5 Red Twilight Worldwalker chapter 5
The church outfits Lances without hesitation, once the power Lances wealds became known to the Cardinal there was more than enough work to go around. Ashly is taken under the wing of the Jesuit. Lances is assured that she will be kept safe.
Lances first order is to go to a safe-house for demons and make it less safe. There is one monster in the nest that Lances was told about that he finds more than just a little interesting. According to the church notes he is an Arobus that likes to pretend to be in angel to earn favors from people, he is called Morpheus. Rumor has it that he knows about as much about demonic activity on this planet as anyone. Maybe he knows where Lizzet is.
Lances approaches the back door of an unmarked, windowless building only a short walk from the church, there is a man standing at the back door, tall and bold, dark skinned with an out of fashion par of novelty sunglasses on. Getting into a demon safe house requires some Sova fair. The guard might be human and a fist full of silver will convinces him to step aside for Lances. But from what Father Mace had told Lances chances are he is going to ask Lances to prove he is a monster in order to get into the monster club.
This will not be hard for him. Lances knows plenty of illusions that might get him in without a fight. But if heads need to roll so be it. Lances is now armed to the teeth with blessed weapons and his magic seems to be growing with every passing hour.
Lances pulls his hat over his eyes and walks up to the door man. The door man holds up a hand to stop the old man. "go back the other way old tymer, there is nothing round here for you."
Lances looks around the walls of the building pointing out some magic font that has been draw on them. "Vampire's Den." The font can only be seen at night or by monsters most seem to think. Truth is anyone that can cast spells can whip up a sight spell to search for magic script.
The doorman snorts "you sure seem pretty alive for a blood sucker."
Lances nods "Ok, do you have a pack of playing cards on you?" there is an old frosted window on the back door, Lances knows a grate carnival trick one can do with a frosted mirror and a pair of glasses.
"why would I have a pack of playing cards with me?"
"to detect clairvoyants. It's fine I got a pack on me." Lances reaches into one of the pockets on his gray overcoat handing over the cards "fresh pack, still has the tape on it."
"I know this game, you aiming for color or value?"
Jacob almost can't stop his laughing as he thinks for a moment. "do you know how old I am. I can barely read without read without a magnifying glass, these lenses are trifocal." He taks off his glasses hiding them in his right hand thereafter. He ducks his head and partly covers his eyes with his left hand. "color."
The doorman opens the deck and shuffles the cards. He holds up the first card, Lances uses the glasses hidden in his other hand like the inner frame of a telescope rotating slightly looking for reflection of the frosted glass. There would be no way to read the cards like this but you could see color. Lances calls out the first card "Black."
The doorman flips another, then another starting to flip them in quick succession. Lances keeps calling them "black, red, red, red, black, black, red, black red, black, red, red."
The doorman stops him after a short time "you have gotten twenty in a row wrong so far, you know that right old man."
Lances puts his glasses back on "that must make me the worst psychic in history, random chances is fifty/fifty on a coin flip , I should have gotten half of them by accident. Even if I was just unlucky I would have gotten five."
The doorman does the math in his head, Lances is right, there is no chances of losing at 1/2% 20 times. He could see the cards, that is the only way. The door man chuckles once he gets Lances' joke. "ok old man, you got me, you can head in. normal door times are 7pm to 6am, try to get hear earlier next time." He places the cards back in the box and offers them back to Lances.
"keep them, I have another."
The doorman places a hand on Lances chest "you have been in monster den's before right? You know the rolls?"
"Remind me." Lances ask
"once past the door you can take off you mask if you like, most do. For all I can you can go all natural. But if you have; fang, stingers, claw, spinnerets, or venom sacks you keep them to yourself. Beds are free if you want one, you can take up a tab on food and drink if you need to. Everyone here is a guest or a vaulter, fest your eyes on whatever makes you happy, but no-one touches anyone else without verbal consent, that means you both need to say 'I give you permeation to' whatever, utility magic only, if you can read minds, keep that to yourself also, and if there is any fighting our staff will start clamming heads and burning bodies."
Lances nods in understanding "how do I find a staff member if I need help with something?"
"my predecessor used to say 'you might see some of my hands some of the time but you will never see all of them all of the time' if some ask you if you need help they might be one of mine or they might just be warmhearted you decide." The doorman explains "now when I open this door it will lead you into a intermediary room, the walls are lined with black velvet, there will be a door twenty two feet straight ahead, after I relock this door, the door on the other end will unlock, then you can proceed into the den."
Lances nods again and goes to step around the door man. The doorman stops him again "one more thing old man. What is in that backpack?"
"Traveling provisions, I am a missionary, I walk everywhere, it is one of the rules I need to fallow."
"be smart, keep one hand on that bag if there is something in there worth loosing."
Lances steps into the first room of the den, it is a black room with crushed black leather on the walls, the room is sound proofed and light proof once both doors are sealed. Lances walks forth awaiting the door on the far end to unlock. After it opens the entry-way is filled with noise, not the hissing and screaming Lances expected but more of a jubilees tone; glass chiming, laughter, hushed conversation, string interments playing.
Lances walks to the open door, sliding past he is grated by a sight that couldn't be more different from the last monster den he had been in. thick pale red carpeting lines the floor, there are soft lights lining the walls, exotic flowers, maybe close to two hundred people around. Naraly a human in sight, at the well-furnished bar on one side of the room there is an alien looking lifeform with white skin that exudes its own light-sources it has a blue'ish beak and a crest of feathers that wrap around its neck and head, it is discreetly female. It drinks a dainty drink from a tall glass that looks like windshield washer fluid form some distance.
Across the bar poring drinks is a woman with pastel red skin and black hair with a prehensile tail that it is treating like a third hand in order to dress drinks just that much more efficiently. There are round booths all around occupied by animals of all shape and size pretending to be human: cows, porcupines, horses, dogs, there is a man with a kangaroo head tail and lags leading the orcistra.
At another table a winged wolfman and a snake girl cut off their conversation to watch Lances walk by. Lance has seen those two before. He pretends not to see them.
In a booth, kitty-corner from the main door Lances spots his pray. The most human looking of the monsters a man with a distinctly crocked noise and short blond hair in barly modest dress. He has a hyena girl, a harpy, and a minitour entranced by his voice as he is telling some no doubt colorful joke. His body is patted down with some sort of glitter making his cleanly waxed chest sparkle under his what looks like night gown.
Lances Jacob approaches moving as-if with a purpose. Morpheus sizes up Lances as he is standing before him, Morpheus playfully pocks fun as his outfit. "You sir are either the least discreet fryer I have ever addressed or the most anything else."
"Hello Morpheus." Lances plays friendly "the rest of you, take a walk. I have to talk business with my friend here."
"how rood" Morpheus complains as his precession walks off.
Lances eyes go cold for a moment as he barks down at the man "Can it! You evil egg sucking son of a…"
"Language." Morpheus cut is "you don't want to upset the others.
"Sorry." Lances lowers his voice "may I sit?"
"seeing how you just dismissed my other compony please do. You know that Hyinard is of the highest breeding, it cost me a healthy hand full of coin to get her hear."
Lances sits at the booth placing his bag on his lap as he does. "Morpheus. Do you know what the most cherished myth is of all time?"
"depends on the era. Every century has their own favorite myth…"
"Not so much. There are hundreds of variations on the same five or so stories; Man verse Man, Man verse Nature, Man verse Self, Man Verse the unknown, and Man verse God. But even in all off these there is a story that arks over all of them. Redemptive Violence is what it is called. The myth that a lifetime of cowardice and weakness can be forgiven with one truly valorous act. God, I hope that is in some way true. You see friend I am now a two time looser and I know it. Now here I am, my hair is white, I am going blind, I am having trouble remembering the names of my lifelong friends. And still I think that somehow I am going to commit an act of Herculean might that will wash away my sins…"
Morpheus rest onto the table studying Lances' features "Talking about memory loss, I can't seem to recall where you and I have met before."
Lance stops his story "you and I? No, we don't know each other. But I understand that we have a common friend. A Mothman if I am not mistaking, runs with a pack of Wraiths and Wolfins. It took a little Spanish girl 10 years old from a bar not much more than 50 miles down yonder. And you see, that was a mistake. She belonged to me. And I want her back dead or alive."
Morpheus thinks or a moment "Mothman? There aren't many of them around here. Not legally." He tips his head back straining to remember "Mothmen have no interest in human girls."
Lances becomes aggravated "what about wraith!? Do they have any need for girls!?"
"of course they do! Human girls are full of delicious! Preteens more-so then most. Now calm down."
"you miserable cockstain of a man." Lances whispers "you better start talking because I am growing impatient."
"what do you want to know, Wraith will steal kids from their homes if it suits their needs."
"How do I find them!"
"you don't they are astral in nature."
"you are a filthy liar!"
"Lie nothing, Wraiths can touch us me can't touch them that is just how it works!"
The two men are now shouting loudly enough that a number of other patrons are starting to pay attention. Lances gives up on grilling Morpheus for information and starts chanting in the ancient tongue. Morphues cowers before Lances as form his point of view Lances starts to eat the light out of the room and grow to aw-striking proportions.
"Hay, Hay, Hay… Utility magic only. We all know the rule. What are you doing?" Morpheus reminds Lances.
Lances stands up pulling from his pocket a lighter. Morpheus calls out "I have diplomatic protection. Call Von Richton. Get Joe Dove over here! He will tell you." Morpheus shouts for protection calling to no one particularly "Is Joe still here? Someone get me Joe!"
"Shut up maggot." Lances orders
The bartender, places a hand on Lances back to get him to back down, Lances shoots the bartender a look and there is a flash of velvet light the burst forth from his body visible to only her. Lighting bleeds form her eyes and mouth burning them booth shut. Lances holds up the lighter striking it.
Red clouds form in the bar overhead fallowed by burning bricks of hail falling form them. There is panicked screaming as the room burst into flames. The air itself seems to be on fire. Some try to find their way into the lower levels of the bar, others make for the doors. Lances stands in the blaze unaffected by the spreading fire.
Lances reaches into his bag and pulls out a silver blue mace with a shortened handle. Lances acts almost like a random slasher, he attacks anyone or anything that strolls into his line of sight. In a matter of moments, five monsters are unquestionably slain and dozens more crippled. His rage is worthy of any hero of legend or petty god of myth. The flames run up Lances back, Lances Jacob has become the beast that hides under the bed to all that see him. He will live on in infamy for what he has done.
Joe Dove hides in the shadows of the street parallel to the monster den, he is an elderly man with a wild beard and salt-&-pepper hair. He rests his shoulder to the wall; Joe grips his crystal cane firmly. Joe walks with a perpetual limp do to a war injury, he wears gloves to hide the tattoos on his hands.
Everyone knows Joe, no one knows why, some say he is a man of wealth and fame, he has a hypnotic smile and a charming deep voice. Maybe; he is a singer, or an artist, some other local hero. No, Joe is a member of a shadow government, one of many that are fighting for control of this world, and others. There are: The Wattory Letters Society, Demolay's Jesuit Knights to name a few. then there is the one Joe belongs to The Holy Order of the von Richton's Watchers Society (also called 'the Watchers' and 'the von Richton's)
Joe pulls a radio from his pocket "we are confirmed, Agent Blake's information was good, Lances Jacob is a 'key' we are taking him in." he begins relaying orders to others in his group. "Rogers, you and your min are on the roof. You take first shot; I would like to see this over with as little collateral damages as possible. Springfield, you and Malagaurd are to stay in the wings unless I say otherwise. Lockheart, keep bata team on high alert. We have no idea what Lances is or what he can do. If Rogers fails to take down Lances, you are our second line of defenses."
A deep but excitable women's voices come back over the radio "He is a Key, we have seen Keys before. Send me in and I will have us back home before the noon soaps are over."
Joe cut in "agent Malagaurd, you stay back unless I say otherwise. This war has yet to hit primetime and I would like to keep it that way."
Across the street the von Richton snipper sets up his gear, he is in full combat armor with a mask and goggles. He sets down a tripod and pulls from an ammo pack a single dart, he lays down on the ground monoverse himself till he is just barley at the edge of the roof looking down at the streets. His spotter pulls out some tools and reads off wind bearings and angles of prerejection. Then they wait. The hardest part of a snippers job is the moments before his pray walks into sight.
Then the unexpected. Shots are fired. The sniper and his spotter roll off to the side hiding under the lip of the rooftop they are on. The spotter clicks on his radio "we are under fire."
Joe's voice comes over the headset "do you have eyes on the attacker?"
Joe calls over the airwaves "can anyone see who is firing?"
From the operations van the high squeaking voice of Springfield come in "there is someone standing on top of the 300 building."
Lockheart speaks up "that is not one of mine."
The attacker walks to the edge of the rooftop looking across to the sniper. He stands in full sight and outstretches his arms. Wavy white hair, red leather paints, and a broadsword on his back, David Jazzman taunts the von Richton's. "what's the matter? Can't you see me?"
Joe radios the teams "I need an I.D. on that man right now."
Inhumanly Jazzman takes one step forward and jumps the 60+ feet from the rooftop he is on to the sniper. He draws his sword mid leap. The spotter crawls off to one side to get out of the way of the leap-attack, the sniper holds up his riffle as a shield, Jazzman cleaves the gun in two.
"shifter!" the snipper proclaims.
The spotter pulls his combat knife from under his arm and jumps on Jazzman's back to try to tackle him. Jazzman elbows backwards to brake the grip then cats-steps to get one foot behind the spotter, he throws in elbow strike up into the spotter's chin and a hammer fist into his hip-flexer preforming a reversed hip throw.
The sniper gets up to his feet and draws his sidearm. He takes two shots at Jazzman, Jazzman is hit, but the rounds seem to fail to brake skin. Jazzman looks back at the snipper. He looks down at himself then up at the snipper again "what do you have that thing loaded with? .44 maybe? you will need to do better than that."
Jazzman dashes forward a step and strikes the snipper with the hilt of his sword forcing him to fall forward, he then pivots in a half circle slapping with the flat of his blade. The snipper rolls along the ground stunned. "do yourself a favor, don't get back up."
On the other side the spotter gets into a kneeling position. Jazzman pulls out one of his pistols and takes a blind shot at him over his shoulder. Jazzman's pistols don't fire live physical mater. What they shoot is concentrated emotion, the wounds they leave are psychic in nature, but that doesn't mean that they hurt any less.
Down on the streets Bata team is moving into assist, Jazzman walks to the ledge and walks off without a thought he lands on his feet as if the 30 foot drop to ground level was nothing more than hop off the landing step of a stairwell. Jazzman grips his sword in one hand and one of his pistols in the other.
Springfield come over the radio again "I have in I.D., that is Devil, he is an unlicensed Abysl, similar classification to England."
Lockheart radios back "Advise."
Joe comes in "England has abnormal bone structure; he can withstand a 120 foot drop without suffering lasting damage and musculature with dancetty abdicate to block 4000 psi force."
Lockheart radio's back "so what? Should we try to hurt his feelings then?"
Bata team holds up their riffles and open fire on Jazzman. the watchers are armed with military grade artillery, the spray of fire seems to push Jazzman back but not stop him. Jazzman points his pistol and fire a hand full of shots, three of the Bata team are struck and knocked down by the rounds, Jazzman grips his blade and runs in to attack.
Joe calls out "Send in Agent Malagaurd."
In only a few swings of is sword Jazzman has disabled all twelve members of Bata team. Milli Malagaurd arrives on scene, she would be fifteen feet tall if she stood up straight but she doesn't she stands crouched and hunched over shrinking herself to a manageable six and a half feet, she has a long muzzle and a thick tail, she has the appearances of a kangaroo but stretched out and with extra joints added into her lags. Half of one of her ears is missing and one of her eye are clearly glass, she has brown red fur and long fangs. She holding in one hand a weapon that looks like a rotary saw with a flamethrower added onto it, attached to a grenade gun, fabricated onto the end of a positron accelerator.
Jazzman looks up at the monster standing before him "wow. At least with my hair down I am passible as human. What plaint are you from?"
With an irritable grunt Milli pulls her gun 'RONA' off her back and snarls "Less talk more rock death breath." She raises her weapon mounting it on one shoulder. Milli is not a planeshifter. This is in fact her native diminution, but she is alien. Milli is from a world that was destroyed by a war that lasted for seven hundred years. At first war was profitable, everyone got richer, till the five largest governments collapsed, money lost its value, people started to swear oaths of service to commanders and generals, not to flags or governors, wars became backed by criminal organizations, and then at last came the grate ice. Someone, no one claimed responsibility, crafted a weapon that turned the atmosphere radioactive. A storm brood, ice and rain fell for years on end. Those that could hid underground.
Mili's world devolved into tribalism after that. Raids where ran to steel children from enemy camps to fuel the need of the tribe's. Mili herself was fortunate. Her tribe had stumbled on a nearly forgotten technology, that she had the skills to repair it. A device that looked like a gun loaded with what looks like in arrowhead, a map of the stars, already programed to lock onto the nearest inhabitable world, radio wave have been detected from the world that was locked on to. Milli embarked on a mission to find inhabitants from another world to come to hers and fix the broken world. Because no doubt that if she had this level of technology and was on a plaint rattled by war so long as the next world over was not broken also they would have the knowledge she needed to fix everything.
Milli of course understood that this might be a one-way trip, her ship was not structurally sound enough for two trips. She could only hope that the voices coming over her radio would have the tool needed for space travel. She was understandable disappointed when she arrived on earth only to find that the people of this world were only slightly better off than she was.
Now after arriving on earth Milli came to understand that the change in atmosphere she had been exploded too and the years of carefully controlled breeding her tribe had enjoyed has resulted in her having distinctive advantages on this new world. Within the Stith only the largest and strongest of kids live long enough to reach breeding age, the plaint was mostly frozen resulting in comparatively weekend nerves but greatly increased physical fortitude, on the other hand her body is frightfully inefficient when it comes to fuel consumption requiring her to eat enough for five people and it needs to be refined sugar or complex protein. There is also the problem (as it where) that she sexual habbits of the people on this world seem strange, courtship is longwinded and she is having some trouble understanding the dimorphic of it all.
Milli's gun hums as she fires one of the three cannons off, what come out of the top barrel resembles a piston. Jazzman takes a shot to the chest and it lunches him backwards into one wall of the building at his back, he hits with such force that the stone cracks, if not cushioned by his body surly it would have ripped down the wall.
Jazzman grunts falling on to all fours. "that hurt slightly more than I expected." With superhuman might Jazzman kicks off the ground and flies into Milli sword drawn. Milli Grips her RONA in both hands and the sawblade on it sparks. The two clash blades bouncing off one another. Milli shuffles steps in to lay on pressure.
By all technicality Milli is not physically stronger then David, But she has demonstrated on a number of occasions her ability to stand her ground against others with power comparable to that of the man called Devil.
RONA locks with Devil's sword once more, the blade on it glows red hot. Milli lowers her shoulder and charges in a half step, her overwhelming size pushes Jazzman back, she spins in a half circle delivering a side kick to hold David off balance then stomps down with her tail to steal the blade from him and fires a back kick to send him spinning down the street.
Jazzman laughs standing back up, he throws his arms out ushering Milli to keep up her attacks "I love it when a girl can push me around." He pulls his fist into his body getting back into his fighting stances "Come on."
Milli slaps her tail to the ground uncoiling the spring like mussels in her lower body she lunges into the air and crashes down with enough force to form a vacuum cone on landing pushing around anything lighter then her.
Jazzman backsteps out of Milli's reach as she stabs inwards with RONA. Jazzman pull out his twin pistols, Milli pushes in past his defenses. Jazzman's only path of escape lies in sliding under Milli in hope of confusing her.
Jazzman rolls between Milli's feet and pulls his shotgun, he takes a quick shot at her back knocking her down. He then retreats jumping up the wall of a building. Milli should be incapacitated but somehow she seems to be able to stand back up in a flash ready to chase Devil down.
Milli clicks on her headset "Devil is on the move, I am in pursuit."
Joe's voice come over the radio "Negative, Devil is playing with us. He took only non-lethal strikes. I am taking Springfield with me and going after him myself."
Milli growls "No, Joe, if he was able to stand back up after what I did to him there is no way you could take him."
There is a short silence before Joe speaks up again "Yes, I can."
Milli stomps one foot and jumps up and down aggravated she takes off her headset and threatens to throw it before ducking her head with a deep breath calmingly. The teams reassemble, they move it to find Lances Jacob.
Charlie uses David as a distraction to sneak into the Monster Den. With all haste, he runs in, through the flams he dashes chocking on smoke the whole way. In short order Charlie finds Lances standing in the flames admiring his work but something is off.
Lances greats Charlie without turinging to face him, but it is not the husky voice of Lance that Charlie hears it is the low slow smooth voice of Crow. "Charlie, I finely figured it out…"
Charlie freezes in places stunned by the voice. Charlie backs away almost crying as he does "Lances?!" he whispers to himself.
"Ah, I see that you have worked it out for yourself as well." Lances Jacob as Crow looks to Charlie Belmond, his eyes burning in violet flames. "you have no need to fear me Belmond. I have no intention of killing you today. It's the wrong time and the wrong place. But I do need to ask…" Crow walks over to Charlie placing a hand on the side of his face as if to kiss the scarred man "why, oh, why do you think that my eldest brother, Lous-day-O, is protecting you?"
Charlie is flabbergasted. He has no power to stand against Crow or the ability to even reply to his question.
Crow pulls away disappointed. "Very well. I will need to find that out on my own." Crow step up to the exit looking out, the hallway stretches and twist, dozens of more doors appear. "the von Richton's are coming for you. I do not know what they are going to do if they catch you. But have no fear. I will protect you. So long as you still plan on coming to see me in Yggdrasil."
Crow vanishes leaving Lance behind. But not before turning the Monster Den into a funhouse for the Watcher to have to fight their way through. As for Lances and Charlie, it doesn't matter what door they take, they all lead back to Charlie's bike a mile and a half back up the street.