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Pasion Pasiva

Pulsing Blood and a Throbbing Beat

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Rodan could see Gabriela bristle in disapproval at how Ilyana's salesmanship, and while he was sure the acolyte of Agony meant well, it was clear she had tried to present too much, too soon. Whatever happened, however this had to be done, he could not afford to lose this opportunity. His chances of survival lessened considerably if he had to leave here with Gabriela as a hostage to leverage against Raphael, rather than leaving here free of both of them, even if temporarily. So when the Black Queen demanded that they pick a booth, rather than head outside, Rodan wasted no time in obliging.

"This will do," he selected one located against the wall, shadowed but still in the open enough that hopefully the queen felt at ease.

He immediately took a seat and waited, his face neutral now as he no longer took this as a light matter. There were important things to attend to, and the time for amusement, and for that matter, charm, was over. He needed to be clear and deliberate about everything he did from here on out.

"I will begin by removing the child," he spoke up again, once Gabriela was seated, "I can extract it anywhere, but it will be quickest and simplest if you allow me to do it through the path of least resistance."

Of course, he meant through her belly, if she would permit him to lay a hand there. That was a big if, of course, but then, how could she expect him to make her into a human if she would not let him touch her? But regardless of that, there was also another matter tied to the unborn baby that needed to be decided upon as well.

"What form do you wish it to take? I can remake it as any living thing you desire, but know that most living things are not as eternal as Vampyres."

He now waited patiently for Gabriela to make a choice.

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Ilyana was brimming with confidence in this moment even through the uncertainty of the wayward Black Queen. She had executed her pitch and found it was a lot more cordial than what she thought Lady Glasmann or Nines would have offered to the burdened woman beside her. Swirling black eyes stared at Gabriela to wait for her response and gauge every minute detail she could about the woman which made the next few moments all the more disappointing given what she was forced to endure next. As the petite vampyre’s lips opened, a sudden chill fell over her form acting as a portent to the offense that escaped Gabriela. That perfect smile waned as her lips no longer held any curl. Ilyana arched a brow as the whispered words were deciphered and she felt her anger starting to boil.

Ilyana found it hard to concentrate on the words that followed, inundated by memories of her past unearthed by one simple word. She hadn’t expected this queen famous for her diplomacy to let loose something with so little tact. Ilyana suddenly found herself feeling isolated in this throng of self-serving people so concerned with whatever ephemeral peace they could get out of their actions today instead of the threats that loomed over them. Her hands balled up into fists and her eyes slid from Gabriela’s golden eyes down to her feet with fiery indignation. She had heard Gabriela’s counter proposal and then heard Rodan’s reply followed by his acceptance of those terms. What fools they all were.

“I didn’t come here to manipulate you like those men who drool over you have likely done in the past. I am not here for some self-serving mission or vice. What I did come here for was to ask a woman I had thought deserved respect for help with something far greater than myself. With what I have learned about this woman both in the past and this very day, I was willing to provide shelter and aid to this woman who has traveled outside of the comforts her home had provided, give her means to escape the obvious burden on her shoulders, and extend a helping hand regardless of whether she offered to help.”

She sighed audibly and then continued.

“Instead, she disrespects a fellow woman who she doesn’t fully know due to fear…anger…whatever emotion she decides to use to fuel her verbal attack. Then she aims to move away from me who has been nothing but cordial and respectful in favor of a man who has obviously wronged her grievously in the past. I would be at a loss for words about this Gabriela if I had not seen this sort of behavior so many times in the slums of Hell’s Gate. Go ahead and conduct whatever business you two have and discard my offer of a sterile, clean, safe environment to free yourself of your burden. It is your body and your decision. I apologize for assuming you might want someone other than him to be there to help.”

Ilyana glared at Rodan roughly before she shifted to rest her back against the bar and prop her elbows on to the bar top. Her hand waved somewhat dismissively toward whatever booth they had decided upon. If Gabriela continued forward without any acceptable reply, then she’d be gone minutes after to leave them to their fates.

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Rodan, desperate rat that he had become in the sink-ship that was his life, wasted no time when at long last an escape was presented through which he might salvage his life. Though his face showed little and less when Gabriela turned icy toward Ilyana, there was a subtle change in stance that denoted his ‘je ne sais quoi’ -- annoyance, alarm, or trepidation perhaps? Everything was hard to tell with this man, and she was certain of nothing she actually was able to detect, after all, he was a master manipulator. But he was so quick to pivot on the balls of his feet and scan for a suitable table, that she imagined herself right. He was slowly growing more and more weary of Ilyana’s presence, and for that reason alone Gabriela felt a bite of remorse for how cruel she had been to the woman. 

Feeling the tell-tale exhaustion that came with the receding waters of rage, Gabriela watched with dimming golden eyes as Rodan picked his way through the crowd to claim the booth he had seen. He took a seat and waited but she didn’t immediately follow. Ilyana was at her back, the feline like creature was posing against the bar by leaning her shapely body like some offering to the gods of debauchery and lust, and for the first time in a long time, she felt as if all eyes were not gazing upon herself and all of her unearthly beauty, but rather on that strange woman and her very strange and dark allure. And while she didn’t have to look and see if she was right, she still did so.

Over her shoulder, and through spilling sheets of her dark hair that had come loose from a black ribbon that held the majority of the mass of it all back, she regarded Ilyana with a look that showed something akin to shame. 

“I didn’t come here to manipulate you like those men who drool over you have likely done in the past...Instead, she disrespects a fellow woman who she doesn’t fully know due to fear...anger...whatever emotion she decides to use to fuel her verbal attack. Then she aims to move away from me who has been nothing but cordial and respectful in favor of a man who has obviously wronged her grievously in the past. I would be at a loss for words about this Gabriela if I had not seen this sort of behavior so many times in the slums of Hell’s Gate.”

“Better the devil you know, Ilyana, or so the saying goes...” Gabriela interrupted, feeling that the woman was saying too much without understanding enough. She turned fully, not wanting to seem any more disrespectful than she had to now that her ever changing heart was swaying in a new direction. “No matter what you say, or how you present yourself to me -- you’re just a stranger.” 

 

For the lives that I take, I’m going to hell!
For the love that I make, I’m going to hell!
Gettin’ heavy with the devil, you can hear the wedding bells.

 

She paused, listening to the new song that was bleating through the speakers. The bodies that were dancing around them were no longer moving with that lustful intent, with soft swirls of hips, or lingering strokes of fingertips gliding across mostly exposed flesh. Much like the fast, angry, and volatile rhythm of the song, the dancing was jarring and violent. Gabriela was pushed into more than once. 

 

Father did you miss me?
Don’t ask me where I’ve been.
You know I know, yes, I’ve been told I redfine a sin.
I don’t know what’s driving me to put this in my head.
Maybe I wish I could die, maybe I am dead!

 

“I’ve learned something,” she said at long last, turning that golden gaze back onto Ilyana, “--nothing is free.”

There was something resolute in her voice, soft and peaceful even as she took a step closer to the woman. 

“I’ll accept your help, and I’ll accept the price that I must pay for it -- but not before I am ready. Now the only question is, am I an investment worth waiting for? After Rodan turns me human, help me get to Yi’hm. I’ll do whatever you want in the meantime...But I will not be subjecting myself to any enclosed spaces with anyone, not if I can help it. If that sounds, manageable to you then please, I hope you’ll be here waiting for me after this is all said and done.” 

She leaned forward and then did something strange -- something very strange. Gabriela closed her eyes and pressed a kiss onto Ilyana’s cheek. The woman’s flesh was warm, and immediately Gabriela’s cold lips leached from her that warmth, leaving her with a chill that she would either regard as pleasant or utterly uncomfortable. For Gabriela, it was a matter of sensation. There was a desperate need in her suddenly, to feel something she might never feel again, the fleeing cold as warmth was robbed from another, the thrill of thawing ice, the distant memory of him. She closed her eyes as tight as she could manage to keep the tears from squeezing out, and when she felt she could manage it she pulled away. 

 

For the lives that I fake, I’m going to hell!
For the vows that I break, I’m going to hell!
For the ways that I hurt, when I’m hiking up my skirt.
I am sitting on a throne while they’re buried in the dirt.
For the man that I hate, I’ going to hell!
Gettin’ heavy with the devil, you can hear the wedding bells.

 

“Go ahead and conduct whatever business you two have and discard my offer of a sterile, clean, safe environment to free yourself of your burden. It is your body and your decision. I apologize for assuming you might want someone other than him to be there to help.”

Gabriela said nothing more, but gave the woman a knowing stare before turning and following after Rodan through the pushing and pulsing crowd. It didn’t take her long to reach the table and find her seat.

“I will begin by removing the child. I can extract it anywhere, but it will be the quickest and simplest if you allow me to do it through the path of least resistance...What form do you wish it to take? I can remake it as any living thing you desire, but know that most living things are not as eternal as vampyres.”

It was very hard to control the wave of nausea that overcame her. She had to visibly pause and look away, down to some corner of the table that separated them. It may have been obvious to him that the path of least resistance was direct contact with her belly, but to Gabriela the option seemed a very different area entirely -- and that made her want to throw up. The thought of Rodan putting his hands anywhere on her body was bad enough, but thinking of the pads of his fingers curling into private places of her anatomy made her want to cry and beat him to a bloody pulp. But she was prepared to do what was necessary…

“Where I come from..there have been viable seeds as old as two thousand years, granted, these seeds were kept in very special conditions. I can ensure the best environment for survival...But,” she bit her lip, she chewed on it for a moment, “--what will it be like? I am six months pregnant. It moves. I feel it stretch, I feel it jolt, I feel it live. What sort of live will it have? Will it be aware? Can you make it dream? Can you control that sort of thing...I don’t want to torture it. I don’t want it to suffer. I would like for it to feel, happiness, if at all possible.” 

She couldn’t meet Rodan’s eyes.

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Rodan had not shown any heed to Ilyana and Gabriela's exchange, though he had listened intently to it so he could stay informed on how it progressed. Ultimately, Agony's underling was dismissed by the Black Queen, and while Rodan held no ill-will toward Ilyana, he was relieved that the situation had not caused Gabriela to abandon her deal with him. With that resolved, he could now be focused on Gabriela alone.

"I suppose that depends on what you have me make it into," he responded to her inquiries. "I work to avoid influencing the mind, for it is a complex thing that I must admit, for all that have learned, I still cannot quite grasp. If I make it a perfect seed, the spark of life will remain, but any sentience that it may be capable of now will be gone, for a seed has no brain with which to think and dream. That said, I am capable of working beyond the simple limitations of the natural world, and if you desire, I can preserve its mind as it is now. Alas, without the ability to hear and communicate with humans, it will never learn language, and its thoughts will remain primitive. In effect, it will remain forever as it is now; an unborn child. It should not be torturous though, as it does not know to expect or desire anything more than what it already has."

He noticed her disgust at his earlier comment, and after a moment had to figure she interpreted it differently than he meant it. Amusing. Sexuality held little interest to him, at least not in relation to satisfaction for himself. If it meant anything to him, it was that it brought him a sense of amusement how humanoids were so easily swayed by it. It was but one of many animal instincts of the body, yet it was ascribed a disproportionate value, both positively and negatively, by so many individuals, religions and cultures. As such, it was somewhat entertaining to him how people squirmed at certain implications or perceptions, and even more did he find it funny how the effects of his abilities could throw another wrench into the fragile human reproductive ego. 

That matter was quickly dismissed from his mind. Gabriela would likely be put at ease when Rodan would eventually reveal his desire was merely to take the baby out of her belly directly and surgically. "Path of least resistance" was probably not the right descriptor, but to him, moving the baby through a little bit of skin and tissue was far less troublesome than having to slide it around organs and bones to get it out. But he wasn't intending to begin that process until he knew what to make it into, as there was a chance that removing it in its current form might prompt some level of detection by the club-goers around them. He wanted a clearer plan before he began.

"But again, that depends on what you would have it become, and whether you wish it to be plant or animal. Different organisms are capable of different things, and some things must have an opportunity to learn if they are to be able to think and dream complexly. Does this help make the path you wish to take clearer?"

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The passionate response to what had been considered a disrespectful slight were glimpses of Ilyana’s true character; one she hadn’t practiced since she was fourteen before she had been swallowed by the oppressive machine in Hell’s Gate. She had been both gifted and cursed with the features she now attempted to wield in her favor, but it was clear she was not always as successful as she wished to be. The harsh words that Gabriela offered her struck Ilyana back into focus. She was used to blunt delivery and had only just begun appreciating it for what it was after dealing with Caeceila and Camelia back in Hell’s Gate. So as Gabriela expressed her stance and explained why she remained so guarded in the face of what Ilyana presented as altruism, Ilyana allowed herself to briefly smile, satisfied with the clarification provided even if it wasn’t completely in her favor.

“No matter what you say, or how you present yourself to me -- you’re just a stranger.”

“Yes that is quite unfortunate for me.”

“I’ve learned something,”

“--nothing is free.”

“Not everything is unpleasant either…”

Ilyana shrugged lightly and then listened to the queen continue, having placed her back toward Rodan completely as she focused completely on Gabriela. She was only slightly taller than the woman so all she had to do was look straight ahead at the alabaster skin and golden pools ahead.

“I’ll accept your help, and I’ll accept the price that I must pay for it -- but not before I am ready. Now the only question is, am I an investment worth waiting for? After Rodan turns me human, help me get to Yi’hm. I’ll do whatever you want in the meantime...But I will not be subjecting myself to any enclosed spaces with anyone, not if I can help it. If that sounds, manageable to you then please, I hope you’ll be here waiting for me after this is all said and done.”

She arched a brow as she had not truly expected Gabriela to accept given the trajectory of their dialogue. The minor success was enough to widen her smile until the queen decided to come intimately close. Obtenebra was unappreciative of the proximity both because it recognized who it was that invaded its space and because it was unsure how to interpret the energy it sensed. Ilyana felt her muscles tighten as she was ready to react accordingly should this all be a vampyric ruse. Instead she felt the icy cold lips against her cheek which afforded her own lips the chance to let loose a small hum of words in reply. Arms would snake around, hands aiming to rest on Gabriela’s hips just above the contours of her buttocks. The movement was swift but since Gabriela had given herself up to such a response given her decision to come this close she should likely have expected Ilyana was both capable and willing to retaliate on this invasion of space. The warmth of her hands and the teasing closeness of her body were things Ilyana somehow knew would affect this queen who yearned for much.

“I will make sure you are not alone through this change and that your first moments as a human are pleasurable. Investments always have a chance to fail but I have a good feeling about this one all the same.”

She’d keep her position where she was and let Gabriela slip away on her own, only turning to sit herself at the bar once her and Rodan settled themselves in their seat. She’d wait for however long it took, if only to make sure she could tell Caeceila she did whatever she could in the end.

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“...But again, that depends on what you would have it become, and whether you wish it to be plant or animal. Different organisms are capable of different things, and some things must have an opportunity to learn if they are to be able to think and dream complexly. Does this help make the path you wish to take clearer?”

Gabriela did not offer a reply, she only looked away from him to study some swirl in the natural knots presented upon the polished surface of the table that separated them. There she set her small hands, pale and cold, and there she set upon the task of drumming her fingers slowly as she took into consideration all that he had said. 

She had never wanted this child. There was a duality in her that was maddening. Part of her hated the child for what it was -- a product of a union between herself and Raphael, a creature so disgusting to her senses that she could not believe she had lain with him willingly to produce the offspring. The child was also living proof of her betrayal. At long last, the story between her and the devil was meant to have its conclusion, whether happy or sorrowful, it did not matter. But she had stolen that ending from them both by betraying the man she claimed to love, though the claim was made to no one but her own self. It was enough to know that she was a traitor, enough to be tortured and swallowed by self loathing. And then there was the other part of her, the tender and loving part of her that knew better than all of these ugly and sad things. There was a child growing in her womb and it was blameless. It was unique, alive, and perfect, and it had every right to live and to be loved and nurtured. 

It deserved a better mother than she could ever be, and she knew in her heart that it deserved a far better father than Raphael. Regardless of what she felt toward her species and her own bloodline, now that the child had quickened, she wanted it to live and thrive more than anything. 

“This is your area of expertise, I know only that I want the child unharmed and with the potential to live, should the opportunity ever present itself. My father will take him away and keep him safe, perhaps a century from now, perhaps longer -- someone will carry him to term and he will have his chance to be born. In the meanwhile, I want him to live and dream, suspended but not frozen. No, not frozen -- not cold.I would like him to dream, I don’t know what, pleasant things, I suppose...whatever a thing of his size and mental capacity can dream of. That’s all probably beyond your abilities.”

Her fingers had stopped tapping and had instead settled calmly upon the table, but there under the pads of her fingertips were tiny mirrors of ice, formed from the sudden frost of her touch. Mostly, she could control the ice in her blood, but talk of this, of what she was about to do and what she was about to lose -- she was growing colder, and colder. 

“If that all sounds silly, then suspended animation -- just get it out of me already. Just make it happen once and for all. Tell me what to do, I’ll do it.”

Those golden eyes shifted upward and caught Rodan’s gaze. They were sharp and steady, but welling up with crimson.

“Before I lose my nerve.” 

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It was understandable what Gabriela was asking, though how Rodan could make it happen would prove a challenge. For all of his talent in molding the organic material that made up an organism, he knew so precious little about how the minds of creatures worked. But he had made adult humans into objects as small as the little rings that adorned his fingers, so he could make a child into something just as small, if not smaller. The question was how to ensure that it lived long enough to fulfill the queen's desires, at least on the surface. Rodan had known of seeds capable of remaining dormant for generations, and so he needed to tap into whatever knowledge he had gained of such. 

"Just remain still," he told her, as he reached with his hands underneath the table, sliding his hands under her shirt and onto her belly, "I will be opening you up for a moment."

All nerves in that particular spot of Gabriela's abdomen were promptly deadened, leaving it without any sense of feeling. Then the skin and flesh began to part, opening cleanly and bloodlessly, as the baby was slowly squeezed out of the hole. The entire affair did not take longer than two minutes, but it no doubt felt much longer to Gabriela. At last, she could once again feel her stomach area, and were she to put a hand there, she'd find it intact, but deflated. Any fat or excess had been taken away, as though she had never been pregnant in the first place. On Rodan's end, the man set something on the bench beside himself, but out of sight, before bringing his left hand forward and setting a singular object on the table before her. It was about the size of a walnut, with a sturdy-looking, woody shell. Clearly a seed of some manner.

"It will not last eternally, but if you keep it in the right conditions, I am certain it will keep for decades, if not centuries," he said, retracting his hand and leaving the tiny object there for her to take, "Now, the second part of our agreement will be far more simple. I only need a hand. However, if your part of the bargain must be completed while you are still a vampyre, then I'll respectfully request that we perform it first."

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“Just remain still -- I will be opening you up for a moment.”

The shiny, thin sheet of ice that had formed under the pads of her fingertips was suddenly shattered when her glass-like fingernails pressed down, crushing the pristine surface while ripping downward, tearing trenches into the table as well. It was the sensation of his hand digging under the table against her stomach, shoving away the layers of her clothing as he attempted to make contact with her bare skin. It took about all of her self-control not to reach down and twist his hand off, tearing it straight off at the wrist. Instead, she settled for gripping at the edge of the table with as much force as she could muster, which left the poor board under her grasp as nothing more than a collection of splinters, some of which bite into the soft parts of her palms and caused black blood to ooze from between her tightly clenched fingers. And surely, to Rodan’s annoyance, he would find that she did not help him in the removal of the pestering fragments of fabric -- it would be up to him. At long last he managed the task, and his warm, human hand laid flat against the gentle curve of her cold, pregnant belly. Though she tried to mask it, a quiet whimper escaped her until all sensation was gone, including the pressure of his touch.

Rodan was diligent in his work, no one could argue on that front. Masterful in theory as well as practice, he went about his work, while her gaze drifted off into the crowd of dancing bodies. 

The air was thick with smoke. She could smell perfume and blood, and the thick and potent fragrance of human sweat, flowing alcohol, and sex. Wanting to completely disengage from what was happening to her body and her soul, she allowed herself to drown in the sea of sensations that assaulted her heightened senses. Lights flashed through the thick screen of smoke and fog. She stared right into the blinking luminescence, until she felt utterly blind. And the pain that threatened to ease away from the hundred of splinters that had dug into her palms from the abuse she had wrought upon the table, she clung to it by clenching and relaxing her grip over and over, and shifting the tiny splinters against her flesh over and over.

While she couldn’t feel any pain -- there was pressure. She could feel his hand inside of her pulling, shifting, pressing. And every now and then she would look to him only to find that he was enthralled in his work. More than once, she thought of telling him to stop, but it was as if her mouth was unable to open -- as if it were sewn shut. This was the right thing to do, and she knew it. 

Goodbye little one, I was never meant to be your mother. 

And then it was over. 

Rodan set the seed before her on the table, but she could not look at it. 

“It will not last eternally, but if you keep it in the right conditions, I am certain it will keep for decades, if not centuries.”

“Very good,” she replied, and nothing else -- her bloody hands were on her flat stomach, drenching her blouse in black. Still, she could not look at the seed, or at Rodan. 

“Now, the second part of our agreement will be far more simple. I only need a hand. However, if your part of the bargain must be completed while you are still a vampyre, then I’ll respectfully request that we perform it first.”

“It requires nothing from me,” she answered, holding out a bloody hand that had already healed and pushed out the offending splinters that had caused the harm. Her small hand sat, palm up, besides the small seed. “When I am human, and only when I am human -- you will feel a shadow fall across you. It will chill you. You will feel a cold unlike any you’ve ever experienced. You may believe that you are dying -- I don’t know. Raphael knows your blood intimately, and that is your doom, my father must… he must cast his shadow upon every drop of your blood and renew you. That is how we will break the bond, and that is how you will have your freedom. It will not be pleasant, but I know of no other way.”

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Rodan eyed her a moment, feeling a trifle suspicious now that she indicated it was an outside force that would act only once he had completed his end of the bargain with her. But at this point, he had little choice but to trust it. Besides, it would not be hard to transform her again if she betrayed him in that moment. And even if Rodan were to die... well, the human queen would not live long before Diego moved in and avenged his master. Gabriela surely knew that, which meant that any attempt at a double-cross would be ill-fated and ill-advised. Presumably. There were always tricks beyond common knowledge that many magic-users hid away until the moment they needed to invoke it, so Rodan could only trust to hope that the Black Queen was not doing so here.

"Very well, then I shall begin," he said at last.

He placed his hand over hers, the warmth of both his own fingers, and of the strange, fleshy rings adorning them, were both immediately contrasted against the cold, corpse-like flesh of the former queen. His powers, unnoticeable and undetectable, quickly snaked through her entire body, taking in her form as it was at that exact moment, reaffirming Rodan's existing memory of vampyre biology, then saving it away for later remembrance. With that complete, he began to make the changes necessary to give her humanity. From the epicenter of her heart, a gradual wave of warmth, like a fire that was dim but slowly growing as it consumed its kindling, began to spread through her body. Her skin, cold and pale, began to slowly saturate, taking on more color and depth. Her blood, sickly black moments before, began to turn purple, then deep red, before the wounds upon her hands were sealed shut. Or most of them were, all but one. A single slit was left, so that the woman could see and feel the warm trickle of her new life force as it leaked forth. 

Her eyes, once gold and glowing, began to dim, until all that remained was an amber-brown. Gabriela's senses and strength began to fade, but not because of any malice on Rodan's part. No, this was how it was to be human. Warm, vibrant, but limited and mortal... weak... inferior. The Mutator couldn't help but think that Gabriela DuGrace would come to regret this decision when she realized how helpless it made her in this cruel world, but that would not be his problem. By that time, he would have melted into obscurity once again, and the queen would be some forgotten human amid the hapless masses.

"It is done," he spoke at last, raising his hand and allowing her to examine her own, all the while waiting expectantly for the force that would grant him his own freedom to make itself manifest.

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“It is done.”

 

It was a near impossibility to physically manifest upon Terrenus, but he extended the massive will of force required to create a pale shade -- a rather pathetic thing -- for her sake. He knew, somehow that it wouldn’t be enough to simply do the deed. Rodan, peevish man that he seemed to be, would require something visible, if not tactical, to satisfy his needs on this rather poorly thought out deal. 

 

So here he was, a thing barely visible, that rose like wisps of smoke off of Gabriela’s small shoulders. It appeared that he was black flames, dancing in a lively display before rising higher and higher, thick at the base and nearly translucent at the peak. It took only a moment for the dark manifestation to take shape -- the rough outline of a man standing behind Gabriela, though her back was pressed to the bench. And with the interior of the Tarantula being as dark as it was, it was a wonder how he didn’t simply disappear into the background. There was something peerlessly black about him, specifically around the edges that touched Gabriela’s form -- creating a halo of pure darkness around her head. He was in fact, so depthless dark, that he stole away the much the light from Gabriela’s (now tragically dull) eyes, until they appeared like nothing more than white dots within the almond shape of her eyes. 

 

Tenebre reached out once he felt an adequate song and dance had been performed, and with clawed shaped tendrils extended, he laid claim to the small seed that lay upon the table besides his beloved daughter’s now human hand. Slowly, and with great care, he rolled the seed to the edge of the table until it dropped -- but never hit the ground. 

 

Gabriela, who had been in a strange torpor up until then, finally shifted positions. She turned her head, an odd gesture that was marked most notably by how jerky it seemed. She turned and her entire head wobbled as if the bones and muscles in her neck were confounding and new to her, and as if the movement itself had made her dizzy. Those pretty amber eyes of hers, the color of sweet summer honey, watched as a shadow fell across the table and as the small seed began to roll on its own. Gone was her ability to see Tenebre’s manifestation, at least, here on Terrenus where the God of Darkness had to pick and choose who to purposely manifest himself to. Today the honor was reserved specifically for Rodan. 

 

“Do you...see him?” Gabriela asked, but her voice dropped and picked up in that same odd fashion. She flinched at the sound of it and reached up to wrap a hand around her throat. The sound of her voice was offensive to her ears, the feel of it in her throat was strange, and the taste in her mouth as it left her lips -- all of this felt wrong. 

 

Tenebre did not wait for Rodan to answer his daughter. The same hand that had extended to collect his unborn grandchild now reached out again, pointing one of those jagged fingertip-like things directly at the Mutator. That arm extended all the way across the table, reaching until the tip of the abysmal claw was touching the man directly upon the chest, just below the throat, just between the collarbone. It moved this way and that, and pushed aside his garments until it was touching his flesh. 

 

All that Gabriela could see -- all that anyone would see -- was a shadow cast across the table by something that was not there. All that Rodan would feel with his special abilities was whatever he felt when it came to shadows -- simply the darkness cast by an object coming between a surface and a source of light. In this case, it was a sense of coldness. At first, just a chill, a little brush of ice against his skin where the black vines of Raphael’s influence had taken root. Tenebre’s frigid touch was instantly purifying, but like fire it seared as it cleaned him of his bond to the elder vampyre. And like Gabriela had warned, it was every drop of his blood that was burned in the fire. 

 

When it was said and done, and both Gabriela and Rodan were left changed in some manner or the other, Tenebre pulled back and away. He spent a moment regarding his daughter and her new human guise, a thing that only Rodan would be privy to, before dissipating into nothingness, exactly like wisps of smoke in the air. 

 

For a long while after that, Gabriela was silent -- she wasn’t sure if Tenbre was done but she guessed as much after Rodan opened his mouth to speak. She interrupted him.

 

“It is done then, good.”

 

She turned and on wobbly legs got to her feet -- warm, vibrant, but limited and mortal… weal… inferior… but free, unabashedly, unimaginably, inexplicably free. A part of her considered thanking Rodan, but the thought made her just about as nauseous as the memory of her morning sickness, which of course made both her hands suddenly reach up to her flat stomach. The baby was gone -- it was real. 

 

“Ilyana,” she called with that squeaky and strange voice of hers, that soft and curiously quiet voice that did not command the attention she was used to. She had to get closer, she had to keep walking through the dancers. She tried to be careful, and managed only barely to make it to the bar once again. 

 

“Ilyana...I have to go...I have to go to the bank,” she blinked those big honey-gold eyes at the woman, “I’ll be back in an hour. Please wait for me. I just,” she glanced around, she looked confused, and possibly not in her right mind -- but also not like anyone was going to be able to stop her from whatever she was scheming. “I just have to go to the bank to make a withdrawal.” 

 

And just like that -- a newly born human came into the world, not screaming and crying, not naked and bloody -- but a new, shiny, curious creature who walked on wobbly legs and saw with two bright eyes, and thought with a sharp mind. She left the safety of the nest into which she had been born, and walked out into the world in search for something she that no longer existed the fortune of the Black Queen. 

 

[Exit Gabriela]

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When Tenebre appeared, Rodan felt a sting of unease, for the visage reminded him much of Raphael's abilities which he feared greatly. But he reasoned himself to submissively remain still and allow the shade to approach him, for did it not make sense for the powers of Gabriela and her "father" to resemble closely that of their kin? That only meant this was more certain to free him from the Carmine Emperor's hold, which was the ultimate goal here. Even so, as Tenebre reached forth and touched the Mutator, the man's hands began to clutch the edge of the table tightly, his fingers turning white as first a chill cold, then a burning pain shot through his body. 

Rodan had no extra sensation when it came to Tenebre, for his powers were over organic matter only, and that meant he was ever chained to the material world. If not for that ability, he would be merely another man, loath as he would be to admit such. But though he felt everything as a common man would, the only show of it made on the surface was a rigidness of his muscles, and a vice-like grip upon the table in front of him. He could not break through the wood the way Gabriela could, so instead, the only thing being strained were his own fingers, yet he needed that anchor while his body burned from the inside. Tempting as it was to cry aloud, Rodan made little more than a faint grunt, and was otherwise silent and wordless. To be in control, no matter how painful or desperate the situation may be, was his way. Always in control. Always calm.

At last, the process was complete, and the shadow passed. As the burning subsided, Rodan could feel that the festering curse that Raphael had inflicted on him was gone, and that his blood flowed free and pure as normal. A sigh of relief escaped his lips, as he watched Tenebre retreat and vanish. He was about to speak and offer his gratitude, but Gabriela cut him off instead. Her words, though of the same voice, bore a much different sound now; more vulnerable and human. But despite that, the Mutator could tell that even if he did offer any word of thanks, it would fall on deaf ears that would care little either way. And so he watched depart silently, passing Ilyana and speaking a few words to her, before moving toward the exit. Even after she was gone, Rodan remained seated in place, thinking and staring ahead. Diego finally approached, having also watched Gabriela depart, though he dared not leave his master to follow her without command. 

"Master, do you want her followed?" he asked in a low, dead voice.

"No, no I do not believe that will be necessary," Rodan replied, standing up.

He glanced at the mass lying on the bench beside him; a mass of excess flesh taken from the baby and Gabriela when the removal and change had occurred. It was little more than a slab of meat coated over by a layer of skin to prevent it from oozing onto the seat and bothering Rodan while he said there, but it was no longer a living mass. With no spark of life, it would soon begin to spoil and rot. He pondered what he could do with it for a moment, but ultimately decided it was of no concern to him any longer. In all likelihood, one of the unnaturals here would just eat it, or the staff would throw it in the dumpster. 

So moving on from that, he got up and approached Ilyana before she could also leave. Folding his hands behind his back he stepped relatively close to her so his soft voice could be heard without needing to strain it much.

"I apologize for any rudeness you may have perceived in our dealings tonight, but it was vital I complete my... exchange... with her former Majesty. Do give my regards to Agony should you encounter him before I do," he said to her, "But do be cautious with that women; she has caused our organization more trouble than any of us bargained for. Be wary of those to whom she is bound."

He smiled and offered the woman a handshake in a casual manner.

"In any case, always a pleasure to meet another member of the family."

Whether she accepted it or not, Rodan made his exit soon thereafter, his associates in tow. For now, he was free of Raphael's power, and while there was a risk the Carmine Emperor would not simply let this rest; indeed, his anger may blaze even more intensely now, it gave the Mutator the time he needed to prepare. Just being on Terran soil itself was an advantage, and as his knowledge grew and his army of minions in its wake, he would be more and more protected from the enemies he had gained. Alas, Rodan's world was no longer one of total anonymity, as it had been for most of his life before joining the Abbadon Triumvirate. Now he needed to prepare for a life in hiding or on the run, and with the DuGrace chapter in his life hopefully closed, he could now focus on what needed to be done next...

[exit Rodan]

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Ilyana was done drinking for the night, still as lucid as ever despite consuming the entirety of the bottle she had purchased. Boredom while Gabriela and Rodan executed their transaction made the occasional sip act as a reprieve from the nagging feeling she was getting that she was not using her time efficiently. Ever since her meeting with Caeceila she had a sense of urgency and purpose behind her actions that was unlike before despite the fact she had already been working hard to establish herself. The idea that she was doing all of this only to end up losing it all if the Enrele threat was not taken care of was simply unacceptable which was the only reason she had even stomached waiting for Gabriela to finish. If the woman, regardless of her status as human or vampyre, was capable of giving them an edge against their threat then this trip would prove fruitful.

The fumbling approach that Gabriela could not hide from the Redeemer made the woman arch a brow but logic made her odd movements seem plausible. The Mutator must have been successful which only left this woman who now stood before her somewhat disoriented that much more vulnerable. One would think that she should rest long enough to gain her bearings but this urgency that dripped out of her words along with yet another ask to wait for her while she tended to other business proved enough to force Ilyana to sigh audibly in disappointment.

“Fine, just don’t go getting into any trouble before you come back to me”

Ilyana wanted to tag along but decided against it, deciphering that Gabriela didn’t really want to be followed and already feeling burned from her forceful approach earlier. She’d play this one safe. With Gabriela slowly leaving, she noticed Rodan coming soon after to address her. She found his attempt to apologize concerning any potential rudeness unnecessary and she had no qualms expressing that as she nearly cut him off until he mentioned her Savior which softened her features into a smile. She then heeded the warning offered and provided a much calmer response than what she had been about to provide before.

“Volatile women are not foreign to me I assure you. I will try to redeem some of the damage she has caused our family somehow.”

Ilyana shook Rodan’s hand cautiously but firmly before she replied again.

“Likewise. Be safe”

In truth she didn’t hold any sort of good or bad opinion about Rodan. Family was family and he deserved to be treated cordially regardless of what she knew now to be true concerning what had been done to Gabriela and others. If it was all to support her family then she could not possibly object…now at least. Waving Rodan away, she would follow the Mutator out and wait for Gabriela’s return outside of the Tarantula. She had had enough of its dark lustful atmosphere anyway. Passing the gargoyle bouncer with a small wink she stood in plain view and scanned around for the petite Gabriela after the hour had passed, hoping the woman kept her word.

[Exit Ilyana]

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