Something sat pinned to the material of the seat beside him as Mr Twist drove. On closer inspection, it was a purple spider broach. Vex unpinned it and arched an eyebrow, examining it. It was a gorgeous piece bit it would be a lot nicer if it had a nicer model. Though he wasn't exactly scared of spiders, he wasn't exactly fond of them either and they did have a tendency to creep him out just a little. He wasn't as bad as Erskine, but still. "This yours?" He held it so Twist could see it.
"A friend's. He's dead. I don't want that, neither does Esra."
"Neither do I." There was a groan from the back seat as Ghastly came to. Dexter turned in his seat and handed him the broach. His friend stared at it in bewilderment and he turned back to the front.
"Dexter? Any reason in particular you gave this to me or...?"
"Yeah. Break that instead of me when I tell you I gave the go-ahead for Esra to operate on you." There was an awkward silence and Twist turned on the stereo system. P!nk's 'So What' began playing and Vex sent a vile glare.
"I told you your music sucks!" He scolded. Twist turned up the volume, grinning.
"Uh...where are we going?"
He turned in his seat again to look once more to Ghastly. "Roarhaven. Like you said."
He began to examine the broach in his hand. "Dexter...help me talk to Erskine when we get there?"
"Good idea...he probably thinks I'm still at Mevolent's."
Daemon decided she enjoyed watching Austin and Belinda argue. It got very heated and passionate and several times had they nearly struck one another. Daemon sat in the corner and watched with a grin plastered on her face as Austin raised his hand once more then dropped it with a howl of anguish, going back to insulting his older sister. She began to scold him for daring to say that when he was twice as bad, calling him one of the biggest hypocrites she had ever met. Someone came to stand by the window, looking in disapprovingly. Her eyes met Daemon, who stood slowly, glaring. Austin caught her staring out the window, looked and held up a hand to cut his sister off. He went to the window and glowered, fumbling with the lock. Belinda joined him, not knowing who the girl outside was. The window was forced open and as the outsider opened her mouth to speak, Austin hit her across the jaw.
Sierra shrieked and hit the ground. Mouth a grim line, Austin leaned on the window sill. Sierra sat up and glared at him. "You want something?" The man asked cheerfully.
"...I did not deserve that..."
"No, you deserved much worse."
"I don't deserve any ill treatment. I'm here because the thing I wanted off Scaroe was dangerous and she's planted it on someone. That someone has been driven clearly mad and is being used. To kill. Unquestioningly. We need to stop the guy and get the object off him. It corrupts and twists and kills and we wanted it to contain it. I've been after it for the sake of the entire damn human population."
Austin looked back at Daemon, who shrugged. "No-one told me this."
If Sierra was expecting to be helped up as she waited in the silence she was bitterly disappointed. She pushed herself up, quickly moving out of Austin's reach, and dusted herself off. "All I know is that Springheeled Jack is going to end up dead alongside anyone Arachne Basilisk holds a grudge against, including Daemon...and I know he's already begun. He left no trace...but have you ever heard of a miss Lilia White?"
He glanced over his shoulder. Aleron was in the kitchen, trying to make coffee. Their eyes met momentarily. Guiltily, Austin dragged his eyes back to the dark-haired girl. "She's dead?"
"I hope you remember Lilia was a close friend of mine as well, making this even more unacceptable than it was before." The Necromancer nodded. "Only we have a few issues..."
Jasmin stood by as people rushed around like crazy, some trying to explain what had happened to Starke, others trying to find out, some organising an army as Germany was taken and France was threatened to be next. Warheit was being kept in Lyon for his own safety. It had officially been reasoned that sending him back to Germany was certain death on a stick. Charles was locking Frivolidad in a cell. Jasmin had tried to talk to his daughter, but she had flounced off. She hated the idea of her father seeing someone other than her mother. He just left it. She would never listen to him anyway. Another of the elders, looking rather disgruntled, asked for his assistance. A Compassion Felin or somesuch. She began the discussion with whether he would stay and fight when Mevolent appeared or allow himself to be led away with her, Brusque and those acting as effective bodyguards like a good little Elder. He looked at her for the longest age, trying to think. Really, he hadn't thought about whether he would fight or flee. He chewed a fingernail and gazed up at the ceiling and thought. Felin nudged him, demanding an answer. "I'm not sure." He yawned and stretched and stopped, turning to her properly. "At the moment? Despite my reputation, it looks like I'm going to evacuate."
Felin gave a satisfied nod. "Charles is taking responsibility as your protection."
"If she's still here when it comes to fighting, we'll naturally be evacuating Lydie as well."
"Good. And Warheit, I assume?"
"Where exactly will we be going?"
She shrugged. "No clue. I think it's meant to be kept a secret just in case."
"I can't go into the unknown. I have to know where I'll be going."
"Just go with it, Jasmin."
"I can't. Don't forget I am not a very trusting person."
The other Elder heaved a sigh and rolled her eyes. "Fine. I'll see if I can find out...but Jasmin-"
"I can make no promises at this point, Felin. When it comes to it, I will decide."
She shrugged and turned off, motioning for him not to follow. He heard her mutter something rude about his stubborn attitude as she went and he grinned.
Jayden Slander watched the old house from a safe distance, occasionally glancing up towards the branches of the tree he lay beneath. "Are we done observing yet? I want to just kill the guy and get some food, okay?"
There was a bit of cursing from above. Slander rolled his eyes. The someone hiding in the tree fell out behind him and he had to stifle a laugh.
"I hate squirrels." Mortis Grievance hissed.
"Did it attack you or just pee on you?"
"Whatever. It's dead." He began to walk down the hill, cursing.
Jayden grinned and followed. "Do you hate them more than crocodiles or do they hold a special place in your hate?"
"I hate nothing more than crocodiles..." Something shone in the light of the moon and Jayden had a knife at his throat.
"Okay, Mort. You got me. Too slow again."
"You're dead. You need to learn this, Jay."
The alarms had been disabled quite easily the night before. Jayden picked the lock and they let themselves in through the back door. He moved on towards the stairs before his partner could start off on one about how much more thrilling killing with his old (non-romantic) partner had been, the tunnelling boosting the adrenaline, the struggle to each prove themselves more ruthless than the other...Jayden wasn't ruthless. He enjoyed the odd kill, but not nearly as much as Grievance or Dorado ever did. It just wasn't his thing, but hanging around with them in the first place had made his life dangerous enough to mean he had to join the killing himself. It was fun, he had to admit, but unlike his friends, he had deep remorse for each kill and he always hated the waiting and observing. He was impatient. That was what made him a danger to keep around and what made him truly a poor partner for Grievance. Jayden refused to admit it had anything to do with that. He was stealthy and had a sharp eye and mind and the vast majority of people were afraid of spiders, including tonight's target. They had seen him go to bed and so they crept into the bedroom...
...and the light clicked on. In the bed was not their target. It was a Sanctuary detective. Mortis sighed. "Hello detective..." He raised his hands a little at the gun pointed at his head. This particular detective had been on the boys' trail for a while. Killing him would be a pleasure, only his knife was at his belt and he didn't feel like chancing the idea of reaching the knife and throwing shadows before the man shot the gun. He doubted the man was ignorant of Slander's magic type as well. The detective grinned, getting up and walking over. "Caught you now, have I? I thought you'd slip up eventually. I knew tha-" He was cut off as Jayden threw up over his front. The detective cried out in alarm and disgust as the inky blackness from the man's mouth began to form a hoard of spiders. While he was distracted, Mortis dropped his hand to his belt, whipping out a knife he had so affectionately named Wilbur and lunged, darting behind the detective and holding Wilbur to his throat.
"Call to our target. Tell him it is okay, we are in shackles, and it is safe to come out."
"Do it, or we'll find out who you are and kill your family as well. We'll tear this place apart looking for him anyway. This just spares more people. We'll make you watch as we disembowel your closest loved ones."
The man hesitated. "Icarus, it's okay...they're in shackles...you can come out now." The problem with Grievance was that if he said he was going to kill someone, he would. He never bluffed. A man walked in.
"Thank God, I was so scared. Those lot are utter psychos and they have this thing against me for split-...ah..."
Mortis grinned. Jayden wore a smug smile. The killer drew Wilbur across the detective's throat and watched him drop with a gurgle as the dark-skinned Mage went to stop Icarus from escaping. He began to choke the man as he waited for his partner to finish with the detective. It turned into a game as the long-haired Mage crouched down to search for valuables they could use and savour the sight of the blood pumping from the unfortunate man's throat. Mortis would want his fun with Icarus as well. If it seemed the victim was going to pass out, he gave him a little slack to breathe and waited until he had recovered before continuing the choke. Finally the detective died and Mortis swaggered over to this Icarus bloke, hands in his pockets. The first rays of light were appearing over the horizon. "I'll buy breakfast today. I'm thinking something sweet."
"Finally. I'm starving. How the heck do you live like this? I'm surprised Dorado didn't leave sooner the way you work."
"Dorado tunnelled." He raised Wilbur above his head. "When he got hungry he'd disappear for a few seconds then return to obs laden with ice cream."
"I would kill for some ice cream."
"This is a good place to start. I think he had ice cream in his freezer last night when it was your turn to sleep."
Then his phone went off. The Necromancer frowned, lowering the knife and looking down to his pocket. His phone had never rung before. Half the time he didn't keep it charged or on, and no-one had his number...no-one but...
Garnet Dorado smiled. "Oh thank God. I know how unreliable with this damn thing you are. You'll never guess where I am, or rather who I am in the company of."
"Spit it out, you unholy gobshite. I'm trying to kill someone here."
Garnet heard Icarus whimper at Mortis' words. His smile grew wider. "Remember that eejit with the horrible singing voice?"
"The one we had the unholy experience of encountering when he was taking a damn shower?"
"Oh yeah. Dexter Vex. I'm in the same residence as him right now. Thought you might want to help me kill him some day soon."
His hand tightened on the mobile, eyes flickering to the window, the Mage they were having killed, the body of the detective, Jayden, Wilbur, back to the window..."I'll be there as soon as I can...I might have to make a detour or two to kill some people, but rest assured I'll be there...you're sure it's him?"
"I think I can send a photo without ending the call...hang on..."
Jayden let out an impatient sigh. Icarus whimpered again. Garnet sent a photo taken of Vex as the blonde Mage got up to leave. He seemed to have no idea he was being photographed. Ignorance was delicious.
"Excellent. Thank you for this opportunity, old friend." He took a moment to try and figure out how to hang up, then smiled, lowering Wilbur. Icarus relaxed a little. "Jayden, release him."
The Child of the Spider nodded and stepped back. The mage heaved a sigh of relief.
"Does...does this mean you're letting me go?"
The men did not answer. They left the bedroom and the victim watched them. Just as they reached the top of the stairs, Mortis whipped round, sending countless shadows to skewer poor Icarus. Jayden narrowed his eyes, running a hand over his bald scalp. "That was just a little bit overboard, Mort...he's practically exploded now..."
The Necromancer did not respond, He just reached up and pulled the custard-coloured ribbon from his hair. They passed a mangled crocodile-skin suitcase on their way out. "Couldn't help yourself, huh?"
"I don't know what you mean, Jayden."
"There's a pair of Crocs by the front door, by the way."
Mortis paused, then turned and headed for the front door to kill the shoes, muttering how those shoes were the only thing he had disliked about Dorado. Slander rolled his eyes and went to raid the fridge.
The ring was bought at this tacky jewellery shop full of the kind of thing no-one would ever want. It was a silvery-blue with an opal in the centre. The opal was surrounded by tiny black roses. Together it all looked astonishingly beautiful. As the only desirable thing in the shop, it had also been the most expensive. He had it in a little black velvet box wrapped in a pink ribbon. There was the silly 'only fools rush in' thing running round his head, but in a way it felt they had been together since before the kiss in the taxi. He wasn't sure how entirely, but they had spoken about it and both agreed it had felt that way. It had been what, four, five months now? Officially that was how long they had been together, but...
The car rounded the corner as he stepped out and braked hard to avoid running him down, sort of throwing all three occupants forward against their seatbelts. Erskine pulled an apologetic face as the front passenger struggled out of his seatbelt and threw the door open.
"Erskine, for the love of God, please tell me that wasn't step one of skinning me alive. I don't want to be a suitcase yet. Not until you've married Mist at least..."
"How'd you know about them?" Ghastly asked, getting out of the back passenger side door.
Vex looked at him, confused, then snapped his attention to Ravel. "No way...you're actually together now? I knew it! I knew you liked her! What's that in your pocket? Is it a wedding ring?"
"Thanks a lot, Ghastly..." He pulled out the little velvet box. "Good to see you're alive anyway, Dex."
"I know just how to make this perfect...Ghastly, what did you do with that broach?"
The third friend rolled his eyes and reached back into the car, returning with the purple spider broach. Vex snatched it and pinned it to the ribbon on the velvet box so that it looked like it was sitting there of its own free will. "Propose, Erskine..."
"God damn it...it's too well set up now..."
"It can't not be done."
"Once again, I hate you. Your bones will be sold on the site of your death."
"Yeah yeah, Dexter-skin suitcases and bone statues. Can't anyone ever think of anything new?"
((Finally utilising the only plans I have...have another exam tomorrow...wish me luck :P...and look, the next few chapters will be full of Rist!...I want a Dexter-skin suitcase now...it sounds pretty cool...))