Author Topic: Drenched with a Soaking Joy  (Read 902 times)

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Offline pinkroses

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Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« on: March 25, 2019, 03:59:38 AM »
The few hours of security snatched in the abandoned Oligarchy Chambers seemed long ago, but was only a couple of days. Alena felt like she’d walked miles in that time, trying anywhere she could think of to find a demon who might have any sort of idea of where to look for her God.

Eventually she had stumbled upon an air demon, who didn’t seem to be all there, so Alena wasn’t completely convinced that what she’d heard was the truth, but the demon spoke of a compound outside the borders of the city. He told her about the high walls, the feeling of demonic activity around it, about how it had been a buzz until the fall of the Oligarchy. Then nothing, a feeling of death, but the air demon was convinced it was still alive.

It wasn’t a huge amount to go on, but Alena had nothing else.

Clouds had been building throughout the day and now, as darkness fell, the storm had finally broken and the heavens opened. Fucking typical. She could feel the electricity gathering in the clouds above which gave her a bit of energy, but in the rain she felt helpless and out of control, even more so than she had since her family had died.

“Go back, go find somewhere dry. Come back when it’s dry,” she mumbled to herself, her hands shoved deep into the pockets of her leather jacket. But her feet kept trudging onwards, she couldn’t turn back even if she was marching into nothingness.

Alena’s stamped through a puddle and she winced as a she discovered it was deeper than expected and the water splashed up to the top of her ankle boots, seeping inside. By the time she began the trek up the driveway her hair was sodden and hung in strings around her face. She was cold, but there was a spark inside her, driving her onwards.

The demon felt the tingle of electricity in the air before she triggered a floodlight, shining to show her the way. They were on sensors, so they didn’t mean anyone was home, but it was a good sign, it had to be. Then a security camera moved and she looked up at it with a glint in her eyes.

She legs felt like lead as she took the final few steps and pressed her body against the fence, her fingers trailed over the intercom for a few seconds. Alena wished she could just use her powers to seep into that currently and get inside, but in the rain there was no chance of that, it was too dangerous.

“I need my God, he must be here,” Alena whispered, a quiet prayer just for herself, to give herself a boost of strength before she pushed the button.

“I need the Oligarch, the leader, Zeus, is he here? Please,” Alena said louder to be heard over the pouring rain as she pressed the intercom button, her voice cracking with a combination of emotion and cold. Was this it? Was she about to find her God? A deep warmth stirred in the pit of her belly, full of hope, excitement, joy.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2019, 04:31:55 AM »
Not many had dared approach the gates after the fall of the Oligarchy.  Most were met with silence.  Those that persisted at gaining entrance were given a thorough scare--and it was here that the guarding shadows were permitted a bit of creativity.  Sometimes humans who had goaded one another to climb the fence ran away screaming something about ghosts.  Let them think the place haunted, it was much better this way.  Amongst the supernatural of the city, however, the compound had been largely forgotten.

The darkness everywhere teemed with movement if one had eyes trained enough to see.  They watched the young demon as she approached, and were instructed to do nothing but wait--and to suppress any disturbances quickly.  They murmured amongst themselves with disapproval as she grew closer.  What a sad, sogging sight this creature was.  As she finished speaking, there was movement in the shadows just to the side of the gate.

"Hush, girl.  State your business."  One of them flickered into view as he addressed her.  An impossibly tall and rail-thin demon with short goat-like horns and leathery wings, every part entirely black.  He seemed to press himself against the wall to the side of the gate, eager to remain in the shadows.  Large black eyes studied her, waiting for an answer. 

But then the air changed suddenly with a howling breeze, and the demon turned his head sharply as if listening to something in the din of the rain.  Take her swiftly up the hill by wing and keep to the shadows.  They were not to be spotted--the shadow-assisted darkness would keep them covered.  He vanished into the shadows once again and the gate cracked open just enough for the girl to pass through.
Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Sonya/Anna/Odessa || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2019, 04:51:32 AM »
Alena’s eyes flickered towards the shadows where the demon emerged from and a grin spread across her face, brightening her pale blue eyes instantly. She was so young compared to so many demons, but she had just as much life in her which suddenly shone through as she gazed upwards at him. There was no fear, just pure joy at actually finding someone here, a demon here.

She opened her mouth to speak, but she was halted by the demon suddenly looking away as though he had lost interest – or was listening to an order. She slid through the crack in the gate swiftly, wiping rain from her face as she stepped into the shadows close to the wall to follow the demon. Her jacket was already black, and the water in her hair and jeans helped her blend in, if you weren’t looking too closely. She wasn’t a create of shadows and darkness though, she thrived on light and sparks. Alena didn’t look back as they walked, not caring that the gate had shut behind them.

“The dead came for us,” she said quietly, unsure of whether or not the question still needed to be answered now, so keeping it brief.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2019, 05:36:39 AM »
The gate slid soundlessly shut as soon as she passed through.

"We know.  I'm taking you inside."  was the simple, short reply. 

From the shadows, he seized her around the middle and hugged her close to him.  It would have been pointless to fight against the firm, though gentle, grip.  The demon made every effort to be as non-threatening as possible, not wanting to alarm her unnecessarily as discretion was needed here.  With a few quick flaps of his powerful wings the two were in the air, keeping as close to the ground as possible and moving with speed toward the Block.  The demonic sigil on the front of the building took on a dull red glow as they drew nearer, and it would have seemed that they would collide with the structure but the shadow demon did not slow.  In a fraction of a second, the door disappeared entirely and the demon landed promptly at the top of the stair inside.  The girl was set down delicately and the demon vanished once again, stone doors firmly in place behind him.

The Receiving Area was dimly lit with plenty of shadows cast from strangely twisted light fixtures.  In stark contrast to the pounding rain outside, the air here was filled with the kind of quiet one would find in a sound-proofed room.  A single demon with bright blue eyes sat at the front desk, glancing up at the girl as she was whisked inside.  A sympathetic expression flashed on her face as she beckoned the girl forward, reaching underneath the desk to retrieve a large, fluffy towel.  She handed it to her as she approached.

"Name, please."  Her gaze was on the monitor in front of her.
Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Sonya/Anna/Odessa || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2019, 05:47:13 AM »
Alena gave a short, sharp gasp as she was picked up, from the surprise of it, but she made no attempt to fight it and embraced the joy of flying (which she could do herself, but having someone else in control was exhilarating). If they hadn't taken flight so quickly Alena probably would had queried more the 'we already know', wondering why they had done nothing.

Once they were inside, Alena gave a small nod of thanks to the demon as he released her, watching as he disappeared before turning her gaze towards the… um… receptionist?

“Thank you,” she said with relief at the sight of the towel, grasping it tightly and giving a quiet growling sound of happiness in the back of her throat. Alena paused for a moment, then transformed into her demon form now they were safely inside, before beginning to rub the towel over her bright white skin, desperately trying to dry off and knowing it would be faster in this form due to the lack of clothing and her thick human hair was a bit of a nightmare to dry.

“Alena, electricity demon,” she said, knowing her type hadn’t been requested and was probably already known, but wanting to be as helpful as possible.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2019, 05:56:37 AM »
There was rapid tapping at the desk, a few clicks of a mouse, and she was done.  Looking back to Alena she gave a reassuring smile and held a hand out to take the towel once she was done drying herself.

"Can you tell me briefly the reason for your visit today?"

She would have nodded sympathetically at Alena's answer, typing away at the keyboard again.   

"Thank you, Alena.  Please have a seat anywhere you'd like.  Someone will be with you shortly."
Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Sonya/Anna/Odessa || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

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Re: Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2019, 06:05:45 AM »
Alena pressed her lips together. Briefly? She had hours of venom she wanted to spout, but now was not the time. It would come.

“I want revenge on the bastard vampire prince who killed my family.” There was no point lying about it, it would come out soon enough.

Alena glanced around the area and transformed back into her human form as she moved to take a seat, now she was dry. She unzipped her jacket, forgetting she was wearing a shirt she’d stolen from Zeus’ chambers at the Oligarchy building. She could feel butterflies in the pit of her stomach. This whole place was so well organised, so smooth, he had to be here, running it all, right? And if he wasn’t… well… there had to be someone here who would help her.

Her small feet tapped against the floor as she gripped her knees, impatient to be seen and heard.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2019, 07:28:23 AM »
Alena had to wait only a short five minutes before she was joined by a hulking bald man (well, demon anyway) with a stern expression on his face.

"Alena?"  He asked, voice deep and gravely.  "Please come with me."  He waited until she was standing before moving at a brisk walk past the massive center column and to the elevator in the back.  He pulled a card key attached to a retractable lanyard from the front pocket of his jacket and held it up to the reader by the elevator.  The door slid open with a beep and he motioned for Alena to enter, following closely behind her.  Once they were both inside he pressed the button for the second floor. 

Silent and staring directly in front of him at the door, the demon did not move until the elevator had stopped and its doors had opened again. 

The second floor was dark, cold and modern with dim lighting.  Lining the walls were spot-lit decorative sculptures, each depicting demons from various cultures. Cast shadows seemed to dance and pool around them, moving ever so slightly with their own sort of life. 

Starting off with a brisk walk once again, the demon led Alena to the closed door at the very end of the hallway.  He knocked twice, waited for a beat, and then opened the door to usher her inside.  Once she was inside this demon withdrew, exiting to stand guard outside the door.

This office was the largest on the floor.  Gleaming black hardwoods reflected the play of light and shadow from a massive twisted chandelier hanging overhead.  There was a comfortable seating area immediately off to the right with cream-colored couches and a roaring fireplace.  To the left, there was a wall-sized bookcase and a relatively small glass conference table with six black high-backed rolling chairs.  The back of the room, wall made of stone, was completely bare save the large fish tank in the center behind a massive desk.  The desk itself was a deep mahogany, flanked by two stone gargoyles. 

At the desk in a large leather chair sat Zeus, writing something rather quickly on a piece of stationary bearing a crest.

"Come, sit."  He motioned at the two chairs in front of his desk but did not look up from the paper until she had taken a seat.  The demon was silent while he finished, signing the bottom of the letter and placing it face down off to the right.

"Alena--"  Zeus looked up at her, brows drawing together "Why are you wearing my shirt?"
Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Sonya/Anna/Odessa || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2019, 07:50:26 AM »
Alena kept pace with her guide with ease. Her family had rarely made allowances for her short statue so he’d got used to walking quickly as her normal pace. She had a dozen questions to ask as they stood in the elevator, but she knew they would not be answered yet. So for now she satisfied herself with looking around, admiring the sculptures and watching the shadows carefully.

She let herself be ushered into the office and her eyes were immediately pulled upwards to the beautiful shadows gliding around the room. Alena felt more confident now she was dry and able to touch her powers again properly, but in a room like this, knowing Zeus’ powers, she knew she was definitely in his territory.

There was so much to look at Alena was almost distracted away from her true cause to being here, but then he spoke to her.

“Oh, yes,” my God. She’d found him, she actually had. The hunt had taken her all over the city, and although it hadn’t truly been that long, it was the only time Alena could really remember being alone for the first time since she was a child. There had always been her family looking out for her.

Alena took a seat in one of the chairs opposite Zeus, folding her legs up underneath herself, a blissful looking smile on her lips. She could smell his scent and recognised it from the Oligarchy Chambers, it was definitely him. There was much work still to do, but she’d taken a huge step in the right direction.

She raised an eyebrow in surprise at the question and glanced down at the t-shirt. “You weren’t using it,” she said with a small shrug before raising her gaze back up to meet his. “I don’t have anything else if you wanted it back?” she said, plucking gently at the t-shirt.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2019, 08:16:34 AM »
Zeus leaned back in his chair and examined the demon before him.  She was just a child, he realized. 

"No,"  His lips twisted into a small smile as he said with a chuckle, "Finders keepers."  This was all very amusing.  She must've broken into his apartment at the old chambers, which was clever of her.  That could be useful for later. 

"You've been trying rather hard to find me I see."  Persistence and dedication were good traits.  "Tell me what happened to your family."  Anger could also be good, though it had to be controlled and directed.  His face was solemn, but not cold.  It could be read as a sympathetic look, though inside he was listening and calculating.  McCloud had made many demons furious.  Fury needed to be handled delicately.
Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Sonya/Anna/Odessa || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2019, 05:47:47 PM »
Alena glanced across at Zeus suspiciously as he chuckled, disliking being laughed at, but the look on his face reminded her of Ekaitz and that softened her. He had often found things she did amusing, then pat her head in a patronising way, telling her she would learn in time. She knew plenty, just not always how to use that knowledge best.

“I have,” she said quietly, biting her lip as Zeus asked his question and curling her hand into a ball, resting on the arm of the chair.

“We lived in the West, just… living. Not hurting anyone, just… we helped other demons, we took in others, looked after them. Then he came.”

Her eyes shone brightly as she remembered, and a crackling began to surround her, making the hairs on her arms stand on end, her hair growing in volume with the static which encompassed her.

“The vampire leader told his sword and his army and destroyed the demon communities in the West. I heard afterwards he gave some a chance to just give up their leaders, but… Ekaitz fought and the others joined him. He made me hide, I went into the wires, but I watched.”

She felt sick just thinking about it and Alena leant forwards in her chair, her face screwed up in pain. She took a deep breath before sitting upright again, trying to clear that pain from her expression as she met Zeus’ gaze.

“You were supposed to protect us. You need to help us get revenge now. I know where he lives, but there’s a lot of them, I didn’t think I was strong enough to do it myself.”

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2019, 10:36:46 PM »
Zeus listened in silence, watching the crackling display of anguish with a sympathetic scowl. 

He wondered at the validity of the claim that McCloud had given a chance for the demons to surrender their leaders.  It sounded all too convenient in the face of an obvious grab for territory and power.  A different approach should have been taken, addressing each community without the threat of a hanging sword, working with them to see what needs they had.  Some gangs could not be helped--those careless enough to draw too much attention to their operations.  Attention was never a good thing, it compromised safety for all.  But to meet each community with senseless aggression could not be excused by this.  Of course they would fight when backed into a corner. 

Vampires, it seemed, only gave a shit about their own kind.  He had learned that well enough when the Oligarchy had fallen.

As for protecting the demons in the West--Alena was right.  That was his responsibility.  While his lack of action had been strategic on many fronts, the demon didn't anticipate how aggressive and abrupt this scramble for power would be.  McCloud's actions had left a jagged hole in the community with many calling for his head.  However, this had conveniently destabilized the vampire's reputation.  Better to have McCloud wedge himself in a corner with little allies.  It would only serve as justification for anything that happened as a consequence of his actions.

"To meet him head-on deep in his own territory is...unwise."  The demon finally said, leaning an elbow on the desk in front of him and tracing his jaw with his thumb.  There was silence for a moment.  Thinking.

"Do you know how many leaders were captured or--"  Executed? He wanted to ask but had been making some effort to be as gentle as possible.  Could she possibly have connections to other disbanded groups?  It would be useful to have someone they could directly relate to.  Zeus was all too aware of the possibility of hostility toward him for not stepping in sooner.  But he was not about to explain the intricacies of strategy to every single demon in the West.
Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Sonya/Anna/Odessa || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2019, 04:08:51 AM »
“Murdered?” Alena said, filling in the gap Zeus had left behind. She disagreed that they should just go straight for him – they were powerful, demons banded together had such a huge variety of power, they could sneak in and take him out. Just like he’d done to them.

“All of them,” she added, with a small frown, before she realised what he actually meant and that he’d want more information.

“I don’t know how many there were. There were dozens of gangs, they weren’t all… stable. There was changing around, I know some who used to be in ours, their new families were affected too. Everyone I ran into whilst I was looking for you, they all were, they all knew what had happened. Even those who didn’t have a specific loyalty knew someone who was taken down.”

Alena had spoken to many over the past few days, but most had scoffed at her wanting to get revenge, mocking her youth and small stature. They would never have banded together behind her, which was why she was here.

“The West isn’t really his. We could draw him out there, or you could invite him here. How many demons do you have here?” Alena asked, eager to make plans and be a part of them and leaning forwards in her seat towards him. She desperately hoped she wouldn’t be pushed to one side and made to watch. She never wanted to do that again.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2019, 05:19:54 AM »
That was about as much as he had surmised himself with the reports that he was given, but it was good to have a first-hand account of it. 

"I have many,"  Zeus replied, "And hope to have more still." 

There were easily twice as many demons as vampires in the entire city.  Numbers were not the issue.  But to show your entire hand unless you absolutely needed to was a mistake of inexperience.  There was the aftermath to consider.  The potential for retaliation, for force being met with force in attempts to slake the insatiable thirst for revenge.  He would not make the same foolish error that McCloud had, turning heads that needn't be turned--that would have a multitude of unforeseen consequences. 

Yes, the demons together had unquestionable power.  But sheer force was not the only way to wage a war--and immortals had eternity to develop cunning.  Much was still left unknown, and the demon was reluctant to make a move until some key questions were answered.  Though he doubted Alena could provide answers to those.

Zeus was beginning to admire the energy of this one, and it showed with the slightest of smirks.

"How would you propose we draw him here?"  He leaned forward, mirroring her body language.  Inviting him here was an interesting idea and he had intended to speak with McCloud at some point--but at a neutral location.
Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Sonya/Anna/Odessa || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Drenched with a Soaking Joy
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2019, 06:35:36 AM »
She narrowed her eyes at his question, a sly smile spreading over her lips. Oh, she’d made so many plans over the last few days, most of them involving Jake ending up screaming in pain as he shot electricity through his body. But getting him here first… without raising suspicion?

“Take someone he loves,” she said, her first impulse, but it would need to be amended. She rubbed her hands on her knees as she mulled it over before continuing.

“But you don’t want him being suspicious when he gets here. So get on the good side of someone he loves. Convince them, as he wouldn’t trust us after what he did. Then they can help make him trust us, so he doesn’t feel the need to come with his people.”

Maybe she should have spent more time there, but the temptation to act had been too great so she’d left the White Rabbit before seeing too much. A couple of basics though.

“There’s a girl there, he treats her like family. Young, in form and years I think. She mentioned the Academy. But there’s probably others he’d close to as well.”