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The Angaran Chronicles: Blackblood Investigation (Kotorchix & Adrassil)

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The Angaran Chronicles: Blackblood Investigation (Kotorchix & Adrassil)

Post by Adrassil » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:12 pm

Link to OOC thread
Kotorchix wrote:
Humans and all of the races, where ever Dracius went, they were all the same. All petty, vicious and selfish in their own ways.

It didn’t matter how ‘above’ them those who claimed immortality, were. The vampires with their almost limitless strength and immunity to pain, or the magical power they somehow received if they were of the original-kind. The Hunters with their magical potential, supreme level of education and their super-human speed and reflexes. They still inherited the flaws and weaknesses of their original race or their past, “normal” lives. The elves, Dracius included, as Hunters or vampires still suffered from their stronger emotional responses. The humans- their averageness in almost all aspects. The Dwarves with their more limited emotional capacity and their short, stubby limbs.

But they also inherited the very few positive traits as well. If that wasn’t the case the vampire nation of Valandri wouldn't have prospered for five hundred years. Wouldn’t have

Or negatives which could qualify as positives for one such as Dracius as he studied the man who sat on the opposite side of the table to him, a man whose hands were manacled at the wrists together. A man who was once a human but who had been put through a process which was unimaginatively named “The Ritual.” He was now a Hunter, and thus his life span was so far enhanced that although he seemed in his mid twenties he was almost into his sixties.

The man who sweated with the fear he had inherited from a survival instinct evolved over millions of years of humanity’s evolution, which was now working against him.

Dracius smiled, but he always smiled. He knew his own smiles well, the slight differentiation of them, the smile for anger, the smile for frustration, the smile for the small vestiges of happiness he still had. This which was learned over countless hours in front of mirrors. It was a weakness of his he had tried and tried again to curb, to show only one smile for everything. But it was a weakness which, as far as he knew, only he was aware of.

But it still irked him and if anyone could tell which smile was which, it would be a former Hunter such as this.

He let the man sweat for about half a minute more before finally saying; ‘Did you know Mr Sevroar that there have been thirty five recorded serial killers in Valandri since the four hundred or so years that vampires have lived here.’

Sevroar folded his arms and leaned back in his chair. ‘I heard there was thirty four and I have no idea what that has to do with me.’

‘Oh,’ said Dracius as he placed an old wooden chest on the table. ‘My mistake then. And I don’t know if that has anything to do with you, does that have anything to do with you?’

Sevroar grimaced in bemusement and shook his head.

‘What do you think is in this chest of mine?’ said Dracius.

‘I-I don’t know. The records of those killers, I suppose? Look! I don’t know why you’ve brought me in yet again. There is no serial killer. You already have your killer and I helped you catch him, damn you. Just let me get back to my life, please.’

Dracius studied the Hunter for a good while before reaching out to the chest and sliding in front of him before unclasping the lock.’You are a Hunter, aren’t you not? That means you a well trained in pretty much...everything, right?’

Sevroar grimaced again. ‘Why is it you? Where are Vortel and Kannit? Weren’t they in charge of this case? They got the killer. Just leave me in peace!’

‘Mr Sevroar, do you know what I believe in?’

‘What...What kind of ridiculous question is that? Of course I don’t know what you believe.’

‘I believe,’ said Dracius as he began to take piece of paper after piece of paper out of the chest placed them in front of Sevroar one by one, all the while studying the Hunter. But even after seeing what was on them, the Hunter showed nothing.

‘Peace Mr Sevroar can lead to stagnation, and stagnation leads to weakness. Which in turn leads to destruction. Conflict, struggle is what makes one stronger. That is why I became a Rule Enforcement officer when I came to Valandri so long ago, to challenge myself, to keep me from stagnating. Tell me Mr Sevroar, in this peace have you stagnated? You don’t seem to have.’

There were seventeen pieces of paper spread on the table, on everyone was a very detailed portrait.

Savroar gazed down at them for a good half a minute before looking back to Dracius. ‘Why are you showing me these?’

‘Why not show you these?’

‘Do you always answer a fucking question with another fucking question?’

‘Maybe?’

Sevroar let out a groan and wiped his palm down his face. ‘Can’t I just go, now?’

Dracius picked up one of the portraits and held it up: it was the image of a bearded balding old human.

‘This is...or was Sonton Feif. He was killed back in 2332 when he accidentally fell down the stairs of his apartment block in the town of Corssoon.’

Dracius let that hang before continuing. ‘That was only a year after you came to retire in Valandri, wasn’t it?’

‘So?’

‘You also happened to live in Corssoon during that time, didn’t you?’

‘Yes. So what? You implying I killed that old man? You said it yourself, it was an accident. He fell down stairs. This is just some shitty circumstantial evidence, nothing more.’

Dracius placed the portrait back on the table. ‘You do like to travel a lot, don’t you, Mr Sevroar.’

‘Yeah, that a crime now?’

Dracius picked up another portrait, it was a middle aged dwarven woman. ‘This was Falok Tremit. She was accidentally killed in a hit and run by a horse and carriage. The driver was never caught. This was back in 2341 and in the city of Carrinton on the 7th of Agisting not long after mid-night. A day which you so happened to be away from home for a week long get away. But you had never told your neighbours where you were going exactly.’

Savroar’s eyes narrowed. ‘That is beyond ridiculously circumstantial-’

He was interrupted by Dracius picking up and placing another portrait, then three others almost slamming them on the table. ‘Delmaine Tor, Jarlet Fentis, Savilk Dahron and Fald Tith. All of them happening to die just so when you are away from home. This is circumstantial, I will give you that but in this instance circumstantial is actually legitimate. If not this is all one hell of a coincidence.’

Dracius then raised every portrait while stating their names. ‘While all of these other deaths just so happen to happen when you were living in the very same town or city as them. Tell me, Hunter. Why is that?’

‘Bad luck,’ said Savroar. ‘People die from accidents all the time. They were accidents.’

‘Were they though?’ said Dracius. ‘I have a confession to make, I was a Hunter-neophyte in my youth.’

Savroar’s eyes widened for a split second, before a grin spread and he leaned back in his chair. ‘Were you really? So you wimped out, then? Is that why you are doing this? Forcing me here out of some petty spite? Jealous because I had the balls to actually go through the Ritual. To be one of the one in five?’

Dracius felt his smile falter slightly. ‘No, you misunderstand me. What I meant to say as I too have been taught the...intricacies of the art of assassination. Because that is what you Hunters, for all intents and purposes are, aren’t you?’

Savroar’s grin was gone.

‘So, Mr Savroar I know you are taught how to make an assassination look like an accident. It was apparently your speciality, wasn’t it? You have also spread them over the years the longest being almost four years. This to keep them from being too close together, too.’

Savroar laughed. ‘So what? It means nothing. Nothing, vampire. Why would I want to kill those people? I see no commonality between them, they’re of all different ages, races, everything nothing.’

‘Agreed,’ said Dracius. ‘And that is why these...murders have gone on without our knowledge...But there is one commonality.’

That got Savroar’s attention.

‘Everyone of them was religious. All of them believed in the divine will of the false god: Jaroai. And that was why they had all rejected the offer of being sired into vampirism.’

Savroar said nothing.

‘Sure them still clinging to that belief even after being forced to flee from religious persecution from that very same religion seems a little foolish. But that doesn’t mean they deserved death, Mr Savroar.’

Dracius took a book out of the chest and began to flick through it. ‘And according to your record you have a very good reason to hold such a hatred fore the church-’

‘How in all the hells did you get hold of that?’

Dracius shrugged. ‘I was once a front liner, even built up quite a reputation for myself. So much so I can gain access to the very, highly secret records of-.’

‘I want a representative.’

‘You are well within your rights to have one. But please tell me, you do also know how to manipulate a crime scene to frame an innocent fellow for the murder, don’t you?’

‘I want...a representative!’

Dracius stood up from his chair. ‘They were your next door neighbours, Mr Savroar, don’t tell that was “bad luck” too. Mr Rodrin still maintains he didn’t do it and that you had a...unhealthy obsession with the victim, his wife.’

Savroar just grimaced.

Dracius then smiled a real smile, then left out the door.


Dracius was greeted by most of his fellow investigators as he stepped out the door. All of whom stood in silent awe. Dracius approached both Vortel and Kannit and placed Savroar’s record against Kannit’s chest.

‘Seems I might have I got your man for you,’ said Dracius then he pushed past them and made his way to his desk and planted himself on his seat.

‘Dracius,’ said head-investigator Volgut, the dwarven-vampire approached with heavy foot-falls. ‘The chief wants to speak with you.’

Dracius smile turned genuine. ‘Of course he does.’

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Re: The Angaran Chronicles: Blackblood Investigation (Kotorchix & Adrassil)

Post by Kotorchix » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:15 pm

"So," crooned the lady as she shut the doors behind Genevieve. "I believe congratulations are in order, Investigator Lindenburg."

Genevieve threw herself ungraciously on the red velvet loveseat spread out for the lady's sessions. Tossing a leg up on the back of the upholstery, she huffed something between a cough and a snort - a sound that seemed it should accompany a phloemy spitball, but thankfully didn't. She reached up and tugged free the clasp at her neck, her cloak falling away from her scaly throat.

The Investigator's dark gaze fell on the lady, watching as she swept across the room like silk on the breeze. Lady Coral de Ballesden was a beauty to behold - a piece of art, ivory white with the lightest white hair it was almost transparent. She wore a loose black blouse, barely opaque, beneath a leather corset. Her vibrant purple skirts whirled as she seated herself at her desk by the window, her fingers flourishing a quill pen like a duelist would their sabre.

"No sarcastic comeback today?" she smiled, flashing brilliant white fangs. "Dare you deign to accept my compliment with grace?"

Genevieve let a deep breath out, then started digging through her pockets for a cigar. Finding one, she sat up and leaned over to light it on one of the candles beside the loveseat. Drawing a deep breath of oak-scented smoke, she let it trickle out her nose.

"Tell me something, Ballesden," she grated, her voice a deep vibration rather than any pleasant melodic sound. It sounded almost raw, but it carried weight behind it. Weight suggesting smoke, whiskey, and a lifetime of setting records straight.

"You always this chirpy or did you suck the blood out a virgin's cock today?" Another puff.

"I take it you don't approve of the promotion," Ballesden smirked. She opened a drawer and withdrew the tome in which all Genevieve's secrets were kept. She flicked through the pages before writing the date in flowing cursive. "You said yourself that you knew it was coming."

"Fuck," Genevieve breathed. "Not to fucking homicide. Narcos, sure, and not for another few years. But homicide... shit, it's just..." She stopped, the smoke finally having finished trailing each word.

"Just what, Gen?"

"You know what it means."

"Why don't you pretend I don't?"

Genevieve stood, shooting the smug vampire the dirtiest look she could summon. "Stop fucking with me. Its people like you that make this whole thing so fucking stupid. Vampires?" She pointed her cigar at the door. "Are they fucking serious?"

"Ah," Lady Coral said patiently. "You don't feel our sessions have been enough to accustom you to them again?"

"Don't take this the wrong way, but for a bloodsucker, you're all right. But they expect me to work with someone I don't know, someone years my senior... and they expect me to be okay with it? This isn't a promotion, this is a fucking punishment."

"Yes, because Officers who take down entire drug syndicates in one fell swoop get punished. Of course."

Genevieve took another heavy draw, seating herself. But she was on her feet again within an instant, smoke pouring out her face once more. "My partner isn't going to have thirty years on me and retire in five, you know? This is someone I could be stuck with for the rest of my life. And they want to give me a vampire. Despite everything, they..."

She looked down as the cigar dropped out her mouth, spilling ash on the floor. She spat out the stub she had accidentally bit off, then crouched to clean up her mess.

"There's a brush and pan in that closet."

"Yeah," Genevieve spat as she went to get it. Soon enough she was kneeling back down beside the mess and starting to shovel the ashes into the pan with the brush.

"I'm not being unreasonable, am I?" she moodily asked. "Its not too much to ask to be paired with a Hunter, is it?"

"Is that what this is about?" Lady Coral asked. "Leaving your partner Muriel?"

"I'll still see her," the Hunter growled, squishing out the last embers of her cigar and setting the pan aside. She easily stood, flopping onto the loveseat again.

"Are you still seeing her, though?"

"Get that smirk off your bloody face," Genevieve said without humor. "Muriel's got other people on her mind at the moment. It'll round back to me - it always does - but I don't care. I like working with her, but it doesn't really impact me like that."

Lady Coral nodded slowly. "Then it is about your xenophobia."

Genevieve's expression shifted from angry to mildly tired. "And you want me to remember that when you call it that, you're not blaming me, just reaffirming my problem."

"Situation, I prefer the term situation."

Lady Coral stood, twirling the quillpen in hand. Leaning against the desk, she looked over at Genevieve. "Remember that the vampire you are partnered with is not one from your past. He or she is a new entity, with feelings, thoughts, emotions... even their own dark history, most likely. Don't think of them as a vampire. They are a person, like you."

Genevieve gave a dismissive wave of her hand. "I know, I know... but it is fucked up, isn't it? That they'd do that?"

"Gen," Lady Coral sighed. "Have you stopped to think why they put you in homicide other than to pair you with a vampire? You have something they want. Your ferocity, your tenacity, stubbornness, strength, intelligence... even your rage. Your sense of justice. They know that pairing you with one of their agents will result in a partnership that will get things done."

The stocky Hunter sat quietly for a moment, then huffed a sigh. "I was meant to meet them ten minutes ago."

"Genevieve," Lady Coral admonished.

"Yeah, yeah, I know," she sighed, getting off the loveseat and re-clasping her cloak. "I'm going." She stalked towards the doors and shoved them open.

"You're welcome."

The doors slammed shut behind her.
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Re: The Angaran Chronicles: Blackblood Investigation (Kotorchix & Adrassil)

Post by Adrassil » Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:33 pm

Dracius slid through the door and like a martial artist born slipped to sit on the seat across the desk from the lieutenant. Lieutenant Hraje glanced up from writing on his paperwork with a quill, but didn’t deign to give Dracius any greeting. Hraje was a dark skinned, overweight once-human who would've been in his late fifties when he was sired into vampirism. Dracius supposed he could've been from one of the desert equatorial nations, outside of the underground cities. But even to Dracius’ keen ears there was no sign at all of any other accent beside that of a native Valandrite. His thick brown hair was close cropped short and his moustache was amongst the greatest wonders of the facial hair world.

For a good minute Hraje said nothing, the only sound in the stone walled office was the scratching of the lieutenant’s quill as he wrote and wrote. Dracius initial enthusiasm drained away, he knew this tactic, to make another wait for a while to intimidate them, he’d just done the same tactic to Savoar. But it wouldn’t intimidate Dracius, but he knew now that lieutenant Hraje wasn’t happy with him.

And he knew why.

‘Why did you solve and Vortel and Kannit’s case?’ he said, still looking down, still with his quill going.

‘I saw some inconsistencies with their hypothesis.’

‘What inconsistencies?’

‘Well according to the report the blood splatter actually indicated a strength on par-’

‘You know what, I don’t actually care! What about the case I put you on?’

Dracius sighed. ‘That was just a simple stabbing and it was obvious that the stabber was acting in self-defence. Easy. Boring. Vortel and Kannit would be far more suited for such a simple-’

Hraje finally rose his attention to Dracius and he tossed his quill onto his desk. ‘Don’t you say any more or I will send you out on your arse so quick that not even a Hunter could blink the distance so fast. And boring? Boring? You disobeyed me because you deemed the assignment I gave you boring?’

Dracius shrugged. ‘I have just caught Valandri’s 35th serial killer, single handedly. I’ll get back on that stabbing.’

‘You know what? I don’t fucking care,’ said Hraje as he rubbed his eyes and sighed. ‘You’ve got me between a rock and a hard place, Dracius. You know that right? I’m going to have to send this...find to the general and he knows...’

Hraje trailed off, his eyes widening for a split second, which made Dracius raise an eyebrow.

‘Never mind,’ said Hraje. ‘Never you mind. How long has it been since Hejart transferred?’

Hejart was Dracius’ partner, a dwarf-vampire who had left about a year ago and Dracius couldn’t help straighten in his seat.

‘I have let you be by yourself for a year now, Dracius,’ said Hraje. ‘But no more. I would say this is punishment for going behind my back on this, but I have decided this a while back.’

‘No...tell me you’re joking, sir.’

‘I am not,’ said Hraje. ‘I have already got her transferred, but...’ He glanced at the huge clock against the wall. ‘She would be here already, but she is already over half an hour late.’

‘With all do respect, sir- I don’t need a partner. I work better alone.’

‘Do you, though, Dracius? Do you? I put you on an investigation but then go behind my back and work on another. How is that working better alone?’

‘I have not just caught a serial killer, sir. But I have made sure that an innocent man isn’t prosecuted for a crime he didn’t commit. Anything and everything to win.’

Hraje snorted and rolled his eyes. ‘Spare me the Hunter axiom rubbish. That “ends justifies the means” crap might apply when you are playing at secret war against the church, but not here, you got that?’

Dracius grimaced.

Then the door opened and Dracius looked to find a young woman. Or at least she looked like a young woman. A very strange young woman, she was almost as dark skinned as the lieutenant and her skin was covered in rough, scarred and nicked dermis armour and she was far, far too muscled for Dracius to consider attractive. But what drew his attention was a more obvious scar on her wrist, which he couldn’t help wonder how it got there. Her face was in an animated, almost comical scowl, obviously she didn’t want to be here too, perhaps even more so than Dracius.

Then he remembered her, but not her name, only a few weeks ago her face had been on every news paper all over Valandri and turned back to Hraje. ‘What’s she doing here? Wouldn’t it be more fitting for her to work in the anti-drug enforcement?’

‘Maybe,’ said Hraje then he looked to the young woman. ‘You’re late, Investigator Lindenburg, make sure that does not happen again. Now, take a damned seat.’

‘Dracius Koortan this is your new partner, investigator Genevieve Lindenburg. Genevieve Lindenburg this is Dracius Koortan.’

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Re: The Angaran Chronicles: Blackblood Investigation (Kotorchix & Adrassil)

Post by Kotorchix » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:39 pm

She moved with no attempt at stealth or grace. Although her movements weren't considered sloppy, just... they were all business. She lowered herself into the chair beside the pretty elf vampire, giving him less than a cursory glance. Well-groomed, smartly dressed, blonde, blue-eyed, elven-featured... he could have easily passed as Muriel's brother, had she one.

Genevieve's boss was also a vampire. That was news to her, although she should have expected it.

Her skin crawled with irritation and she unclasped her cloak, letting it fall back on the chair. Leaning forward, she rested her elbows on her knees and clasped her hands before her. It was a nice 'comfortable-looking' position... and also a good pose to strike from if need be.

Briefly, for the tiniest of moments, she considered arguing with Hraje over the decision to enter her into homicide. But Lady Cora's words stuck with her and she bit her tongue on that topic.

"What's our case, sir?" she rumbled quietly.
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Re: The Angaran Chronicles: Blackblood Investigation (Kotorchix & Adrassil)

Post by Adrassil » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:15 am

Dracius grinned; seeing through the young woman’s stoicism with ease. He hoped this meant he could easily manipulate her into transferring, was she really a Hunter? Well, the strange dermal armour might have been a by-product of The Ritual, Dracius had heard every so often that those who went through it could be mutated beyond the normal enhancements of super strength, constitution, reflexes, the ability to “blink” or teleport instantly over short distances, “cloak” one’s weapons and many other objects into a pocket dimension allowing the Hunter to summon them instantly and hide or lower their magical aura entirely.

A sly smile spread underneath Hraje’s moustache and he pointed at Genevieve with an enthusiastically wobbling finger and Dracius fought the urge to roll his eyes.

‘That’s what I like to hear, Dracius. No whining or whinging. Just a: "What's our case, sir?" This was why I had her transferred, hoping her such respect might just rub off on you. Although I would prefer a little more enthusiasm.’

The Hraje’s smile became even more mischievous and his attention turned to Dracius. ‘What’s the case, huh? You know what? We have one, don’t we, investigator Dracius?’

Dracius bit back a sigh.

‘A case that Dracius hasn’t bothered to solve yet because he deemed it...“Boring” and “simple” it’s a great coincidence that just as a new investigator has arrived that we have such a “simple” case in the line. Isn’t that right, Dracius?’

Dracius opened his mouth to reply, but the lieutenant cut him short. ‘Now, Dracius has all of the case notes so he can brief you, now dismissed, you two and make sure to give her the tour, alright?’

Dracius stood and Genevieve a second after and they began for the door- Dracius opening it and holding it open for her.

‘You stuck a stick up his ass a long time ago, didn't you?’ said the Hunter, and Dracius barely managed to keep the smile on his face.

‘Would prefer to stick it down his throat, but vampires cannot choke to death, as I’m sure you know,’ said Dracius, but making sure he said it after closing the door after her.


In the loud, full of moving bodies office block Dracius tossed the notebook onto Genevieve’s desk, then dropped himself onto his seat across from her. ‘Stabbing in the mortal section, blah blah blah. A local thug, stabbed six times in an alley way in the north end. Might’ve tried to take down an undercover Hunter or even a normal person. The knife used was left next to him and was his according to those who knew him. I’m sure you know this sort of shit happens a lot in the country. It’s hard to be a street thug when you live in a place full of freaks and monsters like us.’

Dracius paused. ‘No offence.’

‘I don’t give a shit,’ said Genevieve while she flicked absently through the notebook.

He smiled and fought the urge to roll his eyes: such a charming being. I doubt I’ll get much out of her right now, but I suppose I’ll still try, anyway.

Dracius would’ve asked her what she thought of his hypothesis, but he didn’t honestly care what a new to murder investigation enforcer thought. So instead he asked her.

‘So you’re a Hunter. Have you been apprenticed to a Hunter to hunt rogue vampires?’

‘No.’

‘And you haven’t taken part in the secret war?’

‘No.’

Dracius fought the urge to frown, so why did she go through the Ritual, then? She didn’t have the church to worry about as they would hunt and kill anyone with magical potential above a certain age. It was the why Dracius had been sired, as vampires have the ability to control their aura just the same as Hunters.

‘I did,’ said Dracius, hoping if he gave her some of his backstory, she might give a bit more of hers. ‘Was a part of an elite spec ops vampire squad you might’ve heard of us, the VSO? The Vampire Special Operations? We mostly operated as support for the Hunters due to, you know, being unable to walk in sunlight. Still saw a lot of action, though. Even took part in an operation with the infamous Kalthasin. Was in it for a good fifty odd years...Yeah, good years, didn’t end well...though...

Dracius trailed off, partly because Genevieve didn’t seem much interested and partly because he realised he really didn’t want to elaborate more.

‘Dracius! New girl,’ said head-investigator Volgut, as the dwarf approached them. ‘You two going to prattle on? Or take a new case.’

Dracius and Genevieve shared a glance. ‘What new case, Volgut?’ said Dracius.

‘This one just came in,’ said Volgut. ‘A dead vampire in the northern district. Hasn’t been identified yet. Don’t know if its original or sired yet either. Thought you might be interested.’

In less than a split second Dracius was up from his chair and snatching up his blazer. ‘Yes, sir. I’m interested, more than interested, indeed. Let’s go, investigator Lindenburg.’

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Re: The Angaran Chronicles: Blackblood Investigation (Kotorchix & Adrassil)

Post by Kotorchix » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:58 pm

Dracius was just a little too bright for Genevieve’s tastes. Although she had practiced restraint in showing interest – even portraying herself as disinterested – she did want to know more about her new partner. She was analysing him, just as he was trying to get a feel for her. Her short answers evoked longer ones from him and she learned quickly she wasn’t going to have to do much talking in their investigations together. That was one thing she could readily get behind.

He held similarities to Muriel. Not only in appearance and race, but also mannerisms. However, where there was a story to be told, Muriel had never balked. So the man had a censor – at least about his past. For now, she found some comfort in that also.

With mention of a new case, she rose from her chair and re-clasped her cloak at her throat. In the back of her mind, she trailed back to training, wondering if she could give a shit about a vampire victim. She hadn’t in the past, but it had never come down to murder. It was robberies, drug busts, traffic violations…

She didn’t want to stand over another dead vampire and smile again. Especially in her present company.

“Enlighten me,” she said to Dracius, keeping pace with him across the office and out into the hall. “What’s so special about a dead vampire being sired or original? Does it say something for his affiliations and who would want him dead?”
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Re: The Angaran Chronicles: Blackblood Investigation (Kotorchix & Adrassil)

Post by Adrassil » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:55 pm

Dracius couldn’t help stop in his tracks, causing his new partner to follow suit and she turned to him. He could barely kept his smile up and he hoped it wasn’t too blatantly fake. It was strange she would ask such a question, but despite going through the Ritual she might not have been given the level of education about vampires as those which lived and learned in the covens such as he, which was rather ironic. And from what he understood she had been just a grunt until now. Or she could be just be rather gratuitously testing him, to see how he would react. Well, she wouldn’t get any more than a fake smile from him and he fought to keep the condescension and surprise from his tone as he replied.

‘Yes, sort of. There is quite a...segregation between original vampires and sired vampires, especially the sired vampires from rogue vampires that have recently escaped the human nations. If it is an original vampire, it has...unpleasant implications. All original vampires have magical potential, so whatever managed to kill it is dangerous indeed. But many originals never had any interest in learning magic. So if they are one which, for all intents and purposes, is like a sired vampire, we have less to worry about...Maybe? Hopefully. At times I envy the Rule Enforcer Investigators in the human lands.’

Dracius continued onward and Genevieve fell in step with him. He gazed out the window down into the twilight endowed, cobble street and the stream of horse drawn carriages outside. The rectangular stone being from or even before the beginning of the medivale age and wooden buildings hundreds of years old. It was strange, even after all these years, to think that many of the people living in those buildings were as old, if not older than the buildings themselves.

He’d noticed her very slight, split second smile when they’d been told it was the death of a vampire. It was a subconscious thing, a micro expression which Dracius was well used to studying. Was she gladdened by the death of a vampire? Or it could be that she was glad they had a case that wasn’t the boring one they were assigned before? Dracius couldn't be sure, but he couldn’t help think it was the former. So, why the...prejudice? It would explain her off handed attitude.

Dracius knew not to push the subject, maybe she would eventually open up to him if he somehow managed to gain her trust. But he couldn’t think of a way to do that quite yet.

Either that or he could get rid of her. But perhaps she had also been through some sort of trauma too? Perhaps he had found a kindred spirit?

Thus far in his life he had only met one person he could count among that number, another Hunter an apprentice, an elf named Salicel whom he had fought alongside with. He often thought how she was, was she still hunting rogue vampires? Had she been promoted into the secret war? While she wasn’t the most skilled or strong Hunter, she should be, her mind was as sharp as a Hunter’s sword. She seemed to have a great thought process for politics, infiltration. She was from Everdeen, a hell-hole, a morass of aristocratic plots with plots.

He hadn’t worked up the courage to use his contacts within the Hunters to find out how she was, but couldn't. It felt wrong, creepy.

No, he was wrong he had many kindred spirits, a long long time ago.

He was beginning to feel “wrong” by even just considering getting rid of this young woman.

‘You do know, Genevieve- that we are on the same side here. You can trust me.’

It seemed Genevieve’s turn to stop, so Dracius did in turn and faced her.

She stared at him, the lull seemed to almost accuse him of being the one who was distrusting, not her. ‘I thought that went without saying,’ she murmured, one brow rising on her forehead. "Stating the fact raises more questions as to why you think I wouldn't trust you, why there's a reason I shouldn't." She glanced aside, then uncharacteristically chuckled. It was a low, grating sound that didn't sound right- like gravel scattering off a chalkboard. "Almost immortal, and you vampires are just as fickle as we mortals are in our vulnerabilities."

Dracius grinned. ‘It is my idea that we are no better than those mortals which so many of us look down upon. We were once like them and we are still like them, carry on their idiosyncrasies...their prejudices. No matter the siring, the one day which brought all of this nation into its awakening, nor the mysterious Ritual we are subjected to. The divides which this country is in shows this. We cannot deny nor fight millions of years of evolution. Anyway, you have more than enough reason to mistrust me, we have just met, which is fair enough so I suppose I will just show you can rather than just tell you, you can. Anyway, time is wasting away we should go...’

"Perhaps vampires should be better than the common mortal," she said. "That would be true evolution, wouldn't it? But no... they fight, enslave, and play all the mortal tricks." "And yes, we should leave." Abruptly, her gaze was back on him. "Obviously, you were sired. How is vampire society viewed from within, the sired ones versus the originals? If I am to be of any use in this investigation, I would like some perspective."

As they began onward again Dracius fought the urge to raise an eyebrow- enslave? There were few cases over the centuries vampires did try to enslave others after the Awakening, but that was rare. Rare indeed.

Interesting.

‘Evolution does not necessary mean “better” overall, it means mostly is long term adaptation to an environment, one might be better within one environment than another but if the reverse happens. A good example are the people up in the far northern country of Sartarth, one would struggle in the heat of the equatorial country of Iritain having adapted to the sub-zero temperatures and likely die, and it would be vice versa for someone from Iritain if they were suddenly teleported to Sartarth. Just as I a sired vampire will struggle in the human lands. Many originals look down on us sired vampires for we lack magical potential and were once the servants of the rogue vampires who have waged death upon death upon the mortals of the human nations. Even many of us, even though we accepted vampirism, still believe in the Jaroaian religion too. Which adds fuel to the fire. Although there a few originals who hold this prejudice. The sired ones, of course, resent this and this resentment, well breeds their own prejudice. It’s a cycle, as you know.’
Or maybe you don’t.


They were in silence for the whole ride toward to crime scene sitting across from each other. Dracius didn’t mind the silence while he watched the street pass by outside as did Genevieve. The wooden wheels bouncing on the cobbled street was almost soothing to him.

He didn’t know for how long they were going through street to street, but it felt like an age before it finally stopped.

‘We have arrived,’ said the driver.

‘Good, thank you driver,’ said Dracius as he stood, handed the driver his payment and slipped out of the carriage, Genevieve just behind him.

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Re: The Angaran Chronicles: Blackblood Investigation (Kotorchix & Adrassil)

Post by Kotorchix » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:17 pm

Genevieve reflected on their talk of evolution. Bitterly, she realized she wasn’t too different from the vampires in some senses. She had never seen the sun, never left Valandri. If her skin were bared to its light and heat, she doubted her reaction would be too different to that of a vampire’s. But she would survive at least.

She caught the door behind Dracius, climbing out of the carriage after him. She straightened, tugging her cloak about her shoulders to ward off the light chill of the eternal night.

It was a part of town she rarely found herself in. Her own escapades generally took her to districts where mortals lived, some of her old haunts, and certainly nowhere near any vampire if they could be avoided. Work was a different matter, but one or two incidents had forced her superiors to place her in other areas as they knew how street skirmishes tended to go when it came to Genevieve and vampires. She always escalated them. And she didn’t always win.

The sound of cobblestones crunching beneath their feet held no comfort for her as she knew what lurked beneath them. The less fortunate vampires, the desperate souls, took refuge in the old catacombs below this district. They were weak, but also driven mad with their hunger – and even a weak immortal was a danger to the common folk when vampiric hunger was involved.

With her newfound information gleaned from Dracius, she realized that likely none of the catacomb vampires were originals. Most were accidentally sired, already out on their luck. Poor mortals who had taken a few coins to provide a snack to a vampire. Others who in turn had paid other mortals for their blood, only to accidentally sire them again.

Genevieve felt a grim smile tug at her face. At what point did evolution turn into a disease?

The building they approached was like almost every other in the street. She had been inside one before, and didn’t expect anything but the decorative differences – and a dead body. Dark brown brick and mortar exteriors, high-arching gray slate roofs, and white window frames with decorative iron-wrought fences on each neat little lawn. Hedges of twilight bramble often separated one property from another on the sides.

This particular building had a nice garden. Urchin roses and jaskirdle grew up the side of the building, the latter’s small white blossoms opening and closing with the pulls of the moon.

A few ornaments dotted the lawn, small gnome-like structures with cherubic faces and brightly colored clothes. Genevieve immediately grew a dislike for them.

The front door was painted a bright red and left open. The pair of investigators stepped inside, into a hallway – a flight of stairs led up almost immediately on the right, and the rest of the hall led to another bright red door with a sign hung on it: Mrs Watson. Some irritatingly bright pots framed each side of the door, spilling over with some sort of vegetation that Genevieve couldn’t identify.

“Hey doll!”

Genevieve and Dracius found themselves looking up the stairs at Muriel Valthys. She leaned casually on the railing, a pen and folded notebook in a dangling hand as she grinned down at them. “Who’s your handsome friend? And what moron gave you a vampire for a partner?”

She pressed on without waiting for Genevieve’s reply, her gaze now on Dracius. “You good, hon? She’s not giving you too much trouble? Ah, you’re alive, so I imagine not! Come on then, or you’re going to miss all the fun.” And with a twist, she was up the next flight of stairs on agile elven feet.

“That was Muriel, my former partner,” Genevieve informed Dracius. “I did not expect to see her here. She doesn’t work in homicide.”

She was irked by his small, amused nod.

“Oh, how I envy you,” he smirked. She shot him a glare.

Two flights up, they met another woman on the stairs. She was a vampire, sired at middle-age and she wrung her hands on a dirt-stained apron, staring through the door Muriel had flitted through. She gave a tight squeeze of her lips as Genevieve and Dracius approached, something that was meant to be a smile but lacked the heart behind it.

A human man stepped out of the room, the bags beneath his eyes suggesting he was lacking heavily in sleep. His light brown hair was parted perfectly down the center of his skull, and his eyes were the exact same tone of brown. He glanced at Dracius and Genevieve, giving a polite nod as he neared them and the woman on the stairs.

“Investigators,” he greeted with a droll voice. His coat was only a tone lighter in color than his hair and eyes, perfectly ironed and pressed.

“I am Officer Kang. This is Mrs Mayble Watson, the landlady,” he introduced the woman. “She was the one who found the body when her renter neglected to answer his door.”

“He had mail,” Mrs Watson offered with a trembling voice. “He… he normally comes down in the afternoon to fetch it, but he didn’t. And now… now he’s…”

“Mrs Watson believes the body is that of her renter, although we are still uncertain of his identity.”

“Why?” Genevieve asked bluntly.

“We haven’t found the head,” said Muriel, poking her head out the door with her nose wrinkled up. She had tied her long hair back into a ponytail to keep it out of her way. “Or… well… a few other bits.”

“Bits?” Genevieve echoed incredulously, pressing by Officer Kang and treading into the room. She felt Dracius right on her heels.

Each apartment in these buildings was self-sustainable. The first room she entered into was the living room and kitchen, heated by a pot-bellied stove with an attachment for a coffee pot. The décor was modest, but almost consciously minimalistic. The kitchen table was tidy, cutting board and knife lined up neatly with a bloody chunk of steak. A single fly buzzed about it, looking for a prime landing zone.

Two green cushions were comfortably positioned on the cream sofa, a golden throw-rug casually draped across a matching loveseat. The hand-carved coffee table bore only the negligence of the owner for not having coasters to protect the varnish with. Even then it looked like it might be a second-hand piece, for there was a neat little pile of four cream lace coasters in the center of the small table.

There was no sign of a struggle here.

There were two doors to choose from, one to the right of the room, the other to the left. Muriel guided her new guests to the left.

“The front door was locked from the inside,” Muriel said with her fingers touching the handle. “Mrs Watson had to break it down. You might have noticed the broken frame. As far as we can tell, all the windows are also locked from inside. There’s no backdoor.”

Genevieve hadn’t noticed the broken door. She kicked herself.

The door swung open and the three of them were greeted by a most unusual sight. Genevieve didn’t intend to, but she took a step back in shock, bumping into Dracius. She recovered quickly and stepped into the room, staring at the headless body hanging on the far wall.

The double bed was drenched in black blood, indicating the victim had been bled before the fatal slicing of his head. Around the bed, the blood had poured down in torrents, soaking through the carpet and pooling inside a rogue shoe at the end of the bed.

Genevieve swallowed hard. She had seen gruesome things in her line of work. Done gruesome things before her professional life had begun. But nothing quite prepared one to find a naked, headless, crucified body, cut piece by piece, and nailed to the wall.

His body was fragmented, hacked apart. Each finger had been removed, only three nailed back into place on the wall alongside his separated hand, which was nailed beside his separated arm, up to his elbow, where his upper arm abruptly went missing and went straight to his shoulder instead. It was mirrored on the other side.

His lower body had been left mostly intact, with the exception of his thighs separated from his torso. Genevieve didn’t know what to make of such an assault that removed identity, yet left the man’s… uh… well… it left him intact down there. Such a hateful piece of art, and the murderer hadn’t done the most humiliating thing possible? She couldn’t understand that.

Even the man’s chest had been opened, his ribs cracked backwards and nailed to the walls with swatches of flesh and muscle. The vampire’s cold, black heart laid dormant in his chest cavity. It had likely been dead much longer than he had, a useless organ for a vampire.

Her stomach surged and she held her breath, willing the acid to stop burbling about. She gave a weak cough aside, unable to hold it in, but thankfully didn’t retch.

“The wardrobe is locked,” Muriel said, unflinchingly to Dracius. She was as cool as a cucumber, but she knew Genevieve well enough to know this wasn’t sitting well with her – even if the victim were a vampire. “We weren’t sure whether to force it or not, but we couldn’t find a key, so we thought we would leave it to the real Investigators.”

Then she saw it. Genevieve skirted the side of the bed, stumbling in her haste. She moved to the dead man’s left side, peering at an inked mark on the side of his torso, just above his hip. A distinctive, faded tattoo.

It was all she could do to get clear of the crime scene, out into the living room, before she hurled across the coffee table. Muriel, instinctively knowing this wasn’t like her, was at her side in a moment, taking a handkerchief from her pocket and helping her to clean her face.

“Gen, what was it? What did you see?”

“I… I fucking know him,” she hissed. And to her shame, tears squeezed from her eyes. “It was him. He was… he was the one who… fucking shit…” Her breath came in short, tense puffs and she felt Muriel ease her down on the loveseat.

“Have you spoken to your partner about this yet?” Muriel gently urged.

“I fucking met him today!”

“No time like the present, I’m afraid,” Muriel said, her mouth drawing in a line. “Stay here, breathe. I’ll speak to your partner.”

She drew Dracius back into the crime scene and shut the door. Genevieve swiped angrily at the tears pouring down her face, tried to breathe normally. But she shuddered and gave into silent sobs, her face in her hands.
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The Blackblood Investigation

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Re: The Angaran Chronicles: Blackblood Investigation (Kotorchix & Adrassil)

Post by Adrassil » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:47 am

‘It's quite the coincidence that her former partner just so happens to be taking perimeter on this case and the victim just so happens to be someone she knew, don't you think?' said Dracius as he gazed out the door.

‘Someone she knew?’ Muriel blew the air out her lungs in something akin to a laugh and crossed the room to examine the tattoo that identified the man. ‘Sir, this is far more than a coincidence. I'm the only coincidence here. This is the one vampire that Genevieve ever trusted. He saved her life, before she was a Hunter. He's the reason she's a Hunter today.’

Dracius fought the urge to roll his eyes- bigots always have that one exception.

'In scenarios like this I don't believe in coincidence,' said Dracius, trying to keep the condescension from his tone. He looked at the body. Such utter destruction, such utter pointless destruction. As a former assassin himself he couldn't help feel the contempt well within him for the killer. The rule of pragmatism stated that a quick clean kill with little to no mess was the best, not wasting such time and effort on the murder. He had no way to tell if the desecration was performed before or after the murder but either way it was pointless. Vampires cannot feel pain. Vampires couldn't feel much at all. Dracius approached the corpse.

But breaking the rules of pragmatism was alright, only if there was a reason for it. Despite what seemed to be an attempt to make the cuts look rough and emotion driven, to Dracius he could see the underlying professionalism to them, the almost exacting symmetry of the cuts- their lengths their spacing. No amount of trying to mask that skill could rid the killer of such instinctive methods, which may have been honed over decades or even centuries. Or...perhaps this was actual anger? But anger inhibited by their skill? Dracius couldn’t know. But he hadn’t seen such skill at torture-work since Kalthasin had worked on that arsehole of a king.

Sure the king was calling for the massacre of the elves and dwarves living within his borders, but even he didn’t deserve such...Dracius was glad that bastard Kalthasin was dead.

‘Well... whoever they are, they have a flair for the dramatic, don't they?’ said Muriel, interrupting his train of thought. Her every syllable seemed to drool with horror.

‘Indeed,’ said Dracius, smiling at the understatement. ‘So much so, it almost seems the killer could be sending a message...’

He looked pointedly at the elf-Hunter, wondering if she would have the wit to understand what he was hinting at.

She just looked at him knowingly, but he couldn’t help feel she didn’t actually understand what he was exactly implying.

‘So what did this vampire do to make him so special to her?’ said Dracius. To such an extent to cause her to vomit on a crime-scene and run out the door. As much as such unprofessional conduct annoyed him, he had to try give her the benefit of the doubt- being so new and this case being so close to her...apparently. Dracius was pretty much desensitised to everything after all these decades.

He was beginning to understand his partner’s back-story, the earlier mention of slavery and the heavy hinting toward vampires being responsible. Her obvious bigotry toward vampires and now this poor bastard being that ‘one’ vampire. It was all beginning to click together. Perhaps they were more kindred spirits than he realised.

Muriel lightly nipped at her lip and glanced back at the door, as if trying to determine how much she should say about her former partner. A soft sigh released from her and she gave a small shrug as if to indicate Genevieve's past had to come out of the bag some time. ‘His name is Uriel Haughton. He should be ranging somewhere in the late 300s, sired at about thirty. When Genevieve met him, he had infiltrated a bloodhouse. It isn't really my place to-’

The door opened and Genevieve walked back in, pointedly making sure she looked right at them instead of the body. ‘I was too young to know vampires couldn't be killed with a stabbing,’ she said, picking up as if she had been listening to the conversation- which she likely had, with her heightened Hunter senses. ‘He saved me before my attempt at escape could end with my death instead of my captor's.’

Genevieve positioned herself so her body was angled away from Uriel's unfortunate corpse. ‘He was the one who gave me a family, before the Hunters came. I owe him everything.’

Dracius nodded, gluing he gaze to Genevieve’s. He understood. He empathised, even with her bigotry. In Dracius’ youth, he had held a powerful hatred for the church of Jaroai for what they did to him, but over many years he had managed to overcome it and move on. Perhaps she might be able to do the same? But the guilt, the guilt never seemed to ever go away.

He decided to not to try say anything of comfort as to her it would more than likely come off hollow. But he couldn't help be impressed that she managed to regain herself so quickly.

If his theory that this was a warning to Genevieve was true, their killer would likely find they were just encouraging her to chase them. Or perhaps this wasn’t a warning but bait for her to pursuit them? That this bloodhouse could be cleaning out loose ends and Genevieve would be one.

But which ever way, she definitely had some powerful enemies and Dracius wasn’t sure if he wanted to get involved with this.

Dracius shook away such thoughts, stood and looked through the small window near by. There was no sign of any struggle, no sign of forced entry, beside the landlady’s forced entry. Dracius’ paranoia exclaimed that the woman had broken in the door earlier and lied she had done it so soon. But he also felt the rest of the inhabitants of the place would corroborate her report.

Across the street was another habitat block which was one story taller than this one and only about five metres away.

Dracius fought down a frown, there was only one race which could get in here and out without having to smash a window or pick a lock.

‘Tell me,’ said Dracius. ‘Both of you being Hunters, could either of you jump from that roof or the roof above and blink inside here? Or would you know, or know of, someone who could?’

“Blink” was an ability held by all Hunters to teleport at around five metres. It also allowed them to phase through walls. But they couldn’t do this while their limbs were bound or carrying another person, it also had a ten minute “cool-down” before it could be used again. It was one of the many reasons why Hunters were such effective infiltrators and assassins.

Genevieve gave a simple shake of her head in response. Muriel seemed more forthcoming with a reply, folding her arms across her head as she looked at the window.

‘Well, no... maybe. Not accurately. Or at least not without throwing the room into disarray.’ Slowly, Genevieve crouched, lowering herself to the floor a few inches away from the blood. She looked under the bed, where the blood had pooled in a black seal across the wooden floor. A glance up at her companions and she offered a shrug, standing back up.

‘Not hiding under the bed?’ Muriel snickered. ‘I was thinking, what if they blinked from the corridor, straight through into this room, committed the murder and... did the rest, then blinked back out?’

Muriel tapped a finger thoughtfully against her chin, then nodded in approval. A frown quickly pouted her mouth though. ‘What about the missing body parts? They couldn't blink with that without making some sort of bloody mess.’

‘A waxed bag, perhaps,’ Genevieve muttered. ‘Either the blink, or he knew the person and let them in the first time. Then they blinked out.’

For the first time in a long time, Dracius had to truly fight to keep the smile on his face. Here he was speculating on conspiracies and over thinking things he had neglected to see one of the most simple of explanations. Of course they could have just blinked from the damned corridor. It would've been quite easy for the killer to- blink inside, taking their victim by surprise or even unawares. Decapitating them before they even cry out, mutilate the body, then blink outside, drop onto the street and run off. Using weapon cloak to take the head with then and no one would be the wiser.

‘You two forget that if the attacker is a Hunter they could escape easily with the head and...the rest. With weapon cloak,’ said Dracius, fighting the urge to roll his eyes and hoping his contempt was hidden from his voice. They, as Hunters forgot this other important technique. Weapon cloak wasn’t really a cloak at all, but it allowed them to teleport a number of items into a sub-dimension of sorts allowing them to summon it later at any time. Another great infiltration technique. He supposed they forgot it being Rule Enforcers so being less likely to have to use it than those on the front lines.

Sudden interest flared through him and Dracius turned from the window, approached the corpse again and turned it over to see...

Dracius snapped his hand back, a slight hiss escaping through his grinning teeth. He recognised it too.

Kalthasin, had that same very tattoo in the very same place, when that bastard had tortured the king Kalthasin had done it without a shirt, practically bathing in the man’s blood all the while.

‘Either of you know what that tattoo means?’ said Dracius after a while fighting to keep his calm.

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Re: The Angaran Chronicles: Blackblood Investigation (Kotorchix & Adrassil)

Post by Adrassil » Thu Sep 27, 2018 2:42 pm

Author's Note: I was the one who thought of the name 'The Cavalcade' lol

‘It was a sign of retirement from The Cavalcade - a group of long-term infiltrative investigators. They never took on the tattoo until they were done with their work... It discouraged retired Cavalcaders from picking their work back up and making competition.’

‘Infiltrative investigators?’ Muriel echoed, cocking a brow. ‘Spies?’

‘They,’ Genevieve frowned, huffing a sigh. ‘They would gather information for clients for years at a time. Spies, yeah, I guess. Mercenary spies. Uriel Haughton infiltrated bloodhouses outside Valandri before we met. Apparently he moved to Valandri because he was running out of circles that might recognize him... but that was mostly contacts. He cleaned out places as he went, same as he did with the bloodhouse we met in. I just sped up his plan a tad.’

Dracius nodded, fighting to keep from frowning- how in all of the hells hadn’t he heard of these freaks? And...The Cavalcade? What kind of idiot thought of that name? A bunch of want-to-be Hunters...

Well...At least it’s a bit more creative than Hunters.

He did pride himself in knowing everything, but he couldn’t let it bruise his ego too much- no matter how long he lived there would always be something he didn’t know in this vast world.

And that fuck- Kalthasin had been one of them but he had apparently ‘retired’ before Dracius had his horrid encounter with him many years ago now. He couldn’t help wonder- why weren’t they taught about these mercenaries in the coven? The Hunters must know of them or at least the Valandrites to some extent. Unless there was someone within which was keeping this from the Hunters.

It was all so fucking complicated, first this theoretical conspiracy and now a secret society. A secret society of mercenaries which Kalthasin had been involved with. Well they were suspect number one in his book. He might’ve known too much and thus had him assassinated.

But that left so many questions- why did they kill him now and not a long time ago? Why was Kalthasin a part of them? If someone who was as influential as Kalthasin, being a lord of Valandri, who in hell else in a position of authority was a part of it? Was that why king Harlen had him exiled into the Hunter covens?

Perhaps this was why Kalthasin was killed too? For some reason the killer or killers of one of the most skilled vampire-mages on the continent was kept secret, in fact everything around Kalthasin’s death was unknown, even to Dracius who had been working with the Hunters at the time.

Was that the influence of these spies? Was it them who organised Muriel to be here as well? It makes sense to his earlier theory.

‘I am assuming that you don’t know where they work out of?’ said Dracius turning to Genevieve. ‘If they’re still active in Valandri and the rest of the continent?’

Genevieve gave a shrug. ‘No idea. He just told me their name. I'd never really thought to look into them before this...’

Dracius allowed himself a sniff and stood. This murder was why he believed for a long time that Hunters, even inexperienced ones, were the most dangerous if they went rogue, perhaps even more so than original vampires. As many originals had never learned magic, nor have been trained in even the basics of combat. By contrast every Hunter was trained extensively in everything from sword play to infiltration and educated to a huge degree. That on top of their techniques...

‘Well, ladies,’ said Dracius, grinning. ‘I have good news and bad news- which one would you want first?’

‘I really don't give a shit,’ Genevieve muttered. But Muriel was quick to the bait. ‘How about bad first, so we wrap up with some nice news after all this unpleasantness?’

‘Oh, I am sure you will “give a shit,”’ said Dracius, smashing down his anger at the young woman’s insolence. ‘The bad news is that I don’t believe we can find out much more here, the assassin is too good. But you might have figured that out already. The good news is that I believe we have a lead, a contentious one and one which may be false, but it’s still a lead...’

Dracius turned his gaze on Muriel. In all honesty, he wasn’t sure even she could be trusted either.

He needed to find a way to speak of this with Genevieve in private, but that was easier said than done, especially in Jaroai cursed Valandri.

‘Muriel would you and your partner please arrange for the body to be removed to the coroner for closer examination? And Genevieve, I suspect it’s time for us to head back to base to converse on this further.’

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