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 Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street

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PostSubject: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:12 am

Reference for Inspiration: http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/27887145/woman-brutally-beaten-by-bat-wielding-trio

It was dark that night, in one of the parks of 99th street. Even in all the lights that littered this 'Chinatown'-esque section of the city, there were still parts of that luminous square that were as dark as the Midnight Continent itself, where only the stars in the sky were there to light the way.

A defenseless young woman, of whom was trying to make her way to the festivities of the party going on at the square of 99th, as was common in such a culturally popular part of the Dusk, found herself taking a turn down the wrong corner of the wrong alley at the wrong time that night.

"... The fuck is this bitch?" said one of the thuggish women lurking in the dark alley, of which all her gang members turned to meet the eye of.

"Someone who just fucked up," said the man standing next to her, already on the ready to snatch up his weapon of choice and bash her face in for whatever loot they could get for it.

Startled, the girl began to run, trying to find her way in a frantic fluster through the dark maze that were the streets of the more dangerous parts of this part of town... However, her assailants, money hungry and filled with malice for no real reason whatsoever, gave chase, seeing only their next target for whatever scraps they could get off of her, even if it was only a couple bucks. They would never know, and, if it was, what would have been on their heads? Something worth far more than quite possible the dollar or two that was within this young woman's pocket. Not that they thought that far ahead, clearly.
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:48 am

Before too long, Cheshire appeared in a blur at the top of a building, having already anticipated the whereabouts of the first crime through a resonance with the Phantom. She and he had a special connection.

In her completely black, skin-tight garb, she would blend in perfectly with the shadows; save for the ghastly half black, half white mask she donned with a single black and white eye on the opposite coloration of each side of the mask. Where the black of her mask was hidden by the shadows in the darkness, the white of her cat-like eye would glow in the darkness the same way as the white half of her masked face.
"Nyaaa... It seems like we've found our first scenario..." she muttered to herself, assessing the severity of the situation. "... Looks like some street punks are doing something unintelligent... Nyanyanya~!" That was her favorite. She was more the sadistic type, and certainly would teach them a lesson they wouldn't ever forget. "... Man, but I don't think I can kill them... Hmph." She was the type that was all for manslaughter, but knew that it wouldn't get the point across at all... She would have to be a little more cunning in her approach... Which was, for her, nothing difficult at all.

"... Let's see how this plays out first before we intervene..."

If a Ninja were to make one false move or one wrong calculation, an entire plan could be compromised and their cover could be blown, which was why the 'Game of Shadows' was an important concept to understand for every true Shinobi that followed the Way.
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:57 am

The girl ran through the dark maze of streets and alleys that lacked the same attention and security as the main streets, sprinting through each dark corridor as she may in an attempt to lose her assailants that seemed to know these streets and this part of town much better than she did. As she turned back to see if they were still behind her, she would find that there were many that were gone from the group. She figured that she'd lost them, and was relieved, since perhaps things wouldn't be as terrible if she lost a few of them... Though she came to quite the rude awakening when she found them blocking the exit to the alley that she'd just entered, with the others at the other end. At some point in time, they'd split up and made it a mission to cut her off, for they knew this place up and down, it seemed, whilst she remained relatively ignorant to the finer workings of this part of the city.

Cornered, she looked both ways, even up and down frantically, as if searching for a means of escape beyond just the norm. She remained terrified, finding no way to remove herself from this situation in her panic, as the thuggish brutes neared her from each end.

"You stepped into the wrong part of town, lady... Now hand up your wallet and all your cash and you won't get your head bashed in, ya know?" Without even thinking, the man that seemed to be the largest and toughest would speak out harsh, unkind words to her simply to snatch her material possessions that could be lost and destroyed for something that could not be replaced... The woman's sense of security, and possibly her life. "You got until the count of 3 to run them pockets. One..." he paused, taking his steps toward her slowly, his homies on the other end encroaching just as slowly...
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:20 am

"They're on the move..." she muttered to herself as she ninja-hopped atop the buildings in hot pursuit. Cheshire trailed them all along the alleys of 99th, not taking her cat-eyes off of them for a moment. Her body moved like a shadowy cat, shifting from building to building fluidly, and her movements were as stealthy and precise as a feline, ever landing on her feet no matter how far she jumped nor fell.

When she finally reached the point where the all of them stopped and the young girl was cornered, she checked her surroundings to see if there was anyone around besides she, the girl and the assailants.


"... Nope... All green..." she muttered, the grin on her masked face growing wide; from eat to ear. "Let's have a little fun with them, Mimi..." she said, her shadow rising from the ground in her shape and form, yet with cat ears sprouting out from the top and gleaming red eyes piercing through the dark form, followed by an equally wide, sharp-toothed grin. *Nyow~!* the Living Shadow purred before creeping off down the side of the building, following the penumbra cast by the moonlight, as to not be exposed in the slightest. She would slip behind the leader, crawling across the flattened surface of the ground, discreetly, but perceptively... Like a cat ready to pounce upon its mousy prey...
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:26 pm

Krikor hid around a corner, close enough to the action that he could hear the thugs, but keeping his distance far enough so that they hopefully wouldn't have heard his armor rattling as he followed behind.  "They're just a bunch of misguided kids," he thought, "but without full use of my magic, I'm not sure I can take them all at once."

"Relax, Krikor,"
Ashcroft, the spirit that dwelled within his right gauntlet, said in Krikor's mind.  "You have your training.  I expect nothing but perfection from my pupil."

"Still, Ashcroft,"
Krikor replied mentally, "ever since we entered this world, I haven't had contact with the others.  Without them, I'm at only able to do a fraction of what I'm capable of."

"These are common thugs and no more.  Stop them and defend that woman.  I know you want to," Ashcroft ordered.  "Show me that your swordplay has improved, if nothing else."

Steeling his resolve, Krikor stepped out from behind the corner.  "Hey!  Leave her alone!" he shouted, trying to get the attention of the gang members.
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:17 am

"Two..." the gang leader shouted threateningly, the woman completely paralyzed and unknowing of what to do nor how to react. She wanted to scream, but she knew that would just make things worse for her. She wanted to run, but there was nowhere to go. She wanted to fight back, but she knew it was a losing battle... One against many. It looked like she was just going to have to give them what she had and pray that she would come out of this alright.

"Please..." she cried, digging her hand into her pocket, "I don't have a lot... Just... Take what I have and leave me alone!!!"

She threw out a couple bucks and some pocket change that she had leftover on the ground in terror, cowering and hoping that they weren't going to do anything to her now that she had given up what she had. "That's all I've got, just... Just take it and let me go! Please! I don't want any trouble..."

The thugs smiled, looking as if they were less hostile now, but still rather unpredictable. The leader turned his head to one of his members and gave him a head motion as if to go pick up the cash, and, as instructed, he would walk up to the woman and her change she threw on the ground. It wasn't until they all heard the voice of someone outside of their business that they would turn to see who it was getting in their way.

"Ay!!!" said one of them, "Who are you?! You're askin' for an ass whoopin, guy!" The thugs that were closest to the man would turn their attention to him; there were about three of them. One of them had a pipe, another had a bat, and another had a knife. They approached him threateningly, readying themselves for a scuffle, whilst the 4 in the background would continue to deal with the girl; The Leader, his girlfriend and two of the homies.

"Grab her!!" shouted the leader, and the man who picked up the money would snatch her up and hold her hands behind her back. "Don't do nothin' stupid, or else we'll off her!!" He held a knife to her throat threateningly, waiting for this guy to back off, simultaneously backing up slowly, as if plotting to get away when the opportunity presented itself...
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:29 am

Just as Mimi, the Shadow Cat, was about to make her move and take out the head... The situation suddenly became more critical when a new face showed up out of nowhere in the heat of the mix, stirring up the attention and the aggression of the gang. 'Shit!' Cheshire cried out in her head, immediately speaking to her Living Shadow mentally, 'Mimi, change of plans! Take out that guy who has the girl! I'll see what this guy is up to...'

If he was on the side of justice, then it didn't matter who he was... As long as he was helping out the cause. In fact, since he had their attention, that made Cheshire's work that much easier, since she was a Phantom and had to work like a ghost... Without being seen.

At her call, the shadow would seep back into the ground and crawl across the flattened surface, slipping into that of the man holding the girl hostage. She wouldn't do anything as of yet, but would remain within his shadow, ready to strike at any given moment. Meanwhile, Cheshire would simply have to wait and see how things would play out... For the moment.
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:27 pm

"Seriously, fellas? Taking a hostage? She already gave you her money, isn't that enough?" Krikor asked, sauntering forward, his hand on the hilt of his greatsword, ready to draw if the need arose. "How about this. You let her go, and I don't beat you so badly that your own mothers won't recognize you. Fair?"

"Way to be melodramatic, cowboy,"
Ashcroft said in Krikor's mind, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

"Bite me, Ashcroft,"
Krikor replied mentally, "I couldn't think of any other way to threaten them. Just get ready to throw a blood bolt if we need to."

"Planning several moves ahead. You have learned well,"
Ashcroft said, using some of the excess blood stored within his form to make a ball of the stuff infused with magic in Krikor's other hand, ready to fire it at one of the thugs.

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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:56 pm

"Oh, you must not know who we are, do you, buddy boy?" said the one holding the girl, before the rest of them got stirred into a cacophony of slanderous threats and curses. Their leader, who was still backing away slowly, suddenly got aggravated as well, whipping out from his jacket pocket a pistol he'd kept hidden in case he needed it. "Just for that," he said, pointing at the strange man, careful not to aim at any of his partners, "Why don't you hand us YOUR cash, too, since you wanna play hero?" It was clear that their explosive temperament had gotten them more hostile than they were only moments ago, and now were ready to make rather rash decisions, just as they'd done when pursuing the girl in the first place. "If you know what's good for the girl, you'll hand it up."

The three thugs that were in front of him would come at him slowly, the nearest one with the pipe swinging it from the side whilst the one with the bat came in swinging from the other side. The one with the knife watched carefully to see if he could find an opening to strike. The one holding the girl continued to move backward, nearer to his leader, so that he could have a clear word of if or when to take this girl out, if need be.
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:08 pm

Cheshire remained watchful as Mimi crept slowly up the shadow of the one holding the girl, as not to alert anyone's attention. It wasn't until this new guy started talking big that they got all offended and hostile, which, quite honestly, wasn't good if that girl got hurt. 'Mimi, make sure the girl is safe. Then we'll help out this guy if he needs it. But the girl is top priority!' As the man started backing up, his shadow would lift from the ground and cause him to stumble, whilst ever so swiftly would a *Swash* of shadow bat the knife out of his hand whilst he was falling, like a Cat's Paw batting a ball of yarn. Once the knife fell, it would be sucked into the shadows and lost in the darkness before it could be perceived where it had landed, to make it look as though it just disappeared. Amongst all the stirred emotions, confusion and the distraction from the new guy, it would probably not be difficult to get so wrapped up in something else where looking seeing what happened to the knife would not be the first thing on his mind.

'Alright, he's disarmed,' she thought, trying to figure out how to get the girl without being spotted. She caught a glimpse of the new guy conjure something into his hand... A ball of energy of sorts... It looked almost aqueous in form. At least it was clear that he was no Average Joe, though she could have picked up on that from just his emanating power beforehand. Cheshire had to think... The leader had a gun and could off that girl at any moment... But maybe he'd be too focused on the guy that seemed to be a threat. That's what she hoped while she thought of a new plan to get the girl out of there... That gun made things a little more critical.
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:13 pm

"Okay," Krikor said, drawing his sword and looking at the two advancing on him, "if that's how you want to do it, that's how we'll do it."  He fired the blood bolt he had prepared at the assailant with the bat, sending a fist-sized glob of magic-infused blood his way.

"Be careful, Krikor," Ashcroft commanded.  "That blood bolt won't do too much with you as weakened as you are.  It's as strong as a solid punch, at most."

"I know, Ashcroft," Krikor thought while dropping into a defensive stance, getting ready to parry attacks that came his way, "but if it does incapacitate him, even temporarily, we'll only have to deal with one of them as opposed to both at once."
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:48 pm

As the two came at him with bat and pipe, the thug with the bat would, due to unpreparedness, would get smacked right in the head with the Blood Bolt, knocking him for a loop and sending him into a daze. He wasn't dead, but he was disarmed and completely disoriented from the impact. He'd probably get up if he regained composure, but when that would happen was unknown.

The man with the pipe would have his pipe parried, but kept hold of it whilst his buddy with the knife came to join him in the fight. "Woah, did you see that shit?!" he said in shock, "He just shot some shit out of his hand!! He's got powers and shit!!" This frightened the two of them, but their leader remained cool in the back, since he had the gun in his hand. "That don't mean jack shit if he don't live long enough to use them. Step aside." The two of them would, in their fear, step back away from him. It was then that his other partner tripped and fell, dropping his knife and girl. "MAN!! What are you DOING?! GET THE FUCK UP and PICK UP THE BROAD!!!" he would have the other guy standing next to him go tend to the guy that got knocked out, whilst the leader opened fire on the blood using guy, unloading the entire clip on him relentlessly once his teammates had cleared the way.

"Shit, yeah, sorry, damn!!! I musta tripped or something, hold on..." he would do his best to snatch up the girl, who was struggling to get away whilst she had the chance, and not get shot in the process.
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:32 pm

'Mimi!!' cried Cheshire silently out to her Shadow Cat, who would respond post haste, completely in sync with the thoughts, feelings and will of Cheshire. With a swift bump of her shadow upward from the ground, she would push the guy who tried to hold the girl hostage into the air and onto his feet right in the midst of the bullets, letting the entire clip be unloaded on that one guy relentlessly, saving both the blood guy and the woman whilst also getting rid of one of the gang members at the same time. Immediately, Mimi would loot his pockets and swipe up the cash, taking it into herself. 'Now, go get the girl out of there!'

Before the girl could get too far, the Shadow Cat would wrap around her body, fitting her form like skin and moving the girl against her will, yet with motions and actions that she would find normal to a frightened person trying to get out of the way. She would hide the girl in the corner of a dumpster before taking her into the darkness, completely out of sight from any of the assailants, and then up to Cheshire's location.

"Don't worry, you're safe with me," she'd say as the girl was released from Mimi's hold. Now, she just had to see how she was going to deal with the rest of them. Her mission, technically, was complete, but the guy down there was still in trouble. But maybe he could handle himself. The Shadow Cat would give the girl her money back that she swiped from the guy, whilst Cheshire continued to eye the playing field.
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:40 pm

For a moment, Krikor wondered what was happening. His instincts, however, took over his rational mind, and he decided to press the attack, hoping that the gang members would be panicked over what had just happened. He tried to grab the man with the pipe and pull him close while simultaneously kneeing him in the guts. If it worked, he would follow up with a pommel strike to the back of the head, hopefully taking the man out of commission.

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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:20 pm

The man that was shot down took every bullet aimed at Krikor before falling to the ground, completely and utterly dead. The leader scoffed and tried to fire his gun again, but found that no more bullets were left. "Goddammit!!" he shouted in angst, having accidentally gunned down one of his own.

Meanwhile, in the fray, the guys that were still conscious would turn to see their friend fall, leaving both of them wide open. At that point, Krikor would have grabbed the one with the pipe and swiftly incapacitated him, leaving he, too, in a daze on the ground. He was not unconscious, but he definitely was stunned, like the man before who'd been hit by the Blood Bullet, who was now coming out of his daze and starting to get up. "OH!!! DAMN!!!" screamed the guy with the knife, "HE'S DEAD!!! HE'S FUCKING DEAD!!!" In a panic, he would freeze and begin to tremble, unsure of what to do now.

"Man, fuck this..." the leader said, finally realizing that they had caused too much attention to themselves, even in the darker part of this side of town, "Ay, we out, guys. Go scoop up our partners and let's move out before anything else happens!" He would start on his way, kicking up in a full fledged run along with his girl whilst the guy he'd sent to deal with the dazed man would go and pick up his unconscious friend, and the guy with the knife would help his partner returning to consciousness onto his feet, effectively collecting the remainder of the gang and fleeing the crime scene. The one that was gunned down would be left for dead; there was nothing else that could be done.

At the top of the building, the completely terrified woman, who had never been exposed to such things in her life, would be shuddering and shaking in fear. She may have been out of harm's way, but the trauma of not only being held up, but also seeing all of these weird freaky things happen at once would be enough to give her nightmares for months. She was barely able to keep her money, nor her tears from pouring from her eyes. She couldn't cry, but there were definitely tears flowing. What happened here would never be forgotten... And what was seen could not be unseen."Th-thank you..." she mumbled through stuttering lips, barely able to even get that much out.
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:31 pm

Cheshire was aware that things had gone relatively sour with this mission, with a casualty gunned down and the girl looking like her mind could fall to pieces at any minute. However, the mission was still successful... And, what was even better, this new face she'd not seen in town... Perhaps he came here through the Dusk Gateway when it was opened. She wasn't expecting to see anyone save for the Dusk Citizens that were scooped up from the outside world during the big move... And a new face was certainly intriguing. "Mimi," she quickly said, "Take this girl somewhere safe. Home, if you must. If you can, make her remember as little of this as possible... Make it seem like one bad dream..."

The Shadow Cat would nod, before snatching up the girl and taking her down into the shadows again and disappearing. At that moment, the shadowless girl would hop down from the roof in a blur and land upon her feet, her entire body cloaked in darkness, save for half of her mask that glowed white and the single sliver of white that shone on the other side in the darkness as though a bright eye in the shadow on the black side of the mask. She stared at him for a moment or two, inspecting him. "... Who are you...?" she finally inquired, turning to the deal body and watching its soul rise up from his body, of which she would promptly apprehend and take into custody.
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:03 pm

As soon as the thugs started retreating, Krikor ran to the side of the one who had been shot. He tried to heal him with his blood magic, but the damage was too great and Krikor's magic was too weak to save him. "Shit," he said aloud, "I really didn't want anyone to die tonight."

Suddenly, he heard a voice asking, "Who are you?" Drawing his sword again, Krikor looked all around for the source of the voice.

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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:13 pm

"I asked you first," said the masked girl, only visible as half a mask an a floating sliver of a white eye. A very fine, thin wire, nigh invisible, would be laced upon the body, shimmering in the moonlight every now and then. After confiscating the soul and taking it into custody, the body would rise from the ground, completely lifeless, yet still in motion. It dangled midair, clearly a corpse, yet somehow still moving. "... It would behoove you to tell me... Unless you want to end up like him." She didn't want anyone to die tonight, either, but if he was going to make an issue out of this... Who knows what could occur between the two of them. "I'm not trying to harm you. I just want to know who you are..."
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:19 pm

Krikor didn't trust this mysterious floating mask-entity at all, but he knew that he would have to cooperate. Without the full use of his blood magic, he was in no shape to fight someone this powerful. "My name is Krikor Hovsepian," he replied. "There, I've told you. Now who are you?"

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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:35 pm

"Cheshire," she snapped back without hesitation, "A Phantom." She didn't expect him to know just what a 'Phantom' was, despite the common definition for it, which was precisely what she wanted. "... What's your story, huh?" she'd say, batting at the body, letting it twirl in circles like a hanged man, "You don't look like you're from around here... And I saw you use some powers... Not everyone around here is 'gifted,' as you could see from the reactions of those goons. Before the coppers catch wind of this, I'd advise you to spill your guts..." Just her own little morbid way of asking him to tell her whatever he knew. "... Depending on your answers, I MIGHT be able to help you..." she'd bat the body in the other direction now, rather enjoying her new play thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:48 pm

"Not from around here? That's an understatement, but technically correct," Krikor replied, finally sheathing his sword. "I'm from another world. One now dead. After my homeworld was destroyed, I wandered the multiverse, training and gaining strength so as to someday reclaim my home. I arrived on this world recently, so yes, I'm not exactly familiar with how things are around here. Anything else you want to know?"

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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:03 pm

When Mimi returned to the scene, after having taken the girl home and returned to her place upon where Cheshire's shadow should have been. "... Do you want some help?" she said rather bluntly, "... Don't know what you're gonna say to the cops when they get here... Especially since you don't know the town, don't know how to escape and those thugs have already seen your face and know some of your power..." Once she was certain that her Living Shadow was secure, she would take the body over to her and mutter, "Open wide, Mimi..." before, in the darkness, a greater darkness would swallow the body whole, before being fed the soul just the same. "... I know all of those things, and more... And I'll help you, if you need it..."
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The Last Sanguimancer
Spirit of the Delta :: Heart's Whisper
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:04 pm

"May as well," Krikor replied.  "I'm not one to turn down a helping hand if I need it.  I thank you for your kindness.  One question, though -- do you know what happened to the woman who was being mugged?"
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:19 pm

"Safe and sound, back at home," she rattled off almost as though she were prepared to answer these sorts of questions by default. "Took care of that while we were talking..." her words trailed off ominously, before she turned and stepped into the moonlight, letting her entire form be revealed; completely black clothes, and the full shape of her mask; one side black with a white eye, the other side white with a black eye, "... I like to get my work done as quickly and quietly as possible... I don't like to attract too much attention..." The smile that seemed plastered on her face suddenly became a rather menacing scowl, as if adjusted to match the mood of the one who wore it, "And you showing up all randomly ruined that for me!"

She crossed her arms and huffed, the mask's smile slowly returning to her face, "... Well, it doesn't really matter," she'd say through a sigh, "... You seem like you know how to handle yourself, but you may need some work..."

She'd been assessing him ever since she saw him. From his story, he apparently was stronger than he had shown her, but with the destruction of his home world, he was in quite a fix power-wise. "Hrrrrrmmmm..." she purred pensively, "... I'll tell you a secret that the commonfolk don't know... This world takes in those who are lost out in the multiverse and serves as a safehaven. You, as a lost traveler, must have been scooped up and brought into stability here. If you need to train yourself to get stronger and return to your world... I can definitely make that possible..."
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PostSubject: Re: Blue Beating; Bloodbath on 99th Street   Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:28 pm

"That's just it," Krikor said, "I'm really not in need of training. I've been training for a little more than a decade to go back and fight."

"However," he continued, showing Cheshire his right gauntlet, the one he had fired the Blood Bolt from before, "each of my pieces of armor and my sword have spirits in them. Those spirits were able to lend their power to mine, making me and my magic stronger. When I came here, the only one I was able to commune with was my right gauntlet, Ashcroft. In the short time I've been here, I've been looking for a way to re-establish communication with the rest of my gear. If anything, directing me to someone who could help with that would be what I need. If you don't know anyone, I understand -- I use a very old and obscure form of magic, and as far as I know I'm the last practitioner of it -- but I'd appreciate any help you could give."

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