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angrydurf

Golgotha Tenement Blues IC

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Mister Strix's keen ears felt every vibration from upstairs as the bodies hit the floor, just as they picked up every word of the soliloquy from the jovial giant who dispatched them. His lips curled up into a sinister smile.

 

Gun's jammed. Friends down. Don't have to worry about taking either one out of the equation.

 

The man in white spun around and grabbed the last gangster's throat. His fingers clamped down around the man's neck like a mechanical vise, and pulled him close.

 

So congratulations. You get my undivided attention. And thanks to you, I worked up quite a thirst.

 

The vampire's fangs extended and he bit into the thug's skin. His body shuddered as the first few drops of the man's blood hit his suddenly elongated tongue.

 

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Doctor Thorne

Leaning on the railing she looked down as Strix attacked the lone goon, she couldn’t help but feel a twinge of concern. From her time around the vampire, she knew he was somewhat in control, but she also knew that the thirst was always just below the surface. Rosa quite liked the vampire and would hate to have to put him down.

 

“Do you think he needs our help?” she very pointedly didn’t say which one needed the help.

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Judex leaned over the railing for a moment before looking back at the good Doctor wit ha sigh.

 

"Our fine feathered friend needs help...against himself. See you down there!"

 

He took two steps back, then vaulted over the railing, his trajectory flinging him to the opposite side of the stairwell. He laid hold of the railing there for a moment, before repeating his earlier move. Down he went, hopping between landings before he finally made the last leap. His landing was solid, a classic three-point affair that was muted only due to the rather lackluster surroundings. Slowly, Judex stood, holding his hands palm-forward as he walked toward Strix.

 

"Now now my friend, do try not to get carried away there..."

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The flunkie spasmed in terror as Strix captured him in the steely grip of his undead might.  As the vampires gifts went to work on the criminal he let out a muffled cry then a low groan of almost pleasure helpless and supported only by the vampires grasp, his heart readily pumping the sanguine lifeforce into the vampires waiting gullet.

 

Strix could taste the thugs terror on his tongue the fear of bothe what the monster would do to him and the price of being part of this debacle.  Grabbing the kids and dragging them off should have been simple, he hadn't even known why so many had been sent to intimidate a junkie and her brats.  The vigilantes hadn't been expected by these flunkies but clearly those who sent them expected som resistance just not with such power at their command.  The man in his grip spasmed hungry for his next fix and thoughts growing hazy as the blood loss began to set in.  He barely even knew where to dump the kids, a familiar warehouse, and only knew that his dealer Frankie was cutting a discount if he was one of the ones to bring in the little snitches.

 

The Strix's mystic sight drifted then to the hazier events of potential futures each more depressing than the last.  In most the thug in his grip died at the hands of some gangster or another of or overdose after a big score.  But a common thread was overhearing someone telling his dealer where to find the kids next and the Drug dealer low rent though he was promising to get the informant their fix and hanging up with a smirk and muted, "stupid whore." before dispatching one gaggle of thugs or another to eliminate everyone in some apartment, house, trailer or motel room.  

 

Finally the thugs heart started to flutter.  If strix didn't stop soon he'd not survive the experience and nothing more of use was coming from him.  The languid strung out relaxation of his limbs gave out to the weakness of blood loss his hands limp at his side now longer even attempting to grasp at the monster feeding from him.

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"Now now my friend, do try not to get carried away there..."

 

The voice of the holy brute sliced through the vampire's reverie. His were still closed when he reluctantly, very reluctantly, pulled his mouth away from the junkie's neck. With his head facing upward, something halfway between a gutteral growl and a moan slipped out of his throat. As his tongue, which had extended to three times its normal length, slithered around his lips, gathering stray drops of blood, one of his fangs carved a gash into it. He licked the wounds in the junkie's neck, quickly transferring his blood before the gash closed. When the blood drops seeped into the puncture marks, they vanished. Soon, there was no visible sign that he'd been bitten at all.

 

"Just more hired guns. More of Frankie's customers. More scum willing to drag children to their deaths with no questions asked." He dropped the thug onto the floor.

 

He didn't open his eyes again until he'd turned his back to the other two vigilantes, fixing his gaze on the unconscious thug. "I'm sorry. You weren't supposed to see that. No one is supposed to see that. I know...I know what it must look like. But believe it or not, that was...an interrogation. There is power in the blood...power, and knowledge. Everything you've ever done has left an...an echo, in your blood. The blood can tell you everything, if you know how to listen."

 

He turned his head slightly, as if to glance over his shoulder, but not far enough to actually face either of them. "The family is on the roof across the street. The dealer who sent them, and the warehouse where they were supposed to take the children. Those are our next targets."

 

Edited by Grumblefloof

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Doctor Rosa Thorne

Weirdly Rosa understood the Strix’s statement, and with the fight over she couldn’t help but to go into lecture mode.

 

“Blood is always a powerful force in any magical endeavour, whether it’s your or others. Though I tend to get them from other sources than straight from the vein.”

 

She caught herself and slipped back into a more sensible position, they had important things to do, after all, she explained her situation at this point.

 

“Let’s go get them then, I’ll go wait on the ground as I have no powers of flight.”

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"There's always power in blood, my friend. I'm not here to condemn you."

 

His voice is soft, almost gentle. 

 

"The important thing is, you stopped. So, rather than dwelling on you flagellating yourself as a measly replacement for grace, let's focus on the actual problem at hand."

 

His expression grows stormy.

 

"I think it's time to go to the root of this sickness, and...pull it out."

 

"

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The man in white chuckled. "Don't hold your breath for the end of the self-flagellation. I was raised Catholic."

 

Without another word, he dissolved into a wisp of fog, which dived down the stairwell and soared out the door, into the open air, then rose back up to the roof across the street, coalescing back into the form of a man standing just behind where he left the children and their unconscious mother.

 

"It's clear," he whispered. "We can go back down now."

 

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Mr. Strix arrive moments after the mother had regained some semblance of consciousness  and just in time note the tail end of the argument Sam had with her mother, ..."Idiot girl!  Frankie was going to take care of it!  HE was going to take care of everything now you ruined it like you two always do!"  screeched the strung out woman as Sam stood arms crossed and jaw set harshly weathering the storm of her mother's junkie outrage.  "He sent a damn army of bangers and meth heads to kill us mother."  came the girls cold reply, "You told him where we were didn't you."  she shook her head in disappointment and for a moment the hard facade cracked in the face of the betrayal.  She turned to look at her brother who was by now staring in mingled awe and terror at the phantom in white that appeared behind the others.  

 

Sam followed his gaze as Strix spoke and nodded and looked back to her mother, "Just cus he gave you a freebie doesn't mean you can trust him mom."  she sighed sounding more tired than angry as she stood helping the woman to her feet, "Can we take the stairs?"  she pled quietly to their savior of last resort.  "Adam was kinda freaked out by the other thing..."  she swallowed hard not certain her brother would keep it together even a little bit if they took another flight down.

 

As it quieted down in the halls Dr. Thorne and Judex could hear the stirrings of the residents starting to investigate what had happened heads poking over railings to look down the stairwell with mingled shock fear and amusement depending on an individuals feelings on the type of criminals that had been laid low here.  It wouldn't take long for word on the street to travel about just how unsuccesful this attach had been and why.  

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"Can we take the stairs?"  she pled quietly to their savior of last resort.  "Adam was kinda freaked out by the other thing..."

The man in white didn't respond to Sam's plea. He didn't acknowledge her presence at all. He was too focused on her mother, whose words rang in his ears. His mouth dropped open, and hung open. When he spoke, his voice was, as every other time Sam and Adam had heard it that night, deeper than any human voice they'd ever heard, with a faint echo beneath it.

"'Frankie'...You...'Frankie'...You..."

 

Quote

"Frankie was going to take care of it!"

"Now you ruined it like you two always do!"

 

For a moment, he wasn't on that roof, and he didn't see Sam or her family. For a moment, he was fresh out of the box Johann had kept him in, his heart still sore from where Johann's stake had been pulled from it. As far as he'd known, he was also fresh out of his grave. But he knew that wasn't true when he ran back to his home and saw that it wasn't his home anymore, when he saw his wife who wasn't his wife anymore, and her new husband, and their child, and another one on the way, the children they'd just started talking about having when Johann decided to make an example of him...

 

Faster than any human eye could follow, Strix surged forward and clamped his hand around the mother's throat. He lifted her up off the floor, and jumped down to the street below, landing without a sound despite the cracks his boots left in the sidewalk concrete. He dragged her along the ground and back into the lobby of her apartment complex, along the floor still littered with the bodies of Frankie's hired guns.

"Look at them." He forced her face down toward the ground and the unconscious thugs laying upon it. "Look." Then he hauled her up against one of the walls and leaned his face right up against hers. She could see the cloud of her own breath breaking against his face. His eyes were still completely black, his fangs still unsheathed. Thorne and Judex could hear him growling from upstairs.

 

"You're even worse than this scum your 'Frankie' sent to murder your children. Their drug is all they have. But you have children. You are blessed with children. Blessed with their love and their time and you throw it away. You throw it away for your drug. You sold your own children away for your drug. Those children didn't ruin your life. They could have saved it, if you'd let them. They could have given your life joy, and meaning. But you chose your drug. I used to be blessed, like you. My blessings, my future, my life, they were stolen from me, ripped from my arms. So now I'm like them. I don't have a family anymore. All I have left is my drug." The blackness expanded once again to cover his eyes completely. His fangs once again unsheathed. His gaze slid down from her eyes to her throat. His tongue stretched to triple its normal length and licked his fangs. "Scum like this? Scum like you? You're my drug."

 

His hand, still wrapped firmly around her throat, began to squeeze. Kill her. Drink her and kill her. It's the only thing that makes any sense. Rip her throat open and guzzle every last drop that pours out. Tear her worthless goddamned head off her shoulders and make the world a better place. Her kids are better off without her. Drink. Kill. Drink.

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Posted (edited)

Judex watched Strix ascend as unto smoke from a censer, his face thoughtful and sad. With a sigh he turned back to the good doctor.

 

"I think now we should go join our friend outside, with both haste and stealth. Shall we?"

 

With an exaggerated bow that just happened to fling his hood onto his head and obscure his features, Judex waved Thorne forward, intending to swiftly follow the shape-shifting occultist-doctor outside, and likely up the fire escape of a different building. 

 

However, before he could do any such thing, Strix came back inside. Holding the mother...and threatening her life. He moved like a panther, getting up next to Strix and putting one hand on his shoulder. He didn't quite squeeze, but the grip was firm nonetheless. 

 

"I think she gets the message, friend."

Edited by KnightDisciple

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Doctor Thorne

Rosa had a rather scathing comment on her lips when Strix returned, she was a little slow on the uptake and by the time she knew what was going on trouble had already started.

 

For a few minutes there was a internal struggle as to who would react, Liam wanted to step in and be the big damn hero but the more pragmatic Rosa wanted to see how this all played out. It was a close thing but for now Rosa kept in control.

 

“I really hope this isn’t going to turn into one of those hero battles, because we do have genuine bad guys to go and beat.”

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The terrified woman barely spared a glance for the bruised and broken forms of her and her childrens would be murderers, "NO!"  she cried out though in terror of the implicit threat or truth of her betrayal, or the anger of her dealer when he learned it had failed was unclear she shook her head briefly eyes growing wide at the monster looming over her, "He said it.. would.."  the words dies on her lips as the hand closed her windpipe leaving her struggling for breath in the vampires grasp.  Movement could be heard above.  Soon there would be an audience.

 

Struggling in Strix's grasp the strung out woman flailed against his arm ineffectively the telltale marks of her vice visible along her arm and eyes bloodshot from strain and hard living.  Her panicked eyes slid to the others almost resigned not expecting intervention or a care clearly.

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"I think she gets the message, friend."

 

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“I really hope this isn’t going to turn into one of those hero battles, because we do have genuine bad guys to go and beat.”

 

Mister Strix glared into the woman's eyes for another few moments, seemingly indifferent to their words. Then his grip around her throat relaxed, although it didn't break. His gaze dropped to his feet for a second, then rose to meet the woman's face once again. She could see the blackness retreat from the edges of his eyes and compress to the center, leaving his sclera white again. Before her eyes, his fangs retracted back into his gums, and his tongue shrank and slid back into his mouth, which receded from the corners of his face and closed into a frown. When he spoke again, there was still a slight reverberation under his voice, but not the unholy echo she'd heard before.

 

"We're going to find the men who paid this scum to kill your children. We're going to find them, and we're going to break them. Then, when it's safe, we'll bring your children home. And you're going to make sure they have a home to come back to. Not some filthy hole. A home." His grip around her throat tightened again and he lifted her up off her feet, a foot off the ground, still pressed against the wall. "You'll be a mother to those kids, or you will DIE TRYING." He relaxed his grip, dropped her, and turned toward the door. "Let's go."

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The woman scrambled back and away from all three of them fear bone deep as she jerkily nodded acceptance of the vampires commandment.  She was cowed for the moment and might, just might have hit a low enough rock bottom for real change only time could tell.   Edging toward the stairs she didn't dare turn her back on Strix cautiously watching the fearful creature like the deadly threat he was.    He feet caught on the stairs and she half stumbled half crawled up to the landing before turning with a resolved nod, "Yea, I'll yea ..."  she murmured twitchily hugging her arms around her gaunt frame to make her way past the gangsters and fellow residents picking up speed as she got further away.  She ignored the few questions from neighbors as she ran and the crowd was growing sonn people would be willing to brave the stairwell to see exactly what had happened.

 

Across the street the teens were gingerly making their way down the fire escape outside the building, this one at least intact, Sam murmuring curses about the 'fool woman going to get us all killed.'  though it was unclear if she meant the dealers or their unlikely saviors.

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Strix's fangs and tongue retracted, and his grip released the woman. As the vampire relaxed, so too did the grip on his shoulder. Even for a normal man it would not have been painful, but it was very...present. Now, Judex fully released the white-clad hero and gave him a couple of friendly pats.

 

"There we go, dear sir. Remember, we are the sheepdogs not the shearers. Ours is not to weigh and measure the flock, but to defend them. Sheep go astray but the Shepherd must be the one to return them. Now!"

 

He clapped his hands and rubbed them for several moments, before letting them drop and starting to walk for the door.

 

"We have space to cross and less time to cross it in. Let us away, as unto Elijah outracing the chariots of the king! There's wolves afoot in the woods yet!"

 

He moved with purpose in his steps, but also what some might consider a spring in those same steps...

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The immediate danger of hte mother succumbing to her vices at the detriment to her children averted the unlikely band of protectors were able to retrieve Sam and Adam and manage to evade any further scrutiny from the locals or constabulary.   The young man drew back from Strix unwilling to look directly at the disturbing avenger  hiding slightly behind his sister.  Sam frowned at all three of them, "What did you do with her?"  she asked guardedly, "She's got problems but at least with her we can stay together."  she murmured with resignation.  Child services in Bedlam was no rosey outlook and she at least knew it.

 

Despite any reservations about her mother's fate she may have retained she'd coax Adam to follow along and the trio could ensconce the pair in whatever safehouse they might be able to establish for whatever favors they might have to call in.  The immediate threat to the children was handled but the dealer Frankie was still a threat if they returned home and ultimately whoever operated out of the warehouse still was calling the shots and wanted something the kids had or knew to be silenced.

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"What did you do with her? She's got problems but at least with her we can stay together."

 

The man in white slowly stepped forward toward Sam. He spoke as if pushing his words out through gritted teeth. "You said it yourself. She betrayed you. When this is over, then you can go back to your mother and your home, and she can start earning your forgiveness. She gets one more chance at that. But until this is over, it's not safe there, and she can't be trusted." He turned to Judex and Thorne. "I know somewhere they'd be safe, somewhere Frankie's goons wouldn't know to look, with someone who'd never give them up, not even at the point of a gun. A priest. A friend. Let's take these kids there, and then go pay Frankie a visit. He's the next link in the chain."

 

 

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Doctor Thorne

Rosa for all her skill didn’t really get all this people stuff, it tended to get in the way of her studies. Not that she didn’t care, the angle on her shoulder in the form of Liam kept her honest that way (in her brain but it was the same thing). She was thinking of options to keep their clients safe, living clients tended to actually pay after all.

 

“Would the good Father be willing to travel do you think? It’s just that our offices have some quite robust security measure, both mundane and arcane obviously.”

 

She always liked to set up a few arcane defences just in case, which the church traditionally frowned again. Indeed she could probably quote all the chapter about such things better than most priests.

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"He travels all the time. He's what they call a 'supply priest.' He's retired, but he's still got some spring in his step. Fills in at churches all over the state. But if you have any 'security' at all, then your office is more 'secure' than Father Messina's house. I don't think he even has an alarm, and even a spry seventy year old isn't going to win any fist-fights. The only 'security' at his place is anonymity. I offered him up because no one knows about him and me, and there's nothing to connect him to the kids or to any of you. If we stash the kids at your office, then I won't bother waking him up. No point to him driving out there. Sam's too old to need a babysitter. Only question is whether or not anyone can connect you and Sam. It's only safe if no one has any reason to think they're there. If they do, then I'm guessing from the fact that you have an 'office' that you're in the phonebook."

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"While the offer of a fortified office is tempting, my own inclination leans toward the full anonymity of the priest's home. Unless your office's protections can withstand a true siege?"

 

Judex was a bit less boisterous. Nowhere near "glum" or the like, he simply seemed to be more...thoughtful.

 

"Broadly speaking, what defenses do you have in place at the office? A bit more detail might sway my mind."

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Doctor Rosa Thorne

Doctor Thorne though for a few minutes before replying

 

“Well the place is pretty secure, not exactly the best of neighbourhoods. Which to be fair covers a lot of Bedlam really.” she smiled at her own terrible joke

 

“But I don’t have any staff, apart from a technicality I guess. And I’d prefer it if we have someone keep an eye on them just in case!” she gave a little shrug before adding “Whatever you think works best, we don’t want to wait around too long after all!”

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Posted (edited)

"Alright, we'll compromise. Take the kids to your office. I'll meet you at Frankie's flophouse. I won't engage until you arrive. Strictly reconnaissance while I wait."

The man in white handed Doctor Thorne a slip of paper. He whispered to Thorne and Judex, just out of earshot of the children, "My voice...it doesn't carry through the phone. Part of my condition." After that quick aside, he returned to a normal volume. "Call that number, either on your way, or when you get there. But don't call it from your office, or any cell phone that's registered to any of you. Use a burner, or a payphone if you can find one. It's not likely that the people paying for this hit have the resources to get their hands on your phone records, but I don't want to take the chance, even if it's a slim one. Ask for 'Father Messina', and tell him that 'Some Guy', those exact words, told you to ask him to come to your office to watch over some children who need our help. He'll know what you mean, and he'll come right over." He hesitated for a moment, then added "And if anything happens to me, please let him know."

Edited by Grumblefloof

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As the chill of the dark avengers nature left the street when he bounded away the teens looked expectantly to Dr. Thorne and Judex falling into step and easily enough herded to whatever secure location was on offer.  In the office Sam seemed grateful if guarded and while not completely trusting of hte Priest when he arrived was at least accepting of the oversight.  Adam promptly planted himself at a table and began carefully annotating one of his notebooks filled with neat script in strings of numbers and letters with dates and times lost in his internal world for the moment such that he barely seemed to notice when their caretaker arrived.  He at least seemed to trust the safehouse as safe.

 

When Mr. Strix arrived at the flophouse where Frankie did his business it seemed indistinguishable from the rows of crumbling brownstones alongside it.  A few ragged prostitutes loitered in up and down the block watching for the slow roll of a potential customer or perhaps signs of a raid.  The house seemed largely unguarded, what pull Frankie had likely spent on the small army unleashed on the kids apartment.  A frontal assault would be unlikely to meet much resistance but there were enough addicts and other discarded and forgotten Bedlamites that it would raise an alarm and offer him some chance for escape.  From the coming and going of customers it seemed likely the dealer was in residence.  Getting to him without he or his employers becoming the wiser would take more finesse however.

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Doctor Rosa Thorne / Liam Conner

There’s food in the fridge and bed if you need to sleep, please don’t try to enter the library some of the books shouldn’t be read by anyone!”

 

As Rosa checked the wards and magical security she’d placed on the offices, she gave a quick tour of the place. It was a little run down, money was tight, but they’d taken care of the place that was there home in the city.

 

Satisfied she’d changed from Rosa to Liam making sure that they could all see the transformation, it was a deliberate test of the Priest as only those that showed a strong sense of self noticed the change.

 

“Hello there father I’m Liam, welcome to my Agency, let me show you how to lock down this place!”

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