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#251 Posted by Ezra_Strix (599 posts) - - Show Bio

@soterichor: @_dirge_: @musa_bashir:

Inside the walls of the Pomest'ye, the Beast of Blackpool's gaze shifted from side to side in the darkness, his grip tightening round the Staff of Sarsu'um and the arcane nodes humming a slow tune in his body. He couldn't see nor hear a thing as he walked, as though his father had dulled his basic senses with a curse and forced him to tread the darkness like one would murky waters. He walked but heard no steps. Widened his eyes but saw nothing. Scowling, Fraga sighed in frustration, careful with his strides and relying on his immaterial senses to guide him until finally - he felt something. It was subtle, the faint crackle of his allies' etheric auras, but it was there. Following it's quiet trail, Fraga began his search. Vengeance it seemed, would have to wait.

Elsewhere, near the dungeons below, the Bashir Heir and his allies stormed through the Pomest'ye cruel depths, torches lighting their path while the slow and heavy slithering of Ezra's basilisks echoed in the blackness their light had not yet reached. But soon, a serpentine head of armored green poked out the shadows and hissed, it's long and dagger-like teeth dripping with venom, and it's horrible eyes of lurid yellow threatening to open and stop the hearts of those who gazed into them. The Forgotten Prince however, was quicker, leaping through the damp air and driving his blade into the basilisk's heart. Crying out as blood spurted from it's wound, the basilisk swung it's head all about, shrieking wildly in anguish before collapsing on the ground with a thud. And as it lay on a pool of it's own blood, the slithering of the others grew faint - and was heard no more.

"I've missed you..."

Then, from the darkness where their torch light had yet to reach, a dank and hollow step was heard. "You were always a nice boy", a soft voice echoed sweetly from the shadows, "You look just like him", the voice rasped, the sweetness dropping from it as it grew more rotten and less feminine. "I've missed you...", the voice wept low before abruptly falling silent. And the silence was deafening, lasting for what felt like an eternity until a step was heard. The strides echoed slow and sluggish, as though something were dragging itself along the darkness shrouding the dungeon's damp hallway. Then... something poked out the shadows from a corner... fingers, abnormally long and bony, lengthy and dirty nails scraping the stone wall. And slowly, as if sliding her bare feet across the ground, a tall and thin woman emerged... his mother, Nia Bahati.

But her hair was no longer golden, instead flowing as black as the tattered dress draped over her. Her skin was pale like a corpse's flesh. Her face was elongated and disturbingly large. Her eyes were close and crooked, white and featureless with one tilted higher than the other. And her expression vacant.. save for her abnormally small mouth pulled back into a harrowing and permanent grin. Ezra stood in a mangled and twisted form of the Forgotten Prince's mother. It was an unnerving and horrible sight, the kind that sent a thin sheet of cold down the spine and ripped apart one's sanity with a glare.

And with an unblinking stare, the Mad Strix cast the presence of madness, threatening to render the minds of Musa, his men, the Dublin Devil and his sister loopy and paranoid as he begun his slow burning psychological torture. Slithering back into the shadows, Nia's face twisted and contorted, her mouth growing far larger than before with rows of sharp and drooling teeth as she pulled herself back into the darkness with a subtle threat left lingering in the air - that she would feast on their flesh should they venture deeper into the Pomest'ye.

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#252 Posted by The_Xsoteric (1176 posts) - - Show Bio
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#253 Posted by Ezra_Strix (599 posts) - - Show Bio
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#254 Edited by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio

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#255 Posted by Ezra_Strix (599 posts) - - Show Bio
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#256 Edited by Musa_Bashir (1010 posts) - - Show Bio

@_dirge_: @soterichor: @ezra_strix:

The soured and poisonous blood of Ezra's reptilian reaper instantly corroded everything in its splattered path. Sizzling through the unknown Prince's prized armor like some form of advanced cancer, saturating its color and turning it to ash. Forced to discard much of his 3rd layer defensive regalement, the remaining under-weave would be taxed to its limits as the acidic venom festered just along its surface.

Musa's facial articulation did not bare the portrait of a conquering hero as he circled the now lifeless serpentine coil of his slain foe. Dexterously spinning a small dagger forwards and backwards along his gloved palm, almost as if floating the decorative weapon, the Prince of Orphans knelt down in a space free of the reptile's lethal blood and began to remove its elongated scales.

However, once again the castle had seemingly birthed another supernatural foil from its ominous shadows. Her voice was unfamiliar but her words held a confidence that spoke to Musa's secretive past. He had never met his father, or his mother for that matter. The cruel Count's physiological torment, the very tool of cerebral warfare which had laid waste to the Bay and its hereditary legacy, would be lost on the Unknown Amiriyy in that regard.

Yet the Strix's visual manipulation carried with it a dangerous psychoactive miasma. Slow, deliberate, mentally penetrating, the methodical worm of paranoia had been introduced and threatened to drive the remaining trio insane should they venture further into the keep.

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#257 Posted by Zauberin (6115 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm back to normal (the new normal) today.

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#258 Posted by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio

Hmmm...

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#259 Edited by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio

@ezra_strix: @fraga: @musa_bashir: @soterichor:

No Caption Provided

Vincent fell back to deal with some of the varied sentries that stood in their way. He had to feed the Mark if not, he could lose control. And giving who their opponent was, he couldn't allow that to happen. Before even traversing the seas, he had sated the Mark's hunger by wiping out a human trafficking operation. Vincent, alone did this. He didn't want to be the one that accidentally killed those he led. That alone should've bought The Cursed Celtic a few days safe from it's ever growing hunger. But, he didn't know what he would face in this dreaded castle. And countering Magic often sped up it's hunger.

Finally, he caught up to The Beast of no Nation and his men. He smiled as he saw the creature that lied at the young warrior's feet. Musa could handle himself. And the loyalty and devotion he had instilled in his men. It got The Devil's Head thinking. Maybe he's the one. Ali's son. Maybe, even the next Shaytan. Vincent never wanted the mantle. He had spent the past three years trying to groom Mia, Sparrow's heir for leadership. But Sparrow's ambition...it took a strong hold in Mia. Before the Cursed Celtic could finish his next thought, the small party was greeted by a dreaded apparition that Ezra had sent to greet them. With the Mark, Vincent saw through it. And what he saw in the apparition's shadow frightened him far more than the excruciating horrors he had witnessed in the dark confines of the brick.

No Caption Provided

It was mutilated, the bloodied torso's skin began to blacken, as if it was corroding from the inside out. The dismembered shade's began to change, as horns sprouted from the head and it's chest momentarily caved in before bending at an impossible angle. Now, the back was facing towards towards the ground as blackened, oily limbs reminiscent of that of a great stag began to grow from it's grotesque limbs. What madness is this? The wraith like entity continually tore itself apart and reformed itself in numerous maligned forms while the ghost spoke to Musa.

Vincent closed his eyes, This isn't real. You know it's not. It's like the brick. Focus on what you know is real. Steel yourself you dumbfrak. This only get's worse from here on out and you know it. You don't have a choice, you have to press on. Vincent tilted his head as cold chills began to spread throughout his body. He removed the Devil's Fang from his back and extended The Devil's Fang towards his false sibling. "That gun won't help. Not here."There was a slight catch in his voice, "Go on, take it."He spoke while closing his eyes in attempt to shield what little was left of his sanity from what he just had witnessed.

Hung from the back of his waist lied a small, black and red ominous dagger. It was strange, the hilt was far longer than the blade. "This...dread that we're feeling is only going to get worse the deeper that we go. I don't blame either of you if you wish to turn back and leave. Maybe, it'd be better if you did. I....I'll press on. Fraga supposedly has Ezra's attention. We're here for a reason."They needed that book. Vincent turned to where he last saw the apparition. His eyes opened to illuminate the vast dark corridor that lied before them. Slowly, Vincent with a small cadre of his assassins pressed on. He wondered if Musa and Cassandra would follow him, or leave.

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#260 Posted by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio

@ezra_strix:

If you need me to make any changes to that post I can.

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#261 Posted by Zauberin (6115 posts) - - Show Bio
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#262 Posted by Mercy_ (94916 posts) - - Show Bio

Grifter is stupidly good at this

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#263 Posted by Ezra_Strix (599 posts) - - Show Bio

@_dirge_: No changes needed, mano. That post was perfect!

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#264 Edited by Soterichor (1717 posts) - - Show Bio

@musa_bashir: @_dirge_: @ezra_strix: Sorry for the wait. Re-adjusting to a few days away...and work.

"Don't do anything stupid to get yourself killed. Like Musa said, one of us has to get out with the book. And I can't have you dying here."

No Caption Provided

Cassandra recoiled, halted in her tracks by the apparent concern, studying his face for signs of deception. Was he being facetious? Jointly coordinated deception aside, they’d been nothing but vitriol or snide, backhanded compliments made in irony. The truth was lost on her, so she didn’t trust the gesture. Vincent knew what she wanted. He knew she craved acceptance and he was playing her. He was dangerous.

Nevertheless, she shot him a forced smile and fired back, “Dear brother. You don’t have to worry. Flattering me won’t make me defend you any harder. You’ll be alright either way.” And she brushed past him to blend with the rest of the group, to join them for the fight.

As they engaged the Faceless Owls Cassandra came alive. The blood of the Sanguine rushed through her. Violence was the song in her heart and she sang at the top of her lungs. Savored every kill. She even took it upon herself to help some of the expendable servants of al-Shaytan who’d been charged with escorting them. Vincent was probably right about her. Saving lives could be just as arousing as ending them. It was a thrill she craved, and satiety was all that mattered.

But with every kill, creeping on the heels of her exhilaration and joy, something else seemed to be calling out to her. It was not unlike the voiceless presence of Rapture. Soon it had overtaken all other feeling, and suddenly she was surrounded by enemies. They weren’t distortions or false images; she saw the League just as they were. But she knew. She would never be sated. And, maybe because of that, she would never belong. She would never belong anywhere. He’d said it himself. That she was a danger. That his people would love to kill her in the worst ways they could think of, and he would protect them from her. This is it. She knew it.

“You’re going to die here. It’s them. Watch your back.”

Of course! That’s why that guy was acting strange earlier. That's why he...

She became vaguely aware of a man’s voice, easing in through the sound of hopelessness, tuned into her surroundings to see Vincent, arm extended, offering his blade. Cassandra looked at him. At the sword. At him, and wondered if he knew and was a part of it. His words hardly mattered. The distrust in her face could hardly be hidden, even as her fingers clasped around the hilt. And yet, she nodded assent. “I’m here, brother. I’ll do whatever needs to be done.” She flashed the same saucy grin as usually shone when playing that card, lingering even as he turned, following closely as she too scanned the area for additional threats. Cassandra followed–

No Caption Provided

–and attempted to drive the adamantium blade through the Cainite’s spine.

Following this, success or not, she dove into a roll and dash just beyond where he’d stood in order to gain space; and more importantly, to keep all her immediate enemies on one side of her. Throwing her back to the wall, she prepared to face the inevitable consequences of her actions.

This is the end. The same despairing voice whispered. But if she was going to die there at the hands of her own "allies," the Dark Nightingale would at least dictate the terms of engagement.

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#265 Posted by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio
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#266 Posted by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio
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#267 Posted by Zauberin (6115 posts) - - Show Bio
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#268 Edited by Ezra_Strix (599 posts) - - Show Bio

@musa_bashir: @soterichor: @_dirge_:

Clinging to the etheric auras of his allies, Fraga waded through the Pomest'ye's harrowing darkness, inching closer to where his party roamed. Then, as suddenly as his senses had left him, they returned. In the pitch black of the Pomest'ye, the Warden of Saamas squinted, making out the vague outlines of moving staircases before his pointed ears perked and his heart clamored in his chest at the sounds of madness and dread wrapped in harrowing laughter - his father's laughter. Cold sweat trickling down his forehead, Fraga's breathing grew erratic as he darted forward, following the horrid echo of the Black Stag's laughter, all but forgetting his allies when enticed by the prospect of revenge.

No Caption Provided

Though as he sped through the Pomest'ye's endless halls, leaping from shifting staircase to shifting staircase, the Warden of Saamas found his palm braced against a stone wall. "Coward", Fraga growled, slamming his fist against the wall as his patience grew thin. Clearing his mind with a breath, the Beast of Blackpool returned his attention to his allies' etheric auras. He had to find them. Revenge it seemed would have to wait. Elsewhere in the Pomest'ye's dungeons, whispers of lunacy and dread crept into the air, floating to the ears of the Dublin Devil, the Prince of Orphans, and the Dark Nightingale - daring to mangle their sense of trust and security, and replacing it with paranoia and fear, hallucinations and madness. And from a hollow shadow, something gazed upon them. But there were no eyes. Only emptied sockets like dark tunnels for one's sanity to get lost in.

And their gaze, Ezra's gaze, fell upon Vincent, the Dublin Devil whose spine was at risk of being of being severed by his own sister. Slowly, the Horned God's lips pulled back into a hideous grin, and from the darkness before Vincent, a head poked out. Draped in long golden hair and with eyes as blue as they were soulful, it was Abigail's head, and her smile was as sweet as ever. But her skin was pale, as though it had never once felt the sun's warmth. "Vincent", her voice called out, gentle and soft, the haunting echo of a footstep stilling the atmosphere. Stepping out the shadows however, was not Abigail. Instead, it was a macabre sight. It was Vincent, his face dirtied as he wore Abigail's bare flesh like a twisted suit of skin, stretched and wrapped around his torso as it bled and bound his arms to his sides.

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Her head hanging low next to his, they both smiled in bliss, meeting the real Vincent's gaze, their twisted bodies jerking with each crazed step they took, as though they shared a seizure. "We're finally together, Vincent", their joint voice echoed, their smiles stretching far too wide for their faces as tears trickled down their misshapen flesh. Slowly, a figure emerged behind the abhorrence - Ezra's nightmarish perversion of Nia Bahati. Abnormally tall and thinner than bone, she breathed heavily, her vacant eyes staring at Vincent and Abigail's twisted form. Drool trickled from her permanent grin down her elongated face, her mouth opening wider and larger than humanly possible to reveal rows of sharp teeth before - in one sweeping bite - devouring the twisted aberration of Vincent and Abigail.

Swallowing it whole like a snake, Ezra/Nia's voice floated pleasantly over the sound of bones crunching and flesh being swallowed, "Go away". With an unblinking stare on Musa, Ezra/Nia's voice climbed in pitch, as though in glee, "But not you". 'Come with me', Ezra/Nia's beckoned, his/her whispers echoing only for Musa's ears to hear, 'Your father misses you', the whispers wept.

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#269 Posted by Soterichor (1717 posts) - - Show Bio

I know it's just a freaky apparition, but that kinda hurt to read.

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#270 Posted by Musa_Bashir (1010 posts) - - Show Bio

As quickly as one had faded to black, another had appeared. Ezra's supernatural carnival of grotesque apparitions. Twisted portraits of visual degradation methodically engineered in a mental cocktail of unspeakable, but familiar, torments. The supernatural sociopath's genius, his abilities and artistic precision in the dark arena of esoteric fear, were beyond prior description. But the Beast of No Nation was of the Bay. Not figuratively, for Musa's home had always been 'in' the Bay. Below its crystal surface. Down deep where the pressure could crush mountain stone. Down deep where the sun's rays could not travel. Down deep where a man's only refuge was, his mind.

Retreating into the background, either by design or the skilled assault of the unspoken sibling, it appeared as though; for a moment, the group had time to digest and re-calibrate as Ezra's oil-lathered specter vanished. For Musa this meant surveying the immediate fallout, the casualties of the few men who had followed him past the gate and into the castle's evil labyrinth. For the Mark Barrier however, this meant a chance to go off-script.

"This...dread that we're feeling is only going to get worse the deeper that we go. I don't blame either of you if you wish to turn back and leave."

"We stick to'da plawn." Musa sharply replied. The Shaytan's continued empathy and self-sacrificing nature had become unsettling, troubling even. There was no going back, no walking away. Even now as the Prince of Orphan's listened to the sounds of his loyal warriors being ripped to shreds by the wicked Count's Faceless minions up above, his stoic resolve had never been more determined. "We..." he started and stopped. His obscured eyes, partially shielded from outside invasions of privacy, had shifted towards the Dark Nightingale. Who's defensive position premiered, perhaps unintentional so, a 'me against the world' disposition.

But before he could confront the problem or even bring it to the Shaytan's attention, alert Vincent to the fact that his sister may be impaired, the Mad Stryx perfectly unleashed yet another bout of ghastly nightmares.

"Dis is not real, we keep moving fo" again his words were suddenly halted as he sought to divert the Shaytan's attention away from whatever perverted mirrorization Ezra had infected him with.

Swallowing it whole like a snake, Ezra/Nia's voice floated pleasantly over the sound of bones crunching and flesh being swallowed, "Go away". With an unblinking stare on Musa, Ezra/Nia's voice climbed in pitch, as though in glee, "But not you". 'Come with me', Ezra/Nia's beckoned, his/her whispers echoing only for Musa's ears to hear, 'Your father misses you', the whispers wept.

No Caption Provided

And for a moment he did. Dropping his weapons, shield and helmet, Musa began walking towards the voice, towards the darkness.....before in one motion sweeping one of the many idle weapons scattered along the ground up to his hand with his foot, and hurling it towards the nothingness. Or had he? Had he in fact been tricked? Plagued? Had Musa in fact just launched the unclaimed weapon towards the Dark Nightingale.......?

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#271 Posted by Ezra_Strix (599 posts) - - Show Bio
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#272 Posted by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio

@ezra_strix: I get off at 12 tonight, I'll have something up after that.

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#273 Edited by Zauberin (6115 posts) - - Show Bio

Darn it, I was hoping that was the post.

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#274 Posted by Ezra_Strix (599 posts) - - Show Bio
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#275 Edited by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio

@ezra_strix: @fraga: @musa_bashir: @soterichor

"We stick to'da plawn. We..."

Vincent quickly turned towards The Prince of Orphans when he was cut off mid sentence. The sight that now befell Vincent stopped him and his small cadre of killers dead in their tracks. The Cursed Celtic now knew why Musa had paused. His pule slowed as the fear that was pumping through his veins began to turn into rage. Of all the horrors that Ezra could have summoned, this was what he fell back on? It made sense, Vincent had no one. The closest thing he had to a friend was Abigail. But he never wanted to be with her. Quite the contrary, Vincent had no place in her ideal world. If this was to instill dread in the Cainite, it had the opposite effect. It pissed him off. He didn't even flinch when he saw the first apparition devour the fake as if it were a snake.

What is she doing now? Vincent thought as his sensitive hearing caught the change in Cassandra's heartbeat. She can't be charging it. Vincent realized all to late that Cassandra had other plans as he felt the bite of the esoteric sword that had passed from Shaytan to Shaytan. The blade had instantly punctured his back plate. Vincent only grimaced as he felt the cold piece of steel quickly enter, and exit his body. Vincent fell to his knees in an instant. Most of his assassins stood their ground outside fighting and dying. Only four of his warriors had stayed with him and Cassandra. They knew they weren't going to survive the horrors that awaited them inside; and still, they came. They we're loyal.

"Help me up." Two of his men quickly reached down and pulled their leader up to his feet while the other two charged towards Cassandra. Vincent quickly realized he was starting to lose control of his motor functions. He had limited movement's with his hands, as soon as he put any weight on his feet, he instantly he fell flat on the ground a second time. Even the act of talking was becoming a problem for the soon to be crippled Cainite. The only reason he had any control whatsoever was because of The Mark. Vincent's body was slowly starting to heal. She must've severed my spine. He could now feel the bones and tissue trying to regenerate.

The realization dawned on Vincent that he needed to heal faster. "I'm sorry." Vincent spoke, the shame in his voice could be heard by all as one of his men lowered themselves to help their Shaytan up for a second time. In the next instant, Vincent had quickly ripped out the assassin's throats with his bare teeth. The act of betrayal sped up his regenerative capabilities and bestowed Vincent a sense of momentum and energy that allowed him to get to his feet on his own accord. There was nothing wasted in his next few movements as he drew the strange dagger that was sheathed on the back of his waist. He plunged the blade into the heart of the other assassin before quickly dispatching those closer to Cassandra with several throwing blades to the back of their heads. "I'm sorry, but I can't allow any of you to harm her. Forgive me."It wasn't a complete lie, Vincent couldn't let them hurt Cassandra. After all, she's the only one who knew where Abigail was. If she had to die, she would die far from here where no one would disturb her remains.

As Vincent stood tall, he was unaware of the weapon that Musa had thrown. Vincent was lost in the vile act that he had committed. The things I do to survive.

A voice crept into his thoughts. You should kill both her, and Musa. You don't need them, their holding you back. Think of the vibrant life essence that both possess. It's wasted on them. Kill them and take their souls to feed The Mark. Do It.

Vincent shook his head and let loose a slight chuckle. That voice took him back to his time spent in the Brick. He had been through this once before. He would do it again. "Musa."That dagger that Vincent wielded changed. The strange hilt expanded several feet as it now took on the appearance of a Spear. "You're right. This isn't real. The plan's shit, but we have to keep moving forward. Just you and me. We can do this." His gaze now shifted to where Cassandra was. The bodies of his men that he killed lied between the two. Their only crime was witnessing Cassandra's betrayal. She had stabbed the devil in the back. In turn, he killed those who would've attempted to kill her. "Cassandra...you should leave."

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#276 Edited by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio
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#277 Posted by Musa_Bashir (1010 posts) - - Show Bio

@_dirge_: So....you are a Shaytan after all.....

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#278 Posted by Raysh_Al_Shaytan (698 posts) - - Show Bio

For now, anyway

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#279 Posted by Ezra_Strix (599 posts) - - Show Bio
This is gonna be good!
This is gonna be good!

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#280 Posted by Soterichor (1717 posts) - - Show Bio

His tone was harsher before the edit. What a sweetie.

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#281 Posted by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio
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#282 Posted by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio
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#283 Edited by Raysh_Al_Shaytan (698 posts) - - Show Bio

@_dirge_ said:

I paid attention to some of your lessons.
I paid attention to some of your lessons.
Very good Vincent. Very good.
Very good Vincent. Very good.

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#284 Edited by Soterichor (1717 posts) - - Show Bio

@_dirge_: Actually, I Woke up early and saw it a few minutes after you posted it.

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#285 Edited by Soterichor (1717 posts) - - Show Bio

@musa_bashir: @ezra_strix: @_dirge_:

Back to the wall, Cassandra faced down the odds she'd stacked against herself, and she felt at a loss. The look in her eyes was fear. Under the influence of some vile presence within the Strix Pomest'ye - a presence whose strength of influence was twice magnified by her intrinsic connection with the sentient being Rapture - gone for the first time ever was her characteristic confidence in her own fighting prowess. Absent the faith in her greatest strength, caught between the threats directly before her and Strix's grotesque abominations to her side, it took nearly everything within her to keep from falling in on herself, from bursting into tears and resigning herself to a cowardly death.

In combat the Sanguine acted on a level beyond conscious thought, beyond instinct, and beyond the ability of most others to blend the two. Despite the overwhelming hopelessness of her situation, her body was perfectly ready. Pistol in hand, talwar in the other, her stance was a perfect mimicry of a Punjabi warrior with talwar and dhal.

An unnecessary gesture, thanks to the intervention of the men's own leader. But even as the scene played out before her eyes Cassandra's defense never faltered. She mused awhile longer on his potential motives, whether he might still be deceiving her, but for the moment it was good enough. Though not fully trusting, he'd ventured far enough from his earlier promise to earn a tentative trust.

She shook her head. "No. If we're going to die, we maahh!" Although distracted and not entirely coherent, the Bashir bastard launched his blade on a perfect course to puncture the Nightingale's chest, fulfilling her own melancholy prophecy and ending her life.

And it would have, had she acted a fraction of a second later or with a hair's breadth less precision. Reinforcing the weapon, she raised the Beretta 92FS just in time to block the incoming attack; although the attack still managed to destroy the pistol and sent her into a painful recoil. Cassandra looked to Vincent, then Musa, readying herself to retaliate for his perceived betrayal.

"If you're loyal, prove it to me. It looks like those four were not all the traitors we have to deal with."

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#286 Posted by The_Ghostshell (84303 posts) - - Show Bio

Dope

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#287 Posted by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio

Hmm...

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#288 Posted by Musa_Bashir (1010 posts) - - Show Bio
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#289 Edited by Ezra_Strix (599 posts) - - Show Bio

@musa_bashir: @soterichor: @_dirge_:

There was a stillness in the air, as though madness and dread had choked the atmosphere of it's life. And yet, while paranoia, mania, and uncertainty crawled out the surrounding shadows and into their hearts and minds, it was Vincent who overcame the cold blade plunged into his back - and sneered his way past the nightmares of the Horned God. Unbent. Unbowed. Unbroken. "Vincent...", Nia's voice rasped, no longer soft but rotten.. deep like a man's. "Vincent...", she repeated, her voice sloshing from the drool pooling in her small mouth. "Vincent!", she rumbled, harsher and sharper, the faint cries and wailing of Abigail, her mother, and Ali echoing from the shadows as though they were there, echoing until their cries rolled into a confusing storm of voices, deep and soft, loud and low.

No Caption Provided

Then - nothing. There was silence, and Nia stood still like a statue, as though she'd been turned to stone. She did not breathe. And her mouth did not drool. She simply stood, completely still, her blank eyes staring and unblinking, and on Vincent. Nia, though motionless, seemed to have grown taller and longer, but she had not moved. Nothing had moved, until she took a sudden step forward, her leg stretching across the stone floor and dragging her forward as her mouth opened wider than her body and rows of sharp teeth sought to sink into Vincent's flesh. Her tongue would wrap round his body and drag him into her mouth for her to devour whole. But Nia was not real. The Mad Strix did not crawl under her flesh. Instead, he stood in a shadow behind them, his hand poking out behind Vincent, his arm stretching long for his fingers to graze the nape of his neck before his hand was no more.

Ezra's touch, barely there, was the Madweaver's touch. Lunacy hung at the tips of his fingers. And it was lunacy and mental illness from his physical touch that'd dare creep into Vincent's mind, to see him lost in his own head, to see paranoia whisper in his ear that the Prince of Orphan and the Dark Nightingale were reading his mind, controlling his thoughts, and plotting to harm him. He would hear voices, the mental illness making them grow louder and more awful the more Vincent resisted them. The voices would discuss him, scorn him, shout obscenities, comment on his failures and whisper things meant to distress him. They voices shout and roll into his mind like a fog of confusion bent on making him see faceless children and shadows peeping in from behind corners.

He would forget who he was, why he was there, who his colleagues were, why they were tying him to a chair and torturing him. The voices in his head would shout louder, promising to steal his personality and ruin his life. They would whisper things of significance to his life, and as Fraga arrived, bursting from the ceiling to confront his father with a fury unlike any other - Vincent would see only a lunatic climbing out a mirror from another world threatening to slay him. Infighting was what Ezra sought. To throw madness their way and see all who'd entered his abode confused and conspiring to murder one another. All should his fingers touch the back of Vincent's neck.

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#290 Posted by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio
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#291 Edited by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio

I hope I can get a post up later today after reading that.

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#292 Edited by Musa_Bashir (1010 posts) - - Show Bio

@soterichor: @_dirge_: @ezra_strix:

'could it be, it was only jus'a dream'

No Caption Provided

When the mind replays a traumatic event, when it begins to collect the vivid memories, it must organize the visual recalls and establish the chronological order of said event. Often, in the retelling, this automatic action will undercut the sense of heightened time. ~This happened, then this, then that~ But in the moment, in the eye of chaotic action and reaction; where cause and effect breed instantaneous intuition, the spontaneous nature of time washes over everything. There are no time lines of events, for everything is happening all at once.

The Nightingale's skillful impalement of her brother's back, her deflection of the misguided dagger launched by the mentally infected Musa, the haunting apparition's mercurial attempt to poison the Shaytan's mind, and even the unexpected arrival of the forgotten Fraga had all erupted in a spectacular series of immediate events. Throughout the World there were many who's anticipatory genius would have allowed them to intricately dissect each and every nuance of action in the blink of an eye. To see all the angles and possible counters, guiding them to the correct and proper course.

However Musa was not one of those men. He simply reacted, then reacted again, and again. Until he found himself having slipped past the disorienting waterfall of action and mental manipulation. Perhaps in a moment of oversight, or perhaps as part of the Count's deceptive plan, Musa vanished in the midst of it all. Un-apologetically faded to black, the Beast of No Nation left his fellow gate crashers to their fates, as he would must likely have to face his own. But not down here. Not now. Not even this day. Boots splashing through the castle's drainage, hand pressed and dragged along the nearest wall for support he continued on......until....

"Stairs..." tentatively angling his head upwards to gaze upon the minimal but sufficient source of light beaming down through its isolated station. Slowly the fatigued warrior drug his back along the mortar and brick up the spiraling stairwell before unintentionally spilling out into a poorly lit hall and bleeding on Ezra's throw rug. The chill in the air held a weighted sense of dread, horrific and almost debilitating pressure clumped in the lungs like a respiratory infection. Miasmic fog lingered and unnatural sounds serenaded the young Prince as he wandered the dread castle, sticking to the shadows while vaguely exploring what meager aspects of the castle he could without drawing attention.

Pushing an applewood door open the rest of the way, Musa's he's squinted to focus in on the rows of surgically cataloged books, lined along what appeared to be the study of the Mad Strix. Or perhaps simply one of many. "Could this be it?" he thought. "Could it be here?" he hoped...

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#293 Posted by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio

I probably won't have a post up until sometime tomorrow. Sorry if I kill any momentum.

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#294 Posted by The_Ghostshell (84303 posts) - - Show Bio

@_dirge_ said:

Sorry if I kill any momentum.

'killin momentum'
'killin momentum'

:P j/p you good

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#295 Posted by Zauberin (6115 posts) - - Show Bio

Tempting...

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#296 Posted by The_Ghostshell (84303 posts) - - Show Bio
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#297 Posted by Zauberin (6115 posts) - - Show Bio
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#298 Edited by The_Ghostshell (84303 posts) - - Show Bio
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#299 Posted by _Dirge_ (3664 posts) - - Show Bio

@soterichor: @ezra_strix: @musa_bashir:

"If you're loyal, prove it to me. It looks like those four were not all the traitors we have to deal with."

The Cursed Celtic tilted his head and let out a sigh, "You do realize that you just stabbed me in the back, right? I mean, that's my blood that coats my sword that your currently wielding."He turned his body in a way so that she could see his back, and the trail of blood running down his lower back and legs. So she could truly understand the damage that she did. "You stabbed me in the back. And my men, my loyal men who would die to protect their Shaytan. They go to defend me by striking at you. And what do I do? I cut them down to save you. My sister."Vincent spoke with something of an animalistic growl. His voice full of disdain for the hot headed killer. He knew those assassins were going to die. It was the way they died that distressed Vincent. Once again, his hands were bloody with those who trusted and believed in The current Devil's Head. Once again, history had repeated itself for the Wrathful Cainite. "Musa's not the traitor. Neither are you, it's this place. It's Ezra screwing with our minds. This is what he does."

Once again the voices in the dark called to the get of Cain. Vincent blocked the voices out and looked towards the late Nia's dreaded visage that spoke with a shrill horrifying sound that was now comprised of voices that were twisted mockeries of people Vincent once knew. He heard Emilie's voice, Abigail's, and even Ali's. All voices that belonged to people that had made a lasting impact on Vincent's life in some shape or fashion. All had a hand in shaping on who Vincent was now. A mother, a friend, and an enemy. Vincent steeled himself as the ghastly necrotic Nia charged him.

The first move is always a feint. This coming monstrosity is just making a move to throw me off this game. I have two potential allies suffering from bouts of madness an insanity covering my back. If I'm lucky, they'll pull themselves together and strike or deflect the true strike that's meant for me. However, this is Ezra Strix. I have no way of knowing what the real attack will be. If it'll be magic, a rotted fang, or claw. Or something else.

Gae Bolg extended itself in that moment and Vincent placed the length of his spear between him and the coming monstrosity. It's course wasn't changing. With the Mark, Vincent saw the foreshadowing of the entity's charge. He saw all of the possibilities of the charge. Just as the Devil's Head thought, it was a diversion. his eyes now fixated on his spear tip. He was using the blade's reflection to watch his own back. But it was all for naught. Vincent's would be allies made no movements to defend him. Musa was gone and The Madweaver's stratagem was already in effect. From the shadows behind Vincent, Ezra had reached out had touched the Cursed Celtic. Madness was the gift that Ezra had bestowed onto Vincent.

In that instant, Vincent fell to his knees and began to scream. He dropped his lance as both hands instinctually went to shield his ears from the maddening voices. But it did nothing. Now, thousands of voices erupted in a cacophony of horror and discord from within Vincent's now battered psyche. Each and every voice that Vincent had ever heard now fought and screamed to be that singular voice that had control. The more Vincent fought it, the worse the screams got. From as far back as he could remember. Vincent had learned that the world was full of horrors. You could fight them, or laugh at them, or look without seeing. Vincent always retreated to the sanctuary of his mind as a means to escape whatever unspeakable horrors he was witnessing, or experiencing. It had saved him during his childhood. And again during his torturous stay in the brick. But now, Ezra had battered those walls down. And the Horned God did it all with a simple touch.

He still had his eyes, His eyes couldn't be deceived. Be it illusion or not. His gaze was practically omniscient to some degree. But only if you kill. You have to kill to use the sight. Someone's coming, kill him. It's Ezra! You could end it all kid. All with a throw of your lance. Do It.

That voice. It was the voice of Charlamagne LeBeau. Even in death, the Darwinistic predator had forever marked Vincent. Going by instinct, Vincent lowered his arms and out of a grim resignation that he was doomed. Vincent didn't have the power to silence the voices in his mind. Only Ezra did. He lowered himself and reached out for Gae Bolg. Once his hand wrapped around the shaft, he stood tall for what could be the last time. He whispered to the lance as he could no longer hear it's voice. Blood began to pour from his eyes and his ears. "For the one that's about to receive death, I name thee Ezra Strix."He couldn't trust his failing vision, or his enhanced senses. Instead, he named his assailant in hope that the Sentient Lance would seek out the Horned God in an ill fated attempt to end the madness that had infected Vincent. Instinctively, Vincent hurled the lance. Rather or not it would seek out Ezra, or find another, Vincent didn't know. It was all a gamble.

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#300 Posted by Ezra_Strix (599 posts) - - Show Bio
You've all seen too much
You've all seen too much