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ZONE - Manor at Redfield ((Chasing Shadows - START))


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#21 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 04:12 PM

"Oooookay, if your sisters bringing it up, too, we get to talk about it now," Percula suddenly said, poking her upper half from Caiden's pouch and giving Plexaura a tiny wave. "Heya, long time no see." She added with a slight grin.
 
Plexaura visibly tensed, surprise written all over her face as she looked down at the pixie again. "Right - hi," she replied quietly, quickly trying to regain her bearings. It wasn't every day one saw a pixie suddenly appear from a monster hunter's belt pouch... especially Caiden's. "Didn't know you were still traveling with him."
 
"We're..." Caiden started, but he stopped and furrowed his brow, swallowing and wondering where to even start.
 
His sister, however, clearly fought a grin and whispered, "Good gods, Caid, you're blushing!"
 
The Venator crossed his massive arms and scratched his face with one hand as if in an attempt to partially conceal that fact. He just grunted at first, before he cleared his throat, looked Plexaura in the eye, and then very abruptly muttered, "I love her."
 
Plexaura's jaw went slack. She blinked and stared, and Caiden suddenly grinned. Not a hint of a smile on one corner of his mouth, or even one of his lopsided smiles, but an actual grin. That convinced his obviously skeptical little sister, whose eyes went even wider when she actually believed the look on his face.
 
"Oh," she said, blinking some more. Caiden fought his grin down and kept his arms crossed, though he shifted his weight between his feet like a romantic who just couldn't keep it in, which, given it was Caiden Voros, was a ridiculous sight. "Wow," Plexaura finally added, grinning, herself. "That's... incredible, you two. I mean, the size difference definitely is... intriguing...? But who's to judge, right?"
 
Caiden just made a noise and shrugged, still wrestling against the dumb grin trying to creep back onto his face.
 
"You can smile, Caid. No one's going to whip you for having feelings."
 
"Shut up, Plex," Caiden mumbled halfway in embarrassment, breathing a laugh.
 
Plexaura's apparent happiness over the moment started fading fast, however. She made a slight face and glanced down at Percula - and then back to Caiden. The look in Caiden's one eye swiftly darkened. Whatever thoughts they were sharing, Percula wasn't privy to them. They looked like they were having some kind of sibling mind link moment, both thinking the same thing but afraid to say it out loud. Afraid, quite literally - Caiden clenched his jaw and swallowed hard at another look Plexaura gave him.
 
At length, Caiden just nodded and said quietly, "I'll be upstairs." He snorted. "Again."
 
Plexaura nodded right back, adding, "I'll be here if you need me."
 
Caiden glanced down at Percula again, waiting for her to disappear into the pouch on his belt once more before he turned and strode out of the room, his long blue cloak flowing behind him. He ignored the conversations in the meeting room as he passed through it, or any noises from elsewhere in the manor, going back to his room once more and shutting the door behind him.
 
As he did so, he said all too grimly, "Percula - you're right. We need to talk. Sooner, rather than later." ((see PMs))


---

 

Kye saw the look on Adriana's face when she heard the voice coming from his insides, and he sputtered, "Nonono wait a minute it's not what you th--!"
 
Dewitt managed to struggle one of her arms free and slam a fist into Kye's stomach, which made Rosette's world crumple and deform while Kye doubled over with a wheeze... Although thankfully Dewitt didn't hit hard enough to do anything more to Rosette other than startle her.

Kye focused on maintaining his disguise, staying on top of Dewitt and groping for a hold on her free wrist, but he yelped when she bit down on his hand, reflexively pulling it away. Dewitt couldn't put enough strength into the bite to puncture the fingerless leather glove he wore, but it certainly still hurt - and it made Kye's eyes flash violet, his upper and lower canines visibly becoming long fangs in his grimace. But it faded in almost the same instant...
 
And, thankfully, Kye's back was to the door, so Sef didn't catch a glimpse of his eyes and fangs briefly showing. However, for a moment, she couldn't take her eyes off Kye's back that she had such a good view of... ((see PM for details))
 
Dewitt tried to get her legs under Kye while he wrestled to keep her pinned, but Neitha showed up and restrained her again, to Kye's apparent relief. "Now, look, I know what you just saw was confusing and probably scary, but I can ex--"
 
"W-wait!" Rosette called out, still muffled inside Kye, but Dewitt and Neitha heard. "T-this is my fault! I-I think we can sort it out! J-just c-calm down?"
 
Kye seemed like he wanted to say something about that, but he just coughed, trying to get his breath back.
 
"Uh, Kye, why is your stomach talking?" she asked.
 
"It'snotmyfault!" Kye blurted in incredible embarrassment, but Neitha put things together easily.
 
"Percula, is that you!?" she growled at Kye's midsection. "Because I swear to Anubis if this is your fault I will... I will smack you with a flyswatter!" she hissed angrily.
 
"And why'd you hurt me?" Kye muttered, sounding hurt in more ways than one. And then he glanced over his shoulder to see Sef watching from the doorway. He went pale.
 
Under his breath so that only Neitha would hear - and Dewitt, given they still pinned her down, he added, "Uh... we got company. And - and-- and she's a Templar."
 
The gravity in his voice was heavy enough to sink a ship, and Neitha could see the fear in his eyes. Keeping his disguise up right this minute was hard enough as it was, but with the extra weight piled onto his nerves, it would be even harder - especially if Dewitt managed to attack him again. Kye was still keeping Dewitt pinned, along with Neitha's help, but he wasn't trying to cover her mouth again.


---

 

"Oh, yeah" Sarael said reflexively. "Er, well... I haven't been sleeping too well" she added sheepishly after a couple moments. "But having something to do helps. I'll be fine!" she concluded with another slightly-forced smile as if she was trying to convince herself of that, as much as she was Ben.

Ben just nodded. She couldn't tell what he was thinking, given the helm he wore.

"If you ever need to talk about it," he offered, "I'm here. I know talking doesn't usually do a lot of good, but," he shrugged, "some people say it works for them."


---

 

Stroking his moustache pensively with his free thumb, Marcus then asked, "What else do we know for sure about this Coven?  Anything tying them together besides the usual lets take over the world nonsense?  I take it theyre not going to make it easy on us by putting on robes, holding hands, and chanting somewhere shadowy during their weekly staff meetings."

Daisy snorted, but it was Stevan who answered, "Honestly, you're best off asking Caid. He has the closest connections to it of any of us. We've often speculated when exactly the Coven began, and we have some reason to believe it's more ancient than we once thought, but we know for sure that Albertus Lysander is a member - an important one. And Caiden has had some encounters with him in the past.

"At this point, most of what we know is that the Coven has its claws in at least all our organizations here. That, and our own orders often try to cover up the Coven's actions. Sometimes it's not clear why. Whatever the case, they're often connected with the Hidden, as they operate through the same means... But the Coven are willing to subvert even the Hidden if they think it'll give them an edge. I've seen it. They're often sneaker than the Hidden's more insane and bold members, like the kind who unleashed the plague on Redfield. That was a case of the Coven using the Hidden's insanity for their own ends, at least until Caiden stopped it."


---

 

Turning back to the Twins, Katrina added: "I wouldn't be too quick to judge, if I were you. According to the stories I heard, Charon helped those two Inquisitors Ben and Durante take down a Necromancer up North in Arrowfall, though apparently he can now use Demonic Magic."
 
Jed and Forge exchanged skeptical glances. "Aye, well, y'know, demons themselves can sometimes do things that could be construed as bein' good. Doesn't mean they meant to do anythin' good, just they they ended up doin' it because it'd also eventually get 'em to their own goals," said Forge sagely.
 
His twin nodded. "Anyone who can use demonic magic has somethin' wrong with 'em," he agreed. "No offense meant," he added to Katrina.

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#22 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 06:30 PM

 “Y’know, Girlfriend turnsh outta be a vampire, triesh to kill me, get pointed in thish directshun. Ushual really.

 

 "Excuse me, I'm Rutger Magnusson, this is all very exiting isn't it, a possible lead on this elusive Coven! Tell me, the two of you wouldn't happen to know anything about the Coven yourselves would you? It's just that we seem to know so awfully little, so any scrap would be of help no matter how small."

 

“Can’t speak for tall dark and lonesome here, but I dunno much beyond they apparently like old, golden things and pushing folks through really painfully hard glass windows.”

 

"Anyways," Charon said, finally answering the Page's original question "I'm here to learn more about the Coven myself: there's much I still don't know. I've heard stories from up North about a former member that went crazy in some town named Arrowfall. I do know that those two Inquisitors, Ben and Durante, were involved, so maybe you should ask them a few questions."

 

---

 

"Aye, well, y'know, demons themselves can sometimes do things that could be construed as bein' good. Doesn't mean they meant to do anythin' good, just they they ended up doin' it because it'd also eventually get 'em to their own goals."
 
"Anyone who can use demonic magic has somethin' wrong with 'em, no offense meant,

 

"As far as I know," Katrina said "There's nothing wrong with my friend, unless getting really depressed sometimes is wrong. Maybe he pledged his soul to the Demon Queen of Misery so he could mope about and write depressing poems for all eternity, but I doubt that he did it willingly." 



#23 Burger Warrior

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 08:29 PM

"Uh, Kye, why is your stomach talking?" A new, female voice asked. There was a very brief pause. "Percula, is that you!?" she growled at Kye's midsection. "Because I swear to Anubis if this is your fault I will... I will smack you with a flyswatter!" she hissed angrily.

 

Rosette trembled at all of that, wondering just how many people knew about Percula; and, more importantly, what they all thought about her. Apparently this woman didn’t think too highly of her sister.

 

"And why'd you hurt me?" Kye muttered, sounding hurt in more ways than one. That made the young Saffron bit her lip.

 

“I… I-I’m not Percula!” She finally admitted. “But… uh…” The pixie hesitated, not sure just what this next announcement would bring. It sounded like the woman outside might still be ticked off at her, and Kye… there was something odd about him anyway. Maybe she shouldn’t just blurt out who she was related to. “...I-I’m a friend of hers. I was sorta looking for her…” Rosette explained truthfully enough.

 

Under his breath, Kye suddenly said, "Uh... we got company. And - and-- and she's a Templar." The gravity in his voice was heavy enough to sink a ship.

 

Rosette had a faint idea of who those were, and that they had something to do with hunting evil things. Or at least preserving good things. Well, those were pretty much the same thing, weren’t they? Either way, the pixie shifted a little inside the depths of the demon-kin, being able to - to a point, anyway - feel and understand his fear. She’d never tried interacting with souls too much, but perhaps she could manage a more soothing touch like how she could cause Kye pain?

Aware now of how to prevent that negative effect from occurring, the pixie laid both hands on the wall of her… ‘host’s’ stomach, trying to channel a soothing feeling into him. Spirits alone knew what would actually happen, but it was worth a shot considering she was stuck in there for now.


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#24 Harry Monster Princess

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 09:04 PM

Neitha lept onto the dog pile and winded DeWitt with the impact, and completely immobilizing her.
 
"Now, look, I know what you just saw was confusing and probably scary, but I can ex--" she started, but the voice in the demon's stomach called out again.
 
"W-wait! T-this is my fault! I-I think we can sort it out! J-just c-calm down?"
 
"Really?" DeWitt grunted. "I've never seen a stomach bug do that." The snark was more of a reflex than anything. 
 
Kye seemed like he wanted to say something about that, but he just coughed, trying to get his breath back.
 
"Uh, Kye, why is your stomach talking?" Neitha asked. So Kye normally didn't eat people?
 
"It'snotmyfault!" Kye blurted in incredible embarrassment. DeWitt's mind was still racing, trying to figure out why Kye was in their midst. If he was a Coven agent he'd probably be using more threats and curses than the panicking and stuttered excuses. What in the Hells was even happening.
 
"Percula, is that you!?" she growled at Kye's midsection. "Because I swear to Anubis if this is your fault I will... I will smack you with a flyswatter!" she hissed angrily.
 
"The hell is a Percula?" DeWitt muttered.
 
"And why'd you hurt me?" Kye muttered, sounding hurt in more ways than one. And then he glanced over his shoulder, and went pale.
 
Under his breath so that only Neitha would hear - and Dewitt, given they still pinned her down, he added, "Uh... we got company. And - and-- and she's a Templar."
 
Adriana's twisted her neck around to catch a glimpse, and sure enough, a tall, imposing templar woman was standing just outside the doorway. How long had she been there? How much had she seen? Clearly not Kye going demonic, otherwise she would have acted immediately. But they weren't covering her mouth anymore, all DeWitt had to do was say one word, and it would be all over for Kye. He'd be dead or banished back to hell where he belonged.
 
That would have been the smart thing to do.
 
"Heyyy," DeWitt waggled her pinned hand in a limp wave. "Sorry about the commotion. We were all just havin' a drink, the bottle got knocked down and broken and I got a little... punchy. Forgot I'm not in some run-down tavern. Won't happen again." DeWitt forced a lop-sided grin. "But I'm calm now and we can all get the hell off of me," she requested in the most polite tone she could muster.

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#25 Sareth

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 09:14 AM

*
POPULAR

"The hell is a Percula?"

 

“I… I-I’m not Percula! But… uh... I-I’m a friend of hers. I was sorta looking for her…”
 

Oh dear Gods, there were two of them...

 

"Uh... we got company. And - and-- and she's a Templar."

 

Neitha's blood ran cold at Kye's words. As if their luck could get any worse... 

 

Although, said templar didn't appear to have seen Kye's, ahem, 'revealing' moment before, or she'd undoubtedly be doing something a lot more violent than just standing there watching.

 

Of course, all it would take would be one phrase from Adriana to change all that...

 

"Heyyy. Sorry about the commotion. We were all just havin' a drink, the bottle got knocked down and broken and I got a little... punchy. Forgot I'm not in some run-down tavern. Won't happen again. But I'm calm now and we can all get the hell off of me."

 

... Well that was unexpected. After a second's consideration, she glanced at Kye and gave him a little shrug and a nod like 'yeah, go along with that', before she released her grip on the other woman and stood, offering a hand to help her to her feet. There was really no other option but to trust her and hope for the best.... Well, no practical option; hiding two bodies in a house filled with this many imperial agents would be difficult to say the least... Also probably morally wrong.

 

"It's okay —that was a damn fine vintage" she said with a forgiving grin, as if the fight really had been about wine. "It was probably one of those damn Perculas that broke the bottle; you probably haven't heard of them, they're a kind of spirit we get in the south —real mischievous, like to cause trouble" she continued, lying through her teeth for the benefit of their templar audience —who was, hopefully, too far away to have heard any of Kye's unwanted passenger's speaking— while at the same time trying to tell Adriana 'I swear I'll give you a real explanation once miss purge-the-demon is gone' with her eyes.

 

The next move was up to the 'Captain'.

 

***

 

"If you ever need to talk about it. I'm here. I know talking doesn't usually do a lot of good, but some people say it works for them."

 

"T-thanks" Sarael replied, earnestly if a touch sheepishly.

 

"So" she said after a couple moments' silence, changing the subject. "I don't really know too much about this Coven, except the little Stevan told me, and what was said at the meeting. Have you ever run into any of their members?" she asked Ben.


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#26 Lord_Capulet

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 01:13 PM

Daisy snorted, but it was Stevan who answered, "Honestly, you're best off asking Caid. He has the closest connections to it of any of us. We've often speculated when exactly the Coven began, and we have some reason to believe it's more ancient than we once thought, but we know for sure that Albertus Lysander is a member - an important one. And Caiden has had some encounters with him in the past.”

 

Marcus gave a contemplative nod but said nothing, allowing the Templar to continue.  He could not remember that name specifically, but wondered if this dastardly character was connected to the undead plague in Redfield that had been mentioned.  Perhaps Caiden had even lost his eye in that attack?  Capulet had made a point of not asking, out of respect, but there was a lot that he could infer with this new information, until Caiden gave evidence to the contrary.  

 

"At this point, most of what we know is that the Coven has its claws in at least all our organizations here. That, and our own orders often try to cover up the Coven's actions. Sometimes it's not clear why. Whatever the case, they're often connected with the Hidden, as they operate through the same means... But the Coven are willing to subvert even the Hidden if they think it'll give them an edge. I've seen it. They're often sneaker than the Hidden's more insane and bold members, like the kind who unleashed the plague on Redfield. That was a case of the Coven using the Hidden's insanity for their own ends, at least until Caiden stopped it."

 

Ah, so there was a connection there.  “Fascinating and ironic,” the Inquisitor remarked before smirking,  “I’m sure the low-and-mighty Hidden Ones don’t appreciate magical subversion and manipulation as much when it’s done to them.  Well, if one organization leads us to the other, or vice-versa, then may the gods make them like the proverbial fish in a barrel, and allow us to safeguard the Empire that much more smoothly.”

 

With a bow and thank-you to his new acquaintances, Marcus took his leave to seek out Caiden.  Unfortunately, he could not remember which door he had taken to leave the meeting room.  Choosing what he thought to be a likely candidate, the Inquisitor instead found himself in the foyer, where Sir Drake was perusing the various decorations.  The fine, if not overly lavish manor reminded Marcus greatly of his own home they had just left in Veritshire, though he doubted most of the weapons hanging here had been made by the owner’s family, like the ones in his had been.  Still, it was a fine abode, and he was grateful for the accommodation.  He made a mental note to tidy his room himself before leaving, as a courtesy to their absent host.

 

Approaching the knight, Marcus gave a familiar, “Hello, Tom!” as he joined in inspecting an outlandish two-handed blade of some kind, mounted on a plaque.  The veteran and former weaponsmith sniffed derisively, “Good thing Caiden’s friend is just hanging this one.  If he expected to use it, I’d say he was grossly overcharged.”

 

After furtively checking to ensure no one else was listening, Marcus decided to be as nonspecific as possible, just to be safe.  In a much quieter voice (Tom would easily hear him anyway), he said aside, “Apologies for that research project I promised proving fruitless.  If anything, I learned just how little we know about m-” he abruptly stopped himself, remember who he was talking to, “uh...lycanthropes.  At any rate, I still have the tome that led us to that temple in the desert, but I’d feel safer poking around in that creepy thing in a fully warded Inquisition cleanroom, and the garrison tower back in Veritshire hadn’t finished theirs yet.  Fear not, I haven’t given up on you yet.”

 

After Tom’s eventual response (assuming there was one), Marcus said in a normal tone, “You’ve known Caiden longer than I have, what’re your thoughts on this Umbra Coven business?  Did he seem particularly...driven...to you?”

 

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#27 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 04:12 PM

"As far as I know," Katrina said "There's nothing wrong with my friend, unless getting really depressed sometimes is wrong. Maybe he pledged his soul to the Demon Queen of Misery so he could mope about and write depressing poems for all eternity, but I doubt that he did it willingly."

 

"Nothin' wrong with bein' a sad sack," Forge said casually.

 

"Although y'know if he wanted to be depressed, 'e could always just pledge 'is soul to Hades, instead, amirite?" Jed added with a grin, giving Dominica a wink.

 

"Aye, bet a god like him could relate, havin' to deal with so many deaders!"

 

"Really though, pledgin' yourself to a demon ain't a thing you even can do without bein' willing to do it. It's part o' their kooky contracts with how all that rubbish even works, or so I hear. So 'e's got some kinda problems..."

 

As usual, the second twin seamlessly picked up where the first left off, "Daddy issues, maybe. Somethin' enough to drive 'im so crazy he thought signing a pact with a bloody demon was a smart idea..."

 

"Regrettin' it is one thing, doin' it is another."

 

---

 

“I… I-I’m not Percula!” She finally admitted. “But… uh…” The pixie hesitated. “...I-I’m a friend of hers. I was sorta looking for her…” Rosette explained truthfully enough.

 

"Well you're looking in the right places," Kye mumbled, still a nervous wreck, and Rosette's shifting about and trembling inside him wasn't helping. But he felt the pixie put both her hands on his stomach, and he tensed slightly, making a quiet noise in his throat at the idea of getting another dose of pain.

 

Rosette, however, felt her efforts working. Not only did everything around her seem to relax slightly and she could hear his pounding heartbeat calm down somewhat, but she felt she was getting through to his soul at least just enough. The tension in Kye's body visibly lessened, his grip on Dewitt loosening slightly. He blinked in apparent surprise, his breathing not quite so frantic.

 

And then Dewitt spoke, doing the very last thing Kye expected.

 
"Heyyy," DeWitt waggled her pinned hand in a limp wave. "Sorry about the commotion. We were all just havin' a drink, the bottle got knocked down and broken and I got a little... punchy. Forgot I'm not in some run-down tavern. Won't happen again." DeWitt forced a lop-sided grin. "But I'm calm now and we can all get the hell off of me," she requested in the most polite tone she could muster.
 
The demon-kin blinked and stared, exchanging glances with Neitha. But when she stood, Kye quickly followed suit, clearing his throat innocently.
 
"It's okay —that was a damn fine vintage" Neitha said with a forgiving grin, as if the fight really had been about wine. "It was probably one of those damn Perculas that broke the bottle; you probably haven't heard of them, they're a kind of spirit we get in the south —real mischievous, like to cause trouble" she continued.
 
Kye managed to not look surprised. At the mention of mischievous spirits named Perculas, though, he couldn't help but nod as if in confirmation. That was about what she seemed like sometimes.
 
Instead of adding anything, however, he just gave a worried laugh and muttered something in vague agreement, and let that be the entirety of his contribution. Otherwise, he just stood there and absently fiddled with his left gauntlet.
 
---
 
"T-thanks" Sarael replied, earnestly if a touch sheepishly. Ben just nodded, not pressing the subject. He shifted about as if in discomfort, his gaze wandering the room.
 
"So" she said after a couple moments' silence, changing the subject. "I don't really know too much about this Coven, except the little Stevan told me, and what was said at the meeting. Have you ever run into any of their members?" she asked Ben.
 
Ben looked at her for a moment before replying, "Yeah - yeah, I have. Had a really close encounter with too many vampires once. It was six of them. So not a whole coven, but way too many for an Inquisitor to handle. I was only there because it started out as a mage-related investigation, too. Luckily, though, I had Caiden, Stevan, and Plexaura - they were all in that meeting a minute ago - to help me fight them off, along with some other members of our orders, but it was a close call. We killed two and captured another one, but two got away. And we lost a few companions. Some were killed in battle - they were the lucky ones. Others... had worse fates," he said darkly. "There wasn't anything we could do for them.
 
"The one we captured tried to escape several times, but Stevan made sure that didn't happen, thanks to various fancy Templar tricks. We interrogated him, and he admitted he was part of a coven, but he wouldn't say a name. We still managed to rile him up enough to admit he thought the Hidden were just fodder, despite supposedly being allied with them. After that, all he would do was babble on about how we couldn't stop him or his allies, we were all gonna die, blah blah blah," Ben waved his hand dismissively. "When it was obvious we weren't gonna get anything else out of him, we finally killed him. He was wasting away without blood, anyway."
 
---
 
“Hello, Tom!” Marcus said as he joined in inspecting an outlandish two-handed blade of some kind, mounted on a plaque.  The veteran and former weaponsmith sniffed derisively, “Good thing Caiden’s friend is just hanging this one.  If he expected to use it, I’d say he was grossly overcharged.”
 
Drake shrugged and gave a small smile. "Probably... Bet I could use it just fine, if I had to, though."
 
After furtively checking to ensure no one else was listening, Marcus said in a much quieter voice, “Apologies for that research project I promised proving fruitless.  If anything, I learned just how little we know about m-” 
 
The knight swallowed, but he just nodded and was about to finish the word for him before Marcus kept going.
 
“Uh...lycanthropes.  At any rate, I still have the tome that led us to that temple in the desert, but I’d feel safer poking around in that creepy thing in a fully warded Inquisition cleanroom, and the garrison tower back in Veritshire hadn’t finished theirs yet.  Fear not, I haven’t given up on you yet.”
 
Tom couldn't help but smile, even if it was brief and rather sad. "You don't need to waste your time on me, Marcus," he replied, keeping his voice low as well. "There are a lot of other people in this world who need help more than I do... as much as I appreciate it. I've been looking for a cure, or anything other than the Venatori just preaching about how the only cure is death, and I'm starting to think I won't find anything in civilization - at least not our civilization."
 
Marcus got the distinct impression from Drake's tone that he didn't intend to be with the group for much longer.
 
After a while, Marcus said in a normal tone, “You’ve known Caiden longer than I have, what’re your thoughts on this Umbra Coven business?  Did he seem particularly...driven...to you?”

 

Drake laughed. "Caid - driven? Always. I've never seen anybody more driven than him. I met him when I was just a squire... looked up to him a lot." He lowered his voice and added honestly, "Still do."

 

The knight cleared his throat. "Anyway, I think the Umbra Coven sound like a bunch of crazy bastards who need to be put down. There are a lot of those in the world, though. But anyone who goes around aligning themselves with demons and undead just isn't worth the air they breathe. All this conspiracy stuff about the Coven sounds pretty ridiculous, yeah, but if Caid believes it, I can believe it, too. I'd help, if I could."

 

He hesitated before adding, "That Lysander guy put out his eye, though, so I gotta admit, I think a lot of his drive in this case comes from revenge, but..." Tom shrugged, "I can understand that."


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#28 Lord_Capulet

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 01:31 PM

Drake shrugged and gave a small smile. "Probably... Bet I could use it just fine, if I had to, though."

 

Leaning closer to peer at the blade’s edge...or lack thereof, in this case, Marcus chortled, “Of course...as a shiny club!  I’d need a whole day with a grindstone to fix this edge.  Ah, but you’d undoubtedly still lay waste with this blunt thing.  Maybe spank a demon into submission?  Bleagh, no, some of them probably like that.”

 

---

 

Drake laughed. "Caid - driven? Always. I've never seen anybody more driven than him.”

 

Marcus huffed in mock chastisement, “I meant more than usual, Sir Cheeky.”

 

“I met him when I was just a squire... looked up to him a lot." He lowered his voice and added honestly, "Still do."

 

Nodding meaningfully showed Marcus’ whole-hearted agreement.  The man was definitely an inspiration to them all.

 

The knight cleared his throat. "Anyway, I think the Umbra Coven sound like a bunch of crazy bastards who need to be put down. There are a lot of those in the world, though. But anyone who goes around aligning themselves with demons and undead just isn't worth the air they breathe. All this conspiracy stuff about the Coven sounds pretty ridiculous, yeah, but if Caid believes it, I can believe it, too. I'd help, if I could."

 

This elicited another raised eyebrow from Marcus, having already noticed Tom’s implication of leaving them in the near future.  Everyone knew at least some stories of a full moon’s effect on werewolves, and he was quite certain Tom was as loath as he was to find out if those stories were true while good friends were in claw’s reach.

 

He hesitated before adding, "That Lysander guy put out his eye, though, so I gotta admit, I think a lot of his drive in this case comes from revenge, but..." Tom shrugged, "I can understand that."

 

The Inquisitor recoiled slightly at this new development, but it did confirm one of his theories, if only the most outlandish in his mental stockpile.  Apparently this matter was more personal to their mutual friend than Marcus had first believed.  No wonder Caiden had left so abruptly!  

 

Exhaling slowly, Capulet remarked, “More than understandable.  He did say he understood how I felt about the undead siege of my city more than I would think, but I dared not think that was where he lost his eye.  The necromancer in my case died for his crimes, but for Caiden’s nemesis to still be alive...or whatever passes for it among those types...I’m surprised he can look as stoic as he does.”

 

After a silent moment of reflection, Marcus asked Tom, “Speaking of our Venator friend, have you seen him come this way?  Or Neitha, for that matter?,” he added as casually as he could.  “I’m hoping the former is in a talking mood...and the latter has kept herself out of trouble with the newcomers…”


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#29 Burger Warrior

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 03:36 PM

"Well you're looking in the right places," Kye mumbled, still sounding like a nervous wreck. As Rosette set her hands on him, she could feel everything around her tense slightly, Kye making a quiet noise in his throat as he seemed to be bracing for more pain. That only made the pixie more determined to get this right.

 

And it did, as she felt her efforts working! Not only did everything around her seem to relax slightly and she could hear his pounding heartbeat calm down somewhat, but she felt she was getting through to his soul at least just enough. His breathing, notably, was not quite so frantic.

 

And then a second woman spoke from roughly below Rosette

 

"Heyyy, sorry about the commotion. We were all just havin' a drink, the bottle got knocked down and broken and I got a little... punchy. Forgot I'm not in some run-down tavern. Won't happen again. But I'm calm now and we can all get the hell off of me," she requested in a… relatively polite tone.

 

After a moment, Kye rose to his feet - unintentionally sending Rosette tumbling around a little with a surprised squeak. She finally came to a halt on her rump, now soaked through with alcoholic beverage and stomach… stuff. The pixie shuddered as the whole impending doom realization hit her again. She probably didn’t have much time to get back out.

 

"It's okay —that was a damn fine vintage" The first woman said - now very muffled as she seemed further away - as if the fight really had been about wine. "It was probably one of those damn Perculas that broke the bottle; you probably haven't heard of them, they're a kind of spirit we get in the south —real mischievous, like to cause trouble" she continued.

 

Well, that fit the description of Percula alright. It sounded like this ‘Templar’ person elsewhere didn’t know about Rosette’s sister being around, though, which… was a bit of a relief, she supposed. At least those that knew about her weren’t throwing the knowledge around willy-nilly.

 

After a moment, though, the pixie gave Kye a feel-able nudge. “Um… I-I know we’re still probably being watch, but… uh… can I get out, now?” She managed to say as calmly as she could, despite the sinking feeling things weren’t going to end well if she didn’t escape soon.


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#30 Klaykid

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 04:17 PM

Sef's blade was a large one, so large it stood up to her shoulder and over the heads of many who were not of northern blood. The deepsilver blade was wrapped in cloth to ward away the elements and retain the oil used to keep its strength. More often than not, Sef had to carry the blade upon a harness which she could sling over her back, and when she was standing idle, she held onto the blade by the handle letting the tip dig in the ground. And with each step she took, the blade hit the ground sounding off with a sharp clang. So when she walked into the kitchen towards the rest of the group, her sword struck the ground with an intimidating metallic chime in a repeating pattern.

 

Clang. Clang. Clang.

 

They seemed like a nervous bunch. Chattering away like this and that, creating explanations when Sef requested none. They could already sense that Sef was suspicious about what was happening. But their smiling twitching faces said otherwise. The Templar stopped in front of the two who were on the ground and gave both of them an odd look. When the realization hit her, her face blushed for a moment in embarrassment.

 

"I understand the drink can make... otherwise sensible folk do questionable things..."

 

Her face turned a brighter shade of red.

 

"But we have a duty here. Please refrain from... performing intimate acts in the open. There are, after all, private rooms available..."

 

Perhaps the others may or may not notice, but Sef continually glanced to Kye attempting to read more into who he is. Her eyes repeatedly searched his interesting metal gauntlet, and then the symbol upon his back. Pain. Was he a slave? Did they brand him with their sigil? It seemed like a likely case. Before walking back to where she came from, Sef stopped in the door frame and turned to Kye. Her eyes looking straight to his.

 

"Your brand looks painful. Lived a life of hardship? Do well to take care of yourself."

 

An investigation would have to happen after the Coven affair is dealt with.


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#31 Balder

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 05:22 AM

"Anyways," The other man said, finally answering the scribes question "I'm here to learn more about the Coven myself: there's much I still don't know. I've heard stories from up North about a former member that went crazy in some town named Arrowfall. I do know that those two Inquisitors, Ben and Durante, were involved, so maybe you should ask them a few questions."

 

"Is that so? Well, that certainly sounds helpful, I'll be sure to ask them," Rutger said with a smile and a nod. However he was a bit miffed that neither of the two men had given him a their names, though he'd give them the benefit of doubt in that it probably just slipped their mind. He'd just give them a helpful reminder.

 

"Oh and I'm sorry, I forgot to let you introduce yourselves. Here I come asking questions as if I were the inquisition without even knowing your names, how rude of me. I do beg you pardon, mister..." he said, indicating for either of the two men to begin.


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#32 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 07:42 AM

"Oh and I'm sorry, I forgot to let you introduce yourselves. Here I come asking questions as if I were the inquisition without even knowing your names, how rude of me. I do beg you pardon, mister..."

 

"I'm Carlon Shev, but you can call me Carl." the Weeping Mage lied. With both Blackburn Brothers and Katrina present, it was too risky to use his real name, for fear of being recognized.

 

He looked at the Scribe and said "Tell me, Rutger, what do you think of this whole enterprise? To hear a Templar's opinion on this quest would be interesting..."
 

---

 

"Nothin' wrong with bein' a sad sack,"

 

"Although y'know if he wanted to be depressed, 'e could always just pledge 'is soul to Hades, instead, amirite?"

 

"Aye, bet a god like him could relate, havin' to deal with so many deaders!"

 

"Really though, pledgin' yourself to a demon ain't a thing you even can do without bein' willing to do it. It's part o' their kooky contracts with how all that rubbish even works, or so I hear. So 'e's got some kinda problems..."

 

"Daddy issues, maybe. Somethin' enough to drive 'im so crazy he thought signing a pact with a bloody demon was a smart idea..."

 

"Regrettin' it is one thing, doin' it is another."

 

"'Daddy Issues' is really cliche, don't you think?" Katrina said, crossing her arms "From what stories that a few people said, they claimed that his mother convinced him to sign the pact, somehow. It wouldn't be the first time that one person tricked another into doing something evil, and it certainly won't be the last."

 

"Besides," she continued "I met his father once: he was a nice but quiet man, and his mother was nice enough, but sometimes, she gave you the impression that she could cut your throat and not think twice about it."

 

 

 



#33 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 03:09 PM

Exhaling slowly, Capulet remarked, “More than understandable.  He did say he understood how I felt about the undead siege of my city more than I would think, but I dared not think that was where he lost his eye.  The necromancer in my case died for his crimes, but for Caiden’s nemesis to still be alive...or whatever passes for it among those types...I’m surprised he can look as stoic as he does.”

 

Drake just nodded in agreement. "I dunno the details," he said, "but he did mention losing his eye to Lysander."

 

After a silent moment of reflection, Marcus asked Tom, “Speaking of our Venator friend, have you seen him come this way?  Or Neitha, for that matter?,” he added as casually as he could.  “I’m hoping the former is in a talking mood...and the latter has kept herself out of trouble with the newcomers…”

 

The knight gave a short - if notably a bit mirthless - laugh. "I bet you are looking for Neitha," he said all too suggestively. But he added in a slightly more serious tone, "Caiden went upstairs looking even more serious than usual... if I had to take a guess, he's talking to Percula. As for Neitha," he made a slight face, "there's, ah... a slight issue going on in the kitchen, or at least there was. I kept hearing things. I think it started with Kye, as usual, and Neitha's trying to help pick up the pieces." He rested his hands on his hips. "I just hope Kye doesn't get himself purged by some Templar," he muttered under his breath.

 

---

 

After a moment, though, the pixie gave Kye a feel-able nudge. “Um… I-I know we’re still probably being watch, but… uh… can I get out, now?”

 

Kye shifted his weight between his feet again. "Gimme just a minute, and then... we can figure something out. Promise," he murmured under his breath.

 

Meanwhile, Sef spoke, and she was... blushing?  "I understand the drink can make... otherwise sensible folk do questionable things... But we have a duty here. Please refrain from... performing intimate acts in the open. There are, after all, private rooms available..."

 

Kye just listened blankly, until he finally caught on and went red, himself. Yeah, no way he'd been doing that.

 

What concerned him far more, however, was the way Sef kept looking at him. Kye watched her and swallowed so hard everyone could hear it. Self-consciously, he fiddled with his gauntlet again, trying to look somewhere other than her. But when she turned to leave, Kye looked at her again, only for her to turn and look him straight in the eyes. He froze like a frightened animal.

"Your brand looks painful. Lived a life of hardship? Do well to take care of yourself."

"I try," Kye said meekly, quiet but still at a decent enough tone to be heard.

 

---

 

"'Daddy Issues' is really cliche, don't you think?" Katrina said, crossing her arms.

 

Jed and Forge grinned. "That was kinda the joke," Jed clarified, and they both chuckled.

 

"From what stories that a few people said, they claimed that his mother convinced him to sign the pact, somehow. It wouldn't be the first time that one person tricked another into doing something evil, and it certainly won't be the last."

 

The elf twins both arched a brow at the same time, but they - surprisingly - offered no further comments... at least for now.

"Besides," she continued "I met his father once: he was a nice but quiet man, and his mother was nice enough, but sometimes, she gave you the impression that she could cut your throat and not think twice about it."

 

"Sounds like our own mother," said Jed, half-jokingly.

 

"Well, we wish you luck findin' your friend, demon mage or not," added Forge.


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#34 Sareth

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 05:41 PM

As the templar approached, sword clanging against the floor with each step —a rather poor way to treat a fine weapon in Neitha's opinion...— she felt a brief swell of panic; had she not bought it, had she seen something after all?

 

Hidden from the templar's gaze by her body, her fingers started inching the knife sheathed on the inside of her left forearm from its sheath... only to stop and immediately press it back in as the templar said about the least likely thing she could imagine:

 

"I understand the drink can make... otherwise sensible folk do questionable things... But we have a duty here. Please refrain from... performing intimate acts in the open. There are, after all, private rooms available..."

 

Neitha did her best to adopt an embarrassed look as the templar woman then turned and left. However, a few seconds later, she broke down laughing uncontrollably —though she held her hands over her mouth to muffle the sound as much as possible; she couldn't help it, the thought of Kye —who could barely speak to a girl without tripping over his own tongue and turning redder than blood, as he was doing right now— getting 'intimate' in public was simply too funny to her. "Oh, Kye" she said a few moments later, when her mirth had subsided somewhat. "I'll make a womanizer out of you yet" she said with a teasing wink. 

 

"So..." she said, turning to Adriana. "I'll go get us a new bottle and then... we should talk, I guess" she continued, before heading down into the cellar to get some more wine —hopefully of as fine a vintage as the one Kye had broken. Returning shortly, she poured glasses for all three of them, and then sat down at the table, gesturing for the other two to join her.

 

"Right, explanations. To begin... Yes, Kye here is indeed a demon" she said, whispering the last word in case anyone else happened to be nearby. "... -kin, that is —he's half human. But, more importantly, he's on our side. I known the horns and fangs look a bit... evil and all, but once you get to know him, he's really like a tall dark puppy... with lots of knives...." she continued, trailing off for a moment as she realized that she'd gotten lost in her own simile somewhere. "Anyway, Caid and Sir Drake already know about him, and he's been traveling with us for a while; he helped us interrupt an attempted riot/murder-spree in Veritshire not that long ago, so he's good okay?" Her explanation might have been a bit on the stilted side, but —this wasn't her area of expertise, damnit!— she was new at explaining this stuff.

 

"As to Percula, well... to be honest, my earlier description wasn't that far off. She's a pixie: looks like a little girl with insect wings, usually about yay tall" she said, spreading her index finger and thumb to demonstrate. "She can be a right pain-in-the-rear-end, but she's mostly harmless... Also she's kind of our eyepatched-leader's girlfriend; and the less said about that the better."

 

"So... any questions?" she asked, taking a sip of her wine, and hoping the self-proclaimed Captain would be satisfied. Although, even as she finished her explanation, in some recess of her mind was the niggling worry that she had forgotten something; something about Kye and pixies....

 

***

 

"Yeah - yeah, I have. Had a really close encounter with too many vampires once. It was six of them. So not a whole coven, but way too many for an Inquisitor to handle. I was only there because it started out as a mage-related investigation, too. Luckily, though, I had Caiden, Stevan, and Plexaura - they were all in that meeting a minute ago - to help me fight them off..."
 
Sarael listened, wide eyed with admiration, as Ben spoke. 
 
"We killed two and captured another one, but two got away. And we lost a few companions. Some were killed in battle - they were the lucky ones. Others... had worse fates. There wasn't anything we could do for them."
 
She grimaced slightly at Ben's words, trying very hard not to imagine what those fates were... and what had happened to them afterwards.
 
"The one we captured tried to escape several times, but Stevan made sure that didn't happen, thanks to various fancy Templar tricks. We interrogated him, and he admitted he was part of a coven, but he wouldn't say a name. We still managed to rile him up enough to admit he thought the Hidden were just fodder, despite supposedly being allied with them. After that, all he would do was babble on about how we couldn't stop him or his allies, we were all gonna die, blah blah blah. When it was obvious we weren't gonna get anything else out of him, we finally killed him. He was wasting away without blood, anyway."
 
She was silent for a moment after Ben had finished, processing his tale.
 
"Why wouldn't he tell?" she asked softly, almost thinking out loud. "What could inspire loyalty in such... people? Fear? Or... they can't actually believe they're in the right, can they?" she asked incredulously.

"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#35 Harry Monster Princess

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 09:54 PM

"It's okay —that was a damn fine vintage" Neitha said with a forgiving grin, effortlessly going along with DeWitt's excuse. "It was probably one of those damn Perculas that broke the bottle; you probably haven't heard of them, they're a kind of spirit we get in the south —real mischievous, like to cause trouble." 
 
Neitha and Kye quickly got off of DeWitt, the former offered a hand and helped DeWitt to her feet, apologizing and offering a later explanation with her eyes. DeWitt looked back at her with a gaze colder than a glacier. The Templar fully entered the room and stopped in front of the three of them, and gave them all an odd look. When the realization hit her, her face blushed for a moment in embarrassment.
 
"I understand the drink can make... otherwise sensible folk do questionable things..."
 
Her face turned a brighter shade of red. DeWitt felt like she wanted to vomit, and it took some effort to keep the disdain from crossing her face.
 
"But we have a duty here. Please refrain from... performing intimate acts in the open. There are, after all, private rooms available..."
 
"Of course," DeWitt forced a toothy grin and cheery tone, wrapping her arms around Kye and Neitha's necks like they were all having a great time, while she applied the force of a vice to them for petty revenge over the tackling. "We'll try to keep it down," she reassured with the fabricated smile.
 
The Templar addressed the Demon directly. If only she knew. With every second DeWitt was considering reevaluating her choice. "Your brand looks painful. Lived a life of hardship? Do well to take care of yourself."
 
"I try," Kye said meekly, quiet but still at a decent enough tone to be heard. Every muscle in Adriana's face wanted to scowl. Of course he lived a life of hardship, it's not exactly easy living in the infernal pits of Hell. But DeWitt kept holding her tongue.
 
After the Templar took her leave, Neitha burst out laughing. Adriana couldn't even process. She thought this situation was funny.
 
"Oh, Kye" she said a few moments later, when her mirth had subsided somewhat. "I'll make a womanizer out of you yet" she said with a teasing wink. DeWitt tried setting her on fire with her eyes. "So..." she said, turning to Adriana. "I'll go get us a new bottle and then... we should talk, I guess." Didn't work. But while she glared in a stunned silence, Neitha ran down to the cellar and grabbed a fresh bottle, pouring the three of them drinks and sitting down like this was a normal thing to have a calm and rational chat about. DeWitt could feel her hands shaking, and she didn't take a chair.
 
"Right, explanations. To begin... Yes, Kye here is indeed a demon" she said, whispering the last word in case anyone else happened to be nearby. "... -kin, that is —he's half human. But, more importantly, he's on our side. I known the horns and fangs look a bit... evil and all, but once you get to know him, he's really like a tall dark puppy... with lots of knives...." she continued, trailing off for a moment as she realized that she'd gotten lost in her own simile somewhere. "Anyway, Caid and Sir Drake already know about him, and he's been traveling with us for a while; he helped us interrupt an attempted riot/murder-spree in Veritshire not that long ago, so he's good okay?"
 
"As to Percula, well... to be honest, my earlier description wasn't that far off. She's a pixie: looks like a little girl with insect wings, usually about yay tall" she said, spreading her index finger and thumb to demonstrate. "She can be a right pain-in-the-rear-end, but she's mostly harmless... Also she's kind of our eyepatched-leader's girlfriend; and the less said about that the better."
 
"So... any questions?" she asked, taking a sip of her wine.
 
DeWitt blinked slightly, then smiled without a trace of cordiality. "You know, I think the Templar was right, why don't we take this somewhere more private." Adriana lunged, grabbing Neitha by her collar and hauling her out of her chair, little polite drinks be damned. Then she reached over to clutch the neck rim of Kye's vest with her left hand, and forcibly dragged both of them down into the cellar. Once they were down into the basement, DeWitt let go and shoved both of them away from her, keeping herself between them and the staircase.

 

Adriana was breathing heavily. She ran her hands through her unkempt hair, trying to decide where to even begin. She glared at both of them. "Firstly," she spoke slowly. "Don't ever touch me. Nobody lays their hands on me, ever." That was the least important fact of this whole situation, she didn't know why she started with it. Yes she did. She hated being touched.

 

"Second, I don't want to hear another word from you, Neitha," Adriana spat her name out. The friendly chit chat was far over. "Far as I know, you're just his thrall, or in a pact with him, or you're just head-over-heels and stupid," Her voice was dripping with rage, but her hands were shaking and she was still keeping very very close to the exit.

 

Adriana gulped and took a deep breath. "So, Kye," she started. "What kind of demon are you, how in the hell did you get here, and what kind of game are you playing? What're you doing, what do you want?" Her cold blue eyes were wide open, pure tension wracking her, the shadows under her eyes even deeper in the cellar's poor lighting. "Pull another stunt, try and lie to me, or don't give me the full details, and all I have to do is yell. Every Templar in this house will be upon you, and you know what happens then." Adriana really wished she had brought that new bottle back down to steady her nerves. "I shouldn't even be giving you this chance. So start talking."


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#36 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 10:25 PM

When Neitha started laughing, Kye instantly turned even redder. He set his jaw, rubbing the back of his neck with his right hand while his gaze wandered the room as if looking for absolutely anything to pretend to be interested in.

 
"Oh, Kye" she said a few moments later, when her mirth had subsided somewhat. "I'll make a womanizer out of you yet" she said with a teasing wink. 
 
He just made a tiny - and disbelieving - sound in his throat.
 
"So..." she said, turning to Adriana. "I'll go get us a new bottle and then... we should talk, I guess."
 
When Neitha poured the wine, Kye hesitantly sat down, but he didn't drink. He still had a pressing issue keeping him from being able to do that - but it seemed that wasn't the primary concern of anyone else at the moment...
 
"Right, explanations. To begin... Yes, Kye here is indeed a demon" she said, whispering the last word in case anyone else happened to be nearby.
 
He fidgeted, his gaze dropping to the floor.
 
"... -kin, that is —he's half human. But, more importantly, he's on our side. I known the horns and fangs look a bit... evil and all, but once you get to know him, he's really like a tall dark puppy... with lots of knives...." she continued, trailing off for a moment.
 
Kye just furrowed his brow slightly and wondered to himself what a puppy was and whether he should feel insulted or complimented... or something else.
 
"Anyway, Caid and Sir Drake already know about him, and he's been traveling with us for a while; he helped us interrupt an attempted riot/murder-spree in Veritshire not that long ago, so he's good okay?"
 
Kye didn't add anything - not that he wanted to, and plus, Neitha was still talking. But he shifted some in his seat, his left hand absently inching to rest on his stomach as he contemplated what the hell to do about that pixie...
 
"As to Percula, well... to be honest, my earlier description wasn't that far off. She's a pixie: looks like a little girl with insect wings, usually about yay tall" she said, spreading her index finger and thumb to demonstrate. "She can be a right pain-in-the-rear-end, but she's mostly harmless... Also she's kind of our eyepatched-leader's girlfriend; and the less said about that the better."
 
If Kye's tail was visible, it would've been twitching very badly at this point with impatience to be anywhere but here and to not have a pixie in his stomach.
 
"So... any questions?" she asked, taking a sip of her wine.
 
Before Adriana could react, Kye tentatively lifted one clawed hand on his left gauntlet to speak and bring up a different issue entirely, but he was abruptly interrupted.
 
DeWitt blinked slightly, then smiled without a trace of cordiality. "You know, I think the Templar was right, why don't we take this somewhere more private."
 
And then she abruptly grabbed both of them and hauled them down into the cellar. Kye, for his part, didn't struggle, given she wasn't dragging him in the direction of any Templars. Once they were down there, Kye just stood as calmly as he could manage, his hands ever so slightly raised to show his empty palms. The woman looked crazy, and Kye had seen it all before. Granted, this was a lot less extreme than what he usually got when someone saw his true form - there were always a lot more weapons involved, and usually some blood, not always his own - but still...
 
"Firstly," she spoke slowly. "Don't ever touch me. Nobody lays their hands on me, ever."
 
"Practice what you preach," Kye muttered under his breath, too low for anyone except Rosette to hear, given her current predicament. Otherwise, it just sounded like he let out a quiet, meaningless grunt.
 
"Second, I don't want to hear another word from you, Neitha," Adriana spat her name out. "Far as I know, you're just his thrall, or in a pact with him, or you're just head-over-heels and stupid."
 
That made Kye's lip twitch slightly on one side. Rosette could practically feel anger suddenly spike up into Kye's soul in spite of her efforts to soothe him - not to mention the tightening in his insides.
 
Adriana gulped and took a deep breath. "So, Kye," she started. "What kind of demon are you, how in the hell did you get here, and what kind of game are you playing? What're you doing, what do you want? Pull another stunt, try and lie to me, or don't give me the full details, and all I have to do is yell. Every Templar in this house will be upon you, and you know what happens then. I shouldn't even be giving you this chance. So start talking."
 
The mention of the Templars made him waver slightly again, swallowing, but he lowered his hands a few inches. Neitha noticed his right hand disturbingly close to a throwing dagger on the bandoleer across his chest - but Adriana didn't make that same observation.
 
"Everything Neitha said is true," Kye answered flatly, his voice much stronger than it had been for the past several hours. "But you want the rest? Fine. I'm Kye Vakurseth, the Prince of Pain, son of Akhoman the archdemon King of Agony, former Agent of his unholy army, former slave of the noble svartalfarien house of Ixafar, freed by my own wits and the help of the great dragon Flametongue."
 
He let that sink in before he continued, "But I'm not like them-- other demons. I don't play games and I don't make demands. I got here because I climbed out of the Underworld and out through Nidavellir - literally - to get away from them, and that alone took me probably several mortal lifetimes to accomplish and a lot of trouble to survive. But that's all I want: to be away from demons and dark elves and everything like them, so I can live in the mortal world. If you don't believe I did all those things just to get here, then look at my back."
 
Again he wavered for a moment, taking a deep, shaky breath... before he suddenly added defensively, almost in a snarl, "And Neitha's not my thrall and she's not stupid - she's my friend."
 
---
 
"Why wouldn't he tell?" she asked softly, almost thinking out loud. "What could inspire loyalty in such... people? Fear? Or... they can't actually believe they're in the right, can they?" she asked incredulously.
 
"I think they do," Ben replied, but his tone very much implied he knew all too well that they did, rather than there being any speculation involved. "It's loyalty to a cause they believe in, just like we're loyal to our own causes... They're just a bunch of evil bastards." He shrugged. "Not really any way around it. I've met some monsters and even some mages I've felt sorry for, but none from the Coven. They seem pretty unbreakable in their zealousness."
 
Under his breath, however, he muttered darkly, "Even if trying to help someone you feel sorry for isn't enough to keep them from stabbing you in the back."

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#37 Balder

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Posted 25 June 2016 - 09:50 AM

"I'm Carlon Shev, but you can call me Carl." the Weeping Mage lied. He then looked at the Scribe and said "Tell me, Rutger, what do you think of this whole enterprise? To hear a Templar's opinion on this quest would be interesting..."

 

"What I think?" Rutger said, pausing and humming to himself. After a few moment he picked back up, a frown having replaced his smile. "I believe that too many coincidences means that there are no coincidence at all, I believe that too many mistakes within our archives are indicative of either a systemic error or a conspiracy. But above that I believe that as long as there are a possibility that the Umbra Coven does indeed exist we can't afford to ignore that possibility. The cost could be to great. If there's no Umbra Coven, there's no harm being here, but if they do exist I can't afford to not be here."

 

He let some moments pass before he broke his somber demeanor with a smile. "That and curiosity, I can't let this opportunity to learn more be passed by! Imagine if we came across some of their archives, the knowledge that could be found, oh I can't wait to add it to the archives!"


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#38 Sareth

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Posted 25 June 2016 - 01:16 PM

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"You know, I think the Templar was right, why don't we take this somewhere more private."

 

It took every once of Neitha's self-control to not reflexively elbow Adriana in the stomach as the woman grabbed her and Kye; but, she went along willingly —a more private venue was just fine with her.

 

"Firstly, don't ever touch me. Nobody lays their hands on me, ever."

 

Her only response to this was a slightly-raised eyebrow of incredulousness at the woman's blatant hypocrisy.

 

"Second, I don't want to hear another word from you, Neitha. Far as I know, you're just his thrall, or in a pact with him, or you're just head-over-heels and stupid."

 

Neitha —pointedly— did not reply with words, merely making an exceptionally rude gesture at the other woman with one hand, her expression hardening into a stony mask. She probably shouldn't be antagonizing the woman, she seemed rather unhinged.

 

Which was exactly why, at the same time, she 'casually' placed her other hand on her hip —casually, and oh-so-convieniently not even two inches away from the hilt of one of her mambele throwing knives; she could draw and throw the weapon in the blink of an eye.

 

"So, Kye. What kind of demon are you, how in the hell did you get here, and what kind of game are you playing? What're you doing, what do you want? Pull another stunt, try and lie to me, or don't give me the full details, and all I have to do is yell. Every Templar in this house will be upon you, and you know what happens then. I shouldn't even be giving you this chance. So start talking."

 

'And all I have to do is flick my wrist and put a blade through your throat —and you know what happens then. You're threatening my friend's life, I shouldn't even be giving you this chance' Neitha thought to herself coldly, acidly mocking Adriana's words.

 

Even so, she did nothing yet, waiting as Kye talked. A brief glance at the demon-kin revealed that one of his hands was close to his knives as well; if the 'Captain' so much as made a move to call for help, or even attack Kye herself, it would be a race to see whether she or Kye could drop Adriana first.

 

"Everything Neitha said is true. But you want the rest? Fine. I'm Kye Vakurseth, the Prince of Pain, son of Akhoman the archdemon King of Agony..."
 
Wait... King!? Did that make Kye some kind of... demon royalty?
 
"... former Agent of his unholy army, former slave of the noble svartalfarien house of Ixafar, freed by my own wits and the help of the great dragon Flametongue... But I'm not like them-- other demons. I don't play games and I don't make demands. I got here because I climbed out of the Underworld and out through Nidavellir - literally - to get away from them, and that alone took me probably several mortal lifetimes to accomplish and a lot of trouble to survive. But that's all I want: to be away from demons and dark elves and everything like them, so I can live in the mortal world. If you don't believe I did all those things just to get here, then look at my back."
 
Damn... She had never really though about it before, but, listening to Kye's story, Neitha realized that, out of all of her traveling companions, the brooding demon-kin had likely had the worst lot by far —even worse than her own.
 
"And Neitha's not my thrall and she's not stupid - she's my friend."
 
She almost wanted to applaud for Kye, or give him a friendly quip or a smile or something —that was by far the strongest and most articulately that she had ever heard him speak... it was also kind of sweet how he thought he had to defend her honor; but, unfortunately, they were not out of danger yet.
 
Adriana's response, and whether or not Neitha believed it, would determine if she allowed the other woman to leave the cellar alive.
 
***
 
"I think they do. It's loyalty to a cause they believe in, just like we're loyal to our own causes... They're just a bunch of evil bastards. Not really any way around it. I've met some monsters and even some mages I've felt sorry for, but none from the Coven. They seem pretty unbreakable in their zealousness... Even if trying to help someone you feel sorry for isn't enough to keep them from stabbing you in the back."
 

Sarael wasn't quite sure how to respond to that, especially as she caught Ben's muttered comment. She knew she probably shouldn't ask, it might be too painful for him... but curiosity won out. "What happened? ... Who betrayed you?" she asked softly.


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#39 Darkwoods

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 02:44 PM

  Mathias listened as the men bantered between themselves, swapping stories of their experience with the Umbra Coven. He wondered when they would inquire as to his own past, though it was certainly not something he wanted to hasten. Admitting his life of crime - not to mention a certain pact - to a company of Templars, Inquisitors and other, more unsavoury fellows, wasn't something Mathias would enjoy. Or necessarily survive. Those light-loving fanatics sure enjoyed dealing out their holy justice, and Mathias fit two bills; he was a user of magic, and that magic happened to flow from a demonic source. 

  He didn't feel particularly evil, not really, though it wasn't as though it'd make a difference to them. He had done what he needed to to track her. His Lina. His wonderful monster. 

 

  "Mathias Quill." 

 

  Both Rutger and Carl seemed taken aback by Mathias' abrupt interruption. 

"You asked my name." The thief explained to Rutger, not entirely unkindly. His reasons for this tender tone became apparent as he continued. "If I might ask you something in return, how much do y'know about bloodsuckers? I just realised I nearly got bloody killed by one, but beyond that, I'm not really sure what I'm facing." 


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#40 Balder

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 04:22 PM

"Mathias Quill"

 

Having all but entirely forgotten about the other man he'd been speaking with but moments ago, Rutger gave a small jump when he so suddenly reminded that, indeed, the man had never left. Answering the scribe's bewildered look the man added: "You asked may name. If I might ask you something in return, how much do y'know about bloodsuckers? I just realized I nearly got bloody killed by one, but beyond that, I'm not really sure what I'm facing."

 

Briefly confused by the derogatory term 'bloodsuckers', Rutger realized that the man was talking about Vampires. It was a very odd and inapt phrasing in the scribe's mind and he was quick to set about correcting that. "Bloodsuckers are hardly an apt term, blood drinkers would be more accurate since Vampires hardly would need to do much sucking when drinking blood. You see, what a Vampire would do is to pierce an artery of their victims and let blood pressure do all the work, blood gushing out in great bouts for the Vampire to simply catch directly with his mouth or a suitable vessel to drink from. Only when the blood pressure of the body have lessened to the point where the blood no longer flows quickly from the wound would the Vampire have to resort to any type of sucking and even then only a highly inexperienced one would actually suck. No, what Vampires does instead is that they will the blood through magic to resume its flow until the point where either the body is completely drained of blood or they've had their fill." Pausing, Rutger added to the side as if making a mental note: "Though the term blood drinkers is equally misleading as it suggests that they can drink any blood." Shaking the train of thought from his mind Rutger turned back and continued. "The point is that when talking of Vampires the word you should use is just that: Vampire.

 

"Now, yes I do know some things about Vampires and vampirism I dare say. Anything specific you'd like to know?" Not a moment after he said that did Rutger realize that Mathias had just admitted to have had a recent encounter with one of the aforementioned undead, his eyes widening in realization and before the man could elaborate his question he blurted out: "Wait, you get attacked by a Vampire!? And you survived!?" Stepping back he reassessed the man in new light of that knowledge. "I'm impressed," Rutger finished approvingly.


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