Afternoon, after lunch, Damian could be up to so many things. However, with everything going on lately, he’s been doing a lot of searching for information and trying to find things out. Plus he has other work to do. Keeping up contact with the Jedi Order, apprising them of any new developments, seeing any new developments on their end. So it’s no surprise to find him at home, up in his bunker of an office working away on several things. Spreadsheets of names and information on them, notes, cross referencing, and trying to find new information in the deep web or anywhere else. He’s dressed in a t-shirt and sweats though, which likely suggests that sooner or later he will be going to work out or getting a visit from Sensei Nakashima for a training lesson. Those are usually fairly brutal, the man is old school Japanese.
Life is going on as per the usual for Damian. Of course the events surrounding the situation with the Jedi and the ghosts nearby are a bit of an attention grabber, sure, but it's research nonetheless. Then something breaks the routine. /Thunk/. Something fell to the ground, impacted the floor in Damian's kitchen. Nothing could have moved, everything was set perfectly in place. And then came the footsteps, shuffling and long, moving around unseen to Damian.
Damian ’s security is top notch, the reason it is, is he did it himself. He knows about these things. Someone or something would have to have abilities to surpass it. Still, as neat and tidy as he keeps things, it could be something else. Could be, until he hears footsteps. He has a choice, the room he’s in is quite reinforced, he could lock himself in, but that’s not his way. A brow raises, and he knows his weapons are not nearby. Not near enough. Stupid, considering all the things going on lately, the homunculi stalking and killing SE’s. Something’s here and Damian should be prepared. It’s no surprise as he rises from his seat that his Geist appears beside him. Damian moves as quietly as he can from the room he’s in to the hallway to peer down it, assess the threat, even as the his Geist’s mask manifests in his hand
The shuffling continues, moving further away from Damian. A couple of things hit the ground with thuds, and one with a smash. As if something made of glass or ceramics was broken upon the ground. And then? Then the voice came through, echoing faintly in Damian's home. "ssssst...aaaasssssssttt...." It was difficult to make out anything beyond the words themselves, and almost longing drawl kept on them. The sounds had moved from the kitchen into a different room. The training area.
His training area. Just the place Damian would want to head, it’s also a bit of a vault where he keeps weapons. Still, if he thought it was a person, the sound, the voice, doesn’t fit. Still, he’s never heard one of those homunculi speak either, so, caution is the name of the day. And…stast? Is that what it said? A brow rises as Damian tries to start quietly out of the room, down the hallway, into the living room, to get another peek at whatever he’s stalking, or is stalking him. It’s only a bit of a bolt from there to his gym down another hallway, of course, that’s always locked. Problematic.
The figure was...likely not what Damian was expecting. It was a middle-aged woman, wearing bunny slippers, with baggy clothing and a nice thick bathrobe overtop, a thick, hand-woven toque sitting atop her head. She didn't appear to have any hair, since she had no eyebrows, and looked almost sickly...the strangest thing though. She would have looked familiar to Damian. He knew her when she was alive; not in any formal capacity, but he had seen her before. She'd always been sitting on the park benches with somebody Damian could only presume to be her husband. She used to have long, curly red hair. "Taaaaste...." She said, turning to face Damian. "You...I know you..." She said to him, her tone weak and wisp-like.
Yeah, not at all what Damian was expecting, with all the things going on, not at all what he was expecting. It pauses him as surely as James would have. Only for far different reasons. He does recognize her, but it takes him a long moment to realize why. After that, it takes him even more time to try to figure out why she’s tracked him down. A study of her, in silence, forgetting to respond to her. Cancer. It seems obviously, and there’s sympathy there, even if he doesn’t show it. Finally, a shake of his head brings him out of his little world, and he mutters audibly. “Taste?” Before actually addressing her. “It would seem I know you, too…” He’s not really sure what else to say. Up until now, others have dealt with most of the ghosts he’s encountered; or rather he’s never done it alone.
"I'm sorry..." The ghost says, raising its hand towards Damian. "But I have to do this." Damian would feel something...in his mouth? His tongue...suddenly, he was tasting...bitter? But that was about the extent of everything that just occurred. The woman looked like she was about to cry, and was clearly distressed. "Have to try again..." She said, right before phasing through the floor. There was the faint smell of disinfectant sitting in the air as she left.
Damian smacks his lips, testing out his tongue against the roof of his mouth. What is that taste, but then he realizes the ghost is doing it. “Stop…” Maybe thinking she means to try something on him again with her words of that nature. Then she’s going through the floor. “Shit.” Damian does not swear very often, it’s an odd quirk, but he’s bolting to his stairs, down them, to the store below, hoping to catch her. Practically body checking the door at the top of the stairs open and then the one at the bottom. It might be futile, but he has to try. “Wait…” He says loudly as he gets to the bottom of the stairs. “Come back…I can help.” True or not, he has to try, or, at least, figure out if she’s a danger.
The woman was standing upside down on the ceiling, as if it were the floor. None of her clothes seemed to be affected by it, and she had made her way into the hallway, visible to Damian when he came down the stairs. "You can't help...I have to take your taste..." It was all she mumbled as she once more raised her hand towards Damian, attempting to leech his senses away. It wasn't as strong of a pull as it could have been, however, and Damian only senses bitterness on his tongue.
“Take my taste…why?” Damian’s brow rises at that. “What do you need it for?” His Geist still stays visible at his side, as if watching the thing unfolds. Again he’s smacking at the taste and making a little face. “Tell me why and maybe I will help. I want to help.” That thing doesn’t seem malicious, despite attacking Damian in the way she is. It could be a lot worse.
"I can't stop...they're making me do it. I have to do this." She said, walking down the walls till she was evened out and right side up, facing Damian. "I don't want to hurt anybody..." She coughed weakly, once more raised her hand. She didn't look at Damian that time, trying to hide her face in her robe as she attacked him once again. That time, Damian would notice a drastic change. His mouth lit up with an explosion of every flavour he's ever experienced, all at once...and then, there was nothing. "I don't want to hurt you...but now I can finally go for ice cream with my husband..." She almost whimpered, before turning tail and shuffling away at a rather impressive pace.
“Who’s making you? Why? I don’t want to hurt you either…” Damian can hurt her, really, if he wants to. He doesn’t. The evidence is in his complete lack of defense to what she’s doing. Then she does that again and it works. He’s stunned a moment as all those flavors flow through his taste buds and hammer his brain and then nothing. Now he’s smacking again, but it’s because he can’t taste anything. It’s more than off-putting, it’s life altering. It takes him a moment and then he’s running after her. Words are difficult only because the lack of taste makes his tongue seem so odd. “Wait…wait…”
The woman didn't turn around, she didn't waver. She just shuffled away...at a surprisingly quick pace. A pace comparable to a regular athlete. Then again, she was a ghost, and they moved pretty fast. "Ice cream..." She mumbled, right before phasing outside. And just like that, Damian was once more alone in the house.
Shit. Time for action, Damian has no idea who she is, he loses her now, who knows if he’ll find her again. A search like that, well, maybe someone else can find her, but he can’t risk it. Ice Cream. The keystone of his still in his hand, he starts channeling through it, even as the shadows start to envelop his body, wrapping him their protective armor. Running for the wall. “I hate this…” It’s a mutter to himself. Walking through walls still feels weird. Maybe he’ll never get used to it.
The woman is shuffling at running speed down the street, running straight through cars and pedestrians in a desperate attempt to get away. People are out and about, though considering the time of day, there isn't much traffic out on the streets. She looked back every so often to see where Damian was, and surprise surprise, he was already outside.
Through a wall, hopefully no one saw that. On the other side, he only has seconds to scan for the ghost and then find her. He has to realize she’s moving faster than he is. He stuffs the mask in his pocket and then heads for his car, parked out front and not that far away. This is going to be dangerous. Maybe impossible. Beep beep is the sound of the doors unlocking. He has little hope as he gets in and the car roars to life, but he’s desperate. Still smacking his tongue because it’s not just life altering, it’s terrifying never tasting anything again. He peels out of his parking spot in the direction the ghost is traveling.
Damian gets into his vehicle with relative haste to chase down the ghost in the street. Luckily for him, she's running in a straight path. Unfortunately, there are other vehicles in the way, as well as a myraid of lights and stop signs. Thankfully, Damian is more or less able to avoid all the red lights, dodge past the other vehicles, and pull rolling stops against the stop-signs with nobody caring too much. He's driving safely, even if he's going slightly faster than the bulk of traffic. Nothing out of the ordinary really, since he's not speeding more than five miles over the limit. But even as the ghost woman runs through all the traffic, Damian manages to catch up, and more or less cut her off.
Except she can walk right through cars and him and whatever. This is a problem. He rolls down his window, likely look like a lunatic. He’s a little miffed now though. Whether that’s the effect of his Geist or his own emotions is hard to say. His Geist is definitely more aggressive than he is. More bent to vengeance. “Stop! I don’t want to hurt you, but I will. Please don’t make me… I can help you instead. Tell me who did this. Tell me why.” Damian has to make a demonstration though to prove his point. The shadows that formed around him dissipate. This one is far more stark. Blood, like an encompassing cloak starts to seep out of his pores and coagulate into some sort of hard barrier, still looking somehow slick. He reaches out to grab the ghost if he can.
The woman's eyes go wide as Damian pulls up in front of her. "If I tell you, he won't let me have ice cream with my husband! Please forgive me!" It was such an innocent set of words. Even if she had Damian's taste buds. She continued to run straight forward, closing her eyes and ducking, as if that would help her run through everything. Maybe she'd seen American football on TV before? Regardless, she hunkered down and kept on running straight, not bothering to veer of the path.
Damian officially looks like a crazy person. Half hanging out of his window he grabs at something no one else can see. It’s just her arm to him, but he grabs it and holds it tight. His eyes lock on her face intently. “Listen to me. I can help you. Does he have your husband?” His abilities, one would think would be proof he’s not just something normal. “I’ll make sure you can have ice cream with your husband. But you can’t just go around taking things. Give me back what you took, and then we’ll talk and I’ll help. I promise.” And he’s talking to himself to boot. This is not good for his reputation. He starts to tug at the woman’s arm, to pull her into the car. Or rather, get her to come, he’s not forcing it.
The woman didn't seem to care about whether or not Damian was making himself look crazy or not. She stood there, struggling a little while Damian made his spiel. "They have my husband, they have my husband! I don't know what to do. If I give you back your taste, then they'll know I did something wrong! I...I can't!" She pleaded with Damian, eyes watering with spectral tears. The car behind Damian honked its horn at him a couple times, trying to get him to keep moving with the flow of traffic.
“Then keep it for now and get in the car. I can get your husband back. I promise.“ He pulls her towards the car again, even as he starts slowly rolling towards the curb and out of the way. It’s not a bargain he loves, but he’s winging it, trying to win her trust. He smacks his tongue against the roof of his mouth a couple times. It’s so difficult to get used to. “You need to tell me who they are and what they want. Especially with my taste.” Damian has made a lot of enemies in his past, but only a few off the top of his head would be capable of this. Still, this could have something to do with the God-Eater, there’s too many possibilities.
The woman looks around for a moment, before succumbing to Damian's request. She stopped struggling, and without a word, phased through him and his driver's side door, coming to rest in the passenger seat. "You can get him back? But those men, they're dangerous. They...They just wanted me to hurt you. told me if I came back with proof you were hurt, they'd let my husband go. The one with my anchor...he's just up ahead..."
Damian’s Geist is not pleased with Damian’s deal. The shadows become bright, lit with an ethereal flame that wreathes his Geist and those there’s no eyes, only shadows under the hood, it levels its ‘stare’ on the ghost as if trying to intimidate her. Though it’s only for a moment as it turns to look ahead, as if it can see who she means. It’s not happy. Damian can feel it, hear its whispers like some sort of voice in his mind. He shakes his head, focusing on the woman. “I will try. Is your husband like you?” Hopefully she understands what he means by that. Finally, he looks up ahead too. “What is your anchor that he possesses? What is his name?”
"My husband is alive. We were on our way to the ice cream stand when I collapsed...and...and..." Her head fell loosely to her chest, and she began sniffling. "The man, he's scary. He's got a hold of my bracelet, and said my husband was being held somewhere. I don't know where! I...I think his name was Victor? Victor Lubocan?" A name that would come to Damian with a menacing chill. The man was a Reaper. The man had taken Damian under his wing at one point, showing him the ropes with the rest of his Krewe. And he was nearby, with the woman's anchor.
If his Geist was mad before, those flame grow, to an apparition of a burning man. How he died. It’s rarely seen. The cloak it wears, all the shadow is consumed in hot flame. Damian can almost feel them licking at his skin. He closes his eyes in response to it. “Victor. I should have known. One of his fist balls.” A deep breath is taken, and eh shuts off the car. “Take me to him.” He opens the car door and steps out of it. “He wouldn’t have come otherwise.” A pause though, as he looks over at her. “What is your name? What is your husband’s name? Please, it will help.”
The woman looked up at Damian. "I'm Nary. My husband is Hector." It was all she said, her eyes growing fearful at the continued expression of Damian's Geist. Nary follows suit, despite her fragile nature, stepping out of the car on Damian's side. She just pointed straight ahead, down the sidewalk. Coincidentally, not too far away from where Damian stood, the man himself was dining out on an open patio at a local brunch and cafe. He looked to be having the absolute best time of his life, flirting with the waitresses and pinching their butts as they walked by, a beer in his hand with his feet up on the table.
Damian nods to her. “Don’t worry.” Whether about Victor or his Geist was unclear. A blanket statement for her. He put the keys for his car in his sweatpants pocket and starts up the street. Victor isn’t hard to spot. Always full of himself. Arrogant, but dangerous. Still, Damian walked on as if unafraid. Maybe hiding his emotions well, he is good at that, maybe actually unafraid. It’s been a while since he’s been out from under the man’s influence. His Geist’s shadowed hood kept focused on Victor too, still on fire. Walking up to the outside, not far from Victor, he speaks, breaking into his fun time. “Long time, no see, Victor. /Not/ long enough.” His voice is level, neutral, but there’s no hiding the bite to that statement. If Damian is afraid of him, there’s no showing of it.
Victor looked over, a smug and relaxed look on his face. His posture was completely at ease, even as they were surrounded by people. "Hey, how's it going there kid?" He wasn't much older than Damian, but he'd been a Sin-Eater for far longer. It was one of those things he lorded over the Bound as often as he could. When he saw the ghost, half-hiding behind Damian, Victor chuckled. "Oh, looky here. Found yourself a nice wittle fwiend, haven't you Damian?" His eyes were off Damian for only a split second. "How are we doing this wonderful evening? I see you're still in one piece."
Damian scans the area, not believing for a minute Victor would come alone. His Geist continued to rage at Victor. One of the two liked the man a lot less. His eyes finally return to Victor, but he doesn’t satisfy him with any answer to the greeting. “What’s the point of this? You and I both know I wasn’t fit for you guys. I left.” He glances back at the ghost, at Nary briefly and then back to Victor. “And you’re still up to your old tricks. I would tell you this is beneath you, but as good a lair as I am, I’m not that good.” Wow, it’s rare that Damian brings out this side. He’s usually quite even, but this is a look at someone Damian really doesn’t like.
"Damian." The man shook his head, making that 'tsk tsk tsk' that people do when disappointed...or condescending. "Nobody leaves Damian. Don't you know that? I figured you for a smart man. The way I see it..." He leaned forwards to spank one of the waitresses as she passed by, causing her to jump. If she was angry, she held it in well enough, simply walking on as if nothing had happened. He even licked his lips a little as his eyes wandered. "Mmm. As I was saying, nobody leaves. I just came back to do a little retrieval, since our little piggy had gone missing." Nary cowered behind Damian as he attempted to belittle the man. "Ooooh, that's cold. See? Just the first step on your way back."
Damian is annoyed. He doesn’t like this man at all. Repugnant, what the man uses his second life for. It’s certainly not how Damian thinks a Reaper should operate. Thus their departing of ways. “Maybe that’s the problem Victor, I am a smart man. Maybe that’s why I left.” Just a slight shake of his head at the spank he gives the woman. The gesture itself might not be the problem, it’s just the lack of respect for anyone. “Well, this little piggy’s not coming home. Let her husband go, and I’ll even buy your plane ticket back to D.C. First class.” It’s not a good offer, the man probably has enough of his own money considering the things they do. It has its own condescending feel, even without the tone. A shrug at what the man says to him though. “Yeah, the one thing you did teach me, to be cold. To not get too attached. Though I doubt that was your intent. I hope you had a plan B.”
Victor licked his gums while his lips were closed, his tongue rolling around in his mouth as he swept his legs off the table. "Alright. I can see here that you're not feeling quite up to the task of coming back with us. We had a welcoming party ready for you Damian. There were enough bitches to lay every man at least five times over. And that was just the start of things. We got a deal too. Came with the refugee thing in Mexico. Best part though? Julio got the type he likes. Coulda shared with you, cause you know how he's all for sharing the young-uns." Victor clapped his hands together, his grin widening. "You know what though? I'm feeling generous today. You, ghost bitch." Nary jumped a little from behind Damian, walking slowly outwards. "You do what you went there to do?" She didn't say anything, and simply nodded her head weakly. "Good." Victor turned his gaze back up to Damian. "I do indeed have a 'Plan B', as it were. See, if we taught you to be cold, you taught us something even more valuable." He reached into his back pocket, producing a small pair of scissors. Between them was a hempen bracelet, red in colour. "Always be prepared. So, what is it gonna be Damian? You going to attack innocent old me, in this crowd of innocent victims? Or you gonna come with?"
Damian’s jaw closes, his teeth clenching a little as Victor reveals that shit they’re up to. It’s a needle, and he knows it, but he can’t help showing it. Damian was never a player even before his death. Certainly not someone who would go to an orgy or anything like what Victor described, when they met him, he was even more reserved. Definitely needling Damian. He takes a deep breath to relax himself, return to his very neutral expression. His question to Nary has Damian remembering what she did more at the forefront and he starts pulling in saliva, trying to taste with his tongue, but it’s not working, of course. A shake of his head, Damian is a good liar, but this isn’t exactly a feint, either. “Prepared, but short-sighted, Victor. You cut that and you lose all your leverage.” He looks down at the bracelet and then back to Victor shaking his head. “As usual your plan lacks any finesse, at all. That’s why you want me back. All you know how to be is a hammer, so everything has to be a nail.”
Victor nodded his head, moving his jaw back and forth. "Hmm. Okay. You got me." He leaned forwards, so that his elbows were leaning on his knees. "So say I cut this here bracelet. What then? You going to go home, like nothing ever happened? You going to fight me? Sure, you don't come back. Not right away. But we both know that even if I cut this bracelet, you're going to be the one at a loss." He smiled a little, his head tilting to the side. "Sure, call me the hammer. All I do is hammer things. Maybe get hammered myself once in a while. But that don't change the fact that you, Damian, are the nail. Even as smart as you are, that's all you'll ever be without us. So. Last chance. What's it gonna be, compadre?"
Damian smirks, it’s that half-smirk of his, it never truly touches his features, but it’s marred with disdain. “See, that’s the problem with you Victor. The problem with /your/ entire Krewe.” Not his, very clearly not his. “You use your second chance to do nothing. Something tells me if I separate you from your friend, he might not want you back. But you’re right, I’m a nail.” He nods at that, as if agreeing, but who knows, Damian is just so good at that. “Our life is all about loss. Our purpose is to understand that we sacrifice for others. And that’s why you will always be pathetic, a coward.” He looks then to Nary. “I will help you, remember my promise.” He then turns back to Victor, motioning towards the man. “You do whatever you’re going to do, Victor, but remember something: I left, you were forgotten, left alone. That bargain is off the moment you cut that bracelet. Oh I won’t fight you here...but believe me Victor when I tell this is far from over. You will get what you want, you will see me again. You should have stayed forgotten…compadre.” That last word is less than friendly.
Nary looked between the men, a frightened expression on her face. After hearing Damian would help her, that he promised her he would, her eyes went wide. Victor shook his head, pursing his lips together. "We could have been great Damian. We really could have been." Snip. The bracelet is cut in half. Nary had only a moment to scream out, leaping for the bracelet. He voice, like the bracelet, was cut apart, her body dissolving into thin air. It was abrupt, and it was a shrill and terrible thing to hear...but only the two men could hear it. Nary was in the Underworld. "Damian my boy, I really wish it could have gone another way. I really do. But sadly, this is where we must part ways." Letting the pieces of the bracelet fall to the ground, as if they meant nothing, Victor stood, stashing the scissors back into his pocket. Without paying the bill for the food he'd eaten, left sitting openly on the table, Victor leapt over the railing, and began walking up the street, his jacket held over his back with one hand. "Good luck, Damian." He said, waving goodbye to the man without looking back.
Damian sighs, watching Nary go with a sad expression. It’s brief though, he knows, no matter what, there’s little time to grieve for the fallen. He just watches the man drop the bracelet, not pay for his meal, and start walking away. “Be seeing you, Victor. I promise you that. You and the boys.” Well, there’s a girl too, but that’s not the point. Fuck. He waits until the man is well down the street before leaning over the railing to pick up the cut bracelet. Placing it in his pocket. He doesn’t know enough about anchors to know if it still holds any power still. If it can be repaired. He needs to talk to Deckard, or someone who knows more. He then tosses some money from a money clip on the table. The waitresses had to deal with enough. Last, but not least he takes something off of Victor’s plate to eat it. Yep, that’s more jarring than anything. Nothing. He has to find Nary and her husband. This is all he needs.