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Legacy: Blood of the Moonborn

The Doctor

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((OOC: Apologies for the delay. It's a bit rough, but I've spent so much time tinkering it already I can't even see straight. It is what it is. :xp:))


~ Llandreff, Wales / 11th of August 1879 ~


"Just run," she thought to herself. "If I run then everything will be okay".


As the clouds broke to reveal the starscape above her, a tingle of primal terror shuddered down Jessica Ainsley's spine. The rolling hills stretched out for miles before her, dimly lit by the pale grey light of the waxing gibbous moon. She spared a glance behind her before breaking out into a run down the hill, stumbling slightly on the dewy grass beneath her feet. "Run," she thought again. "I've nothing to do but run".


A guttural, growling roar shattered the still night air in the woods nearly a mile behind her. Her legs felt as if they were on fire but she pushed them all the harder, her bare feet pounding against the cool hard ground almost as loudly as her heart as it beat a frantic rhythm against her ribs. "Keep running".


Her foot slid on the grass beneath her, and she went tumbling to the ground in a tangle of hair and bedclothes. She scrambled to her feet, her hands flailing as she struggled to regain a semblance of balance. She glanced behind her again, and her blood ran cold - a dark, hulking shape lurched forward out of the trees, heading straight for her. She gave a strangled cry as her feet again found purchase, nearly choking on fear. Another roar, this time amplified by proximity, made her scream involuntarily. Unable to restrain herself, she looked back again - and this time could see the pulsing rage that poured from the beast's cold, hateful blue eyes. It leapt into the air and soared above her, bringing with it a stench like stale sweat, fetid blood, and rotting meat. It landed only a dozen feet ahead of her, rising to its hind legs and screeching it's horrible cry at her, its voice growing hoarse at its apex as it unleashed all its terrible might. She came to a sliding stop and bolted to her right, screaming again as the beast almost literally flew into her path once more.


As it landed in front of her, its eyes locked with hers. They were a cold, steely blue; but behind the animalistic rage and bloodlust sat an unmistakable intelligence - and an evil that stretched beyond anything nature alone could ever create. It was panting almost as heavily as she was, its foul smelling breath coming in ragged, icy bursts. As it stepped closer, the moonlight fell across its face and illuminated its profile, revealing scabbed and decrepit flesh hanging loosely beneath tangled, mangy fur. The stench of death clung to it tighter than its skin, and poisoned the air around it as it brought its fangs to bear.


"RUN," she thought. "YOU HAVE TO RUN, GOD JUST RUN."


But before she had the chance it was there, its sinewy arm reaching through the night and throwing her bodily to the ground. She felt a terribly sharp pain in her side as its claws tore through her ribs followed by a spreading warmth down her side. Her shredded nightgown clung to her, sticky with blood, as she rolled across the grass. She tried to lift herself off the ground but her arm didn't have the strength to support her weight. She rolled onto her back as once again the creature was at her; she thrust out her feet and felt them connect with the cold, matted fur of its belly. It hardly seemed to notice, swatting her legs aside as easily as if they were smoke; pain seared through her as she felt her hips crack and her shins splinter from the force.


She screamed in pain, but instantly fell silent. Blood flooded into her mouth, her body went numb, and the world around her went dark.




~ Harkshire, England / 19th April, 1925 ~


Memoria stalked slowly down the street, the collar of her longcoat popped up against the faint but cold wind brushing against her face, gently ruffling her hair; she absently pushed it out of her eyes and tucked it behind her ear. She walked with her hands entrenched in the pockets of her jacket, pulling it tight across her stomach both to keep out the wind and to better conceal the glinting silver hilt strapped to her waist.


Her eyes surreptitiously scanned the muted darkness all around her while her ears strained to detect even the slightest sound: a single body, most likely a bum or beggar, shifted listlessly in the alley just to her left; a small group of men were shouting and laughing outside a pub a street or two over; the few still-lit gas lamps placed every dozen or so metres along the edge of the street hissed quietly. She meticulously catalogued each sound, then just as carefully dismissed them - they were all of them unimportant, distractions at best - and focused on the one sound she knew was important. A pair of horses tugged at the reins of a large coach somewhere down the street from behind her, and she resisted the urge to spin around to watch it pass. Her fists clenched inside her jacket, but she stared resolutely forward.


As the carriage moved swiftly up beside her, she closed her eyes and focused her senses. She latched onto the sounds of the horses; the steady rhythm of their hooves on the cobblestone street, their heavy breathing and snorts, the rumbling of the carriage pulled behind them. They were unnatural, somehow, too high pitched and echoing almost imperceptibly. She turned her gaze up to the carriage, reaching her right hand down towards her belt and clutching the hilt of her rapier.


The driver of the coach looked down at her slowly, a friendly smile creeping almost disturbingly slow across his narrow chin. His hair was a whispy sort of white beneath his hat, and his cheeks, nose, and ears were the rosy red of a man who'd been travelling through the chilly streets for a significant time. In a single motion she lunged forward, grabbed hold of the side of the carriage and using it to propel herself onto it. The driver flickered in his seat briefly. and his smile slipped from his face almost instantly - along with the majority of his skin, revealing blood-soaked sinew and bone beneath.


He snarled gorily at her, his milky white eyes narrowing with loathing. "Die, girl!" he hissed. He thrust his arm out towards her, and she felt an invisible force force the air out of her chest, but she managed to maintain her footing. She moved quickly, reaching down to her belt and pulling her quarterstaff from its holster and swinging it towards the driver. He screamed as it struck him, and he vanished suddenly in a wave of flickering smoke. She grabbed hold of the reins and pulled back, but the horses ignored her urgings and plowed on. The driver flickered back into shape beside her, and she felt a cold hand plunge into her chest and clutch around inside her. Pain racked her entire body and her breathing grew shallow, but she maintained her hold on the reins and tugged sideways, pulling all her weight to the side and away from the ghostly driver. She tumbled free, the reins coming with her, and the horses reared violently. The carriage itself went tumbling sideways, and Memoria went sprawling onto the cold stone street. The horses screamed as they were pulled to the ground as well, one of them flickering and screeching loudly as it struck and passed through an iron street lamp on the way down. Memoria rolled, rising to her feet with her hand at her belt. The driver flickered into form again immediately in front of her, grinning madly as he advanced towards her, arms stretching out for her throat.


"Last stop, bitch," she growled. The horses let out an almost human-sounding scream, and the driver turned his head to look at them just as they were engulfed in flame, raining down on them from the damaged gas lamp above them. The Driver gave an unworldly screech, turning back to her in rage. But as the flames spread to the carriage itself, he doubled over as if in pain. Memoria moved fast, dashing past his writing, flickering figure towards the carriage. She raised her quarterstaff again, this time bringing it crashing down onto the base of the lamppost. It shattered under her assault, and she leapt aside as the fuel ignited and set the carriage fully ablaze. Its driver shook violently, screaming, before he himself seemed to vanish in a blaze of searing flame. The horses shuddered bodily one last time before vanishing themselves. The carriage remained, burning loudly as the lacquered wood smoldered and the iron framework twisted as if in pain.


With a final glance at the spot in which the driver's ghost had vanished, Memoria turned her collar up against the wind and disappeared into the shadows.

Edited by The Doctor
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"Your impulsiveness never ceases to amaze me," Graham Jones grumbled, readjusting his black mask as he stalked quietly beside his partner. "Do you even know where we are?"


She, in her green and gold getup, smiled back at him. "I don't need to since I have you with me," she said arily, though the slightest tremor in her voice told him she was out of her comfort zone. That took some doing.


"Ah yes, your personal roadmap," he muttered.


"Quiet," their guide hissed. Graham glanced at the guide, then at the four burly guards that trailed behind them. There were many things about this situation that were not good. Outnumbered, certainly. And the men were carrying guns. Not the surest advantage yet, but their craftsmanship was impressive, to be sure. And they were loaded, could be fired before he could put an arrow to his bow. Which was currently strapped to the back of one of the big guys, along with Adara's. And their hands were tied.


Well... had been tied. Graham had got his hands free little more than five minutes into the walk. When they searched him for weapons, they'd definitely been thorough on him. Less so on Adara. Strange to find such gentlemanly behavior amongst common street thugs, but the longer the walk continued, the less common they seemed. At any rate, there had been a small knife in Adara's hair, and through a few subtle movements, Graham had obtained it. Now, as they walked, he held the ropes tightly around his wrists, waiting for his best shot at getting them out of here.


At length, their guide stopped and turned to face them.


"What's with letting us keep the masks?" Adara asked him. "Most people seem hellbent on finding out who we are."


The guide smirked. "What matters is your deaths," he said, snatching lightly at the fabric of her cloak. "High quality stuff, this. Yes, I think we'll know who you are in the morning when two rich children are discovered to be missing from their homes."


"If you wanted us dead," Graham said quietly, "you should've killed us when you first got the drop on us."


The guide grinned at him. "Ah, the quiet one speaks." He held up a finger. "But, o Silent Archer, you assume I and my men are the ones you'll be facing. We are not. Only an act of God will save you now." He glanced nervously over his shoulder and Graham held up his unbound hands.


"Like this?" he asked.


But the other man was already moving. Away from Graham and Adara. At a glance, Graham realized the others were doing the same.


"Your hands will not save you this time," the guide said, breaking into a run. He called over his shoulder, "Do you know how near the edge of the city you are?"


"Loony," Adara said with a laugh. "C'mon, get me untied. We can still catch them."


But Graham wasn't looking after their former captors. As he brought the knife in his hand down on the rope around Adara's wrists, he said quietly, "Do you hear how quiet the streets are?"


"So it's not a party district," Adara said dismissively.


"Ssh," Graham hissed.


"What?" Adara rubbed her wrists.


"Quiet," Graham ordered, his eyes narrowing. The streets weren't just quiet. They were nearly abandoned. What few people Graham saw seemed in a hurry to get indoors. In his youth, he'd seen similar behavior, but if he asked about it, his mentor would only ever tell him, "When you're ready, you'll understand."


"Okay, silence is creeping me out," Adara whispered loudly. "Can we go now?"


"I think we'd better," Graham answered softly. Abruptly, Adara clutched his arm and pointed to a dark alley. A form lurked there, half standing, barely visible in the low light. As if sensing it was being watched, it turned toward them.


"What is that?" Adara whispered.


Eyes glittered in the darkness. A low growl rumbled out from it.


"Something we're not trained to handle," Graham answered softly. "Run!"


They did.


The beast followed.

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Coal had forgotten how British gin tasted of piss. In reality it wasn't actually gin, of course - the real stuff was far too expensive - but rather a home brewed, high-alcohol spirit compounded with apple mash in an attempt to make it as palatable as possible. The result was a thick, milky drink that went down like flaming sewage, but it got the job done with the usual British efficiency.




As the bartender came over and refilled the glass, he seemed to take in Coal's dress - his battered leather jacket, his worn tunic - before saying: "Haven't seen you around here before. You new to town, or just the neighbourhood?"


Coal didn't meet his eye. "Just leave the bottle and move on, piss jockey." The bartender shrugged and turned away, leaving the bottle on the counter.


A deep laugh from behind made him turn in his stool, and his eyes fall on a tall, broad shouldered man whose shining silver hair looked as if it had recently decided to begin migrating to his chin and cheeks. His pale blue eyes shone from behind wide, thin-rimmed glasses. "Gods above, you haven't changed a bit, have you Darren?"


Cole rolled his eyes and turned around again. "What the hell are you doing here, Chase?"


"Well if you're going to be like that, then it's doctor Chase to you," he replied amicably. He pulled a stool up next to Coal's and signaled the bartender back. "But I'd much rather keep things friendly."


"Alright. What the hell are you doing here Seward?"


Dr. Chase cringed at that. "Alright, perhaps 'Chase' will do it after all, yes..." he mumbled, then burst into another smile. "I heard you were back in Harkshire and simply had to see it for myself."


"I'm regretting it already..." Coal grumbled, downing another drink.


"I know you wouldn't be back here unless you had very good reason, Darren. Either you've come back simply to enjoy my company again after nearly 30 years without it, or you're on a hunt."


"What's it matter to you what I hunt?" asked Coal, throwing his compatriot a scathing look.


Chase looked back at him with a sad, almost hurt look. "How many hunts are worth coming all the way back to Harkshire for?" he asked. "I know you, Darren. And whether you like it or not I still consider you my friend."


The bartender returned with another glass, and dropped it in front of Chase. Coal refilled his own glass, then tipped the bottle over the other as well. He waited for the bartender to be out of earshot before speaking: "What's the most dangerous creature your little band of hunters has faced, Seward?"


"My top agent - you could call her my protege - took down a shuck out in Suffolk last year," he replied decisively. "They can only be seen, heard, or touched by its intended victim - for most people once you've seen it, it's too late. She discovered its prey, and hid them in a chapel. From there it targeted her instead, and she was able to kill it - simple oak stake, blessed by a priest, straight to the heart."


Coal gave a single, barking laugh.


Chase bristled slightly. "She's 24 years old - 23 when she took down the shuck. She's a born hunter - reminds me a lot of you, as a matter of fact."


"The beast I'm hunting makes your dear protege's spectral cat look like a lost kitten," he grumbled. "Tell me, Seward. What do you know... of the werewulf?"


The smile faded steadily from Chase's face, and his pale eyes turned cold. "Only what I've read - lore, legend, myth... Most don't even believe they truly exist, even hunters. Darren, wh--"


Coal laughed again. "The lore..." he said. "Your lore is wrong."

Edited by The Doctor
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