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Messages - Val

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1
Sweet Crusades / Re: The Accountable
« on: June 07, 2017, 03:57:38 PM »
The day?s hours ran away from them. Val had always been a man who enjoyed his drink, but was not, nor had he ever claimed to be, a man who could hold it. But against the light that was a lifetime of being weak-livered, the shadow cast this afternoon was one of uncanny tolerance, and with, most abnormal of all, consideration paid to a quantity deemed above-average as light against the figure of a normal drinking day. The consequences of his consumption were most-always slobbishness, inverted speaking functions, broken balance and rancor, but this day he became instead afflicted with interest and talkativeness. Risa became aware of this irregular intoxicated state early when he performed an intentional gesture of contact: It was subtle and neutral; safe space, nothing she saw as a platform for motive, nothing but the brush of four fingertips across the knuckles of her right hand. He was speaking while he did it, quickly and imperatively at times, but despite the uncorking of his tongue his voice never lost the bleak, spanning monotone, upon which words that were often bleak and draining were drawn, for which he was known. No, his voice did not hurry from its unworried, unquestionable, beating, hammering meter, instead it was the eyes, eyes that were now sometimes wide when he spoke when always they were skinny, squinting, asking. And although she pleaded-not for refrain (for parts of her found his flowing whimsy very much amusing) she made certain, with expert flair and diversion, the man consumed no more alcohol for the duration of their stay, which was not more than an hour after the personal declaration of prevention in his interests. At this time, when the field was clear of conversation, Risa stood and buttoned herself into the grey peacoat; Val was on his feet not shortly after, and by the time the last button on her coat was fastened he?d have the door ajar, himself behind it. Their walk was one mostly in silence, with Val?s mind freshly fogged and muddled, and hers unwilling to bend to accommodate his rambling, which was a choice not made in spite but rather in lethargy. The walk took them south of the bar down a grand, four-lane boulevard. Risa accompanied Val toward the empty hotel in which he resided: It was a hike, three miles minimum, where hers was but a short hop from Ignus but in the opposite direction. Whether a sense of care about his wellbeing and ability to navigate home without incident existed within her was wholly unknown to him, but it was a fact that would be hardly disputable as she ventured further-and-further from her own apartment. Several blocks left, Val took a seat on a bench upon a twisty-little parkgreen that was little-more than a nice, civic slice of grass, a cobblestone path and two benches. He crossed his arms and looked up to Risa, who was of course already looking back, and slanted a smile. He said, ?Sorry. All the liquor that was trapped in my head started running around my body as we walked. Just need a moment. Maybe several.?

?Sure,? she said. ?You?re all bone as it is. You made it farther than I thought you would. And in the daylight no less.?

?What does that have to do with it??

Risa took a seat on Val?s left and crossed her legs. She reclined and gazed upwards thinly. ?The girl who worked the desk downstairs, as well as several of the interns, had a bet going: Just what are you? Vampire was an easy first pick, even though you seemed to do well in sunlight. Guess it was your skin and sunny attitude.?

?Was that your pick?? Val asked.

Risa shook her head. She said, ?No. Because I worked for you directly I tried to stay away from the betting as long as possible?not because you scared me, I?m sorry to say, but because it was unprofessional?my involvement was limited to slaying strange theories. I told them I didn?t believe you were a Vamp. I told them in-fact that I didn?t believe you were anything contemporary in the least. I actually thought there was a possibility that you were a man and nothing more, but strange stories kept surfacing. Then your sister showed and everything changed.?

?I can imagine. She refer to any of you as, ?Brides???

?Yes, yes,? Risa said, nodding; grinning. ?Elaborate on that??

?Too long a story to tell, and by the time I finished I?d have divulged my origins. I?m curious if you had any strange theories yourself.?

?Of course I did. I thought you were undead.?

?Undead??

?Like a zombie,? she said. ?An animated corpse.?

?Mm. Smell that bad, did I.?

?Not in the least,? Risa said. ?It was the?? She indicated her neck and chest with motions of hand. ??what-have-you: the black bruises and eaten skin you?d occasionally show up with. But, I promise it wasn?t an unflattering assumption. My idea was more of a?King. Like, The Lord of Necropolis, something just-so. Understand??

?So, King of The Dead, mm?? As he spoke the silver cigarette case was produced and raided; Risa declined by presenting her palm. While flame ate the tip of the cigarette; mumbling around it, he said, ?You?re not too far off.?

Risa clapped a single time in excitement. ?Two-hundred,? she cried. ?The jackpot! I?m going to stop by the old building and collect on my way home.?

??Similar? does not mean ?correct?,? he said. ?Seems you scamps erected pretty lax betting guidelines. I?ve played games of cards with men so rich and fickle they had rules, niches, guidelines and rituals for everything. People of Extremes. A little bit of compromising can go a far, far way: a good way. But knocking people off their platforms is impossible because we?ve yet to find any other way to do it. Because you can?t help or ease people off their platforms,? he said, taking a slouched but ready and excited pose, both of his hands in front of him, fingertips nearly touching as if they held an orb or ball smoked or inflated by the irrevocable sin bundled-up in his sermon. ?Because then it?s patronization or humiliation by way of the procedure and not the opposing point or ideal: The procedure. How idiotic. To refuse sense or teaching because the method of transition does not do brutal-enough-justice to the defensible point. All guilty. All, me especially, guilty. The number of times I?ve put myself at risk of bodily harm because I was too stubborn to happily accept opposition is unacceptable: I, like so many others, prefer to be beaten off my points so that I can pay homage to my paper constitution with memories of anguish and, when really lucky, scars.?

??Really lucky?,? she repeated in a deep, teasing voice. ?You're drunk, Mr. Val. Mostly an idiot, though. You know that??

?I don't,? he said. ?Doesn't mean I haven't been told that more times than I care to admit, though.?

?And by your theory,? she said. ?not very lucky. Only the one scar, right? So many precious points done injustice.?

?Tell me then,? he said while straightening himself out, that cigarette still burning, unaided by hand, in the corner of his mouth. ?Your scars?they don?t bring forth a sense of pride? That you endured the pain; that you go on rather well??

Risa stood. ?A sense of pride,? she cried. ?In what! ?Go on?? There was no lesson.?

?I didn?t??

?We?re not all the same,? she interrupted. ?Just because you talk yourself to exhaustion and talk prettily doesn?t mean it?s all that. Do you want to know what these taught me?? Risa turned her head sidelong, presenting her right cheek and the snuffed ear with its even, wrinkled slice. She began to curl a tassel of hair behind the lobe. ?This taught me that getting your ears cut-off hurts like ****ing hell, Val. I was eleven, I wasn?t standing up for anything or anyone or even myself. I was in the way of wrath and it threw me on the ground and mutilated me. Tell me, how many times have you been the wrath? How many times have you been the affront without pause or care or purpose: How many have died or been maimed in your name??

He said, ?A few.?


 
Swiftly and angrily the woman fell back down to the bench. She kept her eyes trained ahead and between the pair a silence was nursed. Val smoked. When the ember crawled into the filter an immediate replacement was produced, but the minute the fresh pin was lit between his lips Risa snatched it away and stole several quick, powerful pulls. Chest rising, nose venting dual streaks: The woman repeated this intake-and-release until around her now-messy hair, vacant-eyes, painted mouth and clipped ears persisted a smog, the cigarette halved in maybe a minute?s time. When she passed the cigarette back Val stared a moment before accepting it. There was a moment when both his fingers and hers were wrapped around the cigarette as it moved from she to he, and during that moment Val?s mouth opened. Risa?s tongue was quicker, however: ?Outbursts aren?t really my thing. I?m sorry, they make me look ugly. I was lying too, because my viewpoint of the world was shaped that day, so there was a lesson of course. I learned that day, while the young hunter?s knee was jammed in my chest and his paring knife, one he?d probably used to skin innumerable beasts, was harshly severing the pretty tips of my elven ears, that there really isn?t a reason for anything in this world. He was a boy not much older than me, maybe by two or three years. And what really hurts the most is that he didn?t even want to do it. It was for no reason. It?s not some ?practice? or ?ritual? to slice the tips off of eachother?s ears where I?m from?it was a heinous act that the men this boy was with thought-up on the spot. I remember the pain of it. I remember the sunlight cracked between the canopy, as I was attacked in the forest outside my village, but most of all I remember the stupid, weak, scared face of the boy as he cut me. I remember that it was an expression so pathetic and absent that, while his knife was hooked in my flesh and I could feel the traces of blood on my cheek by the heat alone, I actually felt bad or sorry for him. That stuck with me. For years I thought about it, about how absurd and random it was. Sometimes I would think, ?I must?ve felt bad for him because I?m such a great person?. Sometimes I hated myself for feeling it. I?m not the brightest bulb, Mr. Val, so I couldn?t come up with some outstanding philosophical contemporary to balance my anguish with value. I?m a simple girl so I can only take things at face-value: I was beaten and thrown to the ground by a young man who was egged-on by three of his elders then scarred by the same boy because he sought to impress them. Wrath ran into me, nothing more. It?s not always wrath, though,? she said while rising. A little bit of straightening got her hair and clothes in order and in a minute?s time she looked as she had when first they?d entered the bar they?d left almost an hour ago. One last time she settled her haloes over the man. She said, ?Sometimes something wonderful runs into us. The shame is we treat the good and bad the same. We ponder on why bad things happen to us and curse the world for allowing it, and we ponder on the good and curse ourselves for accepting it knowing we deserve none of it.?

?You?re leaving me here?? Val asked through a half-lit, mostly drowned and drowsed grin.

?Have to,? Risa said. ?Bringing this all up has reminded me that I don?t know if it?s the wrath or the wonderful with you. I need to go home and decide whether to curse the world for you or curse myself for having you.?

2
Sweet Crusades / Re: The Accountable
« on: June 07, 2017, 03:28:27 PM »
Risa disposed of her cigarette first despite it being half-smoked; Val?s eyes thinned over it as it spun through the air and even after it landed in the street, watched it still as the silver ribbons twisted out of the ember as it rolled towards the padding of wet, brown leaves nestled against the storm drain and curb. Val smoked his down to the filter, and afterwards dropped it under his heel; Risa kept the door propped. The girl hung her peacoat back up while Val, slouched a bit with his hands buried in his pockets, left his black overcoat on as he lumbered back to their corner.

Now seated, her eyes locked on the man as they hovered over the rim of her martini glass like white suns over a sea of mercury, she asked him, ?You don?t really feel that way about your money, do you? You?re just being?you about it, right??

?I meant it most definitely,? he said. ?I didn?t exactly have a whole lot set-aside elsewhere because I didn?t really care?I still don?t. What I have now is the entirety of what my shares were worth, so with every crown I spend the odds of my buying back in diminish. ?
 
Risa laughed, so hard in fact she had to set her glass down out of fear that her quaking would tip it. ?It isn?t a card game!? she hollered through her still laughing mouth. ?You can?t just buy back in once you?ve cashed out. My lord, you. A more sterile caricature would exclaim here how all men are bull-headed; how they all think even the most complicated of arrangements are games that can be played, but alas?you, Mr. Val, are quite alone in your stubbornness.?

?Everything is a game,? Val called back quickly; harshly. ?Everything and everyone can be played so long as one has the intuition to understand the rules without being told. If you can see the boundaries,? he said while reaching for his drink, ?you can exploit them. And if you can exploit them, you make the game what you will.?  

Risa let Val?s words be: It wasn?t that she was angry or even bored with the banter, but instead was swept-over by a fatigue that she figured a monument to her early-day drinking, which was a habit her former employer had imbued into her. Val, naturally, found peace in the silence. While the girl nursed her martini and periodically tinkered with her phone, Val drank and leveled the room with his flat, careful eyes. Several trips were made by the man to the bar, the first of which was to replenish his glass. There was a brief conversation between the pair about some goings-on in town. Although Val was indifferent to the news, as he was oft indifferent to most things, his expression piqued but before conclusions were filed he was again on his feet and on his way to the bar counter. He returned with a newspaper; he spread it wide over the face of the table before taking his seat and fished a fine, gold-capped inkpen out of the lining of his coat. Risa had become trained to the man?s habits as she?d spent nearly two years as his secretary and assistant, but in the event she was unsure (although she was not), Val said, with his eyes buried in the boxes, ?'(Past-tense) To cover or wrap completely'?nine letters. . . n and v: Second and third; p, third to last, ends in d.?
   
Quietly smiling into her drink, Risa lifted her haloes and said, ?You know standard isn?t my native language.?
   
?Perhaps not,? he said in a contemplative and occupied, bland and narrow voice, his eyes unlifted. ?But it isn?t mine either. These things actually helped a great deal. The language is?articulate, to a maddening point. I once thought it impressive, but now see it is instead an idiot?s invention. I cannot see what point there is in such affluent expression. It must consume an unacceptable amount of their short lives.?
   
?And yet you utilize all their ?pointless? nuances well,? she said.
   
Val smacked the gold butt of the pen against the boxes three times. ?As I said,? he remarked before continuing around the word. The ballpoint juked and slashed through adjacent and surrounding boxes, striking and signing and subsequently resigning them with haste and ease. When again the pen?s tip was cast upon the earlier queried boxes, the man?s eyes rose and he caught a sidelong view of Risa?s face as she stared across the commonfloor towards the counter. As long as he?d known her, Risa had always kept her long and dark hair down. Sometimes there were buns and knots or other such variants, but there existed always length about the ears. Whether or not she?d exposed her clipped knives in error was neither his concern nor business, yet still he stared, contemplating the raised laces of skin where the flesh had scarred over the knicks and the cruel fold along the highest points where the tip of her knife once stood: It looked as though it were burnt-over as a projected standard, glaring now always, equal-parts signature and motive. Despite Risa?s best efforts this was not the first (nor second nor third nor tenth) time he?d seen her clipped ears, and likewise it was not the first time he?d contemplated their mutilation. This would become, however, the first time he?d be caught. There was no great protest or holler or accusation on the part of Risa, she simply moved her head vaguely and as if automatic, as if wound by a mechanism, a strip of fine, dark hair swung off the bridge of those very ears and moved to curtain them.
 
Risa said, after a moment of gathered silence, ?Don't you have a few??

Before his words Val spent a time grinning in adoration of simple admissions. Suggesting misunderstanding would of course berate not only himself but also she and the dry and honest platform upon which their curt, direct relationship stood. So, grinning as he was, Val nodded a single time and raised a single finger. ?Just one,? he said. ?A slice, cut, puncture, what-have-you?just about here?? He showed with that finger, running it high and just off the meridian of his chest, where the human heart resides. ?Right there.?

?Long time ago??

?No,? Val said. ?It was here. Family dispute. I don't even remember the reasons for.?

?Please tell me it was that sister of yours,? Risa said. ?I've never met a more perfectly absurd person in my life.?

?Indeed. Nazareth. A one-sided fight on the docks. Was about maybe four or five years ago.?
 
?Do you know how many times that woman showed up looking for you? A lot, Mr. Val. I know we told you about the first several, but it became so routine we just stopped. She'd show up, blade on her hip, always inexplicably polite, in the words she used at least, but with those crazy red eyes that run in your blood all wide and wound-up. She'd say things like, ?My brother frequents this place. Tall man, dark hair, eyes like mine.? Oh,? she sighed before succumbing to the laughter that had been rupturing on the highs throughout her impersonation of Nazareth. ?Yeah,? continuing with a nod, ?she was such a highlight. The best part though was after she'd describe you she would try, and subsequently fail, to lie about the business she had to discuss with you. Basically she did everything in her power to avoid saying, ?Could you point in my brother's direction, for I've come to cut him down.? So she did get a few stabs in? Good for her. Sure there's a squadron of women in this town that are quite envious of her, then.?

?Although our relationship isn?t nearly as turbulent as it once was,? Val began, ?there is no satisfying Nazareth. For years she and I have been decent to one-another, but it?s fragile. Not because the grounds upon which our treaty rests are false or unsteady, but because she as a person is fragile and unable to comprehend an era free of conflict. I cannot blame her, she lived her life as a soldier, slaying for years under a banner stitched thoroughly by our mother, then again under a banner she felt more righteous?one in fact that stood in direct opposition of our mother. And now what can she be? What can a person so drenched and wrung and used hope to be in a place where flat, gold pieces mean more than territory, life or heritage??the very things she killed and bled for centuries to preserve.?

?Excuses,? Risa said, and she said it under a crisp, confident stare: bright and straightforward and exceptionally direct. Val, in return, looked as intrigued as he was capable of being which was nary enough for anyone (save those whom had endured his indifferences long enough to understand the subtle variations, those that waxed and waned millimeter-by-millimeter, that spanned an impossibly vast field of interest) to tell at all. Risa concluded, ?She certainly wouldn't ask you to make them for her.?

?I'm in no way excusing her.?

?Aren't you?? she said and she nearly jumped completely out of her chair to say it. ?She doesn't seem like the kind of woman that would tether to each mistake a hardship that lead her to sin, does she? Nothing is weaker than that, and if even a tenth of the things I've heard about her are true I'd say you making excuses for her is as harsh an insult as there is.?

Val began laughing before Risa finished talking. He shot-back the brandy-swill sunken in the tumbler?s well, shook his head and said, through a wrecked, sardonic grin that was perhaps a frown on one-side anyway, so an amorphous badge balancing slanted amusement and uplifting fury, ?Amazing. One minute ago you tell me about the dozen times Nazareth showed up at my own office to dissect me like a beast, and in that time you've, for whatever reason, grown a heart for her. Preposterous. But, I'm hardly surprised?? Val lifted the empty glass to his lips; it took a moment for him to realize he was sucking nothing but fumes. He let his hand and the glass in his grasp fall down to the table. ??I'm really not,? he continued. ?I believe there's a club dedicated to the defense of those who have tried to kill me. For a woman with hands as dirty hers, Nazareth is awarded a great deal of leniency.?

3
Sweet Crusades / The Accountable
« on: June 07, 2017, 03:08:40 PM »
[size=24]B[/size]eyond the city?s gates one will find, nestled in upon the homely cottages dolloped over the serene, grassy slopes; across the reed-and-mud banks of streams and shallows and only miles from the jam of the city?s innards, some of the very best taverns in this realm or any other. The sweetness of these taphouse ales are bested only by their potency; the hospitality of their hosts bested only by the generous hands of the he or the she or the it that may be seated on the stool to one?s left. The uncommon courtesy of the country is derived from nothing but the simplicity of its residents: warm are they; genuine are they; not agile of mind, but impossibly flexible in heart are they. It is for any one of these reasons, if not all, that he chose not to venture beyond the city?s gates to drink among them.

Within the gates where the structures are stone and broad plank; where the streets are cobble and scribbled upon by a great many strain of old, dead blood; where the child, the sister, the mother and the father don rags and the wretched flesh of poverty, one will find The Inns. From gems of a peculiar matter; the sleek, prepared, opaline flesh of inner-thigh; the purveyor of flesh itself and the life that once dwelled within, one would be challenged to issue a want that could not be secured by one or many within The Inns. Hospitality is defined differently in The Inns, or rather is represented by those of a more eccentric moral range: To say they who deal in rare goods; they who deal in the skin of the owned woman (and often man or etcetera); they who accept coin in exchange for blood are ?worse? or, moreso, ?less good? than the smiling kin in the country is of course a matter of the eye and the mouth that asks, but they all, regardless, offer hospitalities of certain and more precise tastes. It was not because these great many perversions were for sale in The Inns that he chose not to drink within them (at least not when he could help it), but instead was the reason their owners chose to sell them, and that reason was, as he saw it, the flat margins of coin profit and that alone.

Modernization in The City begins as it maybe does in all things: Smoothing: The stones in the road are flattened into soft, sleek tarmac; the coarse angles of the broad plank houses and pantries are supplemented for the curvature of concrete and steel; the finity of long, masking, hiding walls are replaced by the impeccable transparency of glasspane. No longer secure in their rows, in their uniformity, every structure races faster than its neighbor towards the sky, becoming best in all eyes save its own, for there it pauses; loses. Neither flesh nor gem nor blood is sold here; nothing is sold at all; everything is consumed. Here drink is shared at all places and at all times and at all occasions, for, and best of all in his eyes, every moment is a continuing occasion here, and all occasions are in celebration of the minutes spent here. What glassy corner or crystalline-tiled room he drank in mattered not in this place?this day it was a handsomely decorated restaurant with black walls that had clever little lamps that shone acute, triangular beams upwards, a mirrored ceiling, and a black marble-topped bar with titanium rungs spliced into the stone reared by four impressive tiers of high-priced liquor. The name over the door beamed, Ignus, in cursive neon light; someone with whom Val neither sat with nor cared to hear informed him the establishment was named for a heinous fire-god of curious and wrathful origins, as were they all, he?d discovered in his too-many years here. He did not sit alone. Their corner was quiet: this was not paid for, but rather a consequence of the time of day, which was the hour preceding noon, for the many lords with whom Val not only associated with but enjoyed associating with: even they were required to be in-place from time-to-time. The silence of their corner was shattered by his counterpart, a slender woman with skin light and maybe hued moderately grey?not human, but not obscene; not distracting?with hair long and straight and dark, blue hued on the fringes maybe, with eyes as white and bright and as perfect as freshly forged haloes, still glowing from the coals. A martini glass raised just-so between three fingers, two of which were ringed, and not cheaply, the woman smiled at Val before she spoke: ?Lurs Ignus ge uermas hotora??Our Ignus burns the path??In case you were interested. In the God?s motto, I mean.?

Val swirled the rocks around in the syrupy brandy; his pinky indicated a portly man in a suit laughing at the bar. ?I?m sure he was getting to that.?

?I know, I know,? she said in a patronizingly soothing, mother-like voice before sipping through a smile. ?Life is so. . . disastrous; so cruel, Mr. Val. Strangers speaking to you, all without invitation. Would you like I tell everyone in here to stop staring when you brood your way to the bar, lest you?ll throw a fit??

?Raise in it for you.?  

?You don?t pay me anymore,? she said. Once more she sipped, full lips of wet crimson singing in cruel harmony against the bright, strange skin, ?And even when you did it was hardly enough to keep a girl of certain tastes clothed. You know, in only a week as your secretary I think I came to find you just the most sour, insipid, cruel bastard I ever met.?

?But.?

The woman in black laughed as she stood. She showed Val her palm. ?Money.?

The rangy corpse in black leaned back in his seat, and he did so to wed gaudy, zealous posture with a face piqued, offended and, rarest of all, amused. ?Money? How many months have I been going at this?what makes you think I still piss gold??

?The hotel. The cars you claim to hate. The clothes?you think I believe that since you no longer retain any stock in RDC you?re broke??

Val sighed; his broad shoulders deflated; his left hand sunk into the side-pocket of his overcoat. ?Our definitions of ?broke? vary,? he said as he passed over several folded bills.

?And how so??

?No fluid income is broke, Risa. Every cent I?ve spent since my departure has been in error. Without income I do nothing but borrow from a pool I cannot replenish.?

?If the pool is deep, there is no error,? the woman said. ?Not even I could spend all you have, I?d wager.? She bent over the table. Softly: ?Should you find yourself a gambling man in the future??

Val waved her off. ?Go,? he said. ?Get the drinks, devil.?

And so she did: a second martini for herself and a third rocks brandy for her counterpart. Upon her return Risa set the drinks appropriately then gathered the empty glassware and ferried it back to the counter, where she was met with a shocked but thankful nod from the man behind the bar. Half-way across the floor towards their table, Risa paused to watch Val rise and mend the creased edges of his overcoat collar; he snapped his head towards the door commandingly before exiting. After pulling herself into the grey peacoat that she?d hung on one of the pegs right of the door upon their earlier entry, she obeyed. She found him left of the entrance with his back against the glass and his right hand out in offer, the lid of his silver cigarette case ajar. Risa carefully slipped one free of the band and let the filter sink into the plush, malleable flesh of her bottom lip. To her silence, Val replied, ?You?re welcome,? and as acknowledgment, Risa bent a mild curtsy.

Silence was not a game for a girl such as she: While the man smoked quietly, Risa toyed with her phone. And when her toying failed to encourage even a flinched brow from the man she stood with, she snapped her tongue, sighed and let the phone fall back into her pocket. ?Must you?? she asked.
   
?Must I? What??
   
?Must you be so loud with your silence? Of all the silences in all the world, yours, Mr. Val, is the most obnoxious and voluminous of all. I can not hear you from miles away.?
   
Flesh in the man?s right cheek creased a bit as his lips stretched amusedly. The hand that held his cigarette raised over his head; he snapped a long ash off its tip. ?All of us have talents,? Val said. ?Perhaps one day you?ll find yours. Aside from being a glaring caricature of downtown money: We both know better, mm??

?Saying your pet-project is a failure?? asked Risa. ?Am I not what you tailored me to be??

?Too-much-so,? Val said. ?I was hoping a bit of dolling and charity would perhaps produce the first-ever downtown individual, but. . . alas.?

Risa laughed, agreed with a nod and repeated, "Alas.?

4
Sweet Crusades / Re: Beyond the Rim
« on: March 18, 2014, 01:34:56 AM »
Thier trip into town was filled with the antics one could expect from a recently-revived girl in a city for the first time. So by the time the trio hit the main boulevard, Val was basically holding Pilot by the collar of the cloak to ensure that she could not run off into traffic or any other such disasters. Seeing a man in a medieval tunic with a battered woman in his arms and a wide-eyed, childlike blonde in a skimpy cloak would be strange anywhere else but here in Rhy?Din. So they avoided eyecontact for the most part. Treading into the parkinglot of a diner called ?The Firepit Cafe?, Val took a chance and let Pilot?s collar go so that he could let Phoenix down. ?You going to be okay?? he asked, angling her body letting her feet touch the ground first.


Phoenix stumbled forwards and waved him off. "I'm good." The immortal assured him, perhaps a touch impatient as she moved for the building.

Pilot stared in her direction and waved sadly. "Bye-bye Feeeenix." As then her distractions were back on. She saw a strange cat man, with cat ears and got all sorts of exited. "Oh, oh!" She attempted to run, but was gagged by the leash he'd created from her clothing.


Preventing Pilot?s advance with a firm grip, Val did not release Phoenix from his sight. He was turning to begin towards home when something leapt onto his face. ?Hey, Phoenix!? Val shouted, starting towards her with Pilot still in his hands. ?Wait a minute.?


Phoenix turned to face him and stared with wide eyes. What could be so important that food might be interupted. "What?" The girl snapped, taking a lean against the door frame and blocking anyone else that might want to come in.

Pilot was learning to say the least, trying to work her way out of the robe.


Taking a chance, Val released Pilot and walks up to Phoenix with his head down. Sweeping fangs of hair conceal his face, both hands dropped into his pockets. He stops squarely ahead of her, removes his right hand and extends it. Eyes lift and a smile lights. ?Hey---that picture. Here, it?s yours. It?s something to know that you carry it around. That isn?t to say that I?m doubting your feelings for Max and Martyr, but you didn?t clip my face out. Guess you just haven?t gotten around to it, huh??


Phoenix grabbed the picture, and smirked. "Didn't think to do it. But thanks, I'll keep it in mind." The immortal said, pocketing the photo. Then she looked over his shoulder. "Pilot's about to get into a car with that strange greasy looking cat-man." The girl said casually, and patted him on the shoulder.


Val didn?t wait around to combat her joke. Instead, sprinting to Pilot, he waved his right arm frantically as his goodbye to Phoenix. ?Hey!? the man howls coldly. At Pilot?s side, he wraps his arms around her to make sure her unmentionables were, well. . not being -mentioned-. ?Scatter, cat!? Val hollered. With Pilot in his grasp, Val turns to instruct direction. He leans into the girl?s ear. ?Come on. . you can?t go up to people you don?t know, alright? This place is just as, if not -more- dangerous than Gailey.?


But in the end, people were the same all over.

5
Sweet Crusades / Re: Beyond the Rim
« on: March 18, 2014, 01:24:52 AM »
"She's lost hope? I mean, she still says that you're coming back, but, you can see that look in her eyes... She doesn't have the same look of wonder. Even with this baby, it just seems like she's dying inside... Funny, huh? She's dying inside, I'm dying out.. We really are two halves to the same whole.."

No sign of Pilot thus far, but he might have taken a wrong turn.


Her words were morbid and Val?s face reacted. A groan that flattens out to a sigh grumbles beneath sealed lips. ?I don?t have time for this,? he whispered. ?Damnit. . I need to be home like yesterday. Every minute I spend out here scouring this stupid forest is a minute wasted. Pilot! Pilot!?


After the second scream he'd hear Pilot's cry from a few feet away. Somehow, she managed to get herself stuck in a tree. "Val! Vallllllcroix!" The girl belted back and clung to the branch.

Phoenix stared up and scoffed something of sarcasm. "Get her down, drop me off, and Martyr is waiting for you at home. Judace lives with you now, and I think Agnus is there, Nazareth's daughter."


Looking up into the tree, Val was about half-way to the ground, per Phoenix?s command, when she spoke. He stands back up and squints. ?Wait, what! Judace? Nazareth?s. . ?? Another grumbled sigh, and Val?s head shakes. Setting Phoenix down, Val makes an agile leap and claws his way up. ?Pilot. . damnit. Here, reach for me, I?m strong enough to swing you down.?


"Judace picked up the slack when you were gone... Hell, I think he might have feelings for her." And since she was still Phoenix, she smiled. "I wouldn't be surprised if the baby turned out to be his." Instead of reaching for him, she dove for him. With arms that attempted to wrap around him and send them both to the ground, her full weight headed in his direction. Bunzai!


Without an alternative, Val opened his arms and let Pilot drive in. Upon collision, he closes his arms, securing her and takes the blunt of fall, careening for the ground back-first. When his spine hit the ground their landing bodies created a hollow thump, and Val winced but it was only reactionary. ?Sheesh,? he said, still lying, still ensnaring her. ?You and Martyr are going to be -best- friends. .?


"Martyr? Friend?" Pilot liked that idea. She wiggled out of his arms and moved over to Phoenix. "We go home?" Her voice was becoming less childlike, but her words were still lacking structure, which made her sound stupid..

6
Sweet Crusades / Re: Beyond the Rim
« on: March 18, 2014, 01:13:59 AM »
Phoenix shooked her head a few times slowly before jolting awake and gasping for air. Her silver eyes span rapidly, and she looked around as if she, too had come out of a long-time coma. They settled on Val, and softened as memories came flooding back. Pilot was pointing and carrying on like a child would, wanting to know all the words for everything she was seeing,


A warm smile for her awakening whether she wanted it or not (he?d wager on ?not?). ?Hey. . glad you?re still with us. Scared for a minute, you know. We need to get you into town; Martyr?s going to fix you up.? He hoped--Phoenix?s own blood was doing virtually nothing to silence her disease; he hoped it was just that her blood was dull, not a rejection from the will of her new body.


Phoenix shook her head, "I have places to be, and I don't want Martyr to know I had anything to do with any of this.. If she finds out, I swear on everything I'll eat your soul and leave nothing left for the scavengers..." This was all said in a single breath, and the hellion looked worse off for it.


?That so?? Val asked with a playful face. Despite her degenerated state, Val knew it to be unwise to pick on the beast, but also understood that keeping the mood as far away from the macabre as possible was important. ?You aren?t going to get very far like this. If you don?t want me to bring you home with me, then just tell me where you?re going. I won?t argue with you.?


"Honestly?" Phoenix said from his arms and stared up with a wide gaze. "...Probably to go somewhere and eat seven cheeseburgers and a large fry.." That was the god's-honest truth. Sorry, Valcroix, but Pilot might have disappeared. She hadn't gone far, but was now out of sight.


?Well that sounds awful--it?s go right to your thighs you know.? Was that Val with a fat joke? Yerp. Before noticing Pilot?s absence, Val pulled Phoenix off the ground and seated her in his arms again. ?Alright, then I?ll drop your ass off at the first greasepit we come acr---? Eyes widen. ?Hey! Pilot!? Val started off into the thicket, walking quickly with Phoenix in his arms. ?Hey! Where are you!??


"Aww, let her explore." Phoenix mumbled sarcastically as she came up and into his arms again. A soft sigh escaped her lips and she wrapped her arms around his shoulders. "I still ****ing hate you...but I'm glad your back. For Martyr's sake. She's different now, starting to change."


Still scouring the thicket for his sister, Val?s head wheeled to-and-fro. ?Heh. . hate me all you like, Phoenix. I?m not stupid, I am quite keen to the unforgivable. You have my apologies, you know that and I?m going to continue to work at it. If only for Martyr. But---change how??

7
Sweet Crusades / Re: Beyond the Rim
« on: March 18, 2014, 01:11:59 AM »
Nazareth wrapped her right arm around Pilot?s waist, both sparing her a fall and easing her continued steps. ?Mother? Oh, why don?t worry yourself, Pilot. Mother will come see you very soon, I?m sure. She just needs to rest.?

Val, who was busy making Phoenix comfortable in his arms, was stolen by Nazareth?s promise. Eyes zeroed in on the back of the woman?s head and, showing off those sensitive senses, Nazareth turned right around and smiled.

?Coming, brother??

?Nazareth, I?m warning you. Don?t get any ideas here.?

Neth shows Val her back and continues, Pilot in her arms, towards the break in the rocks. Val stays close and fishes the stone out of his pocket. They were nearing the cave. Nazareth pauses, turns to the side and extends her free hand. ?Grab on. We have to be connected.?

Taking hold the best he could with both arms hooked under Phoenix, Val follows Nazareth?s lead. She enters the mouth of the cave and the four travelers slip through the rift.


Phoenix had been out and comfortable throughout the entire trip. However, this was Pilot's first time, she gripped into the fabric of Valcroix's borrowed cloak. She let out a light scream as they traveled through. "Ahhn!" The hand that snagged Nazareth's loosened as she collapsed to her knees, staring widely at the ground. Phoenix's little breathless gasps, rang out in light of the travel. Her chest heaved violently as she took short, stunted breaths.


Following their traversing of space, time and all those other physical impossibilities, Val himself followed the experience up with a long, hungry breath. Proof of the distortion of time, Val looked on at a forest lighted in mid-afternoon. It was a strange lag considering that they had only just escaped the biting cold of Gailey at midnight. But the color of life was welcome, those greens and blues, and Val vowed under his breath that he would never return to his homeland; not a single memory was worth saving, so let them all die he thought. Val took several cautious steps down the overgrown knoll, Phoenix still perfectly balanced in his wiry arms. He looks to Pilot. ?Pretty huh?? Give a girl a forest for the first time and await reaction; Val was practically itching for the girl?s response.

Nazareth snaps away from Pilot, probably with enough force to send her off-balance and starts away on quick feet.

?Hey---? Val started to beckon, but stayed his tongue intelligently. It was best for her to go. She and him just would never reconcile.


Pilot's knees met the ground with force, skin tearing and body quaking. She stared up at the forest and began to crawl off that way. "Oh.." Was the only sound that came from her lips as she scooted across the ground. She attempted to climb to her full height, but only collapsed seconds after like a toddler gaining her grounds.


Val would have scooped the girl up and into his arms, were their -arms- to give. Phoenix occupied them, and she was engaging Val?s eyes with sputtered, incomplete and clogged breaths. Pilot?s legs would return to her in time, but Val feared that time was almost up for Phoenix. He lays her near the bottom of the hill on a bed of old, brown dandelions that the winter had finally found. ?Hey. . come on, Phoenix.? He sticks his fingers between her neck and collar to seek a pulse; he didn?t know anything about Slane anatomy, but he figured that most of the bits and pieces worked just like any other sapien. ?Sh't. .?

8
Sweet Crusades / Re: Beyond the Rim
« on: March 18, 2014, 01:10:04 AM »
Nazareth crept out of the smog. The ends of her sleeves and the cuffs her pants were burnt clean off, but she remained primarily conservative as usual. Her face was still and keen and it was not until a certain sister spoke that her face moved. Nazareth approached the cart and bent down. Cradling Pilot?s cheek, Nazareth?s slowly revolving eyes seemed to mimic the meter of the opponent silvers. She smiles. ?Oh. . Little Pilot. How long is has been.?

?Enough, Nazareth,? Val said sternly. ?Let?s just go. You want to come? Then we go now.?

?Let me catch up a moment. . ?


Pilot tilted her head, nobody had explained to her that she had been dead all this time. She smiled at Nazareth, but didn't offer much else aside from looking down to her hand and patting the spot she'd reserved for her big sister a little more urgently. "We go now."


?Well I don?t mind if I do,? Nazareth said pleasantly. She plants her rear onto the area of the car Pilot had reserved for her. Her dangling legs kick playfully like a child?s. ?Well come on now, brother. Your sisters want to go home.?


Nazareth?s coy behavior always drove the man sideways, but he wouldn?t argue; for once her scathing humor worked to his advantage; the quicker they left, the better. Starting the fully-loaded cart forward, Val asks, ?Just where are we going.?

Nazareth had yet to remove her eyes from Pilot. Her smile was large and wanting and her eyes seemed to turn faster all the time. A sign of emotion, and anyone close to Nazareth (save Agnus) would know that it was not happiness. ?Mm. . straight ahead, Valcroix. The rocks open up. You have the stone??

?Yeah.?

?Okay then. Look. Do you see it??

?Mm.. Mmhmm. Yep. So now what??

Nazareth hopped off the cart and offered Pilot her hand. ?Come now, sister---let us go home.?


Pilot took Nazareth's hand and stumbled into her. "Woah!" Legs, not quite there just yet... She clung tightly to the rangy woman and took in a deep breath. "Home?" She had to ask, because she didn't know. She thought that house was home. "Mother..?"

9
Sweet Crusades / Re: Beyond the Rim
« on: March 18, 2014, 01:01:08 AM »
Phoenix hadn't much strength to speak of, so when he settled her in, her face turned to the side and she slept. Pilot pulled herself up using his arm. "Go!" She demanded and moved over to the cart with him. Spinning silvers climbed shut as she moved on inside and let those perfect eyes fall shut.


The trip was long, and clogged with the rushing sprites of sharp, cold wind. With the sun down, the dunes were blue under the purple sky that, with not pollution to diminish it, hosted a million lights of varying sizes and colors and fleet of mystic auras of blue and green. And if there was one thing Val missed about Gailey, it was the sky at night. It was wild and impassive because the people respected it, and it was here, in the glow of its mischief, that one could learn a thing or two about the goings on outside the corporeal. Val always believed these crazed desert nights were of some great, yet unknown importance. Over the final hill, Val spotted a row of sharp rocks that were violet in the night. And at the base of this hill, he saw a figure. It was no mystery, so Val pauses and waits a moment. "Hey. . you guys still awake?"


Pilot sat up, and looked up at him. "Awake... she is..." Fumbling with her words and speaking them. "Asleeping." The dominioness whispered and pushed her index finger to her lips as if to tell him to shush.


Val smiled. ?Gotcha?,? he whispered, keeping calm to avoid a panic. Naturally, the slender shadow skulking around the foot of the hill was Nazareth. Her stride showed impatience, and Val wondered. Wondered why she would meet him here, and not just rush into the house were she seeking confrontation. Val begins down the hill, keeping a firm hold on the cart so that the trip down the hill was easy and without incident. Because it would be pointless to avoid her, Val filed the cart straight towards her. The cart stops just ahead of her, and Val is treated to a figure of shade with a set of ruby eyes.

?What do you want, Nazareth??

About thirty seconds of billowing winds fill-in the space between his question and her reply. She says, ?I?m coming with you.?


Pilot looked on with big, silver eyes. She found no need to be wary, no want to be skittish. Politely, she kicked and flailed to offer Nazareth a seat on the wagon. Patting the side next to her, she smiled cheerfully. "By me."

10
Sweet Crusades / Re: Beyond the Rim
« on: March 18, 2014, 12:59:43 AM »
Pilot mastered the steps after the first two, and tried leading the pack. As they made it from the house, Phoenix collapsed into the and. Pilot tore herself from him in an attempt to show that no man was to be left behind... Those eyes fell shut, and she let them roll in her head for a moment as she collapsed by Phoenix and tried to tug her up. "Up! Up!"


Val snapped around and presided over the predicament with careful eyes. Feeling stronger than ever, he truly believed he could sling both women over his shoulder and carry them to rift. But even Dominion feared the desert cold at night, and if his muscles were to lock and he found himself unable to continue, he was not so sure that Phoenix could last the night. So he turns and begins piling sand. Bent over like a child rolling great snowballs, Val compiled a series of sandy mounds in one area. Pilot and Phoenix would be treated to a series of brilliant flashes, ten in total. When the smoke cleared Val was standing, pushing himself up from a simple cart he had formed; woodcast and rudimentary, but it had four big wheels and a long, flat bed. ?Alright. Let?s get her up.? Val jogged over and bent over to collect Phoenix. If she would allow him afterall.  


Aside from a barely lifting head that a few choice pieces of profanity, Phoenix didn't protest. Pilot helped, or pretended to by grabbing an arm. When she fell down on her ass and no weight was sent on Val, it became clear it was all for show. "Oops!" Now she scooted beside them. Hello unmentionables!


For the time being, Val was engaged with getting Phoenix up. Because of Pilot?s, although cute, just-for-show assistance, Val leaned completely over and pulled Phoenix into his arms. The reason he did not see Pilot?s special parts was partly because he was not -looking-, expecting they?d pop up eventually, but more importantly he feared that Phoenix would use her last ounce of strength on an armored uppercut to his groin, considering how wide-open he was. With their past as exhibit A, Val could certainly believe that doing so was on her bucket list. He moves her onto the cart and pats her forehead several times. ?Okay, just stay with us, Phoenix.? Val turns and boom. Scared eyes jounce around without objective as he jogs over to close her robe. ?C?mon, Pilot, we need to go.?

11
Sweet Crusades / Re:
« on: March 14, 2014, 08:35:27 PM »
Signs of earlier disturbance; turns out he wasn?t the first to arrive. Word of Phoenix?s death had trickled down tongue-by-tongue and Val, at first, figured it nothing but a distorted game of Telephone. Phoenix can?t die, Phoenix can?t even be -hurt-. What he didn?t know was that this was the standard reception of the news. And what he knew now was that it was no joke, at least not seemingly, Phoenix wasn?t the ?fake her own death? type. She was more the eat your face type. Grinning solmenly, the man bent down on his hams and folded his hands.

 ?So it?s true, mm?? Stringent eyes, skinny of sight, work away and his mouth collects up under his left cheek. ?Bullsh?t,? he smiled. ?I don?t believe it for a minute. I really don?t, sorry. You want to know why? Because I think you were pretty damn close to redemption. And don?t get me wrong, I know you weren?t looking for an ornamental reprieve for damages done, you were certainly more practical than that. I guess what I?m trying to say is that I?ve become a very lame and ignorant man who, in one of the many rotten turns, has become convinced that there?s some big f?cking ?plan? for our lives. Funny right? Weird old Val; nihilist, proud and stubborn Val, all ready to beleague himself to fate. But it is what it is and I won?t take it back: besides Martyr, you were the only person in the world that I trusted.?

Val stood, smiling cynically, and pocketed his hands in his longcoat. ?You saved my life once, you protected my family when I wasn?t there. I thanked you for both, but words are just vibrations on the air.? The old Hellion removes his silver cigarette case and tosses it lightly on the ground near the headstone. ?There---I just quit smoking for you; I know there were a couple times where you threatened to turn me inside out if I were to expose Max to cigarette smoke, so there you go.?

The severe man turned and, over his shoulder, waved two fingers as goodbye.

12
Sweet Crusades / Re: 5-7-5
« on: February 15, 2014, 02:43:57 AM »
Yo, get up wussy
Like seriously, right now
Or I'll eat your....face

13
Sweet Crusades / Re: 5-7-5
« on: February 15, 2014, 01:50:51 AM »
Wow dude, so not cool
Wait, did I just say, 'not cool'?
Though still, you guys suck

14
Sweet Crusades / Re: 5-7-5
« on: February 15, 2014, 01:27:19 AM »
Don?t I get a call?
I too see the urgency
Come, snatch their ramen

15
Sweet Crusades / Re: Anticked
« on: February 06, 2014, 12:28:56 AM »
?Captain,? the priest said softly. Marcius turned around and matched the arbiter at eyes. ?Please, remove the veil from it.?

The officer swung his arm towards the shielded mast and each man moved and took a spot around the base of the thick, wooden trunk. The soldier nearest the tail of the wire took it up while men at both sides knelt to uninspire the knot that bound the tarp. It did not take long and, with a long tug at the hands of the man who cradled the wire, the bunching at the foot of the tarp unkinked. Dabs of wind splayed over the slacked cotton tarp as it was no longer tied and taut. All four soldiers moved right of the swaying veil, took a bunch in their fists and tugged it off. Because of it?s size, the covering fell over the men like a grand blanket. Quickly, they fought to wrangle and roll it up.

Nazareth stood straight up in a fury.

The people in the square held their hands over their mouths. Some turned to weep, several cheered.

The priest, being the pious pillar he was, lowered his head regretfully and folded his hands together.

A nail in her belly, a nail piercing both hands as they were wrapped around the back of the pole and fused by the spike. Twine held a greyfleshed neck in place, twine kept dirty feet from flailing, and there, a sickly degeneration of bloodied clothing and a face asleep with death, hung Pilot atop the pole.

The crowd roared up; the priest censored them by flattening his hands and pressing down on the air, on their unrest until order was restored. ?Please,? he said. ?Please, my kin, I know it?s grisly, I know it is not appetizing to the eye. Some of you see it as evil, as a ?trophy? or prize, but it is not. You do not understand the power of these creatures, my kin, you do not understand their resiliency.?

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