Pennyblood

Asmodeus

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Doctor Pennyblood straightened up on the back of the wagon, a crowbar in one hand and a pair of bottles in the other. They had been very carefully wrapped, sheathed in leather and padded with paper and cloth. "Most intriguing, Quincy. I certainly didn't order these."

He held the bottles up in the light - one of them containing a thick, viscous red substance, and the other a weak blue liquid. "Trifold compressed magmatite.. and some form of alkaline, possibly phosphorus based... Curious..."

He paused and leant down again, picking up a box of odd metal spheres. They were hollow, with a thin glass division in the middle of the honeycomb interior. "This certainly warrants further investigation." He returned the items to his crate then hopped down onto the warehouse floor, his goggled eyes fixing the driver. "If I may be so bold, my good man: who is the next customer on your list?"

The driver was wringing his cap, clearly perplexed by the whole affair and anxious about how it would affect his livelihood. "Er... well, it's young Miss Brewer, Sir - over at the doss-house on Camberwell Road. She's a regular..."

"Well it would appear that Miss Brewer's shipment has also been tampered with, along with most of the crates in your care. The tamperer was careful to cover his tracks, but small irregularities in the wood grain and distortion of the metal nails tell another story."

He looked to Quincy. "It seems were are not the only ones in receipt of gifts this day. I suggest we accompany the wagon to Miss Brewer's and see if we can't learn some more about our mutual benefactor."

He hopped up onto the back of the wagon once more and repacked his crate. "What say you, Quincy? Is the game afoot?"
 

LadyHarpy

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The smile on Maxin's face grew wider, glad that he was alright with all the pay, she quickly finished off her glass of brandy before standing up and motioning for him to do so as well.

"Alright, now that that is settled, I'll show you around the house and point out all the things you need to fix. As for a gun, they are the expensive side, but I believe I can help you out after we get all of the problems covered." She said as she turned and started to point out problems.

Everything seemed like it needed a good fixing, many of hte floor boards needed to be replaced, the stairs needed to be fixed, some of the doors were hanging slanted or completely rusted in placed because of the old hinges. There was evidence of leaking in the roof and some walls had peeling wall paper. She had done well to try and hide some of the flaws but the more she covered the more seemed to pop up.
 

Spammy

Swagolor Approved
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"Sure, I'll bite. Just a moment please, Doctor." Quincy said as he took the box of parts and hopped down off the cart, moving to a small workbench set up for maintenance work. He quickly set about to repairing Good Business, replacing the defective components with a practiced hand.

A quick test brought a satisfying snap as the hammer fell against the cylinder, once again as smooth and swift as he remembered. He took a moment of satisfaction as he held the gun up, once again admiring the seamless construction and the simple, elegant engraving of the gun's name down the side of the long marksman's barrel.

He quickly unloaded his replacement revolver and set it in a storage bin before walking back to the cart, slotting the bullets into the cylinder of his preferred firearm. He climbed back onto the cart, taking a seat where his crate had been before the workers had removed it, pulling the final two rounds for Good Business from his breast pocket.

"I imagine we're going to give this Brewer quite the surprise, arriving on either side of her delivery." He said with a grin as he slotted the holster onto his belt and slipped Good Business inside. "Certainly no less than we were surprised to find these additions."
 
A

Alarice

Guest
Clear. It was clear.

Arthuria slipped across the alley and peered in through a window. She was hidden in the shadow of a rain gutter and two large crates stacked, one on the other. The man was still there with the woman. Her stomach growled again in protest. She wanted him to leave already but it looked like he was going to be there for awhile longer. She turned to look over her shoulder.

Food. Food. Then I can return to the basement. Yes, basement. Lots to do in the basement.

When she turned back, the woman had stood up and so had the man. It looked like they were going somewhere. Outside, perhaps or just through the house. The door to the kitchen was always open but she didn't want them to see her. There was no food cooking now but there could be morsels somewhere.
 

Asmodeus

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Arthuria instantly picked up the sound of horse hooves and skittered into hiding. Moments later, a carriage rushed down Camberwell Road, belching steam and causing the bands of street children to chase it. There was a chorus of creaking wood, horse grunts and steam hisses. Some of the horses had prosthetic legs powered by steam pneumatics - the originals likely amputated for meat. Such was the way things went in Soulon.

The carriage turned into the small alley next to the building, and from the rear a man hopped down, his face covered with a white mask and goggles and his outline defined by a hat and long coat. The man turned and look back at the wagon, motioning to a companion. "Stay with the crates, Quincy. I'll see if anyone's home."

And with that, the man circled to the front of the building, moving past Arthuria's hiding place. He banged his arm against the door and sent the old wood rattling.

"Miss Brewer! The name is Doctor Pennyblood. Might I request a moment of your time?"
 

Childish Grumpino

"...before turning the gun on himself."
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Pretentious nonsense.

I watch the scene unfolding in front of me in the opera house without expression or comment, though inside I'm longing to be somewhere else. The warbling voices of the singers, combined with the drones of the vast steam organ, leave an unpleasant sensation in my ears and act as a constant distraction to my thoughts. This is a distraction for the wealthy, a petty amusement and nothing more; quite what my companion finds so beautiful about this performance is beyond me, but then he always has been one for the theatrics.

As a being of science and rationalism, however, I like to think of myself as above such petty distractions.

Finally, the cacophony begins to die down, though I know it to only be a brief respite before the onslaught begins anew. My companion finally glances across to me and says with a note of disdain,
“Oh really, George. Must you be so cold? Not one tear?”
“I fear this is a pastime more suited to you than myself, old friend,” I reply calmly, watching the stage as the actors whirl across it, “I must admit that I have never quite seen what you find so attractive about the opera.” I look away from the stage and fix Louchard with a stare, “As for my coldness, I cannot help it any more than you can on occasions.”

I look down into the audience and spot several of the other vampire families sitting amongst the crowd, their attention fixated upon the stage. A feeling wells up inside me, one that can only be described politely as disdain, though I can think of numerous more colourful ways to describe it.
“Look at them,” I observe to Louchard, “It's pathetic; desperately they cling to what few vestiges of life they have left to them, constantly chasing what they happily gave up in the pursuit of immortality.” I look back at my companion, my expression now having a slightly bitter look to it, “They are parasites, my friend. Parasites who don't even seem to be aware that they are such. Soon, however...”

I look back at the crowd and a slight smile crosses my lips. “...soon there will be change.”
 
A

Alarice

Guest
Arthuria turned at the sound and clamped her hands over her ears. Horses. So much noise. Thunder. Years ago, those sounds alone would have given her flashbacks. Now they just hurt her ears and made her heart race. Oh no! What was happening?!

Stop. Please stop. Must stop ... Almost. Just hang on ...

Then it was over. She opened one eye and then another. There were horses and a carriage and two men. She had never seen them before. The one who asked his companion to wait and came so close she would definitely have remembered if she had. She thought for sure he would have seen her but he didn't so she stayed where she was.

Arthuria kept a wary eye on the man left with the carriage. Food was still her priority. But she really wanted to return to the basement already. Things were beginning to seep out of her view of normal routine and it made her nervous. Unfortunately, if she returned now, there was the matter of being seen by the man in the carriage and she would only have to venture out of the basement again for food. The energy and time she had taken to come now would have been for nothing.

... I hate wasting.
 

LadyHarpy

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Maxine paused in the tour of her home when another knock came to the door and the muffled voice of a man slipped in. Could it be another person looking for work? She really hoped not, she would hate having to turn someone down. Of course there was also the chance of it being one of the usual homeless looking for a drink and a meal, she didn't have much ready yet but she could throw something together if it was someone in need. She turned to her newly employed handy man and smiled a little before she excused herself to answer the door.

She wandered over to the door and opened it slowly, lookig up to see something she did not expect. This man was wearing a pure white mask and a pair of large goggles, leaving her to only guess at what he might look like. He certainly looked better off than anyone who lived at the hostel so he certainly wasn't there for the job. She stepped back a bit to get a better look at him before placing one hand on her hip, she wasn't to sure about this man, but he didn't seem to have any bad intentions.

"Yes, how can I help you, Doctor Pennyblood?" She asked as she peeked past him and noticed the supply cart. Could this have anything to do with her delivery?
 

Asmodeus

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The Doctor lifted his hat in greeting. "Apologies, Miss Brewer. I would have called ahead to make an appointment, but this is a matter of some urgency."

He stepped back a little, giving her a view of the carriage in the side alley, where Quincy stood with the driver and two helpers. "Myself and Mr Richardson have received shipments from the Amelia Steamline, a trans-Atlantic service which I believe you also use. I have come to warn you that this particular shipment has been tampered with."

As the carriage driver tended to the horses, the two helpers were already unloading Maxine's crate and bringing it over as Pennyblood spoke. "It seems a mysterious benefactor has furnished us with additional gifts, in my case a highly volatile explosive compound. Out of concern for your safety and by my own curiosity as to the purpose of this providence, I would like to be present when you open your crate. It may be that we have a mutual problem on our hands."



* * * * * * *​


"Oh darling, you are so dreary when you talk business."

Louchard waved a pale, slender hand at his companion. "And please... don't tar me with that dirty little brush of yours. Why, I positively adore my fellow vampires." He leaned out from the box again, gazing across the undead multitude as they bristled to the final notes of the opera. "Gorgeous creatures, all of them. So alive in their passions - so hungry. And what a world they saved, in our lovely little London town."

He sat back and turned an eye to the shadows in which his murderous companion sat. "I have nothing but love from my brothers and sisters. But I wish, Georgie - O how I wish they would only see that true youth... true beauty... must forever be... fleeting/.

His lips parted in a fanged smile as the audience rose, clapping, the cheers going up like an answering song to the finale. It thundered around the vaulted opera as the players, Astrid among them, took to the stage and bowed in unison with exquisite costumes repainted in the raised lights.

And after the third encore a Vampire took to the stage, dressed in suit and tails, raising his gloved hands for silence. “Thank you, friends, family – thank you.” He brought his hands together as if to pray in the ensuing quiet. “Since my dear brother, John Donaghue, first conceived of the St Paul’s Opera House, it was his dream that such nights as this should embrace our imagination. There is no finer celebration. Be you Dynastic, soldier or Spouse, this story is for us all. For when we sing of love and things sublime, we are reminded of the very virtues that divide us from the Migrants...” He pointed southwards, lips curling around his fangs. “…and from the workers – the things that make us human.”

Louchard and George wanted to laugh out loud, but were silenced by knowing they were the only ones.

“So I thank you, my honoured lords and all the families. And I thank the wonderful players of the Globe Company and the Royal Opera House. But most of all, my friends, I thank the writer of this esteemed opera.” His white hand extended towards the steam organ that nestled in the pit between stage and audience. “Since the day we first signed the Dead Deal with our human brothers, he has shown us that…” He paused again, dramatically, running his tongue across his canines, “…that although we Vampires are the greatest artists of our time, there is still so much to be said for a mortal’s touch.”

There was a peel of concurring laughter from the audience.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the announcer declared, “I give to you the man who brought you peace and who continues to bring you beauty. The Guardian of Norlon and the Voice of the City. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… the Judge!”

From the shadows beneath the steam organ a figure rose to frenzied applause. He was picked out as the spotlights found him: a shimmering coat of feathers, a top hat and metal gauntlets over wizened hands, shaped like talons. He leant upon a black cane as he limped up the steps and onto the main stage, each foot placed with delicate precision. And as he turned to regard the audience, his eyes were bloodshot behind the holes of his bird mask. As applause continued the Judge cocked his head this way and that, examining the adoring crowd. They called him Black Death, the Raven of the Tower, the Bearer of the Black Rod; and these were the legends he cultivated with every breath he took through his plague mask.

Yet for all his power the Judge seemed uncomfortable on stage, hunching lower as the announcer offered him the floor. It was only when the audience began to chant that he turned square with the auditorium and struck his cane against the floor. Then his voice, nasal and wheezing, more like the ragged breaths of a dying man than any living speech, uttered “No… no…”

His head twitched. He sounded on the verge of either tears or hysterical laughter. “It is you, Masters. You… you. You bring beauty and keep it safe. I cannot thank you enough. My… my inspirations. You taught us how the world should be saved and I’ll teach you why… oh yes, I’ll teach you why. The things I see, why… you cannot…”

He lost his words, head turning this way and that to regard the boxes, each vampire family. There was something thirsting about it, as if he was drinking them in, wallowing in their looks. There was an awkward silence in the audience, as if they felt he was about to weep, and the announcer moved to reclaim the spotlight. But at that moment the Judge threw his arms wide, talons glinting in the theatre lights. “Stay!” he exclaimed, savouring every word. “Stay… forever, Angels… young and firm. Golden… always. Never fade… arouse us for all our days… even as we die… your taste upon our lips.”

He faltered again, but this time it was neither nerves nor ecstasy that stalled him. For he had seen something amongst the darkness as he swirled.

Astrid bristled beneath the eyes of the plague mask. The Judge had seen her, standing at the back of the assembled players, and for a moment she thought the entire crowd would turn with him and follow his gaze. Her eyes flickered, left and right, but as her hand unconsciously moved to the hem of her costume, it was with the unmistakeable knowledge that he, the Lord of London, the Black Death, Judge of the Black Rod, was gazing directly at her. She had brought him to silence; and it was only the gradual onset of nervous applause that spared St Paul’s from the moment. Beginning with a trickle then rising in crescendo, the cheers flooded the stage and the announcer hastily reclaimed the light.

The show was over and drinks would be served in the lobby.
 

Childish Grumpino

"...before turning the gun on himself."
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And then did the Judge take to the stage.

Fortunately only Louchard is close enough to witness the look of utter contempt upon my face.

There are many words I could use to describe the Black Death, the Raven of the Tower. Freak of nature. Disgusting pervert. A parasite as much as the monsters he idolises. Yet what defines him is, in my eyes, his greatest sin. The man who happily sold his species over to the devils that preyed upon them.

Race traitor.

I lean back into my chair as the Judge makes his pretty little speech, a bitter smile upon my face.
“Snivelling, boot-licking little dog...” I mutter as he finally finishes, to initially nervous yet finally deafening applause. Sighing, I join in half-heartedly and rise to my feet before glancing to my companion. “Well, I do believe that the show is over.” A smile briefly crosses my lips as I hold out my hand to Louchard, “Shall we go and mingle with our beloved fellow opera-goers? Truly, I cannot wait listen to their self-satisfied, masturbatory drivel. Honestly, it's more entertaining to me than any play you'll ever drag me to.”
 

LadyHarpy

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"Tampered?" She asked as she looked at him uncertainly.

She didn't like the sound of that at all, especially since she had been expecting to recieve another addition to her lovely little gun collection. If it was tampered with then she wasn't completely sure if she wanted it or not. However, if the person who was tampering with it was giving them things then it couldn't hurt to satisfy this man's curiosity, at least if something went wrong there would be someone to force to help her clean up. She stepped back to allow the men to enter and set down her crate before looking at Pennyblood and nodding her head.

"Fine, You can come in. I if what you say is true then maybe this benefactor left me something I can use to fix this damn house..." She said as she moved out of the way and allowed him to enter.

When they were both in she wandered over to her crate and looked it over. They were right, it had been tampered with, though whoever had done it had taken care to hide the fact. She was now getting a little curious herself about what could be inside waiting for her and watched curiously as the men cracked open the crate...
 
A

Alarice

Guest
Arthuria watched the men disappear inside. Waiting for them to leave would take too long. She needed to get back to the basement soon. There were math equations to figure out, and books to read. She still had to copy down the calculations before she erased them all and was forced to start again. She glanced around as she measured each option, each pro, each con. She breathed deeply. This was not the time to be caught up in passion or make a serious error.

Leave. Short span of safety and security. Will have to venture out again. Effort and time spent on current outing would be for nothing. Wasted. All wasted. Hate wasting.

They were examining a crate. It was important to her. She'd seen crates like that being delivered to this house before but never stuck around long enough to see what was inside. She didn't even know if the mistress of the house even opened them when company was present.

Busy. They are busy. There could be something else to eat or scavenge inside. Another room perhaps. Left overs.

Her mind made up, she moved around to a side door. She remembered that it opened up to a hallway and that, like the other doors, it was almost always unlocked. It was also a door few ever used for whatever reason. She opened it silently and slipped in. Then she began tiptoeing down the hall, pressing an ear against each door and slowly opening it to peer inside when it was silent. This went on for a few doors until she got careless.

Arthuria accidentally stepped on a crack in the floorboards, causing it to creak.
 

Spammy

Swagolor Approved
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Quincy lagged behind as the men unloaded the crate and moved towards the house, stepping towards the front of the cart and leaning in conspiratorially close the driver and quietly saying, "Be ready to get us out of here fast if there's a problem."

Once he got a nod from the driver he hopped off the cart, slipping in behind the workers and shutting the door just to a crack behind him, balanced to be nearly closed without being latched, ensuring some measure of privacy while being read to be thrown open at a moment's notice.

He tipped his hat to Miss Brewer as he saw her, giving her a small, polite grin. "Quincy Richardson, pleased to meet you." He said as he took a position around the table, moving his coat aside as he glanced at the crate, his revolver now visible. He wanted to take no chances and felt an unwanted vindication when he heard the floorboards creak.

He looked around the room, from the workers to the Doctor to Miss Brewer and finally to a rough-looking fellow who at least had some appearance of belonging here. Quincy began to quietly walk to the door nearest to where he heard the creak, looking back at Miss Brewer and asking, "Is anyone else supposed to be in the house?"
 

LadyHarpy

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Maxine looked to Quincy and nodded her head at him in responce before looking back to the men and the crate. She was rather curious to see what could have possibly added to her crate, if anything at all. She had spent a good deal of money on this little shipment of hers and she'd before more than ready to hunt down who ever was touching her stuff if one piece was out of place. When she heard the creak she didn't think much of it, the house was old and often creaked on it's own. If it was really a person then it was probably a homeless person coming in for a bite to eat.

"This house is old Mr. Richardson, it creaks on its own very often. I also help the homeless so my door is usually unlocked during the day, if it is someone they'll grab a bite from the kitchen and be on their way before you know it. Don't worry, they know better than to bother me when I have guests." She said calmly as the crate was finally opened.

At first she had to step back, not because anything jumped out, but because of the smell. The air filled with the scent of garlic and there was no wonder as to why, the crate seemed to be full of bundles of them. She shook her head a bit to fight off the smell and let out a low whistle as she walked closer, she certainly hadn't expected to get free food, at least she wouldn't be buying garlic for a long time. She walked closer and started too removed the garlic and dig deeper, hoping her shipment wasn't ruined. Underneath that was the ammo she had odered for her pistols, along with another ammo that was much bigger and tipped with silver. Then finally what was at the bottom made her let out a gasp of surprise...

There at the bottom of the crate was a large machine gun, bright and silvery. It seemed to be a holdable version instead of the mounted versions she was used to seeing in the shops. She slowly pulled it out of the crate and dusted of the packing straw to admire it closer. There was a cross carved onto each barrel and seemed to almost glow, but that was probably just her mind making it seem all the better. She couldn't help but give a crooked smile as she looked the lovely piece of craftmenship up and down.

"Thank you, unknown benefactor..."
 

Tegan

Hopeful Monster
No one had mentioned the way the Judge had looked at her. For this act of mercy, Astrid was grateful. She still could not be sure if it was her he was staring at from behind that mask, or perhaps something above, something beyond her. She’d hoped so. She needed to find a way into the upper ranks of the Norlon society, but the Bearer of the Black Rod was not a springboard she wanted to use.

“What about you, Astrid? Got your eyes on anyone?”
Girlish laughter brought Astrid from her reverie. She realized, with some embarrassment, that she must have been staring dreamily at her reflection for minutes, now. She sat with her seven fellow sopranos, all neatly cramped together on the dressing room bench. They fired idle chatter at one another as they changed from their costumes and primped themselves for the reception in the lobby.

“No, none at the moment,”
Astrid replied airily, appearing uninterested on the subject all together. She kept her eyes forward, into the mirror, focused on the task of applying her mascara.

“It’s that accent. Norloners are cautious to anything foreign.”
By this fact alone, Astrid was lucky to have been accepted into the Company at all. No one said this. They didn’t have to.

She was from a wilder place. A place outside of the wall of Smog. Within the Smog, it was easier for them to think of the rest of the world as some kind of alien planet. Her flesh had seen the sun; been darkened by it, branded with hundreds of freckles, like tiny scars.

“You could always say you’re an exile,”
Cooed Bridgette. The amethyst studs in her ears were the latest fashion. They were also a very clever knock off. Judging by the craftsmanship, it was from a reputable Soulon sweatshop. Of course, Astrid would never let them know that she was aware of such things.

“I can teach you how to speak with a Norlon accent,”
the brunette offered, her voice honey sweet and oh so helpful.

“Do you really want to be a Spouse?”
Astrid secured the string of peacock feathers to her hair and turned to regard Bridgette with crystal clear confoundment.

“It’s not like we have anything better to do, darling,”
Olivia interjected, grinning at her reflection as she powdered her nose.

“You could sing.”


Silence fell upon the singers for a moment. Astrid caught their meaningful glances at each other through the mirror. The poor girl didn’t stand a chance. She wasn’t in her Migrant-ridden country anymore. It wasn’t enough to just be healthy and nimble to escape death. Naivete was a luxury the London elite could not afford. She was in a dark, complex world, now. If she didn’t learn the rules quick, she’d be eaten alive.

“Penelope Cavendish can sing.”
This elicited a chorus of snide giggles from the other girls.

“Pardon,” Astrid rose to her feet and left the girls to their mirror without another word of parting.

“What’s with her?”


“I heard French girls were rude.”


Sophie, who had remained silent throughout the whole conversation, watched the reflection of Astrid pause by the paneled door for a moment, before closing it behind her.


- - -


Astrid savored the feel of her bare feet sinking into the plush rug, before she slipped into her heels. She then tugged the air thin chain around her neck, allowing the pendant to emerge from between her breasts. It was a clove of garlic covered in silver. The girl pressed it to her lips for a moment, before returning it to its hiding place within her blue dress. She allowed herself a secret smile, before hurrying down the hall, a whirlwind of blue and red.


-----


Astrid raised the champagne flute to her lips, letting the bubbles float straight to her brain, making her momentarily giddy, before checking the ancient grandfather clock for the time. She recognized the massive relic as a one of the ornate time pieces of the Gare du Nord. No doubt the Donaghues had pilfered it in the chaos of the last Migrant surge.

But why place such a thing in St Paul’s?

The irony of the situation had not escaped Astrid.

She still had a few hours before she could go scout out one the factories. So far, she’d been spending it gazing shyly at the grand party from behind the safety of her champagne flute. She made quick mental notes of who was attending and with whom. She did not have to worry about anyone talking to her. She was neither a member of the Norlon elite nor one of the human companions of the vampires. She was no one. An outsider standing in the cheap blue dress that she wore to every event amongst a sea of luxurious reds, golds and purples. Really, she was only allowed to be here because she was in the show. And on the grounds that she behave and not make eye contact with anyone.

The perfume she had stolen from Penelope Cavendish's room was still behind her ear. It had faded to amber.
 
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Torsty

Super Peace Busters Always Together, Forever!
Lars felt out of place again, so strongly that he acted as if he wanted to blend in with the furniture until the men had left. He wasn't scared, he just wasn't able to pick up anything of their conversation and make it understandable. He had to get better at this part, he just had to! For how much longer would he be able to be talked to like a child and not loose his temper?

No matter, the English body-language was not much of a difference. Other than the fact that this 'Dr. Penny-something' and a 'Quincy' were here to deliver some crates for Maxine, but something was not as it should have been. What did she need so much garlic for? He still didn't quite understand what her "business" was all about, how did she make things go around to profit by the end of the day?

As Lars was turning away from the ensemble to catch some fresh air he heard the creak. At first he thought it was coming from the visitors direction, but on a second thought 'my hearing ain't that bad, clearly we have more visitors!'. Lars had dealth with trespassers back at his own farm numerous times, he knew that if he was going to catch them, he had to move fast.

Lars swiftly opened the first door he had been standing by, no one there, leaped over to a second door and there! Just as he was about to close it, he noticed a unfamiliar curve on the floor, someone's heel!

"EH! EH!" was all Lars managed to let out, struggling to find words to describe the situation.

Only one thing to do, he got a hold of her ankle and made sure she wouldn't be able to escape easily. Whoever it was, now was the time to step out into the light! With that, Lars pulled the victim in with all his might.

"MAXINE!!" Lars yelled still holding his captive by her right ankle.

Right about then he spotted the big machine gun, letting the ankle slip out of his grip. He'd armed one just like that a couple of times before, what the hell was going on?

'Herre Jesus, what have I gotten myself into?!' He thought to himself, before grabbing a hold of his victim again, her arm this time, making sure she wouldn't run away.
 
A

Alarice

Guest
"Ooofff!" She hit the ground with a thud! and the wind was knocked out of her! She didn't have time to scream much less do anything to cushion her fall. She winced as her jaw slammed against the floor and started to claw at the boards, mindless of the splinters digging into her arms. She kicked and clawed and fought every step of the way. The fact she still struggled in Lars' grip was proof of how much stamina she had in her.
 

Spammy

Swagolor Approved
Preferred Character Gender
Male
Quincy pushed the brim of his hat back as he saw Maxine lift the machine gun out of the box, a mix of surprise and admiration on his face, a low, slow whistle leaving his lips. "That's a mighty serious piece of hardware, especially for lady whose primary occupation seems to be hospitality." He said, not hiding the further question in his tone. He simply found it hard to swallow that a simple kind woman would have gotten such a gun, or be holding it as she was.

These past events were leaving him with the feeling of too many secrets and hidden plans around him, nothing that a businessman wanted to be involved in. Nothing that anybody who had an interest in their personal safety wanted to be involved in.

Garlic, silver tipped bullets? He felt like he was being set up to fight something supernatural. He considered the Vampires of Norlon, but it seemed far too unlikely a target. Too powerful, too exposed. Perhaps this was planted evidence? But why would they go to all this trouble, when the police could probably manufacture charges without silver and garlic.

Quincy began to feel unnerved, levels of anxiety and energy rising.

So when the rough-looking fellow stepped out into the hall and dragged back a pretty little thing by her heel, as she scratched and clawed at the ground like a beast, he indulged his first instinct and whirled over to her until he was beside her, Good Business in his hand and leveled at her head.

"Now, I've got no real desire to put a bullet in any part of your body, Miss. But this has been a long and frankly strange day, and I'm liable to not be too patient in the near future. So if you wouldn't mind acting like a reasonable human with the rest of us, and you wouldn't mind letting her go," He said as he shot a look towards Lars, then sent his gaze back to her, "Then I'm sure we can all get along with nothing pointed at each other."
 

LadyHarpy

Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread
Invitation Status
, ,
Posting Speed
1-3 posts per day, One post per day, 1-3 posts per week, One post per week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Preferred Character Gender
Male, Female, Primarily Prefer Female
Genres
I enjoy Fantasy, Scifi, Romance, Magical, Modern and much more. I probably can't list them all! If there is something you want to try and it isn't listed here, just ask. I rarely say no!
"I'll be honest with you Mr. Richardson, I only ordered bullets for my duel pistols. A women who has lived on her own most of her life in this town knows that carrying a gun is a good idea. As for this...Well, I certainly didn't order it, though even I can admire a lovely piece of craftsmenship. I'm bit of a collector when it comes to firearms as well, not many know that about me and those that do have bigger fish to fry than a single woman such as myself. So let me say I am just as surprised as you are about this." She said softly as she looked over the gun for a little longer until Lars called her.

She turned and for a moment she wasn't sure about what she was see. Whatever he was holding onto was tossing about and clawing at the floor like its life depended on it. At first she really didn't mind Quincy pointing his gun until she realized who it was that they were holding down.

"A-Arthuria? What are you doing here?" She asked as she set the large gun back down into the box.

She quickly walked over and pushed Quincy back gently and grabbed onto her to hold her still.

"Arthuria! Clam down you'll hurt yourself at this rate! What are you doing in my house? I've told you to knock haven't I!?" She said her tone motherly and scolding to the usual hermit.
 

Asmodeus

Gazorpazorpdeus
Original poster
Posting Speed
Speed of Light
As Maxine saw to the unfortunate trespasser, who had received less than chivalrous greeting from Quincy and Lars, Doctor Pennyblood peered inside the crate at the machine gun resting on a bed of garlic. The things had been practically encrusted with holy sigils, the twin magazines mounted on the sides to give the weapon a cruciform shape.

Curious indeed.

"By the quality of craftmanship, this item could not have originated in America, meaning it was either British or German-made. Since an interception over the Atlantic would be improbable, I can only surmise that the shipment was tampered with at the Canary Wharf docks, prior to disembarkation."

He stopped when he realised that the only people listening to him were the workmen who had brought in the crate. The two peasants shrugged at the Doctor and then went back outside to wait with the carriage.



* * * * * * *​


"Are you enjoying the tea, precious?"

The woman's hand trembled as she lifted the teacup, and she could not hide the grimace as she sipped the tea. "It's... lovely... thankyou, Sir."

Louchard's fangs showed in an amused smile as he stood with the woman in the lobby, surrounded by vampires and their human slaves, all celebrating the closing of the opera. "I haven't tried it myself. I hear it's positively vile."

The girl took another sip, struggling to swallow. "It's Carmot Tea. Everything that a Spouse needs to keep their blood healthy and nutritious."

"Yes, I hear it keeps the blood from coagulating and gives it a slight taste of strawberry. Sadly, I'm more of a raspberry man, myself."

She nodded, not knowing what else to say. The lobby of the Donaghue Building was a square and modern monstrosity of suites and conference rooms grafted onto the older curves of the St Paul’s Opera House. The designers had made an effort to homogenise the style through gold edging, stone tiles and sloping ceilings adorned with friezes. The audience had been divided into groups by the placement of statues and colonnades, all bathed in an artificial light of gothic yellow. It brought out the red that most of the guests were wearing. The air smelled of cheap perfumes and was punctuated by the chink of champagne glasses.

"Erm..." the girl cleared her throat, "Does your, erm... your man.. drink it?" She peered past Louchard and looked at George, who was sulking in the corner and refusing to talk to anyone.

Louchard checked the buttons of his long, purple coat, and gave another smile. "Goodness, no. I wouldn't change George for all the world. I love humans just the way they...." He paused deliberately as he looked down at the girl. "....were."


* * * * * * *​


At the other side of the lobby, the Judge steadied himself against a pillar, breath wheezing through the holes of his plague mask. He had just finished speaking with Lord Montoya of the African Dynasty and Lady Karova of the Transylvanians. The effort had almost exhausted him. He pulled his cloak of feathers around himself as bloodshot eyes watched the exchange of Louchard and the girl.

"...trust him... no. I don't." In a painful cough he spat out a trail of phlegm and raised a gauntlet to wipe his mouth. "Not right.. him. Other vampires have a dozen slaves. Him... one. And old. Not right."

Behind the Judge, his captain of the guard stood patiently. "Sir, we have a situation."

The Judge's eyes roved the lobby, falling on the curves of women, the bulge of breasts and plunge of necklines. His tongue was clacking rhythmically against the beak of his mask and was dry with hunger. "What?"

"A break-in at the Bethnal Storehouse. Several contraband items were stolen. Garlic cloves, silver munitions, phosphorus compounds..."

Leaning on his black rod, the Judge made the painful effort to turn himself. "Trace...?"

The Captain nodded. "One of the items was tagged. We have tracked it to a boarding house in Soulon."

"Send the Hunters then." The Judge turned back and the Captain's eyes narrowed.

"With respect, Sir. My Hunters have not been field-tested in..."

There was a loud hiss and the feathers on the Judge's cloak almost rustled. "Send the Hunters!" His breath became a ragged screech. "Soulon must fear... yes, fear..."

He sprung forward suddenly, getting in front of a waitress with a tray of champagne glasses. The girl halted as if petrified and the colour drained from her face as she beheld the Norlon Lord. With wide eyes she watched the figure reach out a gauntlet, the clawed fingers brushing the buttons of her shirt before moving to grip the stem of a champagne glass. He lifted it unsteadily and then there was a crack and the flute fell over, spilling the drink across the tray and down her dress. She gave a small yelp, but did not dare move.

The Captain came between them, one hand assuring the waitress whilst the other picked up a fresh champagne flute. He lifted the glass to the Judge's mouth, helping him to drink. Beneath the mask the Judge's lips were horribly burned, twisted to a permanent sneer, and his neck was a mess of scar tissue. The Captain helped his master sip and then dabbed at his mouth with a handkerchief.

"I will dispatch the Hunters immediately, Sir."