Dark Voices and Lost Souls

Caoimhe only saw the crow pass over her head, her eyes glancing behind her only for a second to know that it was him who had just shifted and taken flight. She continued on her way, her pace a bit faster than it first had been, her skirt fluttering more as the wind bluew more harshly. She entered her castle without a second thought, her advisors only able to say a few words before she silenced them and said she was heading off to work. They seemed content with answer and let her be as they retreated to their own tasks.

She took a different route to her bedroom, avoiding her father's chambers the whole time. She stopped in front of her room and opened it slowly, expecting to see a man standing there, only to see a crow sitting outside her window, waiting patiently. She walked over to the glass slowly and opened it with a quick flip of the lock, stepping back enough to give him room to enter easily.

She panted lightly as she watched him, having run much more than she was used to. She kept her cool and dignified look about her though, she could not lose her face even in front of a man who had just shared his deepest secerts with her. She walked over to her bed and sat down at the end of it gently, sitting up stright as she motioned to her vanity stool for him to sit on, her room had no other chairs to sit upon.
With that bobbing-headed, goofy step that crows have, the black avian sauntered in through the window, its head angled to peer thoughtfully at the Queen. Something of a dead trill crackled from its throat as it watched her shut the window and step towards her bed. Her breaths were coming swiftly; perhaps now she understood the importance of their cooperation, enough at least to rush through her castle. It seemed, in his birdy opinion, that she was trying hard to grasp onto her royal dignity, something about which the crow could not care less.

In some semblance of humor, the crow fluttered to the carpeted floor and pecked its way towards her vanity. A flap or two and it was soon standing atop the stool, regarding her with that angular manner. The black that covered its wings seemed to leak like ink from it, before this shadowy substance exploded with volatile energy, threading out into long sharp angles until it became the tall man from before, clothed like royalty himself, only without his cape.

The pale sullen-ness returned to his gaunt face, and hellish eyes fixed intently upon Queen Caoimhe, a simple gesture and a pale, lofted brow an invitation to speak.
There was a moment of silence where Caoimhe thought about where to begin, uncertain which would be the best place to begin. She locked eyes with him, almost trying to read deeper into him, before deciding that the very beginning was the best.

"I was born from my father, King Alfred Herald Ashdown, and my mother, Queen Melody Safine Ashdown. I spent most of my young childhood with my mother, as my father claimed to be working all the time, though in truth he honestly did not care much for me." She began softly, her eyes moving away from his as she looked off somewhere, her eyes glossing over as she thought back.

"Around when I was ten, It was discovered that my father was far from loyal to his wife and had been sleeping around with numerous maids and ladies of the court. My mother was ashamed of this, believing she was a failure at being a woman and wife, and took her own life eagerly. I was then left in the hands of numorous maids and teachers, all ment to keep me busy while my father continued to play." Her tones shifted to being slightly bitter, almost hateful, but her face remained the same cool calm she always had.

"At twelve I came under a terrible illness...and died." She paused, the words almost uncertain as the flowed from her tongue. "I was infromed that my heart had stopped beating for almost an hour, and as my body was being prepared to be taken away, I jolted back to life with an eager breath in the arms of my doctor. I know not why I was thrown away from the hands of death, only that after that small moment on the other side I returned with my current gift."

There was a moments pause before she stood suddenly and started to pace her room, her elegant frame moving smoothly as her eyes darted about in thought and uncertainly about continuing.

"For a long while I suffered, the souls screaming a pushing at me from all angles, crying out to me since I was the only one who could hear. It hurt me so deeply, that I was unable to help the inoccent being who suffered on their way to the other side...It scarred me as well, for spirits of evil ways whispered in my ear things that no child should learn at my age. The only thing that kept me from turning to the same escape as my mother, was the fact that I might here her spirit, and tell her all that I felt and wished...Sadly, even to today, I have never heard it."

"Years passed, I grew older, my father grew hornier, and my family's name was being sullied by my father's lose reputation. It was made my duty to keep out famil in good light, and I was quickly sent off to other kingdoms to speak and deal, while father played around in bed. Finally, at eightteen, my powers seemed to calm and souls were more calm and quiet about their approch, though there were still some violent ones. At the same time, something changed in my father, and it was no change for the better."

"He began leaving the castle and walking into brothels, wearing no disguise to cover up his true identity. He bought women, one after another, always returning in the late morning and locking himself away in his bed chambers. At first we paid it no mind, and just asked him to be more secertive of his purchases since he was still in charge. But he continued and things got worse..." She said, her pacing stopped and she looked down at the ground almost shamefully.

"Soon, he began to demand that women be sent to him from the brothles, claiming that he souldn't have to dirty his feet on such improper floors. We eagerly did as asked, since it would keep him from ruining our name any further. At this time, I had already been made into queen, it was suppose to be a temporary title until my father eventually ran himself dry and returned to his work."

It was at this moment the slightest bit of weakness slipped onto her features, a look of guilt slipping onto her face as a hand darted up to pinch the bridge of her nose to stop herself from shedding tears.

"It never got better...He continued to ask for more and more until I had to turn to the royal tresury just to be able to pay all the women who kept him entertained. No one has seen his face since his last claim that he wouldn't go out to buy women anymore and instead had the brought here. Those who have tried to cure him had only returned beat or...scarred. It got to a point where we couldn't just cut him off, things started to happen when we tried."

She once again took a seat, looking a little more broken than she had when she started, having never told anyone that in her whole life.

"My people claim that I am the most wonderful woman in the world...But I am nothing more than a failure whoes father has resorted nothing more than a primal beast, demanding food and women..."
Renault absorbed the tale with all the stoney resignation of a gargoyle. The man remained perfectly unmoving, unbreathing. Lifeless, save for the fires of his eyes. Yet behind that impassive stare burned his focus and thought. He tried to place himself in her shoes, and found that he could not. Hell, how many times had he tried to take his own life over the years? How many times had he given up and given in? Yet this girl, this young woman withstood ridicule and uncertainty for the greater good. With absolutely no help, nobody to show her the way.

Add a spiritual awareness, and Renault frankly could not imagine a normal, run of the mill mortal managing to survive unscathed. Yet here she sat, feeling guilty and broken. Not an ounce of pity for herself. It was moving, particularly to a man who spent hundreds of years wallowing in self-pity. Oh, woe is me, I am immortal. Oh, woe is me, I can punch down a house.

Yet even amidst their differences, the Queen and the Hunter, they were very much the same. So much of life was out of their control... at least it was, until their threads crossed. Renault thought this over intently for a time, before rising fluidly to his feet and striding to Caoimhe. The pale man stood at arm's reach, his tone lower and gentler than ever before.

"A wise Queen would listen to her people. Let an old man tell you, Your Majesty, that there are none in the kingdom more deserving of the throne. Do not diminish your victories and successes... nor loiter upon failures you do not yourself own."

Renault wasn't much for comfort, but nodded solemnly to his words, a snowy tress drifting absently over his face. He didn't dare reach out to touch the queen, lest she catch his chill.

"What we -do- have, right now, is power over the future."
Caoimhe glanced up to the tall fingure before her, his words being more comfort than he could ever possibly know. Though there was no deep meaning full look in his bright hellish eyes or gently pat on the head like a caring person, there was still a sort of lifting note to what he had said, something that she hadn't heard in a long time. The corner of her mouth twitched slightly before a rare sight occared.

A smile.

It was soft, and greatful, speaking more words than she could ever say in a life time. Even though it was rather small and seemed to only last a second, it was something that he certianly wouldn't forget. Many men who have given their lives to see such a sight on their lovely queens face, and it seem Renault had gotten to do so for free. As the smile drifted from her lovely cheeks, she stood gracefully once more and the look of an ever clam queen returned to her onve again.

Now her voice was more curious now, as once more and small hand reached up to moved back that stray hair that had covered her view of his face. The soft fingers tucking it gently behind his ear as she spoke calmly.

"Then what is your plan, Hunter? What move to you intend to make to capture you current prey?"
Business time.

Renault's expression went the way of concrete and hardened, until a pale brow hung low over his burning eyes. The tip of his tongue flicked thoughtfully over his teeth, his stare drifting aimlessly about the vast Queen's quarters while he chose his thoughts. One leg slowly crossed over the other, the absolute height of class and gentlemanliness, with his palms laying atop one another over a bent knee.

"To toss your castle into oblivion's door would be the easiest route, lo, the fastest. Yet our aim is not wholesale genocide."

The man frowned at the pretty queen, blinking once and only once.

"My calling is murder, Your Majesty. Few and further between are those evils clever enough for subtlety; verily, an abomination rampaging through the countryside makes my work swift and practical. In this, however is a matter I am most displeased with, as Your tormentor has deigned to conceal itself from me. And dare I not to go caterwauling in, sword in hand, screaming at the shadows until it shows itself. T'would only startle it and off it would fly, leaving me another quarter year journey..."

In an almost effeminate manner, the man huffed and folded his arms over his nicely cut chest, his throat ruffle ruffling plaintively.

"I cannot see it. I cannot even feel it, only know I that it simply is. Deduction places it near your father, but practicality has shifted our dance to a tune of its own liking."

And this was not at all pleasing.
Caoimhe thought quietly as he spoke, also understanding the delicate situation that was at hand. She certainly wouldn't and couldn't allow a demon to rampage in her castle, and was glad he had some more common sense than that. She also couldn't let him run in wildly either as it would be possible that women could be in there at the moment servicing her father, and that would put their lives at risk. As for the creature hidding, she would have to disagree.

She knew exactly where it was in her castle, and on who's back it was clinging to tightly. It was always lurking in the back of her mind, chewing lightly along the edges in an atempt to prevoke her into falling into it's messy and obvious trap. She continued to think as she started pace back and forth on her lush carpet, her footsteps completely muted by it. She tapped a finger on her chin lightly as she turned and continued her slow and steady walk.

"I can see it, and feel it as well...I know where it lurks and it has made a fine nest for itself within my father's room...I dare not stay close though, it's words are far more convincing and proding than any spirit that I have ever heard." She said as she looked at him for a second before looking away again.

"We could atempt to lure it out into the open, away from the safe haven it has made in my walls...Lead it into the forest so that you comence with killing it without a worry or care." She suggested, her hand moving to fold behind her back.
What a pair they were. One could kill, but could not see. One could see, but could not kill. Together, they made one marginally functioning being. The very corners of Renault's lips twisted upwards with a single snort of a laugh at the horrible irony of the thought. As she paced, he uncrossed his legs and recrossed them inversely, his head tilting from one side to the other as she paced noiselessly by. Were he not a supernatural, soul-less revenant, he likely would have noticed how the back of her dress worked ever so well with the gentle curve of her bottom.

"Oh forsooth! Leave us a trail of cheddar and breadcrumbs, and pray our little rat comes sauntering out for dinner." If the man was genuinely amused, it didn't show. The Queen had her point, but actually putting it into action would require much more variable than he was comfortable working with.

"A powerful, invisible rat that might decide your villagers to be a more tasteful morsel."

Sitting still as granite upon her vanity stool, the beautiful man simply watched her. He didn't seem very impressed with the situation, her room, or having to wait, but wait he did, as the company wasn't at all offensive.

"There is no easy option. I will require you to show me the creature, and you will require that I possess enough restraint to dispatch it. It, and nobody else."
A small frown placed itself upon her lips at his comment, it rather unwelcome to her when she had been serious. She started to pace again with her hands behind her back,her step flowing slowly. Her eyes were focused on nothing in particular though they held a feeling of deep thought. She then looked to him again, an almost determined expression on her face as she spoke, her tone almost a bit proud as she explained what she had meant.

"That is why give it what it has been demanding since the beginning, women...Well, woman in this case." She said, turning to look at him as she walked toward him with a quick burst of speed.

"We find a woman, a lovely woman, one the demon hasn't gotten it's hands on yet. We lure him out with the lady, tempt him into peeking it's head outside the door and going after her, we could lock her away or keep her at a minimum distance so it knows she is there...There is nothing more tempting than a forbidden fruit."

She looked at him seriously for a moment, arms lenght from him as she her gaze locked with his orange eyes. She did not like the idea of getting close to the creature but she knew there wasn't any other choice for the both of them, she needed to be there for him to see. She wasn't certain if she could handle the pressure the spirit would put upon her but she would have to hold out, for her kingdoms sake.

"I will show you the creature, but we should have a solid plan before any actions are taken, we need to be prepared for anything."
"There is too little on hand with which to plan. It could be vast, it could be small. It could be strong, it could be weak. For all I know, it could take your form, or perhaps be an ancient weapons master."

Renault appeared more and more agitated, if such an emotion could register on his marble face. He was too close now to be hung up by such things as 'caution' and 'planning', no matter how necessary they were. However, this arrogance was kept in check by the simple fact that he truly did not want anybody to get unnecessarily hurt. And if this creature were clever enough to orchestrate so much misery without ever showing its horrid face, anything less than extreme care might result in just that.

"Ye bait and switch is absurd. I will have to conceal myself physically and spiritually, and this would leave you truly vulnerable. And if the damage is irreversible? Your country will have lost both King and Queen."

The tall man didn't like that one bit.

"I am not a mender, Your Majesty. I cannot even repair my own flesh. We must be flawless. We must be swift. But above all, we must keep you alive."
Caoimhe's frown deepened, her expression rather irritated and annoyed. She turned away from him and bega to pace once more quitely, trying to think of something, of anything, just as long as they could use it to defeat the beast. There were many times where she began to open her mouth but quickly closed it, most likely because she did not have faith in what she was about to say. She had never had such a hard time coming up with solutions to problems, it had been one of her greatest skills as a queen. Now, here she was, unable to solve a problem that was hovering over her head as well as her intire kingdom.

She eventually sat down once more upon her bed, a sculpted leg raising to lift and lay on top of the other, her eyes staring intensely at carpet as she thought and thought and thought. For a moment she just stayed like this, atempting to squeeze out every last bit of idea or trink that she could use, and all seemed so stupid and foolish that there was no point even speaking them. A small sigh passed her lips as she then looked up at him, her eyes holding a small bit of defeat as she spoke.

"Then I can think of nothing else...This creature is so much more complicated than I thought, there are so many possibilities, so many risks, it will be a miracle if we ever get this spirit done with." She said softly.
Renault properly scoffed at the mention of a miracle, rising up from his backless seat with the fluidity of a seasoned dancer. Before her very eyes, he unbuttoned his jacket and shrugged off the sleeves, tossing it in a thoughtless ball over a shoulder where it struck the carpet and exploded into a small vanishing cloud of obsidian. Gloved fingertips danced amidst one another conjuring, pulling at the dark edges of the day-lit room, commanding them to aid their true master.

One moment he stood in ornate vest and white sleeve, the next his clothing seemed to bulk and twist, reshaping and re-knitting with the shadows as they reached out from every conceivable hiding place to weave according to Renault's will. In little time at all, he was dressed for all intents and purposes as one of her guardsmen, the rich earthly shaded armor abundant in ridges and chainmail. An elegant toss of his hair, and he began to summon a small globe of darkness to shape into a proper helmet.

"Bullocks miracles. We will simply march in and slay the wretched thing. Simply guide me to it, and witness the miracle of de-creation."
Caoimhe looked at him as he scoffed loudly and quickly moved to his feet. As his coat fell to the floor and splattered into puff of black ash, hey eyes widened in surprise and awe. Here in her own chambers, the shadows danced to the will of this man standing in front of her, changing his dapper suit to the uniform of her loyal guards. Every detail was correct, down to the very last bit of metal and leather.

For a moment she just sat there staring at him, not having expected his clothing to change like that and leaving her with even more questions about this man in her head. When his words finally hit her though her look of awe almost turned to one of horror, though it was quickly controled and turned into one of stoic disbelief at what he said.

"Are you mad!?" She said as she stood as well, her eyes drifting to the black shadow that formed the helmet that completed the outfit. "To just march in there, in the middle of the day no less, would be completely insane. This beast is up at all hours, it never rests, always doing it's nasty deeds. On top of that you'll probably throw it into a rampage and hurt many of my sevent and guards, I cannot allow that!"
"Hear you your own words? The beast never rests. We cannot wait for it to tire, as it will not. We cannot wait for it to wander from its beds, as it will not. And we cannot pray it will simply ignore my presence for much longer, as it will not. It is... a trial to keep myself masked to -these- beings, beings who may very well dwarf my own years and certainly have no death wish."

Renault reached around his throat, gathering up his silken mane and more or less plunking it all atop his head, working out a final minuscule detail on the conjured helmet's visor before donning it hurriedly. Half-face, the visor hung down over the nose, with several black slits intended to protect the eyes from projectile and errant blows. Beneath them, at least with this bearer, they seemed no different than a stove-door, with burning embers glowing within.

"Were its aim death and blood, I imagine Your Majesty that it would have sated itself long ago, and sadly we would not be having this discussion. I doubt it will even understand the implications until it is too late; to that end, we could even use its precious whores against it."

Striding evenly over to one of the Queen's full-body mirrors, he sized himself up with straight shoulders and his gentlemanly stature. Deft, metal clad fingers worked the straps of a pauldron, loosening it slightly. He mussed with the breastplate's humble tabard, and even took a bit of a slouch, spreading his feet fractionally and cocking his head to the side, every bit a fresh and brash recruit.

Nobody of consequence.

"Do not waste your sentiment on the 'what-ifs', dear Queen, and for once have faith in a situation that you cannot fully control. Now take my hand and do not let go until we have this thing bleeding. If one of your men asks, make something up; I trust in your skills of fabrication."
For a moment she only stood there, silent and brooding. It seemed as if Renault was completely serious about charging into the den of the beast that had taken over her father. Caoimhe was uncertain however. She may have been queen and controlled a vast army, but she herself was quite weak and fragile, like any other woman. A twinge of fear filled her, making her hesitant to do as he said.

Both her heart and mind where caught in a harsh battle, her head telling her to not go and continued to just let the problem simmer until there was a way to deal with the beast that didn't involve charging in. Her heart however told her to suck it up and go with him, it was for the sake of her country and herself, what was life without a few risks for the greater good? She shuffled from one foot to another, her face holding a look of deep though and uncertainty. This would have to be the biggest decision of her life.

A moment of silence hung over her as she looked down at the ground, a small sigh passing her lips as she came to her decision. She tilted her head up and looked at him before holding out her head, her face tight as she atempted to keep her cool.

"Fine, take my hand. I'll show you the way....Just promise you...you won't let go." She said, her voice shifting slightly to nervousness before moving back to calm and collected.
And he did just so. A sturdy glove gripped her smaller hand in a taut squeeze; the metal was as real and unyielding as that which it was meant to mimic. Renault would not hurt her, but the power behind that squeeze was one that the queen needed to know was going to be dedicated wholly to solving her problem. To keeping her safe. Resplendent even in the guardsman outfit, the man stood close to her. The cool metal of his opposing fist very lightly touched the tip of her chin, to bring her head upwards, the way one would inspect a flower's fragile head. Hell bored into her eyes with his stare, unwavering, unblinking, and impossibly confident.

"In the name of Order, I shall not let any harm come to you. Do not be afraid."

With the casual stance of a cocky young guard, he stepped to stand properly at her side, his sturdy fingers interlacing with her own and giving a second gentle little squeeze. Things would have to be quick, he imagined, so that nobody would question -why- exactly the Queen was playing handsies, and why this particular guard was unarmed.

What would it look like? Where would he strike? Would he have to alter himself?

Time would tell, Renault supposed. No hint of doubt or nervousness showed in any bit of him, but somewhere beneath the ice and the death and the hellfire there was a young man who was in fact frightened. This whole Hunt could go horribly horribly awry if he was not cautious, if he was not brave and decisive. Lives, particularly the spectacular life beside him, might face extermination. Given the creature's pattern, he honestly hoped that it was one of the cowardly sort.

"Caomihe? When... when battle meets, I want you to keep your eyes shut. There are some things who, when spawned, were never meant to be perceived by mortals."
The feel on his fingers intertwining with her's was both new and strange, never having held some's hand like this since she was a child. Even then, it felt different then what she could remember from her youthful days, this one was so much stronger, so much more certain and permanet, if possible. She looked at their hands almost uncertainly, as if she shouldn't be touching him like this, but as soon as he tilted her head back and made her look into his eyes she knew she wouldn't be letting go until someone pried her fingers off of him.

She returned the small squeeze, the motion mostly to comfort herself than him, since he had done this many more times than she ever had. She then grabbed her skit with her free hand and lifted it lightly as she prepared to walk.

" Keep you steps quick and steady, I want to try and avoid running into anyone." She said before looking to the door and opening it.

She walked out into the hall, pulling Renault behind her, his disguise so convincing that even she would think that he worked in her military. Her steps where quick and percise as she walked down the quiet hall, it being almost void of any life save for the two of them. They took twists and turns in a maze that a stranger could easily get lost in, Caoimhe taking the route that would have the least people on it.

Slowly, as they got closer, the sound of people coupling started to drift in the air, getting louder and steadier. Among that there could be words heard, most she didn't understand but if she had to guess they weren't exactly proper.
"Don't be afraid."

Renault followed, his Royal Swagger carrying him along at a pace that mimicked the Queens'. There was much filtering violently through his head, concealed as it was by a solid metal helm.

The implications of physical contact that did not involve talons, claws, gouging fingers, or vice-like grip after so very, very long of withstanding the aforementioned were almost beyond Renault's own field of understanding. Frankly, he did not know how deeply it would affect him, yet he found his subconscious going places that he had not been for over seven hundred years. A time of Spring Festivals and Autumn picnics. A time of packing into the neighbor's house and swapping stories of far away over fire-light and cocoa. Of a girl's little hand slowly and shyly crawling into his own and setting his cheeks and heart ablaze.

He could see her now. The Queen's profile, in his aching mind, became younger, to mirror a mouse of a girl with the most beautiful auburn curls.

She would always sneak over to sit beside him when the adults had taken to their cups, the long shadows of the dwindling fireplace concealing her dainty fingers as they locked with his. The gentle embers illuminating her eyes, as her lips worked through vows and promises. She was too young. Hell, so was he. But they dreamed wordlessly of adventure and distant lands.

Only now the fire that burned in his eyes was unnatural. And the distant lands weren't nearly as adventurous or as beautiful as they had dreamed.

Renault frowned beneath his visor, taking the turns with the Queen without breaking stride.

He had since slain countless creatures of the dark. Death's own hitman. The perfect weapon. What would this creature be like? Would it speak to him? Was it reasoning? Was it older than him? Renault had once slain a creature older than the seas, putting all of that knowledge and wisdom to the grave. All in the name of Balance.

Tis the price of greed. They were better off in their own worlds... and own no place in this. That is your purpose, fool. Do not forsake it.

Fractionally, a metal hand squeezed the Queens, as he realized they were drawing closer to their destination.

"....don't be afraid...."
Caoimhe took his words to heart as she fought herself from turning around and running back to her room, the sounds of moans and screams of pleasure getting louder as they turned another coner. Her face stayed the same calm and silent expression that she showed to so many others but inside she was afraid, afriad that this wouldn't work, afriad that she would die, afriad that she would fail her prescious people. However, this wasn't the time to be scared or second guessing herself, she was finally fuflling her duty and curing her father and sending the horrible beast that had been hovering over her kingdom back to whatever crack in the ground it crawled out of.

Finally a time of peace and relaxation would be her's once more, no more papers or laws or annoying advisors who breath down her neck. No more worries of death or failure or lose of what she held so close to her. Finally, she would be free from this weight on her back and she could smile and open up and move on with her life.

She started to slow as they entered the hall which held her father's bed room, the sounds of humans mingling together like they have since the beginning of time. Her hand clung to his tightly as her jaw tightened, keeping her face emotionless as she held back her fear. She approched the large door and stopped just out of arms reach, her face stern and cold as she heard the sounds leeking out. The demon continued to speak in it's strange tongue, though it's tone was obviously cocky as it had it's way with another ground of women.

At this very moment, she would be visiting a man she hadn't spoken to or even seen in years. For all she knew, he was dead and only was a talking carcus that was being controlled by the greedy creature inside. She let out a small shaky breath before reaching out with a shy hand, it resting on the door nob gently as she stared intently at it, her arm shivering a bit as she tried to keep her cool in front of Renault. She could not bring herself to turn it, no matter how many times she told herself to do it in her mind.

She could not bring herself to turn the nob.
There could be no going back. She had to know that. She had to believe it, or she wouldn't be strong enough.

Renault frowned. He was about to do something risky, but if his instincts were on the line, it might even yield better results than he could have dreamed. For now, he was just a little drop of rain in the spiritual pond. Little waves, hard to detect, easy to neglect. But if he opened up... just a bit... he could get some attention.

And hopefully startle the creature into being stupid.

For one who walked amongst souls every second of every day, he hoped the Queen would understand this gamble. The hand she held lost its cold indifferent, metal feel, to be replaced by something far harder. The material which composed Renault's personal armor was of legend. It did not belong in this world, and was not simply fabricated from shadow, but conjured from a mystic realm wherein he kept his most prized 'possessions'. It was a night black metal, lined with a deep, striking purple, that leaked an evaporating black ash as it rested over his lithe form. Broad gauntlets, and finely crafted mail encompassed his hands and arms. A breastplate that had been crafted by immortal hands sat taut to his form like a thicker, second skin, a broad sash looped diagonally across the front.

Vast, solid pauldrons in bladed, skull-shaped relief, stared lifelessly from his shoulders, eye sockets glowing a deep, otherwordly purple. His cape had returned, though now tattered and impossibly long, the shadowy tails of which caressed and clawed at everything they could reach. Heavily armored legs ended in broad, bone-clad boots, matching with the impeccable taste that Renault constantly carried himself with. Instead of a helm, he wore a vast, deep hood, from which his snowy hair spilled and his hateful eyes burned. With a chaotic, energetic snap of black power, seven swords entered the world. Six matched one another, terrible and sharp broad-swords designed in skulls. The seventh was an impossibly large blade -longer than Renault was tall- its ridiculously keen edge wrapped partially in bandage. When a man puts medical supplies ON his weapon, he means business.

The six hovered around them, perfectly spaced, blades tipped to the floor. A fraction of Death's power flowed freely from him now, and Renault Vintora felt himself urged to destroy. There was black fire in his voice, the mystical, hovering weapons rotating individually as his gauntleted hand gripped the largest, most horrible among them and held it inverted with the ease of nearly a millennium of use.

"Guide me, Queen Caoimhe. Guide me and see your foe's soul rent asunder."