The 'event' has been the talk of the supernatural since the second full moon. Once it was confirmed the bleeding phenomenon wasn't a 'one-off', the cause for alarm was real. Elders were sought out, questioned and in some factions, interrogated, all for naught. The elders spoken to had never seen a bleeding moon in their lifetime, and could not recall any stories of such an event occurring. Some beings swore it was a dark prophecy, omens of ill will, the end of times even. Perhaps some eldritch monstrosity was being summoned by creatures with foul intent, too smothered in their ambition to see the actual depth of destruction their actions would bring. Or maybe, they welcomed it.
Regardless of one's belief, or thoughts on the matter, the moon continued to bleed, and humans remained ignorant. Only on the new moon, did the blood red hue not coat the land each night. It wasn't much better, truth be told. Instead of the land looking like it was hemorrhaging, it appeared to have already bled out, like a coat of coagulated, dried up blood. For the first month, it seemed to be only cosmetic in nature. With the second full moon, this was proven to be untrue.
There was only a handful of reports, possibly overlooked because they were scattered, different locations, spanning several countries and continents. It was too early to put the puzzle pieces together, to see how they were related to one another. A small murder of crows in Australia were found dead one morning, coated in blood, though there were no apparent wounds on the bodies. In Utah, a farmer reported his entire herd of milking cows gave blood instead of milk. In Florida, one zoo tried to figure out why all their flamingos were blood red instead of pink. There were several similar stories across the globe.
Separate, these incidents were unusual, but only slightly alarming. When linked together, well, something was certainly amiss in the natural order of the world.
Approved Characters Only: Your first post should be your character's reaction to this strange occurrence. It has now been one month, and a few days since the first time the moon began to bleed. Two full moons have passed, and there is no sign of the strange effect lessening. The air at night feels thicker, almost hard to breathe at times. Even humans, blind as they are to the supernatural incident, seem to be staying outside less and less these last few nights.
Only the player characters will start to feel actual effects from the bleeding moon. Difficult to breathe at night, a stronger sense of paranoia, sleep becomes plagued with nightmares. This will be a gradual process, but you should start feeling something small.
NOTE: For simplistic reasons, we'll have a general timeline, mostly to be aware of the full moons. There's no need to keep track of the exact date with every post. For this introduction, the current date is Monday, May 11Wednesday, May 13th, 2020. The first full bleeding moon was April 7 (pink supermoon), followed by May 7 (flower supermoon).
Edwin sat just inside the mouth of his home cave, barely visible in the faint glow of the runes that lined his home. His fingers idly traced a darkened rune in front of him. He had already invoked the owl's power, and his eyes could see clearly through the dark night. He shivered despite the warm air, for the bloodstained forest felt as though it were from a nightmare. The light of day always chased the horrors off, yet they lingered even in the back of his mind, ever whispering that his blood would join the night's.
Edwin kept his eyes locked on the outside world as he quietly stood and circled the cave, invoking runes of protection as he went. Though they should keep anyone and anything from entering his home accidentally, he knew that a determined attacker could push through. Thus his bed had the final runes, the rune of the hound to warn him of intruders, and the rune of the badger to toughen his already thick hide. As he approached, he began his shifting, feeling his body melt and pool into his new shape. Despite his ever growing lines of protection, his sleep worsened by the night.
Much like his nights, Edwin's mornings were also bound in ritual. He spent hours inspecting, cleaning, and repairing the runes. It bothered him that less than a year ago this process would have taken minutes, but the runes had multiplied, and the work helped to keep him grounded, gave him time to think on what had happened in the last month. He had yet to figure out why he was afraid, no harm had come to him, yet still he barely slept. He was hopeful that today would be the day he finally answered this.
With the runes cleaned, and the sun nearing its apex, Edwin found his way to his ritual site. The massive stones pillars surrounding the central brazier were carved with a single winding rune. The power in the stones took months to recharge, but were finally ready. Today he would be bale to commune with the spirits around him, hear their tales, learn what they knew. Rarely had he received a direct answer, but now even a simple feeling or sense of direction were all he sought.
He took his time to scatter the herbs and incenses, and to get the fire to roar with life before he began. He breathed deeply in the smoke, and sat to let his mind wander so his body could feel whatever the trees wanted him to feel.
Each morning chased away the blood of the night, though most of the forest animals were much slower to venture out and start their day. It was as if they were afraid they might see the stained earth lingering in the light of the sun. Once the creatures took that brave step, the world felt alive again. Birds sang their ever changing songs, giving their best performance in order to attract a mate. Squirrels ran around, finding acorns and other treats. Nature returned to normal, more or less.
For Edwin, there was comfort offered in the circle, with the stone pillars watching on, silent for so long. A soft breeze occasionally rustled past the bark of the trees, a quiet melody of serenity no longer found during the night. Time inevitably continued ever onward, the sun shifted positions in the sky, and the breeze... Wait. The breeze was different somehow.
The chirping of the birds began to blur, and fade, as if naught but a memory long past. Tendrils of wind became something almost tangible, curling and weaving, pushing fallen leaves along the ground. And inside the current, a whisper. Not with words, for words would be brash, interrupting nature's magic. No, this was more of an instinctual feeling, washing over and around Edwin's form.
Someone was coming.
The knowledge would not be pushed aside. Even now, the very forest Edwin called home, carried the sensation of another. One who did not call this forest home, but was recognized a being who respected the forest. Another breeze, another touch across Edwin's face, and a scent. Faint, almost indiscernible, but there. The scent was difficult to pin down, but there were traces of petrichor and pine. When the action was repeated five minutes later, the scent was slightly stronger, closer. Someone was definitely coming, and would likely be there before nightfall, when the blood returned to blanket the ground once more.
It had been a peculiar month and unlike her contemporaries, she’d noticed luna’s radical change in hue. Not the first occurrence in her lifetime, but it felt considerably different this time around. The air constricted her lungs whenever she looked up at the sky, or sometimes she needn’t even be exposed to luna’s glaring presence, merely under the same sky and the effects would chase away any semblance of rest, irrevocably hampering her daily activities in the morn. The men didn’t notice her dip in performance, thankful for small liberties. If any of them were aware, she’d never forgive herself for lowering the bar. It was no small task, shaping herself to be a model worker of Harper Industries, but it paid off if the monthly performance reports were to be believed.
As days went on, Evelyn came to expect the company’s performance to regress. Headlines from various news outlets began reporting--while sporadic--of odd occurrences from around the world; not exactly worrying, merely bordering superstitious headlines stemming from imaginative journalists. Still, she could not deny the physical consequence of being under luna. She could even feel it right now, the breath slowly squeezed out of her lungs like a child’s toy balloon. Each passing moment, it’d seemed like casting herself to the mercy of a mortal physician was becoming likelier.
Exhaling a sharp breath, her hand reached for the phone laying on the coffee table, the laptop’s bright screen had stared emptily at her for the past hour or so with nary a sentence written. Her fingers dial the number from memory, not needing it frequently enough to deem her to save, but still holding a measure of value for her to commit to memory. House Harper would have an answer to this phenomena, or at least an idea to start with.
The call was eventually routed to House Harper's 'librarian'. Though in truth, they were much more than a librarian. The old title had changed with the ages, but the purpose remained the same. Lillian Forthwright-Harper was a Gatekeeper. If there was knowledge to be had, she had it. If there was information to be found, she found it. She could count on one hand the number of times the librarian was unable to find anything.
Since the second full moon, Lillian began digging into the phenomenon for her own curiosity. Gatekeepers were hand picked for their strong desire to simply know everything they could about, well, everything. By the time Evelyn's call was put through, she had a number of items pulled up on her information network, as she called it. Which really was a simplified term for one hell of a setup.
House Harper did not do anything halfway, including ensuring the librarian had all the latest technology at her fingertips. Lillian had several computers at her disposal, on the latest fiber optic network, voice recognition software, the best quality displays, and so on. However, there is knowledge not on the internet. The old texts and scrolls, protected through the ages by guardians of wisdom, those were never transcribed into online libraries. Some knowledge is not meant for all eyes, it isn't safe, it isn't wise. The sheer amount of possible permutations it could go through, and the destruction it would wrought, demanded 'old school' practices be kept. However, those old tomes would take time to shift through.
Lillian had more than she could sort herself, so a small staff of one hundred fellow librarians were setup in one of the Harper's warehouses. It was guarded and heavily warded, as were most of the Harper locations of any importance. They had been at it for a couple of days now, and still nothing relating to the current incident could be found in the old texts. Lillian explained this when she took the phone and spoke to Evelyn directly.
"As far as online resources discovered thus far, there are several interesting mythological tales and stories relating to the moon, a blood moon, and so on. For example, there is a Norse mythology centering around Skoll and Hati, two wolves who chase the sun and moon through the sky. At Ragnarok, when the cosmos itself falls, they catch their prey, and the earth and sky darken and collapse." Lillian's voice always grew more animated when she spoke of myths. "They do say myths and stories are based on some measure of truth. However, I'm not aware of any supernatural beings, wolf or otherwise, who are capable of devouring the sun or moon."
There was the faint clicking of a mechanical keyboard, and a creaking of a chair before Lillian continued. "The possibility of it being an unforeseen lunar eclipse is all but ruled out. The blood red appearance tied to the lunar eclipse simply does not move, it's just a color, where this is almost .. alive." There was a soft sigh, before more keys clicked. "There are a vast number of old wives' tales, we are still sorting through them. Did you know the ancient Inca believed the red color meant a jaguar was attacking and eating the moon? And in ancient Mesopotamia, they believed a lunar eclipse was a direct assault upon their king, and used a fake king for the duration of the eclipse. Fascinating really."
Unfortunately, that was all the information they were able to turn up so far, unless Evelyn wanted to continue hearing about all the myths Lillian has come across.
Lillian hadn’t changed one bit, Evelyn noted, her back leaning against the sofa as she devoured the information the librarian conveyed. She stifled a sigh, any moment now and the woman at the end of the line would go on a tangent and somehow mangle whatever information she has on hand into a life lesson. Evelyn could feel it coming a mile away.
Fortunately, the librarian was too focused on relaying information.Sitting there listening to Lilian reminded her of a bygone era of when she was naught but a little child albeit stricken with an unknown ailment. She breathed deeply, nodding curtly along. Evelyn half-expected herself to receive a slap on the wrist for being absent-minded, then she remembered she’d grown out of that phase two hundred years ago. Habits did indeed, die hard.
“Thank you for collecting the data on such a short-notice,Librarian.” Evelyn started diplomatically. “Does the information you have on hand mention anything about the phenomena physically affecting the local populace?” Evelyn is prepared to wholeheartedly deny if the librarian asks if she’s sick. Elves never get sick, Lilian might think otherwise with the overflowing information she has at her disposal, but Evelyn’s non-existent medical record speaks for itself.
Evelyn had thought the other elves would suffer the same fate as she did right now. But speaking to Lillian dispelled that theory; the librarian sounded as healthy as ever.Whatever is happening, she was alone in the matter, at least for now unless there were unreported cases happening. She didn't know which was more disconcerting; being the only one ailed by this mysterious disease or be amongst the silent hundreds waiting to transmit it to the general populace.
Lillian sat up straighter with a bit of pride, though it wasn't seen, those attuned to little nuances would hear the slight strengthening in her tone of voice as she spoke. "Affecting the local populace? Hm, no. But.. it stands to reason it might. The moon is very powerful, from Wicca to other cultures, and science as well. The moon helps stabilize the earth on its axis. Why, without it, the tilt would change, and everything would be thrown into chaos. Tides of the oceans, extreme weather, probably even a new ice age, just to name a few. So, it stands to reason it could. Why? Are you feeling ill?"
When Evelyn denied feeling any effects, Lillian continued. "Good. If you are, you will let me know, yes? If my team comes across anything more, would you prefer notification in your email, text, or a phone call?" She'd be fine with any she mentioned, but would agree to whatever Evelyn needed. "Very well, I will get back to it as they say. Good day, Evelyn."
The call was disconnected, but barely a moment later, another call came through. It was Lionel, head of security downstairs. "Miss Harper? You have a visitor. They say it is very important they speak with you. A Shia D'Shire? What would you like me to do?" When Lionel stopped talking, one could just barely make out another voice. It was softer, making it difficult to understand every word. They sounded young, and anxious.
"...must speak... important... don't have time... oh honestly!"
The druid sniffed the air, the smells were familiar yet somehow strange. It had been too long since the last rain for the smell to be natural. The forest whispered of trust, and Edwin was not one to doubt the spirits, but he had too much to do to wait for the visitor. Instead, he pulled from his satchel a small stone. The engraved bear upon it glowed faintly, though the rune held no real power; it was more a signature. He placed the stone near the altar, in hopes that the stranger would know enough to see it and know how to track with it.
With that done, Edwin shifted into the bear and began his daily forage for food. The forest was bountiful but spread, and it took the rest of the day light to find and eat his fill. As the sun began to set, and the land began to tint of night, Edwin decided to face the night and return to his ritual stones to meet the stranger. Each step into the evening felt heavier than the last, and the full weight of night was on him by the time he saw the stone. "He- hello?" The druid called out cautiously, suddenly feeling that he wasn't alone, and that something was terribly wrong.
The scent was much stronger now, petrichor, pine and.. feline. There was a small rustle in the leaves nearby, and the scent shifted to human. A small figure landed on two feet with a small stirring of dust. He stood just outside the stone circle, having leapt from a branch midway up a tree. Blonde hair, straight and parted in the middle, tended to hang in the boy's face. No, not a boy, more of a 'young man'. He was wearing jeans, with a couple of well worn holes in the knees, a plain green shirt covered with an oversized flannel. He had to hook his thumbs through the holes of the button cuffs to keep the sleeves from swallowing his hands completely.
The smile was quick to cross his face as green eyes settled on Edwin. The visitor visibly relaxed, though his right hand came up and rubbed back and forth along his chest. When he spoke, the tone was slightly deeper than one would expect based on his youthful face. "Hey. Uh. Salutations? Or hi. Or.. whatever. Hey. You're Edwin right?" His expression twisted as a little growl escaped. "Sorry, first time at this. Prolly messing up all the manners and what not. But uh, hello is the same across the board right? So yeah. Hey."
The blonde laughed, more of a chuff, with air pushed out his nose and mouth. "So.. this is going to sound crazy, but crazy is kinda in the air right now." He pointed upward to the blood red light coming from the moon. "Right? So.. mebbe not that crazy after all. Shit. I am really going about this all back asswards. I'm Levi. I've been sent to find you. Sooooo you.. are Edwin, Edwin uh. Shit." Levi fished a cell phone from his pocket and did some quick swiping, looking for something specific.
"AH! Blut! Edwin Blut!" Obviously he found what he was looking for, and the phone returned to its pocket home. "So.. yeah, that's you right? Please say it's you. This night time blood nonsense is making my chest tight, and I'd really like to get inside somewhere."
Clementine threw herself onto her bed and sighed loudly to her empty room. After a long day of classes, finals review, and homework all she wanted to do was sleep. She looked up towards her digital alarm clock on her bedside table to check the time. 9:59. She huffed and grabbed her smart phone from the charger, checking her messages from her close friends group chat. She fired off a couple of goodnight texts and gifs before rising out of her bed. She quickly crosses the room, tossing a nervous glance towards her closet door, and enters the bathroom to begin her nightly routine.
While brushing her teeth Clementine glanced at herself in the mirror above the sink. She looked as exhausted as she felt. The purple marks under her eyes were the evidence of countless troubled nights where she lie awake in her bed tossing and turning until the sun rose in the morning. A majority of her nights consists of starring at her closed closet door, nervous and tense for no particular reason. Just thinking about it brings a small tightness in her chest as she finishes brushing her teeth. As she exits the bathroom, Clem suspiciously peers over to the door. In a flash of bravery, Clementine rushes over to the closet and flings the door open hoping to catch the culprit of her paranoia . As her heart beats wildly in her chest, she finds the closet in the same state from the last time she checked. She finds reason for her anxiety, only clothing and discarded childhood toys.
Clementine closes the doors and walks over to her bed before burrowing into the plush comforters. It's just the stress from finals, she reassures herself as she blankly stares at the doors. This will go away once finals are over. She quickly turns her back to the closet door and ignores the bubble of anxiety that rises in her chest as she does so. She looked out the window into the reddened night sky as she lay curled up in her bed, awaiting another futile night and another busy day.
The night was not a friend. Dreams skipped away, just out of reach, a brush of the fingertips and it was gone. Instead, something with a gnarled, twisted and callous talon took a hold of the outstretched hand, and it tugged. Like Alice in Wonderland, Clementine tumbled forward into a dark abyss. Falling head first, anguished whispers assaulted her ears, echoing hollowly as she continued to fall into nothing.
Ayudarnos... La sangre... Ayudarnos, ayudarnos...
The tight hold upon her hand remained, pulling hard every so often, making her fall faster and faster each time. A flash of lightning, illuminated the walls around her. Circular in shape, she was surrounded by something rippling, running downward, matching the direction of her descent. Another flash, another glimpse, something moved just on the other side. It was blurry, and too brief to make out what it was. Where she was. And still the haunting whispers, filled with pain and an indescribable sorrow.
Ayudarnos... La sangre... Ayudarnos, ayudarnos...
Faster now, rushing like a waterfall, the sound thundering louder and louder. The air was almost abrasive against Clementine's skin, it wasn't hard to imagine the skin drying and cracking, peeling away. The lightning returned, twice more, lingering long enough to illuminate a form rushing upward, toward her. There was no way to stop the collision, not enough room to slip by. A low growl started to build, reverberating off the walls, taking over all of the witch's senses as the fading lightning left her in darkness.
And in an instant, the nightmare was gone, only a memory, dancing on the edges of Clementine's consciousness for a few precious seconds. The alarm clock was going off, signalling the end of the blood filled night.
The stranger was nervous, that much was clear, and something seemed off still. The spirits had urged trust right? Edwin should trust him, but found it difficult. "He's not the one the spirits were talking about." The paranoia whispered. "He's just trying to find your home."
That was just the moon, wasn't it? Edwin decided he couldn't shake the feeling, and hatched a plan that should work. "Yeah, that's me." he finally replied. "Don't worry, I've got a camp site not far from here, should have a spare tent if you need it." Then, with no further words, Edwin turned and morphed into the bear as he walked away. He hadn't actually been to any of his spare camps since the bloody nights began, but they should still be around.
True to his word, the camp was still standing and had a spare tent ready to be set up. Reaching the site, Edwin returned to his human form and began rifling through his bag of charms. "I assume you'll be staying the night, so we have some time to talk. Shall we start with how you know me?" he asked, as he finally found the rune he was looking for and tapped it. The power was weak, as he had used it often in the past week, but the hint of calming was enough to help him focus. Hopefully it would last him long enough.
Hearing Lillian’s voice was nostalgic and almost therapeutic; the hint of maternal affection in her tone was never lost on Evelyn . She’s sure the feeling drew from the yearning for elven company--dare she say any company would do?. Utter nonsense. It was unlike her to seek companionship. With a push, she’s on her feet, ready to retire for the day, as much as she wanted to prove otherwise, the night remained unproductive; might as well lounge on her bed for the remaining hours of the night than to fool herself. Each step that carried her towards her bedroom felt like a chore, she wondered why she didn’t just stay on the sofa; sleep wouldn’t come anyway, and there’s TV. She shook the erratic thoughts away. The lack of sleep was getting to her. Hopefully, Lillian’s email would clear her worries.
Suddenly, her hand buzzed in a uniform fashion like a--Oh, she still clutched her phone. It was HoS Lionel. Her brows furrowed curiously, she didn’t remember ordering anything to warrant a call from the head of security. She picked up the call, and almost regretted it a minute later. She knew no one by such a silly name, and she’d never disclosed her personal address to any of her acquaintances.But curiosity won over her, something about the mortal’s tone, dripping with anxiousness. “It’s fine, allow him up to seventh floor, I’ll meet him there.” She tapped to disconnect. She quickly grabbed her coat and straightened her shirt and pants. For the first time, she could thank her indolence for delaying a change in attire. Her hand grasped the handle, but she stills for a moment, pondering if she should bring anything along, idly her gaze wandered towards the twin sabers mounted on her wall, enclosed by a wooden case.
The part of her mind driven by sleep depravity told her she should bring some weapon or defense mechanism as a precaution. Another part, argued against it. Frankly, the latter won. Because carrying a saber crafted as a wall ornament down the building halls at night was insanity. So she twisted the handle, without another glance and locked the door behind her. The trip down was silent, and only her thoughts entertained her. The mortal was most curious. It’s as if he knew her true nature, no mortal sought Evelyn Harper by name on her domain and at night at that. It was safer to presume he knew, and if he was seeking some compensation for keeping it a secret then she’d sooner push him off the balcony, or drown him in the swimming pool; one had only need imagination where the recreational level was concerned.
The soft ding of the elevator brought her out of her thoughts, and she exited with her chin held high and eyes straight. The night breeze was cold, almost unnatural, but still refreshing to her constricted lungs. Her lips curled into a grimace when Luna’s discolored presence washes over the deck and reflected into the pool. Small waves lapped at the edges like a dam of blood waiting to break. The sooner she’d get this business done, the better.
Location: The dank alleyways of Baltimore. Interacting with: Bug [ Out Of Words
Yet another night was enveloped by the bleeding moon, with each seemed to appear sharper in hue than the previous. It was indeed a magnificent sight to behold, perhaps to mere unsuspecting mortals. But to creatures like Luciana, it was psychological torture.
The woman shoved the door ajar, as she staggered out a public restroom. At first one might mistaken her for a washed up drunk; her clothes disheveled, hair unkempt, her overall mood exhausted. She wiped bright red stains on her chin, tiny droplets blemished the collar of her shirt. For a short moment she tried to adjust herself taking a short glimpse of the aftermath behind her; A scruffy looking man laying down on the grimy floor, pale, swollen punctures on his neck, passed out and barely breathing by the looks of it. Though that moment her sins are apparent, her bright golden eyes screams of guilt.
This feeling of unexplained bloodlust wasn't the first time she had dealt with, yet lately it became more unusually frequent. Though not every night per se, some are stronger than others. The feeling was somewhat similar to her days as a fledgling, with both the desperation and confusion that came with it. Luciana looked up to the bright red moon, as if the bloody luminescence holds the answers to her unexplained plight.
Donning her hood over her forehead, bloodied hands on her pocket, Luciana quietly strode through the alleyways away from the scene of the crime. Not long there was the urge to prey again, not driven by mere hunger but, of sport and thrill. She felt very uneasy, disgusted but the feeling kept gnawing on her very being. It will not go away.
"See you tomorrow!" Passing by a street, she caught sight of a bar in it's closing time then a young woman existed the establishment. Judging by her outfit, she may have been an employee at the bar. The feeling was culminating again, even though she held her urges in, she was helpless to the curse. She tailed her, like a predator and without as much effort to appear inconspicuous, as if she wanted her to know she was being followed.
Then the young woman did grew suspicious, her pacing turned into frantic steps and into a jog before turning a hard left on the alley. She frantically fished for her keys to unlock the door, once she was inside the shadow caught her by surprise from behind, pushed her inside and onto the ground. Her frantic please was muffled by her bloodied ice cold hand. Now face to face with her prey and ready to strike, all of a sudden her vicious trance was cut by a soft, squeaky sob from behind. "Mommy?"
The vampire's savage eyes caught the young boy's stare, with a smaller child, her sister on his side, curious yet afraid, meekly hiding from the corner of the hallway. His mother's please grew more distressed, her muffled voice made out a desperate "No!"
Luciana came into a brief moment of awareness, as she observed then realized what she had done. Her prideful ferocity turned into nothing but bare shame, slowly letting the woman go from her grasp then swiftly escaping into the dead of night.
Luciana was almost at the verge of crying out of frustration, she was just as hopeless and confused. She felt physically sick, whatever is happening to her, she was desperate to find answers however it takes.
On the way back home, from afar she could make out a group of men; only when she walked closer did she realize that it was a group of police men talking to another citizen. Luciana froze but was second too late when the civilian, a man in a trench coat, looked over at her direction, pointing at her. "That's her! That's the woman he left with awhile ago!"
Her instincts automatically told her to run as the police chased on her. They urged her to stop but Luciana knew that wasn't a wise idea. She needed to lose them asap and find a place to hide, lest she would risk her true identity.
When Edwin began the change to a bear, Levi chuffed and rumbled. "When in Rome.." He followed suit, chuffing as the human form gave way to a clouded leopard. The long tail twitched with merriment, and he trailed along behind. Aside from the desire to be away from the bleeding moon's light, he wasn't in a rush. So the trek to Edwin's campsite was silent, save for the occasional chuffing sound. The visitor took cues from Edwin, pausing whenever the bear did, and starting the process to return to human form moments after it was clear the bear was doing the same.
Finger combing his hair, apparently fairly particular about making it lay just right, Levi found a log to settle down on. "Well, took a bit. Only had a general area, and the forests are pretty big here. Nice. You have some real nice trees." A glance up at the red moon with a little growl, then attention focused again on Edwin. "I've been sent to fetch you. Well, you and a few others. There's this guy who claims to know how we can stop this.." Levi pointed upward, eyebrows lifting. "And apparently, we've a part to play in it."
Levi snorted a couple of times, rubbing at his chest simultaneously. "Ain't got all the details, but.. dunno. My gut instinct is sorta believing him. And I figure, hey, if there's a chance, gotta at least give it a go." A serious expression crossed his face as he leaned forward, arms on top of his knees, hands clasped in front. Even his voice lowered with the seriousness of his words. "So, if you think there's no way to convince you to go, let me know. Cause I have to haul my ass over to Nevada next. But .. give it serious consideration, yeah? Sleep on it as they say."
A glance upward at the blood sky, before sitting back, hands rubbing along the top of his jeans. "Or don't sleep, been kind hard to find lately."
When the young man was led to Evelyn, one could feel his unease like a blanket washing over the area. "Hello." He may be from Singapore, but his accent was more of a subtle, underlying presence than anything else. Black hair hung in varying lengths on either side of his face, the back was a little longer, and trailed over the collar of the knee length black coat he wore. He seemed to like black, as his slacks were black, and the vest he wore over the white shirt. Traditional style, more or less. The vest was a little asymmetrical, but he wore it well.
He was also straightforward and to the point, not one to dilly dally around. "I am Shia D'Shire." Which sounded like desire. There was a small scrunching of the nose after he gave his last name, but he pressed onward. "I have come under the employ of another, who wishes to enlist your services, along with others, to resolve the issue looming in the sky even as we speak." His fingers twitched a bit, and Shia had to keep moving in some fashion. Whether it was a tilt of the head, a shifting of the weight, or a motion of the fingers.
"You are Evelyn Harper." There wasn't a question. "You hold a visible position, which I must thank you for. It made it easier to locate you. I'm sure you have questions, I'm sure neither of us enjoy being under this bloody moon. I will attempt to answer any questions you have, but please know I may not have all the answers. My job is to find you, and others, and reconvene for further instructions." His hands moved in a small sweeping motion away from the sides of his body, in a 'what now' type of gesture.
"Do you not have somewhere inside we could continue to speak?" He didn't hide his dislike of being out in the red colored night.
There were several alleys, Luciana could turn down, but the risk of them being a dead end was not in her favor. Most of the humans were trying to stay inside at night, whether at a club, at home, or somewhere else. While they couldn't see the bleeding moon, there was a sense of something not right. Aside from music pounding out from various clubs, the sounds of the street would be mostly filled with the police shouting at her retreating form as Luciana tried to escape.
At least until she turned right down another street. This one was devoid of life even more than the others. It was dark, the buildings blocking most of the moon's illumination. This culminated in the blood red light 'flashing' as she ran, different positions along the road either granted or denied the moonlight from reaching the ground. At around the halfway mark, just before the police were to make the same turn in their pursuit, the sound of a locust swarm came from nowhere.
If Luciana looked behind her, she would see a black blanket of the insects, like a curtain, between her and the police. Their shouts of surprise were drowned out by the insects, though when it turned to fright as the curtain began to chase them, it could just be heard over the noise. The police, and the swarm, disappeared back in the direction they came from until their screams faded. It would be another five minutes when there was a soft thrumming sound from around a corner in the direction Luciana continued in. This was softer than the locust swarm, almost soothing with the gentle chittering. Crickets perhaps?
Just as a figure stepped out of the alley, music could be heard. There was a slight tinny sound, as it emanated from the earbuds hanging loosely around the man's neck. It was loud enough to make out "Who's Your Daddy" by Benny Benassi. The man appeared to be just slightly shorter than Luciana, but his faux mohawk helped make up the difference. He had on a black dress shirt, sleeves rolled up, and some khacki slacks, belted in place. He grinned at Luciana as he danced his way out of the alley and into the middle of the deserted street. Even sang along.
"Who's your daddy.. who's your daddy... I am.. So not your daddy, but HI!" Still dancing, as if he couldn't help but move to the music, he gave an exaggerated wave of one hand. "I'm actually called Bug. Neat trick I did back there right? Oh yeah, the bugs, that was me. Hi! I'm Bug! You are.. I really hope you are otherwise I'm in the mother fucking doghouse. You're Luciana Ro. roman.. oh.. vas..ka? Sorry I suck at pronunciation. But I EXCEL at dancing!"
As if to prove the fact, he broke out into a little dance move. Shoulders rising and falling independently of one another, hips shaking like Shakira, hands held in front of his body, moving in rhythm opposite to the direction of his hips. His expression was amusement personified, head bobbed, an 'oh yeah' look on his face, he was likely going to dance there as long as Luciana would allow such an indulgence.
Evelyn half-expected a physically incapable mortal, lanky, puffing cigarette smog with every syllable escaping his lips and depraved eyes bouncing up and down. One couldn’t fault her for the assumption, he did sound like a grovelling mortal on the phone. An adequately dressed Asian man walked out of the elevator, carrying himself over with purposeful strides meant to make business. A greeting came first, responded with a curt nod. Evelyn took notice of his discomfort, her eyes narrowed slightly. So he was aware of Luna’s condition as well; that only confirmed her previous assessment. Words spilled from Shia D’shire, the discomfort at pronouncing his own name filed away for Evelyn to process. She didn’t interrupt, board-room etiquette kicked in despite the awful backdrop of swirling crimson. Her short breath apparently held nothing against whatever Mr.D’Shire currently faced, as uncalled movements would follow a sentence, rinse and repeat. It was like watching an intern present their monthly analysis.
Evelyn entertained the notion of staying under the bare sky, she fared better than he did obviously. Relocating to a neutral location would be flattening the ground between them, and it was aggravating to say he held more cards than she did, when all she could go at was undoubtedly his alias. Not even a real name. Tsk, D’Shire. Ridiculous. While aware of her own episodes of hubris, she made sure it was done in utter confidence.
“No.” She cut, the finality driven home. “We will speak here, on even ground.” And I will not yield another inch of metaphorical land for you to lord over me, was left unsaid. She paces under an umbrella, the shade didn’t alleviate the sickness but at least provided her eyes some rest. “Now,” Her eyes searched him, scrutinizing for every inch of movement, “Why does the moon’s peculiar shade affect me negatively? What kind of sorcery is this?” She went in fist first to the question that haunted her nights for the past month, discarding the other tasks he had involving herself.
Location: The dank alleyways of Baltimore. Interacting with: Bug [ Out Of Words
Luciana could not believe it, if she hadn't seen it with her very own eyes; at first glance the swarm looked like a dark malicious cloud chasing after her. But things got more bizarre when the swarm of crickets appeared to form itself into a sort of barrier between her and her pursuers, running them off away from her. Although Luciana still kept running, whatever the hell that was, friend or foe, she didn't want to risk getting caught by it if only to find out.
She ran a bit farther for good measure, even after the sounds of their screams was far off on the hazy horizon before eventually stopping on her tracks as she got through a safe corner, slumped over, hands on her knees while collecting herself from the lengthy run. She felt that her vicious phase was put to a standstill from what she had just witnessed, the experience did cause quite a stir on her.
As Luciana carried herself up, her sensitive ear caught a gentle beat which she could only make out as music. As it grew closer, that is when she caught the sight of a figure at the corner of her eye. It was a man, who was oddly intent on his dancing to the music emanating from his ear buds.
Though initially startled by him, Luciana wasn't sure how to react to the odd man before her, only giving him a muddled stare in return whilst he does his thing. She wasn't sure what was going on, and she definitely did not imagine this intense and harrowing night to culminate into--this peculiar image.
The man introduced himself, whilst still in the middle of his groovy dancing, as Bug. He reveals that he was responsible for the display awhile ago, with him being the literal bugs and all. But instead of finding answers, Luciana was just as confused as she was before.
Luciana's eyes slightly narrows, her body tensed when the man mentions her name as if to press the seriousness of the situation, when Bug broke into an elaborate freestyle, which was unexpected and caught her a bit off guard. Trying her best not to be distracted, she asks him in a low and serious tone. "How do you know my name? " Despite living in the US for decades, there was still a strong hint of Polish in her accent.
She was unsure why this stranger decided to save her. What was his intention? What if he was a hired killer? A hunter? Was she finally figured out? Did he come to finally claim his prize? Her stare grew intense and wary at a potential enemy before her, with his graceful hips and bopping rhythm.
"What are you? What do you want with me?" She was pointing out at the part where he mentions of turning into a swarm of bugs. Right now she was all too intent for answers, to even mind the man dancing mid conversation.
The denial of shelter from the blood moon wrung a visible reaction. Fingers curled into the palms of his hand briefly, before he purposefully stretched them out while taking in a deep breath. Eyes closed, breath held, then hands relaxed on the exhale. It was a slow, controlled release of air and reopening of his eyes. When he spoke again, his voice was quiet, even toned, the pace just as measured. "We are tethered to it. Literally."
One hand made a small gesture, pointing in her direction before lifting to direct the attention to the moon. "You, and I, and certain others, have a tether to the moon." His head tilted, eyes narrowing slightly in study as those eyes finally roamed over Evelyn's form, but not in a sexual manner. "Based on your tether, I would say you are having problems catching your breath, or perhaps..." A closer scrutiny, ".. something with heart palpitations perhaps."
Shia's eyes returned to settle on her face. "Your tether is in the center of your chest. Mine is..." There was a small sneer of distaste. "...aligned with my head. My ailments include feeling great anxiety, my moods waver more than they should, and.. I'm still pinning down the other effects. Regardless.. these effects will get stronger." His weight shifted from one foot to the other, a grimace written in his expression as he couldn't help but look for some type of shelter aside from the umbrella Evelyn had already claimed.
"As for the reasoning, I have none as of yet. As for how I am able to tell this.. I can see magic. I am a Weaver. The tethers are mere threads at the moment, but last month, they were slivers. They have grown." Fingers were beginning to twitch again, and the unease was returning, pulsing like the beating of a heart. Like the motions of the bleeding moon. "However, the one who has implored me to help gather... like individuals.." One hand gestured to indicate the tether to the moon. "He claims to know how we can end this, but we have to work together."
A slow roll of his shoulders, followed by a tilt of his head to either side, eyes close. Deep breath taken in, slow release out. It seemed to help stop the fingers from moving, and the anxiety from overwhelming him. "I will not attempt to force your cooperation. You either will, or will not. However, I do request you let me know once I have done my best to answer your questions. I have another I need to see in Baltimore. Time is... clearly, of the essence."
Bug kept on dancing, since he wasn't being told to stop. He started to make use of all the available space in the street. There were some slides to the left, slides to the right, even a few hip thrusts here and there as the music demanded. As he spoke, in his attempts to answer Luciana's questions, his words were occasionally peppered with song lyrics, as if unable to stop himself from singing along. "Well, that's a story in itself... who's your daddy... The others.. quicker to answer. Uh. Uh. Uh.. Daddy."
A couple of little step ball changes with his feet, accompanied with a spin here or there. "I.. am.. a.. Cipher. Well.. you're my daddy." Head swiveled to either side, body bopped forward a step with each hip thrust, hands on his waist with each one. "A shifter. I can shift into bugs.... come I'll give it to youuuuuuu." He honestly appeared unable to stop the interruptions as long as the music was playing. "And as for the rest.. This whole.. moon nonsense... there's a ... you're my daddy..you're my daddy.." He gave a little high pitched scream, not loud enough to draw attention, just to sing along with the song.
And then, mercifully, the song ended. Bug delved a hand into a pocket and fumbled with the music player. His actions were nearly desperate as he sought to stop it before the next song kicked into gear. The first few notes could be heard before it was stopped. Bug crumpled to his knees in the street with a very audible sigh of relief. "Oh my god. Why do I keep doing that?" Bug sat back, weight on the heels of his feet, still on his knees. Hands rested on his thighs as he looked to Luciana with a big grin.
"Sorry about that.. Since this ... thing." He gestured to the sky. "Well.. my energy has been through the roof! Like.. it was already pretty up there, probably from being a Cipher I don't know but yeah, like.. increased ten fold. TEN FOLD!" Hands were held up to display all ten fingers as wide as they could go, before they fell back to his legs. "Man. So where was I? Oh yes. This thing, there's this guy who says he knows how we can stop it, cause like, apparently it's going to get so much worse. Which I think will kill me, honestly. But there's certain people needed to stop it, and you..." He pointed at Luciana, then himself. "...and I.. and a few others. Some of us are sent to find you, and convince you to help and we'll all work together and.. BALLS!"
Expression turned into one of almost panic, Bug sought his phone. He started to send a text as he explained. "I.. am.. not.. supposed.. to .. be.. here.. this .. is not.. even my.. assigned .. area. but.. one sec. Shia. Baltimore handled. I got this. Smiley face, smiley face, smiley face, heart, smiley face. Send." Panic faded, and the grin from ear to ear was the look as he gave Luciana his full attention. "Yeaaahhh.. My area is supposed to be the South. Only didn't have anyone in the South yet, and I got bored waiting. So I figured I'd help Shia out. He's in New York right now. He was going to likely come here next but BONUS! I'm here! And your jacket is killer, gotta say. Does it come in orange?"
Clementine shot up at the almost welcoming sound of her morning alarm. The falling feeling in her chest slowly fading away as her rampant heartbeat came to a slowing speed. She frantically looked at her hands, turning her palms over to examine the skin. Seeing no difference to the night before Clementine runs her hands over her trembling arms as if to ground herself in the bed. She begins her breathing exercises that Grandma taught her when the stress becomes too much. In and out. Relax. Please, relax.
She doesn’t dare look towards the closet door. As she does her breathing Clementine feels a sense of unease that sticks inside her chest. She looks down at her hands sitting in her lap as she deeply concentrates on her morning mental exercises. Clem closes her eyes and focuses on the darkness as a feeling of warmth that begins to spread throughout her body. In the darkness, a small light begins to shine within her mindscape. She tries to mentally reach out towards the sense of comfort, but it is almost mockingly just out of her reach. Frustration begins to overtake Clementine as she forces her breathing to even out. The twinge in her chest begins to grow as the pinhole of light begins to advance farther out of her reach. Her teeth clench as the blanket of warmth begins to creep away, leaving only a feeling of emptiness.
Clementine opens her eyes and glances down at her open palm. A small, almost insignificant, ball of light sits in the center of her hand. It’s even smaller than yesterday’s. The orb glimmers as it manipulates along her palm and leaves a small feeling of warmth. With a sign, Clementine closes her hand and ends her concentration on the spell. The light diminishes out of existence as she leans back against the headboard.
“This can’t be normal,” Clementine says out loud to herself. This must be some kind of witch puberty thing that every magic user goes through at this age. She begrudgingly gets out of bed and begins her daily routine before school with this thought still on her mind. As she finishes her morning regimen Clementine ventures downstairs to grab a quick breakfast before leaving for school. It was times like these she wishes she could speak to her grandparents about things like these, but she doubts they would understand. She wishes she could ask her mother. After kissing her grandparents goodbye and running out the door, Clementine prepares herself for another ordinary day of school.
Evelyn crossed her arms above her chest, quietly aware of the weaver’s probing gaze. She caught herself from wincing at the mention of her ailment. Her eyes met his, and she held, a sneer crossed his features at the mention of his predicament, instantly flagged by Evelyn for future exploitation. He bobbed from one foot to another, anxious, and it was beginning to grate on her already fraying nerves. He motioned--quite a lot by Evelyn’s count--at an invisible object, obviously implicating luna. Another mention of his enigmatic employer, to which she still hadn’t got a name and never will for the foreseeable future if events continued as they were. She broke the gaze when Mr.D’Shire repeated his breathing exercise, his ailment seemed particularly stronger than hers, or she had a better grasp on her wits.
Her attention rested on the calm pool, miniature waves lapping over each other like cannibalistic blood tides. The invisible grip pressed on her lungs, and she gasped involuntarily even as she fought to hold it in. “Drukha!” She cursed in casual Elvish, a slip of tongue supplied by her panicked mind. She held a hand up to placate Mr.D’shire, thankfully, she unforeseen attack hadn’t sent her on her knees. "You will have my assistance.” The words slipped smoothly between her lips, but it’d burnt it’s way out from her lungs. She couldn’t imagine a repeat in the office, the mortals would be on their asses laughing at her! Tsk. She cleared her throat, recovering quickly as she patted invisible wrinkles from her pants and edges of her coat. A curt nod ushers Mr.D’Shire to follow. The thrumming fingers of a headache grew louder against her skull, but she didn't make a sound as they embarked the elevator up.
It was a quiet ascent, and she didn’t make an attempt at small talk. Mr.D’Shire was considerably shorter than her, the vest he wore taut over a plain white shirt, suggesting some degree of physical prowess. One shouldn’t underestimate Asians, She’d found them to be extremely productive and resourceful, and given the cramped space of the elevator, her height advantage is nullified. Perfect for a quick stab of a knife.The ding cut the thought short. The next few minutes felt automatic, key in, twist, key out, twist door knob and--she’d almost slammed the door in Mr.D’Shire’s face. She muttered a quick apology, and widened the door for him. Drips of crimson flicker between the flowing sterile curtains, the red danced on leather upholstery. She took long strides towards the balcony and closed the door, the breath of cold wind ceased. Evelyn pulled the curtain’s together just in case, looming skyscrapers filled her peripheral, dotted by a million other artificial stars.
Evelyn goes to her bedroom to retrieve her phone, and comes back a minute later, cradling it between her shoulder and ear. “I apologize, this is a development I cannot delay.” A pause, “I understand, father, it is a personal matter.” Her eyes narrowed to glare at the wall, “Yes, I will be held accountable.” Almost a sneer, but managing to reign it in.
She tapped the phone, and carelessly tossed it on the sofa. “Baltimore you say?”
School seemed to be the same old thing, until lunchtime came around. The bell rang, and the class was let out for lunch. Moments after Clementine exited the room, a hand lightly grasped her elbow. It was Ash. He was a transfer student, who arrived about a week ago and was in the same grade as Clemetine. He wasn't unfamiliar, as he had struck up random conversation with Clementine here and there in an attempt to be friendly. Ash tended to dress a little more upscale than most of the other students, preferring slacks, a dress shirt, some type of hat and tie even. Today was no different.
Once he had her attention, he let her arm go with a small, shy-like smile and a tuck of his chin. There was a gesture to follow him to the side, so they were out of the main flow of traffic. When he spoke, it was on the soft side, and he appeared a little nervous. His hat was removed and he fiddled with the brim, glance darting between the hat and her. "Hi Clementine. Uh.. I was wondering.. if you would.. like to.." A bit of a shrug, eyes darting to the side, and back again. "Maybe.. sit with me at lunch?"
His eyebrows lifted slightly, along with the corners of his mouth. The hopeful expression was mixed with a small furrowing of his forehead in apparent worry.
Shia gave a respectful nod of his head to acknowledge her offer of assistance. As soon as they went inside, the relief was noticeable. Twitching fingers stilled by his side, shoulders relaxed, his whole demeanor shifted into a calm state. His voice dropped to a murmur, "Inside, the effects do lessen, however, I believe that will not be the case should the moon continue to 'bleed'." The way he said bleed sounded like he should have made air quotes with his fingers. It was the only time Shia spoke on the way to Evelyn's room.
He waited when she disappeared into a bedroom. Hands clasped behind his back, he didn't move from the spot Evelyn left him in. When she reappeared on the phone, Shia politely looked away until the conversation was finished, and the words directed to him. A tilt of his head, a small hint of a smile before lips parted to speak. The short chords of Dragostea Din Tei by O-Zone cut off any words he might have said. There was the scrunching up of the nose as he fished out the phone from an inside breast pocket of his coat.
"Pardon me, one moment." It wasn't a phone call, but his notification of having received a text. A few finger taps, followed by a very annoyed expression. "Dammit, Bug." And then he was the one on the phone, casting a quick, apologetic look at Evelyn. A moment waiting for it to be answered, only to have the annoyed look deepen. "No. No. You will not leave this to voice mail." Finger tap hung up the phone and redialed a second later. This time, it was picked up as he began talking.
"What do you mean you got this? Why are you in Baltimore, Bug?" Eyes closed, expression filled with a mix of disbelief, irritation, and a touch of resignation, as if this was somehow something he knew he should have expected. "Bug. Bug... Stop talking. Just.. you're in contact? Now? Like right now? Okay, listen. No. No singing. Listen. Bug. Get a hotel room, and text me the address. We'll come meet up with you. No, no, you're.. Bug." One hand came up in a very classic face palm maneuver, with a heavy sigh. His tone relaxed, and he spoke a little slower.
"Bug. It's fine. We'll talk about this later. Now, go ... somewhere, and stay there. And send me the address. Okay? Yes. Yes. Oh my..." Sigh. Breath in and out. "Yes, Bug. You can get doughnuts. Yes, yes, with the sprinkles. I am hanging up now. Just.. do it." Tap tap and the call was disconnected. The phone was returned to his pocket, and Shia rubbed at his face with the palms of both hands, letting out a little sound of aggravation needing release. "AHH!"
Breath taken, held to a silent count of ten, then released. A bow toward Evelyn as he murmured, "My apologies. That was one of my associates, who decided he would see to the contact in Baltimore. He's ... well meaning. But yes, we will meet up with him and another in Baltimore. Another associate should be in Colorado, and then Nevada afterward. I can try my best to provide you with more information on the way. I do not know how long we will be gone, pack accordingly?" He looked suddenly tired, but shook it off with a small smile.