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Hunter's Moon [IC] [CLOSED]


Sautekh Nemesor
Camille stayed silent as her eyes tried to piece together the blackened path they tread upon, listening to Mariette's words without incident. At the mention of why she tried to get a duel with her, she could only laugh quietly, the absurdity of the reasoning her passing to turn into focused anger. "You are a being ruled by impulse and petty grabs for power. Do not try and construe your 'struggle' as inner turmoil." she begins, her left hand holding the hilt of her sword and keeping it from being jostled from the hike.

"Break my sword? You expect me to believe that? Our immortal savior with demigod-like powers may have the mindset of a child, for when we are beset from all sides she chooses then to make an example of me. Nonsense." Camille says coldly, not turning her head to look at Mariette or anyone as she kept chastizing her. "You came there to kill me. You see me as a threat to your precious society, a loose end to be trimmed. Yet for as much I equally despise you I would not devalue Witlock's leadership of this inquiry with something so foolish and idiotic. There will be time for such things later, after all."

"I meant every word of what I said, and you are even more predictable than I once thought. The only real surprise here is how long it took you to realize something most all of us already knew, despite living merely a blink compared to your century and a half." she goes on, finally turning her head to face her. "Death can come at any moment, and nothing you do will leave you invulnerable to it. Kill me here, kill me later. I still treat every battle like it will be my last. At least lifetimes of cowering have let you become a parasite with some semblance of bravery, and all it took was the power you craved for your whole existence to get there." With that, she turned her head back, having nothing more to say.


The Demon Fanatic
Both Valeria and Rosanna went quiet. The anger on Rosanna's face began to fade a bit, as she thought over what Mariette had just said. Meanwhile, Valeria remained as stonefaced as ever as Camille chimed in. Of coure, Camille took it all as she usually did. "...I am at a loss for words as to what to say to you, Camille. Beyond your ego and paranoia knowing no bounds." she simply said, before glancing to Mariette. "You should have told one of us. Me, especially. Communication builds trust."

"All we do is bitch an' moan at one 'nother. Camille seems to do most of it, but still." muttered Rosanna finally. She cut a look to Mariette, still a little upset over what she did. "...At least you're back, Countess."


The voice of the soul spoke, its voice wavery and filled with fear. "S-South! The Swamplands near Porthcrawl! The Colonel likes hunting things there! Reminds him of home!"
"If you are lying, I will torture you in ways you couldn't even imagine." Ethraeil responded as he dismissed the soul back to an incorporeal existence and returned back to reality as Mariette and Camille finished their new spat.

"If it makes you feel any better, Mariette, I could not distinguish your aura... I took you for Cassandra the moment you fell through the floor." Ethraeil spoke with a bit of hesitation. "I did feel the aura of a vampire suddenly disappearing earlier on, but I did not think it was you."

He then turned his attention to Valeria. "The cavalry we fought were not human. It seems that a whole regiment of werewolves align themselves with the pureblood Duke. And with that being said, this plot of theirs runs even deeper than just vampires." he said before shifting in his saddle. "Along with this, they are taking Jakob, Erwin, and Wesley south it seems. Porthcrawl."


Sautekh Nemesor
Camille grit her teeth at both Rosanna and Valeria's words, stopping dead in her tracks as the others walked by her. "Ego..?! Paranoia?! Bitching?!" she repeated, eyes wide as she was beyond appalled how quick they were to come to the vampire's aid. Absolute betrayal was her goal and at most she got a slap on the wrist. She tolerated many of the hangups of this inquiry yet now she could do it no longer.

"She tried to duel me. Perhaps you do not know the intentions behind dueling where we come from, even if her intention was to only make me believe she was going to kill me it is still ridiculous! I have been nothing but compliant and obedient, Witlock, despite my stance on the creatures we work with. I have bit my tongue constantly ever since you explicitly ordered me to do so, and now as my suspicions are confirmed you treat me like some lunatic?" She shuts her eyes, doing her best to halt herself from continuing but utterly lacking the patience to do so. "What more do you need to see her for what she really is?! Will you finally act when she has one of our throats in her claws? I thought you hunted vampires, not befriended them after they take your trust and step all over it. You care not for me or the very real danger I was in, just the feelings of your newest friend in the form of an animated corpse to throw at Cassandra."

She straightened her back, starting to turn on her heel and walk a completely different direction and into the darkness of the forest. "I cannot stand to be around any of you any longer. Were the state of the world not at stake I would return home rather than delude myself with this utter nonsense. I will find my own way back to camp, or perhaps be eaten by the wildlife or worse. I don't care."

And just like that, Camille trotted off into the night.
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The Demon Fanatic
Valeria paused for a moment, watching Camille stroll off into darkness. "...I bruised her ego." she said, rather plainly. She then looked back to the others. "Mariette, do you know why I trust you right now? Because you could have simply got back up and tried to kill us all after I reattached your head. But you didn't. If you really wanted to kill us, you could have done it right then, without a second thought. You also told us exactly what is going on with Cassandra, and now apparently the Duke and Colonel Wallace. You could have simply kept us in the dark and had us wandering about till his plan came to fruition or till Cassandra found us and slaughtered us, but you didn't."

She glanced back in the direction that Camille had walked, before continuing forwards. Not bothering to go after Camille. "She'll live." said Valeria, as she walked on. "And I do hunt vampires. I've hunted vampires most of my life because it is my job. I put no personal feelings into it like Camille does, even though I genuinely do have reason to." She glanced back towards the others. "If you have a plan in the future, run it by me first. Should you fail to, and someone dies, I'll hold you directly responsible for it and will show no mercy in your execution."
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Ethraeil felt somewhat conflicted as he heard Camille lash out in anger with her words. So much of that anger reminded very minutely of his own that had consumed him, and still does partially to this day. As Camille rode off, Ethraeil gazed towards where she rode and moved to follow her. "I shall attempt to speak to her." Ethraeil said as he motioned his undead horse to follow. Eventually he managed to catch up to Camille's more brisk pace as he followed her through the night.

"Your anger. I sense you carry it with you like a self-imposed burden. It reminds me of myself when I had hit my lowest. Anger is a powerful weapon, but it can just as easily be used for your own undoing. I... I am inclined to sympathize with your points. But I've gained a new... perspective, when I ran off alone into the woods. What matters in the end, is not petty rivalries, or the words of those that antagonize you, not even vendettas nor personal goals. What matters is the finality of the cause, the reason why we fight: the endgame. The endgame of any grand quest, adventure, or even this inquiry. And all the roads right now lead to this finality: Cassandra and the Duke.

Tell me, are you willing to do anything and everything that is necessary to win? To ensure that the righteous cause ends up victorious in the end? To see through it that justice triumphs over tyranny?"
Aleister followed along the group, cleaning his jacket as they carried on through the night, ears open but eyes otherwise on himself. The sleeves were relatively undamaged, dusted only with the plaster and soot from the collapsed floor and some stray splashes of blood. A few minutes of brushing and patting with his gloves cleaned most of it off, save the blood stains. The front of the jacket was in poorer shape. Again, there was little physical damage, but the amount of blood and gore staining the front would take some considerably advanced cleaning techniques. A little water and brushing wasn't going to work on this. The cravat was most likely ruined, and it was pinned down by the weight of the dried blood. A little licking did away with most of the blood on his lips and hands, and for a few minutes he was nearly like a cat, all concern on grooming himself. His top hat was gone - shot to tatters - and he dropped his cane quickly after the action.

The inquisitor finally asked the much needed question, and Aleister listened in closely to what Mariette had to say for herself. He didn't think she had turned traitor, but he knew very well that anything she had planned would backfire if not properly briefed with the others. Even he had only been briefly consulted at the staircase for a few minutes. The added slaughter in the mansion seemed to only have exacerbated the damage, as mayhem hardly made for a clear picture.

He wasn't sure if he was flattered or somewhat annoyed that Mariette echoed some of his own words and reasoning aloud to the others. Clearly, his warnings to her didn't stick, so it was a little hollow to hear her vocally recognize the danger of the Duke and Cassandra after her little theatrical arrangement. Attempting to duel Camille to bruise the woman's towering ego? How could that possibly have gone wrong. But it seemed Camille wasn't the only one with a runaway ego at times. The more the Countess spoke, the more he found her initial words to him when they first met to have been false, or easily changed. So much for making alliances and changing images. She even had the gall to chastise him for behaving like an innocent dandy back then.

Regardless, it was no surprise that Camille was upset under these circumstances. How could the woman have possibly known that Mariette wasn't truly dueling to the death? For the Marquess lived by the sword and expected to die by it - a duel that had all signs that it was lethal would clearly not come across to her as anything else. While he had been irritated for her initial call in the basement to attack the Countess, he understood a little more fully why she would do so.

When she concluded her story with her claim she would do the right thing, Aleister couldn't help but bite his own tongue. He knew honeyed words and silver tongues well. After what Mariette pulled - and revealing to him she drank the Romanov blood so quickly without pause - he couldn't help but think the Countess was a little more... impulsive than he wished to realize.

Most of all, he was angry that his own image was being tarnished by association. Nobody would care if one vampire behaved, but they would all be crying out for the misbehavior of one. Honestly, thats how it always was. One vampire could act out, and a hundred be innocent, and soon all of them are branded as demons on the verge of bringing about the apocalypse.

Valeria's reply was less than tactful, as was Rosanna's side remark. The inquisitor was right, certainly, but in the situation it was perhaps not the best words. Predictably, Camille stormed off into the night alone.

The inquisitor's following reply to Mariette soured him further. That... was not entirely sound reasoning. The logical play for Mariette, had she been traitor, was to pretend to be on their side after being revived. Launching into an attack immediately may have worked, but she would have also been at a disadvantage. Rejoining the group and taking the bruising for a failed plan before striking out would have been his personal maneuver. He also felt somewhat slighted that the same information he had told Erwin, Theodore, and those nearest in the basement was so easily written off now that Mariette had said it herself. Was he not trusted? Certainly, the Countess had a little more information to share, but he still explained what she had told him at the staircase before it all went down. The inquiry wouldn't have been in the dark even if Mariette refused to reveal the information. He already knew most of it and had shared it as well.

The lich acted before he had a chance to go after Camille, and he wondered if the necromancer would be able to soothe the woman. In truth, he didn't think that he himself could do it, so the lich probably had a fair chance at least.

"I'll be going for a small stroll myself. If I see or hear anything, I'll return. I won't go far."

Aleister went after the lich and Camille, though not directly. He was curious to see how it would turn out. The vampire quietly traveled through the brush and the forest, attuning his senses carefully on the duo which traveled alone - as well as keep his attention on his surroundings, as danger certainly lurked in these woods.


Sautekh Nemesor
She was walking through the forested path she had taken just as brazenly as she had done when she departed, staying silent as the lich and his still-bleeding horse strode up next to her. Ego, they say. There are people she would consider her equals among the inquiry in some respects. Every spat made against her was one she only met with stinging words of her own, yet she would always get the blame for it and called childish. Her patience was at an all-time low, especially since she now knew she would never be taken seriously here.

"Wise words, ancient one." Camille says, neck gesturing to look to him before back to the road. "But not words that are unfamiliar to me. I control my anger, I hold it and shape it to whatever it needs to be in that moment." Her right arm loosely hangs at her side, left hand recently moving back to the hilt now that she has composed herself proper. I am quite confident in our abilities to kill Cassandra and the Duke, and that is but a mere stepping stone compared to what lies ahead of me."

There is a moment of silence as she twists her mouth in thought, her head craning up to look at the shining stars of the night sky. Whether this was for a sense of direction, comfort, or standing in awe was for Ethraeil to determine. "I am wholly motivated by what comes after that. No one seems to care that a vampire of Escarian nobility is now a pureblood. The simple 'gift' of vampirism had not been enough for her, so why would she return to her estate just to pick grapes in the daylight? I have extensively studied her kin, and the countess will only aim higher. Using her new abilities she can do whatever she pleases to vampire and human alike, so she will expand her sphere of influence. It will be easy now that officials and other hunters cannot even so much as see that she is a vampire, much like she will no longer burn in sunlight. A whole organization of ruling class vampires ready to uproot innocent lives and my beautiful country." she explains, her voice soft yet intense.

"But the Senior Inquisitor does not see this, or cares to think about it. I have already resigned myself to doing something about it when this is over, pureblood or not. Whatever happens does not even bother me, as far as my ultimate fate goes. What got to me there is the utter disrespect from her, insinuating that me being fearful of the equivalent of a loaded gun being pointed at you when you are cornered as mere paranoia. And the gunman in this instance did not even have to apologize, they just admitted how fun they found the idea of it instead." Camille put her head back down, balling her right hand into a fist and gripping the hilt of her weapon tighter. "I know what her kind is capable of, and because they do not have to deal with what comes after this inquiry they see me as an egotistical child. Ravings of a crazed lunatic with something to prove. I am confident in both myself and my abilities, yes, and I will never back down when they are brought into question. But I am in this for the right reasons, unyielding justice to right the many wrongs vampires like her bring. I have seen it too many times to sit idly by and wait for their first of many killings. One life cast aside like it was nothing is too many, Ethraeil."
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"I see... your endgame is on a much grander scale. Much like mine it seems." Ethrail remarked with a hint of admiration. "But consider this, at this point in time we need all the help we can get. I'm still nowhere near my full strength as well as us being outnumbered, and subsequently outgunned, in the face of a plot that perhaps reaches further than any of us would dare to imagine. Who is to say their plot already hasn't made strides to infiltrate society and leadership of the various nations of the world? You cannot win by being alone and relying on yourself and the anger that drives you. I know this because that mindset led to my own downfall many years ago."


Servant Supreme
"It was your decision to revive me, Valeria," Mariette replied. "I trust you fully, and I'll keep no more secrets. There's one other piece of this puzzle that you should be aware of, and it will seem... utterly outlandish."

Mariette came forward and displayed the grimoire to Valeria. "This is not the tome I began this journey with. This one is far older and much, much more powerful than what I was equipped with at Bromwich. On the night we were attacked in that town, my fear and insecurity over Cassandra's return and my own mortality led me to depart in the night, whereupon I took the opportunity to drink the Romanov blood despite your concerns. For almost three days following, I had strength and speed nearly equivalent to that of a pureblood due to the magical properties contained within it. Last night, I informed Aleister of its properties as I sensed myself coming back down, and recommended he drink it as well, out of concern for his survival should Cassandra be at the mansion and attack us on sight.

"At that moment, another figure entered the inn and confronted us about our conversation. She introduced herself as Morgane, but through our interactions it quickly became obvious that she was... impossibly... she was... Undite.... The Undite. She took Aleister's hand and put life into his body, gave breath and a heartbeat, all of which went away as soon as she released him. I saw him brought to tears by the time it was over and so when she offered to do the same for me, I feared that I would direly miss the sensation." She shook her head, wishing she had accepted the goddess's touch. "She came to warn us both against Cassandra's influence, Mademoiselle. She said she didn't know how Cassandra had been changed into a pureblood. However, she did tell me that the blood she offered me, that I had consumed, was both extremely addictive and mind-altering. Drinking it brought me to think heavily on thoughts of betrayal and delusions of grandeur. You see, Cassandra saw right through my illusion at Bromwich, and hoped that the blood's effects would drive me to murder you all, after all.

"You said you trust me because of what I could have done, but didn't. Nowhere was I more tempted to harm this inquisition than that night. Picture me standing in the rain across the street from the inn, the Romanov blood's magic coursing through my body and poisoning my mind, and the fear of what would happen if Cassandra saw the rest of you alive playing on my imagination. I didn't want that. I didn't want to harm you. But Cassandra must have known I drank it, because that's what convinced her it was still worthwhile to offer me the gift. It wasn't a thirst for power which nearly drove me to do it, but rather, like all things, overwhelming fear. Undite saw that turmoil, and it was her visit that helped steel my commitment to this task even further, so that I didn't turn or run away from it once I was resurrected today." Mariette began to choke up as she realized the growing significance of Undite's visit. "She gave me this grimoire. It belonged to her. She gave Aleister a necklace as well.

"I've been more honest and open with Aleister than anyone on this journey, and to his sincere credit he did try to prevent me from doing practically every wrong thing I did," she admitted. "Had he known that I was about to become a pureblood, he might have even raised the alarm to you, but I didn't tell him until after the fact. I advised him to take the opportunity as well, but he hotly rejected the idea."

Suddenly, she remembered one more detail, as if to make her story that much more incredible. "And one more thing... Undite... She was a vampire, like us, mademoiselle."


Sautekh Nemesor
"As I told you I do not doubt our capabilities to fulfill what lies before us, fragmented as we are. But I will not be making such an attack in the future alone, perhaps when she was a mere vampire, yet not when things have changed so." she replied flatly. "I appreciate your sentiment, I really do, but my anger is currently leveled at the incompetence of the Senior Inquisitor. She is playing right into Mariette's hand." Camille concluded, staring straight ahead yet listening to the sounds of the night to avoid an ambush. She made note of a third set of steps so soon after the rest, which meant they should be of no concern to her. Whoever the shadow was, they were meant to be an ally.
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The Demon Fanatic
As Aleister walked away into the darkness, Valeria sighed. The inquiry was barely holding together. She pondered just how things would have gone had Father Weston been here. He was a charismatic man, and was far better with people than she was. She was more of the type to do things herself, often alone. Sometimes there would be another inquisitor, but usually only one. Not a whole group like this. That was more Weston's thing.

Camille wasn't helping. Her anger and ego were getting in the way of things, and she firmly believed that all vampires were evil and most were out to get her when it just wasn't true. Valeria had encountered enough to know it wasn't. Camille seemed the type to not care, and simply slay them the moment she set eyes on them. And if there weren't vampires in the group with them, she'd likely turn her hatred on Ethraeil or Rosanna simply because they were undead too. The snide remarks from Erwin didn't help either. The man seemed to bear a grudge against the world as well as the gods, and was downright hateful at times.

Mariette seemed to be mostly an opportunist, jumping at chances to improve her status in the world when she could. Her jumping at the chance to become a pureblood proved that, even if she turned around and betrayed Cassandra and the Duke afterwards. She only told Aleister about it, too. Another vampire. She didn't bother telling any of the rest of the group. Not even Jakob or Rosanna, whom had been some of the nicest people to her and had even vocally supported her during the inquiry.

She made a mental note to apologize to Aleister for what she said earlier, since Aleister did state virtually the same things that Mariette had said during their time in the basement.

Mariette soon stepped forwards, unloading quite a lot of information on Valeria all at once. The encounter with Morgane, whom actually was the goddess Undite in the flesh. The grimoire that she had given her, which looked absolutely ancient. The drinking of the Romanov blood in the vial that Cassandra had given her, and the warning from Undite about it. Everything flowed forth unto Valeria, whom tried to take it all in as best she could.

But the two main things that stood out in her mind. "Undite is alive? And she's a vampire?" she asked, both shocked and confused by this information. Undite was supposed to have been long dead, having died before Taranoch's escape from the Abyss and the beginning of the Age of Darkness. Instead, she's wandering about under the false name Morgane. And apparently she's a vampire, of all things. It was honestly hard to believe, but the book that Mariette had shown her looked very much like the book that Undite was often shown with in her sculptures and paintings. She'd have to see the necklace she had supposedly given Aleister.

Rosanna spoke up. "Undite? A bloodsucker?...ya know, I always did think she look'd kinda pale in her portraits. And ya know...the whole...eye cover thing." she said, before motioning to her face.


Servant Supreme
Mariette simply nodded in response to Valeria's reaction. "I believe she contacted us for two reasons. First, whatever is going on here on this island is of grave importance to our world. The fact that she openly admitted that the magic used to turn Cassandra and I into purebloods is unknown even to the gods seems rather alarming. But also, if you inquisitors were to have been wiped out today... it almost assuredly would have been my fault. I suppose she intervened in the way which would be most beneficial at that particular moment."
Galina woke up with a twitch, instinctively reaching for her right holster. As she did the pain from her wounded shoulder kicked in- making her grit her teeth and roll her head backwards.
She took a deep breath and looked up, noticing that she was sitting behind Rosanna.

"Rosanna... What happened? Did we get Cassandra?"


The Demon Fanatic
"...I'm thankful that she intervened in the way she did, then." responded Valeria, nodding. She'd have to say a prayer to Undite tonight. Valeria thought for a few moments, trying to process all this information she had so far. Eventually, she spoke again. "The Duke being the root of the problem is certainly a shocking one. He has been an upstanding man for years, serving Atraca loyally here on Grimtham. What would turn such a man to do what he's doing now? The Colonel being aligned with him in this is also surprising, as is the fact that his men are werewolves. Perhaps its another one of the Duke's conversions?" said Valeria, before going quiet for a moment.

"...A ring was used to turn you into a pureblood, correct?" she finally asked, looking to Mariette. "Obsidian, with an emerald gemstone in it?" She had no recollection of such an object in the Church texts. At least those she was able to read. There were certain documents on artifacts that were classified to the upper levels of the Inquisiton or Church, and there was also information outright missing from the archives. "...it might be an artifact from the ancient era, or from the Age of Darkness. Quite a lot of information from those two eras is missing."

Rosanna glanced back as she heard Galina speak up. "Nah, Cassandra scooted off with Wesley. Erwin and Jakob were captured too. Mariette rescued you from some cavalry before you could be dragged off with 'em. We're gonna go get our stuff and chase after them."


Big loaf supreme
Theodore followed after the others. Choosing not to not to say anything while Mariette spoke. Her words matched with what Aleister said. But given his own reservations towards the priest, he couldn't help but wonder if it was rehearsed in case of the plan backfiring on them. The pompous dandy had already fallen low in his eyes with the blatant hypocrisy in regards to the lich's abilities on display combined with the threat of physical violence and pulling years of service as if they indicated some form of rank and pecking order.

Camille, while a high-horse noble herself, was in her right to be angry and hateful. Duels mean death in Escaria. He knows it, she knows it and Mariette certainly knew it. If the now pureblood wanted to humiliate her, she could have simply proven her wrong in the eyes of the inquiry by attacking Cassandra outright, it would have worked as so many are prime to flip on Camille for the obtuse noble demeanor. Instead she chose a fight to the death where she would pull her punches and still have a high risk of injury or crippling her for life. The absolute stupidity that can only come from high society and vampirism made him rub his temples as he gave up on her.

There was some soul searching that he needed to do after this night. He wanted to believe that those struck by the curse of abnormality could be integrated and brought back into society, but yet again fate decided to provide him with examples of why that couldn't be true. He shook his head for a second. Those conclusions came from his emotional side. The irrational part that pushes him to take actions he would regret. What he attributes to Aleister, can be found in just about any human and even what Mariette had done could be attributed to the worst of the nobility. In this same group the lich and the dullahan exist to provide counter-arguments for the bleak conclusions. Even Galina's own comrades in the cold wastes serve as examples.

Whatever the truth of that argument may be, he shouldn't start it up with anyone. Not now. Enough arguing was had already for tonight, the month even. But he knew who's names he would cross off the list of trusted members of the inquiry.


"Slay the Beast."
Wesley's eyes open up in fear as Cassandra made her way towards him. frightened by what she was about to do to him. he immediately looked everywhere the room for an opening or an equalizer to help him escape the barn. however his expressions became puzzled when Cassandra gave her a warm smile instead and checked if he had any cuts or bruises. Wesley was a bit quiet at first but he had the incentive to go on.

"I'll say that my cheek is still hurting from the backhand you gave me" Wesley said while stroking his sore left cheek. he then returned his gaze back towards Cassandra.

"But, I don't understand. why did you bring me here and treated me as if I meant a lot to you?"
Ethraeil listened to Camille's grievances towards the Inquiry as he rode beside her, taking in her words before formulating a response. "In her eyes, she's trying to keep the group together. And in such dire times, unity is sorely needed." Ethraeil remarked, "A difficult task for any person, even if they had charisma on their side." He stared ahead as he spoke, paying attention to the road ahead while maintaining his conversation. "Think of it this way then, if losing one life is too high a price, then you ought to stay and work with us for the time being. No matter your differences nor grievances with others, because right now there are lives at stake. Would you want Wesley, Erwin or Jakob to suffer because of the group's lack of unity and direction?"

Ethraeil felt a bit strange mentioning the captured members of the Inquiry. He didn't usually form connections or bonds with those near him, for good reason too, but in this case it was... different. "I urge you, Camille. Do not make the same mistakes I made. It will only bring you suffering and torment for the rest of your days."
From the sound of it, Ethraeil and Camille seemed to be having a fair conversation. There was no shouting or yelling, and the marquess hadn't stormed further off into the forest away from the lich. That was fortunate. As for himself, he wasn't so sure where he stood anymore with some of the members of the group. While Camille still had some serious problems, he at least understood them despite her ridiculous fanaticism on the concept of vampires. Erwin was, well, not so different from the other occasions he interacted with him, and Theodore... Theodore had shown his true madness with his desire to resort to necromancy. Quack scholars were not a foreign concept to him. He expected that having an academic in the group would allow for some level headed decisions, but the man fast became a babbling lunatic. He was an embarrassment.

Mariette was an entirely different situation. He wasn't even sure if she would tolerate him anymore as he refused to go along with her plans, and he had hoped that due to her age and status that she would have had more... maturity. Perhaps he was too naive, or simply asking for too much. The situation was clearly dire if he was finding himself aligning with a woman who would sooner commit atrocity after atrocity against his kind than recognize herself for being wrong.

If anything, they needed to focus on recovering their lost team members. Jakob was too good of a man to lose, and Wesley was, well, just a boy. He expected that someone as inexperienced as him would fall rather early, but that was no reason to leave him behind. And Erwin was better off dead like many others, but again, he was an inquiry member and he would have to deal with the consequences of his own soul for not helping save the man.

Another issue was the obvious one. The Duke. He had plans to overthrow the nations and destroy the church to establish, presumably, some sort of vampiric empire. It was... terrifying, and not because he didn't desire a state for his people. Any type of usurpation of the current governments by vampires would lead to pure and utter mayhem not seen in centuries. The humans would fight bitterly until they could be cowed, and once they were, generations of resentment would be bred through them. A vampiric empire would collapse, and not peacefully.

What they needed was an independent state of their own. It was a radical idea, but one he found comforting and reasonable. A place for vampires to truly call home. If it was on the continent, then that would likely cause a great deal of concern and likely war, but some location further north, or south, in the darker and colder lands should be sufficient. Or some islands somewhere.

If the Duke ruined that dream, then perhaps vampires truly were cursed.


The Demon Fanatic
Cassandra winced when Wesley revealed that his cheek was still hurting. "I'm really sorry." she said, reaching up to touch his face. She hesitated though, and pulled her hand back. "Its...You remind me of something." She eventually sat back, staring off into space. "...memories are a funny thing, you know. I can't remember much of my...my old life. Its all fuzzy...and it gets fuzzier as time goes on."

She went quiet for a moment, before continuing as she glanced to Wesley. "...I can't even remember what my father or mother looked like...or my friends...the blood, you see. The Romanov blood...its so delectible, and I just can't get enough of it." she said, with a smile. Her eyes, however, showed a far different emotion. "The blood...it puts a fire in you, but it clouds the mind. And I've had so much of it...I'm losing myself. Well...what little of myself that I had after changing."

She turned to face him. "...Yes, you mean a lot to me. Its because you remind me of someone I cared about a long time ago. Every time I see you, memories surface that I just...just can't remember normally. I can't place who you remind me of...but I know I cared about them deeply."


Sautekh Nemesor
Despite the lich's kind words it was obvious that Camille would harbor anger toward their reactions to her concerns, even now her gaze was only growing more intense as she kept playing the scene back in her mind. "Insulting me so thoroughly when my life was threatened is not a way to keep unity. If anything she's displayed that Mariette won't be properly dealt with until someone has been killed by her hands. Already openly threatening a life has been shown to be insufficient evidence, so I fail to see how we can be reactive beyond that." she explains, shaking her head in disagreement. "Though despite that all of you still have my cooperation. This mission is bigger than me, I see no reason not to admit that, but my concerns are still valid - and with recent events my suspicions about Mariette have been confirmed."

It seemed like she completely ignored his concerns for her and the other members of the inquiry that had been captured, but her head tilted down ever so slightly as she continued her walk. "We will save them, and I know not to let my hatred consume me. It only fuels me, and there are many times that I can act with a clear mind to make the right choice should a situation call for it." There was another pause, and eventually she turned her head to look at Ethraeil proper, his skeleton form not so much as getting her to wince in disgust like one would expect. "You saved me twice over back there. I would not even be able to tell you these thoughts and concerns had you not stepped in. Mariette will say that she had no intent to kill me but... her eyes and demeanor told me otherwise." Camille explains, turning her head back to the path once more. "Thank you."
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Ethraeil kept his gaze to the road ahead as Camille continued to speak, but he did keep attention to what she spoke of. He was slightly taken aback at Camille's gratitude, as this was something he had not really received for what seemed like eternity. "...you do not need to thank me, but I appreciate it nonetheless."

In truth, while Camille spoke of controlling her anger he could not help but feel cautious. "Hate and anger are endless wellsprings of tumultuous waters... these emotions would pretend to bend under your will in order to be released from their cages. They cloud your mind... your judgment...

When I lost everything, when my grief ran dry all that I was left with in my heart was exactly that... rage. My relentless need for vengeance, even in my pitiful state, made me blind for what was to come. And when the darkness whispered promises of power to deliver my vengeance, I accepted without hesitation. And power I did receive, as you can see, power beyond my wildest dreams to accomplish my rightful vengeance. I would use it to avenge all that had been taken from me: my liege, my love, and my son. Slowly I continued to grow in power, my relentless anger fueling me, in order to accomplish my goal, committing unspeakable atrocities along the way... and when I finally razed the capital and slaughtered all of its wicked inhabitants... when I held the tyrant king's head in my hand... for a brief, flicker of a moment I felt vindicated...

Then that's when I realized I had been betrayed by the same 'ally' that had given me this power in the first place. And so I had traded my freedom for power in the name of revenge. Leading me to enter even darker depths of malice, evil, and rage."


Professional Argentine
Inside the moving carriage, Jakob could hear laughter and joking from the nearby cavalry men. He knew what was about to happen to him and his companion. They were going to toy with their prey before killing them. During that short glimpse that Jakob saw the Colonel, he could see that his fellow companion was none other than Erwin. It was a bit funny that the person he was gonna die next to was a man whom he didn't like a single bit. But that didn't mean he couldn't be friendly with him.

"You know, Van der Pol, the moment you raised your gun at me, I wanted to shoot you. And I still want to punch you for it. I don't know what the devil got into you at that moment. All I wanted to do was to give my respects to Mariette. She didn't deserve the fate that was thrust upon her at that moment, yet all you wanted to do was defy me and Aleister for no good reason..." Jakob grew quiet for a moment, thinking over their situation. Then finally, he smiled and let out a chuckle. "Not that it matters anyways. She's alive now...guess we aimed at each other over nothing. And now, here we are...riding to our deaths." His tone grew more somber, and serious. "...I hope my family will be fine without me, and I hope Valeria, Rosanna, and Aleister stop whatever is happening." He then paused for a moment, before speaking again. "...If we're gonna die, we go down fighting, right?"


Sautekh Nemesor
Camille smirked inwardly at the mention of the temptations his anger lead him on, finding little relevance to how such things would affect her in the future. "Things are different, in my case. No matter what I am doing, or any path I am on, I would never accept power that would appear to be given so freely." she replies, conviction evident in her voice. "The entirety of my life is spent pushing myself beyond the limitations of my skill and physical prowess, and in a way it is the only thing that truly gives me... life. I do not make difficult choices or do battle because they come easy to me, I do them because they are difficult beyond reason."

"Were I in your position, or any position similar, I would decline any opportunity to go beyond my mortal limitations. They define me, and they are not a burden but a strength. Mariette thinks herself brave or thoughtful for seeing that death can come at any moment, but I have been acutely aware of such things ever since my first duel, and again with my first battle against a vampire." The Escarian huntress shuts her eyes, drawing in a deep breath before exhaling. "The second I forget why I fight and go with the easy way out, it would be my death. I would rather suffer an end over a mistake in combat rather than breeze through battles with ease, only to walk an eternal and empty existence on this earth. My life... All life, it is a precious thing. We are meant to change the world in whatever way we can in the short span we tread upon it, and if we are lucky we can leave behind a legacy. Yet to exist beyond our allotted time, to extend it for power or vanity, you always suffer a price that no mortal is ever meant to cope with."

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