Lest you entertain angels unawares...

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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Rackenhammer »

Conrad might have been more inclined to laugh at Klaus' utter submission to Mia, but he knew perfectly well that if Zephyre decided one day to put a collar on him and lead him around on a leash, he'd do it. She actually caught that mental image, and her lips twisted up in a smile. *Mmhmm, your tail is MINE, and don't you forget it, boy.*

*Yes, dear.* The Dhampyre had enough good humor to see him through most things in a good mood, and even Klaus' words about a potential bloodbath didn't seem to bring him down. "Well, I don't plan on crossing him, so that's alright then. See you later!"

They both went out to the cab, not really sure where to go next. "I suppose we could just go and see the place. Didn't get much of a chance to see the country last time we were here."
"Sounds good to me, love. If the others want us, they have our number."

~***~

His suspicions growing more probable by the moment, Vaughan could feel a deep pit opening up inside him. The future promised another confrontation with his sister, with her in a greater position of power than she had ever attained before. *Geez, not even Conrad had this trouble with his soon-to-be in laws before HIS wedding.*

"Vanessa is certainly a dealmaker, though she has a devilish way with contracts. I have to think she'd fit in well with the Infernal powers in that respect." The wolf snorted, then sighed. "If we have to go up against her, I would really like some significant reinforcements."

Syme nodded, digging into his pockets for something. "There are always her old regiments... I suppose Amadeas might still have some right to command them, though I don't think they'd be inclined to follow them. I wonder..." The fox seemed lost in thought, but when Agreal asked for a vial, he pulled one out of his pocket. "Figured we'd need one of these; I'm not a complete amateur, you know."

(Maybe you want to open another scene in Inferno?)
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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Catalina Tamiko »

(sure thing.)

Agreal wiped the blood off his finger into the vial. "This crime is old....and her blood is still fresh. What are the odds we were supposed to find this just like we were supposed to find the Shrine and Conrad could open the door?" The fox stood and looked at the others. "I think we could effectively move her to a more stable environment for exam........" his face went blank as he started off into space a bit. Then the horror showed. He stepped back, muttering to himself about some kind of destruction. Catalina came back inside, sensing Agreal's plight. "What is it hun...what do you see?"

"A......Amadeas....The shrine at home......" was all he got before Catalina eased him down. "Party's getting started now. Each shrine is a soft spot. WHomever did this is certainly looking to get rid of Tellissa entirely." she gently shushed the fox, stroking his cheek as she whispered something in his ear and he seemed to relax greatly.


~~~~~


Amadeas had arrived just seconds too late. fifteen bodies littered the white ice and snow, far enough from town not to draw their eyes, but close enough to get his attention. The shrine keepers were dead, Amadeas knew it as he looked at the shrine itself. body parts and blood painted the walls. The vixen in the same position as the skunk had been. Her mate torn to bits this time. parts of him laying all over. Every pew was smashed, and the holy book was laid on the floor, covered in blood. Amadeas growled deeply, moving to look at the bodies outside. They had died running to get away.

Their backs slashed open. They had been in the middle of a damn sermon when this happened. Amadeas knew only a handful of furs still attended service at the shrine. And looking further out, there were no prints past the area of the bodies. No one got away. IT was then a cough drew his attention. He turned and spotted an angel he knew well. Wakia, the local clumsy woman. A female ferret with soft eyes, a tender heart and a loving smile. Just a little uncoordinated. Amadeas rushed to her side. Amazingly she was alright for the most part. Several cuts and a few broken bones, but very much alive. The wolf pulled his coat off and wrapped her in it.

Warping himself and her both to his and agreal's home, He got her into a bed and began the long process of casting healing charms. Wakia was almost unconscious, barely registering his presence as she struggled to breathe. Amadeas did all he could for her. Healing physical wounds was easy. Mental wounds....he had no idea how to handle. It was then he reached out and let Agreal see. Heknew it was cruel, but he needed to get the message to the others, and it was too long distance for a metal call. He and his mate were linked deeply, so at this distance he could share at least some fuzzy images..


~~~


The halls of Inferno echoed as Devina's long steps carried her to the throne room. She herself was quite pleased. Tamiko county was massive, and now that it was shut off from the rest of Inferno. She had power, wealth, and now, Devina had the one thing few cubi ever had. A mistress to love completely. A woman o a different caliber completely. Charismatic, gorgeous, graceful, talented, and had a dark side as appealing to Devina's own as the thought of Shiba herself.

Under Vanessa's guidance, the realm has become vastly different. No longer were there streets full of vendors flogging cheap wares and free entertainment. No more was there a civic center to keep younger and older generations pacified. The realm rested under an iron gavel, lead into the production of weapons of war. Prosperity flourished, and with it so did the size of the army. The once 200,000 were now well over 3 million and growing every day.

An no longer was it sword and shield. But new weapons, the likes of which were incredibly powerful. Magi-tech, produced en mass. Weapons with the reach of snipers, the power of tanks, and the portability of SMGs. A variety of uses and ranges, tactical options, and even things Devina could only guess at.

Then there was the harem. Devina had collected the best and brightest she could find, but also the most beautiful. Recent additions had included other demons, and a few angels. Each trained and combat ready, magically empowered, and more so, Vanessa's personal guard. Devina herself at the top of that list. Vanessa's right hand....the thought made her shiver. So enraptured by her mistress, she was blind to what was happening.

As she came to the throne room she pushed the massive double doors open. The guards bowed to her, allowing her to pass. As she came to the throne, she bowed low and kissed the feet of the wolfess. "My mistress...." she whispered, almost lovingly, but very respectful.
With power comes responsibility. With responsibility comes duty. With duty comes honor. With honor comes shame......

There is no purpose in denying that you know nothing in the grand scheme of things. In an effort to prove otherwise, you would simply go mad.

To gaze at the Elder Scroll is to look into both the past, and the future, all possibilities of each, all at the same time, and believe that each, even the false ones, are all true, all at the same time.


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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Rackenhammer »

Time flows differently in pocket dimensions; if they weren't so energy-intensive, they'd make a better way of preserving perishables than refrigeration. Vaughan and Syme looked at each other when Agreal raised the possibility that they were meant to see this. "I... don't know, us in particular, anyway. Everything was set up for the angels to see it easily; we had to make a few workarounds."

The wolf shrugged. "Well, my sister has a vain streak; whenever she thinks she's being clever, she wants to show it off. Now-" He caught the sudden change on the vampire's face, and he was a little puzzled at his words.

Syme, however, understood, and he gave a mournful groan as he placed his head in his hands. "There were supposed to be a full guard around them! What could have broken through there?" His eyes were starting to water; the accelerated maturing he underwent wasn't enough to disguise the fact that he was still very young, by his kind's standards. He had all the empathy of a child still. He sniffed, trying to compose himself. "The Paradisan Council, if they didn't know by now, probably do... or will soon enough."

There was the sobering prospect of war upon the horizon...

~***~

Vanessa Montblanc had not yet progressed to the point of megalomania that led to having large portraits of oneself prominently displayed behind her desk, and everywhere else for that matter. No, her study wall was still largely dominated by its window, through which she would look out over her domains. Oh, what a sight it was, too! The transformation had been almost giddy in pace, like a pantomime, shifting from a Kahunian market to a shiny, modern civilization.

Of course, all of this came from the military-industrial complex, and she knew perfectly well of the historical precedents of such developments. Unlike other furs, however, she saw nothing foreboding in them; she practically relished the parallels. *I wonder... would it be tempting fate too much to have my subjects 'Sieg Heil' me? Probably, yes.* She giggled. She certainly had no objections to jackboots or black leather, though, to judge from her wardrobe choices.

She hadn't originally planned to be this blatant, or got this far, but since no one stopped her, she just had to see just how much she could get away with. Devina certainly hadn't objected yet. Speaking of the panthress...

It was extremely flattering to see a large and powerful creature bow so low to one, though the wolfess had grown as tall, and had gained cubi features since attaining her power. "I shouldn't do that, shoe polish has such an unpleasant taste." Vanessa was sure to give her a smile as she rose; she was growing quite fond of the panthress, though it would be false to say the devotion that Devina felt for her was mutual.

"I expect you will be pleased to hear that Shiba herself may be gracing us with her presence." The wolfess spoke, giving the cubi's cheek a slight caress. "I am beginning to see what they mean by 'rewards of being a faithful servant,' and that's saying a lot, from me."
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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Catalina Tamiko »

Amadeas got Wakia stable, and then moved to the window. He stared out it, knowing very well that the beast hadn't gone home yet. "OH you are wounded this time. YOu didn't count on there being a small guard contengent waiting on you. You used up too much power to get away. You're hurt. Worse than last time....You wont get far."

~~~

Catalina managed to get Agreal calmed, and then her eyes turned on the younger cubi. She stood and slowly ame to him. As with the cab driver, she purred softly. Her touch was warm, gentle, like that of a mother as she whispered, "Shhhhhh Shhhhh calm down little one." Agreal was composed as he stood. He stepped away, his eyes turning blood red as he spoke, "Vaughan.....there was a survivor. And Amadeas thinks the creature that did this was too wounded to escape this realm. It's too weak to make a jump, so it must still be close to the village. There were five fully armed guards and at least ten others there for service. It hadn't counted on that."

Catalina then turned herself around slowly. As she did, the pocket dimension around them flickered softly, before fading out. SHe picked up the box, and slid it into a pocket, "Let's go back to the hotel. Conrad and Zephyre will be there soon enough. And I have some toys I need to pick up. Five fully armed Guardian Angel's are no laughing matter. Even to my Grandmother, that would be suicide. For now I think we will have to fall back and think things over. What do you think Darling?" she asked.

~~~

Devina smiled softly, looking out the window. "Shiba herself? I wonder what form she will take. She is known to take many, though I have only seen one myself. A white wolfess with raven mane and eyes. True power to behold." She purred deeply, running a finger along her chin. She had to admit that everything happening appealed to the part of her that desired bloodshed. Though the heavy clank of boots behind her drew her attention. Her face softened, as she frowned at Maria. Her daughter stood there, covered in blood, head to toe, her armor cracked and her right arm completely missing, "There....I did it..... I killed them. Happy now?" Maria was never one for bloodshed, but when pushed, she could become very violent indeed.

Her personal weapons were massive claw blades on her guantlets, though that was the least of her arsenal. She possessed the ability to transform into a large feral cat. A beast of size and strength that few knew existed within the rather shapely mother of three. Her tail twitched, as she made a fist. Eyeing the wolfess with a murderous look, but she had no fight left in her. Her will broken, bound to serve this woman. "ANd I killed the Hell cat in the woods too. Damn thing wouldn't be controlled.....so I disposed of it in the snow. They'll find it soon enough and think it dead from the angels......" Her voice died off into mere sorrow. Devina looked at Vanessa moment, awaiting her lady's decision and command.

Watching from her own palace chambers, Shiba smiled ruefully. Stroking her mane, she murred in content. Things were going accordingly. And now, as with all things, she must give another little nudge in the proper direction.
With power comes responsibility. With responsibility comes duty. With duty comes honor. With honor comes shame......

There is no purpose in denying that you know nothing in the grand scheme of things. In an effort to prove otherwise, you would simply go mad.

To gaze at the Elder Scroll is to look into both the past, and the future, all possibilities of each, all at the same time, and believe that each, even the false ones, are all true, all at the same time.


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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Rackenhammer »

It was only a few seconds before Syme was fully composed again. He was about as good as a Victorian Gentleman in 'keeping a stiff upper lip,' which made sense when one realized that he'd lived through it, and spent his formative years in that century. He was unused to it actually being in any way safe to betray what might be considered as weakness.

Vaughan, meanwhile was listening to Agreal, his expression serious. "I hope he's actually up to facing it; wounded beasts can be dangerous." It wasn't so much that the wolf actually doubted that he could handle it, but Vaughan couldn't help but recall how the fox got the last time his mate had gotten close to death.

After Syme was calmed, they all exited the pocket dimension. Vaughan agreed that their next step would need to be a cautious one. "Following what clues we have now will lead us to dangerous places; we'll need to plan our approach carefully."

Syme nodded as well. "I'll gather my associates and follow after you to the hotel. Hopefully, Pestilence is not busy."

~***~

"Mmm..." Vanessa stretched, letting her arm extend around Devina in a casual embrace. "I certainly find that form of hers the best... for somewhat flattering reasons." And the wolfess gave a slight chuckle at that. It was right about then that Maria entered the room.

As it happened, Vanessa was happy now; the panthress' news had put a cheerful smile on her face. "Speaking of faithful servants... well done, well done!" She strode over to her, as if to give a more personal kind of congratulations. "I do hope you left the brand intact; it brings joy to my heart to think of Duke Drasden being given the third degree over this. Haha, oh, if only I could see the look on his face. Sadly, scrying would incrimidate us."

Almost impulsively, the once-Dhampyre licked up some of the blood on Maria's cheek. "Hmm, very nice. I think you should like a bath, though. You can use mine, actually! You've earned it. In fact, why don't you borrow Boris, as well? He gives the best massages; woulfn't you like that?" Oh, Vanessa had enjoyed breaking this woman to her will, but there was no need to kick at a cowering dog anymore. Besides, at this point, kindness from her mistress would make her squirm as much as cruelty, if not more, and the wolfess reveled in the irony. Besides, abusing Maria above and beyond the call of duty was probably the only thing she could do that would actually upset Devina, so she didn't.
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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Catalina Tamiko »

Catalina nodded at Vaughan's words. "Magi-tech then. More powerful than the usual spells and weapons, easier to conceal, and doesn't give off the same magical announcement that it was used. Harder to trace too....." She took Vaughan and Agreal's paws as Syme spoke. "Very well. See you shortly." Shift, Phase, Pop. and back in the hotel room. Catalina immediately went to the closet, dragging out her bag.

Tossing it on the bed, she opened the zipper. Then she stuck both her arms in up to her shoulders and began pulling things out. First was a set of armor, unlike anything she had ever worn before. It was certainly old, black, and looked far too similar to Tellissa's armor to be coincidence. The second was what looked like a sawnoff shotgun, but with runes all over it. Following that were several Uzi's of the same markings as the first gun. Then something rather unusual, she pulled out a long wooden staff, with a crystal set in the end. The one that had always leaned against the armor in her apartment.

She looked at it, then held it out to Vaughan, "I think... it's time this staff had a new master." She didn't know if he would accept it or not, but it was the best weapon she had for him.

Agreal wandered back to the room he had with Amadeas. He was putting on his own tactical gear. He was well aware of how things could go, but he was prepared to do what he could.

~~~

Maria didn't flinch when vanessa touched her. She didn't blink. At being bade to take a bath and get a massage, she bowed low and spoke, "Yes Mistress Vanessa. I left the beast's markings intact, and placed an amulet on it that would, if activated, lead directly back to his world only." She held back the quivering of her lip, then slowly backed up and turned toward the door. As she wandered back out, her eyes began to water. The door closed behind her, leaving Devina with Vanessa.

Devina simply sighed, and then came to the wolfess. Purring deeply, she took the woman's paw and kissed it softly, "I shall prepare everything for Shiba's arrival. After that I shall have your meal prepared and brought where you like, and I have a gift for you this evening my mistress. Something I know you shall.....enjoy greatly." The massive Panthress took her leave then, pausing to look back at the wolfess adoringly.


~~~~

Amadeas stayed close to Wakia, knowing that to leave her would be stupid. He knew much better than that. Wakia was still injured and if she woke in a panic she would certainly hurt herself. So he stayed by her. it was as she began to stir that he came closer. Her eyes fluttered open, the soft brown looking up at his face. He shushed her gently and held her paw. "Its alright. you are safe Wakia." she looked around slowly, before relaxing back on the sofa again. "It was...... It was a hell cat...and someone else. She couldn't kill me herself. She promised I would get away....and gave me this....." Wakia held up her paw. In it was a small charm bracelet. All the tiny charms looked as though they interlocked, each having small notches in them.
With power comes responsibility. With responsibility comes duty. With duty comes honor. With honor comes shame......

There is no purpose in denying that you know nothing in the grand scheme of things. In an effort to prove otherwise, you would simply go mad.

To gaze at the Elder Scroll is to look into both the past, and the future, all possibilities of each, all at the same time, and believe that each, even the false ones, are all true, all at the same time.


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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Rackenhammer »

Syme nodded, and departed with a surprisingly crisp and military salute. He'd served too, at some point, either in an army or in the more military police force. Signaling Famine, they both grabbed paws and teleported off, to wherever Doctor Carl had gotten off to. Vaughan watched them go, and turned back with a thought occurring to him. "If the proprietor of the inn is Famine's grandfather... then he is at least part Kitsune." The wolf wasn't sure how relevant that fact was, but it might prove useful to know in the future.

Upon arrival at their hotel, Vaughan got out his own bags, which were rather similarly stocked to Catalina's. He preferred handguns to rifles, but the bullets were the main thing. Morrissey had designed most of them, both in material and inscription. Deolux alloy for darkness-affiliated enemies, and Deumbra for light. The sigils were each keyed to the type of creature meant to be hunted, from winged or were. The complete set filled most of the pockets on the longcoat Vaughan had packed, with the remainder spared for one or two tools that might come in handy. Most of them were multi-functional, and all had the advantage of being magically effective without being magically detectable.

What they weren't was versatile. Even multi-use tools could only have each use 'programmed' in beforehand, and there were less bullets than possible sigils.

After suiting up, he turned back to Catalina to see if she was ready, and found the tigress holding out a wooden staff, topped with a crystal. "This... was your husband's staff, wasn't it?" He reached out for it, feeling it with his hand. It was warm to the touch, almost in a kind of comforting manner. More out of experimentalism than anything else, he gently took it from her paws and held it. There was no shock or pain, only the strange sensation of having seen firelight after ages of wandering alone in the forest. "I don't know how well I can use it..." Vaughan caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. With the long coat and the staff... he looked like a modern-day wizard. It was actually a pretty good look for him, and he smiled.

"I accept it."

~***~

Vanessa gave a little wave to the departing Maria, as if she had not ripped out her conscience and stomped all over it. It was entirely tenable that the wolfess wouldn't know one if she saw it; certainly, she showed no signs of ever having had one of her own.

With a sweet, humming sigh, she settled into the extremely comfortable chair behind her desk, tracing her fingers over Devina's lips before pulling her paw away. "I look forward to it immensely, darling. I hope Shiba doesn't mind if I have you along with me when she comes. I know you'd like that very much; she said she'd prefer privacy, but your loyalty is literally unquestionable, so do be there when she makes her appearance, all right?"

~***~

It was getting on evening before the full council could be called; it had taken a little while for Doctor Carl to be located, and Syme had changed back into his suit, complete with hat and tails. Compared to the rest, indeed, the golden fox looked overdressed, but he didn't seem to mind. "The evening suit of a gentlement, starched shirt-front and all, is a thread of living tradition, back to the dressing of knights for tournaments; at least the knights of the Renaissance, who bothered to make themselves presentable."

"It matters little enough." The mustelid doctor intoned, still dressed in scrubs and labcoat, having apparently been tending a patient recently. "They all think we are a fancy-dress party."

"And so didn't mind us reserving the back dining room." Conrad finished, addressing the company. "Now, before we begin, I'd like to ask if Amadeas unearthed any more clues that might help us plan our next move."
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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Catalina Tamiko »

Catalina had taken vaughan and Agreal, with Conrad and Zephyre. Having much more experience at transporting other through the fabric of the dimensions. Sitting at the table, her black armor hidden only by the thick cloak she had refused to shed, she nodded her head to Conrad's statement. "Yes. What happened up north?" The wolf lit himself a cig, then reached into the chest pocket of his trench coat. He wore fingerless gloves now, and something glittered in his paw before he tossed it on the table. "Wakia survived the attack, and not by her blind, dumb luck either. Someone saved her intentionally." "Who?" Agreal chirped softly, "Maria spared her life on purpose, and gave her that. Its a transport key. If you figure out the puzzle, it can open the door to where you need to go.

I know most of the symbols on there, and it's all Infernian. Looks like Vanessa is playing her own cards now. No offense Vaughan, but your sister is going to die for what she made Maria do. Maria lost an arm in the attack, and can not deny her master. But Vanessa.....she's going to bleed for what she did. Especially to Wakia."

Catalina folded her paws and looked at the charm. "There are only three realms that require a port key to enter at this moment. Tamiko realm. Drasden's realm, and Balus realm. Odds are, Drasden is in the dark, and Balus is a puppet. No way Vanessa would let Mariatake a port key to her own strong hold. That's not her style. Too sloppy, she'd have thought of that. No that is a key to another area."

Amadeas nodded, "I agree, though I must state that I feel this is a set up. If Maria could resist enough to subconsciously plan evidence and lead us somewhere, why not Kill Vanessa herself?" "Devina." Catalina said softly. "Grandmother is very old, and very powerful. And has power over the other members of my family. My brother sister and uncle are all at Vanessa's disposal. Though I doubt she could control my uncle for long."

~~~~

Devina purred very deeply, her eyes lighting up like a tree on fire. "I would be very pleased indeed." she whispered. Her tail gently caressed over Vanessa's as she turned toward the door. Her hips swaying wide as she walked, pausing only long enough to look back, "See you soon, My darling wolfess...." there was a long, sort of growling purr that Devina only ever gave Vanessa when she had something extremely special planned. She came to the harem room, where the others were preparing a young adult half elf. They were grooming her, and cleaning her body. The woman was half elf, half kitsune, and as such had a lot of magical energy in her.

Devina came close, smiling as she looked into the woman's eyes. She was literally comatose. Simply flaoting through her life in a pheromone induced coma. All her whims and responses were subject to Devina's thoughts and actions. She had not tainted this woman herself. merely bound her and calmed her down greatly. She was Vanessa's gift. A pure, untouched woman to do with as she pleased. though beautiful and youthful, she was admittedly very ordinary in this realm. And Devina had picked her on purpose. Because as Vanessa was now mostly cubi, she would need to do as most cubi would. Feed. And what better meal, than the soul and essence of a young woman with above average magical power.

~~~~

Wakia lay silently in the bed, surrounded by over half the remaining numbers of the regiment. Amadeas had ordered her to be protected even if they had to kill every mortal and immortal that came into the town. She was resting, her brother by her side. The white ferret with the Anarchy headband. His eyes, however, were not the cheerful gaze he held before. They were softer, gentler. "How ye doing lassy?" He whispered, stroking her paw. She smiled a him and nodded softly, "I'm alright now.....Just tired is all." He issed her forehead, "Ye rest yer head. Yer big brother is gonna handle this one for you...." she nodded to him before her eyes closed.

The ferret stood and began moving to Amadea's stock of weapons. He began selecting things he knew how to use. MSR, Corrodium bullets, 5x scope, flash suppressor, extended bolt, extended stock. Laying it all out he began assembling his weapon. When it was done, he slid the thing into a sleeve and shouldered the bag.

As he was walking out the door, he spoke to one of the others. If he didn't return, there was some things in his house his sister was to get. Then he started walking off, letting his wings and halo appear. Thought the halo was dim, and crooked, it was still there.
With power comes responsibility. With responsibility comes duty. With duty comes honor. With honor comes shame......

There is no purpose in denying that you know nothing in the grand scheme of things. In an effort to prove otherwise, you would simply go mad.

To gaze at the Elder Scroll is to look into both the past, and the future, all possibilities of each, all at the same time, and believe that each, even the false ones, are all true, all at the same time.


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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Rackenhammer »

Zephyre had a cold look on her face. It was at times like these that you could look at her, and recall that she was, like all vampires, technically dead. "Oh, there are many sins for which she will bleed. I am afraid that I have prior claim, however." She spoke in a low monotone, as if bleaching out all emotion was the only way she could keep herself together. "Some time ago, I had been married to another, not by choice. Little good came of that, but I was blessed with twins. However, my ex kicked me out, and blocked the divorce injunction even though he was now living with another. I had to resort to desperate means to get my children back; that's how I met Conrad, actually. I hired him for the job."

Conrad himself put his paw over his wife's, keeping at least some part of her warm as she continued. "Upon arrival, we found that she had been appointed their nanny, I can't imagine why. I think she wanted them for some sacrificial ritual; in any case, she shot them just before we managed to get away." There, she had said it. She did not hang her head afterwards, though; sorrow had transmuted itself fully into determination. "She has not changed, it seems. I will not let another's child be harmed so."

"Well said." Conrad agreed. "I would, however, caution you not to drink any of Vanessa's blood; she'll probably use it to possess you." A flash of his habitual smirk scampered across his face, which shortly resumed a more serious expression. "That said, I think this is pretty much a confirmation of her guilt. Question is, are we together sufficiently powerful to take her on, if Maria wasn't?"

"Probably." Vaughan mused, "Given that half-mortals have accelerated power, not to mention freedom from Devina's domination... at the moment. Enough numbers and the others can snap the controlled out. The other question is, can we actually get to her, if Tamiko county is locked down?"

Syme piped in then. "From the mortal world, no. Parallel jumps within dimensions are less complicated, and the locks are therefore easier to pick. That key might not take us there, but once there, we can probably take our next step. The locals might help too, given that they're being framed."

~***~

Vanessa watched the panthress intently as she departed, smiling all the while. After she had left, the wolfess shook her head and laughed. "Oh, Devina... is there nothing you won't do? I had been wondering what I would need to do with you once this all kicks into gear, but really, you're so blind you won't see, and so enamored you won't mind. That's kind of nice, actually; I thought I'd have to handle this all myself."

For now, however, duty called. She couldn't delegate everything to her subordinates; some part of County administration had to pass through her. Plus, there was the Council meeting to prepare for, and that she must certainly handle herself. After all, if things went according to plan, that's when it would all come out, and the War Hawks take the lead. To make it happen without actually getting involved, that was the trick...

Soon, it was time for the meeting. *Come, Devina, She awaits us.* After signaling the cubi, Vanessa made her way to the Shrine chamber, awaiting the appearance of Shiba.
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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Catalina Tamiko »

Catalina raised her paw. "I am still heir apparent. the gates will open for me if I want. Add to that Amadeas has the keys to ALL of Shiba's realms. Including Tamiko county. But getting in and out is worthless. As it stands, we can't touch Vanessa. She's grown powerful enough and more than likely has become mostly succubus herself now. Tellissa herself would have stood no chance in paw to paw combat with vanessa at this point. We wont get close."

"So what do we do?" Amadeas asked, Catalina sighed and closed her eyes. Her own demons had come back, "We have to kill Devina. She is the literal source of all Vanessa's powers at the moment. The wolfess might have some magical talent, but Devina acts like an energy drink to that. a constant energy drink. Even if we don't kill Devina, we have to eliminate her power to get Vanessa back down. Of course at that point, anything she put in place will come crashing down around her. She'd be literally at our mercy. And I plan to have none......" Her eyes were elsewhere, and she whispered, "should have done it long ago...." Agreal caught it, and looked at Vaughan. "Vaughan. has she got any magical power left in her? I haven't seen her cast more than simple baby spells in years now."

If one had seen catalina's paw under the table, she was fingering the large gun in her boot. The one that looked like a single barrel sawn-off shotgun. IN actuality, the gun was a Tamiko original. It didn't fire typical bullets. What it fired was a solid gold rifled deer slug, tipped with a ruby, enchanted to break magical items. It could kill if it hit someone, but it was meant to hit items and destroy them. Actually ripping them through space and time and scattering the atoms between the realms. She only had two rounds for it, but she had a single purpose for them One was for Devina's amulet. The other was for someone else.

Amadeas nodded, "Ok so we have a way in and out. I say we come from the roof and work our way down. They way they can't bottle neck us and take the high ground." "You be needin a paw there laddy. The Tamiko palace be very impregnable. Aye, I know more about it than I care to say....." Amadeas turned and looked at the Ferret. "Tweren't too hard ta find laddy. You stand out like a roaring fire when you gots something under your fur. And you got a tick right and good under that tail." The wolf nodded and leaned back. "what do you propose?" "Distraction. I gots a three quarter mile range. And I can jump from spot to spot. Make them think there are ten of me. Aye I can keep their attention long enough to get you lot inside. I owe it to me sister."

~~~

Devina appeared, right behind Vanessa. She sighed happily as she walked with the wolfess. Shiba was already inside the Shrine. She stood, looking at the carved image of herself. "Hmmm. Very flattering........I always did like the Natural look..." she smiled, noting the statue's apparent lack of apparel. Turning to the two, she smiled and came close. "So.....tell me, what are you up too? I heard tell my sister was slain recently.....and it would grieve me deeply to think you had anything to do with it..." her tone was only half joking. She needed to know that Vanessa's paws had nothing to do with that end of it.


The white wolfess turned her black eyes on Devina. For a moment she had to stare. Devina was so enraptured with Vanessa she was floating....actually she was floating. her feet hovered inches off the floor. Now that was news. Devina had prayed for someone like Vanessa for thousands of years. Now that she was here.....Shiba smiled and leaned right to the wolfess, caressing her chin. "You little she-devil. Enchantress of demons. How ever did you tame that wild panthress....."
With power comes responsibility. With responsibility comes duty. With duty comes honor. With honor comes shame......

There is no purpose in denying that you know nothing in the grand scheme of things. In an effort to prove otherwise, you would simply go mad.

To gaze at the Elder Scroll is to look into both the past, and the future, all possibilities of each, all at the same time, and believe that each, even the false ones, are all true, all at the same time.


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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Rackenhammer »

*If she hasn't been using magical power, that means she hasn't been wasting it. I should think she had a lot of it banked by now.* Vaughan was confident enough in Catalina, though her reliance upon magitek now was a bit of a change from her past approaches to such problems. Still, as one who hadn't much of any magic himself, Vaughan could hardly think her any less useful.

The planned fight was coming together, but the wolf stayed silent. He was looking at his friend, who was normally the planner in their operation. Indeed, Conrad was silent in thought, chin pinched between thumb and forefinger. It was a few minutes before he looked up, not even seeming surprised at the sudden appearance of the ferret. "I think there may be a simpler way, if I'm remembering the terms of Vanessa's contract correctly. As it was worded, I believe, if harm comes to Morrissey by her, either by intention or neglect, poof! No more Vanessa. Since the wording could conceivably include a paper cut, I think it wouldn't be a bad idea, Vaughan, to fetch your little brother-"

"No." Vaughan stared back into the startled eyes of his friend. Conrad hadn't expected so firm an opposition.

"Look, I know you're concerned about your little brother and all, but look at the big picture. We're all going into a very dangerous situation, in which death and worse fates may be in store. And if we fail... end of the world time. It's really for the best you know."

The wolf grimaced at the hybrid's words. Conrad was smart, and Vaughan knew that given enough time, he would be worn down. "I promised him... that I wouldn't push him... and he just got engaged, too!"

Conrad raised his eyebrows. "Yes... and so did you. He's grown up enough now to make his own decisions, as much as you or any of us."

"More so than me, even." Syme chimed in. "You could say I'm not even an adult."
"You barely act like one, sometimes." Doctor Carl intoned.

Vaughan sighed, and looked over to Catalina. *I know he will come if he is asked, and Ishimi will probably come with him. I really don't want to put those two into harms way...* He was hoping that she could back him up on this, because he really couldn't argue against his friend's case.

~***~

Vanessa actually put an arm around Devina's waist as they walked along. She hadn't really settled in her mind just what the panthress was to her; probably more than just a tool at this point, and maybe even more than just a loyal servant. For all her deception, the wolfess had allowed the cubi closer to her than literally any other soul that ever existed.

But personal considerations could wait; now it was time to talk to Shiba. "It is a good likeness; good for putting a worshiper in the proper frame of mind, hehe." She looked up at the goddess, who stood taller than either of them, radiating a dark power than even Vanessa had to admire. She was the most powerful being that the wolfess had met, that she hadn't immediately tried to make plans to subvert or kill. Speaking of which...
"Oh? I don't follow news of other deities much these days. Domestic matters take up much of my time. It is difficult to manage industrialization without rampant corporate capitalism on the one hand, and stagnant socialism on the other. What her disaffected worshipers or their pliant mortal lackeys get up to is not really of any interest to me." Which was to say, that Vanessa had left no clues to trace her, and to the best of her knowledge, no living witnesses. Maria's little overlooking of Wakia was still unknown to her.

Devina might have been floating higher, if not for the hold that Vanessa had on her hips. She could feel the levitation, and just had to give her panthress a quick nuzzle before turning back to Shiba. "Oh, its just one of those things that happen, you know? We got caught in the middle of big things, and were thrown together. Had to make a pact to get out of it, and by that time... well, you see for yourself." She had to wonder if even the gods knew of that little time loop that made all this possible.
"I'm interested in what's going on on your end, you know? With these rumors of your sister's murder flying about, big things might start happening again."
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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Catalina Tamiko »

Catalina's voice was smooth as silk as she leaned over the table, "My daughter and son in law are staying out of it this time......" Amadeas shivered, knowing that tone very well indeed. Then Catalina spoke, "And I'm sorry but your theory is full of holes Conrad. Not too long ago, Morrissey split his paw wide open on a lathe. If your thought had been correct, vanessa would have become Devina's soul servant right then and there. The contract does say harm, but it was geared toward fatal or near fatal harm. Life threatening, dangerous harm. If a paper cut would have sufficed, Maria would have done that already. What is more is that Devina would likely know everything Vanessa does. Including anything Morr is included in. She remembers the contract, and so would also be obligated to constantly remind vanessa about it."

The ferret was silent, letting the others talk. It was then Amadeas spoke. "Maybe.......we could summon her here." Catalina killed that thought with a growl. "The last thing I want to do is bring that witch back HERE. the longer we can keep her contained in Inferno, the better." The feline put a paw on her chin, and thought deeply, closing her eyes and finally spoke. "This is worthless. If Shiba catches us, she just has to get Vanessa to ask for her help. We'd be dead before we got past the door. We have to distract Shiba...keep her eyes and mind elsewhere. but picking a location is the hard part. It has to be somewhere that she has less power. A place where she is not able to fully bring her skills to bare. And most importantly a place where any prayers sent to her would take a while to reach her, if at all. Shiba, as much as I have followed her, would never lose a servant so devout in her devotion as Vanessa."

The ferret chimed in, "Aye....we bring her home then. The tiny village we call our place in this world. It be ready for such an event. All the wards cast by ye father are still active. Gods and demons can come and go as they please, but they are weak there....especially close to the shrine. We get here that close, we can take her paw to paw." Catalina was bothered by that. Who would be fighting with a god while the others were trying to kill vanessa?

~~~

Shiba nodded, actually wiping some tears from her eyes. She did mourn her sister. Though the death of her sibling was needed for her plans to move forward, it was something that grieved her deeply. And for that she shed a few tears, wiping her eyes with a bare paw. "Yes. Things are being set into motion that I can not hold back. Inferno is being threatened by forces outside my control. You, my dear, have been faithful to my teachings. You are a beautiful woman, with grace and power, and a heart as black as my own. Things I admire deeply. I bring you news, and a warning. Paradiso will not take her death lightly and will attempt to avenge her on the most easily accessible realm of Inferno they can. If you want more power, and to put them in their place.... you must divert attention from yourself to someone else....The War Hawks seem a likely bunch to stir things up. and if I remember correctly, Drasden was one of them before he shut himself off from the multiverse."

She moved to walk around the room, her voice taking a very pleased tone, "My My. have things come this far so fast? Has the war truly begun? I warn you now Vanessa, please keep your hands clean. It would a great shame to have your paws soiled. After all it is you whom have captured the affections of my own Great Great Granddaughter......." she turned, smiling right at Devina. "It is an interesting tale.....see, i too once took a mortal as my mate. Though he soon died, he gifted me with a child. Half Panther, half wolf. Over time, that Child took a mate, and so on. Until you see the result. A powerful demoness, a succubus with the powers of a demi-god, and the strength of ages. A proud woman that fights for what she wants for herself. gifted in my darkest magics, my strongest spells. And now.....You have them....and what a joy that is to me. Watching you grow up from such a small girl. Even then you prayed to me. Though you did not know it. Each act you tried, each little sin you committed drew me closer to you. And fora lifetime of wonderful works....I rewarded you."

She gestured to the window, "A realm of your own, that will continue to expand as long as you want it too. An army to command, and a mate for you if you desire her.....a woman that would never leave you, never love another like she loves you." she caressed Devina's face. "You know that she has searched for you for over a thousand years.......She remembers what happened, as much as I do. That little incident with the time lord? Oh I remember. and Morrissey is still as much a threat now as he was then. Because he commands the most powerful Succubus that lives, aside from Catalina herself. If Ishimi wanted.....she could destroy this realm. Her mother is just as powerful. Do not cross them Vanessa. Do not draw their attention.... Because while I would come to aide you, I cam limited in what I can do on any realm. Even here, my powers are limited to less than half. They suspect you, and Devina. Though I can not reveal more, because I don't know everything. If they act against you.... your army is useless. I pray you have studied your spells well."
With power comes responsibility. With responsibility comes duty. With duty comes honor. With honor comes shame......

There is no purpose in denying that you know nothing in the grand scheme of things. In an effort to prove otherwise, you would simply go mad.

To gaze at the Elder Scroll is to look into both the past, and the future, all possibilities of each, all at the same time, and believe that each, even the false ones, are all true, all at the same time.


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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Rackenhammer »

Conrad sighed, then shrugged. "Can you blame me for trying to find an easier way at least? I have to say, I am not looking forward to confronting Vanessa in an entrenched position on her home turf."

"Speak for yourself, love, I plan to savor this. It's been coming for far too long." And Zephyre licked over her fangs in punctuation. Her mate was clever, and sympathetic, but he could not fully share either her pain or desire for revenge. He could only be there for her when she went for it, and he would be, even if it killed. Though he'd rather it didn't, all things considered.

"Duly noted." Vaughan said, before returning to the plan under discussion. "So, we have to summon Shiba away from Vanessa, in order to have a fighting chance, and the best place to do that is your village? OK, how do we make sure she comes to a place where she is necessarily weak, and how do we make sure she stays to fight, rather than just run off when she realizes what she's gotten herself into?"

Syme raised his hand, though he kept his head low. "Two possibilities. She may either come for her prophet... or for me."

"And why is that?" Famine asked, curious. Doctor Carl betrayed no such curiosity, as he had apparently been told the story before.

The golden fox did not answer at first, staring off into the middle distance, and remained in that attitude even as he did speak, recalling centuries past. "I was born to the previous Prophet of Shiba. Amadeas, you are, despite your professed goddess, a temperate man, with simple desires. You have on many occasions resisted temptation, and still continue to do so. My father... was not. There was a more than pagan latitude about him; he feasted not only on the souls of mortals, but their flesh as well; he cooked it in the best Domish style, as I recall. There was no temptation, no perversion that he did not rush into with all the devotion of a fanatic and all the regularity of an addict. All of his household was oriented towards this religion of darkness. Have you pictured that house in your mind?"

Syme blinked, looking about the room to see if indeed they had pictured it. "Now, imagine being a small child in that house. I was born aware, like all cubi, and I knew as young as four years old that I was living in the house of a mad fur. I'm not even 500 yet; I look older than I am because of growth acceleration father did to me; I think he wanted to disguise his last perversion from even from himself. I didn't stick around long enough to be subjected to that, I ran like the blazes. But I do not blame him; he was a rational man, and had at least the honor that belongs to all the devout, of following his goddess to the logical conclusion of her desires and commands. At any rate, she never expressed any kind of displeasure or disapproval of his goings-on."

When he began to talk of Shiba, a cold contempt suffused his voice, and the chill continued as he summarized the proceeding years of his life. "Well, I went into the mortal world, with a great deal of suicidal self-loathing. I cut my own wings off, and my horns as well. I suppose I eventually got tired of being insane, so I threw myself into anything that would take my mind off the past. Every revolution, I was there in the mob, breaking prisons or hanging tyrants. Eventually, I found my way into service of another. The rest, I think, you know."

Vaughan stared. He'd been suspicious from the get-go of Shiba, but he found it hard to believe, from what he'd heard of Catalina, that even she could turn a blind eye to that. "I see... but why would she come to you then?"

"If I asked for an apology... she might at least show up to give an excuse." The fox's face was set and determined, though there was still something in him of the boy screwing up his courage. "I don't know how well I'd do in an out and out confrontation. She has power over those with dark bloodlines, whether vampiric or cubi."

The wolf looked at the staff in his hand, thinking about its former owner. He could feel the power of light flowing through it, and he was silently praying for a double portion of it now. "In that case," Vaughan said, "I would probably be the best person to confront her." He looked over to Catalina. "Does that sound like a plan?"

~***~

Vanessa's lips curled up in a cruel smile at the mention of Drasden's name. "He's not... quite as shut off as he'd like to believe. By now, if all goes well, Paradiso has the key to his realm, and I have made sure that the War Hawks, even the Isolationist breakoffs, have the means to offer mutual support in case of an invasion. Not a bad place to put the front lines, eh?" Inwardly, she couldn't help but wonder at Shiba's tears. Really, if Tellissa meant that much to her, she shouldn't have made plans to kill her. But if she had to kill her sister, she should have at least taken time to root out any lingering affection; an eternity of guilt was no fun, after all. Vanessa herself had long ago eradicated any tenderness towards her own siblings just in case this sort of situation popped up.

Not that, of course, the death of her siblings would in all cases be beneficial to her plans, as Devina would sometimes remind her. And that might prove a nuisance. "Oh, I've no intention of antagonizing either of the little kitties, let me assure you. Heck, I'll even build them a guest house in my new realm!" She chuckled, covering her grin with her hand. It was an old habit from her pre-ascended (or descended) days; she could be quite charming, only her smile was not pleasant. It betrayed her true nature.

"In any case, yes, I've been studying my spells, alright. I've learned long ago to watch out for meddling kids, like my little brother, both of them, and their friends, too. In any case, best of luck. I can only hope," she said, as a kind of departure, "That all our sacrifices will not be in vain."
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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Catalina Tamiko »

Catalina looked at Vaughan. She was not pleased with the thought of him going into possible combat against Shiba. BUt a thought came to her slowly. She let it grow before speaking. "There is....one way to ensure she can not escape....." Her eyes lost their light. They had, for all the world, the look of a mortal now. "I know for a fact, that my mate possessed a portion of Tellissa's power. All the Order did. Even if she is gone, she is not forgotten. We could evoke her blessings to Bind Shiba to the battle site. Here, in the mortal realm, in the presence of one blessed by her her opposite, she will have the least power. Though with her prophet on paw...." Amadeas looked at vaughan, "What do you know of removing blessings or curses? I you can....when she arrives you can remove the gift she bestowed on me....While I would still be part vampire...there should be enough Angel left in me to help fight her."

Catalina had stood and come to Syme. Kneeling, she put herself on face level with him. "When was the last time you fed properly?" she asked softly. Agreal turned an ear to the question, but turned it back when he looked at zephyre and conrad. "You will get your chance. Though I think there might be others in line ahead of you. This started long before any of us were born.....So as much as it stands, Vaughan, and Catalina have the biggest dibs on first come first served. I understand your desire to destroy her for your children. I really do. But there is another matter to contend. the Harem. All of them skilled mages, most of them combat trained. Boris especially. He was Devina's right hand until Vanessa. Now he is HER right hand. He's gifted in physical and magical prowess. Even if we can fight him with magic, we still can't hurt him unless we get close enough to put a bullet in his heart."

~~~

Shiba nodded softly. "very well. You are, a good and faithful servant. Do this well....and I will bless you then thousand fold what you have now. I will make you as my right paw. and give you the power over nightmare themselves. But be wary. Devina is your one true weakness. Should she die....all the power you have right now will vanish. you would be only as you were before. And I can not save you."

the wofless moved to the window. "Soon my dear....soon your throne shall sit over all Inferno, and the mortal world. I will have the angels of paradiso bow before you." She looked back, and smiled, nearly ear to eat with solid, black gleaming teeth. "I will be watching my darling wolfess...." and with that, she vanished in a swirl of black shadow.

devina purred deeply, practically vibrating her chest to the point her Amulet jingled softly. Her tail swished playfully as she gently caressed vanessa's cheek and leaned down, sealing a nuzzle before whispering, "Come darling....I have your gift ready....you will be pleased." She led Vanessa back to her bed chambers. Opening the door she motioned to the bed. There, sitting in a daze, was the elf-kitsune. She wore a blood red night gown. Her eyes were lidded in dazed; only looking at the pair as they entered with mild acknowledgement. "I promised you a treat. completely pure, only 18 years of age and untouched by anything. not a single blemish. All yours Mistress.....for anything you want. She's completely obedient, I already broke her mind, but there is much more left. Though if you chose to fee don her soul....well that would break the enchantment and she was scream in terror and pain to no end....well to her end." Devina snapped her fingers, and Boris entered the room. He smiled almost evily, and bowed before vanessa, "My Lady Vanessa...."
With power comes responsibility. With responsibility comes duty. With duty comes honor. With honor comes shame......

There is no purpose in denying that you know nothing in the grand scheme of things. In an effort to prove otherwise, you would simply go mad.

To gaze at the Elder Scroll is to look into both the past, and the future, all possibilities of each, all at the same time, and believe that each, even the false ones, are all true, all at the same time.


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Re: Lest you entertain angels unawares...

Post by Rackenhammer »

"I think..." Vaughan laid the staff down on the table, for everyone to see, "That the blessings are still in effect. If I go into battle with this, they still should work." He looked over at Amadeas, but he could only shake his head. "I am not a cleric, unfortunately; if anything, only a Hunter. I can be of little help to you, and I am sorry." He reached to take up the staff, paused for a moment, thinking. "Let me just try one thing..." And he gently reached over, tapping the arctic wolf with the end of the staff.

Syme looked over, giving a small smile to Catalina. "I no longer need to feed upon souls. That was one of the rewards of service. I'm not exactly a cubi anymore, in much the same way that Amadeas is not exactly an angel."

Conrad cocked his head as Argreal explained the situation with Boris. "I thought the point of a bullet was that you didn't have to get close for it to work. It wouldn't surprise me, though, if one had to get to point blank range for it to be effective, but in that case, one may as well try with a blade, since that's easier to use close up." He pulled a switchblade out of his pocket, flicking out the metal tongue that glinted in the electric light. "Morrissey made these; a bit like a Swiss Army knife, but all blades, each keyed to different weaknesses."

Zephyre, meanwhile, was looking a mite impatient at all these explanations. "Look, we'll just settle on whoever gets to her first, alright? In the meanwhile, do we really want to just talk, or act? We don't have an unlimited amount of time, I should think."

~***~

Vanessa grinned, and jostled the panthress in the side. "You hear that? When the going gets rough, you get out of town." It was practically foolproof; the 'good guys' charge the enemy keep, but the katschei's heart is far away. Still, the hero of that folktale found it anyway. Devina should be able to defend herself though, against a wandering hero or two.

But now, plans could be put on hold for an evening. The wolfess' tail was wagging like a common dog's in anticipation of Devina's little surprise. Upon entering the bedchamber, her eyes lit up and she squealed like a cub at Christmas. "Oooh, you know me so well! What a treat indeed!" She jumped on the bed next to the halfbreed, licking her cheek for a taste test. "Very nice, very sweet. Yes, I think I will feed... this will be my first, actually, that I do myself. About time I learned, really." And she chuckled. The poor victim couldn't understand just yet, but she soon would, and then the screaming would begin.
Boris entered the room now, and that just made it perfect for her. "I may need you to hold her down, do come up here, will you darling?"
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