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Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2013, 02:47:30 pm »
After the gunshot, silence followed. The bounty hunter's head snapped back and he began staggering backwards, covering his face with his hands in pain. The bounty hunter released a deafening roar, why had he been hurt so bad? He began swatting his clawed hands in front of him trying to find and hopefully slice through Seren, his vision had been horribly impaired. Still, he could smell her perfume, however the demon's equilibrium was also off, the gunshot to the head had affected him more than he thought. Another one of those would put him down alright, not permanently, but it wouldn't go well. A ball of fire soared through the air and connected with the bounty hunter, immediately engulfed in fire, the bounty hunter roared in pain and although smoldering made a dive for the human.

Vastien flew in front of Seren just in time, bringing his hands and a two-handed blade up in a slicing motion, the blade chopped the bounty hunter in the stomach with great force, taking him high into the air before landing in a dirty, pool of muddy water, the flames dying down. It was a good thing no one was around, it would be quite a story to tell. Two, red-skinned giants with horns and wings was a little too outrageous. Adorned in what looked like onyx-colored armor, Vastien kept his gaze on the wounded demon who was now on the receiving end of what looked extremely painful. Vastien returned the large, two-handed blade back into the sheath on his back, he had been a warrior back in his time in the Underworld.

"Are you alright? Did he hurt you?" Vastien turned around, it would not be the voice she was used too. His voice was deeper and sounded evil, with a voice like that, any show of concern would seem feigned, but it wasn't. He offered a hand to help her up from the floor, fear from before was still apparent in her eyes, it wasn't everyday a human was attacked by a demon, quite a terrifying experience. He looked down at his mid-section, the blood slowly poured out of the small, pierce wounds and then he returned his attention to the bounty hunter. "Just who the hell are you?" He asked, walking towards the wounded bounty hunter, Vastien's claws were ready to flay the bounty hunter for attacking him so cowardly.

"This.. this isn't over, Vastien." The bounty hunter spat out blood and got to his feet, holding an arm over the gash on his stomach. The bastard was tough. "I'm Razael, you will be seeing me again and next time it won't be so easy." Razael took off in a hurry and Vastien was tempted to chase the demon but he still had Seren to look after, he really didn't want to run around and face the scolding that would follow. 

"I suppose you want an explanation.." He said, looking down at her, he had grown another foot in height due to his demon form.

The mad slashing of the demon was erratic, his sight obscured by the blood. Seren figured she could get another shot off, imagined it would hurt even if it was just an aether bullet.

Seren should have moved. The mad slashing was figuring out where she was by other senses. As she took aim again, the gun was slashed from her hands. The metal struck the cobblestone. Blood escaped her fingers. She pushed herself up to standing, planned to dash for the protection of the gun, but she wasn’t faster than the demon. He knew he’d found her and his next slice was not as forgiving. Claws ran down her side, tore through the blue to the flesh. Fortunately it was a slash, and knocked her aside, to the ground, rather than an attempt to impale and keep her close.

She was further from her gun, and her purse, than before. Despite her penchant to complain at petty things, she didn’t so much as scream. She tried again to get up as the demon was engulfed in fire, but froze when it lunged for her. She hated the irrational reaction. She hated the fear of death that kept her rooted to the spot, as if the demon would think her already dead if she just didn’t move.

Fortunately, it seemed the fire was a precursor to Vastien getting himself together. The demon was cut through. Seren expected Vastien would move forward and put an end to it, but instead he addressed her and offered her a hand up. She didn’t hesitate in taking it, but she didn’t answer the question, assumed he was mocking her when his own wounds looked so petty in this form.
‘Perfectly fine.’ If it wasn’t obvious she was hurt, then that had to be true. She’d been through worse either way, it had just been a while.

When the demon threatened this wasn’t over, Seren was tempted to move from behind Vastien to where her gun was, and show him it was, in fact, over. She had some sense left, though, and didn't put herself in a more dangerous position. Razael managed to flee. Vastien didn’t go after it. Perhaps that was for the best, she wasn’t in the best condition to defend herself from other stalkers of the night. She looked up at him when he spoke ridiculous words. Of course she wanted to know! She reminded herself to avoid sarcasm before speaking.
“Yes, Vastien,” she tried to keep her tone even, but the injury and anger wasn't making that easy. “If you know why we were attacked, and will be attacked again in the future, I think it would benefit me to know why.” Next time, she wouldn't have the same element of surprise, not that she wouldn't devise ways to create them. Bullets weren't all she could prepare.

She picked up her purse gingerly with her wounded fingers, realized that was a bad idea when it slipped out of her grasp, the blood making it easy. She didn’t curse it, though she wanted to for the pain its slipping caused to the open wounds. She simply used her other hand. She slipped the purse over her shoulder, sought out her gun in the fog,
“And thank you.” The injuries could have been worse. It was in his interest to protect her, but gratitude eased some of the fears that remained. She managed to take a deep breath to try and calm the other anxieties. Mostly, the fact she couldn't see the gun.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2013, 02:48:17 pm »
He stared at her wounds, his eyes widening once he realized how bad they were. She looked like she would manage, but it could've been much worse. He expected her to be furious, but it kind of looked like she was holding it in. He arched an eyebrow when she thanked him, that was a first, but he nodded at her gratitude. Her being killed wouldn't benefit him at all, her end of the contract hadn't been fulfilled and he'd lose the soul as well. Slowly he began returning to his human form, the pain from before also returned with no lack of severity, but the wounds had begun to heal. The last things to go were his horns and wings, he moved his hand to his afflicted area to keep anymore blood from spilling.

"Let's just say I got into some trouble before I met you, I fled here and tried to hide out. It's been so long, I thought they gave up on searching for me." He paused for a moment, touching his bottom lip with his index finger, making sure to choose his words carefully. "I never told you because it never crossed my mind that it would come to this again. By that I mean, Razael isn't the first bounty hunter that has tried to capture me. Since, I'm here alive and well, the first bounty hunter wasn't as lucky as Razael." Vastien simply gazed at her, remembering the constant alert flaring up around the contractual tattoo when he was still recovering.

There had never been a moment where she desperately asked for his help, it had been a genuine cry for aid. What if he'd been a second later? Razael might have reached her face.. or worse.
"Seren, we'll be ready for him next time and he won't get away. I'll make sure of that, you have nothing to be worried about." It was true, until she literally saw him get torn to pieces, he would defend her until the end, whether she believed that or not was the question. "Shall we go now?"

Seren noted the nod out of the corner of her eye, just as it caught the gleam of silver. Relief touched her as she approached, only to find the aether bullet she’d emptied from the gun. She picked it up. ‘Better not to waste.’ Before the gun was seen not far off.

He confessed to making trouble, and Seren smiled.
“I would get the only demon actually wanted in Hell.” The thought was amusing. What could one do in hell to get in trouble? Given the amorality of demons, she expected it had to be quite the high crime. Did he try to dethrone the leader of the demons? He wasn't good with authority. Or perhaps he tried to be ‘good’. That thought made her laugh as slick fingers tried to keep the gun in her grasp long enough to drop it into her bag. She’d put it in the case later.

She hated the sight of her blood. Her laughter died as she watched the gun slip into the bag, coated with the red liquid. Vastien reaffirmed his loyalty as she watched the blood fall to the ground.
‘You don’t fail.’ She might be injured, but that wasn’t what mattered. She was alive. That was what mattered. She could take injury better than most. She shifted the purse a bit and turned to Vastien with a smile. She had things to worry about, but revenge was always a delightful thought. “Next time, he dies. I won’t forgive him for this.” It seemed they’d be staying in Whitechapel a while longer, though she didn’t say that aloud. Vastien could find out later and bemoan his fate. ‘There’s a lot of activity here, I may as well stay.’ A treacherous syndicate member, a demon, corrupt surgeons…she had a lot of cleaning up to do.

Bells tolled again, and Seren tilted her head towards the sound, figuring direction,
“Yes, let’s go. I need to see if I packed my stitching kit.” She didn’t like to go to doctors. She hadn’t gone to one since the Commissioner forced her to one when she resurfaced, alive.

She turned and started walking in the direction of the bells, but called back,
“Vastien, what happens to a demon that dies?” It was a curious thought, really. Humans went to the afterlife, but since demons apparently came from the afterlife, she had no idea what happened to them. “Is there a soul that continues on?” ‘Or is that why you’re so obsessed with them?’

The sound of bells startled him, it was eerie, as if something were about to happen. Vastien kept an eye on the skies. allowing Seren to lead the way, he wasn't about to take any chances and be sneak attacked again. It wasn't until she started calling him that he diverted his attention away from the dark, gray night sky, her question was a peculiar one.

"Our souls are very different, Seren. Unlike you humans, the only purpose our souls serve is to keep us anchored to our physical forms. Once we die, that's it. Human souls are filled with life, demon souls are not, which is why we crave human souls." That was the simplest way of explaining it without going into too much detail, he wouldn't expect a human to comprehend the complexities of how souls work. With the sudden sprout of his wings when Razael attacked him, Vastien didn't have the leisure to calmly remove his shirt and in result, it was torn to shreds. The cold rain pampering his shirtless torso and not wanting to be questioned for all of his tattoos, Vastien threw on the soaked greatcoat which had become heavier due to the excess water.

As they walked through the slums, the nightfolk seemed to crawl out of every nook and cranny, compared to the few abandoned blocks where the fight had taken place, the new populace seemed unreal. The old, poorly constructed and funded buildings seemed to lessen once the nicer area of Whitechapel welcomed them with its many commercial and residential sectors. The hotel couldn't be much farther, hopefully Barnaby wasn't too 'impaired' that he hadn't checked them in yet, all he wanted was to rest. Not sleep necessarily, but it would be nice to just sit down in a warm, cozy hotel room.
"Just so you know.." The silence broken, he looked at her, quickly staring at her wounds and then back to her, smirking. "Whatever they're hunting me for, it wasn't my fault. Misunderstanding, really." It was hard to maintain a straight face, of course it was his fault.

Razael watched the two continue to walk like nothing had happened, he was perched at the top of a cathedral, angrily staring at Seren's back. That damn human had tricked him, it wouldn't happen again. And that damned Vastien, he should've finished him off when he had the chance.
"I'll kill them both next time." Razael whispered to himself, but it would be a while before he attack them again. His wounds were severe and it would require plenty of feasting and recovery, but their next encounter he would be at 100% and those wouldn't survive.

The church building itself was old, but the church housed a new organization. Christian. To Seren, they were all the same, although rumors reached her ears about the church which focused on the Holy Ghost aspect.

she commented as her eyes scanned up the building that loomed over the town, “It doesn’t sound different, Vastien. That is all my soul is doing.” And when its use expired, it would cease to be. She knew there must be an afterlife, but wondered at it. Either way, it was comforting considering this Razael might face eternal punishment. Death wouldn’t let him escape it. “I suspect the difference must be nutritional, then, but no matter.” The difference between an apple and the candy she made money off of, except perhaps demon souls tasted bad.

She waved it off, deciding not to harass him for details. Another day, when they were both in better health, if it sparked her curiosity again. Her eyes drifted to the movements of people. Pride forced her to straighten up her slumping posture, and walk with no indication of pain, although the shift of weight put more pressure on the wound to her side. There was a chance someone among the night worked for the Syndicate. There was the chance they would report.

They wouldn’t be able to report that she looked weak, or even perturbed by the events. A predator never let on to other vicious carnivores that it was limping, unless it was plotting a trap. She returned his smirk,
“Do you think I believe that?” He couldn’t lie, but the word misunderstanding said he was speaking subjectively. “So you know, it doesn’t matter what you did in the past. We’ll simply kill every bounty hunter that gets in the way.” The past was not a subject Seren enjoyed reflecting on. It was one of the few mercies she’d allow Vastien.

‘Sins of the father….’

The church was behind, but Seren felt the eyes. They were too intense not to feel on her back, so full of hate and malice. She didn’t look behind her, but lifted her hand, lowered all the fingers but two, and offered a mocking wave with the V of Victory. She didn’t explain to Vastien, nor order him to find the hunter. She was being generous—next time, beating the demon at his best, would break him. If he didn’t know how to beat a foe at his worst, then he wouldn’t beat her at his best.

A few more minutes and they were at the hotel and out of the rain. Seren involuntarily shivered when she crossed the threshold. It was a quaint one, but the rooms were always set up with the finest of sheets, and it was peaceful in how small it was, how few guests could stay. The door was left unlocked, and the man behind the desk straightened up as if startled when the door opened.
“Countess!” She was well known enough, and smiled at the recognition, the thought that she’d returned to life outside of the guild. Then the injuries were seen, “What happened to you?”

“Nothing to worry over,”
she answered, tried not to think on how many times she'd used this excuse with others, “Another unsuccessful assassin, you know how people seem to dislike my family for its success.” That much was no secret, though the success was not in the candy business. She had learned to stifle her hatred towards the pitying looks, less common now. “My man came by?”

“Yes, Barnaby did. He’s set up in a room,”
he handed Seren two keys, and she held one out for Vastien. She recognized the one to her usual room without much examination. “Your room was available today, fortunately.” It would be available anyway. The owner would see to that.

“Thank you, George,”
she made a point to remember his name just so he’d feel special, and do a better job, make things more accommodating. He’d gotten better at figuring her out, and keeping it a secret when she was here. The smile that lit his face was pathetic in how easy it was to bring. “Have a good night,” she wished before walking off, wanting to get out of the soaked and bloody clothing as soon as possible.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2013, 02:49:05 pm »
'We'll?' Vastien thought to himself silently, by that he hoped she really meant mainly him, she managed to pull off a lucky shot once, he wasn't so sure Razael would be so careless next time. He would know that he could be hurt by Seren's bullets and wouldn't give her the chance to shoot him again so easily. He too felt eyes shooting daggers into his back, he was watching them, but from where? Would he attack? Seren did not give an attack order, simply made a 'V' with her fingers. He turned his head to look up at the church behind him, no one was in sight, nothing but a black feather that lazily descended onto the floor in which Vastien picked up and shoved into his pocket.

Upon arriving at the hotel, he was glad he didn't have to fight again, they had almost been killed twice today, he didn't need a third incident happening, two was enough for one day. He took the key to his room and didn't return a smile when George looked at him, he maintained the deadpan expression, the colorless pupils blinking before following Seren.

"Mr. Ba'al, can I get you anything?" George asked, scurrying behind them, the man was desperate to take care of them, was his wage so bad that he was depending on their generosity to tip him? Vastien sighed and spun around, knowing the man would constantly bug him if Vastien didn't allow himself to be served.

"Your strongest whiskey, make it snappy." He said in an annoyed tone, flicking a pound off his thumb in George's direction. Unlocking the door to his hotel room, Vastien shrugged off the wet greatcoat and collapsed face-first onto the bed, dozing off right away.

Seren did mean mainly Vastien, but her mind was working plots and ways to catch Razael off guard. She had the night to contemplate what ingredients she might need, or what she wanted fetched from her home. She dismissed George with no needs of her own to take care of. The door that shut behind her was enough. She almost slid down the slab of wood in relief, but did not.

She stripped herself of the clothing before locating her stitching kit among her packed items. She flicked through the various other things, noted she did have enough to make what she’d termed ‘thunder powder’—a blinding light, a deafening boom. Far more exciting than a smokescreen.
‘Useful.’ She kept it in mind as she moved the needle through her own flesh to close up the wound. She needed to replace the holy bullet, too. She liked having the same number—she’d load the gun up with them, too.

The stitching job was mediocre at best; Seren was no doctor, she had learned simply because it was necessary. The fingers were wrapped in cloth bandages. Staring at the thin fingers, so frustratingly fattened by the cloth, turned her thoughts to punishment left incomplete.
‘You’re almost more trouble than you’re worth.’ The key had always been almost. Either way, she needed to think of something for him. ‘Viscount is always so full of ideas....’ It was with that thought on her mind that she drifted to sleep, mind plotting other methods besides what the Viscount might have in mind.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2013, 02:58:47 pm »
As the night wore on and the tides of humanity began to subside across London only the restless and willful remained among Whitehall and at the  Broken spade, with it’s fixed wide doors, was virulent and resilient with the activity of those thrill seekers who let no hour get between them, their rubber, their wet or their leisures. The establishment buzzed like a furious beehive with all the comings and goings of all the wealthy and celebrity of Europe.  But in that flurry of the nightlife one figure cut through it, his strong and active pace over the red carpet of the establishment leaving a quake of silent on lookers. He had a swaggering step of confidence, a strength of youthful vigor in his stride, a crisp and primness about his fashion all cut with blues and maroons that hid the strong square back and well toned arms beneath it’s tweeted suited grace. His handsome face was the essence of absolute confidence, witty intelligence and fierce determination behind a playful mask of winks and smiles, entirely clean shaven and with a flush of obsidian black hair from under his top hat. He was a known regular here at the Broken Spade, celebrity by his noble blood, notoriety by his chosen profession. Unlike the unknown Moriarty who had shift and push his shadowy way through the crowds, for this man, they split like waves for his smooth strides and confident twirls of a ebony cane.

To some he was known by his true noble titles, but to most he was simply known as ‘Pollock” The face of the syndicate, the ever approachable individual when people were looking to do business with the shadowy organization. He was the connections man, the ‘public relations’ department of the great organization. Everyone knew him and wanted to be known by him for the favors one could gain off of him could carry them far. Pollock knew this and cultivated the subservience that others showed him, it in it’s own right gave him a level of power he didn’t quite possess within the organization.  He stood on the board but his role was primarily to seek out outside clients and potential recruits. He had placed many for his friends in the nobility among the ranks but few among the inner circles of the organization. Moriarty, Pollock knew, for all the talk of Equality and honor among thieves kept a very tight grip on the key positions of power in the organization, the board and the finances. Most of all he kept Moran and the entire enforcement ring for himself, he wouldn’t allow anyone access to his collection of trained hit men and Moran’s loyalty was absolute to him. He was the boss in all but name, and Pollocks ambition wouldn’t allow it.

Pollock had plotted and planned for years against Moriarty but his subtle attempts to wrinkle out the weaknesses in the organization and Moriarty had yield little. His attempt to slide Moran’s loyalties away from Moriarty failed, Moran would not let the loyalty to Moriarty be superseded by a lover. The Murder of the Williaby twins had proved as much. He tried to lay suspicion among Moriartys true identity, and all his rumor spreaders ended up dead and he himself had to kill a close ally to insure that he wasn’t exposed.  But now he had finally gained the upper hand and soon the One and all his little minions will be exposed.

Like a gardener over turning the rock to find the ant’s nest. Pollock smiled to himself. And in the aftermath only one man will have the connections and resources to rebuild the broken empire. The code was the key, the Code that Moriarty, Moran, the killers and the board communicated in linked them all together. If anyone found the notebooks they always kept on their persons it would only read asl gibberish, but with the codex the truth would be clear. It would tell which individuals were killers and key players, who was murdered and when, what banks were robbed, nobles blackmailed, business extorted, the networks of communication and organization, even the inner thoughts of the boss himself. The notebooks would show to the world the complex and deadly organization that was in place and that Moriarty was at the center of it. He and moran would likely get the noose, and of course many who were loyal to them who had just as bloody hands would join them. Once the codex was completed it would be placed on the desk of the police commissioner, he would pick men that were free of corruption and apprehend the key players, primarily Moran and Moriarty. With a single surgical strike the entire administration of the syndicate would be removed and Pollock would step into the void with the survivors of the aftermath never the wiser of whose hand had let the blow fall. Pollock would then place is own people in charge to fill in the administration and their plan would be free of another difficult obstacle.

Now all that was needed was the completion of the codex by the armature detective. Pollock had furnished him with enough copies and clues from his own glances and photographic memorization of glimpse taken of Moriarty’s and Moran’s books that he had seemed confident that he could break it with in a few weeks and early results showed that he had been on the right tack. He should have been finished by now, but had sent a wire that he needed to finish the last set of letters before he could approach the commissioner. A spark of disconcert flared in Pollock’s mind, it was not uncommon for Moriarty to summon him for some issue involving a possible client, or a blackmailed individual but the timing of this meeting made him uneasy.

That old man is as tricky as the evil one. If I don’t see him he will be suspicious, but if he is suspicious then seeing him will give him opportunity to confirm it, I have to walk the thin line, careless confidence and disinterest, anything else will give me away. Pollock passed beyond the revelers and into the service hall that lead to the Elevator.

“Good night Burte, How are things?” Pollock smiled to the door man as he entered the elevator.

“All’s well sir, lot of coming and goings to night.” The scared face man pressed the buttons in unison, trigger the elevator to descend to the secret basement.

“Whose in?” Pollock took off his coat and hat as the elevator reached the  basement

“The boss is in, Miss Moran as well.” Burte slid the gated door open to the labyrinth basement.

Moran. Pollock shivered as he recalled his previous encounters with her, for all her sweet looks and causal smiles there was something deeply brutal and predatory in her. One could feel it in her presence, the ways she moved and spoke, the look she gave those she didn’t trust. A meeting with the two were not infrequent in his line, but others often said that if both called on you it was because they had special plans for you. Moran was Moriarty’s second in command, nearly everyone reported to her first at her Steel Garden club in the Strand and she passed on important information to Moriarty. Many who were unaware of Moriarty's true role often assumed that Moran was the head of the organization and the board, but any who saw the two together clearly distinglished who was the master and who was the servant.

Pollock approached the huge doors to Moriarty’s office and paused a foot from them. He wished he could hear what they were saying in there, if he could have a clue, if there was danger. He knew once he was in there was no escape but here and now if he heard any hint he would go back. It was silent, no sound escaped those thick doors. He took a heavy breath, grasped one of the doors handles and pushed his way in.

“...And that is why I want to shift our investments from Brazil to Panama, there are increasing signs of long term American involvement and that would give us new opportunities for….ahh Pollock.” Moriarty glanced up to Pollock who walked into the luxurious office with a bright smile. “we have been waiting for you.”

Pollock took a quick glance around the room, two empty plates lay before Moran and Moriarty at the desk,  the remains of dinner apparently. It was likely roasted pork, Moriarty’s favorite and pickled hearing with a side of sauerkraut for Moran, they always ate the same meal here together.  Pollock causually tossed his coat, hat and cane onto a low settee in the corner and strode with the ease of a man at home to the bar.

“My apologies my man! Lot of people are asking for me today.” he spoke with a enthusiastic air and smile to Moriarty, who seemed to return it in kind.

“Business has been good for you then?” Moriarty sat up, a playful glint in his eye.

“Yes, I... ahh..., heard back from that Mr. Kerns who is interested in having us invest heavily into his telephone company. Also the lady Matraon wants us to aid her in ruining her husband, she says his infidelity has finally cause her to seek retribution.” Pollock turned away from Moriarty to Von Herder behind the bar. “Make it a gin and tonic my boy.”

“Good, good.” Moriarty turned to Moran with a sly look and on a slight gesture of his hand she got up, picked up the plates and walked out of the office. As Pollock saw her leave in the bar mirror he felt a enormous relief descend on him, Moriarty was not the type to get his hands dirty and with Moran gone it was unlikely he had any hostile intentions. He turned to face Moriarty at the desk and saw that he was loading his black pipe with tobacco, a usual sign that he was in a disputatious mood.  Another good sign, Pollock felt foolish that he had suspected exposure. This was just another request of some kind, some individual he wanted to contact, or some business he wanted to investigate. Pollock felt a sense of superiority rise in him. Of course! How would Moriarty have found out? He would have to watch the mail of the detective, and have a agent in his house, and have some way of obtaining information from the false name and address the detective wrote to me.  Pollock struggled to repress the elated smile he felt forming in his mind. He strutted to the leather seat which Moran had occupied and sat down in it, crossing his legs and resting his drink in hand on his knee.

“So Mr. Moriarty what can I do for you?” Pollock smiled .

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2013, 02:59:12 pm »
Moriarty loaded his pipe with slow deliberation, playing out the impression that this was just another casual talk of business. He had been right of course, Pollock had come late and come in a manner to impress upon the nonchalant casualness that he always came upon. This was one of the things that Moriarty admired about Pollock, his ability to hide his emotions and feelings with ease, to dissuade and impress those around him. He fit his role in the organization perfectly. Moran could never pull something like this off and even now,  too many tells with her, but Moriarty couldn’t be certain if Pollock truly was aware of the danger he was in or if he was simply that sure of himself.  Well, Moriarty smiled, time to find out. He took a long draw of his pipe, lean back and puffed a large ring up into the air.

“I wanted to discuss with you my concerns for appearances.” Moriarty turned back down to Pollock, who smiled back demurely.

“Appearances?” Pollock raised a curious eyebrow.

“Yes, Appearances” Moriarty placed his pipe to his lip and lightly puffed. “Nobody really factors these things in, But I am naturally concerned with the appearance of the organization.”

“Everything’s appears fine to me Moriarty. Everything is as you designed it.” Pollock gave a playful smile back. Yes, he thought, play the confident servant, sure of his masters skill.

“No.” Moriarty shook his head. “Nothing’s EVER as one wants it to be designed. I want the organization to have no appearance at all, but to the contrary individuals like you reflect our true appearance.”

Pollock’s smile shrank a little. The shifting heavy overtones of conversation suddenly dawned on him. “I don’t quite understand.”

“In nature, a creature’s appearance often serves a survival function created by the stresses of its environment, Camouflage and natural color for examples. You tend to see animals that are often similar in color to their surrounds and change with the seasons, Arctic foxes, summer fowl and the like.  But there are other rare strange examples…” Moriarty sat down his pipe and leaned forward. “Are you well up in your Darwin Pollock?” Pollock shook his head ‘no’, confusion in his eyes. “That bird from our Indian possessions, the Peacock, represents one such case. What design does it foster? A large attractive size bird, brilliant plumage, but it wouldn’t deter a tiger which it would make easy prey. It’s flashiness is a liability, has no practical use, makes it, in fact, more noticeable pray.  Makes you wonder why they haven’t gone all extinct yet. You have any speculations on this?”

“Um…well the Peacock is well known as a possession of royalty and wealth for hundreds of years, perhaps we…” Pollock started but Moriarty cut him off.

“I really did undervalue your mind Pollock, Indeed! Human intervention and protection has insured that a useless bird escaped the natural order of things. It has defied the predator-prey relations that keep balance in the natural world. See any creature that would have faced death in this natural order that is preserved in an environment where they are shielded from said forces would develop even less for survival because of this environmental handicap. Such a creature could roam about showing it’s fangs well aware that the predator could never strike back, it grows flamboyant, careless as it’s instincts for survival are dulled, it begins to think its success is of its own making.”

Moriarty drew back with his pipe and puffed calmly. Pollock’s face had turned a shade whiter and his Gin and tonic rattled in his shaking hand.

“Are…are you saying I am a peacock…sir?” Pollock stiffened as all his instincts screamed danger.

“You are a peacock.” Moriarty smiled. “A Peacock Pollock.” There was a creek from the door and Moran step back in to the office, Pollock’s eyes grew wide with horror as she crossed over the room to stand facing him at Moriarty side. Moriarty’s face was cold and intent.

“There is another type of appearance that I concern myself with. The false appearance some creatures take to dissuade potential predators. You often see it in snakes. One snake maybe quite venomous and sport a particular pattern to reflect this danger to all around it, and another might evolve the same pattern and coloring as a result of the formers influence on their shared natural predators. When I was a child, I often caught and played with snakes and I learned to identify the minute differences between the dangerous and the lookalikes. However, I discovered the sure fire way to be sure in any case was to raise your boot to it. The dangerous venomous snake would always hold its ground, the harmless copy cat always fled.”

“I have my own poisons Moriarty!” There was a threat in Pollock's voice “That is why you hired me.”

“No, That is where you fail to understand your purpose.” Moriarty tapped out the ash of his pipe and replaced it into his desk. “I hired you because I thought you were a copycat, something people would mistake as a danger but not actually be dangerous.  The appearance of the organization must be kept, and I wanted those who sought it to think you were only intimidation without true influence, you were a mere distraction for these, so that the true dangerous snake could always move in and strike in secret.” Moriarty sat upright. “But you have come to change your benign fangs for deadly ones, and in the desert we always killed the poisonous snakes we came across, they were too dangerous to be around the house. So…” Moriarty drew from his breast pocket the letter that Moran had given him earlier in the day, white with the corner all muddled with crimson. He dropped it to the table in front of Pollock, its address facing up. “Here is my boot above you, which snake are you?”

Pollock’s face grew as white as the letter in front of him. He recognized the address as his own, the secret fake address he received his letters from the armature detective. In an instant he understood that Moriarty had everything in the palm of his hand.

“How?” Moriarty met Pollock’s eyes as he glance from the letter to the dark eyes of his former boss. “Long ago when we formed this organization I tried to hypothesized all the potential ways we could meet our end. The police was the major predator in our environment, but we a chained and tamed that beast. That left only the potential mercenaries and wonton do gooders. Mercenaries are easily enough dealt with, so the latter only remained. This detective you consulted  I had my eye a long time, he was both gifted with a logical fact stacking mind and a keen sense of moral justice. The resourceful independent is the most dangerous kind of predator to us. Early in his career, I formed a plan to interfere with the kind of business he did, and through various backchannels managed to buy the rooms in which he ran his business. I changed nothing save but the title, leaving the landlady to stay in as manager of the estate but hired on our individuals to handle house cleaning and daily duties. Thus we checked the mail and monitored his cases closely. One day a letter containing some of our most dangerous secrets arrived at his house, and well, the rest is history. We played it out to find you, he is now dead and here you sit.”

No, the detective sent the letter! How is this possible! Pollock’s eyes flared in confusion.

“Aaah, I see you are wondering why you received a letter from the detective this afternoon, the letter that prompted you to come here in order to secure you position? One of Moran’s uniquely talented men, an actor with bloody urges and carnal avarice, he is a expert in the killing and impersonating of individuals. Perhaps you have heard of him, Lark of Averhale road, Murdered half a dozen of his fellow actresses and sentenced to death. We recognized his unique talents and pulled him up before his feet met the gallows.”

Pollock had pulled out a white handkerchief to hold to his mouth as he stared down at the letter. He was shaking now, and Moriarty’s lips began to widen into a pleasant smile and Moran began to mirror the same smile. She had no real liking for Pollock either, a fling a while back had left her with a bad disposition to him and she was relishing this moment.

“Your plan, Of course, may have worked, but I had preparations in order in case anyone was to crack a stray note book by sheer luck.” Moriarty continued to smile as Pollock put his hand back into his vest to replace the handkerchief. “I speculated that such a crippling blow may one day fall and if it did the only thing I would be able to do to escape it is if I could convince people that I was somehow framed by the Syndicate or fake my own death. Still nothing short of my ACTUAL death could truly damage the-“ Moriarty was suddenly cut off as Pollock pulled his hand from his vest, a silvery gleam of a short nose revolver in it. He leveled it at the shocked face of Moriarty and pulled the trigger.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2013, 02:59:40 pm »
The gunshot erupted in the silence of the room; In the distance Pollock herd the clash of glass as Von Herder dropped a set of bottles. In the sudden aftermath Pollock  glanced down his arm expecting to see the broken face of Moriarty, but instead saw that the white jacket hand of Moran had somehow slipped between the revolver and the face of his former boss who was, too Pollock’s astonishment, unharmed and smiling, radiating with what seemed to be pride.  Pollock glanced about in confusion, to Moran’s cold steely face, with her flaring eyes fixated on her out stretched hand which was balled into a fist between his revolvers muzzle and Moriarty’s black eyes.  Slowly, with deliberate coolness Moran opened her clenched fist, and out from it rolled the mushroomed head of a .30 caliber bullet, which clinked onto the black desk and rolled in a spiral before resting with its flatten surface facing the horrified expression on Pollock.

“And so the Poisonous snake has revealed its self.” Moriarty face beamed with pride.  Pollock’s face was empty of all emotion but absolute fear, he glanced to Moriarty in disbelief then to Moran, who was pointing her massive Claymore pistol at his out stretch hand. She fired.

In an explosion of sound and agony, Pollock watched as the massive round took the revolver, his hand and a chunk of his wrist clean off, splattering the entire right side of the desk with is blood and bones. He shrieked with horror and pain as he stared at the splintered and bloody stump that remained.

“Von Herder…Deal with him, I don’t want him to expire so quickly.” Moriarty smiled at the withering figure before him. Von Herder, who had ducked under the bar at the first shot cautiously emerged from it, peering as it were at the scene at the desk. “Von Herder!” Moriarty hissed a little louder.

“Y-yes sir.” The blind old German duck back under the bar and rose up with a collection of test tubes and carboys, with deliberate and well familiar skilled he mixed the strange luminescent blues and greens into a rocks glass, and taking it, quickly shuffled to the desk.

“You have seen Moran’s talents, but do you know of the meek Von Herders?” Moriarty smiled again with that radiating pride.

Pollock, breathing hard and in the grip of agony turned to the German as he shuffled up. “Mercy.” He whispered to him.

“I-I am sorry Sir. But I may need your organs…so I can’t not poison you.” Von Herder muttered in broken English as he drew closer, his blank white eyes peering at him.

“W-what?” Pollock eyed him back in confusion.

“Let me see your wound yes,” he took Pollock’s arm then rose the bar cup over it. “This is a specialized concoction, a very powerful combination of our natural healing secretions that our bodies produce with that of specialized accelerants harvested from reptiles and amphibians.” He leveled the cup over the bloody stump and began to pour. “This will be very painful.”

As soon as the fluid splashed across the wound Pollock let out a roar of anguish and swiped at Von Herder, who quickly dashed away, jealously guarding the cups contents with his free hand. The wound burn as if coated with acid, but the skin of his undamaged flesh seemed to melt and drip over the wound in a sizzle of action that solidified and left the stump coated with skin and apparently fully healed. The pain however did not immediately subside and for several minutes Pollock sat rocking in his seat gripping his hand and uttering a long stream of curses against Moran, Moriarty and Von Herder.

“Well, Now you see the heads of the true Syndicate, the true deadly snake of which you mirrored.  Seeing what Von Herder’s little box of tricks can do you can understand the rest. Wondrous is his miracles of science, the others that refused to talk were nothing but heads on a spine when we finally put them out of their misery. But tell me everything and I will have Von Herder dispatche you in the most painless manner. A needle strike into the back of head and into the motor Cortex and he assure me you will be dead before you realize it. So what say you?”

For answer Pollock took a deep gurgle and spat across the desk and onto Moriarty’s vest

“Right then, We will start with the toes.” Moriarty grimaced and whipped the spit from his chest.

Von herder shuffled off to his bar, and remerged from it with a large wooden box. He placed it on the bloody desk and taken a handle he split it open. Within was a enormous collection gleaming stainless steel instruments of all kinds of horrific impression. Medical hooks and surgical tools, hammers and wires, even blatant torture devices like anger pears and knuckle breakers. A collection of test tubes labeled with strange German names lined the center of the box. Von Herder picked up a greenish vale and lifted it to Pollock’s face.

“It’s a nerve enhancer.” Von Herder twirled the tube in his face. “A hour after Ingestion the subjects entire nervous system is put into a state of Hypersensitivity to pain.  This is a new batch, I am hoping it has doubled the potency of the last.”

Pollock turned to Moriarty, His eyes dead set and cold. “I’ll never talk.” He hissed.

Moriarty was still, but he reflected. Many of the others that had been involved in the financial scams had said the same thing with that same look. It unnerved him. Would it be the same with Pollock? All that bloody work with nothing to show.

“Perhaps I can offer you something then, a small token for your years of hard work in exchange for the reasons you did this. It wasn’t  stupid ambition, you wanted to take over the entire organization, you had a plan. People would help you, who?”

 Pollock was silent, but Moriarty had seen something come over him, like the dawning of a deep revelation, he knew he was doomed…and was accepting it. It was as if he finally accepted that deep truth with all other things beyond what he understood. In an instant he stuck.

“MORAN!” Pollock turned on the silently watching Moran, whose claymore was leveled at his head. “You’re the whore of England, a good romp but nothing for looks!”

Moran’s eyes flared and she cocked the pistol to fire.

“NO!” Moriarty roared. “I want him alive! I want –“

“Moriarty!” Pollock turned back to him. “You’re an insignificant mote playing with numbers and figures you will never truly understand. And we will bring a revoking upon you, wash away your petty ‘organization’ and you will be as helpless as a new born screaming and crying in the ash and fire of all that you build with nothing but our laughter to console you!”

The words stuck to Moriarty’s soul and he rose up from his seat a pillar of rage and hate. He lunged over the desk, arms out stretched to strangle the life out of Pollock.

“Master! no!” Moran tried to hold him back.

“TELL ME WHO THEY ARE IDIOT!” he raged at Pollock, his long dread locks thrashing back and forth as he clawed at him. “Tell me where to find them you useless filth! By all Ogun I will burn down every inch of this city to find them! I will stop at NOTHING!”
Pollock erupted into a roar of laugher and Moriarty lashed out slamming Pollock’s face into the desk. But Pollock rose again, bleeding and bruised but still laughing.

“C-calm yourself master!” Moran tried to seat him, she was terrified. she had never seen Morality with such emotion.  “you will get nothing out of him this way.”

Moriarty drew back, breathing hard, his eyes full of blinding impotent rage. His tall figure and wide thrown dreads gave him the look of a standing black cobra, hood out, and fuming at some approaching prey. With a great effort, Moriarty gathered himself and grew to a clam, but all the tremors of his rage could be seen just under the surface of the façade.

“Von Herder!” Moriarty shot a glare to the cowering man who had fled to the corner of the bar at his outburst.

“y-yes sir!” the frail old German shuttered.

“That machine you are working on…is it ready?” Moriarty half turned to Von Herder and Pollock’s laughter had been cut short. Moriarty’s tone had a key of dread in it, and Pollock sensed that his victory was only short lived.

“W-well, I still need to calculate for the speculative off sets of Dr.Neumann’s hypothesis-“  Von Herder shook in a ecstasy of fear as he shuffled back from behind the bar.

“VON HERDER!” Moriarty roared as he turned to face him, Von Herder dropped almost to his knees in terror. Moriarty drew back, biting his lips to control his impatient rage.

“Yes sir! I need a month or two for preliminary tests but-“ Von Herder cautiously approached the desk. “but yes…it will be ready.”

“Well…” A air of confidence was resorted to Moriarty as he turned back to the perplexed Pollock. “Then there is hope yet.  You see Pollock, Von Herder has been working on a project for several years, funded heavily by the syndicate that would one day give us a very powerful weapon for our future expansions. A Machine that would allow us to not only read minds, extract memories but also reprogram the brain of anyone we put in it. You see its potential yes?”

“You're mad!” Pollock gapped. “Control the mind!? How could you possib-”

“NO! you're mad!” Moriarty cut him off, the rage resurfacing. “The theoretical principals are sound, its only the technology that is lacking. besides, brainwashing is nothing new, we just cut strait to the source…the brain.” Moriarty turned to Von Herder. ”Now, Render on to Mr. Pollock a state of true infantile nature, and save him till we can capitalize on that outrageous investment of yours.”

“Yes sir.” Von Herder step to his box of torture tools and laid out a clawed like melon baller, a long pointed shaft and a small ball peen hammer. “Hold him still, for I am blind and this is a delicate operation.” Von Herder motioned to Moran, who stepped behind the shock Pollock and placed him in an iron head lock.

 Von Herder dove into his work quickly, lifting the melon baller to Pollock’s eye as he struggled in Moran’s grip.  Moriarty watch, eyes fixed in rage, his face cold and grim with his hate. Pollock’s screams smothered out the sounds of cutting and tearing of his flesh, until finally Von Herder took the long needle and hammer and with a slight clink of metal Pollock’s screams were flattened to a steady monotone groan. Von Herder and Moran stepped away revealing the slumped figure of Pollock, one eye missing and bleeding, the other drooping in a blank dead stare as he drooled over his vest and pants.

“Excellent.” Moriarty smiled, his moon shifting to a lighter air. “Who’s the child now Pollock?” He gloated.

“uuuuuuuuaaaahhhhh….” Pollock weakly groaned “Huhhhha…Mori….as helpless newborn …aaaaaaaaa” Moriarty shot a glance at Von Herder who was inspecting the limp figure.

“I destroyed all his higher functions Sir. Pierced the frontal cortex but not any other part Sir.” Von herder shuttered under Moriarty’s gaze. “H-He can’t really communicate, those are just…ah…hiccups of the mind, reaching out at its scattered thoughts. The memories are still there however…ah…and can be extracted once the machine is in order.”

“It better be so.” Moriarty glared at the drooping figure.

“Ahhhh…A reckoning….Mori...Mori…Peacocks….m-m-Machine…” The broken figure stuttered.

“Now you are neither pecock nor snake…Much less then anything.”Moriarty sneered at the figure as he eyed the stump of a hand, the blood covered suit, battered and bruised face and the vacant and removed eyes.

“The code…the code…aaaaaaaaa-ppear-ances.”  Pollock’s head wagged in vague distress, his weak limp hand rose up to hold his seeping eye, a motion that was most childlike in its appearance.

“We will keep him in isolation at the asylum sir!” Von Herder put his hand on Pollock’s shoulder. “No one will heed a broken man's scattered words.”

“Aaaa….the plan….mori…mori…the demon.” Moriarty raised an curious eyebrow at the figure then turned to Moran. She was bloodied from the left sleeve down but her face showed that sickening elation the scent of blood always triggered in her.

“This has been a hard night’s work.” Moriarty brushed at the spit stain on his coat, a weary gesture. “It is only a few hours before dawn, I best clean up and head out, my next class will be at 6 AM sharp. If I am lucky Dr. Bristow should be in so I may at least get a challenging evening game in before I head back out to the university .  As for your orders Moran, Check up on the whitechapel business, Also see into Mr. Gagnon’s operations if you can. I still suspect he may be operating out of the docks but a clever man can likely find a way to avoid our countermeasures. As for him…” Moriarty turned to the childlike figure of Pollock. “Have two of your best move Him to the asylum, and turn out everything you can about his living quarters, friends, and so forth.”

“Like Miller?” Moran nodded.

“Yes. Like Miller. I’ll be coming back in for a full report on all the situations tomorrow" Moriarty glanced at his pocket watch, it was well past 2AM. "or rather tonight.” Moriarty took off his vest and tossed it on the bloody desk as he walked to the armoire at the wall and opened it to reveal identical sets of the same middle class tweed suits and vests. He replaced his vest and taking his hat and cane He took one last long look at the broken Pollock. How one so high could fall so low, Icarus so is hubris. With that final thought Moriarty moved to the door, but in each step he felt the pang of Pollock’s ominous words. For the first time in a long time, he felt fear.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2013, 03:08:20 pm »
Jean-Baptiste Chinal had decided that night he was going to need help with his issue in Whitechapel. Not Pollock, though the man was starting to get too evasive for his liking. No, the dark haired noble had another issue. ‘At least she’s being quiet with her murders.’ Though her victims were more prominent than the whores, not that Jack the Ripper wasn’t bothering him, too.

He leaned in the doorway of the most recent murder.
‘Where are you?’ Seren was usually quick about finishing up criminals, brutally efficient. It was frightening, really, but the Queen allowed the Vesper such a long leash compared to the other guilds. Jean-Baptiste had made his protests to this vocal during Seren’s reign, but Her Majesty would hear none of it.

He flicked a golden watch open, sighed at the time. The sky had no hints of the sun yet.
‘Too early.’ He heard footsteps but only moved out of the doorway.

“Seren asked about you,”
Commissioner Moore greeted. “I guess you are in town.”

“Indeed, will be for a while I’m afraid.”
Tempted to blame Seren for the area going to hell, he refrained, smiled at the Commissioner. “I thought I’d wait to see you, I needed to let you know not to have anyone at Viscount Raphael’s upcoming masquerade. Do not think masks will trick myself or Seren.”

The eyes of the Commissioner narrowed.
“You know that it is—”

“—no longer your business,”
with a flourish, he presented a paper with the Queen’s seal.

Moore didn’t even bother taking it from him, just sighed and pushed his hand away.
“Fine.” It was all he could say in the face of the seal, though he might see if he could tap Gagnon to go, or someone else. “Are you going to see Seren?”

“Yes, why?”

“Give this to her.”
He shoved a darkened bag and a letter into his hand. “I wouldn’t look in the bag,” he advised before walking through the door and into the crime scene. Jean-Baptiste took the Commissioner’s advice, and took it one step further. He didn’t read the letter, either. He simply tucked it into his navy pea coat and walked on. He knew where Seren would be staying.

Now was the fun part—getting to Seren without alerting her annoying companion. He’d tried and failed on every occasion thus far, but that would never stop him from trying. It was too much fun.

He walked in through the front door and simply asked who was in the room he knew to be next to Seren’s, and not Vastien’s.
“No one, Lord Chinal. May I ask what—”

chipper, Chinal walked on, snatching the key without even asking for it from behind the man. He brought a finger to his lips to ask for silence before continuing on. He unlocked the room door, figuring the sound of the key wouldn’t make enough noise to bother. He didn’t shut it behind him, figuring from here on he could be silent. He approached the wall that separated this room and Seren’s, and smiled. He placed the bag the commissioner gave him on the edge of the bed, followed by his pea coat. He dug out a thin, metal wallet. Inside wasn’t money, but a few tools.

Witchcraft was a common accusation, and he wouldn’t deny dabbling in the art. He found alchemy to be more reliable, but certain matters called for the occult. Portals were one of those matters. It was tedious, though. Taking out the thin, charcoal-tipped utensil, he almost sighed at the work of creating a proper portal, even one so simple as this.

He refrained, of course, and set to work on drawing the opening. He flinched when he heard the metal wallet hit the ground, line he was working on skewed. He licked his finger and tried to smudge out the error so he could continue.

A knock on the door.

One eye immediately opened and he sprung off the bed like a stalking predator, no matter how deep his sleep might have been, his sensitive hearing would've pulled him out of his dormant state. He remained still in his crouched position like a lion waiting for the gazelle to make the next move.. but nothing happened. Oh that's right, he thought, these humans required a response to everything. Another knock came.

"What is it?" Vastien let out, wondering who the hell it could be at this hour.
"Erm, I brought you your drinks, sir." George replied, and the door opened moments after that. George was greeted with a shirtless Vastien, messy blond bangs gathered like a mop over his face, and he let out a yawn, rubbing the sleepiness out of his eyes with his palm. "I'm sorry, sir, did I wake you?" Vastien shook his head, it was obvious he had been sleeping, but that wasn't important anymore. In his hands, George had a small pot of ice, a glass and the bottle of Scotch on a tray. Vastien snatched the bottle and slammed the door in George's face.

Popping the top off, Vastien drank the liquor straight from the bottle, wincing at how warm it was once it passed his throat and entered his stomach. He returned to a crouching position on the bed, still funneling the hard liquor down his throat. He was perfectly still when the room and everything around him began teeter and tilt, he knew the liquor was getting to him because his body hadn't moved an inch. Well, he could either reflect on the day's events or just get stinking drunk and it was pretty clear which route he was taking. He moved the glass bottle away from his mouth to examine its contents, when he finally realized he had been staring at the bottle for a while, he remembered what he  had been trying to do in the first place.

He felt like he had been drinking for ages and unless his vision was impaired or his mind was distorting things, the bottle was still half-full. Shrugging his shoulders, he downed more and more of the Scotch, the warm sensation in his stomach felt nice. Time seemed to move so much more slowly, it really wasn't, he was just drunk. Once the bottle felt light in his hands, upon further examination, there wasn't much left to intoxicate him any further. Settling the bottle on the nightstand, once he got to his feet, equilibrium was non-existent in him. He was more drunk than he thought, smacking his lips a few times, deciding a few more glasses wouldn't hurt. Another knock, but it wasn't on his door. Vastien staggered to the nearest wall and planted his ear on it, trying to listen in on what was going on.

"Sir, is there anything I can get you?" Either the man had not responded or Vastien's hearing was way off, they were both plausible. Sir? Had another guest arrived? Still bare-chested and  barefoot, he was dressed in nothing but his damp slacks. Vastien curiously opened the door and stood at the doorway in a lax position, his shoulder leaning against it. When George turned around to return to his post, he noticed Vastien, who reeked of alcohol.
"Who's in there, George?" George knew better than to give out such information, but that look in Vastien's eyes, something about them led him to believe that revealing that Lord Chinal was the mysterious tenant.
"It is Lord Chinal, sir." George whispered, knowing the amount of trouble he could get into if he was caught red-handed. Vastien frowned at hearing the name, drunk rage bubbling in his mind, that cursed mortal always tried to sneak a visit without him. No one met with Seren without Vastien unless she personally agreed to it. There were many ways to approach this, at the moment rational thinking went out the window with his balance.

Approaching Jean's room, Vastien knocked on the door loudly  and tried to sound as drunk as he could.
"Hey Seren, open up." Three powerful knocks. "Open the damn door, it's important.. really." He stopped for a moment, cursing to himself before two more menacing knocks came. He knew that wasn't Seren's room, but he wanted Jean to squirm, his tone had become aggressive and violent. "This door is going to open one way or another.." Were Seren to hear all the ruckus, he hoped she wasn't sleeping, disturbing her 'beauty sleep' wouldn't be good for anyone, even if he caught Jean-Baptiste in the act.

Someone had gone by to close the door. Jean-Baptiste didn’t catch who, but he cursed them all the same under his breath for making more noise. At least this time it didn’t cause him to smudge the portal. It was complete by the time he heard another set of steps, heavy and familiar.
‘Can I never slip by?’ Yet he smiled, violet eyes twinkling with mischief, thinking he might have the time to finish as he stepped back and deposited the charcoal rod into his kit.

Knocks. Vastien sounded drunk.
‘How do you tolerate this man?’ A drunkard in the service of Vesper was hard to imagine. He had witnessed Seren get irate over lesser offenses, yet she tolerated such horrid behavior from this fool. He had wondered why on more than one occasion.

He didn’t have any intention of opening the door. He took a small dagger into his left hand to defend himself if necessary, although usually Vastien never harmed him that greatly. He then took out a white feather. He doused it quickly in a clear alcohol he carried with him, and couldn’t resist the temptation to speak as he took a match from his matchbox.
“Sir Drunkard, I believe you have the wrong room. I can understand from the smell, but this, ah, Seren is not here.” He lit the feather on fire as he walked back into the charcoal outline that stretched down to the floor. He decided he’d claim progress if he even made it into Seren’s room. A complete victory was out of reach this time. Seren would have another bill to pay if Vastien broke down that door, too. 'A win either way.'

He released the feather
. “Deny space, deny time,” he spoke the words under his breath. The portal would be activated when it touched the hands of the makeshift clock he’d drawn on the floor, which would spread the fire out to the rest of the design, cutting open the space through the wall without harming it. It would be as if the fire had never been there.

When Jean actually responded, it was clear that he couldn't help himself, why suddenly break the necessary stealth with a new level of confidence. Regardless, all this thinking was futile and without a moment's hesitation, his foot struck the door with enough force to rip off its hinges and the door swung open with little resistance. It hadn't been completely broken off, but wouldn't ever shut properly without repairs. In the room, he saw all the tools and charcoal lines on the floor. Alchemy, the closest thing to supernatural for the humans. Nothing but basic witchcraft, Vastien wasn't one to dabble in those arts but he knew a few things as well. Given that there were SOME gifted/skilled human alchemists, Vastien wasn't worried.

"Oh no you don't!" Vastien yelled angrily, choosing quite the unorthodox way to stop him from accessing the portal. Vastien lunged towards Chinal, throwing caution to the wind, even with all his strength, the following attack wasn't fatal in the slightest. Were Jean-Baptiste nimble enough to evade the flying tackle, he would surely be saved from the loss of breath and ultimate incapacitation. Vastien fully intended to drive a shoulder into the man's midsection and with his momentum, bringing Jean to his back would be of complete ease. Either way the flaming feather touched the floor and the charcoal lines went ablaze with the alcohol-dipped, lit feather, activating the make-shift portal.

Unless Vastien missed his first attempt to bring Jen-Baptiste down, no more harm other than a quick sleeper hold would befall Lord Chinal. Savagely beating the man was out of the question, Vastien would justify his actions by simply stating he was doing his job. Seren's safety was his highest priority as long as anyone was concerned.

"You never learn do you, Jean?" He said with a snarl, hell he could've done a lot worse to Jean, bashing his head into the wall would've been another means to prevent an unwanted entry into Seren's room.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #37 on: October 08, 2013, 03:09:28 pm »
The door was opened. Jean-Baptiste convinced himself the portal still might light on time. He managed to escape the tackle with a duck and sidestep. The feather fell, and the flames began to light. The thought that he’d succeeded was his undoing.

Vastien caught him and pulled him out of the portal before it was finished, and into a sleeper hold. His legs kicked out at first, before he just relaxed. Struggling was futile. He didn’t drop the knife, though.
“One day, Vastien,” he vowed.

He was startled by movement from the portal. He forgot it manifested on both sides, and so was initially quite surprised to see Seren walk through. She kicked at the lining despite the fire, knowing it wouldn’t harm. The line skewed, the portal collapsed in on itself. The marking, except for where Seren mucked with it, vanished. She looked to the two of them then, and Jean-Baptiste weakly raised a hand in greeting to her tired expression.

Seren had been asleep until she heard the ruckus Vastien was making. The light of fire didn’t exactly help her go back to sleep. As such, she stood in only her white slip, hair not yet in place. Not all of the previous night's injuries were hidden. The top of the cut into her side could be seen. Her hand was obviously scratched up, but the gun in her hand was what would draw attention. Bleary-eyed, her look shifted between Lord Chinal to Vastien a few times, trying to comprehend the situation. She understood the gist of it without asking. Jean-Baptiste had an irksome habit. Vastien put an end to it every single time.

In the end, her eyes finally paused on Vastien.
“Why?” The single question that may as well have been rhetorical for all the good it would do her in the face of the obvious.

Jean-Baptiste tried to hide his irritation at not being spoken to first. He imagined Seren did it on purpose, plotting even in her barely awake state to annoy him. She should have ordered the brute to release him, if she was going to address Vastien first.

"One day I might not know my own strength." It was clear what that meant. The fierce hold resulted with Vastien's bicep resting on Jean-Baptiste's chin, his air supply rapidly depleting, if only he could snap his neck. When the princess stepped through the portal, Vastien sighed, as if this couldn't get more annoying. She did not look like her usual self, masking a quick chuckle under his breath, before she finally spoke. 'Isn't it obvious?' He thought, tightening the vicegrip on Jean's throat one last time before allowing him that precious oxygen he'd been craving. A vicious chokehold that had been broken for Seren's sake, Vastien had only been seconds away from using his legs to clamp down  on Jean-Baptiste as well, he was saved from that torture. He tilted his neck to the side, a loud cracking sound followed and he shook his head.

"Jean here continues to forget that there are no unauthorized meets." He had made it simple for anyone to understand Baptiste's intention, but once again foiled by Vastien's intrusion. A portal this time? Jean had become slightly clever since his last attempt, he wondered how Seren would feel to have her alchemy abilities challenged. Standing still or walking straight was still difficult due to his recent Scotch consumption, but Vastien scratched the back of his head when he walked past Seren. He crossed his arms over his chest, resting his back on the door to keep it somewhat closed. George was frantic outside, constantly asking what was going.  "Not now, George."

Perfect. Just perfect. He clocked out from work a long time ago, he was not in the mood for business. Even a hotel room could become a make-shift interrogation room. Jean-Baptiste had better hope that Seren would allow him to present his case, otherwise Vastien throwing him out on his ass was a possible future. Either way, he could use a drink.

Seren was not a morning person. This was no secret, but people seemed to forget it all the same. “Jean,” she growled his name once he was released. Vastien staggered. She could smell the alcohol when he walked by her, and she tried not to snap at him. No good to admit there were failings with her staff in front of Jean-Baptiste, who had everything so perfectly organized.

“Ah, my dear, have I mentioned how pretty you look with your cheeks so red?”

The gun was pointed at his head. No words were necessary to move him to the point, even if she suspected he might not truly be intimidated by the gun. She had loaded it with holy bullets the night before.

Jean-Baptiste held up his hands.
“I come bearing news and a gift from the Commissioner.” He waited for a response. There was none but patience trickling away, a finger itching to put a bullet through his skull. He lowered his hands, stepped back, and picked up the bag. “Here,” he threw it, forcing her to lower her gun to catch it. She peeked in, but couldn’t tell. The item was wrapped.

He was in front of her as she looked up, holding out a piece of bloody paper. She dropped the bag to her feet, took the note and skimmed it.

From hell
Mr. Moore

I send you half the kidne I took from one women prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise. I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer.

Catch me when you Can, Miss Vesper.

It was the last bit that infuriated her. Addressed to Moore, it was clear the letter was intended to reach her. The challenge was hers.

A criminal who dared to mock her. She began to ball the letter up, noting Jean-Baptiste reading it.
“Sounds like an idiot, can’t spell the simplest of words. That handwriting is horrid.” Slowly, it grew smaller in her hand. She considered shredding it. “To think you would be outsmarted by a simplet—” The paper suddenly had a use. Seren shoved it into Jean’s open mouth, in no mood for his taunting on top of this letter.

She picked up the bag, offered it to Vastien as Jean-Baptiste spit out the paper, disgusted.
“See if the kidney is in there.” She directed, not willing to look herself.

A gun already? It seemed like Vastien wouldn't have to get his hands dirty, however even he had to agree that painting the wall with Jean's brains wasn't a smart idea. It'd be a pretty comical sight, Vastien would actually laugh out loud if she pulled the trigger. When Jean spoke his piece, he rolled his eyes, it looked like there would be no late-night execution to entertain him then. Vastien moved off the door and didn't like how Jean got that close that fast to Seren, the bastard could've pulled a fast one and tried to stab her or something. A suicide mission really because Vastien would instantly murder Jean if he did that, no hesitation—just homicide.

He eyed the bag once she dropped it, the bloody letter in her hands seemed like the more important item. Seren's disposition was unpleasant after she settled the letter down, he wouldn't bother asking what it said as Seren would give him the gist of it if she deemed it necessary. Or not. Shoving the balled up letter in Jean's mouth was a comical and appropriate method to shut him up, honestly even the man's flattery never sounded sincere. He willingly took the bag in one hand and held it loosely, it wasn't too heavy but he was sure the stench resulted from the warm temperature it had been exposed too for so long.

"Guess someone has to be a man around here." Vastien with a grin, tearing open the top of the bag and the horrid smell escaped the bag and filled the room in a hurry. Vastien wasn't bothered by the sight nor the aroma, he couldn't say the same for the other two. He'd never seen how half a kidney looked like, but that had to be how it looked. The bag was caked in warm blood, it had even began to pool around the dissected organ. "If the smell didn't give it away, this is indeed a kidney. Care to look?" He waving the bag close to her and while she was obviously disturbed by it, she would have to lean in close to get a good look. The mighty Seren Vesper, squeamish couldn't be it for she had just been coated in blood, eh she was only human.

"So, then, what I should do with.. this and that?" He said, finally pointing at Jean-Baptiste, paper in the mouth didn't seem like an adequate punishment for him, in any case, Vastien had his fun roughing him up.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #38 on: October 08, 2013, 03:10:11 pm »

Seren offered the organ in the bag a cursory, necessary look to affirm it was a kidney. She wrinkled her nose at the smell, but wasn’t making the same reaction Jean was, but it didn’t inspire the same reaction the body yesterday had. She was grateful for that. A loose organ separate from the body wasn’t that bad. He asked what to do with it.
“Jean-Baptiste can return that bit of evidence, and the note, to the Commissioner.”

Jean-Baptiste didn’t seem pleased with that. His voice was muffled since he was covering his nose and mouth with his sleeve to try not to inhale as much of the horrid smell.
“Won’t you be seeing him today?”

“Not until I’ve made the face of the Ripper unrecognizable.”
A casual shrug, but her words were sincere. Business would be beginning soon. She’d catch the Ripper. No one called her out without receiving a response. Shame he wasn’t bold enough to give an address. Even if it was a trap, she’d willingly walk into it. “You said you had news.”

“Ah, of course,”
his smile widened. “Though I am loathed to ask it, I want your assistance with a noble who’s been causing me a bit of grief, and is unfortunately too dangerous for me to approach.” She quirked an eyebrow. Jean-Baptiste found something too dangerous? The elaboration was necessary. “Vampire.” He was all-too aware the supernatural existed. It was why she’d never joked with him about where Vastien was from. For all intents and purposes, he was human. “Elizabeth Bennington.”

“I’ve seen her in the sunlight,”
Seren frowned, wondered if her mythos about vampires was wrong.

“So have I,”
he didn’t seem to think that a problem. “Also, the Commissioner gave me that letter at another crime scene of the Ripper.” Seren’s fist clenched. “Active with you in town.” The taunt was apparent. Right under her nose. He shifted the subject. “Elizabeth Bennington has been invited to Viscount Raphael’s annual Easter masquerade. I’m sure you were invited. I want to put an end to her there. I shouldn't need to mention this has to be subtle.”

She was. It was only two days from now. He didn't need to mention subtly, she understood that working in that environment would be tricky. A wicked smile graced her lips all the same,
“I forgot that was so soon.” Poor, poor Vastien. “Easter theme, hm?” Bunny ears. She was getting bunny ears for Vastien. If it was a masquerade, he would dress up appropriately. “Be in touch. I’ll ensure to RSVP with Raphael today.” She snapped her fingers then, “Escort Jean-Baptiste out, and return to me. We have a full schedule.” Jean bent to pick up the letter he was apparently supposed to return as evidence.

The bold, brash nature of his master had returned, Vastien couldn't say he was happier with this Seren either, but he'd grown accustomed to this one. Of course this was risky and dangerous, but that's why she kept him around, her ultimate defense and offense.. until she got what they'd agreed on. No one would defend her from him. Those were the contract regulations, but he had been plagued from something with no cure, human emotions. He didn't think it would have been possible, but the prolonged usage of his human form had developed into something more than just a transfiguration. At least they wouldn't be visiting the Commissioner again, one less headache he would have to deal with.

Vampires? Oh they were fun, very tricky and lethal, nothing some water couldn't fix. Vastien was capable of that but apparently it had already been decided that Vastien was attending that awful masquerade especially in the presence of that.. man. The Viscount. Even if he splashed her with water, savagely clawing her shreds in the middle of the party was not subtle at all. No there had to be a way to get her alone.. away from all the witnesses, his claws enough were perfect for a silent killing. Seducing a seductress was difficult just like the name implied. His human form was far from perfect, but human perfection did not exist, it was still nonetheless very convincing. His extreme discipline would be shown once her vampirism became known to him and he would not appear the wiser.

As they spoke about the masquerade, the fact of actually having to dress up crossed his mind. He never thought Seren would be that cruel, was that her hellish punishment? How ironic that she was awarding him with an inhumane fate. Once the ladies finished with their girl talk, Vastien didn't wait after turning to face Jean for a second and uttering a simple,
"Let's go." He briskly left the room and ignored the now calmer George who still didn't fail to ask what had happened.

"None of your business." He stopped when he was a few steps out of the hotel, the night had remained dead as ever. Once Jean caught up to him outside Vastien would let him leave with a few words of warning. "My patience has it's bounds, Jean. When my hand slips, Seren will eventually get over it." If he were looking for a smirk or grin on his face, he would be disappointed. Even if he didn't want to believe it, it was not a threat, it was a promise.

They were outside when Vastien made his threat. Jean-Baptiste clearly didn’t believe him. He wasn’t yet that inconvenient. The bond between Seren and Vastien was curious, but he knew enough to trust that Vastien wouldn’t kill him over such errors in judgment. “Vastien, you are mistaken,” he spoke in a conversational manner despite the implications. “I am Her Majesty’s favorite pet. Her Majesty will turn on any dog that goes against her, and Seren is no exception. The whole kingdom would move against Seren, and not even you could handle that. Consider the life of your young master when that temper starts to get the better of you.” Jean-Baptiste was valuable, and he did enjoy getting to flaunt that. “I do not think she would forgive you as easily as you think.”

Vastien was inhumanly powerful according to rumors, and from what Jean saw first-hand, it did make him wonder about Vastien’s supposed humanity.
“It would hinder her to have such a force after her head, and they would no doubt succeed. Then, she’d never sate her lust for revenge. A shame, really,” he was disappointed, but not in the fact Seren would fail. He was disappointed in the young woman for being so blindly devoted to that cause, more devoted to it than the Queen. Seren’s lust for revenge was actually frightening, and he’d rather not see her accomplish it. He didn’t want to see what came after, when she lost that single-minded focus.

‘By any means.’ [/i]

He remembered the emaciated corpse that spoke those words, picking at fingernails with blood under them. It wasn’t her blood. The nineteen year-old that existed today was naught but a vengeful ghost. “I do hope she hurries up with that,” Jean failed at optimism. Recognizing this, he stepped ahead of Vastien, offered him a bright, fake smile. “Have a good day. I think your master is going to be in a foul mood.” He spun around and darted off to return the evidence, not wishing to incite Vastien to a foul mood towards him. He and Seren could suffer in mutual misery. ‘Going to have to get a new feather.’ Those were so difficult to acquire, too.

Jean-Baptiste had read things right. Seren Vesper was not used to criminals calling her out, unless they knew her. Those were rare. Taking what she knew about Jack the Ripper, understanding him as a doctor, she found herself trying to black out the images of an old man who, on the street, would be mistaken for a kindly grandfather.

He had escaped her massacre.
‘Can’t be.’ He wasn’t a cannibal. She had a feeling Jack was younger, too. That left the doctors who had helped her when she came staggering back into the sunlight. Names ran through her mind. The Commissioner knew who had treated her, but so did Viscount Raphael—he had been the one to suggest them, the finest in London. Her wounds weren’t that severe, but he liked to be seen as overly generous to his fellows, when he wanted to remain in their good graces, and be seen in a good light. Helping the young noble Vesper woman had indeed helped his reputation.

‘But none of them knew.’
At least, she didn’t think so, as she shut the door to her room, ignoring George. She stripped from the slip and went to find something more appropriate for the day’s work in her luggage. The Commissioner knew to keep his trap shut. She tried to remember who else had been around, but the memories of those first few months after returning to civilization were fuzzy. One of the Magi guild had been there. Jean-Baptiste, too. Jean wouldn’t tell. The Magi had acted as a therapist, technically bound by privacy policies, but— ‘I had to kill him, didn’t I?’ It was only a few months ago. He went rouge, started selling guild secrets. The Magi themselves did most of the clean up. It was possible some slipped through the cracks.

She would have to ask the Viscount, and then do some quick research into the names. It would allow her to RSVP, too. A red dress seemed appropriate. It would hide the blood that would be spilt that day.

Vastien was aware of Jean's importance and how killing him wouldn't benefit either party, he still had to get used to how human politics worked. For demons, if a demon was killed by another and he had it coming, it could be left like that, they got what was coming to them. Vastien didn't have a tight grasp on how powerful The Queen and her associates were, but if she held the title such as Queen, Jean could've been telling the truth. When he mentioned Seren's well-being it angered him, that was Vastien's responsibility and he knew better than to jeopardize that, even if he tried to fight them all, Seren wasn't as resilient to death as he was.

If things got really bad, leaving her to die and never being seen again would've been a viable option, something Vastien wouldn't have thought twice about when he first started his service under the Vesper heiress. Would he do that now was the question, his reward in the end was her soul, possibly the tastiest of souls, more so because of the connection he had to Seren. He didn't dwell on that matter, there was still plenty of time before that happened. And Vastien would move on after that. When Jean finished speaking and have him that phony smile, Vastien didn't play along, he wasn't required to play nice with Jean.

"George, I'm going to say this once. The young woman in that room is worth more than you, this hotel and anyone who walks through that door. Anymore visitors and you tell me right away, got it?" Vastien seemed more hostile than ever, his eyes were wild, all George could do was silently nod and agree.
"Y-yes sir." Whatever George was afraid of because of Vastien was good, he preferred to be feared more than anything else. He had a lot of thinking to do and he had all night to do so, unlike humans, Vastien could function just fine with an hour or two of rest.

"Baptiste's gone, am I coming in?" Vastien said he stood at Seren's door, knocking once, his footsteps were loud and still unbalanced, a small hangover would be the least of his problems. Luckily, he didn't have to stress himself out with the attire for the masquerade.. yet.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #39 on: October 08, 2013, 03:10:53 pm »

Seren was dressed, the red and white no doubt an appropriate attire for winter, if it were actually a warm dress. It wasn’t. When Vastien knocked, she was trying to get her blonde locks in order.
“Yes,” she answered his query, actually surprised he knocked. She didn’t recall too much discretion.

She waited until the demon entered, though she didn’t look his way as she focused on the knots in her hair.
“You being drunk is unfortunate right now,” she commented, “I would have thought the reward of such a soul as you received yesterday would keep you in line, but it seems I was mistaken. If that had been the demon, would you have managed as well with it as you did Jean-Baptiste?”

Rhetorical, of course. She waved it off as she laid the brush down on her bed,
“No matter. The Ripper is aware of my identity.” More than that, aware of what she did besides own a business. “We have narrowed it down to him being a doctor. When the day is a little older, and you're in a better state, we’ll be paying Viscount Raphael a visit to get a few names.” There, she looked towards him, the smile she’d worn earlier returning, just as evil as before. “And RSVPing for the masquerade. I think we’ll have time to do a bit of shopping beforehand, and pay a visit to a tailor to get something nice for you.” Her eyes went over the bare-chested, blond demon, and she nodded to herself. “Pale blue should be appropriate for the occasion. A little white ribbon around your neck.”

If Vastien could have read her thoughts, he’d be begging to go back to hell. Shopping for herself was bad enough. Now she had a doll, and a reason. Business.
“Speaking of that, though, what do you know about vampires?” She wouldn’t let Vastien’s thoughts linger too long on the horror that awaited, lest he find some way out of it.

He entered her room to find her fixing her hair, Vastien didn't bother getting dressed yet, he had another change of clothes but he didn't answer the rhetorical question. 'Pfft, are you kidding me?' He thought to himself, of course he could've handled Razael, the demon wasn't a problem. He knew it was the alcohol making him more arrogant and confident, it probably would not have ended well if he fought Razael in a drunk state. He expected her to be a tad more concerned that The Ripper knew who she was, more importantly that she was hunting him down. Then again, with Vastien around, she didn't have to get her hands dirty if she didn't want too and he was easily The Ripper's worst nightmare. When he was caught, Vastien would make him suffer, that human was playing god and while it didn't really affect him, Vastien would put the man in his place and demonstrate true horror.

All he had to hear was the word tailor, the look on his face was of disbelief, he was in his own right to just spread his wings and get away while he still had the chance. Dressing up for the masquerade never crossed his mind and that evil look she gave him said it all. This was revenge. Pale blue? At least black would suit him better, and he hoped she was joking about the ribbon. "Seren.. let's be reasonable." He sighed, running a hand through his blond hair, crouching down he buried his face in his hands, a dissatisfied groan was the result. He had a feeling how all of it would occur, she would flaunt him all over the place like some boy-toy and make him try on all these ridiculous outfits. Fighting it was pointless since he had it coming, it was about time she had her 'fun'. Fun for Seren didn't usually mean fun for anyone else and now was one of those times. When she asked about vampires, he stood up and looked at her, he should've expected the question to arise.

"Well, I've had my run-ins with them, not easy to kill. Without making a mess anyway." Vastien grinned, he knew that's not what she wanted. She wanted it done quiet. It was possible. "Can't say I tried to be subtle, though. They do not like water, but spilling a glass of water on them wouldn't be enough. Try your hand with some enchanted water, we'd probably be better off. They're natural seducers and will have you under their spell before you notice which is why I should confront Elizabeth." He normally wasn't one to volunteer for anything but he understood they weren't dealing with simple humans. Vampires are a breed of their own and could weave through the web of lies Vastien and Seren would come up with. He would have to seal the deal before Elizabeth grew any wiser, easier said than done. "Unless you have another idea?" That was a silly question, when wasn't she scheming was a better one.

‘This is reasonable.’ She watched him sink, overly dramatic given his sentence wasn’t that harsh, in her opinion. Well, at least not the shopping part. The masquerade would be another story all together. He’d have to truly fake humanity there.

When he stood and explained vampires, she frowned.
‘Water?’ She had never heard of that. The natural seducer part was no doubt why Jean-Baptiste dropped the problem into her lap, he no doubt thought a female would fare better. Vastien didn’t seem to agree, and Seren didn’t mind, so long as the job was gotten done, quietly, by one of them. “Well, I’m in need of holy water as it is,” she said. Holy water was useful in making the bullet that had hurt the other demon so. “We’ll have to see if there is time for a trip to Essex tomorrow.” There she could go to the church that let her take holy water. The pastor was so concerned for her soul there, and such a kind man. Seren almost regretted lying to him so much, particularly since the holy water he blessed actually worked, as Vastien knew all too well.

“You can handle Elizabeth, so long as it is done to my standards. Her body must vanish, completely.”
Seren didn’t care how, the remnants of anything beyond human were not remaining in London. “Now, how about you go sober up so we can get on with today’s business?” The telling smile wasn’t gone. She had ideas beyond the ribbon.

"Don't forget the garlic and wooden stake." He couldn't help himself, whether she found it amusing or not didn't matter, it was funny to him. He didn't mind all the traveling, if only humans could fly, he'd be a happy hellspawn. The experience he had with Seren's holy water wasn't pleasant, until that day the difference between water and holy water was not known to him, he thought its effects were just getting wet. He was wrong. Vastien had been in churches before, he didn't feel strange being in them, he found it hilarious when the pastors tried to show him the way. The way of God. Oh, if only they knew who they were trying to convert, he wasn't too familiar how Christianity and all those other religions worked, but converting a demon would be a first.

Vanish? That too was possible, but there were so many ways! The last time Vastien fought a vampire, all that was left was dust, he wasn't sure if Elizabeth would do the same once Vastien killed her. If not, disposing of bodies was not hard for him either. Burning her to a crisp could produce some vampire dust but he was sure that wasn't following Seren's 'standards'. Luckily, her standards weren't too outrageous.
"Looks like I have no choice." He didn't like that smile she still had, it definitely wasn't because she was enjoying his company. No, it was sinister behind the faux expression, was she thinking of more ways to kill his pride? She was already doing a great job at butchering it, he didn't dare try to imagine what she would make him wear.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #40 on: October 08, 2013, 03:11:38 pm »
Joint Post with Sin Part I

Jean-Baptiste had wiped his hands of his involvement in the Jack the Ripper case. The items were delivered to the Commissioner, and he was out the door before he could find reason to involve himself further. Preparing for the masquerade would be problematic in and of itself. ‘You’ve grown less subtle.’ Or perhaps it was Seren’s companion.

The Underworld teemed with darkness. Its influence had spread further into the noble houses than before, particularly in regards to the occult, or unnatural. There had always been vampires, werewolves, and other bizarre creatures. The general populace was unaware, but Lord Chinal had been taught it early on. Even so, he knew the numbers were getting unnatural. There was something amiss in Seren’s realm. His own held its breath in anticipation.

The ringing of the church bell caused him to sigh in relief. He looked up, and around himself, noted he ended up in a rather desolate part of Whitechapel in his aimless wanderings.
‘Yes, feathers.’ That was how he could waste his time. The things were difficult enough to gather. As he contemplated a detour towards the church, he noted a carriage. One man was familiar to Jean-Baptiste, Wessily. He knew him well enough to recognize that something was amiss.

Ever curious, Jean-Baptiste moved to put himself in the path of the carriage as he called out, fake smile and surprised tone in place,
“Lord Wessily! Just the man I was looking for…well, sort of.” Wessily had some connections to Pollock, and he was getting irked with Pollock’s evasions. Wessily might know the reason for it.

“Whitechapel? Are ya daft or somehting?” Groaned Erick as he glanced around the dirty streets and alleys. “It woulda only take a couple o’ ******s to waylay us here.”

“Hush.” Mr. Wessily hissed back. “Miss Moran said stay off the main track and I am staying off it. Besides people in this part of town got bigger concerns then us roaming about with that moony dope back there.”

“What ya think they did to him?” Erick glanced back at the compartment, a eerie uneasy in his eyes.

“The hell if I know, Things always get…strange when Miss Moran is mad.”

“Yah suppose they want to be pokin’ around in his head at the asylum…bad place that is.”

“Really?  What you heard about it?” Wessily squinted at Erick suspiciously. The two had not worked long together and the huge social class differences between the two had it’s own natural animosity.

“Bad things, People go in whole, come out in pieces, everybody is some kind of special nutty.” Erick crossed his arms against the cold. “That’s where the boss miss sends them witches and devil worshipers they come across. They all end up like the boss back there or in pieces.”

“It’s Mr. Pollock now, Erick, He isn’t even boss of himself now.” Wessily spoke curtly, but there was reservation in his voice, a distrust that he could not reconcile.

There was a toll of a bell and then Wessily caught the sudden blur of a figure dash into the roadway. With a violent pull he hauled the horses to a stop, Inches from the face of the pedestrian.

“Lord Wessily! Just the man I was looking for…well, sort of.” The man spoke up congenially, but the sudden shock had jumped both Wessily’s and Erick’s nerves.  Wessily stared that the man in shocked awe for a moment before he finally recognized the man.

“Lord Chinal!” Wessily blurred out in surprise, but  with enough tone to halt Erick from drawing out his entire revolver, which he fingered uneasily under his coat. “This is…very unexpected.” Wessily tried to repress any suspicious gestures and yet he felt a cold sweat break out across his forehead. He didn’t know much about Jean-Baptiste, but enough to know the man was shadowed by danger. “H-How can I be of service?” Wessily tried to smile and prayed that Erick wouldn’t do anything desperate.

Jean-Baptiste was almost amused by their surprise. If it wasn’t so common, he certainly would have been, but he got used to it after a time. His apparent recklessness always tended to surprise other nobles who would never dream of jumping in front of carriage.

Chinal hadn’t been run over by horses yet.

It was always easy to tell when someone was hiding something. The cold sweat he saw on the man’s brow was one tell-tale sign. The fact he was driving a carriage rather than being driven another sign. The reach for a gun, however, was the main thing. Now his interest was piqued, though he acted as if he noticed none of these things when he smiled at Wessily.
“I could say the same. I never expected to see you in these parts, Lord Wessily.”

He began to walk around the horses towards the seat.
“I’ve just been looking for Pollock lately, and I know you’re chummy with him.” He brushed a hand back through his black hair, noted the reaction of the man’s companion out of the corner of his eye. His main focus remained on the other lord, however.

The reaction of Wessily’s companion was telling. Before Wessily could even answer, his brow furrowed, expression turned to concern,
“Oh dear, something has happened to Lord Pollock as I feared. Here I’d hoped I would not need to get more involved….” He let his words trail off, imagining Wessily’s less refined companion would make a move. He was reading into suspicion even when Jean-Baptiste was doing everything to hide it. A guilty conscious was evident.

Wessily paused to mop the sweat off his forehead and compose himself, while Erick’s hard suspicious eyes lock onto Jean-Baptiste while he thumbed his revolver under his coat.

“Ah, yes. I am on…” he glanced around the streets. “a late night mission of confidence, family matters my man.” But as Jean questioned him on Pollock his eyes grew large in alarm. “ Pollock? Oh, I herd that Lord Pollock went on vacation…Where? Ah…South America, the Brazilian colonies.” Wessily studdered as he spoke but otherwise had clear sharp speech. “Why? His Poor health my man.”

There was a moment of stillness as Wessily finished, his words loud and crisp in the cold midnight air. He continued to stare at Jean-Baptiste with hopeful eyes, calm and composed as his shaken nerves could be, while his other hardened companion continued to glare with open hostility.

Then, In the cold night a low painful groan rose up from the carriage and was followed by heavy thumping upon the carriage door. Everyone glanced to the sound behind them, then quickly the three sets of eyes turned back to each other realization in each. Everything was calm for a still moment, and then it erupted into violence.

“NO!” Wessily tried to grab Erick, who leapt up from his seat and pulled out his revolver, leveling it cocked towards Jean-Baptiste’s face with murderous intent.

Jean-Baptiste listened to the man spew his bull****. It was clear that was what it was, the stuttering alone gave it away. Wessily was usually such a put together man. Pollock had no such plans. It seemed Wessily wasn’t aware of Jean’s latest visit to Pollock.
‘Poor health, hm?’

That part might be true. There was a sound from within the carriage and Lord Chinal recognized it as Pollock. The other two sets of eyes lit with understanding, and Erick moved towards violence. Wessily moved to be a hindrance as Jean-Baptiste reached into his coat.

He didn’t like guns. The heat of the bullet that went by his cheek reminded him of how easily the unskilled and stupid could use them. Not to mention, they were just so noisy. He had found his other black box, and dug it out, removing the eight throwing knives.

As Erick struggled for his freedom, Lord Chinal went about calmly bringing the daggers into sight. He threw one.

The accuracy was perfect, nailing the fool right in the neck. If he pulled it out it would gush. For now, though, he just choked on the feeling of blood and death. Jean-Baptiste took no time in jumping up into the seat as the man struggled again to fire. Jean kicked him out of the seat, to the ground, and lodged another knife in one of his eyes, just to further hinder that accuracy while he struggled with living. Six knives left between his two hands, he sat down with a pleasant smile on his lips.
“Are you going to tell me the truth now, my man,” he used Wessily’s irksome phrase, “Or are you going to join your uncouth companion?”

With a new light in his eyes, he added,
“It isn’t very good to attack the Queen’s favorite.” Just that bit of information was enough to seal Wessily’s fate, but he hoped the man’s panic would keep him from realizing that. 

Wessily cursed under his breath as Jean-Baptiste calmly took Erick’s seat beside him. He glanced down to see Erick wallowed in anguished rage while he clawed his way across the cobbled stoned road searching for his fallen revolver.  Wessily was the smarter of the pair but Erick was a die hard soldier, he wouldn’t stay down unless he was dead. I need more time, I need to distract him. Wessily’s mind spun.

“Pollock offended the boss, Moran.” Wessily turned to lock his cold and fatalistic eyes with Jean. “My man, They've done a number on him and we are taking him to the asylum where they will probably finish him off.” Wessily raised a threatening finger to Jean. “and that’s where they will put you if you interfere…queens favorite or not. The Syndicate has ways to smear her good if she …” Wessily was interrupted by a snarl from Erick as he viciously snatched up his stray revolver and raised it to jean while he held his bleeding neck , his blood covered face was a visage of final desperation as rage glared out of one eye while the knife stuck out from the other.  As Wessily saw jean’s eyes shift to the sound and face he too slipped his hand to his belt and pulled out a long knife that glistened in the pale moon light and turned it upon Jean-Baptiste.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #41 on: October 08, 2013, 03:12:30 pm »
Moran. He had heard that name from Seren, a slip she was none too proud of. She guarded her contacts, rather than let them be known. He found the threat laughable. If this syndicate had not taken Seren to this asylum, they would not send him.

When Jean heard the snarl, he glanced that way, but he noticed the movement of Wessily. Time was up. He moved, standing and shifting behind Wessily in one fluid motion while Erick sensed the desperation to fire, to assist Wessily, when Jean caught the knife-hand. A twist, and the blade fell into Jean’s empty one. Jean-Baptiste quickly released the other hand, and grabbed for Wessily’s hair.

The shot was fired.

The bullet was through Wessily’s head, Jean-Baptiste having moved it there by the lord’s hair. As Erick came to grips with what he’d done, Lord Chinal released Wessily and stood, smirking down at the other.
“When you get to hell, tell them to piss off another angel for me.” Confused by the statement, Erick was caught off guard by the knife thrown. He fell over, unconscious from the way the back of his head struck the cobblestone. The knife was lodged in an eye.

Jean-Baptiste did not leave this to chance. He walked forward and removed the new knife, slit the man’s throat. He would leave the bodies; if they were found, he doubted the syndicate would know who was responsible by the modus operandi, but he did want them to know. He would leave it unreported, let it bother the good Commissioner for a while. He removed his other blade and returned it to an inner pocket in his coat.

He went to the carriage door and hopped in, recognizing Pollock,
“Oh, dear,” he sighed as he wiped the blood of the knife on the internal seats.   “Whatever did you do?” Though he understood quite well the man wouldn’t be able to offer him a decent answer from the looks of him, “And what should I do with you?” He mused over that with a contemplative expression.

Pollock turned, a vacant eyed and dull motion as the turned to Jean. He stared for a moment at him and then a flicker of recognition flared into his sinlge eye. It was as if he had seen some one from his long distant past, and in that moment he reach out with all his confused mind to speak a single message.

“Heeeellpp Me…Jean.” he loomed forward and weakly reached out to jean with slow desperation. He lost his balance and tumbled out of the carriage into the street with a groan. The fall was hard, but he made no pained sound, and turned again, crouching at Jean-Baptisle feet. “helllp Me….The code...I have it... syndicate...the codex...beware Morrriii….” then as quickly as it had came the recognition flickered out and he turned to the street, confused and losted. He covered his face with his hands, as if to catch back the moment of clarity then pulled them away confused and lost as before. He glanced back up to Jean, he eye unsure. "Auuuuuaaa...Snakes...the real snake...."

Pollock’s mind wasn’t all gone. That was a plus. Jean hopped out of the carriage when poor Pollock spilled out into the straight, but he did not right him immediately.
“Syndicate,” he mused. Yet another term he’d heard from Seren. It seemed their paths crossed again, another noble straying to the dark underworld. He mentioned something about a code, a codex, “I’m afraid, old friend, I won’t be the one who can help you. I simply haven’t the patience, but I do have a friend who is quite interested in such things.”

Seren was going to hate him, at least for a day. Then she’d come around and see the gift that this could be, assuming she could get the man to talk sense for a decent period of time, though he knew she had patience. She wouldn’t still be serving as the Queen’s Vesper if she did not. He bent, and picked up the man, helped him back into the carriage.
“You are going into the viper’s nest,” he chuckled. Seren was certainly not a harmless snake. “But they might be nice.” He doubted it. It wouldn’t be his problem though. He just had to hope Seren had gone out for the day, as he suspected. He’d leave the man there, bother Vastien with how easily he could get into the rooms when they were absent.

Jean-Baptiste shut the door to keep Pollock in and then went around to guide the carriage himself. The bodies would remain. The paper would have a field day with Lord Wessily’s death.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #42 on: October 08, 2013, 03:13:22 pm »
Seren took her time to allow Vastien to sober up. A quick sketch was drawn up on a spare piece of paper on the bedside of the kind of attire she wanted for Vastien. It was difficult not to giggle, but she didn’t want Vastien to be aware just yet of the details. When the sketch seemed to capture all that she needed it to, she folded it up nicely and hid it away in her journal. A quick list was then made of items she needed to get, or have Vastien fetch, to enchant more bullets, followed by a few other things simply to have around. She had all of it at her home, but she was already aware that visits there might be few and far between. They were going to be in Whitechapel a while. Seren could already sense that. 'And it will all be pointless.'

Once the list was made up and also stored away, Seren ensured she looked pristine and then went to find Barnaby. She found his new attitude to still be annoying.
‘Going to have to get rid of you.’ She decided on that then, considered it a topic to bring up with Raphael, a trade of sorts. Barnaby could go into his service, and she could get a driver who knew the town better. He’d learn Essex later. The Viscount would at least know where to point her if he couldn't spare a driver.

Once Barnaby was dismissed to the task of preparing the carriage, Seren walked back to where Vastien’s room was located and knocked.
‘I do hope that was enough time for you to gather your senses.’

198.. 199.

Vastien grunted and took a deep breath to pump out the 200th abdominal crunch, sweat stuck to his flesh and now he smelled worse. He reeked of alcohol and body odor, while it shouldn't have mattered to him how he smelled, Seren had a reputation to uphold. A dirty, non-hygenic bodyguard wasn't the ideal choice for someone like her. He couldn't sleep and sober up, he needed to do something, so he rearranged the room accessible to workout in. A quick shower followed the intense workout and he threw on fresh clothes, the damp ones from the night before were taken outside to hang and dry. He was still drying his hair with a towel when he heard the knock on his door. Instead of asking who it was, Vastien calmly opened the door with one hand, claws ready in his free hand.

Seren looked more dolled up than usual, that could only mean they were going to the city. She wouldn't fix herself up like that unless there was to be a public appearance. If he wasn't mistaken, shopping was on the day's agenda. For him. For the masquerade. If only he could just run away. He looked down at her, after all, Vastien seemed to tower over her and he forced a smile at his master, even she could tell the satisfaction on his face was false.

"Let's get this over with." He couldn't maintain the smile longer than a few seconds, he stepped past her and headed for the door.

Seren was pleased to see the demon had cleaned himself up. To his words, she only nodded, and followed him quietly out to where Barnaby already had the carriage prepared and waiting. 

Barnaby opened the door rather lazily for Vastien,
“Morning, Ba’al,” he greeted in that new lazy fashion of his. He tipped his hat to Seren as she approached to follow Vastien into the carriage. “Lady Vesper.”

Such an improper greeting. Still, she simply smiled and nodded to accept it, before stepping up and into the carriage. Barnaby shut the door and went back to his post in the seat to take them on to one of Vastien’s least favorite places.

Seren didn’t know if Vastien was aware of their first stop. She considered it obvious, but had no intention of revealing it anyway, just in case. She dug in her purse and idly drew out the itemized list of alchemical items,
“Once we’ve finished with the Ripper, I want to stock up on these to have here in Whitechapel,” she passed the list to him. He already knew about the holy water. Some of the other items he would be familiar with from her enchantments, the mercury and liquid nitrogen common. There were other items, though, that were not usually carried with her, including four candles. Protection was being considered with this demon on the loose. Seren had yet to figure a decent and quick way to protect herself, but she still had ways.

It was just so time consuming to light candles in a moment of need. Not to mention the other steps required.
“I may think of other items, but do remember those.” She contemplated bothering Jean-Baptiste about more protective alchemy, but decided against it. Their relationship had grown too antagonistic for her to show a weakness by asking for advice on protection. Goodness knew that would come back to bite her one day.

'By I, you mean me.' Were the words that entered his mind. His eyes scanned the list, her neat handwriting irking him for some reason. He was sure Seren had her connections in which to acquire the items she needed, connections that at one point might have been useful. That was no longer the case when Vastien came into her life, he knew a guy who knew a guy. Grade-A quality, he always made the trip for goat blood and tiger lilies. Vastien had introduced Seren to the eccentric alchemist but he preferred the term apothecary. The man was a genius and even in his elderly age, he never disappointed when it came to Seren's goods. He operated out of a basement in a tavern, luckily the tavern didn't get that much business because that would be too many nosy people.

His shop was a mini black market, if it was illegal/rare/unattainable, he could acquire it within the week. 2 weeks if it was a special order. The elderly man generated more revenue than the tavern itself, last time Vastien had spoken with Jameson, he was in the process of buying out the owner for the tavern. Jameson had called out Vastien on him being a demon the first time they met, the only reason Vastien let him live was because he had been curious how Jameson knew. His response was always, 'I just know.', that was enough for Vastien. Although, Jameson had met Seren several times, he still wasn't comfortable dealing with her without Vastien. Funny how he trusted a demon more than one of his own.

"We'll have to just pay old man Jameson a visit then right, Serena?" Vastien smirked, Jameson always called her that, not on purpose, the old man's memory was slipping and her name always eluded him.

For once, Seren didn’t grimace at the name. Rather, her smile widened, chesire in nature. Vastien must have been a masochist to continue with his ways—sometimes, admittedly, Seren wondered about her own mental stabilities for putting up with it, and continuing their antagonistic games, but today she wouldn’t worry. “So we shall,” she agreed, “Perhaps he’ll have some suggestions.” It was better than asking Jean-Baptiste. She knew Lord Chinal’s source, they used to have the same one.

It had been no issue for Seren to switch. After all, knowing Jean-Baptiste couldn’t track what she was getting was a comfort. She could still track his materials if she so wished.

The carriage came to a stop, the foggy morning not at all hiding the door they were in front of. Barnaby was not the one to open the door, but one of Viscount Raphael’s men who recognized the carriage.
“Countess Vesper,” his hand was offered and Seren accepted it, stepping out. “Viscount Trepe thought you might be by today, after his visit with Marquess Chinal yesterday.”

She only smiled at the word as the servant greeted Vastien as well. She walked on to the door, where the Viscount was now waiting, steps quickening to feign excitement, smile growing.

He stepped forward, violet eyes lighting with joy at seeing one of his favorites. He took Seren into an embrace,
“My little star,” if he knew how much Seren hated the term, he would have stopped using it. He had referred to her father as a ‘star’ as well, playing on their last name. He stepped away, “You are usually so prompt with responses, my dear, I got worried when I heard nothing from on regarding my invitation.”

“Yes, I have been busy. It is difficult to run a company on your own,”
Seren confessed.

The man shook his head,
“I have told you time and time again that you need not work so much,” he reminded, “Have you even spoke with Marquess Kerr about the business?”

Ah, lectures.
“No, I have not, I do not speak often with Marquess Kerr. He, too, has his own duties.”

“Silly girl,”
the man laughed, his violet eyes alight--they were the delight of many for their unusual hue, “He would drop it all if you but called, and you ought to. There are some who are starting to wonder about your relations with Chinal. He claims to be accompanying you to my masquerade….” The question wasn’t overt.

“I promise, they are quite chaste, we merely share a common interest.”
There was an edge to her tone that Raphael mistook. He motioned her in, turning his sights on Vastien.

“Marquess Kerr will be coming to the masquerade, Seren,”
he said, before addressing Vastien. Raphael missed how she tensed, or the way her fist clenched. Many talked about Vastien, as well, but Raphael found him to be quite a delight. He had no worries that this strange butler was anything more. He had the proper devotion to Seren, an enviable one. He often wondered if he could have Vastien train his own servants. “Ah, if it isn’t Vastien. What news have you heard today?” It seemed he always had something interesting to tell, “Will you be coming to the masquerade as well?” For he didn’t doubt that Seren would show up now, taking her arrival as a sure sign of confirmation.

Vastien didn't receive the gracious welcome from Raphael's servants, the glare he gave them killed any interest to be polite. From one servant to another, he wasn't going let himself be served. As Seren's pace quickened to meet the Viscount, he merely rolled his eyes, was she actually excited to see that man? Raphael did well for himself and he'd be damned if everyone didn't know that, that was one of the many reasons Vastien disliked him. The times Vastien had visited the Viscount, he tended to have several acquaintances roaming the grounds and they all fell under the Viscount's spell. Humans were suckers for wealth, they would do mostly anything for incredible fortune. The ironic thing was that while Vastien despised the Viscount, Raphael actually enjoyed his company, why couldn't he just hate him like all the others?

And there he was. After an embrace and brief exchange of words, Seren proceeded inside, hopefully he wouldn't have to do the same to gain entry. Thankfully, Vastien was saved from the hug but the Viscount couldn't resist striking up a conversation. Vastien had become increasingly better at feigning appearances, which is why he forced yet another smile. Being allowed to simply follow Seren inside would've been great but of course not.
"I'm flattered that you think I'm always so well-informed on current events. Nothing in particular today, Viscount. You may want to instill some new discipline to your servants, while it didn't bother me, I wasn't greeted like how respectfully you did. If you'll excuse me," Vastien smirked to himself, that would teach those rude servants, even if his demeanor didn't warrant a greeting.

He wasn't a brainless homosapien, instead of marveling at how nice and posh the house was, Vastien focused on catching up to Seren who already had a lead on him. A horrible start to a horrible day.

« Last Edit: February 19, 2014, 05:44:26 pm by Krystal Itzume »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #43 on: October 08, 2013, 03:14:11 pm »
“Oh?” The Viscount was actually concerned about his servants not greeting his guests appropriately. Even a lowly servant like Vastien deserved a decent welcome.

He would look into that.

Seren knew her way around the Viscount’s place, but did not go too far from the entrance. He would want to take the lead, play host. Seren looked to Vastien when he approached first, noted his expression. Unfortunately for him, she wasn’t feeling merciful, or else she might have asked him to do something. The Viscount caught up not long after,
“Have you eaten, Seren?”

“I haven’t,” she answered, “Have you already had breakfast?”

“No, I was only about to. Join me, we can discuss what brings you here,”
he could tell there was more than RSVPing. Seren nodded to his invitation, motioned for Vastien to follow along, “Have you heard any news lately?”

“Only about the Ripper,”
Seren confessed, “Vastien seems a fan of the story,” a dismissive wave. She was not letting Vastien escape the Viscount’s interest too much.

Fortunately for Vastien, they entered the living room before the Viscount could ask more. He stepped ahead quickly and offered one of the comfier chairs to Seren, who graciously accepted it. The Viscount went to his own seat, explaining to the confused servant that he would take breakfast in there.

“What would you like to have, Vastien?”
The Viscount asked, allowing Seren her distraction to absorb the new items in the room.

Seren’s eyes fell upon the new painting, the depiction of a young woman surrounded by little folk, the light focused on her legs and the little people,
“A piece by Edward Hughes, if I’m not mistaken?” Seren inquired. She was getting better at recognizing such things.

Raphael’s smile grew,
“Indeed, a man after my own heart,” he sighed as he looked to the piece. “I daresay the Louvre has works half as fine as the artists of today make.” Ever the patriot.

“Mm, and certainly no doctors as good,”
Seren noted, then to the waiting servant, “French toast, earl gray tea,” quick and snappy. The servant noted it immediately.

“Ah, no. They’ve been saying the Ripper is a doctor,”
he glanced to Vastien, “What have you heard, my man?”

Breakfast. Something Vastien didn't usually partake in even if ever insisted by Seren. He doubted the humans had any raw goat or freshly killed venison, blood and all. No? Then it wasn't for him. He still considered humans as carnivores, but they were cleaner, orderly carnivores. Vastien refused the offer for a seat, he preferred to stand.. and watch.

"Nothing for me." The Viscount's luxuries were already denied once, now Vastien wanted to deepen his grave even further by not accepting another? If the Viscount forgot Vastien's other job as bodyguard for Seren, then this new Vastien would make some more sense. If he was expected to play nice, Vastien must've ignored this and continued to do his job. It was a shame however since Vastien's love for pumpkin pancakes with syrup was well known to Seren. Technically, if she strongly insisted, how could Vastien resist?

As they discussed paintings and other unimportant matters, Vastien looked at the small, old clock at the corner of the room. 10:42. It was still so damn early.

"I hear is it isn't the Ripper, more like the Rippers. You didn't hear that from me." The warning was simple, the tone appropriately malicious. Whether the Viscount would believe him or not mattered not, just that the curiosity of it's validity.

If Vastien wondered why Raphael liked him, it should have been obvious in the way he leaned forward. “Rippers? Really, how many?”

Seren answered for him, “Actually, it seems one of the men who fixed me up is under suspicion. I had hoped to go see him, promise to be a character witness and such. I know him to be one of the finest. He’d never commit such an atrocity as this, let alone have anything at all to do with a prostitute.”

Raphael seemed quite surprised,
“Which one?”

Ah, there was the dilemma. Seren couldn’t think of the names of them, and wanted a list. How to go about getting it was the issue now. She allowed some of her confusion to show,
“Vastien told me earlier, but I've forgotten. I would know it if I saw it, he made an impression on me, but you know how I am with names. He had such piercing green eyes," The eyes were a gamble, but one that seemed to pay off, for the Viscount nodded in understanding. Seren was actually good with names. The period of her recovery, however, was something of a blur. She'd convinced Raphael she wasn't good with names, when it was convenient, though. He was good for information, "I know it is one of the doctors who actually works at the Royal London Hospital.” She could have paused to ask Vastien the information, but he didn't have it. He had only spoken with an Erik there.

Fortunately, Raphael didn't think to ask him either. The Viscount smiled, clicked his tongue as the servants came back with their food,
“Charlie, do fetch me the cards under ‘do’ in my room of my contacts.” He directed as the man set down the pumpkin pancakes in front of the Viscount. He shared Vastien’s love of them, and to Seren’s knowledge, had introduced the demon to the food. “Are you sure you aren’t hungry, Vastien?”

Seren’s turn,
“He ate before we came this way, awake before me,” she shared. Vastien had his chance. The servant left the room to fetch the contact information without receiving an order, and Raphael cut into his pancakes, brushing his brown hair back over his shoulder. He grew it too long for some people’s liking, but he enjoyed the aesthetics of long hair too much to cut it.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #44 on: October 08, 2013, 03:14:48 pm »
Seren's attempt was predicted but effective as he expected, Vastien thought she was joking. He didn't notice the servant return with the pancakes, only when the incredible aroma rushed him, it couldn't be. The pig before him forked into them like tasteless crepes, not even appreciating them! Well, that wasn't entirely true. Vastien took his time, savoring the heavenly ground pumpkin seeds and spices sprinkled in the batter. It felt like autumn when he ate them, so why not enjoy it. The Underworld sure didn't have such fancy food.

'How could you?' He thought to himself while look at her, but mouthing the thought to her silently. Luckily yet painfully, Vastien didn't make a last second request. "Coffee. Black." Vastien quickly told the servant when he passed, he wasn't sure if it had been too late then. Even without the coffee, he'd be fine. Just a little less relaxed.

"Why sir, Lady Vesper always speaks the truth." Polite sarcasm? Check. Vastien was different as well, his dirty blond locks draping over his face and pseudo-colored blue pupils. In reality, his pupils were clear and one had to get real close to see past the illusion. Brushing a bushel of hair back and off his face only to have it return and cover portions of his face. 

"The doctor knows something, I'm going to find out even if I have to kill him." Vastien instantly laughed, laughs were rare. Of course, he was kidding.. Right? He should've been kidding but Vastien would pursue each option until a solution appeared.
That my dear.. mmm, is revenge. The thought was what caused the light grin on his face.

How could she? Seren raised a single eyebrow, the response obvious. ‘Do you really have to ask?’ He had been ‘rewarded’ yesterday, when his behavior left much to be desired. At least right now he was doing a better job. Were she not still upset over Barnaby, she might have considered a way of appeasing him.

Perhaps remove the bunny tail from the design.

Her smile could have been mistaken for a grin at Vastien’s sarcasm.  She chuckled at Vastien’s words about the doctor, as did Raphael.

“Now, now,”
he said after swallowing a bite, “Do not let your curiosity get you into any trouble, Vastien. I would be loathed to hear that you turned up in jail. Who would watch over Seren then?”

He had far too much respect for Vastien regarding his role, and too much concern for her. Given, the murders were quite the surprise to all in the nobility. The Vespers had seemed untouchable. Seren smiled,
“You need not worry about him,” she noted, “Vastien never harms anyone who doesn’t deserve it.” Well, she wasn’t lying, for the most part. Vastien mostly harmed people that she thought deserved it. There were a few, usually frustrating, exceptions.

The servant returned with the cards, set them before Raphael. Raphael quickly moved his plate aside, letting the pancakes get cold as he flipped through the cards. A coffee was brought for Vastien as some were set aside. He lifted them up,
“These two were the only two who actually work at the Royal London Hospital and took care of you. The others came from other locations around the country.”

Seren didn’t rise to get the cards, but motioned for Vastien to do so.
‘Two.’ She was trying to hide her smile at her luck, maintain a passively curious expression. She was quite sure from what Vastien had to say about Erik, that one of the two would be correct.

Vastien watched as the pancakes were pushed aside when the servant brought some cards, he shrugged his shoulders, sipping the bitter coffee. He should've expected it hadn't of been sweetened hence the small sugar container and teaspoon. After three filled teaspoons, Vastien quietly mixed the spoon in the boiling beverage, the sugar crystals dissolving into the liquid and sweetening the flavor. Once again, the cup was brought to his lips, sipping the coffee slow enough to burn his tongue.

He simply nodded in agreement with Seren's comment, settling the small cup on the equally small plate that had been brought to place it on. It was no surprise that foreign doctors had to be transported to held Seren, she certainly could afford the luxuries of the best doctors the world offered. He retrieved the cards from the Viscount, not even bothering to look them over, Seren would have that privilege. What was on the card probably didn't have anything to do with him anyway. He passed the cards to her and returned to where he had been standing previously.

"Sooner or later, the Rippers are going to slip up. We'll be there when they do." It almost sounded like a promise, Vastien was sure though, he had his methods of obtaining the truth. However, the more convincing methods had been ruled out by Seren, too much of a mess to clean up or something. It made him long for those days when he wreak havoc in the mortal realm and not have to obey one, but the bounty on his head forced Vastien into a corner.

He puckered his lips to lightly blow on the hot coffee, slurping it quietly. He had to admit, it was a damn good cup of coffee. Energy in a cup, Vastien had the mistake of drinking one too many cups of coffee the first time he tried, only a caffeine rush and even worse crash afterwards. He was a demon after all, no one told them over-indulgence was wrong.

Seren might have been concerned about Vastien’s drinking, but the cards quickly distracted her. Her eyes fell over the two names, Levi Bristow and Edwin Trent. The names familiarized themselves in her mind, found faces. “Levi has a son, doesn’t he?”

“Ah, yes,”
the Viscount nodded, “Simon. His poor mother died a couple of years ago, so he has had to raise the child on his own, poor man,” he shook his head. “His son in his 20s now, yet he still has to take care of him.” Seren looked up at that, curious, though she was recalling some conversation with Bristow. Raphael tapped his own head, “He had an accident that has made much difficult for him to comprehend.”

Seren remembered. Levi had worried she would suffer in the same way. Back then, his wife was still alive. Seren set the other card down, though memorized the name in case her hunch was wrong.
“It is Levi who is under threat, I remember now why I felt that sense of urgency,” Seren leaned forward and picked up her cup of tea, sipped it. Vastien would notice the contentment of the case solved. “His son. I thought I had read it in the obituaries that his wife died.”

“Well, I haven’t the time myself,”
Raphael shook his head.

Seren smiled,
“Don’t worry. It will all be taken care of.” Two Rippers. It was a shame politeness required her to stay longer. She took another sip of her tea, “Raphael, not to change the subject too abruptly, but I am curious about Elizabeth Bennington. Lord Chinal seems to fancy her.”

The temper of Raphael shifted a bit, his easy expression changing, hardening.
“Warn that boy,” there was no question to it. Seren raised an eyebrow, wondering why Raphael had invited the woman if he would offer that, “Lizzy goes through lovers like chocolate, seems to chase them out of the country. I haven’t seen Trevor in weeks since he started dating her, and she’s already gone through at least three others.”

If this was the case, Jean- Baptiste was slacking. No wonder he came to get her involved.
“Really now?”

Raphael sighed, pushed his fingers through his hair,
“She is delightful company, truly, but she’s no decent woman like yourself.” It was difficult for Seren not to laugh at the comparison, but somehow she did, accepting the ‘compliment’ with a sympathetic nod.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #45 on: October 08, 2013, 03:15:36 pm »
Somewhere far, far away..

On top of the hill was a building that was guarded with flying demons constantly patrolling the airspace, foot soldiers watched the perimeter and Gatherers ventured in the dense, jungle-like reserve. The entire location was on large island in the saltiest, body-ridden and deadliest ocean.. in Hell.

This was the headquarters, the spawn point, where the wounded and most lethal demons were brought for examination and servitude, the rest/prison area. The Island was the worst of institutions to be sent too. Vastien's crimes had brought him there. The inmates after serving enough time were released into the wilderness and had to survive at all means. The Island was not easy to survive, it was meant to break you.

Crime was unbelievable in Hell, of course. Only the sickest of methods were used. The Warden sent his own guards to beat the prisoners and make their time in The Jungle a nightmare, they'd be wishing for those cold, concrete prison. Inmates were constantly denied their wings.. literally. It only took a few incisions to permanently damage the nerve or just impair it. Beasts roamed The Jungle, even The Warden's guards were in danger when chosen to make their rounds.

Escape was near-impossible. The only way to even attempt to escape from the shore was at the southern most tip of the island. The heaviest, most guarded sector. Even if a sly demon pulled a fast one and snaked past the guards, the nautical creatures that roamed the ocean floor made an aquatic escape impossible. Waves crashed on the sharp, deadly rocks, a likely fate if one tried to attempt the sea route in the northern, western and eastern areas of The Island.

The Gatherers were the worst; militarized brutes whose jobs entailed rounding up the near-death or dominating prisoners. They either needed rest to be thrown out there again or were doing too well that they needed to give the others a chance and thus brought to serve time at the prison. The inmates had to become savages, every demon for himself if they were to survive. Nowhere was safe, an ambush could always be just around the corner. There was no parole. No probation. Eventually you're thrown back into The Jungle or locked up again in The Prison.

Vastien weathered his share of Jungle/Prison, somehow he escaped. And no one escapes Devil's Island. In the only room that mattered, The Warden's Office, two demons sat across from each other.
"Tell me more about this.. Vastien. I see he still hasn't been returned."

"Razael is working on it, sir. It shouldn't be long now before--" With a wave of his scaly, clawed hand, The Warden silenced the other demon.

"Says here he's had military training." He furrowed his brow, the rogue mercenaries were always the hardest. "What of our contacts?" The room reeked of some foul odor, if he didn't know any better, The Warden was puffing on some sulfur.

"They've made contact with Razael and received his report. In short, it seems Vastien willingly enslaved himself to a human. Makes sense why he suddenly disappeared." The slammed fist on the desk roared and shook the room, The Warden was not happy and when that happened, everyone suffered.

"If I have to go to the damned mortal realm and drag him here myself, I will. See that it doesn't come to that." All contracts were obligated to continue their course once initiated, interference meant dealing with the law. 'I am the ****ing law.' He'd tear that contract to shreds if he felt the need.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #46 on: October 08, 2013, 03:19:32 pm »
Moriarty thumbed the small envelope between his fingers as he waited in the cold station.  It was five in the morning, a little earlier than the usual time he headed out to the university just outside the great city of London.  It was early enough to be quite, even in as key a station as Charing Cross.  He continued to rub his darkly veined hands over the letter as the brooding dread it had inspired continued to build in him as his relentless mind tried to crack the enigma that it represented upon it arrival.  He remembered its arrival so crisp now…

“Well James?” the High sensual voice of a lady cut through his concentration.  “What have you?”

It was in the Broken Spade much earlier that morning, with in the reveling house there were several card rooms set aside for the regulars who hosted their clubs there.  Moriarty and a small group of close friends always had a regular table and the odd collection of seemingly sleepless individuals always met in this insanely early hour of morning.  None of them knew each other’s true identities, yet they seemed to comprehended each other’s nature clear enough, and somehow, the strange gang had all fallen in amongst each other as friends.  To Moriarty’s right sat the plain and dapper Dr. Bristow, a friend he had known for many years and held in high esteem for the sufferings the good doctor had endured by fate.  The other to his left was a beautiful woman, sensual in figure and sharp in mind, Elizabeth Bennington, who was among the Broken Spades oldest regular patrons, it being her preferred hunting ground for those naive and gullible men she tended to favor in her games.  Moriarty had come to know her through her regularity at the establishment as well as the social circles both walked in.  Across from him  sat Lord Saint Simon, both a earl of Sussex and a lord of parliament, he and Moriarty sat upon the same bank board as investors and like Moriarty, Saint Simon was a relentless and resolute in his commitment to his work. The two kind elderly gentlemen seeing this nature in each and appreciating it had become fast friends.  Lord saint Simon however was a newcomer to these early morning games.  As a whole they always caught a curious eye of the other revelers who by now were mostly exhausted by the nights activities and they were bound for home, but for Moriarty, Bristow and Saint Simon, whose work was close and their mornings early it was just a bump in their day, while Elizabeth, she having enjoyed her games all night often came to the card table to retire from her excursion into the lives of men.

“I am concentrating…”  Moriarty growled at Liz, He fixated on his cards.

“Oh what?” she chided him playfully.  “You are going to calculate the gravitational fall of your fold?”  Bristow chuckled at the slight jab at Moriarty’s style of play, he was always so very careful and conservative.

“You need to have more faith in chance old man, you can never calculate change.”  Bristow smiled at him.  “Sometimes you have to simply take risks to gain what you want.”

“I have no faith in blind Risk, Levi.”  Moriarty maintained his focus on the cards.  “But I can calculate probability.”

“Oh?  Can that probability draw out the card you need?  No, it simply tells you when it’s unwise to proceed when it’s not your advantage.”  Bristow leaned to moriarty. “And it’s disadvantageous to simply avoid failure.”

“Oh please,” Liz laughed.  “Poor moriarty has so little left he has to fear failure…the university won’t give him a raise.  By the way my dear.”  She reached out and patted him on his matted dreadlocks “…I have no shame about taking in the needy, should you ever reach destitute.” Moriarty shot a profusely annoyed glare at Liz.  She always made fun of Moriarty’s carefully cultivated appearance of a poor and humble professor with her gloating charity.  Moriarty always suspected she was more aware then she appeared in her knowledge of his true nature and this teasing was just her way of playing along with the act.

“Oh yes!”  Moriarty eyes thinned.  “And in exchange I could tutor you in how to be a lady.”  Bristow and saint Simon laughed as Liz showed her bemused shock.

“Are you DARING to imply I am not?” she glared at him.

“I…” moriarty tossed one card from his hand and picked one up from the deck. “  …am not implying.”

“Ah!  You wound me!”  Liz gasped and threw her hand over her fore head in a mock faint.

“What are you doing?”  Bristow eyed Moriarty as he shuffled the new card in, and shuffled it again, again.

“I am…taking a risk.”  He shuffled a few more times, then folded all the cards into a small deck and slapped them onto the table.  “Fold.”

“AHAHAHAH!” Liz clapped her hands together in glee.

“And now I am avoiding failure.”  Moriarty chuckled as he watched the delight on Liz’s face.  He knew her game well, she was always pestering and erratic at cards, it confused and mislead her opponents.

“Well…”  Bristow eyed Liz, and then shot a glance to the quite Saint Simon.  “I’ll raise.”

“You should fold.”  Liz playfully insisted.

“No, I shall raise.”  He threw in a twenty-pound chip into the pile.  “You’re bluffing…”

“Am I now?” she teased and turned to the older Lord next to her.  “And what of you young sir?” Lord Saint Simon was much older then Liz, a man well in to his fifties, but he was wealthy and Moriarty could see Liz press on her charms to him.

“None of that here…” Moriarty scolded her. “  Save it for the waiters.”

“Oh please.”  She gave Moriarty a smile, which seemed almost predatory in its intent.  “He is a grown man.”

“Your seductions are quite unappreciated young lady,” Lord Saint Simon was hoty but not hostile in his reply, he dropped too cards into the discard deck and picked up two.  “I will trust my faithfulness on to god.”

“Oh?  More of that Religious prattle?  Will you trust on to him a royal flush?  Humm?” she smiled in the tease, but distain was in her voice.  Moriarty had noticed that since lord saint Simon had joined their nightly games that Liz had been becoming increasingly hostile towards him.  He thought it might be because of the lifestyle she enjoyed but he could sense some deeper hatred she had.

“I will preserve my faith, and raise you and Mr. Bristow, a hundred pounds.” the man tossed a large stack of black 20 pound chips into the pile.  Moriarty raised an eyebrow; Bristow eyed the money contemptuously as Liz let a small smile wiggled out of her red lips.

“It’s a good thing you folded.”  She laughed at moriarty.  “I believe you have to go to the small ante tables now James.”

“Yes, or after this pot you might be joining me there.”  He hissed back.  Moriarty knew Bristow was a keen player, and many times had he out witted her façades.

“Well…”  Liz drew out a card, as if to discard it, then mockingly she placed it back in her hand.  “I stand.”

“Damn it.”  Bristow growled.

“And” she raised a finger.  “I raise” she put a stack of 20-pound chips to the pile, neatly towering over the mess of others.  “200 pounds.” she added another stack.

“Oh my.”  Saint Simon seemed shocked.

“Double damn it” Bristow lifted his cards and tossed them to the table.  “I fold, this game is too rich for my blood.”

“Indeed.”  Moriarty agreed, play up his poverty.

“So.”  Liz turned to Saint Simon and folded her hands and rested her head upon them in rapped attention.  “Do you still have faith in your god to check 320 pounds?”

“My god is wiser than that.”  Saint Simon scowled at her and tossed his cards into the discard pile.  Liz red lips spreaded into a wide mischievous grin and in the same gleeful posture eyed the men at the table.

“This is why I love our little games.”  She stood up.  “My boys, Loafers…” she gestured to moriarty who glared at her in anticipation. “And lords…Let me introduce you to…!” She picked up her cards and with a single sweeping gesture flipped them.  They were all low cards of unmatched suits.  It was a bluff. “…a fools strait!” she laughed victoriously and sat down.

“Well played.”  Saint Simon nodded.

“Indeed.”  Bristow reach out a picked up the deck and other cards to reshuffle them for a new game.

“I told you…”  Moriarty glanced to Bristow.  “Avoiding failure.”

“Ahum!”  Liz pulled on one of Moriarty’s dread locks, in a way that made it appear as if she was ringing a bell rope.  “If you will do a lady a kindness.”  She gestured to the huge pile of chips.

“Excuse me.”  Moriarty pulled his hair from.  “You are mistaken!  There are no ladies at this table!”

“Please, kind sir…”  Liz asked in mocking sweetness and moriarty grunted in disgust.  He reached on of his long arms across the table and in a single sweep pushed all the chips to Liz, causing it to over flow over the table and no to her lap.  She laughed again victoriously as the money piled around her. “Yesssss, it smells sweetly of your blood and sweat!” she laughed as she gathered the chips around her.  “Here.”  She flipped a chip to moriarty, which he caught.  “For you services kind loafer.”

“If you were anyone else Ms. Bennington I would beat you to death with my cane for that remark.”  Moriarty growled at her, but put the chip into his breast pocket.  “You never know when to stop.”

“Stop?  Like stop winning?” she smiled.  “No I never stop winning, I get what I want…everything I want.”

“Don’t worry, she always get overconfident after a win.”  Bestow sat back and lit a cigarette.

“Meh.”  Moriarty groaned and pulled out his pocket watch.

“You have time for a few more round?”  Ask Bristow, “the next train to the university is still two hours away.”

“Yes, but there are some affairs I need to attended too.”  He clapped the pocket watch shut.  “But one more round.”

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #47 on: October 08, 2013, 03:20:05 pm »
Bristow smiled and dealt out another hand to each as they threw in there antes.  As moriarty picked up his hand, he saw it was quite favorable.  Two queens, a jack, a four and a two.  He did the basic stratagy, by discarding the two and four he likely would strengthen the hand.  If he could just get another jack, he would be in a winning spot.  He glanced around the table, noticed Bristow’s casual air, the Lords cold distain and Liz’s predatory study of him and the others.

“Your move Simon.”  Bristow laid the deck beside the ante pile and Saint Simon plucked four cards from his hand and tossed them into a discard and drew four fresh cards.  Liz was next, two down, two up, her demeanor calmer, but those darting eyes curiously fixed on the lord.  Moriarty picked the two, tossed it aside to the discard pile, and drew a card.  It was a Jack!  Moriarty struggled to repress a confident smile, but a quick glance to Bristow showed him that the doctor had spotted it, but none of the others had.  Bristow seemed too smiled to himself, he tossed down four cards and drew up four.

“The game is afoot gentle men.”  Liz’s grin was wide. She might have a good hand. “The lord may start the first round of bidding.”

“Raise.” He tossed a blue 10-pound chip into the pile.

“And I will check.”  She turned to moriarty.  “And you James?  Do you fold?”

“No.”  Moriarty chuckled.  “The game is still young, check.”

“As do I.”  Bristow added his chips to the pile. Second round, Lord Saint Simon tossed a single card down, picked up one.  Liz did not drop any, strengthening the impression of her strong hand.  Moriarty dropped his four, and picked up an ace.  By a cursory glance, he calculated his odds, a two high pair with an ace was a good hand, and it meant none of the other players could have a strait high or royal flush unless it was of hearts, the only suit he did not possess.  Only four of a kind, a full house, or three of a kind could really beat him out.  With the jacks, queens, twos, fours and aces plus the unknown cards tossed by the others there only remain less than eight possible four of a kinds.  Moriarty did his calculations, fitting the number of discards, the deck, the hand held cards and the statistical percentages of high and low cards to to get a rough estimation of his odds against drawing favorable cards from the deck. The unknowns where still too high to get a clear picture But Moriarty still had some leverage, for they played their own style of stud poker with three rounds of discarding.  Moriarty invented the game to give him a more mathematical advantage, but the others did not oppose the odd style for it also gave them more opportunity to read and stratagize with each round.  Bristow was next.  He dropped one and drew one.  Moriarty's  quickly study of his opponents told that they all at least had pairs or high cards.  Those that picking up were, like him, were discarding useless small cards, so he had to assume that the discard pile was filled with cards under five.  Only Liz unnerved him for she had a chaotic style that was difficult to read, one couldn’t tell if she was bluffing or had a good hand.  It appeared by her lack of exchange that she did have a good hand, but he had known her to play out this act before with nothing but junk, testing the water to push a bluff till ever one was convinced of her advantage and folded.  Bristow not too hard to read, but he was a keen observer himself, he knew moriarty had at least a decent hand, and by a single discard, he showed that he too had a decent hand.  Simon was mostly easy to read, his style similar to Morality’s but often he would on a whim toss down his cards in the final round and start with a fresh hand, giving it all to fate and ruining the others careful study.

Simon raised ante, and everyone checked.  Everyone playing it safe, even Liz, who everyone expected to raise.  Final round.  Moriarty reconfigured his formulas as the others picked up and discarded. Recalculating his formula with each players move.  The final round was critical.  A the discard deck hat fourteen cards, likely all low cards, each player had five cards each, a floating 20 of unknowns, likely high or mixed numbers, and with 22 left in the deck. there it had to be at least two-thirds loaded with high cards.  The chances of any of them drawing a high card was goo and Moriarty knew his two pair could easily become a full house if no one had discarded or held a jack or a queen.  But would he risk the high ace?  The chief tiebreaker if he ran into a high two pair among the others?  Here lay that void where Moriarty’s great mind despised, chance…fate…or, as he preferred, the unknown variables. 

“I would take the chance old man.”  Bristow smiled, and Moriarty, familiar with Bristow’s keen poker eye for tells had likely seen some indecisive tick or motion in his being.

“I don’t believe in chance.”  Moriarty chuckled.  “If it can’t be calculated or defined it is merely unknown, don’t mystify it.”

“Have faith Moriarty, if you believe a path can be made for you.”  Lord Saint Simon Smiled.

“There is no path, the universe is naturally ordered, there is an order that exists to these cards…” moriarty gestured to them. “ It’s just that no one had come to see the order, they view it only a random chaos.”

“That is because it is Chaos.”  Liz laughed.  “There is no order in the world, just the illusion of it.”

“I beg the differ young lady, a Heathen like you relishes in the idea that there is no Devine order, or proper path.” Lord Saint Simon spoke coarsely to Liz.

“Oh really?”  Liz turned to saint Simon.  “Tell me when you pray to your god do you question how others so more deserving have suffered far worst then you?  To all the starving of the world find that their condition is of god's making?  Humm?”

“There is a plan for everything.” He insisted.

“I find, considering our long history as a species that if god truly exists he is a cruel and malignant creature.”  Moriarty mumbled. 
“But there is a universal order, planets, gravity, or evolution from the unknown…these are not things I hold to ‘random chance and chaos.”  He turned to Liz.  “People starve because they are unwise and weak, only the fittest of the pack feeds off the kill first; runts are left to fend for themselves.  If they have not the courage to gain, then they will always remain.
 "You can’t calculate everything James…”  Liz suddenly became contentious and stern.  “There are things in this world that have no place in the 'Universal order', things that defy and laugh at these laws of science and men, the sooner you realize that the easier it is to accept that nothing is organized into undeniable laws, it’s only set patterns waiting to be broken.”

“Enough of this…”  Moriarty waved her to silence.  “I discard.” Moriarty drew his ace to drop when a waiter suddenly came up to him, silver severing platter and a sealed envelope upon it.

“A note for you sir.  Drop at reception for you earlier to night.”

 “One moment!”  Moriarty raised a finger and picked a card from the deck.  It was a queen.  He had a complete full house. It took all his mental effort to repress the urge to cry out victoriously against the odds. He coolly placed it in his hand next to the other queens.

“Oh who is this?”  Liz picked the sealed letter from the waiter’s tray.  “The lonely professor had acquaintances outside of our little party?  Inconceivable!”  She sniffed it lightly, turned it over, and raised a curious eyebrow to it.

“That…”  Moriarty snatched the letter from her.  “Is mine!”  He hissed.  Bristow dropped a card and picked up one.

“Oh?  Who is it Moriarty?  A secret lover?  Hummm?” Liz teased. “Does the hermit professor have some shy young lady after him?  It would do you some good.”

“Silence Liz!”  Moriarty missed Bristow’s reaction to his card draw and the agitation was visible in his face.  “I need not relationship advice from you of all people.” Bristow chuckled at Moriarty’s visible agitation.

“Oh?” she raised an eyebrow.  “I may have many…friends…but you have no such likes.  I have never seen you with a woman…” she then put on a wicked smile. “Or a man, for that manner.” Moriarty shot her an infuriated glare.  Simon started the bidding.

“I raise 50 pounds.” The lord dossed in his chips

“I raise you to a hundred.” Liz added more to the pile.

Moriarty glanced to his chips and then to the pile.  He knew he had the winning hand. A full house of face cards could only be beaten if someone pulled off a four of a kind.  But if he betted too high to early, Bristow would know how strong a hand he had and would fold, which would alert Liz and she too would fold, and Simon, obviously would notice the pattern and copy the obvious knowledge of the two veteran players.  I will have to lure them in. he thought and picked up his chips.

“I will check both.”  Moriarty tossed in the chips.  Bristow eyed him suspiciously for a moment, and then tossed in his chips to check.

“And I riase again.”  Simon pushed another stack of chips into the pile.  “100 pounds.”

“Oh some ones got a good hand.” Liz smiled, then with a laugh dossed her cards into the discard pile. “I fold.”  She WAS bluffing. Moriarty glanced to Bristow and seeing the surprise in his face Moriarty now knew that he had not expected her jump ship so early.

“Well.” Moriarty smiled. “I will check.”

“But I will raise you both, 200 pounds.” Bristow suddenly jumped to life, and pushed a huge stack of chips into the pile. With Liz gone, he felt he had a confident read on the table to either bluff out the old men or lure them into a real game.

“Ahh….”  Simon rubbed his mustache as Bristow pushed in the chips.  “This man doesn’t like to take chances. I will fold.”

“And you moriarty?” Bristow turned a excited eye to him. Moriarty glanced over his cards then to Bristow. A small grin grew on his face and Bristow’s slowly shrank away.

“I check…” he pushed in half the pile of his total chips.“ And I go all in…” he pushed in the second half.  “250 pounds…Do you call?”  Bristow leaned back and crossed his arms.  He stared at Moriarty with a securitizing eye, trying to see how confident the man really was. Moriarty, reveling in the unease of Bristow took up the letter and cut it open with one of the longer nails on his hand. He slipped it out, opened, and read the single red line written in it in a language moriarty had left long ago in his past.
                     “And Shango bowed.”

It was a line from an ancient legend and it spoke wide and clear to Moriarty’s deepest fears.  It was both a warning and a statement that the writer knew him and his circumstances more deeply than any one of his closest intimates could possibly know.  Moriarty stared at it, wide eyed and drooped mouth until he realized his friends had been prodding him for his attention.

“James?  Are you okay?” Bristow leaned over to him.  “You going to show your hand?”

“I…what?” he looked about confused. “My hand?”

“Yes.”  Bristow nodded. “I called.”

“What is that gibberish there?” Liz peered into the letter. “Is that…Arabic?”

“No, it's…Yorba…ah….my once native language.”  Moriarty shook and felt his reeling mind desperately try to repress the fomenting emotions in every limb of his body.  “I…I…I have to go.”  Moriarty stood up with visible agitation, knocking over his chair.

“Wait what about your hand?”  Bristow stood up along with him.  “You don’t have time to finish?”

“Ah….no.” moriarty hurriedly put on his coat. “I fold. Keep your winnings, I will be back tomorrow.” And with that, Moriarty brushed out and away from the table. He made a b-line to the revelers at the party strait too the reception desk. When he asked the boy at the desk who had dropped the note he said he saw no one, it had just appeared at the desk while he was away, and knowing well anything to Moriarty was of importance he waited till he was back from ‘accounting’ to receive it. It wasn’t clear if it was addressed to Moriarty the professor…or Moriarty the crime lord, though it was evident that the writer knew him as both.
   Moriarty had searched about the Broken Spade for another thirty minutes trying to find any witness to the mysterious sender before time forced him to leave.  Now he sat at alone in the station, a night full of his worst fears and insecurities centered into a single three-word sentence written in red ink on a note in his hand.  Some one knew him, beyond his identities and pasts far deeper than any one of his closest associates.  For the first time since his childhood, he felt truly helpless, truly vulnerable, and truly powerless.

“My enemies are breathing on my neck, yet I cannot see them.” He verbalized his fears as a clacking of metal singled the arrival of the train. It slowed to a stop before him, and opened its carriage doors. Moriarty thumbed the letter one last time, then stuffed deep into his coat pocket, stood up and slowly walked into the train.[/QUOTE]

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #48 on: October 08, 2013, 03:20:34 pm »
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN 'HE DIDN’T SHOW UP?" Moran screamed into the face of the skittish doctor Von Herder. They were in the Steel Garden, a large gym and boxing club in Charing Cross, the principal seat of the 'enforcement' wing of the Syndicate.  Even to the unknowing observer its appearance was quite obvious, it was a place where rough and hard men came to training and fight their problems out.  Any aspiring young man eager to join the ranks of the syndicate could come here, join the club and train and box with the Veterans, progressing in skill to fencing, wrestling and stick fighting till they had gain significant notice of the primary recruiters and thus was approached and prospected for employment. Moran stood in front of the heavy beaten and scared oak desk in her office deep in the back of the gym.  One would have a hard time believing this crude place was a woman’s seat of business, suitable to a capo of a organized crime it seemed battered and beaten.  There was evidence violence in of poorly plastered walls to hide old and new bullet holes, a thick but old and worn rug used to absorbed spills of unfortunate victims, a heavy iron door at the entrance.  and all about the place were subtle trophies, a knobby shelele that once belong to a major Irish gang leader stood in one corner of the room, a collection of gold chains, framed and hung, of the last triad dragons, and other strange items littered the desk and surrounding shelves on the walls.  Moran herself seemed cut loose and dressed at ease.  She had only her white suited pants and a loose tank top on, her vest, coat and hat all hung on the seat behind the desk.  Her bare curvy arms, lean shoulders, and open cleavage gave her a strange appearance of sensual brutishness that contrasted with the lively vicious way she moved, like a tense and alarmed cat.

"He simply never showed up.”  Von Herder tried to keep clam, but the red-eyed fury of Moran, along with the ominous shadows of Moot and Velker in the corners of the room unnerved him.  "I went to the asylum, and waited and he never came.  No carriage, No men, No...Patient."

Moran gridded her teeth and with a seething gesture pulled back the locks of golden hair that had shaken out of her tight tail.  She turned away from Von Herder and placed her hands on the old oak desk.  Her emotions swirled within her and it too all her control not to let them seize her, and bring out the side that fed and thrived upon them.  She took a deep breath and visualized draining all those emotional tides into a singularity, she exhaled, and her mind recovered.

"Moot...wire to Pollock’s old offices and see if Wessily or Erick has checked in.”  She collected herself. "Velker, Make the rounds, see if anything has happened between the routes between the Broken Spade and the Asylum.”

"Yes Ma'am" they said in unison and walked out.

Moran paced around her desk and came to a heavy and casual slump into her desk.  Von Herder shuffled forward and waited until the heavy door closed behind Moran's agents to speak.

"You don't have to worry, the Pollock is quite helpless, and useless to anyone who comes across him.”  Von Herder tried to cheer her, but she looked up at him with angry blue eyes.

"The boss will be furious, too many problems have showed up in the last few days...This isn't just a foul up; it could actually be an attack.”  She leaned back and glanced over her walls of trophies.  "He won’t see this as a coincidence.”  She had no way of contacting Moriarty, during the period when he worked his 'illusionary' life he had to have no contact what so ever with his other, criminal identity.  It was too risky to make such a contact without the cover of the Broken Spade, Thus during the hours which moriarty left the Club till when he returned the command of the syndicate fell upon Moran’s soldiers.  There was the board, whose authority she was expected to heed in Moriarty's absence, but often she took their orders more as advice rather than commands.

It took only an hour for Moot and Velker to return, Moot said no one had reported in at Pollock’s old head quarters.  However, Velker had news...and it was not good.

"Blast it.”  Moran hissed as she, Moot and Velker arrived via carriage into Whitechapel, the scene of the double homicide of Mr. Wessily and Erick.  The police were still present and the bodies still laid out in the open street.  Moran's sudden appearance upon the scene caught the eyes of all the standing officers.  She glanced over them, most were in the Syndicates pay and they in turn noticed her, the prime white suite and woman in it was as well known to them.  She was lucky, she had gotten there before a detective had seen the bodies and removed them and their evidence. She locked eyes with a few stray officers, and on some hidden command, they drifted away from their posts to a nearby cafe, shuffling off the uncorrupted officers with them with excuses about taking a lunch break. Moran approached the bodies as moot and Velker took up stations at a distance form her to keep away curious pedestrians.  She squatted next to the mutilated body of Erick.  He had puncture marks in both eyes and his neck, with a clean slit through his throat.  His revolver lay clasped in his hand.  Moran reached out and tore the gun from the body’s death grip, and popping out the chamber, two shots fired. She glanced at the position of Lord Wessily laid out body, and the bullet wound in his head.  She then glanced to Erick sliced neck and Lord Wessily's knife beside him.  Any detective without the knowledge of their mission would assume that these two vicious gangsters had a falling out and killed each other. Moran knew better, and what was more she could smell that perpetrator. the musky sent of a stranger lingered among both. It was a single individual; apparently, he had come across these two reroute, ambushed them, killed them with their own arms, and then made off with the carriage and its precious cargo.  Was it a rescue? 

She replaced the revolver back into Erick’s hand as the police officers began to shuffle out of the cafe, a warning that they could not keep the strait cops occupied much longer. Moran stepped away and with Moot and Velker flanking her she moved down the street, following the remnant smell of blood and brains and the stranger down the road. It lead her as far as End Mile Road at the end of Whitechapel Street where she lost the scent in the strong odors of the heavy traffic.

"Moot get every spare hand out on the streets looking for the carriage and Pollock. Also, Put out a bounty, half a million pounds for anyone who can bring in the lost carriage and it's driver alive, and a smaller bounty...err...fifty thousand pounds for any reliable information on either carriage, coachman or Pollock.”  She turned to him as she reached the end of her trail.  "I want anyone with information brought directly to me, at my office."

"Yes Ma'am.”  Moot nodded and disappeared into the crowded streets.  Moran and Velker returned to the carriage at the crime scene and jumping in she ordered the cabby to take her to the Iron Horse Pub, Pollock’s previous principal place of operation. When she arrived, several of her agents were at work, turning out the once luxurious pub for any clues of who he might be associated with.  The team at the place was lead by one of her Lieutenants, an old Irish man by the name of Minks.  It wasn't his real name but a nickname in reference to his curious style of facial hair dress, thick sideburns and cornered mustache beard that resembled a Mink.

"No Ma'am, Nothing as of yet, but we did find some curious letters to Canada." He spoke in this thick Irish accent.

"Let me see them." She ordered and Mink snapped his fingers and a younger thug rank up to him with a stack of envelope.  He passed them to her and she shuffled though them. "What’s strange about them?"

"Well, it seems to be a correspondence between Mr. Pollock and a relative."

"And?" She glanced at him in impatiens

"Mr. Pollock has no relatives in Canada." Mink put it flatly. Moran nodded with satisfaction and skimmed the letters.  They seemed to reference farming, the recounting bustle harvests, and plots.  This raised her attention, as the writer seemed to play close attention to the numbers.

"Was there any money found?"

"No ma'am, Vault is empty and his bank statements show large withdrawals."

"I see.”  Moran nodded.  "He must have sent some of it off to Canada, where he planned to lay low, we have no operatives over there.”  She stuffed the envelopes into her coat pocket and patted Minks on the back.  "Keep up the good work."

She road back to the Steel garden, Moot was already there, he having put the word out on the streets for the bounty and said that several individuals claiming information had arrived but all had been proven be liars or witnessed the wrong carriage.  She had him handle the interviews and told him to come to her if anything substantial came out.  She sent Velker to handle the day’s collections of commission from the whores in Whitechapel while she looked though her dossiers for someone who might fill the shoes of the deceased John miller. Having selected a up and coming young man she favored, a Indian known as Mr. Lau Rau, who had proven himself with a few business deals, she wired to his office for a meeting in the afternoon and sent another to summon Lark, the killer who had dealt with Pollock’s secret contact.  She took lunch then and followed it with a hour of Boxing and stick fighting and met Mr. Lau Rau immediately afterwards. A short interview and a stern warning against doing business with Seren Vesper, who had undone the poor Mr. Miller his predecessor, she handed him the keys to the clothing shop front and orders to talk to Velker in order take over the operations. Mink followed next to report his findings in Pollock’s residence. Nothing of interest, she told him to close up shop and hold it for her to personally double check the establishment later on that evening. Moot returned to report a individual had come forward with some reliable information. The young Street Arab shuffled in after moot, and proceeded to tell Moran that he had seen the Carriage pass out of the east end of the city with a hooded driver.

"I saw it cross the bridge I sleep under." the childs bright eyes glanced about the office in wonderment. "I saw the markings and a man in the seat."

"One man? what did he look like." Moran was not kind in her questions, she despised children.

"I don't know, He was too far, I couldn't see his face."

"but you were sure it was a Man right?"

“Yes, and he was rich.” The five year old urchin lisped.

“How could you know he was rich if you could not see his face?" Moran cocked a curious eyebrow.

“oh he had the stance…the look of a rich man.”

Moran was displeased but at least she knew that the carrage had proceed in the same direction, nearly out of the city…but wasn’t worth fifty thousand pounds.

“Give the boy five hundred pounds and tell him to tell his friends that any more information will be likely rewarded.” She ordered moot as the boy left the room.  As soon a Moot left a tall, swarthy blad man swept into the room, on his handsome face a plastic grin and grey eye gave a impression of sweet incinsiertity.

“Mr. Lark.” Moran nodded, she had to repress a subtle attration to the tall, rope muscled figure.

“My lady.” He spoke in a thick Italian accent. “what will you have of me.” Moran again had to resist the temptation to flirt. She stiffed up.

“Here” She plopped a large envelope on the desk, it was loaded with 100 pound paper notes. “There is thirdly thousand in there.” She pushed it to him and he picked it up, hefting it.

“Handsome.” He smiled. “but correct me if I am wrong, I thought the job paid twenty thousand.”

“Yes, I am sending you to Canada, to track down Pollock’s other contact and his money.” She pulled up the stack of envelopes and pushed it to the tall man. “Here are the addresses.”

“Ah, A vacation it is.” His plastic smile widen. “I will telegraph to you when I get there.” And he was out as quickly as he came.

The rest of the day was dreary and filled with the regular mundane routines, meeting of contacts, checking up on Blackmail operations and money laundering schemes. Reports forward about investigations into the docks showed no evidence of Mr.Gagnon’s mysterious drug house. Velker arrived to report the successful installation of Mr.Lau Rau.  Moot reported that nothing had come up in the search for Pollock and the Carriage. Moran spent the last daylight hours reviewing reports sent to her by all her major lieutenants and taking the substantial events, she copied them in codex to her notebook for her report to Moriarty later that night. She felt a lingering dread of that approaching meeting and her exhaustion of a long day only made it seem more ominous.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #49 on: October 08, 2013, 03:22:29 pm »
There were days, Seren was certain, that Vastien thought her unreasonably cruel. It was usually when she wanted to be amused. The demon’s pride got in the way, frequently, with her amusement.

Not today.

Once they left the Viscount, Seren decided to go ahead and get the business of masquerade attire out of the way. Seren had a new dress ordered for herself to be done in time for the masquerade, but asked the seamstress Christopher to make Vastien’s then and there—it was important all the pieces came together just so, and she had hours to waste before it was dark out. The pastel blue suit had to be tailored to fit him just so, and the white rabbit tail had to be secure on the pants. The white and black speckled ears had to look right with the bunny mask, and be as fuzzy as the tail. One ear was even bent forward on Christopher’s suggestion—it just made the look that much more adorable.

Of course, the coup de grace was the white ribbon tied around his neck in a pretty bow. She had not been kidding.

Seren thought it would work out quite nicely, given his blond-haired and blue eyed appearance. She’d yet to see it all together, though. Christopher only just finished and she’d sent Vastien to change. It had been at least ten minutes, though.
“Vastien, do you need help?” Seren asked, derision apparent. “I can send in Christopher if you do.”

On their way to the tailor's shop, Seren seemed quite pleased with herself. Something told him that couldn't be good. Her threat of dressing him in a ridiculous suit had completely slipped his mind at the moment, oh the horror that awaited the demon.

Soon enough, Vastien was rushed into the dressing room by the seamstress, both Christopher and Seren had amused looks on their faces. Once the door behind him shut, he was trapped in the room with.. it. Before him hung a light blue suit, it looked like it was meant just for him, had Christopher forgotten to swap this ridiculous suit for the one actually prepared for Vastien? Something told him that Christopher was not one to make mistakes like that. The fuzzy rabbit mask, white and black spotted ears and rabbit tail confirmed his own personal Hell. This was no doubt Seren's doing.

Oh, how the once mighty and proud Vastien had fallen. He had made quite a name for himself in Devil's Island, the Warden's sick and twisted playground. No one would believe Vastien was the one who managed to escape the island, not wearing that bloody thing. Minutes passed by and he hadn't taken so long because he needed a hand, it was because he had remained perfectly still and stared at the suit with a shocked expression on his face. Seren wouldn't go through the trouble of having the bunny suit tailored  specifically for her favorite demon if it was just to wind him up, no she fully intended for him to attend the masquerade in it.

'It will all pay off in the end, Vastien. Just.. put on the damn thing.' He kept telling himself, it didn't do anything to mend his dying pride. "No, that won't be necessary." You'd love that, wouldn't you? He thought to himself, just to add to his humiliation.

He sighed and began undressing, the suit fit him perfectly in the end. At least he had a mask to cover his face, he wasn't sure how much more embarrassment he could withstand. Was the stupid white bow necessary? For Seren's giggles, of course it was. He could almost bet that Seren's outfit wouldn't be as horrible as his. The door opened slowly and out stepped a tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed rabbit man. She wouldn't be able to see but he was frowning behind that blasted mask, he looked at a mirror and didn't recognize himself anymore. Another deep, dramatic sigh escaped his lips.

"Anything for a smile on my master's face." Vastien said, the unenthusiastic demeanor visible as ever. How he'd love to tear that smile off her face right now, no matter how nice her smile was.

It did not take Vastien too long after he answered her for him to come walking out in the attire, much to her delight. It took a second for her to register that he had, indeed, gone through with it, wearing all the pieces. Then, she clapped her hands together as a smile lit on her face, pure delight and amusement at the demon. Christopher squealed somewhere behind her at how ‘perfect’ the outfit turned out, proud of his own craft.

Seren was failing to stifle her giggles as Vastien examined himself in the full-length mirror. Yes, it was all for her. Somewhere within the dark heart that led her to contract with a demon, she considered this humiliation enough. The tail, in particular, was so horrible that Seren almost felt embarrassed for him.
“Oh, Vastien,” she giggled again, “You’re going to steal the spotlight at the masque. You look adorable.” Normally, that was her role, but she was willing to let him try it out. “Raphael is going to be delighted with your participation in the theme.”

Oh, now Seren couldn’t wait for the masquerade, the thoughts of mercy fading.
“You’ve made me quite happy, so you may go change out of that now if you like. We don’t want it dirty before the masquerade.”

Christopher stepped forward then,
“No, I need to fix something. The tail isn’t quite right, it’s off center.”

Seren brought her gloved hand to cover her lips, wondering if Chris would actually press that matter to make sure the tail was in the right spot.

It seemed everyone else was enjoying the scene, well everyone except Vastien. He was so embarrassed that he couldn't be angry at her, he was sure it was his human form that wanted to make him curl up in a corner.. and die. Vastien looked up at the ceiling but he wasn't trying to admire the tapestry with the weird designs, no he was looking past the ceiling and right at the heavens.

'If you really do exist, kill me now. Please.' If there was a God, he was too busy laughing and enjoying the demon's misfortune to send a lightning bolt down and smite him. Seren's giggles were rare, he usually found them amusing but they trampled on his perishing pride. She was loving every second of it. Adorable? Really?! "No one's ever called me adorable. I really intended to keep it that way." It wouldn't be wise for him to stand out at the masquerade, after all, he had to deal with a vampire. Then again, who would suspect the rabbit man to have committed a murder? As subtle as Seren wanted the killing to be, he'd make sure to get some blood on the suit. Vampire blood stained bad, Vastien would know.

When she gave him liberty to remove the infernal rabbit costume, he didn't waste a moment changing out of it. He was in and out of the dressing room with his regular attire in two minutes. He really hoped Christopher was joking but everything was a joke nowadays and Vastien in the bunny suit was the punchline. Why not something feral? Something menacing and black, like a panther. It would at least suit Vastien's savage nature, but a bunny? Bunnies weren't savage. Not even mildly intimidating!

The entire outfit was folded over his arm and Christopher took his masterpiece from the demon to actually work on the tail. He rolled his eyes and let out yet another sigh, she'd never let him live this moment down. Well.. until the contract expired. The other customers in the shop had were quietly snickering, it was obvious they were still recovering from the comedy they just witnessed.

"Can we go now.., please?" Vastien pleaded, no he begged her to save him from further humiliation with a well-deserved facepalm.

Vastien was out of the outfit much quicker than he got into it. Christopher took the outfit, and Seren was tempted to wait around until he was finished with it, to ensure the tail was just perfect. The snickering of those around caused her to reconsider. Not to mention the use of the word 'please'. She glanced out and saw that evening was setting in. She was willing to embarrass Vastien, but he had suffered enough for that day. Well, almost enough, but her final revenge for his transgressions would come later.

Her smile softened, green eyes lost some of their mirth as she touched the arm that was holding his hand to his face,
“Yes, we can go. Come along,” she directed, added, “I do wish I could get a picture of you in that for generations to see, but they wouldn’t understand.” None would know him as a demon, after all. The amusement she took from it was more than all those in the store, who likely considered a myriad of relations between them. Then again, perhaps it would serve as good blackmail if she had a picture that could be shown to his demonic 'friends'. He didn't seem on the best of terms with them.

She walked to the door, pushed it open and called back,
“Christopher, we will be back the day of the masquerade to pick up the outfits.”

Without waiting for his response, she walked out of the store and glanced around, demeanor shifting, amusement shifting targets.
“Well, I suppose we should get down to business.” Not as easy as it seemed. She needed to catch him red-handed, and the murders did not occur at Levi’s house.

Picture? No, that was completely out of the question. The only people who'd remember seeing him wear the outfit would only those who attend at the masquerade. Any lasting proof that he had succumbed to a human's will wouldn't fly well with him. Honestly, Vastien didn't care to come back for the outfit but Seren had already been delighted with him wearing it that they definitely would be back. The sky was getting dark, dusk was settling in and that meant that Jack and his friends came out to play.

There were many ways of dealing with the Ripper, with that he remembered that Seren hadn't discussed the game plan with him. Waiting for a whore to get killed could prove troublesome, any desperate man looking for some action could be their culprit. If he wasn't mistaken, Seren knew who the murderers were, locating them was the trick.

"Right, so how will we be doing this? Shall we bait him? Unfortunately, I wouldn't look appealing to the Ripper in a skirt and stockings," He said jokingly, however he wished he would've held his tongue. She already made him wear a bunny suit, he didn't want to give her anymore ideas. He personally didn't like the idea of using Seren to bait the Ripper for that was endangering her purposely and he couldn't risk that. Not like he wouldn't act immediately if the Ripper tried to hurt her. In the end, she called the shots and he'd obey any course of action if she thought it through. "I bet their souls taste delicious." He sounded demented, brushing his tongue over his lips.

He had forgotten that Seren was going to allow him their souls. Oh, happy day! The day had finally turned out for the best, despite his clothing situation, at least he'd have a full stomach.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #50 on: October 08, 2013, 03:23:15 pm »

Seren’s grin broadened at the thought of dressing Vastien up as a street walker. Alas, he would probably be too tall and muscular for the tastes of the Ripper, even if he could appear feminine. She had considered dressing up herself, but instead she shook her head,
“I have an idea of how Simon looks.”

She started walking, mulling over possibilities,
“Unfortunately, he is likely to have a carriage. We will not want to stop Simon, but follow him,” a carriage in that area of town would be unusual. None of the reports suggested it, but given the attention Amrita had paid to who she suspected, Seren knew there had to be something unique. Lots of money would imply carriage, too. Girls would be drawn in by that. “You are not to chase after him alone, Vastien.” Though he would obviously be able to keep the pace quite easily, where as she would be left behind. Horses were much faster than her.

Her mind ran through the places where the murders had been committed. Mentally, she began to draw a line between them, noticing a pattern as people saw constellations in the mess that was the stars. Her eyes turned upwards as if she would see it in those stars, mind trying to place what hotel he might choose in case they did not catch the Simon hunting,
“Berner, Osborn, Wilkes, Durward….” It seemed too obvious to her, an arrow. By that logic, it would be near Mitre Square, another area with plenty of street walkers. She shifted her direction towards it, figured the man took from the local crop. Less time for the prostitutes to figure out what was going on.

'That certainly makes one of us.' Vastien didn't know how Simon looked but all that was important was that Seren knew. After all, she held Vastien's leash tightly, all she had to do was let go and unleash her savage servant on Simon. Pursuit was the course of action then. Not exactly what he thought she had in mind, but with a shrug, he agreed. A carriage would make it easier to tail him, especially airborne. Luckily, most people didn't have the urge to look up at the night sky on the off chance to spot a winged demon. London's thick fog aided Vastien as well. It was almost like she read his mind as she shot down his idea of chasing him by flight.

That was unlikely, but the two were more in sync than they knew. Vastien had time and time again failed to mention that technically he could have a passenger when flying. He didn't want to give Seren any more brilliant ideas, if she ever agreed to let him become a winged chariot for her, she'd probably want a saddle and reigns too. It would be troublesome anyway, she'd have hold onto his back and it would be just be a big mess.

"I sure hope we don't arrive too late, if I'm lucky I can collect the whore's soul as well." He clapped his hands excitedly, but Seren seemed to be deep in thought to probably notice him. When she finally spoke, he recognized the names, Vastien had skimmed through several articles detailing the murders. While they were horrific, the public couldn't seem to get enough of it. How.. inhuman of the humans.

"So then, where to? Been itching get my hands dirty for a while."

‘You will be lucky to get a single soul, Vastien.’

Seren might have made the suggestion he would get one, but she didn’t recall promising. Not that it mattered. If she had shown Vastien anything, it was how truly horrible humans were. He should be taking notes. After his behavior, he didn’t deserve it. He had a Ripe the other day as it was, he wasn’t dying of hunger.
“Do you really think I would let you kill an innocent woman? I have some standards.” Innocent might not be the correct word, but the whore had nothing to do with the situation except picking the wrong customer. “We are heading towards Mitre Square. If my suspicions are right,” ‘and they’re rarely wrong’ “That is where Jack shall be collecting the next victim, and the hotel shall be near there.”

As they walked, Seren took out her gun and began to switch the bullets in it, earning some odd stares from those they happened to pass on the street.
‘Not wasting the holy bullets.’ “Did you know Raziel before?” She asked, the holy bullets bringing it to mind. She doubted it, given the demon thought to introduce himself. Unless it was for her sake, there was no point, “Or heard of him?” She added, casually loading the more ‘neutral’ bullets. Jack should be human, but there was always the possibility of surprises. Normal bullets seemed pointless.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #51 on: October 08, 2013, 03:23:57 pm »
Innocent woman? Ha, those whores lost said innocence a long, long time ago. Still, any chance she got to ruin his fun she didn't fail. He rolled her eyes at the 'and they're rarely wrong', her supposed clairvoyance only appeared to be luck, according to Vastien although he wouldn't admit even if she had some sort of sixth sense. While he hated to say it, Mitre Square was very feasible and possibly the next pickup site.

"No, he's a bounty hunter, someone hired him to apprehend me." He noticed her swapping her holy bullets for other bullets in her gun, it only took a few to ward Raziel off but would it be enough next time? He also knew who that someone is, a very dangerous individual, feared by all to pay him a visit. Where Raziel failed, that individual would not, Vastien could only hope that He didn't show up. 'I don't know if I can even beat him.'

"If we kill him, they'll just send another. Until they.." He paused for a moment, he had to believe it himself. Being rogue for so long to finally be caught and dragged back to Hell would really put a damper on Seren's plans. "It doesn't matter anyway, I don't plan on going back." If that wasn't the reassurance she looking for, it was all she was going to get. He preferred not to discuss his past with her, too complicated and it wasn't the time. It was too much of an interesting topic to just let go, but that was a forced explanation for another day.

"Last thing, other than a halt in the murders, won't the Syndicate need some hard evidence Jack and his associates are dealt with? Like their heads for example." At that moment, Vastien stared at his hands, his claws were safely hidden but once drawn, they could tear through weak human flesh and bone. Acquiring heads would be a simple task.

‘Who did you upset?’ Seren wondered, but did not ask. Another time. She thought little of whoever it was for not taking matters into their own hands. Perhaps this demon was weaker than Vastien, no threat. Then again, perhaps they were like those irksome nobles who preferred to send out their minions before showing their own power. ‘If I have to deal with every demon in hell, so be it.’ She had told Vastien that God Himself would not stop her. What were a million demons to God?

To her?

“No worries. I am not letting you go back until the contract is done.”
Seren doubted it was much comfort, but she at least showed herself not to be completely inadequate.

He mentioned the Syndicate and Seren shook her head,
“Who do you think I work for?” Not that the Queen was a wholly true statement. “Let the Syndicate wonder. I report only to the police and Her Majesty.” And she had earned their trust enough that she need not bring petty evidence. Jean-Baptiste might be the favorite, but he still needed evidence more often than not. “If you want to drop a head off at a place the Syndicate will find it, you may.” It made no difference to her. It might serve as a decent reminder that she could clean them off the street if she so wished it.

Mitre Square was rather well lit, which made noticing the carriage already heading off all too easy. The brown-haired, simple Simon stuck his head out the window as if to check that all was well before the carriage turned a corner. Seren made no vocal comment as to whether or not that was the carriage to follow as she walked on, outlining its possible destination.
“Speaking of, how much longer do you think we can continue dealing with Moran?” Seren kept the topic off the Rippers. “She is an irksome beast, and I’m getting tired of such brutes.” Last time she’d tried to press to meet whoever led things, though, it had been made quite clear such would not be possible.

Vastien did consider the decapitation, the last encounter with Moran was unfortunate since he didn't have the chance to boast his strength that well. The decapitations would let them know that Seren and Vastien meant business and weren't going to be pushed around, if it wasn't obvious already. He was well aware of what Seren's 'peers' said about her unusual servant, those rumors contained a tinge of fear. That really warmed Vastien's rock of a heart, even if they didn't fear him for what he truly was, they feared whatever image they had of him. "Heh, you didn't say no." That tone had a malicious nature, malice not foreign to the Vesper heiress.

With all the killings that the Rippers committed, were they getting a tad confident? Choosing such a well-lit area to stalk their prey was risky, then again who would suspect anyone riding in a carriage of foul play? A carriage came into sight and as it was turning, a man's head poked out of the small window, Vastien didn't make a move although he wanted too. Was that him? Seren gave no indication to advance, the waiting game then. Wouldn't want Simon to think he was being followed and it had to be on foot.. for Seren's sake and pace. The topic for discussion was Moran. There was something strange about that woman, Vastien could sense it, she wouldn't be so confident if she didn't have something up her sleeve. He did not care for whatever advantage she had, if he lost control of himself and became a full demon, he could become deaf to Seren's commands and act instinctively.

A little flaw he also forgot too mention. What a surprise indeed if any human coerced Vastien that much that he had to resort to transforming.
"She's not the one pulling the reigns that I'm sure of, but she does lick the hand of the one who does. I'm not sure how a chains of command work for you humans but no subordinate acts the way she does unless the commander allows it. If we always deal with her, I suspect Moran is one of the higher-ups." Right-hand man, perhaps? Woman in this case. Just who was the mysterious Syndicate leader? "After all, I believe we are important enough not to speak with some lackey. Besides, she has her own brutes. No, this Syndicate leader or leaders send Moran for a reason." Seren knew more of the Syndicate than Vastien did but it was similar to how the Warden set up his Cabinet, he had his Enforcers and they had their people, the command trickled all the way down to the bottom. The solution sounded simple, but for it come into fruition was not simple in any way.

"We just have to force the Syndicate into a position where we would HAVE to meet with the boss." We was correct. He didn't trust Moran and leaving Seren to meet with the Syndicate alone was out of the question. Forcing the Syndicate to do anything didn't sound like a fantastic idea from the get-go. Vastien never had the 'pleasure' of meeting The Warden personally, but he had heard stories of his wrath and power, stories that were enough for the young demon.

Seren had known since the beginning Moran was not the leader. The woman had enough sense not to make that claim. “Perhaps she is sent simply to keep the leader safe, though I hardly expect such flattery from them,” Seren said with a chuckle at the thought, a smile on her lips as she mused over why someone who was not an intellectual was sent to her. “Or her loyalty is tested. Those who can think critically might wonder who’s side is better to be on.” That would make sense.

A dismissive wave at the thoughts,
“It matters not why. It is no longer agreeable.” Vastien was right, they would have to force the Syndicate’s hand. She had tried diplomacy in the past to get an audience, but it had not worked out. Seren was smart enough not to press the matter to violence. The Leader and she, though not allies, were not enemies in her book. They were both regulators of the Underworld. “Moran was rather restrained,” Seren noted, let it confirm her own worth. Much as she hesitated to do much harm, so they hesitated. “When we’ve finished with the Ripper, do put a head somewhere. I will think of some way to force a meeting after the masquerade.”

Seren was not surprised by the lack of care the Ripper put into this target. He had sent her a challenge, which showed he was careless and arrogant. It was no surprise that the carriage remained near a hotel—not directly outside it, but near enough to guess.
“Honestly,” Seren shook her head, a smile, “They’re begging us to pay them a visit.” Normally, that meant nothing. No human ever expected a demon.

Walking right in through the front door, Seren approached the nightshift desk watcher,
“Excuse me, I’m looking for a Jack?” She was betting he signed in under his pseudonym, too.

"Will do." He was going over what she said in his mind, placement of the heads was not to be taken lightly. They were trying to send a message and incorrect placement of the head/heads, depending how graphic Vastien wanted the killings to be, would impact the intensity of the message. Vastien had been around humans long enough to witness their abominations, their true natures and every so often Vastien ran into those rare breeds. Seren was amongst those rare ones, she was young yet as calculating and scheming like a hardened criminal.

They continued their stroll when finally the carriage came back into sight, conveniently parked a little bit away from the hotel. How foolish, the Rippers had grown careless. It seemed they didn't think someone would be hunting the hunter and that was their mistake. An unpleasant and fatal one at that. Vastien's grin widened, he could almost taste their souls, even if they weren't Ripe, in the end a soul was a soul. Hunger didn't care for quality, sustenance was all it requested.
"Perhaps, I'll decorate the room with their organs, seems fitting." The twisted duo entered the hotel briskly, Vastien lagging behind her with only a short proximity between them.

Did the fool actually go by Jack? A lot safer than using his real name, but as daft as the police force was, eventually they would connect the dots. Fortunately, the headache of apprehending the Rippers would not be an issue for the Commissioner, while it was too early to celebrate, Vastien couldn't mask the thrill.
'Tonight.. there will be blood.'

The man behind the counter looked her over once, “Jack, huh? Got a couple of those.” He wanted a last name.

“Oh, I’ll know which if I hear the surname,”
she brightened, hopes confirmed.

“I’m not supposed to give out the room numbers.”

“I’m expected,”
she pressed, “He’s probably upset that I’m late already,” she looked away, shamefaced, as a hand lifted to her blond locks. “He’s never chosen this hotel before. He’ll never forgive me if I he hears I couldn’t even remember his surname, but I’m just so bad with these things.” Seren loathed herself, sometimes, as she nervously twirled some of her hair.

It worked as she looked up hopefully once more, eyes threatening to tear up,
“Ah, ok, there’s a Jack Cunningham and a Jack Paeon.”

‘Could you be more obvious?’
Perhaps it was only obvious to her, Greek and Latin studies a requirement. “Paeon!” A healer. A doctor. She was expecting a learned man. “May I please have the number and key?”

He didn’t seem to question the new request for the key, turning to grab his spare as he offered up the room number. The key fell into her hand before he could reconsider, or take into account that the man who stood in the lobby must have been with her.
“Thank you!” All cheer and relief, Seren skipped off to locate the room before the man could think about what he was doing.

She slowed her pace a little closer to the door, held up her hand for Vastien’s attention.
“We’ll give our hosts a moment to speak,” Seren said, then extended the key to him. “You go first, of course.” Always, in case of violence, but Seren expected the Ripper would not be immediately hostile. If he was smart, he’d have reason to taunt Seren besides arrogance.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #52 on: October 08, 2013, 03:24:39 pm »
If the nightman continued to give them struggle, Vastien would have stepped in and let his persuasive gaze do the talking. The wall of defense the nightman put up had been shattered by a few batting eyelashes and hair twirling. He rolled his eyes when it worked, Seren knew how to take advantage of her strengths fairly well. Was this man a moron? Vastien was standing in plain sight, his attention was more focused on the little show Seren was giving him. Once they were given the choice of both Jacks residing in the establishment, Seren did not hesitate in choosing one, it would look suspicious of course. Honestly, were Vastien presented with the same question, he'd take a wild guess since he had no idea how individualize either man.

The tail of his black trenchcoat trailed behind him like a flowing cape as he walked past the counter, he hea rd the nightman try to get their attention but Vastien simply shook his head. If he didn't want any trouble, he would just let it be and that was exactly what happened. After rejoining with Seren, they stood before the supposed room sheltering their evasive prey, anyone worth catching always got caught eventually. With a nod, he took the key from her hand and agreed with the idea of letting him enter first. In went the key with a turn to the right, the lock gave way and Vastien kicked the door open, the force from the kick sent the door to crash against the nearest wall.

On the nearest table was one glass and a nearly empty bottle of some strong alcohol, so they got the prostitute piss drunk first. Last thing they needed was a sober, resisting woman screaming for help while getting mutilated. The bed would never be used again after that following night for the bed served as an operating table. The whore was sprawled on the bed, on the floor towards a side of the bed was a glass which spilled hard liquor on the floor. The sheets were a bright red, getting darker and bloodier towards the center. Jack was far and deep in his latest victim with his knives, cutting into her abdomen.

Vastien arched an eyebrow at the scene, he was wearing a blood-spattered white apron over himself. A small, icemaker sat in the corner, out of the bathroom emerged another man who had just cleaned some organs, a liver in his gloved hands.
"Looks like I'm a little late, no more playing doctor, lads." Claws emerging from his fingertips, excellent for ripping through flesh and breaking brittle human bones. With his hand, he gestured for Seren to come in, Vastien would disarm Jack and possibly snap his arm if he even tried using the knife. The stench of the exposed organs and decomposing body permeated the air and rushed into his nose. How they were going to manage to clean this up was beyond him, but now that he was here, it'd become an even bigger mess.

With the key out of her hand, Seren dug in her purse for the gun, only to hear Vastien burst through. Seren gave Vastien a look that suggested she was not at all impressed with his entrance. If she wanted the door removed from its hinges, she would not have wasted time with the key. Now the nightman was going to come rushing down this way to see what was going on. Now she would have no time to quiz the Ripper.

‘Another source lost.’

Seren walked in, eyes alighting on Levi and trying to ignore the scene. The dead eyes always bothered her, but more than that, the mere sight of the doctor in such a similar pose nearly had her trembling. The feel of the gun was enough of a comfort as she took in the scent of the room.
‘At least it isn’t so clinical.’

“Good evening, Doctor.”
He didn’t look surprised. ‘Expected.’ Wanted, even, from the looks of it. He straightened up over the corpse, glanced past Seren and into the hall, seeming to worry about everything being laid bare. “You sent for me.” Seren walked further in, past Vastien with his claws extended. “You have five seconds to explain.”


He wasted the first second in surprise. The second he began talking.
“Seren, you know I helped you those years ago when you were brought in. I know what you are. I want to be your contact, I have information you could use.”

It seemed the Ripper didn’t know much about her. She smiled sweetly as she heard the steps of the nightman, heard him cry out.
“Pity. I would have liked that information.”

The gunshot silenced the Ripper forever, the bullet going through his chest, his heart. Seren hardly felt the drops of blood as they struck her, warm against her cooling flesh, ruining another dress. As Simon screamed from the bathroom, ice cascading to the floor, he was also shot, this time through the head.

Seren knew exactly what she’d done as she watched the Ripper fall to the floor. She’d denied Vastien his souls.
“Let this be a lesson to you, Vastien,” Seren growled. She was trembling with both rage and fear, the room starting to get to her. “I am a creature of subtlety, and you will starve if you continue to hinder me, or harm my employees.” Her back remained to Vastien as she glared into the bathroom where Simon laid. Her voice moved to a higher pitch against her will. “Levi may very well have held the information to ending this contract that binds us,” her smile was bitter as she considered the possibility seriously. “But you had to make a ruckus.”

The nightman was gaping at the scene, apparently in disbelief, particularly at Seren who stood in the midst of it, the Ripper’s blood staining her.

Vastien backed away as Seren was poised to handle the two murderers, once he heard the nightman's call out, he regretted nearly kicking the door off. It wasn't in a demon's nature to be subtle or careful, no matter how well groomed he was becoming, the urge to destroy would follow him forever. Five seconds seemed rather short, not like they had much time anyway before the nightman interrupted their charade. Vastien positioned himself behind the door and waited for him to come. The first gunshot startled Vastien, when he turned to look at the Ripper he was already on his back, clutching the wound in his chest. Fatal, he told himself and nodded.

Simon's scream was cut short as Seren's killing bullet lodged itself in the man's skull, what a damn mess. That one was instant, if the Ripper hadn't died yet, he wasn't too far from knocking on death's door and death always answered. The sudden change in her mood was as clear as day, he could hear the trepidation in her voice. He had this warning before and had paid it no mind, just like this one she was giving him until she presented her reasoning.
'I lack subtlety but you're shooting up the place.' He rolled his eyes, once her voice grew higher, it took a lot of resistance to stifle a chuckle, it was a rare occurrence after all.

Vastien had not thought his entrance through and the fact that Levi could've been the key to finishing the contract finally got through his head.
'Damn it.' He had a feeling it couldn't have been that easy though and the Rippers' executions were on purpose, she didn't want him to feast. There was still time to devour their souls but this was supposed to be a punishment and he didn't want to push her any further. The mutilated carcass before them had to of been plucking the strings of her sanity.

"What the hell is going on in--" The sentence was cut off and followed by gagging and sounds of struggle, it only took a few moments before Vastien's strength overpowered the nightman. He expertly snapped the nightman's neck to the right and let the body fall face first. "Right, well, I'll get to work then. You uh.. may not want to watch this." He walked over to Levi, whistling an eerie tune to himself and lifted Levi up with one hand, the clawed hand clasped the dead man's neck and Vastien pushed Levi against a wall. He pressed his hand against Levi's chest to keep him still, while his clawed hand freed vast amounts of warm blood out of his throat.

The first slash cut deep but it wasn't enough to completely sever the head, another swipe allowed Vastien to slice through arteries, veins and the trachea. Warm blood caked Vastien's face and his torso, that darned jugular was the main culprit. All it took was one more slash to cut through the remaining tissue and bits of spinal cord, Levi's head met the floor with a squishy thud. It just so happened to be looking up at Seren, Levi's eyes held shock before dying. Vastien moved away from the corpse and it too fell on the floor, none of the gruesome gore bothered the demon, he had seen far worse and personally enjoyed exploiting the human body. Picking up the head by his hair, Vastien dropped it in the icemaker to chill out for a bit.

"Hmm, Simon's clothes should fit me. I'm a bloody mess." Vastien turned to look at Seren with a grin, wondering if she'd find it funny if not disturbing. His hand was covered in bloody and torn flesh clung his sharp claws. Shutting the bathroom door behind him, Vastien removed Simon's clothes and set them aside for now, he wouldn't be needing them anymore. He left the dead man some decency by leaving him his trousers. After a few minutes, Vastien emerged from the bathroom in Simon's clothing and with Simon's head in one hand. He then proceeded to confiscate the pillow casings and dropped a bloody head in each casing. It didn't take long for the blood to leak through the white satin and start dripping.

Seren did wonder if Vastien would pick up the irony of what she was telling him. She had just shot two men, far from subtle. ‘Unnecessary.’ The thought itself sent a shiver down her spine, not her voice, and she tried to refrain from anger as she heard Vastien snap the neck of the nightman. Yet another thing she would have an issue with. The Commissioner would believe he had gotten in the way, of course, but Seren could have explained this to the nightman, spared his life. It seemed she was going to have to become specific about his killing, even if that would put her at risk. A reconfiguration of the contract was in order, or at least, Vastien’s understanding of it.

Seren found it funny that Vastien always told her not to watch, when most of the time she did. Gore never phased her, it was the meticulous precision used to dismember the prostitute that bothered her. She tried to keep her eyes off as she observed, more to ensure a soul wasn’t taken…just in case she was wrong. No soul came, but Levi’s head fell to her feet. His gaze did not bother her. Shock of death was fine, normal. It was the acceptance that lingered still in the prostitute’s gaze. Subtleties.

Still, Seren stepped back as Vastien picked up the head, tossed it on the ice. She glared at him for his comment about the clothing, seeing no humor right then. He shut the door to change, and Seren rolled her eyes, turned away and walked to the door.
‘This is getting me no where.’ She knew that Vastien understood very little about human ways, but he had seemed to have a grasp of subtle persuasions. Demons were supposed to be clever, and he did exhibit it from time to time. Seren shut her eyes, shook her head. ‘New rules.’ She had to be overt, perhaps. Subtleties wouldn’t work, Vastien was no mind reader, no matter how he claimed to know the human ways and mind.

If he was trying to piss her off, it was working. She heard Vastien exit the bathroom and turned back around to see him stuff heads into pillowcases.
“Vastien, from this point on, you are not to harm anyone without my express direction. The only exception is if I am incapable of giving that direction.” Otherwise, Jean-Baptiste would become a worse nuisance. “I am sick of things like this,” she pointed to the nightman, “happening. I thought suggesting that if the whore were alive, she was not to be killed,” Seren did not look to the whore, nor motion to her, “would make it obvious no one but the Rippers were to be harmed. It seems I overestimate you.” The nightman knew what room they had gone to. If he wanted to put two and two together after she and Vastien left, he could have. “Am I clear now?” Seren had a feeling she would come to regret this order at some point. Vastien’s ability to protect usually depended on his ability to harm.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #53 on: October 08, 2013, 03:25:44 pm »
Seren stood at the doorway, and here he thought she wouldn't mind relishing in her victory, but she looked like she couldn't wait to just leave. She had just shot the Rippers so maybe sticking around wasn't the greatest of ideas and then came the order. At that moment, dropping the pillowcases stuffed with the heads would've been appropriate since he was so stunned at her demand. The look of shock on his face was not hidden in any way, now even his methods were in question.

The nightman could have been dealt with differently, but why keep a loose end? He clearly knew who they were and all he had to do was tell the police that a man and woman came in and massacred his tenants. What was so wrong with some improvisation? He saw an opportunity to silence a liability for good and he took it, there was a clear misunderstanding between them. He saw no point in disputing her sudden request, a strange sensation in his chest wouldn't go away and it began to pester him greatly. Not being able to act on his own discretion not only hurt his pride but the interest he finally had acquired for her quest in revenge.

Part of him genuinely wanted to aid her, this wasn't a good call on Seren's part but just like he was expected to learn on how to act and behave as her personal servant/bodyguard, she would regret it. He sort of wanted her to learn the hard way but that could result in her getting killed, he wouldn't let it come to that. The surprised expression faded and he approached her, the heavy sacks of heads submerged in their pools of blood. He rarely looked down at her to get a point across but this time was an exception.
"Fine." The reply filled with an anger, but it was restrained and delivered calmly. He walked past her, the pillowcases swinging at his sides as he walked.

Seren’s breath came in slow and steady as Vastien approached and dared to look down on her. Their dynamic was made clear in the one word he spoke. Despite his submission to her request, Seren knew this would not go over well, but it would not be forgotten. She did not drop her gaze as most humans would.

For a moment, she did feel small. Vastien might be a liability, but the only thing that kept him from ripping her throat out then and there was the contract. Were that not in place, the situation would have ended very differently. She was as much a pawn to it as he was. Ending it was not advantageous, no matter how difficult Vastien was to deal with.

Any other day, she might have been pleased with herself for shocking Vastien, but she was beyond being amused at anything right then. She just wanted to sleep, and forget the irritations.
‘I won’t hold this against you.’ Funny how frustration could make her not wish to dwell. He wasn’t going to forget this soon, after all. No need to add insult to injury this time.

She turned to follow Vastien out, only to hear someone cluck. Seren paused, back to whoever had gotten behind her.
“Thought the demon would be responsible when I read he was here,” the prepubescent voice muttered. She heard the sound of fluttering and turned around slowly to see a tanned and well-muscled youth, with golden sandals, hovering above the scene, jotting something down in a journal.

“Who are you?”

The figure looked up, blinked.
“You can see me?”

“More than that.”
Her gun wasn’t put away. She pointed it at the odd, fluttering thing, deciding it was best to treat the supernatural with mistrust. “Who are you?”

“Testy, testy,”
it sighed, adjusted the glasses it was wearing. “You’ll meet me in—” pages flipped, and then it frowned, “Oh, I see. Never mind. I guess you won’t. Hm, that explains how you see me….” It seemed wholly unconcerned that a gun was pointed at it.

He was going to turn around to say something that would hopefully defuse the bomb of tension between them until he heard THAT voice. He knew that voice all too well, whenever Vastien heard it speak, his blood boiled in his veins. While Seren had her gun aimed at the little fairy, Vastien tossed one of the pillowcases at the blasted Reaper. Mercury barely evaded the pillowcase, but the warm blood blood splattered all over him when Simon's head crashed into the nearest wall.

"Ugh! Vassy, how could you!" Mercury exclaimed in genuine surprise, it was hard to believe that he didn't know Vastien despised him. In what sounded like a ferocious snarl, Vastien caught the Reaper before he could escape and shoved him against the bloody wall, his claws tearing the blood-stained, white fabric that he wore over his torso.

"I thought I told you not to call me that, pixie-boy. Just what the hell do you think you're doing here?" Vastien knew exactly what Mercury was up too, just like all Reapers, they guided human souls to the afterlife and once that happened, Vastien would miss out on the opportunity to feast. Reapers weren't usually worth the trouble of killing, besides they were just so damn hard to keep up with.

"Oh Vassy-poo, I hate doing this to you but I believe the pretty girl asked me my name. Unhand me, won't you?" Mercury didn't seem intimidated, facing demons was part of the job after all.
"Not this time." Vastien raised a clawed hand to tear through the Reaper, Mercury's eyebrows raised in disbelief, was he serious? Before Vastien brought down the clawed hand that would disfigure the Reaper's face, he stopped. Seren's order etched itself into his mind and he turned to look at her, hoping she would grant him permission. Now that Vastien was distracted, Mercury smacked Vastien with his journal after closing it, breaking the demon's grasp.

It didn't look like a strong hit, but Reapers were powerful despite their dainty appearances. Vastien struggled to keep his balance and he wished he could kill that damn fairy.
"My name is Mercury, unlike your demonic friend over there, I guide souls to their rightful place and away from demons' bellies. Now as to why you can see me..," Mercury began laughing out loud and clapping his hands together happily, the Reaper knew that they formed a contract. It explained why Vastien wasn't greedily feasting on the blonde beauty. "Oh, Vastien. You didn't! Bless you, child, if you can stand this one for long." Mercury fluttered towards the bodies and adjusted his glasses, the souls were ripe for the taking.

A smorgasbord for any demon, did she hold his leash that tight? First, Mercury hovered over the nightman and began reciting the same incantation he always spoke. A light, green glow surrounded his hand and Mercury waited. A small orb emerged from the nightman's body, it floated lazily towards the green light, Mercury was successful in drawing the soul to him. With his free hand, he popped open what looked like a small jar and led the orb into the jar, sealing it shut right after. Vastien retrieved Simon's pillowcase, luckily the head hadn't rolled out yet. As Mercury continued to retrieve and trap the souls in his special jar. Vastien could only watch as Mercury wasted the souls, feeling his mouth beginning to salivate as he freed those delicious souls.

What kind of entity could live after calling Vastien, Vassy? Seren was befuddled enough not to kill it for not answering her, and even more confused as the scene unfolded before her. Vastien’s reaction was anticipated, typical. Seren watched Vastien raise his hand to harm the…pixie, but he stopped himself as Seren was on the verge of yelling at him.

His look was the question.
‘No.’ Seren was not going to allow it.

The distraction allowed the pixie thing to escape from Vastien, smacking him with the book. Seren raised a single eyebrow, amused with its fearlessness when confronted by a demon. It was rather unique. The light, flighty thing was at least improving her mood.
‘Mercury, hm?’ If Seren had time or care to pester Vastien, she’d likely start quizzing him on the role of all the so-called gods and demons that were known to humans. Its laughter was not that comforting. “Bless you?” She repeated, disbelief that someone who knew her status would use such words.

It didn’t last as she observed the more peaceful manner that the Reaper removed souls from the bodies. The incantation was soothing, the words in a foreign language she did not think she’d ever heard before. The glowing light seemed warm, certainly full of life, of a sort. The soul was placed into a jar, and Seren had the distinct impression of fireflies.

‘Dad! Look, look at how many I have!’[/COLOR][/I]

Seren shook her head, forcing the memory back, unnerved by its sudden presence. For as much as her present actions were driven by a future that would never be, she did not dwell much on those happy days of the past. Seren walked back into the room as the fluttering thing covered the whore’s body, humming as her soul was added to the jar.
“Excuse me,” Seren addressed him in a more respectful tone.

“Hm? What is it?”
He asked, curious smile in place.

“How do you know Vastien?”

“Oh, Vassy and I go centuries back,”
Mercury laughed, “He gave me quite the issue some years ago, though we're past that now. Why, if he hadn’t stopped that horribly erratic behavior, I’m afraid Gabby or Sephy may have had to step in. Vassy's quite the bad demon.” He ‘tsk’ed at the thought, which baffled Seren. Certainly, there weren't good demons, “Demons like to annoy us Reapers, you know. They take souls meant for another fate, and then we have so much additional paperwork to do to explain why the soul did not go to its designated place. Demons are so cruel, they exist just to make our lives harder.” The supernatural was pouting. Seren wasn't sure why that seemed surprising, but it was.

“So, why don’t you exterminate them?”
Seren frowned. She didn’t want demons exterminated, but she couldn’t understand why a pest such as them would not be exterminated.

Mercury sighed,
“You know, I’ve asked that myself, but Gabby says no. Some nonsense about balance, but honestly, I think he’s just a sadist who wants us to do more paperwork.” Mercury lifted the bottom of his pen to his glasses, pushed his glasses up with them. “You know, most humans don’t waste time asking about our relation to demons.”

“Do you meet many humans contracted with a demon?”

Mercury laughed again, a sound that was becoming pleasant, though Seren couldn’t quite smile at it, nor join him in his amusement.
“Touche, little one.”

If he stood, she would probably be taller than him.

“Even so, it is refreshing to have someone not ask about the Afterlife,”
he admitted, jar at his side as he began to jot a few notes about what had transpired, the necessary paperwork.

“Do you—”
Seren started, but bit her bottom lip when the queer gold eyes lifted from the page. Seren shook her head, “Never mind.” It was of no concern to her what became of her parents. She could do nothing about that.

Mercury’s smile was comforting,
“Ah, child, what possessed you to deal with Vassers?” Mercury waited, but Seren did not answer. The look she gave him suggested it should be obvious. To one with a record of deaths, it ought to be. That beatific smile remained as he shut the book, “Perhaps next time.” A human with a demon contracted was interesting enough. He turned in the air to Vastien, flew closer to the demon, “’Fraid you’ll be dealing with me for a bit in the area, Vassy. Try not to get out of hand again, k? That was no fun.”

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #54 on: October 08, 2013, 03:26:30 pm »

Escaping into the mortal realm was simple after the first time around, you just had to be careful in not getting caught, a serious crime without permission. It was one of the reasons Vastien was incarcerated in Devil's Island and now he had plenty of charges pending against him. Demonic possessions and all that business were rogue demons who managed to escape from Hell for a little fun, Vastien never bothered overtaking a human's body for control although it was very possible. He preferred executing and devouring their souls instead. As Seren and Mercury discussed, Vastien thought back to the Red Death era. Ah, now that was an experience Vastien didn't mind bragging about after he was captured by two bounty hunters and delivered to Devil's Island, only one bounty hunter made it back with Vastien.

The two had underestimated him and Vastien used that to kill one of the bounty hunters and the overindulgence of souls enhanced Vastien's strength, fighting two demons back to back was tough however. Poor little Mercury was assigned to see why so human souls didn't make it to the afterlife, Vastien had been on a feeding frenzy and the Reapers couldn't allow that to continue. Mercury mentioned Gabby, the way he talked about him made him sound quite important. Could it be who he thought it was? No.. couldn't be. If it was, Vastien looked forward to squaring off with that individual, it's been a while since Vastien was REALLY pushed to his limit. The leathery, flesh suit he wore bothered him, he was itching to let out the actual demon inside and really cause havoc again. The soul-stealing fairy flew over to him, a careless mistake that one day would cause him to suffer. Vastien roared at the Reaper, intense flames gathered in his mouth and threatened to roast the pixie-boy.

Mercury gasped and flew back, frowning when he realized Vastien was only teasing. That evil smirk on the demon's face scared him.
"Tsk tsk, you always play so rough, Vassy. No hug then?" Mercury laughed at his own joke, one day though.. one day he would get that hug.

"Just don't get in my way, boy. My patience for you is thinner than those twigs you call legs." It was true, Vastien's notorious short temper was at it's breaking point again. Mercury went red in the face from the insult mostly because Seren was right there. Having wings didn't require him to have musculature in his legs, something he would work on to shut Vastien up next time.
"That's not funny, Vassy. I.. I'm going now!" This particular Reaper was sensitive and Vastien's bullying hurt more than he let on. Mercury smiled at Seren and waved longer than he needed too, she was one of the prettier humans he had seen. "It was nice speaking with you, little one. I hope to see you and the brute soon!" Not as insulting as Vastien's comment, but Mercury had the last word which was good enough for him.

Seren shook her head at the insanity of the Reaper, asking for a hug of all things. Vastien wasn’t exactly a cuddly demon. Vastien’s insult seemed to strike a nerve, just from the way the Reaper went red.
‘One day, Vastien.’ He might learn the fine arts of ‘diplomacy’ one day. On that day, Mercury would probably get his hug, and Seren would have another amusing memory before the end.

Shame she wouldn’t see the pixie boy on that day.

She waved, managed a slight smile at the sight of the Reaper’s bright one.
“Take care of yourself until then,” Seren would entertain another visit from the Reaper. He seemed nice, a rarity in these days. She could suck up being called ‘little one’ until then.

The Reaper vanished as it had appeared, suddenly and with no hint. Seren glanced to Vastien.
“It is good to see you have friends. I was beginning to worry.” Seren turned away, walked out of the room while calling back, “I expect you to tend to the duties with the heads. I will wait for you at the police station, Vassy.” She needed to report in, after all. Then she could finally get back to the hotel and sleep.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #55 on: October 08, 2013, 03:26:51 pm »
“…And by defining the mass and velocity  variables of an object you will find the corresponding influence of the gravity well on the objects that move near it.” Moriarty drew out a final equation on the chalk board and drew  thick white line under it.  “And with that, Class is Dismissed.” He turned around to look at the dazzled and confused faces of the young men and women of his large studio class room.

He smiled congenially to them, but with in him he wither and roared with impotent disgust that of the three hundred faces before him not one seemed to comprehend what he considered to be childish facts and figures. They all rose, slow and dejected and began to shuffle out of the class room, a single depressed and confused mass. Moriarty walked to his simple desk which was scattered with papers and a small Orrery model of the solar system in it’s center.  He slumped heavily with a frustrated sigh into his wooden seat.

“Imbeciles.” He half whispered, half hissed as the last adolescent left his class. He ran his hands over his face and back down his dreadlocks and pulled his pocket watch form his suit. It was barely a quarter passed noon. Moriarty snapped the watch shut in agitation, he was so eager to get back to the Broken Spade to continue his REAL work.

"The relativity of time…" He mumbled to himself and reached into his breast pocket to feel the outline of that dreaded and ominous letter.

"What was that?" Moriarty jumped and spun around to see a the silhouette of a plain dressed woman in his doorway. As she moved into the light he saw it was miss Porter, the Civil histories professor at the university. She was passed middle aged, but had a handsome and intelligent face and a modest and meager form of dress that showed her thrifty nature. In her hand she held a enclosed envelope with the name 'Moriarty'. At the site of it Moriarty felt a chill run through him.

"Are you alright James?" The  concern in the woman's was plainly evident. "What is this of 'time', are you working on some new theory?"

"Oh yes." Moriarty snapped out of fear but a bright and kind smile across his face. "A crude outline, I was thinking about that old saying, the difference between a minute on a hot stove and a minute with a beautiful woman. but I am afraid modern science will never accept it…ah…what is that you have there Anna?" He pointed to the letter.

"It's from one of the board members, Lord Viscount." She smiled and danced the letter between her fingers in front of him.

"Oh? What does that dear benefactor want from me?" Moriarty kept the plain smile but he felt a another tinge of disgust at the thought of the Viscount. While the man technically wrote Moriarty's paychecks here, the utter arrogance of the man enraged Moriarty.

"He is having a Masquerade Party tomorrow night." Anna smiled with elation, the eagerness was evident in her eyes. "It's a invitation…" she held it out to him. "I thought I would bring it down to you from the office."

Moriarty knew that this was the opportunity Anna had been waiting for.  Miss Porter had been widowed shortly after Moriarty's arrival at the university several years ago and the two had casual academic friendship. But Moriarty had recently detected her interests were gradually sliding towards a desired domestic and romantic situation rather then platonic one they shared. Moriarty had no real interest in her and kept up the friendship to maintain and enlarge upon his charade of the sweet and old professor. The impression of the kindly professor taking up a marriage with a similarly elder woman of similar interest would solidify the impression but he was well aware that anyone that close to him would quickly notice and question his frequent absences at home. Yet to reject her would cause rumors on why such a elderly man would pass up so kindly a lady. It was a delicate matter.
"Is it mandatory?" Moriarty raised an eyebrow to her.

"Um…" Her suddenly fidgeting hands betrayed her nervousness. "No. but I would like it if you would come as my partner…social partner…nothing lude mind you."

"Of course." Moriarty smiled in that sweet innocent way that hid his nature so well. He gently reached out took the letter. "Who will be in attendance? Most of the staff I presume?"

"Yes, a good deal of the Viscounts friends too I assume, and that enigmatic Miss Vesper he's been courting." Anna smiled lightly, pleased as the professors seemed warming up to her proposal.

Vesper. Moriarty felt a suspicious tone twang in his mind, there had been too much strange coincidences of late. He glanced over to the model of the solar system, and tapped at it's orbs. They spun in seeming random orbit before settling into a set and consistent pattern. There was order there in the guise of chaos…like his life was starting to seem. He had to study the motions around him, find their orbits, their motives. Perhaps it was time for a confrontation. In addition If it was the Viscount's party Liz it would be likely be there and in her playful games there was a opportunity to create distance between him and the miss Porter.

"What will you be going as?" Moriarty sat back, showing resigned acceptance to Miss porters proposal.

"An Egyptian pharoses, Queen Hatshepsut  " She gave a dramatic bow.

"Not Cleopatra?" Moriarty raised a curious eye.

"No, My interests in the fields of Egyptology have taken a much more deep rooted vein, beside that role of Cleopatra is so clichéd." She smiled.

"Then I will go as your Ramses." Moriarty returned her smile kindly.

"Ahh," Miss porter waved a finger at him with a amuse smiled "I have found a intellectual weakness dear professor, they are a dynasty apart."

"ah yes, well you can forgive my error, and so will the rest. Besides to them one pharaoh looks the same as another." Moriarty shrugged with a easy smile. "I will pick you up at your place tomorrow then for the meet."

"Excellent."  Miss porter laughed with a mimic gesture of the hand Moriarty often used. "Hatshepsut shall be waiting."

Miss porter walked out with a easy and confident air as Moriarty turned his thoughts back to the party and the spinning solar system before him. As he looked at it, he felt as if he was merely a planet in orbit around some unknown unseen  powerful sun, captured in it's gravity well slowly falling into it's inescapable grasp to his death. This party was more than just a freak of fate, his mind couldn't calculate it but all his other senses told him forces moved all around him in ways he didn't understand or comprehend. I will make sure Moran is there, and a few of our other agents with preparations should I fall into some unseen trap. He stood up as the next class began, young men and women began to file back into the class room.

"Good afternoon. Today's lesson will be on gravity, It's influences on mater and time…" he picked the chalk from his desk and moved to the black board. "This is the first principle of gravity…"

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #56 on: October 08, 2013, 03:27:12 pm »
“What is a Shango?”Moran turned the curious note of Moriarty's in her hand, carefully examining it’s features and script. Moran was glad of this sudden distraction, since she had arrived she been working up the nerve to bring up the loss of Pollock to moriarty, new s that would put him in a very foul mood for the rest of the night. She had been thankful that as soon as she arrived Moriarty had brought up this strange of the Letter giving her more time to workout how to present the incendiary topic of Pollock to him.

“Shango is a person, not thing. He was once a great, arrogant, and powerful warrior king. The line is from a proverbial fable about how he had to succumb to the will of forces beyond his mortal power.” Moriarty was away from his desk in the make shift workshop/ Library at the back of the large office, going over his records. A glance over those records showed that they were very old, taken from the shelf to which the Syndicates earliest records were placed. Moran had found Moriarty shuffling though these old records when she arrived and by the amount that were scattered about the office she could see that he had arrive much earlier then he usually did and the manner in which he worked conveyed a irritable sense of urgency.  “The fable goes that one of the great gods of order, Obatala, In mortal disguise was going to see Shango. On the journey Obatala was accosted by the god of chaos, Eshu, who stained the holy white robes that obatala wore. Shangos soldiers, Investigating a nearby crime stopped Obtala and asked him who he was. Obatala answered honesty but the guards, disbelieving him because of his stained robes they accused him of lying as well as impersonating a god and locked him up in Shango’s dungeons.  With the god imprisoned Shango’s lands began to die, the rain refused to fall, the crops and cattle died,  and the people grew sick.  For all Shango’s power and might he could not cure the land and he scoured the landscape, seeking out all the wise men and witches to discover the reasons for the curse that fell upon him and his kingdom. Obatala stayed imprisoned, his guards deaf to his request to see Shango because they believe him poor and crazy and unworthy of Shango’s presence.” Moriarty tossed another stack of files aside and drew another collection to him, carefully turning them and inspecting them. “Finally Shango came across a Witchdoctor that told him that his own Arrogance was the cause of the curse and that until he was humiliated he would not be freed.  Finally after many attempts a guard told Shango of the crazy present in his dungeons that demanded a audience.  Taking the word of the witchdoctor Shango endured the shame of visiting his own dungeon and discovered to his horror that Obatala was within it. He unchained and freed Obatala and bowed his submission to the god who he had caused to be imprisoned and refused to see because of his arrogance.”

“The letter is obviously a threat or a warning…” Moran’s ready mind could see the parallels between the fable and Moriarty’s own situation. “It obviously points that you might not see the cause of your problems because you are blinded by arrogance.” The rustling of papers stopped instantly and Moriarty grew deathly silent. Moran tensed, had she crossed some offensive line? Moriarty rose out of the stocks of files and records and drifted with absolute direction to the bar. Von Herder was gone, dealing with the Issues of his asylum so Moriarty had to pour out his own brandy.

“I am aware of the metaphoric message Moran.” He spoke sullenly after a hearty sip of his drink. “That is not what concerns me. Who ever wrote this knows far more about me then anyone I have ever confided in. That story has a message to my past as well as my present. Only someone who might have known my activities on the Dark Continent would know of that story’s impact upon me. It was addressed as if to the Professor Moriarty of the university, at the counter, but it’s message was to the Professor Moriarty of the Syndicate. Its someone who knows my tactics and weakness. Your observations I appreciate Moran, I do grow blinded by the extent of my own abilities.” Moriarty came to take his seat at the desk. “Now I want to find out who else is that observant.”

“By…eliminating those who don’t know your true role I would say there are few.” Moran tried to make light of the situation. “this is a clue rather then a crutch.”

“Only a few we can see.” Moriarty sipped his drink. “Only those I can see. Name them.”

“Me, Von Herder, Brute, the Board, a few networkers…” she counted off on her hand. “Not much else.”

“Hummmm…What can you tell be about the letter?” Moriarty asked, and he asked it in a way that implied he wanted Moran’s unique observational powers to study it. Moran flipped the letter in her hands, put her nose to it and sniffed in hard.

“Blood, but aside from that I don’t recognize the smell, In fact…its as if…it doesn’t have a smell at all.” She stared at it in a curious unfamiliar gaze.

“Blood?”  Moriarty raised and eyebrow.

“Yes, it’s what the words are written in.” Moran Shrugged. “What can you read in it?”

“it's common English writing paper, well educated and smooth handed writer, bold and confident, used two fresh Ink pens, One for the outer envelope and one for the inner letter.” Moriarty sighed heavily and leaned back into his chair. “So…essentially half of the population of this Island and even more so in this City, Aside from the letter I can only outline that the individual knows me in a intimate and personal level I have never disclosed with anyone before, He or she has a acute knowledge of African folk lore as well as a understanding of the Syndicate and the problems we are facing.”

“The Board is the most obvious collection of your enemies.” Moran was blunt but she spoke the truth. “Many among it are envious and ambitious.”

“Not likely. “ Moriarty grunted “None are my intimates, and none know of my past, and all have strong incentives to stay on my side.” The Board was the most common place of treachery in the syndicate, and Moriarty had long ago started weaving a complex web of black mail, bribes, rivalry, treachery and threat of death to keep the powerful members in line. His general strategy was to keep the board bickering among each other about petty jealousies and ambitions while he made all the real decisions

“Still we know this…” Moran searched for the right word. “Corruption…we are having within the ranks seems to understand our own tactics…so many be this threat is from them, only a Capo or higher could organize something like this.” Moriarty smiled, he liked it when Moran’s mind worked in this predatory manner, it made her keen for the hunt and sharpened her mind and much as her deadly skills.

“Fine” Moriarty resigned and sipped his drink. “Investigate, but be very careful, the last thing we need is for the board to get uneasy and fear some kind of purge. Then we will have all kinds of problems.” The last thing he needed was the board to all feel threatened and unite against him. he held the deadliest and most financially viable departments under his belt but the board made up most of the infrastructure that was necessary to run such a large empire.

“Of Course Sir.” Moran ran the envelope nervously in her hands, Moriarty noticed the uneasy gesture and his eyes flared with suspicion. This kind of fiddling was a tell that Moran had very bad news.

“What it is?” He snapped and sat up. “Did you find out something about Gagnon’s Operations?”

“No…” Moran worked up her courage and finally faced the dreaded moment. “It’s about Pollock.”

As Moran Explained the circumstances of Pollock’s disappearance Moriarty’s black face slowly shifted into a dark gray ashen color. Before Moran to finish Moriarty threw his Brandy across the room and flipped his desk over in convulsion of absolute fury. Old and stringy as he was, Rage gave the elder man tremendous strength and in a infuriated temperament he screamed at Moran for loss of so precious a captive. He roared her out of the room and she quickly left. She had seen these fits before on other incompetent agents who had failed him gravely but this was the first time she had been a victim. She left the room but didn't leave the underground hallway. She knew Moriarty needed time to seize and control his impotent rage.

It was nearly a hour before Moriarty came to her and they returned to the office. Moran noticed that Moriarty had righted his desk and brushed up the smash brandy glass into a neat pile in the corner of the room. He had repressed his rage and nearly erased all evidence of the incident. But his manner clearly showed that the thought was still storming with in his mind.

“This is proof of a active and infiltrating agency.” Moriarty spoke in cold and calculating terms, his rage compressed and chilled into a icy motivation for action. “There have been too many obvious attacks covered in the doubting guise of uncertainty. Miller, Pollock,  Lord Holderness, This letter and now Pollock’s escape.  They are all around us and attack and taunt us with far too much ease. Time for a new strategy.”

“New Strategy?”

“Whoever wrote that letter knows both my identities. We assume that they know me first as the crime lord and second as the teacher, but I could be just as easily reversed. They know me well, thus I have to take action in a way that will be contradictory to how I would normally operate.” Moriarty walked to his coat and pulled out the Viscounts Invitation. “I was invited to a Masqurade party tomorrow night, Many in my social circle will be there, The Vesper Guild, Lady Seren, will be there, and there is a good chance that whoever sent that letter might be there.”

“I will prepare agents to infiltrate the party.” Moran smiled, the thought of action pleased her.

“yes, that is our normal protocol, but we must go beyond that regularity…” Moriarty turned to Moran. “You, and your men will go as well.” Moran froze, shocked at the statement.

“Sir that could be dangerous, you could expose yourself there, the right people would draw the right clues from both our presences there.”

“I am already Exposed!”  Moriarty shook a black knuckled fist at her in rage. “Keep your distance, you will distract and dissect the audience, look for any irregularities and suspicious characters. Search for the unfamiliar scents that took Pollock and left that letter.  Your presence  should shake things up, and maybe the sudden change will ferret out our enemy.”

“Seren will surely create problems if we…” Moran started to protest.

“Leave Seren to me…Just keep that manservant of hers busy.” Moriarty scoffed with annoyance.

“She is dangerous Sir.” Moran protested. “I know you don’t think her a threat but…”

“I have never seen her as friend. I must reevaluate my suspicions anyway, and maybe she is more a threat then I realize. Her father was nefariously cunning, you remember? I could have miscalculated and she may be playing a deeper game then I originally suspected.”

“But sir…Must I go, I could send a dozen of the spy’s and killers we have on…”

“NO!” Moriarty slammed his hand into the desk. “We must deviate from your normal methods. YOU must go, everyone knows YOU are the strong arm of this organization and your presence has meaning. Let them wonder about the meaning, and let our enemies see that we are changing our strategy. In that unease let them reveal themselves.  So Find yourself a costume, invitations and a date, Moran, You are going and you are going to have a jolly good time.”

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #57 on: October 08, 2013, 03:28:02 pm »
[INDENT][INDENT]Ugh, now she was using that dreadful nickname, Vastien often felt that Seren forgot he was a volatile, unpredictable demon with the power to turn her entire life into a nightmare if he was pushed far enough. Not like Vastien would bother, but due to the contract and the contractual tattoo binding them, her soul was literally 'off-limits'. Vastien wouldn't be able to reap her soul even if he tried, other than Raziel getting involved, the contract was Vastien's safeguard.

He had been working on a method for escape ever since accepting Seren's contract, all he had to do was prolong the length of the contract so he could have more time to finalize his plans. Vastien left through the front door and flew off on his own, thinking where a good spot to leave the heads. Somewhere will the message will definitely pass along to the Syndicate, to get some blood boiling and hopefully some respect out of the brash display.

'A brothel would be nice. Let them know that justice has a dark side.' Cannon street was the ideal choice indeed, the nightwalkers were on their lustful prowl, no doubt fear followed them closely, anyone of their customers could be their last if it happened to be the Ripper. With a paperboard box that Vastien had commandeered from a dumpster, he dropped the two heads in the box, with a pre-written letter and folded the wraps shut tight.

The decomposition had already begun and the box stunk of death, he watched from a rooftop as the whores entered and emerged from a particular brothel. The envelope holding the letter would no doubt begin to ruin from the warm blood, hopefully the letter wouldn't get damaged. Vastien waited until the coast was clear and he swooped down into a back alley. He zipped up his black trenchcoat all the way to the top and walked casually towards the brothel, the box under his arm.

No one was watching as he set down the box on the doorstep of the brothel. A series of firm, loud knocks on the door and Vastien quickly went around the corner of the street. He sprouted his wings once more and soared to a vantage point where he could watch the brothel. One blonde woman opened the door and looked around, the street was barren save for a few whores just wandering. A slender and attractive Indian woman came to the doorstep and picked up the box.

Whenever she opened the box, the letter would read:
'Ripping their heads off was fun.. but we are becoming increasingly bored again. Expect more. Expect us.

-A friend'

Heh, the friend part was clearly meant as a joke. As the two women retreated into the brothel, just on cue, a loud, terrifying shriek followed. With that Vastien was satisfied and ascended into the night sky, his destination now was the police station. Seren's favorite rendezvous point apparently.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #58 on: October 08, 2013, 03:28:41 pm »
The Commissioner was clearly not expecting to see her. He was on his way out the door when Seren walked in. “Oh god damn it.” Seren smiled at his cursing, waited patiently for him to gather his thoughts. “You got the Ripper, huh?”

Seren agreed. “Levi Bristow and Simon Bristow. I do not want the names getting to the press.” Seren directed, walking in and sitting at the wooden table. The Commissioner ought to think about becoming a priest for how many confessions he heard from her.

He let his coat slip off as he turned to the table, and sat across from her.
“Any reason why?” He asked, knowing he’d adhere to it regardless.

“Levi knew something,”
Seren answered.

Frederick waited for her to elaborate, then sighed as he understood what it was.
“Did you find out what?” He watched her fists clench on the wood, the answer in the action. “How are you so sure, then?”

“I just know,”
she answered. “He was going to tell me, but I needed to clean up fast. Oh, I killed him at an inn somewhere in Mitre. The night watch was also killed—he got in the way. Paint him as either a wrong place, wrong time, or as a willing assistant to the Ripper. I don't care which. The prostitute was dead when I arrived. There will be headless bodies.” It was always the Commissioner who answered questions. It was always the police who took credit.


Seren smiled,
“I am either going to start a war in the Underworld, or I am going to meet the one who is running it.” She lifted her hand, elbow resting on the table, and let her fingers open from the fist slowly. “Things may escalate very soon. You saw the letter from Levi. Few know the term ‘Vesper Guild’. Fewer know that I head it.” The fingers closed to a fist once more. “Those few seem to think they are in control. My father allowed this.” They both knew what happened to her father. Her arm fell to rest on the wood. “Somewhere in the mess, intentionally or unintentionally, my foes are being hidden. The best way to bring them to the surface is to smoke them out—escalate things. I will find an ally at the top, or I will find their protector.”

Frederick knew her desire of revenge. There was little he could do to stop her. It was criminals she was hunting, criminals who, from her confession of scattered memories, had done plenty of horrendous things, and not only to her. Something clicked,
“Levi was one of those doctors who helped you, right?”

“Yes,” Seren nodded.

“You think he was involved back then…?”
Seren shook her head. He sighed. “You so sure he knew? You’ve been looking for years now, Seren.”

“Are you implying my skills aren’t up to par?”
She smirked at him. He couldn’t say that. She’d solved plenty of his cases, this Ripper the most recent.

“I’m thinking you might want to start looking at unusual places.”

“Like my confectionery rivals?” Seren laughed at the prospect.

“No, just…I think you’re going to want to look at something that is established and protected, though, Seren, just not by the underworld. If it were there, you would have found it years ago.”

It was a thought she had considered, once upon a time. She canted her head, deciding to run through that again.
‘They definitely act in the underworld.’ That much needed no explanation. However, the base did not have to be there. Plenty of nobles had proven to cross the line. Businesses, as well, were not always so obviously steeped in underworld business as Miller’s was. “Months ago….” Seren hesitated to complete the sentence. Her hand moved to her forehead.

Commissioner Moore knew what she was asking about.
“No, Seren,” he shook his head sadly. “Of the evidence found, no corpse belonging to a known, practicing doctor was present.”

“I want an investigation started in the Royal London Hospital,”
Seren said. She might not have proof that this other was from that same hospital, his name lost to her, but she could start with something ‘protected’. “Levi Bristow worked there. A man…an Erik Heimann may have encouraged, or protected those who received organs from Levi. Find out.”

“We have little cause.”

“You have a doctor who worked there, who was the Ripper.”
Seren rose, laying both hands flat on the wooden table. “Is that not—” But she cut herself off as the door opened, and in walked Vastien. She straightened up, regained herself. “Never mind.” She was forgetting it was best to do her own work. Others who tried usually messed it up. There was a reason she and her father had been active, preferring personal involvement to having several associates. One associate was enough. She had been planning on it anyway.

“Just report to the papers. I’ll handle it. I tend to forget the tape you have to fight through to get anything done.” Her tone was not forgiving, though, as she turned and walked out the door, not addressing Vastien. He would follow.

Seren waited until they were a few blocks down the road to inquire,
“Where did you leave the heads?”

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #59 on: October 08, 2013, 03:29:18 pm »
Before Dawn….

The newspaper was dropped on the floor of the church, headline regarding the Ripper and how he had been gotten rid of. “Do you think she ever gets jealous, what with the police getting all the credit?” A young woman with red hair inquired as she continued forward to where one of the robed individuals was lounging in front of a statue, on the raised platform the statue was showcased on.

a deep voice answered, coming from a broad-shouldered man leaning against the wall.
Another walked forward, sighing at the paper,
“Darn,” he noted as he picked it up, hands wrinkled, “We were getting such a nice supply of organs from Levi.” His wrinkled hands shook as he sat down in one of the pews near someone twirling a white feather between two fingers to read it.

“Be grateful,” the man with the white feather said, “She could have taken this further.”
“At least we can rely on her to be an efficient killer!”
The woman said blithely as she tried to take a seat on the same platform with the statue, only to be shoved away by the robed person there.
He hissed,
“I’ve told you about touching me, you filthy wretch.”
The woman stuck her tongue out at him, then looked to the one leaning on the wall, “He’s being mean to me again.”
The man didn’t appear to care about that as he walked closer to where all were gathered,
“Claude, you will pay close attention to see whether or not Seren follows this up.”
The man holding the paper looked up, and nodded,
“Of course.”
“Doesn’t she know him?”
the twirling feather came to a pause.
He couldn’t see the smile under the hood of the broad-shouldered one,
“Yes, yes she does.” The one with the paper chuckled at the thought. “We need not worry, however.”
“Seren won’t let a lead go.”

“We will discuss your concerns later,”
the other said, waving it off as he continued to walk forward, “You have not done your job and found out what this shadow of Seren’s is.”
The feather fell to his lap as he leaned back in the pew.
“That’s why I set them up to deal with Elizabeth,” he answered, hood falling back to reveal the dark locks and blue eyes. Jean-Baptiste was smiling. “I’ll watch and see if this Vastien reveals his true nature. Lizzy will be no easy prey for the two of them.”
the one with the deep voice nodded his approval.
The red head pouted,
“I wanted to have to get involved. Jean gets all the fun jobs.”
“Not all,”
he looked to the woman, “I have a need to approach the Syndicate, to have them join our cause.” The man perched in front of the statue looked up from the ground, attention gained. “Be my emissary.”

She squealed in delight at the prospect,
“Yes, sir! I will start immediately.”
“Sir, that is not the best of ideas.”

“She is unthreatening, and enthusiastic,”
the man noted, “You will get involved later.” That was said quieter so the cheering woman did not hear. The other kept his head lifted, eyes on the broad-shouldered one, before he let a short laugh escape and he looked back down at the church floor. “Soon, we will move against our enemies. Soon, it will all be in place….”
The perched one’s laughter grew, before his head tilted back and he let it flow out, a melodious sound that sent shivers down the spines of all who heard it echo off the church walls. Jean’s smile widened, though the red-headed woman stepped away from the laughing one. The newspaper was folded up.
In the silence that followed the sound, the deep voice reminded,
“We will be the judges of this new world.”