disturbing the peace [end] in Hesia
Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:05 PM
That was what he smelled as he marched closer to the door, jogging the last few steps in and neglecting to knock and announce his presence as he twisted the knob and pushed the door open. It was an action that he later regretted when the sight of the dead body seemingly exploded at him -- and he caught his breath as he stumbled back, staring at the sleeping face of the body laid onto the plush queen bed in the middle of the room.
Someone else was inside, and he remembered it to be Vera Mukhina in her blonde-red hair, deep brown blazer and skirt and four-inch red pumps to match her red nails and lips. She had her arms crossed by her diaphragm, as always, and she turned to see him stumble against the frame, gazing confused at the motionless form on the fresh bed. ““Close the door,”” she said in Japanese.
Kazuma didn't even remember nodding but he obeyed her, anyway, and locked the entrance besides. Tugging on his necktie to loosen it -- an evidence of his previous destination -- he responded in the same language, “Is it really him?”
““Go look for yourself,”” Vera said as she stepped aside, two calculated and muffled thuds marking her movement.
The room smelt cold, old, there was nothing desirable about it, and whether it was because they were in the Crypt Hotel or because of the body on the bed, he didn't want to know. Releasing the buttons that locked his deep green blazer, Kazuma felt a rock slip down his throat as he counted his steps and confused himself with the desire to breathe and to hold his air. His approach was slow, careful and hesitant, but it brought him all the same to the bedside of a young fellow with an ugly pink and crusted line that surrounded his neck. There were other similar marks around his white skin, or what his modern tunic dared show, and there was a fracture on his right hand and a twisted left leg to match it.
Kazuma's breath shook as he forced it out of his mouth and he ran a hand through his layered locks. “Why would anyone do this to Jeremy?”
““He loved too much,”” Vera said. ““There was nothing he was not willing to understand, no one to not forgive...and it cost him his life.””
“He had no enemies,” he said, loosening his silver polo top by two buttons near his neck.
Vera chuckled, a smirk finding her face as she said, ““At least not anyone he knew. But in this world we live in, we must always watch out for the beasts lurking in the dark,”” she turned meaningfully to Kazuma, ““the proverbial wolves in sheep's clothing...””
Kazuma spared no moment for thought. “Calvin?”
““Or so goes the hypothesis,”” Vera returned to Jeremy's corpse, ““An investigation is underway but the motives are too clear. The Therian former lover of his wife, it was an easy decision to make.””
“This would mean war...” Kazuma shook his head.
““Not if we tread carefully.””
Kazuma didn't care for that for now. Remembering Calvin had reminded him of one other question that needed to be asked, “Has anyone told Mrs. Divine?”
““If the gods are good, Mrs. Haramond would still be patiently waiting for her husband right now. The woman remains in Hesia with the mother.””
“That can't be,” Kazuma shook his head, “Sh, she has to know...she's the wife. And if Calvin ever did do it and he runs to her to boast of his crime--”
““Then she might as well drown herself and join her husband, yes?”” Vera said as she turned to look again to the younger vampire. ““We can't have that happening now, can we?””
She was letting herself be read, he knew -- that or they had just been together for too long. Still, her words and her look was all Kazuma needed to know what she meant to say to him, and frowning and snarling at his discovery, he said, “Very well. I will tell her.”
““Good decision,”” Vera said before she turned back to Jeremy's corpse. ““There will be a time to mourn, I promise you that. But for some of us, that time isn't now...””
“I can only hope that I remember my grief when I finally find my chance,” Kazuma said. Before he left the room, he prayed for the soul of the lost vampire and was quick to find his way towards the town of Hesia.
And that was how he got there before the noon ended, standing close to the portal as he re-oriented himself with his mission and his new clothes and setting before he marched towards the street. He had a note written on vellum tucked away in his expensive coat.
He wasted no time on getting his business done.
“Excuse me!” he called to the figure that had just passed him and chased after them, catching up in a jog. “Excuse me,” he said again, “Good morning,” he dipped his head a little, “I beg your pardon for the bother but would you know where I might find Mrs. Divine Haramond? She's an apalos if that helps...”
Posted 28 February 2012 - 11:25 AM
He had no idea why the pair wanted time off or why they wanted it so suddenly, and Jericho had no intention of caring. For all he knew, it was mating season. For all he cared, they could have been lured in by a hypnotic suggestion to take a long walk off a short cliff. It wasn't like he needed them around.
“Excuse me!” Jericho ignored it. “Excuse me. Good morning.” Damn. Turning, Jericho swept the stranger with an assessing stare. He looked foreigh, sounded foreign. More polite than most of the people Jericho dealt with. “Would you know where I might find Mrs. Divine Haramond?”
“Haramond, you say?” The name rang a bell, but not the Divine part. Jericho thought he'd properly remember a name or a woman like that. “Haramond.” Stroking his clean-shaven jaw, Jericho glanced up and down the street from behind his sunglasses, thoughtful. “I know a Mysto Haramond. Man owes me some money. Any relation?”
Posted 28 February 2012 - 01:28 PM
“My apologies,” he said after, running his hand through his layered locks, eyes still on the card he handed. Something about this man smelled vaguely, Kazuma observed, but thought nothing more of it. “I don't know her name, after all...but I remember it sounding something like...Sheila or Sierra, I am not too sure...” he looked up to the man, “Who did you say this Mythos Haramond was again?”
Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:10 PM
“Who did you say this Mythos Haramond was again?”
“I didn't.” Jericho handed back the card. “Mysto Haramond is a man who borrowed money from me, and yes, they share that address.” He made it a point to memorise the addresses of his clientele (and the amounts they owed) just in case something happened to his ledger. “This Sierra might be his wife. I suppose I could take you there.” He was reluctant to visit the home of a man who owed him money without Rusty and Ninian to do the grunt work for him, but Mysto was about due for a visit anyway. “But you better not be out to kill him or something, not until I get my money.”
Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:25 PM
Alas, it seemed like no one else was better at doing the job than him. Letting out a quiet slip of breath through his nose, he said to the stranger with a calculated dip of head and shoulder, “I would be grateful if you could help me find Mrs. Divine.”
Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:58 PM
They walked in silence for a few moments before Jericho thought to ask, “So what do you want with this Divine Haramond, anyway?” He could care less (unless it interfered with his own profit) but social networking was just part of his job. Maybe he could sell this guy a high-interest loan or some expensive toxins eventually. “Must be important for you to come all the way here. You don't sound Hesian.” Neither did he, really, but he had lived in the neutral town long enough to recognise the difference.
Posted 29 February 2012 - 01:33 AM
Before the silence deepened, Kazuma opened his mouth, again -- but stopped. In that vein of thought, he had a mind to ask the Dracovarian if he knew Calvin the Therian but for the same reasons had decided against it. Besides, what would it matter if he knew Calvin? Calvin was not the point of his trip right then and for all he knew of this man, he might even step up to protect the Therian, if he is who he seems to be from what he's been hearing. Someone in the business of loaning, he thought. Had the circumstances been somehow different, he thought he might be the kind he'd sit down with and talk over coffee. But alas, he could not even think of his living right now...
“My name is Kazuma Uemori, by the way,” he said with a shallow bow to the stranger's back. He would have wanted to say something else but words just left his tongue when he normally would have a surplus of them for any occasion. Alas, death and the news of it proved too much for his vocabulary...
Posted 01 March 2012 - 02:37 PM
“My name is Kazuma Uemori, by the way.” Jericho barely caught the strange bow, turning to walk sideways for a moment at the introduction. He briefly debated giving an old name or alias but he thought he might recognise the name. It was unusual in Elysia, surely this couldn't be a different man?
“You own a mine in Kyriake, right?” Jericho kept his ear to the grapevine and one of his clients had come from there spouting what Jericho had assumed (in part because he had never heard a name like "Uemori", which had made the rest of the miner's story seem baseless) to be absolute nonsense about a serial killer in the tunnels. If this man Uemori actually did exist, then perhaps the rest of the story was not utter trash after all. He might be mistaken about some of it, but as the story went, Kazuma Uemori owned an alastis mine in Kyriake that might prove profitable for Jericho as well if he played his cards right.
Posted 01 March 2012 - 03:29 PM
Posted 02 March 2012 - 03:26 PM
“I'm something of a businessman myself.” He slowed his pace to hold out his hand and introduced himself. “Mortimer Jericho. I own a shop here in Hesia.” The shop was little more than a front for his real dealings, but this Uemori fellow didn't need to know that. “Might I ask what sort of mine it is? There may be room for a deal or two, if you're interested.”
Posted 03 March 2012 - 07:32 AM
“It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Mortimer” he said. “Perhaps there would be a room or two for negotiations, I agree. I own a part of the mines with the alastis gems. It has been...one of the wisest moves I've done, I must say.” He tried to chuckle, as if to make light of the situation. “Economy in Kyriake is growing, men have jobs and there is food on their tables...” And his pockets were getting fatter but no one needed to know or even mention that. Anyhow, it went without saying.
“I'm sorry to be off-tangent but,” he stepped closer, somehow, “Are we almost at Mrs. Divine's?”
Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:07 AM
“Are we almost at Mrs. Divine's?”
Jericho supposed that wasn't actually off-tangent, since that had been their destination all along. Adjusting his shoulders inside his jacket and tucking his hands into his trouser pockets, he gestured with a jerk of his chin to a side street. “We could take a short cut, knock ten minutes off the walk,” he offered, “but I wouldn't advise it.” He himself liked to use such quiet back streets to do his dirtier business so he knew the types to be found there. As he looked like a man of means and Uemori even more so he avoided those places whilever he was alone. His skills, though very useful in his line of work, left him somewhat vulnerable.
He was already headed for the "long way around" via the main streets, assuming that his companion was in no hurry to reach his destination or that his life at least weighed more than his haste.
“Well, about the alastis. My suppliers are mostly wildcrafters and apothecarists.” He would let Uemori decide if that meant he also sold blackmarket items. “I sell a variety of other items as I find them, but I have noticed a gap in the alastis market here in Hesia and I think it quite fortuitous that I meet you today.” If there wasn't a gap in the market, he would do his best to create one. He was sure he had a gem merchant in his ledger who was due for a large payment. That or he could sell the alastis on at a profit to some idiot trader who didn't know any better.
Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:38 AM
He tried to smile as he said, “I see where you are heading with this conversation. You mean to make Kyriake through me the supplier of alastis for Hesia through you? Am I correct?” It wasn't a difficult conclusion to reach and in all respects, it was simple and easy, assuming that the town had a likable customs and inspection system. “Perhaps we can work on that. You aren't the first businessman to propose such a venture...” And now, he debated whether it would be proper -- all things considered -- to give Jericho his calling card. If he had it his way, he'd rather...let it wait until the events had passed and cooled...
Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:54 AM
“You are correct.” Nevertheless, Jericho nudged into Uemori's mind, hesitant to make himself known but determined not to lose a potential client. Some people liked to play hard to get and negotiations broke down when he pushed while others liked to be chased hard, and being able to know the difference (with or without telepathy) had always stood him in good stead. As he had no idea what this man was, he dare not barrel in there as he was wont to do, instead feeling his way in like a fly edging around a spider's web.
The man was preoccupied with something else, some matter he considered urgent or prioritised above his business. Jericho couldn't fathom that, and chose not to dig too deep in case Uemori felt him poking around in there. It was difficult to do his work when he had no idea if he would be walking into a mental shield sometime soo Ah, vampire.
Jericho paused in his efforts as the revelation struck. He had few dealings with vampires after the Scourge Wars so, while he knew intellectually that they were far from the ravening monsters of yore, he found it difficult to continue walking beside this man with a straight face. To give himself some time to recover (it was a shock to realise he had not detected the danger), Jericho focused on their location and gestured with another jerk of his chin to a street on their right. “It's this way.”
He recovered quickly, and composed himself faster. He was a businessman, after all, and any prejudices were shoved to the side in favour of profit. “Here,” he spoke, pulling his hand from a trouser pocket and delving it into the inside pocket of his jacket instead. He drew out a small piece of card, hand-written with his name, number and address, but hesitated before handing it over. Writing these things out and cutting them to size was a time-consuming effort, so he did not waste them on people who would only throw them away. The fact that this man was a vampire gave him some pause, as well, but he was confident enough that he could sway Uemori into signing this deal that he handed it out with a twitch at the corners of his lips that passed for a smile. “This is my card. Call me at your convenience and we can discuss the details.”
The timing was fortuitous: Any longer, and he would have missed his chance. As they drew up to Mysto Haramond's place, a woman darted out the door with a harried, frightened look on her face, only to freeze mid-step when she saw them.
Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:37 PM
In a second, he was running past her, too fast to realize what was happening, too fast to even ask Jericho to stay or Sierra Haramond what was going on...gods damn it, he should have prayed! He should have prayed to all the deities he knew not to let this...not to let Divine...!
He fell victim again into the consequences of rushing in. The fragrance of blood attacked his nose like a pair of darts and he could feel his guts twisting as slaver filled his mouth. There was a knife on the coffee table, spatters of blood, stray feathers, some jagged, some torn...
A man wailed from beside the table, his pristine white wings decorated by the flower of a fresh wound and for a beat, Kazuma felt the world spin around him, felt his stomach push up as if to wretch...
But he managed to keep himself on his feet long enough to look up to the unsteady ceiling. There was a figure in a gray dress suspended by the beams near the overlooking balcony of the second floor. She had wings of her own but for some reason, they did nothing but flap frantically as she kicked in jagged motions, looking up to the beam--
Kazuma's wild gaze found the string of a rope that surrounded her white neck.
“Mrs. Divine, no!!” The world was a blur and for some reason, as he regretted leaving his sword in Alexshire, a knife appeared in his hand.
Halfway up the curving stairwell, he yelled to anyone who could hear him, “Help us!!” and never, for once, faltered in his race. He had a knife in hand but he didn't know what he could do with it! He had to cut the noose off and set her free, that was all that he knew!!
Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:06 PM
His feet fixed in place, Jericho glanced up and down the street. He caught a glimpse of the woman (Sierra? Was that Sierra Haramond, the woman Uemori had mentioned?) turning a corner and disappearing out of sight, and then his glance arced back to take in the quiet street.
He should leave. He had led Uemori to his destination, and given the man his card. His actions now should not affect their business dealings, regardless of morals. In fact, if the vampire thought less of Jericho for not assisting, they were probably not well suited as business partners. He should leave. And yet, when he heard the yell for help, he stepped forward with a sigh and his hands in his pockets once more.
What he found inside turned his stomach. Blood, feathers, and an Anyelos flailing uselessly from a noose that Uemori apparently intended to cut. To his prejudiced eyes, the assumptions were obvious: An Anyelos incapable of flying but old enough that she should have no trouble with the noose; an Anyelos whose wings had balded free of their feathers; all that blood. At least one of these women were now vampire. Even so, Jericho found himself moving to stand beneath the woman.
“Cut it. I'll catch her.” And if she tried to bite him, he would have hold of her already, and loose enough pain into her system that she would never dare to bite him or anyone else ever again.
Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:25 PM
But she didn't even fight gravity, as anyeli were supposed to do. Choking and whimpering, she fell willingly down waiting arms.
As for Kazuma, he was back on the stairwell sooner than he realized.
Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:25 PM
He gained his feet as Uemori reached them, and habitually brushed himself off. He even took a moment to check that his clothes were not stained with blood, though he didn't think he'd made contact with the mess in the kitchen — a thought which only drew his gaze back to the table where Mysto Haramond was laid out like a butcher's sacrifice. Jericho couldn't tell if he was still alive, and stepped closer to hold a hand over the man's mouth. If Mysto was breathing, Jericho couldn't feel it. “Damn.” Now he would have to force payment from his family instead, and that was always so much more complicated than the business was worth.
“So,” he sighed, his fingers snapping down the hem of his jacket in another habitual movement. “Would anyone care to explain what under Hel is going on and why my client is dead?”
Posted 05 March 2012 - 03:07 PM
“I don't care,” she wept bitterly, hoarsely, her face so pale from all the tears she had been crying. Kazuma tore the rope off from her bruised neck while she shook uncontrollably and he tossed it aside, glad to find that her head was still attached to her shoulders. “I don't care anymore, I don't care!! Everyone can die, I don't care!!”
“Mrs. Divine,” Kazuma called her name for a plea of sanity as he rested his hands on her tiny shoulders. “Mrs. Divine, you can't act this way! Jeremy would not have wanted this--”
“And who are you to tell me?!” she roared at the vampire who held her, glaring at him as if she had Hel behind her very eyes. “Just because you're a vampire doesn't mean you know what Jeremy thinks! Who are you to save me?! And you,” she yelled at Jericho behind her, “How dare you try and save me! Both of you, you know nothing!!”
“This despair...” Kazuma began but the words left him before he could even chase them, “Mrs. Divine, I, too, mourn for your husband--”
“Shut up!!” She screeched at Kazuma and fought against his bigger hands. “Don't even try to think you know how I feel! How dare you lie to me! You said you were immortal! The lot of you!!” she flailed her arms wildly to Jericho's direction. “Jeremy was supposed to be immortal! Goddess, he was supposed to be immortal--!!”
“It couldn't be helped!!” Kazuma had to raise his voice to be heard by her and she shrieked and covered her ears and dipped her head, her wings moving as if to cover her entire body but Kazuma kept his hands on her shoulders and she couldn't hide herself from the men who surrounded her that all she could do was sob and cry. “What happened to Jeremy was nothing that could have been helped! Not by his second life, not by blood! A,” he choked in hesitation, “A slit in the throat--”
“I know,” she snarled, sobbing still, “I know what Calvin did...!”
Kazuma paused and held her in silence as she bawled and hunched closer to her folded legs. “So it is true? That Calvin Morris did it?”
Posted 05 March 2012 - 03:53 PM
“Ah,” he grumbled, quiet enough that the pair might not hear him over the woman's outbursts, “Xanth save me from wretched love affairs.” They brought him nothing but trouble, be they his own or anyone else's. In fact, he seemed incapable of avoiding being caught up in the damn things.
Well, but at least their back-and-forth was interesting. “He was supposed to be immortal!” Jericho had heard this about vampires, of course, this belief that because they did not age, they could not die. He thought it ridiculous, to be perfectly frank. None had survived the Scourge Wars long enough, to his knowledge, to prove that they were any longer lived than the Anyeli, and the Dracovari far out-lived them anyway.
“I think,” he muttered between her rantings, “you might be mistaking "immortal" for "indestructible".” It was none of his business, of course, but he abhorred all this drama over something as simple as a linguistic mistake. Had she convinced herself her husband could not die, ever, no matter what happened to him? Had she thought he would survive being beheaded, for instance, or being ripped limb from limb? She was utterly stupid, then, if that were the case.
“So it is true? That Calvin Morris did it?”
Jericho choked on an intake of breath, his eyes widening slightly in probably the first real expression of emotion he had shown in over a decade. Jericho had never thought to hear that name again. Calvin Morris was known the world over for his absolute hatred of vampires, and for his efforts to wipe them out. He labelled anyone who helped them a sympathiser and a traitor, and added them to his growing hit list for a drawn-out and painful death, torturing them gleefully in the name of righteousness. Jericho himself had come far too close to losing his head to the vlareon after a misunderstanding. (Well, he had been attempting to negotiate an arms deal with a group of vampires, a deal that ended horribly and forced him to move yet again.)
Jericho rarely swore worse than saying "damn", but his reaction was swift and knee-jerk: “You have got to be taroch crapting me.”
OOC: I just made up a bunch of stuff about Calvin so I don't know if it's in line with what you're aiming for. Let me know if you want me to edit?