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Who Would've Thought...[Closed]

Posted: Wed May 27, 2020 7:53 pm
by Ryoko
A week or so before the excursion to another universe....

Ring! Ring! Ring!

Sometimes Ryoko was considerate to a fault.

It was morning when the sound echoed throughout the mansion of a curator. A phone sitting on a marble table rings; heard but unanswered. The caller was persistent, but ignored all the same. It goes to voicemail, and her words echo throughout the halls.

Hey, Septimus? It's Ryoko. I'm going to be in town tomorrow, and I was wondering if you wanted to... smell some tea with me or something when I come around? Just call me back if you're interested. I'd feel kinda bad if I came into town without letting you know. Anyways, later!

A click. Her voice fades and the house falls silent once more. The innocence in her voice is about as clear as her ignorance about... everything that had happened. You never knew what someone's going through on the other end of the line.

Or how much of a difference one phone call could make.

Re: Who Would've Thought...[Closed]

Posted: Sun May 31, 2020 3:58 am
by Lord of Nothing
The phone rang. And rang. And rang. High pitched tones echoing through a mansion ripe with dust born of idleness. A great many things in this mansion. Many of them collecting dust due they now lacked the hands with which to play with them as they once had. Each little tone of the old timey phone echoing all throughout the hallways.

His ears picked it up. Even from the basement he could pick it up the tones. His hearing fine tuned to the perception of blood and yet able to pick up all other sounds in general for the purpose of locating and anticipating danger. Each and every word Ryoko said registering in his ears. And yet they did not prompt him from his room.

So far, since his visit to Hammerlock -- nothing has.

Charlie Carleston stood entered the room. A lot of time to spare now-a-days. The butler and a few of the hotel staff were off cleaning the other rooms. All the while he himself wandered in wearing nothing more than his pajamas and a glass of wine in one hand. He stared at the phone as the message went off. His eyes piquing as he hears the name "Septimus." And then settling once more.

There a strange feeling. A desire instinctively to reach out to the phone. But then, that wouldn't be good manners would it?

He went down the stairs and went towards Septimus' own room to knock. But he smelled something. A pungent odor. And he listens, hearing noises of others inside. Voices. Giggling. Laughing. And slow, but assuredly his hand lowers. And his face looks down. Down cast.

He turns right around, goes right back up those stares and walks into the enourmous den, which hosted the phone and an accompanying touch screen tablet which offered caller ID. A few soft taps of his finger on the screen he sees the number. Swiveling the tablet on the stand he looks at it. And with series of consecutive clicks as he spins the wheel of the quaint -- old timey phone and redials the number.

The man waits for the phone to ring. "Hello! Ms-Er...Ryoko?" It sounded like a first name. And it made him a little bit uncomfortable to not offer the woman the default respect and dignity he would offer others. "You are a friend of Mr. Nier or...Septimus? Yes?" He sighs.

"I am afraid that my friend has been rather downtrodden as of late. There have been some...personal things which has happened in his life." He was never told of what exactly it was. But he saw the news which had shown the extensively damaged Aon Center. The way Septimus rushed out that morning. The one who saved him. Who helped him acquire the money to own this mansion. To fulfill his dream of opening a museum in Chicago. Helped him live a full life with an entire family and have children who have long moved out. And a once loving wife buried out.

The once enigmatic and intimidating figure now sitting a silent and recluse shell within his own room. How much of his business did Charlie have to reveal?

"I am afraid I haven't seen him leave the house in a few days. He simply arrived with some...guests and has yet to leave the room himself. Though I have seen his guests wander about the house. And each knock only merits a greeting from one of them. And...." It would have been easy for the man to say.

Could you come over and talk to him?

Instead, what came out was "I will...try to pass on your message to him. But if you'd...if you'd like to visit that would be quite fine."

The man waited to see what the woman would say. Or...did she ever pick up? He could have swore he heard a ring? He was getting a little old. He turned his hearing aid and listened with intent. And if he heard nothing which sounded of a reply -- he would hang up.

Re: Who Would've Thought...[Closed]

Posted: Sun May 31, 2020 8:47 pm
by Ryoko
After a few rings, she picks up. There's a stranger on the other end, but she listens. The calm in his voice doesn't match his words. The way that he divulges so much of Septimus' personal life over the phone is telling. Just enough to worry a friend, but not so much so as to upset the vampire or make him look bad.

A gentleman's proper request for help.

There's a pause after the man falls silent; a moment for him to add anything else before she spoke.

"What was your name, Sir?" she gives him a moment to reply, "Let him know that I'm in town for business tomorrow. I've got a photoshoot in Garfield Conservatory that I need to get done by 3pm, but... I'd be more than happy to come and see how he's doing after that."

She gives him another moment to speak and let her know if there would be a problem with the time or any other issues that she'd need to know about before coming over.

"What was the address again?"

3:42pm, the next day.

The chime of a doorbell echoes through the house and Ryoko had to assume that, given what she'd heard over the phone, whoever answered the door would be seeing her face for the first time in that fancy little glass peephole. But, then again, maybe not. Ryoko's face had started to become a bit of a household name as she accumulated an increasing number of exploits in this new age. Still...

She was a stranger to everyone in this house but Septimus.

The only thing that she brought with her was a camera that would clarify the part she had to play in the photoshoot that morning, if there had been any confusion about that, and a curiosity that the man on the other end of the line had reluctantly refused to sate. And, so, she waited and hoped that this... mansion was the right place. Cuz she had to admit...

She wasn't expecting to find Septimus living in a place this nice.

Re: Who Would've Thought...[Closed]

Posted: Wed Jun 03, 2020 12:57 pm
by Lord of Nothing
"Charles Carlston."

The man did not hesitate to give Ryoko the address.
It wasn't far from Chicago. But it was fairly solitary. The community was gated and so was the mansion. Usually the expected their guests to have to go through the gate but this one did not really seem so inclined. Though it didn't surprise him to hear from his made that somebody had just flown in. After all, Septimus was a rather eccentric being in that way. And such a strange man ought to have strange friends. Upon hearing the news, the woman would receive a prompt "one moment!" from the speaker. And then about a minute later the door would open.

"It looks like somebody just...flew in. A person!

"I will be down in a second." He rushed down the vast staircase with an eagerness. It wasn't too often he got visitors anymore. Without even stopping to actually look and see who it was, he reaches the door before his maid does. The door comes open. And Ryoko is greeted by the sight of a silver-maned man in a collar'd shirt, slacks, black dressy shoes and a smile.

"Hello!" After taking a moment now to actually assess the situation, he looks down at her camera and realizes who the muscular woman standing before him was. "You must be Ryoko! The photographer."

Seemingly as the man smiles his maid is trailing behind him. There is a soft noise of boots going through grass as private security rushes to the scene. More for ready for distraction then anything else against someone who just flew into their yard. The man opens the door fully and strides out quickly -- waving his arms about. His security guard taking his hand off his holstered gun and letting out a sigh of relief.

"It's quite alright! This was an expected guest. Please!" He turns towards Ryoko with a smile. One smaller than the tone of his words indicated. "Come in! Come in! Can I offer you something to drink? I'm sure we'll probably have it." Had to keep life fresh somehow. If she allowed him, the rather short man would usher her into the house.

Though where he lead her depended on what she wanted to do as he lead her through the hallways. Be it sit down with the man in his vast and empty dining room for, go see Septimus right now down in the rather luxurious looking basement or something else.

"You must have a few questions."

His eyes widen extends his hand as he walks.

"Charlie Carleston. At your service."

Re: Who Would've Thought...[Closed]

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:01 pm
by Ryoko
She took the man's hand as they moved into the mansion.

"I just have one question, really. What exactly did happen?"

Ryoko had a few immediate ideas. Last time they talked, Septimus made it very clear that he did not want the public to know what he truly was. A task like that would've been damn near impossible a thousand years ago when the "strange and superhuman" could all be chalked up to supernatural entities. Nowadays, the concept of "metahuman" made it easy for any kind of monstrosity to roam the streets and be treated as a normal citizen.

She could only assume that someone had blown his cover.

"I'm not the type to pay too much attention to the news, but I didn't hear anything about a... you-know-what in Chicago. Did someone blow his cover?"

It would explain why he had hidden himself away with... well, with people who seemed like family. And why he cut himself off from the world. She could feel the presence of a vampire down in the basement, but she knew that she wasn't prepared to console him without... any knowledge of what had been bothering him in the first place. So she moved into the dining room and took a seat.

"If you don't mind, I'd like to hear your thoughts and observations before I speak with him. I want to make sure that I know what I'm talking about before I try to help him out of his malaise," she pushed out the seat next to her for him to take his seat. The dining room table was huge, and she wanted to eliminate the possibility of Charles moving as far away as possible out of some misguided sense of courtesy, "I'm sure Septimus has a lot to say as well, but I'd like to get more than one perspective on what's going on. Be honest with me, because, your words and his are the only ones that I'm going to have to work with. I didn't even know that anything was wrong until I called."

Re: Who Would've Thought...[Closed]

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:15 am
by Lord of Nothing
The man poured himself a cup of tea. A bit of it trickling in his teacup. And soon he walked over to Ryoko -- sitting across from her as he joined her. "I figured I would keep the tea warm for you if he should ever come out. Lucky for you I have quite the collection." A half-hearted smile. He wasn't exactly too sure if that was funny or not. It was just an icebreaker, to set the mood a little bit as she began to speak.

Ah. I see he does strike you as the paranoid type as well.

But then there was the fact that Septimus was himself not a very sociable person. He was never one to ask for help in his eyes. At least not usually. Always having this sense of never wanting to burden others with his problems.

"Well, it is difficult for me to say exactly what happened. He won't tell me but I have my suspicions."

He takes a sip of his chai tea and draws in a deep breath to sooth and properly arrange his thoughts into something coherent.

"It is Assurance business. That much I can tell. You see, the other day I saw Septimus running out the house in the late evening. Left the door open and everything. As though every second counted. Then I see on the news that an incident or some kind of attack has happened. They were very...scant with the information concerning the incident. And then the next thing I know -- he returns later that night. Clothes torn a bit obviously from battle. His sword broken in half. And he drives off to an Assurance facility for another meeting. Then he comes back. Nothing on his face indicative of much beyond despair. He has cold expression but I could feel the coldness about him. It was notceable to me because, I don't know -- it seemed as though things were looking well for him."

The man crossed on leg atop the other. Those were the fact stated plainly as he saw them. And what comes now in his eyes is the observations.

"You see he has had a few guests over. And I recognize them. They are people who Septimus himself hired to be shall we say personal blood donors. And they have for some time over the weekend. And I haven't seen Septimus around. I think he has....lost someone. Perhaps the battle went poorly and he lost some men to the...random attacker. Or something else horrible happened."

Though, even that seemed strange to the man. Septimus was no stranger to loss. No stranger to death or seeing people die. It felt as though there was something on the tip of his tongue.

He took another sip.

Re: Who Would've Thought...[Closed]

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:09 am
by Ryoko
"Charles. You keep saying 'some time', but just how long is that?"

Mr. Carlston's news was a bit more unnerving to Ryoko than he probably realized. It wasn't because of the nature of the tragedy described or how Septimus had been responding. No, she was prepared for that. What was concerning was how he seemed to be coping with it all.

"Personal blood donors" as he called them.

Which might've been fine if he suffered from chronic anemia or even some strange case of hypotension, but this sounded like gluttony. And Septimus... well, he had a lot to lose from gluttony. His freedom, of all things. He'd told her about how much work he had put into fasting, hadn't he? The only reason why he could walk in the sun without fear of death was his denouncement of the primal hunger that plagued his kind, was it not? Don't tell me that his pain had caused him to do something that stupid...

How long had he been down there with his food?

Had hundreds of years of self-discipline crumbled into a gluttonous hedonism over one loss?

Did Charles Carlston know why Ryoko wore that somber look on her face after he stopped talking?

No, probably not. He wouldn't have been so... compliant when she suggested that they waste more time before she went to see him. So she asked him one small favor before heading down to the basement.

"Charles? Make sure that all of the blinds in this house are closed." she slowly slid out of her seat, "And... make sure they stay closed, okay?"

Truthfully, she hadn't had much time to think over how she wanted to approach the vampire. Not as much as she wanted. He sounded like he had been wading through depression for some time now, and her words would need to hold more than a little truth if she hoped to cut through it and help him move forward. But, before she could do any of that, she had to speak to him and see just how much damage had been done. So she walked down those stairs to the prison that he had made for himself.

And she knocked on the door that separated Septimus from the people in that house who had been trying to help him.

Re: Who Would've Thought...[Closed]

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:45 pm
by Lord of Nothing
With a calm expression that belies a bit of shame, he pulls a newspaper out of his backpocket -- a rarity now-a-days -- and then slides it over to her to reveal the article. In which he points at the date. "Ever since that day." It was a difficult thing to do in his eyes. The relationship they had wasn't necessarily something the woman might not have understood, but simply put, the man felt powerless to approach him. He'd hoped for the man to leave his room so that they could have chat.

"Yes. Of course." He rises and then walks over to a singular leveler with an ornate case around around for protection. And then as he lifts the case, a lever is revealed. With the pulling of the lever, all the blinds in the house close. Shrouding the house in a darkness for a moment, before lights now illuminate the hallways. Leading Ryoko down to his basement. All the while, Charles found himself leaving to go to his room. Almost a defeated expression painted onto his own.

I'd have liked to sit down for tea with him, some time.

Ryoko enters the base. An area like unto a floor of it's own. Easily vast enough to be a house in it's own right. Septimus did not leave much of an scent unless he was burned or injured. The "scorched" scent that accompanied the vampire's flesh absent. But the smell and sound of human activity able to be heard.

There is a knock on the door. A particularly strong heartbeat approaches. Of more youth and vigor. Septimus' ears twitch in from within the confines of a room once solitary. Once sacred. A place that was indisputably his which no other being would be allowed enter. Save for one specific instance. And now as Ryoko knocks, someone else opens the door. A stranger to her.

Before Ryoko is a woman with a mohawk. Wearing nothing more than a tea shirt and shorts. In her lips is a cigarette. A single flickering flame from a fireplace is visible from what amounts to be the size of a master bedroom. Some people lounging by the fireplace. Mostly female with one male in view. And a colorful haired woman with a mohawk. "Woah you're tall." She says with a cool smile.

Drip drip drip.

Just beyond view the sound of saliva dripping onto the floor. And a soft murmur heard. Some chatter from within. And a single distinct, soft his Ryoko would know all too well. A reaction to pleasure. Almost akin to a moan for his kind. Feeding being the peak of carnal pleasures for his kind.

"Haven't seen you before. Man has said he doesn't want any visitors. So you got a message or something you want me to pass to him? Or...something?"

She looks down, blowing the cigarette smoke down towards the floor as not to puff in the dragon's face. Eyes still flickering up to her own once more.

Re: Who Would've Thought...[Closed]

Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2020 9:41 pm
by Ryoko
The first thing that Ryoko noticed when that door came open was that it smelled like a ghetto in there.

The potent scent of marijuana mixed with alcohol greeted her sensitive nostrils, almost concealing the faint scent of much more potent narcotics that most would've escaped most. More concerningly, as she expected, was the scent of iron that accompanied fresh blood. She couldn't pick up Septimus' scent on that afternoon, not like she could when he stood in the sun, but she heard the sound of his spit crashing into the floorboards like that of a starving hound.

At the very least, Septimus' food didn't carry as much stench as the air that they had been breathing.

The dragon gazed down at the woman with vibrant peacock feathers atop her head and wondered how she felt about this entire situation. About being paid to be food. Did she even notice the deterioration of her boss? Did she even care? It only took a moment for Ryoko to realize how much of a waste of time those thoughts were. If these blood donors hadn't done anything to intervene in Septimus' decent by now, then they obviously weren't planning to.

And the disdain on Ryoko's face, brought on by their negligence and their enabling was undeniable.

"Oh, I'm sure he doesn't want any visitors. But I don't care. I'm here to give him what he needs, not what he wants."

Ryoko grabbed onto the girl's right shoulder with her left hand and firmly moved her the fuck out of the way. Not enough force to hurt her or throw her off of her feet, but far more power than any human could ever have a chance to resist. She walked in slowly, scanning all of the... "blood donors" for bite marks and smeared blood. Her eyes settled on the mourning soldier before she glanced back at the girl at the door.

"Right now, I'm your boss' best friend. I don't know if you actually give a damn about Septimus or if he's just a paycheck, but I'm on your side either way. I'm here to help him out of this funk and get him back onto his feet. And, if this shit keeps up for too much longer, he might not be able to provide for you anymore, understand?" she sniffed the air twice, "Go sit down and get high or whatever the fuck it is that you do down here all day. I'm not gonna hurt your boss, I promise."

She turned away from the girl, sat down next to Septimus, and just... sat in silence for a moment. Looked him over for a second; him and his "cave" down here. Then... she took a deep breath and broke the ice.

"What... what's been going on with you man?"

Ryoko knew alot, but she didn't want to interject her thoughts into the situation. Charles had explained a lot, but even he didn't know the vast majority of what his guest had endured. Septimus was the one suffering, so his words mattered more than anything she or the owner of this house could've said in that moment. So, she sat quietly.

And she listened.

Re: Who Would've Thought...[Closed]

Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2020 11:55 pm
by Lord of Nothing
"Alright alright!"

The woman gets shoved aside like a limp noodle, her hands sliding across the wall as she almost falls over from her meager attempts of resistance.

A brief scan of the room would reveal nothing in the realm of bite marks. The tendril used by the Nosferatu was like unto the bite of a mosquito. A blade so sharp and narrow it could be unnoticed. Like mosquito, they would crawl in through open window. Venom suppressing even the smallest desire to open one's eyes in favor of far more pleasant dreams.

Or in battle their teeth became like that of a flesh tearing predator. Rows of sharp teeth which could be used to rip away flesh in favor of greedily gorging upon fountains of blood, incapacitating their prey permeantly so that they may lap up the blood from their bodies and finish off whatever was left on the dirty floors. Such impure creatures who lie in dirt caring little for such sorts of filthy.

Here however were not enemies. They were people who Septimus wished reserved. Who we wished healthy. Who he ultimately to remain in a state where he could cyclically feed upon others. Some lie naked and most where dressed for the heat that so many warm bodies in the room generated in tandem with the fireplace a safe distance across the room. As though such warmth could hope to ever replace that of having that one person lying you in bed.

In contrast to everyone else, Septimus was fully clothed. As though he were ready to leave at any time. Within his lap was a woman who's name he could not currently remember. Lying down half on the bed -- half with her head in his hands. Her eyes closed.

His were wide open. More open than anyone's eyes had a right to be. Like that of an insect. Blood red eyes hosting two one dimensional black orbs locked onto the target. Ones which focused on the woman -- her faced locked in bliss. The only reaction to Ryoko's word in the favor of blood being his ears twitching. His hollow expression belying little of a sensation which surpassed the carnal aspects of sex.


However, once she had fallen into a slumber -- gently he began to let her down onto his bed. Once a place that was sacred. Now a place where many others lie. Strangers of different backgrounds. All sharing the common denominator of being in need of something. Some did it in part money offered for what was a paid blood donation. Others for the thrills and pleasure of it. Most for both. There were many more beyond the roughly dozen people that Ryoko saw her.

All the while he stared at her. The blood red eyes of an near-expressionless, starved beast fading in place of Septimus' eyes. And when his pale, icy blue eyes came to being, they finally spoke of something. They spoke of despair wrought of helplessness. Of a numbness born of sitting in this dark room alone and mulling around all the thoughts of the ways he was being wronged. Of what had happened. Of accepting it. And seemingly coming to terms with a conclusion of futility. Of the inevitable. Of faith. Of an entity bigger and vaster than himself commiting an atrocity as the whole world watches like sheep. Waiting to be shepherded. Chased by wolves.

There he sat on the bed. Motivation to reply to her began to come forth. What was the point in talking to her? To vent? To relive what had already happened?

Get the dragon to go away.

An unyielding obstacle had been placed before him. The light from the room illuminating her frame. The dragon standing in the doorway to his room. An implacable obstacle. Someone much less like Charleston who he could simply push away.

They killed her.

He shook his head.

"Where do I begin?"

I will not be reduced to the grieving husband.

"I have watched this world for some time Ryoko. Since eighty A.D. I have been many things. A son. A Carpenter. Slave. Gladiator. Hunter. I have seen people of conquered lands be made into slaves. Worked to death in mines. Or broken in so much that they may as well be dead. I had the opportunity to fight for my freedom, thankfully. By a matter of chance. But what world was I released into, I wonder? One which had a shine so bright as to conceal the rot. It was a putrid sight. I wished to be away from it. To sell wood. Like in the old days. And yet as I left it for my own solitary plot of land, I began to crave it once more. I craved something. The fight. What lie beneath the shining smile that concealed infection? I do not know."

It was funny how he spoke like this. Among his room were a great many books. Some of which well taken care of but clearly old. Written and filled out by himself. Others taken and found. Scavenged. The more recent purchased. A large ceremonial sword hanging above the wall. Another broken in the previous confrontation with Augustus.

"Once I was embraced by my own will, I watched as it rotted. Further and further. I became apart of the entity. Of the infection. I was drawn to it. And I understood it more intimately than most any rebellious outsider ever would. Eventually the weight of Rome's sin came crashing down upon it. And I was in the perfect position to kill the thing which harbored infection. To tear that monster masquerading as a beacon of hope. Only to watch as the dark ages took hold. It all burned. Everyone suffered. Violence had brought about the birth to more monsters. I questioned whether or not the world. Would get better." He spoke without care for if she did listen to his long winded ramblings. He gave no regard to the lack of context or the gaps in Ryoko's knowledge.

"I saw someone die. Someone who pulled themselves out of the depths. Who was demon made themselves good. And I saw her die in a way she did not deserve. By the hands of a man. Violated. For nothing. For no reason whatsoever. And seemingly few spare I shall remember her name. They would cover her name to as to hide their sins. It was poetic almost how she got her spine ripped out by a sexual deviant that molested her before she dies."

Is this what happens with attachment? What does it all mean?

"I want to burn it all to the ground. But if I did that, I wonder what would be left.

Within his hand is a drive. The one which harbored such overwhelming evidence of Assurance's brief acts of terrorism. The amount of knowledge someone of his rank and knowledge of their internal structure had. And yet after all this work, to what end?

The budding hatred in his eyes stifled by despair.

"I want to kill them all. The guilty. The monsters. Even in my unlikely success seems failure. And I wonder what the point of it all would be as I stand in the ashes."

His eyes flicker red, the white in his eyes quite literally filling with blood as his pupils shrink. Before with a sigh they return. Most people in the room awkwardly quite. Almost as though they desired such conversation to end. Chatter among themselves began as they spoke of things [rrelevant.

Perhaps it is my fate to be killed. Here and now. By you. And be spared this world damned to decay.