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Just Another Night at the Vampire Club [IC]

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Friday, August 3rd 2012

10:02 PM

Nick didn't come to the Ceremony night at Eclipse often. Or if he did, it wasn't in costume. Somehow, a man in skull makeup dressed all in black showing up to a Goth night just seemed like a bit much. On any other night, he'd show up on something a little more sedate - at least, as far as the fashions on display could be considered "sedate." But tonight called for something different. He was basking in the attention received - when Freedom's most heroic necromancer comes to a gathering of Goths, it tends to strike a chord - but the costume tonight wasn't for purposes of adulation. It was war paint.

He looked over to the doors, where he saw two shaved bears in black SECURITY T-shirts guarding the door, to match the two outside - and likely, the two at the rear entrance. There'd be a few instances at Eclipse lately of guests being found passed out in the restroom. Most of the incidents had been assumed to be cases of people not holding their liquor, and Nick had only heard about them through friends of friends. But when one girl was found pale as a sheet, with bite marks running up and down her arms... well, there was no denying that.

So Nick was relaxed, trading handshakes with the dark young things of Freedom and accepting the occasional drink. But his eyes scanned the crowd all the while, looking for the messy hunter. Word was Faretti was working the angle internally, using his contacts to try and track down the screw-up. But Nick figured another set of eyes couldn't hurt.

He just wished they'd light on something soon. Before the messy eater got hungry again.

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Rene paid of the taxi fairly generously.

He was old, he was tired. A strong coffee had revived him for the night, as well as a genuine interest in what was going on. Nick Cimitiere did not ask for advice or help lightly...he was more than capable of prowling the streets and handling minor, or even major arcane and necromantic threats to the city. Or the world, come to that.

In the hot night air, Rene had dressed lightly. A light jacket and cotton shirt over some slacks. His Beret slouched on his head, and his fine glasses perched on his nose. Underneath his shirt, his magical talisman dangled, a shield stronger than steel. And in his jacket, an old cheap wooden paintbrush, infused with sorcerous power.

Rene hardly fitted in to a goth club. He had a slight dislike of teenagers, and particularly "fads" that he had seen come and go over the decades and centuries, each rebellious group feeling they had a unique insight on rebellion, by rebelling against the rebels who had come before them.

I pray they never suffer the blood of real rebellion...he thought to himself, grimly remembering the nastier aspects of the French Revolution.

He had considered coming in some arcane disguise, or under a cloak of invisibility, but to some arcane eyes that would be more conspicuous than an old man in a goth club.

He sighed, and strode into the club, ignoring the looks of inquiry as he did so.

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Etain wore deep red with black opera gloves and a matching hat. Elsewhere it may of been out of place, but here it blended rather well with the crowds. When she was told of what was being investigated and where it was to be held she just needed a quick search on her phone to figure out a dress code, though the other means of blending did not sit so well. It was clear to anyone watching that Etain nearly jumped out of the cab while it was still moving. It was, unpleasant, being trapped in the old box of metal painted yellow, it smelled stuffy and a bit like sweat, but she couldn't deny it was the easiest way to blend in. Teleporting would of left a trail, and dispite her offers, going in Eve's nicer accomedations would attract too much attention.

Once on the street Etain moved around the car to catch Rene as he exited. She looped her arm in him, an affectionate gesture to the old man as well as a bit protective. She knew he could manage, he was much more experienced then her, but he was still much older, much more then anybody here would ever realize, and as they walked to the club she kept close dispite any looks the pair would get otherwise.


She spoke in French as she approached the door, the bouncers took a glance at her, but she won them over with a smile and a quick show of a piece of plastic. They didn't even ask for Rene's.

In the club she felt a bit like the cab, except much warmer and much more sweat. She scanned the crowds before finding a light trail of familiar magic, she smiled and approached the pasty face man in black leathers, and spoke clearly even over the noise of dancing and music filling the background,

"Good evening Nick."

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Nick spotted Rene making his way across the dance floor and waved him over to his table. He had a cup of the good house wine waiting for him - then again, given the tastes of this bar, there wasn't much of a choice for house wine, but it was French and odds were it wasn't swill. He had a drink waiting for Etain, too, one that wouldn't get him in trouble for serving to a minor.

"Glad to see you two here," Nick said. "I realize this isn't really your scene, but I figured the more trained occultists we had on site, the better. We're on the lookout for a vampire, or something that's a hell of a lot like one. Vrykolakas, draugr, jiang shi, penanggalan... the possibilities seem endless some times. Now, places that cater to the Goth club tend to draw the occasional vamp who thinks they'll get an easy meal, but whoever's feeding here is making a real mess of it. No one's died yet, and I want to keep it that way." He looked out over the dance floor. "I've been doing a few walkabouts on the club, but haven't found any likely culprits thus far. Then again, I've been sticking to the public areas. Any ideas?"

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"I've dealt with all sorts of sorcerers and necromancers" said Rene "but Vampires and the undead, that's another thing. More your field, Nick" said Rene, loosening his collar. He didn't like the Goth club. Full of young fools, he concluded, and foolish fools who had stepped one foot to near death worship for his liking. He wondered how they would react if a real zombie came bursting in ready to have fresh dose of vitamin Brain.

He had a curious urge to bring out a pipe and have a smoke.

"But I can see how this...establishment might attract ze undead..." he conceded, nodding his head in agreement with Nick's plan.

"As a Frenchman, I would of course suggest Garlic to flush them out!" he chuckled "but I doubt we can serve up Garlic Sausages for everybody to eat here. What else? sunlight? crosses? or do we perhaps lay out some easy bait?"

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Etain sat on the stool let her feet dangle invisibly under the long skirt as she picked up her gingerale. Something stronger would of been more to her tastes, but they were workings and the rules of country applied.

"I do not as of yet have any practical ideas, unless you know someone who could bless either the water in the sprinklers or all the alcohol on the shelves."

She glance around at the club and tucked hair behind her ear,

"We are here because we lack information, and it does not seem we will be able to find anything useful through usual methods. So finding the responsible party seems the most viable method, even if it is difficult in the crowd. Is there a trend in the victums, other then their attendance to this club?"

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"I'm sure the bartenders would be happy to have us bless the booze," Nick said. "It'd definitely add to the character of the place." He pulled out a notepad from his pocket, going over the info. "As for victims... no real commonality. Four victims thus far - men and women, evenly mixed. All white, but given the subculture, that's not a huge surprise. Two of the victims were in college, one was late twenties - the one who got really gnawed on - and one was mid-thirties. Mind you, this all comes from someone who doesn't even tend bar at Ceremony, so this is mostly hearsay."

He slipped the pad back into his jacket. "But I'd say Etain has the right idea. Divide and conquer. I'll take the main floor, Rene can take the bars and the restrooms, Etain can take downstairs. And if anyone has any senses that let them peek behind closed doors, I'd say take advantage of them." He furrowed his brow. "As long as you're not invading anyone's privacy too much."

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"I still out like ze sore thumb" muttered Rene, standing up.

"And I am a helpless old man, I hope you remember!" he added, without much hope that either Nick or Etain would fall for it. Still, it was as well to remind the hidden powers of the world of that 'fact'.

He glanced over to the Bar "looks like beer and whiskey. I shall risk ze wine, but I do not hold out much hope. Still, I shall steel my taste buds in the cause..." he grimaced, a slight shudder hitting his shoulders as he contemplated swilling basement quality wine.

That said, he shuffled off to scour the bars for anything vampiric looking...

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Etain smiled at the old man with his horrible bar duty,

"I am sure you will survive."

She went past him and made for the stairs which incidently brought her to a much more uncomfortable place then the base level.

It reaked of smoke, and the passing stung her eyes more then the smell of sweat on the upper level, she grimaced at her clothing afraid she may not get the smell out. It was a lounge of some sort from first glance, it had no window and was dimly lit, and red in some areas to make the atmosphere as sleepy as the air was heavy. She couldn't think how one could spend an extended period of time there unless they didn't possess any sense of smell. Which when she thought about it made it an excellant place for a vampire, one likely couldn't smell the blood of recent kill over the smoke that permeated the air. She walked through the bar holding her dress up slightly as she went to prevent it brushing on any particulars on the floor that might stain it.

She came upon a free spot on a plush red couch, felling it lightly with her gloves she found it was neither damp nor terrible dusty and put herself down. She was approached almost immediately by an interested party.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"My God." A woman in a cut-up Siouxsie shirt, black Doc Martens, and a skirt that could have doubled as a bar napkin sat down next to Etain. "Where did you get those clothes? They look so period! Like a day of mourning at a Victorian bordello. Seriously, I've been looking at some of those sites that cater to the steampunk crowd, but if there's some place more affordable in this city, I'd kill to find out."

As Etain made the presence of her new seat mate, Nick and Rene continued to explore the club. All Nick seemed to find was a couple getting a bit too amorous in one of the darker corners of the club and an abandoned bottle of wine. Rene, however, noticed something on his tour of the bars - two patrons, at the far end, who seemed a bit paler than normal and who shut up quickly as soon as the Frenchman got within hearing distance. And down in the basement, through the thick of the crowd, Etain saw the contrails of magic, drifting through the air as if following behind someone. Thick and black like smoke, the magic of death...

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"To be honest, the dress I am wearing is very old. When I was little, my mother, when she was traveling bought a large cache of dresses in london. She let me have them when I got older, but none of them were the right size so I had to resize and modify a lot of them."

Her eyes flickered on the trail of magic but she kept her smile and did not stare for long. They still needed information,

"I thought this one may be appropriate since I am some friends are, how you say, checking out the scene? Are you a regular here? This is my first time in a club like this, and I like to know the happenings of the places I go."

Her smile kept tight, she made gestures and looked around like she was taking in the place, but really she was trying to see if any of the other people here were touched by that magic, or if it had gone upstairs. While she did so, she pulled her cell out putting it on the cushion beside her pulled up Nick on the list and sent a texted onehanded.

deth magik dwnstrsd, nt sur who thouh.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Rene stopped as he approached the two pale figures at the bar.

That's them... he nodded to himself. The figures were cold, somehow, pale and lifeless. He looked with more than his eyes, too. In his mind, he saw the scene as a vivid magical painting, with two hollow, skeletal figures in the middle, sallow of cheek and black of eye.

He went to the bar and ordered, for lack of decent wine, a vodka. Something with some kick, about the only spirit he liked. He had developed a taste for it at the end of World War 2, when he had fallen in, temporarily, with a Russian unit.

"Budem zdorovi" he toasted himself to the bartender, taking an immodest mouthful. His Russian was not perfect, but he was fluent enough.

He felt the vodka slide down his throat, complete with memories of the war. Truth was, he acknowledged, Vampires always made him uneasy. To subtle, to hidden. He had clashed swords with plenty of necromancers in his time, but Vampires were another thing.

He brought out his paintbrush, and with a mumbled Russian blessing, wrote on the bar table.

"Two pale ones, in the bar...", the words dissappearing as soon as they were written...

To appear before the eyes of Nick and Etain, in the same garish purple, before fading again...

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Nick noticed the text from Etain around the time he noticed Rene's magical sending appear in the ripples of his drink. Between the two targets, he decided to take a look at Rene's "pale ones" first to make sure. And sure enough, as he approached the bar, he saw the traces of death lingering off of the two pallid individuals Rene had designated. "Well, they've at least been dabbling in the primal forces of the grave," he said. "And they really seem to be good at holding their breath..."

Not a few seconds later, the two at the bar got up and headed for the basement. Nick gave chase, sneaking through the crowd with Rene at his side. He gave a wave to Etain as the two pale ones moved through the crowds beneath, and as they did, he could feel the tenor of necromancy growing stronger. The two vampires quickly ducked into a room in the back, one of the private areas of the club, and locked the door behind them. And Nick could feel the pulse picking up...

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Rene tried to keep pace with Nick, but failed. His bones were not built for running any more. He could feel them creak under him, and it was only with effort, ignoring the pain, that he managed any sort of pace. He was far behind Nick by the time the pale creatures locked the door, and was wheezing when he caught up with him.

I'll need a stick in a few more years he conceded to himself. He was old, but had a few more decades in him, he reckoned.

"Caught them!" he said, fighting for his full breath. "Unless zey have caught us, of course. I feel like ze fish circling ze bait and rod..." he added, giving Nick his wary eye.

"I am sure ze door will pose no problem, but what lies beyond?" he asked. Nick or he could shatter the door in a moment with some feat of arcane force. But that would be a little unsubtle for his liking.

"Perhaps we should get ze customers out first? thinks could get a little...messy....."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Etain smiled and talked away the young women that she needed to go to the lavatory. It took her less then a minute to find Nick and Rene at the door, she could see the trail as well before she looked at Rene,

"Yes, that is indeed a good point."

Pulling out her phone she did a search real quick,

"A good distraction to keep them occupied without flushing out the others as well. Huh, I forgot the name of that particular band, let us try a song name."

It took a minute or so but she found what she was looking for,

"Ahh yes, here we go, I think I should be able to pull that through, though I do need a visual, Rene could you possibly show me a live portrait of the street above, if I could make a very special performance of a band appear, we should get the place cleared out quite quickly."

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"An interesting idea" said Rene. It occurred to him that despite his years, he had never done that little trick. But now Etain had mentioned it, it seemed perfectly plausible.

"Sound and Vision, eh?" he chuckled at Etain. "I am afraid my sorcery is but light and strokes of the brush! but it should suffice for what you had in mind!"

With that he shuffled his foot on the floor, and then focussed the arcane, wistful forces that churned through his mind and eyes. The floor wobbled, and distorted, then cleared. In the rippling pool of light that stood below the three, was a glittering picture of the street Etain had wanted, like a CCTV camera, but with the hardness of image taken away. Instead, it looked like the images were a sensual and wonderful painting, or animation.

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Etain watched the magic gather around the older practioner. It was very fluid like the paint he used to on his canvas, and like that it flowed to the image he put of the street above, though a bit stylized it would do nicely,

"Yes, that will do the job very nicely. Just needed to see so that the image would not override any public safety areas."

Focusing on the picture she had to work out the most probable scenario, given this was Freedom city, so the rules could be bent a little bit. She made the entire area flare with a quick light and a bang like fireworks, that certainly would garner some attention. Then there was a stage, with full sound equipment and a band ready to play. The pale front singer in dark shortly cut dress grabbed the mike, and signalled and the baseline for a popular song shook from what seemed to be the amps and could be heard all over the club including down where they were.

Etain held her umbrella in her hand as she watched,

"That will be fine for the moment, I can maintain the illusion, as well as keep to it that people think there is very strong barriers around the stage to prevent them from trying to get too close. Shall we proceed?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Word swept through the club like wildfire - the Divine Comedy were playing a surprise show outside. Soon, there was a mass exodus from the club, a wave of black sweeping out onto the main streets to take part in the phantom concert. In the morning, a number of people would be surprised - especially the Divine Comedy, who were currently on tour in Europe. But soon, Nick and the others had the basement mostly to themselves. He quickly moved on the door, working at it with his set of picks until it clicked open. He moved into the shadowed supply room, sticking to the darkness. Voices emerged from the depths.

"...do you see? She's awake. We did it."

"And hoo, boy, did we. Listen, Vic --"

"No. What have I told you? Don't call me by my breathing name."

"Okay, fine... Vittorio. So she's here. Great. But how long's it going to take for her to get back to normal? And in her current form..."

"We can do it. It'll just take more time."

"Yes, but how much more time do we have?" said a second voice. "There's a chance the mortals have already started to notice..."

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  • 1 month later...

Etain's hand slipped to the umbrella handle as she stepped forward. She listened to the vampires for a few seconds before she made up her mind, they were not going to leave this club. There were answers that were needed, but for that, well they only really needed one of them after all.

Her skirt brushed the ground giving only a moments warning as she lunged forward and pushed the blade through the air and into the currently unnamed vampire. From her spot she held her blade firmly into the figure before looking at the one named Vittorio,

"I do believe your companion is correct, you do not have any more time."

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  • 2 weeks later...

The blade cut deep beneath Vittorio's waistcoat, sending him staggering back into the far wall. Light flooded the crowded supply room, revealing three other vampires in mixed dress - a man and a woman who favored reds and blacks in somewhat earthy styles, and a woman dressed in what Nick could only describe as black "business Goth."


The man in the red bowling shirt bared his fangs at Nick and the others. "You shouldn't have done that," he said. "I swear I'll --"

"Can it, Alex," said the woman in the stately black pantsuit. She turned to Nick. "This is no matter of yours, necromancer. Leaves us be."

"See, I'd love to," Nick said, "but one of your kind's been getting pretty damn hungry lately. If you can't clean up your own mess..."

Nick's words were cut off by a flash of pain as something ripped its way through his head. Through the vein of anguish, he could see the vampire in the bowling shirt performing rote gestures with his hands. "Leave us, mortal. We know things you can't --"

"Goddamnit, Alexander!" Black energy crackled in the woman's hands, matching her attire. "Why did you have to turn this into a pissing contest?"

Great. Vampire sorcerers. Is there some cereal company putting out a promo where you send it two box tops and get initiated into the mystic arts?

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Rene stroked his beard for a brief reflexive moment. Four vampires...what have they awoken?

Vampires came in all shapes and forms, he knew, but they tended to be sprightly and strong, strong enough to overpower his aged frame. If anyone could deal with them, Nick could - he had forgetten more about necromancy than Rene knew, and Rene knew more than many.

With a wave of his hand, he summoned the full force of his arcane power, painting a streak of fire onto the world, which curved, spiralled, and weaved its way into Vittorio, or whoever he was.

"Why did you have to turn this into a pissing contest?"

"Nobody wins a pissing contest..." he murmured, black with the thoughts of futile machismo and soldiery that he had seen in centuries past and present. Still, he had no qualms about making the dead fully dead...

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  • 2 weeks later...

As the vampire tried it's hand at a blast, Etain got her next trick ready for the three. It was a good they were even numbers otherwise this would be more difficult. With a nudge of her will, the lights flickered and to the three vampires forms were switch. Ally's looked like enemies and en vice versa. Nick and Rene noticed nothing different and Etain smiled as she moved around and prepared her next attack. The vampires were faster then she was, but hopefully this distraction would have them taking each other before they can make another hit at herself, Nick and Rene.

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The vampires reeled, apparently trying to figure out how they'd all shifted positions so suddenly. Vittorio took a random swing at one of his cohorts, damn near knocking them to the ground. It was only after the blow connected that he realized what had happened. "It's a trick!" he said. "They're fooling your senses! They made us look like them --"

"I don't know who you are..."

The woman in black raised her hands, and bands of black force shot their way through Vittorio's body, constricting like chains - but never quite locking. "But I'm not going to fall for so obvious a trick."

"Would this one do?"

Death was extremely thick in the night club, partially due to the working of the four vampiric mages. And that gave Nick quite a lot to work with. Hands - no, not hands, but the great fists of dead giants - rose from the floor, dragging the various vampires to the ground. "Now that we're all seated comfortably, can we please talk about --"

The same sorcerer as before tried pushing at his confines - and when that failed, he sent out a burst of force at Etain, knocking her sideways. Instantly, the illusion collapsed, revealing just who was who. "No more tricks," he said. "No more games."

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Rene was not best pleased with the collapse of Etain's illusions. Partly, because they were rather pretty.

And partly, because it put them in serious danger once again.

He threw a worried glance at Etain, who had taken the brunt of the Vampire's force. Clearly they were not dealing with common Vampires, who, strong as they would be, would be no match for the three powerful Parkhurst magicians who stood in opposition.

"It's behind you!" he laughed at Vittorio, in a comedic clown voice, before doing just that. This time, he painted his magic brush stroke in reveres, a flare of fire sprouting from the floor beneath him, whistling through the air to the Vampire, even as his previous incantation curled around, and, fluttering out, wheeled its way back...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Etain hit the back wall with a grunt and took a second to glare up at the vampires before she took a step and pushed forward.

"No more tricks, but you have seen nothing."

No longer supporting the concert outside she switched to a more offensive approach as a pike appeared in her hand and with a second step she slammed it into the chest of the only unbound vampire. She gave the pike a little twist before letting go and picking her sword off the floor, she held it under the light to let the silver glint off the blade,

"And I can make it certain that you will feel nothing, never again if you wish to keep up the struggle."

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