Hidden 1 yr ago Post by mnkee
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mnkee You think you know pain?

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Location: Talink Estate (Inside)



- "Cold" by Five Finger Death Punch



Thalken sat on the edge of his bed sharpening the blade of his Dao with rhythmic strokes. As he put his restless energy to good use, his facial features began to relax. The dark intensity of his eyes was replaced by a look of focus. In the calm of the moment and in the privacy of his own room, his walls, that cold front he put on, came down. If only he could learn to take off that mask in the presence of others. Until then the man beneath the scowl remains unfathomable.

The sound of grinding metal nearly drowned out the whoosh and whistle of the wind outside. The window pane shook slightly from the gust of the wind before something faintly tapped against the glass. Thalken paused mid-stroke, his brows furrowing slightly as he looked up from what he was doing. His gaze flicked around before landing on the window. From where he sat, he could just make out a piece of paper stuck on the dew covered glass. His brows furrowed deeper as he placed his sabre and sharpener aside and then walked over to the window to investigate.

He bent down to where he was eyelevel with the thin strip of paper, and his eyes scrunched up slightly as he made out a few words. Oddly enough, the words were written in Cantonese, the language in which he had been trained in. He took a moment to mentally translate the words into English before stating them out loud, "Loose string monkey." He arched a brow. It was an old Cantonese proverb meaning someone no longer under control of their superior or guardian. He straightened up again and opened the window to pull the piece of paper off of the glass. Just about that time, he could hear a carriage pulling up.

"About damn time they got back," he grumbled, assuming it was his father and sister returning. He grabbed the strip of paper and shoved it into his coat pocket before shutting the window. He then quickly spun on his heels, grabbed his Dao off of his bed, and sheathed it as he promptly left his room. He took the stairs two at a time, his Dao rattling at his side as he went. He was more than a little anxious to find out what terms his father had given the Lady Crypt regarding the protection of the Viscount Wenwynith. He had a bad feeling that his father more than likely took advantage of her and the situation she had found herself in. He was about to march straight through the front door when his father walked in causing him to skid to a halt.

"What the hell took--" Thalken began, skipping greetings altogether. However, he paused his tirade when he realized that his twin sister Thalcona wasn't with his father. His eyes widened before narrowing dangerously. "Where is Thalcona?" he questioned through gritted teeth.

"She's taking first watch over the viscount. I assume the servants told you of our whereabouts," Beowulf replied almost nonchalantly. Something wasn't quite right with his father, and Thalken couldn't quite put his finger on it, at least not right away. His narrowed gaze followed his father like a predator watching its prey. Thalken noted that there was a brightness to his father's eyes and on the man's face there was--there was a smile?! In fact, his father seemed quite pleased. The man was usually pleased when a deal went well, but this was something else entirely. Thalken's metaphorical hackles raised, and a dark shroud seemed to fall over his features with every passing minute. "What were the terms? What were the terms of your deal?" he growled as he followed his father to the study. His gut twisted in anxious anticipation. He had a bad bad feeling about this.

Beowulf let out a irritated huff, as if Thalken had just put a damper on his good mood. The man sat down at his desk before addressing his son, who was, unknown to the both of them, moments away from explosion. "The terms of the deal were simple enough. In exchange for the protection of the Viscount Wenwynith, she must marry you," Beowulf replied, not sugarcoating a single word of it. All the while, there was not even an inkling of remorse or sympathy in his countenance. He might as well have lit Thalken aflame and watched passively as his son suffered in agony.

And in that exact moment, when those words left Beowulf's lips, is when Thalken's world exploded into a fiery inferno. Not much could elicit an explosive reaction from Thalken. Not much could make him lose his mind. But this. This was the second worst thing his father had ever brought about. Second only to his mother's brutal murder at the hands of those who were gunning for his father. You want to see a Talink explode? Well, prepare yourself.

Thalken's countenance darkened tenfold. His jaw clenched so tightly that it was surprising that he didn't break his teeth. His breath came in and out sharply, and his dark eyes glazed over. His whole body shook, as if struggling to contain the years worth of pent up hatred that seemed to be coming to the forefront with a mighty vengeance. If looks could kill, Beowulf would certainly be incinerated. "YOU DID WHAT?!!" Thalken roared, his voice echoing throughout the manor. "And she accepted the terms?! GOD DAMMIT!!!!" He let out a yell that seemed more animal than man, before he started breaking things in the room. It was all he could do not to kill his father right then and there, to end his suffering here and now. He vowed that one day his father would die for all the wrongs the man had done. Beowulf's blood was the only blood that Thalken could justify having on his hands. And yet, the only thing that seemed to keep grounded was that that blood thirst terrified him.

"Get a grip son. After you marry her and take her title and property, you can always kill her and that little brat of a brother of hers," Beowulf stated callously over his son's tirade. Thalken's head swung over to glare daggers at his father, his nostrils flaring in his rage.

"This is low even for you," he growled in between pants. He then spun on his heels and left the study in its current state of disarray.







Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City
Passive Skills: Fal'shbort - You are tougher, stronger, more Russian!



- "Hot Mess" by Cobra Starship



The echoing bellow of The Great Bazhooli no less reached Alexandra's ears just as she led her Brivaldi horse Balaur out from the stables. The ever vibrant man was shouting something about salad not being food. "Salad a food? Pfft. Lettuce eat meat," she remarked, snorting at her own pun. She had a cheerful smile on her face as she turned back to her not as amused horse.

"Lighten up Balaur. Ve go fast soon. You like that, da? Da," she chided him teasingly as she tossed the reins over his head. She tightened up the girth before vaulting up into the saddle with practiced ease. Once aboard her trusty steed, she cued Balaur forward and began weaving a path through the hordes of practicing circus folk. From her higher vantage point, it was easy to pick out The Great Bazhooli milling through the crowds with his young charge Adam. She steered Balaur towards them, deviating from her orginially intended course.

"Good evening!" she greeted the two with a warm smile as she rode up to them. She brought her stout horse to a halt in front of them. She then hung herself upside down from the saddle, a classic trick of the Brivaldi trick rider that was usually done at harrowing speeds. "Hello dovn there little one," she greeted Adam, now conviently closer to eyelevel. She gave him a playful wink before pulling herself back upright in the saddle.

"I hear the Grand Duchess is all thaved out now," Alexandra stated to Vladimir, already attempting to crack a joke to liven that dark situation. "Too soon? Too soon. No, really I am glad she is feeling better." She gave him a friendly smile, unfazed by her blunder.
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Once the two were situated they were told to hold on tight before the riders took off, leaving the woman that was with Virginia when she came out there at the manor. They weren't waiting on her, in fact Virginia had instructed her she wasn't coming with them. The man that Virginia was riding with chuckled slightly as they reached a neck breaking speed. "Oh, you have much to learn. Mamushka is the dance of Russia! It is a skill! The Great Bahzooli is a master at the dance!" he said brightly.

The one who had James with him laughed brightly. "Dah! Bahzooli teach! Many dance the Mamushka in circus. If dance is not in you, perhaps song is! Tatushka is beautiful! Grand Duchess is bonded to the Great Bahzooli, when the two come together it is greatest act on earth!" he exclaimed as they kept pushing their horses forward. It was as if the stallions were possessed the speed in which they moved. Their handlers jumping over obstacles instead of darting around them. Moving as closely as the crow flies as they could.

"Russia! Vhere is Russia? Oh ho oh! Russia is to your east! It is the east! From the ice covered lands to the north to the warm beaches to the south, mountains, danger, strong men, beautiful women. A frozen vonderland with tigers, volves, bears! Ve shov you at circus! Yes, ve shov you!" he said as they continued. He kept going on and on about the Circus and Russia. About the acrobats, the knife throwers, the fire walkers, the trick horse riders, even the small animals who did tricks.

Meanwhile the one with Virginia was much more soft spoken. "Dah, Mamushka is time honored skill of Circus. At times in past ve have taught dance to those we feel are special. Not as skill but as dance. Your family must have been close to circus at one point, or to royal family to know the dance," he said as the circus came into view. He did not slow as they rushed passed the gate and into the circus proper, barreling passed several carriages.



Elizaveta Romanova


Location: Russian Imperial Tent City: Her Tent

Adam looked up towards Vlad as his eyes widened and he nodded quickly. "Oh yes, please!" he said with excitement. Looking over at the new woman that showed up he squeaked out a "hello," in a small voice before turning his attention back to Vlad and grinning. He was going to see someone throw knives, very circus! It seemed to quell his questions before he darted off towards the main tent and started looking around. He would look over his shoulder from time to time to make sure he stayed in the line of sight of Vlad. There was so much going on. So much food. People practicing and warming up for an act of some sort.

Adams little fingers fanned out as he looked at all the food and he licked his lips. Yet he didn't touch anything. Biting down on his bottom lip he reached out and tugged on the pants leg of a slender man with light hair and bright eyes. "Da?" the man said in question as he looked down at Adam. The boy looked nervous as he pointed over at a tray of meat. "You vant? hungry?" he asked and Adam nodded.

"P...please sir, may I have some?" he asked.The mans face split into a smile and he reached over, picking up a nice slice of meat that had been seared and seasoned. "Thank you! Thank you!" Adam exclaimed as he took the meat from the man's fingers and devoured it quickly, still muttering even more thanks with his mouth full of food.

"Haha! Yes, enjoy! You so thin, you look like you break. Let us get you more. Come vith me!" he said but Adam didn't move and pointed over towards Vlad. "Ah, you vith him?" he asked and Adam nodded. "Bahzooli! 1Я беру мальчика за еду," he called out. He was one of the trapeze artists that had been with the circus since he was a toddler more than thirty years ago. "I am Petrov, you are?"

"Adam..." he said as he kept his eyes on Vlad and waited for the okay. He wasn't going anywhere without the mans okay at this point. Not with the Grand Duchess and the Nun busy elsewhere.

Veta sighed a bit. "Yes, I understand but I must make haste. Longer I take, more time Vlad have to find out I am gone. I leave once I am done with the council. I must make haste. I cannot let anyone knov vhere I go, I cannot let you come if you must inform others. Too much at risk," she said as she slipped her feet into her slippers and adjusted her gown slightly. She understood what Mary had to do, it was a lot.

"Allov boys to stay in Circus. They have protected me nearly vhole life. No vhere fully safe but this is safest there is. Circus can travel anyvhere, no questions, people avoid mostly vhen not here for a show. And no better skills than those vhoved trained a life time," she added as she turned and looked down at Myska. "2Пойди, сегодня вечером мы бежим."

Myska got up and yawned deeply as Veta stepped over towards the flap of her tent. Pushing it back Myska walked out and headed towards the main tent as Veta glanced back at Mary. "I believe they are arriving," she said and motioned over towards the main road through the center of the tent city. Several carriages were rolling in with the marks of the council on the cabs. Before them were two horses. One carrying a man and Virginia, the other carrying another man and James.

Hidden 1 yr ago Post by rivaan
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rivaan

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Constantin Kolev


Location: The Tent City.




Constantin didn't take too much to locate his parents. As usual the two of them were together, talking and laughing and pass time together. He always had admired the way they got along. They looked almost like best friends at time rather than married couple. Or was it that why the relationship was so good? He probably will never know. Still to run away from their homes to be together suggested deep love.

As soon as his father saw him, Constantin was called over. The seat was already arranged with some greens and the bulgarian alcohol made from plums – Rakia! Wasn't exactly easy to keep in stock, but he and his family preferred it for it's fruity taste. Make a jug of it for good occasions and the like.

He smiled right away as he greeted his parents and they all of them had a drink for the health of everyone in the circus. What's more his father was currently busy telling him to drink more because he had to get the chill from the freezing water out of the body and what better way from good hard application of alcohol internally and externally!” Fine. Cheers!” Constantin finally surrendered and took a good long gulp from the fruity alcoholic beverage.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Sigil
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Sigil Literary Hatchetman

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Российский императорский цирк

(Russian Imperial Circus)




In the more secretive recesses of the Russian Imperial Circus, the cooks and vendors gathered by order of The Great Bazhooli himself, Master Vladimir Alexandrov. They were tasked with turning their wares to internal use, that is to say, shared among the people of the Circus rather than put up for sale to the general public. It made sense, considering that absolutely no one from the great city of London had left their homes in search of entertainment as only the Circus could provide. Their prepared yummies would have gone to waste otherwise, if not shared among the performers, staff, and guests thereof.

It was a large circus, chock full of interesting and unique persons from across the Russian Empire (and even a few from parts beyond), but they were a tight knit group. Trust was a necessity among these stalwart individuals, considering the nature of their work and the Circus's side occupation: taking care of Soulless threats across their Empire. They contained their own share of cutpurses, troublemakers, prostitutes, and the like, but the unwritten yet fiercely enforced rule was "Circus takes care of Circus". No matter what, they see to the safety and needs of their own. Further, they do not turn their skills upon one another unless mutually agreed upon by both. Disputes were taken to those in charge who arbitrate these matters, and if need be, a bit of bareknuckle negotiation might be in order. It is the way it has been since just about the beginning of the Circus, its ways taken heavily from the Rusyn Gypsies of the Carpathian Mountains. To do a wrong against one of their own is a matter to be taken very seriously, with swift and harsh judgement imposed upon the transgressor.

To steal from one of their own was unthinkable. Perhaps this is why, in the Tent City of the Russian Imperial Circus now pitched in London's own Regent's Park, a single preparer of Meats On Sticks was so affronted by that very issue: Theft from one of their own. He paced for a moment or three, debating whether he should seek revenge upon the transgressing party personally or if that would only make it worse. "Нет!" he started, "Я сообщу или Великому Бажули! У него будут руки для этого!1" and emphasized his displeasure by slamming his fists upon the outdoor kitchen's worktable. What happened next would be whispered about for decades to come.

Unbeknownst to the workers, the particular board that he struck mercilessly in his anger was held onto the frame by a dry-rotted wooden peg. The peg gave way, allowing the full force of the strike to be applied in the manner of a lever, catapulting a small pot of lightly simmering gravy up and away into the crowd milling about the food service area. It landed squarely in the face of a passing clown, who began screaming and feeling about for the nearest thing he could remember that could possibly remove the offending substance from his eyes. What he thinks is a tent flap was unfortunately one of the Circus's many lit braziers, searing his hands and setting his clothing aflame. Horrified bystanders rushed to knock the unfortunate soul over and smother the fire before it can cause any lasting damage, but the now terrified comedic thespian instead runs full-tilt into one of the animal pens (screaming all the while), intending to extinguish himself in a water trough.

The attempt is all well and good, except that one of the steppe horses took serious offense to a warbling, flaming clown leaping into its pen, responding by rearing and kicking the fencing preventing its escape. Only one of its hooves made connection with the rough wood of the fence; the other manages to strike a tall signpost holding up one side of a banner (reading: Don't Spook The Animals). The man who was put in charge of driving that particular signpost into the ground was, upon time of committing to said task initially, coming off of (as he put it) "The mother of all benders", and really couldn't be trusted to piss in a straight line, let alone properly set a wooden pole into the green earth of The Regent's Park. Witnesses would later say that after he performed his righteously half-assed job, he vomited much in the way of stewed beets and cheese dumplings in that very area, further softening the ground in which the pole had been fruitlessly set. Needless to say, the tall signpost went down like a sackful of drunk children, crashing into a moderately sized residential tent and partially collapsing it. This tent belonged to one of the Circus's talented magicians, a bright-eyed but somewhat paranoid man who had a penchant for collecting rare and vintage tools of his craft.

Fearing that there was an attack imminent, the magician grabbed up the nearest items he could and ran from his tent, hoping to preserve his latest acquisition, a Selbit original "Divided Woman" saw. More of a guillotine blade than an actual saw, the item would be put through its paces cutting through vegetables and planks of wood before used in the trick, just to show the audience that it was fully capable of taking a Lovely Assistant and turning her into Two Lovely Assistants, just much shorter and less talkative afterwards. While running at top speed away from his failing tent, he turned his head to one side to view an interesting sight: Apparently, there was a gingerly charred and half naked clown climbing out of a nearby horse pen, soaking wet and yelling something about gravy. The sight of it so intrigued the young prestidigitator that he began to stare, even as he fled the scene.

He did not suspect that he would almost immediately trip over an unattended laundry bag and, thanks to certain principles involving objects at motion, fling the saw out before him even as he planted his face in the grassy earth and inexpertly utilized the better half of his forehead as an impromptu braking system. The saw itself managed an impressive triple axel before effortlessly parting the skin, meat, and bone of Alexandra Andonova's slender neck and thudding heavily into a thick, wooden support that was holding up a corner of the cook's pavilion roof. It quivered there, producing a strangely beautiful hum that reverberated through the beam in which it was embedded, dripping one or two spots of red beneath it.








Passive Skills:
  • Fal'shbort - You are tougher, stronger, more Russian!
  • Tretiy Glaz - An ability that gives a person a sixth sense into the future. Unpredictable and random.


Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)




A quiet spattering of blood struck The Great Bazhooli just below his right eye. He was just about to respond to the callous remark concerning the well-being of the Grand Duchess, but it seemed that fate had decided a more interesting means of communication that evening. The younger woman's eyes blinked twice before the entirety of her head came rolling off, landing Vldimir's outstretched hands while the horse trotted away with the bulk of her corpse, now slumped to the side and bouncing merrily along, painting a red, damp path behind it.

Luckily, Adam's attention was diverted by a flaming clown that appeared randomly in their general vicinity, and curiosity as to his fate held the boy's attention just long enough for his to miss the gruesome end of the lady performer who was formerly speaking to Vlad from up on horseback. Of course, there was the matter of the head...

The Great Bazhooli, in an act of concern for what might be exposed to the little Cockney boy, grabbed the severed head by the hair and whisked it behind his back a half-second before Adam looked right back at him. Surprise and badly acted nonchalance colored his features, especially the nervous grin splitting his face that was accented with spots of someone else's blood. "Da, Petrov!" he exclaimed, wide eyed and unsure of what to do with the severed noggin hidden from direct view behind his ass. "For please, you take him to other side of pavilion, da? Umm... I think, ah... Yes! Dumplings! There are dumplings there!" He had no idea if the trapeze artist caught what was going on, but Vladimir needed to get this mess straightened away before any of the newly approaching carriages caught wind of the epic misadventure.

Of course, the more selfish bit of his mind had The Great Bazhooli interested in squaring this away because he really wanted to get together with the rest of the Sem'ya present and engage in the grand dance of fire, knives, and acrobatics they had done so many times before, but this time for the entertainment of the Graveolase and the spirited boy, Adam. Admittedly, the unexpected death of one of their performers as evidenced by the freestanding head that Vladimir presently held took priority.

Then it occurred to him: This is really a job for the Circus Manager, Viktor, to handle. Oh yes, it was time to delegate.





"I will speak the truth at all times, and forever keep my word."

Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)




"I see." responded Mary. She was a little crestfallen, to be sure. It would have been good to see her home country again, if only the southernmost portion of it, but if Elizaveta wanted total lack of communication then Mary very likely could not join her self-appointed mission. She was a Dame of the Catholic Church. Dame Commander, now, and Arch Graveolase on the interim. Any official movement to this effect would ideally be communicated. At the least, the Bishop would have to know that St. Etheldreda's resident Knight would be away for a while. Plus, she was charged with the care of little Adam and had promised Virginia that she would extend her protection, such as she was able, to her younger brother.

Perhaps she was spreading herself too thin. She had a tendency to do this, one of the tiny psychological signs that reminded her that she was still a young woman yet. She would pray for patience and wisdom later, but for now, Mary nodded in agreement with the Grand Duchess. "I have a fine horse. An excellent horse; he was a gift from The Pope. I have seen the skill of your people on horseback. Even with my fine horse, I do not think I could keep up on a pressed overland journey. I do desire to ride with you and see to this problem directly. However, I understand your concern. Please, do not go alone. You have many skilled fighters here that would give their lives for you."

Mary could see the carriages approaching as well. This was an important night for several reasons. Before exiting the tent and moving to meet them, Mary quietly intoned to Veta, "I will not lie. But that does not mean that I must volunteer information, either. I will do as you request." Mary stepped outside into the evening air. Taking greater notice of the procession, she could also make out the presence of her friend Virginia and her brother James. Those riders were fast. Mary raised a hand in greeting, unsure as to whether she would be picked out of the crowd. The polearm might help.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Morose
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Morose Overwatch

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Location: the Mournweald Estate --> Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)


James laughed with glee - why hadn't Virginia told him that the circus was family? Virginia had just informed him once more that only Crypts knew the dance and so, if the Great Bazhooli could teach it to him, he must be a Crypt. He always loved hearing about the big family gatherings. He supposedly had gone to one before, but he didn't remember it. He insisted that Alfred had stolen his memory, since Alfred was getting too old and needed some of James' memories in order to keep track of everything. The explanation hardly made sense to anyone except for the five year old.

"Tatushka?" James said, before then sounding out the word slowly. "Tah...tu...shka...! Tatushka, Tatushka! We dance the Mamushka!" James sang. He nearly let go of the rider to clap his hands, but another idea popped into his head, preventing the potentially dangerous stunt. Not that it would have phased him, of course - he was a Crypt. His head was filled with fantasies now of a frozen country, where monstrous and beautiful creatures wrestled in the snow. Yet not more than a few kilometers away, there was a sandy beach, where people danced around flames and sang Tatushka, while dancing the Mamushka. Was Russia where his family came from? It was a logical explanation - Russian must have been the Crypt homeland. His parents were probably there, too!

Though James couldn't remember what his parents looked like that much anymore. More often than not, if he tried to picture them, he just saw Virginia and Alfred.

"Can we ask Ginny if I can go with the circus?" James then asked. They were family (or at least, he had decided they had to be), so he doubted Virginia would have any problem with it. He'd be among Crypts.

His sister, of course, was in a state of shock. While she loved to consider the impossible and the highly unusual, she never pondered that the Crypts were not the only ones who could dance the Mamushka. She knew that it had been taught by their Cossack cousins - but they were still Crypts. To learn that it had originated from elsewhere...It boggled the mind. She bit her lip in consideration, mulling over the man's words - they had been close to the Circus or to the Royal Family?

"My father and mother told me that dance originated from Russian Crypts - yet I would be delighted to know if it was the Circus or the Royal Family who taught it to our family," Virginia said. There was two reasons for this. First, it was a general fascination with her family history. Second, any information about the Crypts of old may help her in her quest to Seek Life Elsewhere. The Russian Circus or the Royal Family may hold important clues.

"And what exactly does the Mamushka skill accomplish?" Virginia then asked. She couldn't imagine it as anything but a dance. To learn that it was used to combat the Soulless in some way...It hardly made any sense. Yet she did quite enjoy nonsensical things. They often had a logic to them that others could not understand. As they entered the grounds, Virginia spotted a polearm rising above the crowd.

A smile graced her face. It had to be Mary.
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mnkee You think you know pain?

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The hallways of the Talink Manor were oddly barren as Thalken stormed out of his father's study. The commotion that had occurred within that room just moments ago clearly did not go unnoticed. Servants and staff alike had vacated the immediate premises, giving him a straight shot route back up to his room. He was fuming to say the least. He was desperately grasping for what little thread of sanity he had left. To say he wanted to kill his father for what the man had done, arranging a marriage under duress, was an understatement. His father had backed the Lady Crypt up into a corner and had the gall to use the life of her innocent brother as a bargaining chip. He had forced the woman's hand in an unthinkable way. If or when the threat to her brother's life was past, she would have to live with her decision, a marriage to a man she not only did not love but also likely viewed as a monster incarnate.

It was either sheer stubborn willpower or sheer luck that got Thalken up the stairs and into the so-called private sanctity of his room. So many emotions, more than he knew how to deal with, were warring inside him all at once. The weight of it all was crushing him, and he felt his knees give out from under him. His walls crumbled revealing the broken man that he was on the inside. He was left with two questions that he had spent years trying to avoid answering head-on: When would enough be enough? When would he revolt against his father? Perhaps it was time he stop hiding in the shadows and thinking he could fight his father while remaining unseen. But this would be the point of no return.

Thalken was stuck between a rock and a hard place. He desperately wished to redeem himself, as such he could not justify forcing the Lady Crypt to marry him under duress. Yet if he didn't what would become of her brother? If they defied his father, the young viscount would be open to attack from two fronts: the Soulless and the Talinks. The thought of hunting down an innocent young boy made him sick to his stomach. It dawned on him right then that he was the sole person, at least in his mind, who stood between the Lady Crypt and his father's wrath. Despite the anger and bitterness he felt, a newfound determination filled him. He will protect the Crypts from the Soulless and from his father. His own life be damned.







Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City
Passive Skills: Fal'shbort - You are tougher, stronger, more Russian!



- "Mad Hatter" by Melanie Martinez



Where does one even begin to explain the cataclysmic chain of events that are to take the dear Alexandra Dorofeivna Andonova unawares? Well, let's just say that for this self-proclaimed queen of sass, karma's a real bitch. Nevertheless, I will try and walk you through it. Perhaps maybe you can make better sense of it all. Let's rewind back a little in Alexandra's timeline. Remember that booth where the vendor was selling the most decadent meat on a stick around? Yeah, probably not. She certainly does though, thanks to her stomach that's already begging for more. This girl could eat you out of house and home and still be hungry within the hour. Looking at her lean form, it's a wonder where it all goes. But that's a story all on its own. Now let's not get sidetracked. Back to that booth.

I guess you could say that Alexandra's hunger got the best of her, ultimately overruling her sensibilities. She had snatched a freshly prepared meat on a stick from the vendor's booth, not thinking much of it. Surely one piece wouldn't be missed? After all, the ton was not coming to the circus this night, thus all of that scrumptious food would go to waste. The mere thought of that was horrific. As such, she was more than happy to lend a hand, or in this case a mouth, to ensure no meat on a stick goes to waste. Well, this vendor apparently did not feel the same way as Alexandra did. Unbeknownst to her, he took a great deal of personal offense to her actions, so much so that he seemed to have summoned Lady Luck herself.

The chain of events that happened next is mindboggling to say the least. It all happened one after another in succession, like dominoes falling in a preset line. The vendor's fists to a board attached to a rotted out wooden peg. The peg giving way to catapult simmering gravy into the face of an unfortunate clown. The clown grasping for something, anything, only to light himself on fire from grabbing a lit brazier. The clown dunking himself in a water trough thus angering a horse. The horse kicking out and striking a poorly constructed signpost. The signpost falling over and partially collapsing a magician's tent, sending the man into a frenzy. The magician running with a sharp object that is not at all meant to be run with. A laundry bag in the wrong place at the wrong time causing the man to trip and sending what was more or less a guillotine blade soaring into the air. Yeah, you probably know where this is going by now...

Back to the present now. Alexandra barely had time to register the pain exploding through her before her entire world went dark. Her head was effectively severed from the rest of her body to land unceremoniously at Vladimir's feet. She was left with no time for goodbyes. She was left with no time to apologize for leaving so soon. She was left with no time to consider what she had ever offered this world other than a mouth full of sarcasm. She was left with no time at all. Perhaps if there was life after death she would have a second chance to make a difference. Now wouldn't that be something?
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Elizaveta Romanova


Location: Russian Imperial Tent City: Off with her head!

Elizaveta nodded slightly as she let the tent flap fall from her fingers and drift back to its original resting place. "Da, I do but vhat type of leader vould I be if I vere to let them die for me? Nyet, I vill not do this. Alone if I must but it does give me peace to knov I vill have a nev friend by my side," she said in a dove like voice before turning her attention towards Vlad so that she could make sure arrangements were in order for the Graveolases arrival to the Russian Imperial Tent City. This was not where they were originally going to meet the council but it would have to do.

Yet, her words were cut short as the chain of events set off what the Grand Duchess could only describe in her mind as a perfect example of Snow Flake to Avalanche. Her face remained calm but her eyes did widen at the sudden catch made by Vlad of a golden touched head and the quick way he whisked it behind his back. Her eyes darted over towards Adam who seemed to have missed the entire thing. She had never been so grateful for a half naked clown in her life. Petrov was not as luck to have missed the entire debacle. His jaw agape, his eyes wide. Yet both snapped back to normal as Vlad spoke to him. "Dah! Right away! Come little one, let us feast! Let us eat cake!" he said as he scooped up the little boy and whisked him away to other parts of the circus - ones with far less blood and fewer reenactments of Marie Antoinette's execution.

Gathering the folds of her gown she hefted them up to ensure they did not drag the ground. "Quickly, hay to cover the ground, send the body to her families tent. The crown will cover the cost of the funeral. With all the speed of your knives Vlad, make it so," Elizaveta said without batting an eye lash. She could not mourn now or let her feathers be ruffled. Her head turned as she heard a horse ninny. It seemed that Virginia had arrived just as the decapitation had occurred.

Pulling the horse to a stop, the man with Virginia looked over his shoulder to her. "Ahh, you will see soon enough. Tonight, the Great Bahzooli with the Grand Duchess shall show the council vhy Mother Russia should have representation with the Graveolase!" he said proudly as he dismounted and held his hands out to help her down.

The other man laughed as he watched the show unfold before looking down at James. "See! Did I not tell you, we are greatest shov on earth!" he said not thinking twice about what just occurred. It was nothing compared to the Great Goat Calamity of 1795 in north India. What Mr. Clops had done to Sister Sophia was the stuff of legend. This was a mere beheading. Jumping down he whisked James off the horse and pointed over to Elizaveta and Vlad. "You see those tvo? Such spectacle they vill shov and look nov! That! That is Myska! The Grand Duchess' kitty cat, moev!" he exclaimed as Myska came up behind Vlad and started nibbling at the neck of Alex.

"Myska...Некоторое мясо, которое вы не едите, как бы свежим," Elizaveta scolded the tiger. He liked his lips, red staining his white fur. Looking down to where the carriages were rolling up Veta gave quick instructions to have them ushered through a side road to settle the carriages in and provide them less hectic passage into the main tent than the main fare. It would do for now until things were cleaned up.

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Constantin Kolev


Location: The Tent City.




The dinner was rather pleasant, the time was jolly and the overall atmosphere was allowing Constantin to restore his mood with rather pleasant speed. The presence of his family members made him smile as he mowed down the salad and with a good few sips of the rakia too, until finally it was quickly done. Frankly he wished things will be fine, but sadly a quick commotion and whisper pulled him away of his impossible hope. He knew world didn't work that way, but what had transpired was not something he ever expected to happen.

“Vhat's going on?” He asked another person who passed by and was quickly told the event that took place.” Ohh...” Was all that he can say about the absurd chain of events that resulted in a death of a comrade. All he can do now was take another sip from the alcohol, take a deep breath and lower his head in helplessness at the face of this absurd world.” To think she died like that...” He could barely believe it, but it was a fact since it was told by people he trusts and respects.
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Passive Skills:
  • Fal'shbort - You are tougher, stronger, more Russian!
  • Tretiy Glaz - An ability that gives a person a sixth sense into the future. Unpredictable and random.


Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)




Vladimir was just beginning to give orders to the appropriate people to have this matter handled with expedience and grace when Elizaveta strode out, dressed in the appropriate finery befitting the daughter of an Emperor, and gave her own set of reasonable requests on the handling of the situation. Truth be told, Vlad already had a decent handle on the situation, but the advice about the hay on the ground was one that he had not considered. The nearby horse pens that the flaming clown recently entered and exited would be an excellent source for just this commodity; bales of the stuff should be packed away with the animals' fodder and it was easily replaced. The five hundred pound tiger licking the neck-hole of the very recently fallen woman was unsettling to the extreme, however, the beast responded to Veta's verbal cues readily. If Myshka ever decided not to one day, they would all be in a heap of trouble.

"Da! Right avay, Grand Duchess!" he called back to his adoptive daughter, waving one hand above his head and clutching the severed head by its hair with the other. He kept it low until he was absolutely certain that Adam was out of direct line of sight, the same forced smile upon his face, before dropping the highly unsuccessful act of pantomiming nonchalance. A great, blustering sigh escaped his face and he slumped over, seemingly exhausted with the mere thought of what had to be done in the face of one of the most important meetings that the Circus might ever have.

All at once, Vladimir rose himself to his full height and did one of the things that he did best - he began to yell. A forceful voice, to be sure, commanding and confident, spurring his people to coordinated action. "Sem'ya! Circus! You have heard vords of kind and beautiful Grand Duchess! Ve do this! Like never happened!" He looked around for a second, still holding the severed head of the young woman. When his eyes fell upon a nearby roustabout, he spoke to the man directly. "If please, find Ringmaster Viktor. Tell him vhat has happened. He is good vith speaking; tell him for please to inform family." His voice grew in depth and force again as he addressed the remaining persons about his general vicinity. Considering the crowd that gathered, they were plentiful. "Ve do this quick! Graveolase and other guests arriving now. I have head. Get body, roll both in cloth. Make sure head facing right direction. Is important."

There were a few members of his direct family nearby, the extended Alexandrov Family of the Circus, more appropriately known in these environs as "Bazhooli" (singular or plural). "Get Bazhooli Sem'ya together, ve must prepare. Graveolase avaits. Tonight, ve dance the Grand Mamushka! Everyvon else... ...be impressive. Be yourselves. Squeeze every drop from your souls, and help these people to see our greatness. Above all, panache." He raised his arms above his head, bringing his small speech to a crescendo, "Okay! Ve know vhat to do! Qvickly now, let us be off!"

It took him a spare second to realize that he still had an eerily staring head in his hand, prompting an immediate exclamation of "Дерьмо!" and the dropping of his arms to his sides. He palmed the human casaba and walked carefully in the direction of the formerly living person's horse. Other members of the Circus were advancing carefully from the other direction, and in a few moments they had the body corralled and the head more or less resting atop the corpse's neck, rolled up in a sheet of canvas. The worst of it was done.

The Great Bazhooli stood back up, and looked in the general vicinity of the salad-eating firewalker. "Costantin! For please, can you get bale of hay? Ve need ground cover, and the peoples are arriving now."







"I will speak the truth at all times, and forever keep my word."

Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)




Sometimes the laws of the Church and the rules of her Order weighed upon Mary's freedom of choice. It was cumbersome sometimes, but she understood that their ways were there for reasons. Some of them were more obvious than others, granted. Their regimentation, their level of organization, their attention to recording events and, last but not least, their network of communication were powerful (if mundane) strengths of the Vatican. Mary was but a set of eyes and ears for her people, and a sword in dark times if called upon. A cog in the great clockwork that was The Church. It was who she was.

Then a thought occurred to her. As of that morning, she had officially received word of her promotion to Dame Commander of the Order of St. Sylvester. So far as her standing went in the Order, Mary was no longer outranked by Bishop Mansfield. Within the Church was different, but she was not part of the standing clergy of St. Etheldreda's Church - she was their resident Knight. The thought was a revelation. The rank of Dame Commander gave her the responsibility to command the Papal Knights and active Papal Dames of her region; assign tasks, initiate actions covered by the writ of the Order. In practice, Mary was the only one. She was a commander without soldiery to order about. This meant that she did not have to pass her actions by the Bishop, though he still served as her liaison to the Vatican. She could assign herself tasks and carry them out accordingly, and report to the Grand Cross of her order as it was necessary. This was a touch more freedom than to which she was accustomed. It felt weird.

Renewed strength in her voice, Mary addressed Elizaveta. "The moment we have time, Your Grace, I wish to speak to you privately. Before we meet with the Graveolase, if it please you." There were a couple of things that needed to be handled before she stretched her newfound authority. Come to think of it, she needed to speak with Virginia before the meeting as well. There was a lot to go through before sitting down with these people. Much to do, little time in which to do it. Best to start soon.

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Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)


Virginia was rather glad that they had elected to go with the riders to Regent's Park, rather than take the carriage with Alfred. Had another moment passed, she and her brother would have missed one of the finest executions that she had ever witnessed on British soil. Public executions, as much as they fascinated her and nourished her morbid curiosity, followed the same general routine. This was entirely unexpected and completely random. The true shame was how quickly the members of the circus reacted towards the death - Virginia would have liked to examine the fatal wound and approximate, if possible, the amount of blood lost.

"I have never known a soul who could resist a Mamushka," Virginia commented with a sly smile. "I cannot help but imagine that your efforts will be successful with such a performance."

James' jaw dropped when he saw the beheading. For a moment, he was frozen, until he smiled so intensely it almost felt like his cheekbones would pop off. "That...was....incredible!!!! Do it again!" James asked, squirming with renewed joy and excitement as the rider lifted him from the horse. The randomness and spontaneity of it may have enticed his sister, but it was the pure spectacle of it that won James over. He had hardly been at the circus for a minute and already, he never wanted to leave.

He kept staring at the head and the body, his eyes flickering back and forth, until the rider directed his attention to Bazhooli and Elizaveta. To a young and impressionable Crypt, he definitely preferred Bazhooli. There was a liveliness and flair to him that just drew James in. But even Bazhooli was bested by the gigantic white cat. Its red stained fur looked so beautiful to James, like blood on freshly fallen snow. Without even thinking twice about it, the little Viscount made a run towards the tiger, looking as happy as could be.

"Deadly cat! Deadly cat! Deadly cat!" James kept shouting.

Virginia chuckled softly at her brother's antics. "Little devil, you must ask first if you can touch the tiger," Virginia chided. She didn't want her brother to grow up to be like some lords that simply took and took. If that was in his nature, she would much prefer to direct him towards piracy. It would serve him well there.

"Ginny, do you think it could eat me?" James asked, hardly able to contain himself. His sister couldn't help but smile softly. This was the sort of life she wanted for her brother - one where he could hardly contain his bliss, one where his curiosity was fulfilled and he was not dragged down by the normals. She wanted him to be happy, to have the childhood that ever Crypt deserved.

"Perhaps in a few bites," Virginia answered. She demounted the horse and noted the individuals present - she recognized Bazhooli and the Grand Duchess from the previous evening. Of course, she was mostly glad to see Mary there. She seemed occupied at the moment, yet she had come to discuss her brother with Dame Hale. Hopefully, Mary would have some time to spare for the conversation.
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mnkee You think you know pain?

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Location: Talink Estate (Inside)



- "I Don't Care" by Apocalyptica



Thalken began mentally, and perhaps emotionally, preparing for what needed to be done. The weight of it all was a heavy burden upon his shoulders. Perhaps the act of defying his father in and of itself was not too terribly difficult; however, the ramifications seemed insurmountable to him. Thalken would like to claim that he was fearless, but clearly, that wasn't true. He had plotted his father's demise for years, but he had never acted upon those thoughts. He would say that he was simply waiting for the right moment, but that was a lie. It was plain and simple. He did not have the nerve to openly defy his father, to do more than mere damage control in the cover of the shadows. But now was the tipping point, and the truth was that he was afraid. Afraid to face his father's wrath. Afraid to be disowned. Afraid to be hunted down. But more than anything he was afraid of the uncertain future that lied beyond the Talink name. Because sometimes the light was scarier to those who have always lived in the dark.

Then there was also an entirely different obstacle that stood in his way. The Soulless? No no--well yes, that was an obstacle, but he wasn't worried about that as of yet. No, he was thinking about the fact that he had to actually communicate with the Lady Crypt. Surely, she would be an emotional wreck what with the threat to her brother's life and now with the notion that she had to marry some strange beast of a man. Women were emotional creatures, or so he had heard. Granted, she was a Crypt. They were a different species entirely, but still. He could kill a Soulless without a blink of an eye, but women? And communicating?! God dammit, he had no training in this! Well, he kind of did what with his sister and all. Regardless, this would be challenging for him. Thalken let out a frustrated sigh. "God dammit," he grumbled.
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Elizaveta Romanova


Location: Russian Imperial Tent City: Moving On

Elizaveta was more than grateful that Vlad was handling things and that Constantin was there to aide as well. There was much to do and so very little time to do it at this point. Her earlier encounter with a Soulless had nearly spent her and she had to be strong right then. Not only for her people but for the circus. And then there was the new addition, the little Adam that had come with Sister Mary. He could not come with them. Taking a breath she looked over towards Mary and nodded. "Of course, there is much to discuss. I vish to speak of the little one. I believe he vould do vell here, he is orphan? This is vhere orphans find family," she said before turning her attention to their arrivals. The council was being ushered off to the side of the grand tent in their carriages, so that left the Lady Crypt and the boy that was with her.

"Let us go greet the others," she said before stepping over towards Virginia and James. The man who had rode with James was laughing.

"Oh yes, one bite to snap your neck and another to gobble you vhole! Oh Grand Duchess! And Sister Mary, ve as asked," he said bowing deeply. Elizaveta nodded and smiled down at James softly.

"Oh yes, Myska here eat much. He love children, so soft and tender," she said without batting an eye and in a dove like voice. Waving her gloved hand Myska came over to Elizaveta and she petted him between the ears as she knelt down. "Теперь Мыска, ты хорошо относишься к мальчику. Не ел его," she said before smiling over towards James. "You vant ride Myska?" she asked him before looking over towards Virginia. "If that is acceptable. I have something I must discuss with you Lady Crypt, about Miss Vyndham."

Elizaveta did not like the fact that she needed to speak with Virginia. She had nothing against the Crypts, but to have to inform Virginia of some vision would be hard news to deliver but from what little she had seen, Virginia and Millicent were friends. At least she suspected as much from what she had seen before the attack at Almacks the night before. Things were not boading well. An attack at Almacks, visions coming to the Circus, and little did the Grand Duchess know even more attacks - those that had swept through London since Almacks; deaths that the constables were investigating but had ceased with night falling now. No one dared venture out at this hour. Though, with it being dark now and the fog of London rolling in, especially over by the Docks, it would make slipping out of ones home much simpler. And if one knew the streets they could slip quickly from one point to another.


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Constantin Kolev


Location: The Tent City.




“Damn everything...” Constantin sighed and cursed under his breath in annoyance. So much happened, but fate, luck or another higher power seemed to thing it was not enough. To lose someone in such a way. There was no way to even intervene if he was there. A strange feeling of regret and helplessness took over him for a moment and then it left as his determination returned along with a bite of cheeze. There was no place for regret and negative feeling such as that. He had to focus and take care of things that had yet to happen.

Suddenly just as he was taking a sip from the cup of rakia, he heard a familiar voice call for him, so he followed the source and it led his sight right at the good old Bazhooli. 'Hay... eeh?' He thought, but nodded and stood up.” Alright!” Was his reply as he jumped into action to locate the nearest hay bale. True enough he did not have to search much since bales of hay weren't exactly very stealthy things.

Soon enough he reached it, grabbed it and started heading back, making sure to not be near any flame sources until he reached The Great Bazhooli.” Hay's here.” He stated, starting to spread it around the ground... bloody ground.” … I didn't expect this. But there be vorse vays to go I suppose.” He quietly said.
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Vladimir Alexandrov


"The Great Bazhooli"

Passive Skills:
  • Fal'shbort - You are tougher, stronger, more Russian!
  • Tretiy Glaz - An ability that gives a person a sixth sense into the future. Unpredictable and random.


Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)




Despite the fact that Vladimir's hands were covered in blood that wasn't his, coupled with the fact that he had been very recently holding the severed head of a fellow circus performer, he seemed in relatively good spirits. It could have been an act, or ploy of some kind designed to maintain order among his people. If The Great Bazhooli resorted to panic, it was only a matter of time before the Circus went right along with him. Admittedly, it was an understandably rare occurrence for an accidental death of this nature to darken their hearthy Tent City; luckily it was all out of sight of the visiting dignitaries from the Graveolase.

About at that time, Viktor the Ringmaster made his appearance. He was a man who put as much stock into making a show of his presence as Vladimir was; it was one way that he was very much like a Bazhooli, though other character traits would have taken him out of the running as a "Great" one. Viktor's loyal army of Russian Circus Roustabouts quickly saw to the still-warm body of Alexandra, rolled up in canvas. They passed along jugs of good, clear water, washing the blood off of people and hard surfaces. Vladimir motioned for the Ringmaster to come over to him, which he happily obliged to do, carrying a bottle of his own for Vlad to rinse his hands clean. As the blood ran onto the ground from his fingers, he addressed the man that was essentially the Circus Manager and Master of Finance. "Гравеолаза здесь, Виктор. Я должен увидеть семью Бажули для этой встречи - именно по этой причине мы здесь. Будете ли вы следить за тем, как люди девушки обращаются с этим?1"

Viktor's face was all seriousness and a small amount of alarm as he listened to what Vladimir had to say on the situation. When it came down to it, this is what they did when the pressure was on them: They set aside pride and conflict, deferred to each other's expertise, and got the job done. "Конечно, Великий Бажули. Это будет сделано, и я встречу вас в грандиозном павильоне для ознакомления позже.2"

Vlad had to ready himself and his Sem'ya to meet the Graveolase, maybe get in a dry run of their Grand Mamushka. He definitely had to get his "performance face" on. They all had their roles to play, and his was as the powerful, charming, merry showoff, commanding his people like a Field Marshal and executing impressive displays of martial prowess and coordination. But first...

"Lady Crypt!" he called from his position near the dead lady's horse. "It does heart joy, immense joy to be seeing you vith us this evening! Truly, you bring shadowy glimmer of mystery and passionate enchantment to vhat othervise vould be simple night at circus, da?" He approached briefly, just long enough to relay a more personal greeting. Bowing low, Vladimir began speaking again as he slowly rose to a standing position, shoulders broad and back straight. "It is honor to have one ov such undeniable grace, cold, starlit beauty, and charismatic intensity attending vith us, Lady Crypt. I am at service to you, ov course. Vhen ve have time, I vould speak vith you. But for now, obligations do not allow. For please, enjoy hospitality ov Circus - vhatever you need, ask." He offered another bow in the direction of Elizaveta and Mary, "Grand Duchess, Sister-Knight..." before hurrying back off in the direction of the remainder of his family, already preparing for the show. His retreating form could be heard giving Constantin encouragement.

"Excellent! For thank you! Just cover blood on ground, or give to Viktor's people, da? Enjoy salad after!"





Sister Mary Ignatia Hale


"Hail Mary, full of grace, The Lord is with thee."

Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)




It warmed Mary's heart to see Virginia approach. The evening was quickly becoming a jumble of important things happening all at once, threatening to overwhelm the already stressed Apostolic. Mary was a Venator, not a politician. She hunted Soulless and represented her Church, acting on their behalf as an agent of God's will upon His creation. Just not tonight. No, tonight Mary had greatness thrust upon her, and she had to sit in the seat of one of the most powerful offices in the world. It was a foregone conclusion that she did not want it, but to turn it over to someone else without sizing them up first could very well ensure a dark period for mankind across the world. Mary had to protect the seat of the Arch Graveolase from those who would pervert its intentions.

Naturally, seeing her friend walk up to her and the Grand Duchess drew a nigh seraphic smile from her. She had come because she needed help, granted, but Mary was just happy to see her. The young Apostolic remained quiet as Elizaveta spoke to Virginia; they were in public and she held much higher station. What she had said to Virginia, leading with the news about the Lady Wyndham, struck Mary with a sense of realization: Veta might intend to seek assistance from Virginia with her plans to ride for Gretna Green. It was both a relief and a cause for anxiousness. Relief, because she would not have to go alone if she could convince the Lady Crypt, and a streak of anxious nerves because there was a very good possibility that Mary would be unable to accompany them. She very much wanted to, especially if it was the three of them. Envy, jealousy, what have you; she would have to confess this later. Out of respect to Veta, certain details would have to be left out.

But even as the Grand Duchess was finishing her words with Lady Crypt and James, and The Great Bazhooli concluded ...being himself... Mary took the opportunity to speak to her. "It is very good to see you, Lady Crypt. I am delighted to see that my message was received quickly and you responded in person. Please, as you are able, tell me everything about yours and the young Viscount's situation. In the interest of disclosure, I should mention that another option has availed itself, though it is not fully confirmed at this time. But first, please, are you or your brother in need of food or drink? The people here are very generous with guests, as you have seen."

Mary made it a point not to discuss the very recent decapitation.
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Virginia Crypt

Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)


James cackled excitedly at the news that the Deadly Cat (the word tiger was slowly slipping from his mind or more truthfully, his attention) would be able to eat him in two gulps. Peering at Myska, he wanted to get a good look at his jaws. With enough practice, he felt confident that Myska would be able to do it in one. He then spotted the man he rode with giving a bow to Elizaveta and his sister curtseying, prompting a jolt of realization. Recalling his lessons from Alfred in etiquette, James did his best attempt at a bow, wiggling his hand about to try to do the flamboyant wave he had seen others do before.

To say it was ridiculous and adorable was an understatement. "It is my...my...my honor to meet you," James said carefully, with a bit of a practiced air. "Miamor," he then added at the end. He remembered, very dimly, his father saying something like that to his mother from time to time. It seemed like the type of thing you said to beautiful women - especially ones with a Deadly Cat.

James went back to bouncing up and down eagerly when Elizaveta asked him if he'd like to ride Myska. "Oh Ginny please! Please can I?"

Virginia shook her head, chuckling in spite of herself. "I suppose it would not hurt. Show respect to Myska - as you would with all creatures, little devil." If animals were treated poorly, then they would be twice as likely to attempt to turn on their masters. Such was the moral of the sorrowful tale of her father's cousin Violet. She had been trampled by her own horse. While her death was celebrated as all Crypt passings were, the general consensus was that she had deserved it wholeheartedly.

Guilt struck her at the mentioning of Millicent. She should have made an effort to reach out to Millicent that day, yet time had gotten away from her. With the chaos of Mosi's funeral and the threat made against James' life, she had not been as collected as she could have been. She nodded at Elizaveta, fearful that things had taken yet another turn for the worse for Millicent. "Of course. If I may secure James before, I will likely be more collected. But if it is urgent, then please, let us discuss it now."

She turned at the Great Bazhooli's call, an honest smile on her face at his tidings. The day had begun to make her feel weary, yet the spectacle of the decapitation and well placed flattery never hurt. None of the men in London were quite this charming. While she made their heads turn, it was usually in disgust at her training or worry that she was a Soulless. "You flatter me, Great Bazhooli. The honor is entirely mine - I must thank you for allowing my brother and I to come here on such an important night for the circus. It has been too long since I saw a proper Mamushka and I cannot help but imagine the performance would lift my spirits, if I may attend."

Of course, she had a question for the Great Bazhooli, yet it could wait. James, then Millicent, and then - if there was any time remaining - she might inquire as to her family history. She smiled slightly hearing Bazhooli's exclamation about the blood as he rushed off, before finally engaging with Mary in conversation. "I must thank you, Dame Hale, for offering aid. I know these are not ideal circumstances for you to offer assistance, with your new duties as Arch Graveolase for this evening."

Virginia then glanced over towards her brother, who was spirited as ever. An outsider wouldn't suspect that someone had threatened James' life. He had not a care in the world. "I must confess, I do not believe I could stomach food or drink at this moment. Perhaps James may care for some water..." She then trailed off, considering for a moment how best to recount everything that had happened that day.

"The trouble began this morning - I rose late, though I do not quite understand why myself. The gardener alerted me to the state of the garden, as all of the plants but one had perished overnight. Eventually, the carcass of a wolf was discovered, with a blooded note in my trained tongue warning that the youngest will die before the pack is slaughtered. It does not translate directly, I am afraid, but that is the meaning of the message, more or less...Understandably, I began making my own inquiries from a scientific standpoint, as well as writing to those who might be of aid. It is then that I sought your help, Dame Hale."

"I fear I may have allowed my emotions to cloud my judgment today...But that aside, I received a message from my father at the funeral of Jeanette Crane. It came through the flames and I believe he means for me to seek out an ancestor, a Crypt who was said to have found a way to survive for more years than any mortal is capable of...Once James is secured, I intend to make way to the Carpathian Mountains in hopes of finding them. There are many pains that I could endure and become stronger from, yet the loss of James..."
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Elizaveta Romanova


Location: Russian Imperial Tent City: Moving On

Adam came bounding out of the main tent, his hair bouncing as he carried several sticks of meat in his hand as Petrov scrambled to get a hold of the little tike. Elizaveta nodded towards Virginia as she said she needed to get James secured. "Then, please, accept our assistance vith such Lady Crypt. There vould be no safer place than vithin the boundaries of the tent city," she said in a bird like voice. Yes she had been attacked but she had not been within the boundary of the Tent City when she was. She had been outside of it's temporary boarders and alone. Why, she had not spoke of yet, granted she had not been asked either.

Smiling her eyes darted down to James as he introduced himself in a rather flamboyant manner for one so young. Elizaveta felt it was only fitting that she should return the gesture. Waving her hands with all the exuberance of a properly trained Circus but holding the grace of her position as she bowed into a deep curtsy. It was a true test of the future Czarinas skills to be able to do so with so many layers of thick fabric between her gown and robe. At the lowest point of her bow she lifted her head and locked eyes with the little Crypt. "The honor is entirely mine Lord Crypt," she said in an eerily cold voice that could have been as soothing as it was disturbing. Rising she rested her hands before her as her fingers laced together. "So charming, I vould suspect that such a way vith vords and handsomeness you inherited from your father."

Turning her head she smiled slightly towards Adam as he rushed towards James and Myska. "Hello," he said as he came to a halt, looking at James questioningly as Myska narrowed his jaws in towards Adams hand. Granted the massive tiger was not trying to eat Adam, he was after one of the meat sticks. Petrov finally caught up with the lad and let out a breath as if he had been running for ages.

"1Мне очень жаль, Великая Княгиня. Я поклялся, что он был рядом со мной, а потом он исчез," Petrov said as he bowed to Elizaveta. Quirking a brow her eyes moved over to Adam as she gathered the folds of her gown and stepped towards him.

"2Нет Мыска," she interjected quickly just before the cat was about to comp down on the meat stick. Her orders did not stop the cat. It was meat and he wasn't hurting anyone. Adam laughed slightly at the cat stealing one the many he was carrying.

"He needs," Adam said before taking another from his other hand and holding out to James. "It's good. Called patwetchy!"

"Patychky," Veta corrected as she came closer to the boy and bent at the knees, squatting down so she was eye level with him. Their eyes seemed to lock for a minute and Elizaveta became oddly still, not that she moved much. It seemed most of her movements were minimal and she could stand and look most of the time as if she was not evening breathing. Yet this was different. This was the Tretiy Glaz, something she had looked at others with recently. Adam when she first met in at the convent, Fyror at Almacks, and so forth. "3Теперь я понимаю, кто вы. любознательный."

Giving him a smile she rose and looked over to Virginia. "If you vould not mind him spending time with Adam here, I promise his safety and protection vithin the tent city. I vould allov the tvo to enjoy Myska and ve can talk. I believe ve maybe able to enlighten you of the Carpathians Lady Crypt. Ve have some here in the Circus vho have home there. That is vhere ve came before ve came to England and the stopping points inbetveen." The smile slowly faded but it did not take away from the look in Elizavetas eyes, one of pride. "It is the birth place of our people, the cradle of life for us and our vays."


Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by mnkee
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mnkee You think you know pain?

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Thalken Talink

It's okay to lash out from the rules that I'm enslaved.
But somehow, someday, I'll have to turn the page.
- "Cold" by Five Finger Death Punch



Location: Talink Estate


Thalken ran a hand across his face before slowly rising to his feet. He then lumbered over to his bed and sat on the edge of it. What emotions had risen to the surface with a mighty vengeance, he could now feel draining from him, like blood from an open wound. His father had stabbed him in the back and lit him alflame. Perhaps he shouldn't be surprised, but the severity of the wound was shocking nonetheless to him. While the flames were beginning to fade to a low but constant burn, his emotions were rapidly bleeding out from him. Perhaps for a man like Thalken, who buried his emotions and hid them behind a cold exterior, that wasn't such a bad thing. It was the extra nudge he needed. Yet, as a result of that profusely bleeding wound, he was left feeling numb from head to toe. So he just sat there, silently staring at the floor. Who knows how long he sat there, drowning in his bleeding emotions.

He was finally roused from his stupor by what sounded like a carriage pulling up outside. He looked up and over at the window. It seemed odd for someone to be arriving at this hour. As far as he knew, they weren't expecting anyone. Granted, his father wasn't exactly forthcoming as of late. "Whatever," Thalken grumbled. He didn't care about who it was at the moment. He was too busy brooding. His dark eyed gaze went back over to the window, and his mind returned to that piece of paper that had randomly hit his window. And yet, the fact that it had been written in his trained tongue suggested that it wasn't merely random. He reached into his coat pocket and fished out the thin piece of paper. He flattened it out between his fingers and read it again. "Loose string monkey." It was one of 81 Cantonese Proverbs, and it meant someone no longer under control of their superior or guardian. His brows furrowed at the realization that it sounded a lot like him right now.

Just then, the distinct bellowing voice of an enraged Beowulf echoed through the manor. "SHE DID WHAT?!!" Thalken looked up, brows furrowing. He shoved the piece of paper back into his coat pocket and promptly rose from his bed. Something was amiss in the Talink Manor. Beowulf and Thalken were alike in that they were both minimalists when it came to their emotions. In other words, not much could conjure up an extreme reaction from them. With that in mind, Thalken knew something wasn't right. He quickly left the privacy of his room and ran down the stairs, taking them two at a time. He slowed down as he finally neared the front hallway. The clearly enraged form of his father came into view, and just past him was the comparatively more demure form of--Thalcona.

"God dammit," Thalken muttered under his breath. Why was his sister back? She was supposed to be guarding the Viscount Wenwynith. Oh, god dammit!! This wasn't good! "What the hell is going on?" he exclaimed as he approached the two. He glanced at his father, who at this point might as well have been having the adult equivalent of a violent temper tantrum. His gaze then landed on his sister. Thalcona's lips thinned, and the look in her eyes confirmed his suspicions. "What happened?" he questioned through gritted teeth.

Thalcona let out a small sigh before responding, "The Lady Crypt backed out on the deal. She said her father is returning, and that she had to reply in person to an urgent letter from her friend Dame Mary Hale. She left with some of the Russian circus folk not too long ago." Thalken swallowed another god dammit, his eyes darkening at this new turn of events. Perhaps he should have been relieved that he did not have to marry the Lady Crypt, but he wasn't. His mind was preoccupied on the great ramifications that the woman had just incurred upon herself. There was no going back for either of them now.

"I want you to hunt down that boy, that puny little viscount! If he is in our grasp, the Lady Crypt will have no other choice but to obey my commands! Not unless she wishes to see her brother's head on a pike!" Beowulf spat callously. Thalken's jaw clenched, and he turned stiffly to face his father. God, why was he related to the wretched man? No more. Thalken would no longer submit to his father's demands. He was a Talink only by blood relation alone. Disown him for all he cared. Hunt him down for all he cared. Kill him. Torture him. Do whatever to him, but no more. Thalken was done. He would deceive the man one more time. But after that? One of them would die, and it wouldn't be him.

"I will handle this," Thalken growled, raising his voice. "I will handle this!!"

"I will come with you," Thalcona interjected.

"NO! No, I will do this myself," he retorted. And with that he left the Talink Estate for what he deemed could very well be the last.
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rivaan

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Constantin Kolev


Location: The Tent City.




“I vill do it...” Constantin replied, there were others who were preoccupied with their own obligations and chores to do, he on the other hand had a free night so to speak. There was no performance for him to do right now, nor anything else to deal with for the moment. There was no need in having other people stop their work to deal with this. He could cover the blood well enough.” Thank you.” Was his brief reply to the encouragement sort of thing that Bazhooli told him as he was moving away.

Constantin took a deep breath and looked up at the skies for a moment before resuming his work, which was pulling straw and spreading it on the ground, quickly covering the blood up. When the whole thing was nicely spread out. IT wasn't exactly hard to cover blood, but if someone walked over the straw he was going to notice later probably. Sure it hid the blood, but with enough people stepping on it, it was going to show sooner or later. Nothing to be done really, besides maybe going to grab another bale.' Mhm... better do it right avay.' He concluded and moved away.
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Vladimir Alexandrov


"The Great Bazhooli"

Passive Skills:
  • Fal'shbort - You are tougher, stronger, more Russian!
  • Tretiy Glaz - An ability that gives a person a sixth sense into the future. Unpredictable and random.


Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)




There was a sense of bold pragmatism in the manner that Ringmaster Viktor had his people handle the situation. Moreover, the roustabouts tasked with handling the scene went about their work with an edgy coldness, as if they were accustomed to dealing with grim jobs like this and found it more of an inconvenience than a point of horror. It was a short piece of time until the area looked more of less sanitized, with the exception of a huge cleft in the pavilion corner support beam, courtesy of the magician's saw that got away from him. One could almost feel sorry for the poor fellow as he meekly stepped forward to retrieve his device, even as he pushed up a box to stand upon while working the wide blade out of the wooden support, the occasional drop of vermilion staining his shirt sleeves in the process. Eyes remained on him, silently asking questions that, were spoken aloud, very well would have contained excessive profanity.

Vladimir had just finished speaking with the trio of highly placed women, and was quickly returning to his people. They had a dry run to go through before appearing before the Graveolase. It was a dance that they had done numerous times, singly, in duet, and in groups. Second nature, at this point in time. And when properly trained Tatushka singers accompanied them as backup, the dance became as art. Hypnotic, beautiful, deadly art, steeped in the traditions and flavor of the Rusyn people - Gypsy or Cossack, Romanian, Ukrainian, or Russian. It was the application of the Grand Mamushka; a dance involving a great number of the Sem'ya acting in sharp, acrobatic concert, of which they were masters, all.

Unfortunately, Vladimir was stopped yet again by Viktor. One of his responsibilities was as the main announcer, and he had a couple of legitimate questions for the Master of the Bazhooli Sem'ya. "Титулы, Великий Бажули! Мне нужно знать титулы двух странных женщин, если я хочу объявить их другим гостям!1"

The performer known internationally as The Great Bazhooli sighed. Not just an ordinary sigh, either, but one that began as a dramatic exhale, grew into an annoyed growl, and terminated as an open-mouthed yell. He really wanted to get to his family's business as quickly as possible. Sure they had done this many times over, in celebration, in combat, and in practice, but he just needed to get his people warmed up, limber. Shake the pre-entrance ice from their limbs and get them in the proper mindset to go about their duties with skill and optimism. But apparently now right now, no matter how hard he tried.

In keeping with his annoyance and the fact that they were discussing British nationals, Vladimir responded in English. "Vhy for you do not just ask them?" he questioned with a slightly exasperated tone. "No no, I vill do."

In a fashion befitting the showman that he was, Vladimir flourished his hands in a practiced motion, the end result being that two of his finer knives seemed to appear, as if by magic, within his grasp. He used one such knife to tip the brim of his tall, very impressive hat back, and then began to twirl them through his fingers, approaching Virginia, Elizaveta, and Mary by mere steps, just enough to signify that he waa speaking to them but not so close that they did not have to raise voices.

"If man, lowly as myselv among three elegant roses of grace, beauty, and standing may interrupt discussion, important as yours is for obvious?" He gave a half-second of pause purely for the metric of etiquette, "Our noble and gallant Ringmaster vishes to know your titles; full titles that he may announce you as you enter. Ve know yours, Grand Duchess, but are less familiar vith Lady Crypt and Scary Catho... Sister-Knight (you get promotion, yes?) Mary. For please? And remember, ve are showpeople. Vith panache."






Sister Mary Ignatia Hale


"Dame Commander, Order of St. Sylvester"

Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)




Mary looked to the odd man who commanded so much respect among his people. Maybe this was just how the Russians operated. Or the Circus. Or maybe it was just the ways of this roving group of peculiar but highly necessary lunatics of which Mary was fast becoming very fond. The Great Bazhooli, as he was known, made a valid request (if a little out of turn). So, Mary waited a second or two for a proper conversational break and responded. "That is correct, I have received that honor very recently."

Now for the uncertain part. Due to the nature of her work, her title may be different based upon the nature of the role she had to play. The short form was, if she was called upon to be a Venator, she was addressed with the honorific of Dame. If acting as an agent of the Church purely, it was Sister, owing to her simple vows. Mary represented The Vatican in this meeting, which could not be overlooked if she tried. There was likely to be another, more formal representative present however, and she was angling to maintain her position until a decent, honorable, more permanent solution was available by means of title. Her latest one was granted for this reason. The choice was clearer.

"The Interim Arch Graveolase, Dame Commander Mary Ignatia Hale of the Papal Order of St. Sylvester, Resident Knight of St. Etheldreda's Church in London."

It was getting long. People might accuse her of excessive pride soon, though she was marginally certain it would not be anyone from this circus. More of a concern, was the strange Ringmaster writing any of this down? It really was getting long. But he was probably trained for this.

Elizaveta had done an excellnt job broadening the topic that Mary had initiated. Indeed the Circus was a safer location because of its people. Maybe not quite as safe as The Vatican, but one had to get there first. It was a long journey. Perhaps James could find something more suited to his character here with these people. She was already considering giving Adam her blessings in this regard. But after speaking with The Baron on this and many other subjects earlier, she reasoned that they might need his blessings, too.

"Your Grace, Lady Crypt, it seems we have much to discuss in a short time. Might I suggest that we find somewhere with more privacy in the meantime?"
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Virginia Crypt


Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)

Virginia was touched that Elizaveta offered protection for James. In her experience, it was an unusual person who offered shelter to a stranger. The members of London society were far more likely to turn someone away than to render them aid. Her earlier encounter with the Talinks was an example of London's lack of selflessness. And while some may have been unnerved at the protection of the circus after the projectile guillotine beheading that happened moments before, the Grand Duchess of Russia was kept safe on these grounds. James would be safe as well.

"Thank you - I hope that I can repay you one day for this kindness," Virginia said earnestly. "The Crypt Family is in your debt."

James giggled bashfully at Elizaveta's compliment of him. He figured that with such a great response, he must have done it properly. He was thrilled - and proud. And a little bit hungry. He felt a spiritual kinship with the Deadly Cat as it wolfed down a piece of meat. "Pah...ty...chky?" James tried to say. The words felt a little bit funny on the tongue, but he only knew English. Any other language would feel a little bit odd for him to say.

"Thanks!" James then added as Adam offered him one. Before he started nibbling on it, his eyes locked with Elizaveta's and he froze. He didn't know exactly what was going on, but she seemed to have gone into some sort of trance. Figuring that it would probably be bad to break it, James held his breath and kept his eyes open, refusing to blink, until Elizaveta muttered something in the strange language.

"What's that mean?" James asked, filled with curiosity. He wanted to know what she had said - and also, what the trance had done.

"I would not mind at all," Virginia said. She had a good feeling about James and Adam. James didn't often get to play with children his own age. At either rate, Adam would certainly be able to handle James' near endless energy better than poor Alfred could. Her interest was piqued when Elizaveta mentioned the connection to the Carpthanian mountains that the circus had.

"I would be very interested in any information you have," Virginia replied. She found it curious how many connections her family appeared to have to the Russian Circus. Perhaps as the rider mentioned, her family had once been rather close to either the circus or the Russian Royal Family. She was intrigued, to say the least.

In the midst of their conversation, Virginia heard the now slightly familiar burst of compliments from the Great Bazhooli. He seemed to be as skilled in flattery as he was in blades, as he used one to tip his hat and then continued to twirl the knives as he spoke. Virginia had hardly even considered the matters of the ton, being so focused on her brother and his safety, as well as the message from her father. Yet she was glad that he asked, as it reminded her of another matter of importance and announced another promotion for Mary. She beamed hearing Mary's title of Dame Commander. In her opinion, the ton tended to understate Mary's talents and position - hearing Mary be recognized lifted Virginia's spirits.

"You have my congratulations on the promotion, Dame Commander," Virginia said, before providing her own title. "The Lady Virginia Margaret Crypt, Mistress of Wenwynith and Adviser to the Interim Arch Graveolase...I must apologize, Great Bazhooli, as I have just recalled an unfortunate circumstance I must alert you, as well as others, to...The Talink family may very well intend to cause harm to James or myself. If they come, please do allow me to wield my axe and nullify the threat."

She did not wish to ask for the Circus to handle with dealing a fatal blow to the Talinks. It had been her error that created this business dispute and she wished to set the matter to rest personally. Though as she reflected on the manner in which Thalken had stared at her the previous evening, it seemed likely that the Talinks had already made plans to kill either her or her brother.

"James, little devil, please play with Myska and the other boy," Virginia instructed him, kneeling down to James' level. She hardly cared if the fabric of her dress brushed up against the ground. There was a grave seriousness on Virginia's face, enough to stop James' squirming for a moment. "Do you remember the gaunt girl from earlier? She was a Talink. If you see her or any other Talink, you must run and hide in the tent city...If that is not an option, remember your lessons in the foil with Alfred and kill them." She smoothed James' hair and smiled at him fondly, before rising back to her full height. She was not certain if James would be able to take on a Talink in combat. In fact, she found it rather unlikely.

"Of course. Privacy in these matters would be welcomed, should there be a place available to us," Virginia said to Mary. She did not wish to impose on the Circus or give them any reason to dislike her. If what Virginia's musings were correct, perhaps this is where the Cossack Crypts originated from - the Russian Circus.

James was beaming at the other boy, having tasted the Patychky. He wasn't exactly sure what type of meat it was, but he truthfully didn't care. As he swallowed his latest mouthful, James extended a hand to Adam, a little bit of meat juice running down his chin. "M'names James. What's yours?" James asked, having abandoned the pomp and ceremony he used with Elizaveta. While Elizaveta was a beautiful princess of the night, Adam seemed to him to be an equal.

"How fast do you think the Deadly Cat can run?" James then asked with a wicked grin.
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