Saturday, 10 December 2016

Monsters Under the Bed

Aster the Chosen seeks to solidify his position with his sister Ambrosia, as her contract killer / vengeful angel. In the early morning dawn, he walks through the forest, and it slowly transforms into the Faery realm. Guards and the steward receive him at the palace gates. In her private salon, he advises her that with turmoil out there, she can rebalance things.
-Why brother, you flatter me so!
She relates how she's already tightened her grip on the realm, dealing with the remaining dissenters.

Most of the other there are scared of Lilith and the council advise her to secure her borders. Aster advises her differently
-That's a reasonable public policy. But that's not what you're is going to have me do, is it?
-Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
-Lilith's a huge source of instability, entertaining as the chaos will be, it will be extremely dangerous.
-Going against her is a tricky endeavour (to say the least). Undermining her minions is the safest course of action. Even with caution, you stand to risk the gravest of dangers brother.
She hates herself for asking, but...

Ambrosia shows him a scroll: with detailed notes on Lilith and her kin. It details how she cannot be killed (that after all is her curse), but that doesn't mean that she can't be disrupted or stopped for a while. If they can give her what she wants, and allow her to open the gate, someone will have to push her in and lock the gates behind her. She shows him the necessary ritual, but warns that Lilith is the only one who can open the gate, so timing is key.

She'd wish him good luck, but mere luck won't cut it. They quickly hug, and then Aster gives a curt but friendly half-bow and returns to the mortal realm. He drops his sword back to Brie's cave (with a wistful sigh at what he can still sense of her there) and wonders how he can ingratiate himself with Lilith to become an ally in her quest to open the gate to Hell.

Chloe the Vampire is with Maria in the final hour before dawn. Maria tells her that she's sorry for spreading this (meaning the vampirism) but after a moment of quiet thought, Chloe replies
-It's ok, it was my choice. I had to break this terrible pattern I was in. It may not be the best decision of my life; but at least it's mine.
They kiss. When Chloe rises, she wonders
-So, how about Cameron?
And the murderous intent flares in Maria's eyes. They stalk their way into the boys' dorm...

Victor the Ghoul is in his room with the sleeping Cameron. He looks grey and hollowed out. Like someone's already drained him dry.

Maria, hungry and vengeful Vampire
Chloe ushers Maria up the stairs, but hesitates near the showers. There's steam coming out, and out of it walks Javi, wrapped in a towel. He's surprised, but slowly walks over to her.
-A part of me really wants you to suffer like I did
-Well, that part of you must be happy then
-But the rest of me just wants to hurt you now
Without sympathy, or much hesitation he jumps at her and starts strangling, Chloe kicks him off her just in time for Maria to come bounding down the stairs and pounce on him. They bundle him into a supply closet, and she begins to feed.
Maria looks confused
-Leave him be, you'll need your appetite for Cameron
And Chloe leaves him where he'll be found.

Upstairs, they creep into Cameron's room. Chloe notices the state of Victor, but after a brief examination reckons he'll bounce back soon; he always does. Chloe nods to Maria, she's going to support her as best as she can. However far Maria wants to go, she'll follow. Maria straddles Cameron and as he wakes, she growls
-Be more careful who you make enemies of
and she breaks his neck in one swift motion and begins to feed.

Victor sits up, and he vaguely objects.
-Don't mess with my business
Victor and Maria square off and he warns her that she should follow her own advice about picking and choosing enemies.
Chloe steers Maria past and out of the room, telling her that they'd better make their escape before Mr. Schneider does his rounds. Maria is intimidated as hell, Victor, has never been as much of a dead boy as he is right now.

They head back to their room; it's been a busy night and Chloe can't shake this deep tiredness she's feeling as the sun rises outside. She crawls into her bed and Maria curls up on top of the covers. Barely an hour has passed when Charlotte Abbington walks in; they've been noticed absent at breakfast and she tells the girls to get downstairs. Chloe plaintively asks her for a little slack; it's been a tough week for her on all fronts and she can't bring herself to just turn up to class like nothing's happened. Charlotte softens a little bit, but suggests she bring it up with Sister Beatrice. Chloe nods and heads downstairs.

Charlotte wants to talk to Maria privately though, and as Chloe leaves she motions for Maria not to eat her as well!


Aster arrives in Victor's room to talk about the Lilith situation; he knows the full story between Lilith and Victor and can see how she treats him, with a certain indulgence. He knows she needs something from him. But he finds the Ghoul disposing of Cameron's body (by eating it). He's placing the bones in a refuse sack to hide in the closet, but he's still chowing down. Aster's definitely sickened by this, and he vomits in the corner and has a double-take of WTF at Victor sucking the marrow out of Cameron's bones.

Victor looks at the pile of puke as Aster wipes his mouth
-Ah gross!
-What's happened here?
Aster shakes his head
-I know I have to help you and Lilith... you have a bone-saw in your little arsenal? Oh wait...
Victor looks at the bloody mess in front of him
-...I know what this looks like, but I didn't kill him

Victor tells Aster that was it Maria, in full Vampire mode who killed him, and Aster isn't quite sure whether he believes the story, but they does observe that it's a perfect crime as pretty much everyone on campus had a reason to want him dead.

Suddenly, an Fae clock appears out of thin air and hits Aster on the head. He picks it up confusedly and puts in on the bedside locker. He's eyeing it up for some hidden purpose when a scrunched up piece of paper lands at his feet. In Ambrosia's impatient hand-writing, it reminds him to hurry up!

Aster jumps up, misdirecting Mr. Schneider (their biology teacher who's on duty in the boys' dorm) by telling him that Victor and Cameron went to the nurse's office and wondering if there's a mop nearby to clean up the vomit. They find Javi in the janitor's closet and Schneider carry the bloody and unconscious boy to get medical attention while Aster tidies up.

Chloe goes to class rather than initiate a conversation with Lilith to get the day off school. Sidney and Ash are there and look at her uncomfortably. Ms. Wells is subbing their English class, so they just study as best they can. Afterwards she bumps into Lilith in the corridor anyway, and she notices Chloe's transformation.
-That Maria's a bit of a handful, isn't she. Is there anything I can do for you?
Chloe shakes her head.
-I'm fine
-Anything I can help you with on the family front?
-Nope. I don't think I want to deal with them for a while
Lilith pushes a little, but Chloe's holding firm and changes the subject
-Anything I can do for you instead? For your imminent plans
-Well, there is a stone I need to repossess. The person who has it doesn't approve of me so much at the moment, so I'd like you to liaise with her to recover it for me.

Ambrosia, Queen of the Faeries
Back in her rooms, she gives Chloe a picture (of Ambrosia and that marvelous green jewel necklace).

-I need you to get this one way or the other as soon as you can
-Is there anything you'd like me to try in between asking and stabbing her to get it?
Lilith walks over to her table and takes out a satchel with detailed diplomatic agreements inside.
-I think the Faery Queen will find these much to her advantage.

Aster, just about to knock and enter Lilith's rooms, stops and overhears that conversation. He hurriedly walks away, but Chloe sees his shock of blue hair disappear around the corner as she leaves Lilith and catches up with him. Chloe concentrates on her mind, and blocks out Lilith so she can have a private conversation with Aster (she doesn't, but she thinks she has!).

Chloe tries to convince Aster that, even if this seems like a good deal for the Fae, it's a terrible deal for the real world. And if Ambrosia thinks that circumstances will allow them to stay truly neutral or unaffected by the carnage Lilith will bring, they're going to be gravely disappointed.
Aster smirks, wondering what her angle is, and why she cares. Chloe tells him that he was pretty harsh to her the other day, but the criticism was fair. She wants to be better, but without some help from Aster and Victor, Chloe's afraid that she'll be crushed in the vice she's in. Aster tells her she has to take responsibility for the terrible deals she's made, and dismisses her protestations that she didn't make those.

Distracted on their walk, Chloe hasn't noticed the slow transformation into the Faery realm, and she's brought to court to treat with Queen Ambrosia. The palace guards wave her inside when Aster declares that she has a bargain to offer their queen. As she pass through the gates, he cautions her to be careful what she says and does; and not to get herself into even more trouble.

Inside, she's shown to a couch, and she can feel the (hostile/curious) eyes of the rest of the court on her. She's offered a goblet of wine, and the most luscious oat and honey biscuits she's ever beheld. She refuses, claiming she doesn't drink wine anymore, but the goblet is pushed closer to her and she smells the coppery blood inside. Even then, she refuses, and the court seems shocked at her refusal.

-Awkward, but probably wise
Ambrosia says as she enters the court, resplendent with her hollyhock crown and green jewel necklace. Chloe replies to her
-It's probably the last piece of my mother's advice I'll follow. You know Miranda.
Aster greets his sister with a friendly wink. They sit down next to Chloe, and she moves the snacks away from her to make space for the documents on the table. Ambrosia peruses them and has a good poker face; she'll need to consult with Aster and possibly the Council. They retire to leave Chloe to stew alone in the courtroom.

Ambrosia asks Aster if the offer is sincere.
-I don't expect Lilith to follow the spirit of any agreement, only the letter of. But that goes for us too.
-Going through the fine print, it does prohibit any member of the Fae from interfering with her.
-Well, maybe I need to leave the realm in secret, to give me free rein?
Ambrosia's thinking out loud now
-We could just refuse the agreement? But it wouldn't do to underestimate her. We'll agree, and cast you out.
-Do you want to stage a bitter sibling fight?
-It's better in secret, though the court will discover eventually. And they will not readmit you just on my say so, forms must be observed.

She rises and has Aster unchain her necklace, placing it in a favourite silk scarf. She's saddened by the loss, but quickly chooses a new one for Aster to place around her neck.


Victor is hiding Cameron's remains in the dumpster. Lilith appears behind him.
-You're missing from class
-I'm cleaning up one of your darling's messes
-I covered for you with Mr. Schneider. You seem pale and gaunt, more than usual.
Victor ignores her manoeuvering.
-Still set on the apocalypse?
-You're so negative, I see it as more of a new beginning.
-You're right. That makes everything so clear.
-The key to opening the Gate is on its way...
-...remind me. Why are you doing this again?
-I have grown tired of living in this world, tired of mortals and their idiocy. It really doesn't matter if I bring everything crashing down around me or not.
-You're just speeding the process along? Well, I can't say I get it.
-Maybe I'll be struck down for this hubris.
-If you're just looking to get offed, we can work something off.
There's a weakening in Lilith's resolve
-I've worked so hard to see Lucifer again
-Staying in Hell after you open the gates sounds ideal, it doesn't have anything to do with this world
And the weakness is gone
-No, Hell is a prison. We won't be staying there!

For the prison break, Lilith wants Victor to be her lieutenant, and to oversee plans as they get close.

On the way back to Lilith's Aster needles Chloe about how he wasn't sure there for a while that she would refuse the food and drink.
-You think I was born yesterday?
-Well, you've been pretty good as messing things up
Chloe has no answer for him; truth be told, she was seriously tempted.
By the time they get back, it's way later than it should be; it's already evening.

Victor has been killing time with Lilith in her rooms. Reading tomes and preparing rituals and potions. There are several pots on the boil, and Lilith is horrified when, giving him directions to help, she realises that he doesn't know rosemary from thyme. She has to warn him off drinking the potion and points him towards the stew instead.

The others arrive at the door, and the first thing Aster sees is Victor chomping down on a mouthful of mutton, he gags in disgust.
When Chloe hands over the signed documents, and Aster the necklace, Lilith grins; she has expected more resistance, but this is so much better and more welcome.
-My sister sees a bargain that's good for the Fae. For me, it's good to be on your team or the Fae's, but it looks like everyone else will be out of luck
When Lilith's lack of compromise on the path is apparent to the others, Victor rolls his eyes
-At least it'll be interesting, right


It's almost dark, and Lilith tells them they must reconvene when the moon rises. Chloe leaves by herself, and behind her Victor and Aster speak and once they get away from everyone else, Victor grabs Aster and pushes him against the wall:
-Why the hell are you going along with this!
-I'm helping the people I care about. This is what they want.
-She's going to get exactly what she wants. What can I do?
-Save what you love, just do what you can.
Victor gets it, but not immediately. He lets go of Aster's collar disdainfully. Aster tells him again
-Find someone to watch the world burn with
-Don't wax romantic on me elf-boy!
Suddenly they hear a rush of air, and a blur takes Victor away. Aster looks after it, but just fixes his jacket and walks off.

Elsewhere, Emma kisses Victor passionately.
-I was just going to look for you
As he feels her fangs bite and her long nails dig into him, he draws her away
-It's going to be a long night
-Are you rejecting me?
-No. I think we'll need all our energy for what's going to happen tonight.
Pressing him close, Emma whispers
-A long night indeed

Chloe wanders, and finds Ash and Sidney chatting at the edge of the woods, and she walks right up.
-You ready for this?
-I guess
-You think it's going to be pretty?
They glance uneasily at her
-Obviously, you can't trust 16th century Italian art to tell you what it's going to be like. I'm sure Lucifer's arrival is going to be fantastic!
Chloe cocks her head, thinking of something new
-Was it me who got you involved in all this?
But they tell her about Madison's coven, and how she broke Sidney to force her to join, taking her tongue in the process. They're going to helping in the magic ritual Lilith will lead.
-Well, good to know you're able to put your shoulder to the wheel to help out
Chloe looks at them carefully; it's definitely Sidney who's having all the second thoughts now, and like a big cat choosing her meal carefully, Chloe tells Sidney to leave.

When she's gone. Chloe turns on Ash, and without any pretense leaps on the girl to feed. In her current state, Chloe isn't going to control herself and drinks deeply. She takes her time, bringing Ash into and out of unconsiousness, and allowing her pain and panic to rise several times before draining her dry. In fact, that magical spell which she suspected Lilith of imposing actually came from Ash and now she's free of it. She drags the body deeper into the forest and buries it under a pile of leaves.

Aster is choosing weapons from the cave; and noticing a presence nearby he investigates to find Amanda spying on him.
-Is this your place? It's sooo cool!
Turns out that Amanda thought he was being suspicious and followed him here.
Aster cautions her, handing her a dagger in its sheath
-You're better off not getting involved, you're in over your head. You have to promise that you'll go back to campus and look after yourself
-Well, you have to promise me something in return: when you get back you're going to tell me everything
Amanda kisses him on the (blushing) cheek and leaves


Chloe arrives at the gate. Sidney looks at her, wondering about Ash, and Chloe thinking about how to approach that issue licks her lips absent-mindedly, and then realises that's all the signal Sidney needs to know what happened. No one else sees, and Sidney's fear flares in her eyes. Walking past her, Chloe says quietly
-Still your decision to push that wheel

Lilith is finishing her preparations, and most everyone else is involved, but Chloe is a bit of a spare wheel. Things are ready to being, and Lilith calls for Victor. As the ritual begins, the third and final gate begins to glow.
He feels the heat from the other world, and as it opens Lilith smiles: she looks happy.
-Victor! This is amazing. There's something I didn't tell you...
And she pushes him through the gate, and into Hell

Victor knew something was up. He was ready for the heel-face turn. but wasn't quite quick enough to keep himself in the real world or strike back against Lilith. Turning around he can't get back in, but he sees Lucifer on the other side with Lilith; apparently there must be balance across the gate.
From behind him, he hears a familiar voice
-Hello brother
He tries to run, but Abel tackles him and assault with the fury of a thousand years of pent-up anger. With real desperation he escapes from Abel's grip and rushes back out of Hell 

Lucifer and Lilith embrace. From behind them in the cavern Aster looks on, his chosen weapon hanging by his side and he takes a deep breath, willing himself to take the leap into action.

Still leaning up against the wall, Chloe carefully takes everything in. She can quite clearly see Lilith's weaknesses in her current vulnerable state. Obviously she has so much emotional investment in Lucifer that she'd do anything for him at this stage. Funnily enough she has come around to completely trust Chloe; that the young Vampire is completely under her control.
Lucifer's weakness are a whole other matter. Chloe knows that he's about to betray Lilith.

Aster charges in, running Lilith through, just as Lucifer shoves her through the gate into Hell himself. It's not clear which hurts her more!

Triumphant, Lucifer doesn't see Chloe has worked her way behind him and she pushes him all the way through the gate as well!

Chloe looks back at Sidney, to try to get her to stop the ritual keeping the gate open, but as she walks forward to force the issue something spirits her out of the chaos.
Aster claims the necklace, and starts the counter-ritual to seal the gate, but has to fight off a few vampires who are looking for vengeance for their master's demise.

Emma helps Victor to fend off the other vampires who attack, but she's shocked when he tries to help Aster complete the ritual and pulls him away from the fray. Aster completes the ritual, and then flees. He runs through the campus and eventually seeks refuge in the chapel, fending off the pursuing vampires until dawn breaks. An aged nun inside remarks dryly that it's a real pity that the campus just isn't safe anymore!

Maria's the one who pulled Chloe out of the carnage, just before she could get involved. Chloe thanks her, and sighs in relief
-My mind is my own, for the first time in forever
-That must be a relief. So, what do we do with this freedom?
-Nightclubbing, has to be!
Maria laughs incredulously
-The rules outside aren't the same as here under Lilith's protection, but we're going to have fun
Behind them the fallout across campus looks nasty, but they walk away

Victor stands beside Emma, reveling in the carnage he sees before him. Emma rolls her eyes, but then screams as Victor is run through by Abel from behind. His brother made it out as well and as he stands over Victor's dying body, he just hears mocking laughter
-You went to Hell!

None of them notice that another figure, someone else entirely came through the gate from Hell at the last moment...


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