Story of the Century

/ By Loxi [+Watch]

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Dahlia was hesitant to return to medallion. Still, she had said they would take turns just in case, so she really couldn’t fight her friend on it. Handing over the token, Eris continued. She thought it was a good plan to look online again. Now that they had a more narrowed idea to search it was infinitely more likely that they would find something. Things almost seemed like they were looking up. If it wasn’t for the metaphorical dark cloud that seemed to be hanging overhead, she might have actually believed things could get better.

Then like a switch was flipped, Eris’ shining light of a personality started to claw its way out. While it was probably forced, Dahlia still felt a great sense of relief. The tall woman’s plotting to go out try and blow off some stress was crazy, but really tempting. “Actually… That sounds super nice right now.” A dozen or so drinks were probably do her some good right about now. “Who knows, maybe I will pull an Eris and spend the night with a handsome stranger.” She nudged her lightly with her elbow. Dahlia hadn’t gone out in ages, but it had been even longer since she fooled around with anyone. She laughed melodically at the idea, not entirely forgetting it when the conversation moved on.

Things only got better the closer they got to home. Both the mood and her hopes that they might be okay heightened. It was only a short walk to Mahlik’s place, but in that snippet of time Eris dropped quite the bomb on her. It seemed nuts to try and go directly up against these people. Even if they were only half as dangerous as Dahlia was thinking, it would still be stupid. Although, the idea that Ross might be in on it placated the longhaired woman some. But before she could say anything on the matter, a familiar voice rang out. They had made it.

It was Dahlia’s turn to sit back and watch Eris do the talking. Sure she chimed in when Mahlik spoke to her, “I’m trying but trouble follows her.” The tone was comedic, but there was a lot of truth in her statement.

Mahlik was more Eris’ friend than her own. Not that she disliked the man by any means. He was definitely a sweetheart; at least he had always been nice to her, but a bad feeling washed over Dahlia as they moved to a more secluded area. Moving away from the beaten path only meant one thing, bad news, something they didn’t need any more of. Still she listened intently to the man’s story in disbelief. Where did people get the audacity to do these sorts of things?

The woman doubted that all these strange and terrible things weren’t all somehow connected. Sure there wasn’t any solid evidence, but Dahlia just had this nagging feeling that it was all some intricately woven web and they were about to be caught right in the center of it. It wasn’t a good sentiment.

Bidding Mahlik farewell with a smile, the walk home wasn’t spent in silence. The two ladies bounced ideas of what might be going on off of one another the whole way there. The conversation didn’t end when they made it back to the apartment either. It went straight up until the point that they were both on their computers scouring the Internet for any hints. Honestly there wasn’t a lot of reliable information on transportation whatever, but there was plenty speculation and hearsay. Sorting through it all was the real task at hand.

They had probably spent close to an hour sifting though it when Dahlia found something. “This might be nothing, but I’ve found a tumblr account here. It’s talking about something that sounds an awful lot like what we’ve got.” She scrolled a little farther down the dash before pausing. “Do you think the username DownWithTheDeity is edgy enough for our missing Ben? ‘Cause I am pretty sure this is a picture of Eve.” Swiveling her computer screen around to face Eris. Honestly, she was no reptile expert, but the snake in the picture sure looked a whole lot like the one that was currently in the living room.

Once she got a confirmation, the short woman sent a link to the page to Eris. After that she continued to read through the posts. “If we go ahead and assume the girl he is talking about in these is Kara, it seems like the coin is actually hers. He is also claiming to have actually seen her use it to travel.”

Even though everything they were finding was leading to some oddly supernatural stuff, Dahlia was having a hard time believing it. This all had to be a joke. Perhaps an elaborate ruse set together by some guy that Eris had jilted. And if it did turn out to be true, there wasn’t a chance in hell that anyone would take the pair seriously. An earthshattering story had fallen into their laps and there was no way for them to tell it without losing all credit in the journalism community.

After gleaning everything she could from the social media account, Dahlia closed her computer and flopped back on he couch. It was hard and lumpy, but she was tired of sitting up straight. With a long sigh she spoke, “I need a drink. At this point I don’t even care if we go out for it.” Sure going out sounded fun, however a bottle of whiskey in their apartment was just as viable an option. Not to mention with all that talk about ketamine she wasn’t sure hitting the club was a wise plan. Then again as long as Eris was there, there weren’t a whole lot of people who would mess with them. At least not in clubs that she frequented.

Although after the comment, Eris seem to have a fire set beneath her. There seemed to be a fierce determination in her eyes that said staying home wasn’t an option. And so Dahlia agreed to go out. It had been a long day so she took the time to shower and get herself properly gussied up for a night out. It was getting pretty late as it was, so she tried to be quick.

All in all the shorter woman was surprised to see Eris still had so much energy when they headed out. After all, she hadn’t slept the night before. Then again she had had more than her fair share of caffeine that day. She had loaded up on it at the police station and when they took lunch before headed to the Wiccan shop. “Let me know if you get tired, so we can head home.” Sure she might have been mother hen-ing her friend, but she wanted her to be healthy and happy, so she didn’t mind if she was a little on the annoying side.

The walk to the club was one the two of them knew well. The entire trip there, Dahlia felt herself getting excited. It was a little embarrassing. She really needed to get out more. There was a stout man watching the entrance of the establishment, he gave a smile and nod to Eris as the ladies strolled on in without a problem. Inside, the place was already packed with people. It was a weekday, but a weekday in New York City might as well have been a weekend anywhere else. The flashing lights and hot atmosphere were welcome after having been out in the cold winter air.

The friends made a beeline for the bar. First thing first, they needed to take a couple of shots to start this party off right. After that Dahlia would be relaxed enough to actually go dance. It wasn’t as though she was entirely terrible at it when she cut loose, but when she was sober things got dicey. The brunette had the tendency to be too self-conscious and focus on her movements. So much that they didn’t flow at all. It was a hot mess and better left entirely avoided. And thus she found herself keeping pace with Eris, shot for shot, at the counter before they hit the floor.
  Dahlia Morgan & Kael Neu / Loxi / 2y 150d 4h 46m 9s
Normally Eris did the talking. She was blunt and to the point, got in your face and practically demanded answers. This time, she stood back, allowing Dahlia to try her hand at talking to an informant. Eris stood glowering in the background, making sure that despite Dahlia’s gentle disposition -they weren’t going to be able to swindle her. Not while she was around. Eris didn’t pay much attention to all the knick-knacks in the shop, or the woman behind the desk. She was on the heavier side, with a kind face, warm eyes, and a friendly smile. She was kind and informative, confirming what Eris already thought. It was of Greek Origin. The theory that it was used for otherworldly travel had Eris doubting that. Creepy dudes with glittering red and gold eyes were far fetched enough, she wasn’t about to entertain the idea of hopping between worlds. People really would think she was going crazy, and say it was about time.

The woman suggested calling an associate of hers, and Eris had yet to say a word. She spent the next few minutes looking around the store with mild interest. Her interest didn’t spike until the man arrived. He was unimpressive, short and thin with greying hair, a stern expression and a worn old suit. Without speaking a word he walked up to the counter and held out his hand. Eris made her first facial expression at that. He reminded her of a pompous man, walking on airs because he thought he was smarter than everyone else. To Eris, he looked like a nut job in a suit. Eris would give him this, he had one hell of a Poker Face. He flipped it over, his eyes squinting at the markings before he spoke, his voice was lower than she expected, monotonous and bored.
“It’s a transportation ornament. It is said that those who were favored by the gods were given them in order to slip between this plane and theirs. I’ve never seen one in person though.” He might have looked disinterested, but Eris saw a greedy glimmer in his gaze and her own eyes narrowed on him. “How much for it?” he asked. Eris felt a swell of pride as her friend held her ground informing him they wouldn’t sell. He asked her to reconsider, and that he would pay any price. Eris caught Dahlia glance back to her, but Eris held the man’s gaze with fierce intensity. Dahlia was quick to pick up on that reiterated that they were not selling it, but would consider him if they decided to. For now that was enough for the man and he handed over a simple business card. Dahlia took it, and Eris watched him leave the store in a disappointed huff. Something about him was just… off.

The woman behind the counter tsk’d as the collector left, and Dahlia thanked her for her help before they both walked out into the chilly afternoon air.
“What do you think?” Dahlia asked even as Eris stared distractedly around the city streets.
“I think we are either chasing a ghost… or something bad is about to happen. I’ve got a bad feeling, and it’s not because Mercury is in retrograde,” Eris said with a frown and turned to face Dahlia. “Let me take the medallion. I’ll hold onto it and find a place to put it, at least if those guys show up again, they’ll come after me and not you.” Dahlia didn’t like that already worried about her enough, but Eris had seen those guys first hand and wasn’t about to let what happened to her happen to Dahlia. “Let’s head home and get online and start doing some research into Greek Mythology and see if we can’t find some answers,” Eris said. She had a sinking feeling that they would only end up with more questions then answers. Eris could tell Dahlia was still worried about her, and so Eris turned and gave her a smile, being taller, Eris looped an arm around Dahlia’s shoulders. “Maybe afterwards we’ll go out and shwasted, my treat. I made good money last night,” Eris said with a grin, doing her best to bounce back to her normal self. “First things first, I owe Mahlik some money,”

They hopped back on the trains to go back to Hells Kitchen, taking another hour from their day as they crossed the massive city of New York. When they finally got off the train in Hell’s Kitchen, Eris felt a modicum of safety to be back in her part of town. She had noticeably relaxed since leaving the Pagan Shop, but she was still put off by the gentleman who came to observe the medallion. Suddenly a thought struck Eris and she stilled just outside the train station. It was dangerous and seriously insane. “I just had an idea…” she murmured, falling back into step with Dahlia, and stuffing her hands in her coat pockets to keep them warm. “I know it’s going to sound crazy… but I think we need to set a trap. We can try and catch these guys. We’ll call Ross and get him in on it and he can help us, and he’s the only one I trust-“
“Trust?” Eris stopped hearing Mahlik, sitting outside smoking a cigarette. “Like how I trust you-“
“Got your money, of course babe, you know I wouldn’t leave you hanging. You take good care of me,” She winked back to Dahlia and jumped up the steps to hand Mahlik his money, he grinned and stuffed it in his pocket and waved to Dahlia.
“Hey Dolly, you keepin’ this girl out of trouble? You know I heard some weird shit today,” He said and waved a hand for them to follow him to the side of his building and into a nearby alley. Eris followed with Dahlia and Mahlik glanced out to make sure they weren’t seen and finally pushed his hand through his thick coarse and wild hair.
“What’s the weird shit?” Eris asked nonchalantly.
“Aight, So I’m doin’ my thing earlier today, right? Anyway, this kid walks up, asks me if I know where he can get some ketamine. First of all, I don’t play that game -got mad respect for the ladies,” Eris smirked at him, and he continued on. “So I tell him I ain’t got it, but if he tells me what it’s for, I might be able to score some. Cuz I’m like, what the fuck, I’ll see what this kid is up to-“
“What did he look like?” Eris asked. Mahlik waved a hand.
“Bish, I don’t know. He was some scrawny white kid -all them little motherfuckers look the same to me. He was wearing a black hoodie and sunglasses. Never took them off. Said his boss wanted the ketamine. So I was like, yeah aight -how much you need? Get this Bish, he wanted a whole kilo of this shit.” Eris frowned.
“A Kilo of Ketamine? He either wants to party pretty hard or wants to do a lot of raping,”
“Nah…” Mahlik shook his head. “This was some back alley bullshit, this dude wanted me to sell him this Ketamine, and not only that he wanted to know if I was interested in dealing in humans. Like what the fuck, man? I deal weed, girlfriend. I ain’t about some Human Trafficking bullshit. I don’t know what this dude was thinking, he was straight tripping on some shit. Couldn’t tell what it was though. I tell you this because I know how you crazy enough to look around. Anyone gonna figure that mess out in this neighborhood it’s you two,” Mahlik said gesturing between the two women. “But ya’ll play safe. Dude gave me a number, just a number no name, here,” He handed Eris the black card, she had to tilt it under the light to get the silver lettering of the number to show.
“That’s a fancy card.”
“Yeah, no shit… hey, you be safe, both you guys. You need anything, I got your back girl. I’ll give you more info later.”
“Thanks, Mahlik. Keep your ears open for any more news,” Eris said and slipped an extra twenty into Mahlik’s hand. He grinned and nodded.
“Yeah Boo, I got you. You too Dolly,” He said and pointed with a grin and a wink at Dahlia as Eris escorted her out of the alley. Eris frowned. Kids were going missing, a human trafficking ring was in the works in the area, and she was probably carrying a mythical talisman in her pocket… Could this week get any worse?
  Eris Alcone / darien / 2y 156d 3h 24m 47s
It was a wonder people ever reported anything with how long it took. Dahlia spent a lot of her time bored, but at least she felt safe in the precinct. There was no way those two guys would have the audacity to pull anything with them surrounded by cops. At least not if they were altogether sane, which was not something the woman would bet on. The mixture of emotions she felt when they were through was unusual, but the photographer kept it to herself.

It was a quick trip to the Greek restaurant. A well deserved treat before they got back to business. Dahlia ate slower than usual. Taking the time to relax, something she hadn’t been able to do at the police department. Across the table her friend was uncharacteristically quiet. It put her in a state of unrest, although she would do her best to endure the strange silence.

Entering the rather unique shop, the short woman allowed her eyes to wonder. She had hopes of seeing the mark someplace among the crowded walls and tables. Their luck, however, was not that good. Once she was content in having seen just about everything, Dahlia meandered her way up to the woman minding the desk. The blonde was heavy set, the sides of her thick thighs spilling over the sides of the padded stool she was sitting upon. Garbed in bright colors, the woman almost seemed out of place in the shop, at least against the preconceived notion that Dahlia had in her head. When she made it up to the glass table that served as a point of sale, she was met with a bright, albeit crooked, smile.

“Hello, we called in about a symbol last night.” Eris had been the one to make the call so she wasn’t entirely sure if this was the person that had been on the other end of the line. However they were lucky enough that it was.

“Ah, yeah, I remember talking to you.” Dahlia didn’t bother correcting her on it. “Can I see the medallion?” Not wasting any time, the woman opened up a dark wooden drawer in the stand next to her to retrieve a small case.

Fishing the pendant out of her bra, the dark haired woman was glad it was winter for once. It would have been terribly embarrassing if she had been a sweaty mess. The trinket was uncomfortably warm in her palm, but it was better than warm and moist. Giving it one final look over she handed it to the older woman across the counter.

Taking up the bronze colored piece, the blonde opened the small dark case. Inside were all manners of magnifying tools. Taking one up she then reaching out she flipped on a desk lamp that sat on the glass top. It gave off a yellow tinted light. There was a moment of stillness as she examined it. Dahlia watched nervously, hoping that she could give them any sort of hint.

Eventually there came an answer of sorts. “Well, I’m no expert in this sort of thing, but it is definitely Greek like you said.” Using her pinky she pointed at a small faded symbol at the edge. “It is hard to make out but it looks like a symbol that used to be ascribed to travels especially those which are other worldly.” The lady looked like the type that wouldn’t say anything if she wasn’t fairly certain. This gave Dahlia optimism they might finally have a lead. “Either way, this is definitely be something my buddy wants to see. The guy’s a self-proclaimed expert with this sort of thing. He lives nearby, so if we are lucky he will able to come right down.” She smiled again, an excited look in her eyes.

Nodding, she was glad to hear they probably weren’t going to have to run across town again. Dahlia watched as the woman picked up an old touch dial phone. The thing looked ancient. All the numbers were worn, but the saleswoman had both the placement and the number she was dialing memorized. Her associate answered almost immediately and she explained what was going on. The smile on her face told Dahlia he had answered positively. Once the phone was back on the hook, the blonde’s attention came back to Dahlia.

“Alright. He is on his way, should only take a couple of minutes. But let me give you a quick heads up. Richard’s the type of guy who’s a little pushy. He collects this sort of thing so he might try and buy this thing off you. Just stand your ground if you want to keep ahold of it, okay?” It seemed like an okay trade to her. Dealing with a pushy man was nothing especially at the price of information. Generally Eris was better at that sort of thing though.

True to what had been said the man arrived in less than ten minutes. He was short and thin. His hair was dark with streaks of gray running scatter through it. And for some reason he wore an extremely serious face. Without speaking a word he walked up to the counter and held out his hand. The Wiccan woman obliged him, setting it lightly in his palm. His stern expression narrowed as he made out the details laid into the faded metal. The look in his eyes didn’t change even when he began to speak. “It’s a transportation ornament. It is said that those who were favored by the gods were given them in order to slip between this plane and theirs. I’ve never seen one in person though.” His voice stayed put on a monotonous track as each syllable passed over his lips. However there was a slimmer in his eye that betrayed his stoic countenance. “How much for it?”

It was just as the portly woman from behind the counter had predicted. “I am afraid we aren’t interested in selling it at the moment.” She did her best to keep her voice stern, reflecting the look on his face.

“Mmmm,” he made a sound of displeasure. “I believe you should reconsider.” He stood up straight, landing him a couple of inches taller than Dahlia. “I am willing to pay whatever the price,” his words carried a mildly threatening tone.

Dahlia threw Eris a glance letting her know she might need some help, but she was going to try one more time before she let her friend rip him a new one. “That is very kind of you, but we are going to hold on to it for a while longer. You will definitely be the first one we get ahold of if we do consider selling it though.” She did her best to smile, although it probably looked a little forced.

Richard sighed deeply. “Very well.” Reaching around to his back pocket he pulled out a business card and handed it over to Dahlia. “If I don’t answer just leave a message.” After that he gave a curt farewell and left, a look of dissatisfaction on his features.

The short woman felt a little bad not having properly thanked him, but there really hadn’t been time between all that had happened. She turned to the woman beyond the counter once again. “Thank you for all the help.” Then she turned to regroup with Eris knowing she had been listening in on everything. “What do you think?”

-----

Making sure to be pleasant, Kael returned the woman’s greeting, but for the most part he was quiet. He left the introductions and all manner of speaking to Gaius. At least he would until things were completely hashed out. In the meantime he was on high alert.

The quick worded exchange between Gaius and Ursula had Kael’s eyes bouncing between the pair. They had obviously done this before. Not that he didn’t trust Gaius before this, but it put him at that whatever deals they had struck before ended with both of them still in one piece. With a look from his partner the deal was done and the three of them would now be working together from this point on. He only hoped that meant things would be easier and not harder.

“Alright, now that that is out of the way. We need to get this show on the road. I have been thinking about it and I believe the best plan of action would be to get Ursula in that apartment.” If she was as good as her price tag suggested it wouldn’t be a problem. “If we wait for them to go out we can set up someplace near their house. We’ll catch them as they are coming home.” It was simple, so long as it didn’t freak them out enough to make them turn tail and run the other way. But judging by what he had seen of the shorthaired one the two wouldn’t be able to stay away from another girl in need.

“We’ll stake out and when the time is right play out a scene similar to what happened last night, but our target will be Ursula. When they come across that we,” he motioned between himself and Gaius, “can skedaddle and leave her behind. My guess is that they will come to help.” He turned his attention to the Valkyrie. “So long as you put on the water works and ask for someplace to calm down I am fairly certain they will invite you in. Then it’s just a matter of snatching the medallion and getting the hell out of there.” The one worry was that the wily one might stay up all night again. If that was the case it might come down to a conflict. Either way he assumed Ursula could handle it. “I’m confident that it would work, unless either of you have a better plan or something to add.” His red eyes bounced between his two cohorts. The sense of urgency continued to pull at his gut.
  Dahlia Morgan & Kael Neu / Loxi / 2y 178d 15h 52m 7s
Gaius couldn’t sit still, his leg was shaking while he burned through another cigarette. Across from him at the table sat Kael looking otherwise uninterested in anything happening around him. Gaius kept checking his watch waiting for Ursula to arrive, but in the meantime he couldn’t shake the look off of Mara’s face when Kael and he had met with her in the room Zenya sent them to. Kael wasn’t having any of her drama, and Gaius was sure it had something to do with his brother. Gaius wasn’t about to go asking questions, because by the look of Kael’s face when he snapped at Mara, Kael didn’t want anything to do with it. Well if Kael wasn’t away from it, Gaius would be wise to stay away as well.

Gaius knew Ursula had arrived when A. He could smell her perfume, and B. Kael sat just a little bit straighter. Gaius stood up to greet the angelic being, and extended his hand for her.
“Ursula,”
“Gaius,” She greeted and leaned in sharing a kiss to each of his cheeks. Ursula turned then and Gaius moved to make the introductions. Ursula was tall, svelte, with clear Scandinavian features of pale skin, icy blonde hair, and piercing blue eyes. She had an hourglass figure, and wore expensive clothes. She looked like she had come from Corporate America with her sleek black pencil skirt, and airy silken white blouse, not to mention the purse she carried or the red soled Louis Buttion Heels on her feet.
“Ursula Tijis, meet my partner Kael Neu, Kael this is Ursula,” Gaius introduced and made sure Ursula was seated before taking up his own seat. He knew a few of the more… undesirable immortals sneered at him for catering to a creature like Ursula. Demonic Hierarchy avoided Angelic Soldiers like Ursula or even the Arch Angel Michael at all costs, and vice versus. It was a wonder how Gaius and Ursula rubbed elbows the way they did. However, that is a story for another time.
“Kael, bonchance.” She greeted, and set her bag down and leaned back in her seat. Within a moment Zenya had arrived to take their drink orders and was off to make them. They didn’t begin their conversation until Zenya returned bringing them their drinks and left. “You mentioned you have a problem…” Ursula said sipping from her dirty martini. Gaius glanced from Kael to Ursula and nodded.
“You could say that… Clyatt lost her medallion. Mortal boy had it, opened it, she fell through with him and the Medallion was picked up by two women who have it now.” Ursula looked unimpressed, and actually yawned.
“Oh wow, excuse me… I thought you called me for something important… not because Hade’s spoiled little shit got busy with a mortal and lost daddy dearest’s Covenant,” she gave Gaius a pointed look. “I’m not going to kill two mortal women because they succeeded where you failed,” Gaius had to stem his temper and spared a look to see how Kael was doing with his. Ursula was not one to mince words or sugar coat anything.
“We need the medallion back,” Gaius tried.
“Oh Boo hoo, I suppose the Lords of the Underworld are trapped… maybe Hades shouldn’t have let little Clara run off with a very powerful Covenant.”
“Hades doesn’t know… as far as we know,” Ursula scoffed at Gaius, making a most unladylike snort.
“If he doesn’t know, he will soon. When he finds a Mortal boy running amok in his underworld, Cerberus with either turn him into a chew toy, or Hades will dump him in the River Styxx and let him drown. Then he’ll really be trapped…”
“We are trying to avoid that, but for now, Clyatt can’t return to this world, and she can’t bring the mortal back with her. If Hades does find out, it could threaten exposure… he’d rain Hell upon this place, and the all the Maligned Demonarchies would follow suit, including Satan himself!” Gaius hissed quietly. Ursula sipped at her martini once again, seemingly unphased by any of Gaius’s words. “We need for you to get close to the two women who currently have it in their possession and steal it back for us. They know our faces, so we can’t get closer.”
“Half a Mill,” Ursula stated coolly. “Come on Gaius, you know I’m not cheap, even with a friendly discount” She flashed him a flawless smile showcasing petite fangs that could be considered cute until one remembered she was technically an Angel of Odin AllFather. Gaius sighed.
“A Quarter Mill… You like to incur work related expenses,” Gaius growled. Ursula only smirked.
“Fine… Three Hundred Thousand –final offer.”
“Done,” Gaius said and cut his palm with a small silver knife in his pocket, he handed it to Ursula who cut her own palm and together they shook hands. They had made a pact, a blood binding contract… because sometimes paper couldn’t be trusted –but a blood oath and witness worked every time… it was actually rather standard way of contractual agreements among immortals. It was olde magic and fully binding. Gaius looked over at Kael… Ursula was now working for them.


Dahlia wasted no time in dragging Eris to the prescient to speak with Ross. Eris had been busted a few times as a juvey for minor drug and petty theft charges… so sitting in a Police station, even innocent, didn’t sit well with Eris. Ross was however, kind enough to chat with Eris out on the sidewalk so she could smoke a cigarette and tell him what happened, and what the men who attacked her looked like. She did have to go inside and sit with a sketch artists, but even he looked at her crazy when she mentioned red and gold eyes. She never mentioned them again. Dahlia had been patient all day, allowing Eris to stay cooped up in the Police Department while she began all the proper channels. By the time Eris had finished it was well into the evening and she was starving for food. That was exactly what they did. They left the HKPD and made it to their favorite Greek Restaurant… mostly because Eris wanted a Gyro… and the owner was a childhood friend, so… discount on food was always a plus.

After food it was off to grab the train to take them to Astoria and Queens so they could meet with their contact at the Wiccan shop. Eris didn’t really talk much, which was highly unusual for her, and she knew it was probably putting Dahlia on edge. Eris wasn’t doing too well mentally –not since she really began to recall all the tiny details from that night. She constantly checked her pocket for the medallion, remembering that Dahlia had it for the time being. Something was definitely off about it, and Eris could only wonder what it had to do with the missing people. For now they were stuck until they could figure out what the Medallion meant. At first she thought it was just some fancy little trinket, or something to do with whatever cult she was about to expose…but when those two men had shown up to reclaim it… Eris knew then it was more than just a trinket.

The subway train stopped in Queens and from there Dahlia and Eris walked to the corner street that housed the Wiccan shop. It wasn’t hard to find, the outside was decorated with decorated candles, pentagrams, and a myriad of other things that Eris had no idea what they were. For the time being, Eris walked around and for once allowed Dahlia to do the talking, but Eris kept her ears primed for listening.
  **Gaius / darien / 2y 208d 1h 7m 32s
Now that the sun was rising there was practically nothing to be done, and it was relentlessly frustrating. Kael felt his chances of getting out of here in a timely manner slipping away by the second. Arms crossed tight across his chest, the demon attempted to keep collected. Reminding himself that things weren’t all bad, at least probably not as bad as he was thinking. It was then that Gaius mentioned his friend. Kael’s eyebrow twitched ever so slightly. Bringing in another person was only going to make organizing everyone more complicated and slow them down. Sure it would be easier, but it was going to take longer.

His thin fingers tapped at the fabric of his sleeve, this tic stopped as soon as his partner mentioned the broad was a Valkyrie. Letting loose a low, barely audible groan Kael was just about ready to speak against the plan but Gaius beat him to the punch. Honestly, he couldn’t come up with a decent counter argument. The Valkyrie would be able to get closer much easier than either of them. Especially now that the loud one knew their faces. Taking but a moment to think it through, the red-eyed man let out an exasperated, “Fine,” and that was the end of it. With the new turn of events, not only was it going to take longer, but he would also have to keep an eye out for a knife coming at his back.

The timeworn complex had the same smell it always did. A scent reminiscent of old books. Somehow, even with all the spells and hexes they had on this place, no one couldn’t get rid of that musty air it had. It was almost comforting to know some things never change. With all that filling his mind, Kael hadn’t been paying much mind to the conversation between Gaius and Zenya. That was until he was pulled into it.

“She was looking for you.” And a finger was directed toward him. Already the man didn’t like the sound of this. He grew antsy as they were given direction. The feeling only grew the entire way up to the fourth floor. He had a hunch that he already knew who was going to be behind the door when he knocked.

The face matched what he had been expecting and Kael’s stomach clenched. Fuck. The taller man tried to get a word in, but the succubus ran straight over him, confirming what he was sure everyone in the room already knew. Atlas’ death was a homicide.

The woman continued shakily, “Cornelius wants yo-.” She wasn’t able to get anything else out before Kael cut in himself.

“I don’t want to hear it.” His voice was uncharacteristically commanding. A look of surprise was clear on the woman’s face. “I don’t know what he is plotting, but I don’t want to be within a hundred miles of it.” Truth be told there were only two routes of actions his brother could be planning at this point, and Kael didn’t want to be a part of either of them.

When the succubus recovered from her shock she pressed the matter further. “But, that’s,” she was cut off once again.

“Mara, enough!” His eyes darkened as he glared at her. “I am not going to listen, now I suggest you leave before you get pulled any further into this than you already have.” With that he turned to exit room 409. His gaze flashed to Gaius. He had nearly forgotten the other demon was there. Kael sighed. Now there were going to be questions. A tediously boring process he didn’t want to deal with. And for the time being he wouldn’t. Walking passed Gaius; he paused for only a moment. “Come get me when it is time to meet with your acquaintance.” With that said he returned to his room.

Kael had thought he would have a difficult time getting to sleep; however upon collapsing on his bed he was out. When he woke he was groggy and almost forgot where he was. The man didn’t dream, he seldom did and it was at times like this he was glad for that. Lord knew what sort of crazy shit would haunt his dreams with the ridiculous night he had had.

Not entirely sure what kind of time he had after waking up; Kael was quick to get ready for the night. Showering and grooming were both done quickly. It wasn’t much different from his normal routine. As he fastened his watch back to his wrist he checked the time. 5:47. Being out of the loop as to when their meeting with this Valkyrie would take place, this number meant nothing to him. With nothing left to do, he decided to take whatever time he had left to relax. It wouldn’t be till sometime after seven that Gaius came knocking on his door

Kael greeted Gaius with a nod, and closed the door softly behind himself as he emerged from his hotel room. Following after his taller counterpart, he was not happy to be meeting this Ursula person. However he kept quiet about it as they walked through the halls in mutual silence. The rendezvous point was much closer than expected, as it was in the hotel. One step into the bar and he could tell exactly who she was. As was common of the Valkyrie the woman was drop dead gorgeous, but it was the kind of beauty that made him feel sick to his stomach. When her eyes met with his, Kael made sure to smile. It was a genuine expression, but it probably came across as a pleasantry. He would continue to be civil, at least until she made any suspicious moves. That being said, Kael was going to let Gaius do the talking here.

-----

A wave of relief washed over Dahlia. She would feel much better knowing that those people from last night were reported. It was a small and probably useless consolation, but it helped her feel a little more at ease. Sometimes that was all you needed. The petite woman wrapped her arms around her friend, squeezing her lightly. “I am glad you came around, we can even leave out the part that I was on my way there last night when we tell Ross, if that helps.” Eris’ main concern was that Ross would freak out about her, so if they eliminated Dahlia from the equation it might be easier. “We just have to be sure to get the story straight between us before we go in.” She smiled softly, before letting Eris go and sitting next to her on the sofa. It was just as soon as she did this that Eris stood up.

It was then her tired friend unloaded all her worries about what they were getting themselves into. Rarely did Eris open up about this sort of thing. Dahlia chalked it up to how tired she was, but she was glad that her friend was getting it all out. “I agree; that thing is definitely strange.” It gave her the heebee jeebees as well, but the fact that it was affecting Eris this strongly was by far the spookiest thing about the artifact. “But I don’t think we can be done with it that easily. We should figure out what it is before we decide what to do.” If it really was dangerous, who knew what those guys from last night could do with it. It was better to be safe than sorry. Dahlia found herself thinking that a lot recently. She didn’t like it, not one bit.

“Also,” she continued, “I think we should take turns carrying it until then.” If it really was some crazy ancient thing it might be dangerous to be in contact it for too long. This could very well be some Harry Potter horcrux level stuff. The brunette held her hand out. The thinner gal looked at her skeptically, but Dahlia didn’t budge. She added a stern look as well, but admittedly she wasn’t all that intimidating even when she tried. Eventually the medallion ended up in her hand anyway. She slipped it into her bra. “This will also make it harder for anyone to know exactly who has it.” Her words were spoken as if she was also trying to convince herself.

Looking over Eris, she exuded exhaustion. She wanted to tell her to take a nap before they head out. Dahlia didn’t mind staying up to make sure everything was okay, but she had also just seen her slam that mug of coffee. That would unfortunately make it impossible. So instead it would be best to get everything out of the way.

“Alright, lets get started.” Standing with Eris, the two finished getting ready to go. All bundled for the chilly weather, they headed out. The plan was to first go to the police department. It was still early and she doubted the Wiccan’s shop would be open quite yet.

The closer they came to the HKPD the more agitated Eris seemed to get. Dahlia almost felt bad having suggested they come down here. Even she knew ninety-nine percent of the police force was pigs, but she wanted them to at least be on the look out for the guys who attacked Eris. Although, she doubted anything would come from it.

The 18th precinct was large, imposing, and an incredibly drab gray. Nothing about it was the least bit inviting, but that was likely intentional. The pair walked up the to the painted wooden door, hesitating only a moment before entering. The lobby was empty except for a single officer sitting behind a long counter. He appeared to be about as groggy as Eris looked earlier this morning. How did this man even make it to work? Looking back to her roommate she looked even more uncomfortable now that they had entered the building. Placing her hand on her friend’s should, she guided her to the chairs at the side of the room. “Let me handle it from here.” It looked as though Eris was about to say something but Dahlia walked off before she had the chance. Probably didn’t want to be babied, but that was too bad. The petite woman was constantly being coddled; Eris deserved to have someone fawn over her every once in a while too. So she would just have to deal with it for now.

At the counter she managed to get the half out of it cop’s attention. Dahlia inquired if Ross was around that morning. She knew he had to be; the man pretty much lived here. Thinking about it she probably could have just texted him to see, but this was business. “We need to speak with him, so if you could just let him know he has some visitors I would really appreciate it.” That at seemed to get the guy moving.

A few minutes later the blond man emerged along side the gentleman she had sent after him. She waved at him and he smiled warmly back at her. She briefing explained what was going on and directed him toward Eris. But instead of going to her, he waved her back. Dahlia looked at him as though he had two heads.

“What are you doing?” The confusion was clear in her voice.

Ross’ attention turned back to Dahlia, expression nearly as confounded as hers. “I have to call her back to take her testimony.”

“You and I both know that won’t work. As soon as you take her back there she is going to be so uncomfortable that you won’t get the whole story.” Her words were pleading. “Can’t you please do it out here, there isn’t anyone around yet, it is too early.” A subtle set of puppy dog eyes came with the request. Apparently that was enough to get what she wanted because he sighed and walked over to the sitting Eris.
  Dahlia Morgan & Kael Neu / Loxi / 2y 178d 15h 51m 41s
Gaius cursed. The sun was rising over the horizon and the cityscape would only protect them for so long before people began to move about openly in the light. He wasn't ready to leave, and an irritating compulsion bemoaned him to stay where he was to retrieve the medallion. Gaius knew better than to keep Kael waiting though, or to piss him off. Gains might have been an ancient and powerful demon, but Kael was nearly as old and powerful enough Gaius would guess they were practically an equal match. The wry wench hadn’t gone to bed making it impossible for him to sneak into her room and snatch the medallion back. With sun creeping over the horizon, he cursed; counting his losses he jumped in one fluid motion back over the railing and to the ground. He landed feet away from Kael and gave him an irritated look. Gaius was not irritated with Kael, but with the situation.
“We’re not getting anywhere with them for now, let’s regroup back at my place. I have a friend I’m thinking of calling…” Gaius paused for effect and uncertainty about how the name he was about to list would be taken. It wasn’t like this person was a favorite among most people that ran in his circle. How he had managed a friendship with them, was mind boggling enough as it was. “It’s…. Ursula Tijis.” Gaius answered when asked, who. Ursula, Valkyrie of Valhalla, ancient and spiteful, gorgeous and lethal. She looked human enough she was able to interact with them, and he had a hunch Ursula would like the bartender they stalked last night. That, and Gaius knew for the right amount Ursula’s particular skill set could be bought and paid for. Only problem was, Valkyrie were considered part of the Angelic Race, making her a natural born enemy of the Demonic. At least she wasn’t Gaius’ enemy. While he knew Kael could give him a run for his money, he didn’t have to wonder about Ursula’s skill… he knew if she wanted to she could kill him half asleep and hungover if she wanted to. She was too powerful, possessed no heart, and had been spurned from her sisterhood for unknown reasons. “Don’t get pissy with me,” Gaius pleaded, or rather growled at Kael. “She can get closer to them quicker than we can. She has better patience with Mortals anyway…” Not to mention the petite one had given him a raging hard on earlier and he did not trust himself around something so innocent. Nor did he trust himself not to slit the other one’s throat for her smart tongue.

Conceding to defeat, Gaius slipped into the shadows with Kael and both demons began their trek back to their apartment. On the outside it looked like a run down, rent-by-the-hour, motel with a sign that always read: No Vacancy. When they reached the door they entered into an outdated but opulent lobby. Rich red velvet curtains blocked all outside light, gold art deco wall mounts decorated the area. It had once been the premier hotel for mortal back in the early 1900’s, but it fell into disarray and the Covenants purchased it as a rental property. Now all manner of paranormal creature called it home. There was even a second story bar that overlooked the lobby. Currently the lobby was empty save for one lone woman standing behind the reception. She had a masculine face, born a man, but at heart and in her blood a woman. She wore her pitch black hair in vintage style, pinned up with a white flower and deep red lip stick. She even wore vintage clothing that looked like it had been stolen from Elizabeth Taylor’s private collection. This was Zenya, or that was the only name they had to call her by. She was tall with rich mocha skin, gleaming white teeth, and long acrylic nails. Zenya was a unique mortal, and one of the few mortal allies of the Paranormal community. She was a perfect deterrent for other mortals. Most if not all couldn’t handle her flare for dramatics, or her obvious transgendered features. She was too different for them… and those that did stay… were the unlucky dredge who pissed her off. She’d give them the key to a special room, and from then on their fate was sealed. They’d never check out, instead becoming dinner for the Vampiric souls that lived in the building, or the depraved succubae and incubi in need of a life force. Zenya was the most coveted and protected mortal in the world. A Friend of the Paranormal had a lot of perks.
“oooh, you boys were out late,” She teased as they crossed the lobby to the desk. Her voice was purely male, with a soft inflection to make it more feminine. “You know, I heard a bit of juicy news…” that was all it took to draw Gaius and Kael towards her desk.
“What did you hear?” Gaius asked sliding her a $20 bill. Zenya slid it back towards her and pocketed it nonchalantly.
“There was a succubus in here last night, needing a room. I was up at the bar serving when she came up. Said she was looking for you,” Zenya pointed to Kael then with a smirk. “That she had a message to deliver.”
“where is she now?” Gaius dared to ask.
“Room 409. Said she’d be waiting for you.”

Gaius glanced over to Kael and the two of them left the front desk for the elevators to the fourth floor… at least after they finished meeting this strange Succubus they could just walk back to their rooms and sleep. When they reached the door to 409, Gaius received a text from Ursula saying she’d be over at sundown to help them track down the two mortals and see what she could do about finding out what they’ve done with the medallion. She’d meet them at the second floor bar at 7:30. Gaius stood back as Kael knocked on the door, so imagine their surprise when they saw an equally familiar face staring back. The Succubus had been a favorite of Atlas’, and for some reason she looked terrified.
“Come in! Quickly,” She whispered and rushed them into her suite, where she shut the door behind them and locked her door. She looked paranoid, on edge, and like she hadn’t fed for a while.
“hey… I know you…” Gaius began, but the succubus cut him off. “You’re-“
“Atlas sent me… before he… he…” She shivered and looked away. “Was murdered…” Gaius blinked. So Atlas [i had] been murdered. That meant there was in fact a power struggle about to take place….

()

[center ~*~*~*~*~]

Eris didn’t sleep a wink. The weed didn’t even help to make her sleepy… just more paranoid about the whole incident outside her club last night. She couldn’t shake those strange eyes, or the fact she felt she was being watched all night up until the sun came up. With the sun out, Eris felt she could breathe a little better. She was sitting on the couch with her old laptop when Dahlia finally woke up. She was more than shocked to see Eris awake and instantly called her out for being up all night.
“Yeah, I couldn’t sleep,” Eris confessed. “I did some research though on this symbol. It’s Ancient Greek, and has ties to Hades and the Underworld. As for the other markings, I can’t find anything on it. I contacted a Wicca shop outside of Queens and Astoria. The woman there said she’d look at it for us, and if she couldn’t help us, she knew of someone who might be able to. I thought we could go check it out today… and I thought about what you said last night. I think we should stop by the HKPD and inform Ross about what happened last night. You’re right, I was assaulted and I need to report it.” Except Ross was the only cop Eris trusted, or else she wouldn’t even bother.

Eris had dark circles under her eyes and looked on the edge of either breaking down into hysterics and tears, or on a homicidal rampage. One couldn’t be entirely sure… Eris sat up from the couch and guzzled down the last of her black coffee and stood up. “There’s something really weird about this medallion… I’ve been getting weird vibes from it since we found it. I just want to figure this out and be done with it… and… another part of me… just wants to forget it, throw it in the Hudson and never look at it again.” It was a dark confession for Eris, for she was not the type to back down in adversity. Yet here she was, wondering if she was getting in too deep to something she should never have meddled in; but if she didn’t do it, then who would? Those missing people needed someone to find the answers for them…
  **Gaius / darien / 2y 234d 5h 51m 50s
The red-eyed man thought it would be best to accompany his cohort, as he said. With these new happenings he also wanted to get this mission out of the way as soon as possible. Whatever was going on was bad news and Kael wanted to get the hell out of dodge before things really got started. Demon power struggles were nothing to be taken lightly.

The alleyway was as uneventful as usual, and he wasn’t entirely sure what they had in the works for this, but Kael nearly had a heart attack as Gaius jumped into the air. He muttered under his breath, “for fucks sake,” hoping that this guys impatience didn’t land both of them in boiling hot water. Kael stayed staked out on the ground level for the time being. That way if the girls tried to make a break for it again they would have more than one exit covered. At least now that they were getting more desperate he didn’t feel the need to be as discrete. If he had to, he wasn’t entirely against making off with them as a trading token.

Gaze trained on his partner, Kael became curious the other man stopped at the window so suddenly. But whatever was going on up there was out of his view. His curiosity was quickly replaced with disinterest, as he was not likely to discover what was going on from where he was. However the cherry red glow of an ember caught his eye. The wryly one from earlier was still awake, and somehow carefree enough to be outside. Kael debated whether he thought she was more reckless or ballsy for the move. He decided there were probably equal parts of both to it, with a smile. Once again he found himself despondent knowing after this he wouldn’t see her again. It really was a shame.

-----

Dahlia had been taken aback by her friend’s strong reaction to her suggestion. Honestly, she knew Ross had a thing for her. Not even she was THAT blind, however she really didn’t think he would react as badly as Eris thought. A somber mood came over her as the taller woman admitted how she was more worried about Dahlia than herself. This worried her more than anything at the moment. That strange urge to protect her for no reason was going to get her friend hurt. She only hoped that she would open her eyes and realize that her life meant something as well. At the very least, Dahlia would never be the same if anything were to happen to her best friend. Especially if it were some dumb reason like putting her safety first. One of these days she was going to sit down with Eris and give her a long lecture on self-preservation, but for now she was exhausted. Knowing that there was a plan for tomorrow and that they were back in the security of their home set her at ease. At least enough so that she could fall asleep.

With a short goodnight and a hug to comfort the last of her shaking nerves, Dahlia returned to her room. Everything was just how she remembered leaving it earlier that day, a small relief for an unfounded fear that someone had somehow made it into their apartment. The woman went on with her usual routine to strip down before bed. It was more comfortable that way. There wasn’t really much of a point to having soft sheets and a fluffy blanket if you couldn’t fully enjoy them. When they first moved here, she had been worried about the window. All they had were sheer curtains over them and they pair had been too cheap to invest in new ones. But the idea that someone would be peeping in had been quelled long ago. It was impossible to see from this height, and you would have to be an absolute fool to climb up that rickety old fire escape. Honestly if there ever were a fire, she would take her chances with the flames apposed to falling to her death on that dilapidated thing.

With all of that out of the way, she crawled between the chilly fabrics. This was by far the worst part of going to bed, but she curled up tightly and pulled the blanket over her head to warm up quicker. As soon as the temperature rose enough to be comfortable, Dahlia was out like a light.

-----

While it was kind of nice to be at separate stations from Gaius and have a little time to relax without feeling like the other guy was judging him, it was also a pain not know what the plan was. He had said he wanted to get this over with but now he wasn’t moving. The target was perched right in front of him and he wasn’t doing anything. It was irritating, but it wasn’t like Kael was about to pick a fight with this guy for anything. Conceding to the fact that he was probably waiting on the chick to go to sleep, Kael dropped his guard back down and leaned against the crumbling brick wall. As he did so, he felt his phone buzz again.

Taking the device from his pocket he really hoped it wasn’t even more bad news, but he wasn’t that lucky. A number displayed on the screen as it continued to ring. He had purposely failed to put this particular person’s contact in his phone, but he knew exactly who it was. Deftly he swiped the screen forcing it to ignore the incoming call. This wasn’t something he wanted to deal with on a good day, left alone this piece of shit of a night.

The intermittent red glowing that let Kael know that the girl was still at it grew fainter and fainter as the sky began to light up. He groaned. They were running out of time. If they did anything now it would have to be quick and he didn’t like being hasty with his work. His frustration grew knowing that he would have to waste yet another day on this and likely most of the following night. That was unless they felt like going out in the daylight. He wasn’t entirely apposed to the idea, but it left a lot of room for things to go awry. And with the luck they had had anything that could go wrong, would.

-----

Dahlia woke late, as was to be expected after staying up so late. But after getting dressed and headed out to start the coffee pot again she ran into Eris. Blinking, not quite believing her eyes, the woman had a rush of words fall out of her mouth.

“Did you stay up all night?” Worry for her friends health washed over her as she looked her up and down for evidence to confirm her theory.
  Dahlia Morgan & Kael Neu / Loxi / 2y 244d 4h 5s
Eris ignored to bitter cold, she kept one hand firmly on Dahlia’s arm, and the other curled tightly around the medallion in her pocket, as she all but ran home. Her steps were quick and guarded, and when they finally made it back to their building, Eris couldn’t help but check their six before entering. Even after being roughed up in that alleyway, Eris never once dropped her protective stance around her smaller cohort. Only when they were safely inside their unit did Eris finally relax and look at the clock on the microwave… 3:30 am. Eris felt guilty Dahlia was still up at this hour, and at the same time, Eris couldn’t have been more pleased. Who would have known what would have happened to her if Dahlia hadn’t shown up. Mugged? Murdered? Raped, or worse, shanghaied into Human-trafficking? She didn’t want to think about it, though her money was banking on Mugged and Murdered.
[i “It looks like we will be fine for the time being, but we should probably stick together to be sure.”] Dahlia’s words pulled Eris from the dark corners of her mind and Eris turned to pin the woman with an unreadable look. In her hands was a cup of hot tea, and Eris frowned, but it wasn’t from anything bad, just humility at the kindness Dahlia showed.
“Right,” was all she could bring herself to say at the moment, but that didn’t stem her uncertainty. It probably wouldn’t work, the one guy who had held her was stronger than he had looked.
[i “If they come around again or anything we might have to think about telling Ross…”]
“No,” Eris snapped shutting that option down real quick. “Ross can’t know about this. We’d never hear the end of it, and he’d never forgive me if I let something happen to you,” She admitted with a heavy sigh and from her bag grabbed a cigarette and walked over to the fire escape window to smoke. It was no great mystery that Ross liked Dahlia, and Eris had never bothered to hide that fact either. “I’d never forgive myself…” She admitted once again with her lips around the filter of her cigarette as she lit it up. She looked over from the window to see Dahlia still watching her from the kitchen. “What?”

[i “Either way, we need to look at that pendant again and see if we can figure anything else out. Did anyone from your work have any information?”]
“No, of course not. I’ll take it into the city tomorrow, there’s a Pagan shop. Some lady claims she’s a witch. I figure it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s better than nothing,” Eris murmured looking outside, and for a brief moment she tensed. Had she just seen a phone come alight in the darkness of their alley? She looked harder when the light went out, and for the briefest moment she caught a flash of red gleaming back like cats eyes, and then they were gone. Eris said nothing, but took a calming breath and tried to tell herself it was just a cat, a trick of the light –anything to keep her from thinking that those men had found them here, or that they were watching them. She dared not mention a word of it to Dahlia either. There was no reason to frighten her unnecessarily. Eris was certainly on edge, more so when she looked back out and saw that the shadows in the alley had changed and that what was once there was now gone. Maybe it had been a trick of the light?

[center ~*~*~*~]

Gaius couldn’t have been more pissed with how the night went. He burnt through and entire pack of Cowboy Killers… and Atlas was dead. Something was wrong, very wrong. Gaius had known Atlas for centuries, and was one of the few demons Gaius respected. This night couldn’t get any worse, except it did… by ending. That meant hiding out for the day and regrouping until night time. Gaius didn’t want to do that however, he wanted to go out into the sunlight, don a fucking ball cap and search that willowy bitch down and get the medallion back. They couldn’t do that however, it was too risky, and it was easier to blend in at night. Might as well have been a bloodsucking leech at that rate. Gone were the days he could walk outside in the sunshine, masking himself as one of the locals, but people didn’t wear large hats or cloaks anymore, and he had a problem with stupid mortals and he couldn’t run the risk of losing his temper these days. A Temper that was sorely hanging on by a thread these days. Once they had the medallion back he could take a nice vacation, maybe he’d go to Fey, convince some wood Nymphs to keep him company for a while. He knew that would never happen though. He knew as soon as he had the medallion he was going to look into the causes surrounding Atlas’ death. It was too sudden, and he was immortal which meant someone had to have killed him. Kael seemed upset by the new development as well and with no other reason to linger in the halls of HQ he set back off towards the Apartment Complex.
“I’m going back, feel free to follow, but I’m getting that medallion back. I want to know what caused Atlas’ death, and I can’t do that if I’m on this mission.”

Back in the Alley once more Gaius looked up at the windows that he knew housed the two women, he was shocked to find them still awake. With a single jump Gaius vaulted up into the air and landed silently on the railing of the fire escape. His yellow eyes peered out into the darkness. Sunrise was only hours away, and from what he could observe the women were preparing to turn down for bed. He watched the tall one from earlier leave the common room for her bedroom, and watched as the shorter girl came towards the window he hid by. Concealed in the shadows he kept his eyes riveted to the bedroom window of Eris, determined to sneak in and steal the medallion back, but something else caught his eye. He stopped when he heard the rustle of fabric and he peeked towards the window to spy inside. What he saw had his mouth going dry and his horns tingling. The petite female was stripping off her clothes. This was not the reason Gaius was here, but he found himself immensely pleased to be there. At least something good was coming out of this stake out. He watched the clothes she wore fall to the floor, and he let his eyes travel over the gentle curves of her creamy flesh. She was as pale as a pearl with hair like chocolate, and he had no idea he could be so captivated by a single human. Seeing her vulnerable with her back to him, had his blood heating and his claws curling into the brick exterior of their building. It wasn’t until she tossed her bra to the wayside did he finally force himself to look away.

Breathing heavily and with his back to the wall, he stemmed his more primal desires, and fought with himself not to look back into her room. It was then the light clicked off and against his better judgement he turned and looked back into the room to see her crawling into bed, her pert little ass in the air as she climbed in. He bit down on his lip to quiet his moan and drew blood as his fang pierced his skin. Damn, but a human should not have had that sort of power over him. Not even Mila Kunis could do that for him, and he’d once claimed she was the most beautiful mortal he’d ever laid eyes on… he was wrong, so very wrong. He realized, that the petite human inside this building was in fact the most beautiful human he’d ever laid eyes on. Not to mention, for her to deal with that petulant bitch she lived with, she had to be of a pure heart. All the more reason Gaius knew he had to stay away from her, and instead focus on the loud tall one so he could steal back the medallion. He started to sneak over to her window when it was pushed open and out she came onto the fire escape. He knew what she smoked the moment she lit the flame… The smell of Cannabis filled his lungs and he knew she must have been smoking to help her sleep. He smirked, now was his chance! She would be impaired from the herb and not likely to resist him… still, he knew he was better off waiting for her to go back inside and to fall asleep so he could search unencumbered for the medallion. Time was precious though… sunrise was coming and he’d have to return to his domain before it rose above the cityscape.
  Eris Alcone / darien / 2y 257d 7h 58m 28s
For a moment Dahlia could have swore she head a struggle going on. It had her worried. The woman picked up her already hurried pace as she called to her roommate. As she rounded the corner to the employee entrance the sounds quit cold and Eris came into her sights. Contrary to what she had been hearing, her friend was alone. An expression mixed of relief and confusion formed on her face, but it did not stay. As the tall woman picked herself up from the ground she instantly grabbed her shorter compatriot and left the shady alleyway. Her promises to explain when they arrived home kept Dahlia silent, but it also left her terrified. There were not many things that went bump in the night that would shake Eris this way. The woman was not excited to find out what it was.

Heart pounding and hands shaking the entire way, Dahlia did not loosen her arm from Eris’. When they made it back to the apartment complex, she struggled with the key to the door. Trembling hands did not make for easy unlocking. Inside, behind a dead bolted door, didn’t feel much safer. It was however warmer, which was a small comfort.

It took a while before Eris said anything. Dahlia didn’t want to push her. The pair settled in the kitchen, where she put on some water for tea. Doing something helped calm her down for the time being. It was when the kettle whistled and the shorter of the two was prepping a cup of chamomile for herself that her friend finally told her what had happened. She didn’t have much of anything to say in response at first. This was seriously dangerous though. Wracking her brain, the woman was unsure of what they should do. Something huge was going on and that medallion was their only clue, but that pair sounded like bad news to her. The only consolation in all this was that she had arrived just in time to scare them off. Those men were awful skittish for acting so tough. Dahlia wondered why that might be.

With warm cup in hand, Dahlia took in a deep breath in attempt to keep calm. “It looks like we will be fine for the time being, but we should probably stick together to be sure.” She wasn’t entirely certain if it would work, he words came out as though she was trying to convince herself they were true. There was a good chance the assailants would become restless with time. “If they come around again or anything we might have to think about telling Ross…” Dahlia wasn’t ecstatic about the idea. He would want to know details, but having an officer around might scare them off, at least long enough for her friend to get a story out of this.

“Either way, we need to look at that pendant again and see if we can figure anything else out. Did anyone from your work have any information?” Dahlia had her doubts, but it would keep her minds from the lurkers that couldn’t be far away.

-----

Kael wasn’t surprised at the retaliation. After observing this woman for the night, he would have been caught off guard had she not made such a comment. Gaius on the other hand wasn’t having any of it. His fellow demon jumped into action, taking over. The red-eyed man sighed; he had wanted to have a little more fun with this before they cut to the chase. As the mortal was being restrained, he dug through her pocket to grab the token. The calling from her friend caught his attention, distracting him ever so slightly from the task at hand. As he snapped back to what he needed to do it was too late. The other mortal came whirling around the corner and they were gone before he could grab what they’d come for. His frustration bubbled up, festering in his stomach and up his throat, but he kept quiet. There was a silent agreement between the two men and they continued silently after the ladies from the darkness.

It was back to the goddamn apartment complex and Kael thought he might lose it right then and there. It was just so fucking boring sitting around doing nothing. And now that those humans knew they were being targeted they were even less likely to come back out. He was sure there was some way they could smoke them out, but he very much doubted it would be as inconspicuous as they needed it to be.

“You know, it is the middle of the night, we could just sneak on in and get what we need.” That was what they were going to do before these two got ahold of the medallion. Not to mention they had already been seen so there wasn’t a whole lot of reason to keep out of sight now. The only thing stopping him from busting in was Gaius. The guy made him nervous. He seemed to be the type of person you didn’t want to be on bad terms with. So unless he was okay with it, that wasn’t happening either.

Before he could press the topic any further, Kael felt his phone go off in his pocket. Taking it from his well-fitted pants he had it out and unlocked in less than a second. His eyes scanned over the text briefly. It was a blanket message from the covenant.

“We have to go, there is an emergency meeting being held. Everyone’s being called in to the nearest HQ.” Just as swiftly as he removed it, Kael returned his phone to his pocket.

The building the two entered was buzzing. Questions were being flung from every direction, but there were no answers coming out of the din. The dark garbed demon was growing curious himself. It would be at least another half an hour until anything happened though. At that time, the crowd was ushered into another room. For the most part it was barren, the only thing lining the walls were two projector screens on either side of the expansive room. Once everyone was in place an image flashed upon the displays. It was a man, dressed sharply in a suit and sitting at the covenant president’s desk. He was not however the president.

A voice boomed from the sound system. “Hello, my name is Lysander Canterbury and it is with deep regret that I share this message with you tonight. As of only an hour ago, president Atlas Centistine passed away. His departure was incredibly unexpected and has left us all with heavy hearts. Until the chaos dies down and a solid plan of action comes through, I will be acting as the interim president. We ask that you all have patients as all these changes go on, thank you for your time, have a good night.”

And just like that the screens went dark again. This was all incredibly strange. As far as Kael knew the president had been in fine health. On top of that it was odd that it would be handled in such a manner. He had a bad feeling for whatever changes were on their way.
  Dahlia Morgan & Kael Neu / Loxi / 2y 230d 5h 17m 25s
Gaius didn’t care much for mortals. They were flimsy creatures, prone to sickness, injury and death… sometimes caused by their own ineptitude and stupidity. They were vulgar, loud, self-destructive, and at times embodied sin better than a Natural Born Demon. Gaius was one such Sin Demon… a wrath demon, Gaius was generally indifferent and cool… but he could go from cold to Hot as Hell in the blink of an eye, entering into a destructive Rage, the likes no one would want to see. How he’d managed to walk this realm for the past three hundred years without incident just proved how powerful he was. The better in control meant the demon was stronger. He’d managed to stay on Earth for so long by remaining in The Covenant’s good graces. The best way to think about The Covenant was like a sort of customs office. It wasn’t just demons who had to go through them to come to Earth. Angels had to, witches had to declare themselves, and magical creatures were tagged and tracked. The Covenant also made it very clear that any act that would expose the entire paranormal community was punishable by death without trial. Sure there were some Mortals who knew about the existence of Paranormal creatures, but they too were bound by the same laws. To expose a paranormal meant you could be killed.

They were currently in the middle of such an event, trying to stop it from happening. Clyatt had made a mistake trusting that young human. He’d stolen her medallion that allowed her to travel between realms, now he was missing as far as the mortals knew. Gaius knew better –the mortal brat was busy trying to survive the perils of the underworld… where Clyatt sent him when she discovered her medallion missing, and he wouldn’t tell her where it was until he got his answers. Stupid kid… did he not realize that Clyatt was an ancestor of Hades himself? Of course he didn’t… but he sure as shit did now. Gaius had no sympathy for the little thief, but without her medallion Clyatt couldn’t return to Earth to find it, so for the time being she was trapped with her would be pet in the Underworld. And they were here taking time out of their day stalking the shitty apartment complex of those two mortals they’d tailed from the boy’s house. He didn’t know who those chicks were, but they’d stuck their nose in the wrong place.

It was much to his not so obvious delight when one of them emerged from the complex around 7. The tall one with legs for days, started down the sidewalk at a quick pace. Gaius wondered if she had somewhere to be. He supposed so as he and his partner had to stop as she waltzed right into a club on a busy city street. Gaius shared a look with Kael, and put his cigarette out, before following in with a grumpy expression. They entered the club themselves and surveyed the area, while beside him Kael cursed at what he saw. The woman was behind the bar. Oh for fucks sake! They were going to be here all night!

[center ~*~*~*~]

Eris was in her element. She took multiple orders at once, served her drinks, flirted with her patrons male and female, and made sure everyone was having a good time. Meanwhile the music pounded, colorful lights flashed and drunken mortals danced and writhed against one another. Soon the huge space was heated up from all the people and smelling of alcohol and sweat. Even Eris was taking shots with her customers. She worked without taking a break, making money like it was going out of style that by the end of the night her tip jar was stuffed as full as she could get it. At last call Eris was busy cashing out her tabs and the patrons were drunkenly making their way outside where city taxies and ubers were waiting to take them home. Eris just grinned as she counted her cash at the bar before stuffing it into the lining of her jacket where she always hid her money before leaving the bar. She said goodbye to her co-workers after cleaning up the bar and restocking. By the time she left it was well near 3 am, and all the patrons were gone. The only person left was the bouncer and he walked the staff outside into the alley. Eris hot on their tail, once outside the group dispersed and Eris remained, lighting up a cigarette before she’d take off for home. She checked to make sure everyone was gone and then dug into her pocket where she knelt down behind one of the garbage bins and made soft noises. Eventually a cat poked his mangy head out and sniffed at the treats Eris brought. She dropped them on the concrete, and watched as he began to devour the food.
“That’s a good guy,” she cooed, and with a loud yawn stood up and went to leave the alleyway for home and meet up with Dahlia when she heard footsteps block her path. She stopped seeing two men, and her brow furrowed. She recognized them from the bar. They had taken a table and didn’t move the whole night. She couldn’t forget those strange red eyes, or the yellow ones. They didn’t look entirely normal to her, but definitely carried that goth vibe. The one with red eyes got closest and Eris stood her ground, still smoking her cigarette.
“Excuse me, sweetheart, I’m gonna need you to come with us.” Eris actually chuckled at that comment.
“Well [i sweetheart], I don’t think that’s going to happen,” She told him plainly. “I can tell you think it is, but it’s no- HEY!” Eris shouted angrily, her cigarette knocked from her lips as one of the men had vanished and reappeared behind her and hoisted her off the ground with his hands wrapped painfully tight around her arms.
“Shut up.” Gaius said boredly. “Give us the medallion and we’ll let you go.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Eris demanded kicking her legs out from under her.
“You took it from that house earlier today. We need it back…. Belongs to a friend of ours.” Eris looked back at the man with yellow eyes who held her and then looked back at the one with red eyes who was staring her down.
“I don’t have it,” she lied. From behind Eris, Gaius gave Kael a look to just grab the damn thing off of her, but this little mortal put up one hell of a fight.

Gaius was getting frustrated with her, and was about to snap her frail little neck when they both heard someone calling her name. Gaius dropped Eris in an instant and with Kael vanished into the shadows. Eris fell to the ground, and right into a nasty puddle of God only knew what, when she heard Dahlia’s voice calling out to her. Gaius and Kale watched from the shadows as Eris picked herself back up and greeted her friend.
“Hey…” Eris murmured distractedly and looking into the shadows. “WE can’t stay here, we gotta go… I’ll explain at home.” Eris commanded and turned taking Dahlia’s arm and dragging her away from the alley and at least into the open street. Not that it mattered at 3 am in the morning even for New York City there were that many people out. Gaius looked to Kael and both knew they’d tail the girls home. They were getting that medallion back no matter what. It was a special kind of medallion, and Clyatt was one of the few to possess one… whoever possessed that particular medallion could travel all the realms unencumbered by Covenant Protocol. In the wrong hands, even a mortal’s, the consequences could be dire…
  *Gaius / darien / 2y 283d 6h 41m 8s
As Eris’ voice boomed through the small apartment, Dahlia dropped what she was doing to go see her off. It was her booze jockey skills that put the thin roof above their heads. Sure Dahlia did some photography and picture editing, but it was freelance and just as unpredictable as her friend’s journalism. Honestly she should probably get a real job here soon. The idea was grim.

“Don’t let that thing die again tonight.” She teasingly lectured her friend back before watching her disappear through the doorway.

The apartment was not still, but not quiet. Dahlia could hear the neighbors chattering through the walls, the indistinct murmurs kept her company for now. The woman went back to the journal. She had taken to reading it more thoroughly this time around. Making sure she didn’t miss any details. As she was now alone, she took up the living room. Lying back on the couch beneath the standing floor lamp the lighting was better here. It also afforded her a view of their new roommate Eve. The reptile’s small beady eyes seemed to follow along wherever you went, but they were not menacing. Now Dahlia had someone to explain everything to as she went instead of talking to herself, which was somewhat disheartening. She knew having the snake around wouldn’t be so bad.

----

Standing in a nearly abandoned alleyway, Kael found himself wondering how he had gotten roped into this. He and his compatriot had been tasked with retrieving the beacon from that Goth kid’s house, but nothing ever went smoothly for him. At least not when it came to the covenant. Just as they were about to make their move some random girls blazed into the overly extravagant place and found the damn thing first. Now things were much more complicated than they needed to be and it was irritating. The man’s foot tapped incessantly against the pavement as he tried to calm down. There was nothing he detested more than boredom.

Honestly he hated this whole business, but it was just about impossible for demons to make it here without help from the covenant. He sighed; maybe it was time to move. Sure he loved the city, but the demands of the covenant’s leaders were growing. The man wasn’t sure how much longer it was going to be worth it.

Kael was pulled from his ponderings when the door to the shady apartment complex opened. For a moment his eyes filled with hope, but for the 23rd time it was dashed as a thin old man exited the building. Grumbling beneath his breath, a farm or something else in the sticks was starting to sound just fine right about now.

Just as the red-eyed man was beginning to plan his dream life in Wisconsin the chime of the door went off again. Snapping back to reality, there she was. One of the pair, but the little fool had the beacon on her. Things just took a turn for the easy. Lucky them.

Motioning for the other demon, they were on the move. It was much too crowded to make a move, but it made tailing her easy. Now that they were on the move again, things were considerably less tedious. A smile formed on his face when they came to a club. The pounding music could already be heard from inside. Flashing lights escaped every time the door opened. Stepping in there weren’t many people yet, but there was a small cluster at the bar. This included their target, but she was already on the other side of the counter.

Great, that was about the most conspicuous place she could be, however it meant the little thief would be here until late and they would have a perfect chance to nab her along with the beacon. The other human wouldn’t have to be involved at all. With that in mind, along with knowing he would be entertained for the night as they waited as well, Kael found his mood taking a turn for the better.

“This should work out just fine, don’t you think?” He nudged his temporary partner, with some of the first words to be spoken between them.

It wasn’t long before the place was wall to wall packed. Many interesting faces came and went. Kael even had a drink or two as the night went on. The stuff didn’t have a lot of effect, but it helped him to blend in a little better. Small talk with mortals also passed the time, but he kept his eye on the fiery barkeep for the most part. She looked like an awful lot of fun and cute to boot; too bad she was a tad too nosy for her own good.

By far the most exciting thing was watching the bouncers go to work on the belligerent folks. Anytime someone would start to make a scene, Kael couldn’t help but observe from a distance. It was fair to say he easily distracted and didn’t make the best lookout. On this particular night it didn’t matter though. The target wasn’t going anywhere. At least not if she wanted to be paid.

2 am came around and it was last call at this particular joint and that meant it was almost game time. Leaving the club, Kael and company came around back to the employee entrance. The girl came as of on queue, lighting a cigarette and crouching by the door. The man chuckled at her complete lack of fear in the dark backstreet. Nosy and ballsy, an entertaining but dangerous combination. It really was a shame they hadn’t met sooner.

Emerging from the well-defined shadows created by the dim streetlight, the almost innocent looking man had a smile on his face. “Excuse me, sweetheart, I’m gonna need you to come with us.”

----

Dahlia was excited to discover there was a little more information to be gleaned from the diary. The newest lead told her that Ben and Kara spent a lot of time down by the HK docks. It was all they had until they could dig up more on this girl or the pendant, so enthusiastic to text her friend. Generally she would have felt bad interrupting someone at work, but Eris’ workplace was always so lax about that sort of thing she quit caring.

[text-Eris] Hey, looks like Ben was spending a lot of time at the docks with that girl. We should check it out next.

Placing her phone and the now completely gone over book on the coffee table, she stood and got a snack out of the fridge. A job well done deserved something sweet. This time it was a pudding cup she had been saving. The butterscotch-y goodness fit the bill perfectly. Once it was gone she tossed the cup and washed her spoon. Then it was back to her phone. No reply yet, but that just meant her friend was busy at the moment. So instead of waiting around she went to her room and grabbed the novel she’d been working on.

There was a strange feeling clinging to Dahlia’s stomach. She wasn’t sure if it was the pudding or what, but as the night went on it worsened. The quiet that eventually came with the late night didn’t help. It was then she knew rather than food it was anxiety. No matter how much she tried she couldn’t manage to focus on the story on the pages in her hand. The woman didn’t know why, but she had a terrible feeling something was going to happen tonight. Taking up her phone again she frantically hit the screen.

[text-Eris] I am gonna walk home with you tonight, don’t leave without me.]

[text-Dahlia] k

It was twenty minutes till Eris got off, and she needed to leave now if she didn’t want to keep her waiting. It was a mad dash to grab her keys, wallet, and double up on jackets before Dahlia left their house. Tightly locking the door before she exited the complex.
  Dahlia Morgan & Kael Neu / Loxi / 2y 285d 2h 57m 0s
Eris brought the snake home with no problem, and she cleared out an entire area near her window to give the snake natural lighting to bask in. Eris had to admit that even she was slightly shocked she just walked out of the house with the snake.
“I’m going to find you a nice mouse to eat, just you wait,” Eris told the snake and with a proud grin she marched her way back into the kitchen area where Dahlia was eating a sandwich and looking over the contents of the liquor bag they found in the air vent. The first thing Eris noticed was the little bag of weed. “You don’t want this right?” She joked taking the bag and pocketing it while Dahlia continued to fish through the bag. Eris managed one bite of her sandwich before Dahlia tossed a metal trinket to her.
“You don’t happen to know what this is do you.” Dahlia asked handing the item to her. Eris’ brows knit together and she took it into her hands and looked it over.
“Not really,” She answered honestly, but she might know someone who did. Eris looked it over, and felt it looked more like a coin or medallion of some kind then a trinket. It couldn’t be a coin because she didn’t see where it had a currency amount listed. Medallion was a better option as it fit the criteria. It clearly resembled something, a cause of some kind, or maybe it acted as a pass into a club. Eris frowned and set it down. “I’ll ask around though. I might have a few contacts that could have an idea,” Eris told her, and went back to mowing down on her sandwich.

Dahlia mentioned Ben’s poetry as she read through his journal and Eris listened as she mentioned someone by the name of Kara Clyatt. Eris was shocked to hear that the girl didn’t have a single social media account.
“That’s weird,” Eris said simply. “Everyone has at least Facebook, or twitter. She’s got nothing?” Eris shook her head. She didn’t want to believe it. “She either doesn’t exist, or she’s dirt poor.” Eris muttered distractedly, finished with her lunch and decided to break into Ben’s stash of weed and roll a joint for herself. He clearly wasn’t using it, and he was only a kid, not even 21 yet, she’d gladly take it off his hands. She wandered over towards the windows and fire escape and moved to sit outside so the smoke wouldn’t bother Dahlia. She had pocketed the medallion and as she sat there she pulled it out to look it over again. There was a Wiccan store in the next burrow that Eris knew might be able to give her a lead to the coin, but for now with the day ending there wasn’t much more they could do. Still something about it called danger to Eris; that this was some Skull & Bones shit. She had never doubted herself a day before in her life and for the first time she found herself wondering if she really wanted to get involved in this story, and if she wanted to endanger Dahlia too. It was a funny thought, considering at one time they had both thought about traveling overseas to war torn regions to cover what was happening in those regions. Yet now she was scared over the possibility she’d stumbled upon a secret society or gang.

The design on the medallion was worn and the more Eris handled it, the more she believed it was very old and not just made to look that way. It was dented, scratched, the finish worn away, the edges were aged and dirty. There was a symbol on either face of the coin, but Eris didn’t know enough about symbols to guess what any of it could mean. Right now they had a name, but they couldn’t find her, when an idea popped into Eris’s mind. She quickly pulled out her phone and texted Ross and asked him to look and see if he couldn’t find the name Kara Clyatt anywhere.
[text-Eris] Found lead. Name is Kara Clyatt, can you look for records? No social media under that name.
It wasn’t until an hour later when she got a text back from Ross.
[text-Ross] Will look into it and let you know if I find anything.

For now that would satisfy Eris.

It was almost seven when another text came in for Eris and it caused her to jump out of bed and shout into the apartment.
“I have to work tonight!” Eris shouted to Dahlia. “Now we can make rent.” She said excitedly, but there was a cynicism to her words at the harrowing reality that they were half starved in their shitty little apartment. That they just managed to pay the rent and their bills. That if Eris didn’t bartend part time to help supplement what she made on the articles she wrote for other magazines, they’d be homeless. “I’ll be at the club if you need me!” She called quickly grabbing some black clothes and throwing them on before brushing out her hair and putting makeup on. She hurried through the apartment to get ready, still holding onto the medallion and gave Dahlia a quick hug before she left. “Remember, don’t answer the door for strangers, I will have my cell on me if you find anymore leads, or you could always visit me!” Eris told her and without another word hurried out the apartment to make some extra cash.

Eris was going to regret taking the Medallion with her… little did she know it could be tracked by two very dangerous men not of this world….
  Eris Alcone / darien / 2y 297d 8h 1m 48s
Walking up to the rather… inspired door, Dahlia was glad to have never gone through whatever phase of adolescence this was. Although with his step-mom, she didn’t blame the kid. The room was not much of a surprise after seeing the entryway. It matched. Looking about, she wasn’t entirely sure where to start. There was about a million nooks and crannies in this place, but somehow they managed to comb through the entire thing in a timely manner. Along the way, she made sure to take pictures of the scene and anything that they might want to look back on later.

When Eris tossed the bag her way, she swiftly made a place for it in her satchel. Unfortunately that was the only bit of evidence they would be finding here. It was clear that if there had been anything else of importance someone else had already nabbed it for themselves. Turning back to her friend after one final scan of the area, Dahlia shook her head. Was she really going to try and make off with the snake? She really couldn’t complain. As far as pets went it was rather low maintenance and it came with all the expensive setup so long as she could manage to walk out with it. And on top of all that, it was kinda cute.

Mrs. Sterns’ reaction was just about as dramatic as the dark-eyed girl thought it would be, but the focus was off. A normal person would be more concerned about strangers stealing several hundred dollars worth of reptile and equipment. But no, it was too ‘scary’ for her to look at. As Eris made it out the front door, Dahlia turned back to thank the woman once again for her time. It was better to keep on these people’s good side; after all they had been the only ones to allow them within 30 feet of the missing person’s room.

Once the pair had made it a fair distance from the house, Dahlia broke into laughter. “I cannot believe you. Are they even going to let us on the tube with her?” It was more rhetorical than anything. At any given moment you could find any number of things much stranger than a snake on the subway. “Do you think if we set her up in the living room people will quit barging into our house?” She really doubted it, but it might be worth a shot.

The ride home was mostly uneventful. There were a few sidelong glances at the trio, but no one said anything. Dahlia was glad for that. Although, it did give her mind a little too much time to wonder what was in the deep purple sack she was carrying. It wasn’t till they were safe and sound in their cramped apartment that she took the thing out of her pack and set it on the table. Still her curiosity would not be sated for some time as Eris busied herself setting up Eve in her new home. Until that was done, her friend would be too distracted to be productive with anything else. So instead Dahlia focused on throwing together a couple of sandwiches for them. She didn’t know about Eris, but she was half starved.

Coming back to the table, she set Eris’ sandwich on a napkin in front of the chair facing hers and waited. It wasn’t much longer till she pranced in looking well pleased with herself.
“Now that you’ve moved your new best friend in, can we get back to work?” There was a false air of hurt in her voice, but it was muffled by the food she was shoving in her mouth. Food was more important than snarky comments.

With her stomach full and hands empty, Dahlia brought the drawstring sack to herself. Pulling gently at the cinched mouth, she was slowly opened the booze bag. She wasn’t expecting a whole lot, as the bag hadn’t been very heavy. Inside there were only three items, one by one she set them on the table. First was the obligatory baggy of weed. There was about a gram there, neither shocking nor helpful in any way. Next was a booklet, small enough to fit in her hand comfortably. The kind of thing you kept to take notes on the go, but before she went any farther down that rabbit hole, a gleam of the third object caught her eye. Setting what was likely a journal to the side, Dahlia pendant from the now void container. It was either old, or made to look that way and depicted a symbol she didn’t recognize.

“You don’t happen to know what this is do you?” She held the dangling trinket out for her friend to see. While the book would likely give them all the information they needed, she was most fascinated by the bauble. Was it some new gang, or a cult of some kind? The answer was likely more mundane. The kid probably found it in some shop and wanted to freak his step-mom out with it.

Not waiting for an answer, Dahlia pulled out her phone and did a search for marks and icons that had been used throughout history by different groups. She knew it was unlikely such a shallow investigation would bear any fruit, but she had been hopeful. However, her hopes were dashed, even to just confirm it was nothing important. The medallion was still on the table as evidence as far as she could tell.

With that being a dead end for now, the notebook jumped back to her mind. Passing the pendant off to Eris for a closer look, the dark haired woman took up the little paperback once more. Thumbing through it quickly, she was surprised to see Ben had decent handwriting. That made things much easier. The second time she went through it was much slower as she scanned for anything out of the normal or linked to Hell’s Kitchen.

About half way through the journal, at least the part that was written in, the change that she was looking for occurred. Ben met a girl, Kara Clyatt. The further and further she went on the more obvious it became that this was the start of it. It talked about the pair going down to HK to hang out, but unfortunately not much detail after that. It was also at that point that poetry began to be sprinkled between entries.

“Looks like he fancied himself a poet,” she smiled as she spoke. It was all super corny, but cute at the same time. “If we can track down this friend of his, we might be able to get more information out of her. “

Switching back to her phone, Dahlia did another search. This time on social media sites for a Kara Clyatt. The name wasn’t a particularly common one so she thought this one might be successful, but no one under that name came up. The woman grew increasingly suspicious. It was rather uncommon for high schoolers to not have at least a Facebook these days.
  Dahlia Morgan / Loxi / 2y 303d 21h 29m 45s
Damn, people could be real Ass Holes. Their first encounters with members of family to the missing people were less than cooperative. Some went so far as the threaten shooting them if they so much as stepped on their front stoop. Was she still in New York? Did people in such a liberal city actually own firearms? Or was this fear that Eris could taste? She had been aptly named by her mother after the Grecian Goddess of Chaos and Discord, and while Eris was very good at leaving a wake of chaos wherever she went, she had learned the name itself had power. Eris was reaching the end of her rope, and the last house they had been too, Eris has been near desperate for answers that the mother she spoke with threatened to call the cops from behind her screen door, and was explicative causing Eris to lose her cool and nearly breaking down the screen door. If it wasn’t for Dahlia dragging her away, the cops definitely would have shown up. Whatever the deal was, this was not usual behavior for family members of a missing person. It wasn’t like they were asking around in a predominantly Puerto Rican community, Jewish, Muslim, or any other culture community within the city that kept to themselves… they were only in a poor part of town. It definitely wasn’t safe at night, but to be threatened in broad daylight? Eris almost couldn’t wrap her mind around it.

Again, thank the Goddess for Dahlia, or Eris might have gone on a rampage. No one could keep Eris from turning into a Psycho better than Dahlia. The girl just understood her, always had since day one. Eris was two cigarettes away from an empty pack, as she inhaled on a third. They were approaching the Upper East Side of the city, they weren’t terribly far away from central park, but they were a good subway ride from home. It was a stark difference from the poverty stricken burrows they’d just visited. Porsche Cayennes, Mercedes Benzs, top of the line Infinities, and BMWs drove the streets including black Lincoln Town Cars… with their own drivers. The whole block reeked of Wall Street money.
“Ugh… rich people…” Eris groaned, but after a look from Dahlia, Eris zipped her lip and fell in line with her, and put her best smile on and started up the steps to the home listed at the address given to them by Ross. They stopped though when they saw a powder blue Benz turn into a private drive, down into a Garage under the house. Eris again rolled her eyes at the car. It was such a silly concept to not only own a car while living in the city, but to OWN one and drive it in the city. In Eris’ opinion, it was rather obnoxious.

She was tall and elegant, maybe a former model… definitely a trophy wife. Eris wouldn’t hold that against her, instead she called out to the woman. “Mrs. Stern? You are Mrs. Stern, yes?”
“Of course,” She said with a classic Miss. America smile. This did not strike Eris as someone who was in grief of a missing child… she also didn’t look old enough to be the mother of an 16 year old boy.
“I have a few questions, about the disappearing teenagers,” Eris informed her.

“Is it about Benny?” The woman asked, Eris was getting a trite annoyed, as she’d been since the second house they’d visited. Thankfully, Dahlia made another save, and they were invited in. Dahlia, the clean cut photographer and Eris, the dirty grunge punk chick made their way into the opulent house. Eris was not surprised to find a Latina woman working the home. God Damn rich people… Eris’ first thought was: They better be paying that sweet woman a livable wage.

They were brought drinks inside a room that was clearly designed for entertaining guests and not for family use and they sat down on a couch across from Mrs. Sterns.
“So you have news about Benny?”
“No, we were hoping you could tell us about him. What he does, where he goes, who his friends are… I’m a journalist, my name is Eris Alcone and this is my lovely photographer, Dahlia Morgan. We are doing a story on the missing teenagers around Hells Kitchen, your son is the only one who isn’t from around here. Have you received any ransom notes, anything?” Mrs. Sterns looked thoughtful for a moment and suddenly sighed.
“Oh my… Well,” She began, “We have not received a ransom note, no phone calls, no texts… nothing. We have no idea where he’s gone. I honestly am not sure if Benny has any friends, if he does he never brings them over.” Eris was stuck in disbelief, how could his mother not know he did or didn’t have friends? “Benny has been… difficult since his father left his mother a couple years back.” She chuckled nonchalantly. “It’s been a downward spiral ever since.”
“Oh, so you’re not Ben’s mother?”
“No, I’m his step mother. His father and I have been together for a long time. I almost regret admitting this, but I was his father’s mistress for about three years before he finally axed his wife.” Eris had to restrain her stunned laughter. Still Mrs. Sterns the 2nd continued. "I would suggest checking to see if he ran to his mother's but I suppose you two should know that she died about a month ago. Car accident, was a real tragedy for him. I think you ladies are wasting your time, honestly, I keep telling Howard that Ben ran away, the boy hates me, and I just can't figure out why." Eris could only dumbly nod her head, but she somehow managed to find her words.
"Yeah.... umm... Do you mind if we look in his room?"
"Certainly, it's upstairs third door on the left. You can't miss it. Everything is as he left it...Oh and be careful of that demon spawn up there!"

Can't miss it, was right. His door was the epitome of Teenage Angst. His door had posters and caution tape all over deterring anyone from entering. It did not deter Eris or Dahlia, and Eris made quick work of opening the door and looking inside. Posters from metal bands, comics, and playboy pinups littered the walls. Dark colors permeated the room giving off a very Emo-Goth vibe to the room. Eris walked in and took stock of every little detail she could find. The bed was thrown together in a haphazard was of making it. Things were overflowing from underneath the bed, there was a standing dresser, a desk and nightstand, and another table that had a Terrarium sitting on it. Curiously Eris walked over and found a sleeping Ball Python in the tank, the light still on and its cage relatively clean. Almost as if it had been cleaned right before Ben went missing. He clearly loved this snake too, it was a pricey set up, and the Boa had a hand drawn sign taped to her cage with the name Eve. Eris smirked at the Biblical jab and watched as the snake, Eve raised her smooth head and tasted the air with her tongue before pinning both women with an almost curious look.
"I don't think he meant to stay away... look at the cage. You don't own a snake unless its a creature you love and care for regularly. He meant to return and finish taking care of. If he ran away he would have taken his snake. You're no demon Spawn..." Eris cooed and reached into the cage and lifted Eve up into her hand. The snake coiled around her hand and forearm and continued to taste the air around Eris. The fact Eve didn't attempt to outright bite her, told her that Ben handled Eve often.

Eris pet the snake along its spine before gently prying it off of her and placing it back in the tank where it coiled up under the heat lamp. She then turned to the room and looked around.
"If I was an unhappy child with a homewrecking step-mom... who's probably a religious zealot... where would I hide my goods..." She murmured to herself. Then began the easter egg hunt for anything that might tell them where Ben had gone to. They looked through his bookshelf, the drawers of his desk, they even checked for false bottoms in his drawers for his nightstand, desk and dresser. They looked under his mattress, his bed and in his closet. When it seemed they had exhausted every option, Eris spotted the air vent above Eve's tank. The paint looked discolored and the screws looked like their paint had worn off. Brow furrowed, Eris reached over and with a pocket knife managed to pry the grate open... inside they found a used Crown Royal Liquor Bag. Eris didn't even open it, she tossed it to Daliha to hide in her camera bag. when they got home, they'd look through it and see what they could find. Eris made quick work placing the grate back on the vent and looked down at Eve. Eris had a feeling the snake would die in this house and without another thought gathered the tank, the light, and a shoe box they found had the Snake's food supply and Eris carted it downstairs.
"What are you doing with that monster?" She nearly shrieked disgusted it had left the room. ERis looked at the snake and it's tank that filled her arms and shrugged.
"I could tell you didn't like her, I thought I'd just take this lovely lady off your hands."
"It's disgusting, I don't care, take it if you want. I hope it never comes back."
"WEll in that case. When and if Benny returns, I'll bring his snake back. I'll take care of her for you guys." Eris informed her with a grin and made a break for the door. "Oh," She stopped short and turned to face MRs. Sterns. "If you hear from Ben let us know. We didn't find anything..." Eris lied flawlessly. "We'll keep in touch... thanks for your help,"
  darien / 2y 311d 2h 15m 1s
It was a while before Dahlia felt the need to knock on Eris’ door, but the need finally arose. When there was no reply she opened to door to find an empty bed. Shaking her head, the seed of worry wasn’t planted in her until her best friend’s phone went straight to voicemail. Seeing as there wasn’t a lot she could do, the woman distracted herself with small tasks around the apartment. Luckily, there was enough to do around the place to keep her busy and as she sat down to take a break she managed to catch the missing person skulking back in, doing the sneak of shame.

Eris looked like a hot mess, but it was the usual kind when she came home in the mornings, so her worry was assuaged. “Not really.” She propped her round face up in her hand. “But I would appreciate a text letting me know you aren’t coming in for the night. Just so I know you weren’t dragged off.” God knew how likely that was in this city. Honestly, Dahlia didn’t much care about her enthusiastic friend’s party habits or sexual escapades. Hell, every once in a while she would come along, everyone had needs. The problem was you never knew whom you were going to run into. A guy might be nice in the club but turn out to be a serial murderer once he gets you home. That became all the more likely with their line of work too.

Speaking of which Eris soon let her roommate in on the new information she had heard down the grapevine. Another Teenager missing, West side Manhattan was getting worse and worse these days. It was with that tidbit of info that the party animal excused herself to get ready for the day.

Bang! Bang!

Who the hell was pounding on their door, Dahlia was about to look through the door viewer when her name was shouted from across the thin wooden slab. It was a familiar voice, so she stopped and let Ross in immediately. As she was about to answer his questioned her roommate did it for her.

The two bantered back and forth for a bit. Eventually they would tire of it and she would be able to get a word in edgewise. Until then she poured the remaining three-fourths a cup of coffee for their guest. They moved to the more comfortable living area, but it didn’t last long before he had to leave. Everyone she knew was like a hurricane. They drop in, make a huge commotion, and leave just like that. Except Ross made it sure to always give a civil goodbye. He was a polite and handsome guy, but man could he be awkward. She made sure to smile and wave politely, however she wasn’t looking forward to looking back to Eris who was sure to say something… again.

And there it was. She rolled her eyes, and did her best not to laugh at her friend’s pouting face. It would only encourage her. Dahlia was glad that was the end of it and they would finally be able to get out of their cramped apartment and back to work. Perhaps this one might be the one to get Eris famous enough to bring some actual money in. It was a big enough story, but something about it was definitely giving the camera gal the heebie-jeebies.

The city was bustling, as always. A cacophony of sounds reverberated off the tall buildings. And even though there were many people around when you spoke it felt like no one would hear you. It was both the blessing and curse of the metropolis. Dahlia was bundled up, her defense against the cold early spring weather. Hustling to the subway helped too. They were off to a late start and wanted to take back as much time as possible.

Things were better once they reached the underground station, at least temperature wise. Now that she was a little more relaxed and not running she turned to Eris. “We should probably go and talk to the family of last week’s victim first. That kid was the most recent from Hell’s Kitchen so his family will actually know the area and have a better idea of what’s going on there.” The kid from the Upper East may have been the most recent, but his richy rich parents probably wouldn’t be willing to talk to some random people claiming to be investigating their boy’s disappearance.

Standing at the steps of a brick duplex, a joyful doorbell rang at their call, but the man who answered the door wasn’t nearly as pleasant as the tone. When they asked for some of his time to make an inquiry he reaction nearly blew Dahlia away.

“Why the fuck do you think I would want to talk to you about anything?!” His aggressive voice felt like it could be heard for miles, but no one turned their head as they walked by.

People dealt with loss in all sorts of different ways, the longhaired woman assumed this was his. “We are only looking to help uncover what is really going on here, your son’s is a part of something much bigger going on here. We would really appreciate your cooperation. Just a few minutes would really help.”

“You getting the hell off my doorstep would really help, now beat it, you nosy bitches.”

The door quickly slammed in their faces. Sighing heavily, Dahlia looked to Eris who didn’t exactly look pleased. Not wanting to give the journalist time to make a bigger scene, the onyx-eyed gal grabbed her sleeve. “Let’s move onto the next one. It was probably just too soon for him.” It wasn’t their first rejection of the sort and she was certain it wouldn’t be the last. All they could do was take it in stride. At least she hoped that is what they would do.

Although the woman had thought that would not be the last time they’d be belligerently spurned, she hadn’t expected for it to happen again so soon. The next family had pretty much the same reaction, and the one after that, and the next as well. The last woman nearly got violent when Eris became more insistent out of desperation.

The strangeness of their reactions only made Dahlia feel worse about the whole situation. Something was definitely weird in this place. Now their last hope of finding anything out was in the upper east with the upper crust. It was a slim chance they would be any more willing to talk, but the women had to try. And honestly, she was glad to be away form the odd toxic atmosphere that seemed to be hanging about the air.

By the time they made it to that side of town, it was getting later. They probably only had another half an hour of daylight left. Yet another reason to be refused at the door, however when they got to the large and well-groomed home there was a woman just pulling into the driveway in a powder blue Benz. This took the doorframe out of the equation and she was most definitely glad for that.

The tall elegant woman was locking up her vehicle when they came up to her, asking for a moment of her time.

“Is it about Benny?” What she could only assume was a nickname for Benjamin Stern.

Somewhat hesitant to ask the question, Dahlia went ahead with it. “Yes, we were hoping to get to the bottom of this.”

The woman’s face almost lit up. “Please come in,” She swiftly led them to the door, leading them into an elaborate entryway. “We really appreciate any help to try and find out boy.”

Ms. Stern continued on and the pair followed suit, taking a seat on a small leather couch when she asked them to. The entire home had the same swanky air as the entryway. It was a tad stifling. At least Dahlia thought so.

“Would you two like anything to drink?” It was like uptown people never forgot their hospitality. Even when her son disappeared she seemed to think making sure they had something to drink was the most important thing. Damn rich people.

“No thank you.” It had been a long and rather stressful day; she really just wanted to get to it so they could go back home. At least for a while.

Across a pristine glass coffee table the middle aged woman took a seat in a matching chair, her eyes hopefully looking back at them as though they might be the ones to find and bring her child home.
  Dahlia Morgan / Loxi / 2y 320d 21h 41m 25s
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