocked his head up in interest. “Self defense?”

Moran stared at him for a moment, bewildered expression on her face. She glanced to the telegraph machine in the corner then to the telegraph lines in front of him.

“I didn’t have a wire…” Morarity turned back down to the papers, flipping a few over in a gray folder labeled ‘dream vices’. “It is easy to deduce that Miller tried to kill her.”

“How…” Moran was about to speak but Moriarty raised a finger to silence her.

“First inference, “ Moriarty held his finger. “Miller and Seren intercept. A meeting,  A relationship, Unlikely a social or sexual encounter, but considering the nature of the Vesper guild, it was business, Information. Miller likely told her something that he thought would get him killed, thus he attacked to silence her. This is the most probable hypothesis but there can be other possible motives. Is my speculation correct?”

“I don’t know.”

“If there is one statement I despise over all others it is that one Moran.” Moriarty sat up again from the papers, his dark eyes fierce. “Explain.”

“She claims he tried to poison her, doesn’t give a motive. But it was obvious she had that butler brutalize him before finishing him off.” Moran seethed. “She wanted to know about the killings. What makes you so sure she didn’t kill him and frame him?”

“Highly improbable, Seren only kills necessary targets, her history shows it well enough. Maybe if she suspected Miller was the killer, but then why would she inquire about it to you? It would be a very armature move for a professional such as her. No, She wouldn’t waste so valuable an informant so casually, and she is aware that an attack on us would have retaliations. It would force our hand, not to retaliate would appear to be a sign of weakness, and we can’t have that. Ergo she stayed to clarify to you that She acted under the pressures of danger to her person, the incentives to kill him otherwise would give her little gain and much pain for her efforts. Millers motives interest me thought.”

Moran took out the red ledger and dropped it to the desk, Moriarty pressed a finger to it and dragged it to him.

“What happened to Gagnon?” Moran glanced to the empty leather chair adjacent to her.

“He is a firm and virile man.  He isn’t satisfied with any common placement. He made me a offer, a costly offer and I made mine. We will reconvene in a few weeks with the board, and there decided if we can come to terms.” Moriarty opened the red book and flipped to its last written pages. “He is a excellent find, a rare specimen, and I am considering paying his price to have him with us.”

“I thought I had made a mistake by recommending him, he seemed to ambitious.” Moran took a sip of her scotch, as the harsh warm liquid hit her she relaxed, leaned back and crossed one leg over her knee with an easy air.

“not ambitious…Independent, and an independent, intelligent, self-reliant, motivated men like him are rare. We need those kinds of people in this organization. People who can think and operate effectively without consistent consultation is rare. leadership is rare. And rare is valuable. I will want you to check up on this Opium operation of his, find out how he hides it and how it escaped my regular economic speculations of the trade. I still suspect its somewhere in the docks, or maybe services foreigners, I can’t be sure.”

“And Pollock? Has he come?”

“No, he is late, also a symptom of his treachery. He will try to contact his ally, the armature detective, to find out if things are so set that he can flee now rather than face me. Your agent will provide him with the proper answer I surmise?”

“Lark? Yes, Evidence shows the two always communicated by wire, Lark will return the necessary answer to any inquiry Pollock sends.”

“Then we wait and he will come. Pollock knows that not to would arose my suspicion and imply his guilt further and he wants to avoid that. It’s a risk he will assume is too dangerous to avoid so close to escape. His mind has already doomed him into our hands.” Moriarty sat up again and shifted his head as the hairdresser moved from his left side of the head to his right, continuing the fluid motion of her hands as she tightened and wove each thick individual dread lock. Moran thought of tentacles as she watched  the woman handle each rope of deadlock, the brown and gray color of each reminding her of a sea octopus she once saw in her homeland. The octopuses was hunting, those long tendrils wrapped around and smothering the life out of some wayward fish. She sensed that this had some truth to the man, except his tentacles were unseen, always present, and did far more then strangle.

“Sir.” Moran cleared her mind and changed the subject. “What will we do about Vesper?”

“What do you mean?” Moriarty didn’t take his eyes off the ledger, his fingers carefully running over the lines of handwritten notes in it.

“She is a problem, how long are you going to let her roam around interfering?” The bitterness of Moran’s feelings were evident in her voice.

Moriarty chuckled as he looked up from the ledger, a smirk upon his lips. “The predator recognizes the influence of another on it’s prey.” He smiled.

“What?” Moran eyes squinted in confusion.

“Seren is an issue, but not a liability. Far from it in fact, she is a asset. You and her server the same role, It is natural that you would have an instinct to despise her. She is your competition.”

“I do not understand.” Moran shook her head, then said, her voice loaded with suspicion. “Do you mean to stay you will recruit her?”

“Good Ogun No, that will not do. Seren is a predator, she thins out the weak, the deluded and the treacherous from our ranks as well as the general Criminal population thus improving the general stock of potential recruits. You serve the same function Moran, you both serve different masters, but the results benefit us more then her, thus she is a necessary asset to preserve rather than eliminate.”

“you say we use her?” Moran smiled, pleased with the idea.

“No, we merely profit by her work. John, It appears, may not have been as loyal as we suspected.” Moriarty turned a page in the ledger. “His notes are slowly becoming more static and mediocre as they near the final entry, in our business common place is uncommon on to it’s self. This is especially true in a field as turbulent as Prostitution. But it’s the human condition that believes that regularity and consistency is the result of everyday life, thus this impression is left in deliberate falsehoods rather than a true day to day record which would show more inconsistency and irregularity.”

“He’s lying?” Moran again squinted at him in confusion.

“Indeed, starting from two months ago where his statements were clear and precise with details, a gradual decline into common vagueness can be seen. Here, He notes that collecting money from Amrita has become difficult because of her delays and favoritism to specific girls who have not yet paid their 15% commission, but here near the end of the ledger he simply states ‘money collected from Amrite’ everyday repetitive till the end. Why the sudden degeneration? He knows his purpose is to report intimate details, and yet avoids putting anything that can be verified or proven false by witnesses in an audit. You see the same influence in the numbers. Previously there was exacting sums, like here, money collected in irregular parts and pieces and  at different periods in the week as he haggled Amrita and the other bodymasters, verses here, only last week were he simply states the flat sum collected for the day, no details about the inconsistencies. Simply an average sum that reveals that he is likely embezzling money because of the absence of one primal miscalculation on his part.”

Moran nodded, but her eyes clearly showed that she had become lost in the professor's lecture.

“Your question should be ‘what is that sir?’” Moriarty testily snapped. Moran opened her mouth to speak but Moriarty cut her off. “And my answer is the variable of the Killer. The four other collectors in whitechapel have posted their earnings, all around nearly a 65% reduction in income. But here, what does Mr. John Miller write? Only a measly 25% reduction in income? Considering he was at the epicenter of the killings he should have the highest reduction rate rather then the lowest. But of course he didn’t know what the others posted and erroneously assumed that the damages were far less to business then he would have discovered if he made the effort to actually calculate the losses. With his data becoming increasingly flawed since he began this pattern of falsification, he likely knew he could not trust his previous estimates as they were wrong as well and would have to recalculate from the point of truth back through the last few weeks of falsehood.” Moriarty slammed the red ledger shut and sat back, a quince of anger in his eyes. He reached out and took a sip of a brandy balloon at his side and cooled slightly.

“So, in conclusion..." He pushed the book back to Moran.  "Seren had done us a favor…by removing a problem of John Miller, the predator does its duty and the herd is freed of one less parasitic individual.”

“But why would John do this, like the others, he was in a fairly good position, made good money in whitechapel.” Moran poked at the obvious question left unanswered by Moriarty’s lecture.

“That is the big question." Moriarty pressed his fingers to his temples and rubbed them in concentric circles as the hairdresser pulled the loose dread locks from the evident frustration in his face." This behavior, I have noticed, is becoming more prolific. This is the 56th individual we have caught in the last year who has been falsifying their data. Not to say it is a conspiracy, but a common symptom of those who interests have left those of your organization. We have killed nearly all of them, with the exception of Mr. Welks, who took his own life, and Mr. Miller, who Seren has relieved us of. Selfish degeneration through stagnation is common in any empire, but more disconcerting is the recent treacherous behavior of the higher ranking agents. Lord Holdeness of the financial division, who attempted to seize our overseas assets and break the money laundering operation, and Pollock who has tried to expose our higher codex as well as us to the authorities through a third party agent. While the actions of the lower ranks seem motivated by personal greed, these higher ranking issues appear to be deliberate attacks. There is also the question of the money. In all these lower ranking cases we never find it, nearly a million pounds to date with Miller’s likely to top it. Where does that money go? It’s not in their banks, their homes, their family, their friends…all of it, simply gone. It goes somewhere and they never tell us, even under torture, almost religiously fanatical in the resolve to resist.”

Moriarty grew quite while his eyes went into that deeply glazed  dream like state of thought as he returned again to that strange conundrum. Evidence showed that all these cases where individual and independent incidences, yet, they  were all the same, all parallels. No inconsistency, and he knew that flawed perception too well to believe it. Imagination told him that such a situation was usually a sign of cooperation and systematic planning. Yet all the evidence showed no connection between the cases.

“Sir?” Moran leaned forward eagerly, uneasy  by the sudden silence after Moriarty’s long lecture. “Are you well?”

“This unnerves me, Moran.” Moriarty broke from the trance. His expression unsatisfied and annoyed. “Investigate Miller well, turn out his family, look at every inch of his home and business, even those under his employ, inspect everything large and small, there must be a clue that links him to the other 55 cases. It is far to consistent to be random.”

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2013, 02:46:34 pm »
Seren wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if her senses weren’t good. She knew Vastien’s footsteps, never too engrossed in work. Paranoia kept her alert, otherwise Moran and her goons would have taken her by surprise. Even so, feigning surprise would keep Vastien on his toes, and so she jumped when he spoke, shot a quick look over her shoulder, eyes wide, before she relaxed a bit when she recognized him. She turned back to the papers, let a hint of irritation seep into her tone, “Took you long enough,” she commented. Actually, he was back sooner than she expected, but she wouldn't yet praise him until she knew whether or not he got information of value to her.

Hearing him yawn caused her to wonder if Vastien did sleep. She’d never seen him, didn’t know if demons needed sleep.
“I hope you’re tired because you exerted yourself getting the information.” She imagined he wouldn’t have exerted himself much if he just went right to violence. She left it open for him to fill her in as she began to stack the papers and pictures once again. She had all the information she would get from them, enough to go on to start work tomorrow. 
He watched as she stacked all the papers up and shook his head, wondering if his findings would be enough for her. It wasn't concrete but it was something, he cleared his throat and pressed an ear against the door. No one was listening in, that was good.

"I visited the Royal London Hospital, spoke with the head surgeon there. Everything was going fine until I mentioned organs, he showed me their log sheet of organs and donors. I didn't buy it, it could have easily been altered or adjusted. He became very defensive and instantly was in a hurry to leave. The guilt on his face was as clear as day, Seren, and I know he's hiding something. His name is Erik Heimann in case you were wondering." There really wasn't much else he could tell her, if it was enough for her or not didn't matter to him at the moment. There was an uneasiness plaguing his stomach, he wasn't completely sure if he was being followed but it was a possibility. It was only a matter of time before he would be found, but he hadn't expected it to be so soon.

"Are we finished here? You humans are harder to stand than it looks." That wasn't why he wanted to leave, but he wasn't about to tell Seren that he could possibly be in danger, it was unnecessary.

There was an edge to Vastien’s tone that wasn’t anger. Without seeing his face, she could make it out as she began to place the papers into the box again. He gave her a name, and she stole a piece of paper from the Commissioner’s desk, wrote it down how it sounded, rather than ask Vastien how it was actually spelled. It was only for her memory. She wouldn’t be flashing the paper in front of some secretary’s eyes. “I’ll look in to Erik when we’ve stopped the Ripper tomorrow.” She set the date with no trouble or worry that they would fail.

She folded the piece of paper up when Vastien complained,
“Don’t tempt me,” her own edge; Vastien shouldn't let on when he was having a problem, particularly when she hadn't gotten back at him for missteps he made. She turned around after slipping the piece of paper into her notebook, between the pages, and put it back in her purse. Her eyes looked him over, took in his unease. Little could bother Vastien. She didn’t ask, went on as if she didn’t notice, “Let’s get to the hotel. I don’t remember exactly where it is,” she confessed. It was in the better part of Whitechapel, and she honestly didn’t know that part half as well as she knew the slums. “I’m sure Barnaby hasn’t waited up.” She didn’t know what she was going to do with Barnaby. She couldn’t keep him around, though. She walked by Vastien and out of the police station.

In his current mood, he didn't feel like going back and forth with her, the faster they arrived at the hotel, the better. The walk wasn't long, it just required them going through the slums and then into the nicer and wealthier area of Whitechapel. At least, she didn't seem to notice the tension in his voice, so even some things got past Seren Vesper, the list of those things wasn't very long. He followed her quietly, not caring for the disgusted looks he was receiving from the officers. The fog had become thick and cold. Great. Not to mention it was pitch dark out, Vastien could hear his heart beating in his ears, just pounding harder and harder. Vastien began to lag behind Seren, constantly turning his head to see if they were being followed. No sign of anyone.

The deeper they traveled through the slums, the quieter and less populated it became, one dark street in particular. Not even the few homeless people or whores wandering about, the street was dead as night. Their footsteps on the cobblestone were the only sounds resonating in the area, it was quite eerie, in fact. He wasn't sure what it was, his sensitive hearing or just instinct that something bad was going to happen. All he heard was the sound of flapping wings and right before his body was overwhelmed with pain, the bounty hunter had swooped down and impaled Vastien's midsection with his claws in mid-flight, taking Vastien into the air with him. It all happened in the blink of an eye, blood leaked out of his wounds once he slid off the bounty hunter's claws and crashed into the cobblestone ground, not too far from where he had been initially standing.

'Damn it..' Vastien thought to himself as he writhed on the ground, groaning quietly. But then, he remembered he was not alone, Seren was in danger, but he could feel life escaping him with each groan and movement. His wounds were deep and that's why he hated shapeshifting into humans, they were so weak and easily penetrated, just sacks of flesh and bone. The bounty hunter descended gracefully, but he wasn't in a human form, if Seren wanted to see a truly menacing demon, it was the demon standing before them.

"Did you think you could hide forever? You still alive over there, Vastien? I need to bring your ass back alive, just hang in there." The bounty hunter said, cackling to himself. He had to be at least 6'8", a little on the taller side for most demons anyway. He turned around to stare at Seren, those evil eyes blinked and his lips stretched to form a devilish smirk. "My, my, don't you look scrumptious. I suppose a quick meal wouldn't hurt." He slowly began walking towards Seren, tilting his head from side to side, cracking his neck twice after licking his lips. Vastien's blood coated both of the bounty hunter's hands, the warm drops sliding off his claws.

The thrill of finally feasting on a soul after so long caused the bounty hunter to fully divert his attention to Seren, knowing she couldn't get away and even if she tried to run, it would make it all the more fun to chase her. Meanwhile, Vastien began to reverting to his demon form, slowly recovering from the hit he had sustained, the wounds weren't as severe now that he was able to use all of his power. Had Vastien been in his demon form the whole time, those claws would've had a difficult time penetrating his rough skin. Vastien managed to get onto his knees, still bent over and reeling from the pain, time was running out for Seren.

Vastien couldn’t hide his paranoia. He trailed behind Seren as she took the lead, but she caught him looking over his shoulder. The fog hung thick and heavy in the air. It was too difficult to see anything, but Seren wasn’t lost, yet. She ventured into the slums with a purpose, deeper and deeper. None of the whores were out. It was quiet enough to hear a pin drop.

She was much calmer than Vastien, no interference of her heart. She heard the heavy beat of wings, and saw the fog in front of her disturbed. Her purse swung behind her back as she turned around. Her hands fumbled for her gun in the purse as she watched the dark, blurry figure of Vastien assaulted by a winged entity. What she imagined was a hand withdrew from Vastien’s body as he fell to the ground.

Her hand found the case as the figure addressed Vastien, apparently knowing him. Demon or angel, she couldn’t make it out through the thick fog, and she cursed her human sight for its weakness. It was tall, though. Quite tall. The case opened, and the cool metal of the gun slipped into her hands. She shifted it into one hand, purse and gun behind her back still.

She was spotted.
‘Great.’ Meal. Of course. She took a step back for every step forward the demon made, hand desperately seeking her ammunition. It wasn’t loaded with what she referred to as ‘holy’ bullets—simply, the ‘aether’ ones. They were supposed to be good for everything, though she’d never had the opportunity to test it on a supernatural besides Vastien. That had taken a lot of persuading, and a bribe of a soul. The holy bullets in particular bothered him, thus the terminology for them. Alchemy had helped her quite a bit in devising knew weaponry. Knowing the supernatural existed inspired her to start upping the quality of her ammunition.

She couldn’t stop the shiver of fear, though. It was able to take longer steps, closing the distance faster. She could make out its features soon, the lick of its lip sending a shiver of fear down her spine.
‘Vastien!’ The demand echoed through the mark on her hip, their connection, the way he would always know where she was. The way he would be able to find her when she was in danger, for she knew it reacted in those situations. It wouldn’t go well for Vastien if she died—he’d suffer, too, lives linked. ‘Get up!’ She wouldn’t admit to the fear, tried to convince herself there was no need for it, despite knowing it would take more than one bullet to put the demon down.

And one shot was all she would get. Surprise was the only advantage she could play on, appearing the frightened, weak, female human. Her hands wrapped around the case of ammunition.
“P-please,” perhaps the demon would think it mere coincidence she was there. Prey of Vastien, perhaps, and that was all. “I ca-can give you money, an-anything you want, just don't...don't hurt me,” she purposefully stuttered, let her voice go higher, breaking into a whimper at the last word. She felt the freezing cold of the bullet she wanted and easily hid her satisfaction. At least demons took pleasure in tormenting their victims. He was probably getting a thrill out of her pleading voice and attempt to bargain.

She dropped the purse, her foot tripped over it and she stumbled over it, fell backwards, knees resting over the top of the purse as she landed on her butt, winced. The revolver barrel was opened.
“Please….” It covered the sound of metal striking cobblestone as one bullet was removed, and one replaced. Her hand knew where to place it. The barrel was moved back into place.

As soon as the demon lunged, she was putting a bullet between its eyes.