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Found 350 results

  1. She and Sarah had been texting like mad for the past several days after the incident with Beckett and his Book of Ooky-Spooky. She had classes to attend in the day, and honestly hadn't felt like doing much in the way of patrols around the campus, which worried her a bit, but she needed a break from all the 'Grrr' and the 'Rawr'. A few days off to catch up on her studies and try to be something that resembled a normal twenty something woman. ,, She'd been lazy the last few days, it was true, but lying there on her bed surrounded by her class work and open notebooks she'd decided that she needed a break from her studies as well as being a cursed werebeastie. She couldn't keep putting it off, but then again she wasn't in that much of a hurry to skank herself out to a dead guy. ,, Oh, well... we need his help.... She sent him a text, a part of her hoping he'd not answer and a part of her hoping he'd be all over the invitation. ,, Gary, Dude, it's Swara-Ann. Hey, you busy? I need to talk to you about something pretty important. HMU when you have time. ,, -=XO Alaskan H0ttieXO=- ,, She dug back into her school work, hoping her head would explode and she'd not have to type any of it out later. It sucked being one of the only students in U.C.L.A. who couldn't afford a laptop.
  2. Aradia glanced around the deserted street nervously. Kick-ass magic slinger or no (and in her opinion, she wasn't that kick-ass yet), walking around a run-down, deserted industrial in L.A. as a nineteen year old woman dressed for clubbing seemed like a bad idea. She was dressed in Oneca's smallest pair of leather pants, the ones Aradia couldn't quite figure out how her curvy cousin managed to squeeze into. They were almost capri-length on the goth girl (and who the hell had ever heard of leather capris before?!), which put them at just about the right length for Aradia, and loose enough for her to move in while still looking decent, and ready to party. Over that she'd thrown a tight tank top and a thin, too-large t-shirt advertising an obscure punk band. It had come pre-ripped from the thrift shop, but Aradia assumed that added to the effect. Her hair was down, she'd changed the streaks to various shades of bright pinks and reds through the brown, and altered the cut to look straighter and edgier. She'd styled it with the part off to the side and teased to high heaven, and slid at least a dozen multi-colored glow-stick bracelets on each wrist, a pair of boots with four-inch thick soles that were laced over the pants with cheap LED fiber-optic shoelaces she'd found locally. She'd topped it all off with a half a kilo of fairly dark glitter-punk makeup, and hoped she was dressed well enough to blend in without standing out. Latigo was nearby, wandering along out of sight, ready to warn her if he saw anything dangerous. Finally though, she found the place. It was, at first glance, not even worth a look. Only the loud noise emanating from the old subway entrance gave any indication that there was more than rats scurrying around in the abandoned station. As she descended down the stairs, the darkness gave way to the glow of black lights and hundreds of glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark raver clothes, and LED accessories. At the bottom of the stairs were the bouncers, but they waved Aradia in without even glancing at the fake ID she'd been ready with. At one time (before some official rerouting cut this section of the city off from the subway lines), this had been a very utilitarian station. Once you decended the stairs, there was a very long stretch of flat concrete, with pillars on either side overlooking the opposing train directions. But in the time since, heavy-duty surfaces had been fabricated that stretched over the subway tracks, almost like a flat bridge to nothing except barren wall and the short ledge on the other side. These were referred to as the dance bridges, where hundreds of young men and women writhed and raved, their emotions high on the music and their bodies high on drugs and cheap booze. The bar was a half-circle set back near the blocked-off back wall, where the station stopped and the tracks kept going. It extended out from the DJ booth, which was built high up off the ground and required climbing a short ladder to reach it. That modification had been made after the third or fourth DJ had been ripped away from his audio controls by an irate mob unhappy with his song selections, and bouncers also guarded the ladder leading up to the sound booth. In the ceiling, the original fluorescents had been replaced by an elaborate track lighting system that flashed colored spots all around the dance floor. Flush with the back station wall, heavy black barricades had been constructed blocking off the remaining tracks, and no one was allowed through the doors that had been built into them. The barricades were guarded by even more bouncers - burly men in plain black t-shirts and pants that didn't bother blending into the throng of dancers. No one knew exactly who ran this place. It was officially called Le Sousterrian, though everyone called it the Sous. No one knew how it had become an actual place, either.. at least one that the cops didn't shut down. Either way, it was well known amongst the music scene as the place to go for a wild fucking time. Aradia knew Latigo would follow somehow, staying out of sight in that mysterious way of his that sleepers never noticed. But she danced her way into the throng, doing her best to blend into the madness so she could get a good look at the place. Her latest tip regarding missing people had led her here, and at this point, it was the only lead she had. Of course, she had no fucking clue what she was looking for.. but at least it was something. Livy, girl, I haven't given up on you...
  3. It was Thursday night. Saja had left for the duration of the summer, headed to San Francisco for an internship. August had made her first appearance at the house that same day, for the first time in the month since Oneca had left. Earlier today, Aradia had received a text message from Oneca that she was heading back into town as well. They were about to spend an entire summer together under the same roof - thankfully a Saja-free one - and still her two roommates were keeping her in the dark. August had spent most of the last month with Dec, the hot-as-hell werewolf. They had a shape-shifting were-cat 'crashing' (Hah! - She'd been living there just barely shorter than Aradia had, at this point!) in one of the spare bedrooms. Yet, all of the life mage's attempts to extract who (or what) her roommates were up to now had been rebuffed, ignored, or flat-out rejected. It was like living in the center of a minefield, and yet everyone kept insisting it was a city park. She stepped back and surveyed the battlefield that was the den. Fruity drink mixes were August's favorite, and the add-your-own alcohol versions allowed for Oneca to get as plastered as she so chose. She'd sent August a text with the time to be here by, stating vaguely that they "should hang out, since Oneca was gonna be back". She knew August loved Greek food, and there was enough pita bread involved there to keep Oneca from getting wasted too quickly. The delivery guy had just dropped it off, and she'd laid it all out on the huge cocktail table that was centered between the deep-seated, soft, curl up in it upholstered furniture that outfitted the entertainment-centered room. She'd rented a few movies from Redbox, a variety of different things meant to appeal to whatever random mood the other two were in, although honestly Aradia didn't care if they got around to watching any of them. She took in a deep breath, and then checked her phone briefly for the time. August should be arriving any minute, and Oneca shortly after that. If I can't get them to talk this way, I'm going to have to resort to more extreme measures.
  4. "Allo' Little Bird." The worst accent in the world greeted the young blonde as she waited. Leaning against the wall in dark alleyways was starting to become habit for her but she always considered a lot better than being found almost dead in them (long story). The voice belonged to a homeless guy whose fake limp was transparent, but it worked for him. Dressed in a pile of rags Swara-Ann easily noticed that the entire ensemble could be cast off with a simple gesture. She also made a mental note to look up what 'ensemble' meant later. He carried a large duffel on his shoulder. ,, "Hey, Dredge." She said somberly, unfolding her arms and pushing herself off the wall. "You get it?" ,, "Aye, aye... I got it." He nodded his head and dropped the duffel at her feet. "Wozint easy, I can tell you that. Right bit expensive dey iz'. Fair warning Dove, my people aren't to happy bout this. Def Int's givin' you forty eight hours, that's it. And you owe us, not just for the toy." ,, She threw the zipper aside and looked inside the bag. A smile formed on her once lovely features. She was a mess. Deep bags were under eyes and her hair looked like it hadn't been combed in days. He noticed how here fingers and hands trembled as she unzipped the bag. She was a stable as an asylum patient. "Fair enough." She said flatly while lifting the duffel and sliding across her shoulder. "Thanks, see ya." ,, "Dove." The way Dredge said it made Swara halt in her tracks. Like a mentor or a father might hold a child in place because they knew there was something more going on than they were being told. "And you owe, me." ,, With a sigh frustration she about faced and gave him that dread look of valley girl annoyance, complete with the eye roll. On the up side, Dredge was Uratha, like her, so she know sleeping with him wasn't going to be an option. Thank Luna for small favors. "Fine. What do you want? I already hooked you up, four cartons of smokes and I used my phone to record my room mate showering. What more do you want from her? Her number? Cuz, seriously, dude... I don''t think she's into the whole homeless guy schtick. Maybe if you parted your hair the other way she wouldn't notice?" ,, Dredge chuckled, hopping up on a small stack of pallets, he got comfortable. "S'why I like you Dove, yer cute, funny, easy on the eyes. Dumb as bag of hammers, but we can't expect the whole package, right? Been like that since the dawn o' time... we can find the brain, or the body... never both in the same box, pardon my pun. No, Dove, all I want from you is an explanation. I've been more than 'elpful, sweets, dedicated a few outfits for ya, found you trinkets, kept my pack from gutting you... I think I deserve at least that." ,, The bag hit the ground again and the Alaskan native took her place back on the wall, leaning with her hands tucked in the pockets of tight denim. "Kay, fine. What do you want to know?" ,, "How much longer do you think you have, Dove? I can see it in your eyes." He sighed with genuine concern in his tone. He liked Swara, she was a good kid, noble, heart in the right place but there was no room in his pack for her. He hated seeing her trying to live this life of theirs alone, but he knew she'd be all all the stronger for it. "The Rage is eating you up inside. You're on edge, you're lashing out, you can barely sleep at night and it shows. How long's it been since you slept, Dove?" ,, "A few naps," She admitted quietly. "Thirty minutes here and there, but, about four days or so. After I left Declan's, I guess." ,, "An how long since you changed? Vented all that rage?" ,, She was silent for a long time, embarrassed to speak but realizing she had no way out of it. "Th-three cycles." Her eyes were already getting misty. She wanted to just walk away, but the Low Honored the High, and Dredge, for a homeless guy, was not an Uratha you wanted to be on the bad side of. "B-but I use the others! I shift I make use of the other forms, just like you said! Just... not that one." ,, "Christ, Dove! Th' hell you thinking?" He palmed his face and then looked up to the sky as if someone might drop some common sense onto her from upon high. "You have any idea ow' stupid you are? I know you're hurtin' sweetie, I know you carry a weight greater than most, but caging that beast will not give you a happy ending, Little Bird. You think it's bad when the curse grips you darlin' just wait... when you change, and you will change, you'll have a lot to answer for when it's all said and done." ,, "I can c-control it." She tried to keep back the tears but she was crying a little now. Days of sleep deprivation were taking their toll. "It's not easy, and it hurts sometimes... but I can do it. I've a plan." ,, "Right... ain't heard that before, Dove." He rolled his eyes, took a deep breath and threw his arms in the air. They fell with a slap releasing a stagnant cloud of dust into the air. "Bottom line, pookums, you ain't got much time. I've told you what Shiva decided and the twin's 'ave agreed. Either you find a cure, or they will put you down. Normally we don't kill our own kind, but special circumstances exist. I hate to say it again for ya Dove, but there you go. Yer on borrowed time, Little Bird." ,, "Then I suppose I should quit wasting it, huh?" She growled, quickly becoming irritated with the whole conversation. Suddenly she realized she'd growled at him and cupped her hands over her mouth. "Oh, God, Dredge I'm sorry, I didn't mean that... I..." ,, He raised a hand and offered her an expression that was warm and far from offended by her outburst. "S'okay Dove, you're under a lot of pressure. I understand, and you're right. Us sitting here rattlin' our gabbers ain't gettin' you curse free. Go. I'll run interference for you as long as I can. Fly away Little Bird, fly away." ,, She was already gone and running down the alleyway into the street. Even with the duffel over her back she was like pink lightning down the street. With the weight of the wolf's rage bubbling up inside her she need to act fast and she'd need help. Her trip was a one way door and unless she had help getting out, she'd be dead in a week. She slowed down outside an old abandoned steel mill at 190 and South Vermont. She clicked something on the screen of her phone: ,, Sarah, It's Swara. Seriosuly need your help. Only one I trust. Come to Dongbu Steel, 190 and South Vermont. ,, Please! -=XO Alaskan H0ttie XO=- ,, She looked around on the cold, black streets and then finally slipped through a massive tear in the fence. Unwrapping a Hersey's bar she took several large bites, hardly giving pause to chew. Tranquilizers wouldn't work, sedatives were too slow and even then the doses it would take were far beyond her bankroll to acquire. Chocolate, as bad of an idea as it was... was almost free and in every store. The after effects were going suck. Oh, were they going to suck. ,, She sat down and pulled a few things from the duffel. A cordless drill with a few spare batteries and several large, fourteen inch diamond carbide bits. The rusty old smelting bowl she was standing near was huge but she'd been working for almost a month to get it right how she needed it. It was resting at an angle, reminiscent of the old rabbit traps with a box and a stick. One swift kick to the pulleys and tack that were holding it in place with incredibly thick chains and the whole thing would fall down like a church bell. A four inch sheet of solid steel as the 'floor' under neath it and the bowl weighed nearly four tons. With a deep sigh she began drilling a one inch hole at the base of the bowl. ,, Hopefully Sarah wasn't too busy...
  5. There was a road - plenty of them - running through the LA National Cemetery, which made it easy to access, it was a short distance from the UCLA campus area, and it gave the proper atmosphere for the knowledge Gary intended to impart to August - without actually putting her on the spot with real ghosts. Despite the age old horror stories - graveyards usually were not anchors for ghosts in Gary's experience. ,, The cool, lightly warm air wafted across his face in the early evening as Gary leaned his back against a sturdy beech tree on the other side of Antietam Avenue. Declan had been making noises about Gary assisting August and teaching her, and eventually they'd had the time to put something clearly down on the schedule. ,, Gary was here a few minutes early, to get focused and prepared for tutoring the medium. The Rotting Scholar rustled against his mind, and Gary remembered that a mere undercooked burger had driven him from his comfortable dreams of magic and occult pretensions, to this more dark yet thrilling truth of the Sin-Eater life. ,, But as per Astra's warning back in March - was August ready for the challenges and potential sacrifices involved in the group's path, and Gary's path? Would she ever be?
  6. August woke up, feeling warm and content. That lasted for about two seconds before she remembered today’s plans. “Aww, hell.” She rolled over again and buried her face in her pillow. ‘Hell’ was the operative word here. ,, Yes, she was going to be spending the day with Declan – no ghosts, no crazy bullshit, just her and her… werewolf boyfriend. ,, Okay, maybe there would be a little crazy bullshit. But it had to be fun crazy bullshit. ,, August showered, though that was probably going to prove a waste of time. However, there was a pride in her that wouldn’t let her show up to Dec’s stinking of sleep and bad breath, even if he was going to smell worse from her later today. She dressed practically, pulling on a pair of sturdy jeans, a black t-shirt and her hiking boots. Her hair was pulled into a braid and fell in a long line down her back. ,, Despite not looking forward to the events of the day, August was looking forward to spending time with Declan. More than that, she was looking forward to spending time having fun with Declan, as Lise had prescribed. They were starting with some fun that would be well within Declan’s comfort zone: camping. ,, August hated camping. It wasn’t that she didn’t like being outdoors, but most of her camping trips had devolved into a bug-filled, burnt-or-cold food nightmare. Declan had told her it’d be fun, and so she was willing to give it a shot. He’d get a chance to prove to her that camping could be fun. ,, She grabbed her bag just as her phone rang. “Hey, sexy,” she said as she answered. ,, “I hope you know it was me.” Declan’s deep voice was filled with humor and a twinge of lust. ,, “I checked the id yes, but I thought I should answer my phone this way all the time. Should make my family stop calling me so much.” August was sorta joking, but since she’d decided to date Declan, her aunt had been calling her almost every day. August knew she did it out of love, but even love had its limits. ,, “Mmm,” Declan murmured, the deep hum going down her spine to her toes. “And I’d call more. Speakin’ of calling, I’m out front.” ,, “Oh, I do declare,” August said in a bad southern accent, “do I have a gentleman caller?” ,, “You got the caller part right.” The naughtiness in his voice made her insides quiver. She didn’t know if they would finally be finishing what they’d started on Valentines but she’d packed protection anyway. And if he kept talking like that… ,, First, she had to see how she handled being around him in wolf-form long-term. Wolf first, then sexy. “I’ll be right down.” August dropped her voice a bit and purred, “Coming down, that is.” Then she hung up; let him think about that for a bit. Laughing to herself, she hurried for the stairs.
  7. The great wolf lay on his side, dead to all visual senses until an ear twitched or his side heaved in a great sigh. The spirits of the Hisil gave it wide berth, despite the lack of concern the uratha was giving his atmosphere. Normally, that was sure death to one of the forsaken children of Luna in the spirit world. But several spirits, large and strong despite the weird wavering of their bodies, glared menacingly at any spirits who dared to come to close to the great wolf. He was called Drunk Since Sunday by the spirits and so that was his deed name. The wolf wasn’t sober enough to realize he had a deed name. Any time he started to come out of his stupor, a touch from one of the alcohol spirits put Drunk right back under the haze of intoxication. He was their meal-ticket, their perpetual source of spiritual sustenance. The spirits had only had food like this once before, when the overpass in the other world had become home to alcoholic vagrants. They had been strong in that time. Drunk was feeding them better than that time, and they were loath to lose him, either to himself or others. The werewolf heaved himself to his feet, swaying a bit. The spirits hovered close, worried until they heard his stomach growl. Though he swayed and wove an zigzag across the Hisil, the wolf was hungry enough to go seeking water and food. The alcohol spirits followed closely, their eyes sharp where his was bleary. He didn’t spot the squirrel-spirit; they did. He didn’t catch it, not until they hounded it until it was out of essence and exhausted. He ate in several quick bites before staggering over to the nearby source of water. Then it was back to the spiritual representation of the overpass where the alcohol spirits crowded close. The werewolf slipped back into the bliss of oblivion with a relieved sigh; memories had already started to haunt him – that and the ghost. She hounded him all the time, but being a wolf and being drunk both helped to keep her at bay. If only he were stronger. The thought, the only truly coherent one in his head, taunted him as he sank into himself. If only he’d been strong enough to survive her death. If only he’d been strong enough to survive her ghost. He had things worth living for – a sister, he vaguely remembered that. There were other women, too. He’d met one at a grocery store and she’d wanted to help him. But somehow, he’d gotten into the hisil and then he found peace here. It was easier to die in slow pieces here, than to get up and fight. So much easier, and so Shane O’Neally slept and dreamed of a better past.
  8. (This thread is back-dated to take place immediately after Boot-Scooting Boogie.) Aradia drank that shot, and the next one, with good grace. Her concerns about drinking too much seemed to have evaporated as the party went on. Her mother's crowd had been full of a different type of drinker - angry, bitter, mean drunks who liked to yell at act like assholes and bitch about every little thing. On top of the alcohol there had often been drugs, and when not sitting around bitching about life, Aradia had often come home to find her mother too stoned or high to function, much less laugh or have a good time. For good or ill, the pretty young acrobat was having too much fun to monitor herself tonight. "Five of diamonds - get me some beer, bitch!!!" Aradia groaned as the rest of the players started chanting-- "Beer bitch! Beer bitch! BEER BITCH!" --and tossed her cards down onto the table, standing up with a small stumble. "Okay, okay! Beer bitch, I got it. Okay. But, I can't carry it all myself.. I need ash - assish - assistance!" She steadied herself on the chair, and glanced around the table, briefly. August was out - she'd was probably only still upright because of Lucien, and that took him out as well. The pasty librarian-looking dude looked like he couldn't carry lift a backpack, much less carry liquor. Ari's eyes paused for a moment on the big guy with the tattoos - Finn? - but it was Astra's shameless flirting that caught her attention, the obvious way she laughed as she leaned closer, showing off her assets to the silver-eyed stud that made Aradia want to switch games.. from poker, to smack-a-ho. "Hey, you - Dec. Yeah - you. Pretty eyes. C'mon.. be beer bitch with me." Without waiting, she turned and walked into the kitchen, confident that he would follow. Dec arched a brow in amusement, but he stood up and followed, despite Astra's pout.. after all, how could you turn a demand request like that down? By the time he made it into the kitchen, she had the fridge door open, and was shuffling things around inside, looking for more cold beer for those who were drinking it. But she glanced up at him, a half-annoyed, half-amused smirk on her lips. "You guys get a kick out of that shit, don't you? When those girls fawn all over you like a cat in heat? I've never met one guy - NOT ONE - who didn't lap that shit up like sweetened cream. Tell me, are ALL men that easy, pretty eyes?"
  9. February 13, 2012, 11:30 p.m. “You’re gonna lose your shirt,” August threatened as they cleared the dishes from the late dinner. Her internship had her keeping odd hours, and fitting her workouts around the demands of her last semester was always interesting. “You say that every week, frail,” Declan chided her as he started to run the water for the dishes. “And yet, I always get my fill of the peanuts.” “This time will be different,” the woman insisted, shoving the sleeves of her shirt up her arms. The spaghetti and meatballs were long gone; August tried to make enough for leftovers, but every time they had a post-training dinner, Declan ate every scrap. “Washing or drying?” “Washin’,” he said and plunged his hands into the water. “I made it hot.” “You always make it hot,” August snorted as she grabbed a towel. A second later she blushed, then blushed harder as the werewolf unleashed one of his slow sexy chuckles. “Hey, you wanna get spanked, I have no problem delivering,” he told her, automatically washing the dish in his hands. He rinsed and handed the steaming plate to her, adding, “In poker or anything else.” August flushed again, taking the plate and drying it. “Not this time,” she vowed. “I’m winning tonight.” “Well, better hurry up and get to it then,” Declan said, doubling the speed of his dish-washing. They kept of the light banter as they cleaned the kitchen and wiped the table. Then Declan went to get the cards while August located the peanut tin. When the werewolf came into the kitchen, August was holding the tin and frowning. “We have a problem,” she said. “What’s that?” he asked, about two seconds before he remembered having a craving for nuts a couple of days ago. “No peanuts.” “No, three peanuts,” she said, smirking a little. “You ate all but three? Really? And put the tin back with three peanuts in it?” “I only ate what I wanted,” he defended sheepishly, racking his brain for appropriate stakes. August was thinking, too, but her mind was going somewhere different. “Alright,” she said, then drew a deep breath. “Strip poker it is, then.” She colored at the look he gave her and said faintly, “Unless you have a better idea? I mean, with two people, it’s gonna be a short game…” She rather hoped he didn't think of anything better. Tomorrow was Valentines, and being alone on that day was really pathetic. Sure, she, Oneca, Araida and Kaitlin would go picking up men, but that wasn’t the same. August didn’t want to pick up strange men for meaningless sex. She’d rather have meaningless sex with Declan. Hell, she’d rather have sex with Declan altogether. She knew it. He knew it. Only that little sliver of doubt was holding her back and on the eve of Valentine's Day, it wasn't enough to stop her.
  10. February 19, 2012 “Out of bed!” The voice snapped through Imriel’s brain, jogging him awake. He was on his feet before his eyes opened, so he was already halfway awake before he saw the time. His mentor and roommate was annoyingly awake, fully dressed and ready to go. He was still wearing his tank top and flannel pants. Whisker liked it a little colder, so he adapted. “Whisker, it’s three in the morning,” he said, realized he’d said it in slurred Japanese, and repeated himself in English. “Yep, and we have work to do,” she informed him. She grabbed his head and he felt something flow through him. Sleepiness fled as she stepped back, grinning. “You might want to call into work now.” -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- I’m going to lose my fucking job, Imriel sighed as he drove down Foothill Boulevard. This was the third time he’d had to call in since the start of the year, and that wasn’t a good track record. Unfortunately, Seers didn’t wait for convenient times to act out. Whisker pointed at a parking spot on the side of the road and Imriel snagged it. As he parallel parked, she pulled out a tiny spy glass and peered through it. When he shut off his engine, she passed it to him. It looked like a run-down apartment complex of a dozen buildings. The sign out front said it was Last Foundations Retirement Home, but it looked like it had been retired. The building that Whisker pointed out wouldn’t have caught his eye, as it was a dirty, broken-down building in a row of dirty, broken-down buildings. A second look revealed signs that she was right; all of the windows were still in place and the doors was firmly locked rather than just nailed shut or kicked in. According to Whisker’s intel, there was a Seer cell operating in the building. The word was that they had captured supernatural creatures and were running tests on them. This could not be allowed, not just because it allowed others to possibly learn about magic but because it was wrong. It was something his mother would do, and so when he’d learned about it, he’d been as ready as Whisker was to kick some Seer ass. Imriel sighed as he glanced at the dashboard and saw it was now just after four-thirty. Whatever Whisker had done to him had been like a Red Bull, but that didn’t mean he wanted to be up right now. But his mentor had a lead on Seer activity and this time it sounded far more important than the usual Seer bullshit. It sounded like something needed to deal with immediately. Whisker waited until he’d had a good look before she asked, “Did you see the light? On the first floor of that building?” “No,” he admitted, not at all surprised. Whisker’s eyes were much sharper than his. “They painted over the windows, but they didn’t go a perfect job,” she said, her sexy voice serious and smug. She really liked having anything she could hold over the Seers, no matter how trivial. “I can see a spot on one of the buildings.” Her exotically-shaped gray eyes focused on him. “Where’s that friend of yours?” “She’s not my friend,” he said absently, still scanning the building’s black windows. “She’s just another mage I know.” “I wish we had more Arrows,” Whisker sighed. Imriel agreed, but Calypso had been the only one to answer her phone when he’d called around for backup. “I’m going to get some eyes on the inside.” Imriel nodded as she hopped out of the car and slipped over to a shadow. He watched, but only saw her kneeling. A moment later, she returned, looking smug. “A rat’s going to check it out for us. We just have to wait.” Whisker was silent, then asked impatiently, “When will she get here?” “When she gets here,” Imriel replied, used to her impatience. She’d wait, though not happily. And she’d make sure he was unhappy about having to wait, too. “She has the address, and she said she was coming.” -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Thad groaned and pulled the pillow over his head as the beast roared again. He was trying to sleep damnit, and he wasn’t sure how he was supposed to do that when that monster was making so much noise. The spell soundproofing the apartment complex kept people outside from hearing the noise, but he could hear it and he needed some god damned rest! “Fucking furry monster!” he snarled as he rolled out of his cot and stormed for the door. The noise was even louder when he opened the door that had once separated the studio apartment from its bathroom. This room mirrored the other bathroom, which had been left intact for their use. The far wall of this bathroom, along with all the facilities, was long gone and emptied to make a storage room. The opening led to another former studio apartment. This one was now a large kitchen and dining room for the six-man team who lived here. Emilio was standing at the butcher’s block, chopping celery. The ingredients for an omelet were arrayed around him. The former Mexican was the best cook and usually pressed into service for cooking. “I haven’t gotten any sleep,” Thad bitched to the older man, stopping to watch him. “No one is,” Emilio said, looking up at Thad through salt-and-pepper hair. “I told her we should kill the hombre-lobo.” Thad winced. “You and everyone else, Milo.” The Biologist was super creepy, and when Emilio had told her to kill the werewolf, she’d just said ‘No’ and no one had said anything else. Just that single no had made his skin crawl. He tried to avoid The Biologist with her staring eyes and face that never, ever showed a single expression. He preferred DeathFire, sorta. The guy had the corniest name ever, but after seeing him make black fire from his hands, Thad had never ever laughed at the name again, even privately. He looked like nothing; just some punk with stringy hair and the tendency to wear ripped t-shirts that had band names on them. All the bands had Deth or Death in the title, so at least DeathFire kept to a theme. He was scary too, but not in the testicle-constricting way that The Biologist was. DeathFire was terrifying because of what Thad had seen him do; he didn’t ever want to see what the Biologist could do. Thad once again wished he’d never answered the ad for a vet tech specialist working with exotic animals. A wealthy employer with a private collection who needed round-the-clock vet techs and were willing to pay were few and far in-between. Only once he’d taken the job did he learn why he’d gotten it: he saw magic without freaking out. DeathFire had shown off his fire-tricks, The Biologist had stared – and then things had gotten weird. He was so not suited for this. He was a vet tech, for fuck’s sake, not a… whatever you called people who looked after fucking werewolves. He’d been watching Emilio prepare breakfast when another roar tore through the kitchen. Scowling, Thad pushed himself off the counter and walked over to one of the industrial fridges in the room. This one was the one for food, he knew, not the other one – that was a mistake you only made once. Reaching inside, he pulled out a raw steak and a beer. “Whatcha doin’?” Emilio asked, watching him. “Bribery,” Thad explained and stomped over to the next door. This door led to a library of sots; the room held bookshelves and the Biologist’s desk. Thad wove through them, crossing through another set of former bathrooms, this one with only support studs left. The autopsy room was next and Thad winced at the smell. A man was on one of the tables, his chest and other parts splayed open. Yvette, a slim, petite black woman, was examining something from the dead man that Thad deliberately didn’t look at as he stalked past. He was supposed to be working on animals, damnit! Yvette glanced up at him as he walked by, her dark skin clashing with the blue hospital coverings she wore. “What’s up, sugar?” she asked, glancing at his hands. “Can’t sleep,” he snarled as he entered the next studio apartment. In this one, both bathrooms had been removed again to make room for six cages. Thad’s steps slowed as he looked at the newest occupants of the cages, freshly arrived last night. Of course, then they’d all been unconscious and blissfully quiet. The first cage on the right held a shivering woman. She was actually more of a girl, younger than he, at twenty-nine, would have been comfortable dating. Even with that discomfort, he admitted that the girl was blonde and gorgeous, with a body that would not stop. She was also high out of her mind, shivering and muttering softly to herself. The first cage on the left held a young man; he was in his early twenties with short black hair and pale green eyes. There was something unsettling about that one, and Thad glanced away. There were two empty cages, then the last cage or the right held the source of the noise. Thad’s lips curled in an angry grimace as he understood the cause of the monster’s outrage. Roman, Yvette’s half-brother, was stabbing at the beast through his bars with dowel rods. The monster was snapping them, but Roman just picked up another. Thad considered shoving Roman against the bars and letting the monster do as he would to him; the bars were too close for the werewolf to get his muzzle through, but he could rend the man with claws. Thad settled for kicking Roman in the backside. That was bad enough; Roman spun and glared down at him. Unlike Yvette, Roman was big and ugly. Yvette had been hired for her medical skills; Roman had been hired because he broke things. “You lookin’ for hurt, Tad?” he grumbled, his voice like rocks grinding. “I’m looking to get some fucking sleep,” he snarled, ignoring Roman getting his name wrong again. “Leave it alone so it’ll calm down.” “It was making noise before I started,” Roman protested. “Stop it,” Thad snapped, “or I’ll tell The Biologist what you’re doing to her experiments. If she wanted you to be riling them up, she’d say so. Now get.” The threat of The Biologist was enough. Roman scowled, but he pushed past Thad, bouncing him off one of the empty cages. “Asshole,” Thad muttered when he was sure that Roman was far enough away he wouldn’t hear. Now alone with the werewolf, Thad tossed the steak between the bars. “Truce?” he asked, then held up the beer. “I’ll give this to you, too, if you agree. I just want some damned sleep.” Lips curled back from teeth as long as Roman’s fingers. “I know you can understand me. Just nod and you get the beer.”
  11. December 22, 2011 August was not in a good mood. Despite the festive nature around her, she had no desire to participate. She was alone in this mood; the other film TAs were excited to be shutting down for the semester. All their cheer made her feel even sorrier for herself. This wasn’t entirely unusual for her; she usually dreaded the upcoming mandatory family-time. Thanksgiving was bad enough but Georgie would be home for Christmas. It was always harder seeing her black-haired, green-eyed cousin. Georgie was the same age as August, and they could pass for sisters. It was like seeing what should have been. And there was Declan. Two days ago, he’d dropped her off at her house after their workout, chipper and eager for his trip into the mountains. August doubted he’d even noticed that she’d been brooding and silent, already missing him. He’d given her an odd look when she’d hugged him, but said nothing as he climbed in his truck and headed northeast. Sighing in disgust, August tried not to think about the handsome, brooding werewolf anymore. Sadly, he was like the elephant in the room, albeit much sexier: the harder she tried not to think about him, the more she found herself daydreaming. She missed him a lot, there was no doubt, and she’d expected that. What she hadn’t expected was the missing being an actual ache in her heart. The depth of her unexpected emotions were scaring the crap out of her. Do not fall in love with him! she ordered her mind, pretty sure she wasn’t there. Yet. And it could also be somewhat innocent: she could love him non-romantically. August was sure that was possible, assuming they could ever get past all the lust that tangled up her head. So in truth, all she really knew was that she was definitely very fond of him, enough that his absence was noticeable. Her phone rang and she checked, a wild hope that it was him calling to ask for a tow or saying something had come up and he was coming back. It wasn’t him; it was Aunt Molly. “And so it begins,” she muttered before thumbing the call to active. “Hey,” she said with more warmth than she was feeling. “What’s up?” “I just wanted to know when you were coming over, honey.” Aunt Molly’s voice was slightly too high pitched for a woman of her age, making her sound like a teen when she was over fifty. “Mom is already here, and Tracy and her brood are due at six.” August glanced at the clock; it was just after three. Less than three hours to hell. “Uh… between five and six.” She heard the disappointment without Molly saying a word and added, “I have work at the lab that I have to finish first.” “Sure sweetie,” Aunt Molly said and had August not known the woman, she’d have never heard her unhappiness. “Just be sure you bring a side dish, ok?” She’d planned to make roasted veggies but now remembered she hadn’t bought any of the groceries. Fuck! I am the worst niece ever. “I will,” August promised, resolving to get something on her way over. A nice veggie tray from the store should be sufficient.
  12. June, 1992. Somewhere in Montana "He was always striving to attain it. The life that was so swiftly expanding within him, urged him continually toward the wall of light. The life that was within him knew that it was the one way out, the way he was predestined to tread." He didn't like the truck. His uncle had explained that it was necessary. That the machine was no different in essence than a rifle or a stove. But Declan didn't like the truck. It smelled funny, made too much noise, and for a six year-old boy who hadn't even seen or heard of an automobile before his uncle had retrieved it from the old shed and spent yesterday repairing it, the contraption was terrifying. "Don't fret, boy." His uncle told him without real impatience as he glanced sideways to where the dark-haired boy was moodily kicking at the underside of the dash. "You got to get used to riding these things. They make life's journeys a little faster and easier." "Why can't we walk?" Declan didn't quite whine: his uncle was a kind enough man in a rough-hewn way, but didn't tolerate whining. The odd cuff around the back of the head had quickly cured the boy of that. But his question was definitely accusatory. "I don't care how far it is. I want to walk to Livvy. I can walk to any place." "It's Libby, Dec. And yeah, you're a good strong walker. And yeah, we would get there... by evening." His uncle grinned through a short dark beard streaked with grey, pale blue eyes twinkling. "All the shops would have shut, and you and me would be stuck in Libby for the night." He reached over and ruffled the child's hair, prompting a mutinous glower from his nephew's silver eyes. Bob Perault was a little taken aback. Damn, last time I saw anyone with that look, his dad kicked my ass. "Don't you look at me like that, boy." he said, forcing a growl into his voice. "You got to get a lot bigger and whole lot meaner before you can throw looks like that one around, goddamnit." The tone worked, and Declan dropped his gaze and mumbled an apology under his breath. Bob reached out and laid a hand on the kid's shoulder. "Is it that bad, Dec? Look outta the window, kiddo. Ever go this fast before?" His question roused the boy from his sulk, and Declan clambered up on the bench seat and watched the world go past, face pressed to the window as he forgot his gripe in the way children do. The rest of the trip was more harmonious. The kid was a quiet sort anyway. Apart from the occasional question about something he saw, he would just watch the landscape blur past. Bob privately wondered what he'd do on the day that he couldn't face down his nephew. It was coming, sure as snow in winter. Pulling the truck into a parking space outside the store, Bob got out. "You stay with the truck, Dec. It needs watching." Declan's disappointment at being left behind was softened by being given something important to do. He started to get out, but his uncle shook his head. "Stay inside the truck, Dec. Folks around here aren't always friendly. If anyone causes trouble honk the horn, okay?" The large man indicated the horn button, and Declan nodded. "It'll make a big noise, and I'll come running out." Declan nodded again, then watched his uncle walk into the general store. He spent some time watching the street, but Libby was a small town and there was not much to see. After a few minutes, however, a small knot of local children gathered to stare at the beat-up old truck and the pale-eyed boy staring out at them from inside it. Eventually, a group consensus achieved, they approached the truck behind a chubby ten year old wearing an orange t-shirt and faded jeans. "Hey!" The leader, a kid called Joe, said, looking up at the open window that Declan was currently staring out of. He knew how this was supposed to go: harass the new kid, see how they fitted into the pecking order. But this weird-eyed kid didn't answer, he just stared at Joe like some kind of creepy dummy. "Are you a retard or something?" Joe asked, not entirely unkindly. It wasn't nice to pick on retards, after all. "He looks like one." giggled Steve, one of Joe's friends. The strange kid just tilted his head to one side as if considering Steve, then answered in a soft voice. "What's a retard?" Joe blinked and glanced at his friends as though seeking some sort of advice, then looked back at Declan. "Wow. You must be real young to not know that." He said patronisingly. The weirdo frowned at that, looking defiant. "I'm six!" He said with some heat, falling for one of the oldest pieces of bait in the schoolyard fishing compendium. "Oooh! Siiiiix!" Steve giggled again. "Are you a big boy now?" The other kids laughed. Declan felt his teeth clench at that sound, shrill mockery and humor at his expense causing his hands to grip the window's edge harder. "I'm plenty big enough to do lots of things I bet you can't! I can track, and hunt, and one day my uncle will teach me to shoot!" Declan said with anger in his voice now at their continued laughter. "Which is more than you all can do. You stink so bad that you'd scare the game away!" "I don't stink!" Joe stepped up to the truck door, clenching pudgy fists as he looked up into Declan's silver eyes. "You come down here and say that to my face, or are ya chicken?" Declan was torn now; on the one hand, his uncle had told him to stay with the truck and honk the horn in case of trouble. On the other hand this fat boy, with his soft features and smelly breath, was calling him chicken. The inner conflict didn't last long. It couldn't. Something inside him whispered that a challenge had been made, and something in Declan's soul rose to it, teeth bared. He jumped out of the truck window with a little growl, landing on Joe's upturned face and sending them both crashing to the floor. The yelp of pained surprise from Joe stifled the noise of the other kids as Declan rolled and came to his feet in a crouch, not even concerned about the grazes and cuts on his arms and bare legs under the shorts. The older boy struggled to his feet less gracefully, touching one finger gingerly to a bloody lip. He looked at the blood and glared daggers at the unflinching boy crouched before him. "You're DEAD!" With that shrill battlecry ringing in the sleepy main street air, Joe rushed at the wiry kid with his arms outstretched. Growling under his breath, Declan swayed to one side before launching himself at Joe's ample midsection. They went down in a tangle, punching and grappling with each other. Size and experience was on Joe's side, however, and despite the wiry strength and ferocity of his opponent, the older boy gained the upper hand and was soon kneeling on Declan's chest. "Give in?" Joe was sweating and breathing hard from the effort of the fight. Declan's answer to the civilised question was as simple as it was primal. A fist-sized stone, held in a small hand, came up and smacked the larger boy on the side of the head. Crying out in pain, Joe rolled off Declan and tried to get back to his feet, shaking his head to clear it. The watching kids saw the strange boy roll to his feet in one smooth motion, a killing light in his silver eyes as he stalked towards the still-kneeling Joe, taking a firmer grip on his rock. He raised it high, teeth bared in a snarl... Only to have it snatched from him by a large hand. Growling, he whirled on the interloper, only to receive a cuff that sent him sprawling as Bob Perault tossed the rock to one side. "Stay down there, Dec." Though he didn't sound angry there was steel in his uncle's voice, and the boy heeded it and stayed put as Bob helped Joe to his feet and examined the lump on the boy's skull. "You're alright, kid. Get some ice on that and you'll be fine." He told the other kids to get Joe home, then turned and moved over to the prone Declan. Squatting down next to him, he reached out and ruffled the boy's hair. "Let's get you home, boy. You need some lessons on handling your temper in a fight so's you don't kill folks." Declan took the offered hand and was pulled to his feet. "You also need lessons on what "Stay in the truck" means, dammit all ta hell!" His uncle growled at him before walking away. Scuffing his shoes on the ground, Declan followed. Sure as snow in winter, Bob thought as he opened the truck door, a chill running down his spine as he remembered the look in Declan's eyes. I just hope it ain't the death of me.
  13. February 9, 2012 August jerked into sudden wakefulness, blinking at the sunlight-bathed wall opposite her bed. Green eyes rolled wearily upward and she groaned and shut them again when she saw it was seven in the morning. Why the hell was she up at this hour? A second later, the culprit identified itself with a muted buzz. It was her cell phone, buried under yesterday's jeans. Mumbling curses at the caller, August fished out the offending machine. "What?" she snarled as soon as she'd thumbed it open. "August, are you alright?" The sheer concern in Madeline's voice removed August's anger. "Yeah, I was asleep," the brunette said, sitting upright and pulling her knees to her chest. She hadn't meant to put so much emphasis on that word. "Oh, what time is it? Eight, which means its seven for you. Oh, hon, I'm sorry," Madeline said apologetically. "I just woke up and immediately called you." "Alright... apology accepted," August said, aware that she was being way too nice but too well socialized to stop herself. "Now, why did you call?" "I think I had a bad dream," Madeline said. "It must have been. A ghost was warning me that you were in danger." August swallowed. She'd seen ghosts here and there; it'd gotten better for her once she'd accepted them. They'd ignored her for the most part and she'd ignored them. It had worked well for her to this point. The thought that it might change soon was disheartening and terrifying. Why couldn't they leave her alone? "But you think... it's a dream?" Madeline paused. "I think so. I was asleep and usually ghosts only contact me when they're awake." "Alright, so a bad dream," August said. Her phone beeped and she pulled it away from her ear enough to see that she had a call from Remy. "Madeline, Remy's calling. I should take this." Even if I don't want to take it. "Just be careful, please," the older woman said, the relief that had been in her voice being replaced by worry. "Ask him to call me as soon as he's done with you." "I will, bye!" August said and switched over to catch Peter. "Hey, there. What's up?" "August, I need some help," Remy said with little preamble. "I have some associates who have gone missing. They were filming a haunting in a mental asylum - one of those reality show things - and have all gone missing. Given the setting, this calls for your particular talents." "Wait, you want me to go into a haunted asylum?!" August barked, her green eyes growing wide. "Do you think I'm dumb or suicidal?" "There are people missing," Remy said with quiet intensity. "They may not have been the smartest people, but they were decent. Jack's got a little girl and a wife. Duke's his mother's only living child. Renee is a film student at the Academy of Art. Neil's -" "Stop it," August sighed. "I get the idea. Tell me everything you know." "The show is called Grave Encounters," Remy said immediately. August could hear the relief in his voice. "They were filming their seventh episode. The usual pattern is that they get locked in the haunted area overnight. The caretaker was supposed to come back and let them out in the morning. When he opened the door, he found some of their equipment in the lobby but no people. He hollared for them but became upset when he saw one of the lights was broken. You know the big lights?" "Yeah, I'm a film student," August reminded him. "Those are pricey." "The caretaker was concerned by this," Remy told her. "So he called me." "Why you?" "Because he was instructed to do so," Remy replied. "If there were any problems, he was to call me immediately. It will be another twelve hours before we can file a missing persons report and I fear for their safety if we wait that long." "So you want to go now," August sighed. She could call Declan and ask him to go with her so she wouldn't be alone. Thank god this was a Saturday and he had the day off. They'd planned to go hiking up into the mountains together. Not as a date. No, no... just two friends hiking together for the day. "Hey, Dec, I know we were supposed to go kick about in nature today. How about hunting down idiots in a haunted asylum instead?" "Yes and I need a medium." He didn't see her wince; she hated that term. It made her sound hokey, and she wasn't comfortable with having that label applied to her. "I've got two other people going with me..." His voice trailed off into a sigh. "And if I don't include Oneca, she'll set me on fire." Shit... August wasn't sure if Declan would be alright working with other people. She knew what he was and that was awkward enough. More people knowing wouldn't please him. "Uh, I had plans, but I'll cancel them." "Thank you, I appreciate that," Remy said sincerely. "I'll be by to pick you up in thirty minutes." "Right. See you," August sighed as she hung up. She immediately called Declan, sure that unlike her he would actually be up at this ungodly hour. He was much better then her about maintaining a 'normal' schedule, ironically. "Hey, you," she said, smiling involuntarily as he answered. "Sorry to call so early, but something's come up. I wanted to yet you know that I have to cancel on you sooner rather than later. Maybe we can go tomorrow?"
  14. [Late evening, 25 Jan 2012] I have got to be out of my mind. As she looked westward from the edge of her territory, a light and cool wind wafting inland from the coast, Sarah considered once more what she planned to do, how dangerous it was... and yet, how necessary. The land to the west of here belonged to someone else. And try as she may, nobody else came to mind for the advice she badly needed. Had this been territory back home, Sarah would have shifted to her wolf-form and let out a howl of greeting. But this was the middle of suburban Los Angeles, not a half-dozen blocks from UCLA. People noticed a wolf howling in their backyards. Nor should she leave a note on a tree or rock and hope it might be noticed. People took care of their yards here, and stray paper tacked up wouldn't last long. With one last look around, Sarah stepped out of her territory and into that of the werewolf she knew only as Owns-The-Night. Her neighbor. --- Half an hour of sniffing and scouting and furtive glances later, the Dead-Wolf stood before the door of an unassuming and tidy little house on a corner directly across the street from campus. The signs were unmistakable; the scent was strongest here, and there were tell-tale marks on the trees that were as loud a message of "Stay Away!" as anything man had ever made. Unfortunately, staying away would leave her no better off than she'd been these past several months. With no small amount of trepidation, she reached up with a cold, dead hand and knocked on the door of the wolf's den.
  15. {December 9th, 2011} They gathered in the old dorm common area and they waited. Every thirty seconds (or so it seemed), Monica called someone at site administration to see if the grades were posted. Abigail had returned to the Study Group a few sessions ago. Seems she caught her line backer boyfriend getting too friendly ... with another guy. It wasn't the homosexuality that bothered her. It was the fact that she had been used as window dressing for his lie. Relationships are founded on truths, but it's the lies that hold them together. Boyfriend lied at the foundation part. Mikio was a nervous wreck. She had the highest GPA of the lot of us, but she was driven to not just succeed, but to come out on top. Randy was ambivalent about her discomfort, but she had carried the rest of them through to Finals. Shadow looked at her. "You'll do fine. You always do." Mikio stared at Shadow, half way between rage and tears. "Mikio, Chandler and Kong have nothing on you. You skunked them on the practice exam, and that's with Kong cheating," Randy interjected. Kong was half-Chinese and half the people in his house spoke it. He had barely failed being automatically credited with this class on the entrance exam. Chandler was a different monkey. He was just freaking brilliant. This assholes goal had nothing to do with Mikio. He planned to have the best GPA in UCLA's history. Mikio's competition didn't even register with him. Randy's comment seemed to mollify her somewhat. Shadow gave him a look and a shrug of the shoulders. "Man, I think I screwed up," said Laura, who was dealing with the stress by being face down in her laptop. "I totally lost in doing verb tense and my essay was a mess." "Well," said Randy, "let's go over your answers. We can see what went wrong." Laura looked up and glared at him. "I already did." "Let's do it again." Randy pulled out his tablet and began going over the words he had on the test. Laura didn't come on board until the third word, but after that, she was on a roll. When finished, he had Abigail, Laura, and Shadow distracted enough that Mikio's pressure level was allowed to fall as well. Monica was still hopeless. Finally her call came through. Monica immediately downloaded the image of the message board to the group. Everyone began scrolling down the page, looking for their grades. Monica and Mikio found theirs the fastest. Mikio began jumping up and down in the air. "I did it!" she screamed, "I did it! I did it!" Monica's response was a bit different. She fell back into one of the overstuffed chairs and let out a burst of breath. Randy looked over to her. "How well did you do, M?" he asked. Hyper-Bunny looked over at him, first confused as if she didn't know him and then with a wicked grin. "I passed it!" she squealed. She jumped up and did her best Mikio-Just-Aced-the-Exam impersonation. A little late, Randy saw her leaping at him. She landed in his lap and began kissing him - with tongue. With an internal sigh, the Magus went along with it. He could feel Shadow seething at them both. Then Monica began dancing in his lap, butt wiggling all around and breasts in his face.
  16. Paul Krintzki was dead. It was neither surprising, or alarming. Paul had not been a popular guy. He had been a low-down, swindling, dirty, lying scumbag of a human being. He was the kind of Private Investigator that gave the entire profession a bad name. He had been to engrossed in a baseball game going into extra innings to attend his own Son's funeral. He got paid in cash so he didn't have to pay his wife alimony (or taxes). It was widely suspected that he had a hand in the death of two of his 'clients' who he blackmailed until they committed suicide. What was surprising was how much care and brutality had led up to his death. There were pieces of him found a half mile from the main crime scene. His gun was missing, but the police determined that he had fired it. They had to test his palm and sleeve because they couldn't find (initially) any of the fingers on his right hand. The scariest part of all, though, was that Paul hadn't died of any of his numerous wounds. Paul had died of fright. He had a massive coronary, brought on by decades of chili dogs, greasy fries, booze, and bad coffee. What had finally kicked him over the cliff though was the terror that had him running the last mile of his life. Someone joked that they didn't know he could run that fast. The response was that no one knew he could run at all. Yes, he was unloved. The two detectives who drew the case groaned over the graveside humor. They groaned inwardly as well. Paul had way too many enemies. He was an easy guy to hate. That made the list of possible suspects in the hundreds. Their key limiting factor was that whomever had run Paul to death was that they ... hell, there were no limiting factors. The attacker, or attackers, could have had a gun. It was likely that they probably had an instrument of terror - maybe a blowtorch the guessed. When the beat cops finally found what seemed to be the crime scene, the detectives moved in to investigate. The site was a loft apartment that was unoccupied, though it looked like more than one person had inhabited the place. It was cramped quarters. There was Krintzki's gun, empty. They found the seven bullet holes brought about by Paul most likely emptying his gun - a seven round clip without one up the barrel. No doubt Krintzki feared blowing off his dick. What he had shot at, they didn't know. CSI was looking over the site, but suspected that none of the bullets had passed through a living body. The cops had to think about that one. Seven shots at someone who couldn't have been more than twenty feet away. Was he really that bad a shot? Had he been drunk? What the hell had he been shooting at? One thing was for sure, the shots had been clustered by the mattress near the window. It look like two people had lived, or still lived, there. Had they been involved. Well, hopefully some DNA evidence, or fingerprints, would give them a suspect. Until then, they might as well take a look at the bastard's office and see who he had been working for.
  17. Randy waited at the airport nervously. It was a sensation he thought had faded from his life. It was fear. He wasn't afraid of his visitor, but of the memories she would bring back. He would see her, his Sister, in her face. He would remember his last words to her. He would remember the emptiness he had felt at her graveside. They were phantoms he had buried for ten years. In a way he hoped they would stay buried forever, despite the cost. Then he saw her coming through security. She looked like her. She was his half-sister, but she bore a very close resemblance to his dead Sister. Maybe that was because his father had married a woman that was the closest replacement to the wife he'd lost. She saw him and waved. 'Too late to run now,' he thought. He didn't know what to do. How did he break the ice? She pre-empted him. She ran up and swung her arms around his neck and pulled him close. She kissed him on the cheek and hugged him tight. "I know you would look like this," she whispered to him. Randy stroked her hair, "You're a lot different than I remember you, Autumn. You're not a kid anymore." Autumn stepped back and gave him a play-slug in the upper arm. "Well, yeah. Ten years will do that to a girl." She stared up at him and a tear began forming in her eye. "Come on," Randy said calmly. "Let's get your bags. I have a car. Are you sure your stuff will arrive in the mail?" "Don't you trust the government agencies to do the right thing?" Randy stared at his sister with mock shock. "Having been in the government's pay, I can attest to the fact that there is nothing the government can't screw up," he said. Autumn grinned, her eyes still watery. "I'll take your word for it." "So, how many bags are we getting?" "Three," she grinned. "Big ones." "Great. Did you pack for deployment." "Kind of, yes. I'm not going back under my own power, that's for sure." "We probably will end up broke and on the street you realize." "Gar, it so beats the alternative. It really does." Autumn wrapped her arm in his and they walked toward carousal.
  18. Learning the Magical Arts are like building a building. The Major Arcana are the four walls. Your Ruling Major Arcana is the foundation. As you build upon the Ruling Arcana, your house grows. You want to do this unless you prize the idea of using your wardrobe as your water closet. Build up the walls and your house gains extra stories. What of your roof, you ask? Your roof is your Ruling Minor Arcana. Without it, you don't have a house, but a box that collects whatever blows its way. The greater your understanding of this arcana, the more room you will have in your house to move around. The other minor arcana are the doors (you need two unless bunker life appeals to you), a chimney, and a window. The window is your Inferior Arcana. You can have a house without it, if you so choose. Rotes are the mortar and patch that holds things together and plugs the holes. You can build a house without them, but it isn't strong. The higher the walls, the deeper the foundation, and the greater the dimension, the more those holes are felt. You can't fill in the structure you don't have, but you are wasting a house you can't utilize. -excerpts from Mystical Arts for the Magically Challenged Edison set down the book and rubbed the bridge of his nose. The process was three-fold. First he had to figure out what Rotes he needed to learn, then he needed to prove he could learn them, and finally, he had to actually request/earn them. The problem was that if the search was too broad it was totally useless. If it was too narrow, why didn't you already know the rote? Randy's focus thought was easier than impossible. He needed to know about the Shadow World and its denizens. For that, he had to research the non-arcane tomes for insights into Death Magic. Arcane tomes were not allowed, as they might actually teach him the God-damned things he actually needed to know. In the abstract, Randy understood that he had to have the fundamentals around which the rotes were created. That didn't help his current headache though. What would help that would be a break in the logjam his mind found itself in. What he needed was a break. The tired Magus rubbed his eyes then closed the book that currently was failing to answer his questions. He needed a drink. He even considered going to a crime scene, or the morgue to gather some real world insight the written word was failing to provide. In his experience, you learned from books and lectures, but you understood by taking things into the field. Strangely, it was this belief that drove him into the Mysterium. He loved learning. He loved pushing his mind until his mind felt like it would explode. Even more than that, he loved taking knowledge and putting it to the test. You tossed out what failed the reality test, and passed the real knowledge to anyone who wanted to learn. Life was too short to let other poor, dumb bastards make the exact same mistakes you've made, or so he thought.
  19. She sat above him, nearly spent. Her elbows were locked so that her arms could keep her elevated above him, bodies joined only at the hips. He lay beneath her, breathing slow and regularly. His eyes fluttered, his lashes thick and long. She had once mistaken this for sleeping. He wasn't. Randy was lost in his thoughts. He was always this way after sex. He went off to this other place he would never talk about. Shadow looked down at him and wondered. Balancing her weight on one arm, she slid the other one under the pillow. He stirred slightly so she stopped. When he returned to his musing, her hand crept forward again. She could feel the cold steel and rubber of the handle as she eased her fingers and palm around it. She had the knife. It was now or never. The pillow tipped, covering half of his face as she brought it up. Her balancing arm rose up from the mattress, her weight falling fully onto her back muscles. First the move rocked her back. She now held the knife in both hands. The blade rocketed forward and down. Randy moved now, his arms, laying outside her legs swung up, but too late. She drove the knife into his chest. Blood sprayed everywhere. Some shot into her mouth as she realized she was screaming. She yanked the knife up. It caught on a rib. Randy's hands closed in on her wrists, but already the strength was rushing from them. Shadow brought the knife down again. Again she found the heart. There was less of a spray now. She left the blade in. There was another spasm of the fatally wounded organ. The next barely pushed blood up from the wound. There was no third. There was a lot of blood already out though. She was covered in it, from the top of her head to her crotch. It felt warm initially, but as the room cooled it, the blood became sticky. Shadow got off of him. His eyes had not opened during the attack. Now they never would. That was too bad, she wanted him to see his death coming. She staggered into the bathroom. Her whole body shook from exhaustion. The combination of love-making and murder had been a high all its own, but now she was crashing. She knew she had to get out. Shadow turned on the shower and got in. She cleaned up quickly, because she wasn't sure who had heard her screaming as she had done the deed. In some nebulous way though, it didn't matter. He was finally dead.
  20. The Mysterium was founded on a dichotomy. Its purpose was to find, gather, and hoard knowledge. It was also supposed to trade that knowledge for power and prestige. A secret isn't a secret if you share it. Knowledge isn't power if it is kept under a bushel. Randy Edison had come to the Mysterium to gain knowledge and all he had to trade was his time and brain. That translated over to studying and updating all kinds of old tomes and journals into the Mysterium databases. "Maeror," said his contact within the Order using his Shadow Name, "here is a text you may find interesting." He lay down a leather-bound book onto Randy's desk. It was reddish brown in color, bordered in lead, and a five starred symbol in what might have been bone. Randy rubbed his hands along its surface. "Is this a tome of Rotes?" he asked the Archivist. He was rewarded with a look reserved for favored idiot children. "No," he said curtly. "We reserved the transcription of magical tomes for those of ... superior standing. Nice try though. A correct amount of hunger is to be cultivated." With that, the senior Magus left Randy and returned to his own stockpile of backlogged material. Randy was left to ponder the book, and ponder it he did for about two seconds. The cover of a book were nice, but unless it gave a clue to what lay within, it was about as useful as your wife telling you she wasn't a virgin on your wedding night. The book didn't make much of a creaking sound as he opened it. That pointed to a book of modern design. Randy had already learned that older books had a cracking sound that leather treated in more modern time didn't have. The advantages of a more modern tome was twofold. First, you rarely had to worry about it falling apart in your hands and thus getting your ass chewed out. Second, it might just have an actual relevance. Learning that one Mage sent love letters to a Mage who didn't return his affections didn't matter too much if they were both dead. The book's first page clarified things immediately. It was the journal of a Moros Mage named Cyrus Macmillan. The second page indicated that the journal was one of a set, as this one was up and running May of 1974. Randy was thankful that it didn't read like a diary. It was a note book detailing things he had encountered and actions he had taken to deal with them. It described rotes and their effects, though not the fundamentals of the rotes themselves. Randy gave a slight sigh. This was going to be another long trudge, with the only benefit being that he could take his work home with him. The Mysterium's primary concern was the data within, with the books being a close second. Randy waved to the Archivist as he left, Journal in his backpack. The man waved a stylus at the Moros as he walked to the door. "I'm taking the Journal with me for the weekend." That earned him another wave. Randy had every reason to believe that the Magus made a personal and detailed note of the books exit too. The guy was the Archivist because he knew where things were, not where they might be. If the book didn't come back, it would be paid for in Randy's hide. Randy had been a private in the Marines. He could stomach being the bottom man again. He would rise above it soon enough.
  21. "What's on the agenda tonight boss?" Adrian looked over to Jordan. She was actually using the Nordic he'd gotten her, giving her more staying power than the average bear, or average Bel Air wife for that matter. "I need to pay homage to my boss tonight. Every month or so we get together and hash the shit, see what needs to get done, or who needs to take care of something. The usual mobbed-up stuff," he responded. "Well, watch your back, okay?" He nodded to her. Personally, he owed no more favors and even had a tiny bit of cred right now, but he understood that all of that could change at a moment's notice. Being on top of the situation had its advantages, but it also meant no one had a vested interest in seeing him remain in existence. "I'll keep three eyes open, Jordan. I promise." Two eyes forward and one in the back of the head. That had become one of their inside jokes. "Should I stay up?" her voice tinged with hope. It would have been easy to say 'No'. It would be just as likely for her to ignore him. Adrian compromised. "How about you stay up until two? I should be back by then, but if I'm not, I'm likely to be coming in real late." Jordan gave a playful shrug of the shoulders, "Wheel in the Sky." Adrian nodded. "Understood." He walked to the door, hand outstretched behind him. Though he couldn't see it, he could hear the keys jangle as Jordan set herself up and took her shot. He felt out the passage of the keys through the air, and with only minimal effort, caught them in his hand. It was a portion of their parting ritual that he really liked. He walked out the door and took a look at the cars. It looked like a Jaguar night. "Night Adrian. Wake the Dead." "Night Jordan. Lock the door." She stood in the doorway watching Adrian walk to the Jag. She always waited for him to pull out of the drive before shutting the door. Already, the glass storm door separated them, but every time she felt that desire to run to him and hide somewhere in his care - to not let him too far out of her sight. In a way she knew it was silly. Jordan knew what had happened to his previous servitor, Gwen. She knew that he was keeping her away from others of his kind for that very reason. Still ... as the engine noise faded into the night, she shut and locked the door.
  22. 10/03/2011 FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - Hey, I'm looking for someone. GREdi@UCLA.net - Good for you. I'm not. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - I'm looking for someone who was in the service. GREdi@UCLA.net - There's a bit of that going around. Try a bar. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - Haha. He's an ex-marine. GREdi@UCLA.net - Two things. It is Marine with a capital M. Second, there is no such thing as an ex-Marine. Semper-Fi. Now get lost. I've got work to do. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - You a marine? GREdi@UCLA.net - :mean: FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - Sorry, Marine. GREdi@UCLA.net - Yes. I was in the Corp. So are a lot of guys. Whatever you are selling, I'm not interested. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - My brother was in the Corp. He served for a long time. His name was Garfield. GREdi@UCLA.net - WTF? GREdi@UCLA.net - Scratch that. Go away. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - Did you serve with him? I want to know if he's okay. GREdi@UCLA.net - What makes you think he's here? FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - on campus? I hacked my Father's computer. GREdi@UCLA.net - OFM! Autumn? FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - Gar? It is you, isn't it? What happened? I mean, when you left service and all, I sorta kinda thought you would ... show up. GREdi@UCLA.net - I never forgot about you kiddo. It's complicated. I'm working myself into a position that I can get you. I haven't forgotten my promise. Never will. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - I believe you. GREdi@UCLA.net - Thanks. That means a lot. So, how have you been? I guess you are in Harvard now. The Old Man must be proud. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net- beyond me having the whole boob thing and nothing dangling between my legs -yes, he's happy. GREdi@UCLA.net - How bad has it been? FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - Mostly he ignores me. He's kept up with you though. He's had people spying on you. He's keeping track of 'His Boy'. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - you still there? GREdi@UCLA.net - Angry at the Bastard is all. I don't want anything from him. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - He's dying. I'm pretty sure of it. GREdi@UCLA.net - Not soon enough by ten years, Sis. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - I won't defend him, but he is our Father. Don't you feel anything? GREdi@UCLA.net - Not really. He damn near broke me. He was half responsible for April's death. I hate the SOB. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - Half? GREdi@UCLA.net - It should have been me in that car. If I had been, April would still be alive. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - Bro, let it go. Please. GREdi@UCLA.net - Listen, I have to go. I'll drop you a line later. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - Okay. Contact me later? Remember the time differential. GREdi@UCLA.net - I'll contact you. It's a promise. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - Night Gar. GREdi@UCLA.net - Night Sis. No one calls me Gar. I'm Randy. FellAutumn @HvrdU.net - I know Gar. Night.
  23. "The test is simple, but hard, Slave Adrian." Adrian was chained in the basement. His hands were chained to opposite corners so that he had enough movement to touch his mouth, but barely. His feet had much less room. It was impossible for him to bring his ankles together. He wore a nice white dress shirt, nice slacks, and little else. His bare feet felt cold against the concrete floor. Virginia stood some distance away to one side. His Master, Thomas, Initiate of the Void, was talking to him. "You will be drained of all your blood. When I am satisfied that you are dry, you will be given only enough blood to fight off the frenzy. You will not frenzy. If you do frenzy, you have failed the test and can't try again for a half-year. If you succeed, you will be released and monitored. You will only feed once a night, every other night, of the next six nights. Your victims must be capable of leaving you under their own power. If you resist the frenzy for the entire week, you will have passed and I will confirm you as Supplicant of Hunger. Adrian had already faced the Chrysalis, but only barely survived it. It was the ultimate transformation of the vampiric form. That wasn't the important test for him right now. Now was the 'draining all the blood' part, and that was his first concern. "Master, how will I be drained?" "I will administer ten cuts across your body. You will heal each cut. Any other questions?" Adrian shook his head in the negative. He was too afraid to ask any serious questions anyway. Thomas stepped forward and opened Adrian's shirt. The knife was presented before Adrian's eyes with a flourish. The Master looked into the Slave's eyes. He slashed down with an economy of motion. Adrian winced. Thomas waited for a moment then Adrian remembered his part of the ritual. The wound healed. Nine more times the blade came down, digging into his flesh and causing him to flinch in pain. At the time of the fifth wound, he began feeling the hunger building up in him. On the sixth, the Beast was at the gates. On the seventh, it rattled the cage and stretched the gate, but the lock held. The Eighth wound began the real struggle. Adrian hadn't felt this way since his First Night, when the Beast had raged out of control. It was another fear layered upon the fears of pain and failure. The Ninth wound's healing brought a growl to his lips and a clawing in his guts. The Tenth was almost anti-climatic. There was a dusty emptiness inside him. It was something he had not felt before. It was the sensation of a truly dead body. He could hear voices around him, but they were unclear. The Beast stalked instead of raged. The cage was not of flesh, but solely of will now.
  24. Thomas Coventry had made a fortune gaining water rights in the Owens Valley. He swindled hard-scrabble farmers and ranchers of the water beneath their feet. He turned around and sold these rights to the City of Los Angeles when they decided to build the aqueduct to feed the growing city's thirst. He profited off other people's misery, robbed them of not only their fortune's, but their livelihoods. The city's growing thirst drained the water table, drying up Lake Owen and lowering the water table. Plant's couldn't grow, even those that were normally drought resistant. Thomas Coventry destroyed hundreds of lives. Thomas Coventry built the Coventry House in 1923. His friends thought it terribly odd that he built it so far away from the city center, in the heart of Bundy Valley. He claimed to have loved the isolation for him and his growing family. The Coventry family was a constant fixture in the LA social scene. Coventry invested shrewdly, showing as much financial acumen in Hollywood as he had shown in Real Estate. People who crossed Coventry tended to come to a bad end. It was rumored he had ties to the burgeoning Mob presence in the city. His ties to the local government were well established so no criminal investigations were ever pursued. On November 1st, 1930, when a local produce grower went up to the house on his weekly deliveries, he discovered a horrible bloodbath. Mrs. Coventry, all of their nine children, and all five of their staff were found murdered throughout the dwelling. The police immediately investigated the property. They searched the surroundings hills for Thomas' Coventry's body. They waited for someone to contact them with ransom demands. Finally, they accepted the thought that Mr. Coventry had done the deed. Descriptions were sent out across the country and to Canada and Mexico. Nothing ever came of these inquiries. Privately, the police and political leaders came the realization that Coventry was most likely dead. None of his accounts had been touched. If he was on the run, he was penniless. For that matter, he was a man in his fifties, in Depression Era America. They decided that Thomas Coventry had been murdered by one of his shady cohorts and that they would never find the body. In 1937, they quietly seized his accounts and lands, adding them to the city's coffers. By the end of World War II, the story of the Coventry House was forgotten.