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Grumblefloof

Siren Song of The Void (IC)

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Sekhmet took a moment to spit on the tangled mess of tentacles before calling toward the water, "Liesmith! Be thee slain?"

 

Set raised a thumbs up from the mostly submerged heap he'd fallen into, a storm grey eye blinking on the back of his hand. His elbow did not appear to be bending quite the right direction but with a faintly audible grinding of bone-on-bone the limb was twisting itself back into shape. The godling's two normal eyes were shut and his breathing ragged, lips pressed into a thin line. Sekhmet stalked over with a huff and crouched at the edge of the water, hands aglow with a softer yellow light but Set shook his head with a grunt. "Merely... haah... give me... a moment." He swallowed with some difficulty then added quietly enough the he hoped the others wouldn't hear, "I have been attempting to... change my shape. I cannot... cannot rid myself of the growths that way."

 

The warrior goddess screwed her face up in a scowl. "The taint must be scoured, then."

 

He nodded tersely, one shoulder popping back into place with a loud crunch. "See what you can do for our compatriots, if you would."

 

Looking over her shoulder Sekhmet looked between Grimalkin's haggard condition and Strix's corpse and huffed again. She cast one more glance at Set, failing to keep the entirety of her worry from her face but stood up and joined Temperance next to the latter. "Vampires be as varied as carrion birds; the rules of one may be naught to another." She clenched and unclenched her hands a few times, the glow surrounding them intensifying. Reaching down she grabbed Strix by the shoulder and hauled him into the air, pouring divine succour into his undead form.

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Mister Strix's soaking wet corpse didn't actually look much different than it had when he was moving around under his own power, aside from having been disemboweled. He hung limply in Sekhmet's grasp. When she touched her healing light to his skin, it quickly burned and melted. The effect wasn't limited to the part of his body she touched. Several seemingly random clumps of flesh around his body smoldered and were consumed in an instant, including roughly half his face. Holes were burned in his clothing as well, leaving charred bone exposed to the air. He did not stir. There were no signs of awareness or mobility.

 

Grimalkin continued to stare wordlessly at her own hands for a few moments longer. She poked at one of the eyes growing from a finger, and flinched. Her fingers were once again surrounded by a soft glow which quickly hardened into talons. She closed her eyes tightly, gritted her teeth, and began gouging the extra eyeballs out of her hands. She bit her tongue to stifle her own screams. Blood and white goo poured between her fingers in tiny waterfalls.

 

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Temperance knew there was only so much she could take. But at this point, it felt like everything was just splashing against a cliff wall. 

 

"Divinity and a vampire," she said. "Something told me this might not end well."

 

This was really outside of her territory. Water had associations with healing, and spirits did always dance on the side of the metaphorical... but there were also close divides and the rigidity of the bureaucratic. Water was associated with healing because it was life-giving. And she swore there were stories about running water...

 

To do this, she would have to do something that might get her in a lot of trouble.

 

I really hope Dad doesn't find out about this. There was a lot of rough biomatter in here, even if some of it was sluicing into a puddle of filth. Blood was thicker than water, but only by how much? It was just a matter of adding iron and other binding agents, really... 

 

She drew the water from her pack and ran it through the room, catching traces of biological matter. She tried to use as little of the abomination as possible, because she could only see this ending horribly if she fed it to Strix. But in time, with distillation and effort, it turned into blood. She carefully dripped it into Strix's wounds, hoping that this might do something. 

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"Eugh..." Sekhmet winced and carefully set Strix's smouldering husk onto the ground by the stagnant water and took a step back, brushing bits of ash from her hands awkwardly. She watched Temperance work for a moment before gesturing over her shoulder. "I shall see to assisting the shopkeeper, then? Call if thee need a pit dug for burial."

 

Striding a little more quickly than usual over to Grimalkin and crouched down next to the other woman. "I cannot remove the contamination any more cleanly, Champion Epstein but I can lessen the pain, should thee allow." The goddess brought a glow back to her hand but waited for confirmation before placing it on Lynn's shoulder.

 

Set waited until he was confident that the others all had their attention elsewhere - and not because he was putting of what needed to be done, he assured himself - then took a silent breath. He clenched his disfigured hands into fists until grains of sand began to spill from beneath his fingers. All at once the godling's form exploded into a whirlwind of particulates, a miniature desert cyclone spinning above the water. The rush of wind almost covered the small squelches from within as drops of milky white goo dripped out.

 

For only the span of a few heartbeats the contained sandstorm raged before just as abruptly reconstituting into the form of a young man, collapsed against the ground by the edge of the pool, pushing himself upward with one arm. Set bled from dozens of small wounds across his face, arms and everywhere else but the extra eyes were gone. "If you... nngh... are short on blood, oh s-s-sanguine sapphire... ghhk! Ex-excuse me... something in m-my throat..."

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For a few moments after Temperance had transformed the water around him into blood, nothing seemed to happen. Then the pool of blood began to boil. For several seconds, it bubbled furiously, and with each passing second, the cloud of blood in the water became smaller, contracting around the area where Sekhmet had released Mister Strix's body. When most of the blood had disappeared, a skeletal claw shot out of the water, shattering the stillness. Its talons clamped onto a nearby filing cabinet, slicing through several inches of the rusted metal, filling the basement with a screeching echo. Then the skeletal hand managed enough leverage to haul the rest of its body up to the surface. A deep, feral roar burst from the fanged maw of Strix as he dragged himself to his feet. His formerly white costume now hung from his body in blood-soaked and charred tatters. Beneath those tatters, though, the pale flesh was knitting itself back together with almost alarming speed. Muscle and skin expanded and flowed to cover his exposed bones. In his other hand, he pulled up from the water a fistful of the entrails the tentacled monstrosity had torn out of him. He glanced back and forth between his hand and his abdomen, as the organs he clutched crumbled into ash and black slime, slipping through his fingers down to the bloody water below, while those same organs re-grew in his body before his and everyone else's eyes. They were still shriveled and withered, as they had been before, but they were whole again, followed quickly by his ribs re-growing to surround them. In less than half a minute, his body had restored itself, aided no doubt by Temperance's emergency transfusion. The talons retracted back into Strix's fingers as he clenched them into fists, stretched them, and clenched them again repeatedly. With half his mask gone, a mess of stringy dark hair hung revealed to the assembled heroes.

 

He stared at the corpse of the Deep Spawn for a few moments, then turned back to the Freedom foursome. "Thank you," he whispered.

 

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"I cannot remove the contamination any more cleanly, Champion Epstein but I can lessen the pain, should thee allow."

 

Grimalkin didn't speak at first, but she stopped slashing at her own hands, took a couple of deep breaths, looked up at Sekhmet, and nodded. Then she began to ramble. "Yes please. Please, get it out of me. Get Him out of me. I can change my body, change my shape, it's just magic, just energy, move the pieces around, but He's still here, behind the eyes. Behind my eyes, behind His eyes." She grabbed Sekhmet's biceps. The claws at the tips of her fingers, pure Glamour manifested into razor-sharp blades, cut into Sekhmet's skin. "I don't want Him to see me. I don't want Him to see into me, I don't want Him to see through me, I don't want to see Him, I don't want to hear Him, I don't want to seethrougHiseyesIdon'twanttosingHisSongIdon'twantIdon'twantIdon't-"

Edited by Grumblefloof

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She could do nothing.

 

Temperance was used to the fact that her strength lay in elemental power. She was used to the fact of being of water and ice and the realms ephemeral. She was used to the fact that her purview, as the daughter of an elemental, was limited.

 

But never before had she hated it like this. 

 

There was one thing she could do - at least, one thing she could think of. There was a good chance it might end poorly, and it would require her to make a deal... or, perhaps, beat someone down to the point that they'd be willing to go against their nature. She wasn't exactly thrilled with that prospect, on an objective level, but given what she'd be beating down... well...

 

She turned to Mr. Strix, Set, and Sekhmet. "Can you keep her from harming herself?" she asked. "I may be able to keep this contamination from biting deeper, but I need to go out into the city..."

 

Well, girl, might as well be honest.

 

"...to go discuss terms with a spirit of insanity." 

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Set felt a few moments of relief as he coalesced back into solid flesh and leaned against the wall. Then several of the small wounds across his arms, torso, and neck clenched shut, like tiny sphincters, and new eyes, varying in size from a pea to ping-pong ball, sprouted forth. Set felt the same now-familiar wave of vertigo as many different perspectives were suddenly superimposed upon each other in translucent layers over his sight. This time, he was able to adapt quickly, feeling only slightly queasy.

 

Grimalkin's mouth dropped open and vibrated in a silent scream as she watched Set's skin sprout new eyes. She looked back down at her own bleeding hands, and started shaking her head furiously as her own bleeding flesh mended itself, and with new skin came new eyes. She shook for a few more moments when Sekhmet's glowing hands grasped hers, but then she froze. The golden aura spread from Sekhmet to Grimalkin, enveloping her entire body. The new eyes sizzled and popped, a series of tiny explosions like a string of firecrackers pelting burnt globules of vitreus fluid down into the blood-water-filth soup the heroes were all wading in. Beams of sunlight erupted from the holes in Grimalkin's flesh left behind by the eyes, and then from her real eyes and her mouth as she screamed. Her hands gripped Sekhmet's back tightly, her fingernails almost breaking the goddess's skin. Then the light faded, and the taint was purged from the faerie's body.

 

Meanwhile, as Mister Strix began to stagger around the room, a chill filled the air, and the soup began to feel ice-cold. The surface started crystallizing in several places, shattering as he would walk through it and then re-freezing behind him. The chunks of ice from Temperance's wall around the creature which were now floating in the soup began to grow, slowly but noticeably, with some fusing together when they collided. Neither Strix, Grimalkin, nor Temperance seemed to mind, but Sekhmet and Set both began to shiver uncontrollably.

Edited by Grumblefloof

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Grim was shaking, but not from the cold; it was from the shock of being thrust to the very brink of insanity, and then being forcibly yanked back. This turned out so much worse than she could have anticipated, and the exhaustion of the past twenty-four hours were taking their toll If she didn't stop to rest, she would crumble into dust.

 

 "I can't do this anymore," she finally managed with a shudder, her voice hollow. Then she shook her head and waved her hand vaguely, realizing she wasn't explaining herself well.  "I mean, I know we're not done here; this is far from over. I just need to...f### or get s###-faced or something, something normal and alive to scour this feeling off my soul. Does that make sense?" Then she turned to Sekhmet and put a hand on on her shoulder. "Thank you, by the way; that was really f###ing close."

Edited by Heritage

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It was not the most disturbing thing she had seen, but it would definitely be taken a high place in the rankings.

 

Temperance tried to turn her attention away from the very impromptu surgery happening in front of her. She was glad that the influence of that thing was being driven out in the harshest manner possible, but that didn't help when she could smell the ocular jelly sizzling like an egg dropped on a hot griddle. It merging with the brackish fluid on the floor just made everything worse.

 

She tried to focus on the ice, the one seemingly clean thing in the room. "So," she said, trying very hard to breathe through her mouth, "it seems like we need to find our local occultist and have a talk with him about the things from outside the chain of being. Things that should not be summoned anywhere, even a town like --" 

 

Temperance then noticed the crackling of the ice, and realized that there were sometimes disadvantages to not feeling the cold. She turned to Mister Strix. "I admit, I don't know much about your... state, but is that normal?" 

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"Tis a reasonable response," Sekhmet agreed with Lynn, unfazed by the shallow dents the smaller woman was leaving in her arm with her fingertips. Without preamble she stooped slightly and scooped Grimalkin up in a bridal carry, one arm under her knees and the other supporting her back. With a faint golden corona still surrounding her hands the goddess gave Set a muted look of inquiry.

 

Set shook his head while counting downward from ten in his head to keep from shouting in frustration. "Ra's pert nipples," he swore under his breath, paying little mind to the other conversations occurring in the basement. "Need sky." The godling stomped past Sekhmet and Grimalkin back up the stairs, distractedly peeling off extraneous eyelids like dead skin from chapped lips. He left a trail of messy footprints in a straight line to the front door and threw it open while thunder rumbled ominously overhead.

 

The moment he stepped out of the building crimson lightning streaked down from the clouds and struck him squarely in the chest, followed by another bolt, then another until the scent of ozone and burning flesh drowned out the tainted water dripping from his dreadlocks. The staggering figure the lightning left behind was scorched and raw, barely recognizable until the flesh began to knit back together second by agonizing second. Where it grew back however there was no sign of the twitching, blasphemous eyes.

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"So," she said, trying very hard to breathe through her mouth, "it seems like we need to find our local occultist and have a talk with him about the things from outside the chain of being. Things that should not be summoned anywhere, even a town like --" Temperance then noticed the crackling of the ice, and realized that there were sometimes disadvantages to not feeling the cold. She turned to Mister Strix. "I admit, I don't know much about your... state, but is that normal?"

 

Strix didn't turn to look at Temperance, but he nodded. "It's normal. Just doesn't usually take this long. That...thing probably suppressed it when it did...whatever it did to get in here. And you're kind, but you don't have to be polite. It's not a 'state.' It's a curse."

 

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"I can't do this anymore," she finally managed with a shudder, her voice hollow. Then she shook her head and waved her hand vaguely, realizing she wasn't explaining herself well.  "I mean, I know we're not done here; this is far from over. I just need to...f### or get s###-faced or something, something normal and alive to scour this feeling off my soul. Does that make sense?"

 

"I have...a place. But not one fit for human habitation. If you need somewhere to stay, then you'll have to get a motel room. If you want, I can make sure they don't charge you or check your ID." Strix allowed himself a slight smirk. "If nothing else, and I say this as someone who literally dug himself out of his own grave...I have never seen anyone in more dire need of a shower."

 

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The moment Set stepped out of the building, crimson lightning streaked down from the clouds and struck him squarely in the chest, followed by another bolt, then another until the scent of ozone and burning flesh drowned out the tainted water dripping from his dreadlocks.

 

"Regardless, we should probably leave now. We made a lot of noise down here, even before your friend out there decided to light up the whole block. And if somehow, the neighbors ignore all that, they'll eventually smell this...thing."

 

Edited by Grumblefloof

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Temperance looked to Mister Strix. She wanted to say a few things about his view on his state - maybe ask some questions - but she had a good deal of experience in someone else telling you that your view of your own state was not what you thought it was, and how much that could feel like sandpaper rubbing on a very personal place. "If we need a place to recover and freshen up, I think I can comp a hotel room," she said. "It may be crowded, and I will likely be hung out and flayed if anyone orders room service, but it will at least give us a base of operations to plan, figure out our next move, and not have to deal with the stench of otherworldly abomination."

 

 

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Grim managed a weak nod."Yes. Hotel. Liquor store on the way if we can't get room service." Cradled in the goddess's powerful arms, the changeling felt like a child, small and frail; she hated the abomination they'd killed for making her feel so puny and pathetic. Still, she felt safe and protected, which wasn't so terrible right now; it was okay to admit when you needed help.

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Sekhmet carried Lynn up the stairs and through the first floor of the building without comment, having no objection to the proposed destination nor desire to remain in the ichor tainted puddles. She paused as she stepped out onto the sidewalk, glancing down at Set's burnt form slumped against the brick wall and wrinkling her nose.

 

"Aaaay..." the godling greeted in a raspy crackle, robbed of his usual melodiousness. He raised a fist toward Sekhmet, shaking it weakly for a moment until the index finger popped back into place with a crack and the gesture became recognizable as a finger-gun.

 

She did not quite manage to suppress a wince, though her expression schooled itself back into stoicism quickly enough. "Need I carry thee, also?"

 

Set blew out a short breath that turned into a cough, frowned and tried again, successfully making a dismissive huff. "Phaw, look I not --hhk, ghn-- unto the very picture of health?" A bald patch on his scalp visibly filled in with red hair as he spoke.

 

"Thy own congealed lifeblood pools about thy ass."

 

He looked down as the sticky stains on the concrete, obscured somewhat by the blackened scorch marks of lightning strikes. "Tis but a scratch." With a grunt of effort Set lurched upward, less like an injured man standing up and more like a marionette being yanked unceremoniously off of a shelf. Stumbling back and forth unsteadily he rolled his shoulders loudly and did a very poor job of leaning nonchalantly against the nearest utility pole. "Again I say: aaaay."

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By the time the visitors from Freedom staggered out of the bookstore and back into the chilly Bedlam night, it was after one in the morning. Their eighteen-hour sojourn from Silberman's to Hawthorne's had already left them exhausted, and a couple hours of searching and fighting had sapped any second wind they might have mustered. Fortunately, Hawthorne's store was close enough to Downtown that they didn't have to walk more than a few blocks before they were able to flag down a taxi. By the time they were done walking, they were hardly tracking any dirty water onto the sidewalk, and with Mister Strix having vanished shortly after they left the store, they were four again, three just barely able to squeeze into the back seat and one forced to sit up front. This cab driver, a middle-aged South Asian gentleman, already had his pistol in his hand, resting on the steering wheel, before they climbed into their seats. Unlike their previous driver, with his 9mm semiautomatic, this one favored a revolver. But he also recognized the name of Temperance's hotel, and actually knew where he was going.

 

To their credit, though she didn't recognize the name, Eliza's firm had put her up in an actual hotel which was located in the actual Downtown district of Bedlam City, rather than the cheap motel on the outskirts she'd learned to expect from her first day in the worst city. It wasn't anything that one could call "luxurious," but when she broke away from the rest of the Freedom visitors to shift back into her civilian identity and check in, she did have to walk across a real lobby with a clean carpet. Unprompted by anything more than Eliza's appearance, the front desk clerk mumbled something about having bathrobes and extra towels sent up to her room and an in-house laundry service. Her room only had one bed, and not a very large one, since the firm had expected her to be sleeping alone.

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Almost as soon as he'd said it out loud, Mister Strix realized how hypocritical his comment about the Freedom foursome needing a shower truly was. The parts of his body which had been torn out by the creature and had grown back within the last few minutes were also the only parts of him which weren't soaked through and matted with blood, gore, and assorted filth. His costume hung around him in tatters, more red, brown, and grey than white.

 

"Where are you staying?"

 

As soon as Temperance answered, he was gone. The more alert observers might have seen the man dissolve into a patch of fog, and that fog patch quietly retreating back around the house before flying up into the air. Later, shortly after Temperance had checked in, a similarly vigilant onlooker might have seen that same fog patch slip into Temperance's hotel room through the window and coalesce back into the man, still filthy, soaked, and half-naked. But even those who weren't quite so attentive each felt a chill run down their spine shortly after he'd entered, and caught a glimpse of their own breath.

 

"I can't stay long. I have some things to look into before..." Don't say it...They don't need to know...Stop playing games, they already know... "Before sunrise. And after that...just tell me where to meet you tomorrow night. But I'd appreciate a turn at that shower. My...place...doesn't have running water. My body doesn't sweat anymore, so it's not usually much of a concern, but this..." He looked down and gestured at his own torso.

Edited by Grumblefloof

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Grimalkin suddenly appeared in the hotel room, still filthy but holding a bottle of Cuervo Gold and three shot glasses. "Be my guest," she said to Strix with a shrug. "You're the one who has to be back home by 'cock's crow'."

 

She set up the three glasses on the dresser and poured three sloppy shots. "Anyone wanna join me?" One. Two. Three. "Gah! I need to pass out, or else I'll have nightmares. Hopely interfere with the formation of long-term memories, too, because I don't want to remember any of this s###." She poured three more shots as she absent-mindedly waved her hand, and a small futon appeared near the window.

Edited by Heritage

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You do realize you're... 

 

Temperance realized there was no real good answer to that question. Odds were, given all that he'd gone through, Mister Strix was not in a place to realize that his internal monologue was less than internal. And if she was going to chide anyone for talking to empty air, she'd have to have a long, hard look in the mirror. "You need it more than I do," she said. "I suppose I could give myself a trucker's shower in the closet, if need be, but there are some things that maid services are not meant to deal with." 

 

She took one of Grimalkin's sloppy shots and pounded it back, then stood where she would be least likely to get the slime of the basement on anything that would need laundering or steaming. "So, we have a rogue occultist who is willing to summon things like that. Given the invocation on the walls, a part of me wonders if this city's going to see a breakout of a new and hideous strain of graffiti..."

 

 

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"Thanks. No need for sponge baths. I won't be long. And I won't use up any of the hot water...it wouldn't stay hot if I tried."

 

Mister Strix stepped into the hotel bathroom, stripped the shredded and soaked remnants of his costume off, stared at them for a few moments, then shook his head. He compressed them into a ball as best he could, then stuffed that ball into the trash can. A few minutes later, after a quick (and cold) shower, he emerged from the bathroom wearing nothing but one of the extra robes the front desk clerk had sent up. Without his costume or buckets of blood obscuring their view, the Freedom visitors finally got a good look at him. His body was still deathly pale, and there was still something subtly "not right" about him. But he looked human enough. He was skinny. The face that peeked out from under his mess of dark hair was all sharp narrow angles. He could have passed himself off as a musician, or an eccentric film director.

 

He held the trash bin liner in hand, full of what used to be his clothes. "I'll find a dumpster to toss this into on my way...'home'. The hotel maid doesn't get paid enough to deal with it. Go ahead and give me anything else you want tossed. I'll...figure something out for tomorrow night."

 

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Set had bodily collapsed into the room’s armchair, looking generally sorry for himself. He glanced up as Strix stepped out of the bathroom and made a small sound of inspiration. “Ah, a wise strategy.” The godling snapped his fingers and in a brief flash of divine power the sodden remenents of everyone’s outfits had been replaced with heavy white bathrobes, each monogrammed with a hyroglph. Even Strix’s robe had become noticeably more plush and bore a little stitched bird over the left breast. Sekhmet didn’t bat an eye at the costume change but did frown at Lynn’s shot glasses, clearly finding their diminutive size insufficient.

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Exhausted from their trip and their ordeal at Hawthorne's bookstore, the four visitors from Freedom City slept, or at least relaxed, through the back half of the night and most of the following day. Some nursed figurative "hangovers" from the battle against the creature from beyond time and space, while others nursed literal hangovers from the finest tequila Bedlam City convenience stores had to offer. The hotel had a swimming pool and a hot tub, both of which probably saw extensive use.

 

Temperance's walking tour in search of other markings related to extradimensional invocations didn't bear much fruit. She saw some graffiti referencing "Los Brujitos" ("Witch Boys") which incorporated symbols she recognized from Aztec, Incan, and Mayan mythology, but nothing suggestive of the monster she'd fought the previous night. A quick online search confirmed that her hotel was located in the part of Downtown Bedlam which bordered Hardwick Park, territory held by The Mara, Bedlam's largest Latin American street gang, which made frequent use of imagery from the pre-Columbian cultures of Central America.

 

The autumn sun had fallen completely below the horizon by 6PM, and an hour later, another patch of fog seeped in through the hotel room window and coalesced into the form of Mister Strix. Either he had a spare costume, or he'd somehow obtained another one at practically a moment's notice, because he looked exactly like he had when the Freedom heroes had first met him the previous night.

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Mister Strix felt guilty about using his mind control powers on the tailor again, and forcing him to do a next-day rush job he wouldn't even remember. But he felt less guilty when he reminded himself that the man still made suits for his murdering scumbag of a father, and his father's murdering scumbag goons.

 

"I did a little digging after I left last night. I found out why Hawthorne wasn't at his store when we came calling. Some Brujitos...sorry, local gang members...some Brujitos who wanted to keep walking without crutches told me they saw some cops and paramedics drag an old man out of the bookstore a few days ago. They'd slapped a straightjacket on him, but he was still ranting and raving when they threw him in the back of an ambulance and drove him away. I don't know who had him committed. But the gangbangers saw the cops talking to a younger guy who locked up afterward. I'm guessing that's the same man who visited you. I didn't have time to follow up on him, but I did manage to confirm that 'Lucien Hawthorne' has the unfortunate distinction of being a patient at the Crawley Asylum. So that's at least two leads we can follow up on."

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Regrets... I've had a few...

 

It had been a while since Lynn Epstein had had a full-on, atomic blast hangover, but at least she'd had a few hours to work on it. By now, there was mostly just the faint crackly ache in her temples, lightly bloodshot eyes, and the taste of old gym socks on her tongue. Nothing that would really slow her down. She sat on the edge of her conjured futon and took frequent swigs from a water bottle as Strix talked, then mulled things over for a bit before responding.

 

"Well I think the first thing we need to figure out is, do we split the party? We could theoretically cover more ground if say me and Strix followed up on one lead while the Egyptian Duo tracks down another, but then neither team is at full strength if something goes really bad." 

 

She swished water around in her mouth before swallowing and continuing.

 

"Old Crazy Man Hawthorne isn't leaving his rubber room anytime soon, but that also makes him vulnerable if someone wants to take him out to cover their trail. Evil Rob Zombie Hawthorne is on the loose and could be up to anything anywhere, advancing his plans." 

 

The changeling took a deep breath and sighed. 

 

"If we stick together, I vote we visit the old man first; if we split up, I want a piece of the ###hole who totalled my store."

 

She shrugged.

 

"I honestly don't know which is better; I'll leave it up to you guys."

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Asylums.

 

Well, Temperance had to be proper. Mental hospitals. It was the 21st century, mental illness stigma was another monster to smack in the face, and it was good to admit you had a problem and seek proper care. Except... she highly doubted there would be anything approaching "proper care" in Bedlam. Just look at the name. And even if people tried to break from the days of nightmares outlined by Dorothea Dix, there were still fears and implications of insanity and "psychos" - sentiments that certain spirits were happy to feed upon and, in some cases, stoke. And if this Crawley was meant to be a grade-A bughouse, then many of those spirits would likely be lurking.

 

And hungry. 

 

"While I will not turn down a visit to the asylum, I think I would need to bring some firepower for what might be lurking in the ephemeral corners," she said. "But it might give us more insight before storming into this man's sanctum. Unless storming in keeps him from mustering more of his own firepower..." 

 

 

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