Jump to content
18+ 3/3/3

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


This stream auto-updates     

  1. Yesterday
  2. Thomas Gallo

    Sheut Happens

    “You'll make the right choice.” He hoped so. He didn’t like to throw lives away needlessly. He honestly felt for the man. However, he had one performance to complete before he left in the careful hands of some of Tom’s men. When she placed his hand atop his, Tom smiled a small smile. He cared for her. In exactly which capacity…he wasn’t entirely sure. He just knew that he wanted her mission to go well. Go safely. Obviously he did, as his operation depended on that, but also…he wanted to see her again. When she nodded, he nodded once and left her to whatever she had to do to get into character. Tom spotted Roderick supervising one of the crews loading the tainted goods with a sandwich in his hand. Where did he get that? Roderick was infinitely resourceful. He must have had one of the guys bring him one on the way in. Eating seemed to bring some vigor back to his step…some sharpness to his eyes. He was recovering from the mental strain of earlier. Roderick knew that Tom would need his help with their new friend. The phone call had to be convincing. Some people were good actors, others needed to truly feel the emotions they needed to express. That’s where Roderick came in. Just as the last pallet was loaded and was being moved, Tom surveyed the warehouse. It was truly as if no one had been here. Even the axe had been replaced in a new break-away glass container. Tom was sad to see the axe go. That thought bothered him, but it was true. His idle, savage, thoughts were becoming more common. The beast within seemed to be mostly contained in the vault Tom shoved it into…but it was as if it had found a way to ooze through the cervices and seep into his being. It was like stepping out of the water on a humid day, and no matter what, you never felt dry. So too was the ferocity within Tom. It could no longer be contained…separated. Simply reduced…or indulged in order to be sated…for a time. Tom wandered back to where the prisoner had been sitting with some of Tom’s men. He appeared to be more at ease. When he noticed Tom approach, his eye lit up with excitement, or was it relief? Hope. The man, as far as Tom could tell, had tossed the dice and put all his chips on siding with Tom. Quick glances to the man he left in charge, and the others with him seemed to indicate that none of them suspected anything nefarious to come from him. Good. Tom could even grow to like the man. But for now, he had a job to do. Tom snapped his fingers loudly, drawing Roderick’s attention, to which he waved a hand to acknowledge Tom and turned to another near him, apparently leaving him with final instructions before joining Tom. Tom took a chair and sat across from the prisoner and leaned back slightly with a warm smile. Tom may very well be this man’s savior, but he still had to believe that Tom held his life in his hands. “How are you feeling? You look much better. Have you been fed?” Tom could smell the remnants of ham and turkey coming from the lot of them. Roddy was always thinking ahead. He sometimes thought further out than Tom…he’d be loathe to admit that, but he has been having to admit his limitations a lot lately. His eyes hardened as Tom glowered briefly while those thoughts threatened to distract him. He smelled fear come from the man as he nodded his affirmation at Tom’s inquiry. Tom had to be careful. “Sorry, it has been quite the day…” Tom suddenly realized he didn’t know the man’s name. He had been so focused on getting the names of those further up the chain that he had neglected to ask the man his own name. Tom growled at his sloppiness before catching himself and resuming his friendly demeanor. “I apologize. I don’t believe I have even caught your name to this point. Please forgive my rudeness.” Tom meant it. Those last sentences were genuine. Tom had always prided himself in his demeanor and politeness. He was always careful to not be perceived as ingenuine as well. Polite, when ingenuine, was worse than brash rudeness in his mind. Tom had ‘educated’ the occasional subordinate in the value of speaking their mind if they disagreed with Tom rather than blindly toeing the line. The other capos thought Tom was crazy, inviting mutiny with such free-speech. Tom’s methods proved to be effective, however. His operations ran smoothly. People were willing to live and die for him because they not only feared him, they respected him. They loved him. This poison in the well has been the only real hiccup in his operations that didn’t come as a result of some other sort of external disaster. It was a hell of a hiccup though. Tom wanted desperately to believe that the ability of his shipments to be mixed with this tainted swill existed purely from the outside. He strongly believed that someone within the Family itself had to be helping, though. Only time spent following this lead would reveal that truth. “Butch,” the man stammered briefly before recovering. Tom wasn’t sure if Roderick was helping or if Tom had outwardly regained control of the frustration just waiting to be released. It was like pinching the end of an inflated balloon. One slip… “Sometimes they call me Spike, though.” The man nodded to a long, pointy knife lying on another table several feet away indicating that it was his. As the man spoke, his voice went from timid to eager. He was anxious to prove himself, perhaps with that dagger. Tom noticed that, as he was speaking…but more so when he wasn’t, the man constantly fidgeted with his fingers. He habitually, repeatedly, and deftly touched each fingertip to his thumb. When Tom didn’t respond right away, the drumming on his thumbs changed to quick tapping on the table. That ended abruptly as he shot a worried glance at one of the men Tom had tasked with guarding him. Apparently, this behavior had been discouraged. This elicited a soft smile from Tom. He was reading the men around him. He was learning to adapt to those around him. It was natural on an instinctive level, but there was that brief moment of realization before he stopped. The man whom he feared had not even reacted to this episode of finger-drumming, but Butch remembered. Based on their earlier conversation, Tom suspected Butch never forgot. Anything. “Butch, I’ll call you Butch for now. We’ll see if the future holds an opportunity for me to call you Spike.” Tom’s smile was more impish this time. Implying a future was another genuine, but calculated wording to ease the man’s tension and earn more of his trust. He was going to ask him to do something potentially dangerous. Butch returned the smile, tentatively. “Butch, I’m going to ask you to do something for me. But I need your candid feedback and input on this.” Tom was going to show him some of what it was like to work for Tom. Glancing at the man leading the group guarding Butch, Tom nodded to him. The man rolled up his sleeve above his elbow to show the surgical scars from a surgically-repaired elbow. His name was Stanley Rodgers, although everyone in Bakkhos called him Tex, due to his accent. When Tex was new to the Family, Tom had laid out a plan with a tragically obvious flaw. Tex, due to his military and tactical background, should have seen this plainly. When Tom asked for feedback from the team, no one spoke up. He was willing to forgive the others, having been goons and shakedown fodder for the most part. But Tex remaining silent was a sin that had to be punished. Tom hyper-extended his elbow across the edge of the table until it broke. While Tex screamed in pain, he managed to yell out in between groans of pain what the flaw in Tom’s plan was. Tom had punished dishonesty in several different ways prior to and since then. The example he set with Tex was that Tom’s pride was not to be protected at the expense of the Family. Tom was a capo, but he wasn’t the entire Family. Family first. Was that still Tom’s motivation with this investigation? Of course, it was. Not petty vengeance. Protecting the Family. Definitely. “Listen to ‘em kid,” Tex drawled to Butch. “Lyin’ is worse than failin’. I’ve failed a time or two for Mr. Gallo before. Never did I pay for that like I did lyin’ to ‘im.” Butch’s eyes widened in horror briefly at the scars on the arm. Butch began to realize that the ball was entirely in his court now. He nodded without even thinking, still staring at the scars on Tex’s arm. Butch was likely remembering Tom’s casual brutality with Trevor earlier and blending that information with the story from Tex. “A-a-anything, Mr. Gallo. What do you want me to do?” Tom spared a glance at Roderick who simply shook his head. He hadn’t done anything to alter the man’s mood as yet. Good. The less Roderick had to do, the more genuine it would sound. Tom held out his hand toward Tex and said, “I need your phone.” When Tex handed Tom the phone, Tom set it on the table between he and Butch. He tapped it a couple times and looked into Butch’s eyes, face set in determination. “I need you to call Jerry. You are going to tell him, in whatever words you believe will be most convincing, that Trevor and the others are gone along with the containers you were supposed to be watching, and you have no idea where they went. You left briefly, and when you returned, everyone and everything were gone.” Tom paused to let this imaginary scenario settle in Butch’s mind. Allow him to come up with logical connections that make the known information of Jerry align with the created reality Tom created. “Bottom line, I need you to get him here. As soon as possible.” Tom paused a second more to, once again, allow the information to settle in Butch’s mind. “Now, what I want from you, is feedback. Why won’t this work? What needs to be changed in order for it to work? What vital piece of information do you know that I don’t that will make or break this attempt?” It did no good to hold back now. Butch was already in too deep. He was either going to prove useful, or die. That last part hurt Tom a bit. He derived no joy from killing or injuring. It was simply a means to an end. A disciplinary tool, nothing more. But this was different. He either served his purpose or would be discarded. Butch thought for a few moments. Tom could smell his fear increase. Pheromones, detectable on an unconscious level, were like identifying flowers by smell to Tom by now. Tom looked at Roderick and nodded briefly. Just a gentle nudge, to pull him back from fear and back to calm, where analysis could occur more efficiently. “Jerry will be suspicious from the start. Trevor is an ass, and Jerry knows this…but I don’t know that he’ll take my word for it that Trevor betrayed him. Me being confused about what happened will make me seem incompetent rather than deceptive…” Wow. Butch was dangerously shrewd. “…I don’t know that this will be enough to bring him here. He’ll immediately ring Trevor’s phone. When he doesn’t answer though…” It was clear that Butch was thinking out loud now. “…Jerry is a control-freak and will want to get eyes on it himself. And he won’t come alone.” Butch looked as if he were about to continue speaking before Tom raised his hand to quiet him for a moment. Eris had had Trevor’s phone. Did she still or had she left it someplace? Tom silently cursed himself for not grabbing that. It was almost certainly in Bakkhos hands, if not Eris’s. Tom just wasn’t certain where. “How much is he likely to say to you instead of Trevor? Does he view you as a mindless drone to do his bidding, or does he count on you thinking at all?” Butch’s shake of his head was all Tom needed. Jerry was a control freak. Butch was just a body. Trevor only slightly more than that. The pieces were falling into place in Tom’s mind. He knew how to get Jerry here. “Play the fool then. It is understandable to be scared of disappointing the boss.” Tom paused a second to emphasize the double-meaning of his statement. If being afraid of Tom helped Butch appear to be afraid of Jerry, all the better. “You are the good simpleton trying to figure out what to do next.” Butch nodded along with Tom’s words. It appeared that he was forming a plan in his mind as Tom spoke. If Butch played his role well, then Jerry would be here soon enough. “Is there anything else I’m missing?” Butch shook his head. Good. Now for the hard questions. “Do you have family, friends, or loved ones of which Jerry is aware? Is he the type to seek to harm them to punish you?” Butch’s solemn nod and sad eyes was all Tom needed to see. “Then give Tex their names and addresses and phone numbers. We will look after them while all of this is happening.” Tom leaned forward and rested a powerful hand on Butch’s shoulder. “Believe me when I say that I want this to be the first of many more collaborations between you and I. We will keep you and yours safe while we deal with this.” Butch smiled warmly and looked at Tom the way a puppy stares at their master. Butch was Tom’s. Totally and completely. “He is a magus. Have you ever seen him use his powers?” Butch shook his head. Well, so much for that. That bit of information Tom was afraid he’d have to learn first-hand. Tom turned his chin up and to the side, cracking the vertebrae in his neck as he did so. “You ready?” Butch nodded and reached for the phone. Tom and Roderick exchanged brief glances before Roddy shifted his focus to Butch. Only Tom and Ahanu, presumably, in the warehouse truly knew what Roderick could do. That secret was the closest thing to silver as a paramount weakness of Tom. If the wrong people knew how heavily he leaned on Roderick, Tom would have a much different problem to contend with. Butch picked up the phone and deftly dialed a series of numbers. Tom memorized Jerry’s phone number but wanted to see if Butch knew it...and if he’d dial it. Another test, but one Tom already knew the answer to. The tell-tale tones of the numbers being pressed matched the numbers Tom had in mind. His preternatural hearing serving an unusually subtle purpose this time. As the phone was ringing, Butch’s finger hovered over the speaker phone button as he looked at Tom. Tom shook his head. This would be seen as a sign of trust, but Tom would be able to hear the conversation as clearly as if he had the phone to his ear as well. Finally, someone picked up. “J-j-jerry? S-something weird is going on here! Where is everyone?! D-d-id…” Butch gulped, barely able to get the words out. This was partially Roderick’s influence, but Butch did have a genuine fear of Jerry. “…did I miss something? T-t-revor and the others are gone! The boxes are too! I’m so sorry! Where am I supposed to be?!”
  3. Last week
  4. Eris London

    Sheut Happens

    He had locked into the plan that was sliding in place. Months of frustration over this impending catastrophe seemed to suddenly have a direction, a bullseye, or at least the means to one. She could lie and say it wasn't self-serving. It was. It was also her looking out for Bakkhos' best interest. Dealing with those that didn't exactly follow the rules in order to keep some semblance of social order had been what she did before the world came to an end. Bakkhos was a social entity. You didn't infiltrate and tell them what to do. You let them manage the community they knew better than you. If Gallo pulled this off and smashed this poison sabotage disaster, she would have all the ammunition she needed to tell her "superiors" she was right. “Strollo’s room has a slab we can strap him to. I was strapped to it once.” Brow cocked. It was such an odd thing to know given the gentleman he was. She had a room as well for urging people to talk. Seemed all the cool people had them. “Strollo’s upgraded the room since my visit. I’m sure it will hold him until we’re ready to speak with him.” His smirk was savored, truly wondering if it was possible to be cured he would ever go back. She would never. What she was, she was born for. Him, she wasn't so sure. He seemed to enjoy his darker side, though tortured by it. His family probably didn't know how to handle him other than lock him up. Perhaps he needed someone who could help him embrace that side. Eris London, helping people. She was getting soft. After this she was going to excessively use the word fuck for about a week just to shake the puppy dogs and unicorns from her system. She might kill someone that deserved it too, just because. Setting her people into place to lock down the area was followed up with his own, slight smile as he called them into play. She liked playing with the Were. They needed more play dates. “Allies in play. Assume all friendly until I say otherwise.” He seemed to not have picked up on the fact she was giving him her protection as well. An intense amount of trust was being placed on his shoulders not to screw this up. If Ahanu had to stay because this went south, and then her end went south, she would be a near coma Sheut Ka close to dawn with no backup. She would survive by any means necessary of course, but a risk was a risk. Her preference to protect him and his own at all costs was the price of being a leader, and why Ausar had given her the job. His response to her regard of the turncoat was a bit troubling, but not unexpected. There was an order to things, and death was a hammer not swung lightly. It was rare to see a human weather the storm like this one had. Help from Roderick perhaps, but impressive nonetheless. Deaths on her watch always served a purpose for the greater picture, something she wasn't sure Bakkhos grasped. “Hope he doesn’t have to. He has more risks to take yet.” "You'll make the right choice," she responded quietly, arms crossed in her stoic fashion as she watched the human recover from their barrage. His hand on her shoulder eerily received no outward response. Internally, claws snapped out and teeth bared, not from anger. First instinct was to keep him away from her. There may come a time when she would be ordered to do the unthinkable to this man, and her justification for standing between him and the world that threatened him couldn't be personal, she liked him nonetheless. Personal feelings though had no place when she fought for her own with the Nation. He seemed to need to do it, so she allowed it. “I’ll take care of yours. Get in touch when you can.” Nod was light, her hand moving up to rest on his momentarily. Why, she didn't know. Eris London didn't do that. If anyone asked, it never happened. He was left to his duties, and she began hers. A chameleon of the highest level, approach to the car was swift, presence heavy. Without a word, the door was pulled open and zip ties cut. Time to go. +++ “Ahanu. I’m loathe to admit it, but I’m leaning heavily on you when dealing with our new magus friend. Anything that you’d like to share with me before this begins that would be good to know would be appreciated.” She was quiet a moment, watching the clean up. *npc* "If he powers up I will strike, I won't wait for him to do damage to anyone. If that's necessary, do you want him alive or dead?" Her words were ominous, but fairly straightforward. *npc* "I'm an air magus, I can tear the breath from his lungs if you give the word. Or, let him choke for a minute or two until he's compliant." She was calmly watching the activity. "Ms. London has given up her backup to make sure you're fully protected. You need to know that too," glance to him was serious before she watched Toby a moment and turned her attention back to the clean-up. A lot was riding on his shoulders.
  5. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Walk It Off

    “Sun Tzu once said, ‘The greatest victories are those which require no battle.” Corner of her lips quirked up. She had that book, a few really nice old editions in her shop. For some reason after the world ended people were really interested in learning how to outsmart opponents. The older ones were more popular… revisions to later editions and all that book snobbery as reasons they gave her. “Let’s see if you can even hit me. Then we’ll worry about whether or not you can hurt me.” Great. …another reminder that she’d gotten the short end of the magus stick. It was one of her pet peeves, kindling a bit more volatility behind the narrowing of her eyes before she threw her first punch. She'd suspected he was fast, but damn. The moment she made contact, she knew she was fucked, moving to try and stave the inevitable… not fast enough. The second her foot was swept, a catlike reflex had begun to save her footing to recover, broken by the resulting shove. She always hated what came after, back smacking the mat. It was over that fast. Son of a... “You good?” “I hate you…” she said with deadpan annoyance from her horizontal position, staring up at the ceiling. Every time she increased her speed, the backlash was always her greatest fear. The faster she moved, the harder she hit or rebounded, including when it wasn’t in her favor. It was a flinch response she’d developed from learning the hard way that her newfound abilities came with consequences; namely broken fingers. In the back of her mind she had a trained muscle memory to pull back to avoid injury, something she no longer had to worry about but still lingered. The more she punched, the more the fear subsided, the harder and faster her hits became. She could tap it at any time, the psych-out a serious hindrance in the start of a fight. Sigh was pulled in and let out in a good-natured huff. Kip up sharp, it was obvious she had more skill than she was letting on. Back on her feet and pissed off, she shrugged her shoulders to shake off the sting. Spine tingled, a flicker of anger touching the edges of her eyes at his smirk. The thoughtful, determined quirk to her lips was not going to last long at this pace. Fist bumped, round two. As he resumed his stance, she changed hers. She wasn’t just a boxer; she could kick hard enough to knock a man’s teeth out. What basics she'd learned a long time ago, had definitely been mastered. Gloves metaphorically off, she'd leveled up, completely avoiding the same mistake as before that had knocked her on her ass. It was becoming obvious she was a ridiculously fast learner made even more so by the altered skill; what she saw, she could imitate with a keen spacial awareness sans miscalculation. It was quickly evident why old friends avoided sparring with her. They didn't want to get their ass kicked by a girl. Now, there was also wrath hiding in the wings. Unpredictable, brutal and deadly, it was already tapping on her consciousness to get her attention. The vicious conscience on her shoulder was watching with great interest, beginning to feed off her anger and it was starting to bleed into her movements. They were not fair shots. If she had a weapon in her hand they were intended to be torturous, cutting tendon and connective tissue until her opponent was incapacitated and suffering. Their results were meant to be cruel. Unpredictable, changing on a dime, and powerful as hell, the self control was starting to shed; peeling away to reveal a peek into what was to come.
  6. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    When Has Become Now

    Rooftops. Standing under the fire escape, what she could see she recognized. From where she was, she could get there with only one street to cross. They hadn’t managed to drive with her very far before the situation had turned nuclear; the gym was now roughly halfway back to the shop. One trek she had wanted to take Ryan on when the weather got better was over the rooftops. They were like a network with the historical buildings, seeing the world from above instead of having to bustle through the streets was unique to an old city. Plus, it was fun as hell. In the winter, in a storm? She would have to make no mistakes, and trust she knew the jump points. Staying off the street was worth the risk. A few running steps and she kicked off the wall, fingers catching the bottom rung. One hand slipped off from the ice, her swing backward giving her enough momentum to get her hand back up and pull herself upward. The stairs were steep, breathing in the cold air was taking its toll and dizziness was setting in. Not much farther and she would at least be out of the elements. The way she was going was as the crow flies, pulling herself onto the roof and starting her trek. Ears were nearly frozen, her leather coat doing a lot to cut the wind, but the layers beneath had lost their warmth before she left the accident. Gloves had been pulled back on, but there was only so much you could do when all there was between you and the frigid air was a few layers. Hop up onto the old pharmacy, jump down to the apartments in between, climb up and over the air vents on the next complex over… the locations were being checked off in her mind to keep them straight. Shivering had set in, but she was pushing herself to the limit. Getting her face out of the open was the primary goal. The trek down the fire escape seemed longer than it should have been, realizing she’d stopped moving. The world around her was moving. Too damn cold, everything felt disoriented. Forcing one foot in front of the other to the last landing, she slid off to hang and drop the final distance to the ground. Left hand again gave way, left leg crumpling on impact. Something was definitely wrong. It couldn’t be bone, could it? That was something that had corrected itself when the world rocked a second time… broken bones were still possible under extreme circumstances for her, but it was unlikely. Concussion was more likely. Her aching left side heralded something more at work, no time to stop and think about it. The world was spinning again, worse as she pulled herself up and tried to steady her left side. Her left shoulder had joined the tangle of pain. Only one more street to cross, and the gym would be in sight. Before, the hitch in her step was annoying. It was becoming more profound the further she went. Shoulder leaned heavily on each of the gates to steady herself as she unlocked them and pulled them closed to secure again. Bypassing the breaker box, she made a beeline for the second floor from the foyer, aware of the tingle on her right hand now that the wind was no longer battering her body. She yanked off her glove, it was bleeding. Glass possibly, or the guy's face. Fingers stretched out as she pulled herself up the stairs. A little of both. She shouldered into her small loft room, unconsciously glancing around to make sure nobody was there. Why would they be? Still a habit. In her tiny bathroom, the hot water was sought, adjusting it so it didn't scald her skin. Pulling off her other glove, she let the warm water sluice over her hands, swirling with pink. Shivering had started some time ago, worse now that she was in relative warmth. Squinting into the mirror, a deep cut on her left temple was blossoming into a bruise that had already turned her cheek and under eye purple. The bleeding had ceased for now. Hair was pulled out, seethe sharp as her arm stretched upward to pull it back and secure it into a looped ponytail. Before freezing skin would feel better, it would sting like hell. Warm water was cupped in her hands and run over her face to get the blood off. Hers. Theirs. Who the hell knew? White towel wiped the rest off and she tossed it into the sink. The snowstorm had managed to get some of the blood off her leather coat but it in turn ran off onto her jeans; they were not salvageable. She limped into her room, carefully removing her leather coat and laying it over a chair near the door, discovering she was still dripping blood from her hand. It would definitely need stitches, returning to the bathroom to retrieve a hand towel to wrap it. She wanted nothing more at that moment than to climb into the shower with water on full hot. She wasn’t safe yet, it would have to wait. Several old lockers doubled as her closet. Searching through a few folded stacks of tee shirts, she found what she was looking for. One of her old gray zip-up hoodies would add an extra layer under the leather jacket. She had an old belt knife on top of the lockers, checking for it. Jackpot. It was slid into the hoodie pocket. Gun in her waistband was checked. The other had only one shot left. She should never have taken off her blades, or stepped out of her front door without being armed. But, Stanford was a friend. He was a cop. She still shouldn't have trusted him or gotten into the car with someone she was unfamiliar with. This was a brutal lesson she was already damning herself for, and was not looking forward to explaining to Ryan. It had been a test of her metal, and in her eyes she'd come up short on every level. She pulled the hood up and put her coat back on to keep warm, sudden pain on her left side catching the breath in her lungs. She sought the bathroom mirror and pulled up everything to run her ‘bandaged’ hand over her left ribcage. It was a rainbow of dark colors. Broken? Fingers pushed at her stomach just below her ribs, the pain bringing a nauseous choke. She had internal injuries. Deep bruising at the bare minimum. Slamming into a car door could do that. “Shit,” was said out loud, the same time her eyes snapped to something in her room. There were mementos from her old life in the room, a few old pictures. Same bed, a couple of throw pillows, wool blankets, a few things on the walls; items that deserved to stay in the place where the memories had been made. A shoe box that had been under her bed was now on it, open with items out. She frowned, silently turning in a circle to take stock of everything she'd glossed over when she came in. Things were out of place. Someone had been searching her room. Inaudible footsteps made their way to the bed, picking up the items that were pulled out and rifled through. Mementos and fliers for advertised fights her brothers had been in. Pictures of her and her brothers. Her mother and father. Ryan had keys, but… he wouldn’t do this. She didn’t hesitate. Not spending another moment thinking about who could have or would have, she was moving again. Up the stairs to the balcony access, yanking the red pulls for the roof vent and making her way up the ladder. She was not moving fast enough. Muscles were burning, injuries were taking their toll. Getting to his apartment was a longer trek by far, and the distance was daunting. She would not lose this round, they would have to shoot her first. Pulling herself out of the escape access and onto the roof, the chill hit her like a whip. After a block she would have to go back to the street, on the street she would have to be more vigilant. She could stop in a storefront or two to regain some warmth, but it was closing time for almost everything, and bloody was never a good sign to anyone. She couldn’t trust the cops if they were called. Riding the bus was a more direct route, but it would draw the same attention. Subway. She knew the system backward and forward and could evade as long as she felt it was safe. Train hopping would keep her off the street, and would get her close enough to make a last break for his apartment. Of course, she probably wouldn’t be in one station long enough for Ryan to catch up, assuming he’d gotten the original call. Something was also very wrong; skin pale, nauseous. Thoughts of a concussion were giving way to greater fears. The momentary respite had given her enough recharge to get a few blocks from the gym on foot, disappearing down a subway drop and out of sight. Head down, face under the hood, hands in her pockets as she waited, the sparse traffic this time of night didn’t pay her a lick of attention. Train slid to a stop, sigh pained as she stepped on and made her way to the far corner of the car to sit. Back opposite the platform side, she could see who got on and off. Hood was also up, hiding her features from view even though she could still see and keep track of her surroundings. It was out of the elements, warm, and she leaned her right temple on the back wall, pulling her coat tighter around herself. As the car began to move, there was a small sense of relief. She needed to close her eyes. Just for a second.
  7. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    When Has Become Now

    Breath was ragged, everything quiet, back of her hands wiping the snow from her eyelashes that had turned pink from someone else’s blood. She could hear sirens… that moment between death and salvation when help was so close, yet so impossibly far away. It seemed to have made them pause in their trek around the car. *npc* “She called the damn cops.” Sirens suddenly went silent as if someone had flipped a switch. Maybe they had. Her detective was real. Fields? Unsure. If they’d compromised him, who knew who was calling the shots here. Wind shuffled snow around her in a sudden gust, heavy realization stopping her breath. Help wasn’t coming. They had backtracked slightly, now returning to finish their snatch and grab. Crowbar hit the hood again, muscles tensing at the sound. *npc* "C'mon, just make it easy." “Right or left!” The ferocity of her question from her position demanded an answer, she was shifting her weight to get her feet under her, listening to their movement. They stopped. The guy on her left was still closer. *npc* “The fuck?” “Right. Or. Left.” tone was fierce. “You choose which knee gets blown out first when you turn that corner.” *npc* “Shit.” Fear and intimidation were valuable tools, especially when you were bluffing about being armed. *npc* “You go get her, we gotta go!” “Where are we going gentleman?” They were quiet. *npc* “Somewhere to talk.” “About what? Maybe you’ll walk out of here without a fucking hole in your kneecaps if you tell me what’s going on. You could have asked nicely, you’re not inspiring a lot of trust here killing my chauffeurs.” *npc* “Well… can we call a truce? ...we'll fill you in.” They were communicating non-verbally, their pause in answering her was telling. Muscles coiled, running through her entire scenario in her head like a dance. She saw the tip of the crowbar first over her left shoulder; the idiot didn’t realize it was visible to her before he was. As she grabbed it right over left and pulled it toward her, he came with it, stumbling forward as she yanked it out of his hand. His downward momentum and her push upward from her right foot brought his face straight into the metal. The swing worthy of a home run cracked audibly against his nose, right hand letting go of it as the left followed through in a graceful arc, right fist slamming straight into his sternum. His head hit the bumper as he went down, metal flipped to the other hand and she launched it at the other as he was aiming. Several gunshots rang out, aim skewed as he raised his hand in front of his face to save his teeth. She was already behind it, the combination she’d practiced until she was too sore to move effectively disarming the asshole, crumpling his wrist and smashing the side of his knee. She secured his weapon and stuck it in the back of her waistband, punches until he was unconscious afterward pure fury. Unnecessary. Heated. Angry. Fury. Chest heaved for a moment as the silence fell around them all. Car sputtered and died, lingering hissing and popping for a few moments until even that was quiet. It had taken less than five seconds. She had to go. Now. Cell phones collected from everyone, she stuffed them in her jacket pockets. They were both alive but down, the first’s survival was questionable. Two dead in the car. Hastily reaching through the window and finally retrieving Field’s gun, the grunt was sharp at the pressure of the windowsill into her side. Standing up, leg buckled, hand on the sill to stay upright. She wasn’t hit… but something was wrong, steadying again to get the fuck out of there. They were the ones in the truck that had broadsided them. The truck was useless, they had to have called for a ride out of there. She had been that close to the “second location”, unsure if Stanford had helped or hurt her cause. Hurt. He'd tried to help, and his clusterfuck of a decision to accelerate was just now revealing its consequences. Back of her hand wiped her nose, it was bleeding? Hand was bleeding? Maybe. She wasn’t sure which was hers and which was the detectives’ or the other two. She had to go. Into the dark, into a storm. She scaled the chain-link fence, dropping to the other side with an audible cry of pain. She wasn’t hit, but her legs buckled again, catching herself with fingers through the links. After a few steps it was fine, hand under her coat on her side to begin to pick up speed. It was tender, but tolerable. Bruises definitely. She was almost certain she was fighting a concussion, maybe a cracked rib from the door when all came to a stop. Maybe. Evade and get to the gym. She had to put distance between her and this. Someone was coming, and it wasn’t friendlies. Pushing herself to move forward faster, hand pawed through her pocket to find her phone among the others, pulling it out. Screen was cracked, she’d landed on that side when she pushed out of the car. Damn! Keep moving. Keep out of sight. Slowing to evaluate how far to the next block and pause under a fire escape between two buildings, she was breathing harder than she should have been. Reaching up to stifle a cough brought on by trying to choke in frigid air, fingers drew back blood from her lip. Shit.
  8. Today we brought home our two new adopted kitties =D

  9. Ryan Harker

    Walk It Off

    “Showing off, is that part of the lessons?” “Fear and intimidation are valuable tools in any conflict,” he answered in feigned wisdom. “Distract the opponent, got it.” “Sun Tzu once said, ‘The greatest victories are those which require no battle.” The Soldier said profoundly. A smirk cracked across his features. He hadn’t a college degree, but he had read a book or two about his trade. --- Harker readied himself for the woman’s advance. Confused when she abruptly called for a ‘time-out’ and then approached him. Her embrace was welcome, if not unexpected. Lips touched gently to his cheek, “Thank you for this.” “Yeah, no problem,” he said sheepishly. “So… I just hit you? Like, you’re the kid from sixth grade that tried to kick the crap out of me? I hurt him. I don’t want to hurt you.” Rorye asked as she returned to her side of the ring. Doubt accompanied her query. “Let’s see if you can even hit me,” the agent quipped. “Then we’ll worry about whether or not you can hurt me.” --- For the initial exchanges, Ryan stayed on the defensive. Punches were slipped, dodged and parried with relative ease. His abilities made him slippery and unpredictable. Movements were made to effectively evade attacks and didn’t always align with orthodox martial arts form. A technique unique to his skillset. Speedsters were a weakness for him in sudden engagements involving immediate lethality. Guns, knives, and the like, when combined with enhanced speed, meant when the foe inevitably landed a strike, the result could be fatal. Thus, his aversion to Rorye’s blades. However, in prolonged engagements, Ryan’s abilities shined against even a skilled speedster. Mistakes weren’t a death sentence, and he could capitalize on weaknesses speedsters didn’t even know they possessed. As when she had been striking the heavy bag, Rorye’s quickness was developing momentum. An interesting prospect. Did this mean she couldn’t utilize her full speed without gradual escalation? Did the power require fuel before it could reach its full potential? A theory her trainer would have test. Soon Rorye’s onslaught threatened to overwhelm Ryan’s masterful defense. Concern for his wellbeing seemed to have subsided in part, as she succumbed to the urge to actually hit him. Eventually, she would land a blow, but he would decide the when, where, and how. Until this point Harker had evaded all her attacks. So, it probably came as a surprise when he held his ground and absorbed a shot to the body. Already her next punch was in motion, which was precisely why she fell. Lead foot had been swept while in a state of transition between strikes. Having crowded her with his body, the agent was able to knock her down with a firm, but effortless shove. “You good?” he chuckled. Of course, she was… he hadn’t even hit her yet. Ryan waited for her to get back to her feet. Smug grin on his face as he held out his glove once more. After her fist had bumped his, he retreated a few paces and resumed a fighting stance. He would play with her a little longer. Observe how quickly she angered. Then the lesson would begin.
  10. Earlier
  11. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Broken Bones and Shattered Pride

    The back of her neck prickled as she waited for the elevator. Someone was watching her. Not Ryan, his door hadn’t opened again. It wasn’t threatening, caution needed nonetheless. Eyes burned, not from crying… fuck, she didn’t cry. She hadn’t cried since she fell and broke her arm as a kid. It was exasperation, fatigue that bled into feeling powerless. Her stoicism sometimes broke when nobody was around, allowing the overthinking to set in about what she’d said. Frustration had spilled from her in retort to his self-critical remarks, and then she’d simply lost control. He was the sea she was beginning to drown in... and damn it, she should never have admitted it. It fell out without thinking and she couldn’t take it back. It’s not that she didn’t mean it, it was just… she was just… exposed. The world always found a way to rip her heart out when she let her guard down. Eyes moved away from the call button, she’d been staring at it so long her eyes burned. Someone else was in the hall now. Looking up, smile was warm at an older woman that was returning to her own apartment from the other direction, her body language seeming to want to overshoot it and head to the elevator. Rorye knew when a conversation was about to happen, the businesswoman did it all the time to build relationships and make sales. The older woman wanted something, and more than likely it was information. She had one on her block just like her. Nice old guy and everything was his business. Rorye was the new face on the floor. Shiiit. It dawned on her abruptly. Was the older woman curious because she and Ryan were THOSE neighbors? The ones that could be heard through the walls when angry and otherwise? The otherwise. Bloody hell. Ears burned again as she suddenly looked at her phone, she wasn’t THAT loud… ish. Was she? She didn’t think she was, not exactly focused on that in the moment, but... Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ… He had an apartment. These were apartments! Her place was its own floor. No neighbors. Would he have said something if it was a problem? Eyes widened slightly and immediately shut down the thought process, rubbing the back of her neck as she squashed the impending horror from her immediate attention. She would have to ask him, not really sure how to breach THAT subject. Thumb hit a contact, holding the phone up to her ear to stave off any conversation. The woman slipped into her apartment, but the door remained cracked. Stealthy, she was not. They never were. “Cecily, hi. Yah, good morning. The box you’re holding for me, I’m going to swing by and pick that up today.” The doors opened and she stepped on, hanging up and hitting the button to the lobby. Once in, an enormous sigh relaxed her shoulders and she stared at the floor. Exhausted. Emotionally singed. It was a terrible idea to come, which was why it was absolutely necessary to do it anyway. Including him in her family circle meant that she was not the only alpha anymore. Burdens could be shared and they needed to learn to navigate the conflict. She ran in a small pack, he was a lone wolf; the sharing thing was new. No regret was in her tired stance. She wouldn’t have done anything differently. He obviously needed to get his head straight after a devastating blow, physically, emotionally, professionally. Being singularly focused for so long only to hit a wall was crushing for him. It was obvious. He had to learn to trust she wasn’t there to judge, only make certain her alpha was safe. It was the rejection that bothered her the most. He didn’t think she was strong enough to deal with his injuries. He didn’t say it, but she knew. Like misfortune to a family member or withholding information of a loved one’s passing until and important event was done, it felt like he’d tried to spare her. Taken her choice away to make that decision herself. Doubted her strength. That hurt. She was not green to conflict or danger. Her methods were unconventional, sure, but she was unshakable. Unbreakable. She’d held her hand to Jesse’s throat as he was bleeding to death, staring down the vampire only feet away and still managed to survive and kill it. Triaged dozens of critically injured people after the explosion that rocked ARMA and the city to the core, pulled them from rubble and rallied her contacts and resources together to house them until EMT could take care of them. Protected her home and patrons against a Were during the Bloodmoon and the resulting fire that nearly destroyed the shop. Just because she couldn’t sling magic didn’t mean she was weak, the bitterness a lump in her throat yet again. Of course, nobody knew that. She never talked about any of it. Therein was the problem. As the elevator came to a stop and the doors opened she prepared herself for the cold, phone springing to life in her hand as she pushed through the exterior doors. It was Ryan. She refused the call and stood on the sidewalk with the phone at her side. Icy wind licked a lock of hair into her face as she stood there, knowing she needed to go back. She wanted to go back. She’d said she would come if he called, jaw setting to turn around and head back up. Round two was in the making it seemed, the guy in the lobby nonchalantly watching her come back through. “Forgot something,” she gave him a tight smile. The. Fucking. Elevator. She poked the button multiple times and it opened. Finally. Someone had gotten in with her, getting off on the next floor up from the lobby. Really. Really? You had to be on at least the fourth to take the elevator, wasn’t that the unwritten rule? Asshole. Phone jumped to life again with his call as she reached his floor, the less than subtle notes of ‘Back in Black’ silenced with her thumb as the doors opened and she shoved her phone in her pocket. She blinked at them both, the pair an unusual sight. Something had happened, and it looked as if Ryan was strangling the woman in his thoughts. “Hi,” she said a bit suspiciously, a blur of motion catching her eye and immediately leaning down to scoop something up that was zipping into the elevator. “Oh no no no… that is a disaster in the making.” It was a cat making a break for it. She wasn’t overly fond of cats, more of a dog person. Not yippy skippy dogs. Big dogs. Big. Always wanted a dog, never had the time. Pale gray ears were scritched as she stepped into the hall, the insanely fluffy thing making itself comfortable and sprawling across her shoulder, batting at a lock of hair on her cheek. Curious little old ladies that left their doors cracked ran the risk of losing pets. Cats could be awful like that. They would and could get anywhere if you weren’t paying attention. Fast. “Yours?” Rorye asked the older woman she'd seen in the hall just a few minutes prior, the businesswoman switch flicking on to become the most charming person on the planet. Soft glance and smile was cast to the woman’s rough and tumble escort, letting him know she had this. The older woman smiled and nodded “She’s beautiful,” she smiled at the fluffy jail breaker that had rolled into her arm like a baby for tummy scratches, playfully trying to capture her gloved fingers. The little killing machine still had its claws. Death on four paws, adorable. “No, I’m not falling for that murder button trick. No tummy rubs,” she laughed quietly, looking toward the woman. “Not a meser, but definitely some there? Lilac point maybe?” The woman seemed delighted that she knew as they meandered back to her apartment. People loved to talk about themselves and the professional knew exactly what to ask. The two expert conversationalists were playing each other; Rorye getting her back into the apartment, the matriarch of the floor attempting to glean information. Probably gossip. Rorye gained the upper hand effortlessly, the cat with a toddler-like sprawl stretching backward over her shoulder to try and bat at the bruised warrior, meser blue cat eyes demanding his attention. Dropping the woman off at her door, she positioned herself nonchalantly so the feline's owner would go in as she passed off the murder cat. It barely weighed anything, all fluff. Deceiving evil little imp. “Your name is?” the older woman asked “Cora,” Rorye said without skipping a beat, obviously thought about for some time before this if she was ever asked. It would be stupid to have her real name floating around if Ryan wasn’t using his. It was sort of her real name. Shortened middle name. She hated it, that name only good for when you were in trouble. Moms did that, especially when they spoke with a brogue and could hammer the hard consonants to strike fear in your ass. Rorye Shannon didn’t have nearly the same sting to it as Rorye Machora Shannon did. It got her attention and when she heard it she knew she was screwed. “Mrs. Hanson,” she introduced herself in return, dropping the fluff bomb behind her that had managed to single handedly cover the front of Rorye’s black coat in gray wisps. “What do you do?” Damn. She was sneaky. “Barista,” she replied easily, it was easier to build a lie when you didn’t lie. The truth in a different way. “I’m due in soon though, so I need to go. Better close your door… don’t let..?” “Nemo,” she responded. Oh dear God. “Be careful not to let Nemo slip out again. She’s watching you right now from the couch to attempt another escape.” Mrs. Hanson nodded as if returning to her apartment was her own idea, closing the door to a crack as she eyed the battered man near Rorye, “keep him away from motorcycles.” “I will,” she smiled, helping to gently close the door to the woman’s apartment the rest of the way. “Bye now.” After the latch clicked, she turned and came to a slow stop by his door. "Motorcycles huh?" One hand came up to rub the back of her neck, awkward silence as she was let back into the apartment. “Please tell me the walls are not thin enough for her to have heard us,” she whispered, not just referring to their argument. Pale freckles that spattered her nose were unusually dark; she was honest to goodness blushing. Glance upward at him was quick and a bit self-conscious. “Never mind, I don’t want to know.” She went for the coffee again, if only just to hold the warm cup, she was chilled to the bone. Brows came down, brushing the front of her coat. She had to clean off Nemo’s wisps. Great. “You called, do you need anything?” words were incredibly quiet as she continued in vain to brush the fluffs off. “Would you settle for an ‘I’m sorry’ gift? I... was a bit harsh, I'm sorry. It’s not flowers and a teddy bear… it’s more shiny and pointy and pisses off vampires.”
  12. Thomas Gallo

    Sheut Happens

    “Promises, promises…” Tom knew it was in humor, but the levity was fading as the time for action was growing nearer. Tom’s demeanor evened out too. Even before the Event, Tom was often told that he ‘looked angry’ when he was deep in thought. Jacqueline called it his ‘resting war face.’ Now that Tom had a stowaway in his head at all times…his ‘war face’ was not ‘resting’ as much as it used to be. “Stake him, take all his… loose parts. Don’t wake him until you speak to me again, I’ll let you wake him up this time. It’s fun. Kind of like wrestling a Were.” Tom grunted. It was meant to be a chuckle…he appreciated the levity. But his mood wouldn’t allow it. The time for jokes would have to wait. He was focused. Planning. Plans, contingencies, additional contingencies… Plans A through Q were finding places in his mind, sorting themselves out in a likely if-then cascade. He didn’t let it get out of hand though. He still had to factor in the variable of the mage. Tom had to deal with him in some form. Tonight. Eris had forced his hand in this matter. After she did what she did…Tom couldn’t risk Jerry finding out he was being counter-attacked. Not until Tom had eyes on the man. For the first time, it felt like Tom had some sort of initiative. Best not to mess this up. “Strollo’s room has a slab we can strap him to. I was strapped to it once.” Tom growled a bit in remembrance of that night. How much tranquilizer did they use on him to get him there? The full moon was that night. Tom, despite it being his idea, violently opposed being constrained. It took all the willpower he possessed to enter the room in the first place. It took…several shots from tranq-guns to put him down so they could bind him. It was a valiant attempt. Tom’s wolf stayed in the room the entire night…but Tom woke up the next morning with a portion of a table strapped to one of his arms. Since then, Strollo had upgraded his room. What was once a table was now a stone slap in the middle of the room. Tom had refused to enter that room ever again since then. Tom was confident that Trevor would not be able to break the bindings that would hold him there. “Strollo’s upgraded the room since my visit.” A hint of a satisfied smirk played on the corner of his mouth. “I’m sure it will hold him until we’re ready to speak with him.” “I’m not leaving you here alone with Roderick and an unknown variable with Jerry. I have a small team that patrols my hangar at your disposal in five minutes. They will stay outside and monitor. You say shoot, they will without hesitation. Don’t get too attached to them. You can’t keep them, they’re my toys.” Tom nodded. It made sense. If Roderick wasn’t totally exhausted, he had already sent for backup. The Magus was hard to account for…but Ahanu seemed to be the one to hedge against that. Good. Things, once again appeared to be trending in Tom’s favor. He opened up his phone and dialed. After one ring, the other line picked up without saying a word. “Allies in play. Assume all friendly until I say otherwise.” Tom hung up the phone and nodded his thanks to Eris. He knew what it meant for he to trust Ahanu in his care. A lot could go wrong and she couldn’t control it. A lot would be learned about one another this night. “That man is loyal to you for life. He would take a bullet for you, don’t let him regret that choice.” Tom regarded the man who was either accepting death, or believed he’d escaped it. Either way, relief was plain on his face. He would regard Tom as his savior after this was done. Tom might find a place for him somewhere. One thing was certain, however. Unless he died, he was effectively a prisoner until this situation was resolved. This man would remain under Bakkhos eyes every minute until this issue was finished. Tom couldn’t risk it. Eris had dropped all pretense at a façade by this point. Seeing her vulnerabilities made Tom silently question his motives. He was prepared to be as brutal as required to ensure that this problem ceased to exist…as quickly as possible. Hearing Eris challenge Tom to reward this man’s semi-coerced cooperation pierced him to his heart. Silently he cursed Eris for that. Emotion complicated decision-making. He thanked her silently at the same time. ‘Why’ is as important as ‘how.’ It was good to remember that. “Hope he doesn’t have to. He has more risks to take yet.” Tom was going to have to put him on the phone with Jerry. He wasn’t 100% confident how well the man would perform. It was a gambit that had to be taken. Tom had a plan. Before Tom was shooed out, he placed a hand on Eris’s shoulder. Gripping it strongly, comfortingly, he didn’t care about her typical tactile-aversion. With this level of exposure to one another, niceties were irrelevant. If she was revealing her true side, so should he. “I’ll take care of yours. Get in touch when you can.” Stepping out of the room, Tom saw Roderick on the phone speaking quickly to whoever was on the other line while Tom’s new best friend was pointing to the boxes he was tasked with watching for the evening. Soon, based on the number of crates being pointed out, a single truck would come. The back would be loaded with a dozen or so men and a forklift. The boxes would be loaded into the truck to be taken somewhere Tom knew was secure. The men would be cleaning up the mess they had made to make the scene as if no one had been there. Assuming they weren’t busy cleaning up a higher priority mess, the crew that was coming would be in and out in less than an hour. Other than the faint smell of cleaning chemicals, no one would ever know someone had been there. By the time Tom had reached Roderick, the tell-tale beeping of a cargo truck could be heard backing up to the loading dock. Damn. Roderick gets it. Making eye contact with Roderick, Tom held up three fingers with a raised eyebrow. Roderick shook his head and held up four. Interesting. Either Roderick misjudged, not likely, or Matteo called an audible, sending an additional squad. Tom had been keeping Matteo apprised of the progress of tracking down the poisoner. Calling for squads would catch Matteo’s attention. Adding a fourth meant he suspected the need. Tom nodded at Roderick. He’d have to reach out to Matteo after this and update him. Tom was sure that a ‘bonus fight’ at Satyr was in his future. Tom draped an arm around the man’s shoulder and started to lead him off to one of the side doors. As he did, he caught a glimpse of Eris/Jerry slipping out to begin her part of the plan. Tom motioned toward a table and chair, silently imploring him to sit. As the man sat down, the side door opened and a half-dozen Bakkhos men strode in. They were not as disciplined as trained soldiers, not this group anyway, but they were capable of following orders and making good decisions when given some autonomy. “This is my friend. I’d like two of you to keep him company while I attend to some other matters. See to it that he remains safe and unharmed. Any wounds of his will be matched by one of yours.” Tom growled out that last line. It wasn’t likely that they were going to rough the man up, but it occasionally happened…and Tom would have none of it. It was also important that he hear Tom say this. If Eris was right, then this would reinforce that perception. Tom then turned to his new friend and knelt down to be eye to eye with him. “I know you’ve gone through a lot in a short amount of time. You have handled this well. You are strong.” Tom smiled warmly at the man, the way a father would to a son, or a coach to one of his team. “I’m going to need that strength soon. Take a moment and gather yourself.” Tom then recognized one of the crew that he has seen come in and out of Thyrsus a few times. He clapped the man on the shoulder and stared the man in his eyes and held the gaze for a few moments. He then nodded, grimly, and was mirrored by the man. He was to be the bodyguard for Tom’s new friend. And executioner if need be. Tom hated it, but it was necessary. Tom then walked away to supervise the cleanup operation. He took a moment to inspect the occasional crate being loaded into the truck to make sure that the tainted booze was within. To the man’s credit, every check yielded that same putrid stench. Eris was right. This man was proving to be quite loyal. He then approached Ahanu, who had found her way by Roderick. Tom should have expected as much. “Ahanu. I’m loathe to admit it, but I’m leaning heavily on you when dealing with our new magus friend. Anything that you’d like to share with me before this begins that would be good to know would be appreciated.” Tom didn’t know what to expect from her. He was hoping she’d share what she was capable of, or her limitations, or anything that could help Tom keep her alive. His request was more like an order than a plea…but Tom knew she was not his to command. So he’d have to make do.
  13. Trying to find links to my threads that need responses but my net's being a butt ><

  14. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    When Has Become Now

    Silence. Silence so loud the pain was all she could feel first, a pressure that felt like thundering whitecaps against saturated surf and she was churning within it. Disoriented. Drowning. Then ringing. Ringing so loud it was nauseating. Her heartbeat finally was there. Her breathing. Fingers were already unconsciously working the door handle, it wouldn’t open. It was the horn from the other vehicle that broke through the din as it sputtered and went silent. Broadsided, her car had spun through and buckled into a light pole on the passenger side. The other, was in the middle of the silent intersection. Airbags had deployed, everyone seemed to be breathing from what she could see. Stanford was unconscious, as was Fields. Fields had taken the brunt. Broken bones on his right side likely. Gasp of pain brought a sharp hiss as she unbuckled, hand on her left ribs as she kicked the door. Son of a… Get out of the car. Get out of the car! They were probably being tailed, or meeting a pass-off and she had minutes if not seconds; no idea how long she'd actually been out. Reaching for her cell, she scrolled through it with a quivering thumb as she fought with the door. Fucking gloves! Teeth gripped the leather on her middle finger and tore the glove off. She couldn't get it to work, her hands were too cold. Forgoing the door, she leaned back with an audible clench of pain through her teeth and kicked the window, thumb pressed the emergency call button as hard as it could. 911, but it was something. The call went through. Location was spilled out to someone on the other end as she kicked the window again. Fucking bulletproof? Seriously? Now? It had to be now? Location would send people. People would be witnesses. Sirens would bring attention. Call dropped, kicking the window again and breathing on her fingers to warm them up, thumb hit Ryan's contact and it dropped. "C'mon!" she growled. A crack erupted in a bright flash of light, raining sparks down on the car, the streetlight had just given up the ghost. The headlights to the other car were out, hers had the only light other than the pale glow from the city. It was an industrial area. Warehouses. Shipping. Everywhere she didn’t want to be. She hit it again, it connected. A gunshot froze her blood, the spatter across her cheek making her instinctively slide off the seat and onto the floor out of sight, holding her breath. Eyes dared to peer up at Fields. He was dead, shot taken through the broken passenger window, the warmth of his blood across her cheek. Calm. Think. She could hear the phone ringing, forced to shove it in her pocket as a second gunshot ripped through the passenger window, and Stanford. Controlled breathing. The muffled ring was still in her pocket. It hadn’t disconnected. She couldn’t place where the shots had come from, the steam of the engine, snow of the storm, fog on the shatter-cracked windshield and her rear compartment windows making it almost impossible to see. Her car was miraculously still running, sputtering as fluid bled into the street. The sudden crack against the back window was terrifying as someone hit it with a crow bar, followed by the passenger side that she’d already almost shattered. They didn't break. That meant the front window might come out in one piece since it was buckled. The window she'd cracked was hit again from the outside, finally breaking through. She pulled herself over the front seat as someone reached in the back passenger window. Fields’ gun was on the floor, too far away. She searched for Stanford’s gun, turning quickly, back against the dash she fired two shots through the driver’s rear window before it jammed. A string of profanity from outside the car was vicious, coupled with her own choice words. No idea if her phone was still on in her pocket, she kept repeating the intersection in a quick mantra. Hoping someone heard it, trying to focus her thoughts. She had a fucking concussion. Head was fuzzy, streaking with pain as she pushed at the shattered windshield with her shoulder. One of the corners pushed out in one crumpled piece and she slid down the hood and onto the street with a pained grunt, immediately taking cover behind the front right fender to try and figure out where to go. A chain link fence was behind her and traveled as far as she could see in either direction. A building across the street. *npc* “Just stay put. We aren't going to hurt you.” One. *npc* “I'll fucking hurt her, she fucking hit the side of my coat, I think I’m bleeding.” Two. *npc* “She probably grazed your ass, stop it with the sissy shit. Button this up and let’s go. It’s one person. This has already been a fuck-up.” Two, there were two. She could hear the crunch of feet on snowy glass, the slam of the crowbar against one of the fenders as they attempted to roust her out of hiding. Leaning down, she could see feet through the hissing steam of a dying car. They were coming around from opposite sides. The guy on her left was going to round the corner first. *npc* “C’mon rabbit, don’t fucking do this to yourself.” She'd been called that before. Remy's. The magus. This was a lead. She could give herself up and see where it led. She knew too much to kill. Then again they could be getting rid of loose ends. She could vault the fence. If they chased her, they weren't going to kill her. If they shot her... well, question answered. She could confront and take out one before the other took cover and it was a standoff again. Compromised. If compromised go to the gym. She could lead these jackasses right into a kill zone without giving up the gym, IF any of her information had gotten through. Could Ryan track her from here? Would he go there first? For all she knew the phone could still be connected and one word could give enough information to bring these guys and whoever came to their aid right down the middle of Ryan's sights. A decision had to be made. Now.
  15. Guest

    Pine Hollow

    Welcome to Pine Hollow, home and sanctuary of the supernatural. Werewolves run the police department; ghouls run the local mortuary. Life in the town is quaint, peaceful. Supernatural folk of all kind come here to find a home. Scratch that. Welcome to Pine Hollow. You can erase the human, but you can’t erase the human traits. Greed, lust, envy, pride - they are all very much alive in the hearts of the residents. If territorial lines were so clear, Pine Hollow would be a map. But...it isn’t. Blood spills, conflicts arise. Corruption, desire, subterfuge. Werewolves run the police department but they’re funded by an empire that sits on the skeletons of the nation. The dead don’t stay dead in Pine Hollow. Nothing stays dead in Pine Hollow. Secrets scatter like ashes in the wind. Pine Hollow may be home to the supernatural, but make no mistake: Peace is an illusion. INDEX • PLOT • SPECIES • RULES • DISCORD • ADVERTS
  16. Rules | Plot | Application | Claims | Species | Factions | Advertise You're invited to the soft opening of I Want to Believe! Our Grand Opening will be Friday, September 13th with our first event - "We're Going on a 'Squatch Hunt!"
  17. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Walk It Off

    “Are you sure no one knows of this place?” Eyes wandered over the large space fondly, her daredevil self once upon a time had scrawled her name on some of the beams that could be reached from the balcony railings. “I have it listed as a derelict property and owned by the bank. Even if anyone knew it was here, they don’t know I own it. It would only become a problem if someone wanted to buy the block and develop it, which I don’t see happening in the near future.” “Alright then, if the shop is compromised, we’ll meet here. If this place is compromised, then we’ll meet at my apartment. If my apartment is compromised… then ARMA H-Q is probably the safest bet.” She nodded and made her way toward her corner to change, eyes peering up at the vent on the ceiling. After a few moments the red ribbons started moving. Old fans were still kicking. She worried about the day they wouldn't work, unsure if she would be able to fix them. Time brought age and the place would either have to be let go if it began to wear out or be brought back to life by someone that could afford it. “Well first, we won’t need those today” Sigh was light as she looked at the sheaths. She was hoping for at least a chance she could explain how… everything… worked. It was always a worry, especially with Chris the day before. Frustration brought anger, anger brought problems. Ryan wasn’t an enemy though. She’d never had an issue with anyone other than someone that was threatening her. A warning might be needed, it wasn't a good idea to provoke something without at least a warning. “On the off chance you get lucky and actually land a shot, I don’t need any more stitches.” Eyes narrowed at him. Smartass. “We won’t be needing those ratty old boxing gloves either” Balled up hand towel from her bag was launched in his direction. She had a pretty good aim. “I’ve had those for years,” she quipped, brows down as she caught the pair he tossed at her. “Those should fit you. Oh, and make sure you have a mouthguard. Don’t want you losing any of those pretty teeth when I knock you on your ass.” Smile at him was sarcastic. She had a brand new one somewhere she never opened. It wasn’t like she was doing anything here except by herself. Thinking a moment if it was upstairs or down there, she got up and opened a locker that had obviously been hers for a long time… it may or may not have had boy band pics in it when she was younger. She’d never admit to that. Several candid actual photos were still stuck to the inside, before the onset of digital had made everything poof. The larger of the two was of her and her older brothers in the center ring that was no longer there. They had stopped their sparring to take a selfie with her, her bright purple braces under a wide smile next to their stupid sweaty mugs. She’d been eleven, twelve maybe? The other was a little more damning, the summer after high school graduation. She sat on the tailgate of a truck, four others with her in the photo in various stages of laughter. Some had beer bottles in hand; she was one of them, wearing the leather jacket she still owned. Hair had been exceptionally long, pulled over one shoulder in a cascade of waves. A man’s arm was around her shoulders, temple pressed to hers, the dark gaze now haunting as it smiled out from the picture. Eyes gave it a longer glance than it should have as she pulled on the gloves Ryan had given her, the fuel for so many things in this life captured in that one photo. Peering up on the top shelf, she pulled the mouthguard case down. Check. Locker was closed. “Ready? Let’s warm up, then we’ll see whatchu got. Can we get some music going in this place?” Brow cocked at him, she actually did have something hooked up but it definitely wasn’t that high tech. Was he serious? “I prefer to work out to music. Ya know, some ‘Eye of the Tiger’ or something.” “Smartass.” She was a runner, so the laps were a great warm-up. Push-ups were a strength as well, moving business stock wasn’t an easy job, and here she’d been pushed by her pops in upper body strength. She’d boxed some boys her age when she was a teenager, proud to say she’d done fairly well until they said they didn't want to hurt a girl. Almost through however crazy many push-ups he wanted to do, she pulled back to sit on her heels, stretching the back of her arms. Damn. Finishing the rest after a stretch, she was pissed at herself. Furl of her brow evident. Sit-ups… the pause for a moment before she started was filled with a bit of apprehension. She would push herself through it, not really wanting to explain why. Slower than the push-ups, her form was impeccable and pace steady. She got up, still pissed about the push-ups. Hands on her hips, she squinted at the bag. Hitting things. She needed to hit things for a minute to burn off the annoyance. “As hard and as fast as you can until I tell you to stop” Nod was quick. Instead of getting weaker as she tired, hits became more powerful; almost as if the recoil was feeding off its own kinetic energy. Her ring stung under the glove, buzzing with the bite of something that should definitely not be on her finger while she was hitting something. She had no choice. When he said to stop, she shook the offended hand once. Fuck. “Alright, that’s enough, Let’s get started.” Breath heaved once, hands at her sides. “Make sure you take off your socks and shoes before you come up here.” She quirked a doubting expression at him. “Trust me, you’ll see why.” She obliged. Toe pulled the heel off one foot, then repeated for the other. Socks were pulled off and stuffed inside. “I feel silly,” she grumbled quietly, wiggling her toes and picking up her mouth guard from the bench in time to watch him flex. That broke a laugh. “You are such a smartass,” she accused lightheartedly. Hand ran across the mat affectionately, it seemed like some kind of ritual to pace the side before getting in. Hands gripped the bottom rope for a moment, looking up at him as his attention was elsewhere. She did it more often than she would admit, catching his small inflections of personality when he was with his own thoughts. Small facial expressions, the brilliance of his eyes. He was incredible to look at. “Showing off, is that part of the lessons?” voice was quiet, the laugh had soothed the grouchy mood. “Distract the opponent, got it.” She pulled herself up to the mat and went through the ropes. She was aware she was graceful, and the agility doubled down on it. Knowing it was there and what it looked like in motion were entirely different. The way she carried herself seemed effortless when it was moving, a natural momentum that lead into the power to change direction on a dime; missed by most when she was swathed in a loose sweater or normal clothes if one didn’t know what they were looking for. It had been so long since she'd been in the ring. Hands found her hips again, eyes on the mat before looking up at him. Mouthguard in, exhale was long, the glove touch bringing a glitter of excitement into her chest. It always did. Now, over a decade later, something darker lived with it; anticipating the violence that followed. “Alright girl, show me what you got.” Focus was intent for a few seconds. She straightened suddenly and put her hand up, “I’m sorry… I just…” Both hands leaned on her thighs as she breathed. Pulling out her mouthguard and padding over to him, arm slid around his neck to pull him toward her and press her lips against his cheek briefly. “Thank you for this,” she said quietly and returned to her spot, putting her mouthguard back in. Eyes narrowed as she shook herself out and set a fighting stance. “So… I just hit you? Like, you’re the kid from sixth grade that tried to kick the crap out of me? I hurt him. I don’t want to hurt you.” After his response, she pulled in a large breath and released it. "Okay, school bully. Got it." Focusing on the blue, she was unaware her pupils changed, flushing out wide to engulf the dark amber almost completely. She had an incredible ability to center her balance and stay on her feet, and an almost preternatural sense of motion. Eyes never looked where hits were sent, they were focused on his, her ability to judge the distance and deliver an accurate strike still exact. As with the bag, it was like an avalanche, the more motion she generated the faster it became and the force increased. Perhaps inhibition was being lost, or something else was taking over as her aggression escalated. As it intensified, strikes began to shift purpose from tentative defense and take-down, to something much more powerful. It was becoming very clear she was not the 'broken', altered human that she thought she was.
  18. Eris London

    Sheut Happens

    Brow cocked gently as Tom grinned at her study quip, there was more going on under the controlled façade than he let on. So many layers. His thoughts seemed congruent to her proposed plan. When she’d put the tac gear on earlier in the evening to merely keep up her skills she never imagined this would be the closer to the festivities. Such was being a leader she supposed… she wasn’t sure if she liked this brand of crazy. It was incredibly lonely, the master villain kind of lonely. “When we work together against a common enemy…yes…dangerous is a good word. But I’m afraid the world will have to wait…for now.” “Promises, promises,” the response was in humor but delivered deadpan, almost disappointed they had to leave their devious mutual plotting behind and put it into motion. She enjoyed getting things done too, but it was rare she was able to plan with someone that she could see eye to eye with. Unfortunately, there were several more levels they had to pass before he knew the full range of this relationship. She truly hoped it would weather the stress of what was coming. Afterward, a formal meeting of sorts over dinner. They had much to talk about. “I’ll make sure our cooperative friend isn’t anywhere to see ‘Jerry’ leave. I’ll plan to take Trevor to one of Strollo’s ‘Conversation Rooms.’ I’ve…stayed a few nights in one of them in a pinch. It will keep him there.” She nodded. “How long do you think he’ll stay unconscious? Do you think he needs another kick in the skull to keep him down for another hour or so?” Smirk was cognizant of his eagerness. There was a point when even vampires could be mush after you hit them enough. Knife was pulled from its sheath and flipped to the tip in the blink of an eye. She held it out for him to take by the handle. “Stake him, take all his… loose parts. Don’t wake him until you speak to me again, I’ll let you wake him up this time. It’s fun. Kind of like wrestling a Were.” Lip smirked again. It felt almost like a predator teaching another how in a different fashion, passing on knowledge of the most brutal type. Maybe that’s what was happening here, a relationship the Capo couldn’t have with other heads of his family. She wondered silently how many of them truly understood the turmoil in this man’s blood. Probably none. She wasn’t a bad influence… not exactly anyway. Maybe more of an outlet. “I’ll have our new friend call Jerry to get him out here. He and I will have a discussion about how we proceed from here.” That portion of the game worried her. Jerry was a magus, and variables were something she didn’t like. Not at all. She thought a moment. Ahanu would stay here. Ahanu was one of the most powerful magus she’d ever met. The woman could rip an airplane in half in the sky at her peak. It didn’t sit well with her that she would leave here and they would have limited backup. Phone was dialed again, what she requested was brief, almost in code with as few words as she used. What was evident was that some kind of team would be in place around the building, and Ahanu was remaining here. Once it was determined to be under control, Ahanu would relocate to her. “I’m not leaving you here alone with Roderick and an unknown variable with Jerry,” she said shortly. “I have a small team that patrols my hangar at your disposal in five minutes. They will stay outside and monitor. You say shoot, they will without hesitation. Don’t get too attached to them. You can’t keep them, they’re my toys.” She nodded to Toby, who brought their first friend into the room and laid him on a desk before leaving. The man in captivity out in the main room seemed quiet, almost resolved. Coming down from adrenaline perhaps. Maybe he felt like he might survive this. “That man is loyal to you for life,” she commented quietly, looking up at the Were before dark eyes wandered back to the guy who’d been mentally stripped bare. “He would take a bullet for you, don’t let him regret that choice.” For the first time ever, she seemed… small, human. The power and stature around her had peeled away for the moment in the privacy of the room they were plotting in. She breathed in and nodded to him, motioning for him to skedaddle. Door closed. Alone with her deceased friend she began pulling articles of clothing off and prepping her new ones. She would have to stash hers somewhere, Toby would find them and bring them back. After she’d changed completely and sat in the desk chair in impossibly large clothing, the photo was brought up again. They were just waiting on her. She could never explain what it felt like, there was no comparison. Floating possibly. That time between times when the heaviness of the sun was being crushed by the vastness of the dark sky. Dry sand being pummeled by a crushing wave. That limbo created tension, and the tension created something new. Those that had seen her do it, said it merely changed, like the photos that were scrambled until you focused and saw the picture. A refraction of light changing to a prism. Regardless, when it was done she felt like she was always punched in the gut. Moving, was also odd at first, sometimes even nauseating as muscles learned a new rhythm. Weapons secured, phone secured, she pushed the door open slightly. A viper with the face and stature of an enemy magus nodded to Toby and the Capo from the shadow before retreating calmly back into the darkness of the room to go out the back and cut loose the other two to "escape". Several moments later, Ahanu took her place next to Toby and Toby departed. Showtime.
  19. Ryan Harker

    Broken Bones and Shattered Pride

    Ryan stood brooding in the kitchen of his Manhattan apartment. Gaze lingered on the front door. The room had fallen silent, he could hear the tinnitus ringing in his ears once more. Constant, high-pitched whine was interrupted only by the beating of his heart. His home felt empty now. Which was odd, because it had never felt that way before. She shouldn’t have come. Her intentions had been pure, but the ill-opportune meeting had caused only grief for them both. After reeling from defeat, he had needed time to refocus his mind. Furthermore, seeing her lover in such a wounded condition probably hadn’t benefited her psyche either. An image he had tried to spare her. Regardless of what should or should not have happened, she had come to his apartment and the conflict had occurred. Now, what could be done to better the situation? Harker hadn’t moved. Contemplation had absorbed him. A side of his mind desired nothing more than to chase after her… to set things right. Another part of his mind advised him against the pursuit. It reminded him he was a Soldier with a damaged soul, and that if he wasn’t in the right frame of mind, he could do more harm than good to those he loved. Yet another piece of his mind was consumed by a single, important, notion. She had professed her love for him. A sentiment he had answered by hawking venom in her face. Good, bad, or indifferent, the last section of his mind managed to triumph over the others. Door swung open and Ryan jogged out into the hallway. He grimaced at the discomfort but continued trotting until he reached the floors elevator lobby. Metal doors had just closed. Fingers pressed the call button urgently, but the doors remained sealed. “God damn it,” he cursed aloud. Able hand reached into his coat pocket to retrieve his cell phone. “Everything alright dear?” Quivering tone was one the agent recognized. Mrs. Hanson was his neighbor in the apartment next door. The kind old woman owned a single cat, but otherwise lived alone. With little else to occupy her, she had taken it upon herself to gather gossip on the building’s other tenants. Ryan only spoke to her in passing, except when she sometimes brought him a homemade dessert. An excuse she used to interact with him; one indulged on the rare occasion he was home. “Hi Mrs. Hanson. Yeah, everything’s fine,” he sighed. Rorye’s number was dialed and he held the phone to his ear. “Oh my god! What happened to your arm?” Mrs. Hanson exclaimed as approached him. “Err… Motorcycle accident.” “Oh, my goodness, are you okay?” She seemed genuinely concerned. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just a scratch.” He responded politely, though he was worried Rorye may have already left the building. Elevator button was pushed again for good measure. “I didn’t even know you owned a motorcycle?” “Yeah, not anymore.” His patience was wearing thin. This elevator was taking forever and Rorye’s phone wasn’t ringing through. “Good, you’re better off without it.” Ryan hit the call button for the tenth time, “Come. On.” “In a hurry?” “Yeah, you could say that,” he answered unenthusiastically. Pleasant as she may be, he was about to strangle the woman. “Chasing after that girl that stormed out of here crying?” She asked, arms folding over her chest. She eyed him disapprovingly. The agent gave a defeated groan, “Yeah.” “Whatever you did John, you better make it right,” Mrs. Hanson scolded him. “She seemed like such a nice girl. Poor thing.” “She is, and I will.” He capitulated. Ignoring the fact Mrs. Hanson had taken Rorye’s side after only glance. Ryan had been her neighbor for almost two years. Contact was dialed once more in Harker’s phone. Rumble beyond the elevator door informed him it was near his floor. Finally. Call on his mobile was ringing through. At the same moment, he could hear a song playing on the other side of the metal doors. There was a pitched “ding” and the elevator doors opened. Whomever was inside the compartment, would find a battered man and an elderly woman staring at them. No doubt, the pair would make an unexpected sight.
  20. Ryan Harker

    Walk It Off

    Ryan parked his car in the hidden lot behind the gym, and together the couple made their way inside. Rorye had described the place as her father’s “old boxing gym,” but it wasn’t really a gym at all. The aged two-story structure was the size of a small stadium. Bricked walls, marble floors, and fancy lighting common in the 1940’s, made the place a historical monument. Ryan had trained in gyms, studios, and even fitness centers, but this place was far grander than anywhere he had trained before. This wasn’t an “old boxing gym,” it was a historic boxing arena. Note was taken of the emergency fire escape. “Good to know,” he muttered in reply. Gaze continued to explore the vastness of the arena as he followed his guide through the boxing mecca. “I lived up there until after high school, we can crash there if we or you ever need to. I keep it up. Other than my banker, nobody knows this place is here. Could be a rally point if things ever go south,” she said gesturing toward the offices overlooking the ground floor. “Are you sure no one knows of this place?” The agent couldn’t help his skepticism. A location such as this would be difficult to keep secret. She nodded assuredly, “I can get you keys made.” “Alright then,” Harker agreed. “If the shop is compromised, we’ll meet here. If this place is compromised, then we’ll meet at my apartment. If my apartment is compromised… then ARMA H-Q is probably the safest bet.” The operative had another apartment on the other side of town, but it would be irresponsible for him to tell her of its existence. If she became compromised or captured, he would need a place to conduct operations from. ARMA headquarters wouldn’t be suitable for covert deployment. The installation had far too much visibility. Furthermore, he acknowledged the possibility ARMA wouldn’t always be considered an ally. To some such a notion might sound paranoid, but at this point, nothing was outside the realm of possible. Ryan set his black gym bag on the bench near his chosen locker. Enchanted armor was peeled away a layer at a time and placed neatly inside the storage space. The hunter’s weaponry was removed as well, though not without mild hesitation. Once most of his clothing had been discarded, he became acutely aware of stadium’s frigid air. Black duffle was unzipped, and more appropriate attire became accessible. Black Adidas sweatpants were pulled quickly over his Under Armor athletic shorts, a white stripe running down the length of each leg. Black tank-top was covered just as swiftly by a matching hooded sweatshirt. His feet were left bare, as was typical of most martial artists. “At the very least, I need to be useful, not just defend myself. I know taking me out to Remy’s was a huge risk… I don’t want to be a risk.” Rorye said, as she finished tying the laces of her tennis shoes. Harker’s thoughts drifted back to the evening she mentioned. He had killed a lot of people that night. A speedster and nearly twenty, heavily armed mercenaries had been slain by his hand. Taking her had been as risk, but she had held her own. She followed orders, remained calm under pressure, and spilled a share of the blood herself. Still, it would take more than a single training session to make her mission ready. Rorye arranged her blades on the bench nearest to her, “I want to be able to hold my own, without any help. Tape, gauze, practice gloves are in that locker over there. Don’t know how you want to start. I'm at your mercy and expertise coach. Don't pull your punches.” Ryan eyed the sheathed knives on the bench. She was prepared to take this sparing match to the absolute limit of her abilities. He knew the Karambits were her weapon of choice, but he hadn’t expected her to bring them to the gym. A hand-to-hand engagement with a speedster armed with knives was a dangerous proposition, training or otherwise. Training blades would be preferred, unfortunately he hadn’t brought any with him. They weren’t exactly something he carried around in his daily workout bag. “Well first, we won’t need those today,” he gestured toward the blades. “On the off chance you get lucky and actually land a shot, I don’t need anymore stitches.” He chuckled, “I’ll bring some training knives next time.” “We won’t be needing those ratty old boxing gloves either,” he told her. The fighter reached into his duffle and drew a pair of MMA training gloves. Padding on them was significantly thinner than standard boxing gloves, and the fingers were open to allow for grappling. Gloves were tossed toward her lightly, “Those should fit you. Oh, and make sure you have a mouthguard. Don’t want you losing any of those pretty teeth when I knock you on your ass.” Harker flashed a playful grin before shoving his own mouthpiece into his sweatshirt pocket. Gloves were synched down on his wrists and then flexed until they fit comfortably. He shrugged his shoulders a couple times and gave his neck a quick swivel side to side. “Ready? Let’s warm up, then we’ll see whatchu got.” “Can we get some music going in this place?” he asked. He doubted an ancient place like this had a USB connector, but surely it had some kind of sound system. It was an arena after all. “I prefer to work out to music.” Another sarcastic smile, “Ya know, some ‘Eye of the Tiger’ or something.” The ARMA operative led Rorye through several laps around the indoor stadium. They ran until they were both sweating despite the cold. A hundred pushups and a hundred sit ups were followed by light stretching. Then it was time for some work on the heavy bag. Ryan assessed how strenuous the warmup had been for his new pupil. Weightlifting and cardio had become a part of his daily life. Albeit, in light of his recent op-tempo, he hadn’t been as disciplined in his training regimen. The agent had memberships at several different gyms throughout the city. Even with his abilities, weapons, and ARMA tech, maintaining his physical condition was essential to his performance in the field. For Rorye, super-speed would have limited use if she lacked the necessary endurance. Ryan held the heavy bag and instructed Rorye to deliver several basic combinations. Next, he told her to strike the bag repeatedly. “As hard and as fast as you can until I tell you to stop,” he had said. With a little effort, the operative willed his abilities to activate absent any immediate threat. Time within the boxing arena slowed. Rorye’s punches continued at a pace faster than the heavy bag could recoil. For her trainer however, the strikes seemed to flow slowly through the air. Harker analyzed her form. Position of her wrist when hitting the weighted bag. Tilt of her chin, movement of her shoulders, even the alignment of her hips as she swung. Pivot of her feet, and her footwork as she telegraphed the next strike to come. From a boxing standpoint, her form was pretty decent. Clearly, she’d had some formal training in the past. “Alright, that’s enough,” Ryan said once he was satisfied with his assessment. “Let’s get started.” The mage hunter walked to the ring and slid under the bottom rope, rolling effortlessly out onto the mat. “Make sure you take off your socks and shoes before you come up here.” Sensing her doubt at his request he added, “trust me, you’ll see why.” Mouthguard was placed in his mouth, then Harker pulled his hoodie over his head and tossed it aside. Balled fists came to his waist and he flexed his muscles in mock intimidation. He was joking, but also aware the ring’s lighting added definition to his physique. Modesty was an overrated virtue. Once Rorye had joined him in the ring, he extended a gloved hand in her direction. Touching gloves before the start of a match was a traditional sign of respect. Then he stepped away from her and assumed a fighting stance. Fingers of his lead hand waved her forward, “Alright girl, show me what you got.”
  21. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    When Has Become Now

    February 21st 7pm New York, Unknown Earbuds were something she rarely wore. Her focus had to be so precise when she was working on her glass, somehow this evening the sounds of cellos playing heavy metal made her more intent. Hair was pulled up and piled high on her head, a small lock was tickling her cheek. Narrowed eyes were trying to ignore it, a whiff of breath from her lower lip trying in vain to get it from her skin. Spacers were set aside and she sat back, pulling her hair down to re-twist and pull it back again. The project was coming along, spending time at her work table was not something she had done a lot of in the last month. She’d been meaning to finish the stained glass repair from the café door window for a while now, tonight had given her the opportunity. The shop was slow, after Valentine’s day. Quiet, evening rush over. Perfect. Heels of her black ballet flats hitched up on the rung of her stool. Elbows on the workbench, her chin came to rest on her hands as she stared at it, deciding what to do next. Eyes flicked up at the light that signaled the front door had opened, going back to studying all the colored pieces laid out. Fingernail played with one of the aquamarine studs in her ear, sliding down to twirl the long pendant with her finger. Jesse’s head peeked in, *npc* “Detective Stanford stopped in.” She looked up, pulling out the earbuds. He wasn’t a stranger. Sometimes he checked in just to make sure things were okay and get free coffee, which she was fine with for any law enforcement types, sometimes he was following up on shoplifters and such. Nothing like that had been an issue of late. Just saying hi probably. “I’ll be out in a sec.” She slid off the stool, black worn button up cardigan sleeves pulled back down and wrapped around her a bit closer. It was chilly for some reason, and the deep aqua blue cami wasn’t doing much to help even though she’d layered it over a black one. Earbuds were popped out of her phone and she wound them up and dropped them on the work bench. Phone in her back pocket. He was rifling through one of the leather bound blank journals she sold as she stepped out. The older gentleman had been around for about five years or so, he knew her and the area fairly well. Was a cop somewhere else in the city before this position, but she didn’t know where. *npc* “Sorry to bug you so late, was gonna call but then remembered you don’t drive so thought I’d save you the trouble.” “Coffee?” she asked. He set the journal down, shaking his head. *npc* “Not this time, thanks.” “You pick that up every time you come here. I think it has your name on it.” He smiled, then nodded. *npc* “Sorry to bug you in the evening. We arrested a guy a few days ago, had some interesting things on him. Found one of these tags in the bunch.” He held up the journal and tapped the price tag with the store name on it before putting it down. *npc* “Think he might have been stealing from here, thought you might want to come down and take a look at the stuff.” Brow furled. Great. She hadn't been in the shop as religiously since the holidays. Not as many eyes to watch the place. Jesse was closing, and it was unlikely to pick up. She could do that. “Sure, as long as I get a ride home.” Cars had been elusive. What she wanted and what she could afford seemed to be two entirely different things. Ballet flats were slipped off and replaced with an older pair of black biker boots. They were more feminine and the older they got, the softer the leather became and they had begun to slouch. They were easier to wear over tighter jeans, and they were comfy. Leather jacket. Scarf… she was so fucking ready for winter to be over. Phone was pulled, a quick text to Ryan, just because. “Hey, I had a Detective Stanford come by to take me down to the local precinct. Happens once and a while when they find stolen items, he's our usual guy. Shouldn’t be long, he’ll bring me home so I don’t have to catch the subway… see you soon.” Phone back in her pocket, she checked in with Jesse and went out the front door. There was someone else in the passenger seat, a face she didn’t know. *npc* “Rorye, this is Detective Fields, apparently I’m getting old and I have to train my replacement,” he said as he opened the passenger rear door for her and then slid into the driver’s seat. She rubbed snow from her eyelashes as she got in and he closed the door. It was getting bad out. “Nice to meet you Fields,” she held her hand over the seat and he reached behind and shook it. “You’re not old Stanford, maybe they just have more money to hire more help.” He laughed. Settling back in, she fussed with the seat belt. She hated the fucking things, but she hated cars too. Stifling. She felt like she was in a cage, and she was getting one. Joy. From the limited driving she’d done, it was a little different when you were actually in control of the thing. *npc-Fields* “I’ll get the heat up.” Stanford was playing with a Cantigo as he drove, taking a long drink. They didn’t even make those anymore. Lucky bastard. Traffic was light, the snow was managing to keep everyone home. She recognized the shortcut, looking down for several moments as she discretely pulled out her phone. It just didn’t… turning the screen brightness down all the way, she hit the text with her thumb. *Another detective in the car. Fields. Doesn’t feel right. Will send location.* She looked up, trying to find the streets, not able to read the signs that were coated in ice. Shortcut had become somewhere she didn't recognize. No immediate traffic. She turned in the seat to look out the back window, forearm wiping the condensation that lingered in between the defroster lines. Stanford looked at her in the rear view. *npc-Stanford* “Rorye, just relax.” She sat, muscles tense. “Stop the car,” her voice left no room for argument. *npc-Fields* “Relax. You’ll be fine.” Seat belt unlocked and she slid to the center of the seat. “Stop the car,” it was the only chance she would give them. Everything spun through her head at once. All the training, all the work, all the advice... and the mantra every girl had drilled into their brain from birth screaming through her thoughts. Never let them take you to a second location. *npc-Stanford* “Rorye, it’s okay. They said they just want to talk.” She spun in the seat, kicking the window until it cracked. Fields turned in his seat, the muzzle of the gun very real. *npc-Fields* “I will not hesitate to shoot you in the fucking face. Sit. Down.” Standford looked panicked. *npc-Stanford* “This was not the deal.” She slid next to the rear driver’s side door, putting the seat belt on. His gun stayed trained on her. She knew exactly how to disarm him, but there were too many variables. The weather. The streets. The traffic. She would have to plan this. “Where are we going,” she asked quietly. Her eyes were on him, but her attention on the traffic. She'd absorbed the way he held it, where it was aimed. Slightly over her left ear. He had trigger discipline. She was faster than this man's ability to fire an aimed shot, but she couldn't bank on Stanford's reaction and she'd be the only one not in a seat belt if they crashed. They were going too fast, and she wouldn't risk getting hit with an airbag unrestrained. If she was unconscious it would be for nothing. Headlights on the passenger side and a lone intersection were coming up, readying to kick the back of Standford’s seat as hard as she could. She finally knew this intersection, she knew where to go once she was out. Stanford looked up at her for a moment as if he almost knew, and that was all it took for the world to spin out of control. He blew the stop sign on purpose, Fields and his gun turned away from her at the sound of the horn blare. The nauseating sensation of weightlessness that she knew would end in pain spun through the car as the other vehicle slammed into Fields' passenger front door. The sound of glass and metal erupted, reverberating through her bones. Then silence.
  22. Thomas Gallo

    Sheut Happens

    “I worked in the DEA before the Event. In the field. That means I can help you figure out your poison too." This was good. Tom would need outside help. Bakkhos, while quite robust, didn’t have a stranglehold in the apothecary business. He wondered if Cassandra made any headway on the mage-part of the poison. He’d have to give her a call soon. He needed to maintain a balance between duty to his clients, business, and Family…with keeping his agreement with ARMA intact. Tom understood that if Cassandra perceived Tom to be crossing lines, he’d be fighting a battle on two fronts. Additional chaos. That thought urged the beast to pound on the door Tom had it trapped in. Eris saved him with her quip. “Well there goes my night. You’re a good study.” Tom grunted a chuckle at that. Even though he wasn’t as blatantly clinical as Eris, he was keeping detailed mental notes of Eris as well. She was ruthless, brutal, and deadly. She also seemed to have a fierce protector-vibe to her that spoke of unbreakable loyalty and a disdain for manipulative subversion. She’d been betrayed. Victimized. She’d thrown a car through his walls to save one of her own during the Blood Moon. It was rare that this sort of loyalty came naturally. It was almost always a product of experienced loss. Tom knew that, if he earned her trust, it would be unbreakable. If he betrayed her, he’d likely die. He grinned slightly despite himself. He liked it. As Eris described the junk-vehicle market, Tom nodded as she spoke. He knew a little of this. Even Bakkhos’ resources were constrained by the lack of supply on the market. He had to admit that they were partially responsible for that. When the world went to hell, Gaspari and the capos were smart enough to secure what Tom liked to call the ‘practical practices.’ Nearly all vehicles that have been serviced since the Event have had Bakkhos hands on them. He was far enough removed from the operations to know how strong of a hand they had in aviation. Maybe he’d be able to help Eris in that regard, if need be. He’d have to check. A fortunate side-effect of the Bakkhos quasi-monopoly on transport was that the few people operating outside of their circle had their own signatures on their work. Tom would reach out to someone to make calls to the shops to check whether or not these vehicles had been serviced in their shops. Tom doubted it. Everyone was sloppy sometimes though. Maybe he’d get a lead. “…did you seriously just ask me that?” “I had little doubt.” A small smile came to Tom. “This relationship is dangerous. One of these days I might ask you to take over the world with me.” Tom’s smile broadened. He could see the mirth in her eyes. The relief. Eris was alone. Eris had Toby, Ahanu, and Mouse…but they were her charges. Not her subordinates, not only that anyway, but her family. Her children. They were not her peers. From what Tom could tell, she didn’t have any peers. Until now. When you are the one everyone seeks comfort from, who do you seek when you need it? Tom thought that Eris saw that in him. This wasn’t the time to say so. But she was right. Tom nodded toward the battered and beaten Hesek whose breathing appeared to be leveling out. “When we work together against a common enemy…yes…dangerous is a good word.” He smiled, “But I’m afraid the world will have to wait,” he paused and with feigned ominousness, “…for now.” “I need Ahanu, that’s part of the risk. You’ll be on your own. Toby will stay to help with the rogue, then he’ll have to follow me when your people arrive. Ahanu will have to tail us from the start. When this is done, I'll need their help. Nobody is all powerful Thomas, not even me.” That left Trevor with Tom. He'd have to be a bit more specific about who came for cleanup and transport. Just in case. Eris’s laughter pulled his mind from its tunnel-vision focus. He smiled too, genuinely. Tom had worked side by side with plenty of men who would become his enemy the moment their common goal was achieved. It was refreshing to see that some genuine people still existed. Eris had a hard surface, yes. She was a ruthless enemy, yes. She was also as vulnerable and delicate as anyone else once that shell was penetrated. Her willingness to peel back the layers and expose this to Tom spoke volumes to her level of trust. “I’m trusting you not to hurt my people. I will not be able to protect them, from you, after I do this.” Tom nodded. He understood completely. Tom made that same leap when he summoned Roderick into the room earlier. He knew that if Eris and Toby decided that Tom and Roderick had to go…they’d probably be gone. Their families were one now. Whether Tom or Eris realized it or not…their fates had become intertwined. “When he brings in our first friend and I close this door, I won’t be able to talk to you again until this is over. When I’m good, I’ll call Ahanu to leave the two outside and come in. When you see her come in, I’m going to cut them loose outside for the 'getaway' and see where they take me. Once I get all the info I think I’ll get, I’ll take care of the two friends outside. Let’s get this done.” “I’ll make sure our cooperative friend isn’t anywhere to see ‘Jerry’ leave. I’ll plan to take Trevor to one of Strollo’s ‘Conversation Rooms.’ I’ve…stayed a few nights in one of them in a pinch. It will keep him there.” The implication was clear. Tom was unable to get upstate one month, and he was…unexpectedly delayed getting to where he would normally wait out the change. Strollo had designed one of his rooms to hold stronger folks he desired to ‘converse’ with. It did the job of keeping the wolf contained, albeit with some minor damage. It would keep Trevor contained as long as needed. “How long do you think he’ll stay unconscious? Do you think he needs another kick in the skull to keep him down for another hour or so?” Tom was all business, but was there a hint of eagerness in his voice? “I’ll have our new friend call Jerry to get him out here. He and I will have a discussion about how we proceed from here.” Tom’s demeanor was still pleasant…leftover from the mirth a few moments ago. But his eyes. They betrayed his true intent. Tom’s chat with Jerry was not likely to be pleasant. In fact, Tom was already prepared for it to be disappointing and dangerous. It was time to toss the dice.
  23. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Broken Bones and Shattered Pride

    She’d always wondered if empathy came with whatever mojo the giant rip in the sky had smashed her with. Her “powers” had always been pretty much useless up until recently, and it caused an enormous rift between her and all magus, especially ARMA. She wasn’t good enough, fast enough, experienced enough to be of any use to anyone except to fetch cool toys. Perhaps it was just learned business savvy, being able to read people; know what they were thinking by their body language and expressions. Maybe she just wasn’t a self-centered bitch and paid attention to others. She could thank her dad for that; he’d refused to let her develop that princess shit and her brothers had taught her not to play the victim or back down. Ever. Whatever it was, she could feel electricity just radiate from him, so unbelievably powerful she could feel it on her skin. His words of welcome were hollow, and he absolutely did not want her there, and that was exactly why she needed to be there. This inevitable car crash of wills was something she knew was eventually coming, and it would be a test to make sure they both weathered it. As she made quick work of what she knew needed to be done, his glass slamming onto the counter punctuated her thoughts. Game on. She wasn’t sure what he thought he saw when she looked back at him… there wasn’t a person in the world right now that could ever imagine what she was thinking. Whatever it was, he was angered by it and she refused to be goaded. Business mode kicked in and she at least made things a bit easier for him other than sitting in a kitchen chair and getting stumbling drunk and being an asshole. He’d taken a moment to retrieve what she'd been looking for in his bedroom, the rattle of pills heard tossed back into a drawer. Probably his nightstand. The damn git was behaving like a sullen wounded puppy. Her patience was eternal, but shrugging her off a second time? He was pushing it. She knew not to poke a bear unless it needed an ass kicking. She offered no judgement, yet he continued his silent maelstrom. After he refused to look at her, it was the only answer she needed. He thought he'd failed. It was clear as day and she’d done all she could do. He would drink and wallow, even though he was sitting there alive. He would never see it unless someone hit him over the head with it. To do that, he would have to calm and that didn’t seem to be coming any time soon. She would leave him to his irritable mood. Errands, and then home. “You want to know what happened last night?” “No,” she answered quietly as she put on her coat. She had a feeling he was going to tell her anyway, unsure if it was the best scenario. This was not going to go well. She wasn’t going to pick a fight, but she’d damn well finish it if he did. “I don’t need to know.” She patted her pockets for her gloves, watching him stand up. Shit. “I did exactly what I told you I would do, I took the fight to them. I tore their organization apart. I followed a trail of bodies that led me directly to the O-F-L.” Hands slid into her pockets, slow sigh exhaled as her chin dipped toward her chest and she closed her eyes. She kept telling herself she was not a verbal punching bag… assuring herself he just needed to be smacked on the back of the head after he got it out of his system. She was more than happy to be the one to do that. “Until eventually they realized, the men they’d hired to protect them couldn’t. Until they realized, the men they’d hired to kill me couldn’t! So those fuckers gave up on you, and they gave up on their hold of these streets!” As his tone escalated, gaze came up to meet his, and hers was fierce. His fury had met an unbreakable wall. Everything he said was absorbed, but she refused to be intimidated by his anger. She had faced down her own death, and no one could ever strike that threatening fear in her again. Rorye weathered it because she knew he was not angry. He was bleeding frustration and pure pain. That was a crucial difference most missed. “And do you know what they did? They set a trap, and they murdered all of their own people to do it. Anyone I had any intel on, they killed. They contracted a pro. The kind of assassin you can’t buy with just money! You must have influence and connections to even find a guy like this! He was trained, well equipped, and he was ready for me. He knew exactly what I was going to do, and I walked right into his fucking trap!” This was not fine. This was not a need to be alone. This was the weight of every night for the last six weeks when he’d come in and been nothing but calm crushing down all at once. He’d weathered it in every quiet minute, every laugh, every cup of coffee, every private moment when she didn’t have to share him with anyone else. It was there all the time and the burden of it was now buckling and crashing into the closest thing that was in the way. Her. She didn’t move. She wouldn’t move. If he could bear the weight, so could she. When he pointed at her, her stoic expression darkened. She hated when he did that. “But I killed that son of a bitch! Because that’s who I am! I won’t be beaten by some shady fucking Order offshoot, and I certainly won’t be killed by some two-bit vamp!” If she’d been shot in the chest, the feeling wouldn’t have been any different. She was unaware she’d stopped breathing until her lips parted and she drew in a breath. The world around her had quieted. He’d quieted; the words he spoke after drowned out by the one word that had hit her with so much force it was like her soul had been ripped from her body. It was drowning. She was drowning. Again. A vamp. A vampire did this. His words finally were put back together in her conscious thought as she pulled her soul out of the deep. “Wait, did you just say you love me?” She blinked at him. Her eyes were unreadable. She didn’t know how to answer, afraid at that moment that the fucking universe would hear it. It seemed to already have; every damn thing in her life had been taken by that scourge. It was like she was cursed. The initial shock a vampire had nearly killed him started burning. Fingers started buttoning up her father’s coat, coming to a slow stop somewhere in the middle. The temporary quiet doused the anger only to lose, swinging it back like a pendulum. As his anger cooled, hers blossomed into a furnace that couldn’t be contained. She took several steps forward toward him, fingers lingering on the button as words finally formed and unleashed, breaking the silence. “You think you failed… you honestly think you failed?” her words were sharp, no louder than a whisper with the full force of a wicked Scottish temper behind them. “I’ll tell you who you are,” she hissed, resisting the insatiable urge to poke him right in the sternum. “You are Ryan Harker. You are a fucking leader. A protector. A God damn fighter! And you’re what, going to piss on all that because you came home with a limp? Bruises heal! Bones mend! You are whole when so many others aren’t, alive when so many others don’t survive! You are strong enough to dust your ass off, get back out there and finish it. You are not a failure,” she snapped up the collar of her father’s Navy pea coat and pulled her hat on down around her eyes. “If you wanna sit here and drink ‘til you’re stupid you dumb jackass, fine. When you’re done, call me because I have something you need. I’ll be damned if another fucking vampire hurts or kills someone I love, and now I have the tools to stop it. I’ve lost too many and I'm not losing you,” there was a break in her voice, a lump in her throat that was building and making it hard to choke out words. The fire was running out of fuel and anger was turning to frustration. She hated vampires. Hated them with all her soul. They’d ripped her heart out repeatedly. Leather gloves were being pulled on rather roughly as she left him where he was and moved to leave, grabbing the doorknob but not turning it, “…and God help me Ryan Harker if you ever point your finger at me again in anger, I’ll break it.” Hand lingered on the doorknob as the room finally fell silent, seeming to ring with fury until that too went away. She’d said her peace and met his anger head on. That was all she’d promised herself she would do. Eyes closed as she settled into the calm and leaned into the discomfort of his last question. She didn’t need to answer it, it wasn’t the right time. Maybe it was. In any case, she would and she could feel the damn tips of her ears burning. “Yes, that’s what I said,” she barely spoke, eyes on her hand. “Just… remember even though you are broken, you are alive. That was the first promise you made to me, and it’s the only thing I’ll ever expect from you. If you need anything, call me.” Door opened, and closed quietly behind her as she left, taking two steps before the heels of her hands pressed to her eyes. God damn it. He was right, she shouldn’t have come. She would never have found out about it. A fucking vampire. Anything but a fucking vampire. Sniffle sharp, her footsteps moved toward the elevator, back of her hand wiping the incredibly hot, tired, frustrated tears from her eyes. Now she had a mission, and it would take a day to pull it all together. The cost, considerable, but she’d been prepared for a while to make the barters and it was time. Time to complete her arsenal and give it to someone that knew how to use it.
  24. Boone (Paddy) Fitzpatrick

    Why Bullshit, of Course

    Phone smacked several times on his palm. Stupid fucking cell reception. How long did it take to get tech back up and running anyway, for Christ’s sake. Stuffing it in the back pocket of worn jeans, he pulled his beat to hell fishtail parka on. Skullcap tight around his ears, off-white threadbare wool scarf hung loose, he closed the door on his humble and crappy temporary abode to rendezvous with this… idiot. They didn’t have the goods and normally he wouldn’t give them two shakes if they hadn’t any product, buuut the information was too good to let go of. He let the bike warm up for a moment before moving off into the even bleaker parts of town, discarded cars and general fuckery reminding him more and more of the first months after everything went to shit. Some places came back, some probably never would. Detroit was still the middle of the largest troll fuckery possible. He missed the place, it had its troubles but it was gorgeous and tough as nails. Renaissance before the world went to shit. He’d get back there someday. Cutting the engine, he coasted a bit and came to a stop. Dumb fucking meet-up spot… stupid blind spots. Yah, they were going to shoot him. He was late. They were late. Of course they were late… the rack of a shotgun confirming they weren’t. He chuckled, getting off the bike and kicking the stand. They were going to shoot him. One of these days it would be GREAT to be disappointed. One came from the side, out of a trash coated alley, pointing the business end at his temple. The other, he didn’t know. Didn’t fucking care. Teenagers...ish?? Old enough to vote, not old enough to drink. Sheeeeeeesh.... “If we’re here to talk, why the shotgun?” he reached up and pushed it away like an annoying fly. It floated back up to his temple, the vicious side eye of the wildly unpredictable Pharos relic hunter pushing it away again. *npc* “Because we heard you’re an asshole.” He laughed out loud, putting his palm directly on the muzzle. It was a great belly laugh. He needed that. The two were dressed like they had just stepped out of a post-apocalyptic movie, casting nervous glances toward each other. They were green as fuck. He suddenly grasped the barrel, snapping it backward into the guy’s nose and pulled it out of his hands. It was cracked open casually as the gunman nursed a bloody nose. Relieving the shotgun of its shells, he tossed them over his shoulder, snapped it back together and handed it back. “That’s so you don’t end up shooting someone in the dick. I’m bulletproof anyway dumbass.” Lie. Lie. LIE! He was only bulletproof when he wasn’t an idiot. “You got information for me or not? I have cash, you have info.. you talk, I pay… ya dig it?” The other had pulled a pistol. Fuck a duck. He put his palms up. Fine. Green ass mother fuckers with mama’s purse gun. What. In. The. World. Could. Go. WRONG! “You talk… I pay. Ima gonna reach into my pocket now… don’t shoot,” he waved his hand at them as he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small bank zip bag and tossed it at him. They checked it. Good. One lesson they learned. *npc* “So… we got a tip that Pharos is dealing relics.” Duh, he knew this. He was the fucker that was dealing Pharos relics. Meh, they were rinky dink party tricks. They’d never miss them anyway. “I know this.” *npc* “No, like… stuff Pharos gets from ARMA.” Brow cocked slightly. “Okay? How did you come across this awesome nugget of information…?” *npc* “His brother, knows a guy that was running something out of New York. From ARMA, to Pharos, and out here to hook up with someone going overseas.” “Did that your brother's sister's hair dresser's dog groomer's former roomate have a name?” *npc* “Orvil.” The relic hunter sucked his tooth a moment. Yahhhhh this was going to be a shitty day. “Orvil? ...as in like, the popcorn?” He nodded vigorously. “Sorry about the nose kid, gotta go. Safety’s on by the way,” he said quietly and got on his bike, reaching into his pocket to pull out a second bag and toss it to the kid with the shotgun. The other was checking the safety on his gun. “Great info, there’s your tip not to tell anyone else. I mean it. Get some gun training peanut.” The bike roared to life. This was a big problem. Orvil. Not Orvil a guy like they thought. Out in the bleak to someone who didn't know better, that was a bastardized OFL. ARMA relics were either going to Pharos, and Pharos to the Order, or they were getting fucked in between. This was not a flow of hand offs that spelled anything but bad, bad tidings. He had to bust out of his squat riki-tik and get back to New York. ARMA first. See his favorite doc. She’d either slap him or hug him. Always fun.
  25. Ryan Harker

    Taking Inventory

    “Go back to sleep, that’s an order.” “Yes, ma’am,” was the Soldier’s lighthearted reply. He held her close. Eyes drifted shut once more. For a moment he did nothing. He merely lay there, enjoying the simple comfort of her company. “There was something we had to do wasn’t there…” she asked lazily. “Nothing that can’t wait a little while longer,” he answered with equal enthusiasm. Black Sabboth’s “Iron Man” instrumental interrupted the tranquil ambiance. Rorye giggled, “They all have their own ringtone. You have one too.” “Oh really? What’s mine then?” Ryan asked, head swiveling to look at her. Eyes squinted in mock suspicion. Knowing her, his ringtone was either badass, or ironically comical. She left the bed to answer the call, taking his warmth with her. Comforters were pulled around him tighter to compensate. A moment later she returned from the bathroom and crawled back into bed. Her head came to rest on his stomach, almond hues peering up at him. Rorye had an innocent beauty that he absolutely adored. Even when she wasn’t trying to look pretty, she did, and when she did try, God help him. To Ryan, she was ‘gorgeous,’ and so he told her often. The attraction between them, physical and otherwise, felt so electric, he sometimes wondered if there was a supernatural element amidst their connection. Regardless, the feelings he held for her were genuine, and so he tried not to overthink them. Rorye placed the phone on speaker so he could listen. The conversation appeared to be routine and uneventful. Nothing on her expression indicated anything to the contrary. --- “Can’t all be double-o-seven business all the time,” she said, after filling him in on some of Russel’s history at the shop. Harker’s instinct was skeptical. Questions immediately jumped to mind that demanded answer. How long had this “Russel” been around? What replicas was he interested in specifically? Why did he consistently return to the shop, knowing full well Rorye wouldn’t have the product he was searching for? What was his motive? The ARMA agent dismissed his concern for the time being. Rorye said the guy was harmless, and that was probably the case. She had been in the occults black-market business for some time. Judging character was an essential skill in her line of work, and he trusted her judgement. Still, he might follow up later… just to be sure. Ryan felt a stir in his loins the moment she mounted him. Fingertips glided along his abdomen as she leaned in close. She paused with her lips just out of reach, which only added to the temptation. Sultry smile when she spoke, “ready to get your ass kicked?” “If its anything like last night…” there was mischievous glint in his eyes as answered. She’d had her way with him the evening prior, though he certainly wasn’t complaining. Quite the opposite in fact. Rough hands fell gently upon her hips, “then sure, I’ll go another round with the champ.” Swift as a cat, Rorye sprang from the bed. A playful glance back in his direction as she danced nimbly across the room. She seemed so excited, so… happy. The childlike enthusiasm was infectious. Despite being left enticed and slightly disappointed, Ryan couldn’t help but smile. It felt so good to see her genuinely happy. It was something he wished he could give her more often. “She’ll be the death of me,” Ryan muttered under his breath as he crawled out of bed. Soft smirk still held in his features. Clearly, it was time to start their day. A little food, a little coffee, and he would be ready for anything. A trip to her father’s gym sounded like a fun date. Before they left however, he fully intended to steal another few moments of her affection. “Don’t think I’ll go easy on you,” he quipped as he strode after her. Clothes were left on the floor, to include his boxers. Getting dressed could wait just a little longer.
  26. Welcome to Cowgate! Cowgate is a small town south of Aberdeen in Scotland. It is home to many fluffy cows, beer, and awefully preternatural beings that defy our puny structures of logic. For there are things that are from beyond the stars and our reality breaks under their weight. Paranormal Surveillance and Investigations (PSI) is dedicated to containing and banishing these paranormal beings. PSI is always looking for more agents!* *Agents may be eaten, vaporized, vanish, become something else, lose their grasp on reality, and other things that we do not speak of.
  27. Ryan Harker

    Broken Bones and Shattered Pride

    The apartment was warm. Temperature inside maintained by the thermostat despite the agent’s prolonged absence. ARMA could afford the expense. Rorye removed her layers and hung them on the coat rack. She was quiet. She seemed tentative in almost all that she did. As if deliberating on every act before she carried it out. Without a word, she walked to the kitchen and started a pot of coffee. Meanwhile, Ryan had forgone removing his coat. Instead he headed straight for the liquor cabinet. Glass and a bottle of his favorite, affordable, bourbon was withdrawn from the cupboard. Both items were placed on the countertop below. Despite the sling impeding its movement, his right hand held the bottle in place whilst he unscrewed the cap. A couple fingers worth was poured into the whiskey glass. Bottle was set aside before he picked up the glass and hurled its contents down his gullet. Glass was slammed roughly on the counter. The Soldier wiped his mouth, pausing a moment to allow a liquored breath to ease through his lips. Another drink was poured and taken in hand. Finally, he turned to face Rorye. Ryan hated the way she looked at him. Her eyes pained with fear and sympathy. She seemed to notice his discontent, and almost subconsciously began to avoid his stare. Somehow, the elusion felt worse. He was a warrior. An unstoppable, unkillable, consequence to any foolish enough to cross his path. There was nothing he couldn’t do. There was no task too great, and no force on Earth he couldn’t defeat. At least, that was the reputation he had established for himself. Those within his community had come revere him as “the mage hunter,” or simply “the hunter.” An ARMA boogeyman for even the deadliest of the organization’s supernatural foes. The man, the myth, the legend. Harker didn’t want her to see him any differently. He had made promises. Rorye was depending on him. He wanted her to feel safe with him, to trust him, and not to worry about him. He wanted her to believe the legend. For in a world plagued by monsters, demons, and magus, what could a mere mortal hope to accomplish? Presently however, battered and broken as he was, Harker appeared anything but extraordinary. Just a man, nothing more. Rorye pulled a chair out for him at the kitchen table and motioned for him to sit. When he stood his ground, she refrained from arguing. An awkward moment passed before she left the kitchen and walked into the bathroom. Ryan seized the opportunity to slip into the bedroom without her being immediately aware. Glass of bourbon was set atop the nightstand by the bed. Top drawer was pulled open to reveal a gun, a picture frame, and several half empty prescription bottles. The agent plucked the bottles from the drawer one at a time, removing a couple capsules from each before throwing the them back into the drawer. Rattle from the discarded containers could probably be heard in next room. He didn’t care. Gathered pills were tossed into his mouth and then washed down with another gulp of bourbon. A moment later Harker returned to the kitchen. Rorye was waiting by the table with a pair of damp towels. “When you’re set-up and comfortable, I’ll go,” she said softly. “I’m fine,” he insisted. The statement was only partly true. Reluctantly, he strode to the table and seated himself in the chair she had set for him. Drink was placed on the table’s surface. “You didn’t need to come.” “I know I didn’t need to come,” she replied calmly. She attempted to swab his face with the towel, but he held up a hand to stop her. “I said, I’m fine,” the agent asserted, this time more firmly than before. She was trying to take care of him, and in return he was being an asshole. Rorye set the towel aside. Her eyes found his for a time, until he flinched uncomfortably from her gaze. “You need to understand I’ll always come,” she said. Despite his resistance to her affection, she leaned in closer. Delicate lips touched gently to his forehead, then she whispered “…and even if you have to limp home. Just come home.” Ryan stared distantly at his glass, refusing to acknowledge the woman before him. Emotions divided his mind, pitting the sides against one another. Unsure of how to resolve the conflict, he chose to remain silent. Rorye walked about the apartment for a couple minutes before returning to the kitchen. She tried talking to him, but her words weren’t being heard. Harker glared intently at the drink in his hand. Mending of his wounds, the pills, the alcohol, all were helping to subside the disorienting pain. The fog in his brain was beginning to lift enough for him to think. The more he reflected on his circumstances, the angrier he became. The way she was looking at him, the way she spoke to him, the indignity it afflicted… fuel to a growing fire. “I don’t know what happened last night and I don’t expect you to tell me. But don’t be afraid to ask me to be here, even if it’s just to sit on the couch and read a book. What are we all fighting for if not for the opportunity to be safe and with those we love?” “You want to know what happened last night?” Ryan’s voice was low. Whiskey glass was pushed aside, and his gaze drifted in her direction. Slowly he ascended to his feet; a tempered rage burning behind his radiant eyes. “I did exactly what I told you I would do,” he said stepping nearer to her. “I took the fight to them. I tore their organization apart. I followed a trail of bodies that led me directly to the O-F-L.” His volume was increasing, tone becoming more vehement with every spoken word. “Until eventually they realized, the men they’d hired to protect them couldn’t. Until they realized, the men they’d hired to kill me couldn’t! So those fuckers gave up on you, and they gave up on their hold of these streets!” By now he was practically yelling in Rorye’s face. Of course, it wasn’t her fault. None of it was. Once more, he didn’t care. He needed to be strong, he needed to be angry. He couldn’t stand her sad eyes lingering on him any longer, gazing at him as if he were a wounded puppy. Better she be furious with him, hate him even, than to look at him that way for even another second. “And do you know what they did?” The rhetorical question came with a lull in his shouting. “They set a trap, and they murdered all of their own people to do it. Anyone I had any intel on, they killed. They contracted a pro. The kind of assassin you can’t buy with just money! You must have influence and connections to even find a guy like this! He was trained, well equipped, and he was ready for me. He knew exactly what I was going to do, and I walked right into his fucking trap!” Ryan turned away from her, putting distance between himself and Rorye. Breathing was heavy. Fists were clenched. Rage boiling on the edge of violence. He wanted to punch something, hurt something, but he did neither. Anger wasn’t toward her, the Order, or even the creature that tried to kill him… he was angry at himself. Harker pivoted sharply, pointing a finger at Rorye as he boasted, “But I killed that son of a bitch! Because that’s who I am! I won’t beaten by some shady fucking Order offshoot, and I certainly won’t be killed by some two-bit vamp!” Arm lowered slowly to his side, and an odd silence fell over the room. A short time passed, and Ryan’s demeanor began to calm. A puzzled expression marred his countenance. He was beginning to digest the words Rorye had attempted to convey before his rant. Indirectly, she had proclaimed something important. Blue eyes softened, as did his voice, “Wait, did you just say you love me?”
  28. Eris London

    Sheut Happens

    “Thank you.” Eyes narrowed slightly in response, arms crossing and she nodded in concession. “I worked in the DEA before the Event. In the field,” she said shortly. It explained her attire, and her penchant for coarse language when she was working in this half of her “duties”. It wasn’t an excuse, it was a reason. Behavior was learned, and being her size in the work she did was damning already. You adopted behavioral norms, or you were shoved out. On the outside though in public view? Dressed in a suit? Never. Smooth as glass with impeccable manners unless she was one on one, then all bets were off. "That means I can help you figure out your poison too." “Warehouses and small freight…seems to fit. Does the proximity to the water make up for the poor fuel quality? Seems short-sighted.” “Something able to avoid Bakkhos’ resources for this amount of time is extremely well planned. There’s a purpose here.” “This operation is intended to be disposable. A kamikaze attack. If what you say is true, then that tiny, barely useable helipad with terrible fuel can’t be expected to be a long-term setup. Either they are desperate, or they are testing us.We need to be careful how we proceed. I don’t enjoy being studied.” “Well there goes my night,” she quipped with deadpan humor. “You’re a good study.” She thought a moment, watching the rogue on the floor. “There is so much mechanical slag, junk out there. A lot of amenities were absorbed by other companies when their owners never returned or were killed a decade ago. Survivors didn’t take the junk, so now there are fleets of old vehicles nobody wants. Untraceable, nobody will miss them, nobody keeps track of them… disposable, anonymous.” Brow cocked as she looked up at him. “Sludge fuel isn’t a worry. They just dump the vehicle and find something else. I’d bet in a few weeks, the trucks will be different. I have a few ideas where they may have come from. Equipment is rotting Gallo, harder and harder to keep planes in the air when nobody is making parts and they’re rusting on runways. Vehicles are the same way. They think they're being sneaky. To someone like me that regularly scouts for parts, it's like a fingerprint. I'll make some calls.” Then, the bombshell. It was a sure fire way to get immediate answers and get several steps ahead, if only for a hot minute. “Are you suggesting speaking to the two with Ahanu as Jerry?” She nodded slowly. “You’d have to be angry, think you can handle that?” The glare was hard, “…did you seriously just ask me that?” “While you do that, I’ll have a crew come in, clean up, and collect our new friend and escort him somewhere safe where he can be looked after. We get the Hesek and the man out of here. Clean up the mess we made, and let Jerry find the warehouse. Without his crew. Without his cargo.” A corner of her lip curled up at his smirk. “This relationship is a dangerous,” she quipped. “One of these days I might ask you to take over the world with me.” Humor was evident, but clearly she was happy with her choice to work with him on many levels, though she would never admit it. “I need Ahanu, that’s part of the risk. You’ll be on your own. Toby will stay to help with the rogue, then he’ll have to follow me when your people arrive. Ahanu will have to tail us from the start. When this is done, I'll need their help. Nobody is all powerful Thomas, not even me.” It was the closest she would ever come to conceding she had limits. “You’ll get your information.” “Then maybe Jerry meets a friend of his he didn’t know before.” Brow cocked, and she laughed quietly. Eris London did not laugh. “I’d like to welcome him to my new warehouse, personally It would be important to know what sort of mage he is first. Think our boy out there knows?” “Probably. If it was an unusual ability he may have seen it. Magus are so layered with power though that knowing what kind of magic he slings won’t necessarily give us any advantage other than to watch out for his hocus pocus.” Long breath was pulled in and released. “I’m trusting you not to hurt my people,” her voice was incredibly quiet, lethal. Eyes found his without hesitation. “I will not be able to protect them, from you, after I do this.” Her expression held no question she could and would rain down hellfire if something happened to them. She knew he was aware she'd been watching him all evening. It was dangerous to be involved with her, but it also held incredible benefits. “People that are my family, I will protect with my life,” that also included him, though she didn’t say it out loud. She would stand in front of him if Calloway raised a hand to the Capo. Her loyalty to the Nation was unshakable, but she would never betray those that had her back either. It had caused considerable tension between her and other leaders in the Nation. In the end, it seemed Ausar supported her for that very reason. Her loyalty to those who were trustworthy was unshakable. Gallo had split loyalties, and the fate of how the Nation treated his family rested squarely on his shoulders. The Nation wanted them as puppets. She wanted them as partners. A conversation they would have to have very soon. She nodded once, phone pulled out to ring Ahanu and explain what was going to happen. She did the same for Toby even though he was in the other room, it was just quicker and cleaner. The goon on the table would have to be brought back to where she was… she needed his clothes. “When he brings in our first friend and I close this door, I won’t be able to talk to you again until this is over. When I’m good, I’ll call Ahanu to leave the two outside and come in. When you see her come in, I’m going to cut them loose outside for the 'getaway' and see where they take me,” she motioned for Toby to grab their deceased friend and bring him into the room. “Once I get all the info I think I’ll get, I’ll take care of the two friends outside. Let’s get this done.” She held the door for him, ready to close it behind him… quirked brow indicating she had to do this in privacy. “Only because I like you,” she grouched.
  1. Load more activity


  • RPG-D

  • Distant Fantasies RPG Directory and Resource

  • tumblr_inline_n7nmp6HjIl1rfoxx3.png
  • Our Affiliates

    affiliatebannermain.gifBTM_aff.jpgThe Lost Nation 
    www.AbaddonCity.com 18+pernaff.png 2i7yB.jpg
    Roleplay EvolutionSufficient Unto the Day button.png

    BOJUim.png 4jx0bQV.gif Resolution



    Our Button Code