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She hissed softly at the insistent pressure on her mind.

"I am incarnated, in different forms of my personality, with the essence of a guardian spirit. Fire, Spawn of purgatory, and Spider. Three of me, not including my offspring. I need to make more of myself to the tune of seven."

She rubbed her temples, easing the tension in her muscles. She sighed quietly, blowing a puff of ether towards his head to encircle it with crown of puffy fluffiness.

"Since when have I ever let anyone in Zantara? This is hard enough for me as it is, reaching out to ask for help. Anything more from me will have to be done in micro baby steps. I know you are a spirited, driven man. You want to dive in, and get things done. But you are doing this without knowing the details. The Devil is in the details."
count_zantara's avatar

Familiar Lunatic

Flightless Butterfly

Backing away at her words, he bowed his head in apology.

"I was hoping that things might have changed. Alas, I was proven wrong. I apologize for my actions."

He said as he leaned in his chair staring out at the bland world they found themselves in. She needed more to be made so that she could absorb them. Interesting... it always seemed to work out in Sevens. Breathing in deeply, he listened to her words and nodded.

"I am a very impatient man, my dear. But I will try to rein in my enthusiasm as it will. Please, fill me in the best you can on what you need exactly."
User Image
One shot...

Frustration gripped her tight as she traversed the white light that now clouded her thoughts. She hadn't entered this realm with a clear plan of action and now that lack of planning was coming back to bite her in the a**. As she tried to navigate the Otherworld, it seemed the Otherworld was navigating through her, through her memories and selecting the ones most amusing to throw in her path.

Stumble they cooed.
Fall they giggled.

Never leave they tempted.

While she was angry, she didn't flail her arms about like some idiot. She knew enough to recognize that the disembodied spectators to her arrival would not vanish because she waved her arms and yelled at them to banish. Instead, she strode against the light and heard the voices of her sister, coaxing and sweet as usual.

Come on Dani, why be immortalized black witches if you don't use the spells? Let alone ignore the gift I'm offering, trust me, tap into a line an sync with it. You won't regret it, and it'll be better if you give Dory your acceptance of his offer. We can both be demon witches.

Her mind quivered at the edges, flashes of her sister standing in the flow of the ever after with her aura churning like black smog behind her. A grin that wasn't her, wasn't Skalaniya Delahue. How long had it been since Dani had seen her sister let alone heard from her. She could recall a phone call she had made right before meeting a russian merc, her exchange with Ska had been less than friendly when the Dani had made the slip of looking for a witch to provide her with a lasting charm to create a false scent for her. Ska had been livid that she hadn't come to her, and the call ended with both of them slamming down the phone's.

Then Dani had met Yuri and they had been on the hunt for a vampire mob boss into trafficking. Things had gotten complicated and Dani had went off the grid temporarily, working side jobs that involved basic investigations via the cyber world. Dani, while the youngest twin, was the most serious. It had been months since she had even tried a little white magic, a good year or two before a black spell. Yet today she had broken that golden streak, today she had twisted a demon curse. All for a dream.

She must be insane.

Shutting out the voices that continued to tempt and tease her, she focused her attention upon the golden drachma held in her right hand. Her grasp so tight, she probably had perfect impressions of the coin into her palm. Funneling her attention upon the coin, the scene before her eyes shifted until she recognized where she was! She was in her dream, dead Roman soldiers lay scattered about her.

Ocean blue eyes scanned the dead, seeking the living soldier of whom she knew had called her. Before her eyes could even locate the figure, she felt the ground give beneath her and she fell only to find that it wasn't the ground that had given away but her own legs. The hand that didn't hold the drachma shot out, falling upon a dead officer. Blood seeped up to meet her hand as for some reason, her fingers curled inwards and pushed the body upon its back. A lump formed in her throat as she looked into the eyes of a dead centurion and felt a second presence in the back of her mind. Unbidden, a single word slipped from her lips like she was being puppeted.

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"I need more guardians, spirits that are willing to combine who and what they are with me to create the seven that I need. Creation is more than just bumping anatomy, they have to be protectors, father figures, and worthy of continuing on my genetics."

She waved her hand in front of her face dismissively. The Count had recoiled from her blunter than a brick demeanor. She wished she had the sort of finesse that relayed what she wanted to say without a cutting edge to to, but she was doomed to be who and what she was for eternity.

If the cards played out right, she would have longer than that.

"Aza, and Ana are durable, but their guardians have long since expired. Aza is of fire, and Ana follows the path of the Spider. I have a biological daughter, and son, but I cannot involve them in this process. Neither is strong enough to withstand the trials of an ascension."

She shifted on the armrest of the conjured chair, her gently swirling eyes taking in the sensory deprived surroundings. She leaned against the Count, sighing softly.

"The formless is of Heaven and Hell, but no gender. It has not been seen for a very long time, but where there is death, the youngling lingers. I feel more demonic influences surrounding the youngling than I have before. This is the one that I want to start with. Formless, born of a chance encounter with a similar being, but fated to ever be my child."
count_zantara's avatar

Familiar Lunatic

Flightless Butterfly

"You REALLY have been out of touch, haven't you? Your going to have fun trying to find one man worth the time and trouble, much less how many you need. But I may have...some ideas."

He smiled slightly as he thought. Fire and the Spider. He might be able to find ones who would be...appropriate for such aspects Tanith. It would be hard, but perhaps he could find the Drowess. She owed him a favor.

And perhaps she could direct him to the one he wants.

Creating a bottle of Duskwine and a pair of flutted glasses, he set one on the arm of his chair as he filled them with the murky fluid that would taste of grateful tears, like that of a mother finding her lost child alive after a horrible fire or flood. Sipping on the bitter yet warm wine, he crossed his left ankle over the right.

The Formless.

Now that was something he hadn't thought of for quite some time.

"I will speak to the Grave-Man. He has an...affinity for hunting down such creatures, if you do not know where she is specifically. But the Rogue Aspect of the Zantara does not leave his post easily. He will ask a price.... but I will direct you to him, perhaps even as a Guardian for the Formless."
"My will, your show dear Count."

She took the second glass from him. She sampled the wine, her features slack from the sadness embodied in the liquid. Her pearlescent scaled skin throbbed with veins of black, all flowing towards the dark gem embedded between her shaped brows. It fed her sense of darkness to taste the bitter loss.

She could be evil, but she had been born soaked in fear of everything. The brutal rise, and survival she had forged for herself had been a painstaking process. The intrigues of court were something that she had lost interest in, though she could still feel the tug of the strings of fate that connected individuals. A residual ability that had been essential for maintaining her seat of power.

One she had given over to her son. He was much better at forming relationships, and loyalties than Tanith ever had been. Her reserved, cold attitude was one that had been slowly formed through numerous betrayals, both predicted, and unplanned. She was at heart, a serpent, tempered by the heated passions around her, but possessed of very few of them herself.

A shell. Waiting for purpose, and divine guidance to fill her up.

"Where and when will this wheel start to turn?" she asked softly, lazily taking his hair in between her fingers to play with while they spoke.
count_zantara's avatar

Familiar Lunatic

Flightless Butterfly

"When did you think that it ever stopped?"

He asked as he took another sip of his wine, enjoying the bitterness within it.

"You only got off of it for a while. And to be honest... it's going to be quite hard for you to get back on it again, Tanith. Be glad that I'm here to give you a hand. I'm such a caring soul, aren't I?"

Throwing back his head in a laugh that echoed over the darkness, he looked at her with a sad little smile on his face.

'The wheel doesn't stop for the smallest or greatest of us. It can't. It has a higher purpose. What is it?? Only one who is off the wheel can tell where it is going. But those who are off can't tell others without getting back on...and when your on, the wheel changes direction ever so slightly from your returned weight and what you saw isn't the truth anymore. We all are a weight on the wheel, and important. And we all are pointless to the Great Wheel, because it doesn't care. It cant.
"Beloved Count."

She breathed in the wicked anticipation around her. This place was an amplifier of emotion, and intention. The very air seemed poised to make their will done into a semblance of reality. Which made the spines along her neck, and scalp rise with alarm. Was this place feeding off of them?

It was a reality that could be actualized.

She nuzzled the side of his neck, laying her cheek down on his shoulder. She carefully placed her arm across his chest, embracing him with all the warmth that she had in her to give. Which was next to none, but perhaps the intention of the action would endear her to him.

"I'm more of an up and down type girl than a chase my tail around in circles. I thought you knew that much about me."

She grinned, the edge of the tips of her teeth showing over the full roundness of her lips. She laughed, tapping the end of his nose.

"I'm ready when you are love. Or do you feel the need to lecture me on philosophies of life some more? I do know how you enjoy a good rant."
count_zantara's avatar

Familiar Lunatic

Flightless Butterfly

"Hey, don't get all lovey dovey on me just yet Tanith."

He said gently as he returned the hug briefly before giving her a soft kiss on the cheek. Breaking the hug, he reached out and pated her cheek softly before taking a sip of his wine, throwing a leg over the arm of the chair on the opposite side of Tanith.

"It's not all about circles. Everything is about damn circles, s**t coming back around again and again."

Rolling his eyes as she spoke of him going off on tangents about philosophy, he chuckled the rest of the wine over his shoulder, the bottle and glass shattering on...something.

"Lets get out of here... I like the atmosphere but I need a bit more than the dream of a drink if I'm going to be working with you again dear. I adore you, Tanith... but you have this way of testing everyone patience. Which is one of your best points, I always thought."
Darkness, and light. Tanith had begun her life in the light, but had become infused with darkness. She could channel it when she needed to. The dark gem that gleamed evilly between her brows was a conduit for absorbing the fear that she inspired in others.

She could make a heady wine out of it, had for years for Shadow Lords. For their pleasure, and her continued existence. She had been a slave, but now she was free. She was filled with the contradictory emotions that were characteristic of her species, and of serpent kind in general. As tamely, and sedate that she was now, she was still wild at heart.

In her cold, crystal hardened heart.

She watched Poe slither onto the boy's arm. The snake coiled around the boy's arm, resting it's head on his shoulder, flickering it's forked tongue out to taste the air for the boy. Flickering, flickering... was the boy even alive? Tanith's brow furrowed with the puzzle that the boy presented.

"It seems Poe wants to stay with you little one. It's strange, he's normally this attached when he finds a good perch, as in a tree, or other solid object." she mentioned, surprised.

The child wanted to start the game of hide and seek. She nodded to his whim, and will. This would be a challenge, in which she could speculate as to her surroundings. She could feel it pushing in on her senses from all directions, but whether or not it would take shape according to her will was something to be determined.

"Start your count child, I will hide."

She turned when he started to count, pulling the darkness that was the shade of the tree around herself until she became part of the shadow. She would stand with her hand on the other side of the tree, well within the darkness of the shadow. She would announce her presence once the boy stepped away from the tree to seek her.

It was unfair, but he did not state any restrictions to how it was she could hide.

To further her disguise, she wrapped herself in layers and layers of the scent of the tree. She would pass for the tree by smell alone, but she was definitely present.
An evil DNA virus...User Image

The dream was breaking at the seams, spilling forth from out of her to further the scene about her. Welsh lands met her gaze, the roman and celtic names for the trees and wildlife filled her mind with knowledge. Foreign emotions bubbled beneath her conscious, bringing tears to her eyes as she fought the images that were absorbed into her mind and locked away. If she listened, she could hear the hollow click of a 'lock' being set into place as a voice, not her own, whispered in the back of Dani's thoughts.

Roman, Celt, Brigantes, and Pict...all different threads twisted together in my past. All the pieces are here, find the Eater with a shaken mind.

And the fog vanished, leaving Dani in a sore state as she found herself upon the ground. The drachma once more in her hand, pressed firmly into her palm. Her clean cut nails had even cut into her skin, adding a tinge of red to the shine of the gold. The very sight of it made her cringe as she stood up. Her free hand rose, clutching at the locked about her throat and snapping it off as she whispered the incantation to bring her back to the material world.

She had been given a task.
            Nation Prophetic
            Rusted creaks and bent hinges. A tilt-o-wheel’s arrived this year and the miles long line winds down the dusty boulevards between hastily assembled huts of mid-Americana couture… Filled with crass salesmen selling this fried Oreo and that chance at a prize and the whole thing STINKS and everybody loves it under the soft glow of controlled electric lighting.


            It’s 1972 at the Odessa country carnival… It may as well have been another planet.


            He’s drinking skunked beer like it’s the last beer on earth. Downing it before the taste sets in and reminds him of the less than adequate refrigerator it came from. It’s lukewarm. He doesn’t mind enough to call out the gypsy barkeep hold up in the plywood den containing the sputtering mule of a generator that keeps this whole operation running. That barkeep is kicking the thing and the Christmas lights adorning the walls flicker back to life with a blast of black smoke and the smell of gasoline reeking up the place and the curses flow from the barkeep like water.


            He pays for his drink and walks out of the hut into the fray.


            Crowds of thrumming Texans move in drawling waves through the carnival. There’s music that sounds like a jack-in-the-box about to pop and it’s playing loud enough to almost overcome the cheering jeers of the throbbing mob. It smells like reefer and racism. Southern belles in their best daisy duke impersonation are draped over every hairy arm flexing against tug-of-war games and hammers coming down to strike a bell into dinging like it’s the most important thing on earth. Every man is an armed and dangerous lone-ranger cowboy, with their six shooters and their denim button-downs and their boots and their ten-gallon hats and beer guts.


            He fit’s in just enough not to draw the radicals.


            Boots and blue jeans and a buckle with a star and an untucked, flannel-checkered, short sleeve button down in red and black that’s unbuttoned at the top two. He’s built like a brick s**t house at 6 foot 5 and all of 300 pounds with those broad shoulders and a thick chest and corded arms. A lumberjacked lion in this treeless dust town… Ponytailed and bearded with his mane of auburn hair… He hears the whisperings of hippy in spite of the airborne tattoo emblazoned on his left forearm, but they never come above a whisper as he makes his way through the crowd like some mighty ship through a frozen sea.


            He’s Eli again, or was. Doesn’t bother with the last name since the first was enough to get him through the door with his paper ticket and his tattoo and his drawl… He’s not really planning on making this thing a long term endeavor. He knows exactly where to go tonight… Feels it reaching out to him across the carnival. Hears it calling to him. It’s in the music first. A low and gently pulsating beat that drums up beneath some distant clavichord recording. Then it’s in the smell of incense burning from inside the fortune-tellers tent. Then it’s her fingers curling around tarot cards and a crystal ball and she’s scrying at the world… Making it tell her the false fortunes of some poor unfortunate soul.   


            It’s the Cant and only those with ears to hear know it’s singing through her.


            He knows that if he can hear it, so too can the other side… And they’d be all too interested in acquiring another a** to fill a seat in the bus they were driving off a cliff. He can feel the air burning and breathing and there’s a little girl in the crowd and she’s salivating and sniffing the air in her bubblegum pink dress and her teeth are sharp as needles and her eyes are black as coal and she’s smiling at him and she’s gone.


            He moves quicker. Hoping he get’s there first.

            She pauses, listening to the sound of children screaming until their throats give just outside her tent.

            The machine revs, whirs, chirps, and drops, and they drop with it, coveting the adrenalin as their bellies sink and their cheeks pull back and their eyes bulge.

            They've been indoctrinated to believe that fear is just a game.

            Something to be ignored, or faced, or conquered.

            Life is just twirled cotton candy and grass-stained knees and surrendered balloons...

            Houses are made to bounce and cars are made to bump.

            Victory is a 5 foot open-armed teddy bear.

            Defeat is a 5 inch open-armed teddy bear.

            A ping-pong ball rolling along the rim of a fishbowl matters.

            A duck with a number stamped on it's a** matters.

            And for a while, this works.

            But it can't work forever.

            When her tent comes into view, the machina halts. The foreground stretches, scrawls a path to Eden's center. Here grows fruit for the palms of the damned. Its forbidden knowledge? The language of the Can't.

            Upon it's arches, the sign reads:

            For everyone who asks receives;
            the one who seeks finds;
            and to the one who knocks,
            the door will be opened.

            The tent sits under a gigantic tree, the only tree on these carnival grounds. Flaps of tattered canvas lay closed over the tents entrance, which is shaded by broad, lush branches.

            All around the tent, bruised, rotten apples lay mangled in the dirt.

            The canopy above bears ripe, unblemished fruit,

            and there is no middle ground.

Nation Prophetic's avatar

Viice's Husband

Benevolent Bibliophile

He is unseen tonight. Hidden beneath the surface in shadows and flickers of light. Most are too distracted by the fun to be had to even recognize the crawling up their spine as he passes them. As he window shops for a ride to take him out to dinner.


She fights his advances. Some little girl in a bathroom stall he chose away from the mob. She shits herself the first time he reveals himself to her. The scream choked in her throat as he invades it. He doesn’t relent. Her gums bleed and he’s reaching down her throat even as her mouth splits open around his arm and her eyes are BULGING. Reaching into her heart with pinprick fingers like shards of glass… He carves subordination into the reaches of her very soul. She’s hardwired for servitude anyway; with all her yes mama yes papa pleases and her dress that papa picked out for her and her boots that mama bought for her. She’s practically destined to be broken.


So he does.

He takes her as readily and as easily as a clean suit off the rack at the dry cleaners.


Another body, A boy he remembers… It falls at her feet where he leaves it.


He’s holding tight now. Grasping. Clawing at the reaches of her puppeted form like she was the only thing anchoring him to the ground. He fits into her like a new pair of pants that need to be… Stretched to fit just right. Her body bulges and cracks under the weight of him. The skin marked with tears here and there… Scratches from the claws as he pulls himself inside. She is an animal to be reigned in. A beast of burden to bear his own. A sow to be broken for milk and meat and he tastes her marrow on his tongue as in his mind he cracks her bones and BREATHES her PAIN as her soul wretches and squirms. It wrestles with him. His focus is wavered as he pilots the contorted body towards the sound that SCREAMS in his ears. She opens the door to the stall and runs. Even as he tears the life from her. Even as he pulls the fight from her body and burns the image of the Deeping into her eyes and eats her heart. Even as the Cant is crawling up his mottled flesh and he can feel it and taste it but more…


The air is fresh with the smell of it.

Simmering with a mirage like some drunken desert dream.

It’s everywhere and anywhere...


He hurries.


The little girl see’s a birdman. He knows. He gives a winning grin with the needle teeth he’d just grown into her mouth. The eyes are black as soot and empty. He took her too quick. No time for anything else… This needed to be done before the birds swooped in.


She’s crawling. Running on all fours. Like a beast of the field she gallops and tears through the forest of legs with her pigtails waving wildly and He’s driving her forward with whips of fire lashing at her heels like so many horses before a chariot.


He is Pothmas the Dustdrunk tonight… Some nickname plucked from the dredges of history to scare the little kids into thinking of frightening monsters and to get them to go to sleep at night. Of the Deeping thresh from Babylon and Egypt born of idols and burning altars and the blood of the sacrifices. A voice in the ground who calls to the burned and the broken. He knows it. Feels it in the graving that was carved into his face. Yet, he knows also the mask of this hidden flesh beneath the threshold of the name. And of it, there were many names beneath the name he plucked tonight… Even as he drew the name of Pothmas upon his flesh without knowing exactly when he heard it or how… He knew.


It was not who He was that mattered… But rather, why.


The thousand names of the Deeping cried out, and it was good.


The girl is chewing apples off the ground. Rotten and bruised and she eats them regardless. Resorted to her basest natures… He picks her up by the hair. Breathes his voice into her gumming jaws as the dribble of stinking juice rolls down her chin and he throws her into the witches tent. He doesn’t need to enter to be with her. Those black eyes in the girls face blink and gape at the emptiness. His speaks through her throat. A croaking mask of cooing tones and tearful hiccups.


“I-im l-lost… Is anyone in here???”


She’s crying.
Nation Prophetic

            She can smell fermented fruit on little Susie Q's breath.

            "It says here you're a family man. Is that right?"

            A lacquered black fingernail presses into his palm and traces the line slowly, but he seems unimpressed.

            "Yeah, I reckon'. I've got a wife and two kids."

            He shrugs.

            She smiles slowly against the trembling candlelight.


            For a while they both say nothing, but she twists the knife.

            "You have one kid."

            "Excuse me?"

            Her eyebrows lift innocently and she points to a meaningless dent in his palm, tilting her head. The hands of the clocks around her begin moving too fast, too slow, or not at all.

            "Listen, I'm just reading from..."

            "I've got two kids. Looks like you read wrong."

            "You had two kids."

            She calmly explains this as if it's supposed to make him feel better, make him understand...and she suddenly tastes something metallic on the roof of her mouth. It spreads up through her sinuses while sunlight pours in from outside through a sliver of canvas. It reminds her of blood, but probably only by association. It's been a long time.

            "The hell's that supposed to mean? "

            I-im l-lost… Is anyone in here???

            The little girls eyes are adjusting to the dim light, no doubt, so Ira has the good fortune to see her before she sees Ira. She's exactly as the unkin expected her to be; primal, hungry, basic.

            Her father is just staring at her now, his greeting caught up in his throat, choked by her black eyes and jagged maw and the way she walks; hunched like an impish monster.

            Ira doesn't give either of them much time to for a reunion. She doesn't ******** around with demons.

            She stands up and flips the table forward, sending daddy flying back in his chair.

            She pulls a pump action super mag 870 Remington from beneath the table with a white-knuckled clutch on the grip.

            Her jaw clenches and it shows in her forehead, her emerald eyes unblinking as she steps forward with mechanical efficiency in her tan flip flops, toenails painted pink.

            She lifts the shotgun to the shoulder of her Greatful Dead T-shirt in a fluid motion, and she unloads a 3 1/2" slug on the little girl without batting a ******** eyelash.

            Whether the shot lands or not, she's pumping the fore-end for another slug, the empty casing of the last flying off to the side and hitting the ground with a hollow clink.

            And somehow, it resonates louder than anything else on the fairgrounds.

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