Duskbürg [Millennium Sub-District]

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Lord of Nothing
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Re: Duskbürg [Millennium Sub-District]

Post by Lord of Nothing » Thu May 28, 2020 11:58 pm

A series of squeaks came from the crowd of rats. With evident desire for self preservation, the rats seemed to disperse beyond areas that were visible. Hiding underneath movie seats and sitting in smelly holes in cushions. Others keeping themselves a safe distance a few feet away that -- if the cat were to chase one -- then it would probably get away.

Vas turned slowly towards the cat for a moment, staring it for a moment as the girl spoke.

"Alright. Demon in the city. Got it." He said. Her answer seemed truthful. And Vas did not need to mind-control the girl in order to piece together the facts. All that was needed was for the story to click.

Vas stood remained there. His face showing as the light shined on him from the flickering flame that took the center stage. But still she never seemed to see his face. Not unless she turned around to look at. He still stood there, staring down at her with dimly glowing eyes.

"But I asked you other things. First n' foremost, why here? There some kinda demon hunting organization around that's been culling these things this whole time? Cause I'll tell you I have a hunter here. And our ears are closer to the streets than most of the fucking cops around here. So this is a pretty sudden appearance." The last thing he needed was the formation of another gang. Trying to move in on what he'd created. Challengers never seemed to disappear. And he'd never expect them to leave. He'd never expect contenders.

Why they fuck is my city becoming a magnet for weird shit?

The thought aggravated him. Most supernaturals didn't seem to have the *subtlety* needed to survive these days. No wonder everything else seemed to be damn near extinct with the exception of vamps, mages, the various shapeshifting furry brigades and whatever the hell the spirit realms seemed to shit out.

Be nice if the spirit stuff just stayed there. Not much blood there

"Second. What exactly are you? Like I said, you smell like them."
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Re: Duskbürg [Millennium Sub-District]

Post by Ryoko » Fri May 29, 2020 12:49 am

"Oh... you meant in the city?

Kore genuinely thought that she had answered that question flat out. But his words gave her some perspective into Vas' mind. His paranoia. The fact that he assumed that there were more of her and that these fictional characters in his head were planning and making moves? It was enlightening. He wasn't here to kill her, at least yet, anyway. He just wanted information. And she wasn't his enemy, after all.

So maybe this was an opportunity.


"I didn't come here. I've been here. I've lived here my entire life. I was born here."

Truths. The girl may have had the ability to visit any country in the world in an instant, but this was home. Her apartment was a dozen or so blocks away and her only living family was right there waiting for her to come home that night. She got even more relief when it came to his second question.


"No. It's just me. There is no gang or group of hunters. I do this of my own volition. And I slay demons wherever I go, not just here in Duskburg."

And she was proud to say it. And she felt that things were going well. She was starting to grow noticeably calmer. Honesty words that she wanted to leave her mouth. And then he asked that GODDAMNED FUCKING QUESTION!


"What are you? You smell like them?"

Why in god's name didn't she see that fucking question coming. Her cool broke. The first bead of sweat fell from her brow. Her heartbeat raced. She couldn't tell him that. Not that. And she couldn't undo all of the signals that her body was giving off in response to that godawful question. Pokerface! She needed a pokerface!

...

No.

She needed an explanation.

An explanation for everything that her body was saying right now. All of her fears came to the surface with that one damned question. But Vas didn't know why. And everything came down to what came out of her mouth next. So she'd take everything that these fucking monsters were putting her through; all of the rage, anxiety, fear and self-hate that came from that one question... and she'd repurpose it.


"I... I don't know..."

Tears began to fall from her eyes, and she began to cry. And even if the words coming from her mouth weren't a genuine expression of the agony in her heart, they were genuine tears that no amount of of biometric analysis, magic, or psychological analysis could disprove.

Because they were real.


"I didn't know that! I didn't know that I smelled like them. I just woke up with powers like everyone else, why are you doing this to me!?"

Her voice became a stutter, and her vision rippled with the flowing water from her eyes. Sniffles in her nose as the mucus began to form. And big-bad Vas and his posse of overly paranoid and aggressive vampires just made a girl who was trying to protect a their city cry. For nothing.


"I didn't know..."
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Re: Duskbürg [Millennium Sub-District]

Post by Lord of Nothing » Fri May 29, 2020 1:47 pm

Aw fuck me.

It always did suck when they cried. Especially since things weren't like the old days. The amount of crying people who's faces he shot, who's heads he chopped off and who were kicked off boat with a cinderblock bowtied to their bound arms and feet was significantly less. These days were different. And well, that was just fine. Never was that big of a fan of that part. Even if he slept perfectly fine every night.

Vas stood upright frowning as he looked down at her. His contorting a bit in anger and frustration. Not every little beating of the heart meant that she was lying. And some people were capable of suppressing that. Having a reaction so used to lying that monitoring the heart would fail. And contrary to what the girl might have thought, he wouldn't rely on listening to the heart for anyone he didn't know. This girl was a mystery. An engima.

No. If ever Vas suspected she was lying he could make her tell the truth. He could tell someone to fall asleep and they'd do it. He could tell someone to fall asleep and they'd do it. He could tell someone to kill themselves and they'd do it. If he wanted the girl to tell him everything he wanted to know and then simply forget she ever saw him then he could do that too.

But then she'd forget that she'd ever met him. And he would miss out on a potential opportunity. People always worked the best when they were willing. And what the girl before him and vigilantes often did was free work.

As Vas loomed over from behind, his expression soften. And soon the hands left the seat, slipping back into the dark. Then the figure stepped out of the shadows and into the light where she could see him. Wearing straightfoward clothes in stylish but formal wear of jeans,

Flick. The lighting of an especially made, bloody cigarette.

"Relax niña." He speaks calmly. His expression now one of patience. A puff of smoke in the air. "I'm just asking you questions." He walked right across the girl. And sat next to her at a comfortable distance -- with one singular seat suppressing the two. His eyes looking up at a hole in the roof and the caved in top.

Probably a bastard child. Some incubus love child maybe?

"You're powers probably are something...demonic in origin." Of course, translating what he was thinking into something he could tell to someone was always a necessary skill. While he lost his good looks, he always tried to make sure to keep something of a -- what the fuck did Bashanipal call it again? A "silver tongue?" Way with words. Whatever.

He takes another hit of the cigarette.

Right.

A brief exhale. Nowhere in her direction.He simply continues to look up.

"I'm sorry ya had to find out this way. And listen, yeah? I don't have a problem with what you're doing. I just wanna know what's going on in MY city. You're not in trouble. It's okay to not know somethin', alright?" With his mouth clear he turned to her, purposely avoiding puffing any smoke up in her face.

"That said, you wouldn't happen to need any help on your little quest, wouldja?"

Even if she was taking care of it -- he wanted to know more. To enter the world of demons. To find out how and why they entered this city. And what they are doing. The last time he didn't look after a the city, a bunch of possessed cops went on a massive gendercide. Dragging folks out onto the street, putting heat on the supernatural and threatening to raid many of the Brothels he'd work so hard to assemble.

"Course it is a choice. But I'll be lookin' into it either way."
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Re: Duskbürg [Millennium Sub-District]

Post by Lovecraft » Fri May 29, 2020 2:31 pm

There were a few tense moments there when Howard kept Atlanta's body as tense as his mind - in case a brief distraction was needed, or someone had to step in, starting with when Vas stared at Atlanta. Atlanta and Howie both stared back, neither really wanting to be part of this contest but neither backing down, either. The tension only increased as Vas reamed the girl with questions. Valid questions, sure, but Howard didn't like it when kids cried. Thankfully, it seemed that neither did Vas.

They waited for a few moments as Vas sat down, lit a smoke, and started speaking more gently to the girl. The tension in the room seemed to have died out, for the most part, and so did the tension in the cat's body. Things had turned out more civilly than he'd thought, which was good for everyone involved. Most of all himself. Once he was sure that violence wasn't a likely outcome, Atlanta's eyes would blink, and when they opened again, they were the warm golden-green natural to her breed. She lingered for a bit longer, as if pondering whether she could take a rat with her, before deciding to simply and primly make her way through the sea of animals back toward the door.

At the same time, the eyes of the man in the alley would open as well, frigid blue, and blink up at the eternally dark sky. He seemed more tired than he'd been when he sat down, but as he pulled himself to his feet and looked around for his familiar he carried himself with a quiet alertness. He patted his pockets to make sure he still had everything, then pulled out the flip phone to check the time. He was still early for his meeting, but he had a bit of walking to do, probably with some curious Varcolac following close behind. He really didn't want to annoy them, but the men on the roof were still watching, and Atlanta wasn't back yet, so he'd need to stand around absently just long enough to get his bearings and his cat before going on his way.

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Re: Duskbürg [Millennium Sub-District]

Post by Ryoko » Fri May 29, 2020 4:16 pm


Her first response to everything that had left Vas' mouth was to bury her face in her hands and take a deep breath. But, underneath her palms, she was smiling. She had succeeded. The hostility in the air was gone, and the vampire, himself, had opted to put his efforts towards integrating her into the system peacefully, rather than marking her as a target that would draw the dregs of the earth out from the shadows to hunt her and everything she loved at every turn.

And she was reminded why the vampires, specifically Duskburg's vampires, had frightened her so.

This entire scene wasn't about survival. If she wanted to run, she could be anywhere in a literal instant. If she wanted to move away from it all and never see any of the bloodsuckers' faces again, she could. But she didn't want that. She wanted to live her life, not just make it to another day. And everything she cared about was right here. Her home, her stuff, her dad, his job, her school, her friends, the familiar places that brought a smile to her face. Everything. It was all right here.

Underneath the Varcolac's thumb.

No matter how far the void took her, they'd always have a noose around her heart.


"I wouldn't mind a little help, to be honest..."

Kore wasn't entirely sure whether or not those words were true, but she did feel they were for the best. Active allies didn't draw suspicion; independent agents did. And she did have a skill that none of the vampires of this city could replicate. I mean, clearly, otherwise the events of the Succubus Raid would never have gone so poorly.

She let her hands fall from her face. Her smile faded and her tears slowly began to dry. Her heart rate slowed to an even pace, and the hairs on the back of her neck fell to rest.


"The hard part for me has always been taking the demons down. Finding them is effortless. I suppose I could just let you guys know whenever I pick up on one of them. They have been getting a little more... aggressive lately, so I could use the extra force."

And while that was true, it felt like it was as much a blessing as it was a curse. As the demons were now, with the "door" just slightly open for them to pass through, it would be effortless for the Varcolac to take them out with coordinated strikes. But, if they were acting as a strike force, that meant that Kore had less of an opportunity to grow her own abilities.

And that was worrying.

Because, these things were just going to get stronger, deadlier, and more complex. And she needed to advance alongside them if she had any chance of being read for the door to fully open. But, there was one upside to all of this. If the vampires who claimed dominion over her home were taking more active steps to combat the demons, then she wouldn't have to worry about her dad as much. Or about anyone in Duskburg that she cared about, honestly.


"I guess I'll take you up on that offer."

If it was anyone... anything else, she'd have extended a hand to shake. But, for these guys, she settled on her word.
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Re: Duskbürg [Millennium Sub-District]

Post by Lord of Nothing » Sun May 31, 2020 7:07 am

"Sure is quiet. You think he's okay?"

"You worry too much. Boss has got this."

"Hey look at that."

The pair look at the man sitting on the side, jolting awake as his cat gets back on him. And then immediately getting up. The way they saw -- the man probably would have been waiting there for hours. "You think that cat has a bug on it or somethin'?" One asked the other. "Nah. It's probably just a cat man." They really didn't want to follow him or make any ruckus about following him or getting someone to follow him. It was quiet. Duskburg was quiet. No more succu-bitch. No more Fang Gang. It was done. And he was probably gonna get someone to relieve him in about an hour. Then he'd be able to get back to that homeless shelter and catch up on that book.

"I'll just take a fuckin' picture and be done with it." One of flipped out a smartphone. The watch smartphone. And they snapped a good enough picture of the guy as he walked off to have a picture of his face if he ever pops up again. In one hand, the man had his AK-47. And then in the other -- he had a sandwich. Taking a bite, he watched the bum walk off.

The girl's tears seem to dry up. And pretty damn quick at that. He nodded as she spoke of needing a little help, ears dissecting the saddened tone. And the unsure nature. And if there was anything Vas liked to hear -- it was someone sad, down on their luck, vulnerable and just tired of their troubles. Those types were more malleable. Though they were always also vulnerable to leaning. The way she worded it almost sounded like leaning to him.

You little cunt.

"Perfect!"

From his pockets -- right next to the desert eagle he carries, he pulls out a pen and notepad. And the proceeds to scribble on it.

Click. The scribbling of a pen on paper.

"Just call this number when you need a little assistance. And be sure to let us know more about what you find. Why they're manifesting here. Be it someone summoning them or whatever other fucking spiritual mumbo jumbo." The spirit realms weren't the dominion of the vampires. That wasn't where the blood was. They were corporeal and carnal creatures. Interested primarily in the physical plane. Where humans walked and the blood was. Where their vampirism kept it's coils around them. Where they could craft their bodies to their liking.

After all -- in most cases it was what happened to the body and mind on the physical plane which ultimately steered and corrupted the soul. Or something like that. Big boss Bash always the philosopher.They could track blood. But first something needed to be wounded or near by for that to happen. Meaning if the girl could sense them, then it might mean something big is gonna happen. And he'd want her on his side when it does.

"Here you go kid." He said, handing her the note. A big grin on his face showing rows of his shark-like teeth.

"I'll be seeing ya." Vas stood up and walked. And as he did -- he quite literally merged with the shadows. Soundlessly and soon -- invisibly.

He had some unfinished business to attend to at the club.
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Lethe, The Once Reaper
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Vas, The Shadow Man
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Jackal, The Devil's Dog

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Nosferatu, The Damned Descendants of the Darkblood

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Re: Duskbürg [Millennium Sub-District]

Post by Lovecraft » Sun May 31, 2020 7:41 pm


Some Time Later


About two hours later, Howard walked out of a warehouse $200 richer than he'd been when he walked in.

Most people would complain, probably, about getting scammed or something. The artifacts he'd just identified and sorted were probably worth at least five grand in the legal stream - more, in the circles where his contact was planning to sell it, and that wasn't including the fakes that he'd probably pawn off and that one weapon Howie had strongly recommended he send to his usual destroyer to keep it out of anyone's hands, right or wrong.

But Howard did jobs like this all the time, and Howard, for the most part, just spent it on gas and food and cat litter, with a little set aside for emergencies. The bit he'd gotten tonight would be stretched out with what was left of his last irregular "paycheck" to last until he got another odd job like this. Identification was innocuous enough, after all, especially in Howard's circles, where they felt they could trust him and he felt they'd take his advice. Go in, get paid, go home. Well, back to his truck first, anyway, then probably to a motel for the night, and heading out in the morning.

The night air was cool, for a summer in Duskburg, but it was still stuffy and still too dark. He missed his home and his bed, and hoped there hadn't been any hunting accidents or serious illnesses in the few short days he'd been gone. Losing a "patient" would weigh heavily on him, for more reasons than just one. Like before, he kept his attention stretched out, searching the street for signs of life. He was a little bit worn out after earlier, and really in no mood to get challenged again, but Atlanta stayed balanced across his shoulders as an extra body for energy if the need arose. Already, he'd pulled a hand out of his pocket to call up a small flame, nothing much, just enough to keep his attention on the alley ahead so he didn't get lost. He couldn't exactly navigate using the life around him as a key, after all. That, and most people seeing a guy with a fire in the palm of his hand would immediately assume he was a metahuman and fuck off, which was, admittedly, the more prominent reason for it. Unless he came across someone who'd been shot, he had zero intention of doing anything except make a beeline for his truck and leave.

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Re: Duskbürg [Millennium Sub-District]

Post by Ryoko » Sun May 31, 2020 7:59 pm

"Ah. So that was your cat."

There she was, sitting atop his car as though she owned it. That girl whom he'd watched get tormented by the Varcolac. He might have had the best of intentions, but Kore had no way of knowing that. And, while she assumed that he was a vampire in disguise before, it was clear as day that that just wasn't the case.

The most obvious hint was the fire in his hands. His familiarity with one of their famous banes. She didn't need much more to reason that out. And she noticed how the sin that she had felt in that theatre had... moved from the cat to the man whose shoulders it sat upon. She could deduce what he wasn't, but that just left her wondering what he was. Who he was.

What he wanted.

Kore wasn't quick to trust, but she was always ready to listen.


"So... why exactly were you watching me, earlier?"
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Re: Duskbürg [Millennium Sub-District]

Post by Lovecraft » Sun May 31, 2020 8:12 pm

Howard didn't really look surprised to see her there, or upset, or happy, either. Mostly he just looked tired. Though, admittedly, he looked that way most of the time, the flickering light of the fire in his hand exaggerated the shadows, making it seem worse than usual. His weary eyes watched her face, but his consciousness was watching her life - young and fresh, but still odd. Strong and uncontrolled, but still growing, forming into the adult it would become if she didn't make anyone important mad before she hit twenty-five.

"It was," he conceded, not bothering to lie, and having no reason to. He finished making his way to the car, and fished in his pockets for his keys. "Her name's Atlanta. She's my familiar."

He tended to introduce her first, number one because of the old rule about mages and Names, number two because the word familiar sometimes caught people's attention enough to keep them from asking more about him. This kid, though, did deserve an answer to her actual question, so once again he gave the honest answer.

"I'm a healer. I stopped to see if there was going to be trouble, and when there wasn't, I went on my way."

He manually unlocked the door, and then pulled it open, but didn't sit down inside it even after Atlanta leapt from his shoulders to the driver's seat. He doubted the girl was done asking questions, after all, and it would simply be polite to wait until she was done, if nothing else. He doubted he had anything to fear from her, and though he was sensing a lot of distrust, he also doubted she was going to attack him without a good reason, odd though her existence might be. So he just wouldn't give her one.

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Re: Duskbürg [Millennium Sub-District]

Post by Ryoko » Tue Jun 02, 2020 11:42 pm

"Familiar, huh? Well, I appreciate you not just jumping in, by the way. Winning one fight out here often causes everyone to lose the war."

Despite how much they talked and the clothes they chose to wear, Kore couldn't help but see the vampires in this city as... ants. No, that wasn't entirely accurate. Ants left you alone so long as you didn't kick up their hive. The Varcolac were more...


"They're like wasps, you know? It doesn't matter what you do. So long as you're in the area, you're a target. They get curious and the first thing that goes through their mind is to swarm. Sometimes they sting you just to see how well you deal with their venom. And if they can't poison you, then they swarm around anything that you care about. People who don't live here often struggle to understand that. I have no idea what you were planning to do back there, but you were smart not to do it. So, here's the thing, Mr..."

He had time to introduce himself. Obviously, he did if he had time to waste on the name of a fucking cat. She slid off of the roof, turned to face him, and rested her hand on the edge of the open door.


"I don't know if you're a regular in Duskburg, but here's a lesson that everyone playing hero needs to know. In the grand scheme of things, these vampires aren't that strong. They're reliant upon a cloudy fucking sky to dominate this shithole full of nobodies, for christ's sake. But... unlike the typical metahuman... they multiply. They are ubiquitous. They are devoid of honor and they hold grudges. It never just ends with one fight. I don't know if you have things in this life to lose, but I do. We do. Everyone in this city. So..."

She breathed out a sigh, followed by a nod as her hand slipped away from his car door.


"If you've done it once, you're probably going to do it again. And I don't know if luck pulled you away, so I'm going to give you something stronger. Think before you act, even if things look bad. If a man with a family is getting hassled by these plague rats, and you take out the one's doing it, then his family becomes a target. His friends become a target. It all just... well, if you're not prepared to save them all, then don't stir up the nest, okay?"

She slammed his door shut.

In a plume of darkness, she appeared in front of him; crouched on the hood of his truck. A second later, she was in the back seat of his truck. She didn't know how fast his senses were, but it wouldn't matter. He coudln't follow her movements at all. You can't track an object with your eyes that just wasn't traveling through space to move from point A to point B.


"I could've ejected myself from that situation at any time, but I can't just uproot the rest of my life so easily. None of us can in this city. If we could, we would've fucking left, already. So, for what it's worth... I appreciate you having my back. Or, for wanting to help out a stranger. This is just my warning to a good person. Be a hero in Duskburg if you want, be helpful. There's nothing wrong with that. Just... be aware of what "helpful" means to the people you're trying to save."
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