A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #901
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    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roguewolf View Post
    Keith just grins at Manny's response. "Nah, can't be wastin' stuff like that. Either way, from the South rather than the North. We don't just throw out tea."

    Keith extends his hand for a handshake. "Still, glad to have ya here, Manny right?"
    Manny smiles and shakes his hand. "Correct, Keith and Thanks mate."

    Quote Originally Posted by mmdeforrest View Post
    Big thumbs up to that, John teased, and thanks for being patient with the telepathic newbie. Our meeting is about to start. I’ll be in touch later about dinner.

    “Emi remembers you from Coronation Street, John mentioned to Manny. “You need anything before the meeting starts? It looks like we’re in for a busy day.”
    "A little food would go a long way." Manny says. "You lot made breakfast? I'll whip up something If someone wants to give me a tour of the Kitchen and possibly the rest of the place. I must say, it's a sight better on the inside."

  2. - Top - End - #902
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Living Room:

    "Sure, it's not much though." Raphael says to Seraph.


    Raphael smiles back at Stella, decides not to lament not being the man of her dreams, and says "A Promise is a promise."

  3. - Top - End - #903
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    Chimera

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    Living Room
    Seraph nods, looking around the room before he addresses Manny. “This meeting should be fairly quick. The mission is off the books, so you have the choice to stay out of this one if you want.”

    “Stella, Raph, what’s the plan?”

    Keith
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    It’s a… cat? Kinda. But not. It’s small enough to curl up in my hands. And it’s stupid soft.
    Last edited by InTheMachine; 2022-07-04 at 09:48 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #904
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Hey, that's me:

    Raphael briefly gets a deer-in-headlights expression before shrugging and looking around the room.

    "As you might have noticed, I haven't been around to make any elaborate plans or do any research.... so my plan is simple." He says.

    "We're going to go to the entrance of the River King's Treasure Trove." He glances at Menagerie. "Stella remembers where it is. Once at the entrance, I'll open a rift between this realm of existence and the treasure trove. Once Inside, we'll k-- deal with any guardians inside between us and Mom's Soul. Once it's in our possession, we break back out, swing by the pub for a cold one, and call it a day"

    Raphael nods to himself. "As for when, I defer to our resident expert." He turns to John. "Is there an auspicious or traditional appointed hour for stealing from river monsters or the like?"

    He'll then turn back to Stella "Could you tell everyone what you told me about the one time you went there before?"

  5. - Top - End - #905
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    Living Room, Tuesday Morning
    Will walks in, dressed for a mission, and takes up a spot next to Louis, listening to plans being made.

  6. - Top - End - #906
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    OldWizardGuy

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    “Rivers, unfortunately for us, never sleep,” John replied, “
    so there is no time better than another. Astrologically, the day is a wash. It is a good day for getting lost in unfamiliar places, which is bad for us, but also a bad day for confronting a woman, which is bad for the River King.

    “The good news is that, with Mandy of n town, we have someone with electrical-based powers — which could inconvenience some of his minions.

    “I was hoping to brief Dr. Rivera, the occult expert Myriad sent East Side later today so if you are asking when I think we should go, I would suggest the morning — but that is a scheduling preference rather than an occult-based one.”

  7. - Top - End - #907
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    Chimera

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    Living Room
    Stella stands from her chair and walks up to the wall next to Seraph. “Mimi, would you project a map of the sewers with a mostly transparent overlay of the city, please?”

    Once the map is up, she holds her hand out and summons her hat in a plume of smoke and reaches in to pull out a miniaturized Jaal. She sets the dragon on her shoulder, and after a moment conversing with him telepathically, she traces out a short route, which Mimi highlights in red. The path begins in South Side territory about 20 minutes away from West Side’s base and ends just short of the Iron River. “There’s a door here that you’ll probably need to open, Drake,” she says, pointing at a place halfway through the route. “If you’re still planning on coming, of course.”

    “South Side’s behind you guys,” he answers. “Ryker, Aeryn, and I can get that door open, no problem.”

    Stella gives him a soft smile. “Thank you,” she says as she turns around to face the group. She takes a breath, intimidated by all the eyes on her before she lets it out and continues, “I was taken there about a year ago by Julian. The door was sealed shut magically, and he opened it with a Riverspeak spell, so I don’t know if I can replicate that. John and I may want to try a few methods before we break in through a fracture in reality though. While I don’t doubt it would work since we know where the entrance is, it would probably set off every spell the River King has guarding the Trove.”

    “Inside there’s a… room, about the size of city block. It almost looks like a ruined city on the edges of a bayou. There’s a ton of water and broken down buildings. It’s filled with everything you can possibly imagine. Gold, gems, artifacts… but I would suggest that we don’t touch anything unless we need to. We don’t know what could be cursed. The edges of the dimension stop abruptly. There’s something kind of like a forcefield with darkness beyond. I don’t know how far up it goes, but the people who can fly should have some maneuverability.”

    “I don’t know what other monsters are in there, but guarding the entrance is a bus-sized two headed gator. Julian told me that it was one of the River King’s oldest pets. Once we take care of him, I can activate a tracking spell that should lead us straight to my merč’s soul. Then we get out as quickly as possible.”

    “Do you know how deep the water is?” Yuki asks apprehensively.

    “Umm… no? Why?” Stella asks.

    Yuki glances over at Drake before he sighs deeply. “I sink in water,” he explains. “I’ll just have to be careful.”

    “Did I miss anything, Raphael? Any other questions?” Stella asks, looking at the group.

  8. - Top - End - #908
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheMachine View Post
    Living Room
    “Do you know how deep the water is?” Yuki asks apprehensively.

    “Umm… no? Why?” Stella asks.

    Yuki glances over at Drake before he sighs deeply. “I sink in water,” he explains. “I’ll just have to be careful.”

    “Did I miss anything, Raphael? Any other questions?” Stella asks, looking at the group.
    “I took the precaution of placing a requisition with AEGIS,” John noted. “We have enough rebreathers for everyone here. That may not fully address the mobility question, though. Was there enough detritus there to craft a raft, Stella, or is it worth it considering dragging in one for ourselves? We could also conjure one, I suppose, but only if you think the casting of a spell there would not immediately draw attention to us.”

  9. - Top - End - #909
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    Chimera

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    Living Room
    “I don’t think we’ll need a raft,” Stella replies. “From what I could see, the edges were water, but the interior was mostly those destroyed buildings, with only a few channels of water that we should be able to easily cross. Jaal can carry people if he needs to.”

    At the suggestion, the black dragon on her shoulder snorts out a small cloud of smoke.

    “As for magic, I’m unsure if it would trigger anything. Julian cast a few spells while I was in there with him and nothing happened, but he’s also one of the River King’s creations.”
    Last edited by InTheMachine; 2022-07-04 at 08:13 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #910
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    AssassinGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheMachine View Post
    Living Room
    “Inside there’s a… room, about the size of city block. It almost looks like a ruined city on the edges of a bayou. There’s a ton of water and broken down buildings. It’s filled with everything you can possibly imagine. Gold, gems, artifacts… but I would suggest that we don’t touch anything unless we need to. We don’t know what could be cursed. The edges of the dimension stop abruptly. There’s something kind of like a forcefield with darkness beyond. I don’t know how far up it goes, but the people who can fly should have some maneuverability.”
    [....]
    “Did I miss anything, Raphael? Any other questions?” Stella asks, looking at the group.
    Quote Originally Posted by mmdeforrest View Post
    “I took the precaution of placing a requisition with AEGIS,” John noted. “We have enough rebreathers for everyone here. That may not fully address the mobility question, though. Was there enough detritus there to craft a raft, Stella, or is it worth it considering dragging in one for ourselves? We could also conjure one, I suppose, but only if you think the casting of a spell there would not immediately draw attention to us.”
    Keith glances over at John then back at Stella and grins. "That answers most of mine."

    He then thinks for a moment. "Actually, there is one. Should we make an attempt at trying to detect any magical traps on triggers to our own spellwork or just hope for the best and book it?"

    Quote Originally Posted by InTheMachine View Post
    Keith
    Spoiler: Text from Grayson
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    It’s a… cat? Kinda. But not. It’s small enough to curl up in my hands. And it’s stupid soft.
    Spoiler: Text to Grayson
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    A cat? That.... ok that's adorable and that it's stupid soft. I gotta come and see this!
    Last edited by Roguewolf; 2022-07-04 at 02:51 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #911
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheMachine View Post
    Living Room
    “I don’t think we’ll need a raft,” Stella replies. “From what I could see, the edges were water, but the interior was mostly those destroyed buildings, with only a few channels of water that we should be able to easily cross. Jaal can carry people if he needs to.”

    At the suggestion, the black dragon on her shoulder snorts out a small cloud of black smoke.

    “As for magic, I’m unsure if it would trigger anything. Julian cast a few spells while I was in there with him and nothing happened, but he’s also one of the River King’s creations.”
    “I’d we have any high-resolution recordings of Julian — video and audio?” John asked the room. “Or is there a way for your to project his image? I suspect that the absence of a completely accurate scent profile might not be enough to get us past the guardian, but it might buy us a moment or two.

    “Unless, of course, Jaal has scented him. If that is the case, I might be able to create the correct scent profile as well as physical profile.”
    Last edited by mmdeforrest; 2022-07-04 at 03:00 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #912
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    AssassinGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmdeforrest View Post
    “I’d we have any high-resolution recordings of Julian — video and audio?” John asked the room. “Or is there a way for your to project his image? I suspect that the absence of a completely accurate scent profile might not be enough to get us past the guardian, but it might buy us a moment or two.”
    Keith tilts his head to the side. "That crazy frog? I think I remember runnin' into him a couple of times. I can try somethin' right fast, just..... well if it don't work we can go back to the "take care of it" plan, since we may have to either way." He looks around at everyone. "Just, uhhhh, please don't attack me if this works ok?"

    Keith focuses for a moment as his shadow starts to crawl up his body and it starts to transform. "I have no idea how Uncle stands this!" Keith groans as his body starts to mirror that of a frog and his voice changes slightly with an accent. His clothes take the form of one of Julian's outfits he semi-remembers.

    His eyes go wide once he's engulfed in the shadowy illusion and he looks at his now frog hands. "This is just plain ridiculous. Wait, did I get shorter? Odd, thought he was taller." Keith as Julian rubs the back of his head and looks slightly disgusted. "If I can get some mannerisms down, this might work. 'Specially since someone walkin' by could raise an alarm if the guard is out cold while we in there. Then again, scent profile is definitely another story." Keith shrugs. "Can I drop this for now?"

  13. - Top - End - #913
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Peace was never an option:

    "Uhm... This is great and all." Raphael says eyeing Keith's transformation dubiously. "But I'm killing the bus-sized gator." he holds up both hands in a helpless shrug. "I don't know how sentimental that oversized carp is, but I plan on breaking a bunch of his toys."

    He sneers. "This isn't just a snatch and grab. This is a declaration of war."

    "This fish is ultimately responsible for everything we've been dealing with." The vampire continues, warming to his theme. "Every single life taken or damaged by the riverfolk, everyone devoured by a heart eater, anyone addicted to or consumed by Nova."

    Raphael jerks a thumb at Stella. "And as far as I'm concerned, it's been made personal."
    Last edited by big teej; 2022-07-04 at 03:36 PM.

  14. - Top - End - #914
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by big teej View Post
    Peace was never an option:

    "Uhm... This is great and all." Raphael says eyeing Keith's transformation dubiously. "But I'm killing the bus-sized gator." he holds up both hands in a helpless shrug. "I don't know how sentimental that oversized carp is, but I plan on breaking a bunch of his toys."

    He sneers. "This isn't just a snatch and grab. This is a declaration of war."

    "This fish is ultimately responsible for everything we've been dealing with." The vampire continues, warming to his theme. "Every single life taken or damaged by the riverfolk, everyone devoured by a heart eater, anyone addicted to or consumed by Nova."

    Raphael jerks a thumb at Stella. "And as far as I'm concerned, it's been made personal."
    “How certain are we that the lines all go back to the River King,”John asked, “and not to someone one level above him in this plot? I still haven’t come to grips with the question of who is pulling the strings on this interlaced plot. Thus far, we have the River King and his operations, the Crowns and their Nova operation, and the greater demon that is only one of two demons expected to be summoned. What we don’t yet know is who was the initial summoner — unless someone here knows more than I do.

    “I can appreciate your desire to declare war, Raphael — whoever is behind this has it coming. What worries me is the possibility of needing to go back into the treasury at some point. If we can slip in and slip out — perhaps while sowing discord in the ranks, it may be to our benefit.”
    Last edited by mmdeforrest; 2022-07-04 at 04:08 PM.

  15. - Top - End - #915
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    NinjaGuy

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    Louis greets Will with a nod as his teammate takes a spot beside him just that the meeting begins.

    He watches intently as Stella walks both teams through the inner workings of the River King's pocket dimension and arches an eyebrow at Keith's display.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raphael
    "Uhm... This is great and all." Raphael says eyeing Keith's transformation dubiously. "But I'm killing the bus-sized gator." he holds up both hands in a helpless shrug. "I don't know how sentimental that oversized carp is, but I plan on breaking a bunch of his toys."

    He sneers. "This isn't just a snatch and grab. This is a declaration of war."

    "This fish is ultimately responsible for everything we've been dealing with." The vampire continues, warming to his theme. "Every single life taken or damaged by the riverfolk, everyone devoured by a heart eater, anyone addicted to or consumed by Nova."

    Raphael jerks a thumb at Stella. "And as far as I'm concerned, it's been made personal."
    "That's awfully big talk coming from someone who had to book it from their fight against Felicia Belmont and the last crusade." Louis says, finally standing upright.

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    “How certain are we that the lines all go back to the River King,” John asked, “and not to someone one level above him in this plot? I still haven’t come to grips with the question of who is pulling the strings on this interlaced plot. Thus far, we have the River King and his operations, the Crowns and their Nova operation, and the greater demon that is only one of two demons expected to be summoned. What we don’t yet know is who was the initial summoner — unless someone here knows more than I do.

    “I can appreciate your desire to declare war, Raphael — whoever is behind this has it coming. What worries me is the possibility of needing to go back into the treasury at some point. If we can slip in and slip out — perhaps while sowing discord in the ranks, it may be to our benefit.”
    "John, I know you're new to these parts so I wouldn't expect you to know this but there's an old saying around here that still holds true to this day. 'Everything leads back to the river, one way or another.' The River King's been lurking beneath the depths of Iron Stations waters for centuries and as far as I can tell he's had a hand in just about everything that goes on in the shadows, even if it isn't readily apparent at first. I don't think it's a stretch to assume he's played some part in all of this but to what end I couldn't tell you." He offers a slight shrug in the absence of any real insight.

    Louis looks around at the faces of everyone gathered in the living room before locking eyes with Raphael. "I can tell you're serious about everything you've said but let's take a second to put all of this into perspective. The River King's had a hold Iron Station for longer than any of us has been alive or any hero this city's seen. And in all that time he's never once been captured or defeated. Hell, no one's even caught a glimpse of 'im. What makes you think things will be be any different after we break into his bank? You're talking about starting a war with someone who can call down the full force of the Iron River on a whim. Are you really ready to brave those waters?"
    Last edited by PK-Leon; 2022-07-04 at 06:14 PM.

  16. - Top - End - #916
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Obstinacy:

    "I appreciate your desire to be cautious, John." Raphael says. "But it's not a suggestion, it's a statement of intent."

    Raphael jumps to his feet at Louis' challenge. He drains the rest of the blood bag dry and tosses it into the trashcan. "If you're scared. Stay home. I said I'm going after the River King, and that's exactly what I'm going to do." Raphael glares around the room. "Louis has a point. Nobody has ever even seen this sump-sucker. Which means his oh-so-high-and-mighty reputation is entirely unearned."

    He looks back at Louis. "Not only am I ready. I think I'm exactly the kind of -- person to do it."

    The vampire calms himself with a visible effort. "John says it doesn't matter when we do this. So if there's nothing else relevant to hash out. I say we get on with it."

    He heaves a sigh and looks at his boots. "Look." He shrugs. "I asked for volunteers. I'm not blind to the task I've set for myself. I won't think any less of any of you who don't want to get into the middle of this." He looks around again, meeting everyone's eyes, trying to impress his sincerity upon them.

    He looks back at the floor and shrugs again. "But the way I see it, We're all already caught up in this demon business. So I figure we're all already on the River King's Drek-List."

  17. - Top - End - #917
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    OldWizardGuy

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    “That’s part of my point, Louis,” John responded in as calm a voice as he could muster after Raphael’s outburst. “Why would the River King, of all of the residents of Iron Station, want or need a greater demon or two? At best, you are introducing a potential rival to your authority. You only do that if there is a clear benefit to you and, right now, I see no clear benefit. That means there is either some larger plan we have not seen or that there is someone else that the River King and the Crowns are working alongside — a figure we can theorize but not put a name to.

    “Right now, the River King’s motivations are either being implemented by the greater demon or the are aligned with the interests of the unnamed summoner. Freeing Stella’s mother may help us to fill in some of those gaps — which is reason enough for us to go. And I have a suspicion that someone declared war on the four provisional teams a while ago without letting us know.

    “Our taking the war to them is one thing, Raphael — as would be blooding their nose. Right now, my concern is that we don’t know what we are striking and why. Destroying the two headed gator would be a symbolic blow and an impressive one. I would prefer to do it if we had a better sense of what the other pieces on the board are.”

  18. - Top - End - #918
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    Chimera

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    Living Room
    Stella glances over at John. “The reason that we’re attacking now is that my merč is very close to death. She won’t last more than another day or two without her soul. The doctors say that her body is shutting down. Honestly, I’m surprised that she’s lasted this long.”

    The sorceress closes her eyes briefly to control her emotions. “I don’t have any doubts that we’ll have to kill Duex, the gator that guards the entrance. With this many people, there’s just no way for all of us to get in undetected. But bouille, I still think that we shouldn’t disturb the rest of the Trove. We don’t know what spells or curses are hiding in there and it would be best if we didn’t activate anything that we don’t understand.”

    “I agree with Stella,” Drake says. “The objective of this mission should be to grab her mom’s soul and get out. Raph, I get it. I’d be pissed if the King hurt Yuki, but we don’t have enough intel. I doubt this is his only pocket dimension. Look, I have your back, but I think we can deal a more decisive strike later with some additional recon.”

    “You shouldn’t **** with magic,” Ryker says in low voice. His right knee jitters in place. “You know I wanna **** up that fish too, but he holds all the cards right now. I’m with Drake and Stella.”
    Last edited by InTheMachine; 2022-07-04 at 08:47 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #919
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    Keith looks around at his team hashing it out and a ribbit escapes the frog throat. "Gah, I.... well if we don't use this." Keith let's the shadow drop and he returns to his normal self. He shakes his head as though clearing it and looks back at John. "It's not that we don't agree with you Raph. It's that there are a lot of variables in the air. Sending a message is somethin' that needs to be done, but sendin' that message while we're in the vault, think about how we already don't know what's going to come up. someone walks by and sees a killed guard, what happens then?"

    Keith nods at Stella. "Even if it was just trying to get in and out with John to teleport, I know we'd all still go regardless. " Keith turns to Raph. "You'll get your chance, but if we want to get Stella's mom out, our best chance is a smash and grab. Otherwise, we risk far more. And if that greater demon is working with the River King, I'd rather him not show up."

    Not as close as we got to him the other day, thanks for the heads up........ Keith thinks to himself.

  20. - Top - End - #920
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    OldWizardGuy

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    “With the exception of my own, I put the rebreathers in the Control Center last night,” John said, motioning to the adjoining room as he stood and willed his costume into place before taking a picture of the route they would need to follow through the sewers and uploading it to his HUD. “Was there anything else we needed to go over for this mission? With apologies to the two of you, ladies,” John said bowing to Stella and Sidney, “there are one or two small details we need to go over with the two Provisional Teams about a separate matter before we go. And out of respect for your mother, we should go sooner rather than later.

    John turned and looked at his friend. “You in, Manny?”
    Last edited by mmdeforrest; 2022-07-04 at 09:05 PM.

  21. - Top - End - #921
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmdeforrest View Post
    “With the exception of my own, I put the rebreathers in the Control Center last night,” John said, motioning to the adjoining room as he stood and willed his costume into place before taking a picture of the route they would need to follow through the sewers and uploading it to his HUD. “Was there anything else we needed to go over for this mission? With apologies to the two of you, ladies,” John said bowing to Stella and Sidney, “there are one or two small details we need to go over with the two Provisional Teams about a separate matter before we go. And out of respect for your mother, we should go sooner rather than later.

    John turned and looked at his friend. “You in, Manny?”
    Manny reclines on the wall. "Can't let my new team go soul searching in a pocket dimension of a unseen river spirit without me now can I?" He says with a toothy grin .

    "And besides Bernie would never let me live it down if he heard i had a chance to fight a two-headed gator. He lives for good stories."

  22. - Top - End - #922
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raphael
    Raphael jumps to his feet at Louis' challenge. He drains the rest of the blood bag dry and tosses it into the trashcan. "If you're scared. Stay home. I said I'm going after the River King, and that's exactly what I'm going to do." Raphael glares around the room. "Louis has a point. Nobody has ever even seen this sump-sucker. Which means his oh-so-high-and-mighty reputation is entirely unearned."

    He looks back at Louis. "Not only am I ready. I think I'm exactly the kind of -- person to do it."

    The vampire calms himself with a visible effort. "John says it doesn't matter when we do this. So if there's nothing else relevant to hash out. I say we get on with it."

    He heaves a sigh and looks at his boots. "Look." He shrugs. "I asked for volunteers. I'm not blind to the task I've set for myself. I won't think any less of any of you who don't want to get into the middle of this." He looks around again, meeting everyone's eyes, trying to impress his sincerity upon them.

    He looks back at the floor and shrugs again. "But the way I see it, We're all already caught up in this demon business. So I figure we're all already on the River King's Drek-List."
    "Sounds like we're locked into a collision course with that gator if we want in. And at this point I'd hope everyone here realizes that there's no turning back once we do this. We'll be making ourselves a target for the River King and his servants but it's not like we haven't done that already with the greater demon we're hunting."

    Louis steps forward to meet Raphael in the center of the room. "Listen, if this is the path you've chosen for yourself then who am I to stop you? But whatever happens, just know that you won't have to walk down that path alone. I'm in, always was. And I-" He pauses, choking on his next words. "It's good to have you back Raph." He holds up an open hand at chest height between the two.

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    “That’s part of my point, Louis,” John responded in as calm a voice as he could muster after Raphael’s outburst. “Why would the River King, of all of the residents of Iron Station, want or need a greater demon or two? At best, you are introducing a potential rival to your authority. You only do that if there is a clear benefit to you and, right now, I see no clear benefit. That means there is either some larger plan we have not seen or that there is someone else that the River King and the Crowns are working alongside — a figure we can theorize but not put a name to.

    “Right now, the River King’s motivations are either being implemented by the greater demon or the are aligned with the interests of the unnamed summoner. Freeing Stella’s mother may help us to fill in some of those gaps — which is reason enough for us to go. And I have a suspicion that someone declared war on the four provisional teams a while ago without letting us know.

    “Our taking the war to them is one thing, Raphael — as would be blooding their nose. Right now, my concern is that we don’t know what we are striking and why. Destroying the two headed gator would be a symbolic blow and an impressive one. I would prefer to do it if we had a better sense of what the other pieces on the board are.”
    Louis looks from Ryker back to John. "Sometimes you have to play with the hand you're dealt. We may not know who or what we're dealing with until we get to the river but that's the kind of game we're playing."

  23. - Top - End - #923
    Troll in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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    Clever Title:

    Raphael looks ready to continue arguing the point until Stella brings up her mom. He bites back on his fury, and his next outburst. just a couple of days? Did I really cut this so close? Surely something has changed while I was gone to take away what little extra time we had...

    He considers another long moment. "Fine, fine. I won't break anything unnecessary this time." He concedes to the room. He turns to John with a shrug. "I can't think of anything I've got squirreled away that's going to make a difference." He shifts his weight with a grimace. "And I'm.... willing to grant that you and Stella trying to get us in is going to be a lot less...Declarative conspicuous then how I was going to do it.


    Raphael takes Louis' hand with a smile and winks at him. "Don't worry Louis, nobody can stop me." He let's go and says more soberly "I'm glad to be back."

  24. - Top - End - #924
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Living Room
    Stella gives Raphael a gentle smile. “Thank you bouille,” she says before she looks curiously over at John. “I understand why I may need to leave the room, because of the curse, but what about Sidney? I thought she was better?”

    Sidney arches an eyebrow at John in a silent question after Stella’s words.
    Last edited by InTheMachine; 2022-07-04 at 11:03 PM.

  25. - Top - End - #925
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheMachine View Post
    Living Room
    Stella gives Raphael a gentle smile. “Thank you bouille,” she says before she looks curiously over at John. “I understand why I may need to leave the room, because of the curse, but what about Sidney? I thought she was better?”

    Sidney arches an eyebrow at John in a silent question after Stella’s words.
    “It’s the same kind of abundance of caution that we were prepared to operate under while healing her,” John explained gently. He wished he could explain that he wanted to provide a cover story, in case her curse was somehow listening and that he wanted Sidney there in case, even when separated, it was somehow triggered and Stella needed comfort of a sort he had not yet learned how to provide. Ryker would be able to fill her in later.

    He pushed away the consideration that he was trying to keep the two of them out of the room, lest they register the same disapproval of him that Yuki had.

    “Of course, I will defer to Seraph’s wisdom in this matter. If he believes it is more appropriate for me to discuss it with a fuller room, I will be happy to do so.”

  26. - Top - End - #926
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Living Room
    The angel, silently leaning against the front wall while the team hashed out their plan, looks over at Sidney and Stella. “I think John’s right. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of caution when dealing with curses and psychic attacks.”

    Sidney looks between Seraph and John in disappointment, but stands and follows Stella out of the room. Mimi closes the door to the living room and confirms that they’re out of earshot.

  27. - Top - End - #927
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheMachine View Post
    Living Room
    The angel, silently leaning against the front wall while the team hashed out their plan, looks over at Sidney and Stella. “I think John’s right. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of caution when dealing with curses and psychic attacks.”

    Sidney looks between Seraph and John in disappointment, but stands and follows Stella out of the room. Mimi closes the door to the living room and confirms that they’re out of earshot.
    John took a deep breath as he pulled down his hood. As much as he wanted to use it to hide, his friends deserved better than that. “I believe Raphael and I owe the team an apology. It seems he and I had access to some information that was not shared as widely as it should have been — so let me open with telling all of you that I am sorry that you are only receiving this news now.

    “We know the name of the person who has been possessed by the greater demon. His name is Matteo Bordeaux, the IT Operations Manager at Innovatech and — Mimi, if you can confirm the relationship via US Census records — the brother of Stella. Raphael was able, if I am guessing correctly, to learn his name via some contacts after seeing Harbinger’s sketch and he asked me what, if anything, I would be able to do with the possessed’s name. I was operating under the assumption that he had passed the word along to others initially. Given Stella’s curse, you can appreciate why one might not want to mention this in an open meeting. Soon after, Raphael had his encounter at Amity Court. I should have checked to make sure that all of you knew but I was distracted by helping Sidney and preparing for the date associated with her treatment. That lapse in my judgement resulted in William, Louis, and Keith being within yards of Bordeaux on Sunday. Gentlemen, my apologies for putting you at risk.” John smiled and offered Keith a sidelong glance. “Again.”

    He looked down, turning serious again. “I worry that we are all carrying too many fragments of information like that individually. We should probably — perhaps over a post-mission late lunch, begin to compare notes as a group. It would be a beneficial way to bring Manny up to speed if we were to do that.

    “The other thing I would like to mention is something I alluded to a few moments ago. Right now, it is a pattern but one I think we should be all aware of — especially if anyone notices something on today’s mission that one might discount otherwise. To list it out:

    “West Side’s Team Lead’s fiancée’s sister was a target for possession by the greater demon this group defeated.

    “Stella’s mother’s son was a successful target for possession and has had her soul captured.

    “South Side’s Team Lead is being afflicted with an increasing number of migraines and had been called to by the Stone we retrieved from beneath the Volta Memorial, resulting in further challenges for him.

    “East Side’s Team Lead has been sidelined by the assassination of her husband by the Crowns — who are neck deep in all of this. Eidolon’s presence — which, for now, appears to have been unexpected — appears to have been a piece of luck in Iron Station’s favor in that regard.

    “I don’t know what, if anything, is happening to North Side, but I am concerned about the pattern. I would ask all of you to keep an eye out for anything that might confirm this as significant or if there are any other larger patterns of activity by the Crowns, the Demon, and the River King that align.”

    John turned to Seraph. “Did I leave anything out?

  28. - Top - End - #928
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Living Room
    Ryker sits up straighter as John reveals the name of the Greater Demon and pins the magician with an intense gaze. “Wait. Matteo is the Greater Demon?” he asks incredulously. “You… you’re jokin’, right?”

  29. - Top - End - #929
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheMachine View Post
    Living Room
    Ryker sits up straighter as John reveals the name of the Greater Demon and pins the magician with an intense gaze. “Wait. Matteo is the Greater Demon?” he asks incredulously. “You… you’re jokin’, right?”
    “I wish I were, Ryker,” John replies. “I suspect our job would be easier if it were someone completely unrelated. When I slipped last night and confirmed that Keith had said he and the others went to Innovatech, Stella’s face was absolutely neutral — the kind of neutral my parents get when someone has said something that they can neither confirm nor deny. It was enough to make me believe that Raphael’s contacts were correct.

    “I take it you know him?”

  30. - Top - End - #930
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Living Room
    Ryker’s fists clench for a moment before he answers. “Yeah, he’s Stella’s brother. He’s like 8 or 9 years older than her. Graduated from Bastion and was recruited by Innovatech right outta college. Before I got arrested, I used to go over to his place to watch the pay-per-view M3A fights with him while Stella and Sid hung out. He’s a good guy.”

    He looks down at the floor, silent for a moment. “Seraph. What happens when you get possessed by a Greater Demon?”

    The angel sighs. “You’re not going to like the answer, Ryker.”

    “What. Happens?” Ryker repeats, glaring up at the older hero.

    “Typically, when you’re possessed by a Greater Demon, your soul is burned out,” Seraph says quietly. “The demon takes over the empty husk. That’s why lesser demons inhabit dead bodies if they want to have a chance at hiding. They don’t have the power to take over a body that still has a soul. There’s a small possibility that Matteo is still in there, but it’s a very slim chance.”

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