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 Smoke and Mirrors; Shadows and Light [Tag: Chronicler]

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PostSubject: Smoke and Mirrors; Shadows and Light [Tag: Chronicler]   Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:02 am

Location: The Obsidian Circus; Just outside Libirum

A small fire burned in a pit at the center of a trio of large wooden caravan carts. Two forked metal rods had been stabbed into the soil on opposite sides of the pit. A third rod rested in the ‘V’ of each vertical holder so that the rabbit skewered onto it cooked. The meat crackled and spit grease here and there, but no one was nearby to dodge the scalding projectile.

After a few silent moments, the door to one of the carts finally opened, and a small figure stepped out. Her long, ebony hair bounced some as she hopped down the wooden steps. Black combat boots thudded against the old planks, but the girl was small and agile enough not to harm their stability. Like her hair and boots, the rest of her outfit was black, which contrasted with the pale of her face. Black leggings covered her legs, while a black fishnet shirt kept her arms mostly hidden from view. Over top of the leggings, she wore a frilly tutu made of some lacy material. To hide her upper body from the slight breeze that filtered through the carnival, she’d merely donned a black t-shirt with a skull and crossbones embroidered in shiny gems across the front.

A large, white stallion wandered over as the girl knelt to inspect her cooking. Dropping his head, the horse nudged the girl gently, nearly knocking her small frame into the flames. “Stop it!” Isabella laughed, barely stopping herself from joining the skewered rabbit. “Don’t worry – I didn’t forget about you, you big oaf.” Reaching back into the satchel slung over one shoulder, she rummaged around for a few moments before producing a large, orange carrot. Eidolon whickered with delight and greedily chomped half the vegetable into his mouth. Isabella smirked and turned back to the rabbit.

Further in, the sounds of an accordion playing mingled with gasps of awe and childish screams of delight. Glancing up, Isabella guessed the show would soon be done. The moon was past its peak and slowly making its descent towards the horizon. With a light sigh, she finally removed the rabbit and offered the rest of the carrot to Eidolon. Scooting back, she plopped down on her butt and slowly began to nibble at her dinner.

There had been another Fallen at the show tonight. She’d nearly leapt from Edie’s back when she’d spied the other, but instinct had kicked in and she’d continued the routine as planned. Her eyes had been glued to the other for half of her act. Her lack of concentration on the act itself hadn’t shown through to the guests, but Max, the Lion Tamer had given her a knowing glance as she was on the way out of the big top.

A bit of grease slipped down Isabella’s chin, jolting her back to reality. She needed to find that other Fallen before they left the Circus. Finishing the rabbit, she tossed the bones into the fire pit and quickly, but gently urged Edie up and into his stable cart. With a few hushed coos of affection, she patted her companion’s long nose before wiping her face off with the backs of her hands and hurrying to scatter the logs of the fire so that it died slowly. She wasn’t sure how long she’d be gone, so if Ethelia returned before she did, the embers would be easier to re-light if they weren’t doused.

Without her horse, Isabella wasn’t quite so noticeable in the throngs of people milling about. A light smile filled her lips and she nodded absently to those she passed, but her attention was focused on finding the other Fallen. In the years she’d been with the Circus, she’d met more than a handful of her kin, but so far, none had shared her views on the Forsaken, or her desire to unite their race. Each time she encountered a new member of her kin, she was filled with hope that perhaps this would be the one, only to get crushed. She would continue to hold out, though. Surely, she couldn’t be the only one who’d been the victim of the Forsaken’s wrath, or the only one who desired some form of racial camaraderie.

Hazel eyes swept the people she passed, and although most of them were familiar, none of them were the one she was looking for. Isabella paused outside the Funhouse for the second time. She was contemplating giving up her search, fearing the other Fallen had left the Circus. Sighing, she nodded politely to the young man currently working the entrance of the Funhouse and headed in. She passed the first few obstacles with no problems and no scares, as was to be expected from someone who’d not only been through the house hundreds of times, but who’d helped set it up on more than a few dozen occasions.

Halfway through the dark maze of obstacles and funny rooms, Isabella veered off the marked path. One of the upper windows that looked out onto the main avenue of the Circus didn’t have an entrance that the public could get to. It was her favorite quiet place to sit and simply watch.

And so, with a heavy heart and a bit of hope, that’s precisely what she did.
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PostSubject: Re: Smoke and Mirrors; Shadows and Light [Tag: Chronicler]   Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:37 pm

Anonymity was their greatest defense, and at the same time it was their greatest weapon. It was the gift of the Fallen, and by virtue of their origins, it was the game of the Forsaken as well. It was this veil of secrecy that allowed Tom to hunt. His name had been Tom in life, so it remained in his second life, as well as his third. Three lives for three births. Tom had been born a human. One day he died the victim of a seemingly random act of violence, and rose as something different. Reborn Tom was taken under the wing of a strange man who taught him how to survive, and fend for himself. He taught Tom how to take the power of his prey and grow stronger. When Tom made his first kill and devoured its flesh, he was overtaken by a power and hunger that he could not describe. It was in that moment that Tom was reborn into his third life, the life of a Forsaken.

The hunger was a part of him now. It was the part of him that could never be sated or satisfied for long. Eating gave him comfort, but only one meal gave him any sort of lasting respite from his craving. Traveling through the crowd behind the mask of a normal man, Tom hunted his prey. His prey didn’t know it was being hunted. His prey didn’t even know that it was carrying the seed of a Fallen within it. Tom knew. Tom could see the glow of life resting within its chest, the promise of a powerful being gestating, waiting for the moment that it could be born into the world through death. Tom had been like that once. Nostalgia wasn’t a thing Tom felt, because the hunger was too strong. That hunger kept him stalking his prey for days, waiting for the right time to strike.

The unassuming blonde haired woman separated from her group of friends and walked towards the funhouse. Apparently she was the only one of the group that appreciated a good scare, but that bravery was going to prove her downfall. Tom finally closed the distance between them, and stood in the line behind her at the Hall of Horrors. Little did she know that she was about to become one of those horrors. The two hundred and thirty pound, moderately muscled man with brown hair followed her through the turnstile after giving his admission ticket. Silently he followed her through the path of loud noises, electronic screams, flashing lights, and moving parts. They were sent through in a small group of five people, and all their attention was on the house around them, watching for the next thing to jump out at them.

No one noticed when he moved up behind her. She didn’t even notice the arm around her waist, or the hand being wrapped around her mouth until it clamped down. She tried to scream but Tom’s hand was too tightly sealed around her mouth for it to escape. The next few moments happened faster than the time she got into a fight at the bar two years ago when some loud mouth tried to move in on her boyfriend. One second she was there, the next he had pulled her off the path, and was throwing her down on the floor behind all the shaking machines and flashing lights. She looked up to see the face of her attacker even though it was dark. What she saw wasn’t the face of a man, but the true face of Tom.

Ethereal light leaked from the marks on his grey skinned face. That same light seemed to come out of the air around him, and gather in his right hand. Before she knew what was happening, that light became a sword that was being stabbed through her chest. When her scream quieted she saw his lips moving. ”It’s nothing personal…..,” an unearthly voice that sounded like death on gravel said, ”I’m just hungry.” As life slipped through the blood soaked fingers that clutched the glowing blade, she watched her murderer crouching down over her. Darkness closed on him and it looked like he was waiting for something. Tom was waiting for his meal to emerge. This was as good a place as any to wait out the day it took the Fallen to be born. While he waited, he toyed with the idea of making this one like him.
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PostSubject: Re: Smoke and Mirrors; Shadows and Light [Tag: Chronicler]   Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:47 am

Isabella sucked in a quiet breath as she heard another group being admitted into the Fun House. Her eyes, somewhat glazed from staring so long, closed for a few moments in order to rid her of that irritating dry-eye feeling. One hand propped her chin up, her pointy elbow digging into the wood of the windowsill. The other dragged its fingers along the sill, doodling invisible images onto the wooden surface. Life in the Circus was generally fun, but it definitely had its dull moments.

The screams of the newest group were approaching her position. From the sounds of the echo, they were just passed the room with the living dead. A few rooms before the exit was an electronic, stuffed werewolf that always seemed to elicit the best screams in the House. Her hidey hole was somewhere between the two areas. On occasion, the dog handler, Linus, who was a werewolf himself, would take the stuffed dog’s place. That’s when the real screams could be heard. A light smile filled the pale, gothic girl’s face as she thought back to the last time Linus had stepped up to the plate. The group had reached the faux wolf.

One of the screams had sounded shrill enough to pierce the entire hall of mirrors within the House. Isabella couldn’t help but turn at its sound. Did her ears deceive her, or had that scream been from a different section of the House than the rest of the group? Leaning forward, she poked her nose over the windowsill at the entrance of the House. The next group hadn’t entered yet, so that couldn’t be the case of two sets of screams.

Scowling, Isabella set her feet back on the wooden floor and shimmied her way out from behind one of the dozens of mirrors, back into the public area of the Funhouse. She looked both ways, still trying to figure out what exactly had happened. Hazel eyes rolled up into her skull as realization hit her. One of the group members must have been scared stiff and had been left behind. Didn’t they know it was all fake? Well, most of the time, anyways.

Isabella picked her way backwards through the maze of horrors, her steps light and dainty as was to be expected from such a small frame. So far, there were no signs of any guests lingering. She stopped as she hit the portrait nook and her hands fell to rest on her hips. Surely, the scream hadn’t come from this far back, had it? With a silent ‘harumph’, she turned and began making her way towards the exit, pausing every so often, her ears straining for any whimpers, sniffles, or sobs.

She heard none of those noises, but she was sure something had rustled from behind one of the walls she paused beside. Had someone purposefully slipped back there? And if so, why? A low growl formed at the back of her throat at the thought of someone trying to harm the Funhouse. Sure, this wasn’t her section of the Circus, but the Circus itself was her home. Mess with any part of it, and you’d have to face the wrath of any and all the members.

Quiet as a mouse, Isabella approached the thin space that led to behind the House attractions. Sucking in a breath, she slipped through and froze at what she saw. A dark figure was hovering over a dying girl… no, not just a girl. A chosen girl. She didn’t need to see the figure’s front side to know precisely who – and what – he was.

The idea to flee hit Isabella like a ton of bricks, but the look on the girl’s face kept her in place. Her own death flashed before her eyes, the red-haired demoness’ grin burning into her brain, but the instincts her mentor had drilled into her kicked back into gear and shoved that thought aside. This creature was a Forsaken. His very existence went against every fiber of Isabella’s being. Her fingernails dug deeply into the palms of her small hands as she waited for him to notice her. She was already preparing for the fight, calculating the distance between herself and the would-be newly born Fallen. If she could dispose of this Forsaken, she could whisk the girl back to her own tent so that she was not alone when she awoke. If she couldn’t…

“No.” The word had only been a thought, but it was so powerful, she’d spoken it aloud. She didn’t have time for thoughts like that. The Forsaken would die. For the girl; for Isabella’s mentor; for the survival of her entire race. There was no other option.

A soft grin tugged at the corners of Isabella’s lips again as the familiar sensation of her scythe touched her fingertips.
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PostSubject: Re: Smoke and Mirrors; Shadows and Light [Tag: Chronicler]   Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:59 am

A blessing and a curse, this ability they had to hide in plain sight. It robbed them of all their power, but allowed them to go unnoticed when they wished. Tom had been to intently focused on the kill, the succulent prey that lay before him. He didn't hear Isabella coming up behind him, nor did he feel any energies from her thanks to her illusion. Even when she spoke up and said 'No', he ignored her. It wasn't until she dropped her disguise and summoned her weapon that she grabbed his attention. Tom felt the hunger run through him at the realization that another Fallen had been drawn out of hiding. The hunger never subsided, he'd had it since he first taste the flesh of a Fallen, felt its power strengthen him. They hunted the chosen because they could be found, but an experienced Fallen was the greatest feast. The stronger, the better.

"No?" he hissed questioningly. Tom answered his own question, and showed her that she could not stop the inevitable by taking his sword and stabbing the girl in the heart. A death blow that killed immediately. There was no means of saving this girl now. This chosen had been cut down, and in one days time, be reborn as Fallen. Tom pulled the glowing blade free from the young woman's chest and gave it a distinct twirl that caused the blood to fly from the blade and leave a spatter on the floor. "You are kind enough to provide me with a main course. After I devour you, I will have the newborn for desert. Coming to the circus was the best idea."

Tom turned around to face this new Fallen that stumbled in on his meal. There was a full twenty four hours he had to wait until his meal emerged from the cocoon. The tracers of energy that came off of his body began to glow brighter and pulsate slightly. The excitement was palpable to him. He wanted to taste this Fallen but first he wanted to see her. Digestion began with the eyes, and he did enjoy looking at his food almost as much has he did playing with it. "Come now. You draw your weapon. Show me how well you fight."
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PostSubject: Re: Smoke and Mirrors; Shadows and Light [Tag: Chronicler]   Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:49 am

Isabella stood still as death as the Forsaken questioned her. Two rows of razor-sharp teeth glistened in the dim light provided by the Forsaken's unnatural glow as her upper lip raised in a snarl. Most of her kind didn't like showing their hideous faces when they were unglamoured, but Isabella preferred her victims to know exactly who they were dealing with. Milky white eyes stared across the empty space as the vile creature stabbed the Chosen girl.

"You shouldn't have done that," she hissed, vemon evident in her raspy voice. Bone-thin fingers grasped the long handle of the scythe in her hands, the flesh covering them grey in pallor. Beneath the pupiless eyes, Isabella's true cheekbones were high, her cheeks themselves sunken in. All in all, she had a skeletally thin figure. Scars littered her arms, bright white lines that told the tale of battles long since past, and assured whoever was looking that she was more capable than her frail appearance suggested.

The same long, dark locks that fell from her skull in her illusion graced her true form as well, blending in with the black clothing covering her body. A white short-sleeved blouse covered her top half, while a black corset vest kept her ribs and hollow stomach pulled tightly together. Black silk swathed her lower half, the skirt falling to well past her bare feet.

As the life force of the Chosen girl left her, Isabella's eyes flickered back to the Forsaken who had dealt the blow. The blood that flew from his twirling blade splattered against the ground silently, but a few drops landed on her as well. A low growl formed at the back of her throat at his show of arrogance and disrespect. One grey hand lifted, wiping the crimson from her cheek.

"We'll see about that," she growled, her grip on her scythe tightening. Grey knuckles turned white, but she refused to give in to the rage that always bubbled up when the Forsaken were involved. They'd taken her mentor from her before his time, but she would make sure that the lessons he'd been able to teach her had not been in vain.

One of those lessons had been learning everything she could about their race's mortal enemy. Vile creatures, Forsaken tended to have an advantage over their Fallen counterparts, simply due to the fact that they had more than two limbs with which to attack. That advantage had not helped the one who'd chosen to pick a fight with her years ago, and it would not help this Forsaken either. "If you insist!"

Isabella leapt forward, black silk and hair flying back from the momentum. Sharp teeth gnashed together as she started the fight off with a simple left swipe of her scythe in the Forsaken's direction. As the blade came back around towards her, she spun the weapon in deft fingers, but stopped mid-turn in order to send an upwards slice towards him. White eyes remained focused on the face of her opponent, but she made sure to keep her guard up for when he deemed it time to utilize his unnatural tendrils to keep her attacks at bay.

It wasn't long before his tentacles lashed out. Already his sword had soared forward in a few practiced swings. They both seemed to be getting acquainted with each other's style of fighting. Not usually one for violence, Isabella tended towards defense. When the first mana tendril sailed towards her, she turned her scythe so that the wooden haft deflected the blow, while the blade was preoccupied defending her from his glowing sword.

She knew that at any moment, he could double, triple, or even sextuple his tendrils. She also knew, however, that as soon as she destroyed one, it would not be able to simple reappear. As soon as the opportunity presented itself, she'd have no choice but to go for a blow that would separate him from his ethereal limbs.

The only other Forsaken she'd encountered had been victim to one major flaw - hubris. His easy murder of an elderly Fallen had caused him to think Isabella was weak, too. He'd been sorely mistaken, and it had cost him his life. Isabella could only hope that it was a major flaw in all of the Forsaken...
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PostSubject: Re: Smoke and Mirrors; Shadows and Light [Tag: Chronicler]   Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:42 pm

Ethereal blue blades were a blur as they were twirled by skilled hands. Tom was the name of a dangerous predator who hid beneath the guise of a normal man. To look at him before the change he could have easily been a person's next door neighbor, a co-worker, or even a father. After his true face was shown however, all those possibilities vanished. He was a forsaken, a monster that lived to feed and grow stronger. He had found his next meal, and now someone was standing in his way. That would not pass without being dealt with severely. When the delicate little girl raised her hand to banish illusion and summon the wickedly curved scythe his hunger became uncontrollable. She was a reaper. Tom had tracked down dinner, and a feast brought itself to him. This reaper was experienced, seasoned, and strong. She would be a perfect main course.

Tom launched forward with his sword, setting in to motion. The swordfight was like a conversation of actions. The first actions he made were preliminary introductions. His sword came at her head on to see how she reacted to a direct threat. After she blocked that attack he came at her from the sides with deft quickness. First he slashed at one side then quickly attacked the next to see how she responded. Did she block with the blade, or did she block with the haft? When he saw how she blocked he pressed her further. Tom increased the speed of his attacks and the angles from which they came so that his opponent had to work harder to evade. The response brought a smile to his lips. Tom was delighted with the acrobatic display of skill she put on.

She came back at him with attacks of her own to show that she wasn’t just a target. Tom fell back a step to gain some breathing room. The reach of her scythe was greater than that of his sword so staying in close was the only hope he had, but being too close was a danger because he couldn’t see the blade coming if it was behind him. Tom turned his body so that he could face the blade and put his sword in its path to block the strike. Again and again he did this to fend off her attacks. He was waiting for the right moment to strike back. He defended, waited, watched, and then he saw it.

The moment came when she brought her scythe back from an attack to power load her swing. Tom suddenly stopped falling back in his motions to defend. He stood his ground and switched his momentum forward in the blink of an eye. His empty hand, the one that held no weapon shot forward. His hand closed as if around something, and suddenly energy shot forward. Tom had summoned his magical energy to create a second sword. The blade was aimed at her heart and would pierce her through if she didn’t block it. Whether she blocked it or not Tom brought his other blade around in an arching motion aimed at her face. “Graaaahhhh!!! I’m going to devour you little girl, and then I’m going to eat that newborn.” He yelled at her with hunger making his voice into a growl. If she managed to block or avoid both strikes he’d follow up with a front kick try and throw her off balance, but that kick also left his stance vulnerable.
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