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  1. Factoring in Juno

    “Oh,” said Charlotte softly as the woman brushed back her golden hair and revealed the ugly scar. And just as anyone could have expected from such a strange girl, she openly stared at the roughly set skin that closed over the evidence of some violent act or accident. Charlotte’s curiosity piqued, but even her poor manners and dreadful social skills had a limit, and although it was hard, she resisted the urge to ask how it had happened. Somehow, Vespera seemed unaware of all of this -- perhaps genuinely blind to the girl’s uncouth curiosity or perhaps simply use to the wonder that her torn face produced. Whatever the case, the stern looking woman relinquished an answer that was both untrue and unsatisfactory to the divine creature that had come to harass her. “Sentimentality.” “Right,” Charlotte said in mocking agreement, her pretty pale lips flickering into a smile that burnt out just as quick. But they had both looked down at the picture and they had both seen the clean, pretty face of the young woman in black and white. “Sentimentality,” she repeated eventually, her expression having become serious. “And I’ve never felt better. Is that all?” Those golden eyes drifted from the woman’s face down the length of her body -- Charlotte regarded her tight grasp on the pommel of her cane. However, it wasn’t for her to say if the woman was being honest or lying, and it certainly wasn’t her concern if she was doing the latter. And yet, Charlotte could not help feeling pangs of despair at the thought that the conversation was over and the woman was dismissing her. Her brows knitted together and her lips pressed into a disappointed frown. Without thinking it, she was pressing her chin into her collar and looking up from under her long, dark lashes. She was trying to puppy-dog eye Vespera. Unfortunately the woman was already turning away, abandoning her and taking away with her all the swirling mystery that surrounded her very existence. It was unfair, and Charlotte huffed at the woman’s back as she hobbled off. She missed the tell-tale signs of danger, the yelling, the cursing, the sound of a trash can being violently kicked against a wall. Instead, she was trying to debate on whether or not her tour guide would still be sitting on the steps waiting for her or if she should just head back to her hotel room alone. “Walk and talk. If I find you dead in the morning, I’ll end up having half the city burned down to find the assholes.” Thrilled to bits, Charlotte immediately perked up and quickly bounced along to catch up. She made a show of her youthful energy, of her healthy legs, without even intending to. By the time she reached Vespera’s side, the meaning of her words had settled and the young girl looked at her perplexed. “Why would I be dead? Why would you find me if I were? And -- could you really burn down half the city to find out who did it? What are you some kind of knight?” Again, those golden eyes glanced at her cane and fancies of imagination began to take off. What if that walking stick hid a dangerous secret? A hidden weapon to cut down evil-doers with! “Or, whatever the equivalent to a knight is in place like this.” Her eyes darted to and fro, she took in the height of the buildings, the texture of their walls, the glowing lights fed by electricity -- a thing that did not exist in Orisia.
  2. Factoring in Juno

    “Like… Sorry, like I was saying, you need to go. You can’t be here, do you understand.” It was difficult for Charlotte to pull her pupiless eyes from the retreating sight of that woman. There was something about her. It was neither sadness nor loneliness, but still it was dark and so heavy that it weighed down her slight shoulders. It was all the more visible from the back, when the woman’s face was turned elsewhere and all that Charlotte could really see was the shape of her body and the slouch to it, the heavy favoring of one side, the pressure of her curled fingers around that tiny skull. Even so, she found that the young man was quite insistent and her attention ended up shifting but not before she noticed the sad swaying fall of an old photograph. “I understand,” she said to the man, though her expression did little to denote comprehension. It was the oddness of her eyes, the missing pupils in those molten gold irises, it gave her a perpetually confused expression. For most, it was endearing. The angelic blood in her veins made her a strange curiosity to humans. But there were a handful who saw her for what she was and were not only disturbed but outright offended by her existence. The mortal world could not accept the existence of the divine, and she was here -- a little drop of heaven in a very ugly world. Those big eyes of hers blinked and she shook her head. Charlotte smiled for Siv, “I am sorry. I didn’t know,” she offered by way of explanation with a half-hearted shrug of her small shoulders. “I’ll get going.” Did she disarm him? She hoped so because she wasn't intending to leave the same way she had come. Somewhere below, in the metro station, her very dearly bought tour guide had returned to the same place where he had left her. He looked around confused, and then decided that the strange girl he was showing around had probably just wandered off and he reasoned that she would soon return. As a man of reasonable moral understanding, he felt it necessary to wait -- after all -- she had paid for his services. So although he was mildly annoyed, the man sat down on the bottom step of the stairs and after setting down Charlotte’s cup of noodles, began to devour his own. “Best damn noodles,” he stayed to himself after a satisfying slurp. Back above, Charlotte hoped to slip by before Siv could reprimand her or worse, try to physically apprehend her. She jolted forward at a slow job in order to look as unassuming as possible. One thing that living under the Witch King had taught her was never to underestimate even the meekest looking creature -- not that Siv was meek looking. But she hurried along to same door that Vespera had existed through, and before clutching the knob, twisting, and pushing, she bent at the waist and plucked the picture off the floor. She was out the door just as she heard Siv yelling after her -- maybe something about not cutting through their very private and super-secret office just to get up to the surface. If she could, she would have apologized, but she was already skipping along the sidewalk, trying to keep up with Vespera. It was chilly -- there was a cold wind cutting through the streets. Charlotte had to stuff the photograph into her pocket and try to gather the wild mass of dark brown hair that floated like a veil behind her. She pulled it into a loose ponytail, and bound it with a rubber band that would hurt like hell to pull out later. Once her hair was set, she stuffed it into her hoody, which she pulled over her head. She didn’t know exactly how to stop the woman. She seemed to be marching along to the sound of silent but demanding drums. And although Charlotte had just had a glimpse of her face, she was certain that she had managed to memorize the severity of Vespera’s expression. Charlotte settled for catching up, which wasn’t all that hard considering the woman’s slight limp. “You dropped something,” Charlotte said cheerfully -- maybe a little too much so. Her voice was a little too high pitched, a little too excited as she fell into step besides the creature that had produced so much fear and dread out of the poor guard stationed back in the office lobby. “It’s a picture,” Charlotte went on, “I figured if it was important enough to carry with you, it was probably important enough not to leave abandoned on the floor.” The golden eyed girl came to a slow stop and began to dig through her pocket. “Here,” she said while stealing a glance at the picture before she held it out to Vespera. “Why are you carrying around a picture of yourself?” Charlotte was a bright girl, a curious girl -- a girl who had lifted most of her life in unimaginable pain and sorrow. In her short life and what little she owned of reality, there was no time for fear of rejection. She lived a life of impulse because she was so certain that it was bound to end at any moment. Every feeling she had -- every attachment to Alexander -- ensured her that the Witch King was dead and gone. But she knew better than to assume. Life was all the more precious for that reason. No, there was no time to be shy or meek or quiet. So much of her life had already been wasted away by not pursuing the things that tickled her fancy. She didn’t want to waste a single more minute. “You look…” Charlotte frowned, “You look kind of sick, are you alright?”
  3. Factoring in Juno

    Charlotte stood at the foot of the stairs, looking up toward the cold, white glow of fluorescent light. It was pouring down from above, from some wide open space that she could only just see around the bend of the wide staircase. She was surrounded by the remains of what had once been a sprawling metro station except that now instead of the deep roar of a massive moving machine, the tile-covered walls echoed with the excited chatter of people and the steady march of footsteps. Although the train seemed to be out of commission for the foreseeable future, there was still a steady flow of traffic moving through the underground corridors. People were moving -- hundreds at a time -- regular looking folks. From time to time, she’d glance to the left and right and watch someone who managed to catch her attention walk by and then disappear into the crowded, but her gaze always returned to pristine, white light that was coming down. Like a moth to a flame, she felt herself drawn to something beyond. “What’s up there?” she asked her companion, a man maybe twenty years her senior. She had paid him to be her ‘tour guide’ and to ensure that she didn’t accidentally end up walking into any of the bad parts of town. She had learned her lesson after spending some time in Patia and Last Chance. These Terrenian cities were not as they appeared, and like the savage tropics of Orisia, this concrete jungle was ready, able, and more than willing to swallow her up whole. “Oh,” said the man -- a gentlemen with salt and pepper hair, and a matching beard that hid half of his weathered face. Little brown eyes, hidden under heavy black eyebrows, narrowed as he glanced up the staircase. With so much activity going on around them, it was hard to ignore how abandoned this one area seemed to be. He cleared his throat and offered Charlotte a shrug. “Just an old office building. I think it’s been converted into apartments, I think -- nothing all that interesting really. Are you hungry? You’re probably hungry.” For the man, Joseph, it was hard to ignore the fact that the young woman standing besides him was as young, if not younger, than his daughter back at home. It boggled his mind that Charlotte was traveling alone. She had come up to his little newspaper stand -- very nonchalantly -- and set a golden coin (a solid gold coin!) on his counter and asked him to show her around. Either he was doing something very right with his kid or he was doing something very wrong, for he couldn’t help but wonder if his own daughter could survive or even move around in the world the way this young woman did. Even so, Joseph felt a protective surge for her, especially now that she looked so absolutely out of it. The kid was probably starving, he reasoned, since they had been walking around for nearly six hours now without a break. “They have pretty lights,” she replied, though he probably wasn’t the least bit interested in her nonsense. Bright golden eyes finally dropped away from what little she could see at the top of the staircase and returned to her bought companion. “I am pretty hungry. Could you get something for us? I am tired. I’ll wait here.” “Here?” Joseph asked, looking around. When he looked back at Charlotte she was already sitting on one of the steps. He cringed. “This isn’t the best place to have a picnic, kid.” “I like it here. It’s a good place to people watch,” she shrugged and pulled on the hoodie of her sweater, effectively hiding the most of her dark hair, although she did have to wrestle with her braid to get most of it tucked away. With her hands neatly stuffed into the pockets of her jeans, she peered up at Joseph and gave him ber best and most charming smile. “Hey, I am from out of town, cut me some slack.” The girl was pretty. He didn’t think so in a creepy way. He just appreciated that the girl was brightly lit from within, and when she smiled it was one of the prettiest sights he had ever seen. It was hard not to feel somewhat infected with her, seemingly genuine, curiosity and eccentricness. “Alright, if you insist. What do you want to eat?” “I don’t know. What’s good here?” Charlotte shrugged her shoulders and lurched forward slightly as if she were cold and trying to cozy up to her own folded knees. She hoped that she wasn’t overselling her attempt at appearing unassuming. “Maybe something warm?” “Fine. I’ll get us some noodle cups,” he said as his eyes began to scan the small collection of kiosk like shops that littered the sides of the massive underground tunnel. “There’s actually a pretty good guy around here. He makes the tastiest noodles. He uses fish broth, and adds fresh green onions, finely chopped…” he was going to go on, except that Charlotte managed to cut him off. “Yes, please -- that sounds wonderful.” “Alright, alright -- I’ll be right back.” And off he went to fetch the food that he had recommended and which she had so politely asked for. Meanwhile, Charlotte leaned back almost fully, her elbows resting on a few steps above where her bottom was sitting. She tilted her head as far back as she could, and she went right back to observing the white fluorescent light. And then she decided -- if it was an apartment building then surely no one would mind if she snuck up to the lobby to get a look around. She had yet to see the surface of Martial Town, and she was dying with curiosity. She tapped her feet a few times, and then, as if willed by some invisible force, Charlotte got to her feet and climbed the staircase. She took them two at a time, those ugly, graffiti covered steps. She flew up without ever touching the iron rail, until at last she stood under the full force of those white lights she had been admiring. For a brief moment she was blinded, but as her eyes adjusted she saw how utterly unimpressive the office building’s lobby was. Stark white floors, gray walls, a single massive desk where a single bored looking guy sat. There were high ceilings, with ugly industrial-style chandeliers hanging down, and a single wall that was made out of panels of glass that gave her her first look out into the city. She stood quietly at the top of the stairs and stared.
  4. -=Walking in a Winter Wonderland=-

    Charlotte had become a creature of silence. She didn’t mean to be so quiet, or rather so off putting, but her mind had become such a dark and drewery place that she found it hard to pull herself out of it. She knew that her companion suffered for it. Justus was often left in the dark as to what her plans were, and because she had saved him and claimed ownership over his life, and he with his noble heart had accepted, he came along with her like a well behaved dog on a leash. But her intentions were not to be cruel or to mistreat him in anyway. More than once he had proven himself to be invaluable to her whenever trouble managed to find its way to her. He kept her safe, and he didn’t make demands on her methods or reasons -- he simply followed. Yet more than just his obedience, Charlotte knew that he was all that was keeping her tethered to the world anymore. She felt lost and isolated without Alexander, and she had been reckless and foolish up until the moment when she reunited with Justus. Somehow, he had given her a sense of purpose; They both had to find the Black Queen. It was of course a great relief to find out that her suspicions had been correct and that Gabriela was not dead. However, they had been met with quite a scare when they arrived in Veelos only to hear that an assassination attempt had nearly ended their search for the queen, when her life was nearly claimed by a true flying bullet while visiting the country of Kadia. Because of the attack, visiting with the wounded queen had been utterly impossible in Veelos, where the security was so tight that they never even got close to the royal palace. This felt like their only chance to see the Queen. “Once she sees us, she will recognize us,” she said to Justus as they stood there besides a large column that was decorated in ropes of lights and pearls. Not far from them stood a lovely young woman who nursed a mug of hot chocolate and was quite busy bending down to pick up a handful of snow. Charlotte couldn’t have known that this was the woman who had been so near her beloved queen when her immortal coil had nearly been done away with. Had she known, she would have gone to question the woman about the state of the queen’s mind. The rumors were hard to follow, and the gossip seemed to swerve in every, which direction. Some said she was kidnapped by Roen nearly a year ago, other’s said she was still engaged to Raphael and quite pregnant with his child -- and still others said that none of it was true, and that Gabriela had cruelly deposed her son for the sake of her own vanity. But all that Charlotte wanted to know was if the queen was herself or if some tragedy had befallen her mind as it had before in the past. Did the queen remember who she was? Who her friends were… “Are you nervous, Justus?” asked the golden-eyed girl with those big pupil-less eyes looking up into his face. It had been quite some time since she looked sweet and charming. Her face was bathed in the innocence of hope -- Orisia had always meant that much to her. Alexander had stolen her life once upon a time, but he was dead and gone now. For the first time, in a long time, Charlotte dared to dream what it might be like to go back… To live the life she had always wanted to live.
  5. Murder Mystery on a Train?!

    Quick and dirty interest check! Come and catch a train with us from Blairville to Last Chance. Your reasons for travel are your own and you can choose to share them or keep them a mystery. However, as the journey across Terrenus moves along, people will start to die off mysteriously and quite violently. No one is safe, both luxury and economy class are struck alike -- seemingly without reason or rhyme. Can you survive this train ride from hell, and if so, how will you do it? Will you cower and try to hide or will you be one of the bold ones who tries to help the authorities figure out what’s going on? Notes: -The train will consist of: Engine Car Not Open to the Public Dining/Lounge Cars Open to Everyone Two Luxury Cars Open Only to First Class Ticket Holders Two Economy Cars Open to Everyone 6 Cargo Cars Not Open to the Public -No posting order outside of established character interactions. -Are you okay with having your character murdered? Let me know! -We don’t need all the roles filled, but it would be nice to have a full house! Passenger: Charlotte {Do not kill} Passenger: Justus {Eternity -- Do not kill} Passenger: Silvia {Sheep} Passenger: Dash {Jaistlyn -- Can kill} Passenger: Lucier Hollow {Wade -- Do not kill} Passenger: Die's Character {Die Shizle -- Can Kill} Dectective: Ishin Hiroyuki {Pandahat} Train Staff: Murderer: King
  6. Meeting an Old Friend

    The morning came and went, and so did the afternoon and early evening. Charlotte figured that Justus required rest, and probably some time away from the sun. She couldn’t recall if he was the sort of vampire that could sustain his health when assaulted by the golden light of day. Better safe than sorry, she assumed and bid her time to come out of her bedroom. But when she finally did she was well dressed in brown breeches, a light cotton shirt in white, a brown vest with golden embroidery at the chest, which made it intricate and feminine, knee-high riding boots, and a heavy cloak lined in a supple brown fur. Her hair had been drawn back and braided and at her side she carried a small satchel and nothing more. The gown from the night before was nowhere to be seen, and had infact been abandoned. This is the way Charlotte lived now, moving from place to place, leaving behind her belonging and purchasing new ones when she required them. Wealth gave her an unimaginable freedom she had never before experienced. “We should get going, save the talking for the long road ahead of us. I thought Gabriela was here, and in fact she was, but that was some months ago.” Charlotte looked perplexed and worried as she made her way across the room. She expected Justus to be fully dressed and ready. There was something short and nearly rude about the way she spoke now, but it wasn’t directed at anyone. Little Charlotte commanding so much authority seemed a strange thing, but she fit the role perfectly. “I am not particularly sure of the circumstances of your imprisonment, but I imagine you’ve spent some time in Patia. Have you heard anything…” it seemed silly to ask, what could a lowly slave have possibly overheard? Anyway, it seemed like it was worth a try to at least ask. Depending on his responce, Charlotte added after a silence had settled between them, “I bribed one of the guards at the gate. He told me that Gabriela had left aboard an airship and that the rumor was she went to Last Chance. It’s a long way to go on such a flimsy lead, but I am not sure what else we can do.” With that she turned and exited the hotel room, leaving him to follow. She imagined he would be capable of traveling like her -- without much in the form of possessions. He seemed perfectly capable of acquiring what he needed. So off they went, down through the lobby where she didn’t bother to check out. The payment had been made, and she was already aware of whispers concerning the murdered man who had died in their shared room the night before. It was time to get away from this city. “There use to be a high speed train that made stops through Patia but it’s been years since that’s been up and running. I am afraid we’ll have to go on foot to the nearest city with a train stop, and that’s Blaiville. I hope you don’t mind a little rough traveling because we’ll have to travel on horseback for the next 550 miles.” She left it at that and together they went and acquired horses and a few supplies for their travels. She seemed stingy about what to buy, but the items she did purchase were of a very high quality. Together, and in silence, they walked through the city, leading their horses and marveling at some of the sights. Their measured pace eventually brought them before the opera house, which although it was lit up, looked oddly abandoned. Charlotte had to stop here, she had to peer up at the magnificent facade of the structure and the oddly out of place architectural style. It didn’t match -- this building -- but in a good way. It’s white marble columns and it’s wide, inviting steps upward, were regal and open so unlike the darker buildings that surrounded them. Charlotte thought that the building looked familiar, but she couldn’t remember from where… “There was suppose to be a gala,” she whispered to Justus, not certain why she was bothering with this useless bit of information. “I managed to get an invitation, just bought it off someone noble in need of money -- I was certain I would find Gabriela there.” The pretty, golden eyed girl shook her head and shrugged. “No party for us,” she said simply before moving on, “--No party for anyone, it seems.” -Exit
  7. Meeting an Old Friend

    She was glad when Justus was gone. His departure gave her a chance to look upon the body of the cruel man. They had slain him together, but she knew she bore the most weight in his murder. Death, especially so tragic a death, was always a tragedy no matter how deserving the individual, and so, Charlotte continued to sit there, poised and lovely, but with her head inclined toward the body and with her eyes half-lidded and barely able to contain tears. “I hope your soul finds mercy for the things you did, and that the suffering of your death is penance enough for the crimes committed during your life.” Overwhelmed by her sorrow, the angelic woman climbed to her feet and retreated to her bedroom. She stays in there for a long time, even as she heard the front door to her apartment open and shut and multiple sets of bodies moving across her floor. She didn’t have to guess at what was going on. She simply sat upon her bed and stared at the door until all was quiet and still once again. When she was certain that everyone was gone, she went back and opened the door. Justus was standing there, looking resolute but so out of place, and much to her relief, the body, along with the mess it had made, was gone. She lingered there, pressed against the doorframe of her bedroom, with her brows pinched in thought and worry. “I suppose we have a lot to talk about Justus,” she said quietly, her golden eyes fixed on that one place on the floor where the body had been spread out. It was such a strange sight to see it all as it was before the blood soaked into the carpet and stained the floorboards. Whoever Justus found had done a wonderful job of cleaning up their mess. “But tonight is not the night. Get some rest, tomorrow we are leaving -- before anyone can report the disappearance of the man we just murdered. Unfortunately, even without a body, I am afraid we’d be prime suspects.” Charlotte paused for a moment, and finally her eyes lifted to meet the vampire’s gaze. “I don’t intend to treat you like a slave, but I do expect you to behave as a man who owes me his life -- tonight, you have incurred a debt, and I will see to it that you pay in full. You are to accompany me on my mission to find the Black Queen, after that, you are free to leave my service.” She didn’t wait to see if he understood or if he agreed. Charlotte had changed -- everything about her had changed. One thing that Alexander had taught her was not to waste her time asking for things. She knew what she wanted, she knew what she was owed, and so she issued her commands and expected them to be treated like law. “Good night, Justus.”
  8. Meeting an Old Friend

    Charlotte sat quietly on the sofa. Her legs were crossed and her hands were neatly folded over her lap. There was no sign of her dagger, and save for the grizzly display of torn flesh, a blood soaked carpet, and a mangled body at the center of it all, there was very little in her behavior that might have suggested that something was wrong. She was so calm, and so composed, that when Justus walked out, she even smiled up at him. It was a small and very contained smile, as if she weren’t quite sure what she wanted to say but her feelings remained positive nonetheless. A small, and strange, smile indeed. “Well,” she began, tilting her head and settling into a more relaxed position, “--you were the last person I expected to run into here in Patia.” Silence -- Charlotte waited for a moment. Speaking to this creature was strange, and she wanted to give herself, as well as him, as much time to adjust as possible. Surely he was just as surprised to see her standing there amongst the crowed of jeering monsters, all of them calling for his torture, blood, and death. She had questions, so many of them, but they could all wait. “I came to look for the Black Queen. You see, she passed away,” again, Charlotte paused and waited to let her words sink in. She knew about the strange change of heart that had led Justus to leave his wicked life behind and become a knight of the Black Queen of Orisia. She had looked upon the whole situation unfavorably, but had made her peace with it long ago. It was just like Gabriela to take in the worst of the worst and turn them into something better -- she knew this from personal experience. But she had to wonder if Justus knew that the queen had died -- without knowing how long he had been a prisoner for, she decided to leave nothing to chance and so made no assumptions. “It happened, maybe six or seven months ago. Some tragic accident, that’s how they sold it to everyone. However, it turns out that she wasn’t dead. Rumors have been swirling ever since. Some people say that the devil brought her to Patia, others whisper that she ran away with a High Lord to Tellus Mater, and still others swear that she now stands, an empress, besides the Blood God of Genesaris. I don’t know. But since I was in Terrenus, I figured I would start my search here.” She waited for a moment, after all, she had just given him so much information. How was he going to react to it? Charlotte’s golden eyes focused intently on the vampire, and watched curiously as the gears in his head began to turn. “From what I’ve seen, she isn’t here. She was here, for some time apperently, but as the story goes -- the devil let her leave or she escaped or, some people even say, he threw her out. Unfortunatly for me, that means I have to find a way to Genesaris to see if she is with the Blood God. But not I have a small problem,” Charlotte lifted a hand and motioned to the bottle of the man they had murdered together. He was pale, cold, and strange looking now. Devoid of his life, it seemed humaity and dignity had left him completely. He looked like a bag of bones, and nothing else. “This mess needs to be cleaned up, and I am afraid I don’t know the first thing about getting rid of a body. Being that you are what you are, vampire and monster, I assume that you can take care of this issue without calling attention to us. The last thing I want is to be arrested in this god-awful city. So, for your first task, Justus -- I would like you to clean up this mess, find yourself some suitable clothing, and then get some rest. I want to leave as soon as possible.”
  9. Meeting an Old Friend

    The water ran cold, and under it she placed the bloodied edge of her pretty, little dagger. She didn’t really know how to wash a dagger, especially not after it had spilled blood, but she did her best. She opted for a bar of soap and rubbed the blade until it was covered in suds, and then rinsed it until the water ran clear. She did this over and over until the knock on the door made her jump. Somehow, she had fallen into a type of trance -- a calculating endeavor of washing that kept her from hearing the struggle outside the bathroom door, or from smelling the oddly coppery scent that lingered in the air. But the knock on the door was too much to ignore and she knew that an odd reality had just been confirmed. A man had been cut open and sacrificed to the blood thirsty animal she had purchased just a few moments ago. And while she left the man a bleeding mess, still clinging to life -- she was wholly responsible for his death, regardless of the fact that it was Justus who drew in his last breath with the last mouthful of blood that he swallowed. Now that it was all said and done, she felt nervous about what was to come. “Yes,” she responded without turning around. By now she had plucked a small washcloth from the polished stone counter, and was busy drying off her blade. “Come in -- you should probably wash off.” Charlotte didn’t bother looking up until the sound of the doorknob twisted and clicked and she felt the quick push and pull of the air outside the room rush and depart from the small bathroom. When she did look up it was with those same familiar golden eyes, her expression one of discomfort. “Justus,” she said calmly, speaking his name before he could say anything at all. Up and down his figure, her eyes took in the measure of his appearance. “I really must insist that you get cleaned up before we talk. I imagine they didn’t give you the dignity to keep clean wherever it was that you were kept. Here, there’s a shower, and warm water, and clean towels. Once you’re ready, we can talk about what happened and what’s going to happen from here on out.” Little Charlotte had grown up. Not just physically -- she was no longer the young fifteen year old that he had met. She stood a lovely woman of twenty now, perhaps twenty one. She had grown into her body, her long and slender limbs. Though youth still kissed her lovely features, she was more serious and more commanding, small as she was. She smiled and walked up to him. “It is good to see you alive, and well.” And then she was gone, leaving him alone in the bathroom with the door firmly shut behind her.
  10. Meeting an Old Friend

    The man at the door was not particularly impressive, though he did have the gift of youth. He was tall, and appeared to be well muscled, though his facial features were anything but handsome. But ugly as he was, Charlotte could sense that he was a man who was heavily pursued by women and men, because he exuded a sort of authority. It was probably the kind of power that came with violence and money, but to most, the way power was attained hardly mattered. After an initial examination -- something that took only a moment or two -- Charlotte nodded her head and stepped to the side, leaving her bedroom open to the stranger who had sold her Justus. Of course the man had taken the time to look her over as well, and she felt the leer of his appreciation as he took in the delicate curves of her body that were rather notable under her nightgown. “You always conduct business in your night clothes, sweetheart?” he asked as he walked straight into her room. His eyes were immediately drawn to Justus, and the cruelty in his heart lead him to stand right above the fallen vampire, where he began to poke and prod with the toe of his shoe. “It was a stroke of genius,” she replied calmly as she closed the door behind him and followed in his wake. Still the small silver dagger was pressed to the small of her back. When the man turned to look over his shoulder he didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Charlotte was so small and unassuming, he never saw it coming -- the glint of light against the sharp edge of her knife as it struck out, lightning quick, and cut him clear across the throat. The man, who had never fully turned toward her, buckled under the weight of shock and blood loss as his throat was split open. Down he went onto his knees, both hands clutching at his bleeding neck, and all the while strange sounds came from his mouth as if he were trying to speak. More than likely, he was choking on his own blood. There was no pleasure for the sight in Charlotte’s golden eyes. She stood above it all, clutching her bloodied dagger to her chest, with such a sad expression that it looked as if she were about to weep. “You hurt my friend very badly,” she explained softly to the dying man, who was now securely caught in the weak embrace of the very friend of whom she was speaking. “And you see, he needs blood to get better -- and I simply could not stomach sacrificing someone who is innocent. But you aren’t innocent, are you? Even so,” she went on sadly, “you certainly don’t deserve such a horrible death. Perhaps some mercy will be granted to you because of this suffering. Pray, now that you are in your last moments, pray that He will forgive you.” And then she stepped back, less she be spritzed with the sudden fountain of blood that seemed to splash everywhere. Justus seemed to have tasted the blood and it offered an immediately kind of rehabilitation. Charlotte, who did not want to watch, turned away and eventually, walked away to the bathroom where she closed the door behind her. She busied herself for the next few minutes with washing and drying her small dagger.
  11. Meeting an Old Friend

    “Do me a favor,” she said to the man at the door who had come to deliver Justus’ sword. It was a miracle that the weapon was returned, but not something that was overly important at the moment. “Can you go to the tavern down the street, down in the basement -- there’s a man selling,” she paused and glanced at the vampire that was laying flat on his back in the center of her room, “ -- he’s selling unique goods.” The young man looked at Justus, and then back to Charlotte and lifted a brow, “can you go there, and can you tell him that the woman who bought his vampire, that she would like to make additional purchases, as soon as possible? Please ask him to come see me here. And obviously, I would very much appreciate your quiet and delicate handling of this situation.” Charlotte, that sweet-faced angel, with her bright golden eyes, handed the young man a coin and he immediately accepted and went away. And then, finally alone with Justus, she turned back to the room and regarded him with that same sad expression. He lay at the center of a sitting area, to the right were a set of double doors, which lead to her bedroom, and to the left a single door that lead to the bathroom. The floors were polished wood, and the furniture was tasteful and beautiful. Even the walls were lined with beautiful tapestries. It was quite apparent that she was staying in one of the more luxurious places in the city. Above their heads, directly above Justus, hung a sparkling chandalier that was fixed in gold and held multiple branches of dangling and twinkling crystals. “I am going to need you to try and be strong, gain some of your strength -- you’re going to feed soon, and I need you to be able to do it.” Charlotte walked around Justus, her pretty white and silver dress trailing behind the sharp, clean click of her heels. Although she moved and spoke with a clear and unfamiliar authority, there was still youth to her appearance, especially in the way she loosened her hair from the loose bun that had been piled at the nape of her neck. Lush curls of soft brown came down along her back as she disappeared into her bedroom. After some minutes, she reappeared, now dressed in a much simpler gown. A thin night gown in silver, that hung from her shoulders by slender straps and fell across her body like liquid silk, caressing the small swells of her breasts, and clinging to the delicate shape of her body. She was a vision of delight and beauty, with her nightgown reaching just a little above her knees. Her lovely little bare feet padded around Justus’ head as she came close to him. She didn’t seem particularly concerned if he could see up the slow-swaying material of her dress. “He is a bad man, and I know he did bad things -- he doesn’t deserve to die, but he will tonight. I will slit his throat, but you must be ready to pull him down and drink. Don’t waste my sacrifice,” she warned with a strain in her sweet voice as she stepped over Justus, just as someone began to knock on the door. “Hey lady, I am here to talk business...open up.” Charlotte walked to the door, and should Justus turn his head to watch her, he would see that she was holding a small, slender dagger against the small of her back.
  12. Meeting an Old Friend

    Seeing the dire conditions of the man she had just purchased caused Charlotte’s heart to ache. It felt like something was coiling tightly about the strong muscle and forcing less and less blood to pass through it, until she was certain that if she didn’t manage to gain a hold of herself she would join him on the floor -- a hopeless and helpless heap of flesh and bones. She had to be strong, and she had to push through the unbearable waves of empathy that caused her to feel the horror of pain and fear that were slowly reverberating from this poor creature’s broken body. Moving forward, the crowed of people parted like a sea at the behest of powerful and divine hands. Her dress of silver and white, lined in gray fur around the sleeves and neck moved fluidly with her small form. Gone was the shy and meek girl that Justus had once known and terrorized, and in her place was a radiant woman with bright golden eyes and wisps of light brown hair -- the color of hot chocolate when too much milk had been added. The people around them were watching and she could feel the weight of their judgment. One false move on her part, any sign of weakness or doubt, and she knew that they would be upon them like a pack of rabid dogs. Today she had no intentions on becoming the hunted doe, or of letting this .vampire die at the hands of blood-lusting monsters. “Who wants to earn this beautiful, shiny, gold coin?” She asked aloud, lifting a small and pretty hand into the air. Between her dainty fingers a lovely golden coin caught the light and reflected it this way and that as she turned it over so that everyone could see. “I need a strong lad to help me carry my newly acquired pet to my hotel room. It’s not far from here, but a weakling won’t do. I don’t want to waste time with someone who can’t keep a firm grip and carry a heavy load.” “I’ll do it,” came a voice -- deep and steady. A young man had stepped forward from the crowed, much to the displeasure of some of the women standing around him. He was a handsome man, broad of shoulder and with rough but well defined features. He had the sort of face that deserved caressing. And for a brief moment, Charlotte was taken with him. Clearly ware of the effect he had on women, he smirked and went on to ask, “where exactly do I need to take him?” “The hotel, not far from here -- maybe three blocks. The Devil’s Fiddle…” “Alright, that ain’t so far. I’ll be back in just a few minutes,” he said over his shoulder to his small gathering of fan girls. Then, without much effort at all, he bent over and plucked Justus off the floor and threw him roughly over his shoulder. The poor vampire spat out a mouthful of blood. Charlotte did her best not to show concern as she turned on her heel and headed for the stairs.
  13. Meeting an Old Friend

    Charlotte stood and watched with mute horror. Human beings -- mortals in general it seemed -- were viciously cruel creatures, and she could not begin to understand them, nor did she want to try anymore. Since the last of her humanity was stripped away, and since she became a full divine creature, much of what she felt and thought had changed. She was still filled with the same unparalleled empathy, but it was measured now with a strange understanding that mortals had been condemned to this tragic existence by their own hands. They were stupid and silly animals, deserving of her sympathy but nothing more -- and nowhere was it more apparent than here, in this wretched and secret place where needless torture was happening for the entertainment of a few dozen people. “I will purchase him,” she said out loud before the man tormenting the vampire even asked for an opening bid. The sound of her voice and the words that she had spoken caused those nearest to her to turn and part away, which in turn grew and grew until most everyone in the room was silent and looking at her. As always, Charlotte stood quite below the height of most and was beyond beautiful with her oddly peaceful aura and divine presence, but unlike before -- when she had been full of human weakness -- she commanded a sense of respect and wonder. “I said I will purchase him, whatever the price.” “Ten full gold coins,” replied the man, who was holding a whip in his hand and was posed to bring down the harsh instrument on Justus yet again. “Ten golden coins, right here and right now or I am kicking you the hell out of here.” “Very well,” she replied simply as she tugged on the strings that kept her coin purse secured to her belt. She fingered the fine leather pouch for a moment and then tossed it over the heads of the patrons and onto the platform where the cruel man stood besides Justus. The bag opened and out of it fell a full thirteen golden goins. They glittered on the wooden floor as the man dove onto his knees to collect them. “Give her the leech -- he’s her problem now.” The two men who had pulled Justus off of his shackles and away from the wall only to drag him to the center of the stage where he was beaten now picked it up and all but threw him off the platform where he landed roughly upon the hard ground. Charlotte shoved and pushed her way to her newly acquired property, utterly dismayed at the cruelty that had been displayed. When she finally reached Justus, she her eyes were filled with tears. “Justus…” @Eternity
  14. Meeting an Old Friend

    @Eternity She sat quietly at her table. Everything changed the moment she started carrying herself differently -- including how others treated her. Though her heart burned with a meekness that she often wanted to display, she had quickly learned that the world would devour her in an instant if she gave it a reason to, and what better reason was there to be destroy a thing of beauty than when it displayed weakness? And so, the moment she stepped out of Alexander’s cruel shadow, she found her own and found that it was dark but comforting. If she sat straight, if she looked up, if she met the curious glances directly no one would approach her. The alluring sense of divinity that surrounded her was quickly transformed from something that was coveted to something that was feared. Her difference, in the eyes of others, made her dangerous, and this alone kept her safe now. That, and of course, the money she had stolen before she left Alexander’s side. A wealthy woman now, Charlotte decided where she went and when and for how long and for what reasons. But all those freedoms came with an inexplicable sense of sorrow and emptiness. She had nowhere to go and no reasons, and she couldn’t decide for how long to stay in one place or another, and so she floated through the world without purpose. That is of course until everything changed. The world was an oddly interesting place so long as she felt the distant reach of Alexander. He was always looking for her, feeling for her, and trying ;to search her out -- but the golden ring around her index finger kept her cloaked from his sight and ensured her liberty remained intact. Even so, their connection could not be so easily severed. She knew that he lived, that he searched, and that he suffered -- and in turn he felt the turmoil of her confusion, the desperation of her loneliness, and the suffering she was making herself go through. What a strange couple they were. But then one day she felt nothing. A dreadful fear fixed itself in her heart as she imagined the worse. Had Alexander perished? Had the awful creature that had put her through all the levels imaginable of hell finally been defeated and killed… She was filled with both joy and sorrow at the thought. However, the sorrow quickly overcame all sense of victory. Worry crept into her heart, and soon she found herself thinking of nothing else but him. If he was dead, she had to know -- and if he was hurt, or in need -- then she had to help. But where did she go? And what would she do… The Devil of Patia might be able to help, but then again word on the street was that he hadn’t been seen in some time. It seemed like she had wasted her time here and would have to try to find another way to reach Alexander. She looked at her dinner. She had ordered the house special, a beef stew with chunks of fresh vegetables floating around a thick broth. It smelled heavenly, and it looked appetizing, served with a warm loaf of bread and butter, but she couldn’t make herself touch the food. Surely it would cause some whispers when she sent it all back untouched and headed up to her bedroom to sleep. “It’s a vampire,” whispered a serving wench that walked past Charlotte’s table. Immediately the girl’s golden eyes lifted and she watched the woman walk away, whispering to her partner. “It’s downstairs, the seller is giving us all a peek before he sells it off in the market tomorrow.” “A vampire?! I thought the devil had a soft spot for them -- why would he allow one of them to be sold in his city?” “What the devil don’t know won’t hurt him. Besides, just because he likes one of them doesn't mean he’s gotta like them all. They’re horrid creatures. I’ve never seen one before, but now’s our chance. Are you gonna come down into the basement to see?” “Alright, alright…” The two girls went squealing and giggling down an open passage with steps that lead into lower levels. She saw a few other people go, and finally, when the curiosity was far too much to bare, she too got to her feet and made her way to the basement. Down below, there was a crowd already gathered. She was by far the best dressed, in her regal white gown and her warm furs around her neck and shoulders. She looked like something from a dream, as she stood in the back of the group, trying to see the creature that was being dragged and whipped toward the small clearing in the center.
  15. The Canary Hotel

    Gabriela was known for her inclusivity -- a thing that had greatly attracted the young Charlotte to the summer isle. There she had found a home under the queen’s roof, and even the support necessary to try and attain an education. That dream was ultimately shattered, but through no fault of the vampyre queen or anyone else who resided in her home. Fate carried her away to another continent, a vastly different land, and a brand new way of life. But still, she felt a keen sense of disgust now as she regarded Justus and realized that by repentance he too had been granted a home with the queen. Inclusivity looked less and less appealing. Justus assured her that he wasn’t looking for her, a fact that the young angelic woman did not entirely believe. She was running -- she was always running -- and therefore she found it hard to stomach that this creature from her past had come and reemerged in her present. “If what you say is true,” she began, keeping her distance -- a distance that he had placed between them, “what are you doing so far from home? You still wear the black armor and the pendant, but from what I can remember, the Black Queen never had dealings with Terrenus.” Of course he didn’t have to answer her question, and if he really wasn’t looking for her and didn’t want anything to do with her, then he probably wouldn’t. She was like a madwoman, seeing threats and feeling shadows at every turn. She looked exhausted from being suspicious of everything, but it was the only thing that was keeping her alive. So she lifted her chin defiantly, and waited to see what Justus would say for himself. Although, if he admitted that he was here looking for her, she wasn’t at all sure what she was suppose to do. It was one thing to have found her voice and courage, but a very different thing to have gripped the reigns of her power in order to wield them defensively. There was so much that Alexander never got a chance to teach her before she left him...