Stained-Glass Souls [Finished] Read 52399 times

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #60 on: October 08, 2013, 06:02:43 pm »
'Hmph, hello to you too.' Vastien thought to himself as she walked past him, not like Vastien was quite in the mood for greetings. Without as much as a quick glance to the Commissioner, Vastien followed after Seren. Silence, but he didn't mind it until she asked him about the location of the heads.

"An orphanage, of course." Oh how hilarious that would've been, but he shook his head soon after. "Left it at a brothel on Cannon street, shouldn't be long before the Syndicate learns of it." He felt those same eyes on him however, the same eyes that had been watching him when he entered the police station. The man watching them was no real man, just posing as one. All this could mean that his fears were becoming a reality, if He was going through all these lengths just for Vastien, interference by him could be imminent.

"Seren, we're being watched. There's a man on corner of the street behind us wearing a gray coat and gray hat. Don't turn around, I'll drop this and if you want, pick it up and you'll see him. Don't stare for too long." From his coat pocket, he grabbed a plain golden chain and dropped it behind as if he hadn't noticed. He kept walking because as long the man felt that Vastien didn't suspect a thing, then they wouldn't make a move. If he could keep it that way, Seren would be safe and so would he. The last thing he wanted to do was push the Warden's buttons and force him to act accordingly.

He doubted the spy would attack if he was discovered, it was more likely he'd just report back to the Warden. Vastien knew there were more spies, just gathering all the intel they can.

‘Learning to lie?’ No, sarcasm was usually allowed, but it still annoyed Seren all the same. She nodded her approval when he corrected himself. A brothel was fitting, given the killer.

Vastien’s tone changed when he spoke again. Seren would almost think there was fear there, but that was impossible.
‘Picked the worst or the best of the lot, didn’t I?’ Not that Seren had cared much about choices, then. A demon hunted by demons for crimes was still funny. As he dropped the chain, Seren turned around to pick it up, catching sight of the figure in the gray coat.

It looked human. From afar, Seren could tell no difference. That bothered her.
‘Would you be able to tell Vastien apart?’ She knew some of the giveaways up close, but even she couldn’t be certain that would be true of all demons. She could take caution around anyone who wore long coats like him. It seemed a trend, but a foolish one to go by. 'Well, I didn't like sleep that much.'

It seemed she’d have to go back to those sleepless nights. There would be no returning to Essex, to her home with its protective barriers. The golden chain was clasped in her hand as she turned around and hurried to catch up with Vastien.
“Who is this fool that’s hunting you?” Seren asked, clearly annoyed, “We could put an end to it and be done with this nonsense.” Vastien had already confessed that killing Raziel would only bring about another hunter.

Vastien chuckled to himself, the Warden was anything but a fool. She had no idea what she was talking about and that's why he didn't snap at her. How could she know that Vastien was wanted by the most feared demon in Hell? Luckily, he wasn't the Warden's highest priority otherwise he would enter the mortal realm himself and possibly cause mass destruction before reaching Vastien if he was in a bad mood. A bad mood for the Warden was bad for everyone who stood in his way.

"Let's just say this fool is a very important demon. One not to be trifled with," Vastien wanted Seren to know exactly what they were really up against. When the danger would actually manifest itself was open to speculation, as long as Vastien kept his activities below the radar, he wouldn't get skipped to the top of the list. "I'm not exactly worth His trouble just yet and I plan to be long gone by the time His patience with my freedom runs out." There was no guarantee the Warden would even show up, but if his bounty hunters kept failing, he may just become fed up with everything. Vastien wasn't the only rogue demon on Earth, there were plenty scattered around the globe, some who drew more attention to themselves.

After the Red Death incident and being brought to the Warden's playground, Vastien had learned his lesson. The loudest one in the room is the weakest. After escaping Devil's Island, Vastien cleaned up his act, practiced on his human form and fed on souls occasionally. It really was a lose-lose situation for him, if he kept fighting off the Warden's hunters then Vastien was risking interference by the big man himself. If he failed in fighting them off, he would be imprisoned yet again on that wretched island. His only chance to escape either fate was escape itself, his contractual duties stood in the way of that. As Seren caught up to him, he turned to look at the gold chain snaking around her fingers.

"You can keep that, I've no need for jewelry." Vastien said, continuing to ignore their spy, wondering if they were also watching Raziel. He wasn't exactly fulfilling his bounty hunter duties.

Seren chuckled at Vastien’s statement about the demon. His emphasis on the pronoun was also of interest, as if this demon were some god. Someone Vastien was afraid to mess with was quite interesting. “Lucy himself, then?” Seren guessed, though she wasn’t even sure if the head demon would go by the name humans gave him of Lucifer. Today was a day for giving horrendous nicknames to demons, so she went with 'Lucy'.

She glanced down to the gold as Vastien told her she could keep it.
“Hm.” It didn’t exactly have anything pretty on it. The gold chain itself was good quality, though. She might find something to add to it, “Why did you have it, then?”

They were nearing the hotel by then, which Seren found to be a suddenly discomforting realization. That demon spy was much too close to this place.
‘No, no sleep.’ She really would have gone to put an end to whoever wanted Vastien dead just for a bit of peace. Right then, Seren wasn’t afraid. Annoyance usually got in the way of rational, sane fear.

'Lucy? I'll have to remember that if I want my head ripped off.' Vastien hoped that if the Warden ever showed his ugly head, Seren refrained from using the insulting nickname, any chance to reason with him would go out the window with that. He nodded however to instill some seriousness into the matter, in theory the Warden was only an extremely powerful demon but not immortal. At least Vastien hoped so. Killing him would be impossible by himself and it would have to be on Earth where he didn't have his Enforcers with him. Vastien shuddered at the idea alone, who knew what kind of chaos that would bring to Hell. Not like he'd be going back anyway.

The gold chain looked like an ordinary chain but it wasn't.
"It's supposed to alert you when danger is nearby.." He looked at the chain, arching an eyebrow, Vastien never truly understood how it worked. "I never had the time nor patience to play around with it, perhaps you can make better use of it. Jameson should know how to work it." Jameson was the one who had gave it to Vastien, not like he needed it anyway. If it intrigued her, she'd find a way to make it work to her benefit. Besides, danger usually made it' way to them anyway.

He dared look back before they arrived at the hotel, he narrowed his eyes to see farther and the gray-coated man was gone. It seemed he had received enough intel and tailing them was no longer necessary.
"He's gone.., if you don't feel comfortable here, we can find another hotel."

Vastien was quite serious about this demon. He didn’t find any amusement in her nickname. She continued to toy with the chain, catching Vastien’s words about it. If it was true, she would unlock it secret in due time. She moved her hands to clasp it around her neck. ‘Might have to add something to it.’ It was just so…plain!

They needed to visit with Jameson soon as it was. She sighed when Vastien mentioned the hotel, demon gone.
‘Perhaps he heard the nickname.’ She wondered if this super demon would follow Vastien’s footsteps and be irate enough to rip the poor messenger’s head off. “Maybe,” Seren didn’t really like any other hotel, but beggars couldn’t be choosers.

She reached her room, catching an odd sound coming from within. She pretended not to notice it, went about unlocking the door as if nothing was wrong. She pushed it open, then let out a frustrated sigh at the sight of the noble Pollock in her room.
“What is this?” She nearly threw her hands up and left, but there was a note on the end table with Jean-Baptiste’s handwriting.

He tried to recall the dream…the memory but it wouldn't come. Yet he could feel the subliminal rage vibrating his entire mind. He had to find it again…find that figure…that memory…it tied all his dreams together…it could tie himself together. It seemed he harder the tried to catch those memories the farther they drifted till he had no recollection of them at all.

"You will…"he felt the raw words as a single emotion from all those unstable dreams "Never rule us all." Pollock hissed then slumped over on his side. "We have…the plan."

Seren ignored him as she picked up the note. It was simple.

My apologies for the wrappings of the gift. I’m sure you will find what is inside to your liking, though.

Seren raised an eyebrow at that, then glanced back at Pollock as he continued his strange behavior.

A dream passed…a dog…a open wheat field…happiness. He smiled, then it melted away as the dream became a night mare, the day became night, the wheat fields became fire and the dog became ash. Another dream came or dreams, women, many women in various dresses. They all smiled and laughed, all except one, White suited and blond hair, she held a gun to him. There was sudden pain, incredible pain surged through his mind and he clutched at his hand to find that it was missing. He glanced at the stump confused…where had it gone? "Moran…" he groaned.

"Uhaaaa…You are a peacock." A voice suddenly boomed in his years and Pollock shuddered and looked about the room. He could see figures in the room, people he didn't know or recognize, yet it didn't concern him at all. "I am a peacock." He spoke back, unaware that he spoke the first sentence. Then a recalling threat seized his mind and spoke it. "We will bring a reckoning…Mote playing with Numbers and figures… You will be helpless…new born… crying and screaming." Polllock suddenly sensed the presence of the others around him, he glanced about and locked his single eye upon one of them and a single thought pervade all his mind. He could not remember its origins nor recall its meaning, yet it stood alone like a steeple in the flat land of his mind. "Demon."

Seren laughed as the man seemed to recognize Vastien for what he was in this bizarre state.
“How the mighty do fall….” But he mentioned Moran. Jean-Baptiste was right. She might find this gift to her liking.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #61 on: October 08, 2013, 06:03:34 pm »
He followed her into the hotel, glancing at the smiling nightman as they passed. Every night was something else, either way the dynamic duo had a knack of leaving a trail of trashed hotel rooms. Vastien could only wonder if they'd ever have a night of peace, of course Vastien had his own room but Seren hadn't dismissed him yet. Still, he was about to turn around and head to his room when he heard her frustrated sigh and wondered what could be pestering the 'princess' now. Vastien peeked into the room and saw a man he didn't quite recognize, he stepped forward with his claws ready to strike.

Instead of taking cover behind Vastien, Seren picked up a note on an end table. Once he realized the man was not a threat, let alone competent in his speech, he arched an eyebrow at the moronic man who was just babbling on. He noticed the wound on the man's head, he didn't feel the need to examine the injury closer but humans with their fragile skulls; surely it could explain the man's behavior. Vastien was tempted to just let Seren handle the man on her own, after all, he needed permission now to violently force information out of the man. It wasn't his job to engage in small talk unless it followed a barrage of fists.

Whoever the man was, he seemed to know Moran. Now what could she have to do with all of this? The poor lad was missing a hand as well, was it all her doing? It was too early for accusations for he had no idea what purpose the man had for being in Seren's room. He locked eyes with the man for a moment until he called Vastien a demon. If that didn't warrant a slit of the throat then he didn't know what did. All Seren did was laugh, had Vastien missed the punchline or something?

"Friend of yours? He's more delusional than he looks," He approached the man, his lips formed a devilish smirk, looking down at him. "Tell me, peacock. Does this look like the face of a demon?" For a second, the face of his human form faded and Pollock would catch a glimpse of the demon he'd been longing to see. He roared at the human for fun, if anything could illicit a response, fear would. Shrugging, his fun was over, Vastien had a feeling that note would be a clue to their next course of action.

Pollock was long gone. His only reaction to Vastien’s outcry seemed to be moving away and slipping off the bed to the floor. Seren assumed he had enough sense to attempt to flee. “Pollock was never a friend,” Seren offered Vastien the letter, “He was an annoyance of Jean-Baptiste’s, and thus off limits. It seems Jean thought he would be useful to me, now.” Seren glanced to Pollock, understanding well there was information in his mind that she wanted. “I think I hate Jean more. He’s given us a rather nice key to the Syndicate.” At least she wouldn’t owe him any favors for this. Elizabeth would be enough.

Pollock placed his face against the cold surface, his displaced mind tried to asses it. It appeared flat out of his single eye but his other senses told him that it felt slanted, and he had a defining sensation that if he didn't cling to it he would fall over. The mixed sensations made it difficult for him to collect and concentrate his shifting and warping thoughts. There was a light in there room but all the shattered walls of his broken mind screamed at him not to look in it's direction, for if he was caught in it's hypnotic glare he would be trapped and unable to free himself from its trance.

"Noooo…" he groaned at the thought. "…never…" speaking the words reinforced the resistant thought to avoid that light. He tried to gather his thoughts, he could feel the once firm and conscious ground that was once his mind but now it and everything that held it together seemed to flitter and float in and out of existence. There was no memory…just flickering thoughts of events he could not distinguish as past experiences but only as Dreams, events that occurred to someone he didn't remember.

Seren echoed, “Vastien, we’re leaving for Essex tonight. Go see that things are prepared...once I've finished speaking with Pollock. Perhaps you'll catch something I'll miss in his mad ramblings.” There would be no staying in this hotel that night. Her own safety, and perhaps the safety of on that. She would figure out where they’d stay tomorrow, later.

Seren walked around the bed, took a seat on the side closer to Pollock, who seemed infatuated with the wall.
“Now the question is how much do you know about the Syndicate?” She mused more to herself, but it seemed to reach Pollock.

He heard a question. He wasn't sure from where it came or who said it, but the question its had a effect.

A dream, A memory, sharp and clear, a Darkly veined hand reached out and hit him, or someone, as a echoing voice laughed around him.

"Black…Hands…" He hissed at the remembered pain, and the figure, he couldn't remember the face. He felt his mind reach out and grab something solid within itself, a solid memory of the figure…talking…lecturing…speaking of numbers, figures, formulas. "Counting and counting…every number…every detail…every night at the desk in the Spade." He felt a sudden emotion with the 'dream', Not his own but pulled along with the memory as part of the memory. It was hate. "Hate him telling…hate his Numbers and figures…Uahhhh." He let out a teeth gritting groan of anger. Then it was gone…the memory seemed to fade into the black recesses of his mind. "No…" he reached out his hands into the dark room as if to catch and hold the 'dream'. He felt others float by…a dream of a holding a beautiful golden haired woman. "Pretty…" but as he felt the hands hold the body of the other he realized they were cold, like the heart of who ever those hands belonged to, the woman pulled back, rage in her face and struck him.

Pollock was the man's name. After Pollock fell face first onto the floor, Vastien genuinely laughed out loud. Whether or not he was to blame for the man's painful descent did not make it any less comical. How he had been smuggled into the hotel room without anyone noticing baffled Vastien, but it wasn't his place to question it. Irrelevant really, since he was here and getting rid of him was not the ideal course of action. Extracting information out of the buffoon didn't appear to be a simple task but at least he could make some words. What madness came over him? If Seren's prior interrogation failed, Vastien had an idea to get the man to start talking, whether it would work or not would have to wait until after he got their traveling arrangements settled.

He took the letter and read over it, yet again Jean-Baptiste had attempted to break into Seren's room and actually succeeded this time. While Vastien didn't mind staying at the hotel, he figured Seren didn't feel safe due to their demon stalker. Perhaps, telling her wasn't the best idea but technically keeping anything relevant from her was not against the contract's stipulations. Vastien left the room, ducking under the door frame, dodging a head injury but it couldn't be as bad as Pollock's. At the front desk, the nightman was in his seat, legs up on the desk and slumped in his chair with arms crossed over his chest. The obnoxious snoring was annoying, Vastien cleared his throat rather loud for the man to wake up, but no such thing occurred.

Slamming a fist on the counter, the nightman was startled and fell out of his seat. He quickly scrambled to his feet and was clearly embarrassed, were Vastien to report this, it could cost him his job.

"I'm sorry, sir. What can I do for you?"
"I need you to commandeer me a carriage for Essex immediately. We shall be departing tonight."
"Oh no, what is wrong? Is there anything I can do to change your mind, sir? I can arrange a more intimate suite for you and the missus if the current is not to your liking. We'd really hate to see you go, sir." The nightman was clearly disappointed in losing the two customers. Vastien rolled his eyes at the man's attempt to keep them there, with the Ripper gone, all this Whitechapel business could finally die down.
"First of all, it's not like that," He pointed to Seren's room to correct the nightman's inexcusable implication. "Secondly, I hate repeating myself. I want that carriage here by the hour, is that understood?"
"Oh.. I'm sorry I didn't know.. b-but, um yes, right away sir."

With a lazy stride, Vastien returned into the room and shut the door behind him, leaning against it. Last thing they needed was the nightman snooping around, luckily with Vastien's new restriction, he wouldn't suffer the same fate as the nightman from the night before. He nodded to Seren once, it would be all the clarification she would need to know that it was settled. "Any luck? I'm curious if I can 'persuade' him into talking." For that to work however, Vastien would have to mesmerize Pollock by locking glances with each other and overwhelming him with his demonic influence. It worked better with the weak-minded but could Pollock even be categorized as weak-minded? Something told him that Pollock was far worse than that.

Vastien left earlier than Seren would have liked. She sighed, watched Pollock continue to struggle a moment in silence.

"Arahhh." Pollock sat up and held his face in misery, the words hit his ears and he felt a festering impotent rage boil up within him. With the emotion he was suddenly flooded with hundreds of 'dreams' which shared the same emotion, the hundreds of other passed experiences of frustration. Sheets and sheets of papers were suddenly in his strange hands, a Hawk like figure silhouetted in the window beside him. They were numbers on the sheets that corresponded to letters.

“What did you do, Pollock?”
Though it seemed like she was talking to a wall, her voice was getting through, even if he did not answer directly. Memories were stirring just beneath the surface. Jean-Baptiste was right, the wrappings were horrible, but the treasure inside was worth dealing with it.

"Codex…" He groaned. He knew this dream, he had seen it many times, yet he didn't recognize it till it was always finished. "B-25…C-37…D-53…" He read the sheets but they began to fade in his hands, as did the room till all remained was the dark floor before him. "Numbers…He…." That dark figure returned, looming in his memory. "He always uses numbers…"

“Who always uses numbers?”
Keys to a codex. B was 25. C was 37. No vowels, unfortunately, but this was a start…a very, very good start.

With the words the figure grew more clear and it grew in his mind to a huge anger face with his thick dreads slithering over the ground and transforming into cobras that surrounded and hissed at him.

"Hair…Hair that is Snakes!" Pollock screamed and scurried, lop sided and stumbling to the closest wall as the hallucination chased him. The snakes faded and another memory pressed itself into his awareness and he saw the figure again, speaking, Lecturing him again from behind his black desk.

He hit a wall. Seren was torn between amusement and pity for him. She covered her lips. Black hands and hair like snakes. Vastien chose to enter then, and she waved for him to be quiet, suggesting she was having some luck.

"Appearances…" the voice spoke and Pollock didn't realize it was his own. "False appearances, False snakes in the skins of real snakes….Real snakes in the skins of false snakes…" He shuddered as the memory streamed into him and suddenly the figure stood before him. "You are the Snake!" Pollock screamed at the apparition as a moment of clarity suddenly focused his mind on the figure.

“Poor Pollock. Snakes and Peacocks. I’ve no idea the connection. He gave me a clue to a codex of the Syndicate, and—”

"You hide behind that smile! Behind your Numbers and Formulas! You are a not a professor of numbers but a Professor of Death…of Lies…of…Uah…gah…traitor…why you bastard Moran will not follow you for…fah…ha…" The memory shattered and slipped away as the figure began to fade "Uhahhhh!" he groaned and felt his mind clawing for the figures forgotten name.

“He was high up. It seems he knows the leader, someone he thinks Moran will turn against. Turning her would be interesting. Alas. What is the name, Pollock?”
She tried again. This time, the answer was better.

"Mori…uaah! ...Mori …MoRi!" It all faded away, darting off into the depths of his subconscious like scattering fish.

Seren was on her feet, mind racing, reaching for something it knew, a name that could so easily be connected with all of this.
“Mori who?” The demand held urgency.

"Aaaaaaa…." Pollok moaned and found himself lost in a confusion of emotions…his mind blank again.

Even Seren could tell that Pollock’s mind had vanished, what lucidity he had gone. Her fists clenched.
“Mori.” She ran through the descriptions she had, the terms used. Snake and Peacock. Professor. Professor stuck out most, a professor of numbers (not numbers). She unclenched one fist, brought the hand to her forehead as her mind tried to sort it out. “Leave him, Vastien,” anticipating he might try to do more. Her mind was starting to form a picture, someone the Viscount had mentioned when she brought up Eshu. “I think you’d break him even more.” And the gift was fragile enough.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #62 on: October 08, 2013, 06:05:23 pm »
Vastien crossed his arms over his chest and yawned, watching the insane Pollock ramble on with his nonsense. Thankfully, Seren was making sense of all of it because he sure as hell wasn't. Vastien's methods would probably bring forth repressed, frightening memories anyway. As he learned of Pollock's rank, surely the Syndicate wouldn't allow a blundering idiot to be one of their higher-ups. No, that head injury was something else, someone wanted to silence him for good. But how did Jean-Baptiste even get a hold of him in that state, unless he had been the one who impaired Pollock's mind. All this information he was spewing was too abstract for a man of his current mental capacity to just be thinking of on the spot. This had to be something he was just remembering, a bad experience with the boss perhaps?

Just when Vastien was beginning to think Pollock as useful, his train of thought crashed again and there were no survivors. It all left him. All of this mental torture warranted an evil cackle which is exactly what Vastien did. Finally, something interesting for once!
"Ha, I'll gladly take that as a compliment," Good to see that his ability to hurt was still acknowledged, even though demonstrations were heavily limited now. Perhaps, if he played the role of her good little pet, she'd lift the restriction. Not being able to 'protect' made Vastien a very bored demon. Of course, his definition of protect and Seren's were on two different planets. As degrading as being her little pet sounded, it was the only way he could avoid tearing his own head off from the boredom. Hell, maybe a little restraint wasn't so bad? 'Tch, yeah right. That's the human talking.'

His keen hearing picked up footsteps outside the door and from looking under the door, he saw two black shoes. What the hell did he want now? Vastien opened the door slightly, the only part of Vastien visible through the small crack was his eye and side of his face. The nightman didn't need to see what was going on in the room.

"What." Vastien asked impatiently.
"Uh-uh, I'm not interrupting anything am I?" The nightman whispered, trying to get a better look through the crack. Vastien bashed his head on the door frame angrily and one of his primal, demon snarls escaped. That sound was not human in the slightest and startled the nightman, did he have a leopard in there or something? "I'm so sorry! I just wanted to let you know that your carriage will be here shortly, sir. Can I take your luggage?" Vastien didn't even bother responding except with another slam of the door, sending intense vibrations throughout the room.

"That reminds me.. what will be doing with him? We can't play babysitter forever." For some reason, 'we' didn't seem appropriate, if anyone was going to look after Pollock for the meantime, it was most likely going to be Vastien.

Seren smirked at Vastien as he laughed, then let her purse slip from her shoulder. Quickly, she took out her notebook, and ripped a page out of it. This had little to do with her main agenda, but recording what was said was still important. Down went the codex information. Down went the clues that her mind was refusing to process, tired as she suddenly felt.

She ignored the interruption, continuing to write as Vastien thought to deal with it by making noise.
“We’ll handle our own luggage,” Seren piped up, in order for the man to walk away. She folded the paper up neatly and stuck it into the notebook so it would not get torn to pieces by the myriad of objects in her purse, before returning it. She looked at Vastien as if he were an idiot when he asked. “Why do you think we are going to Essex?”

She rose, explained,
“My home is protected.” Invitation and recognition key parts of it. No one broke into her home. There had been one incident with someone she invited in, but that was her own fault. “I have servants besides you. They will treat him as a guest of honor. You will check to ensure this is done daily while we pursue the problems of Whitechapel.” The Ripper had been all they were assigned to deal with, but Seren could feel it. There was more in Whitechapel that needed looked into. “We’ll try extracting information from him periodically, but right now I think this is enough. I am certain he is a teacher at the Viscount's school. My mind just won’t….” she sighed, shook her head, “I’m tired.” It was the truth of the matter. She couldn’t think straight. “We’ll pack and leave. Tomorrow, after we’ve seen Jameson and Pastor David, we’ll return for the masquerade.” Seren offered the agenda, hoping there would be no surprises.

She motioned then to Pollock,
“Do silence him, for now.” With that direction, she went about packing her own things for the carriage.

She did have a point, at least she exactly thought this through. Were it up to Vastien, he would've left Pollock in the hotel room for someone to find. Seren still had use for him, but when his usefulness ended, what would she do with him? Irrelevant now, he thought and couldn't help but agree. Hunting down the leader of the Syndicate sounded dangerous but Seren was known for attracting danger which usually meant more headaches for Vastien. He had been trying to forget but she didn't fail to remind him, tomorrow was the dreaded day. The day Vastien would come to hate and mope about until the second they walked through the Viscount's doors once again.

Now was the smartest time to move, hopefully by the time the spy returned to his post they would be long gone. What worried Vastien the most was that he had just started noticing that he'd been being watched, so who knew how long this had been going on? How much did the Warden really know? Not knowing only made Vastien more paranoid, he could only hope that they didn't know the whereabouts of the Vesper home. The only things Vastien looked forward too tomorrow was meeting with Jameson and slaying the vampire Elizabeth.. in that horrid bunny suit.

"My pleasure." Vastien smiled evilly, slowly making his way over to Pollock. He could've just struck him hard enough to knock him out, but having him wake up and start freaking out in the middle of the carriage ride wouldn't be good. Not to mention his head injury, if he were to somehow die after being hit by Vastien, Seren would no doubt hold him responsible. With his foot, he pushed Pollock onto his back and crouched over him. "Sleeeeeeeeeeeeep." Vastien said, his gaze meeting Pollock's one-eyed stare, waving his hand over the crazed man's face several times, lulling him into a dormant state. He moved over to the bed and pulled off the white bed sheets, throwing them over the body.

All Vastien had to do was drape Pollock's unconscious body over his shoulder and stuff him into the carriage whenever it arrived. From then on, it was smooth sailing back to Essex which was good actually. He needed to check was items he was low on before heading to Jameson's so he could stock up.

Ah, to have a demon that was not unnecessarily violent. It was refreshing as Vastien put Pollock to sleep. She hid the smile as she gathered her things, prepared to leave in a few short minutes. Little was unpacked, after all.
“Out the window, Vastien,” she directed. “The man does not need to see you with a body.” Seren started for the door, “If you brought anything,” she didn’t recall a bag, “You can fetch it once Pollock is secure.”

Seren walked out then, and found the carriage already waiting. The man took her bag, not Barnaby, but one of the Viscount’s. She was relieved to see it was he that responded—at least the man at the inn knew who to contact,
“You will stay with us until the masquerade tomorrow, won’t you?” Seren inquired.

“Yes, M’lady Vesper, those are my directions. Viscount Trepe wishes you safe travels and heard your complaints of the previous driver you had.”

“He is most generous. We will be taking my friend, Pollock, with us. He's unwell, I have a doctor in Essex who specializes in mental trauma, though.”
Seren said as she accepted the hand up into the carriage. It would not be long before they were in Essex, though it would seem like an eternity in the boring carriage.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #63 on: October 08, 2013, 06:06:50 pm »
It was one of those rare moments when he genuinely agreed with Seren, carrying Pollock's limp body through the front would bring a lot of unwanted attention. He nodded at her and opened the window, leaving through it was simple enough except for Pollock's head hitting the windowsill on the way down.. accidentally. Eh, what Seren didn't know wouldn't hurt her. He went around the hotel through the back and spotted their carriage, to his surprise it was not Barnaby but a new driver. Barnaby's unemployment was Vastien's fault but then again Seren shouldn't have been starving Vastien for so long. After they arrived at Essex, Vastien wasted no time when he retreated to his chambers. It had been a while since he had visited the old man, Seren's agenda didn't really give Vastien vast amounts of free time. To make such a long trip for a few items was pointless anyway, he usually waited until he was dangerously low on supplies. Pollock was settled at the Vesper home where he'd be looked after and with that the two were once again on the road to get their day activities out of the way for the big masquerade later on in the night.

The carriage strolled once again through the streets of London, Vastien was actually interested in his surroundings looking for that one place. He wasn't too sure if they had past it yet or not, Jameson had a knack for picking up his business and moving to a more secluded area. He had received a letter from the old man months ago informing him of the new spot, Vastien was navigating through pure memory, perhaps bringing the letter would've been a good idea. And there it was.
"Stop right here! Let us out," Vastien nodded at Seren and waited for the driver to halt the carriage's movement. Vastien stepped out first and for the sake of appearances offered a hand to help Seren out as well. "Meet us here in an hour or two." With that, he started walking towards the shady looking tavern on the corner of the street, Vastien knew Jameson was very cautious and which is why he purposely told the driver to stop a street away from the establishment.

A sign that read 'Olde Tom's Tavern' loosely hung from the roof and looked like it could collapse at any moment. It didn't look very inviting and certainly not an establishment Seren's social class would enter. Vastien led the way and opened the door for her and approached the counter immediately. An overweight man was cleaning glasses when Vastien tapped him on the shoulder. The bartender spun around and apparently didn't like being touched by strangers, but when he laid his eyes on Seren, his face lit up with a smile. The drunks that sat on stools next to them were not so interested in Vastien as they were with Seren. Perhaps, bringing here was not such a good idea.

One of the more courageous, yet foolish drunks stood up from his stool with a half-full glass of foamy ale in his hand and made his way over to them.
"Oi, would you look at that pretty hair.." His dirty hand went to touch Seren's hair and the touch almost made it's mark until Vastien shoved the drunk onto the floor, causing him to spill his beer all over himself.

"I would like to speak with Michael, sir." Vastien stared at the fat barkeeper with a certain look, hopefully the buffoon caught on. In reality, there was no Michael. Michael didn't exist and if Jameson instructed the barkeeper correctly, he would play along.
"Michael ain't 'ere, wouldja like 'ta leave a message?" The thick Cockney accent was common around these parts, it really did suit the man.
"Yes, it waits around every corner and bides it's time until yours runs out. Any moment can call it forth and it does not have only one target. We fear it because we cannot comprehend it." It was more than just random banter, it meant something and commoners would just see it as nonsense. The barkeeper recognized the phrase and was surprised that someone else knew it. The old man didn't have too many regulars.
"Alright, the rest of you lot, outta 'ere! We're closed." The few customers that the tavern had were all too drunk to exit the establishment in an orderly fashion. The barkeep gestured for Vastien to follow him to the end of the pub, Vastien motioned for Seren to wait where she stood. The verification process was not over, Jameson was as careful as he was eccentric and he wouldn't let just anyone wander into his shop.

The barkeeper shot a look at Seren and then back to Vastien, shaking his head in disapproval. "What's the matta wit you bringin' that bird 'ere, mate? Are you mental?"
"She's with me and he'll be fine with it."
"Yeah, we'll see." The barkeeper said, taking out a small pocket knife and quickly cut a few locks off Vastien's head. Even Vastien hadn't expected that, was this some new security measure? With the strands of blond hairs in his hand, the barkeeper went through a door and left him alone with Seren in the bar. A smoky scent drifted into his nose and it smelled awful, something was burning and began spreading to the bar. The barkeeper returned to the front of the bar and waved for Vastien and Seren to follow him through the door. The door led to a narrow corridor with plenty of doors leading who knew where. The door at the end of the corridor was the only one that was open and Vastien figured that's where the barkeep had gone. After descending down some old, wooden spiral staircase, the strong, smoky odor became stronger, the barkeeper was waiting for them at the bottom of the steps and opened the door to Jameson's workshop.

"Oi, old man I thought I told you not to burn that stuff so much! You're stinkin' up me pub man!" The barkeeper muttered something and allowed them to pass him before he ascended the stairs to go man the tavern. As soon as he entered the shop, eerie bells started chiming and an elderly man was putting out the foul-smelling incense. It was a rather spacious shop, shelves stocked with books and vials with what had to be a series of potions/poisons/elixirs, behind glass containers were enchanted jewelry and equipment. The old man approached them with a smile and actually embraced the demon. Vastien's arms were in the air, not expecting the hug but it wasn't like he would hug the man.

"I had a feeling you were coming my demonic friend. Ooh and you brought Miss Serena! Which is why I have some tea boiling for the two of you!" Vastien forced a smile and would accept Jameson's tea. The old man was excited for a reason, one of his crazy experiments probably succeeded.
"Thank you, Jameson. We're actually here to do a little shopping, see if you can fill out this list." He passed the list with Seren's supplies to the old man and he looked them over, adjusting the monocle over his right eye.
"Please, my dear, have a look around while I get these items for you. Vastien, I have your order as well." Jameson went into the back room, the bead curtains knocking against each other as he passed through them. In the back room, all sorts of weapons were mounted on the walls. A box labeled 'Holy Water' was opened and filled to the brim with small, glass containers with the clear liquid.

The carriage ride was consumed with Seren adding on to the list of items she wanted, forcing herself not to fall asleep. She made a mental note to inquire about Jean-Baptiste’s portal. She had made plenty in her time, but his was not one she’d seen before even if she knew how to handle it.

Essex. Seren always missed it when she was gone, despite her longing to be gone forever. Her home had been rebuilt after its destruction to resemble the previous one exactly…with a few added secrets. Beyond the enchantments that sung within the walls, there were the secret rooms. Pollock was not hidden in one of those, though. He was set up in a guest room. The servants were informed that he was a relative of Seren’s, and quite ill. A false name was given, a maternal cousin, and she left her house almost as soon as she arrived.

The ride to the tavern was dull. Seren was exhausted. She found herself nodding off on the ride, startled from achieving sleep by Vastien’s call for the man to stop. She held back her complaint, wondered how she’d be in any shape for this masquerade.
‘Not that I have a choice.’ In the end, that alone would allow her to fake it.

Poor Elizabeth, though, when she was allowed to break character.
‘Keep moving.’ Seren accepted Vastien’s hand out of the carriage. She had changed at Essex, now in a pretty green dress to match her eyes. She let him give the command to the driver, not feeling particularly conversational as she followed after the demon, smiled as he opened the door for her and glanced around at all the drunks. ‘This early, really?’ She hadn’t even had breakfast yet.

She probably wasn’t going to have breakfast. She yawned as she walked to the counter, idly glancing over what was offered and seriously contemplating giving in to Vastien’s vice. Then, some drunkard approached, saying something about her hair. He reached, her own reactions not kicking in quick enough. At least Vastien shoved him, and that detoured the drunk. Seren sighed. She ought to be upset, but she wasn’t. The man wasn’t hurt.

The words, a riddle of course, were spoken and everyone ordered out. Seren didn’t leave with the rest, and eyed the bartender as he spoke so that she couldn’t hear him. It did not take long for them to leave that room, a bit of hair cut away from Vastien first. Finally, they were allowed to walk through, and Seren followed, last in the line. The smell didn’t bother her much, though it could be she was simply too tired to care right then.

Seren liked Jameson’s place, though she did not enjoy his nickname for her. She couldn't mask the wince at the term. It had an assortment of items she could have spent days experimenting with. Her eyes drifted over them as Vastien was hugged, not taking the delight she usually would in her demon’s predicament. The mention of tea caused her to prick up. She didn’t smell any tea, but then, that might be hard to do over the incense that still hung in the air.

As Jameson left the area with the list, Seren glanced to the many items in the shop. Her fingers moved over a bezoar stone.
“It is a shame you can’t drink holy water, Vastien,” she commented, an idea striking her with the thought of bezoar as an antidote. Her hand left the smooth stone. “Elizabeth might poison herself that way…assuming it affected your blood.” Seren shrugged off the thought, walked to examine some of the herbs, “Did you see much of what Jean-Baptiste did to create the portal the other day? I didn’t ask him how.” She tried not to ask him, to show her ignorance.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #64 on: October 08, 2013, 06:08:54 pm »
"It'd be a hell of a lot easier if she dropped dead in the middle of the masquerade, but vampires like I said are crafty. If I'm not mistaken, they're very tolerant of most poisons anyway." Just splashing Elizabeth with holy water could do the trick but there would have to be a follow-up to it. It's not like she would just start melting from it, a good and painful distraction nonetheless. Seren mentioned Jean-Baptiste's portal and it was true that he had walked in on him while he was in the middle of completion. "He laid down some sort of powder I think and he was using a feather, that's all I recall."

The rattling of the bead curtains alerted him and Jameson returned with teapot on plate and two cups. Jameson poured the boiling hot tea into the cups and handed one to Vastien. As Jameson was going to pass the other to Seren, Vastien topped the old man with his hand. He did trust Jameson but one could never be too careful, Vastien inspected both cups and sniffed each one carefully. Arsenic was harder to detect especially once it dissolves, which is why Vastien barely picked it up when Jonathon tried poisoning them.

"Sorry, old man. You know how it is." Vastien sniffed his cup one last time and took a sip from the tea. He smacked his lips together, savoring the dark tea and he nodded at Seren. For the most part, it appeared to be poison-free and quite tasty at that. Jameson began laughing at Vastien's over-protectiveness of his charge, mostly because never in his lifetime did he dream a demon would willingly protect a human.
"It's traditional Japanese green tea, I grow the plants myself. However this a cherry blossom blend and a touch of ginseng. You won't get a more authentic cup of Japanese green tea unless you go there yourself." Jameson was quite proud of himself and Vastien finished the cup in a few swigs, although it was scalding hot. It didn't really bother him. "Now, what's this I hear about vampires and portals? You mentioned a feather, Vastien. I'm familiar with that type of portal, it's quite advanced. However.."

Vastien couldn't contain his laughter, how the old man even heard that was a mystery. Then again, Jameson never ceased to impress him. The old man walked to the bookshelf, his old eyes scanning each title until he found what he was looking for. He took two books off the shelf and dropped them on the counter in front of them, swatting some dust off the cover of each book. One read 'Advanced Alchemy: Portals Volume I' and 'Vampire Fallacies and Folklore'. Jameson fetched a box from the back and returned with it, inside were a variety of alchemy items and almost everything Seren asked for. He put the books in the box where there was space and looked for the remaining items in the front of the store.

"You're free to go in the back, you know. I got plenty of weapons on sale too if you're interested. Hell, I'll enchant some weapons or items you may have for a little extra. The books are free of charge by the way." Jameson said with a smile, retrieving a parchment with strange writing on it. Jameson walked towards Vastien and brought the parchment close to him, Jameson then began chanting something. Whatever he was doing irritated Vastien immensely to the point where he dropped to both of his knees, growling viciously yet he was submitting to whatever Jameson was doing. Vastien weakly held an arm out to keep Jameson and the parchment away. Jameson crumbled the piece of paper in his hand and helped Vastien up off the floor who had become dizzy all of a sudden. "Pretty neat, huh? That's to ward off demons and other evil spirits, however I amplified it's effects so which is why it affected you like that, Vastien." He really did hate being Jameson's guinea pig at times, the old man had a knack for trying out his items whenever Vastien was around.

"How about a warning next time?" Vastien hissed, feeling that he was losing a grip on maintaining his human form. Jameson cackled to himself, it was all in good fun. He was old, but he could defend himself against the supernatural if push came to shove. "Say, where's that package I ordered?" Vastien asked, Jameson gestured for the demon to follow him towards the back. This time Vastien would not take his eyes off the old man in case he wanted to try anything again. Jameson brought a small black box from the storage room and handed it to Vastien but something troubled the elderly alchemist.

"The items weren't easy to retrieve but I worked on it and enchanted it to the best of my ability. It's a very powerful item, Vastien. Why do you need it?"
"For.. protection, old man. Will it be effective against demons?"
"Yes but you never struck me as the type who would need protection like this."
"It's not for me.." Vastien just stared at the bead curtains and if he could see through walls, Vastien would actually be staring at Seren. At first, Jameson didn't understand but then he too began staring at the bead curtains.
"Ah.. I see. Say no more."

Finely crafted blades hung on racks and there were assorted oils to dip the blades in which Vastien assumed had different effects. Jameson even had a small section for firearms and ammunition and since Vastien was a regular perhaps a discount was in order. The box which housed Vastien's special order also had the alchemy items Vastien needed for his own experiments back at Essex. Along with Seren's requested supplies, Jameson was also throwing in other goods that would be useful to the both of them free of charge. The money wasn't what was important to him, just passing on his knowledge of alchemy to them meant he did his part and it was up to the younger generations to pass on the torch as one would say.

"I'm going to see if she needs any more help. I almost got all of the items she needs."

‘A feather?’
Interesting, but not helpful, given how specific these things could be. Her hand moved over a crow’s beak. Seren remembered obscuring the outline, wondered if that was the powder used before her mind returned the information. ‘No.’ That had been charcoal. Seren recognized it from use, and as one of Jean-Baptiste’s favorite ingredients. He liked things with fire, despite despising guns. Powder wasn’t specific enough either.

Jameson returned, though, and with tea. Seren practically skipped back to where the man was, but she was not immediately allowed her tea. Vastien accepted his own cup, then intercepted.
‘Why didn’t you do that last time?’ She’d figured out it was poisoned early enough, of course. When he was done examining it, Seren took the cup. She ought to be grateful, and a nagging part of her understood that, but no words of gratitude slipped this time. Instead, she sipped the tea as the man explained what it was. It was too hot to drink down as Vastien did. Seren did not often have the teas from the Orient, but they were good when prepared properly. Jameson had a right to boast of his skills.

And his hearing, as well. Seren arched an eyebrow as he elaborated. Jean-Baptiste being ‘advanced’ did not surprise her in the least. It was all following procedure, for the most part. Occult and Alchemy had blended with him, though. He returned with two books, and Seren set her tea aside to look through the portal one immediately.
‘Volume one?’ She might have been disappointed, thinking the spell more advanced, but she soon realized it was in alphabetical order. As Jameson mentioned weapons, she nodded, but noted, “You know I prefer to do my own enchanting,” it was why she always came simply for ingredients.

He went around to where Vastien was and began to mutter something. The language was familiar to Seren, though she’d only dared to speak it once. Seren glanced from the index of the book to observe, smirking when Vastien needed help up.
“That seems rather useful,” Raziel would, no doubt, fall prey to such a thing. However, she did not request the paper, but turned back to the index. She found the heading on feathers. There were feathers a-plenty, from doves to ravens, to harpies and angels, and even demons.

Vastien asked after something, and Seren began to compare page numbers to the one other ingredient she knew—charcoal.
‘Interesting.’ Two of them matched up. Angel and demon.

Seren flipped to both pages and found the spells were quite similar, sans the design crafted. They were both made to go through barricades. The ability of the two races were noted as being exceptionally good for moving through barriers, given how the two transcended through the various planes with assumed ease.
‘Now where would Jean-Baptiste get a feather such as that….’ Angel or demon was worrisome. She wondered if Jean might be working with Raziel.

Seren made note of the pages before she shut the book and began to sort through the other items. Her usual requests were in there, and she found it funny that holy water was. She set that aside. She only took holy water from one man.

One item was missing. She sighed, not at all surprised. It was not something Seren expected would be easy to acquire, but he seemed so impossible to stump.
‘More time.’ Taking up scrying required a specific type of mirror for how she wanted to proceed, one with the reflecting part made not of glass but of quicksilver. Surrounding the mirror the metal that made the armor of the angels (if Milton were to be believed) adamantine had to be around it in order for the mirror to work as such a tool. No doubt, adamantine was hard to acquire. As Jameson returned, Seren looked up, “There’s no mirror in here.”

“No, my apologies, Serena,”
he said, “With some more time, I can find such a metal and craft the mirror for you. Are you sure you’d not have me enchant it from there? I could do it.”

“I prefer to handle it myself, but thank you.”

“Enchanting on reflective surfaces is dangerous,”
he warned, though it seemed he was still happy about something as he moved over to one of the shelves. “Did you find out what portal you were looking for?”

Seren evaded, “I just find it difficult to believe the one who used it had access to certain ingredients.” Seren began to set everything into the box. Most of it would be left in Essex, except what she felt she needed for enchanting bullets and providing protection.

“The feather, eh?”
Jameson chuckled. “Demons are not so uncommon as you think, Serena. We are their food, after all. They prefer to hide, but a trained eye, or a mad mind, can spot them.” The items were in the box by then.

“What if it were an angel?”

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #65 on: October 08, 2013, 06:09:35 pm »
Vastien simply admired all of the weapons in the back room, with all the weapons at his disposal, one would think that Jameson was preparing for a war of some sorts. There was one item in particular that caught his eye, it looked like an ordinary dreamcatcher but if he knew Jameson, it had to be much more than that. Vastien couldn't do anything with dreams except haunt them, invading a human's subconscious was all in good fun but never of any actual benefit. He looked towards the bead curtains, Jameson had to of been still assisting Seren. He took the liberty of taking the dreamcatcher off the wall and examined it closely with his hands. He could feel the energy emanating from the object, it was definitely an enchanted dreamcatcher. Vastien hung it around his neck and actually liked how it looked on him, but only Jameson would know if it's ability.

Jameson arched an eyebrow at her question, it was one he hadn't expected. It definitely was a possibility but demons were more common to make contact with humans. Jameson needed more background to verify his answer, but he figured he could tickle her curiosity just a bit.
"In my lifetime, I've only encountered one angel. I can happily say this angel was a companion of mine, she was beautiful. You do not see beauty like that in us humans. What I'm about to tell you came straight from that angel. Apparently, there are a lot of angels who just watch over us and in times of great peril or desperation, they make themselves known to humans. Either to give us a life lesson or offer divine assistance. The angel I met never told me her real name, but told me to address her as Mother. Mother said that sometimes angels get so involved in our lives that they cannot resist the urge to reach out to us. Mother appeared before me when I was a young and troubled man in an attempt to show me the light of God. I was not interested in such frivolities but she was the one who interested me in the supernatural. Angels are imperfect, they too are vain creatures and she loved to hear me compliment her beauty. Back in my day, I was quite the charmer and with time, I swept Mother off her feet. I don't know why she took such in an interest in me but in those days she wasn't allowed to serve up in the clouds. She had to prove herself to Him, Mother told me if she could guide enough souls to the path of enlightenment she could ascend in her position. With a little sweet talk, Mother would go to great lengths just for me. I can honestly say I fell in love with her and while she shouldn't have allowed it, Mother was careless," Jameson sighed, sipping at his green tea, trying to recall everything. "Mother told me His love was different from the love I wanted. I was a fool to lay with her, but she allowed her emotions to cloud her judgment. What we did was unholy and wrong in His eyes, I never saw Mother again after she informed me of the consequences of our actions. Mother promised that I would see her again someday, it's been more than 50 years. What I'm trying to say, Miss Serena is that angels are very careless. It honestly wouldn't take much to intrigue and manipulate an angel if the human is clever enough."

Vastien walked through the bead curtains to find Jameson and Seren conversing, mostly Jameson though. He wasn't sure what they were talking about but Jameson tended to ramble on at times. Every time Vastien visited him, he always had a new story to entertain the demon. Jameson spun around to look at Vastien and his eyes fell upon the dreamcatcher Vastien wore around his neck. "What does this do, Jameson? I highly doubt it is a simple dreamcatcher."

"Pardon me," Jameson told her with a smile and gestured for Vastien to come closer. Running back and forth between the two was beginning to get tiring for him. "It's a soulcatcher actually and it works just as it sounds, Vastien. I was going to show it to you but it completely slipped my mind. I know how you demons like gorging on souls, but this allows you to store a certain amount of souls for later consumption. There are three feathers on it, you can store three souls, Vastien. Each soul you capture will cause one of the feathers to wither and die, when you run out of feathers, come and see me."

If Jameson spoke the truth, the soulcatcher would really be useful in tight squeeze. It could be used as quick energy boost or reserve in case he delved into starvation again. Vastien nodded and decided that he would take it, removing it and stuffing it in the box with his other items. Jameson moved behind the counter and began totaling up their purchases, doing all of the math in his head. "For all of your items, it would be 100 pounds but I am deeply embarrassed that I did not have that mirror for you, Miss Serena. Therefore, I'll leave it all for 65 pounds, including the mirror which will be free. Separately, it's about half for each of you. I'll send for Vastien to pick it up once it's finished." Even 100 for all of their items didn't sound too ridiculous but Jameson did not care too much about wealth, he'd heard the old man's speech about how money was evil plenty of times already. Jameson's commodities weren't something you could buy just anywhere and even then, he gave them a bargain. Out of his pocket, Vastien withdrew a handful of pounds and bank notes, not sure how much he actually had.

There were times Seren found it difficult not to laugh when she thought something was foolish. When Jameson began to speak, that urge to laugh built. She had long ago stopped believing in guardian angels. She could not imagine any angel had ever been at her side, or watched over her. It would have had the mercy to let her die ages ago, if such were true. It wouldn’t have let her slip so far from grace.

‘I think you deceived by a pretty demon.’
Though she held her tongue. She knew nothing of angels, except that they existed, and seemed crueler than demons. “I’ll keep that in mind, Jameson.” Manipulating an angel was nothing Seren would shy away from. It was something she honestly couldn’t see Jean-Baptiste doing, though. At least, if he was as pious as he claimed…another doubt. Anyone who murdered as frequently as she and Baptiste couldn’t be pious. Confession alone wouldn’t make up for it. “I hope you see Mother again.” Never mind how that reeked of incest, she was sincere. Being deprived of loved ones was painful. At least Jameson had the hope of seeing his again.

Vastien returned, and Seren considered denying him the ‘soulcatcher’ simply on principal. However, she held her tongue. Jameson liked Vastien, and she didn’t want to deal with him arguing on Vastien’s behalf. She still had him on a leash, she could still control the souls he took and held. Jameson was excessively cheap, too, given the items. Seren moved her bag forward and took out the amount asked for,
“Here you are,” she had stopped by Essex, anticipating the payment that would be required. “By the way, if angels are as you say, you should reconsider Vastien’s demonic status,” Seren said, offering a smile to Jameson as she closed her purse and took up her unexpectedly heavy box. She didn’t wince under the weight. “He was the one who showed up when I needed help.”

‘No harp-playing fairy.’
Seren had never said much about how she and Vastien met to Jameson, though she knew the man was interested in Vastien’s decision. She turned away then, lifting a hand in farewell as she walked back towards the stairs to leave. “Take care of yourself, Jameson. Come along, Vastien.”

Jameson had not known that, he had a completely different vision of how the two met and came to work together. 'Hmm.. very curious those two. I wish them the best.' It was an uncommon relationship and Jameson noticed the sudden changes that Vastien went through every time he came to visit. Were Jameson have tried the parchment experiment on the demon two or three visits ago, he'd probably be missing a limb or two. Vastien seemed less hostile and more humane if that was possible, one would just have to wait and see the end result of those two.

"Alright, well I have to go. Don't work yourself too hard, old man." Vastien held a hand out to shake, he preferred that to another one of his hugs. Jameson nodded and shook Vastien's hand firmly and shut the door behind them as they left. Once they reached the top of the stairs, the barkeeper was waiting for them and blocking the entrance to the bar. He shook his head and pointed at another door in the narrow corridor.

"Can't have you two leaving through the front with that stuff. Use the back exit." The barkeeper led the way and locked the door behind them as well. At least they got something useful done for the day but now it was time to get through the menial errands out of the way before the masquerade. The carriage was parked idly at the end of the street, whoever this driver was, he was sure more punctual than Barnaby. Instead of making them walk, the driver must've have seen them walking down the street and slowly made his way towards them.

Vastien entered the carriage and slid his box towards the end of his seat to leave room for Seren to step in. His arms outstretched towards her to take her heavy box for her as she got in. Vastien settled in his seat and began rummaging through his box of goodies, making sure the old man hadn't forgotten anything. Once he was satisfied with his search, he turned to face Seren.
"So, where to now?"

Seren had expected the interruption, but sighed all the same as their path was directed to the back exit. Honestly, the bar was emptied out, and she doubted there was anyone who would go looking in the box. Even so, she accepted the new path and walked back outside. The new driver was quite punctual.
“I may have to see if I can hire him,” no doubt, the viscount would let her steal away such a helpful man.

When Vastien held his hand out for the box, Seren willingly handed it off. The door had been opened for them by the new man.
“I don’t think I’ve gotten your name, sir.”

“Oh, my apologies, m’lady Seren. You may call me Karna,”
he answered with a smile. It wasn’t a very English name, and at Seren’s look, he elaborated a little, “My mother was Indian, and she named me.” He didn’t have many of those features. Even so, that would make it easier to take him from the Viscount, vain as he was about England.

“I see,”
Seren nodded, and to answer Vastien’s question she said, “I have need to go to a church that is not far from my home. It’s called the Lighthouse Revival Center,” for some reason Pastor David wanted to leave out church and chapel. He wanted to attract those of other faiths, to lead them to the right path—he saw his center very much as a lighthouse, calling out to the lost. “I’ll offer direction from my house.”

With that, Seren stepped into the carriage, smiled at Vastien,
“You didn’t think I would get holy water from anywhere else, did you?” Not after seeing how…effective this water was. Particularly after seeing how a bullet infused with it so bothered the demon Raziel.

Seren was true to her word to offer directions from her home, and once they were there, Karna opened the door for them
. “Need I go elsewhere?”

“No, you can wait outside, or go in if you like.”

He gave a smile, but shook his head, apparently having no desire to go in. Vastien, of course, didn't get the same choice, and Seren motioned for him to follow.

The chapel itself was intimidatingly tall. The center spiral shot up into the sky. If it did not have a light at the top, Seren might have thought it went on forever—it was quite difficult to see the top as it grew thinner. The building itself was also large, a gothic church with the arches that made one feel so small. Yet, the building was not dark, but white, and the windows were as colorful as Easter eggs, depicting a myriad of scenes from Christian traditions. The only notable thing missing were references to the Passion or any death—though the second coming of the Christ figure was prominent at the front of the church, behind the altar. Seren looked to that as they walked in, Jesus as bright as a light and flanked by his angels, the dove symbol of the holy ghost upon his shoulder as his hands were outstretched.

Yes, love and peace.

The floor was of stone, the pews of wood. The door was always unlocked, but David lived here so Seren was not concerned that he might be absent.

The man recognized the footsteps in his church and came out from a backroom, entering the main area through a purple curtain. A smile broke out on the old man’s face and he approached Seren,
“Seren, my dear, it has been two weeks now since I saw you last,” he commented as he brought her into an embrace, which Seren returned, before the old man turned to Vastien, “And the blackest sheep of my flock,” he sighed, not yet giving up on saving Vastien. He did not hug Vastien as Jameson did. “You look troubled again today.” The two always looked troubled. “What snares has the devil thrown in your path?”

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #66 on: October 08, 2013, 06:11:02 pm »
A church? Out of all the ridiculous places Seren's plans required him to go to, a church took the gold. Everything he was brought up to hate and see the opposite of was housed in a church. Furthermore, the head clergyman, David, was a bothersome individual willing to go to Hell and back to show Vastien the biased light of God. Vastien remained silent as Karna introduced himself to Seren, learning the driver's name was sufficient, he didn't have to grace him with the hope of conversation. Maybe one day, after all it took Vastien a while to warm up to Barnaby.

"I honestly hoped you would have. Jameson is resourceful, perhaps they acquire it from the same source." However, Seren must have had her superstitions and now he was paying for them. He would've much rather stayed in the carriage to get to know Karna than enter that building. At least, it'd be one less headache of his done with.

Once they arrived at the Gothic-style church, Vastien shook his head in disapproval when Seren have the order to follow. Seren's behavior was not holy in nature, he had a feeling a conversion was not what she had in mind. As they entered, Vastien did not revel in the beauty before him, his only reaction a loud yawn and a hand to quell the yawn. Pastor David did not disappoint, keeping his 'sheep' waiting were the not actions of a virtuous 'shepherd'. For Vastien, there was no embrace expected nor given, he had thrown up an indestructible wall resisting any connection between the two of them. Vastien rarely budged and today was not one of those days.

"Baaa." Vastien bleated obnoxiously, mimicking a sheep's wavering cry. Vastien was not in the mood but he was rarely ever in the mood to put up with human interaction anyway. He was one sheep that would never find it's way simply because he never belonged to the flock in the first place. "I was fine until we arrived here. Your whole religion negatively impacts my mood so don't ever expect hugs and smiles." Seren could glare or reprimand him all she wanted, this was one thing he wouldn't agree too. To believe in such nonsense was a fool's ploy, not Vastien's. Not even so much as one of his sneer smirks.

The true irony of it all was that Seren had never truly believed that any God of any religion existed until she met Vastien. If demons and souls existed, she’d concluded that a god must exist as well. She knew not which faith, or how many, deities there might be. In the end, it did not matter.

Unlike Vastien who did not believe, Seren willingly turned her back on the Divine. She always considered it better that way. She’d have no soul to see this Divine, which was good for it. The Divine would have a lot of explaining to do, and Seren wasn’t patient. It, and those so-called guardian angels, had made an enemy of her long ago by having the power to help, and not doing so. Even so, Seren knew better than to mock the religiously inclined. She glared at Vastien as he made the sheep sound.

David smiled in delight, as if it were some sign that Vastien was learning. His smile did not falter even under the demon’s words.
“Oh, Vastien, do I ever expect so much from you? The fact you walk in here delights me. You are lost, but I know you will one day see the light. The Good Lord does not keep bringing you back here in vain. One day, I know you will smile, and it shall light the heavens,” that beatific smile was turned to Seren, who felt uncomfortable under it.

At least pretending usually kept her from a lecture,
“What has brought you here, my child?” He took both of her hands in his own.

that damnable peaceful look of his. She stumbled over her words. For as envious of his peace as she was, she also pitied him the delusion of a 'just' and 'good' god, “I, that is, I’m only here for business. Holy water.”

“Oh? Is your home in need of another blessing?”


The old man sighed as he released her hands,
“I know your parents invited much evil to that house. I am not surprised that it keeps returning,” he walked to where a bowl was set, off to the side, “It is good you found your way here, Seren, and did not follow their paths. Oh, how I prayed for them….”

A single fist clenched, but Seren held her tongue as the man began to fill a flask with the holy water.

'Oh, brother.' Vastien rolled his eyes and didn't bother continuing with the Pastor, it didn't take much to set him off on a rant about God. As his attention to Seren, Vastien sat down on the nearest pew and did not see what was so special about those red and blues on the stained-glass windows. The depictions told stories and the humans seemed to find a beauty in the paintings, Vastien missed what was so special about them.

If Vastien were to butt in and tell the Pastor what they really did with his holy water, it would just be taken as another one of Vastien's wild exaggerations. Seren's parents was one of those things she preferred not to talk about and he could respect that. There were things he didn't feel like discussing with her either, although if she deemed it necessary, technically he wouldn't be able to lie to her. Vastien smirked lightly when Pastor spoke of her parents, shaking his head.
'Bad move, David.' He noticed Seren ball up a fist, he figured she wouldn't take too kindly perhaps she just wanted to spend as less little time in the church as he did.

He stood up from his pew and walked over to the altar, the front was decorated with at least two dozen small lit candles, each candle in its own tiny, transparent cup. Vastien waved his hand over a few of them but each candle went one by one simulating a domino effect. On the altar was a fake gold plate holding a gold goblet which appeared to contain dark red wine. Vastien looked over his shoulder to David whom was occupied with filling the flask with holy water. With an evil grin, he placed an index finger insider the goblet, submerging the finger in the wine. Steam hissed quietly from the wine and instead turned to warm blood. Oh what joy were the Pastor to drink from the goblet.

"What are you turning blood into wine or something? Pick up the pace old man." Vastien retorted to the Pastor's ridiculous comment, looking at Seren for a moment and smiling.
"No that would be our savior, YOUR savior, Jesus Christ. Do not fret, Vastien, you too will bask in his loving warmth one day." If the Pastor had a breaking point, he was far from it but Vastien had a feeling he didn't appreciate him mocking Jesus.
"Pfft, I'd rather take my chances with the other guy."

‘You realize, whatever you’ve done is going to be seen as a miracle of God, right?’
Seren wondered, watching Vastien as a bit of steam lifted. The pastor did not seem to hear the sound of the alteration. Well, why bother Vastien with what he should know?

Commentary shifted, and Seren couldn’t hide the smirk at Vastien’s words,
“Really? You were so afraid of the other guy yesterday?” The pastor turned back to them, water collected in a flask. Seren knew she had a couple to return so he could continue cycling through them. ‘Next time.’

“Afraid? Oh, Vastien,” the man sighed as he walked to them, “There is nothing to fear in the devil.”

“Tried to tell him,”
Seren shrugged. Admittedly, she wouldn’t be using any ‘get thee behind me, Satan’ tactics if they ever met.

The flask was placed into her hands,
“Our Lord and Savior is much more powerful than the devil, Vastien. Just call on him if you are besought with demons.”

Seren found it quite difficult not to laugh. She had to look away from both of them.
‘Yes, I’ll try that with Raziel.’ Perhaps the demon would get a decent laugh at the pitiful attempt to get rid of him. “I think this will help alleviate my friend’s fears.” Seren would have mercy, rather than let David go on a tangent about how the Devil could be overcome. “The house will go back to normal and he’ll have nothing to make him think the Devil is after him.”

David smiled, a look of longing upon his face as he shook his head,
“Seren, the Devil is always after you, always. Right now, though, he has you both.” David sighed, “You use these gifts of the Lord, but you do not turn to him though He still loves and protects you.”

Seren had little response to that. Finding herself tongue tied was unusual, and rather unpleasant.
‘The gifts aren’t from your god.’ Seren didn’t know how to make Holy water, but she’d bet anything it wasn’t from divine blessings.

“Go in peace,” his hand fell on her head, a gesture she was not normally fond of, “I understand right now you are occupied with matters of this world, but in time you shall come to be concerned with the states of your eternal souls. Do not forget what I’ve said about the Devil. One day, you both will realize you are his captives.” He patted her head before turning to tend to other matters, moving towards the altar. “I will pray for you both.”

Seren wouldn’t tell him how pointless it was. He probably wouldn’t approve of knowing Seren had already sold her soul, knew the fate of it better than he knew his own fate.
“Thank you, David,” was all she managed as she turned to leave.

Part of him wanted to spread his wings and go full demon just to silence the Pastor for good That there were things out of his grasp, things that couldn't be solved by petty hymns, prayer or faith in a higher power. Of course there was a God, but the humans' perception of the omniscient being was very distorted and it would take centuries of proof to dissolve their ridiculous beliefs. Unfortunately, there wasn't much and faith was the last string holding it all together for them.

Vastien felt inclined to interrupt him and prove him wrong with a transfiguration but that would jeopardize Seren's plans. It was not clairvoyance on David's part, just his religious babble that was partially right for once. The Warden was not REALLY after them but one day he could decide to take initiative and make his spies become actively hostile like Raziel. That's when Vastien would know his freedom would be coming to an end and that's when he would flee.

He moved behind Seren, his back to the both of them, obviously wanting to leave already. As the flask was given to Seren and his parting graces were bestowed, finally they could put an end to this annoying chapter of the day. Nothing would top the masquerade though.
'I'm dreading it already.'

Seren was not being attentive as she returned to the carriage, not that there was much to absorb. Usually, David did not bother her so much. Karna was waiting for them, smoking as he leaned against the black vehicle. He dropped it to the ground and stepped it out quickly, some hand-rolled intoxicant.

Seren let it slide.
‘Getting soft.’ She didn’t used to tolerate her employees having any form of intoxicant in them when on the job. Perhaps Vastien had made it clear some things were beyond her control. “We’re done here, Karna. Take us back to Whitechapel.”

“As you wish,”
he agreed, opening the door for her and Vastien.

“Also, do you think you would mind entering into my employ permanently?”

Karna chuckled, shook his head,
“Viscount Trepe thought you might ask that, given the troubles. I have no issue. The man annoys me. The pay has kept me around him.”

Seren didn’t even ask how Karna was annoyed. She had enough ideas, given the way Raphael spoke of India, and its people, as property of England.
“Then I’ll ask him formally, even it is your choice.” Seren would not let Karna think she felt the same. She stepped into the carriage before smirking at Vastien. “Hop along, Vassy.”

At least the Masquerade would put her in a better mood.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #67 on: October 08, 2013, 06:12:43 pm »
“Am I historically accurate?”  Moriarty asked Anna Porter. He was trying to kill time. He and she had arrived appallingly early to the party, second only to caterers who prepared the Viscount's estate for the party arrivals. Not even the viscount was ready to meet his guest yet. Moriarty had used the excuse that he had misread the time in which the party would start, but in reality he had planned the blunder in order to carefully watch and study the other guests as they arrived. Within a hour a few others had come but the luxurious lobby of the Viscounts decorated estate was still largely empty.

“It depends on which Ramses you are.” Miss porter smiled. Her costume had been a nauseatingly acute in its historical depiction of an early era pharaoh queen. Her leather girdle and dress, braided hair and bejeweled hands gave a impression of overbearing obsession as well as a lack of fashion. Most were arriving with dress and suits, mildly themed with mask and color to impresses a general idea of their costume. “There were eleven Ramses over two dynasties.” Miss Porter gave a smile of pride in her own knowledge of her field of study. “I would say you are likely Ramses the first, The Ethiopian influence is more stronger the farther back you go in dynasty.”

“hum…” Moriarty pressed his Pharaoh mask to his face and eyed the new comers. “I am sure you are right, though my limited knowledge of Egypt cannot confirm your projections.”

“Oh? You don’t know much of your African roots.” She raised a curious eyebrow. There was a thinly veiled racial ignorance to Miss Porters question that annoyed Moriarty, but wise, he avoided any show of his more impatient nature.

“I am ethnically Saharan Tuareg, and while I have traveled much of the Dark Continent since my youth, I have not seen the eastern coast nor I am afraid Egypt.” Moriarty glanced back to Anna, cautiously eyeing her to see how she would react to so rare a insight to his past. She seemed intrigued, and Moriarty’s suspicion faded as he turned back to the other guests. More were arriving now as the party was starting to get into the swing of things. Waiters passed by with trays of appetizers and Champagne, complements of the grand viscount. Moriarty studied them, most were as he expected, wealthy friends and patrons of the viscount, a few coat trailing sycophants and occasionally a man Moriarty recognized from among Moran’s handpicked agents. The guests began to mingle and Miss Porter got a fair amount of attention for detail accuracy of her costume while Moriarty observed new comers, occasionally spotting a fellow professor from the university.

“It is quite a party.” Miss Porter gasped as more and more people began to arrive. “I had no idea the Viscount had so many friends.”

“He walks in many circles, the University, the banks, The parliament and of course the Arts.” Moriarty smiled his sweet old man smile. The viscount hadn't appeared yet, nor would he till the bulk of the invitees would arrive. Moriarty keenly watched, but found no obvious sign of attention on himself. This irked him, for he suspected that his enemies would be quick to shock upon seeing the dreaded leader of the syndicate among them. Had they predicted this too?

“James…” An icy feminine voice whispered into his ear and Moriarty nearly spun over in shock. To his surprise he saw a women dressed in an extravagant heavily laced black and red dress, a demonic mask on her face and her hair done up into a large towering beehive. Moriarty stared at her in confusion. She gave playful smile, and pulling down the mask she reviled herself. It was the countess Elizabeth Bennington.

“Sweet Ogun, Liz. You give my old heart a shock.” He hissed at her and she chuckled in response and paced around him, critically eyeing his costume. Miss Porter stared wide eyed at the seductive newcomer.

“Black and gold lace, robes, black mask...” She gave him a cynical smile “…If you had a U stick I would I say…African Goat Herder.” She laughed, and Miss Porter furrowed her brows at the strange woman’s taunts. “Where are the goats, James?”

“Ramses.” Miss Porter corrected her and she seemed to confront the woman. Moriarty raised his hand to interject but the obviously offended woman was quick to strike back at the coye Countess. “What are you…a bee hive?”

“I am a DeMoN!” Liz placed up her mask and wiggled her hands in false fright, then the mockery melted back as Liz dawned that cold and terrifying inspection of all things that drew her deadly curiosity. “And who…is this James? I was convinced that you were a eunuch.”

Miss porters mouth dropped at the crude insinuation, but Moriarty waved her to ease. She rarely was so liberal to call Moriarty by his first name and far less in anything else.

“This is Professor Anna Porter, a colleague from the university and a good friend for many years.” Moriarty kindly introduced her. “Anna, Let me introduce the Countess Elizabeth  Bennington, She and I are of the same card club at the broken spade and have been good friends for some time.”

“Many years in fact.” Liz smiled devilishly triumphant to Miss Porter. “The old goat is delightful company.”

Miss porter shuddered to repress her shock at the gross comment, and Moriarty aided her by placing a confident hand on her shoulder. Moriarty could sense Miss Porter’s jealous animosity to the countess, and the awe that her dear sweet professor had such extravagant friends. The modest and thrifty Miss Porter was a stark comparison to the lavish and sensual beauty of Liz who seemed to wallow in the ecstasy of the hedonistic pleasures in her lifestyle. Moriarty smiled as he saw that subtle wedge fall into place between him and Miss Porter. It would stall her advances for a time.

“Miss Bennington…” Moriarty paused to think of the polite term. “…enjoys a shocked audience, she is a lude narcissist. Pay her words no mind, she is harmless.” Moriarty’s words only added to miss porters confusion, she had never heard him casually insult a friend, it created the exact effect Moriarty desired, uncertainty mixed with fear.

“Ah! How dare you call me…” Liz prickled up in false rage “…harmless.”

“Well, I didn't know the professor keeps such…odd company.” Miss Porter raised an uncertain and shaky hand up to Liz, who stared at it amused.

“Of course you wouldn't…” Liz took her hand, and rather then shaking it,  she leaned over and kissed it as a man would to a woman. This surprised Moriarty as much as it did Miss Porter, He had only seen her do this to the men she wished to court and enslave to her lusts. Quickly he shooed her off with a uneasy glare, he wouldn't have her corrupt one so close to his professional life.

“Aye! Away with you hussy! Leave Miss Porter be.” He scolded her like a angry father and she smiled back childishly.

“Oh? What is this James….Ummmm?” She gave a furtive smile as she watch Moriarty try to ease the other woman’s tensions. Then, as her flippant nature was, she turned and absolutely changed the subject. “This party is quite gody wouldn't you say? Raphael is really trying to prove something hum? I hear that queer lady of his, Miss Vesper will be in attendance.”

“I find the notion of you calling another queer very strange indeed Liz.” Moriarty poked fun at her.

“Oh?” Liz pulled down her mask and eyed Moriarty. “She is more queer then either of us, James…” Her eyes suddenly darted across the room and locked on to a young, Handsome, primly dressed young man. A devilish, predatory smile crossed her lips. “Oh Excuse me…” She stepped away and pushed the mask back to her face. “Toodles Moriarty, and…ah, yes, Miss Porter. Enjoy the party.” And with that she glided away from the pair making a straight line for the young man. Moriarty heard her call a name he did not recognize and she approached him arms open, chest out in all her sensual glory. But as he saw her go he felt unnerved, it was like watching a tiger approaching a naive and uncertain mouse.

“I cant believe you know that woman!” Miss Porter almost hissed to him.

“I have many strange friends, intellectual and not, Anna. Don’t worry, I am wiser then to entangle myself with her. Strange as she is, she is a good friend. We need our fools as much as our saints.” And as he said that he felt a pang and wished that perhaps he would run into his good friend, Doctor Bristow, tonight to show that his colleagues were not such creatures as the countess. He scanned the crowds, both for a friend and for a enemy.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #68 on: October 08, 2013, 06:13:23 pm »
Jean-Baptiste Chinal hadn’t stopped laughing since he laid his eyes on Vastien. Seren decided they would be going with Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste had dressed as an angel, knowing already what Liz would be dressed as. He hoped to entice her with this guise, the need to corrupt innate in Elizabeth. He had wings and everything, a white half-mask, and a gold and white suit. A white rose decorated his pocket. A halo hung over his head. He wore rope sandals rather than dress shoes.

Seren interrupted for the sake of Jean-Baptiste’s life,
“Jean, you have a plan, don’t you?” She inquired. Her own attire was a play on a book she’d read, Alice in Wonderland, or some such thing. She’d contemplated the mad hatter, but decided to simply wear the hat with the rest of her costume. She could make up a story for why the ‘Queen of Hearts’ had the Hatter’s hat. Obviously, she beheaded him.

“Ah, yes, of course, My Queen.”

Seren’s green eyes hardened into a glare. They were clearly visible behind the red mask. She didn’t want it to be overly large, so rather than have it be heart-shaped, she opted for small rhinestones in the shape of hearts decorating it.

“The idea is simple. I shall ensure Lizzy focuses her attention on me; a demon shouldn’t resist corrupting an angel,”
Seren tried not to smile. She bet Jean was as angelic as Liz would be demonic. “I will get her to come along with me to an area more private, and then you will tear her to pieces. I’ll likely be under her spell by then, so I’ll be useless,” he said, waving a dismissive hand.

“And if we opt to go a different route?”

“Suit yourself, but this would be easy.”
He didn’t care how it was done. His charge was to get rid of Elizabeth. He was offering them an alternative. “So long as this is done quietly, I don’t care how you and the Bunny pull it off. What is he supposed to be?” He snickered again as he looked to Vastien, unable to help it.

“The White Rabbit. Do you read anything?”

“Nothing frivolous.”
He leaned forward, “How did she talk you into tha—” The carriage rocked violently as it came to a halt outside the Viscount’s manor. “Ah, nevermind. I don’t need to know.” The door was opened by Karna, but Jean didn’t accept the hand out. He leapt out, then offered his hand to help Seren.

She accepted it, against her better judgment. Her white gloves at least prevented her from actually touching him. She stepped gingerly out of the carriage and stepped away to leave Vastien room to escape the confinement. The white and red skirt swirled around her white boots as she turned for her demon, hand escaping Jean’s grasp. The skirt was horizontally striped, though the top didn’t mimic it. The sleeves barely covered her shoulders, and were white. A large red heart decorated the front.

The bag that hung off her shoulder by a red strap and, naturally, matched, for once was devoid of obvious weapons. Seren had a few select items, notably holy water, among her effects, but no gun, and no knife. She was leaving Liz to Vastien. She had other matters to look into. She had started to work out who Pollock might have meant.

“Ready, Vassy?”
Seren couldn't help the giggle.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #69 on: October 08, 2013, 06:14:20 pm »
Upon receiving his modified bunny suit, Vastien immediately noticed the changes Christopher had made. He stitched in some light blue elbow patches which went well with the suit's color scheme. There had been no window of opportunity to try on the suit at his shop since the day had passed faster than it should have. Christopher might have anticipated that and knew Vastien wouldn't be able to complain last minute. Under the pastel blue tuxedo, he wore an off-white dress shirt to match with the white ears and mask.

The tuxedo felt tighter than before, the new measurements made the light blue jacket bearhug his muscles and torso. Surprisingly, there was ample space to flex his arms a bit, but it was starting to look more like a muscle suit than anything. Making the best of it, Vastien shaved and touched up his beard. His long blond bangs were not present, instead he tied up the dirty blond locks in a neat ponytail. One last look at the mirror before they left and Vastien was mildly pleased at his adjustments.
'I look like a tall rabbit bodybuilder.' That was nothing to be proud of, Christopher always did something to the tail that made wag from side to side when he walked.

To make the trip even worse, Jean-Baptiste joined them in a ridiculous angel costume. There was nothing angelic about him and yet Vastien hated him equally as he did with angels. Seren's outfit was.. different but it was definitely better than his and Jean's. She looked normal while the two men looked like fools. Vastien literally had nothing witty to say to Jean since he was trapped in a bubble of shame with each person who saw him dressed as the White Rabbit.

To top it all off, Seren seemed to have fallen in love with Mercury's favorite nickname for Vastien. She just wouldn't let it go, Vastien made no effort to hide that the pet name irked him.

"You heard her, hop along Vassy." Karna joked, everyone was a damn comedian tonight. Vastien stepped out of the carriage and glared at him through the rabbit mask.
"Mind your tongue, boy. I smell that funny root on your breath, wouldn't want Lady Vesper to know you have a problem, am I correct?" Karna's grin was gone and worry replaced it, he nodded and returned to the carriage. Taunting the boss' servant was out of the question still. 

He joined Seren at her side upon entering the Viscount's estate and he knew the party would be filled with strangers. Masks concealing identities, only close friends would see past the disguises and luckily Vastien had none but Seren. Whatever people Seren associated herself with would probably herd her away for chit-chat and Vastien would not follow like some lost pup. Most humans who stared at him in the eyes too long tended to feel uneasy, the shallow ones anyway.

"Jean is a fool, once his 'charm' fails and he is a love slave to Elizabeth, he will be in danger. Shall I watch him? I don't like the idea of guarding that man but Elizabeth is the target and he is the bait. I'm not promising his safety, Seren." Vastien whispered to her as they were ushered in and the party was not filled yet. Several costumes stuck out, however Vastien would keep an eye out for a promiscuous demon hanging around Jean.

He didn't bring any weapons neither, the only weapons he would need would be his sharp and lethal claws. Easily concealed and can be very messy if he so chose.
'Subtle.' The word repeated in his mind over and over, it was a way to keep himself from getting creative once Elizabeth was in his range of attack. He had knack for creating works of art with his claws, the walls would be his canvas and her vampire blood would be the masterpiece. He would've been better bait than Jean, Vastien would not fall to Elizabeth's game by the batting of her eyelashes as Jean would. He shrugged the thought off since it was Jean's plan, so it was his funeral respectively.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #70 on: October 08, 2013, 06:14:44 pm »
“Uhhh…I don’t see your names on the guest list.” The porter compared the invitation to the long list of expected guests, the glanced up to the three stoic characters before him. Moot, Dress in a black suit with a black wolf mask, Velker, Dressed in a brown suit with a hunting Cap, Crop and bow, and finally Moran, Dressed in a prissy low cut dress of blood crimson with a matching red waist length cape and hooded cowl that hid all of her face except for her pointed chin and crimson lips framed by her golden hair. In her hands she held a wicker basket, filled with flowers.

“It was a late change, the Count Hester requested the viscount pass a invitation on to me,. I am a good friend of his and he wants me to make an acquaintance of the viscount.” Moran lied sweetly. Porter eyed her then quince as the two huge body guards stepped forward.

“Of course…” the Porter shook and offered her in. Moran gave a curt nod and walked into the mansion. It was crowded and upon her entry several stopped to eye the strange girl and her large companions. The red riding hood dress she wore would have been cute and sweetly innocent on a younger girl, but on Moran, the low cut skirt that showed pale sensual thighs, high black boots, and short sleeves that exposed lithe lean arms made her look provocatively sexual in nature. However, She radiated silent hate and rage in all directions, and rather than drawing the carnal attention of those around her many turned and furtively looked away with fear of her cold and bitter eyes.

Moriarty smiled as she saw her, amused how that dressed seemed so unnatural as she marched about in it like soldier going to war rather than a light spirited girl at a party. His amusement turned to chagrin as Moot and Velker, with a signal from Moran’s hand split part into different directions till they took up positions on far opposite sides of the room, forming a three pointed triangular guard formation with Moran that encircled the entire lobby and Moriarty in its center.  To anyone who was oblivious to Moriarty’s role it would appear the new comers would have just split part and began to mingle, but a careful eye could see that they always moved in unison, mingling and chatting among the crowds a great distance from him but always moving with him. Moran's over protective nature was obvious, Moriarty would have to avoid her at all cost less she made a motion or a subtle action that may give away the great Syndicate over lord.

Moran's cold eyes scanned the room, spotting the few agents that had come in earlier. They didn't know Moriarty, but upon seeing her they all casually, one by one, moved to intercept her and report. She made it easy for them, taking a almost stiffened post at the caters table, right next to where the trays full of champagne glasses was prepared. She took a glass and sipped it, It was good but she had better.  One agent came up to the table, empty glass in hand.

“Good Evening Ma’am” The dark hair agent approached and placed the glass on the table.

“Good evening” she nodded casually, trying to treat him as a casual stranger even though she had briefed him on his mission only hours earlier. “How is the party?”

“Blasé, not many really terrifying costumes, Ma’am." The man smiled, conveying his subtle report. “How are you enjoying it?”

“I expected a bit more, I saw a lot of owls outside. I worry about the mice in this place should they ever spot one.” Moran replied with her own message, that snipers surrounded the estate and if a agent saw a enemy they should lead them to a window and give the subtle hand single to the snipers to have the enemy executed. It was a tactic they often used to deal with high profile targets that had keen body guards, assassinate them with in the safety of their own homes. In the noise and crowds of the party few would notice the killing and even fewer would know how it was done until too late.

The agent nodded, took a filled glass, and moved back among the crowds. Moran turned back to Moriarty then glanced away, she shouldn't look directly at him. People would wonder why and might suspect his importance. Instead she turned away and taking her glass she stared into the reflection of the crowds around her. She had to be careful too, many among these revelers, if they got a good look at her face would know who she was. That perhaps the most vicious gangster in all of London stalked among them, her motives and desire unknown. The effect would spoil Moriarty‘s observations as well as her own as people would quickly leave the party for fear that violence would break out. She pulled her cowl down lower over her eyes, then casually sipped her champagne.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #71 on: October 08, 2013, 06:16:42 pm »
The Lady Vesper smiled at Vastien’s comment as they walked towards the door. It seemed he wanted to play by Jean’s rules. ‘Interesting.’ She was not sure she approved. “So long as Jean-Baptiste lives, and is not crippled, you may help as little as you like. However, Her Majesty will hold me responsible if anything should happen to the Angel. Keep that in mind, and that you are human.” She cast him a side glance, hoping that sunk in.

There was little time to truly tell, once they were through the double doors. Jean-Baptiste waited, acting the role as her escort. That was the story he’d spun with Viscount Trepe, after all.
“My lady,” he offered his arm, and Seren took it, playing her role. It seemed she would have an angel to deal with for the day.

‘The demon is far better company.’ She wondered if all those feathers might have come from the same source as the feather that made the portal.

“Vastien, mingle as you like,”
Seren said. He would know that meant to keep watch on the situation, “Try not to cause any problems.”

Jean-Baptiste merely smiled, then motioned out,
“Isn’t that Marquess Kerr?” Seren and Jean-Baptiste were both perceptive individuals, and they were among a crowd of so-called friends. Nobles. Already, Seren realized how easy it was to identify others despite the masks. She swore she even saw Moran, though the outfit threw her off. The hood kept Seren from truly identifying if it was her.

Seren followed where he motioned, and her smile became Cheshire. Jealousy might have been the expected emotion, given the man seemed to be chatting up the seductive demon, but Seren was not jealous. Were it not for vampiric charm, she might have even been glad that her betrothed was looking at other women. After all, she’d decided they would not be wed. She wouldn’t confess that for the shame it would bring on both of them, and the care she still had for the man, but she kept delaying their marriage. It would do her no good to marry him when she was as good as dead.
“So it is.” With their target. The Viscount had not made himself known, so Seren had no one else to see at present. From the Viscount, she'd find out who Pollock's 'friend' was.“You are interested in the Lady Bennington, are you not? I’m sure my fiancé could introduce you.”

“Wonderful then,”
Jean-Baptiste almost laughed, and led them over.

Seren was quite pleased with the situation herself. It gave her an excuse to offer her farewells to Lady Bennington. She had been one of those nobles who turned up after Seren had been granted special liberties by the Queen. The Countess had been quite curious about how Seren had procured such things, and left empty-handed.

A chuckle escaped her fiancé as he was unaware of the approach,
“Well, Lizzy,” ah, being so informal, “My business is not as difficult as you think. I could easily teach you—”

“But whatever would your betrothed think of that, when you haven’t even taught her the ropes?”

“Well, my betro—Seren!”
The man practically jumped out of his skin. Jean-Baptiste released her, smirking at the poor lord. “I did not know you were coming.”

“Clearly, Anthony,”
she smiled, her anger revealing itself as false, though Marquess Kerr looked guilty. Seren didn’t mind, and did not even show jealousy towards Elizabeth as she flashed the woman a smile, “Lady Bennington, it has been an age since you darkened my doorstep. I think last time you had shown interest in my confectionery business, too, no?” She spoke as if it were common for the woman to have an interest in how people earned their living. If Seren recalled correctly, the Lady Bennington couldn’t believe the Queen’s favor could be shown on someone who merely owned a confectionery company, or some nonsense like that. 

“No matter,” she waved off reflection, “It is good to see you well, and well enough to attract the attention of my dear friend, Lord Chinal. He dragged me over here, insisting I introduce the two of you, as if I knew you,” she chuckled at the thought she might know such a woman well, then turned to Anthony, “Do you know her well?”

“Not well,”
he narrowed his dark eyes on Jean. He really didn’t care for the close relationship Jean and Seren seemed to have, nor the way Jean usually rubbed it in his face with tidbits about Seren’s life that Anthony was not privy to. Of course, Raphael did that as well. He did wonder if Seren wasn’t putting him off because she was seeing other men. He was also a touch annoyed that Seren did not appear jealous in the least.

"Ah, I did not realize it was you, Countess,"
Jean smiled, years of experience making the lie easy, "Red suits you, my dear." Jean-Baptiste did, of course, know of Elizabeth. They had met in passing a time or two, but he had not known her well. Otherwise, he might have caught on to her unusual nature sooner, but no matter. This was working out well enough. Even if the Lady Bennington kept her attentions on Kerr, he was decent bait, perhaps better—it would make the matter personal with Seren.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #72 on: October 08, 2013, 06:18:21 pm »
As Jean dragged Seren into the crowd of socialites, his eyes fell upon the promiscuous demon and her depiction of a female demon was all wrong. Her inaccuracy shouldn't have pestered him, but he already had a burning hatred towards bloodsuckers. He moved over towards the bar area, even the bartender wore a mask to maintain the theme of the event. If he was going to tolerate these humans, he would need some hard liquor in him. This night he'd regulate his drinking, all Vastien wanted was a good buzz before getting down to business.

Those who stopped at the bar counter for a refill or for another drink admired his costume and were touchier than they should've been. Women who already had more than a few drinks in them kept going for his bunny ears or for his arms which looked like they were going to rip through the suit. Vastien sipped from the large glass of Brandy, not finding much entertainment at the party. This early in the party and the 'watering hole' had become crowded suddenly, Vastien drifted away from the bar and inadvertently towards a man dressed in a pharaoh's costume.

He glanced over at the man a few times, his eyes scanned the room, however his sight was primarily fixated on Elizabeth and Jean. There was no cue on when to strike, Jean's resistance would be easily shattered by Elizabeth's irresistible vampiric charm so he had to be on his toes.
"Some party, huh? Everyone's already getting drunk and Viscount Raphael has yet to dazzle us with his presence," No sarcasm was spared, Vastien even chuckled to himself since he made no attempt to conceal his distaste for the Viscount. "I wonder when the big queen will show up anyway, I can only imagine how dramatic his costume will be."

'Not someone I've seen before.' Maybe it was the liquor loosening him up, but the Ramses fellow could've been any one of the Viscount's acquaintances. More importantly, he didn't seem to be in one of Seren's inner circles so Vastien didn't mind speaking his piece out loud. Vastien would hang around until the moment arrived that he'd have to get his suit bloody.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #73 on: October 08, 2013, 06:18:50 pm »
Moriarty studied the incoming group carefully as he had done with all previous others. While he didn’t detect any pronounced surprise among them he could see that they were a alert and keen group. Their costumes where well where elaborate but not as ostentatious as some, yet they were strange enough to distract his attention from their faces. It took a minute before moriarty felt a heated excitement shoot through him as he recognized one of the three.

Seren Vesper. Moriarty had never met her personally, nor had he ever seen her at a distance or in pictures.  Moran had always given detailed descriptions of her hated rival yet it wasn’t that either. It was simply that one predator could easily recognized another in this crowd of sheep. It was the way Seren carried herself, the way she moved through the crowds and studied them with hungry disdainful eyes, it was the innate confident nature of beast among prey.

Moriarty watch in silent study as they moved, live wolves, towards Liz, setting in among her and the man he conversed with. What was their interest in her? Moriarty could feel a eager, almost gitty excitement of finally seeing something that piqued his attention all night. He, almost without thinking, began to move through the crowds towards the clustered group almost leaving Miss Porter behind in his desire to finally test the rouge guild leader. Was the child as wise as the father? He many times had gotten close to Moriarty’s true identity, but never found him out. None the less the syndicate didn't truly grow in power until after the removal of the powerful Vesper patriarch, who Moriarty had always considered his greatest rival.  And in him that old  rivalry burned again, he wanted to test her, to talk to her, pick her mind, find her weakness and strengths. He knew her in a logical sense, her actions and motives, just like any human, but ones personality held so much finer details. He could only get a taste, and idea, of how she thought, her beliefs, her essence. To know his enemy as they know themselves.

Moran shook with unease as she saw Moriarty start to slide his way through the crowds, then as she saw him making a B-line towards Seren and her lackey she nearly dropped her champagne in horror. His actions shocked her, of all the people he should avoid Seren was at the top of the list. At first she wanted to move to intercept him, but hesitated when she realized that would be even more disastrous. Instead she moved along the wall, keeping her distance as she moved to the higher ground of the halls upper balcony, giving her a better view of the entire hall. From here she was far enough away to not look suspicious, but if she had to, she could act quickly if Moriarty was in danger. She brushed her hands to her hip, feeling the solid metal of her heavy pistols strapped to her legs under the skimpy skirt.  She locked eyes with Moot and Valker below, and with a flutter of her hands she communicated to them to move. They followed at a wide arch to Moriarty movements, far enough not to be noticed, but close enough to intercept  him if he was attacked. From here she would just need to create a distraction long enough for avert Seren and the lackey’s eyes for Moot and Velker to jump in should they attack her master.

“My Dear you must tell me what keeps you so busy these days.” Liz playfully teased Anthony. “What foul work hides your sweet presence from me so often.”

“Well, Lizzy” He started but his words fell on deaf ears as Liz’s focus raised to the approaching trio as they walked up behind Anthony. She instantly recognized Seren beneath her strange and elaborate costume, but it was the young man who escorted her that drew her hungry eyes. She eyed the lean cut of his frame, the calm eyes and well carved face and she felt the deep carnal urges shiver through her as she laid eyes on his neck. She could feel the natural elements of her nature come to life, the dormant super natural charms starting to rise and take effect as the primal instincts began to take over. It radiated outward to the man, making his senses see her with more intensity, her curves more voluptuous, her movements more sensual, her words more enticing.

“Lady Bennington,” Liz’s fixation snapped as she glanced back to Seren and a rapidly reddening Antony. “It has been an age since you darkened my doorstep. I think last time you had shown interest in my confectionery business, too, no?”

“Of course!” Liz raise up her hands in a false exaggerated pleasure. “I will confess, My Dear Candy connoisseur, I have a immense weakness for sweetness.” The false gaiety faded as Liz raised her mask to revel her devilish smile. “and I can see by your costume that your are expanding into the Carnival, Yes? My how you must love those children.”

“No matter,” The insult had been sharp and deep, and Liz couldn't believe Seren seemed to brush it off without a care. This unnerved her a bit, she had expected a rise out of her with that one. Liz was about to interrupt and try another verbal jab at Seren but instantly halted when Seren shifted to introduce her escort.

“Lord…Chinal? Hummm…” She put her finger to her lips and eyed the man as Seren turned back to Anthony, there was something familiar about that name. Then it came to her, he was that strange noble man, the one that was rumored to dabbled in the Dark Arts. She had always had better pursuits whenever she had crossed his path, but now she couldn't see a more ripe fruit for picking. “Ahhhhhh!” she gave a sweet lascivious smile as she played up her realization. “The Mysterious Lord Chinal, Jean-Baptiste.” She moved to him, her charm radiating in her quick sharp shuffle that brought her face to face with him.

“Ah, I did not realize it was you, countess. Red suits you, my dear.” Liz let out a amused childlike lilting laugh.

“Oh? You are sycophant after my own heart, Lord Chinal, Bad policy for an Angel to play such with a Demon, Humm?” She spoke with her true nature, a warm, smooth and velvety voice rich in sensual tones that seeped into the mind like sweet honey and churned desires of her victims. She drew closer, till her eyes peered at him only inches from his face, Her red hypnotic gaze pouring into his. She licked her lips, slight and sublet then spoke again in soft hushed whispers. “Was it Milton that wrote, ‘Fallen cherub, to be weak is miserable, doing or suffering, but of this be sure, To do aught good never will be our task, but ever to do ill our sole delight?’” She finished with another coy and suggestive smile. “So my Sweet Sycophant, do your weak miseries and sufferings desire my ill delights?”

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #74 on: October 08, 2013, 06:19:44 pm »
Seren could tell the woman thought her insult worthy of praise. Were she not required to be polite, she wouldn’t have been. ‘Who says I need to be polite?’ She would never see Lady Bennington again.

Seren knew Jean-Baptiste had never read Milton. It was with some delight that she watched his expression, even as he was falling under the woman’s spell, struggle for recognition.
‘Perhaps you should read more books.’

Even so, Jean-Baptiste knew well he wouldn’t admit that then. The quote required no knowledge.
“You have always been forward, Miss Bennington.” She was too close, and he wasn’t sure if his mind had already slipped, or if a part of him had always wanted the woman. He didn’t think to look away or acknowledge that others had once been a part of the conversation. The Queen’s orders were nearly forgotten. “Too forward for any polite lady,” he had expected to want to resist, but there was no desire for that, only a desire to have her as captivated as he was. His voice dropped to match her hushed whisper, lowered with his smile, “But they've never been my type. I do desire you, I have for a while, but certainly you understand I cannot be so overt as you.” A tilt of the chin up, a play on his usual smugness. He could see Seren again and he wanted to hit himself, finding the spell briefly broken as he remembered others existed in the world.

He had gotten himself in deep. He wouldn’t deny it, couldn’t, as he found those hypnotizing orbs of Liz. “Should an angel not try to save all, particularly those who still radiate with hints of their former glory, O Archfiend?”

Seren could barely contain her laughter as she watched Jean slip in and out of Liz’s control. ‘Poor boy.’ He looked like an idiot to her, but Anthony dared not speak to interrupt her observation. The smile on her lips was full of mirth.
“I don’t think angels waste their time on such simple and easy demons,” Seren commented, planning her own leave. This would be easy from here. “But who am I to advise you, Baptiste? The scales have already been weighed.” She need not quote Milton directly to get her point across.

And the scales were in her favor as well. Lord Trepe had finally arrived, and there was a fuss from the musicians as he appeared on the stairs down into the party. He seemed to have decided on being quite simple, a white suit, trim and fitted. The oddity of it as the white tails of the coat were made into white peacock feathers, some color for flavor, purples and blues. His mask followed the peacock design.

Seren sought Vastien in the crowd to see if he’d be laughing at the display. He was near some pharaoh character that intrigued her. He was not one of these nobles, nor was he someone she’d met, but he had an energy about him that caused a similar recognition. Predator and predator. A snake, at that.
‘Snakes for hair, hm?’ And black hands. She didn’t know this man, which made it all the more interesting. When his eyes fell on her, she gave him a knowing smile before redirecting her attention quickly, as if to hide the fact she’d seen this figure amidst the crowd. “Lady Bennington,” no, she would not break formality, “It was a pleasure seeing you. Do have something sweet before you depart,” ‘this plane of existence,’ “I know how you enjoy those candies, and Trepe, too, is a fan. I need to thank him.” Seren recognized her gourmet line on the table of goodies, laid out as if they were home-cooked goods.

With that, she offered something of a curtsy as a final farewell. She turned to Anthony,
“I need to greet the viscount. Enjoy your evening.”

The look he gave her suggested she’d ruined all possibility of that. Perhaps he should be angry at the angel, but he sensed a plot. He didn’t know what it was, but right now he imagined it was to make his life miserable.
‘Isn’t that to wait until marriage?’ “I’ll see you later?”

“Of course,”
she agreed, before taking her leave of him, watching as he walked off to join another group of lords, all too aware his time with Liz was done.

Seren had no issues walking right by Ramses and her bunny. She gave no look to the pharaoh, but did glance up to Vastien. No words about his command needed to be spoken. She had left Jean-Baptiste. It was his turn to keep a close watch on the man’s situation.

It was always amusing seeing how the Viscount was surrounded by so many Lords and Ladies so quickly. The Lords wanted his favor, the Ladies, his hand. When he saw her approaching, though, he dispersed them so quickly and walked to her.
“The Queen of Hearts,” he chuckled, “Whatever would Victoria say?”

“Oh, I’d be beheaded,”
Seren ran with it, “She must have every heart in England.”

“Well,” the Viscount took her gloved hand, “Perhaps for one night Victoria wouldn’t mind all of them being stolen by her little star. One dance, m’lady?”

“I suppose a white peacock is better than a white rabbit. You do look handsome tonight, Viscount,”
Seren easily accepted and let the Viscount lead her to where those who wanted to dance had ended up, closer to the musicians. She ignored the jealous looks of some of the noble ladies who the Viscount had dismissed, “I need to thank you for serving some of my wares here—I recognized the fudges and barks.”

“But of course,”
he moved them gracefully into position, hand finding the small of her back as his other hand kept hers captive, “It is better than anything my chefs can do with chocolate, and those barks are to die for. I don’t know how you keep coming up with these ideas.”

And wanting something different herself. That’s how she ended up with the caramel and peanut chocolate bar that was such a success. That had also been part of her success—her father only made ‘gourmet’ candies. Seren expanded to make candy for the general public.

“That does remind me, there is going to be a baking contest. You would be an excellent judge.”

“I doubt I’d have the time,”
she chuckled, “And I bet all the judges are picked.”

“Of course,”
he smiled, “I’m one of them. They know I have an immaculate palate.”

“It is true,”
she agreed, then let her expression shift to worried, “Oh, I almost forgot, Pollock wanted me to tell you he would not arrive. He’s come down with a serious illness.”

“Oh? I didn’t realize you two were close,”
he said, frowned, “He’s not what I’d call savory company.” Seren wondered how many of his guests the Viscount actually liked.

“Well, he promised to introduce me to a guest of yours.”

“Oh? Who is it? Certainly I could do the honors.”

‘Helpful as ever.’ “Oh, his name was Mori, um….” She frowned as if the name were difficult to say, rather than the truth that she didn’t know the rest.

“Professor Moriarty?”
He asked, “Yes, it is an unusual name, though he comes from Africa,” as if that explained it.

Logic deduced by the location alone that this was likely who she was looking for.
“Yes! Oh, would you please introduce me?” She asked as they turned.

“Of course. The man is good, an excellent teacher. It’s amazing the sorts you get from the dark continent. I’ve never met another with his intellect—you’d swear he was born here, or even one of us, were it not for his skin.”
It was amazing how the Viscount never realized how offensive he could be. “But what interest do you have, my star?”

“A game,”
Seren answered easily, “Pollock informed me of a numbers game Moriarty was creating, and you know how I am.”

The Viscount chuckled in understanding,
“Children love their games,” it didn’t fit as well anymore, but she had used it after the demise of her family to explain how she operated the company. She pretended it was a game, and Seren simply loved to win.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #75 on: October 08, 2013, 06:20:32 pm »
'Second, no third. This will be my fourth.' Vastien was contemplating how many glasses he'd had already and only a slight buzz was hitting him. Vastien could easily out drink any of the humans in the masquerade and the tilting of the room didn't begin until he wanted to move from his spot. As Seren walked past him and the pharaoh fellow, he made no notion of acknowledging her. Vastien could distinguish Seren from anyone in the ball with a quick glance and nothing more. The fact that she abandoned Jean meant that Elizabeth's doom was imminent.

"Excuse me, your majesty." Vastien said to the pharaoh, chuckling out loud. Alcohol was the only thing that made Vastien good company and not a bitter sourpuss. He lost himself in the crowd and while he wasn't planning on dancing, he still moved through the dance floor. He noticed Seren and the Viscount dancing which annoyed Vastien, but the rabbit mask he wore had a positive disposition and looked like it was happy.

Instead of dancing, she could be gathering information on the Syndicate's leader or getting actual work done. Well, at least one of them would be doing something useful. Even the most intimate of dances could lose their focus from gazing at the tall, muscular rabbit that leisurely strolled through the dance floor and in Jean's direction. If he lost sight of him, the objective could result in a disaster. It was clear Seren did not want Baptiste to be fed on, although Vastien was curious what Elizabeth did with her victims after she was done with them.

He crossed over back into the mingling crowd of guests, closer to the hunter and the hunted. He spotted Moran as well dressed in a not so usual get-up, she would have appeared attractive if Vastien didn't already know her disgusting personality. With all the corruption, he didn't put it past the Viscount to have some sort of ties with the Syndicate, possibly explaining Moran's invitation to the masquerade. However, she hardly seemed the type to get up and dance.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #76 on: October 08, 2013, 06:21:58 pm »
It was rather convenient that as the music came to its end, the Viscount noticed the approach. He laughed, then leaned forward to whisper, “Your interest has noticed us.” He cupped his hand near her ear as if that would prevent it from being heard by others.

Seren turned her attention the way Raphael was looking, and tried not to smile. Her game had just begun. Funny, she’d expected the Queen to make a move long before the King.
“Who is his companion?”

“Miss Porter,”
she heard a sigh. It was not one she needed to inquire about. It meant he considered her competent, but boring, and likely had a couple of other complaints, but no reason to fire her.

The Viscount straightened and walked them away from the dancers, closing the gap between Miss Porter and Moriarty. Raphael smiled to the two, easily shaking off any ill feelings for the woman. He shook Moriarty’s hand,
“You’re quite welcome,” he answered. He was no doubt pleased that an asteroid would be named Trepe, even if he’d prefer a star.

When he reached a hand for Seren, it was too easy for her to slip into the expected role. Her countenance was that of a young woman who hadn’t quite shaken off everything of childhood. The delight in her smile and eyes suggested she’d be easily excitable. Her grip, however, told no lies in its firm nature as she accepted.

She knew better than to introduce herself with Raphael around.
“This is the Countess of Essex, Seren Vesper, a long time friend. She’s been running the Polaris candy company for, is it five years now?” Seren’s hand released Moriarty’s own.

“It is,”
she agreed.

“Yes, and I hear it’s been doing better under her guidance,”
he chuckled, perhaps realizing he was saying too much. “Seren, these are two of the teacher’s at the university. That is Ms. Porter, a history teacher. Her area, as I'm sure you can guess, is Egypt.”

Seren smiled, not offering her hand to the woman. She was of no concern.

“And this is James Moriarty, the man you were looking for.”
Seren’s face lit up and she brought her hands together, as if she hadn’t already known it was Moriarty.

“Moriarty, Professor,”
added as she spoke in haste, green eyes all but glowing behind the mask, “Lord Pollock told me you’d made a game I would be interested in. It sounded a bit like ‘Bingo’—B-25—but Pollock can’t explain things to save his life,” oh, this was too much fun. “I would be very grateful if you could tell me more about it.” She had no problem revealing some of her hand here.

The Viscount seemed amused, smile on his face as she saw her excitement over a game,
“I’ve always told her she should get into the toy industry,” he noted.

Elsewhere, Jean-Baptiste did indeed blush under her words, finding himself incapable of not blushing. It was partially from embarrassment as she spoke of him being a prude.

He smiled,
“Perhaps for a night, My Demon, but we shall just have to see. I may be called away to more holy duties.” He doubted it, but it wasn’t a lie. He took her arm as she suggested they move to acquire champagne. She was cold, but he expected that, a brief and shocking reminder of her nature, “Let us hope the Viscount has not gotten some absolute rubbish.” He recognized Vastien near the tray of champagne. His lips twitched, wanting to smile and frown at once‘Alcoholic.’and yet he was a bunny, which was still hilarious.

Jean-Baptiste took a drink for Liz, and then one for himself, which he sipped on. His palate was able to discern that it wasn’t the worst drink, anyway.
“Well, he didn’t outdo himself,” and then he let his attentions return to Liz, “What nefarious games did you have in mind, Liz?” He showed curiosity, but tried to suggest he might reject them. He knew he couldn’t be doing a good job, since he felt no desire to reject any idea that might come from her lips.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #77 on: October 08, 2013, 06:22:48 pm »
“My games? Mmmm?” Liz smiled, lightly sipped her drink and stared at him with mischievous eyes. “I am always playing games. Life is a game and I hear you play strange games Lord Chinal.” She warmed again and closed the distance between their faces, letting her hypnotic air pour into him again. “I want to play your games…” Suddenly the band started up again and the familiar intro of the tune rang delight into Liz’s eyes. “Oh yes,” her eyes rolled in elation. “Bizet’s Carman…” She almost drooled and snatching up Jeans hand she pulled him back on to the dance floor. “We Must Dance…” she said it with the finality that meant it wasn’t a request and she pulled him to her in the stance of a Tango. “Yes,” she smiled to him devilishly “Have you ever danced with a demon in the pale moonlight my dear?”


“…James Moriarty, the man you were looking for.” The moment the Viscount introduced Seren, Moriarty realized that she knew him far more then he had ever suspected. His face was the presently curious and peering nature of a interested old man but his eyes glazed over as his mind lurched into a massive calculating pattern of thought. His mind instantly began to develop a formula to calculate the most prominent question. How? Pollock. Bingo. B-25. Answers. She has found out recently, not enough data on the codex to out maneuver me and obtain it herself. Pollock, informed on him? But how? We watched him so carefully, he never came into contact with Seren. Postulation, An Associate, a mutual ally? The Detective? Or another? Maybe she was the one to ambush him. No, Moran would have known. She obviously was a unseen ally of the detective, he must have passed my identity and some fragments of the Codex into her hands before we assassinated him. But why Pollock? She knows him, but not intimately. The wave of though rushed through him but it had only taken place of a few heartbeats. He blinked, his curious pleasant mask unmoved.

“Hummmm….Pollock?” Moriarty scratched his head in confusion, playing up his own baited role. “I know there is a Pollock at the Club I frequent…The Broken Spade. But I can’t stay I know him well personally, only a game or two at the Roulette table…Is that what you mean? I once discussed with him the statistical chances of success of the game and that it is theoretically possible to win consecutively if one could throw the ball at the same time into the same spot as the wheel spins at the same speed. If the motion of the ball and Wheel are identical, and you eliminate the distracting variables then one can always get the same result.” Moriarty smiled. “We got into talk because he said the game could not be beaten, and I explained that anything can be beaten when you remove the variables that obstruct one from success.”


Moran cursed as she saw Moriarty and Seren meet. She was too far to hear what was said but the deadly demeanor of Moriarty in a state of confrontation was too familiar to her.  He must have come across something of critical interest. Moran studied Seren for any hints of a threatening intent, but she couldn’t pierce the playful vale that was so unlike the cold and dainty manner which she usually sported. That unnerved Moran, and she quickly began glancing about for the other factor that made Seren so dangerous. The lackey. She spotted him out of the sea of people, like a giant shark passing through the parting school of fish that made up the dance floor, His eyes fixed on the red dressed woman and the man who Seren had entered with earlier.  Moran raised a curious eye brow. Why is he watching them? There was something here, something going on that was part of Seren’s operations.

Moran smiled. Perhaps it was her turn to mettle in the Vesper guilds affairs and make a few bloody mistakes. As Moran watched Vastien turn in her direction, and she quickly looked away to avert her attention to Moot who stood at the far end of the room, moodily eyeing the party goers. Yes, Vastien was the real danger, she didn't know what he was, but he was Seren’s dirty worker, and if she wanted to make a move on Moriarty she would need his help. If Moran could neutralize him, Moriarty, Moot, and Velker could handle Seren if she made an out right attack. And it was more then time for her and him to have a chat about the present he had left at the Whitechapel Brothel.

She slid down into the crowds and mingled around a bit till she found the acrid ashy stench of the man, following it to the broad back and the huge pair of floppy bunny ears that looped about awkwardly on his head as he moved. She could never mistake that smell, to anyone else it might seem lightly sulfuric but to her fine nose it was like oily burn charcoal and it reminded her of freshly burning corpses. She could follow it through the London fog from Westminster to Woolwich it was so distinct to her.  With a deliberate gesture she reached out and lightly shoved Vastien’s back with one hand, upsetting his glass. As he turned to lock eyes with her she drew close, meeting him face to face.

“My apologies.” She cocked her head and smiled up at him, then with a flick of her wrist she drew out one of her enormous pistols from its hip holster under her skirt and pressed it into his waist. If it weren't for her cape to hide the gesture and the gun the entire floor would have probably cleared out at the sight of the weapon. In the moment of the stillness between the confrontation the band began to play again and people returned to the floor, Liz and Jean among them. “Do you want to dance?” Moran smiled meekly then cocked her pistol to fire. “I do not take rejection very well.”

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #78 on: October 08, 2013, 06:23:43 pm »
Vastien liked the intense kick the alcohol gave his senses and his gaze shifted between the two important parties, Seren/the Viscount and Jean/Elizabeth. Each required his attention separately and all he could really do for the time being was watch. Tedious as it was, the demon understood how critical it was to keep a sharp eye out for Seren's safety and unfortunately Baptiste's as well.

'Eh, why deny Liz a little bite? She's working so hard.' He smirked at the thought, Seren would not let him live it down if Vastien didn't prevent harm coming to Jean, it was easily avoidable. His attention returned to Seren and the Viscount, they had stopped dancing and were off the dance floor. His height allowed him to look over most of the guests' heads and have a good view at his charge. They appeared to be conversing with the pharaoh fellow from before and a Cleopatra and he couldn't quite put a finger on what was happening.

 From the looks of it, everyone was having a good time.. everyone besides him. Jean guzzling down alcohol only made Elizabeth's influence stronger however had yet to see the man intoxicated. Would it even be a challenge for Liz anymore?

He felt the push on his back, some of the brandy splashed onto his the suit, but he wasn't upset with the ridiculous outfit being ruined. The woman who shoved him had her gaze predetermined and Vastien was locked in right away, Moran? The apology was as fake as his human identity and Vastien smirked, the alcohol in his system clouding his judgement and inflating his confidence. His claws were beginning to come forward but ceased when he felt the steel on his waist. Fast.. she was very fast. Normally, in this situation, he'd take the risk and try to disarm her but would she really open fire in the middle of a masquerade?

While it wouldn't kill him, it would be a really annoying and stinging pain at such close of a range. With one hand Vastien removed the rabbit mask and it dangled from his wrist with the string that held it to his face. The look on his face went from confident to borderline maniacal for a moment, his free hand moved down to lightly touch her wrist.

"If you wanted to dance with me Moran, you didn't need this. You may want to aim where it matters however," If she didn't snatch her hand away, he would use the free hand to lower her the weapon down to what most human men consider their favorite organ. All this was to show her that he was not intimidated by her gesture, but he'd bite. It was better than just standing around. The music was loud and couples rejoined the dance floor happily, possibly filled with elation and passion, such would not be the case with Moran and Vastien.  He finished the glass of brandy and tossed the glass down, crushing the big shards of glass with his shoes. "Shall we?" He finally asked, offering his hand for her to take and be led onto the dance floor.

Vastien had spent plenty of time watching the humans dance and it didn't look that difficult to replicate. Even contemplating the dancing had to be the alcohol's doing, hopefully he wouldn't make that big of a fool of himself.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #79 on: October 08, 2013, 06:24:15 pm »
Moran saw for a brief moment the clawed hand before it faded as Vastien leveled it to her waist and a glitter of delighted excitement rose up in her eyes. I knew it. but what is he. She studied him coyly without moving as he loomed over her. She had heard the rumors and seen of the bloody scenes Seren's lackey had left in his quake, and she wonder how strong he really was. A deep and predatory urge rose up in her, the desire to pit her vicious nature against his, to find out whether he was prey or predator. She stifled for a moment to repress the whispers in her mind.

"Shall we?" he offered his hand and it took a moment for her to shake of the urges before she could respond.

"Of course, I wouldn't want to bore you now, we both know where that leads don't we." Moran chuckled at the sight and with a swift and well practiced motion she pulled her gun back, rolled it and sunk it back into it's holster at her side and padded her skirt back over it. She took Vastiens hand and lead him to the floor.

Almost Immediately it became painfully obvious that Moran was not a dancer. She wore too left feet and they were both backwards and could not waltz to save her own life. She tripped over her toes, kicked Vastien's shins, pulled and pushed with poor grace and even once stepped on the heel of a nearby dancer who was quick to curtly accuse her of drunkenness. Moran's embarrassed rage almost instantly over came her, and her dancing slowed to a cumbersome sway as she tried to repress the urge to throw her partner off and blast the face of the offending dancer.  She shifted her thoughts to Vastien and Moriarty and the reason she had come to this accursed party. She calmed slightly when she realized the trouble that would arise if she acted so rashly and quickly she focused on the task at hand.

"We got your message…" Moran finally spoke. "do you know how hard it is to calm down a pack of whores? Or the loss of business when random heads appear on door steps?" Her voice was angry and accusing. "After my first warning I thought you would have gotten the clue, I just petitioned the board to have you two trouble makers exterminated. Do you care to explain yourself?"

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #80 on: October 08, 2013, 06:25:47 pm »
The champagne was downed, more because Jean-Baptiste felt the sudden need when the woman mentioned wanting to play his games. His head swam for a moment as the alcohol took its effect for the suddenness, before lightening up, “Trust me, ma cherie, you do not wish to play my games,” even that was likely saying too much about his games, or perhaps simply confirming they were not people friendly, as those who heard the rumors of his other activities often repeated.

‘Not that you would ever be acceptable.’
[/i]No, so far as living beings went, there was only one who had been nurtured into the perfect soul that Jean-Baptiste knew of, the Cerberus to the Underworld.

He was suddenly grabbed and pulled towards floor. He laughed openly at her enthusiasm, not just a snicker or a smile. He was trained in the art of dance, practically a requirement for someone of his nobility, so he fell into the proper stance of the tango easily, and smirked,
“Once before, my dear, before that demon was a demon.” He took the lead for the dance, half-thinking that wouldn’t last long with her nature, but he’d relinquish the reins if it came to that.

He happened to notice the bunny man come dancing with red riding hood, but he was only confused by it, rather than amused. Perhaps it was simply his knowledge of Vastien, but even he doubted the man would be persuaded to dance unless there was a very good reason.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #81 on: October 08, 2013, 06:27:03 pm »
He noticed the sudden excitement on her face, Vastien only arched an eyebrow at her new expression but humans were strange after all. As he led her onto the dance floor, he tried to imitate one of the more seasoned dance couples and tried to twirl her over to him. He expected a rare grace, some hidden finesse that would shock everyone, but alas the Red Riding Hood had no rhythm in her step, no wonder she was eaten by the wolf. He couldn't suppress his amusement at how she almost tripped, covering his mouth with his hand. 'Ha, I'm so getting shot tonight.'

He welcomed such a threat, her clumsy dancing would not be an easily forgotten memory. The dancer whom she stepped on ruined his mood, it was not that big of a deal and he had similar intentions of harm aimed at the offended dancer. He returned to the original Waltz position and proceeded more slowly, apparently being flashy wouldn't work well with Moran's dance equilibrium. Everything had to be a damn interrogation with her.

"Well I thought I'd help the girls by allowing them to earn a police reward, perhaps? Even potential clients? If anything, a great business opportunity wasted," He added sarcastically, there were several mistakes on Vastien's part but he eventually learned a simple rhythm and stuck to that. "They've been taken care of, we did you a favor. Ask Seren yourself, perhaps the Viscount will allow you to cut in." He stopped being cute and returned to his regular, uncaring tone. He'd been hoping that after the Rippers had been taken of, they would have some peace from the Syndicate for a little while.

Eye contact with the demon was never a good idea, even though Moran would not fall for Vastien's optical theatrics, even something inferior should get through with prolonged gaze.
"Be ready this time. I've never done this before." He whispered when he brought her to his chest for a moment towards the end of the song, shifting his leading foot forward and lightly bringing his weight down on her to dip her body down. Luckily, she wasn't heavy and he could support her weight with one hand if she went along with the dip.

He looked to the offended dancer from before and gave them both a smirk since they were definitely staring. Clumsy at first, at least Moran's dance wasn't as boring and stale as the other couple's. Envy was such a nice spectacle to witness, their insecurities went wild with the little demonstration. Even Vastien was impressed with himself, actually pulling off an alright dance.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #82 on: October 08, 2013, 06:31:23 pm »
Liz didn’t quite understand Jeans words, the music had carried her off. It always had that effect on her, how it pulled her spirit, tossed it into the waves of that unnatural element that born her. She hummed to it, lilted to it, allowed it to enter her and become a part of her. Her hypnotic effect came and went, waxed and waned in it, pulling and pushing on the hearts and eyes around her.  She let Jean lead, pushed upon him to peruse her, and take her in the dance. She knew what he would start to feel, that urge to possess, to control, to obey.  He lead the dance…but she lead his lusts.

The tune rose, the pace quickened till she and him were a swirling mass of red on gray echoed by swift feet and hot breaths. She moved quicker, he caught up, held the paced and she moved even more quickly. She laughed at the game, relishing it, thriving in the rush with sensual glee.

When the music slowed and  it seemed to suddenly stop to Liz, she basked in the radiant silence as Jean held her in pose, their bodies tightly pressed in the final embrace. Her natural effect on men was strongest when she was exhilarated, and she could feel the throbbing heat of Jean’s hot breath on her as he was consumed by her sensual aura. She had him.

“Hummm?” she lilted with a amused smile and stared up into Jeans eyes, intensifying her natural effect. “Perhaps we should have a more privet dance…else where.”


Moran glared at Vastien with annoyed confusion. What was he going on about. Coppers? Rewards? Clients? Had she missed something in the last few days? Her mind rechecked any recent events, anything that might point to some hidden motion by the vespers. There had only been another ripper killing in a hotel. Right, but the victims were more curious then before…porter…doctor…maybe. It was clear the lackey wasn't going to spill anything of detail.

“Perhaps I will.” Moran hissed as Vastien suggested she speak with Seren.

“Be ready this time. I’ve never done this before.” He replied, and before she could react she found herself suddenly flung back and over his knee in a elaborate dip. The sudden shock of it followed by the outrage of being so handled along with embarrassment of what her men would think froze her in the position. For a moment, she was so enraged she planned to strike him after he had straitened her, but then in the stillness of the moment something hit her. A curious smell she recognized and drove all thoughts and emotions of the moment away. It was a Musky scent, a sent she told her brain to remember if she ever crossed it again but couldn't remember why. She stood back up in Vastien’s arms and glanced around the dance floor. There had to have been a least two or three dozen people on it… that one sent had been mingled with all of them, yet she couldn't pick it out among all the others. Whose scent is it? One of the dancers…but which?

Then the memory returned like a hot whip on her face, she knew now the why of the scent and why it stood out in her mind so keenly. Ericks and Wessily’s killer, Pollock’s abductor, that was where she first found it. Her eyes grew huge with alarm as they quickly darted across the retreating crowds of dancers. Almost coldly she turned to Vastien and curtsied.

“Thank you, and Good night.” She said with a cold curt tone and disappeared into the retreating crows, shuffling through the scents to find a solid tracking trail.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #83 on: October 08, 2013, 06:33:30 pm »
When Jean-Baptiste remembered sanely, he’d consider that dance had been his best. He’d never felt so possessed by the music, by his partner, to move in such ways before, but he did not reflect on that as the music ended. His mind was solely on the woman in red in his arms. His sanity had not completely gone away, he was still painfully aware of the crowd and his expectations as his breath came out, hot from his lips.

Her eyes were gorgeous. He smiled at her voice, the teasing inherent in it, while a part of him considered dropping her then and there if she kept up with these irksome games.

She didn’t. Her words were all Jean-Baptiste wanted to hear, though it was with pity that he moved his body so he was not pressed to hers.
‘Soon again.’ And perhaps without all of this cloth in the way. “I know just the place,” Jean-Baptiste boasted. He kept the woman’s hand in his as he moved through the crowd of people. Some mingled on the stairs, and Jean-Baptiste offered a cordial greeting to one, but moved right on by.

Jean-Baptiste was quite familiar with the Viscount’s residence. He walked on through the halls, the feel of her hand, the scent of her—the hallway would have worked, no one ventured this far, but there were servants who might come by. He knew where one of the Viscount’s better guest rooms was, and it was the one he usually stayed in when he had an extended visit with the noble. Pity the noble that had laid claim to it this night.

He opened the unlocked the door and showed Elizabeth in to the red and black room. Red seemed like such a pretty color right then, it deserved to be the color that framed her when that dress wouldn’t.
“Shall this do for the lady?” Jean inquired as he reached to pull the door shut behind them.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #84 on: October 08, 2013, 06:35:12 pm »
He had expected the dip to illicit a negative response in Moran, just being able to antagonize her in public and not suffer from it immediately was enough satisfaction for the demon. He buried his smile when she thanked him for the dance, she took off in a hurry and Vastien had no interest in slowing her down. Almost like clockwork, Jean and Elizabeth moved from the dancers, had they finally agreed on a secluded romantic tryst?

Vastien wasted no time shoving through the crowds of party guests, losing sight of Jean was out of the question, he couldn't rely on Elizabeth toying with him first, thus prolonging the feeding. He caught sight of Seren who still seemed occupied with the Ramses fellow, he wouldn't disturb her with his next course of action. He looked over most of the guests' heads at his charge one final time, were she to meet his gaze, a simple nod would follow.

Vastien allowed Jean and Elizabeth a bit of lead so they wouldn't suspect that they were being followed, Vastien briskly walked up the stairs, minding his distance from the couple. The hallway the two walked down lacked the lighting the party area, the darkness of the hallway should have been enough to deter any guest from venturing into it. He tried his best to keep each of his footsteps light and faint, Vastien eyed the guest room Jean chose from the end of the hall.

As the door shut, he slowly made his way over to their room and stood outside of their door, but not directly in front of it. He waited to the side and would be able to hear everything that went on in the room. A kick to the door would be enough for Vastien to intervene and begin the slaying. He would wait a for a little while before barging in there even if Elizabeth did not make her move.

'So it begins.' He thought to himself, biding his time for now until the right moment.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #85 on: October 08, 2013, 06:36:47 pm »
Liz walked in and eyed the room critically, it needed to be perfect for her purposes. It appeared to be a luxurious study, red carpets and large black leather sofas. The sounds of the party were distant through the thick old walls. Yes, this would do.

"It is…" She strode pass him to the door and drew the bolted lock on it. "…perfect."  She turned and moved back to him, her movements sultry and smooth. She placed her hand to his face and looked deep into his eyes, to his very soul, letting the influence of her seductive power saturate into every wrinkle of his brain and every fiber of his muscle. She had him now, away from the distractions of the party, here were he could not escape her gaze, she owned him, body and mind. She still had to maintain the connection, but her hooks were so deep now that he was at her mercy, his freewill quashed beneath her relentless steel hold. The only thing she didn't hold as his soul. She ran her hand down his face to his neck, and smiled, and soon even that would be hers.

"Ahhhh" she lilted and slowly began to pull Jean's Collar loose. "You see now my sweet Lord Chinal, you are mine. I know a part of you, deep inside, caged and screaming, knows what I have done, but you can't help it." She loosed his vest, exposed his chest and ran her hand over it, feeling the hard throb of his beating heart. "Many witches and warlocks thought they had the strength to escape my snare." She spoke now with no lilt, her voice cold and horrifyingly candid. "but once you are in my net…there is no escape. I have always thrived on that overconfidence of others. How else could a low creature such as I was grow to such power. The blood of a hundred witches and warlocks run in my veins, along with all the knowledge they possessed. That was how I learned to beat the dreaded sun, hold true the illusion of beauty, and survive so long in this land so unkind to my race." She glanced off nostalgically into the distance. "How many centuries? How many millennia has it been? I have been so many people…so many faces. So many memories that are not my own."  Her eyes shifted back to his eyes. "and so shall it be with you…what queer knowledge does your blood hold?" she caressed his neck, and she smiled. "You want to scream? No…no, your voice is mine…as is…your blood."

In an instant a grotesque transformation over came Liz. Her skin faded to a near bleached white, her lithe figure grew gaunt and hallow, her hands became thin skeletal claws and their touch was cold and icy as a corpse. And her face wither and pulled back to a pale skull like caricature with the points of her high cheekbones and brow jutting from her thinned white skin and her eyes sunk deep into the black pits of her sockets till only the lambent glow of two pinpoint red eyes stared hungrily into Jeans eyes.

The radiant seduction illusion instantly fell, and Liz, or the creature that called herself 'Liz' let out a rasping laugh. It was this moment she relished the most. When her victims realized the truth yet could not escape from her control, unable to flee, scream, or even move from her paralyzing gaze.

"What is that my dear?" the rasping creature's voice was filled with sarcasm. "Does my beauty leave you speechless? No mater, let the fear breed…and let me taste it." And with that she leaned to his exposed neck, and opened her mouth revealing rows of fanged teeth. She bit, deep enough to find his jugular but not hard enough rent it wide open. It was merely a nick, but from it she drew a deep and full mouth full of his red essence and in it the knowledge of his mind and soul.

She sucked as wave after wave of the memories of Jean-Baptist, Lord Chinal, passed into her mind, his blood was young yet rich with experiences. And then, she saw…or rather experience something with in his blood that sent her reeling from his neck and body with a scream of crazed fear.

"NO! It cannot be!" she hissed and shoved him with inhuman strength across the room and into the wall. Her eyes burned now like red coals in a dark fire, her vicious monstrous nature all alert with fear and rage. The spell was broken as Jean collapsed to the ground from the throw, Liz's steel grip on his mind and body was gone. She realized this too, her own horror had broken the connection and seeing him rise she moved to silence him. She lunged at him, her speed quick as a cats, her claws aimed to rip out his throat.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #86 on: October 08, 2013, 06:37:50 pm »
At the sound of any belts unbuckling or moans, Vastien had his foot ready to loosen the door on its hinges. The loud music and general chatter downstairs would mask the sound quite nicely. Vastien waited until after hearing the scream followed by a loud thud, action was needed. One mighty kick even splintered the door frame when the door swung open from the force.

"Ah, just the vampire I was looking for!" The baby-blue suited demon entered the red room, fists clenched at his sides. No words, just a grin forming at the corner of his mouth when he noticed Jean slumped against a wall.

Elizabeth was not her usual self, she was vicious as her kind was supposed to be. She was poised to go in for the kill and unfortunately Vastien couldn't allow that to happen. He charged towards Jean knowing that Elizabeth would lunge at him and Vastien ran as quickly as he could, diving forward to intercept Elizabeth in an attempt to tackle her away from Jean. If Vastien missed, he would just have to pull Elizabeth off of Jean and hope she hadn't torn his throat open yet.

'Seren will never let me hear the end of it if Chinal dies.' He had to treat the situation as if it were Seren instead of Jean, no second chances, no room for error. He'd have to revert to his demon form if the vampire demanded it. That'd draw attention from the party no doubt. Seren's holy water would make the fight finish faster, an impaired Elizabeth would almost be too easy.

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #87 on: October 08, 2013, 06:39:15 pm »
His eyes glazed over, and Seren truly wanted to speak up then to ask him what he could possibly be thinking so hard about, but she remained politely quiet, peering at him until he spoke to answer her. In truth, he hadn’t been ‘away’ long, and it didn’t seem Trepe even noticed.

Moriarty wanted to deny any close connection to Pollock. While she wanted to laugh, instead she opted for disappointment. It seemed the game would have to be figured out slowly through Pollock, but that was fine by her. Moriarty’s surprise would be even better.

Seren dared to shake her head,
“No, that’s not what I mean, I know he was referring to a new game. I guess you were drunk when crafting it—it happens,” she giggled, seemed to believe that a more acceptable excuse. Those at the Black Spade did frequently drink and gamble. Classy as it was, it couldn't escape the bad reputation that came with its nature. ‘And you’ve told me something I wasn’t sure of.’

“You’re quite good with numbers and science, aren’t you? What is it you teach at the university?”
Seren could easily keep this friendly. There was much she wanted to know, and understanding his area of expertise better would help. Not that she intended to start daydreaming about how things could be done without variables—there were always variables, new ones if old ones were removed.

Moriarty gave a reticent glance to Seren and nervously smiled at her accusation of drunkenness. Apparently his veiled threat hadn't gotten to her or she chose to blatantly ignore it. He played the roll of nervously uneasy professor under scrutiny well, but this game gave him opportunity to test how deep her waters were.

"I like to think of myself as a student rather then a teacher, I know many subjects but they all start with a single study, and that is the study of observation and Influence." Moriarty glanced up to the roof of the gallery as if to see the stars. "Astrology is one of my highest technical fields in this study, but broken down behind the complicated mathematics and theories it is simply the observation of galactic movements and its influence." He turned back to Seren. "I am currently working on a thesis to prove the existences of Michell's theoretical Dark Star. It is a star so massive in size that it's gravitational escape velocity supersedes that of light. No telescope could see this star for it is invisible, but it's massive gravitational pull upon the planets and stars around it would be a obvious, and these planet would never know they are caught until it was too late and they disappeared into the invisible veil of the star and crushed by it's oppressive gravity." Moriarty turned to the Viscount. "If the research is a success, I offer to name the star after you my lord." Moriarty turned back to Seren. "I have other studies as well…Psychology and sociology are big hobbies of mine, the study of peoples you know, One can learn the motives and weakness of any if one studies them closely enough."

“Why, thank you, James,”
Raphael moved a hand up nearly over his heart, as if touched by the gesture.

Seren’s smile remained, though she wanted to roll her eyes and call Moriarty out. Temptation was best resisted.
“Well, I may have to pick your brain some day about how the Dark Star differs from the black holes my tutor insists aren’t real.”

“You have a tutor for astronomy?”
Raphael seemed surprised. He hadn't heard of this.

Seren nodded,
“It is not only astronomy, but a general look at the science of the world and universe. Meteorology, geology, astronomy,” she listed as she lifted her hand, dismissing the topic with a wave, “A Lady should have a well-rounded education. Personally, my interests more lie in what you call mere hobbies, Professor. My father, Demetri,” full name Demetrius, but most knew him casually, “considered it important for running his business, and I ended up following his footsteps, though I must admit the plain study of behavior rather bores me. People behave as they’re conditioned, in certain conditions, under various conditions,” the repetition was intentional to express the monotony of the subject. She had much experience in playing someone easily bored, as it was a familiar state of being. Theater and drama were her preferred areas of study, alongside chemistry, “And business is no better, at least the study of it. It’s rubbish, really.”

“And yet you have those teachers to thank, don’t you?” No doubt, he felt a touch uncomfortable with teachers present, to hear Seren suggest others incompetent.

“No, that, too, is my father’s doing. He at least taught me people cheat,”
she answered, ignoring the warning tone. She wouldn’t give her tutors undeserved credit, “The tutors never teach you that people lie and cheat. They try to teach you that all will behave fairly, and give you an idea of how to play fair, too. That’s why they’re all teachers—they can’t run a business themselves, living in their ideological realm. Apologies, of course, to you two.” And she did offer a sympathetic smile, recalling her audience, “I know the university is a research one, so hardly any learning goes on with the students as you instead put all your attention to your projects, remaining students yourself, as you say, Moriarty." His hobby might be paying off, or not. Either way, Seren imagined he was learning a lot. "Teaching is merely a means to an end, no?” And she certainly didn’t believe Moriarty’s projects were this ‘dark star’ business. He might find it some day, but it wasn’t what was important.

"No apology needed my dear," Moriarty nodded deprecatingly, "I too feel that many educators today send off the youth with a diluted sense of self awareness about the real world. A certain amount of skepticism is necessary in us all, especially in those who go into business.  After all the economic human is a self interested one. For me though my research never ends nor is ever limited, I am just so fortunate that I am paid to do what I enjoy." Moriarty was starting to feel more secure as he studied the young woman. He was sure now that she was well aware of his true role in the syndicate not merely seeking out a suspicion, and that her brief mention of her father indicated that she wanted him to know without a doubt who she was. She is a good actor… Moriarty thought with a smile. But let's see how good of a liar she is.

"I agree" Moriarty continued "on the evidence that human beings can be conditioned to think and act a specific way, but I feel that study is limited by that singular perception. For example, many humans applied under conditional stresses often do not react in identical ways, only those who fit the require result are every applied and the rest are rejected, you see this in military conditioning. I too find the same results in my students when under tests that all have been preparing for months. This lead me to study individuals specifically, and it has opened a doorway to what I call personality behavioral patterns. These patterns are of self creation, not condition, and a careful study of any human beings appearance and habits can easily give you insight into how the react to conditions rather than the conditions effect on them. simple observations can give you insight into the whole of a individuals character, of their view of the world, and who they really are, For example…" Moriarty raised his hands "these obvious calluses between my thumb and index figure are a clear sign of frequent writing, more so then a usual professor. It shows my own personal habit of keeping notes on curious research and personal interests. From that one can deduce I am a individual whose nature is keenly observant. Another example is your right hand…" Moriarty pointed to Seren's wrist. "I see that your right arm is subtlety more toned than your left, and it's wrist is slightly thicker then the left as well, a condition of bone calcification as a result of repetitive shock from the recoil of a small fire arm fired in that hand. You see this kind of condition on those who are in the military, avid small arms hunters as well as the cowboys of the American west, Pistoleers or gunslingers they are called. I assume you are a avid hunter in your free time? Hummm? But your complexion is hardly darker then the common Londoner, So I am curious…do you hunt at night or in the city, or both perhaps?" Moriarty  played a dumbfounded look, but for a brief instant he gave a curious, almost playful smile, and waited to see how much Seren was willing to reveal about herself to those outside of their true secret occupations.

Seren listened as he explained his theories about studying individuals. She knew all-too well that people acted differently in different circumstances, and at times she could postulate how they would act if put under pressure. Most were, unfortunately, uninteresting to observe and test, but there were always the few unique ones. He elaborated on himself, and then went on to her.

At the Viscount’s sigh, she giggled,
“As you can see, the Viscount is no fan of my unladylike hobbies. I do not hunt, but I am not unfamiliar with the firearm, Professor.” There was no point to denying her experience with it. Raphael knew all too well, “I do skeet shooting and target practice, the former since I was nine. I’m not sure about skin tone,” a simple shrug, “You must not have lived in London very long.” London wasn't exactly known for sunshine.

“Oh, he’s been here quite a while, actually,”
the Viscount answered for him.

She canted her head, as if she couldn’t believe that. “Then he doesn’t get out of the office much.” She concluded, “No doubt, all that writing keeps you from engaging the world, and with your star work, you probably only see the night.” She turned to Raphael, “Are there windows in the university?” The accusatory tone made Raphael laugh.

“Unfortunately, my little star, many of the rooms in the university do not have windows,”
he replied. “Rooms have to be made to accommodate how many students enter the university, and so not all can be near a window.”

Seren rolled her eyes, expression saying that the Viscount showed yet another reason why she’d never take to public education.

Moriarty smiled but in his own mind he cursed himself for his own rapacity to expose her. Of course she would have some handy explanation, she has had enough years to cultivate one. Moriarty played cheer but he felt himself refocusing on another strategy as Seren countered his slight to expose her. The constant necessity of survival would pressure her to keep up with a skill as vital as marksmanship. I must be more patient.

"Ahhh, My mistake. " He smiled as she finished. "the Viscount is quite right, I am African by extraction but I have been so long in London that most think I am a natural born Englishman, like those of the new commonwealth in the west indies. And as for complexion…well, as introverted as I am the lack of sun never…" he glanced over his hands. "…fades mine, so I often forget it's effect on those of whiter tones." He seemed to pause in thought. "but quite to the contrary Viscount, the lack of windows I feel has always aided in the focus of the students, they can be a distraction otherwise." He turned slightly back to Seren. "So, curious hobbies I see, I am a bit of a fire arms enthusiast myself, I was trained as a child, when one grows up in the deep desert they find marksmanship a essential skill of every member of the tribe. It's been years but I do occasionally go to practice my roots with a old bolt action rifle. You seem to have a preference for a revolver over a bird gun, that's rare in skeet shooting, you must be quite the crack shot, Ms. Vesper…what is your average?"

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #88 on: October 08, 2013, 06:40:35 pm »
The Viscount nodded slightly to the man’s comment about seeming to be English. Apparently he’d duped Raphael into considering him almost as good as an Englishman. He also took the words about the lack of windows well, and Seren again resisted the urge to argue. The way people were taught in those schools was no way to learn.

“Perhaps we should practice together one day, Professor,”
Seren said, latching to words about shooting. “Otherwise you’d never believe the high average I have, even though Lord Chinal and Viscount Trepe will vouch. It’s about 95%, isn’t it? I certainly always hit 24 of 25 targets, if not 25, but it’s not exactly difficult.” Yes, she was bragging, but clay targets were nothing compared to living targets. It fit in well with the already established fact that she liked games, and was no doubt competitive for that. It was only a shame that being able to shoot was not enough, otherwise she wouldn't need Vastien. Speaking of, where was he? “No one ever does believe me,” she said it as if she wondered why there was such a lack of trust in her word.

“Well, I’ve never met another lady who shoots like you.”
The emphasis was clear, and Seren smiled, taking it as a compliment before glancing away to look for Vastien. She found him and began to giggle at the sight, helping Raphael think of a way to change the subject. “Hm? What has you so amused?”

“My man,”
she answered.

Not even the Viscount thought to look towards her fiancé.
“So you did bring Vastien,” his eyes skimmed the floor and eventually found the tall man who could only be Vastien. “Ah dear, it doesn’t look like he found the best partner.”

“No, but he’s had his eyes on her forever,”
she had calmed herself, but the smile pulled at her lips. “It’s cute.” Cute, and it had better be beneficial. She didn’t care how. She then shifted and addressed Moriarty, explaining herself, “My man, Vastien, has been with me for some months now. If you knew him, this is something you’d never expect of him. Raphael understands.”

Indeed, the man’s smile suggested this would be something Vastien never lived down. He’d be teased forever about liking this woman.

"Most Impressive!" Moriarty's shock was genuine, Seren's skill was better then Moran's, but then again Moran's dependence on her guns was always superficial, and she had large bullets to compensate for any lack of skill. "I assume it is at ten and one hundred meters? I can see why the Viscount is nervous…I wouldn't want to ever make a women like you upset." Moriarty chuckled and glanced across the dance floor to see what drew Seren's attention. He instantly saw her butler and the stumbling disgrace that was his most reliable agent. Moriarty had to struggle hard to check an involuntary motion to palm his face in embarrassment. In any other situation Moriarty would not have minded her fumblings as it would distance the possible relationship between them. It was clear Moran was perceptibly unaware of the situation and was trying to pull away, with very bad grace, the one individual Seren might depend upon should things go array. But Seren knew who he truly was, and this sight was only a undignified disgrace to him and the Syndicate. Moriarty could easily sense Seren's amusement at the scene and could feel the over laying threats wax to nothing but a petty joke in her eyes.

"Ahh yes." Moriarty tried to nod complacently with her, as if amused too. "Good help is hard to find in these tiring days." He almost seemed to mumble to himself at the sight of Moran, but quickly he shifted and tried to change the subject. "He is a rather large fellow, I don't suppose he is your cook."

Seren shook her head,
“As much as he enjoys eating, I doubt he’s ever touched a stove.” She didn’t dare ask Vastien to cook. She had a feeling the demon would end up inadvertently poisoning her. She’d bet it was one thing she was better at then him, and she rarely cooked. “No, he’s an advisor and a body guard. His gluttony makes him quite useful as an advisor.” She offered no explanation for his status as body guard, though there was no reason to hide it. It was the reason Raphael liked Vastien, and all the rivals she had in the confectionary business were certainly aware.

Vastien certainly looked the part with his size.

Seren wondered if Moriarty thought by guessing wrong, he was getting her to admit information not common knowledge. He seemed to be grasping, likely unaware that quite a bit of Seren’s life was in the light. There was no second identity, just a second job.
‘Have you done so little research on your foe?’ She’d be amused if it were true.

“Speaking of cooks, both of you really should come to the baking contest,”
Raphael said, bringing that up again.

“Who’s competing?”
Seren asked idly. The Viscount went through a list of names, until he stumbled upon one Seren knew. “Wait, Marshall Berg is entering?” He was an actual rival in her outward business. “What, exactly, is the prize?”

“Oh, you didn’t know? Queen Victoria is to be present, and she will be presenting a Royal Warrant to whoever wins.”

No, Seren was not aware.
“Is there still time to register?”

“Yes, of course,”
he was quite amused with her change. He’d almost forgotten Berg was a competitor of hers.

“Then I shall be there,”
she answered simply. Marshall Berg was not about to get a Royal Warrant before she did. Never mind that Jean-Baptiste would suggest she was cheating, knowing the Viscount and the Queen personally. She never claimed to play games by the rules. Still, she did need a cook…who didn’t ruin something as simple as eggs. Perhaps it was time to test Vastien.

Very well covered. Moriarty smiled. She certainty had her own legitimate excuses for the bodyguard. Moriarty remember the rumors of guilt pointed in all directions after the majority of the vesper family were attacked. Anyone would think a girl like her would keep a brute like him around just for a sense of security. The idea that confectionery business woman would need a body guard is amusing, but nobles understand the titanic egos that follow even the smallest business rivalries.

“A sweet toothed fellow eh?” Moriarty chortled, He was enjoying this game. “It’s always good to have diversified talent.”

As the Viscount spoke of the baking contest Moriarty caught the subtle completive surprise of Seren as the viscount mentioned Marshall Burg. Titanic egos indeed. Moriarty knew the name, another sweet magnate that had done business with syndicate many years ago. The deal was convened by a neutral third party but essentially the syndicate would use their underworld contacts to break worker strikes for the Burg family and they in exchange would pay back their gains to the syndicate in the form of stock dividends. It was a small affair, organized by a young Pollock no less who over saw and managed the project. The burg family never needed repeat business since the syndicate did it work with brutal permanence but Moriarty thought there was opportunity here, a chance to see what really rose Seren’s interests. Moriarty raised a curious eyebrow at the invitation and smiled.

“Contest? I am a skilled cook myself and I always enjoy a unique challenge for its own sake. I am honored to be invited.” Moriarty gave a slight bow of appreciation.  “Sign me up.”

‘Great, now I have two to compete against.’
Seren arched an eyebrow, a touch of the childish glow that had been around her seeming to fade with the new expression. The smile nearly melted away as she wondered what he was playing at to enter something like this. “This ought to be amusing,” kindness was absent.

It would be amusing, but she’d not make the mistake of underestimating any of them.

The Viscount was openly amused,
“You, James? Are you sure? You’ll be competing with people who make their living off food, for the most part.” Those were the ones who cared about receiving a Royal Warrant, after all.

He wouldn’t get much of an answer. One of the bolder nobles approached the Viscount,
“Ah, Raphael, I—”

Raphael held up a finger to silence him. He smiled to the others,
“Have a good evening. Seren, don’t forget to say goodbye.”

“I won’t,”
she usually didn’t. This night would be different, unless everything went as scheduled. Raphael left them, and Seren considered making her own escape as well. She had the information she needed to confront the man in the comfort of his base. Her eyes skimmed the area, gathering that Jean-Baptiste was leaving sight and…being followed. ‘Son of a!’ It wasn’t by Vastien as she’d hoped.

Yes, she’d have to do something about that. If Moran got in the way, it would not end well.
“Well, it was a delight meeting you, Professor. A shame you didn’t know how to play that game, though.” She spoke in a way to suggest he’d failed some sort of test. “I shall see you at the tournament, if not before,” with that, she moved to leave and intercept Moran’s path. If the woman didn’t harm Vastien, Seren didn’t imagine Moran would risk harming her.

“Ahh, I could tell you Viscount that once upon a time I too depended on food for my very living as well. Besides, a clever armature can always make a contest…hum…amusing.” Moriarty cracked a smile to Seren then turned to the viscount as he began to leave. “Good night.”

As the viscount left Moriarty studied Seren as she swept her gaze over the party and he quickly noticed the sudden tension in her eyes as she locked on to Moran. Fear then? No. Moran’s bitter rivalry? He continued to peer at her curiously as she turned back to him and pardon him good night.

“Ah yes, Well I like to play many games.” He chuckled, and there was a thick air of confidence in his in his voice. “Here, Since you like games.” Moriarty pulled a business card from his vest and placed it in Seren’s hand. “I manage the finances at a Particular Club in Westminster, The Broken Spade, but I some times like to frequent the tables when friends of mine are about. Feel free to ring me if you are in that part of town.” And with that she was off, seemingly chasing after Moran.

“James?” a quite, somewhat sour voice echoed up behind him. He glanced over to Miss Porter.

“Humm?” He smiled, “A curious girl the viscount has.”

“She seems a little aloof? I have herd strange things about her family history.” Miss porter stepped beside him, a curious look on her face. “what was that off guns?”

“Oh, a freak curiosity my dear, It looked so…abnormal on a young lady of her age.”

“Indeed.” she said, but in her voice was only confusion.

“Ah, well, let’s wonder, It bodes evil to gossip. Come, Lets have us some champagne.”

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Stained-Glass Souls [Closed]
« Reply #89 on: October 08, 2013, 06:41:28 pm »
‘Yes, the Spade.’ Seren smiled as she accepted the card, slid it into her small purse, but said nothing. She’d be paying that place a visit soon. She’d sort matters out with the Syndicate and decide whether or not they were worth keeping around.

She caught the quiet teacher’s words and almost laughed. The woman had absolutely no backbone, waiting until Seren’s back was turned. She wouldn’t admit the spark of anger it inspired. She knew many spoke behind her back, but there was something so annoying about it that Seren just couldn’t place. It was certainly that sort of gossip that led to her family’s demise, misplaced words in dangerous ears.

Misplaced feet could also be a danger. Seren moved easily through the crowd, more grace than force, to get ahead of Moran who was hindered by bodies that wouldn’t move automatically upon seeing her.
“Ah, Lady Trisha,” she was near the stairs. It was easy to casually slip in to the area, and easier to make a clumsy move to put her foot in Moran’s path to trip her up. She doubted it mattered if it was successful or not. Moran hated her enough that even an attempt to interfere was liable to turn Moran’s attention to her.

And in the midst of this environment, Seren was perfectly safe.


This wasn’t really one of his better days.

Jean-Baptiste felt his mind starting to return as Elizabeth revealed her nature, but he was frozen. He wasn’t afraid, though. Concerned, certainly, Seren might be trustworthy but there was always the chance that this time would be the time she and her new partner failed. She was disgusting in her true form, and Jean-Baptiste kicked himself for ever falling for such a guise.


But his body refused. He felt her bite in to his neck and he sucked in a deep breath. Just a small wound. He’d suffered much worse. He felt his thoughts leaving him, and he focused to direct one to her.
‘This is a trap, my darling.’

He wasn’t sure if that was the thought that startled her, or some other. Either way, he was hurled back against the wall. He hit hard, dazed for a moment, as the servant rushed in. He started to rise, only to see her lunge. He sneered, managed to lunge for the bed. He landed atop it, rolled to the other side so there would be distance between them. His wounds were relatively minor, minus the throbbing in his head.

He didn't yet reach for one of the 'special' feathers in his wings. Rather, he reached for the rose, which was resting in a vial of holy water. There was a cruel smile on his face as he removed the rose from it, letting the rose fall to the ground. It might be useful if Liz dared to live too long. All things could be useful in his practice. He didn't move close to Liz, though. He'd rather Vastien handle it, still wanting to figure out just what the servant was. Perhaps he should continued to play at being useless in this scenario.