Turn 5 Thread

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:40 pm

Marina sighs to herself. Such a shame that she won't have time to break that spirit. Finally an interesting dynamic, and she can't exploit it. Rush jobs are so disappointing. Maybe she could steal him? No wait, high fence. Oh well. In a fit of generosity, she removes his gag briefly, rolls him over and pats his back to help him clear the water from his lungs before refitting the gag.

Then she leaves him momentarily while she grabs the Lady Klossner to pull her into the en suite as well. She sits on her heels and waits for the woman to wake, ready to put her hands over her face and cut off her air if she starts to scream.

"Hi," she announces when she thinks she has her new victim's attention. "I've got some questions for you. First off, do you love your son? 'Cause if you don't cooperate, I can either hurt you... or I can hurt Patrick."

*****

Laval expresses confusion and concern.

Bearing Marina's stern cautions in mind, she stays low, lies still, waits fearfully and does nothing to attract attention to her position.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:45 pm

If he had hoped to use this moment to establish some defiance or heroism, it is undermined by his fit of coughing. Patrick splutters out pools of water, and only manages to mumble angrily as the gag is stuffed again into his mouth.

Lady Klossner knows better than to shout out, and her instincts are good: she catches herself before she does try to scream. Instead, she fixes her dark eyes on Marina. They are cold, attractive and authoritative, and Marina finds herself appreciating that hard look.

"What is that you want, fiend?" she demands. "I trust we can come to an amicable arrangement."

*****

The lady of the house has disappeared, Gracious continues insistently. I don't suppose you know why? You haven't really said what you and Marina are up to...

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:16 pm

Marina smiles, delighted.

"I like amicable agreements!" She pauses a moment, wonders if this is true. Not really. She does like agreements that don't end with her getting shot, certainly.

"Rules say, if you give me what I want, you don't get hurt. So. I want everything you know about Deacon Alfred Bauer. And his cronies Hasek and Forst too."

She is expecting any initial responses to be things that Patrick has already told her, and is prepared to listen patiently and cross-reference their accounts. But she is not satisfied with such a summary account - she wants interesting things, personal things, things that could be used against people.

*****

I don't know, Laval confesses, though she doesn't bother to hide an edge of amusement from her thoughts. Like I said, I'm hiding in a ditch, and Marina is doing... Marina things.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:59 pm

Lady Klossner stiffens. "And why exactly would you be interested in such godly men?" She scowls. "Look, fiend, we have valuables and wealth. I can direct you to our safe, and you can take your fill of ill-gotten plunder. We can feed you and, perhaps," she pauses in distaste, "Have you bathed. But I hardly think I am going to betray my loyalties to the Ecclesiarchy and the good Deacon to some unwashed savage. Now, do we have a deal or not?"

Marina sighs. This noblewoman says such conflicting things. First she appears to be compliant. Then she does an about face and offers her small things like jewels and food. Doesn't she realise Marina will simply take those if she wants them?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:09 pm

"I would love a bath, but I don't think I have time." She shrugs. "I don't think you understand how this game works. It's not if you'll betray your loyalties, it's how long it takes and how much fun I get to have in the meantime."

That said, she starts rifling through her bag of tools, showing them off as she contemplates whether to use each one, and how practically she can apply it while still keeping the woman quiet.

"Again, would you rather I start with you, or Patrick?"

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:21 pm

"You fiend!" Lady Klosser curses. "You beast; you daemon!" She pauses, more irritated than conflicted. "Fine," she hisses, "I shall tell you about the deacon. I'm sure as soon as they see your sort approaching the Makuu, you won't last long anyway."

The noblewoman begins to talk. She seems to have a vague, patronising respect for the deacon, as if he is not quite her class but at least is trying. Quite properly (she observes), the deacon does not involve himself much in the spiritual welfare of the Swaad, only coming out on High Saints Days to give an obligatory lecture. Such sermons are unpopular affairs, as he dedicates them mostly to telling the population how awful they are. Meanwhile, the deacon busies himself in cataloguing the sins of the Swaad (a "seminal piece on the subject") and engaging in politics to try and secure himself an appointment elsewhere. Lady Klossner, though she would be sad to see the deacon goes, understands his distaste for the locals and the world.

The drill abbot, meanwhile, is "a terrible bore." Being absolutely ancient, she is unable to even stand, and relies on her attendants to merely subsist. She is grouchy, rude and ill-spirited, and Marina can tell that Lady Klossner has had her feathers ruffled once or twice by a particularly cutting remark. The only good thing that the noblewoman has to say about her is that she has a healthy hatred for the local populace. She notes that Forst was a preacher in the days of Subjugation, and was an active voice in dismantling the heathens' society into something more worthy of their blood.

Lady Klossner has the least to say about Preacher Elias Hasek. She notes that Hasek "clearly" wants the deacon's appointment, and that, when the deacon leaves, "he can have it, the little rat." She confirms what Patrick has said about his fiery, redemptionist temperament and that he is an ambitious, earnest force in the Ecclesiarchy. However, she adds that he is most likely a hypocrite, because "those sorts always are."

It may be that the noblewoman has left information out, but there is no point in the lecture in which Marina thinks she is lying or concealing something. On the other hand, she may simply be a good liar.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:22 pm

Meanwhile, Gracious replies to Laval: There's something up here. Possible daemonic activity. It's all delightfully worrying.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:37 pm

Be careful, Laval chastens, but with little vehemence.

*****

"See, that's all very well and good, but none of it's very interesting. And I think a deacon who associates with you lot might be a more interesting sort than that. Let's see, we've got," she ticks off on her fingers, "A Rose addict, ritual magic, ghosts or daemonic visitations, rumours of incest.... the list goes on.

"So. I did make some promises to Patrick, and he has been good, so you can take a turn. Let's start with the same trick I used for him, and if that doesn't get me anywhere, maybe I'll start pulling nails."

As she starts fitting a gag to Lady Klossner, she remarks, "I remember when Kotak pulled my nails. Hurts like crazy, but it's not that bad as pain goes."

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:39 pm

The noblewoman goes white with fear, but before Marina can begin her tortures, or complete gagging her, the door unexpectedly opens. There, standing in the doorway, is Gracious and a very confused-looking servant. Lady Klossner immediately screams for help and, with the door open, the situation needs to be very swiftly contained. That is assuming, of course, that Gracious will actually help.

[Are you free for an Interaction?]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:40 pm

[Yes. This was inevitable! XD ]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:53 pm

Gracious immediately contacts Laval via thought: Found Marina. Everything awful. Speak soon.
 
I'm sure you can handle it!
comes the reply. . . . I hope you can handle it.
 
Did you know she'd gone to the villa? It might really have been helpful.

 
There is a suspicious silence, aside from perhaps a faint sense of amusement. This communication has lasted less than a fraction of a second, so used are Gracious and Laval to the interpretation of one another’s thoughts. Nonetheless, it distracts Gracious for a moment, and Marina is the first to act. She uses a length of linen in her hands to gag Lady Klossner. Gracious quickly orders the servant to get Markus, and, snapped out of her fright, the servant runs off to do just that.
 
"Whaaat?!” Marina exclaims. “I thought we were friends!"
 
"I'm sorry?" Gracious blusters. "What are you doing here?"
 
"Finding stuff out! Uh, shit, gotta run."
 
Gracious inwardly sighs. "That... get away from the Lady Klossner! Her son'll have you! And I get the feeling you don't like being shot at..." A note of warning echoes in his voice.
 
Marina darts to the window, opens it, and jumps out. Whether she lands gracefully or not is not immediately clear, but Gracious does not hear a grunt of pain. He runs and looks out of the window. She landed like a cat, graceful and uninjured, considering next where to run. The mercenaries, thankfully, are not aware of the breach, though Gracious does have the opportunity to really ruin Marina's day. Meanwhile, Lady Klossner and Patrick (who is found in the ensuite) are screaming through their gags expectantly.
 
Gracious runs and ungags the Lady first. He then turns over to the window, and shouts after Marina: "Get lost, fucker!"
 
The mercenaries turn to the sound of shouting, especially once it is joined by Lady Klossner screaming for them to kill the intruder. They begin convening on the area around the window, where Marina hides behind a small bush. On cue, Marina bolts out and makes for the fence.
 
Marina bolts, and the guards are slow to act. A flurry of hellfire shots flies past her head, but when Marina gets moving, she is a hard target. More guards are inbound, and with sheer weight of fire, a few land nearby, but Marina is too quick and dodges from side to side. And then, it strikes her to the leg. A precise, aimed shot, designed to hurt by someone who knows what they are doing. She is pitched to the ground, and though she picks herself up quickly, she is noticeably struggling to move fast. It puts her in very real trouble.
 
Gracious frowns, communicating with Laval. I'm not sure if she's going to make it. I have to confess I didn't exactly help her make a swift getaway.
 
What happened?
Laval demands. Ugh, we need her! Remember how good we are in a fight? Can't you do anything?
 
I had to preserve appearances. I thought she'd get away, still, but... You did tell her Ari was in the area, right?

 
Laval communicates frustration, a bit of fear, but no real anger. No. I didn't.
 
I have a horrible feeling... Gracious confesses. I'm going to need to talk to you in a bit, by the way. Before I forget. Something is seriously wrong here.
 
Not now?
Laval suggests. Can you get them to take her alive?
 
Sorry, just crossed my mind,
Gracious remarks. I don't think I can get them to do anything, it's the mercs doing this. But I'll see what I can do.
 
Marina continues to run, but she is hobbling and the mercenaries have finally got it all together. She is forced to duck and weave their shots, and a sniper fires again, burning into her arm. It inflicts superficial burns inflicting no small amount of pain, and Marina looks noticeably tired, stumbling forwards.
 
Gracious turns to the Lady Klossner - "Lady? Should you not try and get them to take her alive, find out what she wanted? Are you alright?"
 
Lady Klossner turns to Gracious with an arched eyebrow. "I hardly think that fiend deserves to live," she notes, "I know precisely what she wanted."
 
Gracious frowns. "I'm sorry, yes, it sounds... should I... would you permit me to help untie you?"
 
Meanwhile, Marina reaches the fence. She leaps upwards, acrobatically twisting in the air and clearing the five metre barrier in one, highly impressive feat. The mercs, somewhat awestruck, miss wildly, but the sniper finds their mark. It strikes Marina in the chest. As the attack washes over the target, her skin turns black and peels off, awhile melted fat seeps from her clothing and armour. She reels in agonising pain, collapsing from the fatigue and hitting the ground hard.
 
Nothing doing, Gracious tells Laval. She decided to tie up the Lady of the house and Marina at her. I'm good. I'm not that good.
 
I get it,
Laval replies. There is discomfort and fear emanating from her mind.
 
The mercenaries rush forwards, intending to take Marina alive - having not been privy to Lady Klossner's intentions. But the sniper shoots again, completing encasing Marina in fire. She burns as the guards reach her, throwing cloaks over her and opening fire into the distance in the direction of the sniper. They take the interloper, and start bringing her back to the villa.
 
That's gunfire from more than one direction, isn't it, Laval remarks glumly.
 
Yes.
 
Seems like whatever kept Ari from shooting at you didn't extend to Marina.
 
Which means it may not extend to you. OK. They've got her - I can't tell if she's alive.

 
Laval communicates affirmation. It is followed with a sort of irritated resignation, an undercurrent of... despair?
 
We need to get in contact with her, Gracious remarks. I can't do so from here. Is there any way you can set up a relay?
 
With Ari? Or Marina?
 
Ari. Marina later, hopefully.
 
I can send to her, but I can only set up a link if I can see her.
 
Bugger,
Gracious returns.
 
Don't ask me why, Laval notes. I just... can't.
 
No, I understand. I want to keep you safe.
Irritation and fear slip out of Gracious’ mind.
 
Well, I suppose I'll just lie here and wait for a las round to the back of the skull... Laval frets.
 
Laval... Gracious begins. When I saw her, she was missing a leg. I don't think she can move fast.
 
A curtain of irritated humour forms a veneer over fear. Shame the same doesn't apply to las fire.
 
Sure, but you're in cover, right?
 
Yes.
 
If you could cast to her, tell her that Gracious forbids harming you. My theory is that I'm the one that binds her...

 
As the guards move Marina back, there is another shot, and it lands on a merc who happened to be standing in the way. Five return fire on semi-automatic, and there is distant screaming as they find their mark. Something on a nearby hillside begins to burn, a dark joke of vengeance returned.
 
What was that? Laval queries. I... am afraid to lift my head, honestly.
 
I think they got her.
Gracious tells her.
 
Doubt it will have weight coming from any other than you, then... Laval responds, returning to the topic of Ari. Can't usually bind daemons by proxy.
 
Damn. That is, damn daemonic rules.
 
Do you think it would help if I summoned a daemon of my own?
 
I can categorically state that this situation would not be improved with an additional demon. Actually...
Gracious trails off as Laval returns with a feeling of humour.
 
Unfortunately I can't perform a Rite of Summoning while lying face down in the dirt.
 
Believe in yourself,
Gracious jokes. There is worry across his thoughts. I imagine Marina will be angry at me.
 
Look on the bright side, maybe she's dead.
 
Fuck! If I'd known she was snooping around, I could have met up with her, I've been wandering this damn house all day!
 
I thought you'd have cottoned on when I told you I'd let her go off and do her thing...
 
No, true - I didn't realise she was going to interfere, though...
 
I suppose this is justice for me getting over-confident and playing stupid games,
Laval telepathically sighs.
 
...I don't know why I assumed she'd pass up the opportunity to tie up and torture people, though... Gracious admits.
 
Yeah, no, that's Marina. Laval pauses. Ugh. I don't suppose I can persuade you to accept an equal share of the blame for this fuck-up?
 
No, I'm happy to do that. Not sure I should have panicked and sent them after Marina.

 
Laval transmits faint amusement, still tainted by fear. No, probably not.
 
Although, as I say, I didn't expect Ari...
Gracious pauses. Alright, they're not going after that thing that set on fire, which probably means it was her... and she might have gone again.
 
I hope so. For my part, I suppose I succumbed to the urge to mess with you. It's just your magnetic attraction, I guess...
 
I thought maybe you'd sent her to kill me,
Gracious confesses. That this was it. It appears not, or if it was you're hiding it well.
 
Laval transmits pain and regret. I've told you, even if it came to that... which I don't want it to... I wouldn't set that monster on you.
 
I...
Gracious attempts.
 
I'm sorry, Laval tells him.
 
I don't know, Gracious sighs. Maybe all this has been one long con on your part, I don't know. I hope not. Well-played, if it was.
 
I forgot how high the stakes were, just for a little while,
Laval continues. Their thoughts meld, almost as one.
 
Sorry, Gracious rescinds, Ugh. I don't mean that.
 
You do and don't.
There is regret and tentative warmth. How could you trust me? We keep joking about not being on the same team, and the idea's fun, but... The stakes are too high. This is a really difficult thing we're trying to achieve. Maybe we should be on the same team. If I could just show you what's in my head... She communicates frustration, sadness.
 
Yeah... Why are you here? You got sent here, right?
 
Yes.
 
Do they not want this victory to be theirs alone?
 
Probably, but... it's less important than winning the war. And they'd understand. I'm not a servant, I get to make these choices. Maybe people will be disappointed, but...
 
And Marina? Will she not force you on the right path? She was sent by yours, though she's not of them?
 
Marina was sent here to help me. She doesn't have any more detail than that. She owes us a favour.
 
Alright.
Gracious accepts. Gods, I wish I knew what I was doing next. Off this rock, soon as I can...
 
Come with us?
Laval suggests. I'm sure I've earned a bit of downtime before it's back into the fray....
 
...yeah, maybe.
 
Gracious... Would it help you trust me if I swore to answer any questions you have truthfully? I know it's not as good as the real thing, but I do take my oaths seriously...
 
It's not that I don't trust you. I sort of even do, though I feel foolish for it.
 
You thought I was going to kill you,
Laval reminds him. I don't hold it against you - I don't know how I'd trust anyone without being able to see inside their heads.
 
Only because it's the kind of thing I'd do,
Gracious remarks. Not in this circumstance. But I've betrayed people like that.
 
Laval acknowledges the remark as Gracious continues to think. No-one who knew who I really was, who had seen me like you've seen me, has ever wanted to continue interacting with me once we were done. And now you say, "come with us"? ...Feels very strange.
 
Laval seems embarrassed. I can see that.
 
I mean... I can't say I don't like the idea.
 
But?
 
I'm sure you'd tire of me soon enough.

 
A flash of irritation sparks from Laval, swiftly covered. I'm not so sure. But I can't force you to- well, no, I won't force you to do anything.
 
Gracious pauses. Fuck it. Yes. Yes, I'd actually love to come with you, you know? Let's talk not under fire and peril, and drink wine, and laugh a little, and see where the gods take us.
 
I would like that. And I suppose I could force you, if you want me to.
She communicates tentative humour.
 
I'd like that, too. Amusement ripples. Tell me, can you do that trick that some psykers can, where you can puppet a person?
 
Laval cautiously affirms. I finally figured it out not that long ago, actually.
 
I've just always wondered what that felt like, is all.
 
Of course.
There is amusement. I'd be delighted to show off, at a more opportune time. Don't get your hopes too high, though - it's a constant struggle, and you've got better at blocking me out.
 
What's good in a life that isn't a struggle? I should attend to matters here. Stay in touch?
 
I've got nothing to do except stare at the dirt and get hungry, so please do. Sorry I fucked stuff up and am not in a position to help.
 
Life, eh?
 
Yeah. Oh...
Laval transmits sudden concern. If Marina is alive, and pissed, and somehow gets back in... call for me and I'll try to get her to back down? I.. can't guarantee it. She's threatened me before. But...
 
Thanks.




*****


At the Villa von Klossner, Marina would scream, if she were able. But her throat has partially melted. Though it will heal, it is agonising. It takes her right back to the operating table. The disassociation she has built up between the pain and her own suffering are punctured, for the briefest moment, in this torture. But she cannot scream.


Her skin is charred and blackened, and she can barely hear, barely see. She is dimly aware that she is being carried, but she can't remember who might be carrying her. She does not have the wherewithal to consider her situation, to plan, to think. Voices seem to echo over her, like Dark Mechanicus over the table, considering how next to hurt her. She is paralysed, fixed down, defenceless. A darkness washes over her, and soon the pain subsides.

It returns as she is thrown to the floor, face first into the dirt of Swaadi. They think that she is dead. They were so sure that they did not bother to check. Marina tries not to think about what she must look like, if they did not even bother to check. She is in such pain, such agony. Her claws, extended, rake the ground. She needs help. Foaming slightly at the mouth, she spasms on the ground, her nerves charged and torturous. It is like the warp itself extends its sympathies, or perhaps its taunts, as Marina's pain becomes all, and yet but a fraction of, eternity. Finally, the fit subsides, and Marina is left twitching on the ground.

[Marina is at 1 Wound. She has used all her Infamy Spends for this Turn. She has lost 15 Infamy and gained 6 Corruption Points. She has gained the mutation Blessed Fits. Whenever she uses an Infamy Spend to re-roll a result, and then fails, she is Stunned for 1d10 Rounds but does not count as having used the Infamy Spend (when she awakes). Marina is also at 5 levels of Fatigue and is at half Strength, Toughness and Agility until she receives medical treatment. Finally, she has lost 9 Fellowship due to her scabs and burns.]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:13 pm

Marina lies still for a long time, without thought, without plans. There is just pain, and fear, and pain.

But she cannot keep thought at bay forever. Eventually she must pick herself up off the ground, fight through the pain, decide what to do next. Laval is a medic. She will go to Laval, and get healing.

She creeps back towards where she left the medic, all but consumed by fear. She moves slowly, cautiously, drops back to the ground whenever she suspects observation. Her teeth bite down on her lower lip hard enough to meet in the middle. The clean, sharp pain helps distract from the terrible burning. But only a little.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:31 pm

Marina claws and crawls through the wilds of Swaadi, consumed with fear of being hunted and caught. But in her dread she finds some unholy strength, and by the favour of the gods she evades detection by the mercenaries or the sniper that put her down. She returns to Laval, broken and burned, but very much still dangerous, and throws herself at the wych's mercy.

By the time Marina reaches Laval, the wych has seen much movement in the Villa von Klossner. Two of the mercenaries have left the mansion, heading in the direction of the Grand Makuu, whilst the two that left earlier are returning with heavy-looking backpacks of food and spices. Pressing herself down into her cover, both groups pass Laval without incident. Laval wonders what hardships the mercs inflicted on the local Swaad to obtain such precious resources, her soul dark and brooding at the thought.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:48 pm

Despite her injuries, Marina is quiet. And despite her nervousness, Laval is not skilled at spotting for danger. The first the wych knows of Marina's return is when the killer slips up behind her and puts a hand over her mouth. It's a good call, because it's all that keeps Laval from screaming.

"Shhhh!" Marina hisses, "It's me!" And Laval goes quiet, and Marina lets go.

"Heal me," she demands. As soon as Laval sees her injuries, she is already reaching out her hands, empathy once again overriding any cold analysis of the situation.

"Not like-" Marina starts to object as Laval works her psychic powers. But it's too late, and then it's done, and Laval is getting out salves and medical tools and doing what Marina really wanted.

Marina wants to retain her anger, to keep control of the situation, to force the medic to give her what she needs. But under the wych's firm hands - turning her over, stripping off her armour to get at the wounds beneath - she finds herself involuntarily submitting to Laval's authority. This is her boss, who she's here to serve, who has the power in her hands to cause pain and to take it away.

"You really fucked that one up," Laval comments as she works. She didn't mean it to come out quite so harsh, but her own fear is talking, and the words are out before she can repress them.

"I know," Marina whimpers, ashamed. "I'll do better. Gracious betrayed me."

Laval feels bad. This situation is at least partly her fault. "Hush," she offers in comfort, "It's okay. You'll be okay. I've got you now."

Marina's alive, she tells Gracious, Just about. I've got her here with me.

[Fettered Unnatural Healing please, then Medicae.]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:12 pm

[Marina heals 6 Wounds through Unnatural Healing, such that she is Lightly Injured. She then heals 10 Wounds for First Aid, returning her to Full Wounds. She also will start to recover from her Characteristic Damage, at a rate of 1 per hour (real time, probably with a bit of guess-timation. She will be at full Characteristics this time tomorrow.]

Though Marina's wounds are critical and deforming, Laval might well feel comforted by the current situation. As she intimated to Gracious, she has been feeling somewhat useless, and the aid she can give Marina is proof that she is anything but. She tends to the worst of Marina's burns, ensuring they will not become infected and will heal quickly. Though Marina's injuries still look horrific, the important thing is that they simply look horrific. She will get better, though some of the scarring will be permanent.

Marina fidgets slightly, frustrated by the pain but doing her best to keep still. Nonetheless, she occasionally throws wary glances over her shoulder, paranoid and injured, wanting a safe place to lick her wounds. Her eyes widen as she sees a figure crawling towards them. It is Ari. A thrill of fear runs up Marina's spine, but it is not the horror of when Marina first saw the beast. After all, she is somewhat more pitiable in her current position. The daemonic thing is horribly burned, its purple skin peeling, one leg missing as it crawls, agonisingly, through the undergrowth towards them both. She quickly informs Laval, but notes that the beast has not yet reached for a weapon.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:25 pm

Ari, burned and broken but very much alive, crawls towards Marina and Laval. Marina is similarly horribly injured, though has had the benefit of medical treatment. How injured she remains is unclear, but her movements are still slow and her burns severe. Ari has not yet drawn a weapon, and, to some extent, might be considered at Laval and Marina's mercy. Ari wails plaintively.
 
Marina is unarmoured, mostly naked as Laval treats her burns, but she still reaches for her power sword. Laval puts a hand on her arm and Marina hesitates.
 
"Ari?" Laval ventures.
 
Ari seems to be trying to form words, but no words form. "-ack. Ahh. Ahhh. You... I remember..."
 
Laval frowns, bites her lip, as Ari continues. "Kill... ahhh... help..."
 
"Yes, you tried to kill us," Laval reminds her.
 
"Gracious... kill..." Ari murmurs. "Husnaa.... She..." She gestures towards Marina. "Remember... So long..."
 
Marina visibly bristles. "Killed you once, I'll do it again..."
 
Ari pauses. "...can't. Not time yet."
 
"Can so," Marina insists.
 
Laval ignores her guard. "Ari, will you let me give you something for the pain?"
 
 "Yes..."
 
Still frowning, Marina hovering at her shoulder with a sword in hand, Laval cautiously approaches Ari. Ari makes no effort to stop Laval. She looks up at her with a strange, sad glare. Though Laval's face is still hard and angry, she mixes a small quantity of fluid, offers it to Ari to drink. "It will burn on the way down, but it ought to ease your throat a bit."
 
Ari drinks it, seemingly unconcerned with the pain. The draught does as promised, moistening and numbing the throat.
 
"Thank... thank you."
 
Marina pulls on Laval's arm, insistently dragging her away from Ari. Laval backs up a bit, out of immediate reach. Ari props herself up on a rock, wincing as her charred flesh moves on the ground. She is still armed, her familiar las-rifle by her side. However, she makes no effort to touch or unholster it - she seems to barely register its presence
 
"Why are you here, Ari?" Laval asks.
 
"Came... back. From... Paradise... Hell..."
 
"Beyond," Laval declares ominously.
 
"The dark palace," Ari adds. Laval nods curtly. “...sent back. I can't... I can't remember... So long..."
 
"You want something from me," Laval suggests.
 
"I..." the pseudo-daemon returns. "I have to... help... That's my function. That's what things like me are for."
 
A brief flash of sympathy crosses Laval's expression before being quickly replaced with anger again.
 
"Some help,” Marina objects. “You shot me!"
 
"Nothing... stopping me," Ari returns. "Now..."
 
Marina visibly bristles. "Oh yeah, and what's to stop me tearing you to shreds?"
 
"Marina, please..." Laval pleads.
 
"I didn't want to go to the villa," Ari adds.
 
“Shut up!” Marina snaps. “I don't have to listen to you!"
 
"I... I had to. I wanted to... I wanted to..." Ari starts to cry. "I want everything to be like it was, like I remember, all those... all those years ago... I want to be me again... I want to see Hasnaa..."
 
Marina skulks up to her, kicks her vindictively. Laval catches her arm and Marina flinches a little, stops. Ari shudders.
 
"Marina, please,” Laval begs. “Just... let me? For a bit?" Marina snarls like an animal, but acquiesces.
 
"I can't...” Ari mumbles, “What did it feel like to be free? Do you... remember... where's Vex? We... I was amazing, once... All those fucking guns... ha! He was great."
 
Laval closes her eyes. "Vex is dead. Like you, I suppose."
 
"I guess we all are, in the end,” Ari responds. "I'm alive... but not for long. Only a lifetime."
 
"I can't give you what you want." Laval looks back and forth between Marina and Ari, calculating.
 
"I know..."
 
"You are bound to Gracious?"
 
"Yes. I can... feel it. And it... I can feel... I can't... hurt you. Don't want to, anyway."
 
"I don't believe you," Laval tells her.
 
"I did once,” the monster admits. “I don't remember why. Want to hurt HER. She killed... I..."
 
Marina grins. But Laval sighs. "This is a right mess."
 
"I only wanted to be...” Ari declares, “We wanted to be free. You outsider, coming here, telling us what to do, fucking GRACIOUS with his fucking WORDS."
 
Laval casts her thoughts to Gracious. Ari's here, with me. I'm fine. At the moment.
 
"We were going to kill him,” Ari reminisces, “Kill his stupid friend, run away. I remember... It's like a dream, now, a distant memory."
 
"But I was better than both of you," Marina boasts.
 
Ari smiles. "Yeah, I guess so."
 
"And now she's dead,” Marina continues, “And you're broken."
 
"I.... How long was it this time?" Ari thinks. "Let me see... Five years, I think? I was whole there. I had sisters, and we feasted, and danced under a brilliant sky."
 
"Here it's been... about a day,” Laval informs her. “Getting on to two, maybe."
 
"I'm getting used to it. It took me long enough... How long was the first time, for you?"
 
"Which first time?" Laval asks.
 
"The first time I died. Twice, now..."
 
Laval shakes her head. "It's been only a day or two since you tried to kill us, and Marina killed you."
 
"By... by the tree? I remember the tree. I... I cut a crutch from there, like... like mother showed... I... what did her face..." Ari starts to shake, tears rolling down her face. "Ten tens. That's how many years it was, when they took my leg away."
 
Pity mingles with continued suspicion on Laval's face, as Ari continues. "This isn't my home anymore. You can... do you know the song, that says you can never go home?"
 
"I don't know the song, but you have a home in the Warp," Laval tells her.
 
A strange mix of fear and happiness crosses Ari's face. "Yes! But... oh... I just want to turn back time. To... to un-make decisions." She pauses as Laval nods. "We were going to be explorers. We were going to leave... She wanted... she said we should go back, and kill... Ever since I saw that place for the first time, inside that... thing... I can't remember what it felt like to feel free. Did you see it? Face like a fly, but inside..."
 
Laval starts to cry as well, no sound or sobbing, but tears flowing freely from her eyes. "Inside...?"
 
"Inside its mouth..." Ari tries to explain. "That's when I first... I dreamt of the palace then."
 
Marina sighs noisily, yawns, tries to lie down, winces in pain, starts arranging her strewn clothes to make a bed for herself. Laval ignores her. "I see..."
 
"I can't remember what it felt like to know what I wanted," Ari muses. "Do you... do you have that? That feeling of knowing what it is you want to do, of... being free? I remember it, but I don't remember what it felt like."
 
Laval contemplates, eyeing Ari nervously. "Yes, I suppose I do. But you are become something else, now. Freedom isn't the be all and end all, Ari. You will find joy in what you are, in time. You will shed your memories and become something new to yourself..."
 
Ari nods. "Can you sing?"
 
"Not well," Laval admits.
 
"My mother used to sing to me a little, when I was going to sleep. I don't remember... what that sounded like. I'd like to sleep for a little now. Would you... sing?"
 
"Don't sing,” Marina instructs. “Someone will hear us."
 
"They haven't heard us talking so far," Laval objects.
 
"Yeah, well, we can't be lucky forever," Marina notes.
 
Ari nods. But Laval hesitates, looks around, then begins to softly sing a lullaby. Marina sighs, but closes her eyes and does not protest further. Ari smiles. Just for a moment, beneath her charred and blackened flesh, beneath the skin that is so very unhuman, perhaps she looks for a moment like a young girl of fourteen. She drifts off, sleeping, for now.
 
You are not going to believe this, Laval opines dryly to Gracious.
 
Try me, Gracious insists.
 
Frankly I don't believe this. I appear to be singing Ari to sleep.
 
No, you're right, I don't believe it. Bullshit. Really?
 
Really.
 
Well, you know, you live your life, I'm not going to judge. Really?!
 
It's preferable to her shooting me?
Laval offers.
 
No, Gracious agrees, I mean, carry on.
 
What a bloody mess,
Laval notes.
 
How's Marina? Gracious asks.
 
She… seems remarkably unbothered, now that I've helped with the pain. She'll recover, mostly. There will be scarring. I think she's pretty angry with you, though.
 
Tell her I am sorry. Tell her I can probably get her some excellent rose and someone to use it on once I'm done here!
 
That might help. She's sleeping too. I think. It's really peculiar.
 
Ah, fair enough...
 
Still,
Laval confesses. I'm... I'm worried.
 
About her, and me?
Gracious clarifies.
 
Yes. I can't stop her, when she decides she's doing something.
 
And it's not like I can, either,
Gracious darkly responds.
 
Honestly that's most of why I haven't killed Ari again, Laval admits.
 
In the hope that our two mutilated murderers will cancel each other out? Gracious wryly observes.
 
Yeah. You can defend me from Ari, Ari can defend you from Marina... Laval communicates disgust. What a mess.
 
I mean, you said they were both asleep...
Gracious ventures. But we probably need them.
 
And then who defends us from everyone else? Yeah.
 
Yes, I agree with your assessment. What a mess.
 
Also, I could probably slit Ari's throat while she's in this state, but I don't fancy my chances against Marina, even if she is asleep right now.
 
Good call. How hurt is Ari?
 
Badly. She's missing a leg and burned all over.
 
Does she still have her gun?
Gracious enquires.
 
Yes. It might be a struggle to keep them from killing each other once she heals. Laval notes.
 
Take the gun away? Gracious suggests.
 
Laval responds with nervousness. Probably a good call.
 
Listen, I need to go,
Gracious tells her. I can hear people coming, finally. Also: if you need any medical supplies, let me know, maybe I can secure some here.
 
Uh. I'll think on it. And anything you can get would be great. I'm running low on most things.
 
Fantastic! Right. Thanks for dealing with this so well for now. See ya!
 
Please come and tell her not to kill me soon,
Laval jokes with weary humour.
 
Will do! Gracious responds cheerfully. You being not dead is pretty high on my list of interests. Eurgh, sickening, what candyfloss I spout.
 

Hah,
Laval acknowledges, as the thought conversation goes silent.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:38 pm

Tentatively, Laval tries to take Ari's gun from her while she sleeps. She isn't sure how much good it will do, but maybe it will help. And then she sits and watches over the pair, wondering how this peculiar tableau came to be.

And she cries - softly so as not to wake them, so as not to attract attention. Everything is way out of hand, and she does not know what her plan is, and Vex is dead.

Marina sleeps. The pain is too much for it to be good sleep - it is disturbed by nightmares and by constant waking - but it is healing sleep nonetheless. And as she sleeps, her unconscious mind does mental gymnastics to distance her from the pain, to pack away these fresh memories of agony with all the old memories of agony, and make them tolerable. Ignorant of her brief advantage, Laval failed to take advantage of Marina's vulnerability to get answers out of her, and by the time she wakes, Marina has reasserted herself over the frightened animal inside.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:24 pm

Laval sneaks forward and gingerly clasps her fingers around the weapon. Ari's inhuman ears prick slightly, as if stirring, and Laval catches her breath, remaining entirely silent as she carries the gun away. After a few terrifying moments, Ari settles back down, the rifle safely taken from her.

By the time Marina wakes, she is feeling somewhat better. Though her movements are still stiff and painful, and she is feeling weak, she is returning to her normal self. The hour is getting quite late, and she fits on her preysense goggles as naturally as someone might open their eyes. And so she sees, in the distance, figures approaching. They number five, and four of them are heavily armed: two of them Aventine mercenaries, the other two soldiers of the Makuu. It is the figure in the centre that most commands Marina's attention. She sees an elderly man clothed in the robes of the Ecclesiarchy, making his way towards the Villa von Klossner. They are about 300m from the mansion.

[Marina has regained 5 to reduced Characteristics.]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:54 pm

While Marina is sleeping, Laval slips past her mental defences, takes the opportunity to plunder her thoughts and memories without the threat of retribution. Skimming past Marina's dreams is even more distressing than Gracious' were, but she grits her teeth and delves past the mad nightmares into the admittedly equally unpleasant depths of the killer's mind. Finally, she understands some of what is going on.

Later, when Marina spots the people approaching, she immediately pushes Laval back down to the floor. Though surprised, Laval is getting used to this kind of treatment and has grown to trust Marina's instincts when it comes to hiding. She does not dare to ask what is going on, in case the threat is near.

"I think it's the Deacon," Marina whispers. "He's coming to visit. Four soldiers."

Laval passes the message on to Gracious. The Deacon's coming to visit. Or at least, Marina thinks it's him. Just a heads up. Oh, and I found some stuff out about that room.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:04 pm

The group of five men continue on their way to the Makuu, passing on the path near to where Laval and Marina are hiding (Ari sleeping fitfully, but quietly). They do not see the heretics, but it crosses Laval's mind that she may get no better chance to have access to the deacon than this. It would be dangerous, and perhaps with scheming and plotting she will be presented with safer means. But it is tantalising in its availability, seductive in the way he moves so slowly, lingering near where they hide. Does Laval and Marina act, or do they let the group pass?

[Marina has now regained 8 to her Characteristics. She also no longer has Fatigue.]

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:37 pm

Gracious replies to Laval: Aware. Thanks. Should be alright, I think, I hope. What can you tell me?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:26 am

A few minutes later, and Gracious' thoughts seem completely different: charged and afraid. Laval. Everything has gone to fuck, here. I need someone who can see things like you can. There's someone fucking around here - I'm not sure this is about daemons. I saw a human, walking into mists... we might have rivals. Fuck. One of the children is dead.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:35 am

[Sorry about delay, experienced decision paralysis.]

It's a tempting choice, but there are four soldiers, and Marina is not wearing her armour. They let the opportunity pass.

Marina saw ghosts, Laval confirmed, And the room is a ritual site. Probably don't go in, it broke her a bit. Do you need me in there? Is it safe for me or Marina? Are you in danger?

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by The GM on Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:37 am

The deacon reaches the gate with his four guards. Mercenaries run out to join them, and there appears to be some emergency. From this distance, it is not entirely clear what is going on, but the deacon seems to be needed, and the old man stumbles with something approaching haste towards the mansion.

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Re: Turn 5 Thread

Post by Jewelcast on Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:44 am

Once line of sight is broken and it's safe to stand up, Marina immediately starts pulling her clothes and armour back on. Laval helps her, aware that time may be critical. Her mind keeps reaching out to Gracious, looking for context.

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