Avatar of Damycles


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6 mos ago
Current I'd say the line between Slice of life and "Character based Drama" is a pretty "thin" one. But getting into the weeds of that needs more than 200 characters.
1 like
6 mos ago
You ever just look in the fridge, find nothing but 3 random disconnected ingredients and go… “Well, this is gonna have to work somehow”
6 mos ago
I feel like to draw hot dudes you also have to know how to write hot dudes. You feel?
1 like
6 mos ago
You ever just marvel out how human beings have advanced to just... eat a bunch of stuff? Just watched a video of a possum trying to eat an apple and I was like "Damn, little guy's having trouble!"
6 mos ago
Has anyone actually read Hegel? I mean I haven't, but I keep telling myself I will. Is anyone else also procrastinating on the Phenomonology of Spirit?


I'm not too interesting of a fella but if you want to dig then I guess I can't stop you.

I do writing, that much should be obvious enough. Genre is flexible but I really like to write from a first person perspective. It's not a deal breaker if I can't. It's not like I'm physically unable to use other perspectives but there are certain advantages with the way a narrative can be formed from a first person writing style that I prefer compared to others.

I like characters, I like getting into their heads, I like exploring the little lies they tell to themselves but still believe because it's honestly easier than confronting the truth. I like to think about what they focus on, what they think is worth focusing on, and what that might say about them. And most of all, I like to inhabit their voice. You could say that's the actor in me coming out from there. You probably wouldn't be wrong.

I actually do a bit of voicework on the side funnily enough, been acting since a young age, but this isn't a place for me to shill that side of my life. But with the acting and the art stuff that I do I suppose you could say it colors the way I craft narratives. Pun only semi-intended.

I like making tired, lost, and complicated men. Lotta reasons for that, but we'll just stick with "I find them interesting." Those fellas I make can manifest in a lot of different ways no doubt, but it is undeniably my comfort zone. So keeping all that in mind, hope we get along. I imagine if you're reading this you're at least curious about the kind of person you're working with right?

Most Recent Posts

Interactions: Mainly Edict, a bit with Britney at the end

Dairy Queen
Late Evening

Dairy Queen? Seriously...? Come on I had perfectly good home cooked food already- Enough with the curry!

I let out a sigh soft enough so no one else would hear it. Hopefully.

Well, a Dairy Queen wasn't the worst. Ruinous for your health but we don't really care about that right now do we? Yeah. And there's never a bad time for ice cream. That's going to be six more sets when we get back before heading to bed. Yeah. Not the worst.

I walk over towards the counter at the end of the line. To think, after all these years I'm just in a line at a dairy queen with these people like nothing ever happened. It's surreal. Like some kind of fucked up high-school reunion. Or well, at least what I think one of those would be like. Hah... I wish I knew what high-school was like. Probably terrible. You think everything is terrible. That is factually incorrect. Violence is GREAT! Right...

Eventually it's my turn to order. I look at the menu, a menu that I haven't actually taken a proper look at in... Have I ever ordered from a Dairy Queen before? Orange Julius? Who the fuck is Julius? Okay, slow down. Let's look for something vaguely familiar.

"A strawberry shake." is what I eventually end up saying to the person behind the register. Whoever that was. As per usual I just go on autopilot handing over my card and completing the entire interaction without even properly registering that there's a person in front of me. It just makes life easier that way... for the both of us.

Eventually, in my hand is a nice plastic cup of pink. Very very bright pink. Probably loaded with artificial strawberry flavorings and one sip basically confirmed the obvious. I shouldn't like this. But you do. Why...? Nostalgia is a poison that rots your tongue with the taste of a corporate synthesized pedestrian pallet. Ugh... I mean it'll do. It's no Hagen D-

“Kali, I believe I owe you an explanation for abstaining earlier.”

Hm? My head turns over to Sloane as she starts. I see. She wants to be the one to lead the conversation. I don't say anything at first, choosing to just listen and gauge where exactly she's going with this and before long I get my answers. So they're willing to cooperate, and from I'm hearing from Luca he's just here to figure things out the best he can. Not bad. It's the minimum level of mutual self-interest needed to form an agreement.

I look off towards the vague direction of Flowers and Canvases for a moment.

Whoever's with us now is probably the most reasonable of the bunch. I can't tell what the rest of them are doing but maybe I can at least get these people out of the way from any more scrutiny... No, maybe that's a bit too pessimistic of me. They're going to fuck something up and you know it. Shut up.

Regardless, it's time for me to break my own silence.

"Honestly," I say as I take a seat entering a more relaxed position "Getting the Coven back together as a structure isn't a bad idea... But... Auri isn't a leader. I say letting a small pause take hold so that information can sink in before continuing.

"She's nice, which is good, but she's too nice to actually properly enforce anything when push comes to shove. And most of all, as you're all very nicely demonstrating, not enough people respect her." I say before adding with a sigh, "Or anyone else really. Nobody here's fit to take charge of everyone in this situation so I'm not even going to bother suggesting anything like that."

I then take out from my pocket pen as I begin to draw on one of the napkins we have as I say, "Instead, I'd rather us have a system because I want you to keep this in mind. The town isn't in any real danger. It's all of you who are the potential targets"

Once again, I give them a moment to process that before explaining further as I draw little impromptu stick figures of people on the napkin connecting them together in a circle.

"So I'd say we should at least set up a line of communication with each other. None of us here trusts everyone but I can imagine we can all at least figure out one or two people who we trust enough to have our backs. Having a chain where one person checks up on the next in a loop like this during a daily designated time will at least minimize some of the risk of getting caught out alone for whoever this father wolf figure is to pick us off. Alternatively making small groups that can wander around together might also be fine though it will interfere with any of your daily lives if you choose that route but once again, it's your own lives we're talking about here." I say before deciding the ditch the whole plan on a napkin thing altogether as I scrunch it up into a ball and toss it in the trash bin.

"The main point is that there's safety in numbers. Father wolf's an unknown quantity. Could be a severely powerful individual or a whole organization and we don't even know what they want aside from all of us dead. I'm not saying we need to organize into a proper coven again but I do heavily recommend we at least try to lay low for a bit and stick together until we have more information on the situation. After all, St. Portwell's already a powder keg waiting to burst. I'd rather not stir the pot and start a war whilst we're in the middle of this mess just because we have a few tenuous leads that might be red-herrings all-together."

Interactions: Simone

Flower's and Canvasses
Late Evening

"You seem to be doing great, too - you look great in that suit."

Of course we do! Suits are a sign of power! This was always more of a you thing. You're right, I'm the half with good taste.
I resist the urge to let out a sigh over myself and as I begin to say "Well it's honestly more of a uni-"

I get cut off. My head shifts immediately towards Stormy's direction as my hand instinctively moves closer to where I'm keeping the knife.
You'd be better off with the gun. That one doesn't go down easy. I'm not trying to take him down I'm trying to incapacitate him if I have to. What a weak response.
Thankfully I don't have consider any of those options as Auri moves in to break up the situation. Still, the damage was already done. This entire meeting has become chaos. Well, in all fairness at least half of that is my fault.
Don't be ridiculous. It's twenty percent us, twenty percent Grayson, another ten percent Britney's presence, and a whole fifty percent being the fact that this was going to be inevitable regardless. I can't fault those numbers...
Regardless, at this rate everyone's going to leave without a plan. What were they talking about just now? The strip club? Wait don't tell me they intend to go into one of the Wolfpack's hideouts right away right? I look around again, take note of who's going where as all the possibilities start to go through my brain. I can't let that happen. At best the Wolfpack are the ones we're after and we'd be heading into a trap, at worst they're just a red-herring set up by the actual perpetrator that we'll needlessly get into conflict with.
"Anyways, before we start making any major moves I think we-"
I look over. It's Simone.
She's dragging me over to everyone. Okay, that's fine. This is actually good. I get it. With a smaller subgroup we can actually get something done instead of just bickering and reacting to the overall situati-
"Hey, we're hungry too, and I've got plenty I wanna run by y'all. Can we tag along? And don't worry Drake, I'll keep a close eye on this one," she said, motioning to Kali next to her. "We can meet you wherever. My car only fits two, so we'll just follow you."

Thanks, I needed that.
Okay, review the situation. You have roughly three to four seconds to respond before this becomes extremely awkward. Simone has dragged you over here. We're all going for dinner even though I brought a perfectly good curry for all of us to- Forget about the stupid curry. Right, my culinary efforts are irrelevant... hah... Still, this isn't bad. If we all meet up at public venue were we can't act out as we please we can at least get some civil conversation done.
You're going to be riding alone with her.
I'm going to be riding alone with her... Wha- Don't you dare start this again.
Right! Right... Focus. Two seconds left. So I'm going to be riding alone with her. She's assuming I don't have a ride which is pretty weird considering St. Portwell's public transit system is actually decent if you know how to use it or... she's... hoping I will just accept the ride without questioning why she's offering it in the first place.
One on one time in an enclosed vehicle with nothing to do until you get to the venue except...
She wants to talk to me? After how many years? Roughly ten. HAH! What a joke. But it's not. You're right. Reality is confusing. You have the collective charm of an ameboid. Thanks... It wasn't a compliment you oa- I know. Ah, right, sarcasm, how indirect. Regardless, is this her way of trying to catch up with me or is she just using this as a chance to probe me about my current job in a place where I can't run away? Another chance for you to become compromised and divulge unnecessary information. I know. I shouldn't accept this...
I shouldn't...
But you... want to.
Do it.
No! Not again! I will not repeat this!
But the mission-
Is something we do to please our superiors but I've honestly never cared about such things. I care about efficiency, and staying true to our desires. If you want to do something do it, the mission be damned. That is the meaning of freedom you spineless coward.
I... wow, thanks I don't really know what to- Also it's been eight seconds. FUCK!
I blink as I finally rush back into the present moment and say, "I- um. Well, if you're fine with having me then, sure, yeah. looking to Simone in this case as if I needed her permission even though this was entirely an impromptu group activity with no organizer.
Truly a smooth operator. Just shut the hell up...
Huh… weird. Well I’ve been meaning to redraw it eventually though so I’ll see if it gets fixed when I inevitably switch it out.

Interactions: Mainly Edict, a bit with Britney at the end

Flower's and Canvasses
Late Evening

The feeling of cold steel pressed against my head. It's not surprising. It's honestly... a little too familiar. This is your fault. I don't care. Like I said, I'm prepared for this. But as I close my eyes and prepare for the agonizing feeling of having your skull being caved in from a subsonic round fired at point blank range... Nothing.

That was fast. But... wait. I can still think. I'm not dead.

That's when it hits me. Red. So much red. All of my view painted in nothing but red, fire, and regret. I don't want to see this. I never wanted to see any of this. A bit late for that now. Just sit back and enjoy the show.

It all flashes before my eyes in an instant. Moments, people, feelings, all of it. I can almost feel my brain overheating from it all. I wouldn't be surprised if it was dripping out of my nose by now. And yet, I can't look away. Not yet. Not until it's all done.

You know, you two might have more in common than you'd to admit. All that guilt for things that don't involve you. All that drive... for things you know will kill you.

And then. It's over. Whatever link there was is violently cut and I feel my soul getting hit by a truck as it gets sent back into my own body at mach speeds. Fuck. Did they see it? The eye color, it must've shifted. Steady breaths, that's what I need to do right now. Don't make any sudden movements, don't make any changes in your expression. If you do it'll only draw attention to it.

I look around. I see. Thankfully the gun caught everyone's eyes. Great timing.

Hm... looks like the vote's going in our favor.

Each person's response, each person's words, I take it all in, one at a time. Not my intention but, at the very least it gives me an idea of where everyone stands with me. Who I can talk to. Who I can't.

I would've had this all under control if you let me. Not without a few bullets you fucking psycho. It would've been more efficient.

Regardless, this is fi-

Then Drake steps forward, and for the first time in my entire life I watch this man... defend me? Defend's a strong word. Strong enough when compared to what he'd usually do. Maybe he has a voice in his head too. Or maybe I'm just getting lucky today... The meeting's finally getting back on track. Finally.

My eyes settle on Auri as she begins to explain information I already know. Still, so that's the extent of what she has huh? No mention of the cult, or the other ones, not to mention the remnants of that fucking group. Yeah... I glance for a moment towards Eve. It's less than a second as I realize I probably shouldn't but I did it anyway. Small town. Really small...

I glance back towards Eve again but what greets me is a flying payload of deadly force coming my way. I reach out a hand, catch it, and then look back over to see where the gun that's suppose to be attached to this thing is but that's when I'm greeted by a different sight.

Grayson. He's walking over here, and he's not even trying to pretend he's changed. And he's trying to pull the same shit he did years ago. A warm feeling. I'm sure that's how it must feel to most of them, but to me it's like feeling rat trying to claw it's way into your brain. A warm rat, but still a rat.

"Well, I mean... Great pitch Kali. You wanna help us now?" Grayson says to me.

He's acting confident. A little too confident. Just like ten years ago. Seems like he's forgotten a few things. Slow, deliberate, steps. He thinks we don't know that playbook. It's a power-play. Textbook. He wants to play this game. He's still trying to get in. It'll be harder than last time. We should teach him a lesson. Not now, he's not vulnerable yet.

Eventually, he gets close, walking up to me with that empty pistol in his hands holding it out like he's trying to feed a stray dog. I will admit, he's certainly always been impressive in the sheer amount of disrespect he can convey through physicality alone.

"You really wanna help these people? Help us? You'll fly back to Quantico, or whatever pit they keep your unnatural ass in, and you'll make up a big fucking story about how you didn't see shit, you didn't hear shit, you didn't find a fucking thing in St. Portwell. Now take your gun and fuck off." Grayson says to me as he drops the gun.

Wordlessly, I catch it, reload the magazine, and stow it away back to where it belongs in the holster hidden inside my jacket.

I swear I'm going to tear that boy's brain apart... Not now, we need an open-

And that's when Britney Williams shows up. It doesn't take his emotional field changing for me to know what's going on. Grayson's face says it all. And that's all I need to strike.

The wall goes down in less than a millisecond. He finally gets his in... but so do I. Grayson's abstraction, it's a familiar one. Easy to take in. Easy to use. Easy to weaponize. He always uses it to smooth things over. That warm fuzzy feeling is his way of making people do what he wants. I'm not here for that right now though. I'm here to send a message.

I stand up, walk towards the man. I can see it all. The Screaming. The shaking hands reaching for a gun that isn't there. The shivering of his spine as his fight or flight instinct kicks into overdrive. That accelerated heart-rate. It's all there for me like an open book. He fancies himself a hunter. A creature of the night stalking through the woods of everyone's subconscious. He's still not used to being hunted. As I get closer, close enough to whisper into his ear that cold dead hand I've sent into his soul slowly starts to squeeze.

"What's wrong Grayson? You're slipping." I whisper to him, not even bothering to look at him as I do so.

"You heard the vote. I'm here to stay. But I'll give you a friendly tip. Everyone else isn't on their radar... but you. I suggest you behave yourself. None of us want trouble here, do you understand?" I whisper to him before putting the walls up again, cutting off the connection instantly.

I don't spend any more time on him. That interaction was enough, I have other things to worry about.

That's when I turn to Britney, walk over to where most of the other people are in the group to blend a bit more with the crowd and say, "I almost thought you wouldn't show up. Still, you seem to be doing well."

Hm... Seems like they're friendly. Friendly enough. They're not making any threatening movements. They're relaxed. Maybe a little too relaxed all things considered but that's not my problem.

I nudged Ash forward towards the group. Might as well introduce myself properly at any rate. As I get closer my eyes begin to squint. Bloody hell, kid wasn't lying. Red hair really is a looker, though so is that other fella they're with... honestly the kid probably would be a looker too if she wasn't young enough to be my younger sister. Are all of 'em pretty? That's when my eyes glance over towards Torsten. Ah, that's a rugged face alright. Least I'm not too out of place.

Eventually, when I'm within a meter or two of the group, still on Ash, I move to take off my helm. Not only to get a better look at 'em but so they can get a decent look at me as well. Only courtesy.

"Well... all t' myself ey? Rather generous aren' you?" I say to the short white haired one. I catch a glimpse of the pheasant they have. Not a bad catch. "And I think I'll take you up on that offer then. It'll save me a bit've coin on the supplies I'll need for the trip back anyway."

I then turn my head towards the rest of the group, flashing them one of my signature grins that will definitely get me on their good side. Never failed once... Except the times it did but those don't count.

"Name's Rock. Just Rock. Wanderin' blade fer hire but I've got as good've a pedigree as any other sellsword you'll come across I can assure you that much." I say. Red hair does look like she's in the money... might as well see if I can snag another contract while I'm here.

Mentions: Everyone at location

Flower's and Canvasses
Late Evening

Not an unexpected response. If anything, I was expecting more violence. Still, if these people have something to hide I guess it isn't worth fighting the government over it... yet. My eyes then look over towards the spot where Alizée used to be sitting. They might be an exception. I'll have to look into that later, but not now. They weren't part of the inner circle even in the original coven so there's no real point to it now. Besides, Eksa did give me an in. Not a massive one but I had this story prepared for a reason.

I let out a sigh as I then begin to say, "Well, you're not entirely wrong," looking over to Eksa before addressing the crowd at large again, "They don't know about... this" I sweep my hand across to gesture to the store at large, "At least not yet."

"Ordinarily a string of seemingly unconnected murders like this wouldn't catch our eye... but that's the thing. They're not seemingly unconnected." I say before taking out from one of my other inner jacket pockets the pictures of the wolf statues. "With this much we at least know it's the same person, or organization. Some highly motivated entity that's not only acting across state lines but also across international ones" I say pointing to the location written on one of the pictures of the wolf statue, "Halfway across the globe. Of course the government wouldn't jump the gun and go magic must exist but this pattern of mass killings with little to no evidence left behind does have some similarities to mass spy purges we've dealt with in the past. Sometimes the Russians even left calling cards like this to throw us off the scent."

I put the photos away before looking at Drake and saying, "The main point is, it set off a few red flags, especially since all of the victims seemed to have been active in this little area of Oregan during a specific period of time and the statues were all carved out of Sycamore native to this region." after which I then look to the crowd again, "What I'm getting at here is... If it weren't for me this entire town would currently be under mass surveillance. No camera would be safe, your phones are laughably easy to tap, cellphones especially, your internet browsing habits would be the NSA's playground, and a good deal of you would likely be tailed just to make sure you're not an out of state actor on the run. You would have no privacy, you would be under constant scrutiny... and the original plan was to also use you all as bait to draw Father Wolf out. The main reason they're not doing that is because I convinced them it would be easier if they just let me handle it. Less noise. Less potential for public backlash. I have enough of a... history with these types of cases that they're willing to give me, and by extension, all of you some time."

I then walk over to a chair, turn it so my back is facing a wall that doesn't lead into any other buildings and sit down. Wait- why am I sitting down? Well, this doesn't exactly impose an image of... power... but whatever.

"The main thing I'm trying to get across here is that I'm the nice option. I can go back but that doesn't mean they're going to stop. The people who will come to replace me I can one hundred percent assure you are far worse and far more willing to use those guns we have" I say looking to Everleigh with that statement. "They're going to find out about us. Especially since I know you're not exactly known for... subtlety" I say looking to Drake, "And I'm sure you don't want to find out what might happen when they do."

Alright, that should freak them out enough to at least get on board with me sticking aro-

"And you can do whatever the hell you want to me."


"Throw me out, beat the ever living crap out of me, hell... You could even kill me" I say before reaching into my inner holster and taking out from it... my gun. Glock-19, gen 5, just as solid an weighty as it always is in that disgusting sort of way. I place it in front of me using a free chair and turn it so the barrel is faced right at me, no one else.

What the hell are you- Shut up we're doing this my way now.

"The safety's on and there isn't a bullet in the chamber but it's not a complicated mechanism to figure out." I say before looking over to Drake in particular, "Use it, if you really think I'm too dangerous. I came here fully prepared for that. If anything" I can't help letting out a slight laugh before saying this one, "It'd make things easier." but I manage to cut myself off before I went in too deep.

Come on Kali. Now's not the time for that... Deep breath. Breath in. Breath out. Look at the crowd. You're working from a place of weakness. Let them know that.

"My job is to find Father Wolf and if I think he's a threat to the state then my job is to deal with him. It doesn't matter how. If you want to kill him..." I say looking over to Linqian, "Fine by me. If you want to brutalize him and then kill him" I say looking over to Drake, "Also fine. If you want to stuff him in a barrel full of concrete and dump him in the lake..., I say looking at Grayson, "I wouldn't recommend it, it's not as discreet as you might think especially with the metal fishing trend going on these days but... that's not my problem so knock yourself out."

I then lean my back against the chair. Funny... right now I'm probably in the most danger I've ever been on a mission in my entire life and yet, it's nice. I'm fully relaxed.

"I'm not here to boss you all around. I'm not here to give orders and make you do dangerous things on my behalf that you might not want to do. I can do my own job, with, or without you." I say before looking towards ever single person individually as I talk, "I'm here to find the bastard that's killing us, keep this place from becoming another warzone, and even though this isn't part of my job I consider this the most important part... keeping all of you alive." I say as my gaze lands on Auri.

"The government doesn't want to help any of you. Truthfully, they couldn't give a shit if any of you were dead or alive by the end of all this. But I'm not them. Despite of the years..." I say before my gaze instinctively looks over towards Simone, "Despite everything... I still care. Not just about the people I was close with, but about everyone. Even if most of you probably don't."

Auri Auclair.

Interactions: Everyone Still at the location

Flower's and Canvasses
Late Evening

There was a moment of silence, as Auri took a step back and sat on the edge of the table.

“And what is all of this you have access to?” Auri said as you tilted her head. “I know it's better this way, but you have to remember that we aren’t… Normal. A lot of people would have trouble working with the government. Because of that.”

She sighed,

“What I am asking is that you should have at least talked to me beforehand.”

Kali looked away for a moment. It was less than a second but that sharpness in his gaze lightened up ever so slightly before returning stronger than it was before.

“That would’ve broken protocol” he says, like a machine reading from a script, “And I get that Auri... but they’re going to be under increased scrutiny whether they like it or not.” he says before lowering his voice for the next part “They may all be potential victims, but they’re also potential suspects. We’re not kids anymore. This is something all of us are going to have to deal with, whether we want to or not, so better to deal with me than anyone else.”

Auri turned away, awkwardly rubbing her arm. She glanced at the door, “... You never answered my first question; what resources do you have?”

“Information, weapons, and most of all...” he says before glancing towards the part of his inner jacket where his badge is stored “legitimacy. As long as I’m here we can look around and make moves without people questioning us.”

“There has to be more to this,” Auri started, “Now I am not Anti-Government, but the FBI is not going to hand us all of this on a silver platter.”

“Well, okay the weapons are a bit of a stretch.” he says somewhat reluctantly, his eyes look away suddenly for some reason, brow furrowing but the small interruption was rectified as quickly as it came. “But, as for the rest of that, think of it less as the FBI giving us all of this and more, me giving you all of this.”

His hand moves into his jacket again to once again take out the badge as he says, “The Portwell PD respects this thing. A lot of people fear this thing just as much as they respect this thing. And I’ve been around situations like these enough times to at least have a decent idea on how to approach it with that kind of reputation in mind.”

“Look…” Auri said, “I want to leave it up to the group to decide. A vote. But please let me know next time!” Her tone went from neutral back to her chipperly tone.

There was a moment of silence. Slowly, gradually, the expression began to soften.

“Alright.” he says, relenting with a shrug as he rubbed his temples for a moment, “But I don’t know if we have time to figure this out democratically. We don’t know when the perpetrator is going to strike next. Joining together right now, it’s not even about the greater good, it's about our survival.”

“And they probably already figured that out,” Auri said, sticking her tongue out, “You weren’t here to see all the fights, correct? I doubt anyone would have shown up if the circumstances were any different.” She laughed.

He gives a nod before looking towards the doorway they both came from.

“Maybe… but you saw them just now. That’s not a coven, I wouldn’t even call it a team.” He says crossing his arms, “I’m not saying everyone doesn’t understand the stakes… but I have a feeling they still don’t realize those stakes apply to them as well. The atmosphere would be different if they were all afraid of something, together.”

“Well…” Auri trailed off, “I really can’t do anything about that.” She shrugged with a smile on her face.

“What can you do when you can’t do anything?” She raised an eyebrow.

Kali’s eyes closed for a moment as he took in a deep breath before saying “You do what you can.” Then after a brief moment of pause he’d say, “We should head back… at the very least I should get everyone else on the same page.”

“I’ll let you explain.”

He’d give a nod, making his way towards the doorway, opening it, and walking back inside the main room where everyone else was gathered. Immediately, his eyes seemed to scan over everyone that was present, never stopping for more than a second over their face with the exception of Luca who he just gave a small nod of acknowledgement to and Simone who he... well he didn’t look at her for long, hopefully.

Still, eventually his eyes would settle, not on a person, but a space. A turned over folding chair. Someone was sitting there. White hair... average height and build... that description... Alizée. It hasn’t been that long since they went into the back room. It was at that moment that Kali’s eyes looked over everyone again. He saw them enough to at least remember their positions before he was dragged away and now he was checking to see the differences.

But in the end, whatever questions were being raised were for another time. Right now, he has a situation to control.

Once more, Kali walked towards the center of the room. Slow, deliberate, and very noticeable steps.

“Well, it seems most of us are still here. Good. There’s a lot I have to explain about this and I’d rather do it now than later.” he’d say before giving a small pause to see how everyone would react.

Why did I let her do this? I should've refused. They were surprised, shocked, some of them might have gone violent but that was an opportunity to take control of the situation whilst they don't have time to think. They're disorganized, far from a cohesive unit, and a bit of shock and awe was probably exactly what they needed to get a functioning dynamic again for what's to come. And yet... when she gave me that look I just followed along Like a goddamn idiot.

Just like old times right? Shut it. I'll fix this...

I let out a sigh pressing a hand up against the temples of my forehead before saying to her "Smarter, maybe. For me." looking her dead in the eyes once again. Focus... don't get distracted. The past is the past. You don't owe her anything anymore...

"Think about it. If anyone else besides me was sent to handle this you probably wouldn't even know they exist. They would've watched you from a distance, recorded your movements, tapped your phones, tracked your internet usage, intercepted all lines of communication, and eventually... once they realize exactly what we all are, the plans would change." I say, intentionally not elaborating on how those plans would change.

"Basically, I'm giving you all a chance. Work with me, officially, at least until this father wolf mess is figured out. I can give you access to the information I have, the resources I have access to, and most importantly, the knowledge you're going to need to keep yourselves out've some very threatening crosshairs. Because if any of you slip up right now Headquarters is going to be sending backup here and trust me... my co-workers are way more ruthless than I am." I say, driving the point home. None of it is a lie, technically, but it's not the whole truth. Still, it's as much as she needs to know. As much as any of them needs to know.

PRA St. Portwell Housing Block, Kali's Apartment
Early Morning

"So the paperwork's done? Good."
"No. No I don't think any of them would question it enough to actually make an inquiry right away but you can never be too careful, especially with them."
"Yes, I know..."
"I know what the main goal is but if we can kill a few more birds with one stone then I might as well right?"
"Look, I know it doesn't look apparent now but I'm sure that whoever is committing these murders probably has a connection to the snake as well."
"Yes... yes it's that... instinct of mine."

You mean me.
Shut up.
"I know, I'll be as a discreet as I can, and once again, thank you Ma'am, I won't disappoint."

As the line cuts off I feel gravity begin to take me as I fall backwards onto the very mattress I had just spent the entirety of my morning's effort convincing myself to get up from. Hah... and here I thought I was more disciplined than this now. Today really is bringing back all sorts of things from the past. Things I missed, things I wish I could forget, things I thought I had burned away from myself forever- and things you don't want to acknowledge.

You're talkative today.
Should I not be? It's funny every time I hear it. How you're using me as the discreet option to find the original.
I'm not using you I'm using the connection that you have.
It's all the same isn't it?
No it's not.
You're right. If it was my way we would've just burnt the whole place down until we hit the right spot.
This is why we don't go with your ideas.
You can't deny it would be easier. Way easier than... this.

I look over towards my bedside table. Laying on it, the envelope that damn letter arrived in. I can still see the seal from here. Letting out a sigh I turn my entire body on my side just to keep myself from looking any longer. It's right. I know. And yet, I'm still going to do this anyway.

I stare up towards the ceiling. A blank space. An empty void. Nothing to bother me, nothing to drive me forward, nothing to push or pull me in any direction at all. World where I am truly left alone. But I can't keep staring at this forever. I've tried. I've tried so many times but in the end the world can't help but drag me back out. Can't help but continue to push and pull me wherever they please. Kicking. Screaming. Crying. Shouting. It really makes you want to-


I push it down. Somewhere deep, somewhere hidden. I can feel it trying to break free but this isn't ten years ago. Time has made me a master of denying my impulses. Even the one that's keeping me chained to this unreasonably comfy bed.

And so, I rise, tearing myself away from the embrace of nothingness as I look at my room once more. The dull reflected light of the sky bleeding through my windows paints the whole room a dull, gentle blue. It's almost as if the world itself is waking up with me. I still can never understand how the commander is able to wake up at this ungodly hours though. Maybe I'm not the only one possessed. But it is an admirable trait, and I should be taking after her example, especially now.

I stand up, let out one of the longest yawns of my life as I stretch out my arms and legs before picking up the letter again, skimming through it once more. My heart-rate begins to subtly increase as I take in a deep breath to steady it. It's been a long time. People change. I've changed, no doubt. In fact I might even be downright unrecognizable to some of these people. So who knows? Maybe things will be fine this time? We've all had time to mature, grow, become more well rounded individuals. Maybe things will be different.

A chill runs through my body.

Maybe things will be... different. I guess I'll just have to see.

Across the street from Flower's and Canvasses
Late Evening

What the hell am I doing? Being a creep? Yes, that's EXACTLY what I needed to hear right now! Oh well that wasn't my intention bu-

I send it back down to the depths again as I let out a sigh. A long, beleaguered sigh full of venom that, if it were real, I would ingest right away myself to put me out of my own misery.

Here I am. A grown man. A fully grown human being. An actual adult and I'm here, sitting on a random bench fully dressed in uniform, suit, tie, black on black, trays of food in hand that are probably getting colder by the minute though thankfully I can still feel a bit of warmth, staring at a bunch of other actual adults from across the street through a window like some kind of creep. I really thought I was over this. The coven was supposed to be an old chapter of my life, one that I no longer have to pay attention to because those pages were already read way too many times. And yet the fear remains. That gnawing feeling in my chest remains. And maybe even those undeserved feelings of admiration also remain.

The sun has long since set. The only thing illuminating these streets are the dull barely maintained street lamps that were put here god knows how many years ago to make a symbolic attempt at lighting up these streets at night. Thankfully the one that's supposed to be lighting up my bench is on the fritz. Not surprising. They don't pay the civil engineers enough here to have them check up on these things often enough to keep them fixed. Ordinarily a pretty bad thing but today their underpaid negligence is keeping me in darkness, and with my clothes and skin it's very easy for me to blend into that darkness. So at least I can be a creep without anyone seeing me be a creep.

Keep telling yourself that.
I will.

Still, it looks like whatever meeting they're having in there is coming to a close. Or maybe I'm imagining it. Whatever it is, our window of opportunity is closing, quickly. The world won't let me sit here with my indecision forever.

I get up from the bench. Deep breaths, deep breaths. You got this. Just act natural. You're Kali. They all know Kali. They... know what... that... means.

I swallow as if something was caught in my throat and before I can even have a chance to continue that thought I find myself walking. Steadfast, forward, with a posture that was drilled into me through years of training. I am a machine made of flesh going through a predetermined subroutine, all the way until my hand feels the chill of the metal door knob. That's when the human gets knocked back into the drivers seat. I'm late. Way too late. It's always been too late. But it's fine. It has to be.

The knob turns. The door opens. Light, excruciatingly blinding light, washes over me.

In an instant I'm bombarded with all sorts of voices. Some familiar, others not so much, some pleasant, others disturbing. It's getting out of control again, and it's switching between everyone. Like a broken radio unable to settle on a single channel. Why now? Why here? Why is it always with them!?


Deep breaths. Calm thoughts. Push it down. Push it all down. Shut them out, every single one. Don't even let the slightest thing in.

Alright. Now then, judging from the looks on all of their faces I must have just opened the door and stood here with the most intense look I've ever made in my entire life for the past five seconds.


Okay, don't panic. Panicking will only make this worse. Use your legs. You have feet. And with that I walk into the flower shop so I don't stand in the middle of the doorway like an actual psychopath and look towards the gathered crowd properly. Oh god. They really do look like they're just about done here. Fuck- what did I interrupt? What did I miss? I, no, stop don't think about that. Remember, thoughts happen in real time. REAL TIME! You're just standing here. Speak. Say something. Say anything at all.

"Wow- it's... really been that long huh?" I manage to eek out from the depths of my frozen brain. Well, it's a start, but I can't stop here.

"It's... crazy, really. You all look so different. So... very" I catch a glimpse of Talya, "very different..." Holy fucking shit.

That catches me off guard, but the strange snake shaped charcuterie board manages to snap me back to reality as I am very boldly reminded of what I'm holding.

"Oh, and uh... I brought food too. I know I didn't need to but I figured it would be..." I start as I quickly walk over to where that charcuterie was placed to set my own tray down, "nice."

God. They're really all here. This is real. This isn't some kind of fucked up nightmare I'm having like it usually is. The past is here. It's all here. It's all in front of me again. And I'm the idiot who willingly walked into it.

I steel myself, another silent breath, as I once more turn to the crowd as I say "And it really is great to see all of you. Really-" and then my eye catches Simone, "great... to... see... all of you."

What am I doing? Why am I here?

Irregular brainwave activity. Elevated Heart-rate. Hyperventilation. Oh, dilated pupils huh? No. Face it, you're already compromised. No, I can do this. This is fine. No it's not. We both know that. But I- We have a job to do don't we? Relaaaaaax, it's already long past sundown. You can't keep me out even if you wanted to. So give me my turn at the wheel.

One more deep breath as I close my eyes and mutter to myself "Always was shit at small-talk."

I don't really know what expression I was making before. Probably something familiar to all of them. But it's right. I am here for a job. What I need isn't the past. I need to face them with the present.

As I open my eyes the training I've spent years perfecting once again kicks in. The cold, unfeeling, unwavering gaze of scrutiny, and authority that I've used time and time again in many missions past. Empathy has it's place for sure, humanity as well, but when you're dealing people that you know won't cooperate easily, sometimes you have to remind them that it's not the gun on your side they should be afraid about. It's you.

"You know what, I can tell you're all not in the mood for this," I can see it in their eyes, "So I'll cut to the chase."

I start walking. Slowly. Deliberately. Each footstep intentionally made to make sure it was heard as I speak. Making my way towards Auri and as a consequence the central area of the room's focus.

"The murder of Ashley Stone. Portwell PD's latest cold case. You can imagine why they haven't been able to make any headway on it. But... funnily enough, there's enough to suggest that the murderer has been acting over interstate lines, and as such via standard protocol, that case has now since been taken over by the Federal Bureau of Investigation." I say as I begin to reach into my inner jacket pocket.

"Because of this, an agent from the Bureau has been dispatched to head the investigation here. One who has a history of dealing with crimes like this." I say, finally stepping in front of Auri before revealing to her, and everyone else in the process, my badge.

"I am that agent." I say looking Auri directly in the eyes.
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