MemberNovember 2, 2018 at 1:44 pm
Located in south Tel Aviv, in perhaps the worst neighborhood of the city – the central bus station was meant to transform the neighborhood. It was designed o attract a massive number of visitors to the largest mall in the middle east at the time. With seven floors of over 50k square meters of commercial space. Construction began in 1967, but was only completed in 1993, the initial plan was to have busses arrive at each of is the floor, and so a complex set of bridges was built. However, shortly later the main terminal was opened in the six and seventh floor which rendered the first floors into a desolated wasteland. Nothing stays empty, and the abandoned building has quickly become a hub of criminal activity and a refuge for the homeless. No respectable citizen would venture to the lower floors, and the state continues to deteriorate until eventually, the buses stopped coming making the entire station into a desolate white elephant with no legitimate activity. As of 2078, i is a center of criminal activity, slavery, prostitution, and home to a powerful cabal of Blood mage vampires named the Cabal.
Their leader nicked simply as King keeps the place under tight watch and makes the place too dangerous for law enforcement to ever venture in. As a no police zone, many of the criminal organizations have their embassies in the station, and they all pay tribute to King. Things were as usual for a while, but recently something has changed. An aura of dread surrounds the station, causing anything with a hint of magic to feel sick. Nobody would care really, as the neighboring area is the worst place in the city, however, the sphere of influence emanating from the station now envelop a new highrise construction site for well to do people. Nobody is going to buy a home in a place enveloped with such a dreadful feeling. It is bad for business and the sense of terror must be contained to the desolated wastelands of south Tel Aviv.
Calista found herself wearing a hospital gown, in a windowless room. She had no recollection of where she was or how she got there. Her last memory involved pain, massive pain as if someone was torturing her. She was hungry and drained as if she hasn’t feed in a long while, and she was restrained to the bed. She was alone in the room, though there was another bed. She remembered nothing of who she was, or how she got to that situation, to begin with.
MemberNovember 3, 2018 at 1:33 am
Bloods, seas and messes of it all around…
Pain, all-encompassing and all-consuming, shrieking-tearing-ripping-stabbing…
Fear. Dark. Cold.
Warmth. Light. Heat.
Life begins again.
Her eyes snap open, a tearing, eldritch scream trailing off into a half-remembered name, but with no significance attached. She is panting, lank, dark hair hanging around her shoulders. Her fingers are clutching a thin, scratchy blanket over a stained sheet. Her eyes, big, wet eyes the dead color of a weimareiner dog’s, dart around the room, looking for threats with the sort of instinct born of a lifetime of survival on the edge of society. She turns her head.
It hurts. A lot.
She squeezes her eyes shut against the pain for a moment, and her perception flickers. She can still see the room, but now it is a riot of colors. Strange shapes and odd shadows permeate the place, and something about it makes her skin crawl. The sights bring emotions, memories not her own, phantom sounds and smells of blood and fear and suffering and desperation.
She bites her lip, feels a stab of pain, swears, and is shocked by the croaking, thick sound of her voice. The curse brings with it associations, words. It is french. She speaks french. She learned it…
The thought sparks others. She cannot remember where she learned French, but she speaks it. She cannot remember many things. This room is unfamiliar. She cannot remember why she is here. She closes her eyes again, her breathing beginning to speed back up, and the strange sights return. It is astral perception, she suddenly understands. She is a mage.
She probes her lip. The split is gone. She probes the tooth that left it. Sharp, long. It is a fang. She is infected with HMHVV.
Banshee. She is a banshee.
She begins breathing harder. Banshees are the other. The enemy. They are feared, hunted. Is that why she is here, in this room? Has she been captured? No. She would remember that, wouldn’t she?
She tries to rise. Her limbs do not obey. She is restrained. Her eyes flick down to the heavy restraints. She has a vision, of another time and place, of nails and a table and awful vitality burning through herself as she tears herself free. She cannot do that here, she knows, though she doesn’t know how she knows. Something is missing.
Again her eyes shut, and she can see herself, and the sight steals her breath. She is glowing, a humanoid shape made from the heart of a star, blazing with her radiance, arcs and lines of color wrapping around it, spells whose meaning she instinctively understands though she has no memory of placing them there. They are intact, which means her captivity is not hostile, else they would be gone. No hunter would leave her with her quickenings, leave her ungloved and unmuzzled.
She is a powerful mage, she knows suddenly.
More memories, fragmented but carrying a gut-deep knowledge. There are names, but not faces, lessons but not teachers. But her magic will come when she calls. It is wan, she knows, as bright as it is there is something dampening her inner fire, but it is puissant nonetheless.
But where is she? And why?
MemberNovember 3, 2018 at 2:00 am
The room is meticulously clean, clearly part of some medical facility. Though not an operating room, Calista recovers from something.
From what? For how long?
Something responds to her movement, a closer inspection shows the room to be well monitored. She does not identify any probes on her body, but now notices two biomonitor screens, they are active but show no information physically. Something changes in the room perhaps cameras switch from scanning he room o focusing on her. The rhythm of the room changes, and somehow Calista is no surprised when a doctor enters the room. He is familiar o her, but she does not remember him.
Well, it physically looks like a doctor, very realistic. However, it has no aura and he clearly is not alive. Yet, his astral form reflects of some strong emotion which is deeply imprinted on the realistically looking medical drone. He looks at her and approaches hesitantly lifting his hands – showing that they are free.
“How are you feeling Dana?” He asks.
MemberNovember 3, 2018 at 2:27 am
She is not Dana.
She shakes, her breathing coming in rapid snatches as she wracks her brain, searching for something, anything…
She doesn’t know who she is.
That kernel of knowledge is terrifying, and her hands and shoulders tremble as she begins to realize how much she has lost. She is about to panic, to reach for her power and try to break free of this place, this unfamiliar, sterile, banal little hell that has taken her mind and her self, but one thing stops her.
She knows who she is not.
She is not stupid. Impulsive and irrational perhaps, she does not know, but not stupid.
And she is not Dana.
It is a silly little thing, to know what her name isn’t, but to her, it is important. It means that on some level, she can recognize what she is not, and that means, perhaps, that there is hope for recognizing what she is. She might have been Dana, once. Perhaps it was even her real name. But she is not Dana, not now. She clings to that, that tiny little rock of recognition in the storm of uncertainty, and her shaking stops.
She cocks her head at the drone. “I am-” She stops. Her voice is thick, croaking. Her mouth is dry, the sort of painful dryness that comes with long periods of anesthesia or dying of thirst. In her case, it may be both. She works her jaw a few times, mindful of her teeth, then whispers. Whispering is good, easier. “I appear to be well enough. I am thirsty.” A beat, then, “Where am I?”
MemberNovember 3, 2018 at 3:16 am
The doctor said “You are in Neve Margoa, a retirement house and research facility in Tel Aviv, Israel. Those down on their luck come here so that there is someone to take care of them in their last years. It is not much to look at, but it is free, and you do not need documents.”
He sighed and stood up “I’ll be right back he said” The doctor was shortly back with a blood bag.“Try not to make a mess” he said noticing Calista’s expecting eyes.
MemberNovember 3, 2018 at 1:43 pm
Not-Dana looked at the blood bag, looked at the doctor-drone-thing, looked at the bag again. Then, very deliberately, she looked down toward her wrists. She did not comment on the fact that blood alone would not sustain her. The instinctive, wicked part of her that was the creature of the virus knew that, even if she could not explain how. She knew what food was, but looking at the bag didn’t arouse her hunger any more than looking at a can of paint would have.
She said nothing, however. Let him think the blood was sufficient, if he chose.
At least her mouth wouldn’t be dry anymore.
“I would take that, but I am afraid I am…tied up, at the moment.” Not-Dana said. She frowned. “You are…not an enemy, not as such. So why am I restrained?”
MemberNovember 3, 2018 at 2:18 pm
The doctor untied her, mumbling “Oh sorry. I forgot about it. you seem to be having nightmares, you poor soul. “ he untied ‘not Dana’, and then said “No, I am not your captor or your enemy… I pity the person that opposes you having witnessed some of your capabilities when you were delusional. You are a powerful person Dana, and considering your condition it took some convincing to have us start the procedure on you. We’ve never tried it on HMVV carriers before, and the interaction of two magical diseases nearly killed you.
You were determined, and your patron is powerful, we could not refuse. You went comatose after any session of treatment, it was difficult to keep you alive. The memory was lost after the first trial, so this is the forth and hopefully the last time we are having this conversation.” He shrugged “Ben will be here to pick you up soon, likely you do not remember him – but to me at least you seemed very close. You’ll wear a biomonitor for a few days, and if everything is in well, you can get out with the rest of your life. “
He takes out a bottle of pills from his jacket and hands it to Calista “Take one per day, the FAB bacteria we infected you are designed to die off after a week. So if you do not take the pills you gradually return to your old astral signature, the same signature that you risked so much to leave behind. The memory may come back, but we honestly have little experience with it.
MemberNovember 3, 2018 at 4:40 pm
Not-Dana nods, sitting up to take the bottle and setting the pills on the bed. So that’s why she came here. Getting her astral signature changed. Why would she have done such a thing like that. She almost asks, then resolves not to. After all, he had lied to her about her name. Had she given a false one? Or is this doctor keeping something from her? Either way, no question she asks will get an answer she can trust completely, so she simply doesn’t bother asking.
Not-Dana takes the blood bag, raising it to her lips and delicately biting through the plastic corner, then sucking gently. She shudders at the cold blood, and it does nothing for her real thirst, but its wet and her body has an atavistic reaction to it, her mouth exploding into tingling as it floods with saliva, and she drinks several swallows.
When she tries her voice again, it is low and rough, but less harsh and croaking. The beauty of it is there, at least, hidden behind the smokiness. “Thank you, doctor.” She glances around the featureless room, more to give the appearance of looking around like a normal person than to actually gather any information.“If it is not too bold, may I ask whether I came in with any effects? A commlink, a credstick, anything?” She puts a little simper in her voice, and her eyes widen fractionally, projecting the image of a frightened, pretty young maiden rather than the deadly sorceress and vampire she now knows herself to be.
MemberNovember 3, 2018 at 5:21 pm
The doctor replies plainly “Ben took all your things, we have thefts here. You were helpless for long days. Is there anything I can do for you now?”
It is about an hour later that Ben arrives, or at least someone that fits his description. A muscular human, with a military-style haircut, and casual jeans and an armored jacket. An Ares predator pistol openly hanging on his thigh. Calista first hears the man and his low voice, but she does not understand the language. After a short while, he enters the room.
He says mildly annoyed as if it is not his first time doing that conversation “Your name is now Dana Cali, you are an immigrant from the UCAS. My name is Ben Levi, I brokered this deal on your behalf. We were… Nevermind that you do not remember me. Yes, I know about your memory, we are all rooting for you. It is not the first time I take you to feed.
You made some pretty bold promises to get this opportunity. I secured a foster family for you in Arugot, it is an agricultural village, a lot of vines and few neighbors. Your place is remote enough and is safe. Warded and everything, before you went here we stashed you there for a while. Their kids love you actually, I was surprised myself. You prepared fake documents and everything you may require before you arrived. You also have a big ass loan, but a very lucrative job that you agreed to do, so if you can actually deliver the loan won’t be a problem. Actually, if you can’t deliver then the loan won’t be your problem as well, but please don’t die. I vouched for your loan, and I don’t carry this kind of money so easily.
Your stuff is in your home in Arugot. You probably need to feed before getting there. Otherwise, you’ll harm the few people that care about you. I’ll take you hunting no problem, I know just the place. I brought you some clothes, it is unwise to step outside without a proper armor. “ He says and places a bag on the bed.
OOC #You can roll judge intention if you watch his body language carefully.
MemberNovember 4, 2018 at 1:11 am
Not-Dana nodded her thanks at “Ben,” taking the bag and setting it on the bed beside her, watching him carefully as she tries to figure his angle. Looking at him, she feels nothing. She may have led him on, may have helped him, may have fucked him even. But whoever he is, he means nothing to her, not now, probably not before. But if he doesn’t know that, she’s not going to tell him. Lovestruck, wary, whatever he is, she can use it.
A moment’s more studying tells her a little, but not much. He’s truthful enough, at least, and he doesn’t seem to know how to deal with her. He is…conflicted, for some reason. What had they done to make him this way?
She shrugs mentally. Fuck him. She’d burn that bridge when she crossed it.
Idly sipping the blood bag, she scoots to the edge of the bed, swinging her feet off the side. Taking a deep breath, she sets her feet down. The cheap linoleum is cold, smooth, almost greasy feeling under her small, bare toes.
Letting the breath out, she stands.
Then, abruptly, she is on the floor, dazed. There is blood in her mouth, and it takes her a second to realize she’s bitten through her lip. Her breasts are cold, and a brief, haphazard touch tells her she landed on the blood bag, its contents squirting all over her chest and stomach. She lies there a moment, cursing mentally, a seamless string of profanity in a handful of languages. Then she goes to lever herself up, planting her hands and pushing upward.
She stops, examining her arms.
They are pale, too thin, skin drawn and muscles too sharp.
They are also tattooed. Music notes, tattoos in Russian, symbols. A Robin.
Not-Dana collapses again. She doesn’t know why. She cannot remember. She cannot recall. She cannot escape the sudden, crushing feeling of loss.
Curling into a ball, clutching her arm to her, she weeps, a wretched, broken sound that is, somehow, musical.
MemberNovember 4, 2018 at 1:42 am
Ben says “Slowly…”, but is too slow to stop Calista’s falling to the ground. His first instinct was to lift her and perhaps carry her to the shower, but he seems to stop himself, remembering that SHE does not know him at all. How strange it is… Ben seems confused and only reluctantly steps out of the door. His voice is almost apologetic for not offering a more empathetic response, but he seems to know Calista – or at least what she is capable to do. “I’ll give you a moment and make sure that you are left to yourself. I imagine that it is a lot to process”. He exits the room and lights a digital cigarette, the kind one uses to quit the habit.
MemberNovember 5, 2018 at 1:13 am
Mercifully alone with her pain, Not-Dana lies on the floor, crying until the sobs turn to wretching with their force. Even then, she only turns enough to get on her hands and knees, head down, blood in her hair and on her gown and dry heaves until she fears something inside her will tear. Then its back to crying, whispering half-remembered phrases whose meaning is lost with the rest of her memories, all import gone except for the knowledge that they were- are– important.
Finally, after perhaps fifteen minutes, the tears start to ebb, and she strokes the tattoo of the songbird on her forearm, whispering, “…just in case.”
It is perhaps another ten minutes before she summons the strength to rise, her skin and gown coming up from the scarred flooring with a sticky, wet sound. She grimaces, tossing her head to get her hair out of her face and shuddering when bloody, sticky hair hits her bare spine with a slap.
“забей на это.” Not-Dana mutters. She reaches up and unties the gown, peeling it off her skin and wadding up, using the cloth to mop most of the blood from her hands and breasts, then casts it aside. The room is a total loss anyway, they’ll burn everything she’s touched. She closes her eyes, she can see it, men in Hazmat suits bearing red roman helmet emblems, attacking a hospital room with a flame gun, pictures and a stuffed bear going up in flames, a silver necklace with a music line depending from the chain melting into a pool of liquid.
Shaking her head to clear the vision, Not-Dana turned back to the bed, opening it up and dumping the contents out on the sweaty, damp sheets. Gently, with one bloodstained hand, she began sifting through all she had of her old life.
First, there are shoes. Impractical, high grey things, suede ankle boots with black platforms and thirteen centimeter heels. They’re undeniably sexy. Is that what she is? Some kind of joygirl? She thinks, trying to remember, but there’s nothing there, and she shrugs and sets them aside, then checks back when something inside rattles. Raising an eyebrow, she reaches in with two fingers and draws out a golden credstick, giving a low whistle. There’s a commlink, cheap and anonymous, and a quick check tells her there’s no contacts in it, no identification of any kind. It joins the boots. A set of lacy maroon panties and matching bra join it, then fingerless gloves, a stack of datachips, and an amulet with a golden treble clef that makes her fingers tingle.
She reaches out to lift the next article, a waterfall of pale grey synthsilk…a cloak, then drops it suddenly, recoiling. She cocks her head at the professional looking black holster thus revealed, and the sleek two-toned pistol. She stares at it for a second.
Viper, Ares Arms. Thirty round magazine, throws clusters of flechettes. Burst fire, silent. Smartlinked. This one’s grip will fit her hand perfectly, she knows, and the long, fluted barrel will help keep the recoil down. It is hers, she knows, a custom job. She has used it before.
So that’s what she is.
There are two magazines along with the pistol, and while she cannot remember for the life of her what she used the pistol on, or why, or when, the hands remember and she draws it, checks it, and charges it entirely by reflex memory. She holsters it and sets it aside.
There is a Vashon Island t-shirt, wine colored and chopped off just below her ribs and and black Spinrad jeans. Both are faded, and the synthdenim is soft with repeated washing. There’s something in the pocket of the jeans, and she fishes out a small, compact black cylinder with a single stud on the side. She debates pressing it, but considering the gun she’s not sure she wants to find out what exactly it does.
There’s a few more things, a battered copy of Carmilla, a black iron Claddagh, poison purple lipstick.
She takes the bra and panties, the shirt and jeans, and the gun and sets them aside, and shoves everything else in the bag. She turns her gaze to the parcel Ben brought. He said it had armor, but…she’s just not quite sure she’s ready to accept anything he gives her just yet. She leaves it on the bed, picking up the shoes and clothing, and walks to the door. Still completely nude, her long legs, athletic ass, and generous-though-bloodslicked chest on display, she breezes past Ben.
“Not a fucking word, man.” She says in English, her tone determined. “I’m going to shower. You can follow if you like, but so help me God, if you try to come in under the water with me, I will break your goddamn legs.” Then she sets off down the hall to the bathroom, sauntering in and setting down her clothes. The gun goes on the hook normally reserved for towels, and with a flick of her fingers she turns on the water and steps under the spray, sluicing steaming water over pale, bloody flesh.
MemberNovember 5, 2018 at 1:58 am
As much as Calista can tell from her brief time outside of the room, the ward is awfully quiet. Perhaps evacuated due to her staying. She might wonder in just how much trouble did these people go into to give her the treatment? Ben continues to fiddle with his fake-cigarette but he does give her a brief gaze despite himself. Though honestly, it means little as Calista is naturally breathtaking, and is further magically augmented.
More meaningful is the fact that he does not follow her into the shower but instead continues fiddling with his fake cigarette. We’ll have plenty of time to talk in the car. he replies to her invitation and threat.
The current is surprisingly good, and the hot water is limitless. Israel is a sunny country, and solar power is extensively used to heat water for over a hundred years now. Thus, even this crummy hospital can offer her a luxuriously long shower – the fact that the place is either empty or nearly empty means that nobody is likely to disturb her.
MemberNovember 5, 2018 at 2:47 am
She spends a long time in the shower.
Water runs red, then pink, then finally clear. There is soap, and she uses it liberally, and a razor, and she uses that too. She washes again, shapoos her hair, and somewhere in all of that she’s crying again, silently this time.
The tears run with the blood, ending around the same time, and she sighs. She is not Dana, but she doesn’t know who she is]/i]. She must have had a name, had a life. Do people love her? She knows she loves someone, but she can’t remember who, and its agonizing. Its anguish, its pain, its torture, pure misery.
She is Misery.
She may have been something else before, and maybe will again, but for now, she is Misery.
Something about this is fitting, and she nods to herself, turning off the shower. She steps out, drying her too-silky skin on a scratchy institutional towel, then wrings out her hair and wraps it in the towel. She steps into the panties, pulling them up her legs, and shivers as the cool, soft material slides along her skin. The bra goes on next, then the jeans and the cutoff t-shirt. There’s a black bolero jacket wrapped in in the cloak, and she pulls that on too. The tarnished brass buttons don’t close across her chest without straining, but in trying she finds a compact in one pocket, just basic foundation and primer and she paints it on, then finishes up with the lipstick.
Misery turns to leave, stops, shakes her head as her reflexes kick in and she reaches out toward the door with astral perception, hand going under her jacket for a gun that isn’t there. She freezes, blinks twice.
Gods, that is going to get weird. She thinks as her instinct-level reactions fade. She turns back for the shower, picks up the slivergun, and clips it to her jeans at the small of her back. She rolls up the cloak and lets her hair down, then steps out of the bathroom.
“Alright, ‘Ben.'” She says evenly. “I appreciate your help, I do. I think I do, anyway.” She shrugs one shoulder. “But if you think I’m getting in a car without on just your word and a suggestion, I’ve got some nice property in the Redmond Barrens to sell you.”
She leans against the wall, ankle boots crossed, and fishes a pack of Parlies, menthols with green paper out of her jacket. She reaches for a lighter, frowns, then smiles slightly, showing a half centimeter of fang as she snaps her fingers, and the tip of her cigarette bursts into flame, then dies to a coal. Its nothing more than a party trick, and using it takes a firm mental nudge and a whisper along with the gesture, and Misery gets the sense that it used to be easier, that she’s out of practice.
It will serve, however, and the message is clear. Her power is present.
She takes a draw on the cigarette, watching the ash flutter down, then looks at Ben, waiting.
MemberNovember 5, 2018 at 3:36 am
Ben chuckled frustrated “I see that you are in a good mood this time. Though I fail to understand your fear. I had better opportunities to harm you. I was here right next to your bed, almost every day, waiting for you to recover. I could have just killed you if I really wanted, but I waited for you to get better, which seems unnecessary if I wanted to harm you. “
He then said in response to her display of power“Tough girl, you cannot smoke here… The fine is pocket money really, but the paperwork may have you found. Leave to much paper trail and your entire suffering was in vain. You can have a fake-cigarette but they are unsatisfying. “
He shrugged, a bit frustrated and then said “Look, Calis… Dana. You trusted me enough to have me be the one they called when you wake up, and you just threatened to break my titanium laced bones, if you can really do that why are you suddenly afraid to get into a car with me?
I don’t know much about you, you were not exactly generous with information, to begin with. I do know a bit about who you are, where you are, and I understand the social sensitivities and the rules. you need to feed – and you do not want to just pick a victim at random. You wanted to disappear, what is the point if you are going to draw so much attention to yourself.
Most importantly I know who paid to displace an entire department of elderly people, just so they can treat a certain Banshee in here without having any paper trail. It is expensive you know, and you should anticipate that you promised to do something in return. “
MemberNovember 5, 2018 at 4:32 pm
A threat? A promise? Certainly a veiled attempt to push her into a course of action he favors. She sighs expansively. This is not the first time she has been manipulated, and there is a faint impression of it not going well before, either. But first…
Misery draws a breath, whispering a stream of liquid syllables as she pulls her power to her, wrapping magic about herself and spinning it into threads of potential, the ability to fell, to see beyond sight, to push her instincts above and beyond the merely mortal. It takes longer, takes more effort and will, but just like with the cigarette, her power responds.
She anchors the spell in place, holding the completed design in her head, and there is a surge of power, the backlash of a powerful spell well-cast. It washes in a wave over her spirit, clawing at skin and eyes and her deep fears, and then fades in the face of will and power. She pays it no mind, instead twisting the spell as it fuels her, warping its mana into a self-sustaining loop of power, quickening it to her.
Then, thus armed, she turns her gaze on “ben,” seeing him for the first time since she awoke in this hell, with nothing but a bag of painful memories and a stabbing sense of loss.
He is bright, his aura steady. There are black spots in his skull, along his spine, in his torso. The core of him is supported by bars of darkness, and the color of his aura is muted. She knows the signs, though she isn’t sure how she knows. The knowledge just floods in; synaptic booster, orthoskin, bone lacing, synthacardium, nephritic screen, muscle toner, muscle augmentation…
She feels her eyebrows creep up. Lots of…[color purple]aftermarket parts[/color]., her brain supplies. But his aura is too strong for the amount of body- and head-ware he’s sporting. That means top shelf, waaaay above the pay grade of a guy watching over one unconscious damsel in a Tel Aviv shithole.
Corporate or military? She makes a bet with herself. Corporate. Who? Evo? Evo’s got a black clinic…
Misery shakes her head, amazed at the information. She can’t remember a damned thing of more than a year of her life, can’t remember her own name, but she can identify cyberware based on nothing more than a glance and remember who might have put it in.
She takes another drag on the cigarette. She’s going to go with him, she has no choice. He’s got her SIN, her commcode most likely, and if he is what his cyberware appears to indicate, probably watchers, a full tophat and tails job with magical and technical surveillance. She could get out, she could blow him into the next age if she really, desperately wants to- and she does want to, if only to set the tone for their relationship going forward- but without resources and the lay of the land, she won’t get far.
So she smokes her cigarette, one small act of defiance, and her purple lips curl up into something that, charitably and in dim light, might be called a smile.
“Misery. It is what I am and what I have. My SIN may say Dana, and my real name is lost to me, but Misery is as apt a description as any. Don’t call me Dana.” SHe takes another drag, blows the smoke out of her nose in twin plumes. “There won’t be any paperwork.” She puts a hand to her generous chest, her eyes widen, her shoulder roll back slightly, and she puts a little arch in her back, pressing out her chest and backside even as she assumes an expression of hurt innocence. Her voice picking up a quaver, she says, “Please, its just been so long, and I’m so very frightened. Please, sir, I’ll be ever so grateful and I’ll put it out right away! I’m just so worried…”
Its a damned convincing performance, even knowing she’s full of shit, and she smiles again as she straightens. “Let’s get another thing right out in the open. [i]She[/i] may have trusted you, whoever the hell I used to be. But she’s gone, locked behind memory loss and drugs and whatever the hell this place has done to me.” Another drag, another shrug. “And you could have tried to kill me. HMHVV is an instinct hunter. No guarantee you’d have succeeded. As for why I’m still alive, blood magic requires suffering. Suppose you just wanted to wait until I was awake? Asleep I’d be no use for a blood ritual. Awake I’m a battery.”
The last bit is delivered in a flat tone, the voice of experience, even if right now it’s only in nightmares. She takes another drag, then pitches the smoke, crushing it out with a stiletto heel. “Nothing personal, ‘Ben.’ But I don’t know you from Adam, and I’ll be damned if I go to all this trouble to get a new life then hand it off to someone without a shred of caution.”
She waits a moment, then finishes, “Cautious doesn’t mean afraid.” She leans back against the wall once more. “As long as we’re exchanging notes, though, how about you tell me exactly who will depopulate a ward for one bloodsucking slitch with a scrap of magical talent, and what this nebulous entity wants with me?”
MemberNovember 5, 2018 at 5:16 pm
Ben seems unaffected by the act, he knows too much about Calista to fall for it, or perhaps titanium has replaced any chivalry in his bones. When she mentions that he could try to kill her he dismisses “You are a magical threat Misery, they’ll send someone else for you. Though I would not mention Blood rituals so openly, as they are forbidden here. You’ll be treated like a terrorist if you do.”
When she asks for a name he sighs “Off the books means that we do not discuss it where there are cameras and microphones. I’ll tell you something else. You sought me out through your own contacts. I had a person I trust vouching for you. You seemed to be desperate to convince some foe of yours, that you are dead. I got the impression you knew very well, and that she had some leverage on you. You were protecting someone, I could tell from your body language, but it was not my business to know.
I suggested Tel Aviv, as unlike Lagos – this place has the technology to give you what you wanted. It is relatively difficult to infiltrate, and I doubt your foe has much influence here. What breaks my heart is that you remember nothing of our sweet wedding in Paris. All our wonderful experiences… He grins widely as if amused, and there is a hint of sarcasm in his words.
You see, this shithole – my home has no immigration policy, and the place is too small to fake a local person. Everybody is somehow connected, and it would not have worked even if the papers were great. You are not the kind of person one would forget going to high school with… We simply don’t have many dryads in Israel, and you don’t even speak Hebrew.
MemberNovember 5, 2018 at 7:09 pm
Actually, she does speak Hebrew, along with every other mystical language used by the collective human race in the last three thousand years.
Admittedly, she doesn’t speak them well, but she’s perfectly conversational in it. She dimly remembers poring over Qabbalistic texts, desperately memorizing in order to avoid some awful punishment. She just can’t remember what punishment, or who was meting it out.
Come to think of it, the texts are pretty fragging hazy, too.
Still, she’s better-versed in at least some things than he thinks she is, though if he doesn’t know that, it behooves her not to tell him. Though if he doesn’t know she speaks his language, then how much does she really trust him?
Then what he says penetrates her brain, and she starts to snort…then her eyes fall on the robin tattoo on her forearm, and something hard and ugly uncoils behind her eyes. Purple lips draw back, fingers curl, and her head tilts slowly, a smooth, oddly inhuman gesture, like some kind of eldritch predator sizing up potential prey.
Which is, admittedly, exactly what is happening. Apparently there is a berserk button there, and “Ben” has just pressed it, as much with that shit-eating grin as with his words, and her tone is hammered-iron hard as she snarls, “We. Are. Not. Married.” Her hand rises to caress the robin tattoo at her wrist as she goes on in that same dreadful tone, “I. Do. Not. Love. You.”
“Ben” is, however, correct, and Misery takes a deep breath, forcing down the gut-level rage, but it is a struggle, and she’s still icy cold. “Fine. Lead on. The faster we are out of here, the less chance there is that I am going to do something terminally unpleasant for one of us. Explain on the way.” She shakes her head slowly “One thing, however. I hunt alone. This is a large city. There will be marks enough.” She gestures down the hallway in a mute invitation to lead the way, and cross her arms across her chest, one finger trailing over the golden treble clef before they come to rest under her impressive chest, which of course only coincidentally puts her hand only a few centimeters from her gun in case “Ben” has an adverse reaction to her outburst.
MemberNovember 5, 2018 at 8:27 pm
Ben seemed a bit on edge, but once Calista regained her composure he replied “Honestly, I am not so fond of you right now… and I can do better.” His only response to her next assertion was to walk toward the car, Ben has no intention to help her feed, and he does not seem very happy with that necessity. His determination is adamant though. His car is an unremarkable Toyota Gopher with plenty of crates in the back, the car is completely manual. To Misery’s surprise, he asks “Want to drive?” while his hand is offering her the key.
MemberNovember 5, 2018 at 8:48 pm
Misery snorts softly. That’s awfully petty. Its also probably untrue. She has a keen idea of what she looks like, and even in casual clothes, with wet hair and minimal makeup, even coldly angry she knows she is beautiful. She may not be his type, but objectively, doing better would require him to bed a free spirit even more powerful than she.
Good luck with that.
She looks at the Gopher and snorts again, pushing back the hand proferring the key. “Pass, thanks. While I approve of your choice of manual transmission, tuners and ricers aren’t my thing, usually.” She doesn’t add that she could spot him ten seconds and probably chase him down on foot in that thing, if she called up a spirit to speed her steps. Instead, she says, “I also hate driving other people’s cars.” She doesn’t know if that’s true, but its a plausible excuse.
What’s she got against Japanese and chinese imports, though?
She shrugs- then notes that she’s doing that way too much- and steps out of the shade. There is a moment of trepidation as she steps out into the rapidly-fading sun, but her spellwork remains good and she doesn’t catch fire like most people think she would, or fall into anaphylactic shock, which is what would actually happen.
Instead, more to have something to say than to do anything useful with her mouth, Misery asks, “Is there a junkyard around here? Putting some hulk back together might occupy my hands when I’m laying low, keep me out of trouble.”
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