(Collab between @Cerces22, @Zetsuko, @mmarage)
Joe had awoken in his new apartment. He had finally signed his lease the day prior and unloaded what few belongings he had into its confines. Everything was still packed away in boxes, but it wouldn't take the boy no more than an hour or so to put everything away. It was primarily his clothing, toiletries, books, and kitchenware. He hadn't accumulated much in his twenty years of life, he was careful with his money and avoided making frivolous purchases and heaven's knew that he never received many gifts from others. Though, with what few that he did receive, he made sure to cherish them.
Unfortunately, unpacking would have to come later. Right now, he needed to get ready and head over to the Dark Shadows Headquarters. He... still couldn't quite believe that he was going through with it all. Just a little over half a year ago his whole life changed. He never thought he'd be leaving Maine, let alone coming to New York City to fight against the Guild. But... fate tends to have a bit of a funny habit to play around with people's lives.
Joe sat up in his bed and looked down at the boxes strewn around on the ground. He got up, walked over to the small pile, and knelt down. He snagged a pair of scissors on top of the TV stand that had come with the room, opened them, and then ran the blade down the packing tape sealing the cardboard box labeled "Toiletries", cutting it enough for him to be able to open the box open. He would then repeat the process with the boxes labeled "Clothing". He would grab his shower supplies, his dental hygiene supplies, and his hairbrush. He then grabbed a simple white button down shirt, a black t-shirt, a pair of underwear and socks, a pair of black jeans, and a towel.
He would then walk into the bathroom, carefully carrying everything in his arms. He'd set everything down on the bathroom counter. He'd place his toiletries behind the sink, aside from his shower supplies, which he placed in the shower. He would then pick up his clothing and set it down onto the toilet next to the shower. Finally, he would reach into the shower and turn the handle, letting the water get hot as he stripped down.
He would hop in and out of the shower, taking just enough time to shampoo and condition his hair, scrub himself with the body wash and then rinse it all off. He would dry off his hair and body and quickly slip on his clothes, before walking back in front of the sink and wiping away the fogged up mirror. He would quickly brush his still damp hair down, then quickly rub the stick of deodorant beneath his armpits, before finally brushing his teeth and then gargling with mouth wash.
He walked out of the bathroom once he deemed that he was presentable. He just needed to grab a few things before he could finally leave. First thing he grabbed was his smartphone, something which he had saved up a few paychecks for. In this day and age, it was pretty much a necessity, especially since now he'll be navigating through a whole new and impossibly huge city on foot. His wallet and keys, and then finally, off of his nightstand, a simple pendant.
It had a simple silver chain and ended with a green crystal shaped like a teardrop at the end. It was his most prized possession, something his father had given to him shortly before his passing. He said that it was very important that he kept it, that it was like a protection charm, that no matter where he went, a bit of his father would be with him to protect him. He... always did feel like it did have some sort of mysterious power lying within it. He was almost certain that the crystal would swirl with some mysterious aura inside of it. Though... of course it could have merely been a trick of the light and his desire for what his father said to be true to make him think it was really special and not just a hunk of rock. Either way, it was the sole item he possessed that linked him back to his family.
He quickly clasped the pendant around his neck and rushed out of the door. He had already pulled up the address to the Dark Shadows' headquarters, it'd just be a matter of getting there. Hopefully he wouldn't get lost or anything. It'd be a pretty bad impression if he got lost on his very first day when he had a GPS at his fingertips. After locking his door and starting the GPS on his phone, he began walking to his destination, which, thankfully wasn't too far from him.
Circe sat in her spot at headquarters. Whistling Criminally Insane by Slayer while playing whack a mole that substituted the mole with Mommy Aly created by her magic. Tayla definitely showed her how much fun quality over quantity really was. Though Circes approach was as much fun, it was still here preferred method in dealing with the cockroaches killed humans. Now though she sat with nothing fun to do, or someone to kill.
Joe stood outside the door of the headquarters, a simple, yet unassuming apartment building which appeared to be like any of the other buildings on the street. Something that wouldn’t really gather much attention. Made sense, he supposed, don’t want people to know what’s going on within. He looked back at the street with some trepidation, his hand reaching up to the pendant around his neck and giving it a little squeeze, before finally turning back toward the door, grabbing the handle, and pushing the door open.
Joe walked into the hideout, shutting the door behind him. He could feel his heart pounding with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. He was really doing this. He was joining the Dark Shadows, he was going to fight the guild. He took a deep breath, and then exhaled before announcing his presence. “Hello? I’m the new recruit.” He called out, hoping that someone would hear him.
Just as Circe violently smashed an Aly replica a voice rang out. A young man wearing a pendant had just announced himself. Circe quickly looked around to see if anyone else was around to greet the new guy. Seeing how she was the only other person in the room brought a wicked smile to her face.
You should kill him, no one knows he is here, take your time, use what Talya showed you last night, hehehehehe. Said the other Circe, she had begun trying to weasel her way back in control, but for the moment Circe had her more… unpredictable side under control.
”Hey, no one else but me and my voices here. Who are you, and what can you do?? She said to the new guy as a stiletto blade of shadows appeared in her hand, using it to pick at her fingernails.
Joe’s head turned toward the voice that rang out throughout the room. He looked the woman up and down for a second, a little worried that she might cut herself with the black stiletto blade. However, he figured that she must do it a lot with how naturally she acted with the blade. He gave a polite chuckle to what he had hoped was a joke. ”Oh, ah… I’m Joe, like I said, I’m the new recruit. I just got in last night. As for what I can do… w-well… right now… not a lot.” He said as he rubbed the back of his head awkwardly, not wanting to give away too much right now. After all, it’d be kind of lame if Lana had told anyone about that incident and then all he could say was that he could do was… well… make pretty lights.
The blade dematerialized as she finished listening to Joe talk, such a boring name, befitting a boring guy it seems. ”Well if you can't do a lot, why are you here?? We are in the business of world destruction… sorry, domination. There must be a reason why you joined us, unless your a Guilding spy, in which case I should save Aly and Lana the trouble, and kill you myself. You can be one of my new toys, they don't last so long though.” She said with mock dejection.
Joe straightened up, an annoyed expression crossing his face as he looked at the woman, he straightened up. ”T-There’s no way that I’d ever join that organization! I… I might not want world domination or something along those lines… but I do want to take down the Guild. They have no right to do what they do to magi. Their whole organization is corrupt to the core. Believe me or not, but I am not a spy. I… I saved Ms. Lana when some of those Guild dogs jumped her last Winter. They were beating her to death and… well… I couldn’t just stand by and I kind of… sort of… well… blasted them.” He said, his indignation slowly dying as he went on to explain how he had gotten here.
He folded his arms across his chest and looked off to the side, biting his lip slightly. This… story would sound hard to believe, after all, a captain needing help from a random stranger, one that just so happen couldn’t do what he did before. That… seemed shady even to him and he had been there and had indeed done just that.
Circe walked up to the young mage and slowly walked around him. Joe was very unassuming, he seemed timid to her, and easy target. She leaned in and sniffed him and her nose wrinkled.
”You smell… bright?? So you cause explosions?? That could be an interesting ability to have. I am sure Mommy Aly, when he returns from, wherever he may be, he doesn't tell his Captain anything of course. But you smell… wrong how do you make the explosions??” She stopped circling him and waited for an answer.
Joe felt a little weirded out as the woman began to circle him… and then sniff him? What did she mean by “bright”? This one… was certainly an oddball. He instinctively reached up and grabbed onto his pendant, the green crystal shimmering slightly in the dim light of the headquarters. “...Well, it wasn’t explosions… more like… beams of light energy, I suppose. Just kind of… slammed into ‘em. Kind of burned them too, I think. But they were still breathing when I left them, so that’s good. Probably still recovering though, can’t say they don’t deserve that.” He said, mumbling the last part as he kept his eyes on the woman.
Circe listen to the man ramble on grabbing the pendant at his throat. When she heard about the beams of light she stopped breathing. Frozen in place as both personalities processed what he had said. A low hiss escaped her mouth, quick as a snake she uncoiled grabbing him by his clothes, a hand tracing down his face as she brought hers in closer.
”You are a LIGHT mage?!” The words coming out clipped and harsh. ”You come in this place, with your disgusting light magic, you are going to pay for that misjudgement with your life!!” Her hand raised and a wicked serrated dagger appeared. She pressed the blade to his throat drawing a drop of blood.
Luka was returning from an assignment, one that may not have gone entirely to plan if his injuries were any indication. A lot of the damage he sustained while he was out was actually already healed thanks to his magic with only some injuries on his face still showing, namely that his right cheek was split open baring his teeth all the way to his ear in a wicked grin, his skull was showing through in a few places, and his right eye hanging out of its socket. Despite the mangled state of about half of his face he seemed completely unphased, even singing to himself as he cracked parts of himself back together while he walked up to the DS hideout entrance
"Bloody bloody Mary tell you what you just say" Crack
"You been talkin' reckless, you don't want a problem" crack "Murda murda murda there's no running away" crack
"They won't hear you scream in-"
He stopped as he came through the door to the sight of Circe with one of her shadow-blades against a young boy's throat. He didn't recognize the boy but the fact that he was able to get through the door must have meant that he was Dark Shadow and if he recalled correctly Lana had mentioned recruiting someone a while back, this must be him then.
Closing the door behind him he addressed the two "Now Circe, is that any way to greet the new guy" as he walked toward them he took his handing eye and popped it back in, blinking a few times to align it You know bossman doesn't like you scaring off the new recruits, C'mon before you traumatize the poor boy" He came up beside Circe and put one arm around her shoulders and used the other to tip her hand away from the new guy's neck "Terribly sorry about this friend he tried a sort of half-smile despite one half of his mouth being cut open in a semi-permanent grin for the moment "My name is Luka, if this one hasn't told you yet her name is Circe. Might I ask your name?"
Joe had frozen up as soon as the woman had grabbed his clothes and gotten close to him. His eyes widened, he looked like he was a deer caught in the headlights as he felt that knife against his throat. He let out a soft gasp as he felt it dig slightly into his throat, feeling a warm sensation slowly going down his throat. Surely, his blood dripping down his throat and staining into the collar of his shirt.
He was certain that this was how he was going to die. For whatever reason, he had angered this clearly unstable woman, and now he was going to get murdered in this dingy hideout. He silently prayed that someone, anyone would come save him. His prayers were thankfully answered as a disfigured man walked up to them and relieved the pressure of that knife against his throat.
He let out a sigh of relief, relaxing slightly as he looked over at Luka. “I-I’m Joe. I-I’m the new recruit.” He said, his body was still trembling, but he decided to try and take a step back, hoping that Circe would let go of the collar of his shirt
Just as Circe was about to start playing Luka walked in, looking worse than Solomon Grundy. He told her to leave the damned light mage alone, going as far as to remove her hand from his throat. Circe let go of Joe's clothes with her other hand, while a new knife appeared and she flashed it up underneath his chin. Her eyes flicked to Luka, the anger burning in them.
”Listen here, Some Assembly Required he is a light mage!! That magical abomination needs to be removed before it taints my beautiful darkness!! All light must be extinguished.” Circes wild eyes now darting between the two men. She would have to kill Luka if he tried to stop her.
"Well it's nice to meet you j-" Luka was cut off again as Circe took her knife to him. He didn't even flinch is response, he just curled in the arm he had around her shoulder so his fingers were close to her neck, small blood claws threatening to rip her open "Really now? Shouldn't you two be getting along better then? They say opposites attract you know"
He didn't didn't turn his head very far, just glaring at her out of the corner of his eyes and speaking again after a short pause. "We don't want to make a mess of our little lair now Circe, do put your shadows back at your feet." His other hand was poised to strike, he would disable Circe if he had too and she wouldn't stand a chance this close. He just hoped she wouldn't be trouble right now.
With wide crazy eyes darting between Joe and Luka, Circe contemplated all of her options on her next move. She could strike out and kill Joe, but Luka was fast and with his hand at her throat, he could still kill her. She snarled at Luka in frustration as her daggers melted away. She pulled her head back and glared at Luka.
”Just because I like your ability to cover yourself in blood Hush, doesn't mean I won't kill you if given the opportunity. And, Light Bright, best not let me catch you without your blood hound around. Else my dagger will find it's way into your light bulb.” With her threats delivered she turned on her hell and stormed off, slamming the door behind her.
Joe thought for sure that things were going to end in bloodshed, either with himself, or Circe dead… however, she finally stopped and stormed away. He let out a sigh of relief and nearly fell to his knees, the tension slowly draining from his shoulders. “T-Thank you, Mr. Luka. I-I don’t know what I did, honest. I just… talked about why I was here and then she just lost it. I… don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t been here.” He said, looking at the disfigured man in front of him.
"Good girl" Luka muttered as Circe stormed off. He brought a hand up and continued fixing himself as Joe started talking to him. "Ah don't worry about it. She's just a little unstable eh, tragic past broke her. The pain and death is all she knows, S'made her violent. Sad but it's cute sometimes.” By the time he was done speaking he'd finally fixed most of his face, his split cheek the only thing left but the grin was real now.
"Anyway, You're the recruit Lana mentioned a while back yes. If your looking for everyone they should be just through there.” He pointed toward another door. "Sorry to leave you on your own but I'm going to see if I can talk that one into not playing skip-rope with your intestines for awhile." On that last note he started walking away from Joe to head through the door after Circe.
Joe nodded as he listened to Luka. He… could kind of understand. He’d seen it a lot with other kids at the orphanages where he had grown up, those who had been in even worse situations than he had been in. They acted out, acted violently, unable to really reach out to others in a meaningful way, and in their frustration with the world, they just lashed out more and more. Though… never quite to the point of murder. That Circe girl really needs some professional help.
He looked over at the door that Luka had pointed out, and then looked back at him as he walked away once more. ”A-Ah, thanks again!” He called out after him, before turning and wandering through the door. Hopefully, this would be the most eventful thing that happened to him today...