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MATURE RPG


May, 2010... Fantasy became reality. Worlds overlay for the briefest moment. Outworlders became stranded on earth as more than half the human populace vanished. Our World, our universe, was transformed.

Fiction is now reality. Humans and those now bound to this world will either learn to coexist, or battle for supremecy.

JUNE 13, 2019 - Family emergency  took a bad turn so had to stay away but now things are finally calming down. Hope to get going again shortly. Thanks for understanding. ~ZEPH

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  1. Today
  2. Eris London

    Sheut Happens

    At one time, she had been a patient woman. She was no longer. The Viceroy could have answers spilling from their gullets in less than sixty seconds; brutal and efficient. No mercy flowed through her veins, especially after all the news of late. She was willing to be patient to learn what she was dealing with when working with Gallo. He’d done this before, which was absolutely clear. Despite the beast rattling its cage, his method seemed to be what kept everything orderly and under control. Regardless, it itched at her. “Come, Roderick.” Interesting. Russet watched the man come forward and try something with the vampire. She was about to learn where some of the boundaries may lie with his sway over the Capo, a wealth of knowledge in her book. Head cocked ever so slightly as it sounded like he was simply turning the volume down on the human’s heart. Nice trick. The rogue though, didn’t seem to respond at all. Not surprising, but noted. “You gave me Venom.” Brow cocked. “You gave me that Jerry was in town.” She could have lied and said the sudden snap of the axe into wood hadn’t prepped her to move. Another person was in play. Four in the room, three outside. She could do the impossible, but this chess game was getting crowded. If something happened, Toby was her first priority, then Roderick oddly enough. Gallo would heal if the vampire struck, or survive long enough for her to get to him. There were so many ways this could slide. It was almost like being back in a helicopter on duty when everyone was trying to kill each other. “Round one is a draw. Everyone gets to keep their hands. Round two…” His question about the venom urged her to say something. She stayed silent. It wasn’t a poison, it was actual venom. It would be interesting to see if the guy knew that. “You need to tell me all about Jerry. While you’re at it, I want to know every detail about the operation that lives within your memory. Who is Jerry? Where is Jerry? Who does he take orders from? How much of the logistics of this operation do you know? It is very important to you that you speak the truth.” That damn Were was going to give her a heart attack. She hadn’t moved a muscle, but her poker face couldn’t hide the heaviness that rolled from her presence. Four in play, three outside and now Gallo was in the rogue’s face. He was either testing her capacity to keep an umbrella of control over the situation, or he was really getting reckless. Maybe both. Maybe neither. He might just have been fucking losing his mind. “I know others like you. There are some within my organization who have sought shelter from those who would wish them harm. Angelo Gaspari owes me a favor. If you can prove yourself to be valuable and trustworthy, I can find a way for him to forgive you of your transgressions against not just myself, but of Bakkhos itself.” For. Crying. Out. Loud. She was going to kill this man. Bluffing or not, a good ear boxing in the very least was going to happen. This was exactly why she’d told Calloway to piss off. He said she needed to learn how to play well with others. She’d said he could kiss her ass. He said be social anyway. That conversation hadn’t ended well. Any conversation with Calloway hadn’t ended well. And now he was too close to the rogue. Don’t touch the rogue. Don’t touch the rogue. Do not trust a rogue..... Aw hell… “Take your time, get your thoughts in order. But don’t take too long. I have all day.” The sharp snap of a hammer suddenly reminded the world how deadly a vampire could be. Before the sound reached the human’s ears, the Viceroy had moved. She’d seen the rogue’s twitch of muscle, and now her muzzle was on his temple in her two-handed grip. Toby had also moved, the human shoved forward with his muzzle at the base of the man’s skull. “Don’t try that again,” she said quietly to the vampire “or any promise he makes won’t matter for either of you.” He glared at her, then exhaled slowly and glowered at the floor. She took three steps backward, but kept on point. Toby relaxed and pulled his captive back up, who was faring much worse than the vampire. He was having a hard time pulling himself back together. *npc* “You need to check your distribution centers...” Words were sullen, but full of mirth as he looked back at her. *npc* “Doesn't matter if Bakkhos forgives me, you'll hunt me down.” She didn’t confirm or deny his observation but he was right, there was no way out of this; even if Bakkhos forgave him and protected him. He’d betrayed his own kind and that was a death sentence. The only way out was to get a pardon from her and he knew it. He knew the inner workings of the Sheut. She needed the name of his maker damn it. She had a pretty good idea, and this would just confirm all suspicions and send her in the right direction toward her traitor. Gallo was running out of time. The clarity in the vampire’s eyes said to her he was healing. There was a very good chance he was going to go for the human that Toby was keeping, or even Roderick. Feet or not, a vampire was fast. He wouldn’t get very far, but he still could do a lot of damage before either of them could get out of the way. His movement had tested how quickly he could twitch before she was on him. *npc* “I can’t tell you any more because I don’t know!” Toby straightened him up, he was starting to support the man. It was taking its toll. *npc* “But I can take you there… if you… protect me from him. Jerry… and Trevor.” Hm. Now she had the vampire's name. She could do the impossible with just a name. Getting somewhere, but the rogue wasn’t budging. He was fed enough that his pain tolerance was holding. He was healing. Stalemate unless she intervened she suspected. *npc* “I'll tell you everything, but I want to speak with Calloway.” Or an ultimatum. Shit.
  3. Last week
  4. Thomas Gallo

    Sheut Happens

    The back and forth between the human and the vampire was going as planned. Better than he anticipated. One quick sniff in the human’s direction helped him to understand. The adrenaline and out and out fear smell from him was almost as potent as the poison in the bottles. His heart was about to explode. Maybe it was time to slow it down…to keep this game going, lest it end unexpectedly. Tom closed his eyes and took one long, slow, deep breath through his nose. To all observers, it appeared to be a therapeutic and calming breath. Anyone who knew Tom personally or by reputation would easily believe this was the case. This was partially true. The furious beast within the sealed furnace door of rage was pounding on the door endlessly. Relentlessly. Inevitably. But it served another purpose. Closing his eyes blocked out the visual sensory inputs. He had learned to instinctively block out sound distractions in his human days when focus was necessary. He was focused purely on smell. Sifting through all the scents in the area took a second. What seemed like minutes in Tom’s mind only took seconds in reality. Sifting past that poison that still clogged his nostrils was like removing a curtain from a window and seeing the rest of the world. Human’s fear smell was the next obvious obstacle to ‘see’ past. The blood on the floor was another. Odd, any adrenaline-based fear scent was gone from the Hesek. He appeared resigned at this point. That would require pushing the ‘hope’ button for him to further comply. Removing the hands would serve no purpose there. He was then counting people. Toby, check. Eris, check. Two obvious prisoners, check. Then there was one hanging behind one of the crates in the room. Roderick. Tom smiled slightly. He had anticipated this. Expected it really. It was good to have soldiers who followed orders. It was better to have those who knew when not to. Roderick always acted in what he thought was Tom’s best interest…even against Tom’s wishes. When he was wrong, he was reprimanded. When he was correct, he was praised. While not quite the family-level relationship Eris appeared to have with her crew, it was still closer than many capos had with their subordinates. Tom’s eyes opened and he called out, “Come, Roderick.” Roderick stepped out from behind one of the crates and had a glint in his eye, that quickly faded when putting his eyes on the carnage on the floor before him. He locked eyes with Tom for a moment and when Tom nodded, Roderick did the same. Looking at the Hesek he concentrated for a moment and shook his head. Something prohibited him from altering the mood of the vampire, and it bothered him. He quickly shifted his blue eyes toward the human and smiled warmly and crossed his hands in front of his waist. The human prisoner’s heart rate slowed. His breathing returned to normal. The grip on his neck from Toby relaxed a bit. The prisoner’s whole countenance went from terror to nervousness. Good. This gave Tom the leeway to dial it back up again. Tom may have to give Roderick the keys to his car after this. Tom’s face looked grave as he nodded to Roderick. Time for round two. Pointing the blade of the axe at the human, he said, “You gave me Venom.” Shifting the blade to point at the Hesek, Tom said, “You gave me that Jerry was in town.” Tom then buried the axe head deep into the wood of the crate, all but shattering the wood underneath. “Round one is a draw. Everyone gets to keep their hands. Round two…” Tom swung his gaze at the human. Fear would still work on this one. Roderick was there to make sure his heart didn’t give out or trigger Toby’s beast to pop off his head. The beasts within weres and vampires were more similar than Tom cared to admit. He’d have to be mindful of more than his tonight. “Venom. Is this the name of the poison being used?” Based on Eris saying the same thing, he knew this to be true. He was easing the human in with an easy to answer question. “Work backwards. Tell me everything you know from the bottle to the production of the poison. Take your time, get your thoughts in order. I have all night.” Before the prisoner could begin answering the question, Tom rounded on the vampire. He had to inspire hope in him somehow. This man was just defeated. He had nothing to lose. This was not going to inspire cooperation. He had to offer something. This Hesek was resigned to dying. Tom had to try a different track. “You need to tell me all about Jerry. While you’re at it, I want to know every detail about the operation that lives within your memory. Who is Jerry? Where is Jerry? Who does he take orders from? How much of the logistics of this operation do you know? It is very important to you that you speak the truth.” Tom came close. Dangerously close to the Hesek. The vampire could reach out and strike Tom if he so chose. Tom squatted down and placed a gentle, as gentle as a stone could be, hand on the vampire’s shoulder. “I know others like you. There are some within my organization who have sought shelter from those who would wish them harm. Angelo Gaspari owes me a favor. If you can prove yourself to be valuable and trustworthy, I can find a way for him to forgive you of your transgressions against not just myself, but of Bakkhos itself.” This was true to a point. Gaspari owed him nothing…that was a lie. Tom did believe, though, that he’d be willing to show some leniency toward someone who made repentant gestures. Tom’s gambit was that the hope of being shielded from the Sheut by the Bakkhos would be enough hope to inspire cooperation. He suspected Eris might bristle at the proposed promise. She was smart enough to assume it was a bluff. He wasn't lying about the presence of Bakkhos refugees. The Hesek appeared to know of the relationship between Eris and Toby. More than Tom even. He was unsure if he knew of Tom’s relationship with Eris. He’d find out with this bluff. Tightening his grip on the Hesek’s shoulder, iron hands threatening to pop the vampire’s shoulder out of his socket, Tom said softly. “Take your time, get your thoughts in order. But don’t take too long. I have all day.” Tom stressed that last word to remind the Hesek that there was only one potential way out of this alive.
  5. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Taking Inventory

    “Quiet you, the adults are talking" She almost laughed out loud. Bully for him. Digging in his heels with Chris worked, plus it was nice to watch the relic trader get his ass verbally handed to him for once from someone else besides her. So many times she wanted to point a gun at the man’s head… living vicariously was going to have to be enough for now through the introductions. Unfazed by his weapon, she continued, unsure if Ryan realized yet how often she had to deal with them as part of her job. She’d had a knife drawn on her more than once in her own shop, guns flashed. It went with the territory. Contacts, clients, everyone in this business tended to be twitchy, and talking them out of threatening her happened more often than not. Chris had done it at one time. He didn’t do it again when she was finished with him. “I certainly hope not” “He is,” she said quietly. Chris really was the best. “Arrogant, but good. Might be getting old though.” Chris shot her a glare. She ignored it as she made sure everyone had a dose of caffeine for the morning. “Let me go put some clothes on. It’s a bit chilly in here” “Mhm,” comment was quiet, slight smile in a teasing expression as she drew her fingertips over his goosebumps discretely in a feather light caress; leaving him to it and returning to her kitchen. “I’ll be right back.” Chris didn’t wait a moment. *npc* “Really?” he shot at her under his breath. Hip leaned on the counter, both hands on her coffee mug. She shrugged ever so nonchalantly and enjoyed her coffee, watching him continue to go through the bag. He always unabashedly pawed through it every time. Didn’t trust anyone to ever give him what he’d asked for. It was why he was still alive in a lot of cases. *npc* “Remy is also gone for five minutes and you’re already casting the net over his territory too?” “Damn right,” the conversation was quiet. Not intended to be a secret, just reciprocating his voice level. *npc* “And you’ve what, sweet talked this poor dumb schmuck into helping you?” Her hackles bristled, poker face not giving him an inch. She wanted to punch him. In the face. Hard. “He’s here to help this blow over,” she commented quietly. *npc* “Living in the apartment my ass,” the bag clunked to the floor and he crossed his arms, drinking his coffee and glaring out over her living room. “None of your business,” she murmured. *npc* “Everything is my business, maybe I’ll deal with him instead of coming all the way into this stinking city.” Exactly. *npc* “So I’m bringing it to you now? That’s not a good idea. I shouldn’t be coming into town that much.” “I know,” she agreed. They needed a new hub outside of town where everyone could pass through. “I thought about the crossroads, but would need to reestablish ties.” He nodded slightly, “that’s an option.” “Alexandria went down and we know what happened. We lost the south end for almost year to the jackass scrap market on the coast. I think Crossroads is our best bet.” *npc* “You want this guy to help you. You playing him?” Brow was thoughtful, avoiding the question. “Maybe you can talk to some people and feel them out, the next time you come through we’ll go up there and I’ll say my apologies and we can get them working with us again.” He nodded slowly, eyes flicking up as Ryan came back. Her focus was on her “tenant” as he sat at the table. Before, the stress of watching him work was always tight; the ‘what ifs’ of every situation had her on high alert. Now, she just liked watching him work. Vigilance in the situation was absolutely revered, but she’d come to trust his methods. He was also enjoyable to watch. “Chris, you asked who I am, so I will tell you. Rorye has enlisted my service because I am the best at what I do. I am not a tomb raider, an explorer, or a dealer. No, I am the man they call to clean up messes. I am the man that hurts people… the man that kills people… I am the man you never want to meet… and I assure you I am not someone you want to lie to.” Chris’ eyes flicked to her. “I am telling you this because we are going to ask you some questions, and I want you to understand there will be consequences if I feel you are being dishonest in your answers. Answer truthfully, and you will leave with your normal fee plus a little extra. Do we have an understanding?” The older man cocked a brow at the agent, then glared at her. She knew he could give a piss about Ryan, the guy had been shot so many times she’d stopped listening to his wild ass stories. The fact she had Ryan here was getting under his skin. The old bat was used to charming his way around her; he was not used to hitting a wall. She was calling his hand and staking her claim as the last man standing. *npc* “Is he for real?” She nodded once. *npc* “Well shit… “ He crossed his arms and leaned back in the chair. “If you want to keep selling, you’re going to answer his questions. You think it’s safer to operate a storefront than what you do. It isn’t. I can’t skip town and hide when people get pissed at me. You can get up and leave but if you want a place to keep selling, you gotta help me stabilize this Remy mess Chris. Answer his questions. It’s a fair offer.” Hands stayed crossed over his broad chest, glare at her again quick before going back to Ryan. *npc* “If my girl trusts you, then I'll hear you out. What do you want to know?” Her smile was genuine, taking another drink of her coffee. Thumb lingered on her lower lip as she watched the show, looking forward to seeing chips fall into place with information Ryan needed and could use; more anxious to get the older colleague out of her house. She apparently had heat to turn up because the place was a bit cold, and things to do on top of that.
  6. Eris London

    Shall We Play a Game?

    Eyes closed as she waited. She didn’t need sleep, but she did fall into unconsciousness from time to time. Out and about in the city she didn’t fucking ever dare. Being away from her compound and in the midst of mundane society had a lull of its own though. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d bothered to grace an apartment building. College maybe? After that, living on a base, or a camp, even sometimes in a helicopter or plane on a runway when nothing was available. Stark contrast to the effortless and impeccable way she now lived. She hated people. Loathed them. People were selfish, filthy little creatures. Ego driven. Worthless where she was concerned. Very few were even remarkable enough to pay attention to, let alone remember. They transferred their inadequacy and pain onto others every chance they got. No concept of loyalty, or honor. Even then she could hear it in the apartments around her. Somewhere a floor away people were fighting about… who used up all the hot water? Kids crying. Doors slamming. The stink of a trashcan that needed to be taken out that only a vampire’s senses couldn’t tolerate. Scrape of chairs. Television. The cacophony in her head was deafening. Though the sensory noise, a scent cut, coming closer. Dark eyes opened. Finally. The door clicked, opening and closing. Locked. Settling in. A routine well-rehearsed over time. The woman found her almost immediately, the eyes bringing a slight Grinch-like curl upward on the edge of her lip. Magus. Empowered at the very least, exceptionally interested what the gold eyes could see as she looked at the Viceroy. As the pills dropped to the floor, a small sigh escaped the vampire’s nostrils. Fair reaction she supposed, especially after the bloodbath she’d probably seen or been a witness to in the warehouse. The roles from that night between the rogue, the ARMA attack dog, and this one were starting to click together. Why she’d been there in the first place was the question lingering in her mind. Viper eyes watched the scene unfold, the gold shimmer, the limb lost. Panic. Lip twitched slightly over a calm canine. When they were afraid their heart beat so fast, blood hot against skin. Either she was a good actress and was about to mage rage against the Sheut, or she was really having a nervous breakdown. Silence hovered for a few moments. “For God’s sake I’m not going to kill you,” she said quietly. The small frame hadn’t so much as even moved save for speaking. “Quite the opposite actually.” She left it to rest for a moment, giving her time to compose herself if she could. “My name is Eris,” her voice could be amiable and gentle when she wanted it to be. “I understand you’ve met one of my kind and I want to apologize for his transgressions. We are all not so ignorant and agressive. I want you to tell me as much as you can about him. I can take care of the situation so it doesn’t happen again.” Then business. To know vampires existed was to be in her cross-hairs. To have survived, and be a magus, was potential employment. Calloway was on her ass to make her network. Fuck him. She would do it but she didn’t have to like it. “Then we’re going to talk about you and your friend from that night."
  7. Ryan Harker

    Taking Inventory

    *npc* “Yah, same fucking question to you,” the stranger snapped. “Quiet you, the adults are talking,” Ryan said with distinct condescension. “Look, I get we’re all on edge right now, we’re all off our schedules,” Rorye spoke nonchalantly as she started a fresh pot of coffee. Her tone was casual, as if having a man at gunpoint in her kitchen was an everyday activity. “Chris, how do we know you weren’t responsible for the shit at Remy’s? Maybe he should put a bullet in your ass. Did you sell Remy out?” Ryan cocked an eyebrow at the man, arm extending to level his handgun’s sights on the stranger’s head. The Soldier’s expression was stoic, absent any indication he might hesitate in taking the man’s life. *npc* “Whoah, wait! I didn’t do shit,” the man threw his hands up submissively. “Who is this?” Harker’s weapon remained pointed at the man’s head throughout Rorye’s introduction. The agent was surprised at the amount of authentic information she was offering her colleague. She really wanted this newcomer to believe her story. Details added credibility to the lie, but also increased the risk of uncovering the deception. *npc* “Can he handle it?” Rorye gave the brigand a disapproving glare, “did you seriously just ask me that?” “A funny question coming from someone who already found himself at the wrong end of my gun,” Ryan quipped, though his features remained apathetic. *npc* “I hate him,” the stranger admitted while staring the agent in the eyes. “That’s great, you hate everyone. John, this is Chris,” Rorye swapped the man’s bag for another while conducting introductions. The exchange had been somewhat discrete, but it hadn’t gone unnoticed. “Chris is the guy you’ve heard about. He’s the best.” “I certainly hope not,” Ryan responded quickly. Hammer on his Sig Sauer was de-cocked slowly, and finally the weapon was lowered. Rorye gave him an apologetic look, then a slight eyeroll begged him to participate in her ruse. She poured both men a cup of coffee. Once Chris had been served, she approached Harker with a mug in hand. “I got this if you want to go,” she whispered. She placed a hand on his chest, almond eyes gazing into his, “or you could join us? Ask some questions. He won’t be here long and I don’t know when he’ll be back.” Ryan was surprised she willingly displayed the intimacy of their relationship in front of her colleague. Soft spoken words, closeness, gentle touch, the signs of affection were subtle. Subtle cues, however, never went unnoticed amongst people from realms of subversion and subterfuge. If this ‘Chris’ guy was as good as she said, then he would have noticed. Which meant, she wanted him to know. Interesting. “Let me go put some clothes on,” Ryan replied quietly. Eyes found hers, softening for the first time since he had entered the room. “It’s a bit chilly in here,” he smirked. His stare flicked down for a moment, looking to the goosebumps that had blossomed on his skin beneath her fingertips. “I’ll be right back.” The agent gave a glance of warning to Chris, then turned and exited the room. About a minute later he returned, wearing a form fitting white T-shirt, blue jeans, and a pair of worn hiking boots. Helping himself to the coffee Rorye had poured him earlier, he took a seat at the table across from Chris. Their hostess would likely have noticed the pistol grip budding from the waistband at his lower back. Though he was careful in ensuring the weapon couldn’t be seen by their unexpected guest. Harker took a long, deliberate sip from his coffee, then placed the cup down on the table. An intense stare crossed the table toward the larger man. Leaning forward slightly he said, “Chris, you asked who I am, so I will tell you. Rorye has enlisted my service because I am the best at what I do. I am not a tomb raider, an explorer, or a dealer. No, I am the man they call to clean up messes. I am the man that hurts people… the man that kills people… I am the man you never want to meet… and I assure you I am not someone you want to lie to.” Ryan’s eyes remained locked with those of the relic hunter as he continued. “I am telling you this because we are going to ask you some questions, and I want you to understand there will be consequences if I feel you are being dishonest in your answers. Answer truthfully, and you will leave with your normal fee plus a little extra. Do we have an understanding?” Regardless of Rorye’s relationship with the man, Ryan wanted him to comprehend the severity of his involvement. For now, he would play the heavy hand. Rorye could always calm things down if she wished. The present tactic set the stage for him to be the bad guy, and for her to Chris’s prevailing ally. He wasn’t sure if Rorye had expected the strategy, but he trusted she find a way to use it to her advantage.
  8. Ayli Kuresh

    Sunset Slowdown

    As he spoke she took grabbed a fresh glass and filled it from the same tap before sliding it down in front of him, ever present smile dancing on her lips.She wasn’t sure quite what he wanted to say, but she was pretty sure that this wasn’t it. Still she didn’t exactly mind the questions. Unlike him there wasn’t much she missed about her own world. She was more than comfortable here. In fact she considered New York more her home than anywhere else she’d ever had. It was no bother to her if he wanted to ask about where she’d come from. He was pleasant conversation.She’d discovered company was easy to find, but good company was a much rarer thing. “From the same place I do” She told him as grabbed his empty glass and stacking it with others before loading them into the dishwasher. “My world doesn’t have a name. Not like this one. No one there has ever even dreamed of another ‘world’. Every race calls it something different. Most don’t even think of it like that, as a single place. Their world isn’t the plane. It’s their country. Their village. Wherever they call home.” She told him as she worked. “Mine was Basen’gir. In this tongue the closest word would be...The Abyss. My kind had a city there. A fortress. Before I lived there my world was the forests of Angir. Now it’s here.” she told him simply. Since she’d come here she’d constantly been filled with awe. Surprise. She’d been amazed to learn how vast this planet was. Even more so that it had all been explored, mapped and colonized. She’d found it strangely sad though. Exploring her own realm was a dangerous prospect. More so than here, even with all of the dangers that had slipped in from across the planes. At the same time there was wonder. A sense of adventure. That there was always something to discover that had never been seen by another. That the people of this world lacked that seemed odd. Tragic. Still if that particular wonder was lost to them the hume here had managed to create much of their own. She couldn’t imagine a city like New York ever coming to be on her home plane. Then again she couldn’t have imagined anything like this world if she hadn’t seen it for herself. “And you? Where do you call home. Not here I think.” She said softly as she leaned against the bar opposite him, her expression curious as she eyed him once again. “This city tolerates us...outworlders they call us, but it’s unusual to see a Hume actually champion us.” It was true. Most of the people who lived here weren’t hostile. Many even seemed to feel some level of concern about their treatment for most of them it was skin deep. Forgotten the moment it caused them any kind of inconvenience. Not that she begrudged them for it. Friction between races was inevitable. Sometimes there were differences were so ingrained, so intrinsic that it was bound to happen. Especially in this city where so many races, so many ways of living came together. She rested her head in her hand, leaning against the bar as she waited for his answer...
  9. Maya Rowen

    Shall We Play a Game?

    Maya felt like she was losing her mind. Turned out that was pretty easy when you didn’t sleep. Oh she’d gotten a couple hours here and there when the exhaustion became too much for her to brush off, but not enough. She only managed a couple hours at best before the dreams started. The nightmares. Before she woke up screaming.It’d had been days since the warehouse. Days since the vampire. Since the boogeyman. Since the monsters. Her dreams had plagued her enough when her own demons were the only ones in them. Now? Ha. Hahaha. Now she’d have gladly begged for them to be the only horrors in her head. She was used to insomnia. To long nights, but for her it was getting to be too much. She knew she must look like hell not that she much cared. She’d been jumping at every little sound, every tiny bit of motion out of the corner of her eye ever since that night. Her nerves were beyond frayed. She knew not sleeping was making it worse, but she couldn’t help it. She’d almost gone to Chloe after the first couple nights for something to knock her out, but the fear had stopped her. That she would take one and finally spend a few hours blissfully unaware...and that he would find her and she would never wake up again. She’d finally cracked this morning. She’d been close to dozing on her couch. Would have if she stayed sitting there and she knew it, so she’d decided to stretch her legs. The second she’d managed to stand up she blacked out. One second she’d been upright and the next she was trying to figure out why everything was suddenly on it’s side. A sick cold feeling settled in her gut when she realized if she hadn’t fallen sideways she’d have gone right through her glass coffee table. She’d been halfway through dialing Chloe when she stopped. She’d been the one Maya had called that night. Then she’d been truly out of her mind. Rambling. She’d been halfway to hypothermia when Chloe found her and picked her up. She didn’t pry. She never did, but Maya knew she was worried. She’d caused enough of that. She wasn’t worth worrying about. She sure as hell wasn’t going to give Chloe more reason to if she could avoid it. In this case she could. So she’d dialed a different number. One she was far less enthused about. She was dreading the conversation but she knew it needed to happen. Honestly she shouldn’t have waited this long to make the call but it wasn’t going to be a pleasant one and she’d had no desire to jangle her nerves more than they already were. Not that she had much of a choice now. She set up a meeting with Graft. His tone hadn’t given anything away. It never did...but she had a feeling he knew things hadn’t gone according to plan...and that he wasn’t pleased about it. She’d set a time and a place and told him what she’d needed. They met at a coffee house downtown around sunset. She’d needed the caffeine. She’d nearly nodded off on the cab ride there.Graft had been waiting by the time she got there, a styrofoam cup already sitting in front of him. She’d been right, he hadn’t been happy. She could taste the anger coming off him stronger than the triple espresso she’d gotten. As good as he was at keeping his face emotion free even he couldn’t manage to keep his emotions out of his aura. There was concern there as well. Probably not for her. Not quite. Graft was all business. No he was probably more worried about what could throw her off her game so bad. His line of questioning confirmed what his aura had hinted at. She’d burrowed down in the recesses of her oversized hoodie as much for the comfort as the warmth as she’d told him what had happened. Every detail. The rage coming off him got even more intense as she told it. He was coming to the same conclusion she already had. Whoever had arranged the job had skimped on the details. Probably because they’d known Graft wouldn’t touch anything as risky as what that warehouse had been. She still didn’t know what she’d been told to grab. Not really. At this point she wanted to know even less than normal. She had enough nightmares to deal with at the moment. This job had turned into a clusterfuck. The only positive spin she could even put on it was she hadn’t been taken in by the ARMA agent. Her boogeyman. Not that it was much of a comfort. He’d seen her face. He knew about her now. Her hands shook as she took another sip from the cup in front of her. Graft noticed. He stood and told her he’d deal with the client. She wondered if the idiot would still be breathing after Graft was done with them. Killing a client was bad for business. Letting this go unanswered might be worse. Whoever they were Maya wouldn’t be surprised if they soon found themselves wishing for death. Graft didn’t tolerate bad business. He slid the cup across the table to her and walked out. She stared down at it for a moment before picking it up. It wasn’t full of coffee. She grabbed the cup and made her way back out into the cold, shivering despite her sweats and the jacket she wore over them. She hailed a taxi and fifteen minutes later she was back at her building. It was long past dark as she stepped out into the street. The cold was really setting in and she hurried inside. She’d struggled to get warm since that night. Chloe had told her she didn’t think any lasting damage had occurred. That the chills would pass. Maya hoped she was right. After what seemed like an eternity in the elevator she finally slipped back into her apartment. She bolted all three locks and stamped the snow off her boots before kicking them off one at a time. Her cane and glasses were hung on the pegs by the door as she slipped her coat off and put it beside her. She popped the top off the coffee cup and grabbed the bottle of pills that had been stashed in it. She’d just started unscrewing the cap when the color caught her eye. She wasn’t alone. It looked like a woman. Maybe it still was. Maybe it had never been at all. Her features were elegant. Beautiful. Her aura was terrifying, She’d never seen one like it. It was a bright scarlet that seemed to pulse like the beating of a heart. The same color as the lines that had spiderwebbed along the skin of the vampire she’d seen days before. If she’d been in her right mind she might have connected the two. Maybe considered that the vampire she and the agent had ended up putting down was fresh. Unfinished. That would require the ability to think. Her mind was too busy screaming to do anything so rational as that. She’d found another monster, and this one was in her home. Her golden eyes went wide as she stared at it, the rest of her body going rigid as shock held her in place like vice. The bottle of pills slipped out of her fingers and hit the floor with a clatter that was deafening in the silence. The panic was sudden and nearly absolute. Her heart hammered in her chest, painfully loud. The right sleeve on her hoodie went slack at her side as her focus slipped and her the phantom limb within it crumbled into golden dust before fading away entirely. She sank to her knees, her good arm bracing against the floor to steady her as she struggled for air. Her breaths came ragged. Gasping. Her vision began to falter she began to black out. A million thoughts raced across her mind. How had they gotten in? How had they found her? Why were they even here? Who were they? So many more flashed into her mind only to be buried by the sheer weight of the one terrifying thought that crashing down around her. There was a monster here, and no one was coming to save her.
  10. Eris London

    Sheut Happens

    Her hands relaxed to her sides, one on the holster for her pistol, resting there. It was a visual cue to push the two to talk, but mostly because Gallo’s growl could be felt in her bones. Eyes never left the rogue, even as the other started blurting out information. “Tell me about Jerry. The one of you that pleases me the most with your answer gets to keep their feet.” Mob mentality came to mind. Not the mafia mob… though of course that had some similarities here for all intents and purposes. It felt like they were feeding off each other’s emotions until something broke loose. The Were’s restraint had pressed anger tightly into a box and she could feel it. Smell it even. She was no longer human, a beast in her own right. A lethal, calculating, predator and Gallo was needling at her buttons. Unaware of course. She’d never been this close to a functioning Were still within their senses. It was… intoxicating in its own way. “Wait. My apologies. I had forgotten. Winner keeps their hands.” Lashes lowered slightly, eyes shifting to Toby. The human’s heart was insanely fast, she was checking up on her protégée. Nervousness forced blood close to the surface, fear triggered their chase response. As elegant and romantic as people made them in popular culture, they were still animals. Primal could kick in at a moment’s notice. He nodded lightly to her unspoken question. He was fine. As the human’s skin lit up with the perspiration of fear, a scent lingered. Breath moved in and out to “taste it”. She knew that smell. The stench from the bottle was still with her, mixed with something else. That something else was on the human’s skin. Or clothes. The cold had congealed it, but his warmth in panic was causing it to aerate. *npc* “Wait, wait! I’ll tell Gallo everything for protection. Eris. London. I know who you are. Please. I’ll tell you everything. I’ll tell you who made him!” He knew about the Nation? This was getting more interesting by the second. He was appealing to the wrong person. *npc* “Shut up! Shut the fuck up!” They’d turned on each other. Nice work Gallo. Apply pressure, be calm, and just let them stew until they start biting each other’s throats. The human was in the midst of a complete meltdown, close to sobbing. He was in the panic, hopeful phase. She watched the human, for the first time an expression emerged from her features. Curiosity. She was still trying to place the scent. *npc* “I’ll tell you what it is!” *npc* “He’s lying, he doesn’t know!” *npc* “I do! I do!” “Venom,” she said quietly as the pieces clicked into place. *npc* "Venom" They’d said it at the same time. She nodded to Gallo to confirm he was telling the truth. It was the pure saturation that was throwing her off. She’d never smelled it this concentrated before. No wonder Gallo recoiled so sharply. Sometimes when the lords, or even local grunts, were sure someone was stealing or embezzling their product, they would taint it with different substances to see where the overdoses or symptoms popped up. They got inventive sometimes. What she’d seen in her short career before the Resonance was brutal, and evil. This might go further up the pipeline than Gallo realized. Where did he get his supplies from? Someone that was selling him his supplies may be purposefully sabotaging the man or were seeing whether or not they were supplying to the “mob”. Either way, it was targeted. Tom potentially couldn’t trust someone he was doing business with. That led to another problem, were the crates poisoned here? It could potentially be on them, anywhere. The human, not likely. The vampire? Who would have fewer problems handling something like this? A vampire. They were either being made to handle this, or they were being made when a human was poisoned with it to keep them alive. Fuck it all… Crates were already here, made somewhere else most likely, so perhaps they’d dodged that bullet. The vampire had slouched a bit more, sullen, eyes narrowed. Maybe things were finally catching up to him. “On purpose?” she asked him quietly. Was he made on purpose? He shook his head. She nodded once. He was an accident then, made from someone being a careless ass. That was another level of transgression in her book. Didn’t mean this idiot was innocent in the very least, but it helped focus her anger on whoever was doing it. They needed to let the human and the vampire go. After whoever was responsible found out this cache was ruined, they would come looking for them. Bait. The two in the car were forfeit. Of course, it was Gallo’s call. His business, his call. *npc* "Jerry is in town," the Hesek finally mumbled. Oh really?
  11. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Taking Inventory

    Chris was already reaching toward his belt as she warned him to be quiet, a trained instinct. The guy wasn’t stupid. He was more formidable than most gave him credit for. Going out into the “wild” always made people capable of surviving the worst. Problem was, he wasn’t in his element, and he got too comfortable with that fact all the time. He set foot on concrete in a place with electricity and he became an annoying ass. Chris’ hand had wandered to his own weapon at his belt. She looked at the dusty relic hunter’s hand and shook her head as she told him to shut up one last time. The metallic “click” behind her sparked a jump in her heartbeat… and not in a bad way. “I wouldn’t,” she said quietly to her longtime supplier, looking at his hand, then casting a glance over her shoulder. She wasn’t disappointed, an odd sensation washing over her. Safety... among other more private thoughts. Eyes softened, concerned. He didn’t need this shit right now. She’d not seen him in action, but being between the two made the room electric. A shiver glittered down her spine, tickling over her skin. She hoped she wouldn’t see in for the first time in her kitchen. “Stay in the chair, keep your hands on the table, and we’ll be just fine” Chris looked to her for verification. “I told you so, you big dumb ox,” she wasn’t pleased as she chastised the supplier quietly. His hand moved back to his coffee, other on the table as instructed. Clearly he was cautious, but not afraid. “You think after Remy’s the rest of us wouldn’t be careful?” Us. She was starting to paint a picture of and for him. Thus far, Ryan had not been exposed to big players. Runners, errand boys, delivery personnel. Never an actual supplier. She was the heart, but this guy was the blood. “I wasn’t aware we were expecting company, who’s this?” *npc* “Yah, same fucking question to you,” Chris gulped down the rest of the coffee and clunked the cup on the tabletop, eyes flicking to Rorye. His fingers from both hands drummed on the table, brow cocked at her. “Look, I get we’re all on edge right now, we’re all off our schedules,” she turned and started making coffee, treating it like the most natural thing in the world. Ryan had to be seen as what she said he was, she was creating the buy-in. “Chris, how do we know you weren’t responsible for the shit at Remy’s? Maybe he should put a bullet in your ass. Did you sell Remy out?” *npc* “Whoah, wait! I didn’t do shit,” his hands went up finally, palms where they could see them. “Who is this?” “I called him in from the west coast after a few of my shipments went missing and things started going south. He’s done some good work for me out there. He’s staying in the other apartment until I can get things stabilized and your big dumb mouth almost got yourself shot,” it was almost elegant the way she could weave things together. She was absolutely a businesswoman, and a dangerously calculated one at that. “John is good people. He’s here to help us, bridge the gaps where our missing links are.” That was a huge risk, it would pay off. Being a hub had it's distinct advantages. She’d just placed him directly into the pipeline. If she could sell to Chris he was legit, he was in. It was also a point of no return. He would be forever in-the-know in her world and if anyone knew he was actively ARMA, everything she’d built would be destroyed. Her trust in him was now absolute, she hoped he knew that. *npc* “Can he handle it?” She glared at Chris, “did you seriously just ask me that?” Chris glared at him for a moment. *npc* “I hate him.” “That’s great, you hate everyone. John, this is Chris,” she picked up the supplier’s dusty bag, opening a closet near the door he’d come in and putting it in. Another pack was taken out and set at his feet. “Chris is the guy you’ve heard about. He’s the best.” She was moving business as usual, but the glance she sent in the agent’s direction held a myriad of information. ‘Please play along… listen for the right questions to ask.’ ‘This is an incredible opportunity in disguise to gather information…. and I’m sorry.’ Clients were sometimes something she couldn’t control, and he needed rest. He deserved it. “Chris has seen things I can only imagine having in my shop. Been places I’ve always wanted to go.” Chris crossed his arms arrogantly and leaned back in the chair. *npc* “And yet you still turn me down for a drink every time I come here.” “That’s because you’re still an asshole,” she poured him another cup of coffee and set it on the table, her foot stepping on the rung under his chair to force all four legs back on the floor. “And you think you own the place.” She poured one for Ryan even though he had a tray on his own kitchen table, and took it over to him, her back to her colleague as he clunked the rucksack on the table she’d just given him and started to go through it. Payment, and some other things. “I got this if you want to go,” she said quietly for only Ryan’s ears. All she wanted to do at that moment was just call it a day, slide under covers and not come out for a week. She just might. Dark eyes found his, fingers lingering on his chest a moment as she offered him the coffee, “or you could join us? Ask some questions. He won’t be here long and I don’t know when he’ll be back.”
  12. Thomas Gallo

    Sheut Happens

    The glance up from Eris was all he needed. She sensed the poison too. Good. There was progress being made. Perhaps today would go in the ‘good’ column for once. *npc* “They’ll kill me if I snitch. If I talk, you gonna protect me too? Adopt me like your little Hesek stepchild over there?” Never mind. When was the last time Tom had a clean win? How long had it been since he set out to accomplish a task, and he was able to complete it with only the expected obstacles? The Hesek was trying to provoke Eris, it was clear. What did he mean by ‘Hesek stepchild’? Didn’t matter at the moment. This vampire knew he was going to die. Any information he could squeeze from them would be considered a bonus at this point. He knew Eris had a beast that was not unlike his beneath her calm façade. He didn’t want to have to stop her from killing him…he was afraid he might have to. “Answer Mr. Gallo’s question.” Tom could hear the same dreadful inevitability in her voice. Tom knew that if he simply stepped aside and gestured toward the vampire, he’d be dead before Tom ever opened his mouth. He had to act fast. The sudden adjustment in the vampire’s countenance was a welcome change. He must know of Eris’s deadly reputation as well. Good. Sometimes, compliance required pushing more than just one button. *npc* “I don’t know,” he answered quickly. “I just watch the warehouses, my boss said just watch the warehouse and the crates.” Warehouses. More than one. This wasn’t a simple act of sabotage. This was a coordinated attack against Thyrsus and Bakkhos itself! This might warrant a conversation with Matteo. Although, his arrangement with Eris might complicate this. Additional complication did little to improve his temperament. A low growl began to escape his mouth before the shining nugget was found whilst panning through the filth of the day. *npc* "Jerry! His name's Jerry!" Jerry. Tom quickly thought of anyone he knew named Jerry that might be causing this much trouble. While he came up with a few that might have potential to be problematic…none of which tripped his radar as being above nuisance-level. Tom turned his back to the prisoners and peered into the crate, looking at the bottles of death that were waiting to be dealt out to the city with the name ‘Bakkhos’ written on the death certificate. With Thyrsus’s name. With Tom’s. Tom began to seethe. The beast begging to be let out of its cage. Not yet. Soon. Tom wheeled back and locked eyes with the Hesek, and then the human. “Tell me about Jerry. The one of you that pleases me the most with your answer gets to keep their feet.” Tom then, very deliberately slid his eyes down to the stumps of the vampire’s legs where the feet once were. Tom reached for the axe, still stained from the Hesek’s blood from earlier. With a cold, cruel smirk, Tom held up his other hand to silence any reaction. “Wait. My apologies. I had forgotten. Winner keeps their hands.” Tom slowly walked past Toby and the human, slowly dragging the blunt end of the axe blade across the length of the human’s arm as he said those last words. The Hesek may have already resigned himself to death. The human though, Tom was not quite so certain of that.
  13. Eris London

    Sheut Happens

    She could stand forever at attention, unmoving as a demure statue, not alive. It was a misconception. She breathed, her heart beat, and she could eat to keep up the illusion. When it came down to it, she was still not human. That single fact was keeping everyone safe at the moment; safe from the rogue, his friends, and Gallo. This was new territory. Expanding her trust base beyond her tight circle required her to release absolute control. It was not a comfortable position to be in. Her crew was incredibly efficient, but they had not dealt with a Were this closely. Neither had said a word to her thus far about being worried. Because they trusted her. Her attention was split, not just on the rogue. Toby and Ahanu could handle the rogue now that he’d come to his senses. Eris was ready to swing the aim at Tom in an instant if necessary. His range, though contained, ticked at her temples. It kept her teeth on edge, and teased at the wicked streak she could unleash when needed. If anything, she was staunchly controlled. He flirted at the edge, she was curious how closely. Ripping the lid from the crate was an interesting show, flooding her senses with broken wood, glass and even the scent of the scotch within. Lashes narrowed imperceptibly, something else hovered with it. “Do you know what happens when someone drinks this? Surely you must. It is gruesome. Painful. Slowly…fatal.” …and that was why she was willing to be here with a gun in her hand. Damage to Bakkhos meant damage to her east coast. Bakkhos’ survival was vital. Though brusque in some of its dealings, they were a driving force to support the return of civilization. They employed people, kept pushing forward with even the luxurious aspects of life. Normalcy. Poisoned stock was a blow they wouldn’t recover from immediately. As he moved toward her, she was untangling the aromas. She’d smelled it before, her human life having an intricate knowledge of everything poison and drug related. Where had she smelled it before? He cracked the seal, and her eyes moved to his slowly, then back to the rogue. Affirmative. Something was there, and she’d come across it before, flipping through the figurative Rolodex in her memories to pinpoint it as he approached Toby’s ‘guest’. “Fear not, little one. I only ask for your help. I am going to ask your friend here, some questions. If he lies, I want to you to say so. Help me, and I will take great care of you. Not simply survival. Prove yourself to me tonight, and I will make sure you and those you care for are taken care of properly. Fail me… …just don’t fail me.” She fought the urge to smile. Eris. Smiling. Almost happened. What a concept. “Who asked you to guard this?” The rogue’s eyes shifted to her, he was appealing to her ‘mercy’. He did know who she was. Bully for him. She gave Tom the lead, returning her firearm to her thigh holster and crossing her arms. *npc* “They’ll kill me if I snitch. If I talk, you gonna protect me too?” The rogue’s face was serious. Her patience had limits. If this joker was in her hangar she’d have shot him in every major joint by now. *npc* “Adopt me like your little Hesek stepchild over there?” grin was sarcastic. Asshole still had fight, and he'd missed the mark on her 'mercy'. Someone hadn't told him the right information on her. She understood Weres had rage, and up to now Tom had not seen hers. Her anger, stealth, strength, yes. Irritation, yes. Rage, no. A cheap shot at her people was met with death. A cheap shot at Toby, was unforgivable. Beneath the unbreakable façade, she was raging. “Answer Mr. Gallo’s question,” she said quietly, taking every last cable of control not to leap forward and rip the vampire limb from limb and worse. Toby’s eyes had moved to her with more than just a glance. She’d forgive him for that. Gallo owed her. The rogue’s face lost its last bravado. *npc* “I don’t know,” he answered quickly. “I just watch the warehouses, my boss said just watch the warehouse and the crates.” Warehouses? As in plural? Toby's grip must have tightened as he watched his boss, anticipating the viper that was readying to strike. In any event, it had unexpected results. *npc* "Jerry! His name's Jerry!" the human fish under Toby's care blurted out. Jerry. Warehouses. Progress, if just a little.
  14. Ryan Harker

    Taking Inventory

    “You can’t hesitate, no matter what.” Rorye whispered. “I know,” was Ryan’s solemn reply before swiftly changing the subject. *** “You’ll be asleep by the time I bring you up something to eat,” she teased. “No, I won’t,” he countered, voice betraying a playful grin. “Let me rephrase that… you should be asleep by the time I bring up some things. I’ll get your stitches when you wake up.” “I’ll wait you,” was the last thing Ryan said, before giving her a kiss on the cheek and proceeding upstairs. *** *npc* “For right now... Right now doesn't sound like you'll be here long. Does she know that... John?” A glare caught Nina from the corner of the mage hunter’s eye. “Right now,” meant hopefully, someday, Rorye would have more in her life than the likes of him. “Right now,” meant he understood the risk associated with the fight ahead, and the significant chance he wouldn’t survive the conflict’s conclusion. “Right now,” acknowledged the possibility his involvement with Rorye might be temporary. However, it didn’t mean he wanted it to be. Jaw clenched a moment, then relaxed. Ryan said his peace and walked away without engaging the shopkeeper any further. *** Harker had undressed quickly, leaving his clothes in organized piles around the small studio apartment. Bathroom mirrors had fogged almost instantly. The showers scalding hot water had burned his skin, but also soothed aching knots of muscle and tendon. Blood rinsed from his hands far more easily than it had stained them. A heavy sigh escaping the man as he braced himself against the wall beneath the showerhead. Fingers poked and rubbed the canal of his left ear. The ringing was louder than usual this morning. Flaring tinnitus, a side effect caused by any number of grievances; loud noises, explosions, illness, changes in altitude, to name a few. The cause this morning had been a forceful blow taken to the side of the head last night. Water was shut off and Ryan stepped out of the shower. Mouth opened wide in an only half feigned yawn as he attempted to pop his ear drums. Often a could yawn could subside an acute episode of the incessant tone. This time it worked, and Ryan’s hearing resumed its normal function. This was just in time to hear a distant knocking sound resonating from somewhere near the back of the shop. Curiosity peaked, the mage hunter dried himself quickly and made his way out of the bathroom. Beyond his bedroom a door could be heard closing softly. A deep, masculine voice spoke impatiently, followed by hushed whispers the hunter presumed belonged to Rorye. The exact words could not be discerned, but Harker sensed his girl had been surprised by an unexpected guest. Especially considering the occults shop didn’t open for another hour. A clean pair of boxers had been pulled on hastily, then Sig Sauer was removed silently from its holster. Soundless footsteps brought the agent to the door of his room. There he paused a moment, weapon at the ready while he listened to the voices on the other side. Something in the next room crashed against the wood floor with a hefty “clunk.” Reason enough to investigate further. Ryan pushed noiselessly into the adjacent walkway and then to the doorway of Rorye’s room. A large man was seated at her kitchen table, coffee mug in hand. Graying hair, unshaven stubble, ragged clothes, everything about the stranger indicated he could handle himself. Rorye leaned casually against the counter in the kitchen, but Ryan could see the anxiety in her posture. “Because you’re not supposed to be here right now. You're going to have a gun pointed at your head in less than a minute...” Harker made his presence known with the metallic “click” of his pistol’s hammer cocking back. Given the circumstances, he wouldn’t ordinarily have pointed his weapon at the unknown man. If Rorye was going to make a threat however, he had no qualms with backing her play. If she wanted a gun to the stranger’s head, he could oblige. The Soldier stood in doorway wearing only his underwear. Hair was damp from the shower and moisture still glistened in places on his skin. Tattoos and scars were on full display, though perhaps the most obvious was the newer mark on his left leg. The healing wound was stitched and ugly, still holding a bright red coloration. “If you don’t already,” Rorye finished awkwardly as both she and the stranger turned their heads toward Ryan. Ryan’s stare narrowed on the new arrival. Weariness showed in the depth of the wrinkles at the edges of his eyes. Yet, eyes themselves were sharp with lethality. Brilliant blue hues glared intensely at the man, catching Rorye in their peripherals. Despite the operative’s lengthy night, it was obvious he was prepared to kill. Perhaps the only thing he appeared too tired to do… was put up with bullshit. “Stay in the chair, keep your hands on the table, and we’ll be just fine,” Harker stated calmly. Weapon rest nonchalantly at the agent’s hip, but muzzle remained aimed at the stranger’s head. After waiting a moment for the man’s compliance, he then looked to Rorye. “I wasn’t aware we were expecting company, who’s this?”
  15. Earlier
  16. PLOT | FACE CLAIM | IMPORTANT LINKS | REQUESTS | ADVERTISE | DISCORD THE SOCIETY What was supposed to be a field trip to occupy the teens of West Ham ended abruptly when a mudslide prevented the buses from pushing forward — but what they found when they returned home was not what they expected. Their families had vanished, and soon it became apparent that they weren’t coming back — the kids would have to survive on their own. With a group of teenagers trying to function as a society, the struggle to find order is only surpassed by the desire to go home — and the hope that they’ll make it out alive. "If you hear this, please come find us."
  17. Thomas Gallo

    Sheut Happens

    The rage never leaves. It is a constant, like the spinning of the earth or the rising of the sun. The only change is the thickness of the furnace door that Tom places on it. Tom’s will was strong, and with the right motivation, he could wall off that torrent of fury and death for a long time. However, venting it from time to time had its uses. Tom observed the glances the Hesek made towards Eris and Toby. He clearly knew who they were. Tom filed that away for later use. There were still plenty of unanswered Sheut questions that Tom felt he should know by now, but it was not the time to ask those questions. He moved toward the crate he had dragged over and placed his hand on the lid. Venting a portion of the rage inside, he ripped the nailed-down lid of the crate with a roar. No doubt, anyone looking at Tom’s face saw the cool, calmness evaporate from his face for the slightest of moments. The destruction of the bonds holding the lid to the crate…splinters flying, metal scraping against wood…had a very satisfying feeling. For a moment. Tom looked inside and saw what he had feared. Inside the crate were several boxes of what appears to be the booze that he would ship to clients. Tom had never been to this warehouse before today. He knew this was not in his distribution chain. He had finally caught a break. Now to be sure. He removed one of the bottles. Macallan Fine Oak scotch. What a waste. He began to open the bottle, and just as the seal had been broken, the familiar stench of the poison he kept locked away in his safe flooded his nostrils. Immediately he sealed the bottle again before the stench overpowered him and he risked dropping it. He had a smoking gun. Now to find the shooter. It was clearly not this fool. However, he must know who. “Do you know what happens when someone drinks this? Surely you must. It is gruesome. Painful. Slowly…fatal.” Tom turned his back to the Hesek and walked close to Eris. He had to know if she could detect it same as him without blatantly asking in front of the other. He was in control in this illusion, and he needed to maintain it. He knelt in as if to whisper, holding the bottle close to his chest. He cracked the seal, and as soon as it hit his nostrils, he closed it again quickly…all while studying her face for the slightest hint that she could smell it. If she couldn’t, Tom had a particularly brutal course of action planned ahead. If she recoiled as much as Tom did, then he’d have to opt for Plan B. No one would want Plan B. Tom focused his attention on the newly arrived human who Toby had brought back. Tom walked over to the shaking person…fear and dread had totally taken over this poor, misguided man. Tom knelt down to be face to face with Toby’s prisoner and offered a warm…if insincere smile and placed a hand on his cheek. “Fear not, little one. I only ask for your help. I am going to ask your friend here,” he gestured toward the Hesek under Eris’s watchful aim, “some questions. If he lies, I want to you to say so. Help me, and I will take great care of you. Not simply survival. Prove yourself to me tonight, and I will make sure you and those you care for are taken care of properly. Fail me…” Tom’s grip tightened as his fingers began digging into the terrified man’s skull. Tom then visibly relaxed as a warm smile…tinged with malevolence returned to his face, “…just don’t fail me.” Tom turned his attention back to the Hesek. Tom’s false warmth completely gone from his visage. It was all business now. “Who asked you to guard this?” Tom was holding up the bottle as he asked. It was a simple question. Not exactly profound, but it was a place to start. He suspected it would be a long night.
  18. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Throw Me Sumthin' Mista

    I do what I do because I want to…. being some kids wet dream wasn’t part of that want. “It’s a part of what you get cher,” he picked up a little plastic case from the glass counter and snagged another toothpick. At this rate they were going to be gone in a week, ah well. “I love my guns. The jackass weekend yahoos unfortunately come along with it. I either deal, or I don’t.” He let the silence linger, watching the television and trying to figure out what in the dickens the whole thing was about. Football, baseball… he got that jargon. The beating the hell out of each other sports, never could get the attraction. Welcome back…? He nodded slightly, conceding for the time being, watching her listen to the television. Now that he knew… it was easy to see. It was definitely somethin’ to witness. Toothpick switched sides. You're the one that vanished without so much as a word. Came by twice tryin' to fill an order. Haven't come by cuz didn’t know you were back. “That’s always been the deal,” it was under his breath absently. It always had been. Things got hot, he split. It wasn’t that he wanted to leave, maybe he did sometimes. He was above all else, a fugitive. Too much was rumbling under the radar. The Order was damn out their minds and he didn’t want to be under their boot again. There was also that insatiable wanderlust, sometimes he just be needing to be on his own. “Ya wanna fill orders, gotta keep the heat off. Suppose I could make slush stock in case I gotta jet. That cost ya though.” Stickin' for a while? “For now,” he placed the gun on the counter with a quiet clink and refolded the polish cloth. “Like I said, got a gal. Might stick for a bit n’see where that goes.” Soft blink clicked off the open sign in the front door, small clicks signaling he’d tripped the lock system to shut down for the night. Just in case the rabid fans came back, not that he was going to tell her the place was closed, he could be a little shit when he wanted to be. He picked up the bottle and his glass, grabbing another and coming out from behind the counter to place them on his work table where another antique firearm had its guts spilled out in perfect order. Set of dueling pistols this time, another find on his trip. Covered in mud. The more he went back, the less there was of his city. Without a word he topped his off and poured a drink for her at “her” chair. It seemed to have become her spot. He sat, changing direction and picking up one of the pistols to fiddle with. He was always focused on something, kept the static out of his head when he focused on things other than let the ambient “noise” sink in. “Tell me about this place, need anything special for the security?” He honestly didn’t care much what they did with the things he made, but it would help try and figure out what he could make… or experiment with if needed.
  19. Eris London

    Shall We Play a Game?

    February 22nd, 2022 Before midnight The Harbor, Maya Rowen's Apartment Blood was everything. Life. Death. What else was there? Warehouses were such a cornucopia of scents. Disposable for anything and everything that needed to go from point A to point B. Owned and sold, lost and found. They were the perfect place to become something and nothing at all. Decaying blood was even more potent. Scrubbed clean by ARMA, nevertheless it clicked on the top of her palate with a distinct metallic taste. Solvents. Dirt. Oil. Even mana had a smell, for lack of a better term. Death was here. The hunter was here. Others. The dead rogue had the hunter’s scent all over him. Another. Another had been with him. It was the “another” she was following. Someone else had walked out of here. She wanted to know who it was, and why she was allowed to live when everyone else had been killed. It hadn't escaped her that maybe the hunter had saved someone, she was still having a hard time believing the hunter had saved himself, let alone killed one of her kind. She chalked it up to Hesek inexperience and dumb luck. The hunter, she knew. He knew she knew. Being a member of ARMA made him manageable for now. The other, was a wildcard. She didn’t like wildcards, which made this hunt all the more needed. Dropping down into the darkness with the grace of a feline, she walked through the emptiness that had once held bodies and blood. Gloved hands demurely in her coat pockets, she watched the floor where her black Gianvito trench coat buckle boots were walking. Even clean, the scents were everywhere. Bodies, had been everywhere. Following the trail again like a bloodhound, she was retracing steps she’d walked before to make sure the one she’d isolated and tracked was the one she needed. It was. Disappearing into the darkness, the warehouse was left behind. The city was not as bright as it used to be, the end of the world could do that. Some nights seemed to glow like daylight when the clouds were low and the snow was flittering to refract residual city lights. Tonight, it was dark, and that was why she chose it. Freshly fed, she could move almost without being seen, a shadow in the corner of someone’s eye as she made her way to the bullseye of where she’d been tracking for days. The corner of the street sealed the deal, scent potent and recent, deciding whether or not to go in the front door or from above. Considering she hadn’t put on a different face for the evening, above seemed the more prudent choice. Several leaps took her to the window she needed, strength and pre-Resonance skill taking care of entry, displeased to find nobody home. Steps silent, she took in the studio apartment with silent eyes, taking off her coat and folding it over her arm without removing her gloves as she found a chair. Coat over the side of the chair, she sat, one leg crossed over the other, hands folded in her lap, watching the door in absolute stillness. She didn’t have all night.
  20. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Licking Wounds

    “I know” The comment was still echoing in her head as she stared at the Lure, sensing a lingering discomfort as they pushed on with business. She watched him pick it up, something else on the edge of her instinct scratching at her attention. He hadn’t shown any interest in the key, the books, nothing so far except for the coin in the car the night prior. Her ring. This Lure. The pieces didn’t fit together, and she’d accepted there were aspects of the whole case that he wasn’t telling her. She didn’t expect him to. When it mattered, she was hoping he would. As he placed it back down in the case, the unthinkable was ticking at her thoughts. Like a gawker at a car accident, the incredible urge to pick it up was real… just to, see. Faces she knew perhaps in their last moments had their hand on it. Cassandra had flashed in her consciousness when she touched the coin. Maybe touching this could shed light on… It was already in her hand, the small decorative cylinder rolling through her fingers as scrutiny had settled on the bandana in the box. She was thinking. “What is it?” Reactive blink broke the thought process when he spoke, his voice pulling her back from the edge of a decision. The scent of coffee, feel of the floor under her foot. His voice. The taste of black coffee still on her lips. The blue in his eyes as she glanced at them. Grounding. She’d done it instinctively. She could do this, but what kind of suffering was she inflicting on herself? A way forward was fresh in her emotions, and she was dragging up the past. Not knowing, was painful. Fingertips pulled one of the edges of the bandana back, a swizzle of silver chains tangled amongst themselves. Obviously Remy had been too lazy to untangle them, or just in a rush. Maybe he couldn’t and they were supposed to be like that. In any case, she had no idea what they were. Other corner was flipped back. They were just necklaces. A small clear organza bag was nestled underneath the dozen or so chains. Placing the Lure down finally, she slid the chains aside delicately and lifted the bag out, loosening the pull string and placing one of the contents on the table. It was a pearl slide with silver inlay in the bore hole. Weird. Silver necklaces and a bag of pearl slides that went on them was it. Seriously? “I have no idea what these are,” she said quietly. “Never seen or heard of anything like this.” Curiosity was getting the better of her, taking each out one at a time and placing them on the table. One was different. Pink. Rutilated. Other than that, nothing. All identical. Leaving them out for him to see, she picked up the one in a different hue, holding it up to the light. It was moving inside, like watching a time lapse of the sky at night, or water in a glass that had been spun with a spoon. Slowly rotating. She lifted another to the light, nothing. Opaque. “Huh. No idea. These need to get to ARMA headquarters asap,” she said quietly, putting the slides back in the tiny bag. “Then home for me. I have pretty much everything in the apartment or available at the shop for you. Food, everything.” She stood to repack the bag when he was finished looking at it. Hand picked up the Lure, closing her fingers around it as she placed it back in the box to close. The clink to her ring was minute, in her head it rang like a church bell, pictures flipping through her mind’s eye like a book whose pages were caught in a storm. Addictive and drowning, a magnet bent on pulling her attention below an inky surface. She let go and jerked her hand back, closing the box with her opposite fingers and blinking away the brightness that feathered on the edges of her vision. Shit. Faces floated in her memory, but none she knew. Relieved. “This is yours,” she pushed the box toward him. “I’m going to finish putting things away, we should go as soon as my clothes are dry.” Impatient, but also still feeling the uneasiness from him. She could put it to rest, unsure if it would make it worse or better. Books were slid back into the messenger bag, the little bits of notes and paper into the front zip flap for her to look at later when she had more of her resources to decipher some of Remy’s chicken scratch Latin. Retrieving the first aid materials from the night before, she knelt effortlessly to check his stitches. “You’ll live, sorry about the… scrape last night. I was a little preoccupied,” she smiled, standing and tousling his hair before leaving a lingering kiss on his lips and setting off to finish cleaning up. Okay... she was trying to make it better? “Have to check it again later..." Her last comment was under her breath, maybe he heard, maybe he didn't. In any case, she needed to get home.
  21. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Taking Inventory

    “It was for somebody,” Soft smile led to a playful quirk of her brow. With as tired as he was, she was amazed his humor was still intact, smile a little less amused when he was apparently sharp enough to keep pressing the Nina issue. Nina was a force, she may not have had the power to make decisions in the shop as a whole, but she could make it uncomfortable for anyone she felt disrupted the clockwork. Rorye tolerated it because she was almost always right. There was a relationship between them that ran deeper than just being protective of the shop owner’s home. Every person, no matter how much of a fighter, hits their wall. The diminutive woman had put Rorye back on her feet to keep fighting after the unthinkable happened. She was a rock. “Call it a hunch” “Of course. Be careful, she bites,” humor lingered in her words as she again steered him toward self-care. The fight to wrestle him into his apartment and to rest was a push and pull in full swing. “Well, I definitely like the sound of you pinning me down, But, I won’t be able to enjoy that, or anything else until I know what’s going on with you.” “If you can’t enjoy that, then apparently I need to up my game,” or game at all. She’d given him his space as promised, falling back into the regular routine of the business. Items were funneling to her as expected, skittish clients coming in on the down low as she worked with and reassured them. She’d seen the agent mostly in passing, silent communication carrying electricity that was difficult to put aside for the sake of so much as they kept to their respective studios on the second floor. It’s not that she didn’t want to; her promise of putting the mission first was taken to heart. People died when you got distracted. The quiet moment was rare of late, fingers lingering to caress the back of his neck for not nearly as long as she wanted to. Nina issue. Right. No more stalling, straight into the business of the day. She didn’t want to ask this of him. There was no doubt he would do what was necessary. It would be poetic justice that this building would be destroyed after it almost destroyed her. Fitting. Her discomfort with the vault hadn’t waned; she would have been worried if it didn’t. His reaction was not expected, embrace from behind welcomed during a minute of severity. Rigid at first, her stance relaxed, hands sliding over his arms as they held her. Distracted, this is what they couldn’t afford, right? Soft sigh as his chin leaned on her shoulder turned her face to him, nuzzle almost becoming something more. Almost. “Yes, for you, I will.” She turned completely around, seriousness set on her features. “You can’t hesitate,” words were quiet. It more than hinted at the items that were kept there. “No matter what,” she added. He needed rest; this was why she had intended to wait before putting this on his shoulders. The nudge toward his apartment seemed to finally be heeded. “Now, I’m going to go upstairs and take a quick shower” Expression echoed his switch to a lighter mood, though a decidedly melancholy look lingered on her features. “Then, I think you mentioning something about pinning me down? I think I’ll take you up on that offer. You, sex, food, rest… in that order.” Laugh was light, eyes finally brightening from the burden of business. “You’ll be asleep by the time I bring you up something to eat,” she paused. “Let me rephrase that… you should be asleep by the time I bring up some things. I’ll get your stitches when you wake up.” Kiss on her cheek was leaned into, refusing for a moment to let go so he could leave. Nina’s planted doubt had kept her from moving forward from that first night, she wasn’t sure if it bothered him. A lot of terrifying things were said in that short period of time in his bathroom. Maybe it was best for both until this mess blew over. It didn’t feel like the best decision though, because she didn’t want it to be. All the more reason to leave him to his work for now. Distractions got people killed… she had to keep telling herself that. She watched him move upward, and then set to work at least righting everything in some semblance of order in the basement. It was a mess, but a quick one to at least tidy and get on with her day. Vault was closed with a heavy push, levers spun to lock up her secrets and head upstairs. The manager of the shop had only intended to speak with Rorye again, absolutely hearing the depth of the conversation below. The older woman had waited, and would have been polite and not said a word to him… arms crossed as he stopped. Tucking a lock of bobbed silver hair behind her ear, she was already readied. “I know you think I’m a bad guy, But there are some really bad people coming for her… I am here to protect her, and I will do whatever it takes to keep her safe.” *npc* “There have always been bad people coming for her. It’s my job to make sure they’re not masquerading as a friend.” “You might not want me in her life, but there aren’t exactly a bunch of heroes lining up to take this fight. So right now, I’m all she’s got.” *npc* “For right now... Right now doesn't sound like you'll be here long. Does she know that... John?” She was clearly not buying him or his concern, deadpan delivery caustic. “Just take it easy on her.” Scowl answered. It was several moments before Rorye came up, sliding the moving shelves back into place and locking down the floor and ceiling anchors for safety so they didn’t shift when patrons were using the books. There were no looks exchanged between her and her manager as she left the library to trot up the steps into the tea shop kitchen, Nina following. “Don’t,” Rorye said simply to keep the woman from talking to her. Nina opened her mouth to speak, silenced by the dark eyes that flicked to her as she was pulling together something to take upstairs. “I can’t explain everything Nina, and sometimes the less you know the safer you are. I love you, you know that, but you have to trust me.” She nodded, conceding for the time being as Rorye picked up the polished wooden tea tray and made her way to her own apartment stairs at the back of the kitchen. Gloom from the overcast morning outside still managed to make the eclectic shades of white warm as she stepped onto the top landing and walked quietly to the far end; balancing the tray on one hand and keying open the kitchen door to the back apartment. Shower was still running. Setting the tray on his kitchen table, maybe she could actually manage to get his stitches out. She’d acquired more supplies, on her kitchen counter with the intent to bring them to him. Closing the door behind her, the walk across the landing to her own slowed. Someone was knocking on her rear patio entrance, it was a business entrance, and not one used often in the winter because it was well… winter. Predictably, the clients that had intended to return to check in about the magus blood never came by again. Others stopped by at their regular times as normal. This was not a regular time. Pausing in the hall, she peered around the corner into her kitchen, fingers reaching to the small of her back to wrap around a weapon. Soft knocking continued, more insistent. Crossing the kitchen, she shifted the curtain aside slightly on the patio door to peer out. What the hell? She unlocked it smoothly, opening to a wall of cold air as a very intent, tall and bulky man slipped in the door with more agility than he should have had. “What the hell are you doing here Chris?” *npc* “You’re closed still, I thought I’d check here. Couldn’t wait.” He was gruff, pushing mid-forties with silver in his temples. The man was always days from being clean shaven, wide-ranging choice of clothing because he never stayed in any place long enough to care. He was a hunter in her world, courier, runner, the Indian Jones of her pipeline, and a bit of a dick. They always seemed to be. "That's because it's not time to open yet." *npc* “What the fuck is going on? I can’t find anyone.” The man helped himself to the cold coffee in her coffee pot, either taking the liberty or because he had been there before. Obviously both. *npc* “Came to see if Remy’s was a hole in the ground like I’d heard, and sure enough. You have some explaining to do because he was my biggest buyer. Where the fuck is everyone, I can’t unload anything.” She crossed her arms and leaned on the counter. This was not going to end well. “That’s why you need a phone, we’ve had this conversation. Just... sit. Shut up and listen,” voice was low, annoyed. *npc* “Phones don't work in the middle of nowhere. I don't have time to sit, I need to unload this for safe keeping.” Worn rucksack dropped on the floor with a clunk. She winced. Shit. "Just, sit and be quiet a moment." *npc* "Why?" he sat at her kitchen table with his cold mug of coffee. "You usually don't want me to stay." This was shaping up to be a disaster. “Because you’re not supposed to be here right now. You're going to have a gun pointed at your head in less than a minute... if you don’t already."
  22. HOME | RULES | CREATION GUIDE | DISCORD Imagine being the only Ministry-funded wizarding school in the entire country. Yep, that's right. All the "rejects" who couldn't get into, or afford, prestigious private schools end up at Tallygarunga. It's always been that way, and we're proud of it. Lately, the love-hate relationship between school and Ministry is getting rockier, and that's not all that is going downhill...
  23. Ryan Harker

    Licking Wounds

    Time felt as though it was standing still. Ryan’s abilities hadn’t activated, but with as long as it took Rorye to answer him, they might as well have. He wasn’t usually one to share his feelings. Not that he was excelling at communicating them now. Still, the only emotion he ever freely shared was anger, or some variation therein. This made him feel uncomfortable… vulnerable. “I don’t want to leave here... this... and that scares me,” she answered finally. “I know,” Ryan agreed. Subconsciously allowing the ambiguity in the reply. Had he been acknowledging her fears, or admitting he felt the same way. Even he wasn’t certain. To his relief, she said, “Ryan I’m not angry at you. Just, know that.” Rorye unpacked her things and changed back into the dry clothes he had provided. Then she guided him back into the kitchen. Fresh coffee was poured, and the couple sat down to review the contents of Remy’s satchel. Ryan was glad to have the morning back on track, but couldn’t quite shake the embarrassment of his confession. “Alright, so what prizes did we get?” The Soldiers asked, attempting to drive through the awkwardness he felt. Unsure if Rorye could sense his unease. She unpacked the messenger bag one pocket at a time, laying everything out for Harker to review as well. Enchanted key, notes, and other items were discussed without significantly peeking the agent’s interest. When she unveiled the “lure” however, he became extremely engaged. “Holy shit,” the operative gaped as he picked up the artifact to examine for himself. If the relic was capable of syphoning mana within a large radius, it could be used as a powerful weapon against any of the major magus factions; including ARMA. An item of this nature also fit perfectly within Harker’s occupation, skill set, and expertise. Combined with the element of surprise, the “lure” could provide advantage enough for him to take down the Order’s entire New York chapter. In any case, the magical object was too potent to leave in black market circulation. Rorye gave him a concerned glance as he scrutinized the artifact. She didn’t yet know his abilities, the details of his professional assignment, or his past… but if she did, she might understand his enthusiasm for the “lure.” Ryan had become ARMA’s most elite mage hunter by utilizing temporary wards capable of neutralizing magic in a small radius. The implications of a lasting and widespread magic dampener, given his skill set, meant he could reasonably engage even a platoon of magus in open combat. The hunter placed the lure back in the case, then looked to the woman across from him. Rorye gazed apprehensively into the leather satchel. “What is it?” he asked, taking another quick sip from his coffee.
  24. Eris London

    Sheut Happens

    Rogue eyes were on her, the mention of Gallo being in charge not quite sitting well with him apparently. He was not expecting it. The Viceroy was usually predictable in the fact that her decisions were clear cut and absolute. Few that crossed the Sheut in her territory were allowed to survive. This was well known among anyone that decided to pass through the east coast. Whether from her hand or the Executioner’s, most preferred the Sheut Executioner by the time she was finished. Vampires were not a large population, and their existence was of the utmost importance to keep under the radar. Gallo was going to get his information, and then she was going to get hers. Who made this idiot, and why was this the second in as many weeks? The Were was exploring his own issue, she needed to find the vampire that was making more without permission. Watching him get answers was going to tell her volumes about who this vampire was. “Bring one of the others.” Nod toward Toby was imperceptible, and it played off like Gallo had given the order. Toby holstered his weapon and was off with oiled precision to retrieve another. “While they get your friend, let’s chat.” Calm was written all over the Viceroy’s visage. Arms crossed, dressed down, she seemed relaxed. In reality, the closer he got to the vampire the more alert she was becoming. Strength may be wane from the injuries, but Sheut Ka were fast. Thomas might be strong, but all it would take was the rogue lunging forward at his throat to put a massive wrinkle in his plans. “Let’s get something straight right away. You know what I am. I know what you are. You are like my associates here.” She blinked slowly, the only indication she was alive. Absolutely still, she looked like a statue. “But you aren’t quite like them are you, Hesek?” The rogue’s eyes flicked to Eris after nodding to Gallo, narrowing at her then glancing after Toby. She didn't outwardly respond in the slightest. Inside? She was ready to rip him to pieces. He knew. Gallo couldn’t have and she was content to leave it that way for the moment. The rogue knew about Toby, which was interesting. The one that made him definitely had his finger on the pulse of Sheut dealings, or her at the very least. This could be bigger than she imagined. Knowing these things about her and mucking up her constable’s business spoke volumes. Someone might be challenging her; it brought a train of other problems with it. After they left this place, it was evident to her Toby may be in danger. To threaten him, meant the fury of the volcanic tiny vampire was in full force. He had no idea what he was up against. Toby returned with the second, hands zip-tied. Ahanu had apparently been busy babysitting. Once he saw his friend neatly discarded along the wall where her second had leaned him in a sitting position, he started to frantically struggle. Toby had the back of his neck and forced him to his knees, the grip keeping him from struggling further. Showtime.
  25. Ryan Harker

    Taking Inventory

    “Hard day at the office?” She asked as she examined his knuckles. “It was for somebody,” Ryan quipped with a smirk. The Soldier hadn’t taken any pleasure in the task, but it had needed to be done. He wanted to keep the conversation moving, “She doesn’t like me, does she?” “What makes you think that?” she smiled with a soft shake of her head. “Call it a hunch,” came his jovial reply. “What’s making me upset is that you’re this tired …and that you’re not getting that hand wrapped. I need to pin you down today and take your stitches out too, though I think I could do that while you were sleeping and you’d never notice.” “Well, I definitely like the sound of you pinning me down,” Ryan pulled her slightly closer, allowing his hips to brush against hers. Mischievous grin on full display, “But, I won’t be able to enjoy that, or anything else until I know what’s going on with you.” Rorye leaned into his embrace, forehead touching his, hands sliding up to hang lightly around his neck. He was exhausted, but he loved it nonetheless. Her leaning on him, hanging on him… needing him. The sense purpose was rewarding. Ryan was a protector to his core. Unfortunately, when constantly enthralled in grim conflict, it was easy to become disassociated from those he was fighting to protect. At times, the “world” seemed a distant ideal, rather than innocent people deserving of his service. Somedays, this made it difficult to remember what exactly he was fighting for to begin with. It was soothing to have something to ground him. Recently, Rorye had given him that, and he was thankful. “Nina trusts me to run this business the way it needs to be run. She is immensely protective of me though in my personal life, you being here put her on point. Then I opened the door to the basement this morning and she lost it,” emotions behind the words were powerful, but cryptic. Decision was made not to pry any further on the subject. She had shared as much as she could for now. The agent listened quietly to Rorye’s presentation of her chamber of secrets. He followed her into the vault, and she gave him brief tour of the small depository. As an ARMA operative regularly dealing with the supernatural, Harker supposed he should have been immensely intrigued. Instead, he found himself largely disinterested in the basement’s contents. He was at the “Book of Kells” to combat the Order of the Light, and for Rorye. Importance of the treasures was known, but personally, none of this mattered to him. After a moment, Rorye exited the vault. She had moved impatiently, as if she couldn’t stand to be in there any longer. Ryan followed after her, not bothering to examine anything for longer than a quick gander. He had heard the explanation of her current predicament. Though it still surprised him when she asked the question. “Can you do this for me?” The request was soft, almost fearful of his reply. Ryan didn’t want the responsibility anymore than she wanted to burden him with it. He imagined this is how she must have felt when he asked her to “place the mission first.” This was her most coveted secret. The trust required to share such a secret wasn’t lost on him. Ryan approached Rorye from behind, arms wrapping snuggly around her middle. Chin was allowed to rest on her shoulder. Lips pecked lightly at her cheek before he said, “Yes, for you, I will.” “Now, I’m going to go upstairs and take a quick shower,” somber tone transitioning to cheerful tenor. “Then, I think you mentioning something about pinning me down? I think I’ll take you up on that offer. You, sex, food, rest… in that order.” Another kiss on the cheek and he started toward the staircase. When the agent emerged at the top of the stairs, he noticed Nina was still lingering in the library. No doubt, she had been eavesdropping on the couple’s conversation. Harker strode calmly toward the door without addressing her at all. He had meant to leave the room, but he found himself halted in the doorway. “I know you think I’m a bad guy,” he spoke without looking in the storekeeper’s direction. “But there are some really bad people coming for her…” voice was only loud enough to be heard by the older woman, “I am here to protect her, and I will do whatever it takes to keep her safe.” Ryan started to leave again, but hesitated once more, “You might not want me in her life, but there aren’t exactly a bunch of heroes lining up to take this fight. So right now, I’m all she’s got.” The same was true for him. He couldn’t even count on ARMA to support him in their current endeavor. Rorye was the only person he had in his corner. This wasn’t something he felt particularly like sharing, so he concluded by simply saying, “Just take it easy on her.” The darkly clad agent left the room without another word. A shower and some fresh clothes were in order. He was determined to spend a little “alone” time with Rorye before she became occupied by the shop’s business. Cleansing himself of the dirt, blood, and grime, would be the first step toward accomplishing that goal.
  26. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Taking Inventory

    “I’m fine. Talk to her about what?” Eyes narrowed a bit, expression still amiable. Answer was quick to dismiss her concern and jump into the issue with Nina. That’s not how this worked. Her employees were her problem, unless they’d been outwardly rude to him. Up to this point she was going to leave it alone, things had been fine. Clearly, now she would have to address it. “You are not fine,” she picked up his hand and turned the bloody knuckles toward her. “Hard day at the office?” “She doesn’t like me, does she?” Damn it. “What makes you think that?” she shook her head slightly, smile light on her lips. She pulled herself to her feet as she tried to get him to forget the whole thing and head upstairs. He really did need to get some sleep. Fatigue nicked focus. The last thing they both needed was him not focused when he went out on his ‘adventures’. “Uh-uh.” She laughed; it was rare. Rorye had a rather dark and mischievous sense of humor, the soft laughter of pure amusement was melodic in comparison “I’m not letting you off the hook that easy.” “Scold me again and you’re going to lose your finger,” she teased, hands pulled from her pockets to rest on his shoulders a moment before her hands slid up to his cheeks to draw her thumbs gently over the circles under his eyes. “It can wait. You. Food. Shower. Rest. In that order.” “Rorye, I know it takes a whole lot more than just ‘tension’ to make you this upset. So, why don’t you tell me what’s going on?” “What’s making me upset is that you’re this tired,” voice was low. “…and that you’re not getting that hand wrapped. I need to pin you down today and take your stitches out too, though I think I could do that while you were sleeping and you’d never notice.” So much more was twisted with the Nina issue, looking back to the concerned blue eyes that seemed to be able to tug anything from her. It was a sadness that only Nina knew about, the mother-figure had a right to be critical of anyone Rorye spent time with. Fingers slid to linger on the back of his neck, forehead against his as she simply played with the shorn hair at the nape of his neck. She loved that feeling, always felt like velvet, especially after a fresh haircut. She rolled through the right words with her eyes closed, a slow breath before drawing back to survey the room. Nothing in the room had changed in ten years, except her. “Nina trusts me to run this business the way it needs to be run. She is immensely protective of me though in my personal life, you being here put her on point. Then I opened the door to the basement this morning and she lost it.” Her tone of voice was different, anger, fear, sorrow, all twisted into very business-like delivery. There was more, and she wasn’t going to go into it further. Maybe in time. Hands were on his at her hips for a moment, then let go as she turned and started to spin the dial. “This is the heart of everything. I was going to wait until things had settled to show you, and it took time to find someone to reset the lock.” A series of clicks sprung in rapid succession and she turned the door lever with some strength and pulled. The gorgeous Victorian door was a work of art as it opened slowly with oiled immense mass. Room inside was small, no more than ten foot square. A polished antique round table was in the center with two equally ornate chairs. The sides of the room were filled with safety deposit boxes from floor to ceiling, locks all in an open position. He was free to look in them as he pleased. On the far wall opposite the main door was another; much smaller with a doorknob. A smaller combination lock released the door and a key lock unlocked the doorknob. She slid Remy’s key from her pocket and placed it on the table. “It’s not engaged yet, when it is I’ll hang it on a hook next to the door like Remy had it,” she said quietly. “Some of these are filled with items I don’t put on the floor. Past that door are items I don’t release, ever. Combination is eleven, fourteen, ten. It opens both doors.” Hands slid into her pockets, letting him take everything in. The room was obviously ‘battle bruised’, several of the lower safety deposit boxes buckled and gouged. Some were missing entirely. She’d repaired the table and chairs a long time ago. “Remy was my fall-out plan. I was his. I need someone to take his place. I don’t entirely trust these things would be safer with Pharos, or ARMA, so they’re here until I can figure out what to do with them. You’re the only other besides Nina that knows they’re here. Which is why she was angry. I explained to her Remy was gone, but she still thinks you’re using me to get to this.” Gaze lingered on the back door before turning to him. “There’s a code for the door behind the bookcase up the stairs too. I’ll give you that when the key is set.” Several steps took her out of the vault, but she didn’t motion him to leave. She was claustrophobic, and that room had been the cause. That was why she didn’t like cars; vehicles were claustrophobic. At least the subway was open with windows when she needed to get somewhere. Bad things happened in that vault and the door beyond at the end of the world. Things that echoed beyond loss. “Can you do this for me?” request was soft.
  27. Ryan Harker

    Cold night in hell...

    The girl went limp in Harker’s grasp, barely staying on her feet. The fight had left her, and it felt as though she might collapse at any moment. Magic glow in her eyes dimmed, replaced by overflowing tears of defeat. She was silent for a time before she spoke, “You’re all the same. None of you care about the damage you do so long as you get what you want.” “What the fuck are you talking about?” The agent was genuinely perplexed by her response. It hadn’t addressed his questions at all. Clearly, she was going through her own shit. A familiar chill crawled down the length of Ryan’s neck and time slowed. To his surprise, instincts told him the threat was emanating from the fragile girl before him. Then he saw it, she was reaching toward her waistline behind her back. She was reaching for her gun. The kick to the groin had been unexpected. He had been focused on her hand movement and when he noticed the incoming strike, his body was simply too exhausted to react in time. The tiny woman’s foot caught him squarely between the legs. Despite the relatively weak blow, the sensitive area elicited an understandable response. Harker heaved forward slightly, the pain forcing some of the air from his lungs. The recoil set in motion a cascading wave of agony throughout his body; ribs, back and mangled arm all protested the movement. The collateral suffering afflicted by the attack far outweighing the damage cause by the actual kick. He suspected he had broken than his arm. The operative remained focused on the girl’s hand. Her diversion had succeeded in delaying his response, but not enough to permit an actual attempt on his life. As she drew the firearm from the small of her back the agent snatched her wrist. Using her arms upward momentum, he slammed her hand against the shelving behind her. Action was swift, and he ensured the weapon remained pointed in her direction throughout the effort. Gun was pointed at her own temple when he heard the sound. “Click, click, click.” “Jesus Christ,” Ryan cursed in disbelief. Then he twisted her wrist sharply, forcing the pistol from her hand. The weapon clattered uselessly to the floor and a moment later, the sobbing child did the same. “What the fuck is the matter with you?” The hunter scolded, kicking the weapon out of arms reach. Hand vanished under his coat, then remerged with holding an item. There was a flash of steel as he slapped a handcuff onto her wrist. Ratcheting metal echoed in the deathly quiet warehouse, then again as he secured the other end to a steel beam supporting the industrial shelves. “Those cuffs are enchanted,” he explained as he turned to walk away. This was probably unnecessary, as by now she could likely feel the effects. “They are designed to disrupt any magical abilities of the wearer.” The ARMA agent had taken another several steps before he mentioned over his shoulder, “Also, they’re pretty much unbreakable and unpickable. So just sit tight, I’ll be back.” Ryan reached into a pocket and withdrew a small tactical flashlight. Night-vision goggles had been lost sometime during his fight with the vampire, so he would have to do without. Beam of light scanned the darkness within the forsaken warehouse. Revealed was a ghastly portrayal of the vampire’s deeds, bringing life to the sickly smell of dead flesh that filled Ryan’s nostrils. Corpses littered the warehouse. A dozen at least, probably more. Automatic rifles and pistols lay discarded by the fallen bodies; little good they had done them. There wasn’t as much blood at the scene as Harker had expected. Most of the demon’s victims appeared to have been slain by feats of strength in hand to hand combat. Snapped necks, caved skulls, collapsed rib cages, and broken spines had been the results yielded from the vampire’s methods. Had the agent not encountered the creature at the warehouse himself, ARMA investigators would have little to work with. Harker strode casually through the carnage, turning heads with his boot to inspect the men’s faces. He recognized most of them, they all worked for the criminal organization he had been investigating. The same organization that had approached Rorye at her shop in search of magus blood. The same syndicate that had killed Remy and raided his bunker. The same group that he suspected was working for a Mr. Steven Ramirez, an Arch Magus for the Order of the First Light. Amidst the chaos there was single chair placed in the center of the warehouse. Tied to the chair was another corpse, clad in an expensive gray suit. Hands and feet were bound, crimson stains speckled the front his otherwise neat clothing. Of all the dead, this man alone had been tortured prior to meeting his untimely end. Long blonde bangs covered the man’s bearded face, but Ryan suspected he already knew who he would find beneath. The ARMA operative held his breath in apprehension as he lifted the man’s head and shined a light in his face. “GOD DAMN IT!” He bellowed in a fit of untamed anger. Of course, the mutilated corpse belonged to none other than Arch Magus, Steven Ramirez. That had been Ryan’s connection to the higher echelons of leadership within this “unknown threat.” The agent had hoped Ramirez would lead him to a Hi-Arch Magus of the Order. If a link between the Vatican and the “unknown” faction could be established, ARMA could bring their entire force to bare against the Order. They would dismantle the traitorous organization and assimilate those who believed in ARMA’s cause. With Ramirez dead, Harker had nothing. The mage hunter bit down on the end of is flashlight, freeing his functioning hand to pull out his cell phone and check for service. No signal. An anticipated inconvenience. The jammer outside would need to be deactivated before he could make any calls. Phone was shoved aggressively back into an available pocket. Light was removed from his mouth before he muttered angrily, “Fucking perfect.” Agitated and in pain, Ryan limped toward the buildings nearest exit. Before long he made it to an emergency door. Wind howled violently against the frame and its metal push-bar was ice cold to the touch. Hand braced against the bar, the operative allowed his head to hang for a moment, shaking it slowly from side to side. Murphy’s law was in full effect tonight. The series of unfortunate events was almost comical. “Could this night get any worse?” he thought to himself. Answer to this question was always “yes.” Still, he couldn’t help begging the question anyway. A moment was taken to regain his composure. A deep breath, then he pushed open the door and stepped out into the night’s unsympathetic chill.
  28. Home – Plot – Face Claim – Adverts Sweet Dreams is a slice of life with dream twists. In Aberdeen and New Haven, Washington that sense of déjà vu isn’t just a feeling. Pay close attention to your dreams and you will see future chance encounters, at least that is what the locals say. Will you follow your dreams or keep sleeping?
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    MODERN FANTASY COLLABORATIVE WRITING RP CATERING TO OLDER PLAYERS (25+) WITH A SLOWER, MORE RELAXED PACE. IN 2010, THE WORLD DRASTICALLY & PERMANENTLY CHANGED BY WHAT BECAME KNOWN AS THE MULTIVERSE RESONANCE EVENT. IN A SINGLE BREATH, OUR WORLD CROSSED WITH AN UNKNOWN NUMBER OF ALTERNATE UNIVERSES, BLEEDING INTO EACH OTHER. EARTH WAS SUDDENLY A REALM OF MAGIC AND MONSTERS. THE STORY IS CENTERED IN NEW YORK CITY BUT EXTENDS ACROSS THE WORLD. IT BLENDS A VARIETY OF GENRES; A MOSAIC OF OVERLAPPING REALMS INCLUDING ELVES, LYCANTHROPES, ALTERED HUMANS AND,OF COURSE, MAGIC.  

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