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Author Topic: Battle of The Bards  (Read 230 times)

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Offline Black Philip

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Battle of The Bards
« on: June 14, 2019, 05:46:12 AM »
Reserved for Johnny <3
Rural Louisiana, 1976

The traveler moved along the dusty road, his boots crunching the gravel and dirt beneath him. There was a motel not far from here that he planned to settle into before the day broke. He had a few more hours of walking to get there and so he looked up at the stars to see what shapes they held tonight. It was a beautiful summer evening in Louisiana, and Tyler took in the swamp like sounds and scanned eagerly for alligators. He’d always wanted to wrestle one, and so he kept himself on high alert for the opportunity. He’d been offered a ride, but turned it down. It was too easy to travel these days, and he honestly wanted to enjoy the simple delights of walking. In one hand was a slightly used suitcase, the kind door to door salesman had used since the 1920’s. In the other hand was a brand new guitar case. It was black with a silver handle and had a soft felt covering. Tyler gripped it warmly.

The road took him by a few gas stations, the people of which had stared at the pretty young man wearing a large beige coat, and carrying a guitar. Where is his car, he heard one woman whisper to her husband. He just smiled and kept on walking. Most of the humans in New Orleans had been sweet to him, with the exception of a few aggressive dudes with something to prove. He’d whipped them around and showed ‘em what’s what. The women they’d been with were most appreciative. The vampires were a mixed bag. The Camarilla held an iron grip on the Kindred, and the Anarchs were confined to a small turf near the French Quarter. The mission had been a success though, and one less Camarilla prince lived. That’s what he’d been called in to do, with the hope it would change things for the better. Tyler had to hope. Otherwise, what was the point of any of it?

It was close to midnight now, and the traveler came to a crossroads. As he stood in the center of the four way split he tried to remember which direction led to the motel. He’d left his map of the area back in New Orleans - since he’d had to flee to avoid being murdered - and so he finally realized he was unsure where he was going. For the first time it occurred to the Brujah that he should’ve taken the ride and walking was overrated. He placed his suitcase on the ground and stared at each path for several minutes, his mind utterly abandoning him in his time of need. “Fuck,” he cursed loudly, not sensing anyone nearby.

Since Tyler didn’t believe in futility, he decided to try something else. He moved to the side of the road and took off his coat, folding it neatly and placing it on top of his suitcase. Underneath it was a polo shirt, jeans and western boots. He reached into his coat pocket and retrieved a stack of matches and a pack of cigarettes. After striking the fire stick off the side of his suitcase and lighting his cancer stick, he took a deep first inhale. He trapped the smoke in the back of his throat and blew two beautiful smoke rings. The traveler smile proudly, and unsnapped the latches on the guitar case.

Inside was a gently used  twelve string guitar, acoustic in sound and made from Yamaha. It shined thanks to the moonlight and the wood polish interacting, and he pulled it out and placed in his lap. He'd play some music to relax his mind, and trusted the answer would reveal itself. The other path was just anger and frustration. Music calmed his soul, and he hoped his memory too. Tyler tuned the ax for a few minutes, until everything was exactly where it was supposed to be. Then, he took a guitar pick and started strumming. The sound started out as a simple blues riff, but quickly took on a faster and more experimental direction. Tyler had heard Jimmy Hendrix recently, and was amazed by the new kinds of sounds he was making. The traveler did his best to combine his folk and blues roots with the new sounds of rock, and  started to come with a sound that fused it all together. Tyler laughed out loud and started humming out a melody, and within a few minutes lyrics started to appear.

I don’t know nothing about you baby,
But I know I want you by my side.
I don’t know nothing, and I’m crazy.
But at least I can say that I tried


The clock struck midnight, and the noises of animals, bugs and the wind all vanished. Only Tyler’s playing continued. He noticed the end of other noises eventually, and stopped strumming to look around.

“Hello,” he called out. “Is anyone there?”

Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Nox Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Freddy Drew Flick Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline sully

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Re: Battle of The Bards
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2019, 02:06:20 AM »
The soft sound of jingling metal and boots grinding into dirt materialized from behind the Traveler as he played. The creator of the sounds was clad in large black cowboy boots, tight miner's blue jeans, a red flannel shirt unbuttoned half way, and a long dark brown overcoat. In his hands were a large cigar, smoke lazily drifting off to the sky, and a glass filled to the brim with golden colored whiskey. He stumbled a bit as he walked, but the man still carried himself gracefully, never truly in danger of falling over. Strung across his back is a small wooden case with a handle that repeatedly raps against the wood as the man sways and stumbles. His long ginger hair was tied back in a bun, leaving his freckled skin and grey eyes on full display.

Trying ain't good enough baby
A million men have tried for less
And all it got them was the heel of my boot
You gotta do more baby if you really wanna impress


The man sung in reply, his voice somehow also producing the melody played from the guitar. He raised the glass towards the Traveler and took a deep drink, consuming most of the whiskey and let out a loud hiss of pain and enjoyment. "Now what brings a pretty thing like you out to an old place like this? Can't be too smart if you're playing music at a Devil's crossroad I'd say." The man asked before letting out a deep baritone laugh that rippled across the field.
“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.” American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

The Eloquent Thug ~ Butler - The Fiddle Player ~ Johnny - The Party Boy ~ Royce - The Viper ~ Eva - The Watch Maker ~ Archie

Offline Black Philip

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Re: Battle of The Bards
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2019, 06:09:16 AM »
Tyler eyed the new stranger warily, and recognized as whatever fulled his music as magic. He liked the look of the other man, hi ginger hair and piercing eyes forcing a smile out of the Brujah. The vampire stood, resting his instrument against a bush and walked closer to the other man. Was he really the devil? More likely, he was a devil, as she'd heard demons often claimed to be the high lord of evil himself. His posture was open and inviting for the moment, but the others words weren't exactly friendly ones, and so Tyler proceeded with caution.

"Well I never claimed to be smart or pretty," Tyler replied. "And I'm traveling between towns obviously."

He gestured to his suitcase, and traveling clothes. "So do you just wait here for unsuspecting musicians," Tyler asked, remembering that crossroads often involved deals with devils. Could this guy be the real deal? Tyler had never met a true demon in all his years on this earth. 
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Nox Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Freddy Drew Flick Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline sully

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Re: Battle of The Bards
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2019, 02:35:46 AM »
Johnny swirled the glass in his hand, watching the liquid swirl and reflect the soft moonlight above. Taking another gulp, finishing off the last of the whiskey, he turned back to the Traveler and simply shrugged. "Eh sometimes. Although not as many remember the power of the crossroads. At least not those who feel the call of music like we do." He smiled warmly, but faint traces of mischievous glee could be seen, hiding at the corners of his mouth. "Been awhile since I've heard anyone play so beautiful. Most who come to find me ain't got more than a single bone of talent in their whole body. But you... I sense in you the talent of a true musician." His words sound kind and truthful at first, but as with his smile, a darker, more malicious tone can be heard just under the surface.

Striding closer to the Traveler, so that the distance between them was no wider than a foot, Johnny looked intently into the man's eyes. They stood in silence for a few moments as the two beings assessed the other until he broke the silence with a simple question; "Any chance I could try my hand at your guitar?"
“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.” American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

The Eloquent Thug ~ Butler - The Fiddle Player ~ Johnny - The Party Boy ~ Royce - The Viper ~ Eva - The Watch Maker ~ Archie

Offline Black Philip

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Re: Battle of The Bards
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2019, 01:02:08 PM »
Tyler looked at this man with skepticism, arching a brow in protest to his smooth talking, and hard drinking. His flattery felt good though, and he had nice looking eyes. Tyler couldn't help but let out a small chuckle at the compliments, feeling they weren't really all that deserved. He didn't understand what the demon meant by "the power of the crossroads" but assumed he'd find out soon. Was it the music that this slick looking fox brought with him? Tyler looked at his guitar with reverence as it was requested. He didn't want to risk this guy damaging it, but Tyler did wonder what he could play and so extended it slowly.

"What kind of tunes you play," Tyler asked, unsure if his own taste level was as high as the apparent demon's.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Nox Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Freddy Drew Flick Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline sully

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Re: Battle of The Bards
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2019, 10:26:11 AM »
Johnny waved his hands lazily in the air, gesturing one way or another; "Oh a little of this, a little of that. I believe all genres having something to provide to the grand symphony." Moving his right hand behind his back, he grabbed the wooden case strapped to him and lifted it off himself. He placed the case gingerly on the ground, raising his head to meet Tyler's eyes. Johnny shot the man a cheeky wink as he unclasped the silver buckles on the case; "But if I had to choose, I'd say I'm partial to a good old fashioned fiddle..." As the case swung open, a soft musical creak emanating from the hinges, the moonlight danced across the bright gold surface of the revealed fiddle. Every inch appeared sculpted from the purest of gold, the strings glinted like finely crafted diamonds, and the bow appeared to be chiseled from dark black marble. He lifted the fiddle and bow as if it weighed no more than it's common counterpart and placed it underneath his chin. Holding the bow loosely in his right hand, he smoothly twisted the tuning pegs one by one. Eventually he took the bow firmly in his hand and gently ran the bow across the diamond strings.

From the fiddle came an eerie, hellish sound that seemed to darken the moon itself, plunging the crossroads into a moment of terrifying blackness. Far off, wolves and hounds let out mournful howls echoing across the field and the sounds of animals running in fear could be heard faintly in the nearby forest. Despite all the terror the note inspired, there could be no denying the beauty that it carried as it pierced the previously quiet night. The note seemed to have an effect on the player as well. His skin now seemed flushed and his eyes seemed to catch the glint of the fiddle, appearing golden themselves. Smiling at his newfound companion with bright white, sharp teeth, Johnny raised a cocky eyebrow and asked "What did you think my friend?"
“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.” American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

The Eloquent Thug ~ Butler - The Fiddle Player ~ Johnny - The Party Boy ~ Royce - The Viper ~ Eva - The Watch Maker ~ Archie

Offline Black Philip

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Re: Battle of The Bards
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2019, 07:46:26 AM »
This had to be a practical joke. He had a literal golden fiddle. Next this guy was going to tell Tyler his name was Johnny. The vampire listened as he strummed that awful and terrible note. Not only dogs responded to its sharpness. Tyler's own beast growled beneath the human exterior that contained it, and the pretty face temporarily looked angry. He softened though, and relaxed into numb curiosity. The more he learned about this pretty man, with his pretty voice and golden fiddle the more Tyler felt like they should run. Still, something held him place, and despite the warning signs, the traveler wanted more. He walked up to examine the fiddle, still holding out his guitar for the demon to take.

"Haunting," Tyler answered honestly, staring at the strings. "You the devil," he asked, tone pretty matter of fact for meeting Lucifer, or Johnny if the fiddle clue was to be followed. It was then they noticed the more demonic elements to his appearance, the sharp teeth sticking out in particular. The traveler beamed a wide smile of his own, showing two sharp fangs, and his eyes seemed to glow black. IT wasn't likely enough to fear anything that had just plunged the crossroads into black, but the traveler hoped it let the demon know he wasn't just some unsuspecting human. He was a vampire and a powerful one.

"Want to trade looks at our instruments," he offered, letting the double entendre become an inviting lyric.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Nox Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Freddy Drew Flick Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline sully

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Re: Battle of The Bards
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2019, 11:20:58 AM »
The glimpse of the traveler's fangs caused Johnny to pause for a moment. While his magic affected other supernatural creatures, it was never to the same degree as their mortal counterparts. But Beleth paid extra for vampire souls and Johnny wasn't one to leave his little lady wanting. He just needed to find a way to swindle the young man out of his soul. And as the traveler offered Johnny his guitar, an idea was born in his mind.

"I'd love nothing more. Your's is so worn and used. So much character built up over the years." As he wrapped his bright red fingers around the shaft of the guitar, he offered his fiddle in return and the two instruments were exchanged. Despite himself, Johnny became engrossed in the detail of the traveler's guitar. While he had been right in saying the item was used, that fact took nothing away from its beauty. Every groove, every scratch seemed to tell a story of a past event, a past moment of musical creation that now only existed in memory. He fingered the strings and strummed, releasing a soft melody of notes. Johnny ran a claw like finger across the wood and said to the traveler "Beautiful craftsmanship. May I ask where you bought it?"
“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.” American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

The Eloquent Thug ~ Butler - The Fiddle Player ~ Johnny - The Party Boy ~ Royce - The Viper ~ Eva - The Watch Maker ~ Archie

Offline Black Philip

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Re: Battle of The Bards
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2019, 10:45:43 AM »
Tyler respected the demon's appreciation for his instrument. They were almost like children, or at least a beloved pet. They grew with you, changed with you, supported you. Tyler had a relationship with his guitar, although it wasn't named like some people did. He was proud to let Johnny inspect it, and was equally curious about the golden fiddle. It was lighter than Tyler thought it would be, and while Tyler wasn't as good a violinist, he did know a thing or too.

A few simple notes echoed into the night, a happy tune, the kind that would line the streets of any town in Appalachia. "Hmmmm, now that's a nice sound," Tyler said to Johnny, hoping to pay back his compliment. Tyler smiled, and offered the fiddle back. As he did, Johnny asked his question about the guitar's origins, causing Tyler to the lower the fiddle.

"Didn't buy it," he said mysteriously, letting a pause and a mischievous grin draw in the other showman. "Won it in a game of seven card stud."

He beamed now, his cleverness being revealed. "I guess you could say I'm a gambiln man."
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Nox Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Freddy Drew Flick Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline sully

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Re: Battle of The Bards
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2019, 06:46:10 AM »
A sinister grin split across Johnny’s face at the Traveler’s words, a plan slowly manifesting in his mind. “Well than I think it’s your lucky night friend. I just so happen to be a fan of gambling myself. But not over things so trivial as instruments... no offense.” Johnny chuckled to himself, a deep baritone sound like a drum being struck. “How about a contest? A game to see who knows their instrument the best and who can make it sing the prettiest. However...” he eyed the Traveler’s guitar with a note of disappointment, “I like to play fair so I will help you out a little.”

Johnny snapped his fingers and his appearance changed in full. The small demonic traits that had been bubbling under the surface were given life and he showed the traveler his true form. His ginger hair flared with bright red light before burning away, leaving behind a shiny bald head. His skin became a dark red, the shade of freshly spilled blood, and his finger nails elongated into wicked black claws. Black lines appeared on his face, accenting his cheek bones and his chin, while his eyes became fully yellow like a cat. When he smiled back at the Traveler, his teeth were now sharp as daggers.

Placing his right hand over the guitar’s strings, Johnny began muttering in a demonic language incomprehensible to the traveler. As he spoke, the guitar’s strings began to glow with moonlight until it nearly blinded both viewers. Once the light died down, the strings resumed their normal appearance. Johnny offered the guitar back while saying “Now your music will be as potent as mine. Able to reach into the depths of anyone’s soul and make them feel what you play.”
“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.” American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

The Eloquent Thug ~ Butler - The Fiddle Player ~ Johnny - The Party Boy ~ Royce - The Viper ~ Eva - The Watch Maker ~ Archie

Offline Black Philip

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Re: Battle of The Bards
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2019, 12:50:30 PM »
Tyler bared his fangs defensively, snarling and bearing down at the demon with a dread gaze! He hadn't meant to react so strongly, but the demon's sudden transformation had surprised him, and the spell even more. However, after a moment the eyes softened and the fangs were put away. This demon looked frightening, but was obviously some kind of trickster. The word souls popped out from his explanation, and Tyler felt an ominous wind envelop them. He slowly handed back the fiddle, accepting his guitar gingerly. He was convinced it was booby trapped, but Tyler plucked a string and heard a symphony behind him. The demon's magic was true!

"I-."

He began to play something by the Beatles, and slowly the full accompanying instruments supported him. "Wow," he said in awe, looking at Johnny like he was miracle worker.

"What do you wanna wager," the traveler asked with trepidation, but underneath that was something else. A determination and desire to smack this slick demon upside the head filled the traveler's mind. He was too familiar, too in his element. Tyler decided it would be prudent to show this yellow-bellied,slick dressed,whiskey drinking Tom cat a thing or two about music! "Because I accept!"

Fuck. Probably should've heard the price first... 
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Nox Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Freddy Drew Flick Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline sully

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Re: Battle of The Bards
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2019, 06:43:11 AM »
Aahahaha "Didn't your mother ever deal you not to make deals before knowing the price? Shit, easiest bet I made in years!" Johnny yelled, his maniacal cackle ringing out across the area so loud the trees rustled softly. The Traveler tried to protest, but Johnny put up a long red finger and shook it gently in his face. "Nuh uh uh, I take verbal confirmation as a signature." He twirled his fingers and pulled a long piece of black paper out of the air. Incomprehensible text glowed with bright red light, the page ending with the Traveler's signature, magically plucked from his mind to the page at the moment of his verbal agreement. Johnny flicked the hand holding the contract and it vanished into thin air.

"Rules are simple; whoever plays the best wins. You win, the charms I put on your guitar remain permanently. I win, your soul is mine." Johnny shot a toothy grin at his helpless victim. He wondered how the Traveler would react at knowing it was his soul he wanted and that he'd signed the contract without even knowing. And while the Traveler might be a well-trained musician, Johnny had never lost a musical battle. He had enough cards up his sleeve to ensure he'd have this vamp's soul and get Beleth off his back for a few more decades. "Since I'm such a nice guy, I'm gonna let you start. Play with everything you got boy."
“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.” American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

The Eloquent Thug ~ Butler - The Fiddle Player ~ Johnny - The Party Boy ~ Royce - The Viper ~ Eva - The Watch Maker ~ Archie