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Astrid

It was never far behind, following, watching, waiting for something. A malignant spiritual tumor that had sprouted from a dangerous mixture of indiscretion and ignorance, forever three steps behind her. It never spoke, never made contact wholesale for when it was asked to, but it could be felt; cold and uncomfortable. Something beyond death had hitched a ride, content to simply spectate.

Astrid did her best to ignore its dull gaze boring into the back of her skull as she crouched down to inspect the corpse unceremoniously slumped against the dumpster behind her favorite haunt. She drew in a sharp breath, wincing in response to the foul odor emanating from the deceased gentleman; he must have died recently, as the scent of excrement had yet to be overcome by rot. His eyes were pale and glassy, staring down into his soiled lap. "Pitiful," she thought, dipping a hand into his jacket to rummage for his wallet...

Stanley Ramos, some nobody with loyalty cards to five different pharmacies. If she would wager a guess, she'd assume he was a junky, bouncing from store to store to buy the legal limit of cough syrup. No major blow to humanity, that much she was sure of... A slender brow raised, as she found that his money was untouched. That fact alone ruled out that it had been a robbery. Gooseflesh spread up her spine as her silent passenger drew in nearer, as if it were just as interested by the cadaver as she was. She tucked her pale blonde locks behind her ears before nudging the stiff's jaw up. No bites, ruling out a leech attack.

She'd have to do it.

Astrid wrestled away the growing sensation of discord in her gut and firmly planted her fingers atop the dead man's cranium. She reached out to the ether through him, slate blue eyes giving way to an inky blackness that sprung from her pupils, swallowing her irises to leave only the whites as contrast. She felt her hand fall through him, grasping for the fragile thread that bound his vagrant spirit to the flesh. The corpse was fresh, so it didn't take too long for her to track it down.

All it took was a tug, and her pupils swallowed the inky murk back into a pair of pinprick points.

Stanley gasped aloud, lurching forward rasp and gag, violently convulsing until he managed to expel a mouthful of putrid bile, the remnants of whatever he had last eaten before expiring. His half-dead eyes searched frantically for her, moaning guttural sounds of pain and confusion. "What..."

"What did you do to me?"He tried to shout, but his stiff vocal cords could only manage a strained rasp. He writhed then, struggling against the unnatural state he had been forced into. "It hurts so fvcking bad..."

"Shh, Stanley, I need you to listen to me," She started, snapping her fingers infront of his vision to center him. The longer she forced a soul back into a vacated body, the higher the chance she could ruin him. Possible junky or no, no man deserved to linger betwixt existences, atleast not for an eternity. "I need you to tell me who did this to you, and how they did this to you. Do you understand?"

Stanley mumbled, the convulsions rattling his body harder.

"Speak up." Astrid commanded, snapping once more. "And I'll put you back where you came from."

"It was..." He strained to speak, brackish blood beginning to pool behind his lips. He tried to reach up to her, but his fingers only managed to twitch. "Bald white guy, average height... I, fvck, it hurts..." Squirming, he spat another wad of bloody bile down his chin. "He just touched me, and I felt cold, and... Oh god... Please let me go, please..."

Astrid nodded, pursing her lips tightly as the pieces came together for her. She drank in a deep breath of air, and let his string fall slack again. The putrid feeling in her gut remained, however, and she knew it would for a few hours longer, atleast. A mild punishment for a crime so perverse, she mused.

"Thanks, Stanley. Smooth sailing."

She pocketed the little bit of cash he had on him, and tossed the emptied wallet onto his lap. Another Necromancer was loose in this city, and a possibly dangerous one at that. A glance over her shoulder reminded her that she herself was a dirtied soul, and in many ways no better than the bald man that plied the trade to steal lives.

It was her hope that when her day of judgment was upon her, her diligence towards the preservation of life would save her the proverbial axe.

But that hope was slim.
September 17, 2018 04:19 pm

Astrid

Astrid drew her pistol, and counted to three.

Three men paced the room below her, finding the evidence of her arrival scattered about in the form of a shattered window. Her leg throbbed, a slender gash split her calf, leaking her life essence down her ankle. Breaking and entering had never been her forte, but the revenants that guarded whatever was in this defunct apartment building were too diligent for a forward approach.

She could hear the heavy bootsteps of her impending demise rounding the steps, following the fresh blood she'd left behind. She glanced frantically, looking for some avenue of escape... There would be no getting past them, atleast not three simultaneously, and especially not with a wounded leg. She backed against the wide windowframe of the grimy apartment, forcing it open as swiftly as she could.

The first of them bullrushed the door, shattering it into splinters with no evident effort. She caught a glance of him, pale and gaunt in the face, hollowed white eyes honed onto her just as she dropped from the window. The revenant barreled towards it, lunging to look out after her.

Her lure had worked, as she pumped a shot into his jaw. Whatever fell thoughts the being may have had before, were now scattered across the ceiling above him. Astrid dropped her pistol below her, and raised up to drag the revenant down with her as she tumbled down to the balcony of the lower floor. Quickly, while the other two were still piecing together what had happened, she bored her fingers into the ruined flesh of her victim's skull and reached through him, searching for the unnatural coil that had bound a blackened soul to this vessel. When she found it, the pale features of the revenants face would rapidly dessicate, emptied of essence. The oozing wound on her calf began to knit itself closed.

The feeling of negative energy coursing her veins made her nauseous, but it was a small price to pay for a fighting chance. Enervated, her assailants drew into the room. She hadn't been fast enough. The pistol slipped from her bloodied fingers as she scrambled for it, tumbling from the balcony to the alleyway below.

"Fvck me."

She made it to her feet, sliding a razor from her pocket just in time to meet them. The nearest threw a wild punch to her ribs that would only glance her as she stepped forward into him. An arm dropped to anchor around his elbow and wrenched upwards savagely, shattering the undead's arm. It made no response as its compatriot came in from the side and buried a fist into her side. A gasp, and the first used its opportunity to close in for the kill, only to bite down on a desperately thrust knife. It slumped into her as the steel pierced its braincase, sending her into a spiral as the survivor tackled them onto the floor.

Insurmountable weight forced the air from her lungs, as the living wretch still clawed for her from across the corpse of its fallen comrade. Astrid tried her damnedest to shift, or roll, but couldn't manage to summon enough strength before her aggressor made his leap and desperately grasped at her face, his thumb searching for an eye to gouge. She could feel its cracked, moldered fingernail forcing apart her eyelid and pressing inward, and chanted a single incantation...

The revenant retracted and fell back, howling in an agony unbefit a mindless thrall. Her freedom was only a couple hundred pounds now, and she pulled herself from under the dead. Its compatriot still writhed on the floor, clawing desperately at its own face and chest, until finally it pierced through, spilling dozens of the tiny carrion beetles that devoured it from within. Her body throbbed from the encounter; she could already see the bruises forming on her extremeties.

"Okay," she thought aloud while silencing the writhing undead. Something had driven her to hunt this necromancer beyond a sense of duty, or even territory... She'd wracked her brain trying to determine why, but couldn't come to any terms beyond the Gods simply calling her. It was obvious to her that he was very adept at his craft, possibly even more gifted than her when it came to applied entropy... The risk to her was excessive by all accounts, but she knew he had something in his possession that she was meant to carry. A raven had delivered it to her in a dream, amongst a beakful of tattered flesh and gristle. Thunder had rang in the endless sky above her, and she was certain she could see a man walking in the distance with a hound, only to be overtaken by serpents...

Just before she would awaken, the item had dissolved from her fingers, only to reappear as a faint glimmer in the mouth of the largest serpent.

Something told her that whatever that object may be, it was housed in the basement of this building... She'd already caused a disturbance, so retrieving it would prove to be that much more taxing. She felt compelled, despite knowing her own thread could be snipped, to steel herself against indecision. She was already here. The fight was going to happen, just two floors down.
September 17, 2018 04:23 pm

Gyldi

The beast rested, paws crossed, chin planted atop the overlap.

Earthen eyes spoke of Gyldi's presence in the forefront of its mind, completely within control. A loaded statement, as her freewill has been stripped from her once again. To be honest, it wasn't as though she'd ever had freewill as this Grim, but with Eiji...

It was as good as.

"Don't look so sullen, pet..."

Gyldi didn't react, as much as his voice grated at her. It was a constant reminder of her failures, always procuring the images that haunted her the most lately. A desecrated form, still trying his damnedest to save her, all in vain...

From the beginning, the beast was an omen. It was her nature, the very reason for her being. The harbinger of Death, in the truest sense, it always followed closely behind her. She knew, from the night they met in that church that was home for centuries, he was destined for the inevitable. Yet, his mere affinity for the supernatural was enough to give her hope; perhaps he could see her simply because he was gifted.

She was wrong; she was an Omen, pure and simple, and Eiji proved no exception.

The Golden-Eyed Man huffed his annoyance, but the beast still wouldn't budge in her apathy. He would surely punish her, as he had on multiple occasions already. It was miraculous, the way he could hurt her despite her lack of physical form. If she wasn't so numb to heartache, her mind might've snapped already, giving over to the inhumane part of the Grim permanently. As it were, she could still recover, though for how long remained to be seen. The only thing that truly kept her going was feeling as though she owed something to the man who had given her everything.

That didn't stop her from begging for Death whenever she felt it nearby.

Footsteps pulled her out of her reverie, carrying the angry necromancer closer to her stoic frame. He was only halted by the sound of rushed movement upstairs, followed by a couple resounding thuds that could only be bodies hitting the floor. Gyldi had yet to react, though his gaze went skyward.

A hmph of irritation escaped the man, and his golden hues fell to the incorporeal dog before him. A crooked smile curled his lips, and he jerked his chin in her direction. "Why don't you go take care of our troublemaker, dog... Hopefully that will take your mind off your troubles, hmm?"

He posed it as a request, but Gyldi didn't have a choice. It wasn't her own will that brought her to her feet, but something else entirely; the need to obey, or perish. She'd learned long ago that fighting it was fruitless, and merely exhausted her sense of being. At times, she was a spectator in her own life, and it was growing harder and harder to see the bigger picture in all of that.

Ascending the staircase, the hairs on her neck instinctively rose, pulling back her lips into a snarl. Kill or be killed was a strong mentality, and sometimes, the only thing that kept the evil aspect of all of the current situation at bay. She had no choice, she reminded herself, this was simply what must be done.

She came to the first floor and mounted the second stairwell with no hesitation. It was near the top of that one that she willed herself to pause, as hard as her nature fought against it. Gyldi poked her head around the corner, desiring a simple look at who her opposition was. It was hard to tell what called her to stop, but it was stronger than her need to obey, if only for a moment.

And in that moment, her eyes fell on a blonde woman, and a force inside her stirred. Something akin to gooseflesh, had she been alive, shivered over her form. Her humanity recoiled from that battle.

Yet, she had no choice.
September 17, 2018 05:36 pm

Astrid

Something shook Astrid to her core in the moment the black dog reared it's maw ahead of her. Gooseflesh sprung from her fingertips and traveled up her chest; this dog was so familiar to her, it was uncanny. In its eyes, behind the empty malice and broken will, reflected to her someone she had never met, but deeply knew. She swallowed the hard knot that had filled her throat, and took a hesitant step forward. Despite this odd sensation, she knew exactly what this being was, at it's core. A Grim, buried in some Northern church, based on her breed. The deathpriest compelled her; the only choice they had was to collide.

Astrid bit through the tip of her finger, and hastily used the prick of blood that swelled forth to draw a rune upon the rightmost wall before lurching forward, lowering her stance to match the hound's. The wood in the wall groaned, and the plaster began to slough off of the framework onto the floor, sizzling and dissolving into a thick mud that quickly rose up her feet... The grim's signature tactic involved all manner of electrical manipulation, so something to disperse all of that static would level the playing field some.

Or so she hoped.

Despite her instincts compelling her to avoid this clash, despite her conscience condemning her, she readied herself for the inevitable storm of fang and claw... Grims could not be destroyed so directly; but they could be disrupted if their corporeal form were damaged enough. This would have to be swift and brutal.

"I want this less than you do," she uttered, her slate eyes adjusting on her adversary. The necromancer - her captor - forced her into this situation, lowering her to the status of a mere guard dog, when her purpose was so much more noble than that, and so much more terrible. Astrid had wept the first time her mother had told her the stories, of how men would bury dogs alive so that their souls could become eternal vigilants.

She wouldn't leave here without her bones. She couldn't.

"Come on, then."
October 06, 2018 10:26 pm
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