Private Tales To make unclean

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Victoria O'Connor

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Victoria looked over those that had gathered before her in the small sitting room. It was nice enough, with wooden bookshelves, an old but ornate rug, and a fireplace that was so clean it was doubtful a fire had been lit within for decades. She had requested a small group, one that could slip in and out undetected while still remaining capable in battle if engaged. Nevertheless, the furniture had been moved aside to make room for her little address.

They were in a guest house, one that was used for anyone Victoria wanted to host without granting access to the castle proper. Two stories, a kitchen and dining room, a healthy number of bedrooms, and the parlor they were in now. Nothing fit for royalty but much nicer, she suspected, than any of these “people” had experienced before. Even her modest evening dress, a midnight black with a single ruby pendant, looked illustrious by comparison.

She inhaled deeply through her nose which wrinkled slightly at what she smelled. They were monsters, alright, and of multiple varieties. The werewolf stunk the most, but she detected a familiar trace among them. She was glad to have another vampire somewhere within them.

“Welcome,” she opened with a voice that was not loud yet impossible not to hear. It slithered into ears like velvet and demanded, however gently, absolute attention. “I am grateful to the Regiment for supplying such… skilled individuals.” Ruby eyes that mirrored the pendant swept across the troop. The eyes were uninterested, until they met a pair of similar hue. There she lingered, swept down and back up the body to which those eyes were attached, and then continued on.

"I trust you’ve been informed, but in case there is any confusion, allow me to be concise. The cathedral...”she said the word with such hatred that the room seemed to darken for a second, “Is an eyesore that must be removed. We have reports of divine rituals and holy magic being practiced within, and I expect the place to be guarded and warded.” She scanned the crowd again, lingering once more on Harlowe before continuing. “Your job is really quite simple. Get us past the cleric’s defenses so that I may desecrate their holy ground. Half of your pay has already been delivered, and expect generous bonuses to those who outdo themselves.”

She stepped back, and a thin vampire in a dark overcoat and slicked black hair stepped forwards. He, more than Victoria, looked thoroughly displeased with the variety of beasts that had been assembled. “You will have full range of the guest house. You may access the stables and barracks by request only. You are not to leave the castle grounds unaccompanied under any circumstances. Dinner is in the dining room, you may go and prepare for tomorrow evening.”

“Except you,” Victoria interjected, pointing a long, pale finger at Harlowe. “You stay a moment.” She had a smile on her face that would turn the bowels of men to water.[/I]

~*~

Harlowe
 
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Harlowe

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"'Ere, why ain't you like 'er then?"

Harlowe's eyes panned slowly to the beast at her left. When she saw only open air where the voice had come from she adjusted her gaze and looked down. The goblin looked more toad than human with a great bulging throat and seemed to pulse and balloon in time with the creatures sluggish little heart. She wrinkled up her nose and gave a small snort before turning her attention back to the woman who commanded the room. Why wasn't she like her? Victoria was every bit the vampire a child read about in the Grimm encyclopaedia's. She even had a castle for the Saintssake. Harlowe wanted nothing more than to turn on her heel and get out of there. She struggled with her own vampirism at the best of times but being around others made her uneasy. They weren't like her, not made like her anyway. They had been bitten and turned not had a magic beyond this realm decide that a vampire was the monster that best represented what she was on the inside.

She couldn't believe she was saying this, but she missed Matias. And Felice. Though the hair demon would be no use here if they were planning on taking down cathedrals and crossing holy objects.

When they were dismissed she begun to turn and winced when the other vampires voice rung out. She didn't need to see the finger to know who it was pointing at. Harrison gave her a pitiful look when he loped past, at least as much as a werewolf could look at someone with pity. She sighed and turned back, her hand resting on the pommel of her sword.

Just another employer...

"Yes, M'lady? Can I be of service to you?"
 
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Victoria O'Connor

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Victoria watched Harlowe approach with glittering amusement. She watched the way she moved, the way she carried herself, how she looked at the other monsters in their presence. Save for their matching ruby eyes there was a chasm of difference between the two women, but Victoria suspected... hoped, rather... that the gap may be illusory.

She stepped to meet Harlowe, her attendant melting away as all the best servants did. She leaned forwards to place her face within a foot of Harlowe's and inhaled deeply through her nose.

"You smell fresh," she said quietly, and she looked into Harlowe's eyes trying to peel away the flesh with her gaze, to see what hid behind them. "But... I don't detect a local strain in you. Tell me, who sired you?"

She maintained her closeness, her breath as cool as the air around them, waiting for a response.
 
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Harlowe

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With no small amount of restraint, Harlow didn't flinch as her hair was stirred by the woman's deep inhale of breath. Silver strands tickled her cheeks and nose but she daren't lift a hand. She had the sense that a predator was committing her scent to memory and that any movement, however small, would alert the predator to the fact she was prey.

"Nobody," a touch of unease coloured her tone though she tried to keep it as neutral as possible. Harlow just hoped the other woman put her unease down to the fact the Monsters of the Regiment didn't like to talk about how they had come to be. It wasn't a rule as such but rather an unspoken agreement not to reveal its greatest secret to the wider world. Even people who said yes, who agreed to sign the contract with their dying breath, didn't know what it was they were agreeing too.

Do you want to live?

The memory tugged at her and she pushed it away. Instead she kept that soldiers blank face fixed and asked her question again.

"Is there something I can help you with, M'lady?"
 
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Victoria O'Connor

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Victoria's fiery eyebrows raised across the sea of white that was her face. "Nobody?" she repeated. Again her eyes swept the length of Harlowe. She could not be one of those sorts of vampires. She was far too young and far too... plebian.

Victoria rose back up to her full height with the hint of a smirk to accent her features. If there was one thing the undead possessed it was time. She would learn Harlowe's secrets eventually. "Yes," she said in answer to the young one's repeated question. She turned, and it was clear she expected Harlowe to follow out of the room and through to the back door of the guest house. Beyond was cool blue night, with a half moon to dance across the black sea's gentle crests. She lead Harlowe to a low stone wall overlooking the sea, a rocky cliffside before the cold beach some forty feet below.

The manservant, looking just as severe as ever, followed the pair until Victoria's snap sent him back into the guest house with closed door.

"I want to know more about the Regiment. How did you find yourself there? How do you find working alongside your... associates." It was clear she was trying very hard to refer politely to the motley crew of beasts and imps that now sheltered beneath her roof.

The manservant returned with a gentle creak of the door bearing two intricate pewter goblets, one of which Victoria took without so much as looking at him, the other he presented brusquely to Harlowe. Victoria sipped, the steam from the liquid within finding no purchase on her cold face.
 
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Harlowe

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Harlowe squeezed her eyes shut when Victoria turned her back. She daren't make any other gesture; any noise, any sudden movement or anything human would be picked up by her hearing. But she wasn't able to do nothing when her cold-dead heart sunk at the command to follow. She wanted to use the opportunity for not being under those ruby eyes to run but instead she forced her stone-like legs to follow with arduous steps. This was just a job after all. She had had worse bosses under the Regiment - the prince who had sent her to kill his own brother for example.

Matias would have a field day if he saw me scared of a vampire, she thought bleakly to herself as she crossed the threshold to the outside. Her eyes were drawn upwards to the moon and a faint smile touched her lips before she continued on to the stone railing Victoria stood in front of that overlooked the tortured sea. The sight was a strange one. Her home had been in the mountains and hills; she had seen the sea only once as a child and it had been sunny then. The way it churned now was hypnotic and made her almost miss the question.

She blinked when a goblet was pressed into her hands and tried to stop the grimace as the smell hit her.

"I was made an offer; die or join," it was as close to the truth as she would go. "I was a soldier, Before, so it made sense," her shoulders rolled in a casual shrug and she set the goblet aside on the top of the stone wall. "My comrades are fine fighters, ma'am, they will complete the job or die trying."
 
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Victoria O'Connor

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Victoria was beginning to wonder if she'd been in the undead aristocracy for too long. Harlowe struck her as very strange, for a vampire. She didn't have the usual... what was it... social deadliness that the Lady had come to expect. Then again, Harlowe was young. She still had a redolence of humanity, and Victoria hadn't figured out the games played in the shadows on her first night, either.

"My comrades are fine fighters, ma'am, they will complete the job or die trying."

"Yes, I expect they will." Her gaze had lingered on the whitecaps that pepper the black expanse, but she glanced to the side at Harlowe's untouched goblet. "Has no one told you it is rude to refuse a drink?" She turned and took another swig from her own cup, licking the thick blood from her lips as she brought it back down.
 
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Harlowe

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Rule number one: Pick the blood you drink carefully...

"I'm not thirsty."

Harlowe didn't even bother to look in the direction of the goblet. Instead she clasped her hands behind her back and shuffled her feet shoulder width apart. It wasn't that she didn't trust the woman not to have put something in the blood. The young vampires relationship with blood had never been a good one. At first she'd refused to drink it at all, then she had limited herself just to animal blood. That had ended in a blood frenzy she still had nightmares about when she did get one of those rare hours of sleep her young body needed still. Now she kept a tight leash on her thirst and an eye on what she consumed and when. She'd had more than enough before being assigned this job and she would last for a few days yet before needing another tipple.

"Is there anything else you require, My Lady?"
 

Victoria O'Connor

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Such impertinance... curious then how it delighted the Lady in black. Victoria’s crimson lips twitched into an expression equal parts amusement and, to Harlowe’s credit, respect. Perhaps this hatchling was more Vampire than she let on.

Victoria drained the rest of her goblet and set it beside Harlowe’s, both of them still quietly steaming. ”No, that will be all,” she answered in a tone of velvet.

The Regiment would have the remainder of the night and the following daylight hours to prepare themselves. The castle’s barracks were fat with steel and iron. Should a special request be made, items of silver and other curious metals could be obtained. At the following sunset, the Regiment was instructed to meet outside their lodgings.

Victoria was there as quite a different woman than the night before. Rather than think silk and lace, she now carried herself in leather. Black, supple, fine material but it bore telltale signs of age and heavy use. A thick belt supported a deadly-fine silver rapier, but it was the only bit of wealth on her person.


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Horses had been provided for the trip, and a single plain wagon was driven by two servants. A large, featureless black box lay within it. No speech was provided, the job had been described to them already: get to the cathedral, get inside, and get her out. As for the desecration... Victoria would deal with that.

It was a few hours ride from the castle, and after a time Victoria drew her horse, a sleek black mare, back beside Harlowe. ”I trust you slept well. Tell me, Harlowe, have you encountered Holy magic since your birth?” She had learned the vampire’s name from one her comrades, some small and ugly goblin who had been easy enough to intimidate.
 
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Harlowe

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Harlowe held in the sigh of relief until she was back at the camp and far away from the heightened senses of other vampires. She had gone her whole undead life seeing one other and now she saw them everywhere about the place running errands or watching the monsters with barely concealed disdain. She didn't think she would ever feel at home around the monsters but, finally, she realised why the older regiment members considered the others family.

The young vampire was still mulling over the thoughts the next day as she sat upon her horse. A banshee had been riding beside her but clearly Harlowe's tendencies to drift off into silence had annoyed her one too many times. It was only when Victoria pulled up beside her that she realised she had been alone. She covered up the sudden jerk back to reality by pushing a strand of silver hair behind her ear which was pierced with a number of delicate rings. Unlike Victoria, Harlowe's armour was made up of a thousand tiny little rings made into a suit tailored to fit her slight frame. They glinted in the pale moonlight. She'd pushed her coif back for the time being and her helmet was slung over the pommel of her sword which rested against her hip. Riding a dappled roan with its own sleek silver mane she imagined they cut a rather supernatural image in the twilight.

The reds of her eyes which she turned towards Victoria now were the only real slice of colour on her.

"Relics... but not magic," she thought back to the church Matias had all but turned into a frozen fortress in his rampage and suppressed a smile. "My... Teacher said that holy magic didn't work on us like it did normal vampires," she shifted a tad uncomfortably. "I'm confident I won't be a weakness in the plan, My Lady."
 
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Victoria O'Connor

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Victoria's eyes roamed unabashedly over Harlowe. Her strange silver hair, her armor, the glinting rings in her ear. She must be young, or inexperienced with her power, she thought. Otherwise why wear such heavy protection? Had she not yet realized she was quick and strong enough to not need such things? There were vampires in armor, certainly, but she had always thought it merely for show. Nothing about Harlowe seemed to be for show.

Her eyebrows raised at Harlowe's distinction. "Oh? And what manner of vampire are you then, if not like us 'normal' ones?" Finally a hint into the girl's odd presence.

They passed few travelers in the night. The territory under Victoria's thumb was safe enough, but her keep could not patrol everywhere. The further they got from the castle the more local authorities needed to do for themselves, and the more opportunists preyed on the unwary. Best to stay indoors at night, especially when folks tended to go missing in the woods at night.
 
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Harlowe

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Harlowe cut the other vampire a side-ways look that wasn't forthcoming about what she was thinking. It lasted for a drawn out minute before the younger vampire finally looked away and ran her gaze over the woods they passed instead. There were creatures from the Regiment out there, lurking, unable and unwilling to show their forms in the main march. She'd gotten used to the peculiar way they worked as an army but the flickered of movement still made her look and kept her on her toes because of it.

"We were not born, we were not made, we simply are," her mentor had said those very words to her when she had questioned all the oddities about what they were and why she wasn't the same as him. He was the only other vampire the contract had spat out yet they couldn't be more different than chalk and cheese and still neither were close to what the world knew vampires as.

"It is the same for everyone in the Regiment."
 

Victoria O'Connor

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Cryptic to the last, it seemed, and Victoria pursed her lips at the non-explanation. But then she hadn't hired the woman to be friends, had she? "It sounds like a less violent beginning than most of us get," she said with a coy flash of fangs. "And I hope you are right. I hear being immolated by sacred flames hurts much worse than the normal kind." As for being a weakness in the plan, if what Harlowe said was true, Victoria would be much more of a liability than her.

The cathedral was in view an hour before they reached it. The building dwarfed every surrounding structure for miles with its tall, rectangular tower and long blocky body. It was built of white marble that reflected the oppressive sun so brightly that Victoria had needed a full day and night to recover from her first visit, even though she had been covered head to toe in thick cloth. To make it even more irritating there was a massive holy symbol carved above the entrance that made Victoria's eyes water whenever she looked at it.

The party dismounted in a low riverbed some hundred yards from the ghastly structure. There were enough low trees and bushes to hid them as Victoria gathered them around and a tall vampire in midnight-black leather presented a faded roll of parchment to her. She laid it out on the grass, and for those who could see well in darkness, it was clearly a map of the very building they were infiltrating.

"This was provided by the cathedral's architect. He also revealed that there are several wards on the cathedral grounds and within the building." She provided no explanation for how or why the architect had been so cooperative, but there were several spots of dried blood on the parchment's edges. "We need to get my supplies here," she pointed a finger at a small room at the very center of the cathedral's lowest levels. She looked up expectantly at the group of mongrels she had hired. Now was the time to earn their pay.
 
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Harlowe

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Harlowe squatted down beside the map so those taller and behind her could also see. Those dark ruby eyes traced every little detail and committed it to memory; you never knew when you might lose the map after all. It wasn't wasn't vampire who spoke up though. The slender, skeletal banshee sashayed forward in floating mists of black and two empty eyes peered out from behind a veil. Her voice was like a melody when she spoke.

"Sewers," she tapped the faint grey lines that spread out under the cathedral. "Nobody ever expects the monsters to come through the pipes, and they're seldom protected."

There were nods of agreement, this plan had worked more often than not for the Regiment. People believed it to be brute strength but they were cunning. At least, most of them.

"We will create a distraction here," the goelm intoned in his deep gravely voice and when he pointed to the map it took up a sizeable chunk of the paper. Still, it was clear he meant the side where the gold and jewels were being kept. Making them think this was a job about money would make them careless with an empty storeroom.

The creatures seemed to be dividing themselves up, with the larger more terrifying assortment on distraction duty, whilst those more designed for stealth - a much smaller number - gathered about the banshee who absently begun to play with a lock of Harlowes hair. The vampire shot her a look over her shoulder but the woman in black only grinned.

"We will need your nose and ears, Harlowe."
 
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Victoria O'Connor

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Victoria couldn't help but feel a small chill run down her spine when she looked at the banshee's face. A horrible creature, but horrible is what she had paid for. The voice was too sweet to belong to that face, and she grit her teeth against its soothing sounds.

Despite appearances, she was not above skulking through the sewers for a job like this. She'd done worse, and she supposed few if any of them present were really at risk from any of the diseases that were spread by human filth. "Very well, the sewers will do, so long as my package can be delivered through them." The vampires who'd been driving the wagon were now heaving the black box onto the soft grass. It was slightly longer than a person, and perhaps as wide as a sturdy horse.

Victoria watched Harlowe with interest. It was not only their shared affliction that drew her to the girl (although they seemed more different by the minute), but she couldn't quite put her cold, pale finger on it. She was pretty enough, that often drew Victoria's attention, but this wasn't some idle fascination with beauty, not on a job like this. Something was undeniably intriguing about her, and Victoria would find out what it was.

She stepped up to the vampiress. "She's friendly," she cooed as the banshee left. "You needn't tolerate it while you're in my company, should you not desire her... advances." She winked, an oddly sinister motion when accompanied by flashing fangs. "Lesser" creatures, as Victoria thought of them, would not harass a high vampire in her presence.


The inside of the cathedral was dimly lit by hundreds of weeping candles. An unusual number of clergy walked the broad marble halls. They wore thick white robes but beneath that creaked cold metal. Somewhere in between paladins and priests, the somber faces of the holy guard watched the darkness beyond with severe purpose.

The Regiment had lit no torches for their encampment, and thus far they had not been discovered, but Victoria had no idea what methods the cathedral had employed to detect their kind.

Suddenly alarm bells clanged through the halls. Raid on the treasury!
 
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Harlowe

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Harlowe gave a soft snort in response to Victoria's observation on the Banshee's friendliness. Her name was Jack, a decidedly un-banshee like name, and had been a man before signing the contract. Becoming a feminine creature who heralds death had not seemed to phase him in the least upon waking. Rather, he had seemed more at ease than he had in the body he had had before. Or at least, that's what the others had told her. They seemed to take personal joy in making Harlowe shudder whenever they spoke. Banshees had been a common occurrence in the tales soldiers told each other before battle and some habits and memories just wouldn't fade.

"They'll only be worse if I say anything," she shrugged and then bent to pick up her pack. "It's best not to think of the Regiment as an army of monsters, My Lady, just an army. They act in the same way," that was to say crass for the most part, lazy at times, but also fuelled by the desire for coin.

It was easy enough to find the entrance to the sewers with Harlowe's sensitive nose and the last of the monsters was slithering into the tunnel when the alarm bells began to sound.

"They're early," Jack hissed and Harlowe frowned. It wasn't like Doug to start an attack before the planned time. "Never mind, let's get moving, go!" the Banshee gestured.

Without the need for further encouragement Harlowe led the way down the winding tunnels. Unlike the sewers she had worked in before it wasn't a simple single tunnel leading to where they wanted, but rather a sprawling labyrinth. The young vampire didn't seem to falter once in the direction she chose though.

"It must have been built on top of another temple," Harlowe mused as they passed a fancy looking column.
 

Victoria O'Connor

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"They'll only be worse if I say anything," she shrugged and then bent to pick up her pack. "It's best not to think of the Regiment as an army of monsters, My Lady, just an army. They act in the same way,"

The lady raised her eyebrows in consideration, but a playful glint hit her eyes despite the dark night. Awfully philosophical for a soldier, but then she would expect no less wit from one of her kind. However Harlowe was born, they were as close to kin as either could expect to manage now.

Victoria followed behind as Harlowe lead them forwards. Her package was carried somewhere in the middle of the group, with enough of the regiment behind to provide a rear guard if needed. The long black box made little sound as it was hoisted by hands of unnatural strength around tight corners. When the call to advance was made, the black-clad soldiers double paced.

Victoria swept forwards with Harlowe and the banshee. "There have not been temples here for ages," and there was a curious concern to her tone. She had never seen a temple here, nor was there any mention of them in the history of the region that she'd learned as a girl. Whatever these cultists had found would have to be very old indeed.

They turned another corner, Victoria's undead eyes slicing through the darkness like razors to rest on a peculiar metal object hanging from the ceiling, and then her vision flared into blinding white light.

She cried out in pain, clutching her eyes and doubling back away from its source, hissing and spitting like an enraged beast. Her vision slowly returned but her eyes watered and stung, and she saw a horrible glow from her periphery. "Fucking holy ward!" she gnashed.

Indeed, the object that hung from the ceiling was a simple iron piece, twisted into an ornate and ancient symbol. It emitted no natural light, but still it burned in the vampire's vision so brightly that she could not physically look upon it. Her servants, too, were shielding their eyes and had nearly dropped the black box, their fear of retribution from Victoria just slightly greater than the pain in their eyes.
 
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The vampires were not the only ones to be affected by the holy wards. Five within the Regiments numbers cursed and shied away, ducking behind rocky outcrops in order to regain their sight or slithering into shadows to heal themselves. Harlowe, interestingly, seemed to be among one of the few not affected. She glanced to Victoria and the other vampires in surprise before looking back at the ward with her head tilted slightly to the side as though examining a curious object.

With care she cast her eyes round the rest of the entranceway. Where there was one trap there was usually another and whilst the runes didn't hurt her, if they touched her skin they most certainly did. Picking up a rock from the floor she gently threw it through the entrance. Sure enough arrows thudded out of tiny, concealed slits and into the opposite walls. Each one was fletched with more runes. Harlowe grimaced.

"Friendly," she commented dryly and took a tentative step forward. When nothing horrific happened she used her sword to cleave the chord that held the iron piece. When it fell to the floor she kicked it off into a dark corner.
 

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Victoria could feel her periphery return to cool darkness as the twisted iron shape was kicked from view. She blinked the tears from her eyes, her embarrassment eased by seeing so many others affected. Good, her rage was already burning bright enough.

"You could look upon it." she said to Harlowe. Not a question. Her brow creased in contemplation and her eyes swept over Harlowe once again, only this time there was no predatory glint to them. "You told the truth then, you are immune to that which plagues so many of us." Hiring the Regiment had been the best idea she'd had in decades.

She looked at the arrows on the ground. That trap had been spent. "Forwards," she ordered the group, "But mind the walls. These celibates know what they're doing."


Meanwhile in the cathedral, the sounds of metal met with demonic growls and hisses as the distraction continued. These men of the cloth wore armor beneath the robes, and carried shields with holy etchings to match the object in the sewers. Morning stars of silver sung in the air, and hammers engraved with violent scripture clanged against stone and bone.
 
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Harlowe's lips compressed into a thin line as Victoria looked at her as if for the first time. The young vampire wasn't sure if this look was any better to the predatory one she had given her before. In response all she gave was a small shrug and then went to offer a hand to some of her own comrades who were still blinking away the residue the light had left in their eyes. It might seem odd that a gnoll would be affected by the holy light when a vampire was not but perhaps it had to do with the fact every person in the Regiment was made into a reflection of their soul.

Her tutor had said perhaps it meant her soul had been pure when she died.

"I wonder what they were protecting down here," she commented as they began their quiet walk forward again. "These traps look... old. Older than the temple above," perhaps the monks hadn't known what they had built on top of. Was it two powers they were dealing with now? The threat they had been hired for and a more ancient thing?
 
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Victoria O'Connor

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Victoria was extra wary as they stepped through the damp tunnels, but she didn't detect any other relics or painful wards. She frowned at Harlowe's observation, for she had to agree that the twisted metal and crumbling bricks of these tunnels did not match the pristine marble overhead.

"Why would they built on top of ruins?" she asked out loud. "Churches are supposed to hate any belief that isn't theirs." The more she thought about it, the more she recalled how deeply twisted the lower levels appeared on the map compared to the square and proper upper floors. How they had centered on the room they were fast approaching, and how the cathedral itself seemed to bloom from that very point.

As far as vampires went, Victoria was young. Two centuries was precious little time compared to the elder members of her race. Had this place been warded against undead even more ancient than them? What power could linger for so long?

The tunnels grew larger as they moved closer to the cathedral proper. Here and there Victoria saw markings that gave her pause, but none like the ward before. She noted with a hint of discomfort than many of the side tunnels appeared to be sloping down, implying that they were at the surface of a much deeper, unmapped labyrinth.

"There," said a voice from the group, and they pointed to a door in the wall up ahead. It was metal and entirely plain except for a simple image of the sun molded into it.

"Well I'm not fucking touching that," Victoria muttered under her breath so that only Harlowe and those closest could hear.
 
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Harlowe couldn't help but agree.

Holy relics might not have had much of an impact on her but the sun scorched her as horrifically as her other brethren. Her skin prickled in the presence of the door with its glaring warning. There wasn't anything holy from what she could tell of it but there was certainly... something in the door. Something dark and old that made her think rather suddenly of the grimm stories her father had once read her on hallows eve. Still, nobody else seemed to be volunteering either.

"You're the quickest," the banshee said with a shrug when she turned to her with a raised brow. The young vampire sighed and ran a hand down her face. Under her breath she murmured a quiet prayer and begun to inch forward. No other trap sprung from the shadows but the closer she drew the sun begun to glow brighter and brighter. She tried approaching it from another angle when the heat got too much but it was the same no matter what she tried.

She stopped back by the others panting and patting out a small little flame on her hair.

"I don't think even my speed will help with that."
 
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Victoria winced at the heat that radiated from the door at Harlowe's approach. "It can obviously tell what we are somehow," she said impatiently, but with a hint of admiration. It was, after all, a very useful enchantment.

She looked over the group of misfits, the line of their shoulders all askew with the widely differing heights. "Who here can walk in daylight unscathed? A lycan, perhaps?" her eyes narrowed at the suggestion, but she did try her best to keep the venom out of her voice. Old habits died very hard, ancient blood feuds even harder.

While they sorted out who should approach the door Victoria consulted the map once more. They were very close to the small central chamber they sought. Now, though, she started noticing the unfinished bits at the sides. There were indications of staircases that descended into unmarked depths, and hallways that dropped off completely. How much more of these tunnels were there, and how much had the architect known about them and hidden from her?

She furled the map and clicked her tongue. She had wrung every secret from his bleeding fingers, she was sure of it.

...sure of it...
 
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Harlowe

Monster Merc
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"What if made own door?" the Minotaur asked in his deep reverberating voice. It always set Harlowe's teeth on edge. The Banshee looked at him with a barely hidden look of contempt.

"How do you suggest we do that without drawing attention to ourselves?" The Minotaur scratched his head and appeared to drift back into silence to mull it over. The Banshee sighed and ran a hand down her face before looking around at the others in the Regiment. Most had been chosen because of their good eyesight in the dark - they hadn't been able to risk torches - but that did mean the majority couldn't stand the sun.

"Arnold, why don't you try?" All eyes turned to the dripping swamp creature whom they'd all been avoiding getting close to: he almost smelled as bad as the sewers they'd crossed through earlier. The pile of seaweed in the rough shape of a human shrugged and squelched his way towards the door. However, as he got close his steps seemed to slow and then, just as he reached the door in a shriek he burst into flame and dwindled into a neat pile of dust.

For a moment nobody said anything and then...

"So, what were you saying about making our own door, Samson?"
 
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Victoria O'Connor

Red Vampire
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Victoria visibly wrinkled her nose at Arnold's approach and took a step back as he approached the door. Her grimace faded the closer he got, and she almost showed hope when he reached out for the handle. It was quickly replaced with frustration and even greater disgust, and she coughed at the putrid smoke.

"Even, cha, worse when burnt," she waved a hand in front of her face trying to keep her eyes from watering at the scent of charred refuse. When she blinked away the tears for the second time that night she saw the minotaur readying to charge, and she moved hurriedly to Harlowe's side. "If he goes up you hit the floor," she whispered, "I don't want that pretty face to get burned," she winked.

But the minotaur did not go up in flames, and when the dust cleared from his impact a sizeable hole had been smashed through the ancient bricks to reveal an equally old-looking corridor. This one, however, bore signs of recent renovation, and Victoria recognized some of the writings on the wall from the notes made on her map.

"It's that way!" she pointed, "To the left. Hurry." She waved her soldiers forwards with their large package, which was able to easily fit through the crater. "See that the bull gets the dust pile's pay," she said to the Banshee, before turning back to Harlowe, "Shall we?"
 
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