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Shade Sentinel

Adventure! RPG: Adventures of the Mystical and Mundane - IC

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Moving (regretfully) away from Yuming, Adam looks at the pictures and comments,

"Interesting if true. Really odd for it to just show up like this. This seems somewhat... public for something old and skilled at staying in the shadows, so we'd presumably be dealing with a young one."

"How are such creatures created? And how do they die?"

Casting a baleful, reptilian eye over his comrades The Ophidian replies,

"The Jiang Shi is created when someone dies and their Po, or Soul refuses to leave the body. This could be due to an improper death, sssuicide predicated by self-loathing rather than honor or simply because the spirit wishes to cause trouble for the living. It is doubtful that such a being has existed hidden through the centuries. Jiang Shi lack full sentience or knowledge. It is more probable that we are dealing with some kind of sorcery or a necromancer. These undead, if that is indeed what we are dealing with, are blind and track the living through the breath. It is therefore said that holding one's breath may allow one to hide from the foul creatures."

"There are several methods listed for dealing with the Stiff Corpse. Casting grains of rice or seeds on the ground before it will make it stop and count the grains and sticky rice was believed to draw the evil spirit out of the body. These citations however are more than likely old wives tales told to frighten children. Of more credible account is the use of wards and spells to deal with the offending ssspirit. Geomancers created thresholds to ban entry from homes and Fu, or Talismans could be prepared on yellow paper. When the talisman is placed upon the creatures forehead, it will lay the restless dead to rest."

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Yumming stares wide eyed, mouth slightly agape at the Ophidian's account of his research.

It is about this time that a swift breeze blows through the room, blowing out two of the candles and causing several of the papers on the table to spin around the room. A faint chill forms at the base of everyones spine, as a feeling of dread passes through...and then appears to vanish.

It is several seconds before Yumming speaks.

"So...that happens here alot no?" There is a hint of something other than humor in her voice.

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Yumming still leaning in the doorway tosses her head to the side causing her hairs to cascade around her head and over one shoulder.

"You're not really considering this are you? Your best lead so far, is that monster from some book committed this crime?"

Her lack of belief quite evident in her remark.

Adam comments,

"Very roughly I use a 30 year mark. I figure if I couldn't learn to do something in 30 years of full time training then it's worth a second look. Natural talent plays a roll here, so if I figure a very talented person couldn't learn something in 30 years then it's worth a third."

"In this case... our killer passes both of those bars pretty easily. He, she, or it is very impressive."

"...Of more credible account is the use of wards and spells to deal with the offending ssspirit. Geomancers created thresholds to ban entry from homes and Fu, or Talismans could be prepared on yellow paper. When the talisman is placed upon the creatures forehead, it will lay the restless dead to rest."
Adam asks,

"And does that book have any pictures of these talismans or more information on where they might be found or what they might look like."

It is several seconds before Yumming speaks.

"So...that happens here alot no?" There is a hint of something other than humor in her voice.

Adam replies,

"Not to me."

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Adam asks,

"And does that book have any pictures of these talismans or more information on where they might be found or what they might look like."

"A ssstandard chinese warding I would assume, but I am a scholar, not a sorcerer. However I do know someone who might be of help. I will make the nescessary arrangements..."

The Ophidian is interrupted by the ominous wind, and he slams his ancinet book closed in a cloud of dust to prevent any pages from being sucked out. He stands and hisses, and several snakes that had been hiding under his collar raise their heads simultaneously prepared to face any danger.

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Yumming stares wide eyed, mouth slightly agape at the Ophidian's account of his research.

It is about this time that a swift breeze blows through the room, blowing out two of the candles and causing several of the papers on the table to spin around the room. A faint chill forms at the base of everyones spine, as a feeling of dread passes through...and then appears to vanish.

It is several seconds before Yumming speaks.

"So...that happens here alot no?" There is a hint of something other than humor in her voice.

Puts his fork down slowly, calm but on alert. He slowly stands and looks around.

"Well, Ophidian...as our expert, what do you make of that? Should we be worried or is it simply a sign that it is too late of an hour for talk like this and we should continue in the morning?"

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Puts his fork down slowly, calm but on alert. He slowly stands and looks around.

"Well, Ophidian...as our expert, what do you make of that? Should we be worried or is it simply a sign that it is too late of an hour for talk like this and we should continue in the morning?"

As the words leave his mouth, their is an awful sound as if something crashed into the building. The unwelcomed noise is immediately followed by a movement as the walls shake briefly. The chandelier above the table swings violently back and forth as dirt and wood dust falls from the ceiling.

The noise causes Yumming to move on reflex and impossibly fast. Within the blink of an eye, she cartwheels to her left, with out the use of hands coming into a readied melee position, facing the door and the front windows.

After the commotion subsides...she glances around the room almost embarrassed at her action.

"How about that?" She says in apparent jest, in reference to her last question.

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"How about that?" She says in apparent jest, in reference to her last question.
Adam says,

"Pretty good." A sword has more or less appeared in one hand and he reaches behind him and pulls out a hand gun as well.

"We're pretty obviously hunting something. If that something were me, I might come after us."

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The investigators of the Pandora Garbage Company were all suitably on edge at the mysterious gusts of wind, and the loud crash seemingly above them. After a few brief moments of silence, as dust and grit continues to fall slowly from the ceiling littering their paperwork and tools, the creaking of movement began. It was slow and steady, as if something was trying to be quiet...but the old boards of the floor betrayed every step with a grunt.

The creaks were indicative of two things. One was that their was most certainly something moving a level or two above them; the second, that it was of substantial size...

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Like a serpent striking, The Ophidian moves in a flash, dashing towards the stairs in hot pursuit of their intruding beastie. His speed is surprising and similar to Yuming in that it doesn't look like his frame should support such athleticism as the ophidophile moves with an explosive fluidity that surpasses even the most accomplished of mortal athletes. Clearly there is more than meets the Eye to this man and his prognostications of supernatural influence...

Not even pausing to spare breath for words he hopes his companions will show similar initiative and follow suit.

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Like a serpent striking, The Ophidian moves in a flash, dashing towards the stairs in hot pursuit of their intruding beastie...
Adam follows saying,

"We're rushing in where Angels fear..."

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The Ophidian turns his head as they run and it is disconcertng since one half of his face looks totally normal.

"Fear not, good Mr. Trooper for I do not plan to play the Fool today, Alexander Pope be damned..." The Ophidian smiles though it offers no comfort. A jeweled dagger, its handle intertwining serpents, has somehow appeared in his hand.

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Seeing two of her party speed off towards the open stair case, Yumming plants her hand on the worn counter top, easily vaulting it and moves with deceptive grace and speed towards the stair case, she moves so fast its nearly slow. Using her speed and momentum, she moves into the air as if flying. He right foot touches on the outside of the stair case as Adam and the Ophidian speed up steps, pushing her off back into the open air and she easily clears the remaining few feet, coming to land on the strong wooden railing. She balanced momentarily, perched, as the two make it to the top of the stairs.

"Hallway looks clear!" She speaks as they stand next to her.

,,

The hall ahead, is indeed empty. Three doors on the left and two on the right accent the otherwise unremarkable hall. The wood floor has an area rug that runs down the middle of the hall and small end table with a flower pot sits under the small window at the halls end. The stairs continue upstairs another level and as below, is an open stair case hugging the walls, leaving the lobby floor visible to the top.

They all simultaneously get a sense that place is far more grand then it previously appeared, if it weren't in this backwards town, it may actually be quite exquisite.

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Seeing two of her party speed off towards the open stair case, Yumming plants her hand on the worn counter top, easily vaulting it and moves with deceptive grace and speed towards the stair case, she moves so fast its nearly slow. Using her speed and momentum, she moves into the air as if flying. He right foot touches on the outside of the stair case as Adam and the Ophidian speed up steps, pushing her off back into the open air and she easily clears the remaining few feet, coming to land on the strong wooden railing. She balanced momentarily, perched, as the two make it to the top of the stairs.

"Hallway looks clear!" She speaks as they stand next to her.

,,

The hall ahead, is indeed empty. Three doors on the left and two on the right accent the otherwise unremarkable hall. The wood floor has an area rug that runs down the middle of the hall and small end table with a flower pot sits under the small window at the halls end. The stairs continue upstairs another level and as below, is an open stair case hugging the walls, leaving the lobby floor visible to the top.

They all simultaneously get a sense that place is far more grand then it previously appeared, if it weren't in this backwards town, it may actually be quite exquisite.

Odo follows up the stairs a bit more slowly, stopping a few feet behind the group once they reach the upper level. His hand stays on his side, ready draw his knife at the first sign of trouble.

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Keying in to his supernatural senses, the Ophidian attempts to trace the creature to the right door, based both on the sound of the initial crash as well as the prodigous creaking of floorboards under the creature's massive weight...

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Keying in to his supernatural senses, the Ophidian attempts to trace the creature to the right door, based both on the sound of the initial crash as well as the prodigous creaking of floorboards under the creature's massive weight...

The noises of the world melt into a blur. The first thing to go is the ambient noises of everyones breathing, and minor noises of the outside world. From there, The Ophidians own body became nothingness, as he opened his incredible awareness to track their target. When he heard the muffled noise of voice from above him, his ears focussed on that sound and the clarity was astonishing. He heard a human being making panicked breaths, then the inhale before the scream. What followed next was a wave of immediate nausea. It took the Ophidian less than a second to realize it came from an awful smell...the smell of death. It was upstairs and if the layout was the same as this floor, second door on the right. (( 8 successes...pretty decent :-P ))

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Swaying slightly, eyes closed, and feeling the minor vibrations passing through the air and the walls, Hadrian listened.

"Up!"

Again the mad dash of movement, flying up the stairs and wheeling around to the correct door. Once there he stands, wheezing heavily until his more stout companions can arrive.

"SSSmash the door in!" he hisses, ceremonial banishing dagger at the ready.

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Swaying slightly, eyes closed, and feeling the minor vibrations passing through the air and the walls, Hadrian listened.

"Up!"

Again the mad dash of movement, flying up the stairs and wheeling around to the correct door. Once there he stands, wheezing heavily until his more stout companions can arrive.

"SSSmash the door in!" he hisses, ceremonial banishing dagger at the ready.

Odo watched the Ophidian closely as he seemed to go into a trance, then burst out of it with a flurry of activity. He charges up the stairs after him and follows the orders without a moments hesitation.

Drawing his knife with one hand, and keeping it behind his back, Odo aims one massive boot at the door, striking next to the lock and hopefully breaking the door open. If additional strikes are required...then they will be struck. Once the door is open, Odo stands at the ready, preparing himself for whatever might be on the other side.

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Drawing his knife with one hand, and keeping it behind his back, Odo aims one massive boot at the door, striking next to the lock and hopefully breaking the door open. If additional strikes are required...then they will be struck. Once the door is open, Odo stands at the ready, preparing himself for whatever might be on the other side.
Adam moves to one side behind him with the gun out but not aimed at Odo.

(I.e. I'd like to be able to fire past him if possible but if something knocks him backwards I don't want to be under him when he lands).

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The team races up the stairs at the direction of the Ophidian, Yumming is right behind them. When they get up to the top floor there is an audible noise that could only be described as a whine. The sound is very faint, but awful in a way that sounds have no reason to be...it drifts down the spine of them all. Even more noticeable and equally awful is the stench that radiates in the halls, it wreaks of death and somehow, evil.

Once the door is Identified, and the others in position, the door literally blows off its hinges under the power of the Mighty Odo. Inside its poorly lit, with only moon light barely piercing through the curtains. The silhouette is barely visible against the back drop as hints of light filter into the room past Odo's massive frame. From the darkness they see the shining white of two eyes staring blankly back at them. This holds for less than a second, as the eyes and the head they belong to crumble to the ground into a heap of lifelessness...as the mans drained body falls to the ground, the creature behind him becomes more visible.

Perhaps hunched to better manage its massive size, the creature's mass is extraordinary even in the poor lighting. Ripples of muscle encased in skin stretched too tight. What could only be described as the creatures hair, thick black ropes, shine with moisture in the faint light...the sound of wet slurping is heard by all; the creature consuming its meal.

((Its that time gang! We have Initiative order as follows : Ophidian, Adam, Odo, Beastie, Yumming she is last because she is being narrated :-D ))

My apologies for editing the initiative order, I apparently overlook Skylion's revised, amended, revised sheet. Had the wrong info.

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The Ophidian's one human eye widens. "The Jiang-Shi!!"

Though he radiates presence and sometimes malice, the man few know as Hadrian Blakemore is possessed neither of great strength nor constitution. It is shocking however to witness the speed and ferocity of his attack. In a blur of movement almost blinding he has dashed past Odo and breached within the guard of the towering creature. With a tremendous force he thrusts his jeweled banishing dagger upwards into the creatures abdomen, long bladed point sliding under the ribcage to seek it's vital organs.

((OOC, Melee roll please and spend a WP point on the attack. In addition to any attack successes to be added to damage I am invoking my once-per game session use of his smasher merit and destructive facet, adding 5 automatic successes to any damage rolled. His dagger is slightly more damaging than a regular knife, with a nearly foot long blade and an x-like cross section, similar to the Purhba from The Shadow, only stylized in Serpent motifs: Str+3 damage.))

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Adam lets his gun drop without a care (the safety should work) and does a shuffle step followed by a reverse pivot bringing him within sword's reach and also bringing his sword around and down. He makes it look very natural, very polished, like a dancing step, and every movement added momentum to the blade before it came down against the creature's knee. After the blade attacked he continued to move, flowing into another action.

(Split Action, Primary to Normal Melee Attack and Secondary reserved for a Melee block)

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Odo charges in with a roar, filling the gap between his two agile and graceful comrades. He attacks from above, stabbing downward with the large blade. Trying to grab as much of the creatures attention as possible, Odo makes himself appear as large and as threatening as he can.

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The nights events led them into this room, with the smell of death, against a creature none had ever seen.

With such dazzling speed that even Mr. Trooper was awed, the Ophidian plunges his banishment dagger into the flesh of the monsters torso. The serpentine man feels the dagger bite, and hard. The Ophidian's attack, though, brought him close to this monstrous thing. Its true size finally revealed, as gets up from its crouch, pressing the greasy tops of its into the ceiling and filling the room with its shoulders. The power of his attack, fading, he began to slowly realize the durability of such a beast. He began to feel a tinge of something that he once would have called fear...

...Then came the rest.

Dancing inside the room with a honed and unparraleled precision, Adam trooper steps in and adds his own attack. The blade in his had moves with grace and purpose, the attack, setting up his defense, bites down hard into the flesh of the beasts leg, but does not pass through. Adam knows that such an attack would have releived any man from his limbs...and has countless times in the past. The recoil of the blow and the practiced steps of his flury leave him in perfect balance to defend against a counterattack. His focus is honed on his enemy, but the scream of his comrade nearly breaks his concentration...

Odo's massive body virtually knocks the other two aside as he barrel's into the massive creature, his arms held high above his head, the tip of his dagger pointed down at its enemy. His muscles churn in their impressive fashion and he brings it down hard into the chest of the distracted beast that stands much larger than even he. His attack, though not as swift or as practiced, manages to drive into the beast with seemingly equal force, the blow even staggers it back a bit.

The three men standing before the "Jian-Shi" as it had been called, were ready for a battle, or at least, wished to end it quickly. Unfortunately, this monsters power could not be truly known unless witnessed, and it was.

The monster didn't stagger back, and made no sound as the Pandora team pierced and hacked at its fleshy body. Its durabillity, obviously enhanced by some dark power, was known to them after they made their attacks. With a powerful left hand that moved with incredible speed, the monster slams into Adam's defensive posture, his blade up in devense helped him, but did not save him from the blow that sends him flying backward smashing hard into the wall. His attention then turned to the mighty Odo and the two massive bodies collided into a confrontation of shear power. The monster brought its massive hands to bare on the mighty man who caught them with his own. The two wrestled back and forth as Odo fought with all his might to hold back the impossible strength of the beast, his muscles corded as swet instantly poured from him...it was unlike anything he had experienced. The back and forth lasted a few seconds as the Ophidian stood and waited for an opening, but perhaps dazed fully in the monsters presence.

The dance ended though, as the monster jerks back and to the side sending he and Odo out the damaged wall that was once a window...into the air of the night.

Yumming watched from the hallway, her eyes wide open with emotion. She found herself unable to do anything but watch it unfold...

((Adam took one bruised health level. Odo has yet to take his wallop :-D ))

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The monster didn't stagger back, and made no sound as the Pandora team pierced and hacked at its fleshy body. Its durabillity, obviously enhanced by some dark power, was known to them after they made their attacks. With a powerful left hand that moved with incredible speed, the monster slams into Adam's defensive posture, his blade up in devense helped him, but did not save him from the blow that sends him flying backward smashing hard into the wall. His attention then turned to the mighty Odo and the two massive bodies collided into a confrontation of shear power. The monster brought its massive hands to bare on the mighty man who caught them with his own. The two wrestled back and forth as Odo fought with all his might to hold back the impossible strength of the beast, his muscles corded as swet instantly poured from him...it was unlike anything he had experienced. The back and forth lasted a few seconds as the Ophidian stood and waited for an opening, but perhaps dazed fully in the monsters presence.

The dance ended though, as the monster jerks back and to the side sending he and Odo out the damaged wall that was once a window...into the air of the night.

Yumming watched from the hallway, her eyes wide open with emotion. She found herself unable to do anything but watch it unfold...

((Adam took one bruised health level. Odo has yet to take his wallop :-D ))

Odo grits his teeth as he fights with the monster, emitting a guttural growl as brings all of his strength to bear. He quickly realizes that it is simply not enough, but retreat means leaving himself open for an attack. Suddenly the monster moves as they are still locked together in their struggle.

Odo roars again as he flies out the window, doing his best to twist in the air so the creature receives the brunt of the fall. This main priority is to simply hang on to the beast and not allow it to escape, but if he sees an opening to attack again he will definitely take it.

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As Odo and the beast thrash back and forth on the way down, they crash hard into a wagon that was perfectly placed below the now destroyed building. The monster makes very little noise, though Odo does hear something that could be confused for a growl of sorts as its takes a second to seemingly catch its bearings. Odo attempts to press through the haze and sharp pains in his leg, gazing at the limb for only a second, he notices the piece of wood embedded deep into the flesh of his thigh. The two Large bodies get up at the same time and resume their grapple.

((ODO: 2 lethal from the fall))

((Begin round 2))

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Adam came back from the wall with the intention of cutting the monster up while Odo held him and was thus already moving towards them when they took their leave through the wall. From the crash and the sounds afterwards it was obvious they were still alive, and from his view he could see a tree that looked at least somewhat accessible. Only briefly did he consider what to do.

Under his breath he muttered, "In for a penny..." and with an effort of will made the leap.

(OOC: Athletics roll with a point of willpower being spent. I'm assuming that if I only just make the roll I'll have to let go of the sword. Ideally he'd come down with the tree between him and the creature).

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Watching Adam leap down in to the tree, the Ophidian mutters "Curses," and sheathes his kinfe. Fully aware that missing his mark would greatly injurious he steels up his reserves like a snake coiling before a leap. With the same explosivness he displayed earlier, Hadrian springs toward the lower tree, folling in the flight path of the almost as agile Trooper.

((Not spending a WP, but his athletics dicepool is pretty high. PS be sure to look at the correct sheet this time... ::wink ))

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-November 15th 9:14am

The swarm of bodies, both civilian and municipal did nothing to drive away the heat and humidity that had already begun to fill the outside air. Looking up from the street at the large hole blown out of the side the multi-level hotel was an almost comical contrast to Adam Trooper as he recalled what had caused it. The monster, or Jiang-Shi, as it was named, smashed through that wall only a few hours prior with his partner Odo in its grasp. The fight had come to the street, Adam himself leaping down to street level, the Ophidian following in suit, to aid their comrade Odo in battling the beast. The melee on the street was short lived however, as the beast launched Odo, nearly missing his comrades, sending him smashing hard into the base of the same building they leapt from moments before. From there, the monster, after a short few steps, hurled itself into the night sky across the street and out of view. Adam Trooper and the Ophidian were able to pursue only to the first landing spot, for as they arrived, the beast was gone.

The next few hours had come in a blur, as people came to witness the noises and the commotion. This town was not accustomed to anything like this and it was obvious on the dull and confused faces of the populace. Terribly wounded by his grapple with the Jiang-Shi, Odo was quickly taken to Atalnta for medical treatment. The Ophidian was kind enough to volunteer his personal valet, who sped away in his shiny car. Nobody was quite sure when or how that car arrived, all they know is that they watched it drive off with speed and precision.

The Sheriff, a man named Deacon was helping his few deputies patch together the scene and get as many people out of the way as possible. His hat was already caked with sweat and dust, his pajamas hanging out over the lip of his pants. Deacon did his best to avoid the strange newcomers, especially the Ophidian, whom he was visibly shaken by, as was most of the gathered masses. The people were so shocked by his presence, that several rifles and shotguns had been gathered from homes as protection. None though, had the faintest notion of pointing a weapon at the serpentine man, they new they couldn't hope to shoot down the Devil. The arrival of another vehicle and its horn blaring drew the attention of Trooper and the Ophidian, as it navigated its way through the gathered masses. When the car came to a stop and the driver got out to open the rear door, the two had a good feeling of who was inside; as two shapes got out of the car one was certainly Algretto. His white suit pristine, he moved towards Adam and the Ophidian with his southern swagger and large toothed grin. The second man did not accompany him, standing back to lean against the car.

"Mornin' boys". Algretto's accent was accompanied by a sarcastic smile.

"Have yourselves a fine evenin?" He took out a cigar and lit it with a wooden match.

"We got the tele-sync message from Yumming that there was a problem. Seems she was right. Now before we get started, I want you two to know a few things. One, Odo there will be cared for fine at the hospital in Atlanta, don't worry none there. Second, I'm pulling two agents from your group here. Now before you jump down my throat at the short notice, understand that new things have come up that require their expertise. Markus and Yumming are coming home with me. I did however bring ya someone to replace em with." He m otions towards the car at a the man he arrived with.

Still leaning against the car, tapping a cigarette on a silver case, he nods casually then begins to approach. He tosses the cigarette into his mouth as he comes closer and lights it with a fancy flip top lighter. His suit is dark, but somehow appropriate, his dark hair cut short, his grin nearly as wide as Algretto's, but lacked the blatant condescending tone.

"This man here is Mr. William Sinclair. He'll be joining ya'll from here on out." Algretto finishes as he turns from the group to view the scene and the destruction.

"Yes sir, fine evenin' indeed..." He mutters in reflection of his first statement, as he carefully eyes the wreckage.

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William’s Introduction

"Mornin' boys". Algretto's accent was accompanied by a sarcastic smile.

"Have yourselves a fine evenin?" He took out a cigar and lit it with a wooden match.

"We got the tele-sync message from Yumming that there was a problem. Seems she was right. Now before we get started, I want you two to know a few things. One, Odo there will be cared for fine at the hospital in Atlanta, don't worry none there. Second, I'm pulling two agents from your group here. Now before you jump down my throat at the short notice, understand that new things have come up that require their expertise. Markus and Yumming are coming home with me. I did however bring ya someone to replace em with." He m otions towards the car at a the man he arrived with.

Still leaning against the car, tapping a cigarette on a silver case, he nods casually then begins to approach. He tosses the cigarette into his mouth as he comes closer and lights it with a fancy flip top lighter. His suit is dark, but somehow appropriate, his dark hair cut short, his grin nearly as wide as Algretto's, but lacked the blatant condescending tone.

"This man here is Mr. William Sinclair. He'll be joining ya'll from here on out." Algretto finishes as he turns from the group to view the scene and the destruction.

"Yes sir, fine evenin' indeed..." He mutters in reflection of his first statement, as he carefully eyes the wreckage.

Taking a shallow puff on the cigarette, William approaches Adam Trooper and The Ophidian, silver cigarette case open for the the offering. ”Looks like I’m real glad I packed extra underwear,” he says with a rueful half-smile and an understanding nod of his head. His voice is a pleasant tenor. His accent a blend of upper class New England and the Queen’s English. He avoids exhaling smoke in anyone’s direction.

Whether or not Adam or Hadrian accept a cigarette, he’ll offer to shake their hand, grip firm and easy, making eye-contact long enough to be both polite and sincere without being even slightly threatening. Nor does he seem particularly overawed by the Ophidian’s presence. (He has, after all, had a moment to take in the scene)

”Pleased to make your acquaintances” he’ll say - whether or not they choose to shake. ”Although, of course I know of Mr Blakemore, by reputation. More than a few of my father’s brothers swear by his services... in the art world.”

With a quick glance around at the locals he continues ”Can I maybe buy you gentlemen a coffee and some pie? It might be a good for the locals to see you eating. Might make them a touch more comfortable... And besides, I like pie. When we’re done, if either of you would be so kind as to fill me in on exactly what we’re facing I’d be happy to do what I can to help.”

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Adam ruefully shakes William's hand and replies,

"Pleased to meet you. We found it, then it ran away. And I'd love some food."

With his voice much lower to avoid scaring the locals he adds,

"And if it hadn't ran, it would have kicked all of our buts."

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With his voice much lower to avoid scaring the locals he adds,

"And if it hadn't ran, it would have kicked all of our buts."

Algretto turns to regard Adam as he finnishes his statement. A subtle smile creeping past his cigar as a wave of smoke rushes past his teeth.

"So what exactly are we dealing with here Mr. Trooper? By the looks of it you boys've encountered a bonafide monster!"He take a few steps closer to the pair conversing, stepping over the busted rubble of the cart that had broken the beast and Odo's fall.

He pauses for a brief moment and crouches, lifting a broken piece of wood with a slimy, blackish, rope like shape dangling from the end. Adam had seen a piece like this before and since encountering the beast up close, new it be in fact the monsters hair.

"Yes sir...a monster" He quips staring at the large hair strand.

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Algretto turns to regard Adam as he finnishes his statement. A subtle smile creeping past his cigar as a wave of smoke rushes past his teeth.

"So what exactly are we dealing with here Mr. Trooper? By the looks of it you boys've encountered a bonafide monster!"He take a few steps closer to the pair conversing, stepping over the busted rubble of the cart that had broken the beast and Odo's fall.

He pauses for a brief moment and crouches, lifting a broken piece of wood with a slimy, blackish, rope like shape dangling from the end. Adam had seen a piece like this before and since encountering the beast up close, new it be in fact the monsters hair.

"Yes sir...a monster" He quips staring at the large hair strand.

Willaim leans closer, looking at the odd strand and wracking his brain for anything he might have heard about such things on his travels.

Speaking matter of factly, and just loudly enough for only Adam, the Ophidian and Algreto to hear, he says "I know I've only just arrived, and do stop me if you've already heard this one, but it doesn't strike me as terribly credible that the creature knew to come after you, rather than any of the other investigators... unless it's rather intelligent and has been watching you... or it's been led by someone who has... I don't suppose you've noticed anyone... ahem... witchy then?"

"Because, let's face it, if it is the creature acting on its own we're a bit out of luck..."

"Which way is the pie?" ::ultracool

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"Yes sir...a monster" He quips staring at the large hair strand.
Adam shrugs in almost disagreement, over the years he's been accused of being a monster more than once, and replies,

"Monsters are only things we don't understand, which doesn't change that this one needs putting down. I've some thoughts on that."

""Because, let's face it, if it is the creature acting on its own we're a bit out of luck..."

"Which way is the pie?" ::ultracool

Adam says,

"Agreed twice over."

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During the conversation, a large vehicle arrives with an open back with heavy wood railings. It is accompanied by a two horse pulled wagon. Out of the vehicle, several men wearing zip up blue suits with the Pandora Garbage emblem on their sleeves, move about the scene. One of them meets with Algretto for a few moments and then he rejoins his team as they move quickly and efficiently loading all the debris into the truck and wagon.

After his exchange with the garbage men, Algretto nods his agreement to both sentiments and escorts Adam, William and the Ophidian down the street towards a small restaurant that is nearby. As the group approaches, they get awkward stares from the locals, as many have taken up residence it seems outside. They all have cups of steaming cofee and appear to be spinning their own versions over what they've seen and what was responsible for the attacks. Their conversations hush a bit as the group approaches, but they part quickly as Algretto leads them into the diner. Inside the crowded room is not less enthusiastic about their conversations, and no less alarmed as the outsiders enter the room. As if prompted, Algretto steps forward and smiles his toothy grin.

"Morning folks, we've come to get some breakfast in this here find place." with that he motions to a nearby table that looks like it was just recently occupied.

"Don't suppose we might take this here seat and get us some good ole' cooking to set us right on this bizarre mornin'" Again his toothy grin in full force.

The people seem satisfied with him, some even nodding their heads in agreement at the mention of the "bizarre", before going back to their meals. Soon after, a server comes and begins to clean away the dishes.

"Mornin' ya'll. Anything I can fetch ya?" She says with a thick southern accent.

When she is done taking the orders, she moves away into the kitchen. Algretto lights up a cigarette this time and holds it in his teeth.

"All the pieces are to be moved away to a warehouse we secured. We can go over it all there. I'd also like to go see the big fella and see if he had any other info. He's on the mend and should be awake at the least. So what're we dealing with here boys? Judging by the mess and the impacts I'd say you found what you were looking for and the same day you arrive. I'd say that's a spot of luck...or perhaps something else."

With that he ashes his cigarette and stares out the window which has a view of the hotel.

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Adam orders ham and eggs, waits for the waitress to leave, then answers,

"The Ophidian should tell you what this thing is, it will sound more believable from him. Tactically we're dealing with a feral humanoid. It's bigger than Odo, probably stronger than one of the great apes, and extremely durable. It's flesh has the consistency of wood and it can leap very long distances and climb like a circus performer. It smells and looks awful and it's unlikely that it's sentient."

"Think of it as a smelly man eating great ape. But there's got to be more. On it's own I'd think it'd wander from place to place eating people. That it isn't says there's an intelligence involved somehow, maybe trying to keep it out of trouble... probably not very successfully."

"I doubt it was supposed to kill that person at the inn. It probably was supposed to come after us and got hungry or just saw an opportunity. If we're looking at someone's idea of a weapon or super-warrior then they're looking at very mixed bag. If we're not looking at that then the intelligence is probably in over their head."

"These murders are probably random and it's own idea, or at least mostly so."

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Mornin' ya'll. Anything I can fetch ya?" She says with a thick southern accent.

William shows the waitress his most winning smile and says, "I'll have a coffee, white with three sugars and three slices of pie, thank you my dear." ::smile

As Algreto and Adam talk he listens intently whilst working his way through the pie with obvious relish. He also casts a casual eye about the room, doing his best to notice anyone eavesdropping. If he does, he gives no sign of it.

Returning to the conversation, William nods slowly, "Well then, gentlemen, I guess we have a few lines of enquiry: we can try to find correlations between the victims from their records, examine the evidence from the hotel, speak to our injured colleague, and speak to the good people of the town to see if anyone knows anything they haven't said yet."

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Whether or not Adam or Hadrian accept a cigarette, he'll offer to shake their hand, grip firm and easy, making eye-contact long enough to be both polite and sincere without being even slightly threatening.

"Pleased to make your acquaintances" he'll say - whether or not they choose to shake. "Although, of course I know of Mr Blakemore, by reputation. More than a few of my father's brothers swear by his services... in the art world."

The Ophidian reaches out to accept William's proffered handshake.

"A pleasssure." he says with a sybillant whisper. Disturbingly William feels a wet tickle lightly brush his wrist as a forked tongue darts in and out from the imposing scholar's well coifed cuff.

....

"Ssssurprising Mr. Algretto. I thought you don't believe in ghostsss and goblinz."

Speaking matter of factly, and just loudly enough for only Adam, the Ophidian and Algreto to hear, he says "I know I've only just arrived, and do stop me if you've already heard this one, but it doesn't strike me as terribly credible that the creature knew to come after you, rather than any of the other investigators... unless it's rather intelligent and has been watching you... or it's been led by someone who has... I don't suppose you've noticed anyone... ahem... witchy then?"

"Because, let's face it, if it is the creature acting on its own we're a bit out of luck..."

"Sorcery and Necromatic...practices...may very well be in play here MisssterSinclair. I must send a telegram immediately." And with that the menacing man takes his leave towards the nearest post, there to contact an ancient man of some aquaintance with the mystic arts of the Orient.

"Which way is the pie?"

After his exchange with the garbage men, Algretto nods his agreement to both sentiments and escorts Adam, William and the Ophidian down the street towards a small restaurant that is nearby.

When she is done taking the orders, she moves away into the kitchen. Algretto lights up a cigarette this time and holds it in his teeth.

"All the pieces are to be moved away to a warehouse we secured. We can go over it all there. I'd also like to go see the big fella and see if he had any other info. He's on the mend and should be awake at the least. So what're we dealing with here boys? Judging by the mess and the impacts I'd say you found what you were looking for and the same day you arrive. I'd say that's a spot of luck...or perhaps something else."

"The Ophidian should tell you what this thing is, it will sound more believable from him.

Returning to the conversation, William nods slowly, "Well then, gentlemen, I guess we have a few lines of enquiry: we can try to find correlations between the victims from their records, examine the evidence from the hotel, speak to our injured colleague, and speak to the good people of the town to see if anyone knows anything they haven't said yet."

A dark and ominous shadow falls over the men at their dining, as the Ophidian's presence seems to dim all lights in the room. Even a few of the electric lights seem to flicker as if such an oppresive aura even stiffled the technological wonders of modern man. Whatever light touches him seems to be swallowed in the unatural abyss that seems to follow him with every step. He sits down, silently next to the others.

"I believe, Misster Algretto, that what we have encountered is no mere man or beast of natural law. We two have seen it with our own eyes and our stalwart Mr. Odo may have payed dearly. Our investigation has only jusst begun, and we have not yet been able to perform the necsssesary autopsy. I strongly suspect the adrenals and other parts of the endocrine system have been removed from the body. The Jiang-shi is not alive, nor either dead but must sustain it's own existence by consuming the chi of mortals. Chi found most abundantly pooled within certain glands and the nervous system. Here, see for yourself..."

Hadrian opens up his tome to show Mr. Algretto what he had been showing the others just before the attack.

"I have contacted one of my associates with experience in wards and banishment. He may be able to provide some of the answers we seek. In the meantime, I ssugest we continue to endeavor on with the scientific methods at our disposal..."

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Adam stares into the distance of his past and considers. He says,

"I have doubts that the victims, or at least most of the victims, have anything in common other than their attacker. Let's say you own a big man-eating ape. If you're using it to commit murder, then the victims have you in common. But if all you're using it for is breaking into stores, then all the murders just serve to show us where the master was."

"Hmm, that's a thought. Whoever is the brains in this operation probably isn't local, and this is a town where not being local means you stand out. That's how it found us, we're not from around here and all the locals know about us. We should ask around for anyone else who just showed up. Or maybe if someone was out of town when that creature was spotted in other cities."

"As for killing the creature, I have some ideas, but unless we can convince it to come after us they won't work."

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The Ophidian reaches out to accept William's proffered handshake.

"A pleasssure." he says with a sybillant whisper. Disturbingly William feels a wet tickle lightly brush his wrist as a forked tongue darts in and out from the imposing scholar's well coifed cuff.

William's face betrays nothing... he is, after all, used to the occasional unorthodox handshake.

But then, as soon as the Ophidian's back is turned, he allows himself a silent sigh of relief through a smile that's all clenched teeth.

A dark and ominous shadow falls over the men at their dining, as the Ophidian's presence seems to dim all lights in the room. Even a few of the electric lights seem to flicker as if such an oppresive aura even stiffled the technological wonders of modern man. Whatever light touches him seems to be swallowed in the unatural abyss that seems to follow him with every step. He sits down, silently next to the others.

"I believe, Misster Algretto, that what we have encountered is no mere man or beast of natural law. We two have seen it with our own eyes and our stalwart Mr. Odo may have payed dearly. Our investigation has only jusst begun, and we have not yet been able to perform the necsssesary autopsy. I strongly suspect the adrenals and other parts of the endocrine system have been removed from the body. The Jiang-shi is not alive, nor either dead but must sustain it's own existence by consuming the chi of mortals. Chi found most abundantly pooled within certain glands and the nervous system. Here, see for yourself..."

Hadrian opens up his tome to show Mr. Algretto what he had been showing the others just before the attack.

"I have contacted one of my associates with experience in wards and banishment. He may be able to provide some of the answers we seek. In the meantime, I ssugest we continue to endeavor on with the scientific methods at our disposal..."

William continues to listen (and eats his pie) during this discussion, jotting the occasional point down using a notebook and expensive-looking, silver and gold pen that he produces from one of his coat pockets. He has a close look at the picture of the creature in Hadrian's book - jotting down the name of the book and page numbers as well as writing Jiang-shi in large letters and underlining it a few times.

"I guess we could ask one of Mr Algreto's people, or failing that the coroner, to do the autopsy - if you tell him what to look for, Mr Blakemore. I do think we should consider splitting up and working all our leads at once," William says, glancing at Algreto.

"Hmm, that's a thought. Whoever is the brains in this operation probably isn't local, and this is a town where not being local means you stand out. That's how it found us, we're not from around here and all the locals know about us. We should ask around for anyone else who just showed up. Or maybe if someone was out of town when that creature was spotted in other cities."

"As for killing the creature, I have some ideas, but unless we can convince it to come after us they won't work."

"Well, yeah...I suspect you're right - let me take that angle. I have been told I have something of a way about me. Of course, I'm not entirely certain it was meant as a compliment at the time." ::wink

Turning to The Ophidian he continues, "Mr Blakemore, if you would, could you perhaps ask your learned associate if there is any way to entice this creature to a particular location or person. That might allow Mr Trooper to put his ideas into action and give us a fallback position."

William wolfs down the last of his pie, produces a rather large moneyclip from inside his coat and peels off a few dollars to pay for everyone's breakfast.

He stands, "Now, if I might be excused a moment, I believe I have a few questions to ask. Good luck to you all!"

As he ambles toward the door of the diner, William fishes a silver pocketwatch on a thin silver chain from his waistcoat pocket, that he proceeds to pops open. If anyone is listening closely they might hear him mutter seemingly to himself, "Now which one of these people might be willing to tell me something useful about this creature I wonder...the waitress? the sheriff?"

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