Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Richard Sloth and Mortis Grievance: Fact of the Matter

Ricky woke up in a bed. He had missed beds. He was sure beds had missed him. A quick survey of the room told him he was in his own home. He snuggled back into the bed with a small sigh. The door opened and someone came and put something on the bedside table. He could smell newspaper. Before him stood Hiro, who gave him a gentle smile.
"Your mail, scarface."
Ricky propped himself up on his elbows. There was a newspaper on the bedside table underneath a couple of months worth of letters.
"Only the most recent paper, Rick. The rest are recycled."
"Thanks, butthead." He replied, picking up the top letter. He recognised the handwriting. It was from a mortal girl named Kathleen. They had had a one night stand once, a couple of years ago. They kept in contact and suddenly Ricky felt guilty. The letter was almost certainly going to be a chunk of worry about why he wasn't answering his phone and why he hadn't paid his child support. Richard D. Sloane, the envelope said. Richard Sloane had been a bad person. He looked up. Hiro was still standing there.
"Do you need something?"
"A girl called a couple of times. Mortal. Put you on the missing persons register."
"I owe her money." He replied with a shrug.
"Had to call to say you'd turned up."
"I was missing for three months."
Hiro grinned. "I was a murder suspect. It was awesome. I told them about a redhead mugging you and all."
"Well...thanks, I guess."
"No-one's been arrested."
"Tell them to drop charges."
"They'll want to know what happened."
"They never will." He went on to the next letter, something about overdue bills, and snuggled down deeper under the covers. At least his bedroom was warm.

-----

Jerry seemed to find Jayden coming to face him hilarious. "This will be too easy." He proclaimed as the dark-skinned man stood directly opposite him.
"Says you. You hardly know me."
"I know enough, mate." He palmed a knife casually from his back pocket and Jayden froze. He had no weapon. Oh well, when push comes to shove...

Jerry looked a little fazed when he saw the dark-skinned man transform into a massive spider-thing. Looking round, he saw Ass Bandit had already fled, and he let out a groan. "Well, when push comes to shove, guess I gotta see how much spiders like a little fire." He hurled a fire ball, and with his increase in size, Jayden could not dodge it. He just had to take it across the armoured skin and hope he wouldn't get burnt. He swiped down with his talons, but of course Jerry had more room to manoeuvre. He got naught but a scratch as Jayden came for him again.

-----

Russia was interesting. Austin had been many places before, but Russia was not one of them. He found himself staring out the window at the landscape. They were in a scenic part, and Austin normally lived in the complete opposite. He was enjoying the view a fair amount.

River heaved a sigh. Mihai freaked her out a little. Santa was chatting away happily to Xerxes. She just sat on a frozen bed, thinking. She hadn't the slightest clue where her son was, and her husband was dead. She was a remnant. Who even was River Tempest? Oh, great time to have an identity crisis, you stupid girl. She looked around briefly and sighed. The Romanian elder beside Xerxes, the female elder, was flirting with him whenever she could get a word in, she was sure of it. Nightwish was asleep in a somewhat less frozen room, baby asleep on a coffee table as there was some shortness of space. She saw the other two Necromancers stood side by side at the window and wondered how close a couple they were. They had all had a good rest since arriving, but few felt all that awake. Her eyes met with Ursa's and she heaved another sigh. He came over.
"You okay?"
"Just about, I guess."
He opened his mouth to speak, but found he had nothing to say. He made a vague 'uh' sound as he racked his brains for some light conversation.
"Guess this is pretty awkward, huh?"
River laughed a little. "And cold. We're in one hell of a situation, huh?"
Ursa nodded, resting his chin on the back of one of his hands. "This whole thing...this war...it's hell..."

-----

Jerry Vehemence lay motionless and slowly, Jayden turned back to normal form and sighed.
"We have to get out of here ASAP." Mortis hissed, shivering slightly. Millie rubbed his arm awkwardly and got a glare for her efforts. Jay came over, limping slightly, but still supported his boyfriend.
"Jay, if you're hurt-"
"You're hurt more, Mort. That makes you more important. Besides, I couldn't live with myself if I let you suffer."
Mortis smiled, dark eyes lighting up as he remembered why he had fallen for Slander in the first place.
"Jay, about that fight earlier..."
"Don't worry about it. Water under the bridge."
"No, really, I need to apologise. I like your protectiveness. It's sweet...just sometimes a bit too much."
He smiled. "I understand. It's not as sweet as you when you get-"

Jayden gasped as he felt the knife plunge into the small of his back. Mortis' eyes widened, not entirely sure what had happened until Jayen fell forward, the hilt of Wilbur sticking out of him. The Necromancer gave a horrified howl and Millie knelt down, pulling the knife out.
"Shadow-walk us, Mort. It's Jay's best chance." Garnet ordered as Millie handed over the knife. Shakily, Mortis did as he was told, but once they were free of the castle, where could they go? Jerry Vehemence, B-J Maleficent and Ass Bandit were all coming up close behind...

Monday, November 4, 2013

Austin Baritone: Aftermath

((Please pretend I never changed Austin's object of power. It is becoming his coat again.))

Hours passed and fighters tired. It seemed the hoard would never end. Finally it appeared the last flesh eater had fallen. Austin collapsed over the bits of body and just lay there, ignoring the smell and the soaking blood and all the other unpleasantries.  Someone heaved him up and sat him on the sofa, realising he was still alive. He felt he had to check on his sister, but fell asleep instead.

Xerxes watched the man sleep. Baritone knew very little of the war against Mevolent, being only around four when it ended. To him, Baritone seemed like a child, even with the little beard thing going on. He stood there, staring. Memphis wasn't moving, and Nemo was unaccounted for, presumed dead. Ursa had sort of curled up in the corner. He too was exhausted, had leaned against a wall and slowly slid into the curled position. Xerxes was sure he was asleep, and that his behaviour showed no sign of being upset. "The girl." He said, not sure if anyone would hear. "The blonde one, Cadence..." He had only just noticed she wasn't there. He went to her brother and shook him awake.
"Nhh?" Austin cracked an eye open curiously. Xerxes carefully planted himself beside the blond man.
"Your sister. She's missing."
"Did you check upstairs?"
"You think she's upstairs?"
"That's where I told her to go..." He suddenly sat up, knocking heads with Bloggs, causing the American to lose his glasses. "She's alone upstairs, having a baby..."

They got to the top of the stairs and tried to open Cadence's door, only to find it barricaded.
"Cay!" Austin bellowed, hammering on the door. He could hear someone in there, crying. A woman, definitely Cadence. Scowling, Austin swept the edge of his coat before him and shadow-walked through the door. In a moment, he averted his gaze to the wall and shut his eyes, immediately wishing he hadn't come in. He had once been told Cadence had been present at his birth, which to him sounded simply disgusting. He hardly wanted to see this. He heard her calling to him and told himself she was the last family he had, and she needed help.

-----

Mortis' breathing was clear and strong now. Ass Bandit was good at what he did. The man had been brought from the brink of death to perfect health in these past hours, and now Bandit treated his unconscious form like a doll. He brushed and styled the hair and dressed him in little outfits. He looked so cool in a leather jacket, white shirt and skinny jeans. Bandit carried the limp form to a wall and shackled his arms to a window handle. His ankles were chained to a water pipe. Despite being the tallest of the 'murderous quartet', Mortis was being stretched beyond his natural limit here. The small window in Bandit's room was very high up. Bandit himself was bigger than Mort.

When he woke up, the first thing he noticed was how painfully stretched he was. He tried to struggle, but his efforts were in vain. He only succeeded in pulling a muscle and aggravating his tender hip. Worst few days of his year, he decided as he let out a pitiful whimper. Cold hands reached around his waist, touching bare skin where his shirt had pulled up by his position and making him shiver. As if it wasn't cold enough already. He was facing the wall, and when clumsy hands scrabbled at the fastenings of the trousers he wore, he began to buck and struggle, hitting his head on the wall. He had blood in his eyes now and his hip was now a load of searing agony, but he struggled on as the man behind him wrapped his arms around his waist and whispered something about being calm and something going easier. God no, this couldn't be happening. Tears spilled from his eyes as his movements became more frantic. He was panicking. He rarely panicked, but these past few days had been nothing but. Chained to a window and a pipe, suspended above the pipe by the pull of the window. Could he manipulate the window open? No. And even if he could, what then? If he threw his head back, it would hit his assaulter's chest, maybe glance off the chin, but no real damage would be done. He couldn't kick back very far, couldn't bite, scratch or stab. He had to find a way free, but he was in an almost impossible situation. He needed his blade. He needed his friends. He gave a roar of fury, and tried to twist his hands, wriggle a knife out of his sleeve, but of course he wasn't wearing his own clothes...

-----

Regret number 206, letting Cadence wrap her newborn in his coat. Teddie was a girl, with tanned skin and blonde hair. The male Necromancer left them, wanting to go fall asleep, but Ursa met him outside his sister's room.
"Baritone, mate, we need to get out of here. Someone knows we're here, they want someone in this house and we need to get somewhere safe. All of us."
He shook his head, rubbing his eyes. "I need to sleep."
"I know, but you sleep now, you won't wake up."
"Can't we escape under cover of night?"
Borealis shook his head. "Another attack like this could ruin everything." He sighed deeply. "Heatwave and Fumes have been confirmed dead. We can't let anyone else die.
Baritone yawned and looked back to the door to Cadence's room. "She won't be able to be active for a few hours..."
"We have to get everyone out of here."
Baritone thought for a moment. "Ask around. Someone might know a teleporter.

Someone did. River Tempest made a call...

...To Santa Claus, in Russia. He listened to the call, and told her to tell the others to dress up warm. They were coming to Russia.

-----

Jayden had exhausted himself and fallen asleep. Thank God. All the shouting was giving Millie/Garnet such a headache. A man approached the two of them, hopping on one foot, using some kind of trolley to support himself. He leant over and grabbed the chains binding the two others to the wall, trying to stay standing while he hacked through them with a junior hacksaw. Millie stood and almost collided with Mortis, who neither she nor Garnet recognised at first.

Mortis wasn't the kind of person to cover himself in his enemy's blood. There he stood, clothes soaked in deep, red lifeblood, hair matted and sticky with it. It stained his skin and masked the fact he was still crying.
"Garnet." He said sharply, voice shaking. "We're getting out of here."
"Where's Wilbur?" Asked Garnet's voice. As far as he knew, Mortis would go nowhere without that knife. To his surprise, the Necromancer shook his head.
"Not a priority. I just want to get out of here!"
That was...different.
"Wake Jayden up. I need you both to support me physically. I can't fight, I have no weapons. The only option for me in my current state is escape."
Well, at least there was combat logic in there, but Mortis was a stab first think later sort of person. This was unbecoming of him. It unnerved Garnet's spirit. Even as he thought this, Millie had awoken Jayden and pulled him up.

This wasn't good. Mortis was a big person, taller than average, broad-shouldered, with a naturally large build even though he had no muscle mass. He must have once, by the looks of him. Once he must have been very powerful. Every step Jayden and Millie took was silent, but Mortis had to hop. Every time his foot hit the floor, there was a loud, echoing bang. Of course, being all about stealth and detectability, Mortis was furious. There was a loud click behind them and they stopped, looking round slowly. There stood Ass Bandit and Jerry Vehemence, both looking angry and eager to spill blood. Mortis was out of action, Millie was generally not a fighter, and so Jayden stepped towards the two villains, stopping them from being able to get anywhere near his boyfriend and Millie.

((I'm weird enough to randomly crown myself high lord of the collaboration roleplay thing. BOW DOWN TO ME, Y'ALL!!!))

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cadence Nightwish: Emergency Stop

Cadence was asleep on the sofa, one hand over her baby belly. Austin was sat on the arm of the chair, smiling. He was going to have a new niece or nephew soon. The name had already been decided. Teddie, either way. He gently stroked her hair, really wanting a hug but having no-one to hug him. Daemon walked in and sat down in front of the television, but completely ignored him otherwise. There was a yell in the distance, in another room. A crash of a breaking window. Austin sat up straight, startled, and looked around, not entirely sure where the crash had come from. Someone swore and three of the Americans came in. Two were rather calm, but Memphis was in a bit of a flap. Xerxes clenched his fists, head bowed as though in prayer. Austin scowled. "What the bloody hell is going on?"
Cadence sat up as Ursa struggled to find the words. "Zombies." He finally gasped out. "We need more weapons, they're in the house! We're surrounded!"
The atmosphere changed quickly. Cadence forced herself to her feet, swearing. Austin had the flintlock pistol out in seconds, Daemon was off the floor and out the door in seconds, ready to rip bodies apart. Memphis went to the nearest window in an attempt to count the number of bodies out there. He swore and stepped away. "Hundreds." he told the others blankly. "We'll need more than bullets, Borealis."
Ursa shook his head. "I have fire."
"Not much use."
Xerxes shook his head, pulling down the blinds, shutting and barricading the door. "All I can do is vomit spiders." he muttered miserably. "I never fight with weapons..."
River curled up on the sofa, looking simply shocked. "Is he dead?"
"Nemo's tough." Xerxes insisted, breaking a leg off the table as they heard a window break.
"Cay?" Austin began, raising an arm protectively, "Get to your room. You shouldn't fight."
"I'm staying. I can fight. I won't be much safer in my room anyway, Austin."
He nodded. "Just looking out for my sister."
She shrugged, slipping on her old engagement ring. Shadows curled around it and she smiled. "First to a hundred kills wins."
"You're on."

-----

Ass Bandit smiled, carefully stitching the throat wound shut and planting a kiss on the oh so cold lips of the rather attractive murderer. Jayden and Millie where shackled in the corner. Jay was still crying, very loudly. He had held his boyfriend as the blood poured over the bandaged body, trying to stem the flow and help him breathe, trying to keep him alive while Maleficent barred their exit. He had slowly grown so cold and pale, and Jayden had been there as Mortis' life appeared to slip away. This disgustingly overweight man was now healing all injuries and caressing the fallen man. Jerry Vehemence...he had been taken to another room by Maleficent. Whether he was alive or not was unknown. Jay was beginning to realise this man, 'Ass Bandit' or whatever, had a thing for Mort. He was giving the body little kisses and soft strokes of the hand.
"Leave him alone!" Jayden finally shrieked, kicking out even though he had no chance of striking him.
A-B looked up, cold gaze taking Jayden in. "He's mine now, providing he survives. I've always wanted a toy boy."
The dark-skinned man's eyes widened. "You're going to rape him...You're going to rape him and if you do I'll fucking kill you!"
He laughed. "I'd like to see you try, chained up like a rabid dog." He leaned over Mortis, checking for breathing. Once satisfied, he heaved the Necromancer over his shoulder and brought him through a door. Jayden's shouts were like music to him.

-----

Cadence found a certain appeal to fighting walking corpses. It was thrilling and she didn't have to worry in the slightest about the people she was hurting. Yes, fighting with a slightly overdue unborn baby added to her physique was a pain, especially once the contractions started. Now, her choices were to  fight through the pain for as long as possible, give up and die or retreat now and maybe take her brother with her to help. Unfortunately the furthest she could shadow walk from here was upstairs, to her bedroom. Tears were forming in her eyes as the thrill gave way to raw terror. If the labour advanced too far while the zombies were still there, she and Teddie were dead as dead could be. "Austin!" She shrieked as she tore a few zombies to pieces with her shadows. At least he heard her. He was trying to get to her, trying to keep the dead away. Another contraction. Suddenly her little brother was there, standing beside her, fighting in the madness. "Cay?"
She shook her head, trying to keep more corpses off her. "Having baby." Slash out. Duck under. Kick. Swipe. "Need to move."
"You have got to be kidding me!" He yelled back, one word between attacks. "Shadow walk up stairs! Join you in a second, be ready to attack when you're not covered!"

The next second, she was in her room. After what seemed like an hour, Austin hadn't turned up. She barricaded the door as best she could and realised she was going through this alone.

((I have been listening to Disney songs non-stop, and I was never going to use the A-B for more than that first chapter, but now he has someone to crush over, aww...aaaanyway...CHEESE.))

Friday, November 1, 2013

Advantageous Twist: Secret Compartment

Mortis awoke, head pounding again. The first thing he saw was his hair falling across his face, which he couldn't simply brush behind his ears. He was still in the torture chair, as he liked to call it. He tried flicking it out of his face with some sharp head movements, but only succeeded in worsening his headache. Next, he noticed a jug of water on a table at the other end of the room. His throat felt like sandpaper, and he hoped some of the water was for him. At least the gash in his arm hadn't bled him out completely. He looked down and saw it had been healed to what was now an unsightly brown scab. Frustrated, but not entirely sure why, Mortis stamped. A good way to explain his overall feeling was light-headed, or maybe very very sick. Wait...his feet were free? He could move his legs! Now what? How to exploit that? He couldn't think straight. His head hurt. The door opened, and there stood B-J. She was smiling.
"What do you want?" He hissed. He sounded hoarse. Ouch. Throat. He decided to not talk too much. Maleficent poured some water into a glass and came over, holding the glass to Mortis' lips.
"You must be parched. Not to mention hungry. It's been three days since we got you here."
"Three?" He asked into the water. It probably just sounded like a bunch of confused bubbles to her. She didn't respond. Once the water had been drained from the glass, she stepped back.
"Listen, Mort. It's no secret I hate you. You killed Dexter Vex and you're generally a very horrible person." She shrugged and smiled. "But this is something other than petty hate. This is sacrifice. Oh, don't look so horrified. I've got something, been looking into some Necromancy stuff, and some other things...ancienty..."
He arched an eyebrow. "If you're trying to suggest I'm related to an Ancient-"
"Not what I said. Besides, I need to do more research. When I'm ready to do the soul switch, yours for Garnet's, or maybe yours for that of Jerry Vehemence or Electrolytic."
Mort decided to focus on freeing himself from the chair. "You do realise I'm Garnet's best friend. He won't be too happy if you kill me to get him back."
"Yeah...I'm thinking more Jerry or Abla Hazardous. They seem more likely, especially since I've actually rallied that hottie, Rasputin, to the cause of the Faceless."
He bit his lip and glowered. "You've lost your mind, Jinx."
She casually slapped him. He bit harder on his lip, not caring if he broke the skin. He glared at her until she shrugged and left.

-----

The skinny man with long, fair, matted hair was a scavenger. He had gotten the idea of faking his own death from his sister. His sister. Oh how he missed her. This scavenging was difficult. He was for the moment confined to this one building, for safety reasons. He had to be careful how much he took and when. He hadn't eaten for days. He had lost so much weight. He was starving...

Sighing, he ducked into a room, sticking to the shadows. The room was oddly familiar...oh hell. He was in Twist's vampire room. At least there was food in there. Popcorn, for some reason. The room was otherwise empty. He hurried out of hiding and went straight for the food, but froze when the door opened. Someone walked round to his front. "Faith and begorrah..." The man muttered, crouching down. "Little Esra...the little kid Mr Twist and I met on those streets those ninety odd years ago...I thought you were dead, I thought you had died!"
Esra gasped as he was drawn into a hug. "Erin..."
"I thought you were dead! So many of us were dead, it was just me and Mr Twist and everyone else was dead!"
The door opened again. "Erin. We're going on a rescue mission."
"We are?"
"Do you remember...wait, you weren't here when they were. Anyway, for a time we had these three men staying here. Garnet, Jayden and Mortis. Unfortunately, they remember us and remember we were allied against Mevolent, so they think we might help rescue their friend. They kind of know about Esra's secret tunnels."
Esra whipped round. "Nobody's supposed to know about those!"
Twist dropped his hammer, stunned. He was cleanly shaven, no stupid handlebar moustache. He was giving the excellent impression of a guppy at feeding time.
"Mr Sunshine..."
"Twist..."
"Oh my God..."
He stood, brushed himself off and sighed. "Enough exchanging pleasantries. Rescue mission? Is that what this group sells itself out to these days?"
"We're not much of a group anymore."
"I know. But we're still missionaries.
"That we are."

-----

Mortis sighed, swinging his legs back and forth childishly. A body wrapped in tissues or toilet paper or something lay before him. Jerry Vehemence, apparently. He was unnerved. If this was his end, it certainly wasn't the way he wanted to go. He had been waiting there for hours on end. So pissed of, he was. The amount of discomfort he had put up with was ridiculous. Being left to wet himself was probably the last straw. Never before had he felt so humiliated...apart from when he was friends with Regicide. He kept his cold gaze on the door, waiting for B-J to come back in. That was, until he heard someone kick open the air vent. His head jerked to the side. He couldn't see them. They were directly behind him.
"Are you sure this is the right room, Millie?"
"Anyone else smell pee?"
"Is that a dead body over there?"
"Is that Mortis in the chair?"
Mortis nodded. "Help me. They're going to kill me. They have my knife. I can't get out...we have to get Ricky out of here as well. He's dying in the cells, but we can save him."
A hand was placed on his shoulder. "Calm down." It was Jayden. "You're agitated. We'll help Ricky, of course we will. Twist, Sunshine, Motionless, search the cells."
A woman knelt down and picked the locks binding his wrist. Jay pulled him up, supporting him. Mort still couldn't walk. This hip Ricky had forced into place was still causing him a lot of pain. Twist walked back in, supporting Richard Sloth, who seemed only semi-conscious. Twist looked a bit panicked. Sunshine and Motionless were gone. "We've kind of alerted guards."
Millie pinched the bridge of her nose, but didn't speak. No, the voice that sounded, the man's voice, came from her necklace. Mort realised that instantly.
"Perfect. Get Ricky out of here. Mort, do you think you could crawl through the air vent?"
He shook his head, pulling a face. "No. God, no. I'm in agony, Garnet..." He scowled, wondering where he had gotten Garnet from. No, that was definitely the voice he could hear.
Millie frowned. She spoke. "Garnet, we can't get him out any other way."
"Twist will be pushing Ricky along ahead of him. We could try that with-"
"Have you seen his shoulders? Your friend's too bulky. We're trapped unless..."
"Unless?"
Millie glanced out the window. "Night's fallen...Erin might provide a distraction, providing he doesn't kill us."
They paused and turned towards the door...that was when the bang went off.
There stood B-J Maleficent.

She was holding an empty crossbow.

Mortis sounded like he was choking. Jayden looked, and he saw an arrow protruding from his boyfriend's throat.

"MORTIS!!!"

((...My name is Rhiannon, and it is my job to tear your hearts to pieces. Mortis is your favourite character, you say? Have B-J Maleficent and a cross bow...and look, I wuv Esra so much, and not just because his name is arse backwards (which is the only reason he's called Esra), that I brought him back to life...I can't even remember how he died.))

Friday, October 18, 2013

Jayden Slander: Garnet's Return

God. His head was pounding. He pushed himself to his hands and knees with a dry groan. Water. He needed water. He had never been so thirsty before in his life. Also his hair was loose, which irritated him. He gave a cough into his fist and crawled across the filthy ground, one leg not supporting him, dragging behind uselessly. He felt dizzy. There was a tap thing in the corner. He clamped his lips around the tap and drank greedily before he heard a shift in the darkness. He drank a little longer before breaking away and wiping his mouth, trying to peer through the darkness. His eye stung. One of his contacts was out of place. He turned away from whoever was out there and tried to fix it. Very few knew he was visually impaired. Not even Jayden did. Another thing Jayden didn't know was that Mortis still believed in the tooth fairy. That fairy would never come visit him in here. Once the contact was in place, he turned round and found himself face-to-face with someone oddly familiar and with very bad breath.
"Richard..." He mumbled, frowning. He was shirtless and shivering, bordering on hypothermic. His hair was longer and unkempt, he had lost a lot of weight. He reached out a shaking hand and touched Mortis' face.
"Mort..."
"You look sick..."
"Probably am..."
He shook his head and squirmed over to the bars. His leg was agony. Definitely dislocated. He clung onto the bars and took a breather, coughing a little. The tooth was gone from his throat, but it still felt funny. He didn't notice Ricky come any closer but felt him shift his bad leg. He let out a cry of pain. "Ricky, please!"
"Dislocated hip..." He muttered, continuing to twist the leg in his grip. "Normally people have painkillers when they get bones relocated."
"I...can see...why..."
Neither of them spoke while Ricky worked. Mortis broke the silence with his shouts. He was sure people were staring, but he really didn't care. He was in pain, and the more Ricky messed with his leg and hip, the worse it got. "Mortis, the least I can tell you is you won't be able to walk properly for a while." He shifted away with a sigh and Mort just lay there, groaning. "How're your eyes?" Ricky was the only one who knew about the impairment as far as he knew. "Look, I'm sorry I couldn't sedate you for that...I really am..."
He shook his head. "I hate you so much, Sloth..."
"Would you like a tissue? You're crying."
"What the hell do you expect?"
"I expected a hell of a lot more screaming." He replied honestly with a shrug. God, he was shivering. It was almost pitiful to watch. Mortis pushed away from the bars and gave him a hug.
"Thanks, Ricky..."
"You have any more injuries?" He asked with a chuckle.
"Of course I do. You're so cold..."
"Bloody Australian Garnet nicked my coat...and then I actually got mugged, can you believe it?"
"Bad luck for you."
Richard pushed him off. "What happened to you?"
"Serpine's daughter...Gar's old girlfriend." He shuddered. "Caught me unawares. Was distracted by Jayden."
Sloth shook his head, with a smirk. "Thought you'd be brought down someday. You're lucky I'm always there to help you out."
Mort smirked, patting his side. "Yeah, thanks for the liver."
"You're welcome. Feel sorry for the poor blighter we nicked it off of, though."
"I don't." He brought his good leg up to his chest, wincing slightly. His hip still hurt like hell. "How long have you been here?"
"Three months, maybe?"
"Oh..." He looked around, brushing his hair out of his face. "We have to get out of here..."
"I know that..."
"You need to see the light, Ricky. You're dying here. You're freezing to death..."
"Moderate Hypothermia, Mort, I know." He shrugged, still shivering. "Not to sound creepy, but you're warm, can you hug me again? It'll help..."
The murderous Necromancer just gave him a look, but finally opened his arms out. "As much as I don't exactly like you, I'm not letting you die. Especially since you just fixed my leg."
"Thanks, man...thought I was doomed when the hypothermia set in..."
"Hell no. You're not getting felled by cold." He heard the sound of feet on the cold, hard floor and couldn't suppress a shudder. He had to admit, he had never been in the prisoner's shoes, and it actually scared him. He tightened his hold on Ricky, which unfortunately had the healer picking up on his fear.
"Mort, don't worry..."
The footsteps stopped at their cell and it was unlocked. "Ricky..." He whimpered.

"What do you mean you won't help?" Jayden yelled, outraged. Franz ignored him and Ursa flipped him off. They both went inside and suddenly the Child of the Spider felt completely hopeless. Who actually liked Mortis? Well, there was Garnet, who was dead, and Ricky, who was sort of untraceable...perhaps the sanctuary could help, but realistically, Jayden had no clue what they wanted with his lover for. He sat down and tried to think, jumping when the front door opened, almost hitting him in the face. There stood Millie Firestone, the clairaudient girl.
"Thought I heard your voice...your friend wants to have a word with you."
Jay arched an eyebrow. "Garnet?"
"Yeah, him."
He crossed his arms and Millie gave a grunt, making a face like she was in pain. Her voice changed and her accent deepened. "Woah..." She muttered, her voice now that of a man. "Am I actually in control of this thing? Oh, Jayden! Hey!"
Jayden made a face. "Garnet?"
"Uh, yeah...this is confusing...where's Mort?"
"B-J got him..."
Millie, or Garnet, frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Her and some fat guy kidnapped him. I think Maleficent's changed sides."
"Bullshit, man." Garnet snapped. The voice wasn't even coming from Firestone's throat. It was coming from her amulet. The body just spoke along. He could hear Millie's voice very faintly beneath.
"Dude, he was screaming. They beat him up. He did not go quietly. I don't even know if they took him to Mevolent's stinky castle or what."

-----

Austin liked the room he was given. He had a sneaking suspicion it was Belle's room, and sometimes got a little disturbed by the idea of his dead sister. Even so, it was comfy, the colour scheme was nice, and there was this one night. It was dark, the heating was on full blast and Austin couldn't sleep. He was sat upright, playing with the flintlock pistol. His curtains were drawn, he wore only his underwear, but had a pink blanket tied round his neck like he was wearing a cape. He let out a slight gasp when someone knocked at his door. The door opened and there stood Daemon. "Are you awake?"
"Well, I'm sitting up..."
She came over and sat beside him in the darkness. "Look, it's about-"
"The kiss? You claiming to be my girlfriend?"
"Uh, yeah."
"Don't worry, I get it, it meant nothing."
"No, Ozzy, listen. There was this awful moment when I thought I was going to lose you. You had septicaemia...you were dying and I just thought I'd been nasty to you our whole time being around each other..."
"Don't." He said firmly.
"And I had to admit, you've got a lot going for you, you're a wonderful person, and really hot..."
He laughed. "That's what you think, is it?"
"It might well be."
He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and planted a kiss on her cheek. "I'm worried this could be seen as my rebound."
"You've had plenty of time to get over Katharine."
"True..."
"And besides, it's not like I told you to sleep with me."
"I'm sort-of beginning to wish you had..."

-----

Mortis sat calmly on the chair and let them strap him in. Inside he was having a slight panic. Even so, half that panic wasn't for his own wellbeing. He was so stupid. How could he have even let himself get beaten? Beside him, another man was strapped to a chair, shouting furiously in Czech. He was struggling against his bonds, whereas Mortis just sat there calmly. "Vrestreni, isn't it?"
The Czech elder stopped shouting and stared at him. "Do I know you?"
"I killed Dexter Vex."
"Oh...I think I recognise you now..."
He chuckled. "I think B-J hates me...I could go for a B-J"
"Didn't need to know that."
The door swung open and a skinny, pathetic redhead stumbled in. B-J and Ass Bandit followed behind and the men tied to the chairs shut up. A-B had chocolate in his hand. The only one without some kind of weapon. He felt a shudder go down his back as Maleficent and the redhead approached, and almost instinctively bared his teeth in a snarl. Anxiety was twisting his chest, but at least outwardly he seemed unfazed, furious and fearsome. A smirk curled on the woman's face.
"Bet you're both wondering what I want with you." She began innocently. Judging by her tone of voice, she had finally lost her sanity.
"Pretty much. Also who would win in a fight between you and the tooth fairy."
She gave him an odd look. "Right..." She took out a large pot and placed it below Mortis' wrist. Another shudder coursed through him and she took out a knife. It was his knife. Wilbur. She held the blade to his wrist and made a deep cut, drawing it out and wiggling the blade, doing her best to cause the pain that forced a moan from his throat. Rasputin jerked away, trying to break his bonds. Mort was sure the crazy girl had cut all the way to his bone and watched in dismay as his blood leaked down into the pot. She moved to the Czech ex-elder and clamped her lips over his.
"Listen, Ras, they want you dead, but I can offer you a path out. It won't be pleasant, but it will be worth it in the long run."
"And that man?"
"He's a murderer, has killed millions, a psychopath. He deserves it."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Madame Mist: A Family Of Hope

Doctor Synechdoche assured the parents that Antonia-Lily was going to be fine. They didn't keep her in the hospital much longer. By the end of the week, she was home. The triplets were coming up to about a year old now.

Erskine was fast asleep at his desk. Ruby tugged at his trouser leg repeatedly, eager for his attention. "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy, look, I made fire!"
Ravel stirred but didn't awaken. Ruby clicked her little fingers and accidentally set fire to something. "Daddy! I made fire!"
He gave a little moan as he awoke. Instantly, he noticed the fire. "Ruby!"
"I made fire."
"I can see that." He muttered angrily as he worked to put it out. "You have to be careful."
"...how?"
With a sigh, he pulled her onto his lap and held his hand in front of him, hovering it over his desk. "Firstly, when you've fire in your hands, keep it away from things that might catch fire."
She looked at him blankly and he sighed again.
"Don't let the fire near...anything, really. When you're older, I'll teach you how to use it properly, okay?"
She nodded. "Down."
"No more fire, okay?"
She nodded again. "Down."
He put her down, looked at the papers on his desk and shook his head. Not today. He just couldn't deal with this stuff right now. Perhaps he could switch jobs with Popularity for a little while.

Two or so months. They passed with no major event. Grievance and Slander were out in public again, walking down a familiar road to them, near to where the Midnight Hotel had been when Jayden had tried to kill Shudder. They were arguing. Their voices sailed over the treetops, frightening a lot of wildlife. They were having something commonly known as a lovers' tiff.
"I'm sick of it!" Mortis roared, pivoting on his heel to face his boyfriend, who shied back slightly. "You don't have to babysit me! I don't need protection!"
"Well pardon me for caring about you!"
"Just step back and give me some room, Jayden!"
Jayden scowled and crossed his arms, no longer walking. "Look where you're going, Mort." He muttered right before Mort walked backwards into a tree. Cursing, he rubbed his head and turned around, walking again.
"I survived long enough before I met you." He growled. "You're just some pathetic tag-along who doesn't even like killing. You only wanted your brother dead because he killed all those people you liked..."
"Don't bring up Regicide!" Jayden shrieked, storming up, grabbing the shorter man's jacket and forcing him round so he could slap him. "You know not to bring that up!" Tears were forming in his eyes.
"Whatever!" He yelled back, pushing Slander away. "Just get out of my sight!" He stormed off, leaving the dark-skinned man stood in the middle of the path in the woods, drying his eyes.

Mortis must have walked for miles and hours afterwards. He finally stopped, sitting himself down under a tree. Hungry, exhausted, thirsty, he'd done the overworking himself thing again, hadn't he? He took a deep breath and looked up to the sky, wondering where he could find some water. Jayden had been carrying the canteen, but there was almost certainly a river or stream or some source of running water around here. Heck, he could hear running water from where he sat. He stood and decided to follow his ears, but then he heard a different sound. Someone standing on a twig. He reached up to tighten his ponytail. The mustard ribbon was in today, and he wasn't beyond shedding any innocent blood. It might even mean a bit of food in his belly. Fingers tightened against the handle of his precious athame knife. Someone walked into the clearing and Mortis swung, but stopped himself just in time. Jayden. He looked shocked, then scowled.
"Oh great. Now it's going to look like I followed you. I didn't, before you ask, mate."
"I could have killed you..."
"Yeah, many times...you sound a little hoarse. Need a drink?"
"No! Stop looking out for me!"
Slander rolled his eyes. "Whatever." He went off the way he'd come. Mortis closed his eyes, bowing his head and running his fingers through his greasy hair. He was so stressed. Why was he even stressed? There went another cracking twig. Honestly, Jayden never learnt about stealth, or patience. Wait...that one came from behind him, didn't it? He whirled round, but too late. Just in time to catch an elbow to the jaw, actually. He stumbled and tripped, falling onto his bottom. Something had just gone down his throat the wrong way and he could taste blood. Was he choking on his own tooth? His brain told him to focus on dislodging it. He could breathe fine, but it was irritating, and all he could do when the foot came for his face was widen his eyes. He fell back and even rolled a little, blood pumping from his nose and already in his eyes. Damn it, this was not going well. With a cough, he waved his arm out, catching someone's leg with Wilbur's blade, the shadows following it to hopefully cut more. With a shriek of pain, some guy threw himself at the Necromancer and began raining down punches. Blood was dripping from the man, so at least Mort had done some damage. Okay, legs were pinned, but he could bring his arms up to defend. The guy was getting him in the stomach now. Oh balls. He was so tired. Perhaps he was getting a little too old to do surveillance nights. Depriving himself certainly hadn't done him any good over the years. He gritted his teeth against the pain, trying to bring his knees up. Wilbur wasn't in his hand. He must have dropped it after the swing. Oh jeez, the guy on his legs was so heavy.
"Okay, Ass Bandit, quit it."
Well...that sounded horrific. He opened his eyes to see B-J Maleficent as the punches to his belly ceased. B-J? That meant he was safe, didn't it?
"We need him in good condition for my father.
Oh hell no. He thrashed, desperately trying to get free. He felt something go in his hip. Perhaps his leg even dislocated. One hand grasped desperately for Wilbur, but B-J came forward and kicked it into the trees. Now, perhaps if he had eaten more often, Mort would have had some muscle to back him up, but as it was he was now defenceless, weakened by stupid nature. He just wanted to sleep. And have a sandwich. Last resort. He grabbed her leg, craned his neck and bit into her flesh hard enough to draw blood. She shrieked now, trying to shake him loose. He felt another hard hit to his belly, winding him. He couldn't breathe, his nose was clogged with blood, he had to open his mouth, let Maleficent go. As he sucked in a breath, he sat up, head colliding with the man so oddly named Ass Bandit's. He brought his hands in, clawing with his overgrown nails, biting at the fat man's nose, doing anything to cause him pain and get feeling back into his legs. B-J had hold of his ponytail. Oh hell no. She yanked him back and he yelled indignantly. His legs were freed up, but too numb to use effectively. She crouched down to his level and wrapped her arm around his neck, tightening it until he couldn't breathe. The mix of the three bloods made a foul taste in his mouth, his incisor tooth was still lodged painfully in his throat...it hurt more now pressure was being put on it. His body ached, there were tears in his eyes, and Ass Bandit had picked up Wilbur. He gave a few kicks as he clawed inefficiently at B-J's choke hold, and eventually weakened and blacked out. B-J dropped him the moment he went limp. She needed him alive. She heard a nearby rustle and heaved the unconscious Necromancer over her shoulder, wiping her hands on her dress. "Gross, A-B, his hair is absolutely gross. And he smells. Don't think he's ever even heard of soap..."
Bandit laughed and they both used air to throw themselves up when the Child of the Spider ran out at them.
"Mortis!" He shrieked, dismayed. "Bring him back!"

Madame Mist rested a hand on her belly as she looked at the small plastic stick. Another one so soon. She smiled beneath her veil. Erskine's reaction would be priceless. She stooped to pick her two younger daughters up, popping the pregnancy test in the bin, and rested the girls on her knees, reading a book to them.

((Mortis' section...blame Queen. All the ideas, especially Ass Bandit, came to me while listening to Queen on my way home from therapy...and if by some strange anti-miracle you didn't get it, Mort broke up with Jayden, but neither shall die until they're back together again :3 He's safe...for now...*evil laugh*))

Friday, October 4, 2013

Billie-Jinx Maleficent: Siege and Defence

((I recently learnt what BJ is an abbreviation for...so calling her that got all awkward...ah my innocent mind...))

Billie-Jinx sighed, leaning against the side-table on which Ravel's daughter lay. Maleficent gave the girl a quick glance and instantly felt ill. She had left the child with a variety of people, and some had proven to be abusive. She and Arachne Basilisk had tried their best to care for the already quite sickly child. She was lying, eyes slightly open, struggling to breathe as usual. She bit her lip, regretting this plan. Pixie-Twist and his 'friend', Eugene Scribe, stood guard by the door. There was a suspicious noise outside and Scribe went to check it out. Maleficent sighed.
"Pix?"
Pixie looked up. "Yes?"
"There's going to be trouble tonight."
"What makes you say that?"
"Their sensitive isn't very subtle..." She turned to look out the window and pointed. "I can see them. My God, they're idiots. Get some people together to protect this room."

-----

Kenelm arched an eyebrow at Banderas as the American mage smiled. "We're in."
Paraplegia rolled his eyes. "Finally."
"You can't rush me. It's awkward, doing it like that. I know where they're keeping the Grand Mage's daughter and all.
Kenelm raised a hand for silence. "We need a plan."
Cyrenaica arched an eyebrow. "Cain, we have a plan."
"A better plan!"
"Shush." Madame Mist urged. She nudged Cyrenaica, who stood and walked towards the castle with a casual air. Double agent. He nodded his hello to the man at the door and walked right on through. It was light out and Luca was crouched low with the others. They watched Rust disappear from sight, his blonde sweep of hair with the sky-blue fringe quickly becoming lost in a crowd of heads thanks to his small stature. Luca gestured and she went round to the side of the building, followed by Kenelm. The other three stayed where they were, Banderas lowering his head as he tried to access memories or something.

-----

Scribe arched an eyebrow as he saw Rust approach, then smiled. "Hey Cyren."
"Eugie." Cyrenaica replied with a nod, offering his friend a cup of coffee. Alarms were going off.
"Cyren, don't you have a duty to perform?"
Cyrenaica's eyes drooped to his arm, which was bound in plaster. "Not exactly, no."
Scribe rolled his eyes, accepting the coffee. "Listen, Rust, you may not have anything to do, but I do. Talk to you later, yeah? Bit busy, man."
"Can't I join you?"
"Cy, you're my best friend, but for your own safety, scrape out."
Cyrenaica made a face and walked off, making it as clear as he could that he was annoyed. Scribe chuckled, then saw a darkness appear at the edges of his vision, began feeling oh so dizzy. Had Cy spiked his drink? That git and his practical j-

-----

Pixie-Twist gave a start when he heard the thump. He left his post and went down the hall, finding nothing, not even the fallen form of Scribe. He just found Eugene's post empty. "Eugene?" He called, angry. He had been assured he would be working with a sensible professional, yet the clod had abandoned his post. Pixie began walking up and down between the two outposts, muttering angrily to himself with his slightly impedimented speech. A laugh sounded, over his shoulder, he thought. He whipped round and stepped forward, and suddenly found he was in the confines of a cloaking sphere. Before him stood a slightly bewildered man. Tall, thin, tanned, black hair with the tips dyed a pinkish colour. "Uh..." he spoke in an American accent. Pix aimed a punch at him, but the man went low and charged, catching Pixie in his open arm and slipping, bringing them both to the floor. "Madame Mist!" He called in a high, pitiful wail. The only response received was silence. The man tried and failed to keep Pixie pinned, but the redhead overturned the American so he was on top, and began raining down punches.

Cain Banderas found himself in a tricky situation. He was unarmed and underneath this lump of a man, having the crap beaten out of him. "Help!" He wailed again, writhing, trying to get free and turn his face away. Pixie grinned, unaware that behind him, the door behind which Maleficent and Antonia-Lily resided was now unguarded and being opened...

-----

Cyrenaica sighed, bringing down a hammer on a very valuable sapphire earring. He watched with an almost curious expression as the Necromancer magic went back to Scribe, then turned the hammer round, took a deep breath and broke his own nose. He would go to great lengths to protect his position here, keep himself working well as a spy.

------

Cain Kenelm stopped for just a moment to get his breath back. Their job? Cause a distraction, keep others away from Serpine's precious little girl long enough for the others to retrieve Ravel's. Hell, one of his swords was coated in blood. None was his. Losses to Mevolent's side were of no concern to him. He had long since lost sight of Luca, but it wouldn't be long before sunset, it really wouldn't. Cain had to get out of there before she shed her skin. He was back to swinging that sword, but had precious little room now. He was going to do himself a mischief thanks to Paraplegia calling him in in the first place. The sudden shot of light calmed him a little. Paraplegia himself had just joined the fight, and what he lacked in physical mobility he more than made up for in magic skills and power, as well as aim and smarts.

-----

That left just Madame Mist and Popularity to march right up to Maleficent. Banderas was acting as a distraction for Pixie-Twist, and they walked in with no bother to find the woman rocking the crying child, trying to sooth it with songs. Her fists clenched and he cleared his throat. Maleficent looked up with a gasp. "You...You wouldn't fight me, not while I'm holding your baby..."
Mist's eyes took in the bruises on her baby's body. "What have you done to her?" He asked in a cold, quiet voice. B-J wished she had screamed at her instead.
"It wasn't me. I would never hurt an innocent child..." She narrowed her eyes. "Although no child of yours is exactly innocent."
Mist hesitated. "Erskine told me you had a crush on him once. You still do, don't you? That is what this is about."
B-J glowered. "It's more than that!"
"The pressure of staying here, of believing so much that those deadly things are your saviours? I think you're going insane, B-J."
The girl with the short black hair let out a sob. "I wasn't behind the kidnapping, I swear!" She wailed. "I couldn't let anyone else care for this child. You see-" She cut off with a gasp. There were spiders swarming her ankles. Some were Mist's, some...some were Basilisk's. She was sure none had come from Popularity. He would have had to have spat them out, it would have been too obvious. Right now he was just glaring. His eyes widened, however, when B-J suddenly stumbled, arms releasing Antonia-Lily. He threw himself forward, catching the child before either of them hit the floor, and was very careful not to fall on top of her, keeping his arms outstretched. Basilisk's eyes met Mist's across the room.
She smiled. "I scratch your back, you scratch mine." She muttered, gesturing for her and Popularity to follow.

((I feel evil, oh so evil, I feel so evil I'd kill you with eeeeaaaaase, because I kill off all your favourites of my OCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCs))

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Memphis Heatwave: Crash Landing

They slept in the little run-down house over night. Xerxes and Nemo guarded their little shelter in turns, and as dawn broke, Xerxes collapsed onto the little pile of coats he had been using as a makeshift mattress, complaining about the night shifts. Nemo sat up from the table he had been sleeping on and stretched, perfectly awake. Refreshed, even. Memphis and River watched them closely from their little corner as they exchanged witticisms. They seemed quite close as friends. Memphis wondered briefly if Bernard had been like that with them before working at the Sanctuary. He titled his head back slightly, wondering about whether he could befriend them. He had never been especially close to Xerxes and Nemo. Almost everything he knew about them was through Bernard, but he had met Nemo's wife before. He crossed his arms, feeling an awkwardness envelope him. Memphis had never actually felt lonely before, but right now he was certainly getting a taste of that feeling, and he didn't like it. When he was young, he had had his parents, and that was enough for him. Ever since they died, he had had Amadeus there for him, every day of his life up until he kicked it. Amadeus had saved his life on no less than four occasions, possibly more, and Memphis had never been able to repay him for all that. He felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Mem, you okay?"
He replied in Spanish, claiming he didn't feel well. River quickly switched to the same language, thinking her husband didn't want to let the others hear. She asked him what was wrong.
Memphis shrugged. "It's up here." He told her quietly, tapping his temple. "It's thoughts and feelings. You know what I'm like."
"Better than anyone else." She told him softly, wrapping her arms around him. He was tempted to say Amadeus knew him best, but he kept his mouth shut. That would have just been a stupid thing to say. It was kind of true, though. Amadeus knew everything about him, right down to certain self-harm and suicide things that River would never know about.

Nemo left the little house and looked around, smiling. Nice day. Would be nicer without the thing in the distance that looked a horrible lot like...like...Nemo turned and ran back inside the run-down building. "We have to get out of here, guys."
The others gave him a look. "Why?" asked Memphis exasperatedly.
"Lord Vile. We gotta get away and fast."
Memphis swore. "How the hell are we supposed to get away?" He yelled, trying not to let the others see he was panicking.
Xerxes frowned, rolling off his collection of coats and stomping his way across the ground. "Me and some Hungarian girl used to use this place. I know, a bit far out for us, but desperate times." Suddenly his foot hit something that gave an unpleasant juddering sound. He grinned. "Trap door, Heatwave." He held his hand over the piece that had juddered and it bubbled and dissolved. Xerxes lowered himself down and the others hurried after him.  In the darkness, the sorcerer with the wart did something and the floorboards closed back over them.
"Dark in here..." Memphis muttered, arms out to feel his way through what was effectively pitch darkness. He had felt a sinking feeling as he had entered the hole and already knew his magic was bound.

-----

The Mage with the limp frowned. The things he could hear through the door unnerved him ever so slightly. The elders were discussing with a girl, a Luca. He could hear everything. He really should not have been standing there. The door opened and he didn't have enough time to dart away. Mist nodded to him in greeting. "Paraplegia."
"Elder." He replied, nodding back. The other two elders and the red-haired vampire they had been conversing with followed Mist out and all caught sight of Paraplegia, who bit his lip, sensing something bad was about to happen to him.

An hour later he was in a conference room with a team he had called together himself. Curious Paraplegia was known for fighting in the war, as were Cain Kenelm, Cain Banderas and Cyrenaica Rust. The four of them had been a hit-team, in a way. Paraplegia sighed. It had been a long time since he had been into this sort of job. He was also joined by Elders Mist and Popularity. The air was tense and awkward, with the occasional uncomfortable shift or clearing of throat. Luca stood in the corner. There was a plan, a set plan, and it included all seven people in the room. Of course, they had to be secretive, so all you need to know for now, and indeed all I, the humble narrator, knows is that they were going after B-J Maleficent, striving to retrieve the kidnapped daughter of Ravel and Mist.

-----

Elsewhere, a good day and a half after the first section in this chapter, Memphis awoke in some kind of cellar, wrist chained above his head. He was lying flat on the floor, and when he looked to his wrist he found it bound tightly to a radiator with one of his own handcuffs. The last thing he remembered was going down into that hole and trying to make his way through the darkness. Obviously he had been successful at getting through-he could see the hole they had come through from where he lay-but something unnerved him greatly. Possibly because the ginger man above him was pointing a gun at his forehead.

((Here, have a short bridging chapter before more Rist events...RIST, MAN, RIIIIIIST))

Zafira Kerias and Erskine Ravel: Playdate

The following takes place before Freedom's Price and at the same time as Once Could See But Now Am Blind

Zafira looked at the rain cloud. It was raining, in Roarhaven, not so much of a surprise. Alexis was excited.
"Momma how much further?" She asked. Zafira smiled. 
"Close. Come I know the Sanctuary is here." Zafira led her family to the Irish Sanctuary. One thing about Zafira was being in Ireland for a few days she gained part of her Dublin accent from centuries ago.

Madame Mist was inside, laying out a play mat that Ruby and Dextra instantly began to crawl all over. Antonia-Lily was still under hospital care, but mainly as a just in case thing. She would, hopefully, be out by the end of the week.

Erskine waited by the main doors, balancing himself carefully on a set of crutches. He was recovering remarkably quickly from being hit by the car, but for now was still noticeably crippled. He was going to greet Zaf and co and show them where to go, but then doctor's orders were to give his legs a rest. Zafira led them inside and thankfully didn't have to deal with usual stuff. As an Elder she was allowed in. Alexis smiled
"Is that Mr. Ravel?" She asked pointing towards none other then Ravel. Javier nodded. Alexis's face lit up. 
Ravel flashed a wide smile and made his way over. If he could do so, he would have crouched down in front of Alexis and said hello. As it was, he gave her a smile and a nod and wondered whether to address her or not. Instead, he turned his smile to Zafira. "I see you found it okay. Great to see you again, anyway...horrid night. You must be Alexis." He turned back to the child and decided to crack a joke. "I expected you to be taller." Then he made sure he didn't ignore Javier, as there was no point in appearing rude at this juncture, an gave him a smile and a hello, not sure of anything else to be said. 
Zafira smiled, "Was not hard at all. I have been in Roarhaven before." Then Alexis giggled as Ravel spoke to her,
"I'm tall! I'm taller then some of the kids in preschool!" She told the Grand Mage proudly. "And I know some magic!" Javier nodded in greeting to Ravel
"Okay Alexis don't set the Grand Mage on fire. " 
Erskine chuckled and gestured with his head for them to follow him though the halls. "You may want to be a bit gentle with the girls. They don't have magic yet, and they're rather small..." He trailed off. He was slower than the others in his current condition, but at least while inured like this he didn't have to wear his ghastly robes. Finally they reached the right hall and he nodded to the correct door, then leant against a wall, his arms tired. 

As they walked they kept pace with Ravel. Zafira kept hold of Alexis who seemed absolutely mesmerized by Ravel. When they reached the door Alexis smiled,
"I'll be careful! I'm very gentle! We have a puppy at home named Coco so I know gentle!" She went right through to doors. Zafira sighed,
"Sorry about her. She litterally was running the whole way here. And don't worry she knows gentle and I have taught her to not set things on fire...I'm not an Elemental but I do remember some stuff." 
He smiled and nodded. "At least we won't be needing any fire engines." He joked, "She must be excited. Very full of beans."

Ruby looked up when Alexis entered. Dextra seemed to be engrossed with a pink toy car as she put it curiously to her mouth. 

Zafira smirked
"Alexis almost set my Administrator on fire thank god she's an Elemental." She laughed.

Alexis smiled and sat down,
"I'm Alexis." She told Ruby and Dextra. She looked excited to meet them. 

Erskine laughed. "Hope it wasn't too chaotic. I'm actually a bit worried about when the girls start to pick up magic...they'll probably set fire to the curtains or something. And if one of them becomes a Child of the Spider..." He trailed off and shuddered.

Dextra couldn't talk yet but she could wave, which was exactly what she did. As Antonia was still under medical care, she would take a lot longer than the others to learn these basics, but Ruby and Dextra could toddle, and Ruby had a few words to speak. "Hewwo" was all she said so far. It was Madame Mist who introduced each girl. 

"Well just don't bring them to the Sanctuary. At all. And has your uh...wife is a Child of the Spider whichever one is attached to her the most will take after her." Zafira explained shuddering at the thought. She didn't like any of the Children of the Spider.

Alexis waved back to Dextra and smiled. "Hey Ruby." She said and looked around the room and glanced up at Madame Mist. Alexis gave a small smile. It was obvious Alexis didn't know the Irish Elder's magic yet. 
"What are you playing with?" She asked the girls. 

"Honestly? My wife is creepy enough, I don't want one of my kids to start coughing up arachnids left, right and centre." He shuddered. "There are curtains at the house house as well." he pointed out. "And where do we leave them when we're at the Sanctuary?"

"Broom brooms." Ruby replied, using a word for cars she had picked up off of God knows who and showing Alexis the plastic purple car in her little hand. 

Zafira tried to not die of laughter,
"How exactly did you and her...find love for each other?" She asked. Even being used to professional situations Zafira couldn't stop from smirking. Javier nodded,
"Yes well the last Child of the Spider I met I killed." He said calmly looking at the Irish Grand Mage.

Alexis grinned,
"That is an awesome car. I heard stories about Skulduggery Pleasant having a purple car." She said. She looked around and found a mini track and put the track together. 
"Now the broom broom has a motorway!" 

Erskine met Javier's eyes uncertainly. "Some of them can be rather untrustworthy. That Acacia Adonia woman was one herself." He hesitated and thought about Zaf's question, trying to ignore the laughter. "It just sort of happened. Once you get past the general creepiness of the Children of the Spider...scratch that, you never do, but she's just...nope, I honestly have no clue."

Ruby drew a blank at Skulduggery's name. She had heard it being mentioned before but had heard nothing properly about the man. When Alexis built the motorway, her face lit up. "Dexter!" It was the closest she had gotten to pronouncing her sister's name so far and she never understood the somewhat sad look on her father's face when she pronounced it that way. Dextra made her own car fly over the motorway by throwing it and then rolled onto her back, giggling. Ruby just sat there, looking a little confused. "Motorways are good." She finally said, going to retrieve the car her sister had thrown so they could play with them both. 

Javier nodded,
"I plan to not murder an Elder." He reassured. Zafira rolled her eyes,
"I don't prefer working with them but hey. You found someone which is good and got not one but three kids." 

Alexis giggled and found another car for herself. She nodded to Ruby.
"I live in New York City and we have so many motorways. Momma is Grand Mage of America." She placed her own car on the motorway and let it go. She clapped delighted. Alexis grinned and pushed the air slightly to make her car go faster. 

Erskine nodded trustingly. "I'm sure you do." He told Javier with his usual smile. He thought about the three kids and how he hadn't really wanted one all that much and shrugged, saying nothing.

Ruby smiled. "I seen a motorway, and it was all crammed with broom brooms and Daddy swore at people and Mummy told him off because he was naughty. I can remember some of the words." Mist pulled a hopeless face beneath her veil as Ruby continued, pushing her car back and forth over the road. Dextra was playing with a doll now. "My Mummy and Daddy work here a lot. I have to stay here a lot." 

Javier smiled and put an arm around Zafira. 
"Soon Alexis will have a sibling." He told Ravel grinning. Zafira sighed happily.

"My Mommy swears at people too on the motorway." Alexis giggled. She nodded as Ruby told her about staying here,
"My Mommy is like your Dad. So I go to the Sanctuary in America!" Alexis smiled. 

Erksine smiled back. "Congratulations..." He glanced down at his hands and wondered whether he could shake their hands without dropping a crutch. It was a brief glance before he leaned the less supportive crutch against the wall and held his hand out in a congratulatory fashion.

Ruby giggled. "Grown ups are funny when they get angry on motorways. Sanctaroonies are not fun." 

Zafira shook his hand. Javier nodded. He kept his arm around Zafira protectivly.
"Thank you." She said. "Who tried to kill you?" Zafira asked.

"Grown ups are funny!" Alexis giggled. "I like the Sanctuary because the Administrator gives me candy and sometimes I see the ghost of a former Grand Mage!" 

Erskine looked a little confused for a moment, then looked down at his bad hip and bound leg and chuckled. "Some idiot hit me with a car...although, admittedly, I did run into the road...but someonewas trying to kill me..." He trailed off for a moment and shook his head. "In the end I really don't know."

Ruby's eyes widened and Dextra looked over with interest. "Ghoss!" She called out excitedly. Ruby smiled to her sister, then back  at Alexis. "I want to see a ghost! That sounds good! We don't get  anything." 

Zafira smirked,
"Ah...well cars hurt." She gestured to her face. "Niccol├│ Croatoan had attacked me if you recall a while ago. I still have faint scars." 

"You gots to cone to America! I live there! We got three Sanctuaries cuz that's how we are!" Alexis said excited. She looked up at Madame Mist addressing the Elder,
"Elder Mist." She began respectfully as her mother taught, "Would Dextra and Ruby be able to come to America next time to visit?" 

He picked up his crutch again and nodded. "I know about car pain by...multiple experience." He shrugged and tilted his head, looking closely. "Oh yeah...I heard about that...I was quite worried. Glad you're okay."

Ruby looked a little stunned. "Ooh, thwee..."
Madame Mist looked down at Alexis. "We will have to discuss it, but shall see what we can do. Perhaps next time you shall be able to meet their other sister." 

Javier spoke up,
"Oh trust me. I came home and she was laying on the floor half dead." Javier said quietly. Zafira nodded.
"Well I prefer to not relive that. So you mind giving us a tour?"

"Oh three of you! Okay! That'd be cool!" Alexis grinned and looked at the two that were there
"I'm gonna have a sibling!" She exclaimed happily. Alexis made her car go fast using the air. 

Erskine wasn't sure what to say to Javier, so he turned to Zafira and went back to smiling. "I certainly can try if you don't mind how slow I go." He moved forward carefully, awkwardly, wincing slightly  at a pain in his hip.

Ruby smiled. "Sissies are fun." She looked at the car zooming along and frowned. "How you do that?" 

"It's fine. I understand your condition we can move at your pace." Zafira said. Javier stayed close. Always was.

Alexis grinned proudly,
"Magic." She told Ruby. She clicked her fingers summoning a flame. 
"I bet you have some magic! Try making a flame." 

Erskine smiled, grunting slightly with effort. "Okay, thanks. Come on, there's a lot to see...it's not all interesting and there are leaking things, but there are stuff..."

"...How?" Ruby asked, looking more and more confused. 

"Eh I'm not used to having the whole Council around. In America we have three separate Sanctuaries. Each Elder runs one. I am in charge of the main one though." Zafira explained. She figured at this point the odds of a fellow Grand Mage turning traitor were slim.

Alexis did the motion of summoning a flame again. 
"Do what I did." She said calmly. She was excited to hopefully help Ruby learn magic. 

"I think I've heard that before..." He muttered to himself before attempting a shrug as he moved. "Not sure. Interesting trivia though. I think it's better to share the workload...if I ran a Sanctuary by myself, I'd go nuts."

Ruby frowned. She couldn't click her fingers yet. She wiggled her fingers and thumb together to no avail and looked upset. "I can't do it..." 

"I am insane. Well it's not bad because to me it's normal. And plus America is larger. We need the three Sanctuaries to cover all of the country. I work in New York City which is the east coast. If all of the Elders were just there if we had a problem in California it'd be hard to deal with it efficiently." Zafira explained.

Alexis went over to Ruby and made her fingers do the motion. 
"If you don't get it you can always bug your Daddy into helping you! He's an Elemental." 

Erskine smirked. "You have a point there." He mused. "It'd all be easier if there wasn't so much trouble to start with, but maybe a whole lot less fun..."

Ruby nodded. "Bugging Daddy is fun...he's always really busy and always complains a lot and it's really funny." 

"I deal with a lot of entertaining things." Zafira smirked and caught Javier's eye. Javier winked. 

Alexis grinned,
"My Mommy complains too! Maybe all Grand Mages do that! She complains that her other Council member is in California!" 

"I guess there's never a dull moment in this line of work." His mind flashed back to being told Ghastly had died and he faltered, lost in the thought and almost losing his balance.

Ruby smirked. "My Daddy complains about a lot of things. He complains about the paper work and the people and me crashing toy cars into his toes and the thingies he has to wear and that all his best friends are dead. I don't know what that means." 

"Hey woah you okay, Ravel?" Zafira asked. Javier looked slightly concerned. 

"My mommy complains that I kinda accidently broked her foot! And set someone on fire!" Alexis giggled. She smiled. 

"I'm fine," he muttered, glaring at a spot on the floor, "I just slipped. Come on, I want to show you the...room where we keep the, uh...things..." He said, clearly trying to change the subject.

Ruby giggled as well. "I played with my Daddy's stick thing once and I losted it and he got really unhappy." 

"Right." Zafira nodded allowing him to lead. She looked a  bit unsure.

"Grand Mages are funny!" Alexis giggled and made her toy car race. 

Erskine bit his lip and opened a random door, forgetting where exactly he was and just hoping it had something interesting inside. It didn't, but that was okay. It was a meeting room and he needed a rest, so the abundance of chairs was helpful.

Ruby hummed in agreement, trying to push her car along without actually touching it. "It moved! Lexis, it moved!" 

Zafira noticed how tired he was,
"Guessing getting run over didn't help." She laughed and Javier nodded. 

"You did it!!!" Alexis screamed excited. She looked super excited. 

Erskine smirked. "I must say, it certainly put a downer on that day."

Ruby grinned. "I made it move! I did it! I did magic! I did magic!" She screamed the last sentence over and over a few times. 

From where Zafira stood she heard a mini Irish accent screaming,
"Appears your children are learning magic." She noted to Ravel. Javier cracked a smile.

"Yay!!!" Alexis screamed and hugged Ruby. "You did magic! You did magic!" 

"It would happen eventually." He replied, letting a smile grace his features. "They'll be bugging me about that for weeks on end now."

Ruby hugged back. "I love magic!" 

"Don't worry they'll realize the fun is doing things on their own. Alexis did." Zafira smiled. She took Javier's hand.

"That was Elemental magic like your Dad!" Alexis explained. "I'm learning Elemental magic too." 

"Seriously, Ruby's favourite thing to do is come bug me and try annoy me when I'm trying to work."

"It's so cool! I can push things without touching them!" She pushed at the air again and watched the car move a little more. 

"Alexis did the same but Javier kept her home when she wanted to," 

"You doing good! Air is fun to use!" Alexis moved her car with air. 

"Unfortunately we can't really keep them home, what with both of us working here and stuff." He gave a slight shrug.

"I love air!" Ruby squealed, pushing at the air at random and seeing what moved. 

"I understand, I guess it is best keep then here." Zafira muttered. Then Javier spoke,
"I guess you and Mist got lucky, triplets on first shot." 

"You doing really well!" Alexis praised. She pushed air with Ruby giggling 

Erskine gave a slightly moody shrug. "Yeah, well, I guess that depends on the point of view..."

"What else can I do with air?" 

"You don't like having little ones...that many?" Javier asked.

"Well you can fly but that's hard." 

Erskine gave a slight and silent chuckle. "I haven't slept at all for the past month. Just one kid, I'd be fine. Triplets? So hard to handle."

Ruby thought for a moment. "I can't wait to learn all this stuff more!" 

"I understand. I just have Alexis so..." Zafira trailed off. Alexis was behaved.

"It's fun' soooo fun!" Alexis told Ruby. 

Erskine nodded, smiling. "I'd consider you lucky, with just the one. I don't know how many times I've had to go to a random worker here and ask for a bit of help. You're not supposed to try tackle triplets by yourself, you're supposed to get outside help..."

Ruby gave a big smile. "You know what? We should be friends!" 

"Yeah baaad idea." Zafira laughed. She smiled happily. Poor Ravel. Triplets.

"We should be Ruby!" Alexis said giving Ruby her hand. 

Erskine's smile grew wider. "The main problem seems to be finding the right help at the right time."

Ruby pounced, taking Alexis' hand in both of hers. "Friends forever?" She was clearly quite an excitable child. 

"Yeah you need a knack for that." Zafira smirked. Javier smiled. 

"Friends forever! And ever!" Alexis told Ruby excited. "A knack I just don't seem to have."

"And ever." Ruby responded, wanting to get the last word in. 

"It's hard. You'll get it eventually." Javier said. He looked afraid to address  Ravel.

"Yay! And we can visit each others houses too!" Alexis looked ecstatic. 

Erskine smiled, but his brow creased slightly at the implication of fear from Javier. "Hopefully."

"What's your house like? Mine's old and creaky and the curtains are blue."

A Sanctuary operative limped into the otherwise empty medical bay. It seemed off to him. This place wasn't supposed to be empty, there were supposed to be people monitoring any patients. That was equally odd, no patients. Wasn't the Grand Mage's daughter...? Ah. He hurried out of the room again, panicking slightly. 

"I wonder how you manage three kids." Javier laughed. He took Zafira's hand.

"Mine is two floors and new! And big! My room is big!" Alexis told Ruby. "And we have a doggy named Coco!" 

"With difficulty...although it must be said the youngest hasn't come home yet..."

"My room's big too, and pink... want a doggy..." She turned to her mum. "Can we get a doggy?"
Mist shook her head with a slight sigh.
"Aw..." 

"Oh. You should check on her." Zafira advised. She looked a bit uneasy. Kids missing. Bad.

"Well if you can come by me yiu can play with Coco too!" Alexis grinned. She glanced up at Mist and back and Ruby. Alexis felt uneasy by the Elder. 

"She's fine." He insisted. "She's got everyone in the medical bay monitoring her until she's well enough to be taken home."

Ruby grinned. "I like doggies." She caught the glance and also looked to her mother as Dextra tripped and the Elder went to tend to her. "My mummy's really fun!" 

"If you insist." Zafira muttered. She let Ravel think what he wants.

"Mine is too!" Alexis glanced at Dextra, "Dextra okay?" 

Ravel smiled and opened his mouth to speak, but that was when the mage with the limp passed the open door, saw them inside, backtracked and leaned heavily against the door frame, trying to get his breath back. Ravel arched an eyebrow at him.

"My mummy reads stories and uses her hand as aminals and plays games and turns her knee into a horsie! It's so much fun"
Mist held Dextra on her hip and smiled beneath her veil. "She's fine, just a little bump." 

Zafira turned to the mage curious. She didn't know what happened but it probably wasn't good. She was in a Cradle of Magic.

"My Mommy reads to me too when she isnt working or Daddy reads! They make their voices funny." Alexis giggled. 

The mage with the limp took a couple of minutes to muster up enough air to start speaking, deciding he really needed to get a bit more exercise. "There's no-one...in the medical bay," he gasped out. "Antonia...is missing..."
Erskine frowned, struggling to his feet. "What do you mean...missing?" He grunted out as he stood.
The man looked afraid to say. "It looks like someone's snuck in and taken her...we've got forensics on it now."

Ruby shrugged. "Mine don't do voices. My Daddy does sleepy, if that counts..." 

"Who took her? Wait forget that." Zafira muttered. "Want me to help?" 

"That counts!" Alexis laughed and continued to giggle. 

Ravel slammed a fist on the conference table. "Someone was supposed to be watching over her!"
The man with the limp backed out of the door and wrinkled his nose. Something smelled.
Ravel gave a sigh. "Help with what? What are we supposed to do?" He sounded like he was accepting defeat already.

Ruby let out a giggle of her own. "He's very good at sounding sleepy!" 

Zafira slapped Ravel, 
"Idiot! Do not give up. We will find her. Use the head between your shoulders. Think. Who would kidnap your child. You're Grand mage of Ireland. Who holds a grudge against you?" She questioned already thinking of possible people. She never gave up unless defeat was inevitable.

"My Mommy does the Irish accent really good." Alexis said. She grinned. 

Ow He mouthed at the sting of Zafira's slap. He didn't seem to register what she was saying, then he tilted his head back and thought. "Where do I start?" He asked to himself quietly, making sure he moved ever so slightly out of range of Zaf's arms. "Extremists and terrorists, Children of the Spider, anyone who works with or for Mevolent, that guy I punched one time in Sainsbury's...those two people that killed Vex and...Vex, whoever killed Ghastly, Maleficent's brother and his friends, any enemies my wife's made..."

Ruby giggled again. "My Mummy and Daddy don't try accentses." She replied, taking a Barbie doll from a nearby toybox and fiddling with it. 

"Names. Do a check on all of them who was near or around Roarhaven. She will be found." Zafira promised.

"Ah. Ooh barbie!!" Alexis took one out and played with it. 

Erskine gave a sullen and somewhat subdued nod. "I'll have to be the one to tell her, won't I?" He mumbled quietly, referring to Mist, dreading her reaction.

"My Barbie's a princess who drives a monster truck." Ruby responded with a smile. 

"Take a Cleaver or two." Zafira suggested smirking. She knew what she'd do to Ravel so Mist probably would be violent. 

"Mine is a princess too! She lives on a pretty island!" 

Ravel smirked back, despite the seriousness of the situation. "Good suggestion." he stated before swinging himself off to find his soon to be furious wife.

"My princess lives in a pretty pink castle with a purple roof and dagons! She's friends witht the dagons." 

"She's going to murder him." Javier said quietly. Zafira laughed,
"He will learn never piss off the wife." 

Alexis grinned, 
"Are the dragons there to keep her safe?" 
Ruby nodded. "And also to be her friends ands there are baby dagons and they're so cute!" 
"Will she be able to ride them?" Alexis asked. "Cuz my princess rides on tropical animals like a uhm tiger!" 
"She can't ride the baby ones." Ruby replied, tracing a pattern on the floor with her Barbie's feet. 
"Well yeah because they'd be too small." Alexis grinned. "Like my new sibling when they come!" 
"Or like Antona." Ruby replied. "She's my sissie and she's tiny. But Dexta's all big." 
"She will be big too!" Alexis giggled. "Coco my puppy is tiny too."  
"I want a puppy!" Ruby moaned. There was a knock at the door and Madame Mist went to open it. Ruby watched her go and started twisting her barbie's hair. "Puppies are all fluffy and cute..." 
"So are kittens! We have them running around the backyard. We named them after really famous people! A white kitty we named Skulduggery! Except that kitty is a girl." 
"I has talking to my goddaddy, his name's Anton, and he said he used to have a kitty called Skulduggy. A girl one. Before he met someone of the same name. I don't know anyone called Lulskuddy..." Ruby frowned at her inability to get the name right, then glanced over her shoulder at the sound of angry whispers. Her parents seemed to be arguing in the doorway. Alexis heard the angry whispers. She held back a giggle at the funny Irish accents. "He was a detective." 
"Did he have one of those things that people make..." She got distracted as her parents' voices raised. "Are they fighting?" Alexis nodded,
"I think that they are fighting. Not very good either." Alexis mumbled. She didn't look happy. 
"I don't want them to fight..." Ruby mumbled, looking like she was about to cry. She gave a squeak of fear and started crying when she heard the sharp sound of skin on skin-a slap that certainly sounded painful. Erskine had clearly said the wrong thing in his attempts to calm Mist down, and now he turned his attention to Alexis and Ruby.
"Girls, I'm afraid Alexis has to go home now." 
"AWWW!!!!" Alexis said and hugged Ruby. Zafira came in with Javier,
"We'll set up another day I promise." Zafira said going and picking up Alexis. "What do you say?"
"Thank you Grand Mage Ravel and Elder Mist for inviting me over." Alexis responded politely. 
Ravel gave a curt nod as a response. "Have a nice day, and keep her safe." Ravel told Zaf and Javier, nodding at Alexis when he said 'her'. He then made a move towards Ruby. "Ruby, come here." She did as she was told and Mist gave an apologetic look to the Americans. Javier nodded speaking for both his wife and himself,
"One of you can contact Zafira at the Sanctuary, main American one in New York City." He said and took Zafira's hand. The Necromancer shadow-walked immediately and the family went to their rental car and began driving to Dublin City where they would be staying overnight and leaving for America the next day. Ravel sighed once they were out of sight and picked his daughter up off the floor. He turned to Madame Mist. "I want you to talk to Popularity." He took Dextra from her and looked at the floor. "I'll watch these two."
Mist hesitated, looking like she was going to argue, but nodded and left instead. 

((And now those parting quips Jinxie puts at the end of everything she posts:...Does what I've written here mean Dextra's first word is 'ghosts'?))