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Hunter's Moon [IC] [CLOSED]

"Your words ring true, yet so long as my own quarry lives and my endgame unfinished, I will continue to suffer the consequences of my past. It is a burden that I carry with me every moment of my existence, and when the time comes, and the chips are down, I will repay all my years of suffering in kind as debt is repaid for a loan. The root cause of all my suffering will know what I have felt and only then..." Ethraeil said, a spite increasing in his voice before pausing and closing his eyes to calm himself.

"Only then will I relieve Taranoch of his head."
 

Radley

Aeroflot supreme
There was a moment of silence before Erwin responded. "Don't talk to me about respect or about being deserving, copper. Were the world to work that way, I'm sure somebody would have come along and shut your mouth with a slug of lead long before I ever leveled my firearm on you."
There was another brief moment silence, which was filled with the spinning of wheels against dirt and the breathing of horses before Erwin spoke again. "You, the countess and especially that snotnosed preacher are all something I despise as much as I do werebeasts and bloodsuckers. You're meddlers. You but your noses into business you have no reason dealing with." He growled in his bassy, low voice.

Yet again, there was a silence. And now for a considerable amount of time, as if Erwin was monologuing internally.
"But you can be sure we're gonna go out fighting. I didn't come this far just to fall victim to some weaklings death" Erwin said suddenly, now with an almost angry tone.

"This world hasn't seen the last of William Van Cleef."
 
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EdwardDewey98

Professional Argentine
Hearing the deep voice of Erwin made Jakob feel a bit more comfortable with the situation, despite Erwin's hostility, opinion on Jakob and the vampires, and the revelation of his real name. Jakob felt like he was a fellow soldier in this endeavour. "Meddler? Well...fuck you too." he responded, with a laugh. "It'll be a pleasure to fight next to you, then, Van Cleef."
 

EdwardDewey98

Professional Argentine
Jakob turned his head in William's general direction. His tone was different than from any other time. Jakob could tell there were emotions mixing in with those words. "What's your real story?" he asked nonchalantly. "I mean...we may be about to die, so I'd like to hear who you really are before that. Have a positive memory or something of you if the divine welcome us."
 

Dmaster

Sautekh Nemesor
The huntress remained silent as Ethraeil continued to speak, his ethereal voice serving as a backdrop for this impromptu hike through the wilderness. "Well I hope you find your peace one day." she says with a somber tone, providing yet another set of words that might come as a shock to those that know Camille.

"I pity all of you undead, really. Ambitious people tempted to dark paths by their circumstance, driven to madness as their afflictions carves out their very souls. Hunters do not only save lives of the people such creatures prey on, but they grant the afflicted the peace of a true end."
 

Radley

Aeroflot supreme
"I am William of the highland clan of Van Cleef. I have lived under another name ever since I exacted my revenge 19 years ago. But there are still things to be done, before I can consider myself finished."

William breathed slowly as he seemed to choose his words. "I am the last of the clan. My mother and father were killed by a disgusting Daristein count by the name of Erhlander. He had returned for his supposed land. Land my ancestors rightly claimed in the highland rebellion."

He paused yet again to let out a sigh. "I lived with a friend of my fathers until I came of age, when I sought employment at the counts estate as a gamewarden under another false name. For 4 years I lived with that low-down, cowardly butcher. I befriended their daughters and even earned their noble sigil as a thanks for saving his wife from a werewolf. Now, with their sigil on my arm, I was eligable to claim back my ancestors land." Williams voice seemed to get more pressed as went on.

"So I set the manor ablaze in the dead of the night, burning that devil and his ilk alive as they slept." He continued with gritted teeth before seemingly taking a pause to calm down.
"They had no other family, and I am the only one who possess their heraldric emblem. In another year, I can claim the land by spiritual succession. Let the history books record that if you stab a Van Cleef, you better look him in the eye to make sure the soul leaves his body."
 
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EdwardDewey98

Professional Argentine
Jakob remained quiet. He had strong opinions on revenge, but he understood why William acted the way he did. Who wouldn't want to enact revenge on those who took everything away from you? Jakob learned to be the better man. The war taught him that, but not everyone had the same chance to evolve as a person. "...And now look where we are. No rest for the wicked, eh?" he asked.
 

Radley

Aeroflot supreme
"You're not wicked, Phillomon. You're just a grieving father and veteran. What are you doing here exactly? You have a family and a home. Yet here you are, meddling." William scoffed.

"Your attitude and your demeanor makes me think that had you lived my life, you would have cracked under its weight, leaving you broken and hollow."

"You and I are nothing alike."
 
Ethraeil chuckled in response to Camille, a hint of bitterness speckled in his tone. "I will only find peace when hell freezes over and I tear down the wall's of the Prime Evil's abyssal kingdom. After all, I have an eternity of accomplish this."
 

EdwardDewey98

Professional Argentine
Jakob let out a chuckle as he listened to the brigand. "Have you considered that its my job to get involved in other people's business? I'm a constable after all!" he asked, jokingly, before continuing. "You're right in a way... Had I experienced your life, I'd be a different man. But we are similar in that we've both faced a situation that made us see the world in a different perspective." He then added. "You embraced your anger and hatred because that's the only thing you knew at the moment."

He then looked down. "At one point in my life, I was as wicked as you are. Fed up with the world that forced me to shoot my own best friend. That forced me to kill several young men that just wanted a better life. The world took away my only son...but what truly makes us different, William, is that I learned from others to be a better man. I learned from many wise people whom helped me in my moments of weakness and anger...my wife taught me to be strong, my son taught me to see the beauty in life...my best friend taught me to understand those that are different. You didn't have that chance, William." he said, before pausing for a moment. "...I could help you see things differently."

He then let out a chuckle. "Or you can just tell me to fuck off. I'm fine with both right now, really."
 

Infab

The Demon Fanatic
The journey back to Tresomin took several hours, the sun beginning to rise by the time the group reached where they had made camp. The town looked relatively the same, just with a notable lack of mercenaries or soldiers. The group cleaned up, changing clothes and tending to their wounds if they had any, before packing their gear and setting out back towards where the Colonel and his platoon had gone with their captured comrades.

A new carriage was acquired to carry Aleister inside, but Mariette was now able to spend her day in the sunlight for the first time in a long time. It felt truly wonderful, really. No fear of burning to death in the light of the dawn. Rosanna ended up having to drive the carriage, hitching her horse to the rear of the carriage, and shared the bench with Mariette if she wanted to remain out in the sunlight. Meanwhile, the rest rode their horses as usual, with the notable addition of Ethraeil riding an undead horse still. Valeria had stopped caring about public opinion regarding the Lich. He had earned his place in the sun in her book.

The journey south shifted from plains to hills, then to forests, then to the waterfilled swamps of the area surrounding Porthcrawl Bay. The swamp itself was said to be filled with various kinds of creatures and insects only found in Grimtham. It was also said to be home to the mythical weregator. A legend of sorts, really, as there weren't any gators this far north in Atraca. The group would have to make camp again, finding a nice dry location to set up.

Meanwhile, the Colonel and his men also made camp for the night. Erwin/William and Jakob were fed just enough to keep their strength up, as a half-dead fox wasn't as fun as a healthy one.
 
Galina wrinkled her nose as the smell from the swamp got worse. "I didn't know there existed a place with a smell fouler than the sewers of Tsavania."

She patted Boris on the head and looked at Theodore. "Would you care to guess just how many flammable gasses there are out here?"
 

Breadman

Big loaf supreme
Theodore chuckled.

"Almost makes me question if throwing a bomb would be a good idea. Maybe just the incendiaries." He took a look around the swamp and took in some of the delightful scenery. The smell was bad, she was right, but not as bad, he thought. "I suggest you stay away from our capital's outskirts if the smells here aren't to your liking. Sewer is drained right into the river."
 

Krypanzer

Dota 2 has a lot of peenoise
Wesley listened to what every word that Cassandra was saying to him. Even though she is considered a major threat towards Wesley and The Inquiry. He still continued to listen to the vampire. once she was done. Wesley replied.

"I see.. Miss Witlock told me how you used to be an inquisitor who was turned. and was left for dead.. I'd say that you met a tragic fate." Wesley sat up brought his knees close as he returned his gaze towards the vampire

"But... It seems that you want me to join you. to help you cope with what your dealing with?"
 

K0mori

Servant Supreme
Thankfully, Mariette's mule and possessions were left behind at camp, and so prepping for the road ahead was as simple as hitching the beast up to the new carriage and changing back into her travelling gear. The only other thing Mariette needed, besides a bath, was a haircut, since Erwin had ruined her previous look out of spite.

Having spent so many years in seclusion, unable to access ordinary services on the town, and even then a few decades without personal servants to take their place, Mariette had learned to cut and style her own hair. When she returned from her bath, she looked as if no one had ever mishandled her remains.

It was a question Mariette would avoid asking. Who wanted to bring me back? Who wanted to bury me? Burn me? Who cut my hair, and why?

The truth was actually somehow worse than she imagined, and if Mariette were to ever find out what Theodore had suggested, she would have a hard time avoiding a violent retaliation. As it was, she simply maintained no further faith or trust in the inquisitors. With the exception of Valeria, Rosanna, and possibly one or two others, prejudice ran far too deep for logic to penetrate.

For example, the assertion that a duel between two Escarians was certain to result in death was misleading at best, and more realistically, spurious. Unless times really had changed since Mariette was last in the circles of nobility, duels could end in a variety of ways, so long as the instigator is either humbled or satisfied. Mariette had personally witnessed her late husband defeat a rather troublesome baron at swordplay once, disarming the churlish lad after taking several stabs from the tip of his rapier. Once the young man begged for his life, Auguste laughed and released him unharmed.

Regardless of her efforts at Bromwich and after her ressurection, Camille was daft enough to believe that Mariette wanted to kill her, or perhaps she was simply that malignant, that she would spread such a word in hopes it would get Mariette killed. And it did, briefly. And this was after Mariette had told her that she wouldn't kill her, and sought her satisfaction in having the woman at her mercy. Mad woman. Utterly hopeless, Mariette thought. At the same time, she also knew she would no longer haunt Camille. Such an evil, hate-consumed mind had no foundation upon which to build understanding.

On the other hand, Mariette's hard hearted opinion of the lich, Ethraeil, was beginning to soften. He had made a point to mention that he had mistaken Mariette for Cassandra at that critical moment. At a time in which others were excusing the lynching as a reasonable precaution, Ethraeil needn't say anything unless his conscience was truly bothering him. Perhaps she really was more than a "parasite" in his eyes, or lack there of.

And finally, there was Aleister. She was growing weary of his air of superiority. She had acknowledged his worldliness, his wisdom, and his patience, despite his shamelessness and rather lascivious demeanor toward younger men. In return, he seemed to regard her as a disappointment more than anything else. What had begun as a friendship now appeared to be withering away.

Mariette had fallen asleep a few times while riding on the open seat of the carriage. She hadn't fully adjusted to being awake in the daytime, but the warm embrace of the sun made her feel like she was a part of the world again, and safe, even among those who'd rather she suffer and die.
 
Galina grunted. "I'll trust your word, Inquisitor Boivin."

The Tsavanian huntress then pulled her reins in, positioning her next to the carriage. "Countess," she nodded towards Mariette.

"Rosanna told me I have you to thank for saving me from Wallace's men. Despite what you are I'm not too proud a woman to express my gratitude. I would rather spend a lifetime in forced labor than a week in Wallace's care."
Galina placed her right fist above her heart. "Thank you."
 

Infab

The Demon Fanatic
Cassandra's eyes lit up as Wesley suggested her wanting to join him. "Y-Yes! I mean, I could turn you and you could be with me! You'd become immortal...never to age! Immune to disease! You'd be faster and stronger than humans! You could...you could sense things you couldn't normally! Hear and smell things! Your life would be amazing!" she said, appearing a bit excited at the prospect of turning Wesley. "I mean...there are downsides, yes! You couldn't walk in daylight anymore, and you'd have to feed only on blood, but still! M-Maybe the duke would be willing to turn you into a pureblood like me eventually! We could be together for eternity!"

She appeared to genuinely want this, her warm smile reappearing and growing wider. Wesley could faintly see tears forming in her eyes.

-------

After the camp had been set up, members of the group were singled out to keep watch. The dark swamp around them could potentially be filled with more hostile entities than that of the open plains they had slept in before, so Ethraeil was tasked with patrolling instead of sitting still in one spot. While the group prepared for the night, Valeria took the time to pray to her two personal gods, Adona and Velin, before offering a prayer to Undite for the help she had provided. She also apologized to Aleister, when she could, regarding his help after Mariette had been beheaded.

Soon enough, she got comfortable and drifted off to sleep. Rosanna also took the time to get some sleep, even though she didn't need it. She didn't much feel like playing the guitar or doing anything else, and she didn't feel like marching through mud to fish for catfish or anything.
 

K0mori

Servant Supreme
Mariette looked on Galina indifferently. Not too proud to express her gratitude, but just proud enough to remind me she hates my kind while doing so.

"It was nothing. Of course I'd do it again, but do try to be safe, madame," she replied, dully.

---

For once, Mariette felt as if she could sleep through the night, having done her best to stay awake all day. She unfurled her bedroll near the campfire and downed a vial of blood before settling in. "Wake me if anything suspicious happens," she said to no one in particular. "I'll have the easiest time identifying anything that comes near us." She got herself cozy, and then had a moment of introspection. For many years, she had been indifferent to the Divine Church and its message, having felt abandoned when she became a vampire. But then, she met Undite in the guise of a traveler, who steered her away from an evil path. Undite is a vampire... and not only does the Church not acknowledge it, but they hire thugs and murderers like Erwin and Camille to be their agents. Is the Church ignorant of their own goddess? Have they lost their way? Or have they always been a corruption of a more holy ideal..?

She felt sore. Would my life have gone differently if the world had only known that I was like her?

Sleep came soon after.
 

Dmaster

Sautekh Nemesor
Camille felt better after getting out of the bloodied dress that she had worn during the party fiasco, her comfortable hunter gear and another bath were more than enough to relax her better. Though clearly there was still much on her mind, her place on the inquiry brought into question if she could be threatened in that way and have it treated like it was nothing. As valid as her concerns were and had been proven to be she was still treated as paranoid for her harsh opinions. The truth of the matter was that she was never paranoid, she simply thought farther ahead than most inquisitors would like to admit. While Ethraeil's efforts to calm her down were certainly welcome, she was still adamant about how she felt about the situation.

Packing up at Tresomin she was practically a ghost, not responding to any calls for her attention and remaining silent. If they all cared so little for what she had to say she wouldn't grant them anything but her physical cooperation. The cohesion of the group was in a tenuous position as far as she was concerned, and while her words would easily be dismissed she would put her focus into other things. Riding through the swamp she stayed at the back of the group, not saying a word as she stayed within her thoughts.

When it came time for the night watch, she stayed up for hours. She was tossing knives to practice her aim, taking out any residual anger on a stump that was not too far away. There was something therapeutic about having them hit their mark, standing up to retrieve them, and throwing them all over again. Camille would sleep eventually, but not anytime soon.
 

Infab

The Demon Fanatic
Valeria awoke with a start, the sound of a gunshot cracking and echoing through the dark swamp. She looked about, frantically searching for the source of the gunfire. What she found was that the camp was empty. Rosanna, Mariette, Camille, everyone was gone. The camp looked as if everyone just...got up and left. The fire was still going, sleeping bags and blankets were still there. Even the carriage remained where they had parked it. The horses, however, were also missing. Odd. Why would everyone just up and leave her behind?

As she stood and walked about, moving through the center of camp as she checked to see if anything had been disturbed or left behind, she saw movement out of the corner of her eye. She snapped about, instinctively reaching for her revolver and drawing it. Nothing. "Who's there? Show yourself." she ordered, looking about as the grip on her revolver tightened. She cocked the hammer back on it, ready to shoot should something come at her. But nothing did. Instead, she saw more movement and turned to face it.

She found herself looking upon a single figure, perched atop the empty carriage. The figure was clad in black, wearing an old inquisitorial hat. In hand was an older open-top revolver, pointed up towards the sky with its barrel smoking from a recent firing. "Cassandra?" said Valeria, leveling her revolver on the individual. As the person looked towards her, she could see a pair of glowing yellow orbs through the darkness beneath the hat. "Please, Witlock. Don't confuse me for such filth." said a voice. Valeria's eyes widened. Sazak?

The orbs in the blackness moved, looking to Valeria's revolver. "Now...I can lay you out in this swamp, the skin rended from your bones and the scavengers feasting upon your rotting remains..." The cylinder on the revolver in Sazak's hand slowly spun till it audibly clicked, as the hammer on the back was cocked. "...or we can talk." Valeria watched the figure for a moment, before slowly lowering her revolver. Sazak lowered her own a moment later. "Good." she said simply.

"...What do you want, demon?" asked Valeria, tilting her head a bit. This had to be a dream or vision. Still, demons could still kill, even in the confines of one's own mind. "...Its not what I want, Witlock. Its what you want." responded Sazak, her eyes drifting back up to meet Valeria's own.
 
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Breadman

Big loaf supreme
Theodore lay down near the campfire, opposite and away from the vampires. The scholar lay down, resting his head on the pillow and closed his eyes. Trying to force himself to sleep. An hour passed as he tossed and turned in his bedroll, mind racing through the past few days' events and more. His attention was drawn to a faint sound. At first he dismissed it as something in the woods causing the noise. The he heard it again. And again. Almost like a rhythm. Realizing that he was probably having another bout with insomnia anyway, he figured he'd mind as well see what was making that sound.

Completely ignoring Mariette's suggestion to wake her in case of something, he quietly walked off into the dark on his lonesome. The sound became louder and louder until he found the source of the disturbance. Good thing he didn't bother waking the vampire, Camille would probably have tossed several of those knifes at him. The tutor shook his head as he wondered why she chose to do that specific activity at this hour, but when would she otherwise? They would likely be gone by dawn's light.

But if he was going to stay up, he should at least put an effort into something. The latest knife sank inside the stump.

"Nice throw." Theodore calmly commented as he made his presence aware, fully expecting to get a glare or to get ignored outright.
 

Dmaster

Sautekh Nemesor
Camille was abusing the stump with both her hateful gaze and the quills she tossed, her expression flat but her frustration clear from the look in her eyes. When Theodore approached and offered her what seemed to be a genuine compliment, she was not sure how to respond at first, pausing her practicing and staying in silence for some time. "Thanks." was all she said simply, soon standing up on both her feet to retrieve the throwing knives with forceful yanks, then moving back to her own little seat on a rock to continue what she had been doing. Theodore at least understood how she felt about recent events, and she wouldn't expect him to have the logic to know why her concerns were not out of ego or paranoia. For that reason she seemed to tolerate and at least listen to what he was saying.
 
During the ride towards Porthcrawl, Aleister felt rather dejected, sitting in the carriage alone with no one to talk to. Mariette had taken a number of missteps and come out as a pureblood with no consequences, save for a near certain brush with death, and the lich had earned a right to go outside as he wished. He wasn't particularly envious of Mariette and her new found power as much as he was upset at the general situation. Most of the people in the group were less than pleasant to deal with. The mission they were on was a borderline fiasco. And now he didn't even have the comfort of partners in the carriage. So, here he sat, alone and in the dark as the carriage rattled along.

Perhaps he should have been less cautious and principled and simply jumped with Mariette into the arms of the unknown. In hindsight, he would have come out better than not it seemed. While he did feel a sense of duty when it came to working with the inquiry, he couldn't deny he wanted a reward at some point.

The swamps were as dreary as he expected, and he was content that his body didn't quite react to the environment as it would had he been mortal. Sweaty and clammy skin from the murky humidity of a swamp was always positively dreadful, and aside from the climate, there were the annoying insects. Real parasites that had to be dealt with. Mosquitoes, leeches, worms. Of course, not an issue he had to be concerned with any more.

Valeria's apology had done a fair bit to improve his mood. It was nice to know that at least someone still had some respect for him. Or so he liked to think.

By night time, he walked around camp a little bit, though he had no one to talk to. Mariette seemed far too self-absorbed, Camille too sulky, and Valeria and Rosanna too tired. The lich was somewhere probably berating himself, Jakob was gone, and he would sooner drown himself than voluntarily talk with Theodore.

He had moved to the top of the carriage by the time just about everyone was asleep. The ground was unappealing, and he had spent too long chained up inside of the carriage itself. So the top was at least different and liberating. It also gave him a decent view of the surrounding area, so he did his best to keep watch as well. He noticed Camille had wondered off to the perimeter to work off some furious energy, no doubt, and he could just see her through some of the trees throwing her knives at a stump. The sound reminded him of a tiny hatchet chopping wood, and he was soon caught up in a little fantastical daydream until Theodore's movement snapped him out of it.

From his position laying on top of the carriage, Aleister watched the miserable little cretin rise up like a swamp lurk and head over to Camille. Maybe, if he was lucky, the marquess would have found a new target board.
 

Breadman

Big loaf supreme
Theodore felt slightly more relaxed. She responded to him and looked to tolerate him. Now came for the part every Escarian man hates doing. Swallowing his pride.

"I don't want to bore you with what's been going through my head in the past while. But I do owe you an apology. Several in fact. " He unwillingly started to take steps back and forth, a habit he could never shake. "So far during this inquiry, I made comments, made assumptions and you can see what those brought me. You were right about those two. I thought I had them and you figured out from the start of this. And in just a few days" He snapped his fingers "Everything that hasn't been turned upside down is sideways. And for the first time in a very long time, I have no clue where things are gonna go from here. But I digress. What I want is to offer my apologies. So I am sorry for thinking you a spoiled lordling, treating you as such and whatever other transgression I've done ."
 

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