Insert clever title here (Minibit)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by AngelFish, Aug 29, 2014.

  1. Maraline, or Mara, as she now called herself, fidgeted anxiously as she approached the entrance to the borderlands. The half-angel knew she'd get a less-than-warm welcome were she discovered, so she sincerely hoped that the simplistic human attire she'd acquired would disguise her angelic radiance. She didn't look as angelic as her mother, but it still showed a bit.

    She was an outcast, not accepted anywhere she went, so she was hoping if she could gain entrance to the borderlands, she could blend in and finally have a place she belonged. She wasn't asking for a perfect life. She wasn't asking for heaven, which she'd heard stories of. She was just asking for peace and acceptance.

    Her hands were trembling as she approached the gates; when she reached them she was surprised she hadn't fallen. The humans watching the gate barely glanced over her as she walked inside, and her shaking slowed as she entered the simple city. She reached up to twist a strand of her blond hair, a sigh a relief escaping her lips. A sigh that came too early.

    "Angel!" The word flew from someone's lips like a curse, and Mara felt more than saw all eyes turn to her. She didn't take time to look around or plead her case. She just ran.

    She'd heard horror stories of what humans did to angel's they'd captured. Cut off their wings; among other things. Mara didn't have wings, but she didn't want to imagine what they'd do. She saw what looked like a pretty quiet building, a good place to duck in and hide, so she did. When she shoved the door open and stumbled in she was met with a mostly empty bar.

    Her green eyes were wide as she looked for a hiding place. Any hiding place. She wasn't exactly a large girl, there must be dozens of places to hide in here! Outside, she could hear the shouting voices drawing closer.

    She was running out of time.
  2. At the bar, a lithe figure sat on a stool, two old-fashioned coattails trailing off the back and coming to points like a wolf's fangs. Tan, narrow fingers with pointed nails were curled around a short glass of some amber liquid, and had been in the process of raising the drink for a taste, when a commotion at the entrance caused the person to turn, setting the glass back on the splintery bar, and raising two dark red eyes to see what the noise was about.

    A wolfish smile spread across Dante's features as he quickly took in the intruder to this out-of-the-way dive. By the faint but undeniable radiance, and by her pale features, he would guess Angelic, but her presence in the Borderlands, terrified expression, and that irresistible aroma, she had to be human. He turned on his stool, crossing his long legs at the ankle and leaning one elbow on the bar, watching her intently. If the sensation of a human soul was something that could be breathed in, he would have filled his lungs, but although it was comparable to the smell of a delicious meal, it was a sensation not felt on his tongue or in his nostrils, but somewhere in his narrow chest. If he had such a thing as a soul - it was largely agreed that his kind was in possession of no such thing - he would say it was felt there.

    The sound of a crowd had followed her initial commotion, and grew noisier as the apparent fugitive looked wildly about the place. They would be upon her, soon. Angels and their kin never lasted long in the Borderlands. The humans blamed them for their suffering, and the other half-breeds looked at them and saw only their own pain and misery reflected - who could blame them for wanting to smash such a mirror? If they got in, they'd rip her to pieces. A corner of his lip curled down in a frown; what a waste that would be. Such a lovely, innocent-feeling soul - he wondered if it was because of her angelic side, or - if he was wrong - if she had been blessed by an Angel. He felt his mouth water, a little.

    Rising off the stool, he crossed the bar, lifting a stool as he passed and wedging it under the door handle. That would buy a few seconds.

    "Do you want some help?"
  3. As Mara was looking for a place to hide a figure got up from the bar and wedged a stood under the door handle.

    "Do you want some help?"

    She turned to look at her rescuer with a thank you that died on her lips. A demon. Her instant instinct was to flee, and try to get way from him. Demons were no good, she been told that constantly from a very young age. In her mind's eye she could see her mother, Mara sitting in her lap as she had when she was a young girl. Her mother had been the definition of beauty; radiant and perfect. She could clearly remember her mothers gorgeous face filling with angry fire at the sight, sound, or smell of a demon. Never forget, Maraline. They are the reason we are here. They are the reason we are hated. This is their fault. They will do anything to get what they desire in their greed.

    At the sound of the shouts outside and the pounding on the door she was shaken out of her memories and she came to a sudden realization. Demon or no, evil or not, he was her only chance at survival now. The simple brown skirt and green top that felt so wrong hadn't hidden her lineage, and now she had to do what she could to survive.

    Even if it meant making deals with demons.

    "Yes, please. I need a place to hide!" If he could help her, she would accept that help. She could only hope that if her mother was still watching over her, she'd forgive Mara.
  4. "Then," Dante's predatory smile grew, creating crinkles at the corners of his eyes, "You'll form a contract with me?"

    He was leaning against the door with his hand pressed against the rough wood, his shoulder and elbow locked so he could push his meagre weight against it. It shuddered as the first of the mob outside tried to push it in. An angry exclamation preceded the beginning of a series of slams against it; shaking through the wood and reverberating up to his shoulder. It'd be down in a minute, this was a condemned bar, not a stronghold.

    He looked down, being a handful of centimeters taller than the woman before him. She was desperate, he knew she had to accept, even if she was unfamiliar with the contract of a demon - she was practically gift-wrapped. Still, he needed her to agree; a demon couldn't just devour a soul any time he wanted to; it had to be an agreement. One soul, for one wish; any wish. Humans were so easy to manipulate; it was shocking the amount of petty things a human would literally sell their soul for: revenge, someone else's salvation, power, safety from an angry mob. It was, he supposed, a clever loophole that this law did not require the demon to explicitly say that the price was a soul.
  5. Mara's panic was quickly growing, and she didn't know what else to do. She was sure that there would be awful consequences to this decision, but right now all she was concerned about was getting to safety, and quickly. "Contract? Fine, name your price, just get me to safety!" She flinched away from the door when it shook again with the sound of people slamming against it.

    She didn't trust him of course, not as far as she could throw him, but at this point she saw no other options. As she'd thought, deals with demons. She was sure her mother had warned her about just this situation. She was sure that nothing good could come of this, but she could beat herself up later. The short, slight girl stood no chance against a mob. She had no wings to escape.

    She twisted the material of her skirt in her hands as she watched him. What had she just agreed to?

    She was jarred out of her anxiety but the sound of the door beginning to splinter, and her eyes flew back to the demon she'd just spoken with. He had better do something quickly, or they may tear both of them apart.
  6. "Fine!"

    That was all he needed to hear. He'd name the price in a minute; he didn't need her any more hysterical than she was already liable to become. He waited the half a second it took for the next tremor to hit the door, the wood already breaking apart into dry-rotted beams, and used the tiny break before the next one to take his hand off the door, and shove her backward by the shoulders, using the momentum to spin around as the door crashed down. He spread out his arms in two longbows, flexing his fingers as his already sharp nails began to grow into out-and-out claws; sprouting to absurd lengths of ebony knives.

    The mob rushed into the room with a shout that quieted - but didn't die - when they saw the monster between them and their prey. He was unable to keep silent as the huge, leathery wings sprouted forth from his shoulder blades, flapping once to settle into their full wingspan. The vain majority of his mind was glad his back was to the half-breed as his form finished its transformation in less than a couple seconds. He towered over the vanguard, enveloping them in the shadow of his wings; the shadows int he bar seemed to grow and swallow the floor; light filtered in from the open door, but it seemed faint- halfhearted. Not nearly as bright as the two points of red light glaring down at the mob. They seemed to be weighing the satisfaction of slaying angelic blood against the value of their own lives. Full-fledged demons didn't usually manage to stay in the borderlands; they'd be watched round the clock until one day they inevitably dropped their guard and could maybe be killed by a group of what passed for elite fighters. Dante just usually didn't cause enough trouble to be worth the effort; but today, today he had decided to expend a little effort of his own. He didn't think anyone here had been alive long enough to remember the last time that happened. Still; it would take more than even the Black Breath of a demon in his battle form to keep a horde of humans from a drop of angel blood, even if he could see their knees knocking

    "You realize that's an Angel you're protecting!" One of them bellowed, spitting the word as if it left a bad taste, arising a faltering chorus of "Yeah!" "Get 'er!" "Let us at it!"

    "She's mine." he growled, half-closing his fist to make a sharpening sound between his claws. It screeched, making a couple of the humans cover their ears.

    He took a step forward, the weight of his larger form causing a shudder in the floorboards and - possibly involuntarily, the front line took a step back. Their roars quieted down. It looked like they might leave. There was a moment of utter silence, some muttering among the crowd outside; probably wondering what the hold-up was. Their leader, a tall, beefy man with many scars on his arms and bare chest, hefted a pike uneasily in his hands, glaring at Dante and glancing behind him, measuring his odds.

    Suddenly, he sprang forward, shouting murder as he propelled his pike toward Dante's chest; it clanged against his defensive claws, but not before the tip left a stinging scratch on his collar; the clang echoed in his wrist as the weapon turned. Motion to his right nagged at his peripheral as the attacker staggered. The others were already stepping forward to continue the assault, there was only a second to act, maybe less. Dante jumped forward, landing with a small earthquake and bringing his claws down upon the leader, impaling him at the shoulder and tearing down to his chest; the sensation of bone and muscle snapping satisfactorily as his scream echoed in the darkness. Retracting his hand as the human fell bleeding to the floor, he swept his back arm forward, knocking the foremost two followers onto their backs with a satisfying thud. They crab-walked backward, groaning.

    He took a step, blood dripping off his stabbing hand. Their soon-to-be-departed leader gurgled on the floor, choking on blood. The rest of the mortals made up their minds and fled, pushing each other out of the door, cursing and promising to return eventually.

    He waited until those who had entered retreated outside, and the clamour of the mob started to fade, before he brought his broad shoulders, bulky black arms, and all other aspects of his transformation back into check. The light returned to the bar, and a moment later, the only evidence that a monster had stood in the blood puddle Dante was standing in were two tears in the back of his shabby black tailcoat. Looking down, he made a sound of distaste with his tongue and teeth, and stepped back as he turned, wiping his feet on the less gory floorboards.
  7. The word 'fine' had barely left her mouth before the man shoved her backward by the shoulders, away from the door and behind him. He stood between her and the door in an oddly protective stance. Then, he started to change.

    Mara held back a scream as her lithe rescuer became, suddenly...well, demonic. Wings sprouted from his back. not the beautiful white wings she was used to seeing, but ugly leather wings. With his back to her, she couldn't see much of the transformation, just the gigantic wings and the man himself growing in size. Even from behind he looked horribly frighting, she couldn't imagine what he looked like to the humans who charged in the door.

    Their sudden stop was almost comical. If she hadn't been afraid for her life, she might have laughed.

    "You realize that's an angel you're protecting?!" One of them spat. "She's mine." The man replied. The sound of his nails made her cover her ears with a wince. She saw a man charge forward and she started to stumble back, but her rescuer raised a hand and struck him. The sound was awful, one she was sure she'd never forget. And the smell. She thought she'd get sick. In the back of her mind, she realized what it was even though she couldn't see it. Blood. So this is what blood smells like. it's sickening.

    After a long moment it sounded like the humans fled and her rescuer returned to his normal state. The sight of the mangled body on the floor and the blood itself is what pushed her over the edge. She stumbled back a step, then another, before turning and getting sick.
  8. The sound of vomiting prompted his attention away from his bloodied shoes and back to the miserable half-blood. He gave a short sigh, directing his gaze back to the bar - the barkeeper had long since fled, and it was abandoned. Taking care to avoid the gruesome puddle, he made his way in casually long strides to the end of the bar, and slipped behind it easily. Glasses were stored conveniently under the counter, and a bucket of clear water was ready at hand - for washing up spills, he guessed, but there was no rag. Scooping up the liquid, he retrieved his own abandoned beverage as he passed it, returning to the woman a moment later, and extending the water towards her.

    "Rinse your mouth" he directed, wrinkling his smooth face at the new smell.
  9. She took the glass from him with shaking hands and rinsed the foul taste from her mouth. She thanked him quietly as she sat down in a seat, carefully keeping her eyes away from the horrible scene by the door. She twisted her skirt in her hands once more as she kept her eyes cast down.

    "Thank you." She told him quietly. "Both for the water, and for protecting me." Honestly, she had not expected him to stand by his word. He was a demon after all. Maybe they weren't all bad. Maybe her mother was wrong about them. She looked at him, a little curious. Maybe he wasn't a bad demon after all.

    " your name?" She could at least be civil to the man who had just saved her life. She had forgotten by now that she had promised something in return. She just knew that he was being kind to her. As she glanced at his face, she amended her last statement. Maybe he wasn't being kind. But he wasn't trying to kill her. Which was a plus.
  10. The demon had been looking over the mess near the door, weighing the consequences of the fatality in his mind. Honestly it was the guy's own fault for charging an angry demon in battle form, but he doubted the other borderlanders would see it that way. He turned his head towards her and nodded when she thanked him, raising his glass for a sip.

    "Dante" he replied, giving a slight mock bow before he settled his lanky form into a seat near her, looking her up and down. She still seemed shaken, but the angelic radiance she was faintly emitting still gave her a calm, soothing sort of aura. To Dante, it felt like a bonfire; warm, and soothing, but he had the feeling it would change if he got too close or it was turned up too high. The fact that he was not at least a little physically uncomfortable sitting near her confirmed she was at least half human. Angels frowned on half-breeds, though they insisted they were still less cruel than his kind. Still, half-angels weren't strangled at birth or anything, what had driven such a delectable soul into this filthy hole?

    "And you are...?"
  11. She shifted a bit in her seat and fiddled with her hair as she thought. What was she going to do now? Where would she go? Her parents were gone, she had no home to return to, and she was hated wherever she went. If she returned to the angels she would be frowned on and ignored her whole life. 'tainted blood' is what they called halfbreeds. Sure, she wouldn't be killed but that's the best she could hope for. The humans hated her as well, they would tear her to pieces if they got the change. Would she have to live her life in solitude, never knowing family or love? A hermit among her own kinds?

    She was jarred out of her depressing line of thought when the demon - Dante - asked her name. "

    "Maraline." She replied. "But...just call me Mara."
  12. He had asked her name, but the woman seemed lost in thought. Her shift in position had placed Dante in her peripheral vision, out of direct sight.

    He fixed his eyes on her and waited - he had granted her wish, the mob was gone, she was unharmed, the contract fulfilled. He could 'see' the contract, in much the same way he could 'smell' his prize. It had been a long time since he'd forged a contract, but the process was simple, and such a fact of Demon life that he'd forget how to breathe before he forgot how it worked.

    Step one, find a human with a desperate wish. Humans were so inconstant; they panicked so easily, and in the depth of that moment, the wish of their hearts were nearly always for one thing; their own salvation. Step two, form a contract; grant that human's wish, in exchange for their soul. Once the wish was granted, the human usually fell into a sort of faint, or sometimes they would become drowsy. The soul released from the body and the demon was free to feast.

    But her contract wasn't fading, and her soul didn't seem to be making travel plans either. His brows knitted together, lowering over his already narrow eyes - could it be that in that moment, she had wished in her heart for something more than simple safety of the moment? If that was it there was no telling what it would take to fulfill the contract; her heart had to have been in turmoil, she might have wished for peace, or to not have to hide ever again, or for the peaceful, blessed life those in the Kingdom Come lived. She could easily have wished for all those things at once.

    Worse yet, he couldn't form another contract until this one was fulfilled.

    "Maraline." She replied. "But...just call me Mara."

    Clearing his face as she came back to the conversation, Dante managed a small smile. "Well then, Mara, since you've made a contract with me, I must know your wish."

    'Since apparently' he finished bitterly in his mind 'the words on your lips were not the words in your heart'
  13. "Wish?" She echoed with a confused look on her face. "Our deal was that you would protect me in exchange for...what did you want, anyway?" She asked suspiciously. She had this dreadful feeling that she'd made an awful decision in forging a contract with Dante, but it seemed that it hadn't gone according to his plan. He seemed annoyed somehow, as if he'd been expecting a great treat only to have it pulled away at the last moment. She tried to remember what her mother had told her about demons, but she couldn't remember.

    "You have fulfilled your part of our agreement." She wondered what he was waiting for; did he want to help her more? Did he expect something of her? Demons seemed to be much more complicated than she'd previously thought. Her mother hadn't told her that demons were this complex. She told Mara that they were greedy and hateful, only every after one thing - in that moment, Mara realized exactly what Dante wanted. Of course. She should have seen it sooner.

    She leapt to her feet, filling with a burning anger of such intensity she'd never felt the like. If she could see herself, she'd see the same righteous fire she often saw in her mother's face. The fire of an angel's anger.

    "You! You lying, hateful, horrible thing! What, you think you can just steal my soul?! That wasn't our agreement!" She stepped closer to him in her anger, forgetting how powerful he was. The hot anger was rolling off of he in waves, and her tiny fists were clenched tight. She was practically seeing red. "I refuse to let you take it! I won't!"

    As she shouted the last word she felt a sort of tearing pain in her back; between her shoulder blades. She stiffened, and then a pair of huge white, feathery wings sprouted from her back and made her forget her anger.

    "...wings?" She tried to turn and accidentally slammed the glasses off of the bar with the new appendages. "I've never..." Her mother had always told her that she'd 'find them when she was ready', but she'd given up.
  14. Dante couldn't help it - a condescending half-smile appeared on his face at the first indication of her confusion, and he started laughing when the realization caught her tongue and understanding spread across her formerly perplexed features.

    The blast of radiance, like the door of a hot furnace opened before him. He reflexively stood when she did, shutting up in a hurry, and stepping backward as she advanced. Her fury was blinding, shadows were thrown away in pin-lines against the walls, and he was forced to squint, gritting his teeth and resisting the impulse to raise an arm against her light when two dazzling wings sprouted from her back. She seemed just as surprised and distracted by them as he was - could half humans usually grow wings? He's always assumed the blood of a 'sinful' human would render the abilities of a holy angel useless, but apparently he was wrong. Guarded once again, he started to straighten his stance, and real used with dismay that she'd gone and knocked his drink over - but no time to worry about that.

    He briefly considered transforming again - though his bones and muscle ached at the thought - and trying to overwhelm her, but favoured caution. It seemed she was more of an unknown than he thought. No, he had to fix this calmly.

    "First off" he said, dusting his sleeves off as though her radiance may have left some toxic residue, "I'm not stealing anything, you made a contract with me, it's not my fault you're an impulsive seller".

    He viewed his spilled drink with disdain, and wondered if the barkeep would cower long enough for him to snatch a free refill.

    "Second off it's not as bad as all that - you do get your heart's wish granted first." He frowned, "but your wish should have been just to be saved, and that's accomplished. Damn! What did you wish for?" He demanded, stepping forward, his voice raising as he continued, "In that moment, what did you want? Above all else on this damned-blasted Earth, What was your wish?"
  15. Her wings shuddered when he started to speak and she turned to face him once more. He seemed calm, then suddenly began to shout and she made a second realization. Despite her words, she must have had a different wish in her heart when they agreed. He couldn't take anything from her until he granted that wish. A slow smile spread across her face, and then she began to laugh.

    "You can't do anything to me until you grant that wish, can you?" She shook as she tried to quell her laughter. "Well, even if I knew what that wish was, I wouldn't tell you. If you can't grant the wish, you can't take my soul." The situation was ironically comical to her, and even though she'd managed to (mostly) stop laughing, giggles still burst out of her now and then.

    I guess this is what happens when an angel and a demon walk into a bar.
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  16. He had been towering over her, fuming and clenching his fists, when she started to laugh. Rather than surprising him, this only made him angrier, slamming his left fist into the nearby table with a crash. "You think you're free?" He growled.

    He hadn't been this pissed in quite a while: she was right in that he's been careless and showed his hand, but she was dead damned deceived if she thought this meant their association was over. He'd rather slaughter her right here, and pile her corpse atop her earlier attacker's, rather than let her go and die on her own time, and him having the contractor's burden for however long it took her to kick it. The connection between a demon and his prey was more useful last time; this time he had the feeling it'd just be frustrating; not to mention having that tantalizing, mouth watering soul in his awareness, and having it constantly out of reach.

    "Listen, you worthless waste of skin, and listen good" he lunged a fist forward, gathering and gripping the collar of her shirt and slamming her back against the wall. "You're not out of the woods, not by a fucking long shot. Your precious little soul is already mine, you've sold it to me and all that's left is to make the payment-" he shook her once more, leaning close until there were scant centimetres between their noses "-but you're not going to last two minutes out there, now are you? So what's it gonna be? Have your wishes granted and die satisfied, wanting for nothing any amount of time from now, or run along and be subjected to the Borderlanders until you're lying broken and bleeding in the mud, wishing you'd let me consume you."
  17. Her hysterical laughter died on her lips as she was suddenly introduced to his full anger. He seized the front of her shirt as he yelled at her, slamming her up against the wall. Her newly found wings screamed in pain, but despite the pain, her fear, and his anger, she couldn't help feeling just a little bit smug. She glared up at him with tear filled eyes.

    "It doesn't matter when I die, how I die, or where I die." She spat at him. "I can't tell you what I was wishing because I don't know. Kill me right now. Toss me to the border landers and let them do it. Because unless you plan on following me around and showing me random acts of kindness in hopes you get it right, you're not getting my soul."
  18. Her radiance was burning his face, though his own was already flushed from anger. He opened his mouth to retort that he might just do that, but was interrupted by movement in the dirty window beside the wall where he'd pinned her.

    Where there should have been a flat, empty horizon where this town ended and the flatlands began, there was a dark shape forming, growing larger.

    He felt his heart in his throat as he realized what it was; Borderlanders, much more than before, carrying torches and proper weapons - possibly even Blessed ones. This force was walking in formation, too; they had a mission. It seemed he'd overstepped his privileges, slaying that villager and defending Angel blood. These people weren't just sport-hunting an infidel, they were exterminating a pest.

    "Shit." he dropped her and stepped back, glancing backward at the similarly grimy window on the front end of the store, just in time to see flames begin licking the frame, and a dark blur move past the window - probably someone sent to cut off the escape route. They knew what they were doing, this lot.

    He didn't have time to explain his curse, even if he wanted to. His bones aching already, he took a spotting stance and summoned his strength to transform; shadows darkening around him like a pool as his wings expanded from his back and his body grew taller and thicker. The horns hurt the most; he wished he could learn to control that bit, it felt like two spears were being forced into his skull instead of out. The claws were a simliar sensation, but at least they were useful.

    He wasn't quite finished when the roar of a charge surged through the walls, and the door was knocked down. The first one in - followed speedily in formation by several others - was a Borderlander Dante recognized as Amaziah, a half-demon who had driven out the last full-demon to try making a life in the borderlands; he had a history of war and violence, and an especial grudge against anything from Heaven. His arms were like two tree trunks, and each fist clenched the handle of a normally two-handed longsword. He had leather armour on - this one, too, had come prepared. His first thought was to burst through the flaming doors, but if Amaziah was here, he'd probably organized the strike; there would be archers or at the very least poisonous blowdarts at the back entrance, he wouldn't allow such a simple escape.
  19. Mara was surprised when he dropped her, and she slid down agains the wall. She struggled her way to her feet, her angry words catching in her throat at the frightening sight. There were more humans than she'd ever seen in one place, and they were coming for her. At Dante's apparent panic, for him as well. She scrambled for her blade that she had tucked into her leather boots and tugged it free, keeping her eyes away from Dante as he transformed. It truely was a terrifying sight.

    She was considering trying to flee through the back entrance when anothe man burst through the door. He was huge, easily dwarfing her, and weilding two longswords. She instinctually stepped back a bit. Her small blade was no match for this monster. Dante seemed to have forgoten about her as well.
  20. There would be no escaping this fight, Dante thought with resignation. He swallowed, and stooped down, getting his hands - and attached claws - on a useful level with the advancing horde. He spared a sideways glance for Mara; she had told him he could leave her to the borderlanders, but that wouldn't save him from this problem; she needed out of this spot as badly as he did. If anything, giving her up or using her as a meat-shield now would only lose him fighting power. He stepped ahead of her, letting loose a thundering roar as he swung his right arm forward, his left going back at the same time, adding momentum to the swing; he swung downward at Amaziah, hoping a strike from above might connect with his unhelmed head, or at the very least be difficult to block.

    He had no such luck as his steely claws only connected with the actual steel of two crossed longswords; Grunting with the exertion, he put pressure downward on the - less than usually - smaller being, and he could see his opponent gritting his teeth and sweating as well. He also saw those behind him - what passed for a borderlands police force, all armed with decent shortswords and round shields. They were already rushing past Amaziah; towards Mara and his undefended back.