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[Dead: Haunted Glen] Alien Peroxide

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Simmering to the west was the dead Tia, purple fog rising from its infested buildings. Many of its greatest structures were clutched in monstrous, monumental fists of vegetation. As of yet, nobody had so much as breached the topic of its destruction; it was a sore spot, a piece of legend that, it looked, could forever seem a repossession of land by Gaia herself. Instead of a repossession, though.. It had been a demolition— and it wasn't by Gaia but Cain himself. His vengeance against the vampire coven who rose and changed Nica to work toward his forceful deposition was absolute, his responding routing of them and the decimation of Tia altogether fulminating in an artistic apocalypse. Anyone who remained in Tia, West of the Haunted Glen, had had their minds so addled by the Maleficence plant that was Cain's weapon of choice against Tia, they could never be the same. Bodies of the weak strewn across the streets had long decayed, their bones grown moss. The strongest and those who formed uncharacteristic bonds— liable to blow up in double homicides at any moment— holed themselves up in hoarder-like ramparts they would define as their bases of operations. Some weren't even capable of communication after utter chaos had consumed their brains.

Serafino Dolos was a great vampire in his time. The early years in the 20's AO were the cherry on top of his sundae: He enjoyed the same Viceroyship of Tia that the Viscount from a decade ago once did, holding Cain's primeval puppet prisoner in order to hold the keys to such a machine of freedom. Nica Sero, from behind bars, expressed his grief for the knee-jerk decision to accompany Serafino in his battle against Cain. As it turned out for Nica, subjugation to Cain was a far cry better than the Dolos vampire regime. As such, Nica waited every moment of every day to reach back to Cain through their blood magic puppetry. And finally, after 2 years, he found Cain. 

That was what had brought Cain back, brought him crashing down on all of Tia like the hand of an agitated deity.

Now the vampires from Tia were scattered across the Haunted Glens in various settlements. Unbeknownst to Serafino Dolos, several of those settlements were infested with two types of invasive species.

1) Bodysnatchers, the Enrele threat crashing down on Valucre in the heart of a meteor centuries ago had infested a couple of his villages at alarming rates.

2) Just because Tia lay in shambles did not leave Serafino freed of the vindictive Cain's curse. Several of his executive council were puppets of Cain waiting for the proper moment to foster a sense of great victory just to be shattered into the utmost disconsolation possible.

So it was that the two parties eventually clashed. Cain and the Enrel, while intergalactically different species, had worked together on multiple occasions. These occasions had made them both more privy of one another.

One of the settlements on the northeast end of the Glens becoming known as Bledridge had become the fulcrum of tension between Cain's bloodmind and the Enrele hivemind. A mayoral figure, a vampire of somewhat great proportions, led a giant settlement of trolls and goblins and vampire ilk. While he bore the onus of leadership, Cain had achieved greater numbers in that area. Butting heads more and more on political issues, the Enrele and Cain's possessed became increasingly at odds.

There was a main creature somewhere in the city spawning all this nonsense, instilling this following knowingly against Cain. Eventually he decided it was a situation that needed some finesse. Perhaps, even, something more than simply the presence of a puppet. 

It was time to solve 'the Enrele problem' once and for all.

The First and the Architect walked into a bar and sat down.

She knew why they'd come, so did he; they also knew that, while a good chunk of the village ran at Cain's behest, another mentionable multitude was Enrele.

They sat across the table from one another, an unaltered Cain and Phoebe. Cain wore thick black jeans and a thick, long-sleeve tan shirt. When the waiter approached, he asked for a dark alcoholic drink and sipped it casually. 

"A few blocks south there's a city hall building. I have representatives in there who think it's one of the five councilmen."


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The First and the Architect walked into a bar.

In some world, somewhere, there was a joke that followed - maybe something like:

The First and the Architect walked into a bar.
The First said, "I'll have a Car Bomb."
The world exploded.


The First and the Architect walked into a bar.
The Architect disintegrated the bar and reformed its essence into a mechanized clown fish for annoyingly blocking his path.

It wouldn't be a very funny joke, or the sort you told to family over a holiday meal, but the opening was there, somewhere, in some world.  In this world, though, there was very little to laugh about.  The remains of Tia were the stuffings of nightmares - block upon block of abandoned temples and sculpted towers, their ramparts and colonnades dragged to the ground by the living jungle which soared up from the ground like the earth's envious fingertips.

There was a silence as well; a waiting, of sorts, as if the world itself were holding its breath, and interspersed with that pregnant nothingness there were animalistic screams that sounded all too human.  How there was a bar here, Phoebe would never know, but as she listened to the fallen rubble crunch beneath her worn black tactical boots she marveled at Cain's choice for a drink.  She knew why they had come all this way; the once Architect had a family issue and, as she looked around what had once been a city full of life, she found fraternity in his rage.  There would be a day that her daughter would be known - following, there would be a day that Amaya was targeted - and shortly after, there would be the day Phoebe and Aristotle left a city, or country, looking like Tia.

The woman slipped into the seat opposite Cain, outfitted 'adventurer' in khaki cargo pants and a sleek black leather jacket, beneath which Cain could make out the silhouette of a similarly dark sleeveless shirt.  Her dark hair had been left loose, but Phoebe hedged her bets with a black band wrapped around her left wrist.  The bar was a pit- all wobbly tables and humid, too-dark, corners, with the ever-present smell of week-old grease and piss.  In its grime-scale color palate, Cain was a beacon - his hair wild and free, as red as the flames it suggested, and with a disconcerting otherness to his light gaze that made it hard to hold.  For all the years the pair had worked together for the Dead, they were still relative strangers - just two super novas orbiting each other, carving through the universe, chasing their callings.

Drawing her gaze from the bar's far wall, the First spun a silver ring wrapped around her thumb, then smiled.  When the waiter appeared, she ordered as well - gin and tonic.  It came with a mint spring and a conversation with the waiter that was too long and too friendly, but Phoebe forgave the annoyance, and after running out of casual inquiries the waiter meandered off.

"A few blocks south there's a city hall building. I have representatives in there who think it's one of the five councilmen."

Phoebe nodded.  Leaning forward, she gripped the cool, rocks glass, and began to spin it - pressing her thumb against the glass and shifting it an inch at a time, repeat, repeat, as she watched the rim pass by.  "What's the goal, then?  I have to be honest.." she said, lifting her green eyes to meet Cain's.  "Most of the buildings look to be on the edge of falling over if a pigeon so much as landed on them, so if you want the slate wiped clean it wouldn't take more than a thought."  And it wouldn't - telekinesis wouldn't set the world aflame, but the formerly grand city was in a precarious state.  All the Psion had to do was shift a keystone here, break a load-bearing timber there, and any building could become a pile of rubble just - like - that.

Edited by Noko

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"Most of the buildings look to be on the edge of falling over if a pigeon so much as landed on them, so if you want the slate wiped clean it wouldn't take more than a thought." 

Cain’s pupils were wide without his eyes seeming tense in any way.  His green gaze settling once with casual irie on everything he could see before him as he leaned his back against the backrest. His expression was relaxed, amicable; he knew enough from a series of encounters both alongside and head-on against bodysnatchers that they wouldn’t remember him. He, however, was becoming better at recognizing them. This village and his own personal experiences combined into a blossoming radar for the otherworldly creatures.

Phoebe’s pupils and Cain’s would meet when she finished speaking. She would either understand the care in his wandering gaze or wonder if he had heard her; but if she was observant she would catch the comet of chaos shooting across his sclera as they looked at one another wordlessly. He knew she could topple the entire city, bring it all crashing down.

Before the silence could stretch between them, the girl reappeared with their drinks.

Our naimless waitress’s pupils were in a relaxed state when she came to put their drinks before them smiling pleasantly at Phoebe; but as soon she put Cain’s before him and was met with a glare that invited her wordlessly to get as far away from them as possible, they tightened into pinholes. This far out it was highly unlikely the bodysnatcher had host bodies, but it was clear the Architect had taken his precautions nonetheless.

“I have no idea how many there are,” his lips finally moved when they were alone. “I can’t even tell if one is one at first. I’ve got ten in the city council. I have a couple janitors, a  couple administrative assistants, and three councilors. The chairman is definitely the main host, but beyond that I’m honestly not sure. I’ve pruned my hosts down to vampires only.”

Vampire bodysnatchers sounded like a dangerous enemy; but they were equally as formidable an ally. Here humans and vampires scattered from the fallen Tia lived alongside even if in some cases begrudgingly. Odd dynamics were developing here where vampirism began using humanity. Perhaps it was best to dash this place into the swamp mists. Some of these humans needed a hero; but the two here were a quite unlikely duo.

“You could bring the whole village crashing down,” said Cain, drinking the refreshing burn of liquor across his tongue and down his throat. Strong, straight liquor was one of the few things he could really feel. “But we just have to extract the chairman. They have a meeting tonight open to the public. I assume plenty of them will be there. So will we.”

He considered just going for it, crashing entire city blocks down on heads both innocent and guilty. 

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Phoebe watched the waitress slip away, her gaze trailed after like a sleuth chasing a clue.  After a moment, with suspicions still unfounded, she curled her attention back to Cain.

“I have no idea how many there are,” Cain spoke once the waitress had fully departed. “I can’t even tell if one is one at first. I’ve got ten in the city council. I have a couple janitors, a  couple administrative assistants, and three councilors. The chairman is definitely the main host, but beyond that I’m honestly not sure. I’ve pruned my hosts down to vampires only.”

She mulled the scenario over in her head, lips pursed.  The bodysnatchers were a new entity, to her, and an extremely unwelcome one.  The Dead still had few ways to detect the invaders; she had a theory that feedback would serve to weed them out, but the mechanisms behind that were beyond her.  It was bothersome.  If she were being honest, she couldn't guarantee that the flame-haired man across from her was Cain at all, though she believed he was.  The bodysnatchers needed examining - a good ole spin in the chair, until the Psion could read them, the sensors could see them, and the Dead could use them.  Hopefully, she and Cain would sow those seeds tonight.

"It's a dangerous scenario," she interjected, commenting off-hand.

“You could bring the whole village crashing down,” continued Cain, “But we just have to extract the chairman. They have a meeting tonight open to the public. I assume plenty of them will be there. So will we.”

"I could.. and will, if it needs to be done, but.."  Phoebe leaned in toward Cain, pausing to tuck a dark fallen curl behind her ear.  The humidity in this half plant city stifling and her normally well behaved hair had succumbed, tumbling curls and waves over her thin shoulders, and beginning to annoy the woman.  "This place is dead - no law, no eyes, no one looking over anything.  There could be ten thousand strong arms organizing in here and no one would look past the fallen temples - it's too painful."  Having said her piece she leaned back, setting her shoulders against the rickety chair, then picking up her drink and half-toasting the thought.  "We may not need an army right now, but who would turn one away..  Think about it?"  Her glass floated in the air a moment, long enough for Cain to join her if she wished, before she brought it into her lips and sealed the wish with a drink.

The remainder of their conversation passed without record.  As much as any other man and woman having drinks at a bar, they were getting to know each other - sharing thoughts, chatting easily, and letting the day sally on into evening.  The pair shared a last thought before mundanely paying their bill and making their way out of the ramshackle bar, into the rubble strewn streets, toward the city hall.

It was plain to see that the building, at its peak, could easily have been described as majestic.  It was equally plain to see that those days had gone the way of manicured lawns and specialty coffee.  On the building's portico, a row of towering Doric columns struggled to support the roof, continually assaulted by the arm-thick vines which curled up the columns pale lengths like fat green pythons.  Overhead, a sculpted Gaian frieze remained defiantly affixed to its crumbling edifice despite the thin tendrils which worked their way into its edges.  Two doormen lingered in front of the open entrance, both smoking, and stopping only to exhale a cloud of smoke and flash too-white smiles at the approaching pair.

"Here for the meeting?" asked the first, a dark-haired square of a man from his hip to his shoulder to his flat-top.  His partner, more pyramidal than square, kept an cauliflower ear out for the answer and a clear blue eye on the smoldering cigarette he flicked off into some vegetation.

"Yes."  A simple answer from the woman, no more than needed and no less than required. 

"Up the stairs and through the main doors."

"Thank you."

Inside city hall, there were some folks lingering - some suits, less skirts, and no partridge or pear tree.  Still, more people than Phoebe had expected to find and she slowed her step as Cain drew alongside.  Again, their gazes met and he would know her thoughts, her concerns.  Tia was a fallen city; this hall, a fantasy of times gone past, but even fantasies could be dangerous given too many variables. 

Wordless, the pair ascended the once-lush staircase in unintended unison and entered the main hall.  It was a dream, or a promise, Phoebe couldn't tell which - government was big on grandiose architectural statements and this, certainly, was that.  A huge amphitheatre; staged half circles encircling a central floor, with desks running the half-moon in a single piece across each level, while debris and detritus occupied more seats than people.  In the midst of it all, a chipmunk raced through huge chunks of stone rubble, momentarily lit clear by the moonlight streaming through an enormous hole in the roof, which explained where the rubble had come from.

All told, the hall had an eerie sense of other - another time, with other people, living other lives.  It was hard to stay grounded; one could feel the ghost of Tia proper, even while staring at this, its corpse.  Despite the individuals seated sporadically, at whatever clear spaces were available, what had to have once been a thriving center of debate and discussion felt empty and discarded.  The central half-moon floor boasted a single raised desk, designed to fit eleven seats, but only capable of seating four, a fallen beam from the ceiling, then three more.  Desks had been hauled up to allow the remaining council members to sit with their companions and so Phoebe and Cain were able to draw all eleven pairs of eyes their way as they entered at the top of the amphitheater.

Edited by Noko

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"We may not need an army right now, but who would turn one away..  Think about it?"

Cain’s bright green eyes searched Phoebe’s for meaning as she spoke. Minutely without leaving hers, his pupils traveled her outline to absorb the entirety of both expression and word. Their glasses touched and he drank. Perhaps his ten could become one hundred. Perhaps, if the main alien body joined them, they could make something even greater on this land. By now, his search in her had concluded with otherworldly, devilish meaning. Paying their bill and exiting the establishment without incident, the pair made their way toward city hall among various converging threads of other citizens.

While Phoebe felt the haunts of Tia clutching at her in their trounce through the decrepit town, Cain couldn’t help but feel a certain smugness. 

So ruined, so utterly wrecked had he left the land of Tia, that its squalor alive and dead was smeared across the kingdom. Even the vampires here were descendants of Serafino Dolos, the Heretic who’d stolen Tia from him on behalf of the vampire populace Cain usurped and subdued to obtain his decade-long reign to begin with. While the economy boomed, blood flowed in rivers below the streets that, eventually, its sewers could no longer contain. It was exactly the exciting, dangerous life he’d hoped to cultivate; but when Dolos took it from him-- exposed and deposed him in front of the entire city-- there was evidently only one thing left to do in Cain’s mind: wrend a purple Maleficence forest of the kingdom proper and overrun ruins of its surroundings.

The smattering, dare one say a crowd of people before the hobbled hall, appeared like an average gathering of mostly vampires and some humans at a barely-amicable distance.

Phoebe and Cain were in the building, and immediately Cain saw vague characteristics of the Dolos coven-- dark, leathery skin and cases of gigantism ranging from somewhat tall to glaringly obvious. Just thinking that these were the veritable humanoids he’d dealt with was imposing enough, but the fact that some of them were absolutely possessed by the Enrele they were hunting daunted him even a little more. What’s more, they immediately recognized him when he entered the hall.

It should have been obvious--  he was drawing eyes from the moment they entered the village. Even this was enough of an offshoot that anyone could tell this was the same Mr. Rose who’d usurped Tia for a decade. 

He wasn’t yet linked to its destruction publicly, but it was a loose secret among higher-ups. 

Some of the eyes were almost entirely human, some catlike, some serpentine, some red, some yellow. Feeling like Dr. Seuss, Cain drew in all the knowing eyes that settled on him and could immediately tell that, whether Dolos followers or possessed by the Enrele, the two would have their work cut out for them both in terms of strategy and sheer grit.

“Cain Rose,” a voice boomed, echoed from one of the peripheral city representatives seated before the ensemble of elevated desks. This wasn’t one of the top three, but a councilman below. Nevertheless it was loud, it was shameless.“What stake does a devil like you have here?”

Cain was still behind Phoebe, hadn’t even breached the doorway to the meeting hall itself, before being accosted. If Phoebe looked at him, he looked back bearing his teeth in embarrassment. This was either an oversight on his part or an enjoyment of being known and hated. To them, though, he turned a face full of smug defiance. As he walked in an arc around them, he let the silence drag on, where other footsteps and other voices paused, and only the duo’s footsteps carved painfully syllables into the still room.

“I’m just here to watch,” he said finally as they took their seats.

It was strange to have all the attention put on him and not blow something up, but he would have it. What else could he do? Beyond the sore pageantry of a long fallen city, however, most of this was mere posture-- after all, the inner workings of this village’s politics worth no more effort to Cain than it took him to blend in long enough to get close to the main alien host. To him, this was but a reaching under the covers of the bed he’d made long ago to snatch away something he and Phoebe had ordained precious.  

The meeting ensued uncomfortably, with the eyes of the three councilmen flitting, as well as those of everyone else, flitting uncomfortably toward Cain and, by extension, Phoebe. 

Its topic? The establishment of a separate council who wouldn’t require meetings to make city decisions. This was outright, in the broad open, tyranny. With proper sway, though, it was just one decision away from happening.

It just so happened these dark angels had come in not to save the city, but steal it.

Of course, if vampires and humans could be civil outside these very broken doors, there was enough order that the meeting shouldn’t break into public panic and violence at the mere arrival of Cain. There was palpable friction and pressure in the air though.

‘We’re going to know how many of these councilmen are bodysnatchers or their allies just by seeing who votes in favor of the private council.’

Via a connection facilitated by Phoebe, Cain and her were able to communicate. 

So, now that they saw just exactly how painfully clear this situation evolved, they planned.

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"Cain Rose."

The mildest of reactions ran across Phoebe's countenance - just a tiny tightening at the edge of her smile, an exhale which came ever so slightly early, and an infinitesimal arch of her brow.

<You dog.> She flicked the thought back to the Architect, casually falling into step beside him as the pair made their way down the stairs.  Aware of the odds, and that those odds were far worse than she had hoped, Phoebe took a moment to secure the connection between herself and Cain and to ensure that all of the standard ways she protected herself were up and working as expected.

Their steps echoed hollow, resonant in the destroyed chamber, as the woman descended toward some undetermined seat.  No one had inquired who she was, so she didn't volunteer - assumptions could be assumptions, and she chatted amiably with Cain until finding a spot a scant few rows from the chamber floor in which to sit.

Nothing to see here, friends.

All the way down Phoebe had looked - gentle, easy like Sunday morning - just a meandering and undirected press against the minds of those around them.  She watched their auras; every one of them, a twisted tangle of who they were and who they'd become, above a backdrop of repressed violence - a lot of that, directed at Cain.  Phoebe knew the story of Tia and it panned out - these creatures hated him.

<I don't mean to rub salt in a wound, but these people really dislike you.>  

Easily, Phoebe offered a gracious smile to Cain as he stepped to the side, offering her the interior seat.  What a gracious date; so polite.  Their internal conversation continued unabated as she turned sideways and slipped into the aisle, lowering herself to the seat as the council released its collective breath and uncomfortably continued on.

‘We’re going to know how many of these councilmen are bodysnatchers or their allies just by seeing who votes in favor of the private council.’

<It looks like the vast majority.  I can't see bodysnatchers, but their intentions are easy enough to read.  A good portion of the audience is riled up as well - I didn't expect political protest here, but this seems like an old fashioned democratic disagreement.>

Phoebe shrugged, glancing sideways at Cain as the council meeting continued.  It was all a monotonous ramble until someone paused, and another council member took the initiative.  "I mean, can't you see that a city council without meetings requirements isn't a city council?  This is absurd.  I immediately call for this bill to be dismissed as it's patently idiotic.'

A smirk twisted the Council President's lips - it seemed even he was under no illusion.  "Lets see hands for immediate dismissal?"

Two hands raised- a too-tall woman with thinning hair at the far end, and a portly man in the center whose legs were reversed like an insects.

<..looks like eight, or less if some of these vampires doesn't understand how democracy is supposed to work.  We could stir up the protestors, maybe cause the council to evacuate and grab him on the way out?>

"Motion fails.  I suggest we move on to the public testimony, the bill's sponsor has made his point clear.  We've nothing to gain but a deader horse by continuing." 

In front of Phoebe and Cain, several of the audience members began to stand and move toward a crumbling podium.

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<I don't mean to rub salt in a wound, but these people really dislike you.>  

Cain’s sharp grin, as relaxed as could be, widened sardonically at her remark.

‘The feeling is mutual.’

There were the main three of the council sitting elevated above the rest with two security guards standing one either side of them. Down below, as supporters of the clashing motions rallied to their causes, Phoebe made her suggestion.

<..looks like eight, or less if some of these vampires doesn't understand how democracy is supposed to work.  We could stir up the protestors, maybe cause the council to evacuate and grab him on the way out?>

"Motion fails.  I suggest we move on to the public testimony, the bill's sponsor has made his point clear.  We've nothing to gain but a deader horse by continuing." 

‘I personally won’t be able to do much here without being watched,’ said Cain over their mental link. Looking around, it was true. Even with the argument going on, select parties or individuals were able to take time to look over with a sneer or check on his reaction to everything going on.

‘I hold possession of the four guards on either side of the councilmen. I like your plan about luring them outside or causing a ruckus. Preferably before this ludicrous bill gets passed, too. I think I know just the thing.’

Even after traveling down a flight of stairs from their entrance, Cain and Phoebe sat one tier above the floor where all the political drama was going down. Now, opposing proponents of the bill were gathered closely with one another in heated debate. There were even some cameramen on scene with lenses poised on the debacle. It was a tense moment, and for some a publicized example of weather or not a vampire-dominant society could govern itself fairly.

Suddenly a shriek rang up from the crowd gathered before the raised representatives.

“She stabbed me!”

One of the supporters of the private council fell away from a huge quill-wielding female vampire who now aimed her makeshift shiv up at the councilmen.

“This is a mockery of democracy and justice and you know it!”

The crowd was in a sudden uproar, camera lights flashing, the offending representative possibly having dashed the integrity of those voting against private council— but certainly causing the suitable conditions for a frenzy.

Even as said frenzy ensued, the four guards began ushering the three gigantic vampires out a back door.

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A hard compel drove itself into the minds of the camera-people, as insistent as a dog by a chicken-shop that all of the truly interesting action was over there, keeping the camera shots away from Phoebe and Cain.

'Camera shy?' She heard Cain jest, his laughter a wicked chuckle scratched across her thoughts.

<A hair- I'm running out of room for more admirers.  You have room, I assume?>  The reply was its question's equal, drowning in a day's worth of sarcasm packed into the moment's thought as Phoebe slipped her hands into her pockets and made her casually way to the room's perimeter, descending down the overflow side stairs.

<If those are your guards, shall we just walk our council friends somewhere less public?>

The Thief checked a quick glance over her shoulder as the steps passed quickly beneath her boots, soon taking her to platform level.  The chaos had grown, rage and furor easily drowned out the smattering of voices that called for calm.  A few of the larger vampires had gotten into a shoving match nearby to a reporter who was squatting, angling, and snapping some juicy action shots up into the undead faces.  Shooting for some prestige, certainly, but the First saw an advantage and took it - exploding the flash bulb with a well timed shard of will.  The spark was all the madness needed to become self-sustaining - glass cut, voices screamed, fists and weapons flew.

The Architect and the woman who was First exited, as unnoticed as one could be in what was no less than blooming pandemonium, into a short fire hallway with a just closing door at its end.  As the door behind them slipped shut, so did the door in front, and for a few long moments it was just the echo of their footsteps as they trailed their prey.  At the hallway's end, Phoebe stopped.  With her thin fingertips set against the cool fire door she extended her telekinesis out - thousands of tiny fingertips wriggled through, stretching and searching, aiming to pinpoint how far in front of them the seven had gotten.

<Wait.>  Raising her other hand, she gestured to Cain.  Slowly, the feel of the group moved through the immediate area and, confident they wouldn't be immediately seen, Phoebe pressed gently against the metal bar and opened the door into the night.  Ahead, the seven could be seen just turning a corner - she assumed, toward their vehicles, but they could have a safe house nearby.


If you mind the forced banter, let me know and I'll remove it.  I just felt like they would be bantering in a way that is hard to do in this style of board rp without things taking a thousand posts.  Also, it felt like Cain would say that.  Who knows!


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He hadn't seen her in years, but Phoebe was as professional as always. Despite the uncontrollable hate felt by most vampires for Cain, camera flashes, lenses, and prying media did well to avoid the duo sitting there. Any normal person, even a well-trained psion, would have been utterly crushed under the pressure of deterring all media eyes; but the First was as coldblooded as the dead in her homing out and manipulation of media minds.

“This is a mockery of democracy and justice and you know it!”

A stab, a burst of glass filament, and an uproar later, Phoebe and Cain were out the back door watching the seven flit around a corner. Cain had led the way, kicking the door open to break out into the open air as if he were claustrophobic inside. Visible in the distance were the black bars of a VIP parking lot gate. A couple floodlights filled the place with light from above.

Before they could do anything, the gates slid open smoothly and two vehicles squealed out before they were even open all the way.

"Let them go," he said, walking toward the gate with a laugh. "We'll call a cab!"

It was clear in his laugh that an immense amount of pressure had just been released from his chest. His hurry was evidently to get out of the room surrounded by enemy eyes. 

Together Cain and Phoebe found themselves in the back of a taxi.

"Take your next left," he said before turning toward her.

It wasn't uncommon here for humanoid figures to travel the roads during the day, but at night Phoebe and Cain appeared a daring couple out in defiance of the dangers of a vampire-dominant society. Even the driver's serpentine eyes in the rearview mirror bespoke lecherous hunger.

"Where you kids headed," asked the plump, gnarled, warted figure with pointed ears.

"I think your mom's house," said Cain. "Take the next right."

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From the moment Phoebe settled onto the sun damaged seat, the malevolence wafting off of their driver was a smothering presence choking the Psion, driving her to forcibly repel the vampire's aura.  Nose wrinkled, she cast a wary eye at Cain, and gifted him the arch of one finely sculpted eyebrow before setting her shoulders back onto the cracked vinyl.

"Take your next left," she heard Cain say and shifted her weight, turning into him, sympatico, as he turned into her.  A beat passed and as the troll-like nosferatu spoke Phoebe wagged her eyebrows across at the Architect.

"I think your mom's house," said Cain. "Take the next right."

"..dinner, I suspect," replied Phoebe, her words coming in the same breath as Cain's, and jumbling in the air as she looked from the back of the faded headrest to the driver.  Their eyes met in the rear-view and for a moment, predator knew predator, and the woman cracked a grin.

<This isn't-->

Before Phoebe could finish her thought to Cain, the driver wrapped his gnarled hands tight around the steering wheel and wrenched it to the right.  The taxi jumped a curb at speed, violently jostling around its occupants, and ran along the sidewalk for a handful of seconds before the vampire again wrenched the wheel.  The vehicle fish-tailed as he tried to direct it into an alley and instead of making it into the narrow passageway, the rear end slammed into the corner of the building and the taxi got wedged there, cockeyed across the alleyway's width.

When the car rocked to a halt it was smoking, though there was no visible fire.  The driver laughed- a dry, whispery, cackle, and ripped the door open.  

"DELIVERY!" he shouted, his lumpy mass jiggling as he made to escape, limp-sprinting down the alley toward shadows so deep they could only contain cloaked assassins' whose eyes bore deep into your soul..

..or just a bunch of vampires, lying in wait.  

As far as traps went, this one was fairly successful.

Edited by Noko

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