Judging by the group that has been hastily convened by the Society, tonight's excursion requires a religious bent. So with some Cheiron in attendance - probably to loot any bodies afterwards - the team arrives at the St Gertrude Convent and Hospice. It is an old stone building that squats broodingly over a neighborhood that has seen better times. The sound of police sirens fill the night air though they don't seem to be approaching - just a background noise to these people.
Sister Agnes De Rossio waits at the iron gates to the courtyard and the convent beyond. She looks anxious and agitated and older than her forty-five years. The three story building behind her is dark save for an occasional light behind a curtained window.
Eloise rolls up, a bag slung over her shoulder, looking exceptionally casual. There's no visible sign of weapons, so maybe she's just a civilian who showed up at the wrong place at the wrong time. Appearing out of the darkness beside her is a large dog - just shy of reaching her waist -- mainly black with a few tan spots on her underside. The dog is well trained, heeling close to the skinny girl's side. Either she isn't a fan of nuns, or is inclined to let the priest handle conversation with her; either way, the blonde's attention is on the convent instead of the waiting woman, exhaling slowly as she scans what she can see of the building.
Carla gives everyone a friendly wave. "Hello!" She says cheerfully. Carla is wearing a short red dress and long jacket. She's got a briefcase with her and she's toying round with her new smart phone. She gives little nods to all the new people she doesn't now. "Hi I'm Carla. I'm a researcher so if you find anything interesting..."
"Another researcher? I'm pleased to meet you," stated Samara as she approached the gathered group. The young woman was currently wearing a navy peacoat with a black skirt, and boots. Soft, green eyes flitted about, studying over those that had shown up to answer the call that evening. She noted that there weren't too many familiar faces, at least not to her. Understandable since she was still relatively new to the area. Then she turned to the sister that was waiting for them, offering a polite nod her way. "Evening. I hope we can help out tonight."
The rumbling sound of a classic engine hums from a baby-blue, 1967 Mustang. It comes to a sudden halt once outside the Convent. Despite his traveling armory, Grindle slips a Glock from between the seat and its center console into the concealed holster in his coat. He would be back if needed.
Stepping outside, Grindle stands to his full height, his arms reaching backwards to stretch. It's pretty obvious when other hunters start arriving that this was indeed the place he was sent to. "Good evening folks."
Artemis is no researcher. When Cherion actually needs someone to cut down (or cut up) the monsters that hunt humanity? They need someone who can fight. Climbing from her own car the tanned woman might cut a rather odd figure with her gear. While she does indeed wear a vest and a holster, both are worn over simple cargo pants and her hoodie. Stranger still is her choice of primary weapon. With a quiver of arrows resting at her hip the tanned woman carries her compound bow in her hand, the weight balanced lightly on her fingertips. "Churches? Y'know I've never actually had to hunt in a church before..." she comments idly to the other hunters gathered.
Abdiel was one of the first people to arrive and when the others slowly begin to fill in, he waits before speaking with the woman. "Sister." He says with a smile trying to put her at ease. "I am Father Abdiel Meyers, I came as soon as I received the call. How may we help you?" He asks with a concerned tone to his voice as he looks to those about him, summing them up by the gaze he gives them.
"There is a small chapel attached to the convent" the Sister points out to Artemis, "But this is not a church. A church would not allow such…horror." She crosses herself before nodding to Abdiel. Her eyes wandering the strange group as she explains. "One of the Sisters, Maria, was cleaning out one of the basement rooms when she came across...something." She crosses herself once more. "Perhaps it is best if I just show you." With that she makes her way towards the door of the convent, moving quickly and quietly across the small paved courtyard. The heavy wooden door creaks open to reveal a dimly lit hallway - a dampness in the air.
"This way" Agnes continues, leading the group to a doorway that opens up to a stone staircase heading down into the bowels of the building. And the pungent rotting smell that rises from below certainly reinforces that description. Agnes covers her nose before walking warily down the stairs. Lightglobes flicker above their heads, barely penetrating the gloom as various doors are passed. The wet floor sprinkled with trash and slippery moss. She stops at a door and takes a deep breath - which she immediately regrets with the stench. Taking out a ring of keys from her pocket she unlocks the two locks and padlock on the door before pushing it open. A gust of cold, stinking wind hits their faces. "In here" she whispers before stepping inside a small, stone walled room with shelves of cardboard boxes. The rear wall looks to have been knocked through and beyond, filled wit a green lit haze, can be seen another room.
"Don't think it's much different than hunting anywhere else. Except maybe some monsters hate it," Eloise comments in response to Artemis' words, gaze still scanning the front of the building. The approach of other hunters earns a slightly tense posture from the large dog at her side; Eloise drops her hand near the dog's head and mutters a mangled Russian word, and the dog's tension disappears. When her gaze finally shifts from the building, Eloise nods towards those she recognizes of the group, her gaze lingering on the unfamiliar hunters with an evaluative air, even if it's accompanied by a smile. When the sister leads them in, she follows, murmuring another word to the dog who moves faithfully at her side, stepping carefully among the trash, her nose wrinkling at the smell. "What...?" she mutters in surprise, pressing closer to peer into the next room.
Carla shrugs. "It's all the same to me I suppose. This is a pretty nice er place once you get past the smell." She wrinkles her nose. "So what should we expect?" She asks, looking around. As she sees the next room she quiets down and stoops to take a tiny peek inside. "Can't be too different from that time in the theatre." She mutters.
"Just means that whatever's here isn't going to be warded off with crosses and holy water, right?" Artemis comments as she clutches her bow and returns Eloise's 'once over' assessment. Stepping into the 'archive' looking room she frowns at the green light. "Well...that can't be good."
"Certain places with particularly strong faith can repel certain creatures." Abdiel says in regards to places to hunt. "We will set things right. I promise you." Abdiel says with a reassuring voice before beginning to go ahead. The smell gets a face from the priest but he pushes through it to look to the next room. "Your girls are accounted for are they?" He asks with concern before reaching into the bag which he carries with him to pull out a flashlight to shine in the next room.
"Most of them" Agnes replies softly to Abdiel with a frown. "Though some of them are..." She looks upwards. "They are undergoing treatment" she decides is the best description for their state.
Through the wall is an even larger room. Old. Decaying. The walls, when they can be seen through the 'fog' are covered with a black moss that seems to bubble as it seeps downwards. The green glow emanates from a collection of four tubes that stand vertical in the center of the space. Or more from the thick liquid that slowly moves within each of them. Agnes will not be going into the room as she whispers a prayer and crosses herself constantly.
All of them can feel it. The cold, inhuman evil within those tubes.
Grindle had been here the whole time, cautiously paying attention. He isn't very thrilled to be in a holy place, his nerves crawling as he continues forward towards the green light. His hand casually moves towards his gun. Science was not his forte however, and he just stares at the tubes with a blank expression.
The thought of creatures immune to holy objects doesn't much seem to bother Eloise; at least, she gives an agreeable nod to Artemis' assessment as she straightens, shifts her shoulders, and steps into the room. She's careful not to touch anything, particularly those nasty looking walls and tubes. She pales, slowly, and whispers, "Demonic," with such certainty. The blonde then digs into her bag, now, and pulls out a simple pocket knife. It's nothing particularly flashy, and certainly not useful as a weapon. The knife point, however, is turned towards herself as she rolls up her left sleeve. Without much fanfare, she digs the blade into the skin of her forearm, and draws it along the length of her arm, blood immediately spilling from the wound as she hisses in pain.
Abdiel looks to the tubes and he just sighs. "I am afraid I never was much use in science class...If anyone has any objections, I would say burn this room and the contents to ash." He says as he looks to the others to see what they thought, Eloise gets a nod. "Right. So anyone against the whole burning scenario?"
A shiver ran down Samara's spine as she studied over the tubes. Her attention was momentarily distracted, but she managed to keep herself mostly focused on the tubes. Her brows furrowed lightly and she glanced over toward the others. "Firstly, there's a demonic presence here somewhere," she stated rather matter-of-factly, giving a nod to Eloise to confirm her statement. "Secondly, these tubes are, or were, some sort of containment device... And one of them has been cracked open," she told the group, slowly stepping back toward them. There was safety in numbers and she was hardly a combatant.
Carla narrows her eyes but then gets distracted at just what the hell Eloise is going. "Dios mio are you okay?" She looks over at her and the blood. "You know cutting is a sign of some unresolved issues or something. I think I took a class on it a long time ago." She clears her throat then looks over at the machine. "Looks like it's hooked up to something pretty complex. Guess we won't know unless we get closer."
"It is a stone room" Agnes points out helpfully. "And wet...I do not think it will burn very well. Do you know what that thing is?" The last asked of Samara since she seems to know about the machinery. A gasp at Eloise's shenanigans. Does she need help too? "That is what the Sisters started doing" she adds with some urgency as she points at the slicing of Eloise's arm. "She is losing herself to it!"
There is a scratching noise. It echoes around the room.
"Fire won't do the trick," Eloise says through gritted teeth, growing increasingly pale, the pocket knife held loosely in one hand while blood drips from the wound she's dug into her arm. Cami is tense at her side, the large dog clearly unsure how to react to this particular threat. Eloise exhales, eyes closing for a moment -- then she steps towards the nearest wall, using the tip of the bloodied knife to mark some symbol there, dipping the end back in the blood when needed. There's a sense of visible strain about her posture -- she glances at Carla, wordlessly -- before resuming whatever it is she's doing. The nun's alarmed words are ignored, as is the scratching. She's got something more important going on -- or maybe she really is being affected by whatever it is in the room, as the nun claims.
Patrick instantly pulls his pistol from its hidden location in his jacket, his thumb switching on the red-laser sight. He eyes the roof carefully, "You said demonic.. how so? Demonology is my specialty, after all." He comments as he rotates his pistol on the roof in a figure 8 Motion. He had several different magazines loaded with everything from steel to silver bullets.
Abdiel pulls out a short bow from his bag, arrow drawn and aimed at the ceiling. "Excuse me miss, but there is no I in team. pretend that maybe someone here isn’t demon born." He says as he looks to the others and back to Eloise. He keeps an eye on that ceiling. "What is above us?" He asks the nun.
Carla opens up her briefcase and takes out a rifle which she starts slowly assembling. She hums to herself quietly as she does this. She clips on a sight and even throws in some frangible rounds. "Well best hope whatever it is, doesn't have some kind of immunity to bullets."
They don't have to wait long to see what makes the noise. Suddenly it is raining on them. Though it is not water...or even the black sludge that oozes everywhere...it is rats. Big rats. Rats with mange and ulcerations all over their bodies. Rats with huge teeth and dead eyes. Their claws sharp and jagged.
The rats hit the ground with unnatural ease and like one huge beast they swarm in the direction of...Samara. A wave of gnashing teeth and rending claws tear at her; ripping through clothes and skin with equal ease. For a moment she disappears under the writhing mass of animals.
Eloise is swaying on her feet, now, muttering under her breath, but still she persists with whatever she's marking on the wall with that pocket knife, ignoring the blood dripping down to pool near her feet. Ignoring, too, the rats pouring everywhere, even if every instinct makes her want to turn and fight, because even if she can't see them, she can definitely hear them, gritting her teeth.
Abdiel acks as the horde of rats come down and attacks Samara. He mutters a recitation in Latin and finishes with crossing himself. As he forms the cross, something seems to hover around him for a brief moment, as he tries to get Samara free from the rat horde. "You cannot take her." He says in a commanding voice.
With an expert’s reaction-time, Grindle is instantly repositioning himself as he levels his weapon at eye level. With Samara in the way, he leans sideways, arching his arm to shoot around the woman! "Don't worry, I'm a professional." He comments with a light wink, the rounds ringing out loudly in the enclosed area.
Cami is alert, growling, at Eloise's side, but there's no focus for the threat yet -- at least, no direct threat to Eloise, and while the large dog stretches her neck and continues to growl at the rats, she stays in place, straining against that invisible command, guarding her mistress' back.
Carla fires her presumably super expensive gun at the rats with a frightening 'bang' sound. She jumps a little bit as she squeezes the trigger, trying very, very carefully not to hit poor Sam. She manages to graze one of them which for her qualifies as a success!
There was a surprised yelp as the rats first overwhelmed her. Samara struggled against them as best as she could, swinging her arms and kicking her legs, but it was just too much for her to handle without any real strength behind her efforts. She didn't know half of the people she was with, unsure of their capabilities, so she had to rely on herself. Bright, red flames erupted from the young woman, burning a decent amount of the rats that were swarmed upon her.
The rats are shot up and burned but there are so many and these aren't normal animals. They are driven - or possessed - to do what they do. No fear. No acknowledgement of pain. As one they all rush Carla and swarm the woman who is far too well-dressed for this. Though her clothes definitely suffer under the onslaught of claw and tooth.
Abdiel nocks the arrow from his bow he takes aim and fires, getting several rats as they charge for Carla. "If you are trying to send it to the pit, now would be a good time!" He calls as he reaches into his bag for another arrow.
Eloise is definitely sweating, shaking her from head side to side and hissing, while trying to continue what appears to be an increasingly difficult attempt to concentrate on the matter at hand. She appears to falter for a moment, swaying as her shoulder drops hard into the wall for a moment.
Carla looks down at her tattered clothes. "Oh no I just bought that last week." She bites her lip. "Damn rats. I'll probably have to get a rabies shot too." Carla levels the lasersight at them and pulls the trigger at the ratsies.
Cami's quivering with withheld motion, but sticks to Eloise's side, growling fading into nothing.
Grindle takes a second to assess the situation, once he realizes he's surrounded by kin. He lowers his pistol, not wanting to accidently shoot one of the other hunters. He instantly falls back to his Lucifuge training, eyeing the rats, the tubes, and the rest of his surroundings, "We need to kill ‘em all.. but I don't suggest smashing the vials." As he says it, he feels like he's pointing out the obvious, "They're quite obviously possessed.. we could summon and banish the demon if we knew who it was."
Carla grazes them. Again, but she didn't hit poor Sam which is good. She moves back a big, and almost smirks because things didn't go as bad as they could have.
With gunshots going off and ravenous rats everywhere, it is not conducive for Samara to contemplate much. No way can she come up with a name for the thing but there are itchings in the back of her head about a great demon being sealed up after an experiment went wrong. Breaking those tubes would be very bad.
Samara was moving away from the rats as best as she could, trying to get back to her feet. Blood seeping from the various scratches and bites on her skin. A glance was stolen toward the remaining tubes, then to Grindle briefly before she looked around at the group at large. "I can't recall this demon without dedicating some time to research, but, I can say that letting those other tubes break would be a very, very bad idea," she told the others.
The rats turn away from Carla and swarm towards Eloise...perhaps she is getting too close to what she is trying to do. But Cami holds firm against the dwindling numbers of rats. They nip and scratch at the dog, desperate to get past her and stop Eloise.
Pushing away from the wall, Eloise straightens, resets her feet, and continues muttering under her breath. She's even more pale than before, swaying a little on her feet. She can hear the sound of the rats, all too close, but trusts that Cami and the other hunters have her back.
Grindle decides that he's had enough of the rat problem. He levels his pistol once more and starts firing at the rats, exploding the very last one with an expert shot! "Just like shooting womp-rats in my T-16.." Even spawn of Lucifer can quote Star Wars at opportune moments!
"Nerd." Abdiel says with a smirk at Grindle before looking to Eloise and moves to retrieve his arrows from the dead rats. He keeps his gaze on Eloise to make sure she didn’t need anything else.
Cami's growl is audible as the rats swarm in Eloise's direction: the large dog starts snapping at them as they come near, seeking to drive them off. She yelps briefly whenever they manage a successful nip against her, but doggedly continues to snap back. She's well-trained enough that the nearby shots don't freak out the trained dog, and even when the last of them has died, she remains watchful. Eloise is completely obvious, however: one shaking hand still clenching the knife as she mutters under her breath, swaying on her feet as she attempts to finish the ritual through sheer obstinate will.
Eloise finishes her ritual as the last of the possessed rats falls. Their rotting bodies already starting to decay. For those who can feel the presence of demons...it has gone. The air still cold...damp...and the liquid in the vials still glows green as it sluggishly moves about, but no evil in the air. Agnes is still at the entrance to the room; still crossing herself every two seconds. Her eyes squeezed shut in prayer.
Abdiel nods to Eloise as he walks towards her and begins to recite something in Latin. Something about asking Luke to lay hands on Eloise and asking to heal her wounds. The prayer is repeated makes progress on healing her injuries. After a few minutes he moves along the party to heal their injuries as well.
There's not even any sort of relief: Eloise drops hard into the wall as she slumps against it in exhaustion. Never mind she's going to get that horrible black stuff all over her clothes; she looks completely wrecked, pale and shaking and sweating all at once, barely aware and still bleeding to boot. Even though Cami gives a warning growl at Abdiel's approach, Eloise stretches out a hand to soothe the dog, not able to form the proper words just yet. She sucks in her breath sharply as she hears the priest begin to pray, like it might be some sort of protest, but it's over so quickly and the priest moving on, with the skinny Lucifuge staring at her now-healed arm in blank confusion afterwards.
Those soft, green eyes of hers widened slightly at Abdiel came around and healed her with his divine touch. There wasn't surprise or shock in her gaze but there was apparent awe. "We must speak at a later time," the young woman softly declared to the priest, even slipping him a business card with her contact information before he moved on to take care of the next injured party. After that, she moved over toward Eloise, lightly resting a hand on her shoulder. "Are you alright?" she quietly questioned, a hint of genuine concern in her eyes.
Agnes prays to 'assist' Abdiel before looking between the assembled Hunters. "Is it over? Is it gone? We shall seal up this place once more and have it blessed by the Archbishop. Nothing will escape again."
"The vials will need to be taken and dealt with but I believe we have done a major victory over the forces of darkness." Abdiel says with a friendly smile to the sister and nods. "If you need anything at all, Sister Agnes, you have the means to contact me and we will come again." He says with a comforting tone to his voice.
For a moment, Eloise stares at Samara with a blank lack of comprehension. Cami's weight pressing into her side is helpful, sort of, and her fingers curl into the dog's fur. Finally, though, she shakes her head. She tries once, twice, then manages: "Need... safe place to crash."
"If you need a place to stay I may recommend the catholic church in town? They have spare rooms for those who need it. Then again I expect people of your descent not liking the idea of sleeping in a church, would you?" Abdiel says to the three with a smirk and begins to gather his arrows and leave once he was certain someone would take the vials and deal with them.
"You can come with me for the night, if you'd like," Samara offered Eloise, her voice soft enough to where others might not easily overhear her. Though she wasn't really that strong, she snaked her arm around the blonde's waist, trying to lift her to her feet and act as a crutch. Then she looked over toward the others with a light smile. "Thank you for the assistance, everyone."
Grindle glances to the other Lucifuge, "I see our numbers are growing." He reaches into his pocket and retrieves two yellow cards, which he hands to the two female Lucifuge, "We should meet up some time, I believe we have an ancestor in common." He offers a slight nod, and wink.
Eloise gives a wordless, if grateful, nod to Samara in return, more than happy to let the other Lucifuge help her to stand. And while she glances at Abdiel, she's clearly not intending to accept. Grindle's offer is stared at for a moment before she takes the card, shoving it into her pocket as she works to walk, unsteadily, out of the building and hopefully, far away.