The Swamp Plantation CVU Location

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Vael

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Edited By Vael
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The Swamp Plantation has a history as old as Louisiana and it is rumored to be the most haunted mansion in the state. In its prime the plantation was a marvel of design and opulence and its owners were the talk of the state. The slave plantation was passed down from generation to generation until late in 1875 when a family friend stopped by the plantation to find the entire slave population slaughtered in the fields and the family themselves brutally murdered in the house. There was no sign of who killed them but the looks of horror on the faces of the family corpses and the wounds done to them suggested a long and drawn out process of abject terror.

The stories say that since that time the plantation has been a source of violent and fear filled hauntings. Everything from ghosts to walking dead have been seen on the property by those bold enough to brave the swamp that has since claimed the land. It is said the bodies of the family were left where they lay and yet those who claim to have been to the house in the past suggest the bodies are no where to be seen.

These days only those willing to brave the place to tell their friends how bold they are visit...and none have recently returned. Unknown to the local population or the nearby city of New Orleans the house is occupied...by Vael. Vael has taken the place as her own and enslaved the already existing walking dead to her will. The ghosts, zombies and skeletons that were in fact all too real now answer to her.

House Defenses:

The Skeleton Legion-

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The most numerous of the house defenders the Skeleton Legion are the oldest of the bodies. Many are dead slaves dating back generations but many more have come to the house as a result of Vael's Lord of the Dead spell, summoned from graves dating back a thousand years, every corpse within a ten mile radius has responded to her call. These skeletons are warriors, gifted just enough intelligence to be able to fight and often armed with whatever weapons they carried to their grave. Swords and shields fill the ranks of the weaponless while many of the rest carry old and rotting guns. Although their guns should in most cases not function, they do, just as their unliving bodies should not walk and yet still do.

Skeletons are fast and strong, wielding their weapons with the strength of two men and able to move and respond with the speeds of an Olympic athlete. Though unarmored, the skeletons of the legion are immune to most small caliber weapons and clubs will do you more good than blades. These skeletons patrol the grounds but most remain hidden beneath the swamp itself, leaping forth only when the time is right.

Zombies-

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There are a lot of recently deceased (or at least, more recently) within ten miles of the house. The zombies are not clever, nor fast, not terribly capable fighters but there are a lot of them and they often claw their way out of the rotten swamp soil to drag down unsuspecting trespassers.

Wraiths and Specters-

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Some have died and their bodies moldered so long nothing remains but the clinging spirit of the spiteful, the terrified or the ravaged. These lost souls have collected themselves to Vael's will and are all sentient, all remember their lives and their deaths and hate the living for having flesh and blood. They hide where they may, only emerging at night...but at night, they are the real terrors of the house. They are soundless and able to pass through walls, they have no material presence what so ever, no scent, no physical touch...nothing...and yet their cold, grasping hands can pass through physical materials and clutch at the organs of those they seek to slay. Banishment of such creatures is difficult, often requiring esoteric means and even then, such banishment is at best temporary.

The Feline

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Even Vael can't explain the origin of the feline. One day it arrived on her doorstep, unconcerned by the undead. The creature seems sentient and responds to the spells that enhance the undead. It appears and disappears at will and attacks trespassers on a spiritual level. The opening of its eyes signals the beginning of an attack, where only the strongest wills can hold their spirits within their bodies, a test of pure strength of mind. Failure means death as the feline rips the soul from the body and consumes the spirit like fine wine.

The Family-

The family rarely makes an appearance, choosing to do so only when the house itself is threatened. They remain outside of Vael's influence but their assaults are the most powerful of any entity defending the house. They do not cause physical harm nor tear out the soul...they force their victims to relive every horrifying second of their own end. Depending upon the family member that targets a victim they will experience a different perspective and feel, see, hear, smell and even suffer the physical damage (save for death) caused to the family member that has chosen them. Their deaths were prolonged, their tortures horrific and they seek to share these experiences with the living. The assault is meant to achieve one aim...drive the victim to insanity.

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K_Brimstone

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(Not that he'd want to, but...) Stone could make this a decent place for a camp out :)

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K_Brimstone

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Highly cool and atmospheric lair, I must say.

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K_Brimstone

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Hmmm, let me retract a little...it would make a nice camp out for him IF Vael wouldn't smack him around with her staff...

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Vael

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#4  Edited By Vael

@k_brimstone:

lol. Thank you.

Vael is a very gracious hostess if you're not there to cause problems.

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K_Brimstone

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Nah, Stone is only ever out to cause problems for people trying to hurt defenseless people for no reason. Was just saying all the magical threats wouldn't be a problem to him...VAEL on the other hand might smack him up with her staff pretty good though ;)

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_Vex_

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I really like this

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Vael

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Pyrogram

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@vael:

The Swamp Plantation has a history as old as Louisiana and it is rumored to be the most haunted mansion in the state. In its prime the plantation was a marvel of design and opulence and its owners were the talk of the state. The slave plantation was passed down from generation to generation until late in 1875 when a family friend stopped by the plantation to find the entire slave population slaughtered in the fields and the family themselves brutally murdered in the house.

No Caption Provided

"This place stinks."

Kurt thought, carrying out an errand for Donn. He waded through the swamp until he found a clearing, walking to the door of the old looking building and giving it a hard knock, looking over his shoulder briefly. Feel like anyone is lurking around here...

Apparently Donn had come into information that Gothic wasn't safe....

....It was time to use some of the US resources to buy a few allies.

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Vael

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@pyrogram:

Vael looked up from the book she was reading in the Library and raised an eyebrow. That's unusual. She placed her bookmark neatly in the book and closed it, stashing the Harry Potter book on the table beside her chair to return to later. As she walked through the old creaky house to the front door the house was so kind as to open the door for her guest. Since he'd shown no aggressive mannerisms, the defenders of the House had left him alone. Likely one of the family, they must not mind him.

The door opened for him with a stereotypical groaning sound and Vael was soon visible from the doorway as she entered the room. She was dressed in a fine dress that glittered in the flickering candle and torch light.

No Caption Provided

"Welcome to the house." She said with a charming smile. Despite the surroundings, she carried herself with the elegance of true nobility and air of a woman who was used to entertaining high level dignitaries and the ultra wealthy. "Not many trek through the swamp to reach it, come in and tell me what brings you to my door." She said with a brief curtsy of welcome.

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Pyrogram

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@vael:

She was quite beautiful considering the surroundings, not the type of woman you'd expect and certainly making Kurt feel the tad bit underdressed. He entered the house and looked at her, smiling. "Business."

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Vael

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@pyrogram:

Vael smiled. "Business it is then." She said. She snapped her fingers and a skeleton wearing the ruined remains of a War of 1812 era British uniform walked over with a tray and a bottle of wine. She took the bottle and opened it, pouring a glass and offering it to him. "Don't mind the servants, they're harmless so long as you are."

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Pyrogram

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@vael:

Kurt accepted the glass, giving it a little sniff to see if there was any danger before sipping. "You know about Gothic, I have reason to believe you may have been offered something in exchange for services. I'm here to counter-offer. I'll pay five times the amount any other side want. Help the U.S control Gothic, and you'll have whatever resources you need." Such was the benefit of being friends with the most powerful man in the world... Unlimited funds.

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Vael

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@pyrogram:

She poured a glass for herself and took a small drink of it before she responded. She waved the skeleton away. "The wine cellar was remarkably well preserved." She said, not going straight to his point. "I believe this vintage is from 1835, south of France."

She turned away from him and walked across the room. There she picked up a carefully folded map of Gothic City and spread it out over the dining room table. She half turned, looking at him with a smile that had as much charm as it did danger.

No Caption Provided

"I do not need money, but your sources are not inaccurate. I have been offered favors, considerable favors." She motioned to the map. "It is...an insignificant city, yet everyone fights over it. You told me you wanted to offer me something, resources...." She looked down at the map for a moment and took another sip of her wine. "I am going to need quite a few...tanks, planes, helicopters...or favors, big favors, at a time of my choosing."

A hairless cat with seemingly permanently shut eyes materialized, walking all over the map and generally being a pest.

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Pyrogram

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@vael:

Kurt listened to the woman and slowly drunk the wine, looking at her as though he was deep in consideration of her words. Favors at her time of choosing? Hm, Donn had given him complete autonomy on choosing an ally... Or counter-buying them, rather. He walked towards the charming yet dangerous woman and placed down the wine glass on the map, circling his finger around the rim as he looked back up at Vael, smiling triumphantly.

"At a time of your choosing," he said, the cat strut to Kurt as he stroked it slowly, "they shall all be yours."

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Vael

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@pyrogram:

Vael was almost stunned that it had been so simple. She didn't reveal it on her face or in her actions, but she'd expected a longer argument. His attempts at seduction, or at the very least charm, did not fall flat on her and she bit her lip for a moment. She took another drink and set her empty glass down and felt the place where her wedding ring hand been rub against the empty glass as she removed her fingers from it. "That easy?" She asked, diverting her thoughts. "Gothic must mean more than I expected."

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Pyrogram

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#16  Edited By Pyrogram

@vael:

"When you work for an employer as large as mine, it's almost certain these conversations go without hitch." Kurt said with a little smile to himself, never before realizing how easy those such as the Knightfall's had had it with negotiations and the like. The raw power and resources available could very seriously drive someone mad. His eyes drift to the removal of the ring, burrowing his brows ever so slightly to visualize that the action had intrigued him, before looking at her with a very curious smile.

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Vael

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@pyrogram:

She put the ring down. "My husband was a King, my parents were nobility." She held back a sigh as she realized that the long months in mourning of her husband were over, as they should be...but this man was probably not of the appropriate lineage. I will need a king to rule properly...but he must appropriate. "If you wish to do what I believe you wish to do, then there is one other piece of business first. Your lineage, what is it?"

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Strigidae_23

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Vael

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Pyrogram

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#20  Edited By Pyrogram

@vael:

WhatI wish to do?

Kurt thought to himself, feeling his own emerald ring very tightly secured on his finger still.

"The earliest known records indicate that my families surname has been Pendragon for many generations," Kurt edged closer and raised a curious eyebrow, wondering just what this royal was thinking within that petite head of hers. "I've never delved into the history behind it," and in truth, he probably never would. It was a prestigious surname and a rarity, many would probably call Kurt a fool for never investigating it's true origins. Ironic really, considering the historic Pendragon motto was 'know thyself', "I probably never will."

With a sudden chuckle, Kurt softly grasped the ring and held it between the two, looking into her ancient eyes.

"I'm not royal, and I'm certainly not honorable or kingly. If you want that," he offered her back the ring, "I'd advise you to slip that gorgeous ring back upon your slender hand." The archer said, seeing no reason to lie. "Because chances are once we're done... you might never see me again."

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Lichter

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Vael

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@pyrogram:

Kurt could see the war in her eyes, her body wanted one thing, her mind wanted something else. She was raised to believe that her body was the domain of her husband and no one else. Her husband had been kind, understanding and wise enough to know that she could fight and rule at his side, but that was not the usual way of things. Queens existed to provide princes. It was acceptable that she was no longer a maiden because she had been married, but to go around just...just...laying with random men? It was against everything she'd been taught. At the same time, her body was young, it was attracted to him and it thought casual sex sounded great.

"I understand." Vael said and picked up the ring and slid it back into place. She looked up at him and sighed. "My body would like very much to take up your offer, but I cannot. I have a duty to my future King not to despoil my body based upon its internal desires. You and I are from different cultures that would not mix."

She smiled a little. "But tell your boss that he has my support."

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K_Brimstone

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#23  Edited By K_Brimstone
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Pyrogram

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#24  Edited By Pyrogram

@vael: (That was fun xD)

Kurt smiled and nodded, satisfied with the outcome. "It's been a pleasure, Vael." With a calm pat on her shoulder, he began to leave, stopping at the doorway with a turn. "I hope you find your King someday." And with that Kurt left, always enjoying the unique experiences and relationships the world offered at the most unexpected times.

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Op_blackcat

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@vael:

Blackcat was sending out agents to see "supernatural" or otherwise irregular locations. The plantation classified as an 80% probable mystical location. Due to the legends of so many deaths they sent an immortal to see what was going on, Agent Ben Cooper aka Basilisk.

The agent arrived by a usual car and got out walking towards the plantation unafraid. He'd been around to many fakes and defeated or blown the whistle on to many real legends to be afraid of much, not to mention he himself was a legend due to being a basalisk.

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Vael

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@op_blackcat:

Vael shifted in her reading throne and her eyes lifted towards the door as whispers from The Family informed her that someone was making their way to the front door through the mire of the swamp.

No Caption Provided

She carefully set her book down, making sure she didn't lose her place and then pushed herself to her feet. The defenders of the swamp left the intruder alone as he was not making hostile moves, not recognized as a known enemy and Vael had made no commands to interfere with his progress. A majority of the House defenders remained in silent observation, most buried with in the muck and mire or otherwise behind trees and other such line of sight obstacles. She snapped her fingers and a skeleton server moved to her side, offering her a glass of wine. She smiled and lifted the glass, coiling her small fingers around it and taking a sip from the lovely white wine.

"Let them in." She said quietly. Just as he arrived at her aging front door it swung inward to reveal her standing in the middle of the mud room. "I do not get many guests out here, please, come in and tell me the purpose of your visit."

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Op_blackcat

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@vael:

Cooper looked in raising his eyebrows before entering, "Thank you. I am Agent Ben Cooper aka Basalisk of Blackcat. I was sent to discover if this place had mystical properties, document it, and if it prover actively dangerous to the human population to either deal with it or inform a higher up." He said it in a somewhat nonchalant tone as if it was an everyday occurence.

He cocked his head it her forrowing his brow, "Who might you be?"

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Vael

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@op_blackcat:

She poured a glass of wine and offered it to him. "I would be remiss in my duties as a hostess if I did not offer you wine." She said. "The only thing dangerous to the population around here is if they are stupid enough to wander onto the property of the House with ill intent or if they stray off the wooden walkway. What happens in the swamp..." She shrugged. "It is a dangerous place. My name is Vael." She left out her surname because when her husband died it would have been dropped from her name. Until she was married, she had no last name to speak of, only a lineage. She left out her titles in the presentation of her name merely because they held little sway in this world.

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Op_blackcat

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@vael:

Agent Cooper smiled recieving the wine politely and letting its aroma fill his nostrils, he was more trusting than some of the other agents but still tried to smell for any poisons he could. It was easier to do with advanced senses. The action was also typical of a person who was attempting to enhance the flavor by having both aroma and taste.

"A pleasure to meet you Vael." He replied taking a sip if it's aroma proved to be clean, "I have to note though. You don't seem like a louisianian to me. Or really anyone who would have naturally come here, as natural as it can be that is. Which suggests you're either someone of mystical abilities or experience who came, or this place doesn't have as many mystical properties as it appears to. If you don't mind, it reallt would be easier just to get the information from you. I'm not actually fond of investigating, but, alas, it is a part of my job."

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Vael

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@op_blackcat:

The wine was fine, perfectly healthy to drink. Vael smiled a bit at his commentary and took a drink of her own. "Many people move to Louisiana, it has a lot to offer. If you must go on with your line of inquiry though I come from a parallel Earth that was recently torn apart by yours. As for any...mystical, abilities, I do not consider myself a mystic, I am a sorceress. Mystics spend most of their time reading cards and pretending to know the future. The House itself is quite haunted, not through any work of my own but through its own history."

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Op_blackcat

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@vael:

Cooper chuckled as he sipped at the wine, then frowned as her first statement hit him, "Hm, sorry about that."

Shaking his head he got back on subject, "What I meant by mystical abilities are simply things above what is considered natural or scientifically achievable. Magic, sorcery, necromancy, all considered mystical powers according to Blackcat...and wikipedia I think."

Then he thought about the house. She hadn't made any claims about it except that it was dangerous and haunted by its own history. "Do you actually know what caused the haunting? There have been many mass murders and killings before and nothing out of the ordinary occured from it."

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Vael

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@op_blackcat:

"If the circumstances are right, any killing or mass torture can result in a haunting." Vael said with a slight shrug. "They don't like to discuss what happened to them...though they are perfectly comfortable making anyone who threatens the house go through everything they experienced. I do not know the circumstances that surrounded what happened to this house, but I do know they were right to create a haunting. There are journals in the house, journals that have been added to since the death of the owners, but I have no had any desire to investigate them."

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Op_blackcat

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@vael:

"Journals?" He repeated before looking at the wine, "...Would I have access to these journals?" He asked before taking another sip of the wine.

He was trying to be polite as possible. Not that people skills were the top on his list. But better to catch flies with honey than vineger right? And it was much easier anyway, even if not everything he was told was true didn't mean he wasn't informed.

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Vael

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@op_blackcat:

The torch lights flickered and the candles dimmed. "The owners of the House do not consent to having their journals read." Vael said simply. "So no, you cannot have access to them, those are private thoughts and they belong to those who entered them in. If they choose to reveal them at some point then they will do so."

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Op_blackcat

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@vael:

He nearly grinned at the flickering, but was content with a slight upturn of the left end of his lips for a moment or two. He had a strange relationship with death, he found it neither frightening nor enjoyable. Mr Winters had said that it was because of his immortality that he had so little fear or reaction to death, it was a very foriegn idea.

"I can understand that." He commented shrugging. "Well, is there anyway you, or someone, can prove whether it is haunted or not. I'd love to take your word on it of course, but unfortunately Blackcat doesn't really consider that acceptable."

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Vael

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@op_blackcat:

A ten year old girl in 1835 period dress appeared between the two of them. She had sunken eyes and bleeding cuts all over her face and arms, her dress was torn in several places and a knife was stuck into her right shoulder. She was translucent and looked up at him with glassed over eyes. When she spoke, her voice carried on the wind and echoed through the building. The haunting was not a small one, not a single ghost but a group of them that were very strong. "You have your proof, now leave and do not return."

Vael shrugged and took a drink of her wine.

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Op_blackcat

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@vael:

Ben looked at the ghost as if sorrowfully, he always liked children. It pained him to see something like that.

"So be it." He said standing up, "High probability of mystical activity." He mumbled. As he walked towards the door he paused and turned around, "One more thing, we'll be watching. So be careful about killing many innocent people."

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Kaede_

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@vael:

New Orleans was really quite interesting. At least, the surrounding area was. The advantage of it was that it wasn't that far from interesting places.

Kaede had never been much a fan of cities. She had visited several of them on various vacations or travels with her family, but cities were... interesting places to wander around for a day or two.

New Orleans was probably that way as well, but it bordered on swampland... and Kaede could have happily wandered around swampland for ages. Getting there had been easy, she'd simply informed the hotel's concierge that she wanted to wander around somewhere with lots of plants, and one short ride later, there she was. She'd sensibly had the driver take her shopping first, since their exodus to New Orleans hadn't included much packing time. She'd picked up some blue jeans and hiking boots, then set off for the middle of nowhere. The driver had given her an odd look when she'd looked out the window, informed him "Here's good!" and had him stop the car and hop out, but she hadn't been much concerned. Besides, she had a cell phone in her pocket, and it wasn't like she ever got lost. And it had been ages since she'd been properly outside.

The air was heavy and wet, and trees and vines lay thick across the land. She'd seen a few birds and a lot of mosquitoes and the biggest grasshoppers she'd ever seen in her life, but not too much else. That was okay. She'd also seen some lovely flowers, and besides, she was outside. Kaede felt better than she had in weeks.

At least, until the dead guy wandered by.

She knew that he was a dead guy on account of being a skeleton. She didn't think people walked around in just their skeletons in a pre-mortem state. He was looking at her... or would have been, if he'd had eyes to look with. "Oh. Um. Hi?"

As introductions went, it wasn't her best. The skeleton did not deign to answer, though Kaede wasn't sure if that was because it didn't talk or just because her inquiry had been too stupid to earn a response. "O...kay then," she determined. "Well. I guess that's something you don't see every day. All right..."

The skeleton still did not answer, which meant Kaede was in the woods, by herself, talking to herself. And that... was a line from something, she thought, because her sister quoted it all the time, but Kaede had no idea what it was or what the next line would be anyway. She crouched down, picked up a moss-covered rock, and poked at it until it blossomed with tiny flowers, then tossed it gently about halfway between the two of them. It was a definite approximation, because while there were many girls who could throw just fine, Kaede was not one of them. "Here you go. Pretty flowers. Nice skeleton. I'm gonna go this way... you go that way. Okay? And then I'll go home after a while and wonder if this ever really happened or if I'm going crazy because of all the stress."

She wasn't sure if she hoped she was, or she hoped she wasn't. On one hand, no one wanted to be crazy. On the other hand... that left dead people walking around in her life, and that was... merely a different sort of crazy. The question was merely which was better.

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Vael

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@kaede_:

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Vael had been informed of the girl the moment the skeleton spotted her. More children...probably a harmless one this time. She mused. She walked from the house, gesturing with one hand for the undead to remain where they were. It wasn't long before she'd found the girl and walked up beside her dutiful skeleton. She motioned to it and it wandered off to resume its patrol. She smiled a little at the girl and crouched down, scooping up the flowery rock in both hands and standing again.

"You have a talent with plants." She observed. "I hope he didn't bother you any, he's just doing his job. You should be careful out here though, there's worse to worry about than patrolling skeletons and more than a few curious children have disappeared where they didn't belong."

She offered the rock back with a gentle smile. "Come, I'll show you around, we'll drink some tea and discuss why you decided to visit my swamp. No harm will come to you while you're here. You don't strike me as the here to cause a problem type."

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Kaede_

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@vael:

"Oh. Um. Hi." No, that greeting was not improved upon repetition. Wow. She looks like a princess. Kaede took the rock back more because she was too surprised to do otherwise than because she felt she actually needed it, but she put her hand over it and let the flowers fade, returning it to its original moss-covered state and then setting it down. "Do you live here?" she asked, "I didn't know if anyone did. It just looked like an interesting place to explore."

Kaede watched the skeleton shamble off to wherever skeletons went. She sees it too, so I guess that settles that question. And it seems to listen to her, so... that's interesting. That's got to be some sort of power... kind of creepy. Maybe that's why she lives out here by herself. If she lived in a city, everyone would probably panic. She doesn't strike me as having ill intentions, though. At least... not towards me. "May I ask your name?" she inquired, not quite willing to come out and do so directly.

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Vael

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@kaede_:

She smiled. "My name is Vael." She said and gestured for the girl to walk with her and set off down a path once she'd replaced the rock. "I live out here in an old plantation that has been long overrun by this swamp. You are right, it is a nice place to look around but I have certain defenses here, some of which react first and do not bother to ask questions. I will be happy to show you around though. The skeletons act as a patrol to ward off people, usually works pretty well."

Vael tucked a strand of stray hair behind her ear. "May I inquire into your name as well? It seems fair that we trade names before we sit down to tea." She glanced over at her. "Unless of course I am dramatically underestimating your age, in which case I will find an appropriate bottle of wine."

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Kaede_

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"No," Kaede said quickly, "No wine. Tea is much better. Except... um... no sugar?" She had learned when she was younger that in the American South, "tea" was often a concoction that was closer to what Kaede would have named "syrup," boiled with enough sugar to leave a sticky resin. Even as a child she'd found it sickeningly sweet. Kaede liked sweet things well enough, she just felt firmly that tea wasn't meant to be one of them. Hopefully her host was not as horrified by her insistence on sugarless tea as some other southerners could be.

"My name is Kaede," she added, relieved that they were leaving it to first names. She still wasn't entirely clear on whether she ought to be using her real surname or a pseudonym. She didn't want any trouble to come to her family, but on the other hand, she didn't like lying, either. It was much easier when the subject could be discreetly evaded.

She'd noticed a lot of the people with special abilities seemed to feel the same way, and were happy enough with nicknames or first names or accepting whatever was offered without asking too much more. It made things easier. Not as friendly... but easier. She wondered which was really better.

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Vael

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#43  Edited By Vael

@kaede_:

"My dear Kaede, I would not think to add sugar to tea such an action is at best barbaric." Vael said with a smirk. They were soon at the old house. "We have a guest." She said as they approached and the door swung inward in a helpful manner. Inside the house was beautifully decorated with a wide variety of antiques that seemed as old as or older than the house itself. The sitting room looked out over the swamp. There were beautiful flowers in pots scattered around as well and Vael raised an eyebrow when she spotted them. Show off.

Since Kaede had already encountered a skeleton she snapped her fingers. A skeleton in the somewhat tattered old remains of a butler's uniform appeared. "Tea for two please." She told it, since Vael herself would never lift a finger to do such menial work herself if it could be avoided. The skeleton departed for the kitchen.

"So tell me something Kaede..." She gestured for her to have a seat by the big window and then took one of her own in a chair that looked for all the world like an old style European throne. "You have a certain talent for plants...have you ever put it to use for anyone? Harmlessly of course, decorations, better plant life, that sort of thing."

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Kaede_

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Kaede watched the skeleton depart, apparently off to fetch tea. She wasn't entirely sure about the idea of using the deceased as the help, but... well. She supposed it was better than using the deceased to raze the cities or whatever the usual trope was. Could a skeleton even make tea? If one could walk around, presumably tea wasn't outside its abilities either, it just seemed a little strange.

She made herself draw her attention away from the undead servant and back to the conversation at hand, pulling out a chair and sitting down. Her thoughts remarked that it seemed a little strange for Vael to pull out her own chair and not have one of the skeletons do it for her... Stop that, now that's just ridiculous. It would have been oddly fitting, somehow, though, in a way she couldn't quite explain. "Sure," she answered the question, "I kept up all my parents gardens, while I was still living at home. And I suppose I've been giving flowers to a lot of people lately, as well." That probably counted, too. Even if some of the people she'd given them to hadn't really appreciated them.

Actually, pretty much everyone had, except Neuromind and the skeleton in the swamp. Kaede wondered what that said about him. Or what that said about skeletons. Maybe they didn't retain enough to appreciate flowers. Maybe Neuromind didn't retain enough to appreciate flowers. She wondered if he would have, before things had gotten... difficult. And what that said about him. Her gaze had drifted out the window as her thoughts wandered, she brought both back to her host with a slight smile.

I don't even know what I'd give her. She's beautiful, but... there's the whole skeleton thing. A corpse flower? No, don't giggle. Not a corpse flower. That would be horrible and rude. Don't giggle.

What, though?

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Kaede watched Vael, falling studiously silent. Something beautiful. Ornate. And... a little unnatural, I think. She set her hands on the table, working between them, drawing form and deepening color. After a moment, she glanced down. Oh, yes. That will do. She picked up a black iris - not truly black, but very deep purple - and handed it across the table. "There. One for you." I wonder what she'll make of it.

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Vael

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Vael leaned forward for a moment and watched as she worked. She smiled a little and accepted the flower, leaning back in her chair she raised it between two fingers on the stem, studying it with a growing smile. "Incredible." She said at last. Not even the slightest draw on mana, whatever it is she does is one hundred percent natural...at least for her. She should start a flower shop. "The flower reminds me of something, one of those memories that kind of lingers at the back of your mind but you cannot really place." She watched the flower for a few moments until a beautiful early 19th century vase floated over, seemingly on its own accord, from another room. "Thank you." She said, not to Kaede and slid the flower neatly into the vase. The vase soon departed the room.

"I think it is destined for the reading room." She said. "You...are unlike anyone I have seen in a long time." She admitted to Kaede. "Entirely pure of heart, I can see it in your eyes. There are so few people like you." She leaned back in her throne a little and observed her. "Kaede, I would like..." She paused in mid sentence and cocked her head slightly, as if listening to someone whisper in her ear. "Hm. I would like you to feel free to travel my swamp any time you want, you can do whatever you see fit with the plants. The owners of the house have requested that you restore their old gardens."

The tea arrived and the skeleton butler placed one obviously very old, very fine porcelain cup in front of Kaede and the other into Vael's hands. Vael smiled as the skeleton departed and took a sip from the tea, it was an herbal green tea.

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Kaede_

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"Oh, I thought were the owner of the house?" Kaede said, making it an inquiry. Thinking back on it, though, Vael hadn't claimed to own the place, she'd merely said she'd lived there. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have assumed. The owners...?" Kaede wasn't sure how they could have made a request of Vael when she hadn't even seen them, nor they her. The skeleton arrived with tea, and her hand hovered over the cup before her gaze returned, suspiciously, to the skeletal butler. Wait a minute... if there's a skeleton there that she talks to...

She was beginning to get an inkling of what was going on. Which was... very strange. Is that even... possible?

...asks the girl who makes flowers out of her... self. I don't even get how that works, and that's me. And the rest of the team, they all have strange abilities as well. So, she does as well. I wonder if it makes more sense to her than mine do to me?

She picked up the teacup carefully, tilting it slightly to admire the delicate porcelain, then taking a little sip of tea. Something light and not too sweet. Not bad. "Are they your ancestors?" she inquired, trying to bring the situation in to some sort of context that she could understand.

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Vael

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#47  Edited By Vael

@kaede_:

Vael took another sip of her drink and smiled a little. "The House has been here longer than I have, I play what you might call a...caretaker role. I live here in exchange for keeping the house safe and preventing its inevitable collapse into the swamp. The owners do not like to make themselves known, they won't be making an appearance here today I assure you."

She sighed a little at the question of ancestors and shook her head a little. "They don't have any descendants and my ancestors are, well let us just say they are distant." She watched the girl for a moment before shifting her gaze out of the window, her eyes suggesting that she was thinking back on something she'd lost. She shrugged to herself and eventually turned her gaze back to Kaede. "Do you have any family in the area?"

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Kaede_

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#48  Edited By Kaede_

@vael:

"In New Orleans?" Kaede inquired, "No, I'm visiting here with some friends." That had the advantage of both being completely true and letting it be known that Kaede wasn't entirely devoid of society. She hoped that statement wasn't needed, but it was better, just in case, to have it known that there were people who cared for her. Besides, it was a nice feeling that it was so, and she wasn't going to be ashamed by it.

"Do you... um... speak to the owners?" Kaede wasn't sure what the proper term was, there. It sounded like there was some sort of understanding between them, to have agreed on the caretaker role somehow, but she wasn't entirely sure how that had come about.

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Vael

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"We only speak intermittently." Vael said. "Most of the time they keep to themselves." Vael set her tea aside for now. "New Orleans is a nice city, just be careful where you go, not everywhere is safe like any other major city. Personally I really enjoy the French Quarter and when I travel into the city that is usually where I go." She smiled a little and rested back in her throne again.

Vael considered for a few moments in silence before she continued with what was on her mind. "So, you maintain the plants around here and play around with the swamp as you see fit, in exchange I will give you free reign to look around the swamp itself. I would ask that you don't bring your friends here though, I prefer to keep this place relatively private. If there is ever anything you need feel free to ask, I have a spare room here should you need it, though..." She smirked a little. "I was your age once, no boys."

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Kaede_

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@vael:

Kaede looked vaguely horrified at the implications of the last statement. "I don't even like boys!" she protested. "I... appreciate the offer, though. Thank you. And I'd be happy to look around at the home gardens, although I don't know how long or how often I'm going to be in the area." The team hadn't really had a chance to discuss their next steps yet, but she had a feeling most of them felt their current situation was temporary. Where they ended up next depended... on a lot of things, she supposed. On too many things to make a guess. "And... when you have a chance, please tell the owners thank you as well. I appreciate their hospitality and their kindness."

She didn't have any objections to Vael's request for privacy - after all, Kaede had quite frequently daydreamed about living out in the woods in the middle of nowhere all by herself, she could hardly begrudge anyone else the same completely relatable desire. Admittedly, her daydreams had been more deciduous and less swamp, and skeletons certainly hadn't been a primary feature, but... all the same, she understood. She could keep a secret. Besides, if Vael didn't object to her presence, it might be nice to be welcome here. Just because it was a swamp and not a forest and there were a few skeletons wandering around didn't mean that it didn't appeal to her desire for solitude. The quiet was very calming, she thought.