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Hunter's Moon [IC] [CLOSED]

Infab

The Demon Fanatic

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WITLOCK.jpg

Grimtham.jpg


Preface
Not all monsters look like monsters. There are some that carry their monstrosity inside.
Fredrik Backman
There are things in the world that go bump in the night, and there likely always will be. The mysterious vampire, lurking in the darkness of the night. Feasting on the blood of the living. The wild and violent werebeasts, using their primal instincts to hunt for prey out in the wilderness...or on urban streets and in back alleys. Demons, unholy creatures that prey on mortal souls and seek to create chaos beyond comprehension, or simply enslave that which they deem beneath them. These creatures, and many more, are hunted by members of a special group inside the Divine Church known as the Vigilant Order. The Order has existed for ages, dating back to the early times of iron weapons and legendary heroes. The Church, a later creation, adopted the Order during the Age of Darkness, when the great demon king Taranoch brought about chaos and destruction on a world-wide scale. And the Order was the group that cast Taranoch and his hordes back into the Abyss, using the tools left behind by the five greatest heroes they had ever known.

Centuries later, the Church has become a world power, assisting nations with problems and keeping the peace. Meanwhile, the Vigilant Order has become a shadow of their former self. Yet the monsters of the world are slowly returning the numbers they saw once before, scattered about the world. Other hunting groups have spawned, attempting to pick up the slack left by the Vigilant Order. One location in particular, an island known as Grimtham, has seen a spike in monster numbers itself. The northern-most and northwestern-most territory of the kingdom of Atraca, itself one of the four largest nations on the continent of Adonia, it has been known as a wild territory. Far from the capital of Atraca, it is a popular location for various types of creatures. Especially werebeasts and vampires.

It is autumn in the year of 1877, and there have been numerous new sightings of vampires and ghouls (failed vampires) in the area of Grimtham Isle. Just months before, a group of inquisitors were sent to kill off several vampires. Now the numbers have returned to where they were previously, and seem to be growing. To combat this, the Vigilant Order has assigned Senior Inquisitor Valeria Witlock to lead an investigation of the island and its inhabitants. Their primary mission: to hunt down and exterminate any hostile vampires on the island. Once the group begins to venture deep into the forests and hills of Grimtham, though, they may soon find that a much larger threat is brewing.


This RP is currently a closed RP, but might potentially open for new players later. Keep an eye on it!

As GM, I control various NPCs in the story, but some may be controlled by players. All events will be under my direction. Feel free to throw ideas at your fellow players. I want you guys to have fun!

Technology and life in this world varies, but it is centered primarily around the 1870s. There are hints of steampunk in this universe, so some things may be a bit more advanced or may have been discovered a bit earlier than normal. Grimtham Isle is a land a bit behind the rest of the world due to how remote it is.


Rules
1. Please, be nice.
2. No power or metagaming. You have a lot of freedom and slack, but ultimately rolls determine if things happen.
3. Out of Character (OOC) chat should be in double parentheses, ((so it will look like this when you post OOC)).
4. If you go inactive or drop, your character(s) will be under my control (and may potentially die.) If you let me know you're going to be inactive for a while and can pick back up later, I'll look after your character till you return.
5. This is primarily a PvE game, but PvP can still potentially happen if its agreed upon by both parties and run by me.
6. As GM, I'm god. New rules can be implemented on the fly.

Link to Facepunch RP discord: https://discord.gg/TGpuRrh (Highly recommended that you join this if you join the rp or are otherwise interested in this rp. All OOC discussion and news on the rp occurs here!)
Link to the Hunter's Moon Wikia page: Hunter's Moon (It is still a bit under construction, but all lore and character pages and such are there and up!)


Players

(If a player drops out, their character will be controlled by me and listed here as dropped.)

Aleister Germain
Camille Giguere
Erwin Van der Pol
Ethraeil
Galina Kholdova
Jakob Phillomon
Mariette Desrosiers
Rosanna McFadden
Sergey Chaykovsky
Theodore Boivin
Valeria Witlock

Wesley Wilch

 
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Infab

The Demon Fanatic
October 10th, 1877
Airedale, Grimtham Isle, The Kingdom of Atraca


"Shall I take your bags, Inquisitor?" asked a rather stout looking man, dressed in the common colors and uniform of Airedale's constabulary. His face was half hidden by the large brown beard that he apparently didn't maintain beyond a few trims here and there, and his beady brown eyes were barely visible in the light projected from the lantern in hand. He looked as though if he were to run, he'd pass out after half a block. Lucky, though, that he was carrying a revolver on his hip. It took far less effort to shoot someone than to chase after them with the typical billy club the constables often carried.

"Yes. Please take them inside the church, and inform Father Bartley of my arrival. He'll know what to do with them. Also, inform him that I will be joining him shortly. I need to stretch my legs after the long journey here." replied a feminine voice, as a figure emerged from the covered wooden carriage. She stepped into the light of the lantern, revealing auburn red hair and icey blue eyes beneath the wide brim of a well worn inquisitorial hat. The constable nodded, before motioning up to the driver of the carriage to assist him in unloading her equipment from the roof of the carriage.

Meanwhile, the inquisitor stepped away from the carriage, gazing up at the rather large church before about at her surroundings. Empty cobblestone streets, a faint fog, darkened buildings with a simple candlelight in a window here and there. She drew a silver watch from her pocket, pressing the button on the side to flip open the cover. Three in the morning. She had arrived rather early, long before activity in Airedale was set to pick up.

She clicked the lid closed on the watch, before slipping it back into its pocket and looking around once again. Across the street was Airedale's city hall and courthouse, sitting silent beyond a lone constable patrolling around it. The market nearby was also silent, though an art gallery was lit up on the far side. Awful late for people to be gazing at the magificent paintings and sculptures of old and new, but she knew exactly who was likely to be in there. Someone she'd be speaking to soon enough.

Eventually, the clack of boots on cobblestone behind her signified that the bags had been moved and the husky constable was approaching her again. "Your bags have been moved into the church, ma'am, and Father Bartley has been informed of your arrival. Is there anything else you need, Inquisitor?" he asked, stepping up next to her before glancing about himself.

"Yes. Has anything interesting happened lately in Airedale?" she asked, her gaze shifting from the art gallery across from them to the constable. He knew what she meant. "Well, there have been a few vampire sightings around the lower residental districts on the east side. The potentially hostile type. We also killed few ghouls over in the slums. There have been two friendlier vampires around lately as well." he explained, returning his attention to her.

"Two?" she questioned, raising an eyebrow. She had only been informed of one. The other must have been a recent arrival. "Aye, ma'am. A man and a woman. The man has been wandering around the art gallery and upper residential districts. The woman arrived yesterday, and is staying at the inn just over there." replied the constable, motioning to a set of three buildings to the west across the church courtyard. The Northern Paradise Inn was located in the middle, with a few windows lit via candle or lantern.

She looked upon it for a moment, before nodding. "I know who the man is. Aleister Meredeth Germain. A former priest of the Divine Church. He is of no threat to the public, as assured by the Church itself. As for the other..." she said, looking to the constable. He filled in the details. "Lady Mariette Desrosiers, I'm told. A countess in Escaria. I believe she owns several vineyards back home. Who knows why she'd be here though, this far north in Atraca..." stated the constable, adjusting his cap.

"She's a vampire. I question their motives every second of every day." responded the inquisitor. This forced a chuckle from the constable, which was promptly silenced by the dark look she gave him in return. As the constable coughed and gathered himself, the inquisitor glanced past him and noticed another individual arriving at the church. This one was on horseback, clad in a dark colored sheepskin jacket and light blue jeans. A black leather hat (which was of a style popular in the southern Atracan territories) rested atop her head, covering dirty blonde hair tied in a ponytail. On their feet, black leather riding boots fitted with steel spurs, while her hands were clad in typical leather rifleman gloves.

The horse the person sat on was a chestnut color, and was equipped with a similarly colored saddle. Various bits of gear and equipment was scattered across the saddle, but what stood out was the lever-action rifle poking out of a rifle holster on the side. Another gun sat in a holster on the person's right hip, the grip and steel frame visible. Eventually, the constable himself looked around and saw them. "Just arriving?" asked the constable, as he walked away from the inquisitor towards this new individual. The inquisitor followed quietly behind, studying the person on horseback.

"Yep. Helluva long ride from Skull Creek, that's for damn sure." said the rider, her voice also distinctly female. "Skull Creek? Isn't that down near the southern border?" said the constable, a bit shocked by the information. "Mhm. The preacher 'round? I'd like to talk to 'em about work. Name's Rosanna McFadden, with the huntin' guild. You know the one." said the rider, before she swung her leg over the horse and slipped off. She landed gently, straightening up and tieing her horse's reins to a nearby hitching post.

"The Atracan Hunter's Guild? You're a bit too far north, aren't you?" asked the inquisitor, making her presence known to the new arrival. The woman glanced over, instantly recognizing the typical attire of a member of the Vigilant Order. "Oh! You're one of those in-quiz-e-tor types, eh?" said Rosanna, stepping over and inspecting the inquisitor as she folded her arms. The inquisitor nodded, before offering her hand. "Senior Inquisitor Valeria Witlock."

Rosanna smiled, and extended her own hand. "Looks like I came to the right place at the right time. I 'magine you could use a little help in...whatever it is you're doin' up here?" she said, as they shook hands. "Vampire hunting." stated Valeria.

Rosanna tipped the edge of her hat up a bit, the light from the constable's lantern revealing a bit more of her face and her green eyes. "Bloodsuckers? Easy 'nough. I should probably go ahead and let you know my little secret right off at the start, then. That way you know what you're workin' with." said Rosanna with a smile, before reaching up and placing her hands on the side of her head. She then lifted straight up...and her head seperated from her neck. Thick grey smoke plumed out of the jet black hole left behind, and Rosanna's eyes turned as black as the hole itself. "I'm a dullahan." she said, her voice bearing a new and faint (but still noticable) echo.

Valeria raised an eyebrow, while the constable seemed as though he were about to run for the hills. Valeria had never really encountered a dullahan, but she had heard tales from other inquisitors and hunters about them. Headless killing machines, seemingly unstoppable unless you had a golden weapon. "...Glad to have you working with me, then." she said, still eyeing the smoke and hole in Rosanna's neck. Rosanna simply grinned, and placed her head back onto her neck. The smoke stopped, the hole sealed up, and her eyes returned to their normal human green. "And I'm much obliged to ya for employin' me."

Valeria finally nodded, before motioning towards the church doors. "Speak with Father Bartley inside, and state that you're with me. He'll tend to whatever you need. I need to go speak to someone at the art gallery. If anyone else should show up asking for me, or looking for work, just say that I'll return shortly and tell them to wait for me." she said, before turning and proceeding across the courtyard in the direction of the market and art gallery. Rosanna watched her walk away, before glancing to the constable. "Think ya might wanna go with her, constable? She might need the light." she says, tipping her hat to the man before heading towards and through the church doors. The constable looked in both their directions, before sighing and following after Valeria.
 
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Viper Actual

Ask me about my tourniquet fetish.
A pair of of heavy leather gloves grabbed the hilt of the sawtooth sword. With a quick yank the blade was dislodged from the neck of the now deceased ghoul.
Blood dripped from its mouth while its empty eyes stared up on Galina.

She weighed the blade in her hands, contemplating wether or not to keep it, before shrugging and tossing it away down onto the floor.

"Crude but effective."

She looked around the room. The three ghouls were dead. Unfortunately, so was the man she had tried to save.

Galina had been resting in her room when it happened. The whispering. The flashes. The sense of loss.
It always came before the final moments.

She had rushed into the slums. Too many doors. Too much death and decay. She had been forced to chance it.
Eventually she found the door.

But it had been too late. The screaming started just as she shot the first ghoul. Headshot. Clean kill.

Now there was nothing left to do but alert the constables. Galina would also need to inform the local priest.

Galina grabbed her rifle, loaded a fresh drum magazine and put another round of well-placed headshots into all of the present corpses. The innocent man included.

"It will have to do."

Once she was done Galina marched out the door. A couple of scared bystanders watched her with wide eyes. A pair constables also waited outside.

"I'd burn it down if I were you. Just to be sure."

The constables nodded. One of them held up his hand. "Before you go; word is that the inquisitor has arrived. You should head to the church."

"Thanks," said Galina. Finally. Her superiors had ordered her to participate in their exchange-program. So far she wasn't impressed.

She had met four other inquisitors. All of them arrogant men who had nearly gotten themselves killed.

Hopefully this one was better and hopefully he had been worth the wait- the caravan she had travelled with arrived three days ago.

---

Half an hour later Galina spotted the church. She saw a carriage and a lone horse on the side.

Just as she approached a woman exited the church. Atracan by the looks of it.

Galina approached the woman. "Nice hat." She nodded towards the church. "I was told there would be an inquisitor somewhere around. Seen him?"
 

Emperor Sagan

Lord Commissar
"This really is a rather exquisite painting. You've managed to capture the stillness of the water without making it look flat, and the reflection of the setting sun is quite brilliant. That little wiggle here and here with the yellow? Excellent usage of an intriguing method," Aleister explained, one arm held across his body and the other propping up his chin as he studied the art piece before him.

It was a medium sized canvas with a sunset over a lake, a relatively common subject matter to paint, but this one in particular captured his attention for two reasons. One, the painting itself had some unorthodox but effective brush strokes that allowed for the reflection of the sun on the water to look more realistic than the sun itself as it dropped towards the watery horizon, and two, the artist was already present. On occasion, the gallery allowed for overnight viewings for the bored and eccentric of Airedale, where the young and frivolously wealthy could pretend a late night visit to the gallery was somehow more ethereal than visiting during the day. Some bottles of wine, some small pastries, and cheese and crackers provided enough to keep most viewers around and interested during the dead hours of the night. Aleister avoided looking at the food as it pained him to see such delectable treats long unavailable to him, but fortunately, there were other more tasteful treats around.

The artist of the painting, a young man who looked like all his money came from sporadic portrait selling, smiled and nodded as Aleister spoke - though his hands behind his back were trembling and his eyes looked a few blinks away from tears. "T-thank you, sir."

"But these reds... could use some work," Aleister said after a moment, pointing vaguely at the painting. "If my eyes don't deceive me, I think you mixed some cherry reds with your Escarian dulls to get this hue you've used along the reflection. And these strokes over here... apple shades, from the looks of it. Typical, rather simple, and not all that engaging to the eye."

"I... I see, sir, I hope to improve next t-time."

"Oh I do not doubt you will, my friend. For I will tell you the secret to the most exquisite reds. To get the most beautiful, rich, and utmost delightfully enrapturing hue of red... requires a small sacrifice on the part of he painter," the vampire grinned, looking down at the shorter artist. "Blood, my dear boy. Not just any blood, but the blood of the creator. To put your own life into your painting."

Aleister let out a delighted hum as he thought about the painter using his own blood for his pictures, but the artist turned pale.

"Hmm? I can see such powerful knowledge has frozen your mind," Aleister said playfully, patting the man on the shoulder. He walked around him until both hands were on his shoulders, and he leaned in to whisper into the artist's ear.

"Consider the possibilities," he purred, "You could craft the most marvelous paintings Atraca, perhaps the continent, has ever seen. You are already a step above the rest. Just think, only a little slice... or bite... is needed to let free that precious crimson and allow it to find its place on canvas. Don't be afraid. If you need help... I'd be delighted to show you how."

Aleister released the man, who looked like a deer staring down a hunter's rifle. "Just a suggestion, of course. Cheer up, dear boy." He gave him another pat on the shoulder before striding away and looking at the other nearby exhibits, the painter rooted to his spot and unable to move.

Most of the area was deserted, as when the late night attendees spotted him prowling about the paintings and sculptures on display, they made for other exhibits or left entirely. The ambient violinist had attempted a discreet exit earlier, but Aleister gave him some proper motivation and advice on how to enrapture his audience as if he was playing in the royal concert hall of the queen. Of course, the audience was only Aleister, the young painter, and the violinist himself who played fervently in the corner of the room. Every time Aleister passed by the view of the violinist, he gave a pleasant smile and wave. The violinist could only manage a nervous smile as sweat trickled down his brow in the gaslight.

After a moment, he swept by the food table. He carefully avoided looking at the food as he snatched up a champagne glass. He removed a little vial from his coat pocket and he poured the thick, warm, dark crimson liquid into the glass. It stained the sides of the glass darker than any red wine could, and he took a long sip from it.

With a beverage in hand, he continued stalking through the exhibit.
 

Breadman

Big loaf supreme
The morning had turned out to be fortunate for Theodore as it turned out his handiwork was required. He was arriving in town after a long trip with a caravan, carrying not only him, but his equipment when he notice board caught his attention. Leaping off the wagon, he went to inspect what troubled the locals and as luck would have it, it was something he could use for practice.

"Just make sure it makes it to the church and it's intact" He said as he flipped the coin towards the driver "You'll see the rest once I'm back" Someone needed trouble as they reported that their cellar was home to a gaggle of ruffians who were overtly aggressive to anyone who came near it and ate all of his raw meat. Telltale signs of a ghoul.

It wasn't long till Theodore was at the man's home where they discussed the situation and what it meant. The was ready to bargain for pay, but was pleasantly surprised as the expert said he'd do it for free. "Your money is going to be needed elsewhere, I'm afraid." Theodore warned as the man wondered what he meant.

He soon found out as he observed the master at his craft perform his work. The cellar was indeed infested with ghouls, but that's not what worried him. What worried him was the fact that Theodore lid what looked like a fuse. And then another. And then another. Three bombs went down the cellar as he closed the door to it, locked it and leaned on it.

The first bang was followed by loud screeching as the ghouls bellow were clearly in pain The second bang reduced that to a whimper and the third was followed by complete silence.

"Was tinkering with these bombs I made." Theodore began explaining "First one releases little fragments of silver into the air like a cloud. Second one was an upgrade on an existing bomb that rips things to shreds, the third one was the same just for good measure." He happily concluded after opening the door to the cellar and looked inside. "And the end result should be little pieces of ghoul. See what I mean?" The owner looked a bit distraught from the scene inside, reacting by emptying the content of his stomach on the spot. "Ah well, don't worry about it. Everything should be fine. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a meeting to attend." He patted the man on the shoulder while he was still preoccupied with the evacuation to respond and set on his way to the church.
---
About two hours later, Theodore arrived at his destination.
 

Radley

Aeroflot supreme
"Looking for Whitlock, I reckon." a raspy voice sounded from behind Galina.
Behind her stood a man dressed in a brown, mid-length coat of worn leather, crisscrossed with a bandolier and a baldric. From each respectively hung a revolver of notable size and length, as well as a cutlass.
The man's face was obscured by a unusually high collar, but from beneth the brim of his hat a pair of sharp eyes looked upon Galina in the light of his raised lantern.

"So am I." He continued unceremoniously, lifting a bundle into view with his other arm.
From mudied ropes the half-transformed, severed head of a werebeast dangled in a macabre fashion.
 
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Dmaster

Sautekh Nemesor
Terrible. Inexcusable. Positively unacceptable. Camille fumed in her meager room all throughout the boat ride to this remote island, slumped forward and staring a hole through the wall as she flips a silver dagger in her hand. The blade looks to be quite unusual, like an over-sized needle with intricate engravings at the base of the blade, its polished surface flashing in the lamplight with each dexterous yet halfhearted toss the woman had made. She only glared through the hooded cape to stare on at the drab wood wall before her, the ocean waves rocking her ship back and forth. Though truthfully she would use the terms rather lightly, for her family had forced her to ride to Grimtham Isle in one of their trade ships rather than their own luxurious craft. Clearly they were deliberate in not picking one of the more prized ships of the fleet, and she was merely extra cargo on what was otherwise a routine route to exchange goods with the people of the island. For that reason her accommodations were less than ideal, the captain had 'graciously' granted her the use of his quarters for the entirety of the journey, but all that afforded her was a slightly larger room to hole herself up in. Drab linens, horrible service, and utterly surrounded by knickknacks that meant nothing to her, Camille would have fired the majority of the crew if this hadn't been her only option. The Escarian Marquess remained in her room for the vast majority of the trip, and she only emerged once the ship had docked in the dead of night.

The noblewoman stepped off of the ship with a near-invisible sneer on her face, reminding herself to roll with the punches and work hard to earn her keep. She imagined the injustice of her awful boat ride over here would be just the first terrible experience of many - and she flattened her expression as she sheathed the silver quill she had been toying with earlier. Her boots clacked against the rickety wood of the docks as she wordlessly left the ship, paying no mind to the captain and crew that attempted to see her off. It was much colder up here, and the nights were so much darker than she was used to back home, perhaps that was due to these simple folk and their conservation of oil. She stepped toward one of the only lights she could make out in the distance, certain that it was a constable that could guide her to where she needed to go.

"Constable?" she spoke, her voice dripping with a refined Escarian accent, soft yet possessing a tone that could turn to a bleeding edge at any point. "I am Camille of Giguere House, do me the kindness of guiding me to your church. I have no interest in your petty activities, troubles, or sights of this insignificant little hovel, so do make things quick and quiet, oui?"

The constable widened his eyes once he realized who he was dealing with, scanning the woman only barely illuminated by the light of his lantern. His eyes hung on the thin sword sheathed upon her left hip, gaze soon looking back to here hooded visage before he gave an almost solemn nod and began to trot off. Camille followed directly behind him, paying no mind to whatever bumps or... explosions took place in the night. She wagered there were plenty of others here to rid the place of ghouls and other lowly undead, but the woman found such busywork below her skill set at this point. There were far greater threats to slay just on the horizon, and she merely nodded at the constable once her walk through the township was completed. The church loomed above her in the dim moonlight, and with a confident stride she made her way toward the entrance.
 
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joshuadim

meme frog
At the harbor, it was quiet as most of the ships were docked at their piers and the water was quite still as it reflected the moonlight. At this hour, it was expected to be quiet and the dockmaster, a middle aged man with weary eyes and an unhealthy body, lounged in his small office near the waters. He was content to read a newspaper and peruse the stories from yesterday that he didn't get a chance to read. A sale on boots caught his eye, as his were starting to come apart. It probably would be cheaper to buy a new pair than get them repaired anyhow. However, he soon noticed in the distance a small flicker of light from the corner of his eye. He took a moment to observe, quickly realizing that it was from a ship approaching. He quickly got up and took his lantern outside to the one pier that was empty. As he predicted, the vessel approached slowly and arrived close by. It was an Atracan vessel, but he would quickly find that its passengers were more than that. A stern looking man disembarked quickly and approached, his outfit giving him out as a priest of the Church.

"Dockmaster, we will need one night's stay here for our vessel to disembark then we will be on our way." he said disinterestedly as he threw a sack of coins to the man. "Payment as needed." The priest then turned back to the vessel and ordered the men to unload the cargo, a carriage of peculiar make. The dockmaster had been counting the coins to ensure the payment was right, but he too noticed the carriage.

"Might I ask what ye carry in that?" the dockmaster inquired suspiciously before coughing. The carriage had been adorned with holy scriptures as well as a peculiar lock on its door, as if its all meant to keep something in.
"That is business of the Church, not yours. Focus on your coin instead." the priest bluntly responded. The dockmaster only muttered something under his breath in response as he counted the coin in the sack. It was definitely much more than his rates, he didn't need to question it. Money was money. He made no more of a fuss over it and walked back to his office, coughing as he did so.

As the carriage was prepped, a constable approached to catch the attention of the priest at hand. "You there, Constable... Phillomon, was it? Get this to the Church as we agreed on to Father Bartley. Discreetly."
 

EdwardDewey98

Professional Argentine
"Yes sir" said Jakob, without making any questions regarding the strange nature of the carriage, after all, he was assigned to help in the duties of the The Divine Church and who was he to question their affairs? After the workers had hitched the horses on the carriage, Jakob climbed up to the drivers seat, he took a quick glance of the vessel, before departing and driving towards the church.
 

K0mori

Servant Supreme
The inn's most luxuriously-appointed suite was still far less luxurious than what Mariette was accustomed to; and it had been a long, long time since she had slept in a bed that wasn't draped in eastern silks. She yawned as she worked at dressing herself, tired from a restless trip from Escaria that had taken several nights. It just so happened that after such an arduous trip, even a lowly place such as this was a welcoming reprieve from the road and sea, and a safe haven from the sun.

It was unusual for a lady of her stature to dress herself, but Mariette had lived for 165 years and was fast approaching yet another irrelevant birthday. She looked exactly as she had for most of it, a woman in her middle 20s, with an uncanny doll-like complexion and shimmering silver-blond hair. Reddish eyes and sharp teeth at the corners of her dark lips warned of her true nature. In her time she had known servants of all caliber, the chirping and chipper types who would allow themselves to be walked over, the quiet and dutiful ones who were merely masking their social ineptitude, and the crass, even vulgar types who seemed to believe that having access to one's personal chambers granted them unrestricted casual access to their mistress's personal affairs. She had grown rather tired of it, and longed for a day in which more practical garments would become high fashion.

For the sake of her own sanity, she had simply commissioned a dressmaker back in Escaria to produce special dresses and gowns which she could fully adorn herself with. The peace and quiet of her evenings was now something she savored, as she had many social and business obligations which often occupied her entire night back home. Sometimes it would be the winemakers and professional tasters she employed, updating her on the needs of the producers. Sometimes it would be the merchants, providing her valuable feedback on where her product, whether it be cabernet sauvignon, merlot, or a blend of the two, was selling best, and how she could sell even more. Other times it would be fellow nobles or vampires from southern Escaria (or noble vampires, as was not exactly uncommon in that region), visiting for social or mildly political reasons to discuss current events and sometimes to pool resources for various causes.

It was through one of these meetings that Mariette had been informed of the happenings on Grimtham Isle and the likelihood of another inquisitorial investigation into the matter. Hunts of these nature were fairly mundane; all her adult life, she had faced intense suspicion and scrutiny from the humans surrounding her estate, as many would assume by default that she was a sort of predator who would be stalking them in the night. They would have to be educated, to her frustration, repeatedly on the truth of the matter: she was a noble like any other, excepting that she was much older and wiser than those they were accustomed to bending their knee for, she avoided the sun at all costs, and for a negotiated price, she would be willing to buy a small extraction of your blood. Nothing so savage as a bite to the neck would enter the conversation. These were modern times; a syringe was perfectly useful.

However, when Mariette had learned of this particular affair, she had heard rumors that another Escarian noble, Marquess Camille Giguere, would be departing to take part in the inquiry. House Giguere held many lands along the coastline, a fair distance from Chalmette Florissant, the wine region in which Mariette and a handful of other noble vampires had firmly rooted themselves, but news of young Camille's vampire hunting "adventures" had easily reached them as the kills began to mount. Camille was a dangerous woman, and should she continue her campaign, Mariette and others like her feared a future in which Escaria was rendered free of vampires entirely. It was with a resentful sense of the greater good that Mariette decided to depart for Grimtham and keep an eye on the inquiry to ensure it did not go beyond the scope of eliminating ghouls and any other causes for the disturbances. She hoped, too, to make contact with Camille and perhaps foster some better understanding of her "foes."

Having finished dressing herself, she opened the curtain and looked out at the street, immediately spotting the new arrivals in front of the church. Knowing that this was likely the expedition she had been waiting for, she quickly gathered her things and prepared to meet them. She had two things to offer them. First, she was wealthy and quite willing to donate to the party for their gruesome but necessary work. Second - and this was likely the part where she would find trouble - she was versed in the dark arts and could lend her expertise.

Mariette had many secrets from throughout her long life, some of which had exceeded the lifespans of those who would deign to care and merely became history. It was well known in her county of La Cygne that she was a proficient witch who had used her magic to kill on occasion, but the need for such devilry was becoming more and more rare with the passage of time. No human alive today could remember a death caused by Mariette's spells, as far as anyone knew. For the sake of the inquiry, however, Mariette could prove herself very capable.

She exited the inn wearing one of her custom-tailored dresses, with a thin profile and scandalously-deep back, black and trimmed with black feathers here and there. A skirt draped from her bustle and gently brushed the ground, under which her heels, thick and practical for walking outdoors, clicked and clacked on the roadway beneath her. In her hands, she held a thick, leather-bound grimoire and a candlestick, her sharp and perfectly-manicured nails gleaming in the dim fire light. Her head was held high, unashamed, as she approached the others, unaware that a woman walking from the opposite direction was the Marquess she had set out to meet.
 

joshuadim

meme frog
As Constable Phillomon directed the carriage to its destination along the quiet and dark streets, save for the odd lantern and streetlight here and there, he couldn't help but feel a bit of discomfort. It was almost as if the carriage had an aura around it. It also seemed as if something was... humming? A very faint melody emanated from whatever was in its interior, an old and unrecognizable tune to be sure. It was downright unsettling for the most part. Upon arriving, the carriage approached the church at a slow trotting pace as the horses rode and parked the vehicle at the front.
 

EdwardDewey98

Professional Argentine
The unnatural and disturbing nature of the carriage was initially met with ignorance, but as the constable spent more time near it, he began to feel its haunting aura. Instead of responding with fear, however, he felt curious about what was actually traveling inside the carriage. Was it some sort of relic? Or perhaps, unbeknownst to him, he was actually traveling with a person. Once they reached the church's entrance, Jakob stepped down from the carriage and hitched the horses to a hitching post before looking up at the building itself. He took a deep breath, before fixing his constable cap and heading through the church doors.
 

Dmaster

Sautekh Nemesor
Camille stood at the steps to the church with her hands clasped behind her back, maintaining good posture and practically bleeding with dignity from every angle.Even if this cold, dark, and droll place had no standards was no excuse for her to slack on the manners department. Her outfit appeared to keep her quite warm in the cool night air, the brim of her hood hiding an inquisitive gaze to all that passed by her. Some sort of constable parked a carriage in front of the building, quite close to the railing she had chosen to hover by and wait for whoever this inquisitor was supposed to be. She had no doubt that all sorts of business was taking place inside, but without being summoned there specifically she knew very well that not much would be achieved with the other riff-raff pouring in on their own business. The man that exited the carriage had just proven that theory correct, seeming to steel himself before he swung open those church doors wide and entered without further hesitation.

The Escarian noblewoman slightly turned toward the odd carriage in question, not quite able to sense the arcane or mystical beyond her natural human instincts and gifted senses. Yet she could tell that there was something off about the container being moved about, an eerie presence that was perhaps staring at its surroundings through the dark materials it was constructed of. Curious indeed, yet Camille merely fanned out her hands and flattened her palms in her relaxed stance. Should anything happen she would be able to draw her weaponry even faster now than before. In the dark of the night she could see others approaching the church, and she had found herself looking at a woman sporting a dress one might see at a ball, complete with fashionable heels that clicked against the cobblestone ground. Extremely out of place at a church in this time of night. Camille certainly did not take her for some grieving widow come to say prayers for her lost love, and she tightened her lips and squinted at the woman before returning her gaze to the gothic structure before her.
 
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Infab

The Demon Fanatic
Inside the large church, standing near the altar at the far end of the nave in front of a row of pews, stood Father Bartley and Rosanna. Briefly conversing on the topic of Valeria and her inquiry into Grimtham, Rosanna turned a bit to see a few individuals entering through the front double doors. "Don't worry, preacher. I'll talk to 'em." she said, looking back towards the priest before strolling around the pews and down the aisle towards Jakob. "Howdy! I'm Rosanna, but you can call me Rose or somethin' if you'd prefer. If you're lookin' for the preacher, he's over there." she said, motioning towards the priest near the altar. "If you're lookin' for Witlock, she'll be back. She strolled over to that art gallery 'cross the market. I'm headin' back outside to check on my horse." she added, before tipping her hat to the constable and walking past him and out the double doors he had just entered through.

Once outside, she noticed that several others had arrived as well. And none of them looks particularly interested in simply speaking to the priest inside. "Guessin' y'all ain't here for late night confessions." she said aloud, looking around at all that had arrived. A woman's voice caught her attention, commenting on her hat. "Why thank you, ma'am. Was my father's before he passed." she commented, touching her hat with her thumb before the blonde woman with a rifle of some sort asked her next question.

"I was told there would be an inquisitor somewhere around. Seen him?"

"Well, the inquisitor ain't a he. Woman named Witlock. She wandered over to the art gallery over there 'cross the market, but she'll be back soon enough." replied Rosanna, glancing to the man with the high collar and hat as he lifted up the mangled head of a werebeast. "Nice kill, there. Its more fun to fight 'em fully transmuticated or whatever, though. Gets the blood pumpin' real nice." she said, with a grin.

She then looked to another man waiting nearby, his outfit and gear seeming as though he had just salvaged most of it off some forgotten battlefield somewhere. "You must've been the cause of those booms a while ago. Hope ya got what you were chunkin' shit at." she said, with a chuckle. Then her attention turned to the other two women among them. One standing near where the horses and carriages were parked, one carriage catching her eye in particular, while the other woman approached and stood nearby. Both looked rather affluent, judging from their attire and general stance, though one appeared dressed to attend a posh gathering over in the upper residential district than walking around the town at three in the morning.

"You two here for the same reason as the others, I reckon?" she asked, putting a hand on her hip.

------

Valeria continued on, strolling through the quiet market with the tubby constable in tow. The path was lit with his oil lantern, simple cobblestone streets just like everywhere else in the city. Eventually, they had little need for the lantern as the light from the art gallery showed them the way. When they reached the door, Valeria stopped and looked to the constable. "This will not take long, constable. You can wait here if you wish." she said simply, before making her way inside. The constable sighed in relief, before turning and looking back out into the light fog.

Inside, Valeria quietly walked about. She wasn't really one for art, though she did see the appeal of it. Freedom of expression and creativity. Though some of the pieces she had seen before looked more like someone had threw up on a canvas and called it a day. As she walked, she heard a man talking to another rather close by on the other side of a gallery wall. She stepped around, pausing for a moment to watch the pair before approaching the more sophisticated appearing one.

"Aleister Germain, I presume?" she asked, stepping up next to him and glancing towards the painting he was gazing upon at the moment.
 
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K0mori

Servant Supreme
Having closed to within speaking distance of the strangers in front of the church, Mariette glanced over them in search of any apparent leader. Several of them were quite impressive-looking, and the other women present seemed to be fully on par with the men, dressed and equipped for battle with no regard for traditional roles or fashion. The countess stuck out, then, but that was of little concern for now. "Bonsoir," Mariette spoke gently to the group, trying not to alarm them as she knew she would quickly be recognized as a potential threat. "I presume this is the inquiry, no? May I speak to whomever is organizing this raid? I wish to render my assistance, that is, if you will welcome the presence of a cooperative vampire, witch, and countess of the Escarian Kingdom."

She spoke so lightly of her own identity that it gave the impression that she was unafraid of the inquisitors. That was not the case, but after more than a century of avoiding the violence of the ignorant masses, Mariette was quite practiced in concealing her true feelings.
 
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Dmaster

Sautekh Nemesor
Camille offered a nod to Rosanna's question, feet planted close together yet spreading ever so slightly as she rose from the nod. "I am Camille of House Giguere. Marquess and envoy to Escaria, I wish to aid you with my hunting skills." she begins, only to be interrupted by the countess encroaching on the conversation. She said nothing as the woman spoke, but on closer inspection she knew precisely what she was dealing with before the woman even had to explain herself. There was a barely audible creaking of leather as her gloved hands clenched into fists behind her back, the Marquess carrying a flat expression but otherwise seething with rage. An Escarian countess so open about being a vampire? Someone with that much of a place and power in her homeland?! Camille detested these creatures, thinking themselves above commoners and even some nobles as if their affliction has given them some right to rule. To her these wolves in sheep's clothing were a rung below insects, their 'cooperation' and fake refinement as fickle as their ability to stave off their bloodlust.

Yet she could not intervene, even as she debated drawing her rapier and readying her quills. This land was not something of her jurisdiction, and any interference on her part to the main inquisitor's mission would sully her reputation with the Order as well as her reputation as a hunter. Being so open about being a vampire without even trying to conceal it was admittedly crafty in that regard, as now Camille's hands were effectively tied. She may have gotten away with a spur-of-the-moment slaying if the creature had attempted to conceal itself in their midst but... things had just become complicated.

"Escarian countess, mmh?" she speaks, eyes still locked on Rosanna even though she is adressing Mariette. "Care to disclose your name? I must admit I have great interest to know of a fellow noble from my kingdom. Perhaps we or your retinue have even met in the past, non?" If she could not slay the insidious creature on this mission, she would at least gather the information required to strike back on her home soil...
 

EdwardDewey98

Professional Argentine
The sight of empty pews in the dark church nave was a bit of a haunting sight for the constable, as he made his way up the aisle from the doors. A particularly jovial woman met him, and before he could speak a word, she introduced herself and pointed out where the priest currently was. Jakob simply nodded then tipped his own cap at Rosanna, as she introduced herself as, before continuing on to the priest. "Father Bartley?" he asked, with a respectful tone to his voice. "I'm Jakob, a recent transfer to the Airedale constabulary. I was sent by a priest down at the docks to deliver a...strange carriage. I parked it just outside, sir." He pointed towards the door before continuing. "But uh...it is making sounds. Quite interesting sounds, I might add. Anything I should worry about, Father?"
 

Viper Actual

Ask me about my tourniquet fetish.
Galina nodded towards Rosanna. "A female inquisitor? I admit that I have heard of no such thing before."
She then turned to inspect Erwin. He looked capable.

But he was not from Tsavania. She could tell. His skills would need to be proven.

Galina then looked at the two women. One in a dress and one in some fairly normal attire. Both of them spoke funny. Escarians.

She shook her head. "Nobles."
 

Emperor Sagan

Lord Commissar
Aleister found himself momentarily enthralled by the next painting he was examining, which was a wooden sailing ship breaking apart in a storm. The little sailors were clinging to a foremast which had snapped and fallen from the deck, and while the painting did not go into excruciating detail, he could well imagine their expressions of terror and despair as the sea raged around them. Little figures struggled in the violent waves as the ship was utterly torn to pieces. The pure emotions he imagined these imaginary sailors felt stirred his cold, dead heart, putting him into a small state of bliss as he smiled to himself.

For a moment, he didn't realize the inquisitor had appeared by his side until a second after she spoke.

His eyes narrowed slightly as he took in her attire in an instant. He took a slightly step backwards with his right foot, shifting his weight onto it so that he could spring himself aside and flee if needed. He didn't particularly condone having to engage in any type of combat so soon after arriving into this quaint town, and shedding blood in the gallery may ruin some of the paintings, which would be an absolute disaster. Though for some, he had to admit, it would be an improvement.

"Good morning, dear inquisitor," Aleister said, turning to view her fully. He held his champagne glass of blood with his right hand over his heart, a sort of casual and meager protective measure. He already had a scripture book in his vest pocket over his heart as always, and no human had the strength to pin a stake through the book and into him. The woman looked more than capable for her type of work, but he wagered he was probably faster on the draw if need be.

"What brings you to this fine gallery at such a time? Might it be... business... or pleasure? If its business, then I am afraid that I have an appointment in the next few minutes that I most assuredly cannot miss. If its pleasure, then by all means, don't let me stop you from enjoying the exhibits."

"Though, I must admit, you have me at a slight disadvantage as I cannot say that I know your name...."
 

K0mori

Servant Supreme
Despite barely missing Camille's introduction, Mariette knew as soon as she heard a fellow Escarian accent that she was in the presence of the one they called the Raven of Giguere House. "...Ah," Mariette replied, "Marquess Giguere, your deeds have spread to all corners of the Kingdom. I am quite unknown by comparison, but perhaps we would have... let us say 'crossed paths...' if my estate was closer to your family's holdings. I am Countess Mariette Desrosiers of La Cygne. While you are aware of what I am, what I do is another matter. I am a rather successful vigneron. If you enjoy a fine red Escarian wine, then there is good chance that you have tasted my product. Thousands of bottles from my estate have passed through your family's ports each year for the last seven decades. My family has long since fallen into obscurity, but through this enterprise I've amassed quite a fortune indeed, and in that manner, I owe you a debt for helping me pay for all the expenses related to recovering the county title which once belonged to my late husband."
 

Dmaster

Sautekh Nemesor
Her posture stiffens just a bit, fists still balled behind her back as a thumb grazes against her front knuckles at a pace that would be enough to call her anxious. Yet she still did her best to remain stone faced, merely loosing a quiet breath as that information was washed over her. "Ah, oui. The name does indeed seem familiar. And our family gatherings are often made brighter due to the work of you and your associates." she replies, tone practically genuine despite the seething rage beneath her visage. If anything Camille was displaying that her tongue was coated in silver just like the majority of the weapons she wielded. Even still, she would have to make a mental note to swear off of the wine coming from that vineyard from now on. A pity.

"You owe me nothing, miss Marriete. It is clear that my ties to the family estate are rather... lax at present. My dear brother and father are who you should be offering thanks to." Camille reasons with a slight nod, smirking gently. "Truthfully, the concept of a 'cooperative vampire' as you put it, is quite foreign to me. My own ambitions may be clear as day, but I fear I do not know much of your own. What reason do you have to hunt down your own kind? To leave such a lavish lifestyle and slay what very well might be your kin?" The hunter was not ill-prepared to get personal with her line of questioning, and she had a hunch on the vampire's intentions from the start. Either she sought to lower their defenses, or expand her influence abroad. Leeches in more ways than one, their poisonous ways were never content to just live out eternity in comfort. They were purely motivated by their primal needs to feed and expand their influence to ease that feeding. Humans were just livestock to them as far as they were concerned. Yet hunters and the Order showed that there is and would always be a reckoning for these literal and societal leeches.
 

K0mori

Servant Supreme
Mariette's expression barely changed; she was aloof when she paid her respects moments earlier, and continued to be so as she dealt with variations on the same old questions she had always heard from suspicious humans. It always boiled down to, why don't you fit the mold of my prejudices?

She replied calmly, yet rhetorically. "Do humans not execute their own murderous kin?" She allowed the question to sink in before continuing. "I have no love for ghouls, mademoiselle, but speaking as one who didn't chose to become what I am, and one who has encountered many like myself, I know that hunts like these cast a wide net and result in the deaths of innocents- those of us who carry the curse but have never harmed a soul that brought more joy to the world than pain. Many inquisitors cannot say the same of themselves. I've come a long way to see if I can assist this group in more quickly finding the guilty culprits so that the rest can continue to live in peace."

Unsatisfied, she added, "if you need any more reason than that, consider how boring wine-making becomes after 71 years."
 

Infab

The Demon Fanatic
Bartley raised an eyebrow, glancing towards the double doors at the front of the church, before his expression quickly turned to one of dire seriousness. "No. You have nothing to worry about at the moment. The being dwelling inside that carriage is of an unholy nature, but the wards and markings on the carriage itself confine him to it. There is also the fact that I have in my possession something that the creature would rather not have destroyed." stated the priest, before reaching into the coat that he wore over his priestly garments. He then drew out a necklace, showing it to the constable. It looked old...ancient, in fact. The metal links of the necklace bore inscriptions of an old dialect, and a magnificent blue gem was contained in a brass frame at the bottom. The gem appeared to be...glowing a bit.

"His very soul is contained in this gem. If he were to take hostile action against anyone other than whom a member of the church directs him to, then his soul shall be destroyed." he stated, before the balding, middle aged man shoved the necklace back into his coat. "I have been instructed to give the necklace to Senior Inquisitor Witlock when she returns, and remove the wards and enchantments from the carriage so that he may assist her in her inquiry. You shall be joining them, so I'm told."

------

Valeria didn't take her gaze off the painting before them, but did however answer Aleister. "Business, but not the type that you assume it to be." she stated. After a moment, she turned to face him. "I am Senior Inquisitor Valeria Witlock, of the Vigilant Order. You may have heard of the Red Inquisitor, and know of the stories behind it."

As she spoke, a man walked by the pair. She watched the individual continue on, departing from the gallery, before continuing. "The Church requires your services, Aleister. I've read that you're a former priest, and I will be in need of your divine magics during my inquiry into Grimtham Isle." She looked him over, taking in his rather lavish appearance. "...you may need better clothes. We will be traveling quite a lot, and I would hate for you to damage that nice coat and blouse of yours."

------

"A female inquisitor? I admit that I have heard of no such thing before."

"Yep. There's women in the Order now." said Rosanna, folding her arms before looking to the pair of noblewomen as they talked. So both of 'em are from Escaria? She had never really bothered with learning about the place while growing up. All she knew of it as an adult were that they spoke funny and drank a lot of wine. The women were pretty, apparently. When the woman in the dress brought up the fact that she was a vampire, Rosanna raised her eyebrows. So one of the bloodsuckers is gonna be killin' her own kind? Kinda surprising. Most vamps stick together nowadays. Rosanna pondered if Mariette could detect what she herself was, as she knew vampires had the ability to detect humans and other entities at certain distances.

"If she's friendly, then lets give 'er a chance. I'm always open to new things." said Rosanna, finally. "I'm Rosanna McFadden. You can call me Rose or somethin' if you want. I'm from the huntin' guild down south. Some of you might have heard of it."
 
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Dmaster

Sautekh Nemesor
Camille hummed to herself at the rather logical explanation, but she knew to keep her wits about her. These creatures made for awfully convincing arguments at times, but then again, they had to through pure necessity. They would not be so many of them about if they were clumsy in how they conducted themselves, and the fact that they could so brazenly assert themselves to the rank of nobles was a most chilling thought. In the end, they were still parasites that preyed on the weak, 'innocent' or not. Endless youth is more than enough to create a situation where the toil and passing of ages can make the cursed distant and bitter, just waiting for a chance to snap even if they swear a flimsy oath of peace. Rosanna's words did nothing to curb her suspicion or hidden hostility, but she would cooperate with the creature for the moment, at least.

"You make a fair point." she states, twisting her mouth just a bit. Boring indeed, perhaps as boring as being married off to some imbecile as a political power move, attending parties and get-togethers until rotting in some quiet estate. "Pardon my suspicion - you see I have slain many a vampire stating that their intentions are in line with yours. They secure such lofty positions to... keep their more violent underlings in check. Yet through their ambitions they either have much to hide or are responsible for razing a helpless village or ten." Camille's tone hasn't changed, calm and forward yet her gaze betrays a more icy chill that matches the night air, finally turning her head to gaze straight at the vampire countess. "Yet I believe you. You seek out the Vigilant Order, of all organizations. Their hunters and the Church's priests have the knowledge to defeat all manner of beasts, and asking to join this inquiry is a matter of tact equivalent to entering a lion's den." she mused, chuckling to herself before shaking her head. "I admire such brevity, truly." Indeed, for once her words were perfectly genuine beyond her statement of belief.
 

Emperor Sagan

Lord Commissar
Aleister considered the inquisitor's words carefully, idly swirling his glass about. He took a long sip from it after a moment.

"A pleasure to meet you then, Inquisitor Witlock. I've heard some tales and rumors of you I do believe, though as a traveler, much gets distorted with every retelling. But if what I know is correct... then you are a professional. I can appreciate a professional in any field," he said, placing his now empty glass aside on a stand holding other discarded glasses and an ashtray. "Clearly, you already know something of me. Though considering that you aren't here with a dozen constables and you seem amiable enough... perhaps you don't know enough."

Aleister then gave a little grin and a polite laugh. "I'm only joking, of course." An absolute lie.

"I'd be delighted to lend a hand to the Church. I've remained in good standing for... well, forever as far as I know. I may technically be a former priest, but I remain a confessor of a sorts. A traveling holy man." The vampire brought up his hand to show a number of rings - a few purely cosmetic - but most emblazoned with scripture or holy symbols. He then reached beneath his collar and cravat and pulled out a necklace with the common emblems of Undite, Gyasis, and Saint Bartholomew on it.

"Regrettably, the necklace is simply steel. The original was partly silver long, long ago, but I'm sure you can imagine what became of it eventually." Aleister tucked the jewelry back beneath his collar. "As for my attire, I must admit I am not incredibly pleased with the assumption that we will be partaking in traveling rough. I've got some additional clothes that may be more suitable but... really, its a rather dreadful thought."

"Well, lead on, I suppose, if you are taking me somewhere. You have my curiosity now. My opinion of inquisitors has always been a touch on the... critical side, and not because of my nature. I used to have scars to show for it, but those have long healed thanks to my blessed condition."
 

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