Monday morning. It is cold...damn cold. Below freezing and threatening to snow at any time. But patrols have to be done! And the University is the responsibility of the Sisterhood. With Bowie doing whatever Bowie does, that leaves Sophia as the main protector of the campus and those who live and work there.
Dim lights along the footpaths 'illuminate' the area but don't do much more than the cloud obscured moon above. There are very few students out at this time, the sun won't even be up for another hour, but this is the 'Magic Hour' for beasties.
Sophia stifles a yawn. Since she's started, you know, actually sleeping, this getting up thing has become damn inconvenient. But patrol she does, eyes sharp despite the stinging cold. She sips from a paper cup full of hot tea, and watches out for anything. Especially behind her.
A figure stands on the path about a hundred yards ahead. Wrapped in layers of clothes against the cold, it has a distinct homeless look to their fashion. It is hard in this light to even tell which way it is facing. The darkness and shadows playing havoc with its lines and form.
Sophia slows, eyes narrowing. She casually lets her hand drift near her gun--under her open jacket--and pretends to be hugging herself for warmth as she walks closer. She smiles disarmingly at the -thing-.
The figure stands silent as Sophia approaches. Immobile. Unchanging. The light drizzle that starts to fall barely making an impression upon it. It is only when the Huntress is close enough to smile does it react. "We know who you are" it says with a young woman's voice, pulling back its hood to reveal a silver haired female that could be a student here.
Sophia slows, and tilts her head. "You mean, like, a business major?" she says, playing dumb co-ed. "Gosh you're pretty."
Over the phone: Aurore says, “Sophia's phone rings, presuming that she's still using the number Aurore obtained some time ago at the castle”
On the phone to Aurore: You say, “Answering her phone, You say, "Oh my god, hi, Jim!" Even though she knows it's Aurore. "What're you doing up so early?"”
The woman stares at Sophia with cold grey eyes, tilting her head slowly from side to side. "We know who you are" she repeats, taking a slow step forwards towards the Huntress.
Over the phone: Aurore pauses momentarily - and her near-magical voice sounds a little uncertain when she ventures to speak. "Ah, hi there. Just calling to warn of some, umm, possible trouble. About a problem we've been trying to deal with."
Sophia takes a step back and looks at the woman.
On the phone to Aurore: You say, “Hey, like, lady? I'm just this business major, okay? I don't need trouble. I was on my way to class. Back off, please.”
"We know who you are" the woman repeats as her eyes become cloudy white orbs. "And you are all going to die." Her arms go out to her sides as she starts to float above the ground. The skin of her long fingers cracking and peeling away as long claws push through the flesh. "Your souls will be delicious" she rasps, her pale grey skin now covered with sores and pustules.
Over the phone: Aurore again hesitates for an instant, bites her lip, then ventures an offer. "I can try to get to you, if you need help."
Sophia pulls her gun, thankful no one is nearby, and points it at the -thing-.
On the phone to Aurore: You say, “"I think I'm okay." Sophia manages to put the phone on speaker with the gun in her hand, and then drops it--thankful for the sturdy case. "I think I'm okay," she repeats more clearly, hazel eyes clear and wide and open, staring at the thing in front of her."
The floating woman starts to drool black 'blood' onto the pavement below. Her nails click together like demonic percussion. "You are all going to die" she repeats, a huge grin on its face as it prepares to swoop down on the Sister.
On the phone to Aurore: You say, “"Hurry, Aura." Sophia's voice is calm even as she squeezes the trigger--the report of the gun echoing around the quiet square of buildings. "I think whatever you called me about is going to try to kill me."”
Over the phone: Aurore meeps faintly (probably too much so to be heard by either demonic horror or Sophia, or so she can hope), then swears in Passamaquoddy. "On my way." She lifts her head, though the words'll still carry over the phone. "Gorgeous? Can you give me a ride to campus? In a hurry?"
On the phone to Aurore: You say, “The bullet hits the woman square between the eyes without Soph even taking time to aim much. Show-off. She squints as the woman doesn't fall. "Uh. Aura. If you can fly or teleport, might be a good idea."”
Over the phone: Aurore's answer sounds very much as if she's in motion - and hurrying. "Wrong type of witch, I'm afraid. But stay alive, and I'll make it up to you, I promise."
The woman screeches as she is shot, spinning around in the air as the cry becomes laughter. She suddenly stops mid-air and then swoops down on Sophia. Her grey nails rip open the Sister's shoulder before she is flying past and banking around to have another slash.
On the phone to Aurore: You say, “"Thanks, Aura." Her voice is grim, just before she cries out in pain. "Damnit!" she yells at the thing. "What is your -issue-? You could open a fucking news stand!" Still alive, and not in enough pain to lose that wit. Her voice is grimmer now, though, as she spins around from the force of the scratch to her shoulder. "Insert ugly patriachal ugliness here." And then she's firing again.”
On the phone to Aurore: You say, “The thing gets a shot to the right shoulder and is -still- coming at Sophia. She crouches, but it's too late--the -thing- just changes direction slightly. Woo hovering. "Whatever god created you, it's not my god," she mutters, loud enough for Aurore to hear.”
Another bullet hits the floating woman and she shudders from the impact...but still laughs like a maniac. Black grue dripping over the ground as it swoops down again, aiming to rend Sophia once more but she manages to duck out of the way to leave the woman curses. "We will feast on your souls!!"
Sophia grumbles quietly from her crouched position. She considers going prone, since, y'know, harder to hurt, but at the same time... Harder to shoot, too. She frowns. "What the hell are you, ugly?" she yells. Then, deciding 'fuck it', she does a somewhat complicated manuver in which she flattens out on her back, a little more able to track the -thing- that way. "My soul is not fit for consumption," she says, grimly.
As Sophia hits the ground the woman swoops down and rips her claws over the Huntress' stomach, tearing through clothing and flesh to send blood spraying through the air. She cackles as she hovers over Sophia. "Your soul is mine!"
"Bitch, my soul is my own and God's." Who knew Sophia was so religious? A third shot is fired at the -thing-.
The pistol roars in the open quadrant in the center of the university. The bullet slamming into the floating woman and sending her spinning once more...horizontally. Black ichor flinging off the rotating body before it suddenly explodes in a fountain of black 'blood'. Most of it landing on Sophia. Aurore arrives just in time to see the end of the Deadite and the Huntress bleeding badly on the ground. Pqentun is waiting in the car.
Aurore very definitely does not look as if she was intending to go a-Huntin' today: she's wearing a biker jacket on her upper half, but the lower sports thigh-high suede boots, a very flirty little skirt, and fishnet visible in between. She is, however, toting a pack on her back, and is scampering towards the scene of the crisis with all the speed that her boots permit. Still, she slows momentarily as the fight reaches its unexpected end... before picking up pace once more to hurry over to Sophia.
Sophia grins crookedly up at Aurore. "Darlin', you're a sight for sore eyes. Help me up," the bleeding Sister requests, holding a hand up. "Sorry for interrupting your, um. You look cute." She blushes a little.
Aurore clatters along the path until she reaches Sophia, before sinking elegantly into a crouch beside her - one that shows off even more fishnet and thigh, though she keeps her knees together rather than flash any more. "Especially if it makes you feel any better, feel free to look all you want," she answers rather distractedly, running her gaze over the fallen blonde's dishevelled and bloodied attire, before somewhat reluctantly reaching out to grasp that hand and see if she can draw Sophia up with her as she rises to full height once more. "I think we need to get you out of sight somewhere and see about treating you a little."
"Agreed," Sophia says. "Look, I'm gonna bleed all over your cuteness. Pqentun won't mind, I hope. Also, I'll loan you anything in my closet on a near-permanent basis." She winces, holding her stomach. She limps toward the chapter house slowly.
Aurore seems quite willing to press up against Sophia, trying to guide an arm around her so that she can take some of the blonde's weight. "It's a biking jacket, that I actually wear *on* bikes. Blood's far from the worst thing to wind up on it, I'm afraid," she murmurs dryly. "Just let me know if it either feels really bad, or stops hurting. I'll get to work on you immediately. But hopefully we can get you inside first."
Sophia nods, breathing heavily from pain. That and her winces are the only way she shows she's hurting. She doesn't cry, though. A trooper. "I think we can." She gestures vaguely at the nearest building. "Chapterhouse."
Aurore nods, focusing upon the task of getting herself and her burden there without either of them tripping over her fancy boots' heels... but fortunately she has uncommonly good coordination, and the weather is just this side of icy. "Right. Can you get us in? I'm not really a member, myself..."
Sophia nods, the movement slightly loose, bobbling. She hands Aura the proper key, after fumbling at her waist. "Gun," she says, the thing dangling from her right hand, as she tries to holster it. "Don't want to drop it."
"Gimme a sec," Aurore requests, using her free hand to sort the key round the right way, then unlock the door. She settles for simply shoving it open - key still in the lock - before reaching for the gun (taking care to keep her fingers the heck away from the trigger), and then attempting to help Sophia inside.
Sophia nods again. "Thanks," she says, and then gestures again, a sweeping lazy thing. "Put the gun anywhere." She pauses on the linoleum, waiting for Aurore to put the gun down, and then grab the keys and close the door. She is swaying a bit but keeping her feet.
Aurore's primary focus remains Sophia - but she does seem to be sufficiently security-conscious that she doesn't require prompting to set the gun carefully aside, reclaim the keys, then close the door firmly. "Okay... where do you want to bleed while I work on you?", she asks with forced jollity.
Sophia smiles weakly. "The kitchen," she says, and nods loosely at a nearby door. "Linoleum floor," she adds, as she lurches in that direction. "Easiest to clean. Unless you want to slash up the floor." It's a poor attempt at a joke.
Aurore winces before she manages a weak chuckle... but taking on Sophia's weight once more, she guides the blonde that way - intending to prop her on a chair or against a table, depending upon which Sophia seems to prefer.
Sophia prefers the chair. She bleeds weakly. "Hurts," she admits quietly, once they're inside. "I don't like it." She sighs as she's propped on the chair, and leans back, listless.
Aurore carefully settles Sophia into place, before turning on every available light, closing the door, and shrugging her pack down onto the floor and herself out of her jacket - revealing a tailored waistcoat (or vest) worn over a blouse. "I'll wash my hands, then get to work on you," she says, while leaning down to peer - without touching, at present. "First glance, it looks like more of a laundry bill than a medical one, but I'll know more shortly."
Sophia nods quietly, just breathing through the pain for a moment. Now that they're in the kitchen and she's about to be worked on, she can let herself feel the pain, and let herself whimper a little. "Aurore, I can't thank you enough," she says quietly. "I don't want to move too much, but yeah. This shit hurts. Are you sure, with the stomach injury, I shouldn't be laying down?" she adds, as the thought occurs to her.
"In a moment, yeah. But you took one in the shoulder, and I wanted at least a quick peer at that," Aurore says, moving to do just that. "Don't trust myself to spot something I can't see directly. Okay. Doesn't look too bad up there, so... floor or table? At least to start with, it's not going to make much difference. I need to clean you up anyway."
Sophia considers the question. "I think the table will be easiest to get down from," she says, after a moment. A long one, it seems, with as pale as she is, although she's not too bad off at the moment.
Aurore bustles around for a few moments - rinsing her hands, then rolling up her sleeves, before helping Sophia up and onto the table. Then she moves back to the sink to give her hands more thorough (but hasty) clean, and set hot water running. Moving to delve into her bag, she comes up with a home-made first aid kit, and shoots her patient a sympathetic look. "'Fraid I'm going to have to snip some clothing to get at this."
"I never patrol in anything I give a shit about. Snip away," Sophia replies. "Can I use your coat as a sort of pillow, please?"
"Ahh... crap. Pillow. Yeah. Sorry. Can tell I've done this lots of times before. Hang on." Within moments, Aurore has snared a roll of kitchen towels, and wrapped them in a dish cloth, to serve as a far gentler pillow than the zips and leather of her old biker jacket. "Here you go. Riiight. So, the 'in' in 'intestines' means they're meant to be on the inside, right?" Fortunately, her hands with rather more deft confidence than her words might suggest.
Sophia grins tiredly. "Thanks, love. And yeah. That's usually what that means," she says, recognizing and appreciating the joke. "There's only so much of that you can see on the outside before it gets bad." She winks at the ceiling. "Is it bad I'm sleepyish?"
"Probably not. It at least means you're not overdosing on adrenaline," Aurore answers - sounding a little distracted as she clears tattered clothing away from the claw-wounds. "On *first* glance, it looks as if you're not doing too badly. Surface only, from what I can see. But you're really going to have fun with me cleaning this up."
Sophia nods, with a sigh. "No painkillers or anything you can give me?" she asks, semi-hopefully. She knows it's a long shot, but--
"Nothing 'good'", Aurore says apologetically. "Well... depends on what you want, I suppose. I can offer you some meditational enhancement, that's permissible as part of my religious rites as a primitive savage. But you'd have to smoke it. Otherwise, you're better off having me raid members of the cheer squad for whatever they take to perform through injuries."
Sophia chuckles softly, then winces at the motion that causes. "Shit. Okay. I'll just... y'know, deal. Sorry for any screaming?" she offers, looking apologetic.
"Okay...." Aurore nods, bites her lip, then flashes a nervous grin at Sophia's face. "I'll grab you another towel to bite on. Then I'll clean this. Water. Check for any fragments caught in the wounds. Then iodine and stitching. Might be worth getting a real doctor or nurse to redo it if you're worried about scarringm, but I promise not to give you lightning-bolts. Unless you want them."
Sophia grins faintly. "I don't mind scars." Then she nods. "Towel to bite good."
One - hastily checked to confirm that it does actually seem to be remotely clean - is quickly provided, before Aurore sets to work. Very little of her kit is up to surgical standards... but well-cleaned tweezers and sharp scissors work just fine, even if they originally came from kits intended for rather different purposes. The iodine and stitching hook, however, *are* quite genuine medical items, and provide rather starkly painful confirmation of that. Fortunately, their user seems to have a fair notion of what she's doing.
Sophia is fading in and out. Not to mean that she's actually going unconscious, but sometimes she's rather.... not there, mentally, like her mind is trying to protect her from the pain. Understandable, under the circumstances. She only yells into the towel at particularly painful points, but mostly tries to control her breathing. The tears, though, are silent and constant now, thankfully not accompanied by sobs.
With the (probably) more urgent and nasty wounds in the stomach dealt with, Aurore moves on to wash, poke at, and then stitch up the damage to Sophia's shoulder. Only once that has been done - and she's had a chance to see that her work has not gone horribly awry - does she fetch bandages (new, sealed in packets, and pristine) to put into place to protect the injuries.
Sophia is still crying, but she's breathing a bit easier as she knows she's not going to die. Not that she really thought she was going to, but damn, shit hurts. She lays there for a while, even after Aurore's done. "I could sleep. Scared to, though."
"You've made more of a mess than you've really *lost* blood," Aurore says - hoping that she sounds at least minimally reassuring. "I'm not making light of it, but... well. Imagine how much mess you can make with, say, a cup of milk. Your body's far from happy, but it's not about to shut down from blood loss, I promise." Demonic poison, conceivably, but she isn't going to mention that unless it's brought up.
Sophia nods slowly, thoughtfully. "Anything else I should know?" she asks, tilting her head. "And--should I be worried about side effects from that blood?" She goes there.
Aurore grimaces, then shrugs expansively. "Frankly? I haven't a damn clue. That's precisely the second time I've met that thing - or one of those things. I'm not even certain it was the same one. Or if that's even a relevant consideration. But... I have something I can try, if you're willing to put up with a crazy researcher chick trying out a ritual around you. If it works, it should suppress a range of... paranormal influences in the area. Reinforce the bounds of physical reality, in effect. If that makes sense. Not permanent, but it should make it harder for anything to try to work on you."
Sophia considers for a moment, before nodding. "If it won't kill me or make me worse, sure. As long as you say the effects are positive. Which you did. So..." She's a bit rambling, but it's understandable, really.
Aurore gently touches Sophia's (undamaged) shoulder, before moving to wash her hands once more. She sets the kettle to boiling. "Want a drink of anything? Or I should at least help you rinse out your mouth, come to think of it. Sorry about that. I'm still... new to this. The rite itself'll take about ten minutes. Maybe more. Shouldn't do anything perceptible to you, but it might give us a bit of extra protection. And should make it a lot harder for anything like that to get in here, if it wants another round."
Sophia nods. "I'd like some tea," she says, and sighs. "If I drift off, is that okay?"
"I'll sort some now. Wouldn't mind a cup myself," Aurore agrees - a little shakily. "And... talk, if you feel up to it. But have a rest if you feel you need it. I'll keep an eye on you while I work, I promise."
Sophia looks up at Aurore's tone of voice. "Aura, are you all right?" she asks, concern in her voice. "What's wrong?" She watches the exotic beauty for a long moment, concern in her hazel eyes.
Aurore remains silent for a moment, busying herself with cups... before turning around and propping her derriere against the edge of the counter. She offers a shaky little laugh, and a lop-sided grin. "Never done that for someone before," she says, nodding towards Sophia's partly-exposed stomach. "I'm afraid you're my first 'live' patient picked up from the field, and patched up in an emergency."
"Oh, dear." Sophia struggles to a sitting position, with a wince--careful not to pop stitches, of course--and moves, slowly walking over to hug Aurore. "Let's have tea, and then do the ritual, yeah?" She holds the taller woman gently, if allowed.
Aurore looks rather as if she wished Sophia had stayed lying down... but seems quite willing to (gently) accept and return the hug. "Careful, you. Remember that 'in' bit for your -testines," she cautions, adopting an overtly serious tone.
Sophia smothers a smile. "Yes, Aurore." She grins, then, and moves to sit again. "So sit with me, and have tea."
"Do we need to worry about house-mates barging in and wondering why some crazy native is doing voodoo in her kitchen?", Aurore asks, flashing one of her effortlessly brilliant smiles. "But yeah. Tea coming right up. We can move to comfier seating, if you want. Or get you up to bed, if you have one here. The ritual, I can have a shot at pretty much anywhere."
"Nah, we're all Sisters here. They'd just assume it was healing stuff." Sophia gives a crooked smile. "Or, you know, if anyone else LIVED here. Bowie's living elsewhere, I think with Chase. And I'm barely here myself. But I do still keep a bed." She gestures upstairs. "I can start going up, and you follow with tea?"
"I'd be happier helping you up, but if you need a few moments to hide the hunk you keep there for your entertainment, or whatever, then feel free," Aurore assures her wounded hostess. "I'll be right up with drinks and funny-smelling stuff to stink out your chapterhouse with."
Sophia chuckles lightly, very breathily, to try not to jiggle her muscles too much. "No hunk. Just... it's hard to juggle two cups of tea and a Sophia." She rises, and slowly starts upstairs. "First door at the top of the stairs," she says, before leaving the kitchen.
Aurore allows herself a couple of minutes in which to hastily tidy up the worst of the bloody mess in the kitchen, before snaring the tea and her back, and heading upstairs. Upon arrival at the door, she gently 'knocks' by dunting the door with the toe of one boot.
Sophia is in bed, cozy. She's changed her shirt, the slashed and bloodied one in the garbage. Bra off, too, thank God. She is still in her bloody yoga pants. "Come in."
<OOC> Aurore says, “Single or double bed?”
<OOC> Sophia says, “Um, I think dorms/chapter houses usually have singles. So, single.”
<OOC> Aurore nodnods.
Aurore maneuvers the door open, slipping inside and carefully setting down the tea - at least one cup within easy reach of Sophia - before attempting to perch on the edge of her bed, should there be space. If not, she'll sink gracefully into a kneel on the floor right beside her. "Hi. Glad to see that you made it safely."
Sophia smiles, looking a lot more relaxed in the comfy bed. "Yeah, I'm good." She has pillows propping her up, so when she reaches for the tea, it's easy enough to sip it. "Oh, that warms me up. I am a bit cold. Should probably drink lots of fluids the next few days," she murmurs, with a smile. "Okay. So what do you need?" She asks, looking at Aura on the edge of her bed. "What can I help with?"
"Well... I can cover a fair area - more than just one room, by a fair margin. But probably not the whole building. If you're wanting to stay here and rest for at least a day or two, I can give you some help." Aurore shrugs gently. "But all I need from you is an idea of where I should focus on protecting... and whether you want a general ward, or something specifically aimed at the thing that attacked you."
"I think a general ward would be good, and--since this is right above the kitchen--can you ward it, too? But no more. Oh, and the stairs? But otherwise, I'm okay. Is that too much?" Sophia frowns and looks Aurore over.
"I should be able to do a block including the bathroom, if it's close by. So you can move around the core of the house in safety," Aurore muses. "The specific ward would last longer, and be stronger - but be useless against anything except its specific target. Which is a *teeny* bit of a drawback. And I can't promise whether there're any more of that thing out there, or...." She shrugs apologetically.
Sophia considers. "What about a general block while I'm recuperating, even though it won't be as strong? I'd rather that. I can't protect myself at all right now."
Aurore nods, looking decidedly thoughtful as she reaches for her own tea - cradling it in her hands rather than drinking it as yet. "A general one should last for a day, once I get it up. A specific one might last for a week. I could potentially put a specific one *inside* a general one, come to think of it. Give you two layers of defence. But doing anything permanent would require a lot of work. If I can even manage it."
Sophia shakes her head. "If you'd be so kind as to visit tomorrow and re-up the general one, give me two days, then I'll be able to fight again. Although I'll ask you to bring me my gun shortly."
"It's a real pain in the whatever: I'm tapping *myself* to give the wards the power they need. Or I'd offer to just keep them up indefinitely. But I can definitely give you a couple of days." Aurore offers a bashful little smile over her cup, before sipping from it.
Sophia smiles ruefully. "I'm sorry to ask at all," she says. "I'm just--scared." She admits with a tiny shrug. "I appreciate anything you can give me."
"Well, believe me - I *really* hope that this is totally unnecessary. And that it works. And that we never find out whether it does," Aurore says with a wry grin. "But you're wholly welcome. And... sorry. Truly. The... thing came looking for me, apparently. Didn't find me, but found my partner. Left her rather confused, with a message that she was looking for me, and Sophia. I called you when I figured out that it might be the... thing I saw on an island, when investigating something horrible with a couple of our colleagues. But it seems that someone - something - is hunting Hunters. With the intent of wiping us out."
Sophia blinks. "Is she okay?" There's real concern in her voice. "I don't know her, but if she was hurt... You are a good person. You have a good head on your shoulders. I will hurt anyone who hurts you or your loved ones." Since she's aware Aura isn't much of a fighter.
Aurore smiles warmly, blushing a little as she hastily shakes her head. "They seem to be... focused. Targeted. They're not just going after 'armed humans' or the like. *Specifically* hunters. The... place we investigated was a house on an island a little along the coast. Secure location. Two hunters who'd travelled in from out of the local area: weapons, armour, at least some know-how. They were butchered inside the place. Torn apart. Gross-out horror movie gore. With a message for us, that we're all going to die."
Sophia shudders, then winces. "fuck," she breathes, between pain and horror. "I--jesus."
Aurore looks sincerely apologetic, moving one hand to Sophia's good shoulder. "Sorry. Not much of a counsellor. I... I'd thought that fighting - shooting at! - zombie bikers was kind of a serious breaking-in point for me, for field work. That house.... *Really* not good. But I met that thing - or something like her - outside. She told us we were all going to die. Then went... demonic. Or whatever it is. She's neither a ghost nor a naturally-occurring spirit, so I'm thinking demonic, potentially. She attacked. Bowie and Aislin shot her. A lot. I cowered. She got splattered. We investigated the house and found what I've described. With the attempted 'hit' on you, and in daylight to boot, I'm starting to think we should congregate. Make damn sure no one's isolated."
"I've got the space," Sophia says, gesturing around the empty chapter house. "Everyone can congregate here." She smiles softly at the hand on her shoulder. "I just--worry. We can't stay together -all- the time, can we? ... Can we?"
"It's more... being vulnerable," Aurore says awkwardly. "But this is new to me. I'd... foolishly, it turns out, assumed that these things would work slowly, at night, with difficulty. Not be able to turn up on campus and attack someone in broad daylight. That's a pretty huge difference to what I was blithely presuming'd be the case."
Sophia nods. "Well, we all make assumptions, darlin'. Human nature, and that." She smiles awkwardly. "At least you -knew- what was up. I had no idea--I got blindsided. Which, whatever, it's part of Hunter life--and you tried to warn me as soon as you could." She picks up her phone and considers.
Aurore looks grateful, lightly squeezing Sophia's shoulder before reclaiming her hand and taking a sip of her tea. "Thank you. I'm not at all sure what we *should* do. But at the very least, I should get something posted through the Society, to warn people."
"Please. And tell them this is a safehouse. I just texted my sister, Sadie, to warn her--I think she's going to be a Knight." Sophia frowns softly before continuing. "But everyone's welcome here. I have the best room," she adds with a smirk, "but this is my fucking house as far as being pretty much the only one who lives here. So." She grins.
Aurore chuckles. "The Society's hall is heavily defended. Anyone seriously concerned should be totally safe there. Though it's really not set up for accommodation, of course. But thank you. Those of us who're supposed to be ritualists and researchers had best get to work on this."
Sophia nods, and falls silent. "If my sister texts back, will that be a problem?"
"No, no. I... mark out corners. It doesn't need to be a continuous line. You can break the ward yourself by removing any of the corner markings, but you can wander in and out freely. Should only do anything to one of the bodiless." Aurore offers a hopeful smile. "And certainly, a Knight - even just a trainee (is that a Squire?) - should be good to have around right now."
"...sure. With study," Aurore says guiltily. "Or enough natural talent. Or... apparently, rather saintly people can erect wards and banish spirits and so on based just on faith and relevant prayers and incantations. There's the longer route of 'normal' occultism, where you figure out just what you're dealing with, what its precise weaknesses are, and how to use those to block or banish it. My version's a short-cut that uses, well, *me* to plug the gap of ignorance and time. And I infuse the wards with power they wouldn't otherwise have, and let them affect things they shouldn't."
Sophia winces. "That sounds painful, oh my God! Are you--" She inspects Aurore visually, thoroughly. It's not a leer; just the opposite. It's motherly concern, despite being the younger one here. "I... wow. Okay. You're amazing."
Aurore's cheeks colour, and she shrugs again. "It's... tiring. Draining, you could see. But not... damaging. If that makes sense? It is, after all, very much *not* the body that I'm trying to affect. If that thing's in a body, then strong locks and sturdy doors should help rather a lot. I'm trying to deal with what's... riding the body. Keep *it* out."
Sophia nods. "That makes sense. And you can sleep to regain this--spirit energy?"
Aurore nods, then shrugs, before grinning. "It's... well. Anything that uplifts your spirits, refreshes you, makes you feel... stronger within yourself. I promise it's not permanent damage. But it *is* a, ummm, a cap on how much I can do of this sort of thing. Well, that and the fact that I'm not much of a ritualist, really. I've only *just* got this one to a stage where I think I can replicate it pretty reliably. Till now, I've had to rely on the 'slow route' of investigating a specific entity and trying to figure out its own unique flaws and vulnerabilities. Which is less innately challenging, but *far* more time-consuming. If it's even possible."
Sophia nods. "I understand. I think!" She grins crookedly. "So it's new. Well, new is better than not at all." She nods, and looks at her phone.
Aurore nods quickly. "I hope so! Sooo... on that note. I'll leave you to call your Squirely sister, and I'll see about getting up that ward. Give me a shout if you need anything."
Sophia laughs softly. "Okay. But if you can, stick around. If --Qent, you called her? Wants to stop by, she's welcome. It's nice to have someone else in the chapter house."
Aurore laughs, ducking her head gratefully. "I can let her know. And thank you. I'll get to work, and try to get up some defences. Back in a few, if you don't need me before then."
Sophia nods. "I'll holler if I do," she promises, reaching for her phone. She has her charger near by, so she plugs the dying thing in, and begins to text with her sister.
What follows takes a *lot* more than 'a few minutes', and a good deal more than ten. More than three quarters of an hour elapse, before a rather weary-looking Aurore makes her way back into Sophia's room, peeking around the door to see if her hostess has dozed off. Or been consumed by demons, for that matter.
Sophia is (or has been) doing neither. "Hey Aura." She frowns. "You look exhausted. Come sit. I can convince Sadie to bring lunch, if you'd like to stay." She smiles.
"I wouldn't say no to a free lunch," Aurore concedes, taking a (slightly heavy) perch on the bed. "Ooorgh. That took a *lot* more time than I'd have liked. I think I need to refine some of my techniques. Especially for when I'm trying to cover...." One hand waves vaguely up and down. "Height. Multiple storeys. Rather than just marking out an area on the ground."
Sophia winces. "Sorry to cause you trouble," she says softly. "Let me invite Sadist over." She grabs her phone again and starts to tap on the screen.
"...Sadist?", Aurore asks a little apprehensively. "Wow."
Sophia laughs. "It's just a play on her name. She's a Sadie. Sadist. I'm Sophia. Soapi. We're--weird." She winks, and keeps tapping at the touchscreen.
"If she's anywhere near as gorgeous and nice as you, I'll gladly put up with more weird," Aurore responds, rather wearily essaying gallantry.
Sophia blushes. "She's a biker girl. You'll like her. I think she's called some guy's 'old lady' but I don't know terminology, so." She shrugs. "I am just rebuilding a relationship with her.
"Old lady...? Gah. Not a term I've ever liked, but it's not as if I'm one to judge," Aurore answers with a wry smile. "But yeah: good luck with that. I really hope it works out, for both of you."
Sophia tilts her head. "I hate it too, but from what I understand, a lot of Motorcycle Clubs are still pretty sexist." A shrug. "Not my choice. It's hers. I can respect it while disagreeing with it." Her eyes twinkle.
Aurore chuckles and nods. "I attended a wedding between two gang-members, recently. *So* many things about it that made my skin crawl... but she's an old friend, as well as a fabulous artist, and... not my place to bend her ear about my 'problematic' ideas and opinions."
"Oh, is that Kilo? Tattooist? I've been considering a tattoo, and I hear she's the best in the city." Sophia grins. "I heard she got married recently, hence putting two and two together. Didn't know she was in a gang. Well, as long as she don't hurt me or mine, that's fine."
"Southside Kings. Unfortunately," Aurore says ruefully. "Her new husband frankly scares me. But... he's certainly a few grades up from her *last* boyfriend in the gang. But yeah - she, ahh, worked on me out in LA. It was apparently me talking about Fallcoast that made her decide to come all the way up here when she wanted a new start."
Sophia nods. "She's safe, though? Like, now that she's married to a fellow gang member, I don't need to help you bust heads for... mistreating her?" Sophia, feminist.
"The *last* one, she actually defended to me over having been 'justified' in hitting her in the face. In her own home. Because she 'talked back to him' in front of witnesses. And he therefore 'had' to defend his honour to maintain his standing in the gang." Aurore rolls her eyes, though her voice suggests that she's suppressing (old) fury rather than finding this amusing. "This one... she got all embarrassed and bashful. I kind of having the impression that yes, Free hurts her... but in ways they both enjoy and she doesn't really want to talk about at all publicly. *Hopefully* it stays that way. I can't say I trust him, but I'm willing to try tolerating him, for Kilo."
Sadie comes bearing gifts. Or at least tacos. Because who doesn't love a good taco, right? Maybe she's in a taco mood because the morning started with a shot of super cheat tequila. Not that she did. Wait, she totally did. But with a sack of tacos in hand, she arrives.
Sophia's face is a mask of cold fury as her sister walks in. "Lovely," she says of Kilo's ex-boyfriend. She takes a deep breath before replying to the rest. "Hey, I'm down with the BDSM. But domestic abuse is a totally different game. It's... mm." She gives a still-slightly-chilly smile at Aurore--not DIRECTED at her, but she's the recipient of the chill, nonetheless. "You understand, of course. Oh, hey, Sadie. This is Aurore. Is that a skank with a bag of tacos? Do I get to hit her?" She grins at her sister, warmth fully returned.
Sophia's abed, looking rather the worse for wear. The chapterhouse of the Maiden's Blood smells slightly of blood, cleaning fluids, and... 'medicinal' herbs. And perched on Sophia's bed is an exotic, curvy beauty with the sides of her head shaved: Aurore's clad in thigh-high suede boots, fishnets, a decidedly brief and flirty skirt, and a waistcoat (vest) worn over a blouse with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows.
Unsurprisingly, she looks rather startled in response to Sophia's greeting to the new arrival, and rather uncertainly raises a hand. "Uhh, hi," she offers - her voice a richly melodious alto that's as memorable as her appearance.
"You're the one from the place," is Sadie's cryptic greeting to the exotic beauty that is Aura. She must mean the hangout. She's been in and out of there a few times, usually in Liam's wake. But it's Sophia that gets her sister's attention for the most part. "The fuck happened to you?" she demands as she drops the tacos onto the dresser or somewhere convenient like that and perches herself on the other side of Sophia's bed. Suddenly Sadie is in Big Sister mode, all fussing and trying to take Sophia's temperature with her wrist in Sophia's forehead, all that. Even their little joke about hitting skanks with sacks of tacos gets ignored for a moment.
Sophia grabs the sack of tacos and lightly bops her sister. "Fucking demonic bullshit. Like, it possessed a body, or some shit, then started flying around, trying to kill me. Fuckers have sharp nails." She shudders. "Aurore called me just as I ran into it. I'm glad, Aura, you can read my bullshit, too. I was totally sorority-girling on the phone at first. Had she not shown up when she did, I might've really struggled to get myself cleaned up." She's in a fresh shirt, but the yoga pants are still covered in spots of blood. Her belly got slashed, and her right shoulder.
Aurore worriedly watches the siblings, before managing to conjure up a wan little smile. "Surface wounds only, fortunately. But...." She shrugs slightly. "I'm no surgeon and this isn't an ER. I did what I could, and I *think* it's enough. Any problems, and we should get it professionally dealt with. As for the, ahh, fucking demonic bullshit - I've put up some defences which I *hope* should keep it out, if it tries to get back in. But it seems to need some time to, ahh, put its body back together. After it gets shot up. I definitely hope so."
Sadie's frown deepens as she gives Sophia the 'I am the big sister and you will listen to me and do not even think of trying to get out of this bed or there will be hell to pay' look. "This what you meant in your text? I can't get a hold of Liam. He had to run back to Florida, should be on his way back sometime today. I'll have him keep an eye on you if you think that thing'll come back."
Sophia shrugs. "I think the thing will come back no matter what. S'after all of us capital-H Hunters." She stares at her sister, not trying ot ignore Aura, but--well--for the moment... "I am suggesting everyone stay here at night, at the least." The MBS Chapter House lies empty, anyway, with Sophia the lone, part-time occupant. "I'd rather you stay if he keeps an eye on me. I don't know him that well," she reminds Sadie, before looking to Aurore with a smile. "And you. You have saved my life today. Dunno how to repay that." She might be exaggerating more than a little, but it's heartfelt.
"It - or something just like it - killed two independents who were in the area," Aurore says softly, while blushing and rather sheepishly giving Sophia's hand a squeeze. "They weren't exactly *waiting* for it... but they'd got guns and armour, and were holed up in a house on an island. Pretty sure they felt safe. Looks like they weren't really occultists, but... it didn't leave them in any state to answer questions. And what I ran into there was pretty explicit about intending to kill us all. I kind of have the impression it's the, umm, weapon and messenger. Not the driving force behind this. But we're in the dark, still. As for safety... safest place in town'll be the Society's Hall, but it's not set up for people to live in. But if you ever need somewhere to hole up, it is *seriously* warded."
AHA! See, Sadie is not yet a capital-H-Hunter. Well she's somewhere in between, actually. She hasn't been Inked yet by the Tattooist, but she's gone on 'runs' with the Knights. Sort of like a probie witha motorcycle club: Member but not MEMBER. "Oh I'll be staying, that part goes without saying," she points out before leaning in to plant a kiss on her sister's forehead. "And thank you," she mentions to Aurore. "Seriously, my sister's practically the only family I have." Because her and her father? STILL not talking. But working on it. And mom? Well still messed up. "You know where to find what did this? I'll go kill it myself." Clearly you don't mess with her little sister.
Sophia smiles softly and kisses Sadie's cheek, with some wincing involved at the movement of sitting up. "Honey, I know you're going to be a huge help when it comes time to kill this thing. But you cannot take it alone, hear me?" She stares into her sister's bright green eyes, her hazel ones burning--possibly with pain, definitely not with fever. She's not infected, thanks to Aurore's quick work. "I love you. If I lost you--" She leaves the thought hanging, still staring into Sadie's eyes. She finally breaks gaze, and starts to dig for a taco. "Seriously, that took so much out of me. I'm hungry as hell."
"You really *can't* take it alone, unless you've got some serious tricks up your sleeve," Aurore says quietly. "That's twice now that I've seen it blown away. Either one of it, or two just the same. It... stops them from trying to kill you there and then, but that's all I'm *sure* it does. It looks like it takes time for another one to be summoned, or for the same one to make a new body, or whatever. But being shot to pieces just seems... inconvenient for it. Not a way to *stop* it. We need to get people onto figuring out a proper solution, as soon as possible. I thought it was a *lot* more limited than it seems to be. Daylight attack on campus... not at all what I expected. And it's *quite* willing to roam the city, talking to 'normal' people, to try to find targets it's after. And it seems to be able to track at least some of us."
Sadie not only has tacos, she also has a small pile of sauce packets in the bag too. The super omfg-my-face-is-melting-off hot for her and the one that her sister likes, too. "I brought a bunch," she mentions to Aurore. Assuming Sophia doesn't eat a dozen and a half tacos on her own, there's more than enough to go around. She uses that exchange as an excuse to break eye contact with Sophia, before Sophia can see that maybe a tiny part of her might still be planning to go punch whatever it is in the face multiple times for daring to touch her sister. "Liam can handle demons," she mentions amid the rustling for a taco of her own. "You know how it tracks? I mean it's not like we're all the same."
Sophia catches the tail end of that glint and sighs. "Sadist, if you go, just--don't expect guns to hurt the thing too badly. I got lucky, okay? And I still had Aura coming for me in a panic. These are not things to fuck with." She looks to Aura, and gestures. "Aurore has it. If you're going up against it, have like--I don't know." She perks a little, still pale, but she looks more alert. "Do we know anyone who knows how to make the demon-stopping strips like Sailor Mars uses in the manga/anime Sailor Moon?" Ah, there's the geek.
Aurore shakes her head. "No, not me. The Knights might be our best bet - but I don't know in detail quite what the enchanted tattoos can *do*. And... someone hostile to us, and with the power to summon this thing, might simply have a list of names, for all I know - but the first two 'hits' we know about were out-of-town visitors. I'm a ritualist, and locally born. They weren't local, and seem to've been... physical types, at least in large part. Then, after it failed to find me at home, it went looking for Sophia on campus. Or maybe others of the Sisterhood, and it didn't care who. But no obvious links, save for the Vigil as a whole. But that's something worth investigating. See if they did have links locally. See if we can find out how this thing finds us. Whether there's more than one. And what on Earth - or elsewhere - is behind it. This clearly has *intent*, and focus. It's not interested in collateral damage: didn't raise a finger against my partner; attacked no one on campus except Sophia.... Scarily, it's also breaking some of the 'usual' limits. Seems to be able to operate in daylight and in public, and to cross open water."
"I dunno, Liam might," Sadie suggests with a bit of a shrug to her sister. Aurore gets a nod. "It depends. The ink you get, it does... different stuff. At least that's how he explained it to me. But I shouldn't be on anyone's lists. Not yet anyway."
Sophia shrugs at her sister. "I'd have to ask him. And you know what you're getting into? Hunting shit ain't easy, sis." She watches her sister before glancing to Aurore. "I think this thing is more western modern ghoul/zombie than traditional vamp," she hazards.
"It's not seeking sustenance; it's pursuing a mission; it's neither a ghost nor a natural spirit; it can operate in daylight; it can cross open water; it appears to have precious little in the way of instinct to preserve itself." Aurore sighs ruefully. "I know that at least one person's encountered something like it at least once before *I* first saw it. So we're now up to at *least* three encounters."
Sadie ventures, "Any ties between the sightings? I mean anything in common with any of it?" Yeah, clearly nobody has thought to ask that before. Really Sadie, get with the program. She glances over to her sister and pauses before taking a bite of her taco. "I've been involved in worse things, Soap. Trust me. I'm probably far more equipped than you are. In fact, I'd be happy to never see you in this condition ever again."
Sophia frowns, lips twisting to the side. "Well, Aurore, since I'm in bed for at least a week," she says while looking at her belly, "I can read for you. I'm sure you have a job." She smirks a little. Then she looks at her sister. "you've been hunted by demons and zombies that steal kids? Oh, and worse? Please, enlighten me. Fucking shit, Sadie, it's not a pissing contest. We've all seen stuff, okay?"
"I took this rather too lightly," Aurore puts in sheepishly. "First encounter, I saw it blown away by two eager people with a shotgun and assault rifle. And no one really seemed in trouble from us. There were horrible deaths - but they'd clearly been caught by surprise, right? And in a remote spot. This thing... it's quite willing to wander around town asking for at least some of us *by name*. We need to get at least a few people onto this, and urgently. So... yeah. Lots of reading, I think, for a fair few of us. Fortunately, my jobs are kind of flexible. I'm a doctoral candidate at the university, and I dance to pay the bills."
"Maybe not, but it's not like I haven't had to handle shit for the club," Sadie snaps back to her sister. One percenter motorcycle club FTW? "I'm just sayin', maybe I haven't been in your precious little demon hunter club for as long as you but that's probably good in this case, since it wouldn't /have/ my name and I can handle myself."
Sophia nods at Aurore. "And it asked for me by name, you said," she says grimly. She looks at her sister, before sighing. "Look, I'm fucking worried about you, okay?" Says the one with the slashed up right shoulder and belly. Good thing she's a leftie. "I know you can handle yourself, but so can I, and look what it fucking did, Sadie. Just because I'm not in your MC, doesn't mean I haven't seen shit myself. I know you want to protect me because I'm the baby sister, but--" She sighs. "I am eating a taco and not saying a word until it is done." She grabs one and unwraps it, eating slowly, letting her temper cool.
Aurore offers the two grumpy siblings a nervous smile. "We can hope that it can't find you. Doesn't know about you. But we don't know how it's getting its information," she says softly. "First two deaths were out-of-town hunters, just visiting the area. *We* didn't even know they were here. Or why. Maybe they were on this thing's trail, and had chased it from somewhere else. We're just in the dark, so far. But I'll get what answers I can, as soon as I can. Right now... this place *should* be safe from it, I hope. For the next day. And I'll be back tomorrow to refresh the wards."
Sadie's glare is focused on her sister and the taco. GLARE! Glower! Big sister knows best! STFU SOAP. It's all being projected silently in that expression. "Of /course/ I want to protect you. You're my sister and it's my job to protect you, dumbass. It's not my job to come deliver food to you as you're bleeding out in bed and maybe dying and if you ever fucking die I will kick your ass so hard you'll come back to life just so I can kill you all over again, got it?" Big sister rage out, she glances toward Aura and her expression softens slightly. "What help do you need? I'll ask the Knights, find out what I can."
Sophia huffs, but, as promised, focuses on her taco. NO TALKY WHILE EATY. Besides, Sadist might smash her if she does, so she lets tension deflate naturally. She's always been the peacekeeper.
Aurore giggles, cracking a nervous grin. "Well... research, to start with. But definitely keeping an eye out for her. Sophia and I can give a fairly detailed description, I think. She can pass for... odd but human, until she... wigs out. Then the whole 'looks like a corpse with milk-white eyes, flies, and has claws' thing tends to give away the supernatural element."
"So just go around looking for the flying dead thing? That doesn't sound so hard," Sadie deadpans.
Sophia takes another bite of taco. Still no talky. She is eating this thing p a i n f u l l y slowly.
Of course. Despite the fact that Sadie would usually make a joke about how fast and how many tacos Sophia can eat all at once, she refrains. She just gives a sidelong glower to her sister. Bitch. loveyou. "We should make a list of everything we know. And how long has this been going on?"
"I believe that Aislinn's met this thing - or these things - at least twice. Might make her our current 'expert'," Aurore says ruefully. "But yeah: you can see why I'm keen to get people researching this mess."
Sophia loveyoutoo bitch. She finishes her taco and swallows, looking surprised. "I need to talk to my girlfriend, it seems," she muses softly.
Aurore pauses, blinks, then looks startled. "Oh! Oh. Ummm. Feck. Sorry. I... yeah. First time I saw you guys together was the party. And... oops. Didn't think."
Your girlfriend. Sadie shakes her head a little with a slight grin, as if she might not get used to hearing about her sister having a girlfriend. "Think she'll be able to figure this stuff out?" she asks her sister.
"With all of us on the case, I figure we can," Soapi says to Sadist. "I figure she knows the most from the hands on" a grimace at phrasing "aspect, and the occult stuff's covered by Aura and me." She shrugs. "The rest is just, I dunno, keeping safe." She watches her skanky sister before bapping her again with the sack of tacos. "And someone to wait on me until I can move reliably without tearing stitches."
Aurore nods hopefully. "With luck, we'll manage to get on top of this quite quickly. And we can keep Sophia safely out of harm's way, at least till she's better."
Sophia watches Sadie go to the store to get a few supplies the sorority house lacks, needing to take a walk. She glances back to Aurore. "I love her, but I worry." Little sister to big sister. "I really get the whole 'have to protect my sibs' thing. But at the same time, I don't think she knows what I've seen. The vampires I've slain at my own hand... watching them crumble to dust." She shakes her head. "I don't... think she knows what she's getting into."
Aurore winces, then nods sympathetically. "Almost certainly not," she says softly. "It does seem to be part of the Knights' esprit de corps that they view themselves as the *true* elite, and the rest of us as dabblers. Which to *some* extent is true: they're expected to go up against things that have foiled whoever calls *in* the Knights. But that seems to run the serious risk of the Knights assuming that they are better than *every* other Hunter, against *every* possible threat. Which seems rather unlikely to be true."
Sophia nods. "I always like working together--but since it was Gene, Bow, and me at the height of the Sisterhood in town..." She shrugs. "And now Gene got transfered elsewhere, and Bow's... well, Bow. I love her. But she is flighty, sometimes." She shrugs again.
Aurore continues to look sympathetic. "I gather that there are some 'new' Loyalists in town. If so, we might be able to tap into the network quite seriously, for research. But we'll have to see who we can each round up to help with this. And what information we can rustle up."
Sophia nods. "I'll post in the Uplifting downstairs, if you'd put it up for me. I'll write it, you post it. Then you tap into your buddies. We'll see what we can scrounge."
"Definitely. And once we have a little more information, it might be possible to do some more specific and targeted poking."