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 Romantic as a Pair of Handcuffs [closed/solo]

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PostSubject: Romantic as a Pair of Handcuffs [closed/solo]   Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:29 pm



Rain fell like dead bullets that turned the snow to slush. They slipped through the underside of Milwaukee in three black sedans, electric engines so they were dead quiet, tinted windows, rolling past boarded up shops and barred up homes in silent procession. She counted them as they blurred past. Liquor store. Gun store. Liquor store. Gun store. Strip club. Gun store. Gun store again. That part of town. Kayla might've said something, but the interior of the car was a cold vacuum, soundless, joyless, and every passing comment shriveled up unanswered in the void. No radio. No nothing.

She pressed her head against the window. At first she'd fought, thrashed the rooms they'd set up for her, lashed out at anyone who came near her, almost killed a guy or two, but they'd beat her, and beat her, and beat her, until she was tame as the rest of them. Sulky, with anger bubbling just below the surface, but tame. The red ribbon chafed against her neck. Callahan had her collared like a dog. And when she wasn't let off her leash, she was expected to sit there, and sit quiet. That's how it went, and she could put up with it and ride along or get locked up back at the Patterson Mansion. Between the two, she'd always choose the road over the agitated restlessness of the old house.

They'd moved all over the place, from the west coast to the east coast and back again, with pit stops in Hong Kong and Delhi and Monrovia, and the next day they'd slip through another portal and be back in some no-name greasy back-alley like this place. She fidgeted with a silver token between dirty fingernails, letting it spin and gravitate over an open palm with thin blue currents streaming over the ridges. Ryan drove, she rode shotgun. Snow wriggled around in the back with Elin sitting stock silent in the opposite seat, matching red string and bad-tempered mug. It was their usual set-up, whenever they went driving like this. They all wore black. Some kind of stupid fucking dress code.

Gang life really was no different from high school.


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PostSubject: Re: Romantic as a Pair of Handcuffs [closed/solo]   Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:59 pm


They parked a few blocks back and scattered. A few words, some points and nods, and that was all the code they needed to know their places. Ryan walked the rest of the way alone, hands stuffed in his pockets and his shoulders hunched up against the rain. Nobody stared long at strangers on this side of town. Everybody kept to their business. That's all they needed.

Ryan found Callahan leaned up against a lamp post just outside the motel. Rivers Pointe Inn was all drawn blinds and flickering neon, the kind of place where you got bedbugs just from looking too long. Twin mattresses, open Bibles, and cockroaches under the dresser. He knew the type. They were always drifting from one town to another, striking deals or busting heads, and he'd almost gotten used to stiff box springs and soiled sheets. Even still, this place looked exceptionally sketchy, with no lights except a crooked vacancy sign that shone like a beacon through the rain, casting a sinister red glow over the decrepit facade.

Callahan kept his head low, flicking a cigarette out from his coat pocket, no greeting except the slightest of nods. Ryan just snapped his fingers, sparking up a small red flame just above his thumb that danced and weaved in the rain. Daniel leaned forward to light it and took a long drag, his one golden eye glowing like an ember in the gloom. "Your buddy sure caused us a big fuckin' mess."

"It's what he was good at." Ryan returned his hand to his pocket, turning his eyes up toward the clouds.

Daniel clicked his tongue against his teeth. "I know," he murmured around the cigarette. "That's what I liked about him." He inhaled and breathed the smoke out back through his nose, before passing the cig into Ryan's fingers.

He flicked the ash off the end of the butt and almost brought it to his lips, but stopped short. Scott wasn't a bad guy, and Mr. Callahan had him offed, but that wasn't anybody's fault but Scott's. There was nothing personal about it. That was just business. Ryan put the lit end of the cigarette out against his own palm. No burning pain, just a light tingle of warmth, and when he tossed it away, no ugly blister, just a black soot ring where he'd snuffed it out. "You should quit these things, you know. There's rat poison in it and shit."

His brow arched just above his eye patch, a light smirk touching the corner of his lips. "Where the hell is this coming from?"

"Just something the new chick was telling me," he laughed. "Give vaping a try. It's better for you."

"I'll take the rat poison." Callahan slipped his hands into his pockets and turned toward the motel. "You know I'm too old-fashioned for that kind of crap." They pressed into the empty lobby, out of the rain, past a blood-splattered reception desk and down the dim lit corridor. Jill fell into rank behind them with a few sweet giggles, flicking crimson droplets from her fingertips as they snaked up the stairwell, then Elin Naess in stony silence, the young girl's lip curled in disgust. No Katherine. Things like this required delicacy, and the old man didn't want her anywhere near here. Elodie stood at the other end of the hall with her hands folded in front of her. Her honey-colored hair had been tousled by the wind and rain, but she had a way of making it all look intentional. He'd never seen her have a bad hair day, even when they were all covered in blood and guts.

Room three-twenty-four. The number was screwed in crooked, and the brass was chipped. "Are we feeling lucky, Miss Motte?"

Elodie dipped her head, eyes closed in serene affirmation. Her smile never flickered. "I have sensed no troubles, Monsieur." She had a pale, polished, china doll sort of look, the kind that'd make any red-blooded guy in the world freeze and choke on their own breath. He only caught himself staring when that liquid gaze turned on him to melt his insides, and Ryan turned his head toward any direction but hers, as if he'd been admiring the generic paintings hoisted on the walls the whole time. "Whenever you are ready to proceed, Monsieur, I shall follow. Master Patterson is already inside making pleasantries."

"Showtime." Callahan turned the knob, flicking one last glance at the three figures gathered outside the door, and slipped inside with Elodie at his heels. Room three-twenty-four's door slammed shut behind them.


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PostSubject: Re: Romantic as a Pair of Handcuffs [closed/solo]   Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:53 pm



Curtains drawn. Mildew creeping down the walls. The carpet looked shredded and water damaged. His eye flicked from one corner to the other, to Motte behind and Patterson ahead, and the four strangers scattered throughout the cramped motel room. Daniel strode to Patterson's side, flashing them a thin smile. Four adults. There was a
dark woman on the corner of the bed, a monstrous snake curled around her shoulders like a scarf, a tall well-built man out by the window, wifebeater, camo pants, and combat boots, his ruddy beard split down near the corner of his lips from some old wound, plus some slender Asian kid in track pants that couldn't be much older than nineteen or twenty, thick rimmed glasses perched on the edge of his nose. There was no sign of the girl. Just a man in the center of the room, teakwood skin and thick dreadlocks, eyes hidden behind a pair of shades.

When he opened his mouth to speak, Daniel caught a glimpse of his crooked, yellow teeth. "It's no king's suite," he drawled apologetically with a spread of his hands, every word flavored with the spices of the Caribbean. The tingle beneath his eye patch told him the accent was faked. "But I hope you understand the need for modesty. Our kind, we must keep our heads down if we can help it. They call me Anansi. These are my friends, Maya," he gestured to the snake woman, who didn't look up from her pet, "Ivar, and Moon Si-woo."

Motte smiled, like she always smiled, and nodded her head. "We are pleased to meet you. Please meet our lieutenant, Monsieur Callahan, and Monsieur Patterson, a close business partner of our operation."

The man with the dreadlocks cut her off with a silent wave of his hand, a hint of smugness lighting up his yellow smile. "And you would be Elodie Delphine Motte. Yes, I know who you are as well." Daniel fought to not show the hostility in his face, even as Motte's expression flickered in sudden confusion. Patterson might as well have been carved from stone. He always had a way of looking unimpressed. "I will admit I had hoped to speak with your Agrona herself."

He could've burst out laughing at that, but Patterson cut in with razor tones before he could lose his composure. "Where's the girl?"

Anansi laughed, a deep, bubbling, hearty laugh, a laugh that bordered on mockery, like there was some big joke hanging over the whole room that only he was smart enough to understand it. "Always getting down to business, as I have seen, Adam Patterson. You should relax. Smile more. Spend more time with your son."

Patterson's expression didn't change except for the subtle downturn of his lips into a hard frown.

What kind of clown had they been set up with? Daniel stepped forward, thumbs hooked through his belt loops, still smiling. "My employer doesn't appreciate her time being wasted, Mr. Anansi," he interjected. Maya's snake coiled further around her neck, its forked tongue flicking through the air, twice as long as any tongue he'd ever seen on any kind of animal. A closer look revealed eight black, beady eyes ridged up along its snout, like a spider. "And neither do I. You told our associates you were ready to talk."

"We are talking right now, are we not?" Anansi said. "I arranged this meeting so we could negotiate in good faith. Please, your patience."

Lies. He felt his eye glow, a red hot web of pain spreading out behind his patch and ringing through to the back of his skull. What happened to no troubles? His eye flicked over to Elodie, but she looked even more lost than the rest of them. "Don't inconvenience me, Mr. Anansi. Tell me the truth. Is she here in Milwaukee?"

His eyes glinted from behind his sunglasses. "This girl... Lilith, you've named her? She is of much interest to your organization, I understand. As she is to ours. Truly fascinating, to possess mastery over more than one gift... I have never seen anything like it. You have created a true marvel." He pressed his middle finger to his thumb, leaning closer. "Such a specimen is priceless."

"Priceless? I don't think so. Everybody has a price." Daniel's grin widened, leaning against the wall. "Name what you want in exchange. Anything."

Anansi chuckled. "I have heard your Agrona is a wish-granter. But this Lilith, her blood is more valuable than all the gold and guns in the world. You cannot buy her back with trinkets."

"Unfortunately, she belongs to our employer."

"A runaway. And so young. Surely you can empathize with that, Daniel Callahan?" Anansi stepped back, steepling his fingers. Daniel felt a tinge of nausea creep up his throat. Something about this guy gave him a bad feeling in his gut. "She chose us. I cannot in good conscience turn a helpless orphan over to be simply disposed of. Especially not one so precious."

"Monsieur, surely you do not think so low of us?" Elodie blinked, feigning pale shock. She played the bit perfectly, and he might've almost been convinced himself if it weren't for the pounding headache the dishonesty gave him. "What monsters would hurt an innocent child?"

"Elodie Motte, as you glimpse things yet to come, I see things in reverse." He touched his finger to his temple, and Daniel fingered for the knife on his belt. "And I have seen much about this child's life. These gifts of hers, they once belonged to others. I know well what kind of people you are." Anansi sat himself down on the edge of the bed. "You asked me for my price, Daniel Callahan. All I wish is to work alongside you. I wish to study her. I want to unlock the secrets of our blood, the potential we all hold."

Daniel smirked. "You want a piece of the pie?" he said. "A look into our research? That's it?"

"That's. It." Anansi spread his fingers. " In return, we offer our services to your Agrona, whatever she may require. I believe that is fair, Daniel Callahan, and I know you are a fair man. Lilith is with my people at the cemetery off Lake Drive. We can visit her together there, as partners."

He eyed him in silent expectation of another flash of pain, staring as trying to x-ray straight through his skull and into his innermost thoughts, but nothing. The truth... She was here. Daniel exchanged glances with Motte and Patterson before extending a gloved hand to the man with dreadlocks. "This has been a productive talk, Mr. Anansi. Can I get a moment to speak with my friends here outside?"

Anansi grasped his hand and shook it. "Of course, Daniel Callahan. Of course."

The three people in black turned and wordlessly filed out of room three-twenty-four, letting the door close gently behind them with a winding crrrrrrreeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaakkk. Daniel fixed a do not disturb sign onto the old brass knob and slipped his hands into his pockets, turning to saunter down the passageway. "Naess, lock it." Elin spread her fingers, pinpricks of light growing from the tips of her nails like beads of mercury, webbing into gossamer threads as she pulled her hands apart. She crossed her arms and whipped them out, and the wires flung out like whips, chaining across the entrance way and blocking the four strangers inside. "Ryan, close the deal."

Ryan snapped his fingers, without expression, watching the flame spread and wreathe down his hand, and pressed it to one of the tacky paintings of a garden pinned up on the wall. It went up with a whoosh, falling off its hangers and onto the old dirty carpet, spreading like a wave down the hallway. Daniel didn't turn around to watch the place burn, but he felt the heat on his back as he stepped back out into the rain, a golden glow reflected in the rippling puddles outside as he strolled back toward his car. The others scattered back to their other positions, or walked their own pace, leaving him alone as he took the long way around, tailed only by the last echoes of Snow's giggles ringing through the rain. Then silence. Sweet silence.

"Well played, Daniel Callahan. I must say, well played."

Daniel stopped mid-step, not looking up from the sleet-slicked asphalt. He was slow to raise his head, half-turning toward the direction of the voice behind him. Anansi was just a formless silhouette until he stepped beneath the light of a street lamp, half his face charred, bleeding, gaping open where his cheek should have been. At least he saved his hair, he noted dryly.

"Mastery over fire is one of our kind's most precious gifts. Few realize it. The young Patterson's flames can burn up to twelve hundred degrees Celsius, did you know? Water boils at one hundred degrees. I was lucky to get away when I did. Without Si-woo, my friends and I would be dust."

His only answer was the crack of a gunshot. Daniel slipped his revolver out from his coat, cocked back the hammer, and squeezed the trigger once, twice, three times. Anansi stumbled back, smoke pouring out from the holes in his jacket. He opened his mouth, to speak or scream or choke out one last word, and Daniel shot him again, and again, and again, until the gun clicked and the last of the casings were clattering against the concrete. A gun slipped out from the dead man's hands, dropping into a puddle unfired.

Wasn't that the saddest thing?

Anansi finally toppled over. And after a skipped heartbeat, he sat up again, rubbing at the dark stain spreading down his front.

"I thought you were supposed to be some kind of seer."

"That was the gift I was born with. My mama called it the Sight. And I have sought other blessings, at great cost to myself..." Anansi struggled to his feet, on shaking legs. "This is my regeneration. I obtained a blood sample from a like-minded man, but it is not perfect. The process is delicate, and I still have much to learn from this young girl..." Daniel popped out the cylinder and slipped in another bullet. "She is truly marvelous..."

He put the next one right between his eyes, splitting open his sunglasses at the bridge. Anansi's head snapped back, and he didn't have much more to say after that. After a few still moments, Daniel turned on his heel and kept walking, his breath billowing out in front of him in a white cloud as he fingered for another cigarette, but nothing. That punk threw out the last one he had with his rat poison bullshit. The shit I put up with...
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PostSubject: Re: Romantic as a Pair of Handcuffs [closed/solo]   Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:20 pm


Elin had long grown numb to the scent of sulfur and charred flesh. You couldn't escape it among these animals, especially the Pattersons, but who was she to judge? This was the world they inhabited. She just pulled her scarf up over her nose as the smoke began to pour out from beneath the door and the rest of her comrades went slipping down the hall, leaving her alone as the walls of heat closed in on her.

It was foolish to linger too long. The building already looked like it had been on the verge of collapse even before Patterson had put a torch to it. But ever since her insubordination in Seattle and the Academy, she savored any solitude they granted her, even if it only were for a few heartbeats. She pulled at the red cord around her neck, casting uneasy glances toward her shadow flickering across the wall. Even then, she doubted if she were truly alone, even in her dreams.

She had gotten off easier than most. Some of her other conspirators paid a far worse price, far worse than death. Agrona had shown her mercy on account of her youth, her bloodline, and her gift. It was only the combination of the three that allowed her to escape punishment with her life. That foul no-named vǫlva eyed her the way wolves eye prey, and Lady Agrona herself... An involuntary shiver ran down her spine, even as the first beads of sweat began to spot her brow.

With one last sigh, she turned to follow Patterson and his pet down the hall. She didn't turn around at the first heavy thump against the door, or the second that rattled the door on the hinges, straining against the wires of light that bound them shut. The third was accompanied with a heavy crack, ejecting splinters into the opposite wall, and still, she didn't turn. Elin took no more joy in watching the dead struggle.

There was a twitch in her hands, like nerves stretching and severing, and her head snapped around just in time for the fourth thump. The door exploded into two-by-four slivers as the snake burst out from the other side. Her wires melted like cobwebs as the monster turned, thrashing in the flames, its great body twisting toward her. She flourished her hands, strands of light lacing up her knuckles to twine around her fingers, weaving together to form a lance of burning white fluorescence that she slashed with a light flick of her wrist.

It cleaved through the smoke and caught the monster by the neck as it lunged, shearing its head from its body with one clean cut. The thing's head went bouncing quietly away down the ugly carpet behind her, but the rest of it continued to struggle, writhing directionless across the ground. Elin let the lance fade into sparkling mist around her open palm.

"Disgusting..." She narrowly avoided the spray of black blood, but the droplets that caught on her sleeve began to sizzle, and the floor corroded and fell away beneath the dark puddle that formed beneath the headless snake. The behemoth fell away into the open pit, crashing into the floor below with one last great flail. Gone, it had now lost her interest, and she proceeded down to the second floor. Its severed head stared after her in mute appeal as she walked past, flames reflected in eight beady eyes.

It was waiting for her as she wound down the stairwell. Down, on the opposite end of the hall, blocking her only exit, it continued to convulse, its tail whipping and cracking against the walls. And when it turned toward her, it had three heads instead of one, and six times as many eyes. She froze, an element of primal fear fluttering across her heart as it reared back like a cobra, three tongues flickering in the smoky air, each two feet long. Its heads oscillated searchingly, and then locked on her in unison, the only other lifeform in the building.

The heat was oppressive. She tossed her hat to the floor and shrugged her coat off from around her arms, letting it fall in a puddle around her boots. The monster slithered toward her, first at a stalking pace, and then with ferocious predatory drive, powering toward her with a terrible lunge. Its three jaws parted, impossibly wide, each with two rows of razor teeth, and fangs as long as daggers.

She clawed her nails through the smoke, hatching ten silver threads into the air that crossed and stitched across the hall like a web. The snake crashed into it, its mouths snapping and hissing, straining against the cords that separated it from its prey. Her wires pulled under the weight, flashing as they reached their breaking point, and snapped, unleashing the flood of mass and muscle that poured out from the other side as the monster thrust toward her with all its power.

All she could do was jump. Wires hooked out from her shoulders and latched toward the stairs like a harness, snatching her back out of death's jaws just as the middle mouth slammed shut where her head had been a moment before. She hurtled backwards, first flying, then sliding across the thin carpet, unable to break her momentum as her upper back slammed against the lower steps. Pain spread up her spine. Rug burn was the least of it. A sheet of sweat covered her skin as the flames began to trickle into the hall, lapping at the corners.

And the monster was still coming. Elin pulled herself up so fast she got a head rush, and staggered, dizzy, confused, desperate, smoke filling her skull as the snake flashed forward, its scales glittering like armor in the summer sun. She lurched to the right, catching the attention of the left head, then to the left, catching the attention of the right head, and in one fluid motion kicked her discarded hat up from the ground like a football. The rightmost jaw snapped shut on the fabric, instinctively, and she slung out a thread of light that pinned to the open hole in the ceiling.

She swung past and over the monster, feeling acid spittle on her shoes as the middle jaw clipped at her heels. Elin went rolling roughly across the carpet as the snake twisted and writhed in confusion as it tried to turn, its three heads caught in sudden disagreement. Light spindled out from up her wrist into a saber-thin ray, and she hacked down on the middle of the thing's spine as it wound back to look at her. Its heads folded back like a man with no legs, connected at the stem but with no supporting body.

Elin took no joy in watching the dead die. She would have been content to run to the exit, but she was transfixed by the tangle of heads, biting and snapping at one another in their death throes. Then one caught the end of its severed tail in its teeth, and they began to eat, ripping into their own flesh more like jackals than serpents, and as they ate, it grew, and the more it grew, the more it ate. First bone, then muscle stretching over the bone, lengthening into a new tail. More than that. The monster grew, until its three heads were each the size of motorcycles, and its girth filled the whole hall, stretching at least nine meters. She ran screaming as the middle head gobbled up the last of the old useless flesh, fleeing from the heat on her back and the three hisses, as loud as industrial pistons, the way the floor creaked beneath the monster's great weight.

Stay away! She cast a glance behind her just as one head struck forward, lightning fast. Elin dipped to the floor as the head jabbed into a door, splitting it open like it was made of foil. But then the monster was on her then, sweeping her up in its scales, its body coiling around hers. The thing could've ground her every bone into powder with one flex of its muscles, but the ravenous left mouth poised just above her, preferring to devour her instead. Its jaw unhinged, long fangs dribbling venom, and in that moment, Elin thrust her hand into the monster's throat. A blast of light flashed out from her palm, bursting the snake's head open like an egg.

The monster's lower jaw hung open, the top half of its skull flowered open to reveal its inner anatomy.

Stinging pain flecked her face from the drip of blood, forcing her to flinch back with a choked scream, and she half-expected to be crushed in that instant, but the snake toppled over, both remaining heads stunned into temporary paralysis. She slipped out from the coils of the monster and scrabbled toward the open door, through an empty smoke-stained motel room, sticking a hand against the blocky CRT on the shelf. White essence kept it glued to her palm as she whipped her arm around, still running, until the moment of release. The ancient TV went flinging out the window with a crash of glass, and she went leaping after it, flying through the open air.

Wet asphalt lurched up to meet her. Silky threads whipped out like ropes, hitching to the street lamp outside, bending it beneath her weight as she went swinging out across the street. She flew, and she rolled, hitting the ground with a violent tumble, hacking up soot and stinging from a dozen small burns, battered but alive. The cool air might as well have been an entire galaxy separated from the burning motel, crisp and sweet even in her singed lungs, a cold blanket over the heavy rise and fall of her chest.

She sat up with a shaky breath, patting for her phone, and cursed under her breath when she remembered it'd been in her coat. Elin pulled herself to her knees, then her feet, and managed to keep her balance. Would they be coming back to check on her? Surely... There was a crack and a yellow flash that filled her vision with spots of light. At first, maybe she thought it was burning timber, but she was too fine-tuned to the sound to not recognize it.

Elin stumbled back. Another crack, and she focused on the source of the sound, a shapely silhouette with a gun in their hand, honed toward her. She spread her palms, a thin white shield stretching over her torso, and there was the third gunshot. Her shield split like ice, then broke away, the bullet bouncing into the darkness. There wasn't any other option except to run, boots pounding against the concrete as she went leaping, sliding behind the cover of a parked car. The ring of metal filled her ears as two more bullets pierced into the metal plating, a third shot shattering the back windows into a million tiny cubes that rained down into her hair.

The girl raised her head a centimeter above her cover, eyeing her fresh assailant. A dark woman in a tight green dress, nothing that suited the weather, slender fingers and long nails wrapped around a trigger. Another shot, and Elin ducked her head back down.

"Come, little dove..." the woman hissed. She spoke with a thick accent that reminded her forcibly of their stay in Kolkata, with a hint of what could only be a lisp. Miserable country. Elin chewed at her bottom lip, forming a white sphere in her fingers. There was another great thundering sound, and she looked up just in time to see the snake burst from the side of the motel just as the roof caved in, piling into the street below, with five heads now. She watched with a sinking stomach as the woman strut forward with feline liquidity, running a hand over the beast's scales as it uncoiled across the street. "My darling Manasa... Who hurt you so?"

Run. Instinct struck her like lightning. Elin sprang out from the other side just as one of the heads struck at the car, caving in the doors like an aluminum can and shifting the car onto its side, its alarm blaring through the street. Out in the open, she darted down the street, legs pumping, but exhaustion made her stumble, every pant tearing at her hoarse throat. The monster reared back to strike, and she turned, tripping on her own boots, spinning as she fell, a thick cord of light lashing through the air as a whip, and looping around the two rightmost heads.

Her strength was nothing compared to the snakes, and to anyone watching she should've just been flung into the air with the lightest flick of the monster's head. But instead they knocked together as the loop pulled tight, and she tugged back like a man with a fishing lure, wrenching the monster into the side of the building. She pulled back her other hand and flung out another rope, mimicking the movement with the two leftmost, heaving them into another row of parked cars.

The woman stepped back, watching in stunned fury as her pet was thrashed around, and let the clip drop out of her pistol as she fumbled to reload. Elin didn't waste any time, pulling apart, tightening and shortening the wires as she poured the last of her strength into her gift, the light burning white hot, the middle head shaking from side as its sisters were pulled apart. With one last sharp tug, the cords split the four stumps from the main body, peeling away strips of flesh as they fell away into the street. She whipped the threads around as the monster reeled back, collaring the final head.

"Manasa is unkillable," she hissed, clicking in a fresh magazine.

At last. She let her eyes narrow into slits, allowing herself a thin smile. "Manasa belongs to me now." Elin rotated her wrist, and like a dog on a collar, Manasa thrashed to the side to her command, spitting in pain, now hovering over her former master.

"Darling—..."

The jaws closed over the woman's upper body like an iron trap. Her legs kicked and twitched feebly in the air, gave up, and what remained of the woman in the green dress melted into snakes. A thousand vipers, none much longer than thirty centimeters long, scattered out across the slush and concrete and into the gutters and alleyways. Elin crushed one beneath her heel as it slithered past, and gave one last sharp tug on the wire.

Manasa choked on her own blood, the acid gurgling in the monster's throat as Elin throttled the beast, then it fall away. The body, and the remaining heads, shriveled into bubbling pools of black oil, and evaporated. She finally let out a breath, turning away from the scene, the sweat sticking her clothes to her skin. Troublesome as ever, these cultists... How did she guess this deal would go sour even when Motte couldn't?
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PostSubject: Re: Romantic as a Pair of Handcuffs [closed/solo]   Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:05 pm


So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden cherubims and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
- GENESIS 3:24

MARCH 7, 2010
EDWIN RIVERS begins his research into genetic engineering, the evolution of the supernatural phenomena known as gifts, the origins of these abilities, and ultimately, how to develop new powers. BEATA ACADEMY is founded as part of this process.

MAY 3, 2012
MARK ECKARDT'S natural abilities are absorbed. This refined process is agonizing and ultimately fatal to the victim, but successful.

APRIL 30, 2013
EDWIN RIVERS is killed by DESKEN MOORE in a student mutiny. His extensive research on the gifted gene is recovered and stored away. PHOEBE RIVERS and DIANE BENSON are recovered from cryostasis.

SEPTEMBER 5, 2023
PHOEBE RIVERS leaves BEATA ACADEMY.

DECEMBER 5, 2032
AGRONA's lieutenants authorize a project researching the potential malleability of gifted DNA, nicknamed CODE LILITH. Human experimentation is conducted on young gifted children aged 9 to 13 years old. SUBJECTS 1 through 6 die during the trials. SUBJECT 7, formerly a ward of the state code-named CHOUKO, is the first to survive.

FEBRUARY 13, 2035
CODE LILITH is abruptly terminated.

FEBRUARY 25, 2035
FACILITY 002 is destroyed. All researchers affiliated with the project are terminated. SUBJECTS 14, 18, 19, 22, and 27 are terminated. SUBJECT 7 is not accounted for and presumed neutralized.

Wisdom will deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger, who flattereth with her words, who forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God; for her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.
- PROVERBS 2:16-19


SEPTEMBER 29, 2035
AGRONA's lieutenants receive intelligence that SUBJECT 7 survived FACILITY 002's destruction. There are reports she has been taken in by a subversive group of gifted cultists.

JANUARY 29, 2036
SUBJECT 7 is tracked as far as SEATTLE, WASHINGTON. The target is allowed to escape.

OCTOBER 31, 2036
Action escalates against the LILITH SECT.

AUGUST 5, 2037
Cultists, represented by a man known as ANANSI, reach out to AGRONA's representatives to negotiate an armistice. The deal is set for NOVEMBER 10, 2037, at the RIVERS POINTE INN in MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN.

N̴O̡VEMBE͡R̨ 10͜,̸ ̛2́0̀37.̨..̧
After God created Adam, who was alone, He said, 'It is not good for man to be alone.' He then created a woman for Adam, from the earth, as He had created Adam himself, and called her Lilith. Adam and Lilith immediately began to fight. She said, 'I will not lie below,' and he said, 'I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while I am to be the superior one.' Lilith responded, 'We are equal to each other inasmuch as we were both created from the earth.' But they would not listen to one another. When Lilith saw this, she pronounced the Ineffable Name and flew away into the air.

Adam stood in prayer before his Creator: 'Sovereign of the universe!' he said, 'the woman you gave me has run away.' At once, the Holy One, blessed be He, sent these three angels Senoy, Sansenoy, and Semangelof, to bring her back.

Said the Holy One to Adam, 'If she agrees to come back, what is made is good. If not, she must permit one hundred of her children to die every day.' The angels left God and pursued Lilith, whom they overtook in the midst of the sea, in the mighty waters wherein the Egyptians were destined to drown. They told her God's word, but she did not wish to return. The angels said, 'We shall drown you in the sea.’

'Leave me!' she said. 'I was created only to cause sickness to infants. If the infant is male, I have dominion over him for eight days after his birth, and if female, for twenty days.’

When the angels heard Lilith's words, they insisted she go back. But she swore to them by the name of the living and eternal God: 'Whenever I see you or your names or your forms in an amulet, I will have no power over that infant.' She also agreed to have one hundred of her children die every day. Accordingly, every day one hundred demons perish, and for the same reason, we write the angels' names on the amulets of young children. When Lilith sees their names, she remembers her oath, and the child recovers.
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