I won't say a thing... who'd friggin believe me even if I did?
Penelope scrutinized Alex over the rim of her cup for a long moment, perhaps trying to determine if she could trust him with the “everything” he had asked for or, maybe, if he was even ready to accept what that “everything” might mean. For his part, Alex kept his gray eyes unwaveringly locked to hers and awaited her reply with as much patience as he could muster…
“You wish to know everything?” Penelope asked, leaning forward and looking deeper into his eyes… into his very soul, it felt like… and Alex felt his cheeks flush at her proximity, “Very well.”
…When she paused and smiled at him, Alex’s expression followed suit even though he didn’t recall willing it to do so…
“For some, Alexander, secrecy is a thing of survival,” she told him as her hands moved to rest on the table between them and her voice took on a gripping timbre, “What I tell you now you shall repeat to no one.”
Who am I gonna tell, he was prepared to reply in order to reassure her that he was more than capable of keeping a secret, I’ve got me, the cat, and Rosie, and that’s… The words, along with the thought that drove them to his lips, were incinerated by the brilliant column of light that had just exploded in front of him, though, and any other expression that may have been affixed to his face to this point was wiped away by the dumbstruck look of awe that crashed over his features.
What he actually saw in that brief eternity he would never be able to clearly define, Alex was sure, at least not with any words that he would be able to string together, but what he felt… what he came to understand… in that instant wasn’t a thing that would ever require definition. There was beauty, of course, and there was desire, passion, and love in many forms but, even beyond that, there was power beyond anything a mortal could hope to attain; there were lifetime after lifetime of memories and emotions that ran the gamut from complete bliss to abject misery… Alex had known, from the minute he laid eyes on her, that there was something different about the woman who called herself Penelope Rosa – until now he figured it had something to do with how beautiful, how enchanting she was. Thanks to this display, though, he began to comprehend that those traits were nothing more than ‘side effects’ of what truly set her apart.
“In this, Alexander Sharpe,” her powerfully alluring voice cautioned as the true presentation of Penelope’s essence was once again masked behind her mortal façade, “in this you will be silent.”
He nodded dumbly, blinking rapidly to chase away the phantom spots dancing before his eyes, and then, feeling as if his voice had been stolen or shocked still, poured the remainder of his spiked coffee down his throat to free it. “I… uh… You…” It wasn’t going to be that easy, apparently… “Damn!” … Alex didn’t really know what to say…
Still awestruck and staring at her even more intently than he had when he thought her just some gorgeous potential client, he sat the now empty coffee cup down on the table before his hand inadvertently let it go tumbling to the floor. “I guess that was everything,” he managed at last, “not exactly the everything I was expecting, though…”
With power like that, his slowly reviving brain wondered, why in the hell would you need a bum like me?
This time, the words he thought made it from mind to mouth with less difficulty.
Posted on 2009-09-24 at 19:53:37.
Edited on 2016-09-30 at 09:21:17 by Eol Fefalas
Alexander simply nodded, blinking and staring at her dumbfoundedly. With a flick of his wrist he emptied whatever remained of his coffee and stammered, "I... uh... You... Damn!"
Unable to suppress her smile, Penelope ran her finger along the rim of her coffee cup and waited for Alexander to process everything. His grey eyes stared at her intently now with a renewed curiosity and he seemed not to notice the coffee cup that he inadvertently knocked to the floor.
"I guess the was everything," he began, "not exactly everything I was expecting, though..." Alexander paused a moment before finally managing, "With power like that, why in the hell would you need a bum like me?"
The siren cocked her head to the side regarding him with grey eyes and reached across the table to take Azazelite pendant from him. Turning the medallion in her fingers she traced the points of the pentagram again and again.
"Alexander," Penelope began, "you keep strange company... A vampyre, a bast, and a girl with enough raw power to rival an immortal. Whatever you may think of yourself the supernatural has drawn itself to you."
Laying the medallion on the table she slid it over to him, "Were this a lone magician I would take care of matters myself. It is not."
Okay... Remember Rosie, you are safe here. Alex and I won't let anything like that happen again. Safe... very safe... I'll let you sleep now, sleep soundly, sleep safely...
In Janelle's dream, the scene began to melt away. Tears smudged the colours and lines together into something indistinct, like an abstract watercolour. It became blue, a soft, watery hue, in which Janelle lost herself, moving onward to a dreamless sleep.
Night in the big city.
Katul stared out the large windows, looking through the darkness at the glittering lights below. He had plans for after dinner, but it seemed that they would have to wait a bit longer, one of his new cronies called in, said he had information he would only tell to Katul. It had better be good.
His blue eyes narrow as he watches the lights below, eventually the city would be his.
The intercom beside him on the desk lit up a small red light and a calm voice drifted through the blackness "Sir, Sargent Fansler is here for you"
Let him in he sent to the night sentry outside, paused and then added And get that scrumptus little feline ready for me, will you?
"Yes Sir" The voice said just as calmly. A moment later the front door opened and a streak of light illuminated the white carpet. The shadow of a man filled it and then the man himself came in. The door closed and with his excellent nightly vision Katul inspected the figure in the shadows as he tried to adjust his less the perfect human eyes to the darkness.
"Uh... Mr. Katul?" The voice asked, the head moved as it searched for somewhere to direct his call.
On the desk.... Sarge... you must pardon the form, I have a date tonight. Now then... you had business for me?
He watched as the man turned toward the desk and found himself looking at a large siamese cat sitting on the top of it.
"Oh..." The man said. And if he could smile in this form Katul would have. He loved to watch the surprise on a human the first time they realized they were talking to a cat. Katul watched as Fansler looked at him closer, trying to determine if in fact the cat -had- just spoken to him. In his inspection of his boss Fansler forgot that he was supposed to say something more than 'oh' and eventually the silence reminded him of that.
"Oh... I uh... well you know I work for the CPD, and well..."
Get on with it boy
"Yeah.... well I ran into something today, and maybe it's nothing, but maybe not and I just thought that perhaps you'd want to know."
"Well of course you know about what happened to Eddie..."
"And the others..."
Yes his voice growing impatient now.
"Well the cops still haven't linked the deaths together really. In fact until Eddie they hadn't paid much attention to them. Drug killings is what they were thinking and of course those go to the bottom of the basket. But Eddie... man that was different. The guy was -fried- and on him was one of our pendants, melted to s***. The detective working the case... Joe Kelly. Well he starts looking around more into this one. He pulled up this cold case file, see? This whole group of people were just... massacred a few years back. And he's got the pictures laying out, and there is our symbol all over the place in blood. Man some f***** up s*** musta happened there. I was fresh out of the academy when it happened, but I remembered it. Everyone does. One of our own was in there when it happened, he lived but that sweet little wife of his didn't."
No... Fansler... not one of your own. WE are your own now, not those boys in blue
The sargent fumbled a moment then nodded, "Well yeah... I know... but you know what I mean. At any rate well that cop couldn't cut it at the force anymore, started spending more time with a bottle then with his job and handed in his badge. Kelly was his partner back in the day. Well I got my hands on the files and it looks like Kelly gave this old cop a visit was asking about the pendant too. Seems the old cop pulled himself out of the bottle long enough to give him Azazael's name"
There was a pause then. Finally Katul spoke up.
What is this washed out boy in blue's name?
"Alexander Sharpe" Fansler responded and stepped closer to slide a bit of paper onto the desk before the cat. "His address, phone number, and a description I lifted from the file"
Very good Sarge... you are proving to be a most useful asset. Now then... as I said, I have a date, so if you'll just see your way out...
"Oh... yeah, course Mr. Katul. Glad I could help." And he quickly started to leave.
One more thing Sarge -
Fansler turned and looked back into the blue eyes of the cat. "Yeah?"
Keep your eyes on this for me will you? This Sharpe fellow says anything more I want to know. And... be careful about it. I don't need you mucking up a rat job and expecting me to come clean it up.... alright?
"Yeah boss... Will do... " Fansler replied and then headed out.
As Fansler passed into the brightly lit entry room, blinking as his pupils tried to shrink back down to a proper size, the sentry put a white persian cat on the floor and pushed her into the room, only to close the door behind her fluffy tail.
"Ugh, why do they sack the very strange cases on me?" Kenneth complained, just loud enough for his voice to carry to the desk next to him that belonged to Joe.
Naturally, Joe wasn't there... they often worked opposite shifts, and according to the secretary he had signed out at noon anyway, since he had spent the night prior.
"Just a murder case they say, well, how's it a murder without a murder weapon?" Kenneth continued to ask, thinking aloud, as he often did when he worked the night shift alone. Then again, that was why he liked working the night shift; he could talk to himself and no one would get annoyed about it.
He looked over the three autopsy reports in front of him again, and shook his head.
"No matter how you look at it, there's no signs of trauma or even physical damage or resistance for that matter. No toxicity in their bloodstreams at the time of death, and not even a sign of a heart attack. It's as if they just... died..." Kenneth mused, before checking their data files on the computer, "And three of the top guys of a drug-dealing street gang ain't gonna die for no apparent reason..."
"Hell, Joe's is much easier than this... you have a burnt body with ties to some sort of whacky cult... whoever did it is obviously some sort of arsonist that just likes burning people instead of property. Trace the fire, and BAM! There's your guy."
Kenneth chuckled. He said it, but he didn't mean it; he knew better than that, and he had taken a glance at it as well. His photographic memory helped with this line of work, and he clearly remembered that although the body was clearly burned to death, there were no signs of smoke inhalation, much less any sort of gasoline or oil, or signs of burning at the crime scene. Still, it seemed workable; what the hell was he supposed to do with something like this?
Kenneth picked up one of the bagged guns found in the hands of the two of the guys that were found in the same area. They were quite clearly fired, with spent shells also in the area, and there were blood spatters, a clear indication of another person present.
"So, the only thing we have to go on is blood... heh, and it just couldn't have matched anything in our database could it? No, that would be too easy..." Kenneth shook his head. This case clearly looked like it was going to go into the 'unsolved' folder.
His eyes narrowed. Bullets, and blood... a considerable amount too. He checked the blood screening photo. They were faint, but there were obvious traces from where blood must have spilt. Judging by that alone, it was pretty clear whoever was hit had been hit in a spot where no clothing obscured it. Or at least, that was the feeling he got. For most people, that would be either the arms, or possibly...
"... these ain't rookies firing these guns; these are bodyguards to the head honcho. If they don't know where to shoot, they ain't doing their job right. One of these shots has to be a head shot."
The more Kenneth looked at the blood patterns, the more he became convinced that it was a 'head shot'. At the very least, they were hit somewhere pretty vital, and gang members had a reputation to upkeep for being good with a gun.
"So... whoever it was got shot rather hard... and there's three bullets not accounted for... who the hell takes three bullets and just walks away?"
Kenneth groaned. The evidence was just out to get him this time.
"I knew I should've played hookey today..."
Then something caught his eye. A disturbance of the ground, in the approximate spot he'd have guessed the swiss cheese person would be.
"They fell down... but this can't be right..." Kenneth stared in disbelief, "If I fall down," he continued, before standing up and promptly falling onto the floor on his backside, "Ooph!" He immediately checked his position. Legs bent, and hands out behind to help cushion the fall. He checked the photo again and the ruler size reference.
"This ain't right..." He quickly checked other files for approximate sizes of individuals, before cross referencing the measurements of the picture and reaching the conclusion he had intuitively guessed, "... they shot a kid? Just why would they shoot a kid, unless..."
The pieces began fitting together, although there was no logical reason why or how it was possible.
"This kid... somehow kills their boss... they pursue and shoot, the kid kills them too..." Kenneth groaned once again, "And now I'm back to square one... how does one kill without even touching the person?!"
Sighing, he put the files and evidence back into their neat little box. It was impossible to solve, much less to find out who did it.
"... this is gonna bug me all night. I know it is." Kenneth said resignedly, putting his feet up on his desk and reclining.
Whaddya mean strange company... oh... yeah... I guess... maybe...
Having reached across the table and delicately wrested the amulet from him, Penelope seemed to consider his question for a moment, tracing the points of the pentacle over and over, while she gazed at him. “Alexander, you keep strange company,” she said at last, “A vampyre, a bast, and a girl with enough raw power to rival an immortal. Whatever you may think of yourself, the supernatural has drawn itself to you.”
The statement brought a puzzled look to his face for a brief instant… he had never really thought about it before but, having heard it spoken aloud just now, it suddenly stuck him that it was a little more than curious that his ‘circle of friends’ was comprised of the likes of Smoke, Lucius, and Janelle. It wasn’t unusual for the Gifted to be drawn to one another, of course, but that attraction was usually based upon similarity in beliefs and being – Wiccans found each other and formed Covens with other Wiccans, the Followers of Legba would often come together under the auspices of a powerful Hougan, and vampyres – as he had understood it from Lucius’ tales – would occasionally form their own small clans as a matter of mutual protection and preservation – but it was an unusual miscellany, apparently, that constituted the covenant with which Alex had aligned himself… Fated to be, Emily would’ve said…
The sound of the medallion clicking against the table and sliding across the surface snapped him from his reverie and his eyes ticked from the trinket pinned beneath her fingers to her eyes as she said; “Were this a lone magician I would handle matters myself. It is not.”
“No,” Alex almost laughed, leaning back in his chair, now, and running his hands through his hair as his mind tied and untied knots in the tapestry of Fate that seemed to be his life, “no, it’s definitely not a lone magician. If my research is right there are hundreds, maybe thousands… Not all of them Gifted, of course; cults like this like their pawns and foot-soldiers,” he reached out, took the amulet again, and turned it over and over in his hands looking for anything that might set this one apart from the others he had seen, “and they typically don’t like to play their more powerful pieces in those kinds of roles… mundanes and lessers usually get the so-called honor…”
He stopped turning the medallion at that moment, his brow knitting as if his inspection of the thing had revealed a curiosity he hadn’t been expecting, and his free hand lifted to rub thoughtfully at his whisker-stubbled chin. “That’s different, isn’t it,” he muttered under his breath as his hauled himself out of the chair, his eyes still fixed on the ornate gold-work that lay in his palm, “almost looks more like a cat’s head is you take away the horns…huh…”
Alex cast a curious glance at Penelope as he passed her on his way to lock the front door. “You have any idea how long they’ve been watching you, Penelope?” he asked following the staccato click of the last deadbolt sliding into place…
“Any idea at all what they might want from you?” he continued as he strode back across the shop and made his way behind the counter where the cash register still sat…
He reached under the counter and plugged the register into the outlet, there, and, nine keystrokes later, had the drawer open and retrieved a small, ward-scribed box from the back of the thing. “Do you think they have any idea what you are,” he asked the third question as he returned to where she sat and placed the box on the table before opening it to expose the numerous Azazelite pendants that he’d ‘collected’ over the years. He paused for a moment, his fingers set to pull one of the amulets from the box, glanced uncomfortably at Emily’s picture and, then, dropped the amulet back into the box before murmuring “Sorry, baby,” and turning the photo around to face the other way before returning to his collection…
Posted on 2009-09-28 at 01:52:30.
Edited on 2016-09-30 at 09:23:10 by Eol Fefalas
"No," Alexander replied to her with a half chuckle, "no, it's definitely not some lone magician. If my research is right there are hundreds, maybe thousands... Not all of them Gifted, of course; cults like this like their pawns and foot-soldiers."
Alexander paused and Penelope let him take the medallion from her. He began to turn the golden pendant between his fingers as if searching for something. The siren leaned back in her chair and watched him calmly all the while her mind reeling. There are hundreds, maybe thousands... She shook her head. These Azazelites were forming an army and that did not bode well.
"And they typically don't like to play their more powerful pieces in those kinds of roles..." Alexander continued, "mundanes and lessers usually get the so-called honor..."
Penelope listened intently to him and pressed a finger to her lips in thought. This cult had indeed grown vast but in her mind therein lay the key to its undoing. Far too many believed that cutting the head off a beast was the only way to kill. The head was always well guarded, but the less vital parts were often neglected. Yet often in those places infection entered and spread throughout the body before killing it outright. Penelope looked up to Alexander about to share her thoughts on that matter but stopped when her eyes fell on him. With brows furrowed he seemed intent on the medallion in his palm, contemplating something.
"That's different, isn't it," he muttered and got up to walk across the room still muttering to himself inaudibly.
He reached the door quickly and clicked the lock shut before asking, "You have any idea how long they've been watching you, Penelope? Any idea at all what they might want from you?"
"No mijo," she answered as she watched him move back across the shop to a counter.
Alexander slid behind the counter and she could hear a ring and something opening. As he moved out from behind the counter she could see he held a small box inscribed with symbols.
Returning to his seat he placed the box on the table and asked, "Do you think they have any idea what you are?"
Alexander punctuated his question by opening the box that now lay between them. From where she sat Penelope could see numerous pendants very similar to the very one she had found left at her doorstep. With eyes narrowed she watched him mummer to himself inaudibly as he turned the picture of the blonde woman to face away from the box before producing medallion after medallion from the box. Just how entrenched in all this was he?
The siren sighed and shook her head before answering, "I do not believe them completely ignorant of my true nature, it is the only reason I can find for them to be watching me. Still..." she paused to reach across the table and picked up the medallion she had brought with her, "I doubt they know just what I am. When I found this I also found my home wrapped in a tainted ward, a ward that was made to be hidden. My senses are sharper than most when it comes to these matters, and I can only think that would have been anticipated if it was known."
Penelope leaned back to regard the man before her a moment and then, as if something occurred to her, leaned forward with a half smile curved on her lips, "Tell me, Alexander, do you have any idea just what I am?"
Not exactly... maybe a little... hell, I'm not sure!
Her answers to the questions as to how long and why the Azazelites might have been watching her hadn’t garnered anything beyond a ‘no, mijo’ and, now, as he sorted through his own collection of Zazy jewelry and compared them to the one Penelope had brought with her, Alex wasn’t sure that the answers he needed would be found there, either… but there is something, here…
“I do not believe them completely ignorant of my true nature, it is the only reason I can find for them to be watching me.”
He blinked when she finally responded to the last question he had asked, he was almost lost in his scrutiny of the amulets and he’d almost forgotten he’d asked it. He paused for a moment, seemed to consider her answer, then half-nodded-half-shrugged and returned to sliding one amulet after the next from his collection up next to the one she had provided.
“Still,” he almost flinched when her fingers slid into view and pulled the amulet away, begging his eyes to follow, “I doubt they know just what I am…”
Alex’s arms had folded across his chest, more to keep his hands from rudely reaching out to snatch the pendant back than for any other reason, and he was already nodding his agreement before he even heard the next words flow from her lips.
“When I found this I also found my home wrapped in a tainted ward,” she explained, “a ward that was made to be hidden. My senses are sharper than most when it comes to these matters, and I can only think that would have been anticipated if it was known.”
Kind of what I was thinkin’, gorgeous, he thought, suddenly feeling kind of stupid hugging himself while hovering over the array of Zazy pendants, especially considering your whole “secrecy is a thing of survival” spiel. You obviously don’t run around advertising or anything, he forced himself to sit back down in the chair across from her and uncrossed his arms, and you most likely haven’t been out makin’ bargains with this bunch of whackos…
Alex’s train of thought came to a clattering stop when he realized that Penelope, stretched out ever so alluringly in the opposing chair, was studying him again. For a second, he felt as if he might sink into the welcoming, clinging mist of her gray eyes but, then, as if something had suddenly occurred to her, she leaned forward with a half-smile curved on her lips. “Tell me, Alexander,” she asked, snapping him back from getting lost in her loveliness, again, “do you have any idea just what I am?”
What? Besides driving me school-kid crazy for some reason? His mind was quick to respond but his mouth wasn’t quite as cooperative. His gaze peeled away from her as his eyes danced over the various bookshelves around the shop, hoping that a glance at one of the tomes might spark some vague memory of something he’d read… but there was nothing…
“Not exactly,” he admitted finally, looking back at her. “I know that you’re more than just the Gifted ‘mortal’ I thought you to be when you showed up… and I know what I saw and felt when you, uh, dropped your shield…”
Alex offered an almost apologetic shrug then and leaned forward, himself, resting his elbows on his knees and clasping his hands together. “You’ve been around a long time, Penelope,” he offered simply, “longer than Smoke or even Lucius, maybe. You’re a long way from what you know home to be. You’re a helluva lot more than the impossibly pretty lady sitting in my house, too…” His fingers unknitted from one another and he offered a faint smile as he reached across the space between them and closed his hand around the amulet she held in hers; “…most importantly, regardless of what you might be, you’re in a particular pot of trouble which, Lucius obviously told you, I’m best suited to get you out of. Let’s start with that and see where it takes us, all right?”
Posted on 2009-09-29 at 16:18:06.
Edited on 2016-09-30 at 09:25:53 by Eol Fefalas
Alexander pulled his gaze from her to look across the shop before finally answering, "Not exactly, I know that you're more than just the Gifted 'mortal' I thought you to be when you showed up... and I know what I saw and felt when you, uh, dropped your shield..."
He paused a moment to shrug and lean forward, "You've been around a long time, Penelope, longer than Smoke or even Lucius, maybe. You're a long way from what you know home to be. You're a helluva lot more than the impossibly pretty lady sitting in my house too..."
Penelope's eyes followed Alexander's hand as reached across the table to grasp the amulet that she till held. With a curious look in her eyes she looked up as he continued, "...most importantly regardless of what you might be, you're in a particular pot of trouble which, Lucius obviously told you, I'm best suited to get you out of. Let's start with that and see where it takes us, alright?"
As Penelope listened a small smile formed unbidden on her lips. Was he trying to comfort her? It was incredibly endearing. That Lucius had merely provided her with an address and she only come to the shop seeking information were things Alexander did not need to know. There was no need shatter that illusion, that and she had already decided if she could rope him into helping her she would.
"Very well, Alexander, we shall do just that," Penelope laid her other hand on his pushing his hand to the other amulets, "It is clear that you have you learned much of the Azazelites, but what do you know of Azazel himself?" Not waiting for him to answer she went on in a cool voice, "As I'm sure you are aware Azazel is demonic-god. In all my time in this world I have but rarely came across his name, and even then it was whispered with fear. In the old days he was known as the source of impurity and often sacrifices were laid out for him not in honor, but to keep him away."
Pausing the siren released Alexander's hand and sighed, "That untrained children ignorant of who Azazel is follow him does not concern me, they can quite easily be dealt with. Yet where there are sheep there is always a shepherd, and it is that which worries me."
“Very well, Alexander,” she smiled softly, taking his hand and moving it towards the collection of pendants strewn across the table, “we shall do just that. It is clear that you have you learned much of the Azazelites, but what do you know of Azazel himself?”
Aside from the fact that he and his are responsible for taking everything I have? he fumed internally, More than I ever wanted to, probably…
“As I'm sure you are aware,” Penelope continued, not waiting for him to vocalize a response, “Azazel is demonic-god. In all my time in this world I have but rarely came across his name, and even then it was whispered with fear. In the old days he was known as the source of impurity and often sacrifices were laid out for him not in honor, but to keep him away.”
“That untrained children ignorant of who Azazel is follow him does not concern me,” she sighed after a momentary pause, “they can quite easily be dealt with. Yet where there are sheep there is always a shepherd, and it is that which worries me.”
Alex nodded his head, already aware, as she had guessed, of the things she imparted. There were countless pages he had read from the books that surrounded them, now, that spoke of the demon from various perspectives and points of view and, likely, many more that he had yet to discover. Correlating one to the others hadn’t been an easy task – and it still wasn’t – because the varied accounts of the demon were far from consistent from one tradition to another but, over the years, Alex had picked out numerous passages from all of them that alluded to Azazel’s power and place in the Reckoning that was to come. As he listened to Penelope, now, one particular piece he had found in the Apocalypse of Abraham came to the forefront of his mind. He recited it as, one by one, he picked up the amulets and dropped them into the warded box…
“And the unclean bird spoke to me and said, 'What are you doing, Abraham, on the holy heights, where no one eats or drinks, nor is there upon them food for men. But these all will be consumed by fire and ascend to the height, they will destroy you.' And it came to pass when I saw the bird speaking I said this to the angel: 'What is this, my lord?' And he said, 'This is disgrace, this is Azazel!' And he said to him, 'Shame on you Azazel! For Abraham's portion is in heaven, and yours is on earth, for you have selected here, and become enamored of the dwelling place of your blemish. Therefore the Eternal Ruler, the Mighty One, has given you a dwelling on earth. Through you the all-evil spirit is a liar, and through you are wrath and trials on the generations of men who live impiously.”
… “A little bit of a monotheistic bent to that one, I guess,” he smirked as the final pendant disappeared back into the box and he closed the lid, “but it does kind of sum up the clusterf*** that is Azazel and his groupies.
As far as the shepherd of his flock goes,” Alex continued, stooping to retrieve the cup he had dropped moments ago, “That’s something I’ve been trying to work out for… well… a pretty good while, anyway.” He brushed the cup off on his jeans, then, and refilled it from the pot that Rosie had situated on the tray. “The thing is that the groupies are always the easier ones to find and, once they’re caught, they’re not exactly forthcoming with much else in regards to the hierarchy of the cult,” he shrugged, taking a sip of the coffee.
He, of course, didn’t bother to offer that it was probably really difficult for the Zazies to be forthcoming with much beyond screams when they were being roasted, soul-fried, or any of the other methods of ‘interrogation’ Alex had used so far. (Smoke might have commented on it, of course, but, thankfully, the bast was upstairs napping with Janelle.) Neither did he present the fact that, in recent months he’d been toying with a ritual spell that could possibly help point him to the heart of the cult… a divination sort of thing that would supposedly reveal locations if properly performed using something that belonged to one of the cultists. As it turned out, though, the spell required that the person to whom the item belonged still be among the living, and he’d destroyed a good number of crystals before he managed to figure that out…
“I think,” he said, lifting the box from the table and moving, once more, towards the cash register, “that between the pendant you’ve found and some good, old fashioned, detective work, I may finally be able to come up with the one piece that’ll get me…er… us on that path.”
Having returned the box to its hiding place and unplugging the register again, Alex re-emerged from behind the counter and took another sip of his coffee. “So, Penelope,” he said, “when might be a good time for me to swing by your place and have a look around?”
Posted on 2009-10-01 at 17:44:50.
Edited on 2016-09-30 at 09:28:51 by Eol Fefalas
Alice sauntered along a busy street. Despite the crowd, she moved relatively easily through it; everyone unconsciously gave her a wide berth. Dogs and other pets eyed her nervously, making sure to stay as far away from her as possible, some even dragging their owners further away from the unnatural girl.
On the other side of the street, a group of boys were watching her. They debated amongst themselves whether or not to go over and give her a hard time for dressing up when it wasn't even Halloween. Yet, just as they were getting enough nerve to, they saw something that not many other people noticed. Alice had passed by a tree, but after she passed it, several leaves whithered and fell off of it without a logical reason. The boys then wisely decided to leave her be, and quickly left.
After a moment, Alice reached her destination. The fabric and craft store. She was actually good friends with the owner, a kindly and more elderly woman, who would set aside scraps of pale blue fabric for Alice, since she seemed to recognize that Alice lived alone. Alice's appearance did unnerve her, but Mrs. Dorr tried not to let that bother her too much.
"Good morning, dearie. It's been a while since I saw you last." Mrs. Dorr said warmly, seeing Alice walk in. Mentally, she was grateful that she didn't have any other customers... she knew from experience that Alice often unintentionally scared them away just with her appearance.
"Good morning!" Alice cheerfully replied, walking up to the counter.
Mrs. Dorr found her eyes straying to examine Alice's dress. If she didn't actually know that it had been patched up numerous times, she wouldn't have guessed.
"How many times have you repaired that dress, dear? It still looks the same as when I first saw it." Mrs. Dorr found herself asking.
"Oh, I don't count." Alice answered honestly, "If it needs fixing, then I fix it... I don't really think about it."
I imagine you'll be a great sewer when you grow up... Mrs. Dorr thought... but then she realized... she had thought the same thing several years ago, when Alice first told her that she needed some fabric just in case she needed to repair her dress... and she hadn't changed one bit. It was comforting before, how Alice didn't change even as everything else in the city did, but now... it was a bit disconcerting.
She shook her head absently. There was no real point to think about it... maybe it was like one of those things she had read about in the newspaper one time, about a couple who had a child with a disease, and so they had decided to artificially stop that child from ageing, so that they would all possibly be happier that way...
"Mrs. Dorr? Are you busy? Should I come back later?" Alice asked, breaking her train of thought.
"Oh, no dear, I was just lost in thought for a moment." Mrs. Dorr replied, before reaching under her desk and pulling out a small cardboard box in which she kept pale blue fabric scraps specifically for Alice. She gave the box to Alice, "There you go, dear. Although, I'm afraid some of the pieces might be on the small side..."
"Oh, that's no problem at all." Alice replied, smiling brightly, "Thank you very much!"
Then, Alice saw the clock on the wall.
"Wow, noon already? Sorry, but I've got to go... maybe I'll find Jen today!" Alice said with a wave, quickly leaving the store.
Jen... Mrs. Dorr had heard that name from Alice a few times now... it seemed almost like she was always looking for her.
"I hope you find her." Mrs. Dorr called after the disappearing girl.
Walking outside, Alice paused for a moment.
"Now then, where shall I look today..." Alice wondered aloud, "Well... I'll just wander the Old Town place today... I haven't gone by that way in a while..."
A few minutes later, Alice was skipping down the street not far from Alex's office...
Inside the office, Janelle's ward on the door suddenly glowed a bright red.
Penelope lounged in the chair across from Alexander with a languid grace listening to his recitation. She was not familiar with the passage, but it did remind her much of the medieval Europe's fear of Azazel. Despite the Christian interpretation she felt at the core of her being that something of those words held the seed of truth. Whatever the desires of the demonic-god might be Penelope was certain it would include visiting his wrath onto the earth and the creatures of it.
At the mention of the lesser Azazelites Penelope pressed a finger to her lips and cocked her head to the side. If the Azazelite pawns had knowledge of the cult's hierarchy then they would have to find one, there were too many possibilities not to explore. Her greatest strength lay in the art of enchantment and manipulation, and it would take little effort for her to loosen their lips. With magic and the right words any one of them would do anything she asked. Penelope fingered her hair and smiled as the workings of a plan began to take form.
“So, Penelope,” Alexander said interrupting her reverie, “when might be a good time for me to swing by your place and have a look around?”
Focusing her gaze on him Penelope nodded and answered, "Today or tomorrow, it matters not when." She paused a moment to bite her lip in thought and then exhaled softly, "I live in Pilsen, there is an old homeless women who frequents the neighborhood. She is a seer, and despite her fear is quite powerful. Perhaps we might be able to convince her to help us learn more of these Azazelites?"
Just as the words left her lips the masking taped made symbol that the girl Rosie had drawn on the door began to glow with an eerie red light. With narrowed grey eyes Penelope turned to face the glowing symbol. She had seen no sign that the girl had woven a spell as laid the symbol on the door, and now even so it pulsed with a bright light.
The siren stood up from the table to regard the glowing symbol and whispered, "¿Qué es eso?"
Posted on 2009-10-03 at 03:47:48.
Edited on 2016-09-30 at 15:36:05 by Merideth
“Today or tomorrow,” Penelope answered, “it matters not when.”
When she paused to chew thoughtfully on her lip, Alex found himself wanting to do the same thing… Dammit, lady! You gotta stop that…
“I live in Pilsen,” she continued softly, “There is an old, homeless woman who frequents the neighborhood. She is a seer and, despite her fear, is quite powerful. Perhaps we might be able to convince her to help us learn more of these Azazelites?”
“Mami Fortuna,” Alex nodded... He’d had an encounter or two of his own with Pilsen’s ‘resident’ fortune-teller in the past. The crazy old woman had provided him a connection with a small coven in that neighborhood that, just as she had predicted, had been willing to help him out on a Zazy hunt. She had also followed him down the streets, prattling on in Spanish that was too fast for him to keep up with… something about fate and devils… it had creeped him out and he remembered being grateful that he had been drunk when he spoke to her… “Yeah, I know about her,” he chuckled softly, “From what I remember she’s not all together there but her information’s usually reliable if you can keep her on track…”
Penelope had turned to look curiously at the front door, then, and had already risen from her seat before Alex noticed that the ‘ward’ Rosie had taped to the front door was glowing like a bonfire on Samhain…
“¿Qué es eso?”
“What the hell?” Alex parroted the woman’s curious tone as he, too, moved towards the front door. “That ain’t right,” he murmured, squinting and then rubbing his eyes as if to ensure that he was seeing correctly, “that’s not even a real ward…” When he tentatively reached a hand out to touch the glowing symbol, though, he noticed that the faux-ward that Rosie had created for his watch had also flared to life.
“…What the hell,” he repeated, this time with more emphasis.
“Smoke,” he called, hopefully loud enough that his voice would carry to the bast, “you might wanna come see this.”
Posted on 2009-10-05 at 00:12:17.
Edited on 2016-09-30 at 09:31:22 by Eol Fefalas
Smoke had been cat napping since pulling herself out of Rosie’s sleep. She was debating things. The girl’s paranoia finally made some sense. How much of a threat it still was though, Smoke wasn’t sure. She wanted to talk to Alex about it, but he was busy right now. A sound reverberated through her head as she thought about these things, an electric sound, a high pitched buzzing that sometimes made the hair on her spine spike up until she shook it out.
While all this bounced around Alex and the immortal, Smoke was not completely certain what to call her, but she wasn’t human and she was relatively powerful, were talking downstairs. She heard their voices now and then, heard the cash register open (this caught her off guard for a moment, so far as she knew she had been the only to know about what was stashed there), and then heard Alex’s voice raised slightly and calling for her.
The soft grey triangles of her ears perked up and turned toward the hallway when she heard her name. A pink nose turned back toward Rosie, watching as she slept peacefully for the moment.
“Be right back love, you sleep… sleep…” she whispered and then got up, gracefully landed on the floor and took her time stretching out her spine before bounding down the stairs.
“I was trying to give you some alone time…” She sent to Alex as she came into the room and began to look around. But that’s as far as the witty comments got. At the bottom of the stairs she noticed that Alex and Penelope were both looking at the door, so Smoke let her eyes follow their gaze and then noticed the red glowing ‘ward’.
“Rosie… the clock…” This was simply sent into the room for whoever was receptive enough to pick it up. Her voice did not have the usual lazy sarcastic tone it usually did. Instead it rang with urgency.
Running she came into the room and did not hesitate as she leapt up into the front window. By the time she landed her tail had doubled in size and the hair on her back stood up while those golden eyes peered out onto the street. She was half expecting a monstrous clock with black tentacle arms reaching toward the store, gobbling up spectators that got in the way. What she noticed was perhaps even more alarming though. Out of the corner of her eye she catches the pale blue dress, and see’s the girl just as she is about to leave the walk in front of this storefront and enter the walk before the next.
“Alice? No… it can’t be…” her kitty voice sounding confused.
A quick dash and her puffed up figure is in the next window trying to get a better look at the girl, but she is moving down the street too fast. She gets up on her hind legs and presses her front paws against the window as she tries to lean closer. Then she’s at the door, stretching up and pawing at the knob.
“Damn lack of thumbs! Let me out Alex… now… I need to get a better look, LET ME OUT!” she demands this from him, one of the few times she has ever really demanded anything of him.
Posted on 2009-10-05 at 19:49:02.
Edited on 2016-09-30 at 09:33:54 by Eol Fefalas
I was trying to give you some alone time, Smoke had begun to tease as she padded into the room…
Alex turned his eyes her way for a moment, a befuddled expression on his face, and inclined his head towards the glowing sigil as if to say ‘explain that.’
…Whatever playful barb Smoke might have prepared to follow the alone time remark apparently had been quickly forgotten and the bast’s languid pace, too, was discarded in deference to a quick dash and leap into the front window… Rosie… the clock…
“Do what?” Alex arched a brow at the very un-Smoke-like reaction, his eyes darting from where the bast stood in the front window, to the clock (still covered by the tapestry he’d draped over it earlier), to the stairway and, finally back to the front door just in time to catch a glimpse of what appeared to be a little girl skipping happily past the shop. “What the hell’re you talkin’ about, sweetheart,” he had been prepared to ask just as Smoke tensed and sprang from the window and raced to the door…
Alice? No… It can’t be…
“Alice,” he repeated, his eyes glancing curiously in Penelope’s direction before returning to Smoke, who was now desperately trying to get a hold on the doorknob, “Who’s Alice? What’s goin’ on, Ellgawen…”
Damn lack of thumbs! the bast was obviously ignoring his questions and was dead-set on getting outside, for some reason. Let me out Alex, she demanded, now… I need to get a better look, LET ME OUT!
Alex’s eyes went wide and, while he hesitated for a brief instant, his hand did move to open the door for the bast. Smoke was always a bit pushy but it was a very rare thing for her to be so demanding and even rarer for her to express the sort of urgency that she was now. The insistence of her tone and her actions caused him to almost instinctually begin gathering and focusing his essence… He didn’t like it.
“All right,” he said, his hand closing on the doorknob as he cast an uncertain glance in Penelope’s direction, “Relax. We’re goin’…”
As he swung the door open and stepped across the threshold in Smoke’s wake, Alex’s hand reached for the Glock that was usually tucked in the waist of his jeans only to find that it wasn’t there… Never got it off the nightstand this morning… Damn! Rather than lament the weapon’s absence though, he focused some of the gathering essence into the beginnings of a shield and bent the rest towards something that, hopefully, he wouldn’t need…
“I’ll be right back,” he said to Penelope without looking in her direction – his eyes were intent on chasing the bast up the sidewalk and his feet were quick to follow… I hope, he added mentally…
Posted on 2009-10-06 at 15:49:01.
Edited on 2016-09-30 at 09:37:08 by Eol Fefalas