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Issues Surfacing


&

Location: Just outside of Reeves Estate
Time: Morning (2 am +)


Benjamin and Katarina walked for another half an hour before they arrived at Ben’s estate. The stone masonry gave it a more gothic appearance than most locate houses and wasn’t helped with its sharp architecture, for once making the boy painful aware how much it stuck out among Hudson Valley. Not wanting to draw out the unpleasantness, he began to walk to the glass front doors and raised his knuckles to rap sharply upon the frame to be let in. He didn’t exactly remember taking his house keys with him when he literally leapt out of his second story window into the pool.

The interior lights came on one by one as he could hear someone-likely Lorrie- scrambling about. A feminine figure gradually made her way toward the foyer and open the door.

“Who, in their fucking right mind, would be knocking this-,” Lorrie’s voice abruptly stopped when she spied Benjamin standing to one side on the steps. Immediately her sleek, dark grey eyes narrowed on her would be step son causing her lips to press tightly for a moment. After it passed, her tone became sharp and commanding, “What in the world are you doing out here Benjamin Ethan Reeves! Do you know what time it is? Past midnight. Do you know who could’ve seen you running around like some juvenile delinquent. Do you know the effects that would have on your fath-”

Before she could call Daniel father or get farther in her ranting at him, Benjamin coughed. He then tilted his head toward Kat’s direction. Lorrie glanced into the figure standing behind him and her eyes widened in surprise, clearly not expected a younger lady behind him. The tension in her figure gave Ben a slight and subtle pleasure to know he caught her off guard, her outburst making a scene in front of someone that could’ve been connected to someone important. Lorrie wasted little time trying to recover from her would be step son’s first move in their little chess game, her tone faked a motherly and apologetic tone toward Katarina, “I’m honestly sorry. I didn’t see you there. Come in both of you, we’ll call your parents and Benjamin and I will have a discussion over his behavior…”

As Lorrie turned to head inside, Ben looked at Kat, “Now you see what I wanted to avoid this… so after you.”

He gestured with his hand for her to go first.

Katarina seethed as she watched this ape, this… veritable harridan chastise Ben in such a manner. How dare she be angry with him instead of looking after his well-being, instead of making sure he was alright, he was healthy, fed and watered? It reminded Katarina of her own parents - the Graf and Grafin von Rysech never overly cared for her own welfare, and most often entrusted her to that old letch Revinskas… the things he must have dreamed of doing, they made Katarina shudder with disgust, which she quickly disguised as a shiver in front of the humans. Katarina could see what Benjamin was saying about his parents - more concerned about themselves than their progeny.

Ben, you might not like what I’m about to do. If you want, I’d look away.” She shook her head and looked at the woman with a slight snarl - she was planning on playing the dutiful little companion, but her disgust was such that she felt like she needed to set things straight immediately. Instinctively, she looked directly into the woman’s eyes, and her own eyes glowed red, two dim beams of light streaming forth from her dead pupils into the woman’s… Katarina connected instantly with the woman’s mind, implanting her own thoughts and commands, smashing through whatever weak will the woman could muster up in response.

Du wirst so etwas nicht machen. Du wirst uns hereinbringen. Du wirst nicht von diesem Ereignis sprechen. Du wirst uns nicht stören. Du wirst über dein Leben gehen, als wäre nichts passiert. Verstanden?” The woman slowly nodded, repeating after Katarina. “I will do no such thing. I will take you in. I will not speak of this event. I will not bother you. I will go about my life as if nothing happened. Verstanden.” Kat looked over at Ben, and winked. “Didn’t I tell you I could move aside even the stubbornest obstacle?

Ben’ eyes tightened in order to try to decode what Katarina meant. His attention shifted to Lorrie whose head turned back to Kat and suddenly went slack, any sense of awareness gone from her figure. It was bizarre to see on a woman with an utter value on presentation just standing there like a mindless doll. When Kat winked at him, it began to slow click together what had happened and some sort of mind influence or control was in play here. For a moment, it made Ben uncomfortable. Not because he secretly cared for Lorrie, but he got the sense that if Katarina had the motivation to, she could easily abuse this power on him. There was a slight nagging that maybe she already did.

On a gut feeling, he inhaled a quick sniff. That familiar scent, close to Rune and Katarina herself, sparked into his memory causing him to relax. Through he didn’t have a clear memory, his instincts told him she had been kind enough not to use this ability on him while she spoke German earlier. This made him relax a bit through observing the aftermath was still uncomfortable and strange to him.

“Well, that is a useful trick. It give me an idea, mainly to make things easier for what I need later,” Ben said as he entered the house after Katarina, his hand gently shut the door behind him with a soft snap, “Think you can insert the idea and sense of need for a few days trip to Las Vegas, Nevada? I have some business there that I rather not become a missing child in order to accomplish it.”

As he stepped farther in, he then added, “I also don’t think you need to bother with Daniel, he won’t notice me coming in this late unlike Lorrie. To be honest, unless we encounter reporters or other media, I don’t exist to him. Something I prefer often enough.”

Katarina frowned. An odd request - Ben had made several of these odd requests, that was for sure, but she supposed he had his reasons. And her best chance to start making it in this new, modern world was to stick with him, and go along with him. She nodded after a brief moment of hesitation, and then looked back into Lorrie’s slackened face, ready for new instructions. “Wir müssen nach Las Vegas, Nevada gehen. Widersetzen Sie uns nicht. Fragen Sie uns nicht. Stellen Sie sicher, dass auch niemand anderes tut. Verstanden?” Lorrie once again nodded and repeated after her. “You need to go to Las Vegas, Nevada. I will not oppose it. I will not question it. I will ensure no others question it. Verstanden.” Katarina nodded. “Sie können jetzt gehen.” Lorrie sloped away, seemingly uninterested in anything else around her other than Katarina’s instructions. Hopefully they would last long enough for Katarina and Ben to leave for Vegas… Hopefully.

Kat walked over and leaned on a wall, glancing around at the house, whistling slightly in satisfaction. It wasn’t the Tower, but it was likely to have a lot more creature comforts, if the modern world was anything to go by.. “Nice place you and your family have. Whereabouts will you be putting me? In the basement so I can be an evil monster who spooks the children if they don’t go to bed early? Rawr.” Katarina growled mockingly and scratched at the air towards Ben. “Or do you have somewhere else in mind? Of course… I don’t sleep, so it doesn’t actually matter where you put me per se, just interested… that’s all. Some place I can indulge in Kaffee und Zigaretten… The only vices I allow myself nowadays.

“Unless you like cliche horror movie themes, but I figured you were too classy for the basement. Through you’re going to have to explain what Kaffee und Zigaretten is as I don’t speak German,” Ben stated. His eyebrow raised in question, his face turned to Katarina and sized her up, “As for places, we have either the downstairs guest room or as I mentioned back at the school, my upstairs sanctuary. It’s private, got an extra shower and you won’t have to encounter Daniel or Lorrie until we’re ready to leave.”

He let her digest the information he gave before a loud growl rumbled through his stomach, causing him to casually avert his eyes sight and consider how to escape long enough to satisfy his hunger. With the multiple shifts, his metabolism had burned a lot of energy causing him to require much more than was normal. He also had a craving for raw meat as well, unsure if Emma had set anything out ahead of time or if he would have to defrost something.

Movie? What’s a movie? You’re going to have to explain about as much to me as I will have to explain to you at this rate. As for your question… ah, my only vices nowadays, coffee and cigarettes. And if I can get it, chocolates - schokoladen in German. I keep forgetting you don’t know my language… I might have to restrict my use of the language around you, save you getting confused over what I’m saying or doing.” Katarina stretched, her joints cracking in several ways that joints… perhaps shouldn’t really crack. She rolled her head about, almost as if trying to loosen some tension in her neck, and then looked back at Ben. “Probably for the best of us both if I go upstairs with you - keeps me out of the way of your bösartig kleine schlampe... no, you don’t want to know what I just said. Besides, we can get to know each other better that way. You know…” Katarina gave a derisive chuckle. “Yes, get to know this random vampire who just appeared out of nowhere and now you took back to your place. It sounds so odd when you put it like that, right? Sounds… almost absurd, but then again, life is absurd. In wonderful ways.

“You’re talking to a teenager who just pretty much discovered I’m a freak among the supernatural and have a very uncomfortable connection to what I believe are ghosts. I’m getting a little worn out over surprises popping up randomly. Personally, I’m expecting a giant, pink elephant to be sitting in my room right now at the rate my day is going,” Ben answered honestly. He lead the way toward the spiral stairs leading up to his lofty bedroom where he suspected it to be a complete mess from his transformation. Unless the Agency officially cleaned up the mess, he figured he would have to literally block the broken window in his room and still needed to satisfy his hunger.

Katarina started up the stairs, but quietly, so as not to disturb those who perhaps were sleeping in the house. Like Ben’s father, perhaps. “I’ll see if I can find these quarters of yours you’ve mentioned… I assume from that noise you’re getting something to eat? Ah, the advantages of a blood-based diet…” Katarina snickered and climbed the stairs.

“I’m going to see if I got any meat upstairs, first. Then I’m going to raid the kitchen down here but I’ll likely have to defrost it in the microwave. Besides, someone needs to show you what a movie is and keep you occupied.”

When they finally reached the room, he lead her from the loft through the gym and into the media room. It looked like every tech junkie’s dream with surround sound system, two forty two inch screens on one single wall and more. He gestured for Kat to follow him toward the couch and big screens where a small snack bar was stationed nearby making this room seem like a homey mini theater.

“Just take a seat and I’ll pop in a DVD you can watch while I get something to eat.”

When Kat sat down, the lights dimmed and suddenly the screens flickered on with moving pictures.

Katarina watched, agape, at the screens. They had pictures. Moving pictures! Was this magic? Had technology really progressed to the point where one could watch what might as well have been moving paintings on a screen? Maybe they could see what was going on on the other side of the world, perhaps. Ben had mentioned something called a DVD… and a microwave… a kitchen obviously she knew about, but in her day, kitchens were still mostly separate from the main living quarters, in their own building, although in some areas such as England or the stately homes of France and Italy, the kitchens were an addition to the main building instead of their own construction. It would certainly be an interesting time. Katarina got to her feet and walked over to a pile of small plastic boxes, which had pictures and names written on them. One of them struck her interest - one of these ‘DVDs’ with a strange red-clad man… called ‘Deadpool’ on the front of it. Frowning, Katarina opened it and saw the circular disc that, too, had the same picture on it. “Interessant…

“If you want to watch that movie instead, hit this button and place the round disc into the tray completely flat. Then press the button again before making your way to the couch. The DVD is set that it will begin to play the movie almost immediately. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to grab something to eat,” Ben commented as he moved toward the nearest mini fridge to rummaged through for something to eat. There wasn’t much that he was carving as he originally suspected. He sighed, then grabbed a soda from the top counter before he popped the tab and set it on the table where Kat would likely sit. The brand was Dr. Brown’s soda and black cherry flavor too. He guessed she might enjoy the red color and strong cherry flavor.

“I’ll be right back. I think I smelled a steak thawing down stairs, there’s more soda in the mini fridge over here. Some snacks in the bar over there, just help yourself if you’re able to eat that sort of thing.”

Mmm, will do. Thank you… again.” Katarina followed the instructions that Ben gave her, and marvelled as the DVD began to play its contents. She sat there, fascinated by the technology more than anything else, and then she got to her feet and rummaged through the snacks on offer. She took out a bag of what were called ‘potato chips’ and a bar of chocolate, and then went back to the seat, taking a sip of the drink that Ben had set in front of her. Recoiling in surprise and slight bewilderment as the fizzy beverage buzzed on her tongue and in her mouth, Katarina took in the taste and smell of the drink. Highly artificial, but very palatable. Modern food had been much improved since days of old. She knew that her consumption of mortal food would end up strengthening her thirst for blood, but she didn’t care. She was safe, with a handsome man all to herself, in the comfort of modern technology.

As far as she cared, nothing else really mattered at that moment.

About less than half an hour later, Ben had returned with about seven packages of various meats. It all ranged from skirt steak to bottom rounded roast, most of them heated in the microwave enough to thaw and completely raw. His nose twitched but the aroma wasn’t appealing to him compared to fresh meat causing his stomach to twist in reaction and already judge the priorly frozen meat before he had tried it. Mentally Ben made a note to start stocking his mini fridges with his own meat reserves in the future through that was bound to get costly.

Slamming the door shut behind him, he then moved toward the nearest table and dropped the hoard he had managed to find. He tore into the two skirt steaks first by ripping the thin plastic top and began to rip off chunks to satisfy the hunger. There was still hints of ice in the center but he bit back the chill sensation in his teeth and continued to devour it like a piece of jerky. He plopped beside Kat to watch the movie while he ate.

Katarina kept an eye on both the movie and Ben as she watched him devour his food hungrily. She had been munching on the snacks that Ben had provided for her, and now as he flung himself down on the couch, Katarina gently shifted over to lean slightly on him, watching the film intently. She sniffed at the air - it was heavy with pheromones, Ben’s cologne and… probably something else he wore, her own perfume and the smell of meat. So many scents, so much in the air. She leaned her head on his shoulder and smiled. “Thank you once again for your hospitality… So. What do you need to go to Las Vegas for?

Benjamin paused in his eating, noticing the closeness of Katarina. Truthfully this was the closest he had ever been to the opposite gender, at least one that wasn’t a snobbish witch, and for a moment his mind went blank to the answer to her question. After it passed, he relaxed then debated on telling her. Seeing little harm in it, he decided to be mostly honest with her, “I owed two guys a favor, which they asked I help them with a job in Las Vegas. I hate owing people as I don’t like being dependent on others, so I figured I would return it by giving them some help in locating what they are looking for.”

He took another bite, his teeth tore into the beef and felt the cold blood dribble down his chin a bit. He lifted up to reach for a napkin to wipe it away the liquid before he shot and sank the crumbled paper into the wastebasket. Ben laid back into the arm as he then asked Kat a question of his own, “So, after you got out of the coffin what happened?”

After the coffin… mmmh. Not my finest hour. There I am, in front of a whole load of gawping mortals who were looking at my coffin as the exhibit it was. I did some theatrics, and then some security guards ran over… guns drawn. Now, bearing in mind I’ve just woken from a 400 year nap, my thought processes were a bit murky. So when one of them went to open fire… well… I…” Katarina faltered and sighed, looking down at the ground. “I killed him with my bare hands. And then slaked my thirst… because that was my instinctive response. And then things went from the sublime to the ridiculous. There was this girl… no idea what her business was, but she… she had Excalibur. You know, the ancient famous British sword from the days of the Romans? She had the sword, it was right there… and I thought she was one of the Grail Knights. But no… just some girl who was the reincarnation of King Arthur, allegedly. And some magical sorceress-type, who of course called themselves Merlin.” Katarina took a drink of the soda. “And then after they showed up, they took me to this… pocket dimension thing which I didn’t completely work out how it worked, but it had a huge library.” Katarina smiled and nodded. “There I learned a lot about the modern world… and then I looked you up. American werewolves. And so… After that I decided to see if I could track you down, and the rest is history.

“You killed someone?” Ben leaned back and absorbed the fact, his eyes glanced up at the ceiling as the words echoed in his attention. It seemed first times were crappy for everyone. He was lucky, he only went on a joy run through New York or shifted at the wrong time like in the museum. As far as he knew, he hadn’t killed anyone. The thought hit him as a memory, hazy and unfocused, jarred across his attention. A dead woman, a large Alpha wolf and the encouragement to devour human flesh. He shuddered realizing that despite his self control, even werewolves were able to take a life.

After the slight pause in the conversation, Ben spoke again, “I guess first times are shitty for everyone, uh?”

Katarina could smell his blood, and the blood of the meat that he was eating. She thirsted. She had been using much of her energy to conjure up her magic in the necromantically-weak areas of this city - she’d have to look into that later - and she needed to recharge. But she couldn’t simply go and find someone to feed upon… or feed upon him… could she?

As if reading her mind, Benjamin then asked the most daunting question he dared to, “Is feeding a regular thing for you? I mean do you need to?”

Katarina’s gaze fell to the floor. “Yes. If I don’t… then I die.” She looked over at Ben, a mournful expression marring her features. “I tried for decades in Neuhausen to free myself from this curse. All I could do was create a chalice that was ever-filled with blood… so I never had to feed on the common people. I lost the chalice during the Fall… So now I’m back to square one. All that time and effort wasted.

“Alright, answer me a few questions: Does it have to be living blood? Any type or a specific one? Any requirements?”

Katarina looked back at the floor in front of her and sighed. “From my research, and this might only apply to my breed of vampire, but I don’t know… But it must be human or of human origin… and it must have come from a living or very recently deceased person. It must be iron-based.

“Look, I’m not trying to make you uncomfortable. I’m trying to figure this out,” Ben explained as he continued to puzzle the problem in his head, “How are you feeling right now? You have fought recently and anything else you can tell me?”

Ben… You… You’ll know the answer I’m about to give.” Katarina looked back at him, and shook her head, before continuing. “That last fight… took a lot out of me. I need to feed. And soon.

Ben fell into silence once more. His head turned to the video and watched the scene, the part where the character went through series of torture in order to active his mutant powers. At the moment, he found himself relating in a moral sense before he spoke, “As much as I hate Lorrie and Daniel, I can’t really allow you to feed on them… that only leaves one choice…”

Letting the words linger, he then turned to her, “Me. So, that’s settled and now my last few questions are related to how in the world do we do this and is there anything I need to know before we do?”

B-but… you…” Katarina sighed and bared her fangs. “I haven’t fed on a living being in 400 years. I don’t even *remember* what happens. I do remember it getting quite heated though, so we should probably be prepared for anything. I also remember both parties enjoying it… quite… a lot...” She cocked her head to one side. “Shall we find out?

Ben arched an eyebrow in question at her statement that both parties enjoyed it quite a lot. This time when she bared her fangs, he wasn’t fazed and managed to hide the shudder that ran up his flesh. It wasn’t anything against Kat, but a natural reaction to the primal fear that ran in his human veins. His head leaned upright as his hand scratched the back of his neck lightly in hesitation, “Alright, fair point as many people can’t even remember beyond a week. So heated and enjoyable… that sounds an awful lot like sex. There’s one issue, I’m not sure how my ‘wolf’ is going to react to this whole experience. I don’t think you want me shifting in the middle of feeding so...shit.”

He leaned his head back and pressed his palms to his eyes, rubbing them a bit to relieve the tension in his head, “Bad part, there’s no other choice is there. I really don’t want you to die or feeding on Daniel or Lorrie, the media aftermath would be a nightmare.”

Benjamin inhaled then raised his head back upright, “Alright, but if I turn then keep me in the room no matter what. I don’t really want to wake up naked in the middle of someone’s backyard later.”

This will be as much an experience for me as it will be for you. No promises about how we end up, but I’ll do my best to keep things under control.” Katarina slowly approached Ben’s neck, before taking several deep breaths. After some deliberation, she finally took the plunge… and sank her fangs into his flesh.
-redacted-


-The Pocket Dimension.

Katarina reclined wearily on one of the leather sofas that dotted the room in which she had made herself comfortable in. Say what you would about Merlin, at least she knew how to make a guest feel at home. Thirst lay on the floor beside her as she looked up at the ceiling, rambling away to herself. Soliloquies were an odd habit of hers, yet they often helped her make sense of the situation at hand. Besides, half the time Katarina was actually talking to her sword, not to simply herself. "So much to attend to, so much to catch up on. Four hundred years of human history to read up on, so much to understand. I suppose I should attend that poor man's funeral to thank him for imparting his knowledge of modern society to me. I was hoping that I would wake up because of a group of attendants, not as a naked museum exhibit, and then to have some people level guns at me, not the wake-up call I was wanting. Speaking of which... I should probably clothe myself in something. Eva got an eyeful, the poor girl." Katarina conjured some shadows in front of her and then began to spin them into the form of a loose-fitting gown that would simply afford her a degree of modesty. Katarina wasn't used to the sensation of shadowthread on her skin - it was strangely stimulating, almost akin to a silken dressing gown crackling with energy. Katarina could see the tendrils of shadow slowly snaking their way into the local environment and then dissipating into nothing, and she smiled with satisfaction. "I still have it. Four hundred years, and I can still maintain some of my magic. But there's so much I don't know... or can't remember. My masterpiece, my pride and joy, my life's work - the Liber Necronomica. I haven't heard anything of it - it was probably lost in the Fall of Neuhausen, burned along with the Black Library. So many things that I've lost, so much to recover."

Katarina relaxed, lying back on the couch and reaching down to pick up Thirst from its place on the floor, when a loud, harsh and grating voice boomed from the screen in front of her. Her knowledge gleaned from the guard's blood told her that this was a television, a device used by modern humans for both entertainment and educational purposes, and its usual programming had been interrupted by some announcement from an organisation. Allegedly, they saw themselves as the guardians of humanity against those that would threaten it, against the supernatural. They had supposedly eliminated the premier counter-supernatural agency responsible for public security in the process, no doubt deeming it superfluous to their requirements. Kat snickered at the short-sightedness of the group's actions; counter-intuitive in the long term, though potentially a source of new recruits disillusioned with their previous commanders' actions, they had also taken the offensive, attacking several areas - high profile targets, they had called them - and no doubt declaring their intentions to the supernatural community. Kat shook her head. It was akin to her actions in the invasion of Pomerania in 1594 - by declaring her intentions to spread her rule into the lands of the Griffon and with her initial salvoes of disease spreading like wildfire, she had instead laid herself vulnerable to attack by those who would seek to bring about the Fall - and ultimately succeed. It was interesting to note their rhetoric - they sounded similar to another individual that she knew of... the hated Plantagenet.

However, he was no terrorist, unlike these men and women, the Hounds of Humanity. By striking at the government, it was likely that they had drawn the ire of the American leadership - perhaps even the President himself. President. That was a new concept to Kat. The rule of the majority, the tyranny of the common man made manifest in the United States of America. She didn't trust it as far as she could throw it, as far as she was concerned. Rule of the people by the people for the people was doomed - they were too selfish, venal and corrupt to be trusted with power... far better to allow the enlightened to rule over the masses. Though monarchy, too, was riven with problems, it made more sense to her - much of the monarchies' problems were succession-based, and there will be no succession crisis if the King is a vampire, after all! It was why Neuhausen, for all its faults, worked for so long... she was the ruler, her word was law, and she would never require a successor. She would have reigned forever more... were it not for those bloody Polish. Maybe Neuhausen was doomed to fail? She had forgotten that she didn't exist in a power vacuum. Maybe she hadn't counted on the tenacity and resourcefulness of humans.

Maybe it was time for a change. She frowned and hummed to herself, whilst her shadowthread gown flickered and danced about on her body. She remembered dimly a large collection of people a couple of days... maybe even as little as a day before her full awakening. She remembered one of them was different from the others. They were all human, except for this one. A werewolf, someone who could help her regain her lost power, perhaps even her artefacts? Perhaps she could track him down using his life signs. Werewolves were very noticeable compared to regular humans, after all, though quite how she'd go about it she had no idea. She remembered seeing a flyer on the floor; the District Attorney of New York City - some kind of mayoral position or something similar, she reckoned - was a man named Reeves. This man was likely a powerful person, and may have information relating to the werewolf. Perhaps the werewolf was a member of his family? Perhaps *he* was the werewolf?

There was nothing for it. Katarina took up Thirst in her hand once more and made her way towards a portal out of the pocket dimension. She looked at the magical conduits linking the portal to the material realm, and nodded. She stepped through it, and she was ejected into the material realm... It still looked like New York City, but a different part.
@Legion X51 I'm certainly intrigued to see what you come up with. And if you enjoy playing as members of the Adepta Sororitas...


I'm now in two minds - I have a few 40K characters, and this seems more like a Rogue Trader-esque campaign, whilst the other is more Dark Heresy-esque and possibly more fitting for Sister Lydia, despite her increasingly jaded, cynical, and sometimes downright hostile attitude towards the Ecclesiarchy. Not sure whether to use her here or there - any suggestions?

If I use her here, expect an Arbitrator in that other RP, because Power Maul & Storm Shield ftw. If I use her there, then I'll probably consider a veteran Guardsman with a plasma weapon or two over here.
Any room for another character? Maybe a Sororitas Hospitaller who's been with a few too many Inquisitors to really care about things like 'The Emperor' and 'the Imperial Faith' and pays little more than lip-service to them?

Oh, and she likes using meltas when she defends herself. Meltaguns, inferno pistols, melta bombs...
-redacted-
-redacted-


"Ngh... nghhh... what in the name of... where am I? How long has it been..." Katarina came to, bound as she was by hand and foot inside some black abyss, a void that seemed to stretch all about her. Well... not all about her. She could tell she was standing on something hard, something warm and wooden on the flesh of her bare feet, with the odd splinter digging into her heels. She was bound in a sarcophagus, that was it. She remembered dimly the events that brought her into this sarcophagus - the battle with the thrice-damned Grail Knight, the flames that engulfed her body as she screamed her defiance in the face of certain defeat, her broken form carried secretly by Franz into the darkest chambers of the Tower of Spires, even as it crumbled to dust and splinters around them. And then... she slumbered. It must have been centuries, she thought, as she looked around aimlessly in her little wooden box. Closing her eyes and forcing her vision to twist and change to that of the vampire, she opened her eyes to see the life signs of what seemed to be a crowd of smallfolk standing about her, on all sides. Frowning, Katarina reached out and touched the lid of her sarcophagus - it was sealed tightly shut, by something that wasn't about to move in a hurry. Trying to calm the rising tide of panic, Katarina began to murmur under her breath to herself. "Okay, Katarina, don't panic, whatever you do. Think... there must be some reason as to why you're surrounded by people in a little wooden box. Maybe they're worshippers? Maybe they need me to tell them to open this damn thing up so I can finally return to the world? Hm... let's try that." Shuffling slightly as she moved as best she could inside the coffin, Katarina rapped her knuckles of her left hand on the interior of the sturdy oaken lid. She waited about half a minute, and then did so again. There was no response. Looking down at her bindings, her undead heart skipped a beat - of course, when the Grail Knight had thrown whatever it was that had, well, to all intents and purposes, just about burned her to mist, it of course burned everything. Even if they were worshippers, they'd probably all die of heart attacks or something... not to mention the bindings weren't the easiest to tear apart. She struggled and struggled, but her blood-starved muscles were simply too weak to do anything. How embarrassing, the old terror of Eastern Europe, the ruler of what was the finest Blood Court in the lands, now reduced to struggling to get out of an oak box... Her rage built and built, and with it the deadened adrenaline began to course through her torpid veins, until... Snap.
Her binding about her hands had broken. Blood was a secondary fuel, adrenaline could get her by. She wrenched her legs apart, snapping the bindings about her ankles, and then she finally stood properly, instead of simply being tied in place. It had been an awful long time... placing her hands against the lid of the coffin, she tested the strength of whatever lock was barring her exit. Around her, the crowd of smallfolk seemed to not notice her struggles - either that or they were too busy admiring the coffin to notice, neither of which would surprise her, given the average attention span of smallfolk such as them. The peasants weren't a bright lot, but they were resolute; they claimed she was the best ruler they'd had - at least to her face - and Neuhausen had prospered under the Red Reign: something that made the pill of defeat even more the bitter to swallow. Grunting with the effort required, Katarina shoved with all her undead might against the lid of the coffin, which flew away... smashing the pane of glass that comprised part of the container in which her coffin sat. The smallfolk about her began to scream and recoil in horror as Katarina stepped out of the coffin, enraged at her new-found understanding of her circumstances. "A fucking museum?! Is this where I am?! What am I, some old exhibit to gawk at for your entertainment?! God damn you all, can't you leave a woman to her rest?!" Several of the smallfolk seemed to faint at the sight of her rage - and so they damned well should, Katarina thought - but most of them simply gawped as though they could scarcely believe their eyes. They had come to Lost Haven Museum to see the coffin that was rumoured to be the last resting place of a European vampire according to legend - it was on loan from Warsaw - and now, here was the vampire, in what little of her glory remained on her! The rumours were true! Several of them began to make signs of the cross to ward her away, shouting things in a language which she could only just about remember the meaning of... was it English? Was she in the lands of the hated Sir Henry? She scoffed at their pitiful attempts to sate her wrath, and grabbed one of the nearest by the scruff of their neck, heedless of the shrill alarms that had now begun to blare from the smashing of the glass. The smallfolk she had taken hold of was a young man, possibly in his teens or twenties, his skin white as a sheet and his eyes dilated from fear. "You will tell me where I am and what year it is. Now!" Her English was fairly rubbish, all things considered, but it would suffice.
"N-N-New Y-York City... In... uh... A-America! It's 2016!" Wham. Four hundred years?! And America?! Kat dropped the man on the ground and shook her head in disbelief. What was she doing in America- a shout came from behind her. "Freeze!" She turned to see two men aiming what looked to be advanced guns at her, with the word SECURITY emblazoned on... whatever vest they were wearing. She cocked her head to one side and smirked, shaking her head. "Two men with guns? Is that all? I'm almost insulted." Despite her blood-starved state, Katarina knew she was more than a match for two men with handguns... she turned to face them fully and grinned a fanged smile, before rushing forward at blinding speed at one of the men, at the same time drawing back her hand and then stabbing forward, her long, sharp nails piercing first the guard's vest, and then carrying forward through the guard's chest, and out of his back in a single thrust. The guard could only groan as his life-force was drained from him, and Katarina bit deeply into his exposed neck, drinking of his vitae and feeling newfound power course through her body. She threw the now-corpse at the second guard, knocking him to the ground under the bloodied body of his comrade, and then took in her surroundings. Large, neo-classical building, with plenty of exhibits... and there, next to her coffin, was Thirst. Her trusted and beloved rapier, which had only once seen its wielder defeated in battle. Walking over shattered glass and surrounded by the terrified onlookers, Katarina reached down and took hold of her blade, its hilt spearing a spike through her palm as it did so, causing Katarina to gasp involuntarily. "Yes... You are thirsty, aren't you..." she murmured to the sword as she felt it grow in power and began to glow with a soft red hint, and a low humming noise. She looked about at the crowd.

"Run along now, I'm sure you have people to call upon for your defence. I'm feeling particularly generous... you can even have a head-start." She smiled to herself and began to walk in the same direction that the screaming crowds turned and ran, almost as if she were herding them like the chattel they were. Mortals, eh? So predictable!


“I guess adventurers never come with happy pasts.” The strange-looking man mumbled under his breath after Iridiel had finished her tale of how she had been exiled from her homeland. Inwardly, Angora grew irritated - all he had in response was a snarky comment about how trouble seemed to follow them, not a sympathetic 'well, at least you're here' or even just an arm around her shoulders, as Angora had done? Yes, Iridiel had saved her life and her sanity twice over, but even so, Iridiel was a healer, and it seemed a very powerful one at that - surely some acknowledgement of her presence was warranted beyond a simple comment like that? Or was she making a mountain out of a molehill? Perhaps he'd simply meant nothing by it, and it was more of an off-the-cuff line that he honestly said as a way of breaking the ice? Maybe. Angora wasn't sure what to think at the moment. Her head ached from the ordeal that Iridiel had subjected her to earlier, whilst the fire was still too small to have a meaningful effect on the cold winds biting at Angora's skin. At least one advantage of the spirit's possession was that she hadn't noticed the cold. Probably because it didn't understand it, or something.

Of course, then the man's attention turned to her. And what a question to start with, eh? “How did you end up possessed by the... thing? The one that controlled you?” It was a most prying question, and one that perhaps was not particularly conducive to endearing Angora to her new-found companions, given that she was undertaking highly-illegal and morally questionable activities when she was... well, possessed was probably the best way of stating it. Still, he had asked, and she might as well come out and say what she was doing - lying would likely bring down even more danger on her head than telling the truth. Besides... she owed it to them to at least come clean, this once. Not something she found easy to do, given her history.

"Well, we might as well start from the beginning, because to explain what I was doing out here, I have to explain what my profession was in Zerul City. I primarily worked in the criminal underground of the city - what underground there even is, needless to say - in a fair few different lines of work; I was an assassin, armed robber from time to time, occasional lady of the night and then murderer, occasionally I took part in organised drug smuggling, organised magical item smuggling, you name it, we dealt in it. And that leads me onto what was going on about... what would it be, six months ago? I think six months ago, I can't even remember the passage of time. All I do know is that it was about spring, and now it is-" Angora hesitated for a moment, looking around at her surroundings, "- I think autumn? Yes, autumn seems about correct, given the windchill." Angora chuckled a bit and drew the cloak around herself more tightly, trying to keep warm. Despite the cloak's best efforts, the wind was finding ways of sneaking inside and chilling her body. Not to mention the ground itself was as cold as ice, it seemed. "Well, anyway, it was early in this year when a penin expedition had reported they'd discovered some very powerful artefact, perhaps even deitic in manufacture. They'd called it simply the Black Sword, for... well, obvious reasons. And they were going to bring it back to Zerul City for investigation and research at the College of Magic. Unfortunately, there was something in the sword, some kind of spirit? Whatever it was - well, is, seeing how it's still in my body right now - it was not of this plane. The sword... well, its allure seemed to turn the penin against each other, which weakened the convoy and I believe led some of them to kill each other over accusations that they were planning to steal the sword and take it for themselves. Meanwhile, I had been contacted by someone rather... high up in the criminal networks - they wanted the sword and they were paying rather handsomely for it's theft from the convoy, preferably with none of the penin surviving to tell the tale. Now, you must understand, my family is not a poor one, we didn't really need the money, but our fortune is built on black gold. My mother stole the jewellery that my father used to learn the art of goldsmithing. My father, in turn, sold the re-purposed jewellery on for a healthy profit. And none were any the wiser... and so I thought that I could pull off a brilliant coup if I was successful, perhaps even raise us higher than we'd ever thought possible. Yes... an 18 year old girl thinking she could elevate her family into high-ranking circles driven out of pure greed, it's unthinkable, isn't it?" Angora smiled, trying to maintain as innocent a face as she could. "Who would have thought such a thing possible from one such as me? So, into the woods we go, in the direction of the penin convoy - which had caused quite the ruckus in the local area, so it was fairly simple to follow the rumours towards - and then, lo and behold, the convoy slowly makes it's brow-beaten, blood-soaked way towards Zerul City, ambushed by those ever-honourable 'gentlemen' Crusaders once or twice along the way. And so, they make camp when your dear Angora Kelenwyn finds them at night."

Angora sighed and shuffled one arm outside of the cloak and rubbed her eyes. "What I'm about to say, I'm not proud of. I regret doing it. I often don't sleep because of it." She took a deep breath and sighed heavily. "I killed them. All of them. All in cold blood." She shook her head as she continued, on the face of things scarcely able to believe that she'd done them... but she had. And she could remember the actions as clear as day. "The watchman was looking away from the undergrowth where I was hiding... so I sprang out, as quickly and quietly as I could. I knifed him in the back between his shoulder blades to make it quick and quiet, so as not to wake the others. Then, I walked around, stooping to slit their throats as they slept. They choked to death on their own blood, whilst yours truly thought nothing of it. It sounds horrible, I know, but... all I could think about was the sword, and the money when I returned. You're probably all sitting there thinking I'm a monster, and yes, I might well be. After all, only monsters murder people in their sleep, right? Only monsters sound like this, anyway..." Angora leaned forward underneath her cloak and closed her eyes, trying to forget the mental image that had been brought back by her recollection of her tale. She carried on, even though she was slightly muffled by her head in the thick wolfskin mane that Iridiel had loaned to her to keep her warm as her clothes dried. "I killed them all... and then I took the sword for myself. It was wrapped up in cloth, in one of their backpacks - probably the leader's. It was so beautiful... the leather scabbard - which is right here, by the way," Angora reached over under her cloak and patted the sword next to her, "was just... it was breathtaking at the time. It's all muddied and dirtied now, but back then... by the gods, it was beautiful. And the sword itself... I'd never seen anything like it. But the moment I unsheathed it, well... that was when it all started. The blast from the spirit's escape knocked me to the ground, and I felt a surge of energy wash over me. And then... then the voices started. I started hearing whisperings in my head when everything was quiet. They told me to do these horrible things, to kill and to slaughter. Almost if one were mentally ill, you know? Those things that people talk about when they're committed to the asylum? It was right there, in my head. And then, it slowly started to take over my actions. I fought back as best I could, but I realised that not only had I made a fairly terrible mistake - and this was very, VERY up there on lists of terrible mistakes, short of perhaps selling your soul to Hazzergash or jumping off a bridge in an attempt to grow wings and fly - but I'd never make it back to Zerul. Oh, this young lady was paying for her avarice, most certainly, I was getting my little comeuppance. And then, after about a week, I think the process was basically complete. I wasn't fully under the spirit's influence, but... it all but controlled me. I couldn't remember who I was, I couldn't remember anything, anything at all. I didn't even remember my name until I saw a poster with it on. I knew how to read, somehow, but I couldn't talk in Rodorian, only that awful bastardised mess you heard earlier. All I knew was that I had to survive, by any means necessary. So... then I guess I became that thing you encountered earlier. I think the villagers around here called me... the Untamed? Something like that? The wildling, the untamed, whatever it was. It was a fitting name, I'll give them that. So began my six months of possession. Until today, I suppose."

Angora reached out from under her cloak and took another slip of salted ham from the hunk Iridiel had been cutting. "Then I met you people. And the rest is history." She got to her feet and walked over to her clothes, patting at them to see if they were still wet. They were sodden. Turning away, Angora muttered under her breath. "Hurry up, damn you... I can't go about in naught but a smile..."
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