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 The Brightness of Night

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yanamari

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PostSubject: The Brightness of Night   Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:51 pm

Smiling faces sitting in a boat. Edmont tipped his bowler hat, settling the thick mink coat over the shoulders of Esmerelda. Oh her eyes, warm and caring, the little hook to her nose a touch of her Russian heritage. Jaque stood with a laugh, nearly capsizing them as he called out, over and over. Filled with life, his friends. Dearest friends. Gliding away on midnight waters as he remained on that bridge, unable to continue this journey with them.

"Not enough...time..."

Sinclair tried to turn in bed, but Rainier had his bound down tightly by the upper arms. The priest looked so much older as the mage opened his eyes, the hazy white mist leaving them slowly.

"Hey, look who's returning to the land of the lost." The Choruster sat up further, pulling his chair over to the bed. "Think you'll stay awake long enough for food? Dio's kept something hot for you. Some sorta...soup?" He peeked in a bowl, sniffing. "If you don't eat it, I will...."

Fumbling with the ties that bound his arms, the Hollower nodded absently. "Aye, I'm awake. For a while. Just aching badly. Have it if you need." Rainier snorted and shoved it under the rail thin man's nose.

"You kidding? You've been fading away in front of me, and not just from the paradox. So, what happened?"

Closing his eyes, he began spooning away the soup. He could see them again, the boat, his friends, waving and motioning to join them. Come back. Come back.

"One of those in the van was being followed. I just don't know who. The moment I reached, they were on us. I just couldn't...twist away from focusing on our journey to help. Maybe we can try and look back, or speak with the others." He dribbled a spoonful of soup on the blanket as his fingers flicked in and out.

Rainier took up the spoon and bowl, and fed him slowly. "Don't worry. I've got ya."


Last edited by yanamari on Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Brightness of Night   Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:53 pm

The van held a riot of people. For months, they had used this vehicle to toss in mages, supplies, crates full of relics and books, and the dead or near dying. Never once was it cleansed, the need for magics better suited to other issues.

Again bodies and souls dove into the metal chassis, the very air vibrating with power that fell upon itself. Tumbled, spun, heated to 350 and baked like a cake, who could really say what had happened. Everyone in the van had assumed they were chased, sought out, someone hunted to within the very inch of their life.

Never once was the van considered. Now it limped in pain, whining within the metal frame as a dog with a broken hind leg. The children on the playground were never nice. A mind reached from the van, sought anything that could hear it. And once heard, the other sought to provide shelter.

A finer trap could never have been conceived or laid as this one. A blood caster felt that pain, lashed it with magics, sought to tear apart everything of it and leave the travelers tossed across the roadway at record speeds like the still warm innards of a belly laid open by a knife. A seppuku of magic to pluck the offenders from the countryside...one by one.

Yet, where blood is spent, so it calls to others. A single eye snapped open upon the forehead of the thing once man, sensing that mechanical howl of horror, a crooning it had harbored from so many in it's lifetime, and the hungers of things most foul.

Hush, now, hush. You are in pain, but they will come to understand. No need to scream into the night. The intent laid far upon the mind of steel, far more muscle memory than a true conception. Peace had to come, or the blood binders would find the few stragglers that survived. As all that heat cooled to a dull ache, the creature rose from a dusty couch. Peering straight to where the sky should be, the third eye watched the red star between the jutting of twisted metal and fractured windshields of cars piled like a beehive around him. A prison he had yet to escape.

I am still alone. Soon they will forget to use the rituals, and I will leave my ash on this couch. Like so many before. The fiend did not shriek or answer the questions left to it on rolled paper with a pen attached. It simply lifted up a bent nail and continued scratching ancient Tibetian symbols into the paint of so many piled cars.
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PostSubject: Re: The Brightness of Night   Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:57 pm

She had slept as fitfully this night as any other since the rise of the Fuhrer. But to dream of her dear Alfonzo, dark hair sculpted away from a high brow, chiseled features drawn with concern, those eyes the color of sage leaves aching. Head laid upon her pillow, Cassandra could only stare at the ceiling above and wonder what new threat was coming. She had lain in this room previously held by the seneschal long since dead, rather than sleeping in the chambers he had dedicated to her for fear of dreams such as these.

Of when he bade her goodbye as he left for the war against Germany. Of when she wept knowing he would not return, no matter his promises. It was only in this room she permitted herself the softness of womanly pains and emotions, letting herself spill tears and rub at this with fingers aching with arthritis. A mage's spellwork and salve would ease the tension, but never forever. Not as old as she was now.

"Another year, Alfonzo. I have tried to keep your home as it should be, but I may not be able to remain another decade. The time for new blood will come, and I think none of those present worthy of your role. Or mine." She chuckled then, a hand wet with her tears laying over her lips girlishly. "As if he could hear you, woman. As blithely childish as if merely ten." Rising from bed took a few minutes and recasting of rotes, enforced with the slipping of a thin leaf under her tongue taken from a small gold case. Youthful vigor returned, but oh such a price.

(TBD)
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PostSubject: Re: The Brightness of Night   Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:31 pm

He watched the group wander into the woods, swallowed in sun dappled leaves and birdsong. Rainier wondered at the youthful excitement in their voices, the jaunt and vigor of fidgety limbs eager for an adventure. "it's really not safe for them out there. No one really knows what the hell the master gathered and laid to rest in the woods and mountains."

"You cannot guard them forever, Acolyte." Michael stood at Rainier's side staring out the window with him, golden hair curling forward over one pale eyebrow, eyes a gleaming cold of glaciers. the rising morning sun always picked out every wrinkle in Rainier's flesh and clothes, but this angel seemed untouched and perfect, down to the gold and carnelian cufflinks.

Smoke blew from his nose like some great angry dragon, fingers twisting out the stub of cigarette into a porcelain saucer. The priest would pay for that sin later, but not by the hands of heaven. "Yeah. I know. Doesn't make this any easier. Not my chair; not my problem." Despite such caustic words, they fell limp and weak without the intent to back them.

The angel gave a single nod, peering forward as if he could pierce the very trees. A slight crease formed between his eyes, that vision going no further than the wall of evergreen growth. His god did not walk that wood, in truth, none had in many an age. One of the many holes in the One's grand design. "Your battle lies in the city of dark sins. Atonement is only one destiny. Greater still remain within reach if you seek them."

"I am penitent before the Lord."

A soft footfall on the thick rich carpet stilled Rainier's tongue. "That you have always been. But I need not see your guardians to know it so, my oldest student." His gnarled hand opened to take the mistresses. She felt a moment of panic and pain to see this young man looking nearly as old as she in such a short time. "I do wish at times I could take these burdens from you."

"It's the price I pay. And gladly. I understand now. Do you?"

She frowned and shook her head. "I never will. Be careful, Rainier."

"You too, Cassandra." He leaned in to kiss her forehead, eyes on the archangels beyond her.

The older woman closed her eyes, the sound of Rainier's lighter and ruffled feathers, then nothing. Opening her china blue eyes, the room was empty but smoke and a saucer littered with ashes and cigarettes. "Oh damn you..."
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PostSubject: Re: The Brightness of Night   Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:15 am

New York, a city of elite villainy that no seedy Bogart film could give justice, opened before Rainier. He was back, standing in the subway of a station at 5th and Lex, hoping the jostling of bodies would give him enough room to light another cigarette. Everything had a film to it, slimy, dark. The jarring light of flourescents unable to press back this darkness. A heavy sigh matched his footfalls as the priest pushed back and into the edges of the gathered commuters, his ears alive with the buzz of their words.

"Can you believe it? All of them. Mi Madre...so many good kids in that place. Do you think it was the dealers?" "No, couldn't have been. The Bull was in there. Nothing can kill him. Not even the firefighters could get in after. Something wasn't right..."

"I hated leaving Jenny home alone. But with the flu spreading around school, I just didn't want to chance it." "The Johnson's kid looked so ill, pale and having trouble breathing. Pneumonia?" "Maybe? Just hope she's ok..."

"Look Joanie, if you don't want to come. Don't. Me and the guys, we are going. Nuffs nuff." "No Bill, don't go! That place is skeezy. Rave's shouldn't be in abandoned sewers. Do you know the shit laying around in cisterns? My brother studies this shit. I mean literally shit. And even he is wearing those little masks."

If he was to get a bead on what really was happening since he left, subways were the best. Rainier squeezed and pushed, making it to the edge. He leaned against one wall slick with humidity, layers of wanted ads, band performances, sales, and more a mass of color and sickening smudges from life pressing against them. Michael stood beside him, untouched, moving his eyes over the crowd.

The heat was unbearable, sinking into Rainier enough to make sweat drip in his eyes and make the room sway. The lights flickered off, one by one as he stumbled back to hold on. Michael was gone. But something whispered.

"Fuck me."

A figure moved forward through the milling shadows of people, their talk becoming languid moans and sharp cries as they felt something among them. Artfully cropped blond hair, a fine suit with an obvious cut, outlined the one fiend he didn't expect.

"At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book."

"I'm so happy you remember your scripture. But this isn't Sunday school."

Lucifer smiled, hands in his pockets of his suit, burnished SS marked on the lapels. A tragedy in Nazi imperialism made into fashion. He pulled free his left hand to pluck free the cigarette in Rainier's lips. That hand, burnt black and nigh skeletal, an ancient carnelian ring on the wedding finger. "Always the brightest lad in the bunch. We have business."

The priest wanted to bite back hard, growl his response and smash the devil with every ounce of power he had. But something gave him pause. Michael was not here, and yet, he referenced the archangel. And the rest of the entry burned in his thoughts, memory so fresh is scalded.

The first time he tangled with a demon. It was carving names in the chests of children in a hospital, wearing the guise of a nurse. Her eyes burned as small coals in flesh cracking open revealing bone. Lips were more a blubberous mass of cancers. She quoted the passage of Daniel, staring down Rainier. He never knew Michael stood behind him until he needed to fight and kill this woman, releasing her soul and ending the torment.

"And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."


"You think it's time to open the book?"

Smoke filled the angel's mouth then eked out every pore of flesh, revealing the chains in the plumes that bound the fallen one. "Do you really think...heaven would entitle you with protection of it? Come now, Rainier, bit naive isn't it?"

"You tried to work through others to gain entry, and still I kept you out."

The devil grinned, teeth rows of perfect dangerous points. "That you did." The cigarette flipped back in the maw, chewed and swallowed. One perfect and one burnt hand laid on Rainier's shoulders. "So I figure...I picked the wrong guy. Living in the flesh of some pampered priest isn't going to get me any closer to the book. And working with the other side doesn't have the same fringe benefits as going it alone. My company is global, but Japanese import taxes....whoosh. Pain in my ever living ass." Fingers began kneeding Rainier's shoulders. "Let's be quick about it. No need for screaming and prayers." That face leaned in close, forked tongue tickling at Rainier's lip. "Open says me..."

Drawing back his fist, he delivered it straight into the angel's gut, enchanted brass knuckles with the signs of the cross on them breaking through organ and bone. The lights above flickered back to life, pushing the demon back as he just cackled. Michael reappeared, raising one brow.

"Lucifer."

"Fancy pants. Thanks for the smoke."

Rainier traded looks with Michael as the devil slunk away into the throngs of people. "I hate New York."
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PostSubject: Re: The Brightness of Night   Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:55 pm

The slow tap of metal on needle on flesh moved to the rhythmic motion of heartbeat. Jittra worked at a long tattoo along the ribs of a man she had met on occasion, whispering prayers and focusing inward to see a path before her. An image finally came to her mind's eye, the heavy smoke of herbs and incense cradling her senses heightened by a drink of intense drugs. A cocktail that elevated her from the realm of man into the lifelines of spirit. An image all his own formed from the tapping, blood the price for what greatness or meekness laid in him.

Ghostly images shifted and shone through the flesh, tapped down and forced into submission by her constant movements. Once started, this process would not end, even if the man passed out in pain or died from trauma. The awakening of the man's spirit was so close, aching to be released from deep bonds. Yet at the apex of magic, hers could not fully connect with his. Such promise lost. He was not ready, though the deeply tanned woman kept trying.

When finally complete, she slid back and up to her feet, eager for the sand between her toes and skies limitless overhead. The way had become so much harder to walk beside and with. Everyone had a different name for it, but regardless it hurt and upset the magi all the same. So few had awakened in Miami. Yanking off the few spare clothes she wore, the woman ran out into the raging surf, swam hard, reaching towards what laid beyond. Stars glittering in the heavens and down on the waters. So like the many tiny stars on her flesh. She had tattooed them with the help of her teacher, seemingly random and yet she knew exactly where each should go. But none matched the constellations above, no matter how friends tried to connect them with sharpie markers.

Laying back in the drifting waves, Jittra thought on all of those she touched, including one favorite...Dio and his leopard. "I hope you are well, kitten. So little happens here, that worries me. The life of this place feels so cold, as if dying. Perhaps Mickey Mouse is an old world demon and finally sucked all life from Florida. Or it is time for my feet to find a new ocean. Hoi."

Her eyes closed, the warm waters lulling her into rest after so many nights spent bent at her magical work. So peaceful, she never noticed the change when she finally opened her eyes.

Laying on rough boards, hands thumping her chest, mouth on hers forcing breath back into her body. Water spewed up from her lungs, spat dark and strange on the wood next to her. She felt leaden and weak, peering in the dark at those around her. They spoke with harsh cuban accents and words, urging her to breath and lie still. Seaweed covered her, twisted and tied, odd knots, and a burning pain as if from a jellyfish down one leg.

"I can...help...let me up..." Tears flowed unbidden as she wondered why she itched and felt such terrible pain. The mark of stars along her leg, a specific set, were bleeding profusely, leaving dark marks on the wood and sand where she laid. The locals forced her back again, pouring tequila and water over the wounds, making her scream and cry out in pain. There, above in the sky, a constellation could be seen. One she recognized immediately and yet...could not explain how.

The longer she looked upon this constellation, the darker her eyes until drops flowed from them. She heard more words in spanish flung around her too fast to follow. Hands pressed a tshirts over her eyes, whispering oddly until she felt calmed, at peace, and fell into darkness again.
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PostSubject: Re: The Brightness of Night   Mon Apr 21, 2014 2:30 pm

The old man had been through more in his fifty odd years than most ancients could tell. He had walked the wilds of Kenya, hunted the crocodiles of the Nile, beaten back odd creatures in the jungles of the Amazon, and finally joined a crusade with a few other friends all from college years. But this journey, thought to just be one of many, had become their last.

At least according to the world...

He wandered far as he could, skin burnt dark with a tan and old sunburns, thin layers of white hair, scraggly beard, until finally he fell upon the porch of a home barely remembered. Something told him he had to come, a scruff of some parchment gripped in his hand.

"Oi, be wit' ya in a jif." the voice was familiar, not as bright as it once was, but something of it sparked memory. When Emily walked out on the back porch, hands drying on a towel, she glanced around quite befuddled. She heard someone arrive, surely she did. "Hallo, must be a'losing my marbles in this skiving heat."

Turning back to the house, a blinding pain lanced through her shoulder. it pulled free to slice deep again, the curve of weapon catching on collar bone. With reflexes born from swimming with eels, sharks, and other frightening creatures, Emily screamed but moved. The door whipped open, body twisted, legs pumping tan and fit through into the kitchen. Whatever chased kept coming, trying to toss its meager weight on her.

But not even a shark got the better of this woman. A stool flew into the man's midsection, another five steps, and soon a harpoon gun was firing. The thin man was sliced through, barbs clawing the spine, driving him across the room and into the wall. The propulsion was geared entirely for thick shark hide and water. Some oldester did not stand a chance.

A couple young men came rushing over and in, calling out her name. "Al'right, just check that crazy old man! He damn near tried to gut me!"

Simon and Brad, two of her best assistants worked to get the odd long knife out of her shoulder, while making sure the man was definitely dead. "Bugger me, you clean shot 'em through."

Emily gave them a droll look. "I take threats seriously, boyo." She took up the knife from Simon as he joined Brad with the old man. A soft gasp and she rushed to the man. "No...oh no..."

In her hands laid an ancient curved blade sharped down from a hyena's bones. The carved relief from Africa one of the few relics her husband used, never parted with, even when he left years ago going walk about. With trembling fingers she brushed back the face of the man, shaking her head. "Madrison!? Oh god... this man disappeared with Jack..."
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PostSubject: Re: The Brightness of Night   Mon Apr 21, 2014 3:07 pm

"So like...you...are a mage?"

"I don't normally prescribe to such a term, but yes. I am in a way a wizarding sort."

The teen huffed, making her fluffy teased hair flip and fall back in front of her eyes. Arms cross, rocking on her heels, little Lolita dress fluttering with the movements, the bratty girl princess of Briarthorn didn't seem to buy what Sinclair was selling. He'd dealt with the type numerous times before. Snotty little girls and boys, ignored by society to the point they acted out.

Roxx growled and lashed out with a bent and black tapped 5 iron golf club. "Back off bitch. No one talks to the Nevermore that way. He's king, mang." the goths all nodded in their own way.

She gave a yelp, stuck out her tongue, and started a fight with the punks. They shouted and grimaced, but it was all posing. They would never harm another mage unless real intent rose to the surface.

Chantilly pulled away a thin wrapping of linen, a strong scent of herbs from it. She peered and tapped at Sinclair's chest, directing him to breath and hold. Then she turned and flipped a card, considering the sounds and looks of skin against what the cardboard and ink said. "You are looking positively healthy again. Any odd popping away of fingers, feet, things like that?"

The gloriously lovely man of pale skin and dark hair, enough bearded scruff to be romantic, nearly left the woman breathless. So many amazing people had fallen into the house! How could she not just keep falling for them all!?

One pale hand patted Chantilly's, the English accent drifting to her ears. "Oh no, all digits kept firmly in place. I even ate an entire slice of apple pie with a fork. Thank you dearly for that. Never had such a flakey crust. Divinity itself."

"Oh oh ohhh you. You and yours are very welcome. I apologize for the mistress not coming herself."

"No need to fret. I know many traditions find our kind appalling, and were it not for war, I would have kept ourselves away."

The lady just grasped his hand in hers, warming it through. "Sinclair, you have been a dear heart. And it's obvious to anyone with eyes to see, you care about mages, wizards, sorcerers, naredowells, tarts, and the whole frivolous lot of us. Thinking like that is what got us all in the this mess. No need to continue it."

"Too right you know." A seriousness filled his eyes as he considered her words. Nothing laid in the pit of him. All of the fondness and love, lightness and concern, spilling away to fall forever. "If you could, I will need to meet with the Mistress Melbourne. It's time to take this discussion right to the source."
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PostSubject: Re: The Brightness of Night   Mon Apr 21, 2014 4:02 pm

The submarine had come, but Lavrenti had not gone. He gave his seat away to others. Something of that vision, of seeing his friend in pain and coming in from the city, made him wait. Of course, he would be late to something else, something important, but this man had become like a son. They were born and bred in war, fought for ages for what they believed was right, spilled blood and gave of themselves without a second thought of their own safety. But always, a shadow haunted Mikhail.

The Russian picked his way through the city, falling back to the dingy hostel he had rented previously. Urine, old needles, dead insects, the fallen refuse of too many people in this hellhole of a city littered the hallways down to his tiny room. Nothing of it compared to the degradation of his homeland and the forces of the crone.

The one bulb left in his lamp flickered and died as he entered. Yet another mark against staying. Moving to the windows, he yanked aside curtains stiff from disuse and hundreds of visitors to allow some of the neon glow from the sign outside to guide him. Lavrenti peered out with an anxious regard, eager for news, afraid of what could be. Shadows moved and leaped from the building across the street, landing on whores and a drug dealer weaving on his feet. Their screams were short, swiftly ended as fanged maws laid into throats ripped open, an old urge in the man to aid them.

Then the unthinkable...something called to the vampires, halting their progress. The two looked up towards a deeper shadow, walking forward. The first disappeared into the mirk, no longer moving or leaving. The second made angry motions, taking out a gun to fire, then rush in to attack.

Their screams were as from his memories, scathing and sharp, clawing at his mind, forcing him to cringe regardless of shielding himself. His eyes remained transfixed, open wide, tearing to keep that focus. He had to know, to witness, only only a thin tall man walked from the shadows.

The figure stopped, rubbing hands on a torn shirt.

It looked up to Lavrenti, shadows too dark to see any details. But he could feel the intensity, the acknowledgement.

And he finally feared.
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