Saturday morning. The sun has yet to rise and a light rain falls from the sky. Brigitte checks her shotgun one more time before glancing over at the two women with her. "This is a bit early for my nieces so I hope I'll do" she smirks. "Though when you called, Amanda, I was hoping you were back in your experimental stage." She looks over at the imposing old building. "No way we can walk through the front door with this weaponry but..." Brigitte holds up some keys and jingles them. "Pays to know the staff. So what are we expecting in there and what are we looking for?"
"Subterranean ritual centre, employed by a death cult that's moved up here from Mexico," Aurore answers ruefully, hands thrust deep into the pockets of her coat as she hunches against both Winter's cold and nervous apprehension. "They're *not* nice people. Favour human sacrifice, and from what we heard - and saw - last time we were here, internal discipline might be enforced rather lethally. There's also the risk of them having a really big critter or two down there with them, though since those things fly, I'm *hoping* not."
Amanda smirks, adjusting her bag, and carrying a camera. "Good work, Brigitte," she says with a wink and a smirk. "From what little we know......a cult.....of sorts. We didn't get much information here last time, as we didn't want to get voluntold to join in."
"So a cult and giant flying monsters...and I'm it for the muscle?" Brigitte snorts in amusement at her life before shrugging. "You only live once, right? C'mon, ladies." With a last look around to ensure they're alone, Brigitte heads over to the janitorial door and then opens it up. She swings her shotgun from her shoulder and into her hands before stepping inside. "Stay behind me and if it gets to heavy...get the fuck out and leave me to hold them off."
Amanda stays close behind Brigitte, says, "Yeah, sorry sweetie. We needed some back up." Looking around, she adds, "You don't have to tell me twice. If I start running, try to keep up."
The maintenance tunnels under the library are dark and don't look to have been maintained well at all themselves. Water trickles down the walls from overhead pipes and many of the lights flicker. Some sections entirely dark as their footsteps echo down the concrete corridors. Brigitte's shotgun pointed downwards as she walks, her flashlight still off. "So we're looking for a new part of the library underground or a real old one?"
"Looked old. 'Renovation' work had opened up access to old passages underground," Aurore explains quietly, peering around apprehensively. "I'm not much of an architectural expert, and we didn't stick around for too long, but I'd definitely have said pre-twentieth century."
"Old one," Amanda says, really looking the Velma part now that they're in the tunnels. "We went in through a part of the library undergoing maintenance, and it led into an older art of the library, made out of stone and whatnot. Very old fashioned."
"Okay...well let's hope these tunnels are linked to them somehow. Or it's up and back down in the library and that puts us on the security cameras" notes Brigitte as they encounter a T-junction. "Any objections to left?" She is already heading that way before getting an answer. A wary sniff of the air. "Anyone else smell that?" There is an aroma in the air but it is not rot or refuse but more...oranges?
"...citrus?" Aurore cocks her head. "Definitely smell something. And it doesn't seem to just be an artificial scent added to something else. Might be a clue we're on the track to *something* odd, at least."
Amanda says, "Oh, if you were worried about getting caught on the cameras, I can fix that," Amanda says. Sniffing, she smells it too. "Maybe there's pirates down here warding off scurvy?" she hesitantly offers."
"I think that would be lemons or lime, mon ami" Brigitte smirks at Amanda over her shoulder, "Though maybe it is oranges too. This way..." She heads down a darkened corridor that gets narrower...and slopes downwards. The scent is getting stronger. They eventually reach a section that is completely dark and Brigitte switches on her flashlight. "Do either of you have weapons?"
Once the flashlight is on, Amanda takes a photo, making sure all 3 hunters are not in the shot. At the mention of weapon, she lets out an involuntary laugh. "No, no weapons here. I do have my anti-spooky thing bag though," she says, patting her bag.
"Flashlight. University-issue rape alarm. Pepper spray. Household hammer. Swiss army knife. I'm afraid that's all I could come up with for an arsenal," Aurore says sheepishly. "And I've got my ritual kit, of course."
"What do you have in a 'anti-spooky thing bag'?" asks Brigitte before looking in disbelief at the pair of them. "How have you survived to do this so long" she teases before turning back down the dark corridor, her flashlight illuminating the wet grey walls. "Okay. Let's keep it as quiet as we can." Onwards!
The concrete walls end abruptly to be replaced by heavy stones. This could be a good sign. Even the floor is now stone. Brigitte stops, feeling the walls where it changed over. It doesn't look like it has been recently excavated.
"Oh you know, some basic stuff. Holy water, wooden stakes, stuff like that. Stuff that can take on basic supernatural entities, but not the big nasty ones," she explains. She takes photos of the change to concrete to heavy stones. "I'm new to the Vigil, remember?" she teases in return.
"She's *brand* new. And I'm pretty new to field work, myself. And not too good at it, from all evidence thus far," Aurore puts in. "But we came across all *this* before Amanda was even aware there *was* a Vigil."
"Okay, then let's make sure you both survive to do some more field work" Brigitte shrugs before stepping forward once more. "Watch your feet, it's slippery" she notes as a thin layer of water is now over the ground. Brigitte's flashlight sweeps over it and she frowns. "There might be blood in the water" she whispers before the corridor comes to a stop in front of a thick wooden door that looks like it is from another age...about two hundred years ago.
Amanda nods. "Yeah, this is actually what brought me into the Vigil," she says. The puddle and door both have photos taken of them, but Amanda is starting to wonder if the sound of the camera will attract attention. "Well, you'll need me to get evidence. You need to know what you're fighting," she explains.
Aurore winces. "Yeah... blood in the water wouldn't be a surprise," she murmurs ruefully. "We're pretty much certain at least one person's been killed down here fairly recently. And I'd expect there to be more. If it comes to a fight... expect them to be *most* interested in grabbing Amanda. Young, well-endowed women apparently make the best sacrifices."
"I've found that to be true in many circumstances" Brigitte nods to Aurore about Amanda before smiling at the latter. "Don't worry. I'll protect them." Looking back at Aurore she adds, "Don't think they'll ignore you." Brigitte leans against the door, trying to listen through it before shaking her head. "That's a thick door. Can anyone pick a lock?" She squats down to check the old lock and tries the handle...definitely locked. Leaning the shotgun against the wall she looks back at the two other women. "Either of you have lockpicks in those bags of yours?"
Amanda thinks and says, "I don't think I have any picks, but I'm ok with picking locks." She squats and looks at the lock. "I could give it a go regardless, if you want?" she asks.
"Just the Swiss Army knife, I'm afraid. I'll add lockpicks to the list of things I need to acquire," Aurore says sheepishly, delving into a pocket to come up with the device in question.
"Go for your life, Amanda. We ain't getting through this door otherwise" Brigitte replies, stepping back to lean against the wall and watch. "Try the knife" she nods to Aurore. "Not the knife bit...the bits with the curly prod and shit like that." She picks up her shotgun and waits.
Amanda takes the Swiss army knife, and starts fiddling round with the lock. After a few moments, it clicks unlocked. Offering the knife back to Aurore, she steps away to allow Brigitte to go in first.
Aurore peers over Amanda's shoulder - but tries to be useful, turning on her own flashlight to provide a little extra illumination for her friend as she works. Once the task is complete, she flashes an appreciative grin, murmuring, "Well done" - and also clearing the way for the shotgun-toting warrior to take the lead once again.
"Good work, Amanda. You're not just a lovely face" Brigitte smiles sweetly before pulling open the door to reveal a stone walled corridor. The far end lit by burning torches mounted on the wall. "They did not light themselves" she whispers, "So stay alert." The ex-Special Forces woman advances, keeping low, shotgun still lowered as her eyes scan and search the innocuous looking corridor.
Suddenly Brigitte signals for them to stop. The perfume of oranges is vivid now; almost able to be tasted. But it is the voices that caused her to stop. A strange clicking language being used by at least three people - a woman and two men.
Amanda stays close behind Brigitte, and stops when told to. Hearing the language, she mouths to the others, "That's the language I heard the other night, when I was joining."
Aurore freezes in place, doing her best to breathe as quietly as possible - turning her wide-eyed gaze on Brigitte for an indication of how to proceed. Running away again doesn't *yet* seem like an necessary choice.
Brigitte gestures for them to advance slowly and quietly - though it is a bit more dumbed down than the military gesture she would normally use. Another T-junction ahead and she slips towards the voices. The fragrance is now carried on a chill breeze before she holds up the advance again and points to the large room ahead.
They can see the woman that they were informed about as well as the two men talking to her. They are the men that Amanda saw at the building. Perhaps they are trying to explain why it hadn't blown up yet.
"That's them! That's them! Tried blowing the nest up!" Amanda mouths to the others. She daren't risk taking photos now, lest they clickers hear them.
Aurore listens intently, wishing that she were more of a linguist. Confirming that the language sounds rather like what she'd expect for a Mesoamerican tongue doesn't really get her very far in making out anything of active use. She nods confirmation to Amanda, then looks back to Brigitte once more, lest she miss a signed instruction.
As the trio of Huntresses watch the trio of bad guys from the shadows of the torchlit corridor. Behind them, in the darkness of T-junction direction they didn't take, something stirs. Slowly it drags itself forward. Reptilian skin slipping through the shallow layer of water in the stone hall. Closer and closer it approaches, still lurking in the shadows as its long tongue slip out of its fanged mouth to scent the air. Its eyes focus on the Huntresses - they are about to become prey.
"What now?" Amanda mouths to the others, clueless to the thing hunting them.
Aurore inhales, slowly and carefully, trying to steady her jangling nerves. She bites her lower lip, then looks to Brigitte. "Observe?", she suggests diffidently.
"See how many there are" Brigitte whispers in return, straining to see further into the large chamber without giving themselves away...it is not easy. And Brigitte is not a patient person. "Maybe there is another way around. I don't want to shoot these three and discover another thirty around the corner."
Amanda starts looking round, trying to find other passages they could use to explore the area.
Unseen behind them the reptile continues to slink forward, low to the earth, its cold eyes locked on its prey.
Aurore nods agreement, more than a little relieved that confrontation is not - apparently - in her immediate future. And though she looks around, she remains wholly oblivious to the approaching threat.
Amanda starts looking round for passages. However, she sees something worse. She taps the others, and points at the beast. She's too scared to say anything.
Brigitte does not need to be tapped. She sees it...but she also sees something else. Eyes that became accustomed to jungle blackness spot a bright side to the situation. "Okay, ladies. I suggest we walk slowly back the way we came and don't give it a reason to make a noise." A quick glance back at the trio talking in the large chamber. "It has a chain around the rear leg so...hopefully...it won't be able to reach us."
It takes Aurore a moment or three to figure out what on Earth her attention might be getting drawn to... then she boggles wide-eyed at it for a second or two more. A jerky nod of agreement follows, along with a firmer bite of her lower lip, then her best attempt at stealthy movement. It's not exactly assisted by struggling to see where to put her feet or the trembling of her limbs, but she at least manages to avoid tripping over herself or her companions.
Amanda starts quietly heading towards the way out, eyeing the monster up. She grips the camera tightly, wanting to take a photo but not wanting to risk having it attack them.
Brigitte covers the rear as the other two make their way carefully past the beast. It stares at them, sniffing the air with its tongue, but thankfully it does not respond any further to their slow, careful movements. Brigitte follows behind them. "Hell of a guard dog" she whispers, making a mental note of the location. "You think it would eat drugged meat?"
"Quite possibly." Aurore's response is only a little more than an exhaled breath. "Don't think that reptiles tend to be too picky. And I doubt they overfeed it. Would rather defeat the purpose of it, I suspect. So... yeah. Worth a shot, I'd guess."
Amanda nods. "Yeah, pretty good deterrent," she whispers back. "Look, I want to take a photo of it, record it, how far away do you think I need to be to do it safely?" she quietly asks the others.
Brigitte makes sure they are back in the corridor that leads them to the janitor entrance they used originally before nodding to Amanda. "Take your picture, mon ami...and then run as fast as your pretty legs can take you. I have a feeling it will roar." She looks over in the direction of the main chamber where she expects trouble to come from. "Aurore...time to use that stripper training" she winks. "Okay, Amanda. We're ready."
Aurore blinks at Brigitte, trying to make a connection between shedding her clothes and what might be required here... but settles for trying to be light on her feet, and back away to get a head-start on fleeing for her life.
Nodding, with a quiet, "Thank you," Amanda brings up her camera and starts taking as many photos of the beast as she can as she edges away from it.
The beast flinches at the first flash. Confused and...annoyed. An annoyance that gets worse with every additional photo. "Okay, Aurore, time for you to head off" Brigitte notes with a nod down the corridor. "Make that the last one, Amanda" she encourages before the beast rears back and lets out a roar. "Okay...run!"
Amanda nods, stopping the photography and turning to run. She powers through, rather light on her feet, and manages to keep going longer than the others.
For her part, Aurore's glad to have had that head-start... and is quite willing to pelt away as fast as she can manage...
It's because she is carrying a shotgun. Yep. That must be the reason that Brigitte is soon far behind the other two. And she was providing cover too. No other reason at all that two younger women left her eating their dust. She glances back over her shoulder to see the two men charging after them, guns drawn...guns with silencers. "Move!"
Amanda slows down a bit, and looks over her shoulder. She reaches out to Brigitte, to pull her along faster, but it isn't needed.
Aurore's fearful little squeak is rather lost amidst the sounds of running (and panting), but she keeps going as fast she can - very glad indeed of that head start she gave herself.
The quiet 'plink' of a silenced pistol comes from behind them and bullets impact the walls around them. Thankfully the Huntresses have their running shoes on and they are soon back in the concrete maintenance tunnels and escape. Brigitte slows down, turning back to face any pursuers but none are forthcoming. "Everyone okay?" she asks, breathing heavy. She is not encouraging them to stop though. "They'll be waiting for us when we come back...or they'll move. You might need more guns than me, ladies."
"Let’s bring Chase next time," Amanda says, keeping the trio moving. "He'd probably just shoot them. But yeah, they're the guys I saw, and that's the language I heard."
"Sounded Mesoamerican, as I thought," Aurore says rather breathlessly, worriedly peering past the others just in case the bad guys do indeed make an appearance. "But can't really say more than that. Fuck. And yeah. Reinforcements'd be good. Very good."
"One day Chase is going to get us all into a lot of trouble" Brigitte smirks as they reach the exit and she hides her shotgun under her jacket. "If Chase can't make it then we'll find others. Johannes' group. Carla maybe. My lazy nieces. Don't worry, these people will not get away with it." She gestures to the door. "After you, ladies."
Amanda leaves, and makes sure the other two leave after her. "Yeah, plenty of us that can deal with this sort of thing. I'll get the photos of the thing out there, make sure people know what's hidden down there."
"Thank you. Both of you," Aurore says warmly. "I certainly couldn't come *close* to making headway with this on my own."